Thursday October 18 2018, Daily News Digest

Major US Banks Active Mobile Banking Users

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade to debut ABS bond. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1. Funding Circle launches free iPad incentive. China’s P2P lending is in trouble. Today’s main analysis: State laws put installment loan borrowers at risk. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi’s data science head on machine learning and non-traditional lending. LendingClub’s Bill Walsh says […]

Major US Banks Active Mobile Banking Users

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Online lender Upgrade prepares debut ABS bond  (International Financing Review) Rated: AAA

Upgrade, an online lending company started by former LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche, is looking to sell a debut asset-backed bond deal, four people with knowledge of the deal told IFR on Wednesday.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1 (“UPGR 2018-1”). This is a $286.390 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close October 30, 2018.

This transaction represents the first ABS securitization collateralized by unsecured consumer loans originated through the online marketplace lending platform operated by Upgrade, Inc. (“Upgrade”) and the first from the Upgrade Receivables Trust (“UPGR”) shelf. Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1 (“UPGR 2018-1” or the “Issuer”) will issue four classes of notes totaling $286.390 million. The proceeds from the sale of the notes will be used to purchase the loans and related rights from Upgrade Receivables Depositor LLC (the “Depositor”), who purchased the loans from the unaffiliated transferors, to fund the reserve account and to pay transaction expenses. The Depositor will in turn sell the loans to the Issuer.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1

Class Preliminary Rating Expected Initial Class Principal
A A (sf) $187,308,000
B BBB (sf) $32,569,000
C BB (sf) $28,440,000
D B (sf) $38,073,000

SoFi’s data science head: Opening the funnel to non-traditional borrowers with machine learning (Thomson Reuters) Rated: AAA

ANSWERS: What are some of the issues in machine learning that you are working to solve for right now?

WU: I think where machine learning plays the biggest role is in datasets that have extremely high numbers of dimensions, very low signal ratios and very sparsely populated values. For example, people in lending use data from the bureau. There are millions and millions of rows, there are thousands and thousands of columns. Each specific field has very little to no signal and each person has very few things that are actually populated. Those are opportunities where machine learning, particularly deep learning, has an extremely high potential.

ANSWERS: How can machine learning assist with lending decisions, and how does one keep bias from creeping into that?

WU: When making a decision on creditworthiness, machine learning can help lenders look at metrics beyond FICO and income. Whether it’s adding more information to traditional metrics versus determining creditworthiness of applicants without a full credit history, machine learning can drive tighter risk management while assessing borrower’s creditworthiness where traditional models cannot.

LendingClub’s Bill Walsh: ‘At its core, marketing is a data problem’ (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

Today’s marketer on the hot seat is Bill Walsh, LendingClub’s general manager and head of marketing for personal loans. Bill brings an engineer’s approach to marketing. The MIT grad began his tenure at Lending Club in an operations role, where rigorous problem solving was used to solve some of the biggest problems in the business. Now that he’s leading marketing on the consumer side, he brings a similar approach.

We talk about how LendingClub defines marketing and approaches channels. We pay particular attention to a recent TV campaign you might have seen over the summer of 2018. Measuring and responding to the signal is core to LendingClub’s approach and in the course of this four week broadcast campaign, Bill’s team iterated twice. This puts ad agencies on notice — this is the new data-driven fintech marketing world.

Mobile banking is reaching a saturation point in the US (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase counted32.5 million active mobile banking customers in Q3 2018 — an 11% year-over-year (YoY) increase from 29.3 million in Q3 2017.

That’s up from the 31.7 million active mobile customers in Q2 2018, but is also a slight deceleration from the 12% YoY growth in Q3 2017— following several quarters of decelerating growth: Chase has been adding around 800,000 mobile users on a quarterly basis.

Wells Fargo counts 29 million total active digital customers — 22.5 million of which use mobile banking. This marks an 8% annual increase in mobile banking customers, but a 4% YoY increase in total digital customers, demonstrating that most of its new customers are coming from mobile channels.

