Tuesday April 10 2018, Daily News Digest

Tuesday April 10 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Prime Meridian announces new opportunities fund. TransUnion launches startup credit kit. SoFi hires Goldman head of mortgage securitization as CFO. Upgrade intros new personal credit line. The Axiom Group ready to invest $50M into charge-off portfolios. S. Korean P2P loans increase 10.3% in March. Today’s main analysis: The highs and lows of Bank Negara’s 2017 […]

Tuesday April 10 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

Prime Meridian Capital Management Announces New Fund Launch: The Prime Meridian Special Opportunities Fund (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

Prime Meridian Capital Management (PMCM) a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) specializing in marketplace lending strategies across three alternative credit verticals in four funds, today introduced the Special Opportunities Fund.

The new fund, due to launch in the second quarter 2018, will invest in multiple high yielding alternative credit verticals including litigation finance, life settlements, targeted high yielding, niche real estate, small business, and consumer loans.

TransUnion Boosts Entrepreneurial Innovation with New Startup Credit Kit (Investors Hub), Rated: AAA

To meet the needs of startups and their investors, TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) today launched the Startup Credit Kit at LendIt Fintech USA 2018, giving new companies faster access to cutting-edge alternative and trended credit and fraud prevention data.

With TransUnion’s Startup Credit Kit, new businesses can more quickly gain access to depersonalized consumer credit data to better explore the market for untapped opportunities. It also helps new businesses determine the viability of their products by analyzing real-world depersonalized consumer credit data. This allows startups to focus their resources on high-potential market segments and product opportunities while allowing them to prove their concept to raise funding in the early stages of the startup lifecycle.

SoFi hires former Goldman Sachs head of mortgage securitization as new CFO (Housing Wire), Rated: AAA

Now, it looks like SoFi may be making a bigger move into securitizations by hiring the former head of mortgage securitization at Goldman Sachs as its new chief financial officer.

SoFi announced Monday that it named Michelle Gill as the company’s new CFO.

Gill comes to SoFi from TPG Sixth Street Partners, a credit firm. Gill joined TPG last yearafter a lengthy term at Goldman Sachs.

Gill spent 14 years at Goldman Sachs, eventually serving as a partner and co-heading the firm’s structured finance business.

Lending Club Ex-CEO Is Staging A Comeback With New Fintech Startup (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Online lending startup Upgrade, led by cofounder and CEO Renaud Laplanche, announced that it’s now initiating $100 million in personal loans a month, with an average loan size of about $10,000. The one-year-old company has reached $60 million in annualized revenue, Laplanche says, and by the end of 2018, he expects to hit a $100 million revenue run-rate and become profitable.

Upgrade also announced a new product called Personal Credit Line, a hybrid of a personal loan and credit card. Consumers can get approved for up to $50,000 in credit, and they can draw down on the line as needed, paying interest only on what they’ve borrowed. The credit line has a fixed length of 12 to 60 months and a fixed interest rate, and it forces consumers to pay part of the loan principal every month.

Online lender touts new personal credit line as HELOC alternative (American Banker), Rated: A

The first online lending firm Renaud Laplanche founded, LendingClub, targeted consumers with hefty credit card balances, offering them the opportunity to refinance at a lower interest rate.

In his latest venture, Laplanche hopes to lure customers before they rack up big credit card bills. Upgrade, the San Francisco-based online lender that he founded in August 2016, is rolling out a new product that is designed for folks who are anticipating big expenses but are not sure exactly how much they will need to spend or when.

THE AXIOM GROUP ANNOUNCES $ 50M IN FUNDING AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE CHARGE OFF PORTFOLIOS (Lendit), Rated: AAA

The Axiom Group announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it has obtained $50M in capital to finance the purchase of charge off portfolios with a focus on consumer loans and credit cards, specifically in the FinTech lending space.

This increase in capital will allow The Axiom Group to pursue large portfolios and monetize those portfolios immediately for the lender/seller partners. By selling bad debt portfolios, FinTech companies can utilize the income for further lending, as well as reduce their risk associated with the challenges of collecting on charged off accounts.

Fintech lenders will struggle to regain mojo alone (Nasdaq), Rated: A

Some 13 months later LendingClub, which Sanborn has run since a mis-selling scandal cost predecessor Renaud Laplanche his job in 2016, remains just a lender. Its stock has lost around a third of its value in the past year.

On Deck’s shares are effectively flat over the same period. But boss Noah Breslow had to slash costs last year after credit losses. He now plans to boost revenue by expanding into portfolio management and loss mitigation, and finding more bank partnerships.

Privately held Social Finance has done the most to diversify, adding consumer and mortgage loans as well wealth management to student-loan refinancing.

SoFi is now the biggest player. It extended $12 billion of new loans last year, 50 percent more than erstwhile leader LendingClub, and its adjusted EBITDA is two-thirds higher at $126 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yet each pales in comparison to JPMorgan’s retail unit, which lends around 10 times as much and enjoys lower funding costs thanks to customer deposits.

Consumer Lending Platform Best Egg Exceeds $ 5 billion & Celebrates Fourth Birthday (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Marlette Funding, LLC, the owner of consumer lending platform Best Egg, announced on Monday the year-end results and key accomplishments for first quarter 2017. According to Marlette Funding, during the past year, Best Egg experienced origination growth of 66%, significantly reduced its customer acquisition costs, and ended 2017 with three straight quarters of net income positive on a GAAP basis. Best Egg has reportedly exceeded $5 billion of prime loans and celebrated its fourth birthday. 

Launched in 2014, Marlette Funding, through its consumer brand Best Egg, describes itself as a financial technology provider on a mission to find better ways to make money accessible to allow people to “enjoy life.”

Elevate to Release First Quarter 2018 Earnings on Monday, April 30, 2018 (Business Wire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that it will release its first quarter 2018 financial results after the market closes on Monday, April 30, 2018. Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer, and Chris Lutes, Chief Financial Officer, will also host a conference call on the day of the release (April 30, 2018) at 5:00 pm ET to discuss Elevate’s financial results.

 

How Blockchain is Changing the Mortgage Game (Investopedia), Rated: A

While blockchain doesn’t offer a perfect remedy to the problems afflicting the industry, it does provide a model that minimizes some of them. The first major improvement the technology brings is transparency. Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) provides two major upgrades to the current model—it decentralizes the storage of information, and it makes all transactions immediately available across all nodes of the chain. The first upgrade means that companies and lenders can no longer manipulate information or engage in shadowy practices with data, as it is shared across an entire network and not under their exclusive supervision.

Nav Launches First-of-Its-Kind Cash Flow Analysis Tool for Small Business Owners (Lendit), Rated: A

Nav, a free platform that helps small business owners build, protect and leverage their financial data, announced the launch of Business Banking Health Check, a feature to help small business owners make more informed decisions on their cash flow. Nav is the only place entrepreneurs can access their personal and business credit scores, along with cash flow insights to provide greater transparency into how lenders view their
creditworthiness and enable greater access to capital.

According to Pepperdine’s Capital Markets Report, insufficient credit profiles and cash flow are two of the primary reasons banks reject business loan applications. Nav’s platform uses these data sets to help business owners manage their fundability, while also doing legwork for lenders by matching its small business customers to their most-qualified funding options.

LENDIO ANNOUNCES LENDER TURNDOWN PROGRAM (Lendit), Rated: A

Lendio announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it has facilitated nearly $60 million in loans through its lender turndown program.

Lendio’s lender turndown program allows lending partners to offer a marketplace of loan options to customers that do not fit the lender’s credit box; this allows lenders to turn a decline response into a potential loan offer for the small business owner.

LENDR ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF ITS BUSINESS DEBIT CARD (Lendit), Rated: A

Lendr Online, LLC. announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it is has launched a new business debit card product to service its growing client base. The ability to fund business owners in real-time via an instant access virtual Mastercard followed up with a traditional plastic card utilizing the latest in EMV chip security, will further enhance its brand and solidify Lendr’s position as a premier financial services firm.

Ocrolus Secures $ 4M in Series A Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Ocrolus, a New York City-based provider of solutions to analyze financial documents, raised $4m in Series A funding.

The round was led by Bullpen Capital with participation from QED Investors, Laconia Capital Group, ValueStream Ventures, RiverPark Ventures, Sam Hodges (co-founder, Funding Circle), Vince Passione (CEO, LendKey), Ram Ahluwalia (CEO, PeerIQ), Bill King (former head of securitization, JP Morgan), Hugh Nguyen (CEO, ClearServe) and Tanya Barnes (managing director, Golden Seeds), among others. In conjunction with the funding, David Arcara of Laconia Capital Group and Nick Adams of Differential Ventures will be joining Ocrolus as board members. Paul Martino of Bullpen Capital, Amias Gerety of QED Investors and Karl Antle of ValueStream Ventures will be board observers.

 

THINK WALLET REVEALS SCALABLE SOLUTION TO REDUCE FUNDING COST OF PERSONAL LOANS (Lendit), Rated: A

ThinkWallet.com announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it has solved the problem many lenders currently face: Overspending to attract leads that can’t qualify for their personal loan products.

Nelnet Expands Loan Servicing Offerings To Meet Demands Of Fintech Lenders (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Nelnet (NYSE: NNI) is bringing a new servicing option to Fintech lending platforms. Nelnet Loan Servicing will leverage the experience, scale, and personnel of its existing servicing business with technology enhancements to meet the unique needs of Fintech companies with primary and backup servicing.

 

General Atlantic in talks on a deal with Brazil’s online lender Geru (Reuters), Rated: B

U.S. investment firm General Atlantic is in talks to buy a minority stake in closely held Brazilian online lending startup Geru Tecnologia e Serviços SA, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Other investors may join General Atlantic, the sources said, adding that Geru’s partners have spent the last few weeks visiting funds in San Francisco and New York to raise about $50 million.

 

 

 

 

IDVALIDATION SHOWCASES GOVERNMENTAL VERIFICATION SOLUTIONS FOR LENDERS AT LENDIT FINTECH USA – 2018 (Lendit), Rated: B

IDValidation will be showcasing their governmental verification solutions to the lending community and Stops 100% of Synthetic Identity Theft.

IDValidation’s Consent Based SSN Verification Allows Financial Institutions Direct Access to the Main Frame Database of the Social Security Administration to Accurately Verify the Validity of a Social Security Number and Stop Synthetic Identity Theft. Toyota Financial Services has conducted a successful pilot. IDValidation has become the forerunner in providing this vital tool to the Financial World helping mitigate
Fraud & ID Theft.

 

 

 

LendingPoint To Accept Loan Payments and Disburse Loans via Debit Cards (Business Wire), Rated: A

Bringing a new layer of convenience to financial transactions with its customers, LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, announced today it has entered into an agreement with TabaPay that will integrate debit cards into LendingPoint’s financing platform.

Beginning immediately, LendingPoint will allow borrowers to use debit cards for loan payments they make online or over the phone. LendingPoint will be able to verify account ownership and balance of its applicants through the TabaPay platform. Then later this year, LendingPoint will also be able to instantly disburse loans to approved borrower accounts through their debit cards, 24/7/365, or credit card payoffs. Those inbound and outbound debit-card disbursements and collections will happen instantaneously and are free for the borrower.

HARVESTING INC LAUNCHES AI BACKED CREDIT RISK SYSTEM FOR AGRICULTURE LENDERS (Lendit), Rated: A

Silicon Valley-based FinTech Social Enterprise Harvesting Inc, launches its innovative credit scoring system for financial institutions to assess farmers creditworthiness and facilitate agriculture financing .

Harvesting’s Credit Risk System is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered platform which leverages on traditional & alternative data sets and allows financial institutions to build, deploy and monitor credit business in the cloud, within a fraction of time & resources it takes today. It’s easy to use interface with advanced feature engineering flexibility allows credit risk manager to create best of the breed custom credit risk model for the organization on a cloud infrastructure. It allows credit risk manager of any size of financial institutions to leverage the power of AI and increase acceptance rate and reduce defaults.

FUTUREBANK DIGITAL AND API BANKING PLATFORM INTEGRATES ENTERSEKT’S SECURE CONNEKT PAYMENT FUNCTIONALITY (Lendit), Rated: B

Global Kinetic announced today at LendIt Fintech USA, that it will be integrating Entersekt’s Connekt functionality into the FutureBank platform. FutureBank’s unique ability to abstract the complexities in legacy core banking systems and customize digital channels through its technology platform helps banks and disruptive FinTech companies work together more efficiently. The growing digital banking market in the US has become vulnerable as consumers are frustrated by poorly designed mobile apps that often have weak security implementations and limited payment functionality. The FutureBank platform can now offer converged payment acceptance through Connekt.

