Thursday May 23 2019, Weekly News Digest

young credit card delinquents

News Comments Today’s main news: DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-3 Trust. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2019-3. Funding Circle seeds shareholder input on wind-down plans for investment trust. TransferWise valuation doubles to $3.5B. Today’s main analysis: High income, super prime borrowers take bigger share of […]

The post Thursday May 23 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

young credit card delinquents

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United States

United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-3 Trust (DBRS Email), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes (collectively, the Notes) to be issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-3 Trust (SCLP 2019-3):

— $420,000,000 Class A Notes at AAA (sf)
— $31,100,000 Class B Notes at AA (sf)
— $62,500,000 Class C Notes at A (sf)
— $35,600,000 Class D Notes at BBB (sf)

View the full report here.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2019-3 (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust 2019-3 (PMIT 2019-3). This is a $380.99 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Class Rating Initial Class Principal
A A- (sf) $270,750,000
B BBB- (sf) $51,470,000
C BB- (sf) $39,720,000
D B- (sf) $19,050,000

Millennial DQs on the rise; GreenSky earnings; OCC on a fix for Madden? (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US consumer debt rose by 0.9% QoQ in 1Q to $13.7 Tn.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Mixed FinTech Earnings

FinTech issuers saw growth in revenues and loans. Pace of loan growth weakened slightly as originations fell at Enova and grew by less than 10% YoY at OnDeck and OneMain. Stock price performance post earnings was mixed. Enova saw its stock price increase by 18% post earnings while OnDeck’s stock price dropped by 16%.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

High Income and Super Prime Borrowers Taking Bigger Share of Personal Loans on LendingTree Marketplace (Lending Tree), Rated: AAA

Over the past 10 years, the amount of outstanding personal loan debt has increased by 75%.

Key findings

  • The share of personal loan inquiries from those with incomes over $108,000 increased by 77% between the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2019, while the share of inquiries from people earning over $84,000 increased by 65%.
  • The share of personal loan inquiries from super prime borrowers (740 and higher) increased by 47% between the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2019, and the increase in prime and super prime borrowers (680 and higher) rose by 36%.
  • The share of personal loans closed by borrowers with incomes over $108,000 on the LendingTree marketplace increased by 38% between the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2019, and the share of borrowers earning over $84,000 increased by 26%.
  • The share of closed personal loans from super prime borrowers (740 and higher) increased by 37% between the second quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2019, and the increase in prime borrowers (680 and higher) rose by 19%.
  • Borrowers with incomes up to $24,000 decreased their share of closed loans by 22%, and those with incomes up to $48,000 decreased their share by 17%.
  • The share of loans closed by borrowers with scores below 560 increased by 28%, but the share of closed loans from borrowers with scores between 560 and 619 dropped by 24%.
  • The share of inquiries from people with incomes up to $24,000 dropped by 27% during the same period, while inquires from those with incomes up to $48,000 dropped by 16%.
  • The share of loan inquiries by borrowers with scores below 560 decreased by 12%, and the share of closed loans from borrowers with scores below 620 decreased by 9.2%.

For example, in the SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3 LLC, securities show that the average gross income of borrowers as of May 2017, was $141,780, with an average FICO score of 731, and an average VantageScore of 682. The most recent offering, reported in February 2019, showed borrowers had an average income of $151,144, an average 753 FICO score, and a 713 VantageScore.

Job Loss and Medical Expenses Leading Causes of Bad Credit (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Job loss and medical expenses are the leading factors causing Americans’ credit scores to drop, according to new research by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (CNMC).

According to the new report, 55% of respondents cited job loss or reduction in work hours as the reason why their credit score dipped below 700. Nearly a quarter (24%) cited medical bills as the primary cause. Following these leading factors, a variety of typical, seemingly innocuous expenses follow, including repairing a car (11%), leaving home for the first time (6%), and putting a child through college (5%).

Non-prime consumers are 86% more likely to experience multiple factors that negatively affect their credit score compared to just one. For example, of the 23% who mention a medical reason, about three-quarters (75%) also experienced an income drop, severely complicating their ability to manage and cover medical expenses.

Americans Use Short-Term Loans to Pay Off Debt (Lexington Law), Rated: A

American debt is at an all-time high. How did we manage to dig ourselves into a steep $13 trillion hole? Credit card debt alone accounts for $1 trillion of this debt, with the average balance over $6,000 per capita.

  • 33% of Americans are going into debt to pay off debt
  • Generation X is most likely to incur short-term debt to pay down long-term debt
  • Women who use debt to make other debt payments tend to do so multiple times

Bernardo Martinez of Funding Circle USA (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The knowledge that Bernardo brought with him from PayPal.
  • What he has learned in his first year on the job at Funding Circle.
  • The range of terms for their small business loans.
  • The types of investors they have on their platform today.
  • How and why 72% of their customers came to Funding Circle first.
  • How their offering compares to what is offered at banks today.
  • Who Bernardo sees as their biggest competitors.
  • How they view the SBA and their loan guarantee program.
  • How the LendingClub partnership came together.
  • Why no other online platform has reached significant scale in term loans for small business.
  • How they expanding their business into Canada.
  • Who they are hiring for their new Denver office.
  • How they are approaching their relationships with regulators in DC these days.
  • How they helped get SB-1235 passed in California.
  • How Funding Circle is monitoring their risk as it pertains to the economic cycle.
  • What is most exciting for Bernardo today at Funding Circle.

How a Silicon Valley startup is trying to rebrand payday loans (Vox), Rated: AAA

Once every few weeks, Myra Haq withdraws $100 or so from Earnin, an app that lets people borrow small sums of money.

The app lets her withdraw up to $100 a day, and never more than what she actually makes in a pay period, and then withdraws the money from her checking account once her direct deposit hits.

Unsurprisingly, payday lenders typically target low-income people — a 2013 Pew report found that 58 percent of people who use payday loans have trouble meeting monthly expenses at least half the time and usually borrow to deal with “persistent cash shortfalls rather than temporary emergencies.”

The average American household with student debt owes almost $48,000, and experts believe that student loan debt has held millennials back from major life milestones like marriage, homeownership, and having children.

How One Company Wants to Reduce or Even Eliminate Your Unpaid Medical Bills (Forbes), Rated: A

Relying on personal savings or insurance may not even be enough to pay off expensive medical bills. As a result, .

Earnin invited some community members to try HealthAid and was able to find savings for about 90% of people.

In one case, Earnin was able to get a patient’s $48,000 bill fully forgiven.

Figure Technologies loan platform secures $ 1B financing facility (CoinGeek), Rated: A

Figure Technologies looks to be profiting from increased interest in the cryptocurrency industry. Specifically, in a press release dated May 9, it was announced that the company had secured a $1 billion line of credit on the Provenance.io blockchain. The agreement also involves two other companies, Jefferies and WSFS Institutional Services, which will provide the line of credit.

LendKey’s Vince Passione on partnering with banks and credit unions and the future of lending as a service (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Vince joins us on the show to talk about his partnership model and the challenges and opportunities of working alongside banks and credit unions, which have deployed more than $2 billion in lending capital on the digital platform.

Small-business fintech launches lending platform for banks (American Banker), Rated: A

Spurred by bank interest, small-business lending platform Biz2Credit has unveiled a software-as-a-service version of its loan management, servicing and risk analytics product.

After HSBC and New York-based Popular Bank contracted with Biz2Credit to use the software, the company decided to launch the platform for all banks to use.

At a cramped desk on the 22nd floor of a downtown Manhattan office building, Gary Roth spotted a looming disaster.

An urban planner with two master’s degrees, Mr. Roth had a new job in 2010 analyzing taxi policy for the New York City government. But almost immediately, he noticed something disturbing: The price of a taxi medallion — the permit that lets a driver own a cab — had soared to nearly $700,000 from $200,000. In order to buy medallions, drivers were taking out loans they could not afford.

Prodigy Finance Aims to Bridge Healthcare Gap with New Loan Offering (University Business), Rated: A

Prodigy Finance today announces it will be supporting international students pursuing Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degrees, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees, as well as those enrolling in Advanced Standing Dental programs and Select Certificate Dentistry programs in the U.S.

Crypto Lending Startup BlockFi Slashing Interest Rates on Ether Deposits (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency lending startup BlockFi is almost halving the interest rates it offers on ether (ETH) deposits, while some bitcoin (BTC) rates will increase slightly.

From June 1, customers with 25–100 ETH balances in a BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) will see the interest rate drop from the current 6.2 percent annual percentage yield (APY) to 3.25 percent, the startup announced Tuesday. Those holding over 100 ETH balances will earn just 0.2 percent APY.

Some BTC balances, on the other hand, will see a slight interest rate increase – up to 2.15 percent from the current 2 percent – for deposits of over 25 BTC. Those holding 0.5–25 BTC will continue to earn 6.2 percent APY, BlockFi said.

Find the Right Loan Among 300+ Lending Partners for Credit Card Consolidation and More (CardRates), Rated: A

In a Nutshell: LoanStart helps consumers in search of a loan find a lender that suits their funding needs within just five minutes after submitting a simple, fee-free loan request form. Working securely with more than 300 trusted lending partners, including conveniently located storefront providers, the service makes finding a suitable lender easy. In today’s connected world where loan options abound, LoanStart cuts through the clutter to connect consumers in need of funds with lenders willing to provide financing.

Maxex Closes Series B Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Maxex, LLC, an Atlanta, GA-based residential mortgage loan exchange, closed a Series B funding round of undisclosed amount.

CFPB Sues Debt-Collection Agency Over Deception Allegations (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Friday (May 17) that it has filed a lawsuit in federal court against a debt-collection agency that, the agency said, violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The lawsuit targets Forster & Garbus, LLP, a debt-collection law firm based in New York.

Plaid gives digital banks and fintech a new tool to bypass traditional finance (CNBC), Rated: A

Start-up Plaid, recently valued at $2.7 billion, already connects bank accounts to fintech apps like Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase and Acorns. It announced “Plaid Direct” on Wednesday, which lets users more easily connect to newer digital banks like Chime.

Capital Markets Veteran Joins PeerStreet to Manage Institutional Sales (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, has announced the appointment of Deepa Salastekar as the Vice President of Institutional Sales. Ms. Salastekar joins PeerStreet to expand the company’s relationship base of institutional partners across all investment types available through PeerStreet.

Dharma now supports peer-to-peer lending in USDC to attract mainstream investors to DeFi (The Block Crypto), Rated: B

Defi startup Dharma announced Wednesday that it will start to support peer-to-peer lending of USDC, in a push to engage mainstream investors.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle investment trust asks shareholders to approve wind-down plans (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is set to begin a managed wind-down of its dedicated investment trust, the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF), once it gets the green light from shareholders.

The FTSE 250-listed peer-to-peer business lender said last month that shareholders had backed plans to stop investing in new assets and begin the process of returning capital to investors.

Funding Circle Sets Hard Limit To Incentive Pay For Senior Executives (Morningstar), Rated: A

Funding Circle Holdings PLC clarified its director pay policy Wednesday following “feedback from shareholder advisory bodies”.

The small and medium enterprise loan platform said the amount granted in each year for a three year period under the company’s long-term incentive plan to can now no longer exceed GBP2.0 million and GBP1.1 million for the company’s chief executive and chief financial officer, respectively.

Span A Higher Than Span B for Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L) (Williams Business Review), Rated: B

After a recent indicator scan, we have noted that Span A is currently higher than Span B for shares of Funding Circle Sme Income Fund Limited (FCIF.L). Traders may be paying close attention as this signal may indicate a possible bullish move.

TransferWise doubles its valuation to $ 3.5bn (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

UK-based international payments fintech TransferWise has doubled its value to $3.5 billion after raising $292 million in secondary funding, Jane Connolly writes.

Call for ‘credit curfew’ to help late-night borrowers (The Times), Rated: A

Banning borrowers from accessing high-cost credit websites between 11pm and 7am would ease the numbers of people spiralling into debt as activity peaks during these hours, according to researchers at Newcastle University.

Monzo hits 2m customers, adding 1m in eight months (AltFi), Rated: A

Monzo has hit 2 million current account customers in just two years since getting a banking license, and just eight months after it hit 1 million accounts.

It launched its current accounts less than 18 months ago with customers having spent £10.7bn through Monzo so far.

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance reveals offering (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

Arbuthnot Latham & Co has officially launched its specialist finance division.

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance will offer short-term residential finance up to 70% of market value (MV), with rates from 0.65% per month.

For this product, it will offer loans between £30,000–£3m-plus.

For commercial properties, it will offer up to 65% of MV, including interest and fees (up to 85% of the 90-day MV, or 95% of the purchase price, whichever is the lower), with rates available from 0.75%.

New peer-to-peer lender targets 7.5% return with education loans (Your Money), Rated: A

Lendwise plans to offer borrowers loans of up to £100,000, with interest rates ranging from 7.5% to 12%. Pricing will be based on a range of factors, which the peer-to-peer lender said go beyond the applicant’s financial profile and credit record. They include the specific postgraduate or professional qualification course they are taking, the length of study and the repayment period.

Finastra’s open cloud platform drives collaboration and innovation in financial services (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Today ahead of its FusionONE developer conference, co-hosted with Microsoft, Finastra unveiled the latest developments to its FusionFabric.cloudopen platform for innovation.

The 61 new open APIs (and more than 200 Endpoints) span many of Finastra’s solutions, including retail and corporate banking (both enterprise and North American community markets), consumer lending and mortgage, payments and treasury and capital markets. These are now available in the FusionFabric.cloud API catalog for developers to harness in building financial services applications. Some of these powerful APIs are already enabling:

China

A fintech revenue surge helped Tencent smash quarterly expectations (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Tencent posted record quarterly profits and smashed market expectations in Q1 2019, driven largely by surges in its fintech and cloud revenue, per Reuters.

Fintech and business services is now Tencent’s second largest division, responsible for a quarter of its revenue. This was the first time the tech giant broke out earnings for the unit, which brought in revenue of Rmb21.79bn ($3.2 billion), a 44% year-over-year (YoY) spike. Key in driving this growth is its payments wallet for WeChat, whose 1.11 billion users make it the largest social media platform in China, as well as its insurance services, which include a 20% stake in Aviva Hong Kong, and its cloud computing service.

Tencent’s online advertising grew 25% YoY, compared with 55% YoY in the same period last year, suggesting that China’s slowing economy and continued trade tensions with the US are hitting the firm.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

DBS Bank Expects a Boost in Chinese P2P Lending Market from the Greater Bay Area (LearnBonds), Rated: A

Greater Bay Area could be the key to reviving the struggling P2P lending market in China, according to DBS Bank.

The Singaporean bank estimates that P2P lending will experience a 17% annual growth rate by 2030.

European Union

Identity technology and Dublin’s draw for fintech firms post-Brexit (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to 

1 in 10 European banks to vanish by 2023 (AltFi), Rated: A

Bumper banking profits disguise an underlying weakness in traditional banks, as their per customer income has tumbled over the past decade.

That’s the finding of a report by consultants A.T. Kearney, which found data across 92 European banks revealed income per client had fallen 11% since 2008.

Australia/New Zealand

Commerce Commission’s court case against payday lender Ferratum scheduled for next year (Interest), Rated: AAA

A backlog of cases in the Auckland High Court means the next hearing in the Commerce Commission’s legal action against online payday lender Ferratum New Zealand won’t be held until June next year.

Asia

Indonesian fintech association sanctions lending platform that sets high interest rate (KrAsia), Rated: AAA

Two Indonesian lending platforms regulated under the country’s financial services authority (OJK) have been penalized by the ethics council of AFPI, the industry association for fintech lenders in Indonesia.

The organization revealed that one of the companies in question is P2P lender Do-It, which charged an interest fee rate of 1% per day.

Africa

Onefi is Expanding Carbon’s Digital Banking Services to Ghana (Technext), Rated: AAA

Nigerian digital financial platform, Carbon (formerly Paylater) is taking big steps to introduce its revamped financial services into Ghana. The online lender is looking to hire a new country manager for Ghana and this suggests the company is looking to introduce its new services like PayVest into Ghana.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 23 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Friday May 11 2018, Daily News Digest

Volume of homes flipped with loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Robinhood raises $363M. Americans on pace to amass $4T in consumer debt by end of year. Zopa to boost regulatory clout. Reserve Bank of India regulations create P2P lending road blocks. How China struggles to create a credit scoring system. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub earnings overreaction. LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report for April 2018. Today’s […]

Volume of homes flipped with loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Robinhood Aims to Rival Coinbase in Crypto With $ 363 Million Funding Round (Fortune) Rated: AAA

Robinhood, the free stock trading app, has raised $363 million in a new investment round valuing the company at $5.6 billion.

The Series D round, announced Thursday, makes Robinhood the second most valuable private fintech startup in the U.S. after Stripe, the online payments company.

Inside SoFi’s (expensive) customer acquisition push (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

SoFi, which recently confirmed it had 500,000 members, is on a customer acquisition push.

The company, which initially offered student loan refinancing for high-earning top-tier graduates and has since expanded its offerings, differentiates with VIP-style “member” benefits.

It’s a customer-for-life strategy other digital banking upstarts are pursuing. Luvleen Sidhu, CEO of BankMobile, recently told Tearsheet that a “customer for life” strategy is underpinned by the reality that “every customer is a potential customer,” with product offerings tailored for different life stages. SoFi has been known to pay a high price to gain customers; last year, it reportedly acquired customers at $756 apiece. The non-financial member services are valued at $795 per customer, according to the company.

Hey Future SoFi Money Member (SoFo Money Email), Rated: A

Higher interest (1.09% for May—21x the national checking account average of 0.05%!)

  • Reimbursed ATM fees worldwide (up to 6 per month)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No overdraft fees or account fees whatsoever!
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • SoFi Money Visa Debit Card
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Free checks
  • Top notch customer support
  • Send money to friends and family with easy P2P at no cost
  • Bill pay
  • Direct deposit
  • PLUS access to SoFi membership including complimentary career coaching and member events when you set up direct deposit

Did we mention that if you sign up for an account and set up direct deposit you’ll get $200?

LendingClub: Earnings Overreaction (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Such a strong reaction to LendingClub hasn’t happened in years. The company is still down 20% year to date, and more than 40% in the last twelve months. LendingClub has struggled to find its footing ever since the ouster of its CEO, Renaud Laplanche, after controversy over the parking of LendingClub notes in a related third-party firm. More recently, in the wake of Wells Fargo’s (WFC) fake-account scandal, the FTC has also charged LendingClub with charging improper fees to borrowers, sending the stock to new all-time lows of $2.57.

Source: Seeking Alpha

But with this earnings quarter – the first time in a long time that LendingClub has rallied to earnings news (in Q4, LendingClub dropped 9% after missing revenue estimates; the quarter before that, it tanked 17% for doing the same). What’s interesting is that even in this quarter, LendingClub continued a three-quarter streak of missing analysts’ revenue expectations.

How Wall Street, Silicon Valley institutionalized home flipping (Curbed) Rated: AAA

As the housing market has gone from recovering to roaring over the last five years, home flipping has also increased.

Source: Curbed

According to data provided by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider, some 138,410 flippers invested $56 billion in home flipping in 2017, 34.8 percent of which was financed as opposed to executed in all cash. Prior to the housing bust, the same type of easy credit that infected the traditional mortgage market was also present in home flipping. At the peak of the housing bubble in 2005, more than $100 billion worth of homes were flipped by 287,929 investors, and 66 percent of those home flips were financed with loans.

Source: Curbed

Turn the Post Office Into a Bank? First Check Japan (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Koizumi won his fight, his party crushing all opposition in a landslide, and his plan was set in motion, though the process has taken more than a decade. The company’s initial public offering in 2015 was the world’s biggest in that year. The government still owns most of Japan Post Holdings Co., and periodically sells off shares, with the goal of eventually reducing its stake to only a third from more than half now. But privatization hasn’t shrunk Japan’s postal bank itself, which remains one of the largest and most important in the world:

Source: Bloomberg

The problem was that Japan’s postal bank didn’t just take deposits — it also lent money, including to so-called zombie companies, or inefficient enterprises that survive due to below-market-rate loans.

Bond Fund Inflows, Dollar Rally and Buyback Surge (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

Source: INTL FCStone

U.S. equity ETFs have lost $35 billion since the Nasdaq index peaked in mid-March. This is the longest stretch of ETF outflows I can remember since the end of the great financial crisis. Inflows into bond funds accelerated to $16 billion over the same time. Jumping from stock to bond funds at the first sign of volatility was a logical reaction when bond yields were falling to record lows amidst the deflationary fears of the beginning of 2016.

It makes a lot less sense when corporate earnings are soaring, when deficit-related treasury issuance is exploding, and when the New York Fed underlying inflation gauge is clocking above 3%. Last but not least, the equity selloff was in large part driven by a bond market rout that pushed 10-year yields above the economically meaningless but psychologically symbolic 3% level.

Read the full report here.

The Real Estate Lending Merger That Shook Mt. Olympus (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding, Zeus Hard Money and Zeus Mortgage Bank—made the switch to monotheism. The three successful businesses are now united under a single brand: ZeusLending.com.

Zeus Founder and Chief Acceleration Officer Steven Kaufman claims to have consolidated all three financing businesses into a single organization to better serve the community of real estate buyers and investors who rely upon fast, no-hassle loans to conduct timely transactions.

Federal student loans are about to get more expensive. What you need to know (CNBC) Rated: A

Although the Department of Education hasn’t formally announced the new rates, this year’s bump is likely to be higher than expected, said Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert.

Americans On Pace to Amass a Collective $ 4 Trillion in Consumer Debt by the End of 2018 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its first Consumer Debt Outlook for May 2018. Americans are on pace to amass a collective $4 trillion in consumer debt by the end of 2018. Collectively, Americans owe more than 26 percent of their income on consumer debt, up from 22 percent in 2010.

Incomes growing, but consumer borrowing growing faster
Overall, the percentage of total non-housing debt, at 26 percent of Disposable Personal Income, is now even higher than during the credit boom in the mid-2000s.

Source: Lending Tree

 

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – April 2018 (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.35% in April.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.35%, a decrease of 7 basis points from the prior month and 2 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $22,774, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760, up 0.57% ($130) from last month, and over 17.86% ($4,067) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 4.87% on average, and loan amounts of $33,931. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $2,877 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
Source: Lending Tree

Real Estate Crowdfunding: MG Capital Migrates Investment Opportunity Online (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Recently, CI had a chance to catch up with Eric Malley, founder & CEO of MG Capital Management during the Crypto Invest Summit in Los Angeles. While not quite there yet, Malley is interested in the potential of blockchain.  He is looking at the options of how crypto and property can make sense for both investor and issuer.

RealtyMogul’s MogulREIT I Closes $ 4.9 Million Investments in Two Retail Shopping Centers (Citizen Tribune) Rated: B

MogulREIT I, as part of its diversified income strategy, recently completed two preferred equity investments in community-based retail centers. Community-based retail centers are centrally located within their respective population centers and focus on durable tenancy that serves the needs of the working community, thereby being less susceptible to internet retailing. The transactions include a $3 million preferred equity investment in a retail center in Waterbury, CT, consisting of three multi-tenant strips with 17 suites across 50.5 acres and a $1.9 million preferred equity investment in a retail center comprised of two lots with over 27,000 square feet located in Orange County, CA. CoStar reports that within a one-mile radius of the property, average household income is over $116,000.

Goldman Sachs, Apple Team Up on New Credit Card (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are preparing to launch a new joint credit card, a move that would deepen the technology giant’s push into its customers’ wallets and mark the Wall Street firm’s first foray into plastic.

The planned card would carry the Apple Pay brand and could launch early next year, people familiar with the matter said. Apple will replace its longstanding rewards-card partnership with Barclays PLC, the people said.

Guaranteed Rate Continues Record-Breaking Streak through April (Blobe Newswire) Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate, one of the nation’s largest retail mortgage lenders, reached $3 billion in total locked loan volume for the month of April and eclipsed records previously broken in March. In a highly-competitive housing market, the retail mortgage lender showed it’s the home purchase expert by achieving the following records: 9,387 in total locked units, $2.5 billion in locked purchase volume and 8,041 in locked purchase units.

 

Why Nationwide is ditching retail banking (Tear Sheet) Rated: A

Nationwide is shutting down its retail bank, returning to its historical core business lines including insurance and retirement; part of this plan is to invest more resources in reaching the fee-only adviser community.

The move to wind down banking operations was a strategic decision to focus on trust operations that support  retirement plans, a company spokesman said. Gaining scale and becoming competitive in retail banking would have required a “significant investment.”

Digital Lending 2.0 — A New Era (LinkedIn) Rated: A

We are now seeing an evolution of the online lending model: version 2.0. This version looks in many ways like a traditional bank, albeit a much lighter and digital one, with multi-product platforms and a variety of custom offerings for consumers. With non-traditional models like Barclays and Goldman Sachs entering the market, online lenders are either partnering up or learning from the players they sought to disrupt. In digital lending 2.0, it will be important to take an open collaborative approach, broaden offerings and deepen customer relationships through more customized solutions.

Marketplace Lending Update #3: Kabbage Heads to Court (The National Law Review) Rated: A

A recently filed California lawsuit raises the stakes in the ongoing challenge to the “bank origination model.” The lawsuit, Barnabas Clothing, Inc. v. Kabbage, Inc., was filed on March 22, 2018 in Superior Court in Los Angeles and recently removed to the federal court.1 Barnabas alleges violations of state usury, false advertising, and unfair competition laws, and asserts two federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act claims. Barnabas seeks to certify a class on behalf of all California-based Kabbage borrowers and requests various relief, including that the court void the Kabbage loans.

You can do more than you think with bad credit (Inquirer Business) Rated: B

CreditCards.com, the average FICO credit score was 699 in 2016, which is just a step above fair credit. About 30 percent of Americans have poor credit, making it difficult for them to function in the financial world.

Get Creative with Loans

  • Peer to Peer LendingSince 2005, peer to peer (P2) lending has been a staple for those seeking funding with bad credit. Rather than going through an institution, you apply for and receive funds over a member-funded platform.

 

United Kingdom

Zopa to boost regulatory clout ahead of Brexit (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA is recruiting staff to bolster its regulatory expertise and influence ahead of industry changes and developments such as Brexit.

The peer-to-peer lender is advertising for a public and regulatory affairs officer who will be responsible for building relationships with key regulatory and political stakeholders and industry bodies.

 

Nearly Half of Aspiring Property Developers Say Economic Growth Will Have the Greatest Effect on House Prices in the Next Five Years (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

According to LendInvest, when asked what will have the biggest effect on house prices in the next five years, nearly half (40%) of those surveyed viewed national economic growth as having the greatest impact. Only a quarter of respondents (24%) reportedly believe political developments, such as further elections and impending Brexit, will affect house price growth the most. And a shortage in supply of housing is the biggest concern affecting house prices for only a fifth (20%) of those surveyed, while 16% of aspiring developers cited the construction of new infrastructure such as the new HS2 and Crossrail lines as the key influencing factor.

 

Goldman Sachs has invested in a UK startup that tells you when to switch mortgages (Business Insider) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs has led a £13.6 million funding round into UK startup Trussle, a company that helps people get mortgages online and tells them when to switch to better deals.

Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments and Propel Venture Partners led the Series B investment into Trussle, which was announced on Wednesday.

Virgin Money offer highlights testing times for challenger banks (Financial Times) Rated: A

CYBG recently made a takeover approach of rival Virgin Money as challenger banks look for solutions in what has become a tough market; challenger banks are dealing with increased competition by digital entrants, not to mention the big four UK banks, rising funding costs and bigger rivals in the mortgage market; M&A activity among challengers is increasing as companies look to consolidate and digitize to compete.

 

 

Credit Kudos a bureau hero in open banking roll-out race (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Credit Kudos has got connected with banks in the UK, becoming the “first credit bureau to offer open banking services to lenders and individuals”.

According to the credit bureau, borrowers can now use its services to verify income and demonstrate creditworthiness using their financial history data.

The company has now launched connections with Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Ulster Bank, Allied Irish Bank, Danske Bank, and HSBC.

Mortgages shine in Castlight Financial’s open banking pilot (Fintech Futures) Rated: B

Glasgow-based Castlight Financial is partnering with Paradigm Mortgage Services and Foundation Home Loans to launch a pilot of its affordability tool powered by open banking technology.

Called Affordability Passport, Castlight says it allows brokers to process mortgages in under ten minutes.

China

China Struggles to Establish Credit Scoring System (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

China’s government has tried for many years to establish a credit system that rivals the U.S. and Europe, but has found it a struggle to get there.

In 2015 China’s Central Bank contracted eight companies, including affiliates of TencentPing Anand Alibaba, to help build a credit system that could rival what other developed economies use. The experiment up until today has not fared well as lenders and e-commerce firms continue to use their own proprietary systems to determine risk of the borrower.

One of the main drivers behind the failure is companies were reluctant to share the data they collected. Also, conflicts of interest arose as users could be rewarded by using certain companies to drive their score up.

International

Splitit is financing purchases for debit cardholders (Tear Sheet) Rated: AAA

Splitit, a competitor to lending companies like Affirm and Klarna, is bringing its point-of-sale financing product to debit card users in the U.S. and Europe, targeting fashion and jewelry websites in particular, like Vestiaire Collective and Philip Stein.

Unlike its competitors, however, the company is focused on making the retail industry better for everyone involved — banks, processors, consumers and merchants — rather than displacing credit cards, said Gil Don, CEO of Splitit.

It might be decades before credit cards disappear, but different industries are already seeking ways to sidestep the fees that come with today’s credit card payments.

Getline ICO (GET Token): Blockchain Credit Scoring & Lending? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

The GetLine network is a peer-to-peer lending platform that is built on the Ethereum blockchain. By leveraging distributed ledger technology, the objective of this project is to disrupt the lending sector, which is currently valued at a whopping $1 trillion. Therefore, transactions will be processed instantly thanks to the direct connection between lenders and borrowers. Moreover, the platform will rely on an advanced credit risk prediction mechanism, making the entire lending process safer and accessible to lenders and borrowers respectively.

 

India

RBI regulations create roadblocks for peer-to-peer lending companies (Business Standard) Rated: AAA

Is non-bank lending a form of access to credit for those in need or an investment asset class for the well-to-do? That is the question that India’s central bank perhaps grappled with while framing the regulations for the nascent peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies.

While the regulations were put up only in November last year, a handful of companies have exited business and many others have changed tack after looking at the guidelines.

Asia

DBS Bank rolls out Singapore’s first in-app digital financial advisor that’s called ‘Your Financial GPS’ – (Business Insider) Rated: A

DBS Bank recently announced a new in-app holistic digital financial advisor which it called “Your Financial GPS”  – said to be the first of its kind in Singapore.

If you’re a DBS/POSB Bank member and have recently used your iBanking or digibank app, you might have noticed the new feature already available on the app’s main page.

Indonesia: Skystar-backed P2P lender Julo raises $ 5m Series A round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Julo has raised $5 million in a Series A funding round led by Skystar Capital and East Ventures.

Other investors that joined the round include Gobi Partners, Convergence Ventures, Provident Capital, Central Capital Ventura, Heyokha Brothers and other strategic investors, Julo announced on Thursday.

The new round of funding comes only a year after Julo raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round, also led by Skystar Capital.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday April 12 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday April 12 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade to issues ABS–but when? FCA warns Funding Circle clone. Funding Circle Netherlands approved for Guarantee SME Credit Scheme Participant. Today’s main analysis: The metro areas with the most fraud alerts. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The regulation of marketplace lending (A MUST-READ REPORT). LendIt, PitchIt award winners. Is China Rapid Finance close to profit? GDPR consent […]

Thursday April 12 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Ex-LendingClub chief’s new venture set to issue ABS (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Upgrade is said to have a private warehouse facility in place and is looking to debut a securitization in the coming months, according to two people familiar with the matter.

According to an April 2017 press release, Jefferies is advising the company on its capital markets strategy and is….

LendingTree Ranks Metros with the Most Fraud Alerts (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

With millions of Americans affected by data breaches every year, such as recent revelations at Uber and Equifax, LendingTree decided to look at anonymized data from a sample of the over 7 million My LendingTree users to see where people are most likely to have asked a credit bureau to place a fraud alert on their credit report.


Key findings of the study:

  • The average rate of fraud alert requests among all cities reviewed is 6.4 percent.
  • Las Vegas and Houston tie for the highest rate of fraud alerts, at 13.6 percent.
  • Miami and New York are close behind, tied at 12.9 percent.
  • Rochester, N.Y. has the lowest rate of people requesting fraud alerts at 2 percent. Nearby Buffalo, N.Y. has 2.6 percent.

The Regulation of Marketplace Lending: A Summary of the Principal Issues (Chapman and Cutler) Rated: AAA

So-called “true lender” litigation remains one of the most significant risks facing the marketplace lending industry. These are cases involving a claim by a borrower or regulator that the “true lender” of a loan funded by a Funding Bank for a marketplace lender is the marketplace lender rather than the
Funding Bank. Often such litigation involves asking the court to look past the form of the loan transactions to their substance in order to ascertain which party, the Funding Bank or the marketplace lender, holds the predominant economic interest in the loans. The aim of true lender claims is to subject
the marketplace lender to federal and state regulation as a non-bank lender, enabling the claimant to pursue actions based on failure to comply with state lender licensing or usury laws.

Read the full report here.

LendIt Fintech Names PitchIt Competition Winners And Second Annual LendIt Industry Award Winners (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Out of eight PitchIt finalists, the judge’s winner was CreditStacks, a company that offers U.S. based premium credit cards to prime, new-to-credit customers. The audience winner was Narmi, a fintech company the helps credit unions and banks deliver a unified experience with modern and secure online banking, mobile banking and websites.

Below are the second annual LendIt Industry Award winners, per category:

Fintech Innovator of the Year

Affirm

Executive of the Year

Anthony Hsieh, Founder & CEO, loanDepot

Fintech Woman of the Year

Kathryn Petralia, Co-founder & COO, Kabbage

Blockchain Innovator of the Year

ConsenSys

Most Innovative Token Economy

AxiomZen

Top Consumer Lending Platform

Yirendai

Top Small Business Lending Platform

Kabbage

Top Real Estate Lending Platform

LendInvest

Emerging Lending Platform

LendingUSA

Excellence in Financial Inclusion

Oportun

Most Promising Partnership

LendingClub + Opportunity Fund

Most Successful Cross-Border Partnership

Kasisto + DBS Bank

Most Innovative Bank

Cross River

International Innovator of the Year

IrisGuard

Top Enterprise Technology Company

ThreatMetrix

Top Emerging Technology Company

MoneyLion

Top Professional Services Company

Millennium Trust

Most Innovative Mobile Technology

Juvo

Top Fintech Equity Investor

Edison Partners

Best Journalist Coverage

Tony Zerucha, Managing Editor, Bankless Times

Top Investment Bank in Fintech

FT Partners

To modernize consumer lending, it had to strip systems to the core (American Banker) Rated: A

Replacing core systems can be an expensive and risky proposition for banks, but KeyCorp has decided the time is now to replace an antiquated legacy system.

The $138 billion-asset bank announced at the Oracle Industry Connect conference in New York this week that it plans to ditch its existing lending platform in an effort to digitize and modernize the lending process.

Appeal could jeopardize CFPB win in landmark tribal sovereignty case (Reuters) Rated: A

Online lender CashCall filed a notice of appeal Tuesday in a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement action that set precedent on whether consumer lenders can evade state interest rate caps by affiliating with Native American tribes and invoking tribal sovereignty. In 2016, U.S. District Judge John Walter of Los Angeles granted partial summary judgment to the CFPB, holding that CashCall was the true lender, rather than a company owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, so state laws govern CashCall loans. The company’s notice to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, filed by its lawyers at Latham & Watkins and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, indicated that CashCall will challenge the landmark summary judgment decision on tribal sovereignty, as well as other rulings by Judge Walter.

Judge Walter, however, concluded that the bureau hadn’t shown it was entitled to any restitution and that CashCall had not knowingly flouted consumer protection laws. He awarded the bureau only $10.3 million in penalties.

Optimizing Mortgage Loan Lifecycles With Fintech (the M Report) Rated: A

Integrated properly into both the trading and operational side of the mortgage lifecycle, fintech can not only increase margins but also allow for lenders to originate more loans in less time and in a more efficient and secure manner. Additionally, by using fintech throughout the mortgage lifecycle, each phase of management is enhanced and therefore produces optimized outcomes leading to better investment returns, while still providing the borrower with a great customer experience.

A “High Level” Tech-Enabled Residential Mortgage Lifecycle*

Source The M Report

*This chart is provided as a “high level” example of what types of fintech can optimize the lifecycle. It is not to be considered a complete integration or feature roadmap.

 

Big Banks Using Non-Bank Middlemen to Lend to Subprime Borrowers (Low Cards) Rated: A

If a borrower has a low credit score and needs a loan for a $12,000 vehicle, this would not be of interest to a large bank such as Wells Fargo. But it would be an option for a non-bank lender like Exeter Finance. Exeter would screen the applicant and approve the loan at their discretion. Then, Wells Fargo would extend a loan to Exeter. The bank is still profiting from a sub-prime loan, but they are giving the money to another lender.

This does not eliminate risk on Wells Fargo’s end. However, it does push the burden onto the non-bank lender, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Two’s company (Breakingviews) Rated: A

Silicon Valley is giving two of its most noted fintech outcasts a second chance. Former Social Finance boss Mike Cagney and erstwhile LendingClub Chief Executive Renaud Laplanche are each back with new loan ventures after losing their jobs to scandals.

Between them, both men created what are now the two largest fintech lenders, having originated or facilitated some $63 billion between them in the past few years.

Blockchain makes online lenders taste own medicine (Nasdaq) Rated: A

Blockchain is giving online lenders a taste of their own medicine. The likes of Prosper, Social Finance and On Deck Capital found cryptocurrency technology trying to steal the limelight at their annual get-together in San Francisco this week. It’s a case of the disruptors being disrupted.

United Kingdom

FCA issues warning about Funding Circle clone (Peer2Peer Finance News) Rated: AAA

THE CITY watchdog has issued a warning to consumers about a clone of peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle.

The clone, Funding Circle Loans, had set up a website purporting to be the P2P platform.

Its website, , has since been suspended.

Prestige Funds partners for Innovative Finance ISA bond (The Armchair Trader) Rated: A

Prestige Funds, a specialist direct lending manager, is partnering with UK-based Goji to launch a Renewables Lending Bond which is eligible for inclusion in an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). IFISAs are a new, tax-free way for investors to access investment opportunities that are not available on stock exchanges.

The Goji Renewables Lending Bond will include a yield target of between 5.5% and 6.5% over three and five year terms. Interest payments on the bond will be supported by UK government subsidies, such as Feed-in-Tariffs.

The need for speed for loan approvals and payments (Credit Strategy) Rated: A

Arguably, consumer lending has come full circle.

But today’s consumer lenders are having to contend with raised customer expectations. “Empowered borrowers,” says consultancy firm PwC, expect not only a simple, but also a fast loan process.

Consumer lending research published by PwC found that other than economic factors (interest rates and closing costs) or “having an existing relationship,” the speed of the process was the most important factor for borrowers in choosing a lender.

 

Higher salaries giving fintech sector edge over traditional banking (Finextra) Rated: B

The threat from Brexit has also called into question how Britain has – and will – deal with the country’s departure from the European Union in terms of its strong worldwide financial standing. With this in mind, Joblift has analysed and compared the UK’s Fintech and traditional banking sectors over the last 12 months. The analysis shows that traditional banking has felt the effect of the competition from Fintech and the upcoming Brexit with vacancies decreasing by 3% monthly, while Fintech seems to be flourishing, with a huge growth of 9% monthly, in the face of these challenges.

China

China Rapid Finance: Is It Close To Making A Profit? (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance (XRF) went public on NYSE on April 28, 2017, as the beginning of the IPO wave for China P2P companies in 2017. The company focuses their business on meeting the credit demand for EMMAs (Emerging Middle-class Mobile Active consumer) in China.

  • China Rapid Finance (XRF) has experienced a business shift from lifestyle loans (larger in size) to consumption loans (smaller size), which will lead to bigger impact from regulatory hammer;
  • Q4 earnings results didn’t satisfy investors and stock price dropped 15% in two days after the ER release;
  • Despite of the short term concerns, operating efficiency has significantly improved in 2017, which makes the profitability outlook of the firm very positive.
Source: Seeking Alpha
European Union

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Approves Funding Circle Netherlands As Guarantee SME Credit Scheme Participant (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZ) has reportedly approved Funding Circle Netherlands as a Guarantee SME Credit (BKMB) scheme participant.

According to AltFi, for participating firms, which are typically major banks, the BKMB provides guarantee of up to 75% of the loan amounts that fit within its criteria. 

GDPR and financial advice: Consent for data processing (Professional Adviser) Rated: AAA

A firm could be in trouble with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if an individual makes a complaint about being marketed to by a firm and there is no consent in place, since this constitutes a breach of the GDPR.

Article 6 – lawfulness of processing

Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:

a. the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes;

b. processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;

d. processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person;

f. processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.

International

Mega-deals continue to shape Asian market

After rounding off 2017 at a remarkable high bolstered by megadeals, Asia continued to see large deals in Q1 2018.

Global Q1 2018 key highlights

  • Global VC investment rose from US$46 billion in Q4’17 to US$49.3 billion in Q1 2018, a solid increase buoyed by five US$1 billion+ megadeals.
  • The number of global VC deals declined for the fourth straight quarter, falling from 3,286 in Q4 2017 to 2,661 in Q1 2018. The number of VC deals has dropped by half since reaching a peak of 5,480 deals in Q1’15.
  • The Americas set a new record for VC investment in Q1 2018, with US$29.4 billion raised across 1,782 deals. Asia raised US$14.6 billion across 317 deals, and Europe raised US$5.2 billion across 548 deals.
  • Corporate participation in global VC deals set a new record for the second straight quarter, rising from 18.5% in Q4 2017 to 21% in Q1 2018.
  • New and old unicorns – companies valued at over US$1 billion – attracted a significant amount of funding with US$14 billion across 32 deals. Two unicorns went public late in Q1 2018: cloud-based security provider Zscaler and cloudstorage provider Dropbox, with both companies seeing positive results to date. With Spotify set for a direct listing in April and UK-based online loan provider Funding Circle planning to go public later this year, the IPO market may be opening up.

How global fintech trends will impact your banking (Bank Rate) Rated: A

In the last few years, the U.S. has seen the launch of a whole crop of neobanks, consumer-friendly startups that are trying to change the way we manage our money. A bunch of neobanks have appeared in Europe, too (they are called challenger banks across the pond), and it seems like they are all eyeing the U.S. market.

Last year, French firm Revolut, which includes a crypto wallet and free international transfers among its features, announced its plans to expand into the U.S. Germany’s N26 recently raised $160 million from venture capital investors to fuel a U.S. expansion. Meanwhile, British startup Cleo, which is more of an AI-powered budgeting tool than a challenger bank, recently began offering its product in the U.S.

What’s Happening with P2P Lending Blockchain Startups in 2018 (Equities) Rated: A

That is why startups like Alchemy, SALT, Eth-Lend and Celsius can be game-changers not only in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, but for the future of the American economy as well. Based on blockchain technology, these startups are committed to creating a safe, global, and accessible source of P2P lending.

The debt is then pooled into Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO’s) which are then organized by risk and made available to purchase on the platform. This not only provides an easy and secure source of P2P funding, but creates a sustainable ecosystem and investment opportunity for anyone on the network.

Africa

The future of financial advice is tech and touch (Moneyweb) Rated: A

There is a lot of conversation around investing digitally, right now. Supporters of the idea suggest that investors should cut out their brokers or financial advisors and take their money online by investing through digital platforms. The argument goes that while an advisor might give your investments a bit of an edge in terms of growth, the fees they charge tend to negate the value that they add.

Since both financial advisors and technology have such an important role to play in supporting individuals in making the right financial decisions, and in the convenience of access to information about their spread of financial products, I recommend a “touch-and-tech” model of engagement.

MENA

Dipping Into Digital (Global Finance) Rated: AAA

The MENA fintech sector is booming, with more than $100 million raised by start-ups in the last decade. Dubai-based digital research network Wamda’s State of Fintech report released last March predicted the total for just that year would reach $50 million, an increase of 270% over 2016.

Although online payments, remittances, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending attracted the largest tickets, fast-growing fintech subsectors include cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence and digital wallets.

In 2017 some of the major deals included a $20 million capital injection in Saudi Arabia’s online payment solution PayTabs; a $10 million round by three investors, including UK firm Gocompare, for Emirati price-comparison platform Souqalmal; $13 million for Emirati Cloud HR and insurance platform Bayzat; $5 million for Emirati peer-to-peer lending company Beehive; and $3.5 million for Emirati comparison website Yallacompare.

Lebanon was one of the first MENA countries to invest massively in the digital economy. Back in 2013, the central bank, Banque du Liban, issued a circular guaranteeing up to $400 million worth of investments in innovative technologies, later raising that amount to $600 million. Today, the country is home to 15 funding institutions, as well as a myriad of accelerators and start-up support programs.

New Realities, New Technologies (Global Finance) Rated: B

Surprisingly, the UAE accounts for 70% of the investments in areas such as digital banking services, cryptocurrencies, ecommerce and fintech start-up deals. For a nascent market, the growth rate is explosive, with dozens of new start-ups launching every year. So far, online payments, remittances, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending have attracted the largest investments. Late last year, Bahrain introduced the world’s first shariah-compliant fintech consortium.

Authors:
George Popescu
Allen Taylor