Source: Business Insider

State Laws Put Installment Loan Borrowers at Risk (PEW) Rated: AAA

Pew’s analysis found that although these lenders’ prices are lower than those charged by payday lenders and the monthly payments are usually affordable, major weaknesses in state laws lead to practices that obscure the true cost of borrowing and put customers at financial risk. Among the key findings:

  • Monthly payments are usually affordable, with approximately 85 percent of loans having installments that consume 5 percent or less of borrowers’ monthly income.Previous research shows that monthly payments of this size that are amortized—that is, the amount owed is reduced—fit into typical borrowers’ budgets and create a pathway out of debt.
  • Prices are far lower than those for payday and auto title loans. For example, borrowing $500 for several months from a consumer finance company typically is three to four times less expensive than using credit from payday, auto title, or similar lenders.
  • Installment lending can enable both lenders and borrowers to benefit. If borrowers repay as scheduled, they can get out of debt within a manageable period and at a reasonable cost, and lenders can earn a profit. This differs dramatically from the payday and auto title loan markets, in which lender profitability hinges on unaffordable payments that drive frequent reborrowing. However, to realize this potential, states would need to address substantial weaknesses in laws that lead to problems in installment loan markets.
  • State laws allow two harmful practices in the installment lending market: the sale of ancillary products, particularly credit insurance but also some club memberships (see Key Terms below), and the charging of origination or acquisition fees. Some costs, such as nonrefundable origination fees, are paid every time consumers refinance loans, raising the cost of credit for customers who repay early or refinance.
    Source: PEW

Read the full report here.

Bank Of America’s Zelle Boosts P2P Transactions 138 Pct In Q3 (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Bank of America cut expenses and reduced its provision for credit losses as the financial institution also beat analysts’ revenue and earnings expectations. Bank of America, in reporting its latest financials on Monday, also said that Zelle P2P payment transactions increased 138 percent year over year.

Revenue increased about 4 percent year over year, hitting $22.8 billion, higher than analyst expectations of $22.67 billion. The financial institution reported earnings per share of 66 cents, which represents a 43 percent year-over-year increase and is above analyst expectationsof 62 cents. Net income grew 32 percent to $7.2 billion.

Bank of America said its provision for credit losses decreased $118 million during the third quarter of 2018, to $716 million. “The net reserve release was $216 million, driven by continued improvement in consumer real estate and energy portfolios,” the bank said in its Q3 financial report.

As digital banks proliferate, so do risks (American Banker) Rated: A

Facing intense deposit competition from online-only banks such as Ally Financial and Goldman Sachs’ Marcus, many traditional banks are looking to turbocharge their deposit gathering by launching — or considering launching — digital banks of their own.

PNC Financial Services Group is the latest big bank to join the fray, recently rolling out a digital-only bank in markets where it lacks a brick-and-mortar presence. Like JPMorgan Chase, Citizens Financial Group and a number of other regional and community banks, PNC is counting on its digital bank to attract low-cost deposits to fuel loan growth while also helping it reach new demographic groups.

Early results have been promising — PNC CEO William Demchak said Friday that he’s been “pleasantly surprised” by the response in the Kansas City, Mo., market — but with the space becoming so crowded, industry watchers are beginning to question if the U.S. marketplace can reasonably support so many new digital banks.

Source: American Banker

Outside Financial Launches to Help Consumers Save up to $ 3,000 on Auto Loan Packages (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Outside Financial, an independent auto loan marketplace, launched its consumer-first platform today to bring transparency to auto finance. The company is the first to offer full auto loan packages outside of the dealership, which can save customers $1,000 to $3,000, along with time and hassle. Outside Financial also arranges refinances for existing borrowers.

In 2017, Americans racked up $568.6 billion in auto loans1, yet 60 percent of buyers don’t know they can bring their own financing to the dealership. The company’s new Outside Financial (OF) Markup Index* reveals that, on average, new car buyers are charged $1,717 in hidden markups when arranging their loans through a dealer.

Individual Investors Can Now One-Click Invest in Commercial Real Estate with CrowdStreet’s “Blended Portfolio” Offering (Benzinga) Rated: A

CrowdStreet, which operates the largest and most diversified online marketplace for direct equity investment in U.S. commercial real estate, is now raising $25 million for the company’s first CrowdStreet Blended Portfolio investment offering. To provide individual investors and registered investment advisors another way to diversify their investments with commercial real estate, the company plans a series of diversified and specialty portfolio investment options that will collectively raise and invest up to $170 million.

The first CrowdStreet Blended Portfolio’s proceeds will be deployed across 30-50 pre-vetted projects on the CrowdStreet marketplace, representing a broad range of commercial and multifamily asset types, risk profiles and geographies.

Credible.com Unveils First Truly Consumer-Centric Mortgage Marketplace (Business Wire) Rated: A

Credible.com, the leading online loan marketplace, announces the launch of its first-of-its-kind mortgage marketplace. Credible.com is the only mortgage marketplace that provides actual rates from top lenders in 3 minutes (without affecting a borrower’s credit score), and a streamlined digital origination process. The platform is designed to save borrowers frustration, time and money.

The Credible.com mortgage marketplace builds on the success of the company’s marketplaces for student loans, student loan refinancing, and personal loans, which have facilitated more than $1.6 billion in loans to date. The first product offered through the mortgage marketplace is mortgage refinancing, which went live today in 20 states that collectively represent 65 percent of mortgage originations.

Talking Regulation at the Online Lending Policy Summit (Lend Academy) Rated: A

The big topic of the day was the OCC’s Special Purpose National Bank Charter also known as the Fintech Charter. The topic was laid out for the audience by the first keynote speaker, Grovetta Gardineer, the Senior Deputy Comptroller for Compliance and Community Affairs at the OCC. She talked about the history of the OCC going back to 1863, with the National Banking Act, when the dollar supplanted state currencies as the sole currency of the United States, a revolutionary idea back then. Ms. Gardineer reaffirmed the authority of the OCC to introduce a national fintech charter and talked about how companies should proceed if they are interested. While she would not comment on specifics she did say that the OCC is currently having preliminary conversations with fintech companies but no formal application has been received yet.

The new head of the CFPB’s Office of Innovation, Paul Watkins, talked about the importance of the regulatory sandbox concept. He was one of the architects of the Arizona fintech sandbox and he is bringing that knowledge with him to Washington. He talked about the two main tools to help facilitate innovation at the CFPB: their trial disclosure program and the no action letter.

How Dealstruck Arrived, “Disrupted,” and Died – A Cautionary Online Lending Tale (deBanked) Rated: A

A self-described member of the “lucky sperm club,” a not-even 30-years-old Senturia went on to successfully raise $30 million of investor capital to fund his business, enough to fuel his rise and price-shame his competitors for years. But it wouldn’t last, as he detailed in book, Unwound, about the behind-the-scenes chaos that ravaged Dealstruck until the company closed for good in late 2016.

AFR Wholesale announces partnership with Floify (Housingwire) Rated: B

AFR Wholesale and Floify shook hands on a partnership, and AFR will now use Floify’s point-of-sale technology.

AFR’s goal in partnering with Floify, a 2018 HW Tech100 winner, is to reduce origination time and increase broker productivity. According to the release, Floify’s POS platform can save up to 15 hours of processing time per loan.

This is only one of an ever-increasing number of companies partnering with software companies or developing their own tech solutions in hopes of increasing productivity and getting some breathing room in the margin department in this tough mortgage market.

iintoo Launches Principal-Protection Product for Retail Investors Supported by Insurance Provided by Everest (iintoo Email) Rated: B

Online Real Estate Investment Management Company iintoo Investments Ltd. (“iintoo”) launched Epiic (Equity Protection Investment Community), the first-of-its-kind real estate investment product that provides principal protection for private accredited investors. Supported by insurance provided by an affiliate of Everest Re Group, Ltd. (NYSE:RE), a leading international reinsurance and insurance organization with operations that span the globe, and a social community pool, Epiic offers two layers of protection for investors’ principal.

iintoo opens up access to real estate investments that were once exclusive to professional funders and high-net-worth individuals. Starting at $25,000, accredited investors can invest in ownership shares in projected high yield, premium real estate projects.  Each project undergoes a rigorous due-diligence and approval process provided by iintoo.  In order to assess the risk factors in real estate investing, iintoo also conducted a thorough analysis of the real estate market in the United States, taking into consideration all sectors in all 50 states over the past 30 years.

TRANSACT Tech San Francisco to Examine the Impact of Software Providers on the Payments Industry (PR Newswire) Rated: B

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) will bring together executives from leading banking, payments and FinTech companies on November 1, 2018 for TRANSACT Tech San Francisco at the Wells Fargo Connections Center. The event will explore how software services are changing the way key ecosystems players – processors, banks and hardware manufactures – serve merchants and channel partners.

The day-long conference will kick-off with a fireside chat with Secil Watson, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital Solutions for Business at Wells Fargo. “Customer expectations are changing rapidly, and pace of change in technology is accelerating.” said Watson. “Yet we still have cash and checks. What can we learn from today’s customer experiences to build a better payments ecosystem for tomorrow?

Finicity Partners with Freddie Mac to Provide Industry-Leading Automated Income and Asset Assessment Solution (Finicity Corp) Rated: B

Finicity, a leading provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, announced today it has been selected as a third-party service provider for the new Freddie MacLoan AdvisorSM automated income and asset assessment capabilities, which provide a faster, easier way for lenders to verify loan application data upfront. Finicity’s digital verification reports greatly improve efficiency and accuracy, while also providing a simpler, more pleasant borrower experience.

Freddie Mac announced its new income and asset assessment capabilities at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Convention & Expo earlier today. Finicity’s verification reports are integrated within Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor®, the cornerstone of Loan Advisor Suite.  When the capability goes live later this quarter, asset verification will be generally available and income verification will be available as a limited release.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle launches ‘free iPad’ incentive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

LISTED peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle is enticing new investors by offering a free iPads. But there’s a catch – they have to add at least £30,000 to their Funding Circle accounts before 16 November.

The P2P platform is also offering a number of other cashback and ‘giftback’ incentives to lenders who invest lower amounts of money.

Investors who add £20,000 to their Funding Circle accounts will receive £200 in John Lewis vouchers, while those adding £15,000 will get an Amazon Echo.

LendInvest Update: Accelerates BTL Production Application Volume Thanks to Rate Reductions (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

UK-based online lender LendInvest announced last week it has reduced rates and product fees across its Buy-to-Let product range. According to LendInvest, the pay rate for its five year fixed rate product has dropped to 3.60%, with the ICR calculation at a pay rate of 3.60%. Meanwhile, product fees for all BTL mortgages on standard property and HMO cases have been reduced to 1%, with borrowers who prioritize leverage in mind.

The lending platform also reported that for a limited time, valuation fees have been reduced to £100 for all standard property cases. LendInvest will now cover the borrower’s legal fee scale costs for standard property, standard conveyance cases, where dual representation is selected.

You think it’s going to be easy challenging the big banks? Think again (The Times) Rated: A

here has never been a more opportune moment for the pack of digital upstarts looking to topple the institutions that dominate the financial industry. Rarely does a week go by when a big bank does not suffer an IT meltdown, spewing sensitive data into the ether or freezing customers out of their accounts.

A decade after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, public distaste for the high street banks remains at elevated levels. Two thirds of Britons do not trust big banks to act in the best interests of society, according to a recent YouGov poll. The advent of smartphones, meanwhile, has fundamentally altered consumers’ expectations of their relationship with service providers.

Amex brings SME financing to UK with ezbob (Banking Tech) Rated: A

American Express (Amex) has partnered with online financing platform ezbob to offer UK SMEs competitive access to finance.

Through this partnership, eligible Amex business clients will receive a referral to apply for up to £300,000 in finance from ezbob at a fixed annual interest rate from 3%.

Carlos Carriedo, senior vice-president of global commercial services at Amex, says: “We know agility is crucial for smaller businesses to help retain a competitive advantage but accessing the finance needed to react swiftly to changing customer demands, or seize an opportunity, can be a challenge.”

Amex customers taking out a loan with ezbob will also benefit from a 40,000 Membership Reward points offer, the company adds.

Connect for Intermediaries announces new panel (Mortage Strategy) Rated: A

Connect for Intermediaries has announced the launch of a new unsecured lending panel.

Comprising Funding Circle, iwoca, Whitoak and Fleximise, the panel will be open to all of Connect’s AR members, and Connect will be able to obtain terms on behalf of other brokers as referrals.

Loans from £5,000 to £250,000 for up to five years will be available from 1.5 per cent.

Connect sales director Kevin Thomson says: “We have seen an increased demand for unsecured loans for trading businesses, as increasingly, brokers are coming to us with business clients who are looking to ease cashflow or expand their businesses.

P2P Lending Investment Returns Outstrip Many Market Competitors (CL News) Rated: A

P2P lending arrived in the UK back in 2010 with the launch of Funding Circle. The idea was simple. In the wake of the financial crisis, banks were – and still are – paying abysmally low rates of interest to savers. P2P platforms allowed savers to collectively lend money to businesses and individuals, usually over relatively short periods of time. By cutting out the middleman (or to be more precise, banks and other traditional lenders), P2P lenders were able to offer competitive rates to borrowers and superior returns to investors.

The market has evolved over the years. AltFi – which provides specialist news for the alternative investment industry along with a range of analytics services – says the market is growing rapidly. For instance, in 2015, P2P lending platforms brokered around £1.1bn in loans. In the first half of 2018 alone, the figure was £3bn. Separate figures from the Peer to Peer Finance Association reveal that its members have, to date, originated loans to a value of £9bn.

11:FS Foundry’s launch brings digital to banks (Banking Tech) Rated: A

Consultancy firm 11:FS has launched 11:FS Foundry, an approach to delivering digital banking services through a modular core banking architecture. It kicks off with the partnership with DNB, Norway’s financial services group, which has also become an investment partner.

DNB has invested £3 million for a 5% stake in 11:FS Foundry. This investment represents the long-term commitment between 11:FS and DNB to change how banks deliver digital banking services, the two companies say.

Watchdog warns payday lenders over customer complaints (Financial Times) Rated: A

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority encouraged payday lenders to proactively compensate past customers; the industry has come under a lot of heat in recent months after a surge of complaints; companies say a lot of these complaints are bogus and a pushed by professional claims management companies (CMCs)

Wonga was forced to shut down a few months ago after they saw a significant rise in complaints, complaints now cost companies more than $725 per complaint after the first 25 complaints; the rise in complaints has come after new rules were put in place in 2015 where high cost lenders we ordered to drop fees and adhere to stricter standards; a new survey by Kantar TNS showed that 60 percent of payday loan customers still pay more than anticipated.

Fintech offers fresh ways to finance an MBA (Financial Times) Rated: A

According to David Simpson, admissions director at London Business School, MBA students spend just as much time trying to find funding as they do trying to find the right program; while struggling to find his own financing Prodigy Finance CEO Cameron Stevens though there had to be a better way so he started Prodigy with two former classmates.

The company is now growing fast by offering a service few others do, while also collecting credit records from across the globe; “You have talented people who have proved their potential in receiving offers to business school,” says Mr Stevens to the FT. “The only barrier for them is funding, because the banks are still incredibly localised, as they were in the 1500s.”

Arbuthnot Banking Group PLC Third Quarter Trading Update (Arbuthnot Group) Rated: A

Customer Lending balances are 28% higher than at the same time in the prior year and originations of new loans are 18% higher. However, as previously stated, the Group remains committed to maintaining its discipline in both credit underwriting decisions and return on capital when extending credit.

The newly launched Asset Based Lending division continues to develop ahead of the original business plan and has a strong pipeline of new opportunities. The Specialist Finance division has now completed the hiring of its core team of six employees and is currently setting up its operations based in Manchester. It is expected that it will write its first deals toward the end of the fourth quarter or early 2019.

OakNorth appoints form PRA director to board (Finextra) Rated: B

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – today announces the appointment of Martin Stewart, the former Director of Banks, Building Societies & Credit Unions at the Bank of England, as an Independent Adviser on its advisory board.

Stewart joined the Bank of England in April 2013 and spent five and a half years there. In addition to supervising UK banks, building societies, credit unions and new entrants into UK banking, he was a Member of the PRA’s Executive Team responsible for PRA regulatory policy. His regulatory experience also includes spending three years at the FSA between 2010-2013, where he was a member of the leadership team that defined and implemented the UK’s post financial crisis prudential regulatory regime that now underpins the work of the Prudential Regulation Authority. In addition to this, he has almost two decades’ board-level experience having been Managing Director of a group of European subsidiary companies of the IFG Group PLC for almost four years, and as Chairman of the International Credit Union Regulators’ Network for the last six years.
China

China’s P2P Lending Sector Is in Serious Trouble (Money Makers) Rated: AAA

P2P lending has been lucrative in China with little constraining regulation. The industry is worth as much as $120 billion and has been high-risk, but high return.

Chinese regulators have been clamping down on debt and financial risk, the number of loan defaults is rising, capital investments are running out of the sector, and Chinese citizens are losing money. And getting pretty angry about it.

In July 2018, 114 P2P lending platforms in China were shut down or had funds suspended, without warning, by China’s regulators over liquidity concerns. Since June 2018, 243 online P2P lending platforms have gone bust.

Several Chinese Peer-to-Peer Lending Companies Have Submitted Self-Inspection Reports (Capital Watch) Rated: A

With hundreds of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms having collapsed at the beginning of this year, different district-level financial bureaus recently rolled out a tougher reform on all P2P platforms’ risk compliance to ease a growing panic among investors.

This industry reform involves three major steps. First, all platforms have to complete a P2P Compliance Self-Inspection Report and submit it to the bureau by the end of October. Then, companies will be inspected by its local Internet Finance Industry Association, a non-state association. This will be followed by verification of inspection results by district-level Municipal Bureau of Financial Work with field inspection and a possible final check by higher-level government organizations.

New York-listed Hexindai Inc. (Nasdaq: HX) and PPDAI Group Inc. (NYSE: PPDF) both announced that they have completed and submitted the report.

European Union

A risky investment (Euro Weekly News) Rated: AAA

MANY UK nationals living part of the year in Spain, or visiting often, might spend months here but still retain tax residency in their home country.

This means those looking for investment opportunities can still take advantage of UK tax efficient products such as Finance ISAs – ones which use peer-to-peer lending to offer high rates of return. They may be nothing new but one legal justice firm has upped the ante offering returns of up to 8 per cent a year.

International

Advantages of P2B platforms in lending to SMEs (Lendit Conference Blog) Rated: AAA

In the EU and Australia, SMEs comprise 99.8% of all the firms and employ about 67% of the workforce. To tell the truth, SMEs might be rightfully called the economy, not just the backbone of it. A few other facts that follow are paradoxical. 2 years ago, International Finance Corporation (under World Bank) presented statistics that the gap for underfinanced SMEs around the world stood at 2.6 trillion $. One might expect, the situation got better in recent years with the global economy picking up and showing better and better numbers. On the contrary, most recent statistics from the same institution shows that the gap has widened to 5.2 trillion $.

P2P platforms make lending process global

P2B platforms can connect a business on one side of the world with an investor from another side of the world, and with a third party providing a service from yet another part of the world. All applications for loans can be made online, processed, assessed and the decision made within a matter of a few hours. Compare it to a similar process with the banks and the difference, that of speed and efficiency becomes clear. As an asset (loan) is put on the platform, investors can start investing within a matter of seconds. In such a way, a local business, somewhere in Eastern Europe can get funds from someone (or institutional investors) in UK or Germany and be able to use the collected amount for business operations within a couple of days.

4 developments that will shape the future of fintech (Business Matters) Rated: A

Within the past decade, we’ve seen the landscape of fintech move from a few disruptive start-ups to an industry that’s changing the landscape of business altogether. Consumers are becoming more and more accepting of technology as part of their day-to-day finance, a factor that has stretched the services sector and levelled the playing field with traditional institutions.

For instance, there has been a monumental shift in the way that consumers are managing their money. PwC’s Global Fintech Survey 2017 found that 84% of incumbent financial services providers believed their customers were already making payments with fintech companies, 68% thought customers were conducting fund transfers, and 60% said their clients were using fintech for their personal finances.

Quona Capital leads $ 5 million round for Brazilian small business lender BizCapital (Impact Alpha) Rated: A

Brazilian fintech firm BizCapital launched operations in January to help Brazil’s small business owners secure capital necessary for the day-to-day and growth needs of their businesses. Quona Capital, a financial tech investment firm that spun out of Accion, has led the company’s R$20 million ($5 million) investment round. Two existing investors, Monashees and Chromo Invest, both based in Brazil, also participated.

Roughly 70% of Brazil’s micro and small business owners are shut out of mainstream bank lending and instead resort to taking personal loans, which can carry interest rates as high as 200%. BizCapital offers short-term loans for up to R$150,000 ($40,000) at annual rates in the mid-double digits. The company hasn’t disclosed the size of its loan book but says it’s received more than 100,000 credit requests and serves customers in all 26 Brazilian states.

Australia

Global corporate lending platform, Trade Ledger has warned the Federal Government of substantial weaknesses in its proposed Open Banking implementation plan, when compared to the global best-practice model.

These primarily include the lack of an independent implementation and governance organisation, and limited consumer and small to medium-sized enterprise representation in the development of industry standards.

According to Trade Ledger, these omissions “risk a scaremongering campaign around data security that could stall progress and reduce the scope of the changes, leaving the door open for overseas financial markets to take over our local markets in the new era of Open Banking”.

India

UIDAI Asks Non-Banking Fintech Companies To Stop Aadhaar-Based Services (Inc 42) Rated: AAA

After getting telecom companies to submit their exit plans from Aadhaar-based services, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Aadhaar regulatory body, has now asked digital payment companies to stop offering any sort of Aadhaar-based service on their platforms.

In a letter, the UIDAI also directed digital payment companies to submit confirmation of closure of Aadhaar-related authentication and their alternative plans to exit from the Aadhaar-based ecosystem.

According to reports, the UIDAI has sent the letter only to non-banking companies such as PayPoint, Eko India Financial Services, and Oxigen Services, among others.

Citing unnamed sources, an ET report stated that banks and payment companies such as Paytm, which have obtained banking licences, have not received the notice.

Africa

Kenya built a reputation as a pioneer of financial inclusion through its early adoption of a mobile money system that enables people to transfer cash and make payments on cellphones without a bank account.

Now, a proliferation of lenders are using the same technology to extend credit to the banked and unbanked alike, saddling borrowers with high interest rates and leaving regulators scrambling to keep up.

This week, the finance ministry published a draft bill on financial regulation which covers digital lenders for the first time. A key aim is to ensure that providers treat retail customers fairly, it said.

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