PENSCO Launches Custodian Connect (Lendit), Rated: B

PENSCO Trust Company (“PENSCO”) announced today at LendIt Fintech USA, the launch of Custodian Connect, an API-driven capability that seamlessly connects investment platforms to PENSCO enabling uninterrupted opening and funding of an IRA from within the platform.

 

Spring Labs Announces World Class Industry Advisory Board to Help Build Decentralized Credit and Identity Validation Network (Lendit), Rated: B

Spring Labs, which is building the Spring Network, a blockchain-based network being designed to allow lenders, banks, and data providers to securely and efficiently exchange data with one another, today announced its founding industry advisory board. The industry advisory board comprises a group of industry leaders in finance, credit, and compliance, with members including Sheila Bair, the former Chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); and Nigel Morris, Co-Founder and former long-time President of Capital One, and co-founder of QED Investors, a leading investor in global financial technology companies.

This news of the industry advisory board comes on the heels of Spring Labs announcing a $14.75 million seed fundraising round, one of the largest initial venture rounds to-date for a blockchain startup.

CoinVantage Announces Release of Flagship Portfolio Accounting & Reporting System for Digital Assets (Lendit), Rated: B

Alternative Investment fund administrator MG Stover & Co. (MG Stover) announced today a partnership with software technology firm CoinVantage as part of its strategy to grow its digital asset fund administration business and deliver world class solutions to its clients.

Cross River Bank Demonstrates Key Growth, Makes Significant Personnel Hires (Lendit), Rated: B

As Cross River Bank approaches its 10th anniversary, the leader in the emerging FinTech market is demonstrating a surge in growth and surpassing significant milestones as it grows its customer base, offerings and strategic partnerships designed to revolutionize the banking infrastructure.

 

United Kingdom

VPC’s revenue dips in February after record January performance (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: AAA

VICTORY Park Capital (VPC) Specialty Lending Investments saw its total net revenue return dip to 0.81 per cent in the month of February, after reporting a record return of 1.08 per cent in January.

In its monthly market commentary, VPC said that the fall in revenue was due to a combination of factors including a “one-time fee earned in January and a shorter day count”. Capital losses were attributed to VPC’s exposure to Elevate Credit – a US-based provider of short-term loans, and securitisation residuals.

 

International

The P2P Lending Alternative – Crowdvouching – Will Now Run in Test Mode (Coin Telegraph), Rated: AAA

In 2017, Suretly token-holders were inspired by the idea of a crowdvouching platform – an international exchange for micro-guarantees, where people can make money by helping others borrow. In the beginning of 2018, the project made something that many other ICOs were not able to deliver: the demo version of its product. To become a guarantor (or a ‘voucher’, in the crowdvouching terminology), an individual needs to download the Suretly mobile application, where he can find borrowers’ loan orders, vouch, and get receive a sum of money in return (a fee).

On April 9, Suretly releases the first version of the new app, available to all users registered for its testing period. The borrowers’ behavior is based on the real data of past periods, and, therefore, users can learn different vouching strategies and practice them in future.

Unlike p2p lending, Suretly does not lend money directly, but rather serves as an intermediary between financial institutions, borrowers, and co-signers. Suretly users vouch for a small part of a loan sum and guarantee that the loan will be repaid in the case of a borrower’s default. Liability for each loan is divided among all vouchers and each voucher’s approval serves as an insurance of the loan. In order for the loan to be approved, the entire amount must be guaranteed by the vouchers.

RCN AT LENDIT FINTECH USA 2018 (Lendit), Rated: B

RCN announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it will showcase how global lending through peer-to-peer technology is possible using blockchain technology and cosigned smart contracts.

With billions of people all over the world excluded from traditional banking & financial services, Sebastian Serrano (CEO), will explain the company’s successful history in Latin America since it was funded and how RCN can contribute to the world’s economy by providing credit and financial inclusion through blockchain technology and cosigned smart contracts.

Scienaptic releases significant product enhancements to its credit underwriting product ‘Ether Underwrite’ (Lendit), Rated: B

Scienaptic Systems Inc. announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it has released an advanced version of its Credit Underwriting product, Ether Underwrite.

European Union

Can Europe cash in on the fintech revolution? (Silicon Republic), Rated: AAA

Technologies such as blockchain underpin the fintech revolution, paving the way for a whole groundswell of new start-ups that have targeted markets underserved by banks through better user interfaces and user experience (UX) as well as through digital marketing and branding.

A case in point is Revolut, a London-headquartered start-up with offices in Dublin. It turns out that cash-savvy young workers have no time for bank fees and are less forgiving of banks than older generations, and are flocking to these challenger banks.

Examples include: Zurich’s Advanon, an online platform for invoice financing for SMEs; Dublin’s CurrencyFair, which allows individuals and businesses to send funds to bank accounts worldwide; Stockholm’s Klarna, which provides online payments for e-commerce sites; and London’s Monzo, a start-up bank that has amassed more than 20,000 current-account holders and more than 500,000 people using its distinctive ‘hot coral’ cards.

Latin America

Creditas publishes report on the Brazilian lending market (Lendit), Rated: B

Creditas, the leading digital lending platform for secured loans in Latin America, has published the updated report “The disruptors paradise: Understanding the Brazilian lending space” at the Lendit USA 2018 conference.

With roughly US$ 150 billion in net interest margin, Brazilian consumer debt represents a unique opportunity to significantly increase debt availability and reduce the 30%+ banking spread. The report summarizes the reasons behind the high spread of the Brazilian ecosystem and the evolution during the last decade.

Canada

Nova Credit Partners with Transunion Canada to Expand Immigrant Financial Access across North America (Lendit), Rated: AAA

Nova Credit announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it partnered with Transunion to serve creditworthy newcomers to Canada who may otherwise miss out on credit opportunities due to a lack of Canadian credit history.

The new product—TransUnion Global Credit Connect powered by Nova Credit—provides newcomers to Canada with a platform to import their historical credit information and have their international credit reports delivered to end-users such as banks, in a streamlined, standardized format. The foreign credit score is mapped to a Canadian equivalent score so that it can be consistently applied.

MENA

Dubai SME Expands Agreement With Finance Solutions Provider ‘Beehive’ (Albawaba Business), Rated: A

The Mohammed bin Rashid Fund (MBRF) for SME – the financial arm of Dubai SME, itself an affiliate of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) – has expanded the partnership agreement with Beehive, the MENA region’s first regulated peer-to-peer lending platform, which will cross the $50 million mark of total funding for SMEs across the platform this month.

Following a successful initial launch, MBRF and Beehive have broadened the scope of the agreement to increase the credit guarantee to AED750k and also offer Sharia Compliant Invoice Finance, a short-term finance option for businesses wishing to improve cash flow.

Asia

South Korea’s P2P loans jump 10.3% on month in March (Pulse News), Rated: AAA

The combined loans of peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders in South Korea reached almost 2.3 trillion won ($2.1 billion) last month amid burgeoning demand for the debt financing service that allows individuals to borrow or lend money online without going through an official financial institution.

According to Korea P2P Finance Association on Monday, the accumulated loans of its 65 members reached 2.296 trillion won as of end of March, up 213.6 billion won or 10.26 percent from a month ago. By sector, total loans on real estate project financing reached 768.5 billion won, real estate mortgage 611.5 billion won, and other mortgages 472.4 billion won, and credit loans 443.2 billion won. The members’ average loan interest rate was 14.32 percent.

The State Of The Nation: The highs and lows in Bank Negara’s 2017 annual report (The Edge Markets), Rated: AAA

Source: The Edge Markets

THERE is a chance the economy will grow as much as 6% this year, according to Bank Negara Malaysia’s 2017 annual report, which was released on March 28. Not only is that ahead of 2017’s stronger-than-expected 5.9% gross domestic product growth, the central bank’s baseline projection of 5.5% growth for this year is at the higher end of the official 5% to 5.5% projected in the Economic Report 2017/2018, which was released just five months ago.

In fact, working numbers in the annual report indicate 5.67% growth for 2018 — exceeding the government’s projection last October, although just short of 2017’s spectacular 5.9% reading.
Source: the Edge Markets

While last year’s growth beat everyone’s expectations (including the central bank’s working number of 4.57%), it is worth noting that 2016’s actual GDP growth of 4.2% was very close to the central bank’s working number of 4.1% when official projections were between 4% and 5%.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Competing With Banks Through a Mobile App

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost […]

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost trust in traditional banks, and millennials don’t see the appeal in standing in line for banking services. To fill the void, Varo Money has launched a mobile banking business. The aim is to disrupt how banking is done in the United States. Its goal as to help customers cover their expenses, pay their bills, and build wealth over time.

Varo Money was founded in 2015 by Assaf Guery, Colin Walsh, Mykola (Kolya) Klymenko, and Roger Van Duinen. Its headquarters is located in San Francisco, California. The company has managed to raise over $78 million in various funding rounds with PE giant Warburg Pincus as the lead investor. CEO and Co-Founder Colin Walsh previously served for over 25 years in various reputed financial institutions like Amex in Europe, Lloyd Banking group, and Wells Fargo.

More Than a Bank

Throughout his professional career, Walsh realized a growing need to empower the next generation with tools that will help them improve their overall financial condition. He also realized incumbents were too entrenched in their existing business models to concentrate on developing products for the millennial generation. This became the driving force behind Varo Money. So he built a talented team with deep financial services expertise and a strong consumer technology knowledge. Varo Money is trying to be a one-stop shop for users’ banking needs and wants to inculcate better financial habits among customers by providing them with the right tools and financial guidance.

Last year, Varo Money launched their mobile app and banking products through a partnership with The Bancorp Bank. The partnership helped the platform come to the market with a FDIC-insured product. This helped them compete against incumbent banks and appeal to a larger cross section of the population. But Varo has big ambitions and wants a bigger share of the pie. That’s why the company applied for a national bank charter through the OCC. Even though obtaining this charter will be an uphill task, considering no new charter has been issued in the last decade or so, it’s a courageous move. It puts the spotlight on the young entrant and highlights its intention to be a serious regulated player in the industry.

Varo’s Business Model

The foundation of the Varo Money platform is relationship banking. It offers a basic consumer checking account just like any other bank, but the difference is a customer can perform all the basic functions like deposits and money transfers without having to go visit a bank branch. It even issues a debit card to customers and has started offering savings accounts. A customer can open a savings account on his or her mobile app and Varo offers interest rates up to 50 basis points as compared to 1 or 2 basis points offered by traditional banks.

Apart from the bank account, Varo also offers short- and long-term financing solutions. The short-term line of credit is a flexible line of credit (LOC) and is available to customers unexpected financial challenges. The LOC helps customers manage cash flows while avoiding the need to take a payday loan or cash advance. Also, 3- and 5-year fixed rate installment loans are aavailable for long-term financial needs.

Varo Money’s Technology and Competitive Posture

Varo Money is available as an iOS application with an Android version coming soon. The app is loaded with features like touch ID, a geolocation service to spot nearby ATMs, and the ability to link other accounts through APIs. The app is free and requires no minimum balance to open an account. Also, there are no foreign exchange charges or overdraft fees. Its customer base has access to over 55,000 ATMs worldwide as compared to 18,000 ATMs for Chase and 12,000 for Wells Fargo.

Varo charges a nominal fee for debit card usage. It also sells financial products of its partner bank earning income from that partnership. However, its lending products are a primary income generator. The pricing and structure of LOC products are developed to compete with other alternative lenders in the market.

Varo has a lot of competitors in different niches of banking. Players like Discover, Ally, and Goldman Sachs concentrate on only a few lending segments; these lenders do not follow a complete relationship model, but only offer a specific product. On the other hand, there are neobanks like Chime, Simple, and BankMobile that are single-purpose saving apps. Though they are doing a great job when it comes to user experience, the range of products offered by them is narrow compared to a full suite of products offered by a traditional bank.

This is where Varo Money is different. It is focused on customer relationships and wants the ability to offer the entire gamut of banking services to consumers. This gives it multiple cross-selling opportunities and reduces the cost of client acquisition. Its strategy seems to be paying off. In just 7-8 months, Varo has garnered tens of thousands of customers and over 100k downloads.

Conclusion

Varo Money is focused on replacing traditional banks with its comprehensive suite of online banking services and products. Coupled with its obsession for helping millennials make smarter financial decisions, Varo Money is looking to be an emerging player in the digital bankin sector.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

How Subprime Lenders Can Leverage Debit Data in Our Cashless Society

How Subprime Lenders Can Leverage Debit Data in Our Cashless Society

For subprime lenders, three macroeconomic trends are affecting credit considerations on an applicant-by-applicant basis. Lenders caught flatfooted in response to these trends risk diminishing their ROI. Despite impressive job and market growth, 56 percent of consumers had subprime credit scores in 2015, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). Cash is no longer king. The average […]

How Subprime Lenders Can Leverage Debit Data in Our Cashless Society

For subprime lenders, three macroeconomic trends are affecting credit considerations on an applicant-by-applicant basis. Lenders caught flatfooted in response to these trends risk diminishing their ROI.

  • Despite impressive job and market growth, 56 percent of consumers had subprime credit scores in 2015, according to the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).
  • Cash is no longer king. The average consumer uses their debit card at least 21 times per month, a 32 percent increase throughout the past decade, according to a 2015 debit issuer study commissioned by PULSE.
  • More lenders are beginning to understand the unreliability of the traditional credit score. Each year, 68 to 82 percent of borrowers are new to the subprime market, according to non-traditional credit reporting bureau Clarity Services. An even higher percentage of borrowers will be new to any given vendor. Almost 10 percent of these are thin- or no-file millennials with very different financial backgrounds than previous generations.

Here’s the good news: With access to targeted data, lenders can find reliable opportunities for growth while minimizing potential risks.

Subprime Credit Consumers: the New Majority

Subprime lenders are used to lower credit scores. Since new circumstances have put more consumers in the recent subprime majority, however, it’s worth exploring the circumstances of this larger share.

The financial crisis of 2008/09 occurred during the same time that millions of millennials came of age. In 2015, CreditCards.com found that a third of those aged 18 to 29 did not have credit cards. In 2009, the CARD Act limited the ability of companies to market credit cards on college campuses, cutting card issuance almost in half. As a result, the credit histories of millions of young adults are even more abbreviated than usual, contributing to the new subprime majority.

Additionally, a 2015 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report explores the 26 million Americans who are “credit invisible,” and the 19 million considered “unscored” by the traditional credit bureaus. While one in 10 Americans don’t have any credit history, an additional 8 percent have insufficient histories, leaving them under-serviced in the credit industry.

These are the economic currents that have more subprime lenders seeking non-traditional sources for data.

Cash, Dethroned

Once upon a time, cash was how we paid for most things. Times have changed.

Today, cash accounts for about 14 percent of transactions, according to The Federal Reserve System Cash Product Office. The average American spends roughly $100 a day, according to Gallop, but walks around with only $20 cash, according to Bankrate.com.

A majority of younger adults in the developed world would have no problem with a completely cashless society, says data from ING Group/eZonomics. Given the difficulty of accurately determining a credit score for so many in today’s economy, now is a great time to consider additional measures for understanding an applicant’s financial stability.

Why More Data Is Needed for Scores

Before the Great Recession, lenders relied almost exclusively on traditional credit scores. The Big Three credit reporting agencies employ traditional models composed of criteria like bank loans, car loans, credit card bills, student loans, mortgages and various credit data. Unfortunately, for many millions of those in need of credit services, the above criteria simply won’t work.

But with the subprime majority of today, a number of creditors are looking at other factors.

  • Ability to pay: Regardless of income level or percentage of residual income, research shows that as long as an applicant for a subprime loan is earning money and has some residual income, they’re probably a safe bet. Of course, that’s assuming there aren’t any red flags for intent not to pay, such as an inability to prove bank account ownership.
  • Alternative data: Non-traditional credit data and alternative data are not the same. Non-traditional credit data is targeted squarely on credit behavior, whereas the latter often uses more peripheral sources. That can include data from social media to verify a job or location, histories from utility bills and Census data.

Connecting the Dots with Targeted Data

What is meant by “targeted data?” As the largest subprime credit bureau, Clarity Services leverages one of the largest targets available – debit cards. Every five seconds, one new debit card is issued in the United States (PULSE).

In recent years, debit cards accounted for the leading share of payment types. Their usage grew to 69.5 billion in 2015 with a value of $2.56 trillion, up 13 billion or $0.46 trillion since 2012, according to a recent Federal Reserve study. Non-prepaid debit card payments, the type typically connected to checking accounts, grew to 12.4 billion with a value of $0.42 trillion from 2012 to 2015.  This is after an increase of nearly 39 billion debit card payments from 2000 to 2012.

Half the time, Americans pay for groceries with debit cards, which are also used significantly at department stores, restaurants and other retailers, according to a TSYS 2014 consumer payments study.

What Debit Cards Say about Consumers

Why do so many prefer debit cards? The TSYS study shows that 66 percent of users like the ability to have purchases deducted directly from their checking account.

For subprime lenders looking to make better decisions in our cashless society, what could debit information reveal about an applicant’s financial circumstances? At a glance, debit and bank account info could yield immediate details to help confirm a high or low credit risk.

   Confirmation of primary bank account ownership status
            Total number of debit cards
            Number of social security numbers associated with a debit card
            Number of social security numbers associated with a bank account

Lenders may be able to see whether an applicant’s details are false, incorrect or somehow inconsistent by using the granular details offered by reason codes, which can answer the following yes-or-no questions:

  • Is the account in good standing?
  • Is the account associated with a high-risk bank?
  • Is the CVV a match?
  • Is the ZIP code incorrect?
  • Did retail transactions take place in the last 24 hours?

An Old Problem in a New Space

The details above not only yield insight to help manage risk of default, they also speak to another growing problem for lenders in spaces including rent-to-own, online and storefront installment – fraud.

As creative as fraudsters have been for things like payday loans, they are now applying many of the same tactics in the unsuspecting rent-to-own market. Lying on loan applications, account hacking and data leaked from the dark web are just some ways fraudsters are infiltrating the market.

The combined at-a-glance information with the more granular reason codes allow lenders to easily cross-reference data and glean a reliable impression of an applicant.

Adjusting to the New Normal

The “new normal” is an oft-cited term since the last economic crash. As subprime consumers have acclimated to today’s economy, lenders have benefited by adjusting to the market’s needs.

But have lenders fully capitalized on the new aspects today’s normal? For many, the answer is no. It’s worth analyzing the lifecycle of the consumer’s journey to subprime underwriting, and how lenders may simplify the process for the convenience of all parties involved.

Author:

 

Tim Ranney is president and CEO of Clarity Services, Inc., a real-time credit bureau providing credit-related data on subprime consumers. Prior to founding Clarity in 2008, Ranney spent 20 years as a leader in internet security and risk management, serving as COO of an industry leader and senior executive for both Network Solutions and VeriSign.

Tuesday June 27 2017, Daily News Digest

shadow banking

News Comments Today’s main news: Venmo is testing a physical debit card. Zopa shares its banking plans. Ranger Direct Lending enters arbitration with Investee Princeton. Aegon Life explores digital channels for selling policies. Today’s main analysis: What’s driving the growth of shadow banking? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Prosper performance update for May 2017. The fastest consumer lenders to $1B in […]

shadow banking

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News Summary

United States

Venmo is testing its own physical debit card (recode), Rated: AAA

Venmo has been testing its own version of a physical debit card that would allow people who use its app to make purchases in brick-and-mortar stores using money stored in their Venmo account, according to multiple sources.

One potential advantage is that it would allow Venmo users to immediately spend money that is sent to them via the app without having to wait a business day for a deposit of those funds to appear in their bank account.

Prosper Performance Update: May 2017 (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Today we are sharing performance data for the Prosper portfolio for May 2017.  The weighted average coupon for assets originated through Prosper’s platform in May 2017 was 16.34%i, the highest for a monthly vintage since 2013.

Additional highlights from the May Update include:

  • Continued credit tightening can be seen via an increase in expected loss rate, coupon, Loss/FICO, and Coupon/FICO compared to prior months.
  • Prepayments for the 2017 origination months continue to trend above prior vintages.
  • 2015 and 2016H1 vintage delinquencies continue to trend below their prior peaks.

What’s driving the growth in ‘shadow banking’ (Chicago Booth Review), Rated: AAA

According to Chicago Booth’s Gregor Matvos, Booth PhD candidate Greg Buchak, Columbia’s Tomasz Piskorski, and Stanford’s Amit Seru, much of the growth is due to regulations that have pushed banks out of traditional lending businesses. The researchers also attribute some growth to online technology that has lowered the barrier to entry in markets where lenders once needed networks of physical branches to have any hope of building business.

The researchers focus on the US residential lending market, the largest consumer loan market in the country—and the market that drew the most attention from regulators after 2008. Between 2007 and 2015, shadow banks nearly tripled their market share, from 14 percent to 38 percent.

During the study period, lenders that originated loans online (fintech lenders) saw market share rise from 4 percent to 13 percent—but that remains less than half of the shadow-banking sector.

Source: Review.ChicagoBooth.edu

Fiserv partners with fintech startup to launch digital adviser (American Banker), Rated: A

The core banking software provider Fiserv and the fintech startup GoldBean have partnered to provide a digital adviser meant to provide that extra assistance.

GoldBean has an “investing for beginners” platform that was designed to promote financial literacy. By analyzing people’s spending, it creates customized portfolios featuring companies and brands with which end users are already familiar. GoldBean is a graduate of the INV Fintech Accelerator run by Fiserv and Bank Innovation.

Fiserv hopes that by integrating GoldBean education and advice into its Unified Wealth Platform, some of these investors will eventually interact with the human wealth managers who use Fiserv’s platform, for instance when they need to talk about a life change.

Amazon, Klarna, And The ‘Creative Destruction’ Of The Banking System (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

As a consequence, Klarna has become “one of the most highly valued technology groups in Europe. A round of fundraising in 2015 valued it at $2.25 billion. And it is solidly profitable.”

The crucial thing here is that Mr. Siemiatkowski wants Klarna to stay focused. He believes that other innovative FinTech organizations will fill in the rest of the financial landscape. That is, banking will be done by numerous FinTech companies moving at the speed of technology innovation, not at the speed of ordinary banks.

First, there is so much to be gained from creating a network or a platform that is more inclusive than separate “specialists” joining together to create “full bank offering.”

Second, there is the issue of regulation. Banks are heavily regulated.

What Mr. Bezos of Amazon.com and Mr. Siemiatkowski of Klarna seem to be doing is reinventing banking on the basis of a payments platform that can serve many purposes. The “creative destruction” of the banking system as we know it appears to be just beginning.

The Fastest Consumer Lenders to $ 1 Billion in Originations (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Anyway, I did a little digging and through publicly available information I was mostly able to figure out how quickly many of the major platforms reached their first billion in total loans issued.

1. Marcus – 8 months

2. SoFi – 14 months – Based on data from Kroll Bond Rating Agency, we know that by August 1, 2016 (when the SCLP 2016-2 securitization closed) SoFi had issued at least $1.3 billion in loans based on the loan pool balance of their first three personal loan securitizations. Based on that data I estimate they crossed the $1 billion mark around April of 2016, 14 months after they launched the product.

3. Marlette – 17 months

4. Avant – 28 months – Avant launched in January of 2013 and when they crossed $1 billion in May 2015 they were the fastest platform to that milestone at the time.

5. Lending Club – 65 months – Lending Club was the first platform to cross a billion dollars back in November 2012.

6. Prosper – 98 months – Prosper was the first marketplace lender to launch in this country all the way back in February 2006. For many years it was just Lending Club and Prosper in the online consumer lending space and for much of that time Prosper was the market leader. Prosper crossed $1 billion in April 2014. They took over seven years to do their first $500 million and just 11 months for them to go from $500 million to $1 billion in total loans issued.

ezVerify and LendingPoint Launch ezCarePoint for Medical Payments (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Today at the HFMA ANI 2017 conference, ezVerify and LendingPoint announced an exclusive partnership that will make it easier and more affordable for consumers to pay their medical bills. Working together, the two companies will provide a new service called ezCarePoint, which will allow patients to accurately predict their out-of-pocket expenses and apply for flexible payment plans and loans to cover the costs of medical procedures.

According to a report by The Commonwealth Fund, more than 30 million people do not get necessary medical attention out of fear that doing so would be financially burdensome. Many Americans do not have a clear understanding of their insurance coverage and out-of-pocket obligations — as a result, consumers face medical costs they weren’t expecting, and practitioners lose money on unpaid bills.

By integrating the ezVerify and LendingPoint technologies, ezCarePoint will help patients verify their insurance coverage and payment responsibility for health care services before the procedure takes place, preventing incidents where patients unexpectedly find themselves responsible for bills outside of their insurance coverage. If the patient can’t pay the out-of-pocket costs up front, they will have the option to apply for a loan and payment plan quickly and easily from the ezCarePoint platform. Patients will be notified of approvals in a matter of seconds, and upon approval, LendingPoint will pay the loan proceeds to medical practitioners within one business day to pay the patients’ out-of-pocket medical costs up front.

Euler Hermes Digital Agency Announces CRiskCo Partnership (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Euler Hermes, the world’s leading trade credit insurer, today announced an innovative partnership with fintech credit risk analysis company, CRiskCo. With a focus on revolutionizing factoring, trade and supply chain finance, CRiskCo uses state-of-the art artificial intelligence (AI) credit analysis and fraud detection processes.

Christophe Spoerry, Euler Hermes Digital Agency (EHDA) co-founder, said, ” EHDA and CRiskCo are working together to evolve trade credit insurance and risk management, particularly at the transaction and single invoice cover levels. This has the potential to offer small-medium enterprises (SMEs) significantly more protection when doing business, by providing innovative, simple and affordable customer analyses.”

EHDA recently launched its first breakthrough product – Single Invoice Cover – which protects companies from non-payment by business customers. Cover is provided transaction by transaction while optimizing end-to-end supply chains and extending optimal credit terms to buyers. Based on a proprietary application program interface (API), it creates a seamless process for businesses, while facilitating a comprehensive and granular management of credit exposure.

RIAs Should Embrace Alternative Investments or Risk Client Attrition (WealthManagement.com), Rated: A

Before the emergence of crowdfunding-style investment platforms, it was hard for investors to reap the benefits of investing in a diversified portfolio of rental real estate. They can now, and you can show them how.

Wealth management is a “share of wallet” game. If you diversify your solutions, clients will end up with more diversified risk—and that’s the point.

Lending Club’s first securitization is a big deal (American Banker), Rated: A

Lending Club’s first securitization of its own consumer installment loans is an important step in rebuilding its business following a scandal last year over its corporate controls.

The company has been seeking to broaden its funding sources after concerns about the integrity of its data caused many investors to pause or scaled back their purchases. Lending Club originally acted purely as a matchmaker, connecting borrowers with lenders over its platform. It did not hold on to the loans.

Money in Cleveland tech-startup community begins to circulate (Cleveland.com), Rated: A

Splash Financial is a perfect example of this long journey.

Splash Financial completed a $3.3 million financing round in January of 2017 from several local angels and will become the newest entrant in the booming digital lending marketplace that includes LendingClub, OnDeck, SoFi and Cabbage.

The company is now working with banks to help build an efficient lending platform where a strong capital source (i.e. – the banks) do not have immediate access to the doctor marketplace.

1 in 5 Small Business Owners Would Give up a Vacation Day Rather Than Their Smartphone (Small Biz Trends), Rated: A

According to a recent survey of small business owners on their mobile device use by peer-to-peer lending marketplace Funding Circle, one in five (20.4 percent) small business owners said they would rather give up a vacation day than their smartphones for a week.

Funding Circle also found more than half (56 percent) of small business owners surveyed find their smartphone gives them the flexibility to work wherever and whenever they want, so they can make time for other passions.

Nearly half (49 percent) said their smartphone keeps them in closer contact with loved ones while away from home — via tools like text messages throughout the day and video calls while traveling for work.

Forty-four percent said having their smartphone helps them relax during vacation time because it gives them peace of mind to know if there’s a problem with the business at home, they are accessible.

Follow the yellow Laurel Road (Transform Magazine), Rated: A

National online lender Laurel Road, previously known as Darien Rowayton Bank Lending Division, is a division of the Connecticut-chartered Darien Rowayton Bank, which launched over a decade ago in 2006. Wishing to define its bank lending division as the first source of income advice and financial security for the state’s many university students, DRB turned to the New York office of international design agency Brand Union to create an identity and help carve out its unique path.

Laurel Road’s new strapline, also developed by Brand Union, is ‘Rewarding determination’ and acts with double meaning, being reminiscent of both the student’s educational motives and the lender’s financial role. It also serves to encourage its customers to pursue their college journey to its conclusion,

loanDepot: “The Momentum is Just Starting” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

One of the most promising is loanDepot, the creation of CEO Anthony Hsieh, has become one of the top mortgage lenders in the US. Additionally, loanDepot has migrated into the personal loan space too challenging online consumer lenders like LendingClub.

RealtyShares Sources Debt For Seattle Student Housing Deal (Bisnow), Rated: B

RealtyShares, an online marketplace for real estate investing, has sourced $11.9M for the acquisition and partial recapitalization of a 10-property portfolio of student housing in Seattle.

3 Alternative Ways To Hedge Against A Market Downturn (NASDAQ), Rated: B

When approached correctly, peer-to-peer lending can be among the safest ways to invest right now.

The key to making it safe is to diversify across many loans. Diversification eliminates the risk of default because any single loan you invest in can default without sinking the entire investment.

I consider peer-to-peer lending via a reputable platform the safest way to invest right now while still earning respectable returns on your money.

United Kingdom

Zopa boss Janardana details plans for customer-centric bank (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Zopa aims to launch its bank next year with a series of products based on simple, flat pricing – and a direct challenge to the industry’s traditional strategy of milking their large “back books” of existing long-term customers who rarely switch or shop around.

Jaidev Janardana, Zopa’s chief executive confirmed in an exclusive interview that credit cards and auto-finance would be among the first products, and would charge a single rate for all customers, instead of ultra-low teaser offers that flip to high rates after a fixed term, catching borrowers who do not switch.

He pointed out that Zopa already follows this approach in its P2P lending with all investors receiving the same rate, and returns changing for everyone simultaneously. The company expects to apply to the Prudential Regulation Authority for its banking licence later this year.

Ranger Direct Lending Enters Arbitration Against Investee Princeton (London South East), Rated: AAA

Ranger Direct Lending Fund PLC said Monday it has entered arbitration proceedings against the parent company of investee firm Princeton Alternative Income Fund Ltd, following a provision taken over a loan portfolio.

Ranger said Monday it is now seeking to enforce redemption and provision of financial information rights against Princeton via the arbitration proceedings.

Lendy highlights gap between property prices and key influences (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

Lendy stated that residential property prices have risen by 20% since the start of 2014, however, the LPP, the new property market index, has only increased by 17% during the same period with the gap between them continuing to grow.

Fintech credit firm Quint posts record revenues (Express), Rated: A

FAST-growing UK fintech group Quint is forecasting a £50 million plus turnover this year after seeing a record 64 per cent rise in growth and revenues rise to £32 million.

The main drivers are the launch of its consumer credit comparison site MoneyGuru.com as well as strong growth in its lending platform Monevo and Monevo data services business.

Racefields to buy and sell debt from bridging lending market (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

Racefields is seeking to connect with bridging lenders who are interested in refinancing parts of their loan book after opening a trading room to buy and sell debt from the bridging market.

Blockchain raises $ 40 million from Lakestar and Google’s venture arm (Business Insider), Rated: A

Bitcoin and blockchain technology company Blockchain has raised $40 million (£31.5 million) in its second round of institutional funding.

European venture capital fund Lakestar and GV, Google’s venture capital arm, both led the round. Nokota Management and Digital Currency Group also took part in the investment, as did Blockchain’s existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mosaic Venture Partners, Prudence Holdings, Virgin, and Sir Richard Branson.

The Series B funding takes the total raised by Blockchain to $70 million (£55.2 million).

Why Sipps aren’t yet embracing P2P (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

Since April 2016, investors have been able to shield gains from peer-to-peer (P2P) lending from the taxman in the innovative finance Isas (IF Isas). And while it has taken a while for most P2P platforms to win the necessary approvals from HM Revenue & Customs and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to offer IF Isas, these products are finally beginning to take off, with several launched since the start of the new tax year. However, the same can’t be said for P2P investments through self-invested personal pensions (Sipps).

Referral schemes: earn over £1,000 through family and friends (BT), Rated: B

People using peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle can net £50 if they recommend a friend or relative who goes on to lend at least £2,000. Normally, Zopa investors can earn up to £50 if the person they recommend lends £2,000 with the platform. They’ll receive £50 too. However, at the time of writing Zopa isn’t accepting any more investors due to high demand.

Elsewhere, Alliance Trust Savings will give existing customers a £50 Marks and Spencer voucher when they get a friend or family member to open an Investment Dealing Account, ISA or Select SIPP. Your friend will get £25 worth of vouchers, too.

Mutual Scottish Friendly is offering two £25 MyRewards card to their customers – that’s one for the customer and one for the person they recommend.

China

Internet majors, banks edge closer to fintech success (China Daily), Rated: AAA

China’s internet giants that forayed into online finance are now joining hands with banks, their perceived competitors, to succeed together in the booming financial technology or fintech sector.

The latest such partnership is between Tencent Holdings Ltd and Huaxia Bank Co Ltd, which was announced on Thursday.

Tencent’s peers, Baidu Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which together comprise China’s “Tech Trinity”, are jostling for supremacy in the internet finance segment. The two already have partnerships or collaborations with the nation’s top lenders.

JD.com Inc, another e-commerce major, has also joined the fintech partnerships fray. It is working with ICBC, China’s largest bank by assets, on fintech, retail banking, loans for small and medium-sized enterprises, and consumer finance.

European Union

Ingenico ePayments Partners with French FinTech Company SlimPay on SEPA Direct Debit (EuroInvestor), Rated: A

Ingenico ePayments, the online and mobile commerce division of Ingenico Group, today announced that it has teamed up with French recurring payments specialist Slimpay to support a SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) solution the company is developing for online merchants to simply and securely create and manage the e-mandates required to process SDD payments. With the partnership, SlimPay joins a rapidly expanding ecosystem of exciting and innovative FinTech companies that work closely with Ingenico to jointly develop new solutions for online merchants.

International

Aegon Life insurance company explores e-commerce channels to sell policies (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

Private sector life insurer Aegon Life Insurance Company is exploring options to sell policies via fintech and e-commerce platforms. The company’s Chief Digital Officer Martijn de Jong said digital channel is to become the primary channel for the insurers to expand customer base.

The company’s first premium income grew by 30 per cent to Rs 10.40 crore during April-May period of the current fiscal, according to data available with Irdai. Aegon Life Insurance is a joint venture between global insurer Aegon and Bennett Coleman & Company (India).

Australia

Digital advice will bypass member apathy, embarrassment (Investment Magazine), Rated: A

Despite the tremendously importance of retirement planning to the long-term financial security of the working population, the majority of Australians tend to neglect their superannuation funds throughout most of their working lives.

For example, more than 50 per cent of Australians now retire on a date not of their choosing. In addition, research from global banking and financial services firm HSBC showed that a staggering 41 per cent of Australian pre-retirees do not receive any retirement advice.

Digital advice allows users to bypass any potential sensitivities they may feel when consulting a human adviser. Those who have limited knowledge about the basics of their own savings goals or liabilities may feel too embarrassed to talk to a professional and therefore switch off from engagement.

India

Fintech Startup Stashfin Raises $ 5 Mn Funding From Snow Leopard Ventures, Others (Inc42), Rated: A

Delhi-based fintech startup Stashfin has raised $5 Mn Pre-Series A funding from Snow Leopard Ventures and Singapore-based Alto Partners. Snow Leopard Ventures is the VC arm of the Kirloskar Group.

Stashfin is the parent company of digital lending platform, StashEasy. It was founded in February 2016 by Tushar Aggarwal.

Middle East

Machine learning is transforming lending (Khalee Times), Rated: AAA

In June 2015, the World Economic Forum published The Future of Financial Services – How disruptive innovations are reshaping the way financial services are structured, provisioned and consumed. The paper defined a taxonomy for disruption in financial services. It identified six broad areas and within them, 11 clusters of disruptive innovation.

The six areas are Payments, Market Provisioning, Investment Management, Insurance, Deposits & Lending and Capital Raising. Of the 11 clusters in the report, the combination of Alternative Lending and Shifting Customer Preference clusters are most relevant to today’s article. Within this combination, the Banking-as-Platform movement is playing a remarkable intermediary role in matching lenders and borrowers via a seamless, transparent, user-friendly standard API based model which leverages advances in processing power, artificial intelligence, user interfaces and design-thinking.

Traditional lenders, i.e. banks, usually find it difficult to match the agility and granular understanding that P2P Lending players have. Banks’ credit evaluation and origination platforms are often industrial-age processes with a large quantum of human intervention.

Canada

Billionaire Buffett throws lifeline to cash-starved Home Capital (Daily Mail), Rated: AAA

Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s commitment of a C$2 billion (US$1.51 billion) credit facility to Home Capital Group Inc, Canada’s largest nonbank lender, marks the billionaire’s latest effort to shore up a company in dire need of cash.

Home Capital shares soared as much as 18 percent, but was still more than two-thirds below the 2014 peak.

Berkshire also agreed through its Columbia Insurance unit to buy up to C$400 million (US$302 million) of Home Capital shares for a 38.4 percent stake, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Home Capital has suffered a deposit exodus resembling a bank run since mid-April, when the Ontario Securities Commission accused it of deceiving investors.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor