Thursday November 22 2018, Daily News Digest

Major European Neobanks Customers

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper to introduce HELOCs. Affirm to rebrand, get into travel. Elevate Credit misses earnings estimates. Zopa says parents borrow from children’s piggy banks. Revolut wants to raise $500M through SoftBank. LexinFintech shares jump 8% on 363% earnings increase. Fintonic, Amazon partner in Spain. Today’s main analysis: Are we in an online lending bubble? Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

Major European Neobanks Customers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Prosper Announces HELOCs, Releases Q3 2018 Earnings (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Prosper noted that according to a 2017 TransUnion Study an estimated 10 million consumers will take out HELOCs between 2018 and 2022 which would be more than double the number originated from 2012-2016.

The new HELOC product will launch officially in early 2019.

Prosper also reported their Q3 2018 results today. Originations were $640.3 million, down 22% over the prior year period. Prosper attributed the decrease to credit tightening as well as the increase of interest rates to borrowers. The company has now originated $13.4 billion since inception. Net revenues also decreased as a result of decreased originations, with net revenue falling from $28.8 million in Q3 2017 to 20.6 million in Q3 2018. Below is a summary of Prosper’s other financial highlights that are availing in the company’s 10-Q.

Source: Lend Academy

Funding Circle US: Consumers will eschew Amazon to support small firms (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle US has found that the majority of US consumers still make the effort to shop at independent small businesses and would be willing to pay more for the same item than it costs at e-commerce giant Amazon.

The peer-to-peer business lender, which recently floated on the London Stock Exchange, published the results of a survey on US consumers’ support for small businesses.

It found that 77 per cent of 2,171 US adults surveyed said they were willing to pay more for items at small businesses in order to keep money within their communities and support local jobs.

60 per cent of respondents said they would pay a 10 per cent premium or more on Amazon prices.

PayPal co-founder’s installments firm, Affirm, rebrands, gets into travel (Payments Source) Rated: AAA

PayPal co-founder Max Levchin has built a $1.8 billion business offering installment plans to American consumers. The problem: most shoppers have no idea they’re using his company, Affirm, when they choose how to pay at checkout.

Now, in an effort to make its name synonymous with online installment plans, Affirm is rebranding. Besides a new logo, the firm will list all the retailers it works with on its website. Affirm will also focus on travel, letting consumers pay for vacations over time.

Levchin Says Crypto Not a Good Currency But He Likes the Tech (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Releases Earnings Results, Misses Estimates By

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Releases Earnings Results, Misses Estimates By $0.23 EPS (Fairfield Current) Rated: AAA

.23 EPS (Fairfield Current) Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) announced its earnings results on Monday, October 29th. The company reported ($0.10) earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.13 by ($0.23), MarketWatch Earnings reports. Elevate Credit had a positive return on equity of 12.69% and a negative net margin of 0.49%. The business had revenue of $201.48 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $201.71 million. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.01 EPS. Elevate Credit’s quarterly revenue was up 16.6% on a year-over-year basis. Elevate Credit updated its FY18 guidance to $0.23-0.32 EPS.

Source: Fairfield Current

Amazon: Fundrise Allows You to Invest in Property Near Amazon’s DC Headquarters with New eFund (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Real estate investment platform Fundrise says it has been quietly accumulating property near the area Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has just announced they will be establishing a new headquarters. Amazon’s east coast headquarters will create a huge economic impact for the DC/Northern Virginia market, not to mention increased demand for housing and apartments. Fundrise says it has invested in 30 different buildings in expectation of rising demand. Fundrise is offering a new investment fund for this purpose: HQ2 DC eFund.

According to Fundrise, the fund already features residential properties – ranging from houses, townhomes and condominiums – with plans to invest as much as $50 million in the area. This eFund, issued under Reg A+,  allows any investor the opportunity to capitalize on expected local real estate growth in the wake of Amazon’s announcement.

RealtyShares starting to crumble after lack of venture capital (Born2Invest) Rated: A

The website started out strong. From 2014 to 2016, venture capital was pouring in from crowdfunding firms. However, investors became less interested in the portal as the investment minimum started to ramp up steadily. Company founder Nav Athwal, who had left the company’s board earlier this year, is still a minority shareholder. He also has no idea what happened to the company he helped found.

He, however, has a few words for startups. “Don’t let your burn rates get really large, strive for cash-efficiency or profitability sooner rather than later. Build a resilient business that can continue growing, regardless of where the venture capital markets are.” He adds that a startup should understand its investors and its growth limit as well.

Are we in an online lending bubble? (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

We’re in an interesting time in online lending. After years of fits and starts and boatloads of money flowing into the sector, record originations are being set all over the industry. We recently explored online lending trends going into 2019 and what participants in the sector are expecting in the near future.

Both consumer and business lenders are tracking strongly:

While personal loans have surged to a record as the fastest-growing U.S. consumer-lending category, according to data from credit bureau TransUnion, it’s fintech firms that are driving a lot of that growth.

Source: Tearsheet

Amalgamated Bank joins $ 26 million closing of Insikt social bond securitization (Impact Alpha) Rated: A

The fintech firm packages up the loans the into securities, which it then issues as bonds to financial institutions, foundations and private investors. Its latest $26 million securitizationattracted Amalgamated Bank, a B-corp-certified commercial bank that went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange in June.

The issuance marks Insikt’s fifth securitization this year, backed by 21,000 loans. INSIKT’s total securitization volume across 16 issuances reached $273 million.

If Recession Comes in 2020, What Will Innovation Look Like? (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase last month predicted a 60% chance of recession by 2020, and that increases to an 80% chance by 2021. It’s not clear how traumatic an event it would be for the U.S. economy, but considering all the new players that have jumped onto the financial scene since the last downturn a decade ago.

CrowdOut Funds More “Eatertainment” (Business Wire) Rated: A

CrowdOut Capital announced the completion of a $20 million facility to Punch Bowl Social, the L Catterton–backed restaurant group that is defining the evolving category of experiential dining. The proceeds will enable the leader in the “eatertainment movement” to open multiple new locations throughout the U.S. This marks the second time Punch Bowl Social has worked with CrowdOut, choosing its flexible debt over traditional loans from financial institutions.

Sell Your House Without Making a Move – Figure Introduces a Smart Alternative for Baby Boomers to Secure Their Retirement (Corp Magazine) Rated: A

Figure Technologies, Inc. (Figure), a FinTech company creating innovative products and tools that empower homeowners to improve their finances, announced today Figure Home Advantage, a smart sell-and-leaseback alternative to reverse mortgages for retirees and a new way for Baby Boomers to lock in record housing prices as they plan their retirement. With Figure Home Advantage, homeowners convert their home equity into cash they can put to use now while continuing to enjoy life at home without the ongoing burden of property taxes, repairs, and maintenance.

Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old in the U.S. every day. A study by the National Conference of State Legislators and AARP found that 90 percent of people over age 65 want to stay in their home for as long as absolutely possible. Yet, most older Americans don’t have enough savings to cover retirement expenses or realize the lifestyle they’d imagined. According to a survey by the Insured Research Institute (IRI), only 25 percent of Baby Boomers believe they will have enough money in retirement.

Lenders Extending More Loans to Subprime Consumers as Credit Market Continues to Exhibit Signs of Strength (AP News) Rated: A

Auto loans, credit cards and personal loans all saw year-over-year growth in subprime originations this past quarter, a sign that lenders are returning to this space following several consecutive quarters of declining originations. The latest TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) Industry Insights Report includes insights into consumer credit trends around personal loans, auto loans, credit cards and mortgage loans through the third quarter of 2018.

TransUnion’s report found that origination growth in the subprime risk tier grew at a significant rate across auto, personal loans and credit cards following declines in 2017. Subprime originations in the personal loan category grew 28% between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 (originations are viewed one quarter in arrears to account for reporting lag), compared to a yearly decline of 7.1% over the prior year. Auto showcased a similar trend, as independent lenders began issuing new loans to subprime consumers following industry pullback in 2016 and 2017. Subprime auto originations increased 7.3% year-over-year, after falling 7.8% year-over-year in Q2 2017.

Are you a minority borrower? You might want to think twice about using an online lender. (The Washington Post) Rated: A

It’s not just bank loan officers with racial biases who discriminate against black and Latino borrowers. Computer algorithms do, too.

That is the groundbreaking conclusion of University of California at Berkeley researchers who found that algorithmic credit scoring using big data is no better than humans at evening the playing field when it comes to determining home mortgage interest rates.

Both online and human lenders earn 11 to 17 percent higher profits off minority borrowers by charging African Americans and Latinos steeper rates, the study said. Black and Latino consumers pay 5.6 to 8.6 basis points higher interest on home purchase loans than their white or Asian counterparts with similar credit profiles — no matter whether they obtained their loans through a face-to-face process or online. The effect is smaller when it comes to refinancing, with black and Latino borrowers paying 3 basis points more.

Read the full report here.

AI-Driven Lead Distribution for Mortgage Lending Helps Loan Officers Deliver Faster Results (Verb Factory Email) Rated: A

ProPair, an innovative mortgage-industry technology start-up based in Silicon Valley, today launched an AI-based lead distribution solution that eliminates the uncertainty of the lead assignment process while optimizing results and ensuring fairness in the assignment process. Using artificial intelligence to correlate lead data with information about individual loan officers, ProPair facilitates the lead assignment process to allow lenders to distribute leads to maximize the performance of the entire loan team.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Provides $ 190 Million Financing for BM Eagle’s 17 SNF Portfolio (Business Wire) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as administrative agent and lead lender on the funding of a $190 million senior credit facility of 17 skilled nursing facilities for BM Eagle Holdings, LLC (“BM Eagle”), a joint venture led by affiliates of BlueMountain Capital Management, LLC (“BlueMountain”). The facilities are located in Northern California and New England.

United Kingdom

Zopa: Parents borrowing from children’s piggy banks (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA research has found that two fifths of parents have admitted to raiding their children’s piggy banks to borrow cash.

Parents surveyed by the peer-to-peer consumer lender confessed to borrowing money from their kids with a fifth taking over £250 a year.

However, 80 per cent of parents said they will also be giving their children cash as a Christmas present this year.

Nearly a quarter of children can look forward to a gift of up to £100, whilst a lucky three per cent will be receiving more than £500 in cash.

Revolut is in talks with Softbank to raise $ 500 million (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK neobank Revolut is currently in talks with the Softbank fund, which is worth $92 billion, for its next funding round, according to City AM. The talks are still early on, but the funding round could be as high as $500 million. It’s not clear whether existing investors, including Draper Esprit and Index Ventures, would participate in the next round.

Source: Business Insider

Monzo to offer cash deposits via PayPoint (FinExtra) Rated: A

PayPoint has announced today that challenger bank, Monzo, has chosen PayPoint’s cash payments solution for its current account holders. Beginning Wednesday 21 November, customers will be able to deposit up to £300 cash directly into their Monzo account in a single transaction at any of PayPoint’s 28,000 convenience stores nationwide.

Starling Bank’s £10m funding helps it make a stand to Monzo (Fintech Future) Rated: A

Starling Bank, the mobile-only bank, has secured £10 million of new capital from Bahamas-based hedge fund manager Harald McPike.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the funding is in preparation for a £80 million round to keep up, or perhaps surpass, other mobile challengers like Monzo, which recently raised £85 millionto reach a £1.5 billion valuation, and getting over 1.1 million customers.

Why data scientists solve irrelevant problems (Bobs Guide) Rated: A

In today’s challenging financial market businesses need to utilize every available resource and technology to reduce risk when processing payments and credit applications. One area in particular that is often talked about, but still either under or incorrectly utilized, is data science.

While many financial institutions are working towards implementing data science within their risk decisioning processes many are still working on creating an environment and culture that allows data scientists to be fully effective.

In a recent webinar Ken Schultz, VP of data science at Elevate Credit – better known under their brand Sunny in the UK -discussed the benefits data science can bring to a financial services organization, including the opportunity to increase accuracy, expand your market, and reduce fraud, all of which can be used to drive business growth.

Lending Works Appoints Three New Board Members, Targets P2P Growth (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Peer to peer lender Lending Works has selected three new members for their Board of Directors. The online lender has appointed; Simon Waugh, former Chairman of CMC Markets, Deputy CEO of British Gas, Paul Noble, CEO of Honeycomb Finance, a Pollen Street Capital business, and Melanie Goward, Investment Director of Maven Capital Partners.

Barclays partners with MarketInvoice (The MarketInvoice Blog) Rated: B

MarketInvoice and Barclays today announced a partnership deal that is set to transform the way small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK manage cash flow and accelerate growth.

The bank has committed to a significant minority stake in MarketInvoice to give Barclays’ SME clients seamless access to innovative forms of finance. The new partnership is a key part of Barclays’ plans to invest in new business models for growth, and MarketInvoice’s ambition to broaden its reach across the UK.

China

Shares of LexinFintech Jump 8% In Early Trading as Earnings Soar 363% (Capital Watch) Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (Nasdaq: LX) saw its shares jump more than 8 percent in early trading Wednesday after the company, an online peer-to-peer lending platform in China, posted better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter with net income increasing more than fourfold.

Despite recent market uncertainty, the Shenzhen-based lender said its operating revenue for the third three months increased more than 13 percent year-over-year to $246.7 million thanks to a 404 percent jump in income from its loan facilitation and servicing fees.

Net income for the quarter was $46 million, or 25 cents per fully diluted ADS, up from $9.93 million a year ago.

Source: Capital Watch

Tencent reboots profits as growth picks up beyond games (Nikkei Asian Review) Rated: AAA

China’s Tencent Holdings handed investors a much-needed profit recovery in the third quarter as revenue rose beyond online games, but the company warned that stricter regulation by Beijing on online advertising could sap growth.

The social media and online game group, which has lost about 40% of its market value since March as China has stalled approval of new games, beat market forecasts thanks to contributions from ads and cloud computing.

Source: Nikkei

China Rapid Finance to Announce Third Quarter 2018 Financial Results on November 20, 2018 (Acrofan) Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF), operator of one of China’s largest consumer lending marketplaces, today announced that it plans to release its third quarter 2018 financial results on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, after U.S. market closes.

China Rapid Finance’s management will host an earnings conference call at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on November 20, 2018, (9:00 a.m. Beijing/Hong Kong Time on November 21, 2018).

Why China’s online lending crisis makes liberalisation of bank interest rates more urgent (South China Morning Post) Rated: A

How big is China’s fintech sector? I would say, Britain’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Funding Circle plus payday lender Wonga times 100. In addition to giants such as Alibaba’s Ant Financial, Pingan’s Lufax and Tencent’s WeBank, a dozen mid-size operators have gone public in the US and Hong Kong in the past 18 months alone. There are also 40 to 50 serious players that are waiting in the wings to go public. However, as the year-long official clampdown has revealed, there are far too many also-ran operators and Ponzi schemes about.

In just five to six years, fintech has surged to levels over US$200 billion in terms of total assets.

Cash-Strapped Online Lenders Ordered to Repay Investors (Caixin Global) Rated: A

Some local governments have ordered cash-strapped peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms to begin repaying their investors to head off growing turmoil in the industry.

Hangzhou-based P2P lending platform Yucaiyuan recently announced that the company “did not meet regulatory requirements and was ordered to start repaying (investors),” according to a post on the lender’s website (link in Chinese). The firm will have to repay the principal and interest on all outstanding loans until investors are fully repaid. It has 12 months to do so.

Regulators in the eastern city want to rein in what had once been runaway growth in the industry. They plan to do this by clearing out small and midsize platforms one step at a time, a P2P lender told Caixin.

European Union

Fintonic Links Up with Amazon (Finovate) Rated: AAA

Personal finance app Fintonic announced today it will collaborate with Amazon in Spain. Starting next week, Fintonic customers in Spain will be able to finance their Amazon.es purchases ranging from $225 to $1,100 (€200 to €1,000) at a rate of 0% interest for up to four months.

Mintos to Provide Debit Cards and IBAN Accounts to Investors (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

P2P lending marketplace Mintos has raised 5 million EUR in a Series A. The money is earmarked to provide new features for investors.

Crowdlending campaign raises total of €1.5 million for the first time (The Brussels Times) Rated: A

A crowdlending campaign has, for the first time, raised a total of €1.5 million in Belgium.

The announcement came on Wednesday from the platform Look&Fin, which specialises in such participative finance loans. The company, Carimat Matériaux, based in Braine-le-Château and active in construction, has raised this record amount.

In total, 483 individuals have invested in Carimat Matériaux, for a global total of €1.5 million. The group, which has specialised in construction since 1988, recorded a turnover of €56 million in 2017 and employs more than 170 people.

Berlin-based fintech startup Bonify raises funding to provide free credit scores and financial advice (EU Startups) Rated: A

Want to apply for a loan, but you’re unsure about your credit score? The Berlin-based startup Bonify provides free, easy-to-read credit reports. Users can use the startup’s platform or app to check and correct their scores, monitor changes, and receive tips on personal finance and how to optimise their scores.

Bonify evaluates consumers real-time creditworthiness, enabling them to improve their financial wellbeing through tailored financial and non-financial recommendations. The app delivers recommendations for how consumers can save money, for instance by switching to a different loan or energy provider. Bonify is also able to predict six to eight weeks in advance when its users might go into their overdraft, and provide personalised suggestions for how to avoid this.

Italian lendtech Credimi feeling dreamy with €10m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

The investment funds came via United Ventures and Vertis, as well as some of the (unnamed) investors who took part in the first round of €8.5 million in September 2015.

Ignazio Rocco di Torrepadula, Credimi founder and CEO, and cool name winner, says: “Credimi’s initial start-up phase has been exhilarating, with results that have far exceeded our expectations.

SME Online Lender Creditshelf Names Fabian Brügmann New CFO (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Creditshelf Aktiengesellschaft, a Germany based online lender, announced on Wednesday it has appointed Fabian Brügmann as its new CFO, effective on January 15, 2019. The lender reported that this appointment continues its planned expansion of its management team and in the newly formed position, Brügmann will be responsible for Finance and Investor Relations and directly report to Dr. Tim Thabe, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Creditshelf. He will not serve as a member of the Management Board himself.

According to Creditshelf, Brügmann previously worked as Director of Investor Relations at Commerzbank AG, where he was the contact for shareholders, fixed-income investors, and sell-side analysts. He joined the bank’s Corporate Development and Corporate Finance team in 2012. As IR Manager, Brügmann worked on the capital market communication for the “Commerzbank 4.0” strategy. He previously spent six years with the U.S. bank Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt and London.

Small Business Lender iwoca Appoints Seema Desai as COO (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Online lender iwoca has selected Seema Desai as their new Chief Operations Officer (COO). iwoca provides loans of up to £200,000 to small and micro businesses across the UK, Germany, and Poland via its website and through partner integrations using its proprietary Lending API.

Desai joined iwoca in January 2017 as Head of People, developing the company’s organizational capabilities. Prior to joining iwoca, Seema led the development of the Innovative Finance ISA at peer-to-peer lender Zopa as Head of Product.

As COO, Desai is expected to help scale customer service that has helped propel iwoca to become one of the fastest growing business lender in the UK.

International

Prodigy Finance Launches Refinance Product for International Working Graduates Looking to Reduce Financial Costs (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Prodigy Finance, the pioneer in cross-border finance, announces the launch of a loan refinance product for international working graduates looking to reduce their student debt. The product will allow these alumni, who previously had limited options available to them, to save at least US$20,0001 over the life of the loan, by accessing lower rates and choices of terms.

The edge a serial entrepreneur sees in challenger banks (American Banker) Rated: A

Challenger bank entrepreneur Anthony Thomson has had several lives in banking and fintech.

In 2010, with Commerce Bank founder Vernon Hill, he co-founded Metro Bank, which started with one location in London and now has more than 56 branches and 2,800 employees. Thomson founded a second challenger bank in 2014 called Atom Bank, the first mobile-only bank in the U.K. As of March, it had 1.3 billion pounds of deposits and lent 1.2 billion pounds in mortgages and small-business loans.

Thomson is currently working on his third institution, called 86,400, a mobile-first challenger bank slated to launch in Australia in early 2019.

So it’s fair to say Thomson has learned a lot about what it takes to raise money and how to make it as a neobank entrepreneur.

The Ripple Effect: Crypto Backed Lending Platform Exploring XRP-Powered xRapid (The Daily Hodl) Rated: A

The crypto lending platform Nexo says it’s exploring Ripple’s xRapid, which uses XRP to boost the speed and lower the cost of cross-border payments. The announcement comes from Antoni Trenchev, the co-founder and managing partner of Nexo.

The company is backed by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and calls itself a “decentralized lending ecosystem that facilitates open access to credit anywhere and anytime.” It uses a long list of banking and exchange partners to deliver loans.

Nexo follows the payment company and Ripple partner TransferGo, which also revealed its interest in xRapid this week. Nexo recently added XRP to its platform, becoming one of the first lenders to use XRP as collateral.

MSTS Makes B2B Commerce Effortless for SMBs with Credit as a Service (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

MSTS, a global B2B payment and credit solutions provider, today announced that its innovative Credit as a Service solution is now available to mid-market and small businesses.

The original enterprise product, with a record of accelerating sales growth for companies by as much as 500 percent, has been optimized to meet the needs of businesses with simpler payment and credit processes. The cloud-based Credit as a Service solution for mid-market businesses can issue credit lines in less than a minute, automate the customer onboarding process and apply unique B2B customer invoicing, accounts payable and payment term requirements – providing customers flexibility and an enhanced experience.

MSTS works with B2B companies across transportation, manufacturing, retail and eCommerce.

Australia

Advice demand soaring in Australia despite trust issues (International Investment) Rated: AAA

The 2018 Financial Advice Report from Investment Trends found that an estimated 2.1 million adults intend to turn to a financial planner for advice, up from 1.6 million in 2017.

However, trust levels in banks and financial planners fell severely over that same period. On a scale of 0 to 10, banks fell from a trust rating of 5.5 to 4.8, while financial planners fell from 5.1 to 4.8.

The report found more than 40% of Australians do not believe the financial services and banking industries are meeting their obligations to everyday citizens.

Big banks welcome government competition for small end of town (Sidney Morning Herald) Rated: A

Australia’s biggest banks insist they welcome the prospect of looming lending competition from the federal government’s proposed $2 billion small business loan plan.

Under the policy unveiled by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday the government will establish a $2 billion securitisation fund which it will use to buy pools of small business loans from smaller banks and non-bank lenders.

Small business cheer $ 2b end to funding drought (Australian Financial Review) Rated: A

Small business and non-bank lenders have endorsed the Morrison government’s plans to inject $2 billion into the small and medium enterprise loan market.

But regulatory experts warned the government must avoid taking too much financial risk and not weaken bank rules in its quest to stimulate SME funding via a separate proposed bank-financed Australian Business Growth Fund.

Piper Alderman brings in financial services team (Australasian Lawyer) Rated: B

A national firm has added a financial services team, including a new partner in Sydney.

Andrea Beatty has commenced at Piper Alderman as a partner. She brought to the firm two other lawyers and an administrative assistant from NewLaw outfit Keypoint Law, where she was a consulting principal since 2016.

With more than 20 years’ experience in financial services regulation and corporate finance, Beatty is a former partner at legacy Mallesons Stephen Jaques and then at K&L Gates.

Asia

New securities law sparks concerns from expert (Vietnam News) Rated: AAA

Under the revised draft Law on Securities, the foreign ownership ratio in a public company is expanded up to 100 per cent. Previous regulations had capped foreign ownership at 49 per cent. However, this ratio in commercial banks, which is a much-concerned issue recently, was not mentioned in the draft. Why?

The draft has removed limits on how many voting shares foreign investors can buy in public Vietnamese companies. This indicates that the Government has sped up the equitisation process in State-owned enterprises, especially in non-essential sectors that are not too sensitive to the economy. However, under the draft, some conditional business lines, such as commercial banks, would retain their existing 30 per cent limit. I agree with this provision of the drafting agency.

How Standard Chartered Bank is tackling digital disruption (Tech in Asia) Rated: A

While banks have not been immune to the technology bug that has spread in the last few decades, digitization in the industry has only largely been implemented “for purpose in the back end,” according to Michael Gorriz, group chief information officer at Standard Chartered Bank.

“Fifty years ago, we introduced mainframes. We took paper ledgers and put them into computers,” the CIO explains.

But the emergence of a tech-savvy millennial generation is bringing about “the first real massive change in banks since the inception of banking,” he says. As such, banks like Standard Chartered have to digitize front-facing processes or risk losing their customers.

Eurasia

Russian Online Lender MFC Zaymer Joins Robo.cash (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Automated peer to peer platform Robo.cash has issued a note saying Russian microfinance company MFC Zaymer is joining their platform. The company operates Zaymer.ru that offers short-term (payday) loans with interest rates for investors of 14% in Euros and up to 18% for loans originated in Rubles.

Africa

Nigeria dials up mobile banking revolution (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Nigeria’s central bank is looking to increase access to millions of people by opening up the banking system to non-financial companies for the first time; South African telecom operator MTN is set to be the biggest beneficiary with more than 50 million customers located in Nigeria; MTN is planning to apply for a banking license soon with the hopes of having their Mobile Money product available in country by Q2 2019; more than 60 million people in Nigeria do not have bank accounts, showing there is an enormous opportunity for telcos to expand the banking footprint.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday December 4 2017, Daily News Digest

mortgage delinquencies by credit score band

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club closes first-of-kind MPL transaction. Zopa the first P2P lender to lend 100M GBP in one month. Marcus’s personal loan hits the mark. China issues new rules for cash loan market. Lexinfintech delays IPO. China Rapid Finance posts quarterly earnings. Today’s main analysis: Mortgage delinquency case study. International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China […]

mortgage delinquencies by credit score band

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Closes First-of-Its-Kind Transaction in Marketplace Lending (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC), America’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, today announced that it has closed a first-of-its-kind transaction in marketplace lending — a whole loan transaction structured as a tradeable, pass-through security called a CLUB Certificate*. This first milestone transaction totaled $25 million with an institutional investor seeking a liquid vehicle with which to access the consumer credit asset class.

The CLUB Certificate transaction consisted of whole loans structured as a pass-through security. The instrument trades in the over-the-counter market with a CUSIP and is efficiently cleared through the Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

Lending Club diversifies with pass through deal (Global Capital), Rated: A

The $25m transaction was purchased by an institutional investor seeking “a liquid vehicle with which to access the consumer credit asset class”, chief capital officer Patrick Dunne told GlobalCapital, though he declined to reveal pricing information or the buyer’s identity.

The inaugural CLUB certificate consists of whole loans structured as a pass-through security, and trades in the over-the-counter market with a CUSIP number, and cleared through the Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

Unlike a securitization, the certificate only pools three year and five year loans of a particular grade that the investor is looking for.

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus Personal Loan Hits the Mark as Other Lenders Struggle (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

When Goldman Sachs launched Marcus, a personal loans product, a little over a year ago, it set an aggressive goal: lend $2 billion by the end of 2017. And while competing online lenders have reported a series of losses since then, Goldman announced this month that Marcus has hit that milestone.

Marcus offers loans from $3,500 to $30,000 on an unsecured basis, meaning they don’t require collateral such as a car or house. Borrowers must make monthly fixed payments, and interest rates range from 6.99 percent to 23.99 percent. On the Marcus website, a sample loan of $15,000 at 13 percent APR is estimated to cost a borrower $19,312 at the end of a 48-month term.

While Marcus has been soaring, other online lenders have been struggling. Lending Club, Prosper, and OnDeck all reported losses over the past 18 months.

Donuts at the CFPB, LC’s Pass-Through Security, Mortgage Delinquency Case Study (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

On Friday, Lending Club completed a first-of-its-kind transaction in marketplace lending by selling a whole loan pass through security. The transaction size was for $25 Mn and was sold to a single institutional investor. LendingClub held 5% to comply with risk retention rules. The transaction is notable for the following reasons:

  • Expands the market. The pass-through security reflects the same risk and return characteristics of a whole loan pool.
  • Lower Financing Costs. Additionally, as market liquidity grows, the CUSIPs may enjoy lower-cost repo financing as an alternative to higher-cost credit facilities.
  • Secondary Markets. The product addresses certain investors’ demand for secondary market liquidity.
  • Valuation. The price discovery generated from markets in CUSIPs will enable valuation agents such as PeerIQ and Duff & Phelps to calibrate pricing to observed trades in the market.

Mortgage Delinquencies and the 2008 Crisis

Following the integration of TransUnion’s deep datasets on the PeerIQ platform, we examine the historical delinquencies for mortgages over the last 15 years. As seen below, we find that Mortgage delinquencies increased meaningfully, across all credit scores, one-year before the financial crisis.

Source: PeerIQ, TransUnion

We also show that the rise in delinquency levels above corresponds to the rise in Debt-to-Income levels (and other underwriting statistics – not shown) leading up to the crisis.

Source: PeerIQ, TransUnion

There’s a gift for student lenders in the education bill (American Banker), Rated: A

After the 2016 elections, there were high hopes that student lenders (and servicers) would benefit from a more favorable environment regulatory environment and expanded lending opportunities.

Until recently, however, there was not much to show in either respect. While the industry cheered the Department of Education’s decision in August to stop sharing servicing data with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, higher education did not appear to be a high priority for the Trump administration.

Ethan Senturia of Dealstruck (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our latest guest is Ethan Senturia. He was the CEO and Co-Founder of Dealstruck, an online small business lender that was founded in 2013 and shut down in late 2016. Ethan talks about his journey as the CEO of Dealstruck and what led to its demise. He does not sugar coat anything and he takes a great deal of personal responsibility for everything that happened.

His has written a book about this journey called Unwound: Real-time Reflections from a Stumbling Entrepreneur and it is being released on Amazon today.

Beware Those Sketchy Loans Advertised on Instagram (Lifehacker), Rated: A

We’ve warned readers before about new, slick credit companies like Affirm, which want to replace credit cards with on-the-spot loans integrated right into online purchase pages. For all their talk of helping consumers, these companies aren’t much more than friendly loan sharks, re-branded to offer a “premium experience,” but still dangerous and even predatory.

But as Cagle points out, Affirm’s median interest rate of 19 percent is above the median credit card rate, and retailers use the company to build, and then aggressively advertise, the model of buying expensive products on credit. For all of Affirm’s talk of responsibility and helping consumers make better choices, their third most-popular buying category is fashion.

Affirm seems to be making the problem worse. As Cagle puts it: “Affirm is not just meeting a demand, but creating one, encouraging shoppers to buy and spend more. Affirm claims an average 75 percent boost in order values across all its merchant partners.”

MiaDonna Lifts AOV 36%, Repeat Purchases 17% With Financing Option (Retail TouchPoints), Rated: A

With a young, tech-savvy consumer base, MiaDonna, an online jewelry retailer specializing in ethically sourced lab-grown diamonds, wanted to be up-to-the-minute with its payment options as well. The retailer selected financing company Affirm, enabling shoppers to pay in three-, six- and 12-month increments.

MiaDonna, which now makes approximately 20% of its sales through Affirm, noted that shoppers using the service are both spending more and coming back. Affirm users make 17% more repeat purchases, with average order values (AOV) that are 36% higher compared to non-users.

The company’s target consumer is females aged 18 to 34 who are in a relationship and are close to getting engaged or married (within six to 12 months).

Marketplace Lenders Should Remember Experience Can Be Replicated, Experts Say (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

“The borrower experience at a marketplace lender is better than [the experience] at a bank, and that’s why it’s here to stay,” Don Davis, portfolio manager for Prime Meridian Capital Management, said today. during a panel discussion at the 3rd Annual Investors conference for Marketplace Lending, pointing to the ease of the online lending experience for borrowers.

Coinsource Adds 18 Bitcoin ATMs in Atlanta, Among Ten Most Unbanked US Cities (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

The Texas-based bitcoin ATM network, Coinsource has deployed 20 new machines in the state of Georgia, marking its single largest installation to date. 18 bitcoin ATMs have been installed in the city of Atlanta, and 2 machines in the nearby college town of Athens.

survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) found that 7% of households (9 million) in the US are unbanked and an additional 19.9% of households (24.5 million) are underbanked.

“Atlanta, Georgia is in the top ten of most unbanked cities in the country, and more than one in ten households have no involvement with traditional banks. Around 30% of residents are underbanked, meaning they might have to check accounts, but have to rely on other kinds of services like pawn shops, check-cashing and payday loan companies to get cash and credit,” Clark said.

To maximize exposure to potential clients, the ATMs were set up near high traffic areas, as well as close to the Georgia State University and Emory University in Atlanta, and the University of Georgia in Athens. 16 of the new machines are for buying bitcoin only, while 4 have both buy and sell functionality.

The state of Georgia now has a total of 101 bitcoin ATM kiosks, making it the third largest US market for bitcoin ATMs behind the cities of Chicago and New York.

Data Science is Becoming the Most Important Skill in Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The world generates some 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.

Chris Skinner penned this interesting piece last week claiming the critical importance of data in banking:

Data is the new air, and the banks that breathe the best will win. In other words, banks that really get data analytics, and can apply machine learning to gain deep customer insights are the ones that will survive.

Data scientists are going to be needed in many areas of fintech businesses such as customer acquisition, cybersecurity, customer service – even compliance. For online lending businesses the other two critical areas are underwriting and collections.

Glassdoor releases an annual 50 Best Jobs in America report and for the second year in a row Data Scientist had the top spot.

Elevate Credit, Inc. to Present at KeyBanc Capital Markets Consumer Conference and Jefferies Consumer Finance Summit (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE:ELVT), today announced that it’s CEO Ken Rees and CFO Chris Lutes will present at the following upcoming conferences:

CU urges lawmakers to oppose repeal of CFPB’s payday loan protections for consumers (ConsumersUnion), Rated: A

Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, today urged Congress to not repeal a rule adopted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in October that would protect consumers who take out high-cost payday, installment and auto title loans. Under a Congressional Review Act resolution introduced today in the House of Representatives, the CFPB’s new rule could be repealed by lawmakers before it goes into effect in mid-2019.

New House bill would kill consumer watchdog payday loan rule (CNBC), Rated: B

A congressional resolution introduced Friday in the House would kill the CFPB’s new rule aimed at making sure borrowers of so-called payday loans can afford to repay their debt.

Consulting for regulatory approvals to open a peer to peer lending platform in USA (Upwork), Rated: B

I need an expert who can help with regulatory approvals to open a peer to peer lending platform in USA. You can be a lawyer or financial consultant who have experience in the domain and knows what’s involved. You must have experience related to lending industry.

United Kingdom

Zopa zooms ahead to become the first peer-to-peer group to lend out £100m in a month (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

The financial services firm lent £100m to low-risk borrowers in the UK last month, a 48 per cent increase on November 2016.

Zopa said it has lent more than £900m in 2017 to the end of November, with the increase in lending volumes being driven in part by its integration with price comparison websites.

It expects to have lent out £3bn in total by January 2018.

P2P platforms rush to launch innovative finance Isas (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lenders including Funding Circle and RateSetter have set dates for the launch of their innovative finance Isas, but high demand and a clampdown from providers on the highest risk borrowers will slow the process for new investors.

This week, Funding Circle became the latest to launch an IF Isa.

Yet the platform, which facilitates lending to small businesses, will not be rolling out its IF Isa to new investors immediately to make sure it can match new loans to borrowers. Instead, it is opening access to its 74,000 existing lenders in batches. Those who have used the platform for the longest and who lend most frequently will be offered first chance to apply.

RateSetter also confirmed this week that it had set a February launch date for its IF Isa after receiving authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in October. The platform, which facilitates loans to businesses and consumers, says it expects to raise £500m in the first full tax year after opening, but would only offer the IF Isa to existing investors in the short term. The platform said it had made that choice to reward loyal customers.

No Christmas cheer for P2P sector as Brexit pushes FCA review into 2018 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lending platforms will need to wait until at least the new year for the outcome of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) post-implementation review as Brexit and other market issues have taken priority at the City watchdog, Peer2Peer Finance News has learned.

However, it can also be revealed that a snippet of the industry data compiled by the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) for use in the FCA report will be unveiled before Christmas.

Crowd For Angels Launches £50 Million Bond Investment Opportunity (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Thursday, peer-to-peer lending platform Crowd For Angels reportedly announced the launch of its £50 million bond investment opportunity. This news comes less than a year after Crowd for Angels launched its first crowd bonds, which are described as specially created secured, high-interest products act are eligible for the platform’s IFISA.

According to P2P Finance Newsthe online lending portal is looking to raise the funds for a Liquid Crypto Bond, which will pay investors 3% over five years. The investors will then receive cryptocurrency tokens through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that may be traded on external exchanges or used for project investments on the Crowd For Angels peer-to-peer lending platform.

Brits to spend £1bn worth of work hours planning for Christmas (London Loves Business), Rated: A

With less than a month to go for Christmas, a new research from online lender Sunny has found that the number of hours Brits spend planning for Christmas and buying gifts online while at work are worth £1bn, with over 15m Brits admitting to planning for Christmas during work hours.

Whether at work or at home, Sunny’s research demonstrates a clear gender divide, with women most likely to take on the task of planning for Christmas. Almost a third (31%) of men admit they don’t spend any time planning meals and a quarter (24%) say they don’t do any cooking or preparing of meals, compared to only one in seven (15%) women. Men also don’t make time for Christmas cards, with a fifth (20%) not giving any time to writing them versus fewer than one in ten (9%) women.

Money saver Men who have tried this Women who have tried this
Shopped around online for gifts to make sure I’m getting the best deal 35% 51%
Started next year’s shopping in the January sales 12% 22%
Re-gifted presents 9% 26%
Used coupons/vouchers to buy food and drink for the Christmas period 24% 36%
Participated in secret Santa rather than gifting everyone 7% 16%


P2P platform appoints ex-Barclays manager
(Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

RateSetter Business Finance has appointed Richard Steele as its regional manager for the Midlands.
The peer-to-peer lending platform said Richard brought experience to its team having previously served at Barclays as a relationship manager and BCRS Business Loans as a business development manager.

Revealed – the 25 people doing the most to spread the PropTech word (EstateAgentToday), Rated: B

This year the list was compiled in association with the UK PropTech Association, the trade body set up in February; in addition to property investment platform LendInvest, two UKPA figures – chairman Eddie Holmes and Estate Agent Today contributor and PropTech consultant James Dearsley – were on the judging panel.

Dan Hughes, director of data and information product management for RICS, has been named the top PropTech Influencer of the Year.

Professor Andrew Baum of Oxford University took second place, after authoring PropTech 3.0, a much-discussed document in the field of PropTech.

Third was digital strategist Antony Slumbers, while fourth was Gary Chimwa, the organiser behind Future:PropTech events.

You can see the full list of 25 here and the top 10 International Influencers here.

RICS director tops proptech influencer list (Development Finance Today), Rated: B

Dan Hughes of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (pictured above, right) has topped LendInvest’s PropTech Influencer List for 2017.
In fourth place was Gary Chima, the organiser behind Future:PropTech events, and in fifth was Dominic Wilson, managing partner of proptech start-up incubator Pi Labs.
China

China issues new rules to clean up runaway cash loan market (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China on Friday issued new rules to clean up its controversial cash loan and online micro lending market, including prohibiting lending to people without an income and putting a curb on the total charges on runaway credit, according to an official notice seen by the South China Morning Post.

It ordered therefore, that with immediate effect, all organisations and individuals must obtain a licence to conduct lending business. All lending institutions must also state clearly a comprehensive charge, which includes interest rates and various fees charged for different categories of offerings for the loan.

The tightened controls attempt to curb a common practice where online lending platforms bypass the maximum legal interest rate charge of 36 per cent with additional add-on fees.

Lenders are also banned from rolling over the credit more than twice and must put a cap on the cost of each loan.

Funds from online micro loans are also banned from being used to speculate in stocks and pay for property down payment. In addition, asset management products offered by financial institutions and banks are disallowed to invest in products securitised by cash loans, campus loans – loans granted to students with no regular incomes – or property down payment loans.

Online micro lenders expanded by 23 per cent in two years to 452.4 billion yuan (US$68.4 billion) by the end of 2016.

China’s debt crackdown hits cash loan providers (Reuters), Rated: A

On Friday, China’s financial regulators introduced new measures aimed at restricting the industry, which is estimated to be worth 1 trillion yuan ($151.5 billion).

The number of repeat borrowers is rising, which could signal financial stress on borrowers, analysts say. The companies, however, say the repeat lending is just a sign of the attractiveness of their platforms.

Online consumer lending in China, of which cash loans are a significant portion, dwarfs similar activity in the rest of the world combined, accounting for over 85 percent of all such activity globally last year, according to a recent report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

The boom in micro-lending comes as lenders seek to cash in on rising incomes in a country where credit card penetration remains at about one-third of the population, according to data from the central bank, which says about half a billion consumers don’t have a credit score.

And the online cash loan sector is projected to reach 2.3 trillion yuan by 2020, according to the research firm iResearch.

Outstanding household debt in China equalled 45.5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the first quarter, according to the Bank of International Settlements, compared to 27.9 percent five years ago.

Lexinfintech delays U.S. IPO pricing as China reins in micro-loan sector (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese consumer lending firm Lexinfintech will delay the pricing of its planned Nasdaq IPO to conduct more due diligence, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said – a move that comes after Beijing issued new rules to tighten control of the micro-loan sector.

The source, who was not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be identified, did not say how long the IPO was likely to be delayed.

China Continues Its Quest For A Credit Ranking System (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

China is on the hunt for a homegrown alternative to the U.S.-based FICO score credit ranking system as it attempts to keep up with the rapid expansion in consumer loans being offered through mobile.

Lacking such a single system, online lenders instead use a patchwork of methods to assess consumer credit worthiness, including things like online questionnaires and analysis of consumer data such as individuals’ eCommerce purchases.

The National Internet Finance Association of China — a two-year-old agency closely aligned with China’s central bank — is tasked with the job, but has offered little in the way of specific detail about how the three-year-old search for a system is progressing — past noting in a brief report late Monday that “this would complete an important rung in procedural order.”

China’s “Social Credit System” Will Rate How Valuable You Are as a Human (Futurism), Rated: AAA

In a contentious world first, China plans to implement a social credit system  (officially referred to as a Social Credit Score or SCS) by 2020.

Every citizen in China, which now has numbers swelling to well over 1.3 billion, would be given a score that, as a matter of public record, is available for all to see. This citizen score comes from monitoring an individual’s social behavior — from their spending habits and how regularly they pay bills, to their social interactions — and it’ll become the basis of that person’s trustworthiness, which would also be publicly ranked.

The companies that are implementing SCS include China Rapid Finance, which is a partner of social network giant Tencent, and Sesame Credit, a subsidiary of Alibaba affiliate company Ant Financial Services Group (AFSG). Both Rapid Finance and Sesame Credit have access to intimidating quantities of data, the former through its WeChat messaging app (at present with 850 million active users) and the latter through its AliPay payment service.

According to local media, Tencent’s SCS comes with its QQ chat app, where an individual’s score comes in a range between 300 and 850 and is broken down into five sub-categories: social connections, consumption behavior, security, wealth, and compliance.

THE CHINA RAPID FINANCE LTD – (XRF) POSTS QUARTERLY EARNINGS RESULTS (Bangalore Weekly), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Ltd – (NYSE:XRF) announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday. The company reported ($1.01) EPS for the quarter. The company had revenue of $10.46 million during the quarter.

Alibaba launches $ 7bn bond issue (Capital.com), Rated: A

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has launched a bond issue aimed at raising $7bn just three years after selling $8bn of debt.

The bonds are being offered in five tranches – 5.5-year, 10-year, 20-year, 30-year and 40-year.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to invest in long-term growth.

Private equity funds found to be investing in banned digital currencies offerings (SCMP), Rated: A

Beijing’s municipal financial regulator has warned private equity (PE) funds not to continue investing in initial coin offerings (ICOs), a practice banned by the mainland’s central bank three months ago.

Huo Xuewen, chief of the Beijing Bureau of Financial Work, said in a report published on Sunday that some of the funds had been found taking part in ICOs – fund-railings by the issuers of digital currencies such as bitcoin – outside the regulatory framework and he pointed out it was a wrongdoing that the regulator would seek to weed them out.

He added the authorities now plan to set up a strict monitoring system to track operations and investments by PE funds.

P2P Lender Hexindai: A Discussion with CFO Johnson Zhang Regarding the Recent IPO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Hexindai (NASDAQ:HX), a China based peer to peer lender, became the most recent Chinese online lender to trade on a US exchange early last month. The company will report fiscal year results this coming Tuesday before markets open. Last month, Hexidai become another Chinese online lender to list their shares on the US markets in a successful IPO that raised approximately $50 million with each ADS priced at $10/each. The market cap of Hexindai stands at over $550 million today with shares in the company having traded between $10.90 and $17 since the IPO.

We asked Zhang why his company decided to list on the NASDAQ.  Zhang explained that in comparison to Hong Kong the US capital markets is wider and has more comparitive companies. Zhang noted that Yirendai and other online lenders now trade on US exchanges.  NASDAQ was selected because Hexindai is more tech focused. 

Zhang said a key component of their competitive advantage is their sophisticated risk management. Their application pass through rate is equal to just 25% of submitted applications and their default rates are very low.

Their second competitive advantage is their extended off line channels. For example, if a customer goes to a travel agency and wants to book a trip, the agency may say they have a financing solution and will provide the application to Hexindai and then they will determine whether or not they should provide a loan to the borrower.

“For our last fiscal year there were 200,000 borrowers and 110,000 active investors. An average loan size is 80,000 RMB. The typical use of the loans are for personal use like overseas traveling, continuing education or housing renovation. We believe loan proceeds are for self investment. Their life. For their job to become better. We help the emerging middle class.”

International

International P2P Lending Volumes November 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle reaches the milestone of 3 billion GBP loans originated since launch.

I removed Comunitae, because of the stop due the fraud case.

Source: P2P-Banking

The Market Maker’s Guide to Decentralized Exchange (Airswap), Rated: AAA

Market making is generally an ongoing process that includes ingesting data, generating a price, and placing an order on an exchange.

Source: Airswap

Decentralized exchange promises two major benefits:

  • Security and control
  • Global marketplace

Unlocking the ability to transact globally, through a decentralized exchange, will affect society in profound ways. Global information transfer birthed the term “globalization”. Global asset transfer will birth some new term that we all haven’t yet thought of, and in the end the borders that blockchain break down will be greater than the borders we saw the internet break down.

Decentralized exchanges will succeed, likewise, when there is liquidity and usability, both of which do not exist yet on any solution.

Source: Airswap

Micro-finance: do good and turn a profit (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

The ultimate example of this is the “micro-finance” movement. The idea is that you lend money to a micro-finance institution that in turn lends the money to ordinary folk (frequently women) in the developing world for practical projects that generate returns for investors. Investors hope to get back all of their money plus a return – net returns of around 2% a year aren’t uncommon.

The only trouble is that while micro-finance does score highly in terms of “impact”, it is often not so much crowd-based as “command-and-control” in style. In other words, it’s usually a credit institution making the actual lending decisions and you invest via their pool of funds.

Now, however, we have the crowd revolution and the rise of alternative finance and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. In the Netherlands, this has given rise to companies such as Lendahand, which provide a marketplace for investing in individual projects for a defined return, usually via some form of bond. Over here in the UK, Ethex provides a similar marketplace for investors to back individual projects with real impact.

So, why not marry micro-finance, the crowd, and renewable energy into one product? That’s the idea behind a relatively new website called Lendahand, a joint venture between the Dutch platform and Ethex. The platform is working with local providers such as SolarNow in Uganda as part of its Energise Africa initiative to provide finance for solar panels. This is done via unsecured bonds that pay out 5%-6% a year for a period of between one and three years, with interest usually paid every six months (along with some of the debt, which is amortised as it is repaid).

Top 100 fintech companies revealed (Banks.am), Rated: A

First, second and third place, on this year’s Fintech100, are occupied by Chinese fintech firms: Ant Financial, which owns Alipay payments platform; ZhongAn, which uses big data to automate online property insurance; Qudian, an online electronics retailer offering monthly instalment re-payments.

The fourth and fifth places are occupied by Oscar, which seeks to radically transform health insurance through technology and Avant, the fastest-growing marketplace lending platform for short-term consumer credit.

The sectorial breakup of the Fintech100 is as follows: 32 lending companies, 21 payments companies, 15 transaction and capital markets, 12 insurance companies, 7 wealth companies, 6 regtech (regulatory technology-Banks.am) & cyber security companies, 4 blockchain and digital currencies companies, and 3 data and analytics companies.

Fintech100 includes a broad range of fintech companies from 29 different countries.

SelfKey Will Greatly Aid the Expansion of the FinTech Sector (Cryptocoins News), Rated: B

One blockchain based startup, SelfKey, is creating a blockchain-driven decentralized digital identity system that gives users full control over their personal information. The platform allows individuals to create their own secure personal identity wallet that stores important identity documents. This wallet also stores KEY tokens, which can be used to purchase services on the SelfKey marketplace. These services, which range from passport applications to opening bank accounts, don’t control users’ data–users do.

Users have the key, so to speak, that releases their own data.

Australia/New Zealand

CollinStar Holdings to Acquire BiWang Group in a 100 Million US Dollars Buyout (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

On December 2, 2017, CollinStar Holdings paid $ 100 million US dollars to acquire the entire BiWang Group, including BW.COM.

AUSTRALIAN FINTECH LAUNCHES ALTERNATIVE FUND (Money Management), Rated: A

Australian fintech and fully licensed marketplace lender, Zagga has launched its Alternative Growth Fund aimed at wholesale investors, including self-managed super funds (SMSFs), which will target net returns of 6.5 per cent per annum.

The fund, which would have the minimum investment for wholesale investors of $50,000, was designed to add scale to the Zagga business model which uses a bespoke algorithm to match wholesale investors with borrowers, the firm said.

Banking gap widens as tech-savvy consumers look to new products (News.com.au), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has examined big bank profit margins and found that while they are paying record low rates on deposits their lending rates for personal loans and credit cards continue to climb.

“You can drive a bus through the spread between bank deposits and consumer lending rates,” said RateSetter CEO Dan Foggo.

“Publicity stunts such as dropping fees on ATMs are little more than a smokescreen for the poor value,” he said.

  • Online savings account rates have dropped from 6.55 per cent to 1.6 per cent;
  • Bonus saver account interest rates have fallen from 4.8 per cent to 1.85 per cent, but;
  • Credit card interest rates have climbed from 18.6 per cent to 19.75 per cent, and;
  • Unsecured personal loan rates rose from 13.8 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

FMA statistics show the fledgling NZ P2P lending sector is serving banks and fund managers well (Interest), Rated: A

But the Financial Markets Authority’s first statistical report on P2P lending, issued this week, highlights just how little actual P2P lending there has been in NZ to date.

The useful and informative FMA report details that there are 20,744 investors registered with licensed P2P services. At 207,230, there are about 10 times as many borrowers registered with P2P services. The volume of investors, or savers, versus borrowers sounds unbalanced and it is. But the bulk of money being lent through P2P platforms is coming from banks and institutional, or wholesale, investors.

Far and away the biggest NZ P2P lender is Harmoney. According to the FMA report, as of June 30 the total value of Harmoney loans outstanding was just under $239 million. The five other active P2P lenders had a shade under $50 million worth of outstanding loans between them.

India

Customers without credit scores can take the digital journey to get loans (livemint), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based CreditVidya, a fintech start-up, uses alternative data sources to assess fraud and risk. It has recently raised $5 million Matrix Partners and had previously raised $2 million from Kalaari Capital. The money is being used for product development and hiring manpower. A lot of the investments are going into research and development and setting up the team right, which will include data scientists from the US. The plan is to have a total of 146 employees by end of 2018, said the founders of the company.

Currently you work with over 20 banks and non-banking financial (NBFCs) who are looking to assess customers of small unsecured credit. What is the quality of these banks and NBFCs?

Rajiv Raj: We have a mix of small and big banks and NBFCs. We have big banks such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank Ltd and Axis Bank Ltd. There are many micro services that these companies use.

Abhishek Agarwal: We are also in talks with an MNC (multinational corporation) banks. Right now, 10 relationships are with large banks and NBFCs, out of the 27, and remaining are in mid- and small-sized banks. Every bank is focused on retail loans and in that pie on unsecured lendings. Personal loans, consumer durables and two-wheeler loans are the segment where there has been a tremendous rise.

Recently, P2P regulations came out. These companies will have to start reporting to credit bureaus. Has any P2P platform approached you to use alternate data?

Agarwal: We are currently working with three P2P lenders. Here again, it is for risk assessment of first-time borrowers. People who are digital savvy and want to access this facility, are first-time borrowers and under 35 years. Cibil’s (a credit bureau in India) penetration in the 25-35 age group is poor. Hence, 75-80% of the cases will have a no Cibil score.

Raj: These are thin-file customers who don’t qualify for loans.

Why are the traditional credit bureaus not using alternative or digital data to assess customers?

Raj: One, there is a regulatory issue. Two, they have never done this before.

Agarwal: Experian (a credit bureau) in the US has been around for the last 40 years. Digital lending in the US exists for the last 12 years. Experian never used alternative data in the US. It is not in their DNA. All the traditional bureaus in India are heavily influenced by their parent companies in the US. There is no product that the bureaus have launched in India that is only for the Indian market. They haven’t done anything that is new and specific to India.

While analysing customers, what parameters do you use to evaluate credit worthiness?

Agarwal: You look at five types of fingerprints—social finger print (anything you put on social media), device fingerprint (such as SMS), browser fingerprint (anything that identifies your device), click stream fingerprint (how fast you type) and biometric fingerprint (the physical fingerprint).

Fintech Trends to Watch Out for in 2018 (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

With a continuation to the credit line onboarding the digital trend, the next year will see more and more people borrowing using data, believes Vikram Sud, former APAC operations and technology head of Citibank and also ex-group COO of Kotak Mahindra Group.

Algorithm-based investments will see a hike, interactive brokers too will grow in numbers, while the cost of availing them will keep dropping.

While the majority of fintech users today rely on wallets and prepaid investments for transactions, many in the industry believe that that is set to change.

Citing a 360 degree financial inclusion and a future of uniform payments globally, Himaghna Dey Sarkar, Chief Expansion Officer, ToneTag spoke about how they are enabling sound-based payments. The app listens to the frequency of tones in the existing EVC machines, and enables transactions directly to the merchant’s bank account.

Sud believes that we are moving closer to a stage where the cards business is at a risk. With more and more retail lending options like buy now and pay later, Sud said that the line of credit will become more prominent.

A little bit of data can go a long way! (ETCIO), Rated: A

Imagine there being minimal record of your existence – your credit history and identification papers being almost non-existent. Unfortunately, this is not a movie plot but a reality that millions across the world have to grapple with. Both developing and under-developed economies have their fair share of people who have no formal credit footprint. These are people who have never borrowed from or interacted with formal banking channels in their lives. This lack of interaction with banking channels is one of the primary reasons that these people do not possess sufficient format documentation, a primary requirement of banks. The repercussion of this is that there is minimum information available about their credit history and when they do approach a lender for capital; more often than not they are deemed ineligible and are turned away.

Over the last few years, digital lending platforms have emerged as viable sources of credit for such borrowers.

By 2022, over 70% of India’s population is expected to own a smart phone. With a current smart phone user base of 300 million, smart phone penetration in rural India is growing at a much faster pace as compared to the urban India. This means that each one of us is generating reams of digital data giving online lenders a glimpse into our habits and preferences.

Asia

Integrated finance services in e-commerce (TelecomAsia.net), Rated: A

Again there is speculation in the US over whether companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple or Wal-Mart could acquire a banking license.

If you go to buy items online, you might need finance for your purchase. The easiest solution nowadays is probably to use a credit card to make the payment. Then, depending on your card, you have more time and flexibility to make the payment. The problem is the actual annual interest rate of the card is easily 30% to 40%. You could get a loan with much lower interest rates, but it is complex to get a loan quickly when you are buying something.

Now we see a situation FinTech that integrated finance solutions are easily available for all kinds of retail services and they offer also a smooth customer experience. This is part of a much bigger development in the finance industry. Finance services are no longer their own isolated islands, but they can be components in any service.

Fintech competitiveness depends on AI technology (The Korea Times), Rated: A

Limiting individual investment in peer-to-peer (P2P) financing at 10 million won ($9,220) is a typical one. The ban on non face-to-face contracts on discretionary investments in the asset management field also limits the domain of fintech startups online. It is necessary to change perspectives in modifying regulations to something that will help new fintech companies.

Fintech can be classified into three areas: well-known money transfer and payment; P2P finance represented by cloud funding; and asset management represented by robo-advisors. The common technology necessary for all three is artificial intelligence (AI).

In P2P lending, supervised learning can be used in P2P for credit scoring and anticipation of expected returns. For asset management firms, reinforcement learning can be used for automated portfolio building.

Canada

National Bank of Canada capped off a better fiscal year with strong fourth-quarter profit as the Montreal-based lender enters a new phase of an aggressive plan to redefine itself.

And chief executive officer Louis Vachon said the bank is now shifting from a phase of heavy cost-cutting and job losses to one that reduces costs by using technology to automate more of its processes.

The bank is spending a total of $750-million a year on technology, about $350-million of which goes to new projects.

Profit from the core personal and commercial banking segment was $239-million in the fourth quarter, compared with $191-million a year earlier, as loans and deposits grew and deposit margins improved. The wealth-management arm also posted a 29-per-cent increase in profit to $110-million.

Provisions for credit losses – the money set aside to cover bad loans – rose to $70-million in the fourth quarter, from $59-million a year ago. But the increase effectively belonged to Credigy Ltd., a U.S. subsidiary that specializes on buying distressed loans at discounted prices.

The bank expects Credigy will continue to grow, but is tapering its appetite for unsecured consumer debt as it winds down an agreement that saw the firm buy $1.3-billion in prime loans from Lending Club, a U.S.-based online lending firm. Credigy will instead look at doing more deals for secured loans with lower spreads but also lower losses.

Africa

Kenyan, Nigerian startups make global Fintech 100 (Disrupt Africa), Rated: AAA

They include two Nigerian startups, namely payments company Flutterwave and financial management app Riby. Kenyan insurtech startup GrassRoots Bima also makes the list.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor