Thursday August 15 2019, Weekly News Digest

Germany yield curve

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper reports Q2 results. Figure to raise $1B. Funding Circle shares rise. RateSetter to stress test provision fund. LendInvest raises 200M GBP. Two more Chinese P2P firms shut down. N26 eyes IPO. Today’s main analysis: Gen Z’s credit market activity. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Radius Bank’s rebranding to banking as a […]

The post Thursday August 15 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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News Summary

United States

Prosper Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending platform connecting borrowers and investors, today reported financial results for the second quarter of 2019. Personal loan originations increased 27% compared to the first quarter of 2019, and the company has now generated positive adjusted EBITDA in eight out of the last nine quarters.

Financial summary:

  • Total Net Revenue, which includes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, increased to $42.9 million in Q2 2019 compared to $31.7 million in Q2 2018.
  • Core Revenue(1), which excludes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, decreased to $50.7 million in Q2 2019 compared to $52.3 million in Q2 2018.
  • Net Loss decreased to ($0.6) million in Q2 2019 compared to a Net Loss of ($12.6) million in Q2 2018.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) decreased to $5.3 million in Q2 2019 compared to $8.8 million in Q2 2018.

Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited) (in thousands)

SoFi Co-Founder’s New Startup Aims to Raise Funds at $ 1 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Mike Cagney, the former embattled chief executive officer of Social Finance Inc., is raising more than $100 million for his new startup Figure Technologies Inc. at a $1 billion valuation just less than two years after its founding, according to people familiar with the matter.

San Francisco-based Figure uses blockchain technology to provide home equity loans online in just a few days, with approval happening in minutes. The company made its first loan in 2018, and is on pace to provide more than $80 million in loans this month alone, according to one of these people, who asked not to be named because the details are private.

As Gen Z Comes of Age, Credit Market Activity Shows Significant Growth (TransUnion), Rated: AAA

Gen Z, those individuals born in 1995 or after, increasingly took part in the consumer credit market during the first half of 2019. The newly released Q2 2019 Industry Insights Report from TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) found that growth is coming from the entire Gen Z demographic who are 18 years or older – not just those who became credit eligible for the first time.

Approximately 14 million Gen Z consumers (44% of this group) were carrying a balance as of Q2 2019, up from 11 million in Q2 2018, according to the report. The number of Gen Z consumers who were credit eligible (18 years or older) increased by 4.5 million in the last year, rising to 31.5 million in Q2 2019. Over the next three years, it is anticipated that another 13 million Gen Z consumers will become credit eligible.

Gen Z Consumers Carrying a Balance Rising at High Rates

Credit Product Q2 2019 Q2 2018 YOY Growth %
Auto 4,376,000 3,072,000 42%
Credit Card 7,746,000 5,483,000 41%
Mortgage 319,000 150,000 112%
Personal Loan 746,000 534,000 45%

Credit cards are the most popular product among Gen Z consumers, with 55% carrying a balance—though they still only constitute 5% of the U.S. population carrying card debt. Mortgages had the largest year-over-year growth rate spike with Gen Z consumers (112%), but from a low base. Mortgages are still the credit product Gen Z consumers are least likely to have, with only 0.5% of mortgages held by members of this generation.

The Percentage of Gen Z Consumers Carrying a Credit Balance is Growing (Data as of Q2 2019)

Credit Product Gen Z
(carrying a balance)
All Generations
(carrying a balance)
Gen Z
Percentage
Auto 4,376,000 86,064,000 5.1%
Credit Card 7,746,000 148,141,000 5.2%
Mortgage 319,000 68,368,000 0.5%
Personal Loan 746,000 19,556,000 3.8%

Q2 2019 Credit Card Trends

 Credit Card Lending Metric Q2 2019 Q2 2018 Q2 2017 Q2 2016
 Number of Credit Cards 437.1 million 420.0 million 409.8 million 391.0 million
Borrower-Level Delinquency Rate (90+ DPD) 1.71% 1.53% 1.46% 1.29%
Average Debt Per Borrower $5,645 $5,543 $5,422 $5,247
Prior Quarter Originations* 15.3 million 14.5 million 15.0 million 15.3 million
Average New Account Credit Lines* $5,773 $5,649 $5,817 $5,466

See TransUnions infographic here.

Atlanta-Based LendingPoint #17 on Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in the USA (The Daily Times), Rated: A

Inc. Magazine today ranked commerce platform LendingPoint No. 17 on its 37th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. LendingPoint joins companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names who gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000. LendingPoint has hit successive funding records year-over-year and is on pace to reach $100 million per month in loan originations by the end of 2019.

Fintech Firm OppLoans Named to Inc. 500 for Fourth Consecutive Year (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

OppLoans has been named to Inc. magazine’s prestigious 2019 Inc. 500 list for the fourth year in a row. Only four companies on this year’s list, including OppLoans, have placed on the Inc. 500 at least four or more times. With a three-year annual revenue growth of 1,435%, OppLoans placed #321 on the annual ranking of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., 19 spots higher than the firm placed in 2018. OppLoans has achieved rankings of #340 (2018), #219 (2017) and #445 (2016).

FINICITY TO POWER DIGITAL SOLUTIONS FOR EMPLOYER STUDENT LOAN CONTRIBUTIONS (Finicity), Rated: A

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, announced today the rollout of its Student Loan Account Verification product, which will simplify employer benefit repayment programs, where employers are looking to contribute to or help repay employee’s student loans.

Fannie, Freddie to Consider Alternatives to FICO Scores (WSJ), Rated: A

One firm’s dominance over the credit scores used to vet many U.S. mortgages is getting a shake-up.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two mortgage-finance firms that back nearly half of U.S. mortgages, will have to consider credit-score alternatives to Fair Isaac Corp.’s FICO score when determining a mortgage applicant’s creditworthiness, under a new rule issued on Tuesday by the mortgage-finance giants’ federal overseer.

Zoca Loans Review: Installment Loans for Bad Credit Borrowers (Moneycheck), Rated: A

By going through a simple online application process, you have the chance to obtain between $300 and $1,000 – all of which can be funded the very same day.

HSBC launched a digital lending platform for online personal loans (Business Insider), Rated: A

HSBC USA partnered with Amount, a tech provider for financial institutions, to launch a digital lending platform that streamlines online personal loan applications. Consumers can evaluate loan options, submit applications online, and receive a credit decision within minutes.

HSBC will initially lend up to $30,000 with terms ranging from two to five years and it says funds will be available as quickly as the next day. The bank will charge fixed monthly payments starting 50 days after customers receive the loan. Amount’s platform — which has cumulatively originated $6 billion in loans to 800,000 customers — has been customized to HSBC’s preferences, including its proprietary risk models.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

Virtual Bank Aims to be Primary Account Engine Behind Fintech Brands (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

It’s Time For Regulators To Expand Opportunities For Smaller Investors (Forbes), Rated: A

In the past decade we’ve seen a new financial movement take shape: a focus on giving more investors a seat at the table. More and more people and organizations are realizing that investors of all income levels and backgrounds could (and should) have the opportunity to access more asset classes. In this technology-enabled age of access, data and transparency in investing, there is an opportunity to update our laws to ensure that smaller investors are not excluded from the opportunity to create wealth — opportunities that have emerged under the financial ethos of fintech: crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, financial literacy and inclusion.

Former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan Joins DeFi Blockchain Project Findora (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Balaji Srinivasan, the former CTO of Coinbase, has just joined decentralized finance blockchain project Findora.

Tricolor Launches New, Affordable Auto Insurance for Low Income, Credit Invisible Consumers (Globe Newswire), Rated: B

Tricolor, the used vehicle retailer focusing on the sale and financing of vehicles to the Hispanic consumer, today unveiled a groundbreaking new affordable auto insurance option for low-income and credit invisible customers through its affiliate company Tricolor Insurance. After testing the product earlier this year, Tricolor will begin rolling out the new insurance offering throughout all of its markets in Texas and California.

Artivest Achieves Critical Platform Momentum, Announces Executive Leadership Appointment (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

To date in 2019, Artivest, a multi-billion-dollar alternative investment platform, has achieved exponential organic growth across nearly every aspect of the business, greater than any previous full calendar year in the company’s history. The firm has attracted more new investors, allocations, investment managers, and—most importantly, in regard to how the wealth management industry gauges the success of digital platforms—has surpassed $1 billion in new investments transacted online by high-net-worth investors into private funds, at low minimums.

Netflix alum Steve Swasey to lead communications at Healthline Media (MMM-Online), Rated: B

Healthline Media has hired Steve Swasey as VP of communications, a newly created role at the health-focused publishing company.

In the first half of 2016, he worked at online lending marketplace Lending Club as SVP of corporate communications.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Shares Rise on Positive Report (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, online lender Funding Circle (LSE:FCH) released its 6-month report and the shares have responded positively to the numbers. Six-month Revenue was reported at £81.4 million versus H1 2018 at £63.0 million – up 29%. Loans under management rose 37% to £3.54 billion and originations jumped 14% to £1.19 billion.

Funding Circle went public in 2018 priced at 440 pence per share. Funding Circle raised a gross amount of £300 million garnering a market cap of around £1.5 billion.

RateSetter to introduce stress testing to provision fund (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is planning to introduce stress testing to its provision fund over the next financial year.

The ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender’s provision fund is a buffer that protects investors against losses should any of its loans default. Borrowers pay cash into the provision fund in accordance with RateSetter’s assessment of their creditworthiness.

LendInvest Secures £200 Million Investment from the National Australia Bank to Expand Reach in Buy-to-Let Market (The Fintech Times), Rated: AAA

LendInvest has now raised over £1.8 billion of debt and equity from investors, making LendInvest one of the largest non-bank mortgage lenders in the country.

This new funding expands LendInvest’s capacity to lend in the UK Buy-to-Let market. LendInvest launched its first Buy-to-Let mortgage product in late 2017 after agreeing a substantial funding line with Citigroup. LendInvest has already lent more than £370 million in Buy-to-Let loans and is taking market share in the bank dominated market. In June this year, LendInvest also become the UK’s first Fintech business to securitise its own portfolio of assets worth £259 million, which received a AAA rating from Moody’s and Fitch.

SME online fashion retailers face barriers to innovation, Klarna (Retail Tech Innovation Hub), Rated: A

Small online fashion retailers in the UK are open to embracing innovative technologies, but various challenges are preventing widespread adoption, according to research by Klarna.

In terms of challenges, 53% said the cost of introducing flexible payment options was the biggest barrier to adoption.

Source: Klarna

SME online retailers look to overcome barriers to realise innovation ambitions (Retail Times), Rated: A

The research  conducted across 100 UK SME decision makers at online retailers in 2019 — shows the UK’s SMEs understand the need to embrace flexibility and innovation. Over the next 12 months they plan to prioritise investing in flexible payment options (49%) and e-commerce capabilities (48%) to meet consumer demand for a frictionless shopping experience.

Tandem Bank leverages Open Banking to offer competitive mortgages (Finextra), Rated: A

Ex-RateSetter business finance head launches new P2P platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

RATESETTER alumni Brian Cartwright has launched new alternative property lender Nexa Finance, with a focus on the East Midlands.

Cartwright (pictured), managing director at Nexa, previously worked as head of business finance at ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender RateSetter.

His new venture, which bills itself as a regionally-focused business lender, aims to connect East Midlands-based small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) property developers and house builders with funders.

Personal Finance Society publishes P2P guide following uptick in queries (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

MEMBERS of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) have been showing an increased interest in peer-to-peer lending, leading the PFS to produce its own ‘good practice’ guide to P2P.

The financial planning trade body has partnered with Octopus Investments to create the guide, which tells advisers that recommending P2P products could help them to increase their own assets under management, adding that “for suitable clients, it could prove a useful vehicle for excess cash holdings which may currently fall outside of the adviser’s view.”

Atom Bank, iwoca, Modulr Finance, & Currencycloud, All Benefit from BCR Grant (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The BCR has awarded £10 million each to the following platforms:

I Never Got Paid From Winning Wonga Fantasy League in 2010 (TechRound), Rated: A

I worked for Wonga.com in 2010, back when you couldn’t even go to the bathroom without hearing their jingle on the radio. Like most offices today, everyone put in £10 to play in the office fantasy league and with Van Persie and Rooney in their prime, this was my year.

After doing some calculations, my £160 owed to me in 2010 would now be worth £2,752. (based on £24 per month for 9 years)

Without the price cap, you have 4 of those years at £30 per month. Making the total figure £3,040.

But again, I am being kind. This does not include default charges of £25 per month for every missed payment.

China

Shanghai-based Zendai closes two P2P units worth US$ 1.4 billion as Beijing intensifies crackdown (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Zendai Group, a closely held private investment company in Shanghai, abruptly shut down two peer-to-peer lending units valued at 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion), as Chinese financial regulators ratchet up measures to clean an industry fraught with frauds and defaults.

Another Peer-to-Peer Lending Platform Stumbles (Caixin Global), Rated: A

Laocaibao, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform ultimately owned by private conglomerate Zendai Group, is the latest casualty of the troubles that have engulfed the scandal-hit industry over the past three years.

Laocaibao has stopped providing loans and Zendai’s investment and consulting arm, which directed clients to the platform, has fired employees, according to statements from the companies and investigations by Caixin.

Peer to Peer Lender Fincera Targeted by Local Chinese Government in Demand to Cease Lending Operations (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fincera Inc. (OTCQB: YUANF), a China-based peer to peer lending platform providing access to capital for SMEs, has become the target of a local government attempt to shut down P2P lenders.

According to a note from Fincera, the Hebei provincial government, where Fincera is based, has requested that Fincera “cease P2P business operations.”

Fincera Announces Intention to Sell Kaiyuan Finance Center (Benzinga), Rated: A

To protect the interests of all its stakeholders-investors, borrowers, brokers, and employees, Fincera has announced its intent to sell the Kaiyuan Finance Center, which has an estimated valued of over RMB4.0 billion.

Fincera is the largest Hebei-based company operating in the peer-to-peer lending industry, comprising over 90% of the province’s market with approximately RMB9.0 billion in unpaid principal balance.

Fincera Inc. (“Fincera” or the “Company”) (OTCQB:YUANF), a provider of internet-based financing and ecommerce services for small and medium-sized businesses (“SMBs”) and individuals in China, today announced that businesses operating within the P2P (peer-to-peer) lending industry in Hebei province, including the Company, have received requests by the Hebei provincial government to cease P2P business operations. The Company vehemently disagrees with the request and is taking steps to protect its many stakeholders, including initiating the process of moving its business registration to Beijing where local regulators are supportive of the P2P industry.

Senmiao Technology Announces Unaudited Financial Results for First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Senmiao Technology Limited  (AIHS) (“Senmiao”), a provider of automobile transaction and related services and an operator of an online lending marketplace connecting Chinese investors with individual and small-to-medium-sized enterprise borrowers in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2019.

First Quarter of Fiscal 2020 Highlights

  • Total revenues increased by 3,975% year-over-year to $5,094,440 from $125,026
  • Gross profit increased by 758% year-over-year to $1,072,128 from $125,026
  • Loss per share decreased by 50% year-over -year to $0.02 from $0.04
European Union

German mobile bank N26 eyes eventual IPO, CEO tells newspaper (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Berlin-based digital bank N26 is planning an eventual stock exchange listing, its chief executive has told a German newspaper.

Google exec joins N26 as chief banking officer (Finextra), Rated: B

N26 today announced the appointment of Thomas Grosse as Chief Banking Officer. The newly introduced role is yet another step towards realizing N26’s ambition to become the first truly global and fully digital retail bank. As Chief Banking Officer, Thomas will oversee the set-up of regulated N26 banks and bank partnerships within the N26 Group, thus ensuring the highest standards in product, processes and customer experience across all markets.

Thomas will begin his new role at N26 this October, reporting directly to N26’s co-founder and CFO, Maximilian Tayenthal.

European Fintechs Escape Troubles Afflicting Established Banks (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Its latest fundraising gave Klarna, which facilitates online installment payments, a $5.5 billion valuation. European fintech companies raised $3.3 billion in venture capital in the first half of 2019, up from $1.9 billion in the same period last year, according to data compiled by CB Insights. In contrast, an index of European Union banks has dropped 39% the past 18 months.

FlixMobility and Klarna raise a lot of money (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Tech.eu Podcast hosted by Natalie Novick and Andrii Degeler is a show in which we discuss some of the most interesting stories from the European technology scene and interview leading entrepreneurs and investors from across the region.

EstateGuru Seeks to Carve Out €5 Billion of European Real Estate Financing Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EstateGuru, a crowdfunding platform based in Estonia, is out with a release predicting it will claim €3-5 billion of the European real estate financing by 2025

EstateGuru adds that approximately 70% of SMEs lack access to credit and this is a major constraint to their growth. The company claims that 12% of all loans are set to be financed by alternative providers, including crowdfunding platforms, by 2025 as it appears to be interested in expanding into other financing verticals.

Barclays releases £100,000 for unsecured SME lending through app and online banking (Finextra), Rated: A

New research released by Barclays has revealed that over half of the UK’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have woken up at night with a new business idea (57 per cent), while the most popular time for an idea to be dreamt up is between 2-3 am (28 per cent).

Analysis revealed that almost half (48 per cent) of SMEs said that they are more creative at night, with over two fifths saying they are more productive outside of 9 – 5 working hours and keep a note pad and pen by their bed so they can jot down ideas. Half attributed this to having extra time to think away from daytime pressures.

In a High Street banking first, Barclays has launched £100,000 unsecured lending for SMEs on its award winning app and online banking platform, with thousands of SMEs set to benefit from access to faster finance.

German Fintech Finleap Announces New Business Unit “Finleap Connect” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinLeap, the fintech start-up platform behind Germany’s SolarisBank, announced on Wednesday the launch of its new business unit, FinLeap Connect. According to FinLeap, the fintech platforms finreach solutions and infinitec solutions will become part of this business unit.

International

Global Yields Crash, GSKY for sale, LC earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Today, more than $15 Tn in sovereign debt trades at a negative yield. In Germany, for instance, bond investors have moved from charging 75 bps last year to a willingness to pay for the privilege of providing < 0% money for 10 years.

Source: PeerIQ

GreenSky shares sank ~37% after a strong earnings report was paired with news that the marketplace was exploring a potential sale or merger.

Alternative Data: The Great Equalizer To Lending Inequalities? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Alternative data has come into the spotlight in financial services, and it presages a significant shift in credit availability for unbanked and underbanked consumers. There are about 

Celsius Network Announces Increased Accessibility To Crypto-Backed Loans with Updated Terms for Borrowers (Business Wire), Rated: A

Celsius Network (work/), the industry-leading cryptocurrency platform, announces updated terms for borrowers aiming to provide millions of users with increased accessibility to low-interest crypto-backed loans. In addition, Celsius has reduced its minimum requirement for loan requests to $1,500. Recently Celsius announced it will expand its lending operations throughout Europe.

The latest updates to Celsius Networks lending service include:

  • Lowered minimum requirement for loan requests from $3,000 to $1,500
  • Up to 30% discount for CEL token holders paying loan interest in CEL with yearly rates as low as 3.47%
  • Borrowers can request a loan in USD or supported stablecoins
  • Loans are issued the same day
  • Members can apply through the Celsius mobile app or on the Celsius Network website

ONTOLOGY BLOCKCHAIN HIGH FIVES WITH DEFI (ICO Examiner), Rated: B

Ontology (ONT), a project offering linking and bridging solutions for multiple blockchains, has announced five new partnerships with companies operating in various geographical locations within the decentralised finance (DeFi) arena.

The latest handful of businesses to be attracted to Ontology’s framework of compatibility are Hong Kong registered Babel Finance, USA-focused crypto loan specialists SALT Lending, cryptocurrency services provider LendChain, Hong Kong-based Fountain Financial, and Chinese trading platform HOX.

Australia

CBA FY19 results a mixed bag, digital metrics positive and Klarna will be a hit (Verdict), Rated: AAA

CBA FY19 underlying net profit for the year to end June falls by 5% to A$8.49bn ($5.75bn). The bank’s overall results do not quite match analyst forecasts.  But there is a strong argument that in all the circumstances the results represent a resilient full fiscal.

Release of the CBA FY19 earnings also serve to highlight the bank’s success in upping its digital strategy.

Operating income is 2% lower on margin pressure.

Net interest income is down by 1.2% on lower retail mortgages margins and higher funding costs.

Business lending increases by 4% while retail mortgage growth is also strong delivering 4% volume growth for the year.

India

Faircent raises fresh funding from investors led by Das Capital & Gunosy Capital (India Times), Rated: AAA

Faircent.com, a P2P lending company, has recently raised capital in a funding round. The latest funding, led by Singapore-based Das Capital and Gunosy Capital, also saw participation by existing investors Starharbor Asia Pte Ltd, and M&S Partners Pte Ltd (Sin Growth Partner Pte Ltd).

Keep retail indulgence in check (livemint), Rated: A

Overspending is a big problem for many. “They buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like. Not passing a judgement here, but money does buy some kind of happiness for many,” said Rachit Chawla, chief executive officer, Finway, a registered non-banking financial company (NBFC). 

Payday loans, digital lending platforms, and P2P lending have evolved, so has the penetration of credit card, personal loans, and the like. At a behavioural level, de-linking debt with shame has also made it easy for people to borrow.

Asia

Hexindai-backed Musketeer Completes Registration for Its P2P Platform in Indonesia (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. (HX) (“Hexindai” or the “Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace in China, today announced that its invested Indonesian online lending platform, Musketeer Group Inc. (“Musketeer”), has completed registration for its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform with the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Musketeer’s P2P platform, PT Technology Indonesia Sentosa, is among the early batch of lending companies in Indonesia that have registered with OJK.

Philippines to Relaunch OF Bank to Create Digital-only Bank (Regulation Asia), Rated: A

The Overseas Filipino Bank was launched in January to cater to overseas Filipino workers, who will more easily be able to access digital-only services.

Latin America

Fintech Debt Investors Follow Equity Dollars Into Latin America (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Venture capital investments in LatAm startups quadrupled to a record $2 billion in 2018 from $500 million in 2016, according to an annual review by the 

Financial report for the second quarter and six months period 2019 (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

  • VEF made a follow-on investment in FinanZero, a Brazilian online consumer loan marketplace, who closed a Series B investment round of SEK 100 mln (USD 10.5 mln).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 15 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Crowdfunding Alongside Experienced Real Estate Investors

ArborCrowd

The concept of crowd funding really came to the fore with the passing of the Jobs Act of 2012. The Act relaxed regulations for private funding and encouraged businesses and startups to raise money from private investors through online portals. As per a Massalution report, the real estate crowd funding industry was valued at $1 billion […]

ArborCrowd

The concept of crowd funding really came to the fore with the passing of the Jobs Act of 2012. The Act relaxed regulations for private funding and encouraged businesses and startups to raise money from private investors through online portals. As per a Massalution report, the real estate crowd funding industry was valued at $1 billion in 2014, $2.5 billion in 2015, and is projected to reach more than $300 billion by the end of year 2025. By combining online crowdfunding, technology, and real estate, platforms are providing comparatively small investors the opportunity to partake in much larger real estate deals that they would otherwise never get to invest directly.

A Look at ArborCrowd Services

The company came up with its first deal, 1413 York Avenue, in 2016. After a successful launch, they launched six more deals and generated $20 million in equity capital to finance multifamily real estate projects.

Multifamily properties have the ability to generate healthy returns and survive in adverse market cycles because of the low level of risk involved. According to the founders, a new generation of investors will find it a secure way of investing in real estate.

ArborCrowd investors co-invest with a network of professional sponsors having an extensive knowledge base. Each deal is financed with different amount of contribution from sponsors ranging from 30% to 80% while the share of crowdfunding investors is dependent upon projected IRR of each project. The company has built strong relationships with industry leaders over the years as it has worked with institutional investors.

Crowdfunders’ pool of money is invested in capital stacks of $2 to $6 million. Sponsors at Arbor bring money up-front and raise the balance from accredited investors. This assures the viability of the project to outside investors. The minimum investment per deal is $25,000. All investors are invited to invest on a deal basis so they can analyze where there money is being invested. The company aims for an IRR from 10%-15% for its projects.

Philosophy on Debt Investing

P2P lending, or debt crowdfunding, is the traditional method of arranging finance for customers and businesses. Despite offering steady income and priority of payment over other capital stacks, real estate debt crowdfunding is considered risky by ArborCrowd’s founding team. Most of the tech companies that offer debt on their RECF platforms are operating in a precarious environment. Debt investors sacrifice the potential of higher returns, which can be enjoyed only in equity financing, whereas faltering projects can usually wipe out equity and debt investors.

How ArborCrowd Works

Sponsors approach ArborCrowd with investment deals that are best suited for crowdfunding. Market presence of group companies including Arbor Realty Trust, Arbor Commercial Mortgage, and AMAC has helped ArborCrowd leverage their relationships with industry leaders. The whole group is determined to deliver one-stop solutions customers. The entire procedure of sourcing, underwriting, and closing the deal takes approximately one month, after which the distribution takes place.

The current strategy is to partner with people having extensive industry experience and a sound track record. People interested in crowd investments can register on the company’s online portal and download the details about the business plan as well as current and past deals financed to get an idea about the underwriting process.

Investors participate in the deals through effective marketing techniques including email, marketing pitch design, and organizing webinars while focusing on providing them with the best-sourced deals and sponsors.

ArborCrowd offers these investment opportunities to only accredited investors and ensures a proper vetting of these prospective clients. The process of online verification takes one hour for potential investors.

Each ArborCrowd project is tested on different parameters depending upon the nature of the underlying property. Most money lending institutions use inappropriate tools to evaluate each deal. Automated analytical tools are helpful in this regard, but no algorithm can replace the human touch. Arbor brings its management’s decades of experience and industry contacts to ensure that it can capture the deal first.

Who Are ArborCrowd Investors?

The company’s investor ecosystem includes tech millionaires, investment clubs analyzing different real estate opportunities in multiple markets, and real estate brokers. The founders shared an experience where an investor took out his life insurance money to invest with the platform. This highlights the trust the ArborCrowd brand name has in the market.

Who Are ArborCrowd?

ArborCrowd, a part of Arbor family of real estate companies that include Arbor Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ABR), Arbor Commercial Mortgage, and Arbor Residential Mortgage, is focused on providing diversified real estate investment opportunities to accredited investors. Their deals are sponsored by sophisticated and experienced real estate deal makers and were previously available to only institutional and high net worth individuals. All the documents and reports related to financial projections, timelines, and business plans are made available to the investors to enhance transparency and build investor confidence.

ArborCrowd allows real estate crowdfunders opportunities to invest alongside experienced real estate investors

Ivan and Adam Kaufman founded ArborCrowd with a motive to source investors in real estate through the amalgamation of technology and crowd funding. In the initial phase of real estate crowdfunding (RECF), the father-son team consciously stayed out of RECF. They were happy to let other tech-focused startups enter the space first. Their aim was to understand how the market evolved online and learn the best practices jumping into a nascent industry. In 2016, they entered the market with their own product offering.

Their ArborCrowd ethos involves a real estate company leveraging technology as opposed to a technology company leveraging real estate. The founders are experienced operators in the field and understand the nuances that will act as a moat to their business.

CEO and Co-Founder Ivan Kaufman has more than three decades of experience working in residential and commercial real estate. His background in mortgage loans, asset management, and real estate financing is an important asset to the company. His background and the Arbor brand name help attract top quality sponsor and marquee real estate deals.

Adam has worked with leading technology and real estate companies and has experience in marketing and business development.

ArborCrowd is privately owned and no outside investors other than the Arbor Group has a stake in the crowdfunding platform.

The Future of Real Estate Crowdfunding

Introduction of advanced tools, a growing fintech world, and a massive demand for online and user-friendly platforms assisting people to access commercial real estate transactions is expected to reshape the real estate industry. The long-term vision of the company is not to just increase the quantity of projects financed through its platform, but to be known for financing viable projects concentrating on quality.

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Written by Heena Dhir.