Thursday April 26 2018, Daily News Digest

Hong Kong IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: FTC says LendingClub misled customers on fees. Credit Karma expands ID theft monitoring to include dark web data. Two startup robos were top performers in Q1. Shanlin Finance leaders charged with operating Ponzi scheme. TransferWise launches borderless accounts in European nations. Today’s main analysis: Small-dollar loans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Elevate’s safe credit. Hong Kong makes […]

Hong Kong IPO

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United Kingdom

China

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News Summary

United States

Lending Club misled customers about hidden fees, regulators say (CNN Money) Rated: AAA

The Federal Trade Commission said the company, which connects borrowers to investors without banks in the middle, “lures” customers with the promise of no hidden fees.

Instead, Lending Club deducts money up front — hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, the FTC said.

The FTC also accused Lending Club (LC) of falsely leading customers to believe they have been approved for a loan.

The FTC further accused Lending Club of withdrawing double payments from the accounts of its customers and charging customers who had canceled auto-payments or already paid off their loans.

LendingClub (LC) Said FTC Allegations are Unwarranted (Street Insider) Rated: A

Following an inquiry that began in May 2016, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought an action against LendingClub(NYSE: LC) earlier today in the Northern District of California alleging that certain LendingClub practices do not, or in the past did not, comply with the requirements of the FTC and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Acts.

LendingClub believes that the allegations in the FTC’s complaint are legally and factually unwarranted. The company is disappointed that it was not possible to resolve this matter constructively with the agency’s current leadership and intends to oppose the claims and work towards an early resolution of the matter in Federal Court. Additional information about the complaint and LendingClub’s response are on its blog.

Why LendingClub Corp Stock Plunged Today (Motley Fool) Rated: B

Shares of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) are down by about 15% as of 3:30 p.m. EDT after the Federal Trade Commission charged the company with deceiving customers.

Elevate Provides Safe Credit To People Banks Can’t Serve With FICO (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Providing credit to 160 million Americans who are being ignored by banks sounds like a great business. And indeed, Elevate, which does just that, has been growing faster than Lending Club, SoFi, or OnDeck and is more profitable than any of them, said Ken Rees, the company’s CEO .

“Forty percent of Americans show monthly income swings of 30%. The majority of Americans need access to emergency credit but the banks have pulled back. Credit is particularly important because they have very low savings.”

Credit Karma expands its identity theft monitoring tool to include dark web data (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

After introducing a free identity monitoring tool for its users late last year, Credit Karma is widening the scope of its fraud-fighting scans to include data from the dark web.

Credit Karma’s  existing ID-monitoring tool searches 4.5 billion public breaches for a user’s personal data, but the improved service will scour additional breaches culled from the dark web. Added up, the tool will now search through 13 billion data breaches.

The company estimates that 65 percent of its users have experienced a data breach, whether they know it or not, so Credit Karma is well-positioned to issue a wake-up call about protecting identifying information online.

2 New Robo-Advisors Among the Top Performers in Q1 (ThinkAdvisor) Rated: AAA

Two relative newcomers to the robo-advisor space are among the industry’s top three performers in the first quarter, according to the latest Robo Report from BackEnd Benchmarking.

SoFi Wealth Management, which launched in May 2017 as an offshoot from the SoFi online lending platform, took first place; TIAA SRI, the socially responsible investment portfolio of its TIAA Personal Portfolio robo, placed third; and sandwiched between the two was Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

All three robos lost money in the first quarter in their taxable, balanced portfolios, split roughly 60/40 between stocks and bonds, but they performed better than other digital advisors and the overall stock market, which was down 0.76%, for the S&P 500. Their losses ranged from 0.14% for SoFi and 0.45% for TIAA SRI.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios excelled largely because of its fixed income allocation, which included high-yield bonds and international debt, according to the Robo Report. It placed first for fixed income performance not only for the first quarter of 2018 but for the one-year and two-year trailing periods.

Source: Think Advisor

Small-dollar loans (Lexology) Rated: AAA

The Trump Administration has also taken notable steps to ease the burden placed on the payday lending industry. These include terminating the Obama-era “Operation Choke Point,” which was designed to discourage banks from doing business with payday lenders,11 as well as removing payday-bank partnership restrictions for at least one payday lender.12 This signals a significant departure from regulatory constraints put in place a decade ago prohibiting affiliations between national banks and payday lenders that sought to circumvent state interest rate caps.13

In addition to established market participants targeting borrowers with high credit scores, new internet-based startups are offering small-dollar loans to non-prime borrowers, directly targeting the payday lenders’ customer base. Fintechs aim to compete with traditional payday lenders by marketing a more customer-centric approach, as well as flexible terms and lower fees. These new market entrants generally rely on the use of AI-driven scoring products and non-traditional data analytics to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness. In addition to fair lending considerations, these new online startups generally rely on mobile devices and related technology to host their software and undertake lending decisions, thereby raising privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

Source: Lexology

Navient reports higher earnings in first quarter (Delaware Business Now) Rated: A

Wilmington-based Navient reported higher earnings in the first quarter as the company expanded its segment reporting to reflect a broader array of businesses.

Results that included the origination of $500 million of private education refinance loans, a 43 percent decrease in private education loan charge-offs and a 32 percent increase in business processing fee revenue from the year-ago quarter.

For the first-quarter 2018, GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) net income was $126 million compared with $88 million ($0.30 diluted earnings per share) for the year-ago quarter.

California merchant accuses lender of ‘rent-a-bank’ scheme (Rueters) Rated: A

Utah-based Celtic Bank and Georgia-based lender Kabbage Inc have been hit with a proposed class action accusing them of creating a “rent-a-bank” arrangement to issue high-interest loans to small businesses in California and evade the state’s usury laws.

The case was removed by Celtic Bank to federal court in Los Angeles on Tuesday after being filed last month in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

How employees build and shape the rock-solid cultures at 5 local tech companies (Built In Chicago) Rated: A

What is the foundation of Enova’s culture?

If I may grossly generalize and speak for the majority of the millennial workforce, workplace culture is a big job-hunting factor. Of course, we want to make decent salaries and have access to good health insurance. We also want to be spending those 40 or more hours per week with people we enjoy working with, tackling independent and collaborative work, constantly learning new things, and developing our skills — all of which Enova does a great job of cultivating.

What is the foundation of Avant’s culture?

Avant’s culture is based a lot around letting the best idea win. No matter what part of the business someone is in, if they have an idea that really shines through and will resolve the issue at hand, they are heard. In my experience, even if you’re not in your domain, people will listen to you as long as you come in with a clear spec. If you ask for something and have a good explanation as to why it’s needed, you can get it.

 

 

CEO of student loan marketplace LendEDU admits the name of the founder of a partner site is fake (CNBC) Rated: A

A spokesman cited in publications, including a CNBC story in March about students using their financial aid money to invest in cryptocurrencies, is a fake, the CEO of a partner website has admitted.

Nate Matherson, CEO of student loan refinancing company, LendEDU, said he started The Student Loan Report — studentloans.net — in 2016.

 

Where to Get a Loan of $ 5,000 or Less (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Many online lenders have personal loans that offer more flexibility. Some lenders set borrowing minimums as low as $1,000.

Pros: Some online lenders offer flexible repayment plans. For example, Avant allows you to make changes to your upcoming payments online, including the amount and date of your current or future payments. The company says it’s willing to work with you if you’re unable to make a payment, making it easier to repay your loan.

Kirsten Gillibrand Unveils A Public Option For Banking (Huffington Post) Rated: A

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is introducing legislation Wednesday that would require every U.S. post office to provide basic banking services, an ambitious step aimed at improving the lives of Americans with limited financial resources.

The postal system’s 30,000 locations touch every community. A majority ― 59 percent ― are in so-called banking deserts, or zip codes that have either no bank branches or just one.

Upgrade Personal Loans Review: Low Rates and Free Credit Monitoring (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Upgrade is an online lender that primarily offers unsecured personal loans between $1,000 and $50,000. You can use these loans for a variety of purposes, including home improvement, debt consolidation, or a big purchase.

As unsecured loans, these personal loans don’t require any collateral.

Source: Student Loan Hero

How to Cope With the High Costs of Infertility (US News) Rated: A

According to the National Survey of Family Growth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy and more than 85,000 women in the U.S. undergo in vitro fertilization each year.

According to a 2015 study about the sentiment, costs and financial impact of fertility treatments in the U.S. by Prosper Marketplace, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, nearly half of those polled said that prices impacted the level of treatment they sought. Almost 34 percent of those women surveyed had to stop treatment due to the financial burden. Meanwhile, 70 percent of participants reported acquiring some degree of debt in their quest to conceive with more than 26 percent taking on over $30,000 of debt. The cost of treatments was also the single largest factor for those respondents who initially decided to delay fertility treatment at nearly 82 percent.

Washington Wants to Weaken Bank Rules. Not Every Regulator Agrees. (The New York Times) Rated: A

In recent weeks, federal banking regulators have proposed softening a requirement that puts a hard limit on how much the largest banks can borrow. The rule, known as the supplementary leverage ratio, requires that banks prepare for a disaster by maintaining a certain level of capital on their balance sheets based on their total size.

Banks have long complained that the rule is too restrictive and makes it harder for them to do business, including lending, in important markets. They have asserted that the ratio is too blunt of an instrument and often the strictest of the various capital requirements that were put in place after the crisis.

Which Is Best: REITs or Real Estate Crowdfunding? (US News) Rated: A

Who can invest in REITs and real estate crowdfunding? The best investors for REITs and real estate crowdfunding might not be the same. Joseph Hogue, chartered financial analyst and owner of Crowd 101, a crowdfunding website, says that although real estate crowdfunding is less work than direct investment in properties, it still involves more due diligence than REIT investing.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of REITs and real estate crowdfunding? For hands-on investors, who want to customize their real estate investing, crowdfunding fits the bill, says Javier Benson, senior vice president of strategy and implementation at crowdfunding site RealtyShares. RealtyShares specializes in funding commercial real estate projects valued at more than $50 million, certainly not a market for the individual investor.

Benson summarizes the benefits of real estate crowdfunding: “lower fee loads, increased transparency and the opportunity to select individual projects.”

Lenders reject 9% of CT loan applications (Hartford Business) Rated: A

Mortgage lenders rejected 9 percent of loan applications in recent years from Greater Hartford borrowers, which is the nation’s 10th worst denial rate, according to a recent study.

The study by national lending exchange marketplace Lending Tree said lenders denied mortgage shoppers in Hartford, West Hartford and East Hartford at a high rate mainly due to insufficient debt-to-income ratios and collateral.

Hartford’s would-be borrowers ranked second in the nation for cities where collateral issues resulted in their mortgage denial, which amounts to 24 percent of its denials.

LendingTree and COMPLY2018 Announce the Kraken Innovation Award (PR Newswire) Rated: B

COMPLY2018 announces that LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, will award one company as The Most Innovative Company during the annual RegTech and Compliance Conference May 16-17 in New York City.

United Kingdom

Growth Street Celebrates Full FCA Authorization & New GrowthLine Lending Product: Need to Borrow £2M? (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK alternative finance firm Growth Street has been granted full FCA authorization,  a significant milestone for Growth Street, which had been operating as an Appointed Representative of Resolution Compliance Limited since 2016.

Growth Street has simultaneously rolled out an update to its flagship business lending product, GrowthLine. The firm is now accepting applications from businesses looking to borrow up to £2M, a substantial increase from the previous maximum limit of £1M.

Borrowers unaware of how to check loan providers as scams increase (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

A THIRD of personal loan applicants have admitted they weren’t confident about how to check if their provider was legitimate, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed.

Research by the City watchdog found 36 per cent of those who took out a loan product in the past three years didn’t do any checks to ensure the legitimacy of their loan provider.

The FCA has revealed that more than £3.5m has been lost to loan fee fraud and said reports to its consumer helpline on this issue had increased by 44 per cent.

China

Eight charged in China over ‘Ponzi scheme posing as P2P lender’ that took US$ 9 billion (China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Eight ringleaders of the Shanghai-based Shanlin Finance have been charged with illegally obtaining deposits and taken into custody, according to local public prosecutor the Shanghai Pudong district People’s Procuratorate, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The scheme was disguised as a peer-to-peer lending platform, police said. Shanlin’s online lending platforms and mobile apps have been suspended from service.

Big Bang Means Buyer Beware in Hong Kong IPOs (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. will allow innovative companies that use shares with weighted voting rights to apply for IPOs starting April 30, and will also admit unprofitable biotech firms. That’s a landmark departure from the exchange’s longstanding adherence to the one-share-one-vote principle and the requirement for a three-year profit track record.

China has also opened the door for companies listed on its National Equities Exchange and Quotations market – an over-the-counter trading venue that’s developed something of a reputation as a casino – to sell H shares in Hong Kong.

Looser entry rules will create a vastly different market.

The Fall of Peer-to-Peer Lending in China (Caixin Global) Rated: A

P2P lending, which was designed to bypass traditional lending by matching individual borrowers and lenders, began to flourish on the Chinese mainland in 2011 as the government encouraged the wider use of technology to expand financial services to small businesses and individuals. At P2P lending’s peak in late 2015, there were more than 3,300 platforms operating, according to Wandaizhijia, a portal site that tracks the sector.

However, due to the absence of unified regulations, a great proportion of P2P lenders began collecting cash from investors, offering high returns. A market worth more than 1 trillion yuan ($158 billion) quickly developed.

China’s online lenders reel from industry shake-out (Financial Times) Rated: A

A survey by FT Confidential Research shows the online lending industry in China continues to consolidate from new regulations; the days of significant growth and platform expansion have ended as the government looks to weed out the smaller players; since 2016 the government has capped borrowing limits, shut down secondary markets and forced platforms to file with local regulators

European Union

Fintech unicorn Transferwise launches a ‘borderless’ account in Sweden, Finland and Denmark (Business Insider Nordic) Rated: AAA

Transferwise is today rolling out a “borderless” consumer account and linked debit card, which will let people hold money in multiple currencies.

The service, which Transferwise says is the first one of its kind, has been openly trialed among a few thousand customers since January, and goes live globally including in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Norway will follow later on.

This means that people will be able to transfer and spend money abroad, with little or no exchange or mark-up fees. They will also be able to make withdrawals through a Mastercard debit card. The debit card will me made available for larger businesses later in 2018.

RBS plans to move 1m users to new challenger bank, says report (AltFi News) Rated: A

According to an insider at the Royal Bank of Scotland, the bank has set an internal target of switching more than 1m users from Natwest to its latest project, a “next generation mobile-only bank”, in time for its debut in the third quarter of 2018.

In another interesting move, the insider has said that RBS’ mobile-only bank will be pursuing a marketplace business model, aiming to forge third-party partnerships as its primary source of revenue over lending. This is a model that is now well-known in the digital banking sector, hailed by dominant players like Monzo and Starling Bank as the future of next generation banking.

GDPR and financial advice: Processing data on children (Professional Adviser) Rated: A

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) makes special mention of children and, for the purposes of the regulation, consent cannot be granted without parental approval by anyone under the age of 13. Upon their 13thbirthday, data subjects can freely consent to how their data is processed – in other words, they can sign up to newsletters and appropriate alerts.

Unlikely as it may be that a 13-year-old will be signing up for newsletters from financial advisers, advice firms will still be processing large amounts of data on under-13s. Taking Intelligent Office as an example, there are currently more than 75,000 records of people under the age of 13 and so it is important that appropriate checks are in place and that parental consent has been granted at the beginning of the process.

Deposit Solutions shows potential of open banking (Euromoney) Rated: A

However, don’t tell that to Deposit Solutions. The Hamburg-based provider of an open-banking platform that lets deposit-rich banks offer their account holders insured savings products from other banks is growing fast. It launched its own business-to-consumer marketplace Zinspilot in September 2015 and by the end of 2016 had transmitted $1 billion in deposits.

Deposit Solutions also has 50 banks in 16 European countries on its B2B platform. These include Deutsche Bank, FFB – the German subsidiary of Fidelity – and MünchenerHyp in Germany, and Atom Bank and Close Brothers in the UK.

So-called product banks, such as Atom, that are seeking funding, but don’t want to invest in a traditional deposit-gathering infrastructure, can offer terms to so-called client banks, such as Deutsche, with lots of customers, but already an excess of deposits.

International

Inside Santander’s plans to digitize money (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

The Spanish banking giant’s U.K. arm recently launched One Pay FX, a mobile payments service for its U.K. debit card holders that want to send payments to people in Euro Zone countries and the U.S. It’s the first market-ready product built on blockchain technology, Ripple’s xCurrent protocol, for retail customers. It had been running as a pilot for employees for the last 18 months.

Santander, one of the founding members of R3 CEV, a prominent consortium of banks investing in the company’s blockchain technology for financial applications, soon became one of the first members to exit the group as it concentrated on other payments-focused group work like the Utility Settlement Coin — “a tokenized version of central bank money,” in Faura’s words — and the Global Payments Steering Group.

Source: Tearsheet

This MBA Loan Provider Is Helping International Students Start New Careers Abroad (Business Because) Rated: A

According to BusinessBecause data, 90% of MBA applicants would consider studying abroad. At the same time, over 60% say they wouldn’t be able to pursue an MBA without financial aid.

Prodigy Finance has lent more than $505 million in loans to over 10,300 students globally. Those loans have enabled international students such as Alex Brack, originally from Brazil and a recent MBA graduate for The F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, to thrive.

ZPER Secures Crypto Mobile Wallet with Trustonic (Global Banking and Finance Review) Rated: B

Following an increase in incidents such as the January 2018 theft of $425 million from Coincheck Inc, ZPER, the decentralised peer-to-peer (P2P) financial ecosystem, is launching the most secure cryptocurrency wallet available. ZPER is achieving this by embedding advanced security solutions from app and device security leader, Trustonic, to provide best-in-class protection. This move is in response to growing concerns about the vulnerability of cryptocurrencies when stored in exchanges.

Australia

 

Instant cash loan machines may target most vulnerable with quick dollars, financial counsellor says (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Rated: A

The emergence of instant cash loan machines across parts of New South Wales has sparked fears about low-income families being potentially caught in a debt trap.

The machines, which look like ATMs, only require identification and bank details before users are approved for cash loans almost immediately.

Financial counsellors have expressed concern about the devices, which they say appear to be popping up in low socio-economic areas.

India

 

RentoMojo is using machine learning to create credit profiles of users (Tech Circle) Rated: AAA

It raised $10 million (Rs 64.3 crore) in a Series B round of funding led by Bain Capital Ventures and Renaud Laplanche, a French-American entrepreneur. The company had earlier raised $2 million in a pre-Series A round from Accel Partners and IDG Ventures India in November 2016.

Asia

Emerging Asian leaders in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency to watch out (Finextra) Rated: A

Crowd-Genie, an Asia-wide cross-border lending platform, concluded its ICO on March 1, raising over $5.5 million. Under the stewardship of CEO and Co-Founder,Akshay Mehra, Genie is aiming to build a private capital hub using smart contracts to make borrowing safer, cheaper and more efficient. Mehra is certified in CMFAS by the MAS and has over 15 years industry experience. His goal of creating a tokenized lending platform puts him at the forefront of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology in Asia.

Under Mehra’s leadership, Crowd Genie’s goal is to develop a Business Loans Asset Exchange on which lenders can enhance their liquidity by transferring asset ownership. Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte. Ltd. is one of a handful of licensed platforms in Singapore to hold a ‘Dealing in Securities’ license by MAS and GenieICO’s token – CGC – was listed on the Cobinhood exchange on March 19.

Latin America

Brazilian bank IPO tests disruption potential of fintech firms (Reuters) Rated: AAA

The first initial public offering (IPO) by a Brazilian retail bank in nearly a decade, set to price on Thursday, will test if investors expect new technologies to give smaller lenders a fighting chance against Brazil’s dominant big four banks.

Banco Inter SA, a tiny mortgage lender that has reinvented itself as a purely online bank, is the first in a wave of feisty digital challengers planning to go public – and looking to trade at higher multiples than many of Brazil’s largest lenders.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday December 1 2017, Daily News Digest

interest rate sensitivity

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm partners with Shopify Plus.The Fed is thinking about starting a cryptocurrency.Payday lending group sues Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).Funding Circle gets first IFISA sign-up within 15 minutes of opening.Assetz Capital to launch IFISA with manual lending.KappAhl to offer mobile payments in store with Klarna. Today’s main analysis: How should […]

interest rate sensitivity

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Affirm Joins Forces With Shopify Plus to Help High Growth Retailers Rapidly Scale Online Store Sales (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Affirm, Inc., the company started by Max Levchin to provide fair and honest consumer financing, today announced it has joined the Shopify Plus Technology Partner Program to help more retailers quickly scale their online store sales by giving their customers a quick and easy alternative to credit cards.

Affirm App Gives Loans For Designer Jeans, Holiday Flights And More (International Business Times), Rated: A

Affirm’s chief of staff and head of international expansion, Ryan Metcalf, told International Business Times the startup works with 1,200 retailers nationwide and issued $1 billion worth of loans in 2017.

“We are able to approve 126 percent more people than industry averages. A large portion of these people have no access to credit or if they do they are being mispriced in the market because their FICO score is outdated,” Metcalf said. “Around one in 10 Americans have ‘unscorable’ credit reports. That’s around 30 million people. So we’re also able to offer credit to those people as well.”

According to the Fair Isaac Corporation’s data, 20 percent of American credit card owners are ranked as “subprime” because their FICO score is 600 or lower.

Expert Commentary: how should equity investors position for a secular uptrend in rates? (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

In Four Interest Rate Myths, I made a theoretical case for higher rates by debunking the New Gospel of the New Normal. The Slow Agony of and Old Bull highlighted seven signs that the bond bull market was already over. This report discusses the most important question facing market participants for the next five years – how should equity investors position for a secular uptrend in rates?

The report reviews the performance of U.S. sectors, currencies, and international indices during prior hiking cycles and their recent correlations with yields. Six conclusions emerge:

  • Almost tautologically, bond proxies have consistently underperformed during prior hiking cycles.
  • Currently, only two sectors are positively related to interest rates: financials and energy. Since their valuations remain below average, these sectors are a cheap option against the risk of rising rates.
  • Investors should monitor the correlation between yields and tech stocks: higher rates would kill the bull market if the correlation between tech stocks and bond yields turned negative.
  • U.S. stocks and the dollar index have tended to fall in prior hiking cycles.
  • Korean equities and, to a lesser extent, Japanese stocks have outperformed during prior hiking cycles.
  • The performance of emerging markets and commodity-driven markets is mixed: they have outperformed massively during in the 2003-2006 cycles, but have suffered during the hiking cycles of the 90s.

Read the full report here.

Dudley Says Fed Has Started Thinking About Official Digital Currency (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said Wednesday the U.S. central bank is beginning to explore whether it could adopt its own digital currency, in an appearance at Rutgers University where he also expressed optimism about the economy.

Bitcoin is “really more of a speculative activity,” Mr. Dudley said. But he said aspects of the technology are interesting and worthy of attention. “It’s premature to be talking about the Federal Reserve offering digital currencies, but it is something we are starting to think about,” he said.

Some academics have called for the Fed to offer its own digital currency. They believe it would afford the central bank better control over the economy by tweaking interest rates at the consumer level, bypassing fickle financial markets that often work at cross-purposes with Fed policy aims.

THE FINTECH EFFECT: AMAZON, GOOGLE, AND THE DISRUPTION OF SMALL BUSINESS LENDING (The Boss Magazine), Rated: AAA

If banking bigwigs and fintech entrepreneurs have seemed a bit queasy since October’s Lendit Europe conference, they might be blaming Karen Mills for daring to illuminate the elephants in the room: Amazon and Google, and their ability to disrupt the small business lending industry.

Mills, a former White House administrator for small business and current Harvard Business Review fellow, succinctly pointed out the obvious. With the tremendous amount of financial and personal data these behemoths collect, a broadening of scope into small business lending may be inevitable.

While Google hasn’t made any notable overtures into the lending business yet, Amazon launched its lending business to support its merchants in 2012. As reported by Bloomberg, the retailer issued $1 billion in loans in the 12 months between May 2016 and June 2017. To date, they have extended $3 billion to over 20,000 small businesses here, as well as in the U.K. and Japan.

The Magnificence of Micro Loans

Merchant services provider Square has given its merchants loans of over $1.5 billion since its in inception in 2014, and PayPal’s Working Capital program has loaned over 115,000 global businesses a total of $3 billion.

Amazon and Square merchants repay the loans automatically based on the amount of sales they make. PayPal’s maximum small business loan amount is 30 percent of a merchant’s annual PayPal sales, not to exceed $97,000 for the first loan.

Small Business Domination

Small businesses account for roughly 99.9 percent of all businesses in the U.S., and are responsible for 61.8 percent of the new jobs established from Q1 1993 to Q3 2016. About 80 percent of the nation’s 29.6 million small businesses are nonemployers.

Payday lending group plans to sue the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (USA Today), Rated: AAA

The Community Financial Services Association of America plans to challenge one of the federal watchdog’s signature achievements could signal how the consumer bureau’s previous enforcement policies will shift under new Trump administration leadership.

The anticipated battle would target a new rule that was indeed published in the Federal Register on Nov. 17, capping a contentious 18-month public comment and lobbying battle between the payday loan industry and consumer advocates.

Federal budget director Mick Mulvaney, installed by Trump as the bureau’s acting director, has been critical of the payday lending rule and has received campaign backing from the industry. He received $31,700 in 2015-2016 federal campaign cycle contributions from payday lenders, ranking ninth among all congressional recipients, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Federal judge refuses to block Trump’s designation of Mulvaney as interim head of CFPB (Legal NewsLine), Rated: A

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected arguments by Leandra English, who was named the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by outgoing director Richard Cordray, in a lawsuit she brought over the agency’s interim leadership.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to a minute order and entry on the case docket, denied English’s emergency motion for temporary restraining order after a motion hearing held Tuesday.

English filed her lawsuit Sunday night in attempt to block President Donald Trump’s naming of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the bureau’s acting director.

In a minute order filed Wednesday, Kelly said the parties will meet, confer and submit by Dec. 1 a joint proposed schedule for briefing the merits and/or for briefing a preliminary injunction, or separate schedules.

Payday lender going public as new sheriff takes over at CFPB (Seeking Alpha), Rated: B

Curo Group is looking to raise about $100M with the sale of 6.7M shares at hoped-for range of $14-$16 each. Prospectus here

Marlette Funding President Offers Insight on Personal Loan Market (LendEDU), Rated: A

Q: So we know that Fintech personal loan lenders are starting to attract more consumers and take up more of the market. How do you expect traditional banks to react to this over the next couple of years if the trend continues?

A: You’re starting to see banks wake up to this new way of lending. They’ve been impacted by a regulation-focused environment in recent years, driving them towards a compliance mindset. However, banks are starting to think of ways to grow their consumer lending businesses, and technology is a big part of this.

Q: What sort of future do you see for blockchain technology in the Fintech personal loanmarket? What sort of challenge would its implementation pose to Fintech lenders?

A: One use that I could see for Fintech lending is creating a more secured identity verification process for the customer. From the recent Equifax news, you have a single source of data where all relevant info is in one location, and a breach creates both chaos as well as problems with trust. Distributed ledger tech creates an interesting opportunity to limit this concern, but it’s going to take a long time before it can be implemented fully.

For Workers In A Pinch, Start-Ups Experiment With No-Interest Loans (Forbes), Rated: A

Dave is part of a new crop of financial technology companies that are trying to help consumers avoid nasty overdraft fees, as well as payday loans, pawn shops and other expensive forms of debt, via zero-interest loans. They’re going after workers who may struggle to make ends meet, but who could benefit from a minor influx of cash at the right time.

Dave analyzes a consumer’s bank account history to issue warnings about potential overdrafts up to seven days in advance. Then, for users who still find they’re in a pinch, it may approve a loan of up to $75. Dave doesn’t charge interest, but the app costs $1 a month and users are asked to leave a tip on advances. The Mark Cuban-backed service has amassed 100,000 users since it launched in April.

In 2016, financial institutions hauled in $33.3 billion on overdraft fees alone, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm.

Dave, in addition to companies like Even and Earnin (formerly Activehours), are attempting to do away with the high interest rates and fees that they say put a financial institution’s incentives in contrast with those of the borrower. Their answer: Small, zero-interest advances on a person’s next paycheck with no hidden or punitive fees.

According to one study of low and moderate income families, household income spiked — or fell — by more than 25% in six months out of every year.

YieldStreet CEO Milind Mehere: Excited about Growth and YieldStreet’s Future (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Launched in NYC in 2015, YieldStreet aims to allow people to invest in alternative investments that are backed by real collateral. With a world-class advisory board which recently added three new members Ron Suber (Prosper Group), Mitch Jacobs (On Deck)Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (Gilt Group) and a growing leadership team, including Volfi Mizrahi who just joined as Managing Director of Originations and Ivor Wolk as General Counsel, the platform’s growth is undeniable.

Erin: On what other elements of your YieldStreet street vision are you currently working?

Milind: Continuing to expand our product and audience offering – AutoInvest will let users choose their investment preferences such as asset class, yield and duration, then the algorithm our platform uses will match them as offerings become available. In 2018 we hope to open the platform to non-accredited investors, and we are working to provide liquidity on our platform, as well as creating products for the Financial Advisor/RIA market and IRA market.

Erin: How do you expect YieldStreet to grow? How do you source deals?

We work with a network of originators and asset managers, as well as many funds (from $50M to $10B) in the private credit space.

Erin: What lessons from Yodle — from its beginnings to its $342M sale to web.com in 2016 — have you applied to YieldStreet?

Milind: We have been incredibly efficient at YieldStreet because of that. We have just raised $3.7M in seed capital to reach $200M in originations, where some of our peers have raised anywhere from 6x-25x to achieve the same results. Yodle taught me to be extremely disciplined about where to invest and when.

Erin: What are YieldStreet’s future plans for growth by 2018? by 2020? by 2025?  How do you predict the sector will change and be disrupted?

Milind: According to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the asset management industry is set for “transformational change” and booming growth in the next decade. Alternative asset classes, such as real estate and private debt are expected to grow to about $21.1 trillion by 2025.

Innovative Approaches to Expanding Home Availability and Affordability (Lend Academy), Rated: A

It seems like almost every day I see a story about increasing real estate prices in the major metropolitan areas of the US. Prices in cities like San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Washington DC have made homeownership unobtainable for many people.

SoFi comes to mind with their jumbo mortgage which allows borrowers to put just 10% down and offers loans up to $3 million.

Landed is taking a different approach. I spoke with Alex Lofton who is Head of Growth and Co-founder at the company. They first came on my radar this summer when TechCrunch profiled them. They are similar to companies like Unison (who recently was on the Lend Academy podcast) and Point with a slight twist. Currently, the company focuses on teachers to help purchase a home, providing up to 50% of the down payment. Like other similar products, Landed participates in either the upside or downside when the home is sold.

PWC CHARGE: ASSET MANAGERS ARE DIGITAL TECH ‘LAGGARDS’ (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

In filling out the particulars of this claim the authors of the new report make four more specific points: one, asset management is a buyers’ market and will become more so, in large part because “institutional investors have the tools to differentiate alpha and beta,” and they want to pay for the former not the latter. They also say that asset managers have been filling gaps in the financial system that emerged in the wake of the global financial crisis – they’ll need to capitalize on and expand these once-niche markets. Thirdly, while they make the common point that traditional active managers feel a squeeze between passive management on the one hand and alternatives on the other, they go further in that direction than other analysts have, saying that the way to react to this squeeze is not to try to beat back the competing forces but to join them, to turn a management firm into a “multi-asset solutions firm.”

But perhaps the most surprising of the four points is the contention that asset management has been a refuge of digital technology “laggards,” and that this will change in the near future, as “technology giants … enter the sector, flexing their data analytics and distribution muscle. The race is on.”

Lincoln Financial Network Launches Integrated Technology Platform to Drive Greater Client Engagement and Collaboration in Financial Planning (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Lincoln Financial Network (LFN), the retail wealth management affiliate of Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE:LNC), today announced that it has successfully launched a meaningful enhancement to its fully integrated wealth management platform for financial advisors and their clients – Automated Account Opening (AAO). AAO encompasses a full suite of new capabilities, integrated tools, and client-servicing solutions that will increase client satisfaction and collaboration with advisors.

Banks resist pressure to raise rates, but for how long? (American Banker), Rated: A

Online banks have been aggressively raising the rates they pay on consumer deposits, and that is putting pressure on mainstream banks to consider following suit or risk losing valuable deposits to their more nimble competitors.

A recent survey of 100 banks conducted by MoneyRates.com found that online banks such as Ally Bank, Goldman Sachs’ GS Bank and Sallie Mae Bank are paying significantly higher rates on savings and money market accounts than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

U.S. regional banks delve deeper into advisory services to boost growth (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Smaller banks, like their bigger Wall Street rivals, have aggressively cut costs since the 2008 financial crisis and trusted ultra-low interest rates to increase loan volumes.

U.S. Bancorp, BB&T Corp, SunTrust Banks Inc, Fifth Third Bancorp, KeyCorp and Citizens Financial Group Inc together earned $6.97 billion in non-interest income in the third quarter, up 10.6 percent from a year earlier and 15.2 percent from the second quarter.

That compares with growth in net interest income of 7.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

RICH PICKINGS

The number of millionaires in the United States is at the highest since Chicago-based research company Spectrem Group started measuring it in 2004, but thresholds of – for example $250,000 to invest – mean many are too small to get personal attention from the big Wall Street firms.

Born between the early 1960s and 2000, Americans from Generations X and Y who have an average annual income of about $200,000, account for 18 percent of millionaires compared with 8 percent in 2012.

Yet only 58 percent have financial advisers compared to 72 percent five years ago, according to a study by Fidelity Investment.

KeyBank Forms Strategic Partnership With Snapsheet To Provide Powerful Insurance Claims Payment Solutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) announced today its strategic investment and partnership with Snapsheet, an innovator of self-service claims solutions for insurance carriers. This investment follows the joint launch and announcement of Snapsheet Transactions, a payment platform on the back end of Snapsheet’s existing claims solution.

Snapsheet Transactions provides carriers with a payment hub that features a variety of payment options, without adding complexity or risk to insurance carriers’ back-end processes. Key and Snapsheet will continue to partner with each other to support the rollout and execution of enhancements and innovations related to Snapsheet Transactions.

Concord President & COO Shaun O’Neill to Lead Panel at Marketplace Lending Conference in New York City (PRWeb), Rated: B

Shaun O’Neill, President and COO of Concord Servicing Corporation, a leading force in the portfolio servicing and financial technology industry, has been invited to serve as moderator of a finance-related panel during the upcoming Information Management Network’s 3rd Annual Investors’ Conference on Marketplace Lending. O’Neill’s panel will focus on the highly topical “Trends and Best Practices for Loan Servicing” during the conference, to be held December 1st at the Marriott New York Downtown, in New York City.

LendingTree Logo To Appear On Greensboro Swarm Jerseys As Part of Company’s Partnership With Hornets (NBA.com), Rated: B

The Charlotte Hornets, Greensboro Swarm and LendingTree announced today that the LendingTree logo will appear on the jerseys of the Swarm as part of the Founding Level Partnership announced earlier this month between the Hornets and LendingTree.

Family loans: How to dodge the drama (Work IT, SOVA), Rated: B

There are advantages of a family loan for a borrower: no credit check, low or no interest and flexible payback terms.

Family loans may also come with tax considerations, whether the lender charges interest or not. Charge zero interest, and you may face a gift tax; a borrower who receives a gift may have to report it as taxable income. Tack on an interest charge and you must follow IRS-specified guidelines for the rate you charge and report it as income.

BORROWERS: EXHAUST OTHER OPTIONS FIRST

When weighing the pros and cons of a family loan, also consider alternative options, including a personal loan borrowed from a bank, credit union or online lender that can be used for any purpose.

Personal loans from credit unions and online lenders typically have more flexible qualification requirements than a bank loan.

LENDERS: ASSESS THE REASON FOR THE REQUEST

If you are lending the money, try to set your emotions aside and look at the reason for the loan. Has your family member been rejected by banks and other lenders? If so, why? Will your loan help promote good financial decisions?

United Kingdom

Funding Circle IFISA motors ahead with instant sign-ups (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has begun rolling out its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to investors and had a customer sign up within 15 minutes.

The peer-to-peer business lending giant started emailing users on Thursday morning, in order of when they opened accounts and started investing.

The IFISA account is a flexi-ISA, meaning you can withdraw any available funds without affecting your annual £20,000 ISA subscription limit, providing you transfer them back in by the end of the tax year.

Assetz Capital Announcement: Soon to Launch IFISA Set to Include Manual Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The online lender reported that the IFISA will be launched next month, with users able to use their £20,000 annual tax-free allowance on the Assetz Capital platform. Users will be able to transfer in past years’ ISA savings from their cash and shares ISAs. Assetz Capital also noted that new and existing investors will be able to open an IFISA wrapper on the platform and then invest into any automated Assetz investment account. The IFISA is also set to include the popular Manual Loan Investment Account (MLIA) in the New Year.

Digital banking: a tough way to make money (Financial Times), Rated: A

It’s been a busy period for the UK’s fledgling digital banks. Since January, eight UK digital banks have collectively raised $600m and two challenger banks were acquired for $2B+. Digital banks have built out the tech, landed banking licenses, and started winning customers – but they have arrived at a ‘now what’ moment. How can they capture a large enough customer base to validate their significant collective investment?

Monzo reported that its prepaid card scheme loses around £50 per active customer per year, and other digital banks face similar costs. While on the one hand the cost to acquire these current account customers is not very high, given the ‘buzz’ around the sector and banks’ word of mouth-driven growth – these current accounts, with their low average balances, are also inherently unprofitable. So it’s a steep climb for digital banks to recoup their operational costs, much less make a lot of money per customer.

P2PGI unveils new strategy that speeds up timetable for target returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) has brought forward its timetable for reaching its target returns of six to eight per cent after unveiling its new portfolio strategy on Thursday morning.

The investment trust said it now expects to provide a dividend of at least 15p per quarter by the end of the second quarter of 2018, which analysts say reflects an annualised yield of 7.8 per cent.

LendInvest: How our BTL launch will fill the portfolio landlord lending gap (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

The prospects of the dinner party landlord, who picked up a property or two during the boom years, have been dented by moves like the additional rate of stamp duty on second homes and the changes to mortgage interest tax relief.

In contrast, it’s the professionals who are best placed to adjust their budgets and ride out such changes. These are the investors who spend their working hours – rather than just their spare time – focused on running their property businesses.

Countrywide’s letting index in August flagged up the fact that the number of homes on the market to tenants has jumped by 171,000 over the last two years, despite the number of landlords falling by 154,000 over the same period.

Three reasons why investors must consider alternative lending (Money Observer), Rated: A

With cash held at the bank slowly being eroded by inflation, many investors have been attracted to the enhanced return prospects offered by alternative – or ‘peer-to-peer’ – lending.

Alternative lending is very interesting from this perspective, as it is one of the few income options available to retail investors that may be shielded from market volatility. This has grown in importance recently as many markets are currently trading at historically high valuations. Markets follow a supply and demand dynamic and the traditional asset classes are definitely vulnerable to sudden downside pressures in stressed market environments.

China

Was 2017 the year that Chinese fintech grew up? (Ecns.cn), Rated: A

While investments in the Chinese fintech sector tripled to almost 10 billion US dollars in 2016 compared to the year before, 2017 has seen a significant drop in corporate fintech investments across Asia. KPMG reports that corporates have only put 840 million US dollars into the sector in 2017, compared to 6.8 billion US dollars in 2016.

Decline of P2P, robo-advisors

One other area that has struggled in 2017 has been robo-advisors. In 2016, China Merchants Securities predicted that by 2020, some 5.22 trillion yuan (758 billion US dollars) worth of assets would be managed by robot financiers.

China leverage and shadow banking biggest threats to growth (The Asset), Rated: A

FINANCIAL system leverage and shadow banking pose the biggest threat to China’s economic growth, according to a live poll of attendees at the Fitch on China Forum.

The forum was organized by The Asset in association with Fitch Ratings and held on November 30 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong.

Source: The Asset

Ant Financial and QCash scoop FT fintech awards (Financial Times), Rated: B

A big Chinese group and a US not-for-profit have triumphed in the second annual Financial Times fintech awards, with Ant Financial taking the “impact” prize and QCash winning for “innovation”.

European Union

KappAhl first to offer mobile payments in store with Klarna (NB Herard), Rated: AAA

KappAhl is the first major fashion chain to offer its customers digital payment solutions in stores via their smartphones. Customers will have the option to make their purchases with Klarna In-Store, paying either on the spot or upon invoice.

This new payment solution will become one of the cornerstones in KappAhl’s digital transformation, with customers in stores benefitting from the same payment options that they have in Shop Online.

The service has been rolled out gradually and, as of 1 December, will be available in all 173 KappAhl and Newbie stores in Sweden. From 1 December, the service will be available in all 96 Norwegian stores, and, from 4 December, in all 58 stores in Finland.

Fintech company Deposit Solutions raises $ 20 million from existing investors (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Deposit Solutions, a German fintech company, has raised $20 million in a round led by e.Ventures and Greycroft, both existing shareholders.

The new funds will be used to grow the Hamburg-based company’s Open Banking platform for savings deposits for both B2B and B2C services, and to expand internationally. Its APIs allow banks to connect to the platform to build and offer deposit services. It has partnered with more than 50 banks.

Why Scandinavia’s Biggest Bank Is Setting Up Its Own Fintech Startup Fund (Forbes), Rated: A

The bank has announced that it’s setting up Nordea Ventures, to make strategic investments in fintech start-ups.

A case in point is Tink the Swedish-based fintech company, where Nordea provided capital and advice and integrated some of Tink’s own technology into its own digital products while preserving Tink’s name and brand.

Tink’s app helps consumers to aggregate financial transactions in one place, to compare and switch mortgages to a partner bank or open a savings account, for instance. Another Tink app for banks and payment services like Klarna provides account aggregation and payment capabilities.

Nordea invests in fintech company Betalo (Nordea), Rated: B

Nordea is investing in the fintech company Betalo. This takes our partnership with the Swedish company to the next level after a cooperation agreement was signed in March 2017.

PSD2 BRINGS DELAYED DISRUPTION TO THE FINTECH ECOSYSTEM (TechSavvy), Rated: A

A new EU-directive is about to force banks to open up their data vaults and allow third parties to access their user data. Nordea has chosen to embrace the change with open eyes, and a fintech startup predicts tough competition embarking on the opportunities it brings along.

The release of bank data is bound to cause a stir in an otherwise traditional and established sector. One of the incumbents that have already made an imprint is the fintech startup Spiir.

American tech giants might end up owning the financial space. Rune Mai looks to China to catch a glimpse of what the financial future might hold. The retail giant Alibaba owns half the payment market here with an all-encompassing app that offers everything from dating, financing to shopping.

Nordea is more inspired than afraid of Amazon. The bank has more than 10 million customers in the Nordic region, and they have decided to face the coming change with open eyes. They are actively pursuing a first mover strategy and has allocated more than 100 people to ready themselves for the coming digital disruption.

International

Blockchain P2P Lending, Sending, and Spending: Etherecash Garners Support from Over 40,000 Contributors During Pre-ICO (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

A little over three weeks are left in the Etherecash token sale and it’s been a fantastic run so far; the success they have seen comes after a big appearance at the World Blockchain Summit, Dubai, which was closely followed by a heated Pre-ICO.

The platform is the remedy to the overly-complex and lengthy process of getting a traditional bank account, and will provide access to finances through a cryptocurrency-backed P2P (Peer-to-Peer) fiat currency loan marketplace. P2P loans are backed by the borrower’s own crypto-wealth allowing them to borrow up to 80 percent of their wallet’s value.

On top of this, once the crypto debit card is available, users will be able to store multiple types of cryptocurrency on it, allowing them to shop anywhere and everywhere as they please, even abroad.

Based on the Ethereum standard token ERC20, purchasable with Bitcoin or Ethereum, the exciting ICO Launch began 15th November, 2017 – ending December 19th, 2017.

Australia

Treasurer of Australia Scott Morrison Visits Online Lender Prospa’s New Office in Darlinghurst (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prospa, an online lender serving SMEs in Australia, had a visit from the Honorable Scott Morrison yesterday. The Treasurer of Australia help to open up Prospa’s new high tech Darlinghurst office, which apparently is quite large extending over two floors housing a team of 150.

Prospa expects to add another 50 hires over the next 12 months as it accommodates platform growth.

India

KrazyBee looks to expand in Tamil Nadu (The Times of India), Rated: A

Online lender KrazyBee says it is rapidly expanding its business in Tamil Nadu and its focus in the state will be on solving unique needs of the student community.

KrazyBee, which earlier operated in five cities (Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Vellore and Mysore), said that is expanding aggressively in over 11 cities, including Chennai. With more than four lakh registered student borrowers on its platform, KrazyBee says it currently processes over 3,000 loan applications and disburse around 1,700 loans per day.

Asia

Asian banks’ operating income could be hit by fintech disruption (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Asian banks that do not take any action against the rise of financial technology (fintech) could see their operating income take a hit, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday (Nov 30) in its latest Financial Stability Review.

For lenders in Singapore that do nothing to stave off the disruption, that could mean a 5 per cent loss in operating income over the next five years, the central bank warned.

 

Mobile wallets taking hold in Asia (The Asset), Rated: A

WHILE the development of digital payments started with the launch of the first universal credit card in the 1950s, the space has rapidly evolved, and now the mantle is being passed to e-wallets, otherwise known as mobile wallets.

In 2014, credit and debit cards accounted for more than half of e-commerce payments in terms of transaction value. However, that share is predicted to drop to 49% in 2019 as mobile wallet options start to gain ground, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Canada

Activists across Canada demand fair banking for low-income people (TheStar), Rated: AAA

At the Toronto rally held outside Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s constituency office, a 46-year-old man was holding the loan he got in August from a payday loan company and was trying to get pedestrians to look at it.

He took out a $5,500 loan to pay his rent in August, to be paid back at 60 per cent interest by 2020.

Don is a member of the grassroots activist group called Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and one of thousands of people who, on Tuesday, rallied across Canada demanding fair banking.

Mobetize’ CEO to speak at first BC Tech Association FinTech Day (Globe Newswire), Rated: B

Mobetize Corp. (OTCQB:MPAY), a leading fintech service provider for payments, remittances and mobile banking solutions, today announced CEO Ajay Hans will be the keynote speaker at BC Tech’s Fintech Day event on December 5.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Peter Thiel bets on European deposit protection

Take a look at Deposit Solutions, a Berlin-based fintech company backed by Peter Thiel. This week it raised another €15m from the Trump-supporting billionaire and other investors at a reported €110 million valuation. What’s the idea behind the four-year-old startup?

Continue reading: Peter Thiel bets on European deposit protection

Take a look at Deposit Solutions, a Berlin-based fintech company backed by Peter Thiel. This week it raised another €15m from the Trump-supporting billionaire and other investors at a reported €110 million valuation. What's the idea behind the four-year-old startup?

Continue reading: Peter Thiel bets on European deposit protection

July 21st 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments A lot of news today, and today we have an especially good international section. Please do pay attention to the Australian, Singapore and China sections in particular. (And Lending Times technical team reports that yes, Mailchimp has not answered any of the multiple requests for support from a paying client in 17 hours. […]

News Comments

  • A lot of news today, and today we have an especially good international section. Please do pay attention to the Australian, Singapore and China sections in particular.
  • (And Lending Times technical team reports that yes, Mailchimp has not answered any of the multiple requests for support from a paying client in 17 hours. We will send today’s newsletter by hand again using the older design template.)

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Switzerland

India

Singapore

Australia

China

News Summary

 

United States

The marketplace lending market has received an influx of positive news recently, (Peer IQ), Rated: AAA

The WSJ reports that Moody’s removed Class C mezzanine bonds issued by CHAI 2015-PM1, 2015-PM2, and 2015-PM3 from downgrade review and confirmed Ba3 rating.

At the time of downgrade review in February, Moody’s cited a faster build-up of delinquencies and charge-offs than expected. Moody’s also increased the expected cumulative lifetime net loss from 8% to 12% (bringing revised estimates in-line with platform and market expectations).
As of the June 15, 2016 distribution date, losses on the CHAI 2015-PM1, 2015-PM2 and 2015-PM3 pools have reached 3.6%, 1.5% and 0.5%, respectively.
Improvement in Credit Spread on MPL ABS bonds
The ratings action was presaged by the ABS market which showed spread tightening from 1000 to 400 bps. Readers may seek to review the May month-end newsletter to see the analysis cited in the WSJ report:
PeerIQ credit spread on MPL ABS bonds
Leading up to the CHAI 2016 PM-1 offering in April, the culmination of ratings actions, regulatory chatter, delinquency fears, and volatile credit markets created an inhospitable environment for new deals. The auction resulted in limited participation and wide initial pricing–10.26% coupon priced to 12.5% yield on the CHAI 2016 PMI-1 C tranche.
Investors that bought the CHAI C tranche at new issuance without any leverage would have seen about 15% price appreciation in 3 months. Investors that performed the up-front credit work and applied analytics to separate the signal from headlines were able to earn outsized returns.
Dislocation creates opportunity
Ironically, the dislocation in recent months has created substantial investor interest in MPL ABS and whole loans. The CHAI 2016-1 PM1 offering prompted investors that were historically dismissive of marketplace lending to do a double-take
Repeat ABS investors are now looking upstream to capture additional whole loan economics.
Large asset managers with double-digit return objectives in a negative to low rate world are looking to strike bargains with platforms. There is still much more to be done. Nevertheless, the climate for establishing relationships with platforms may be as good as ever.

Little Change in LendingClub Loans Since Madden Decision, (BNA), Rated: A

So far, LendingClub loans haven’t changed in average interest rate or risk, either in the 2nd Circuit or nationwide.

Both the total number and value of loans and the amounts arranged through the company have only grown, not diminished, while average FICO scores measuring a borrower’s credit rating remain consistent, and internal loan grades have remained the same. One exception is that the average value of borrowers’ previously requested FICO score did increase steadily since the decision, even though FICO scores at the time of loan issuance did not.

LendingClub has also continued to arrange loans to borrowers in the 2nd Circuit that surpass the interest rate caps in those states. The Madden decision does not prevent national banks from providing loans above a state’s interest rate cap. Instead, it applies to debt collection agencies that purchase those loans.

Lending club changes after Madden vs Midland

As a result of the court’s decision, LendingClub in February renegotiated terms with WebBank—the Utah bank that originates all of the loans through the online service (40 BBD, 3/1/16)

Under the new arrangement, WebBank maintains ongoing accounts for the borrowers and receives regular payments from LendingClub—called “loan-trailing fees”—rather than a single lump sum fee on every loan it originates. The loan trailing fee is based on the total amount serviced by the bank and a “loan fee factor.” A LendingClub representative told Bloomberg BNA that the company does not publicly disclose the amount of the loan fee agreement with WebBank.

Different picture for Prosper

Prosper loan volumes

Representative for Prosper attributed any changes in lending to general market fluctuations but would not comment further for this story.

A 2009 paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said that loans sold into the secondary market through originate-to-distribute underperformed other loans by 9 percent. A 2010 academic paper funded by the FDIC’s Center for Financial Research also implicated the originate-to-distribute model in the subprime crisis.

Author and University of Michigan Finance Professor Amiyatosh Purnanandam told Bloomberg BNA that part of the problem with the originate-to-distribute model is that once the debt is sold, the originating bank has nothing at risk and the debt buyers don’t always have the skill in evaluating good borrowers as national banks do.

Jefferies revives stalled Lending Club bond: sources, (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Comment: We covered these news last week as well. At that time it was more of rumor. It seems it’s real news now.

Jefferies has revived its stalled Lending Club loan securitization in a club-style deal it has begun to pre-market to only a few select investors, two buyside sources with knowledge of the trade told IFR.

The bank is now looking to sell a two-tranche trade that could offer yields in the 4.25%-7% range, one of the investors said.

The top class of notes of slightly less than one-year were about 60% subscribed, while a longer 2-year tranche was already fully covered, the investor said.

The near-prime loan securitization was shelved after Lending Club said it had repurchased a US$22m pool of loans sold to Jefferies under Laplanche’s watch that included falsified documentation.

Goldman Sachs also hit pause on its potential bond sale of prime Lending Club loans.

But bankers told IFR that Goldman could now look to revive its bond deal, if the Jefferies trade finds favor with investors.

Goldman Sachs Sets Its Eyes on Retail Banking (GS), (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Fast Start
According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 20,000 new customers have opened internet bank accounts with the Goldman unit since it launched three months ago. Unlike other Internet-only retail banks that tend to offer a wide range of services, Goldman’s products are geared towards long-term savings, and it solely offers its customers the option to open traditional savings and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts. As of July 20, 2016, the bank’s interest rate on online savings accounts was 1.05% while its interest rate on a 5-year CD was 1.85%. In many cases, these rates are a lot higher than what traditional banks pay their customers. For example, Wells Fargo (WFC), Citibank (C), Bank of America (BAC) and Chase (JPM) all pay less than 0.03% APY on regular savings accounts. GS Bank can offer above-average interest rates to its depositors because they do not have the overhead expenses of a typical brick and mortar bank. (See also, The Pros And Cons Of Internet Banks.)

Retail Diversification
For Goldman Sachs, savings accounts may not be as exciting as the main investment banking business. Yet, the company still benefits from expanding into retail banking, enabling Goldman Sachs to diversify its customer base and tap into a segment of the market, retail investors, that they have been unable to serve in the past. GS Bank will also help boost Goldman’s overall liquidity, and keep the company compliant with new regulations calling for more liquidity from financial institutions. Around the same time GS Bank was launched, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) proposed new rules that would require banks to own sufficient ‘‘easy-to-sell’’ assets that would be able to cover any and all liabilities coming due within a one year period. (See also: The History Of The FDIC.)

The Realities Of Alt-Lending Regulation Begin To Set In, (Pymnts), Rated: A

Comment: we covered this yesterday as head news. However it is so important that we would like to remind our readers just in case.

“I suspect more regulation will come to the space, and I think that will suit us well,” said PayPal VP and General Manager of Small Business Lending Darrell Esch in an interview with Forbes last year.

When asked by PYMNTS whether he was concerned about incoming regulation on the space, OnDeck Vice President of External Affairs and Associate General Counsel Daniel Gorfine simply stated, “No, not concerned.”

Reports from Bloomberg BNA this week, however, could signal a shift in how alternative lending players are reacting to the incoming threat of regulation.

“Strong evidence indicates that small business loans under $100,000 share common characteristics with consumer loans yet do not enjoy the same consumer protections,” the Treasury stated in its May report. “Treasury is willing to work with members of Congress to consider legislation that addresses both oversight and borrower protections.”

“I would have to do everything differently,” said CAN Capital Chief Legal Officer Parris Sanz in an interview with the publication. “I can’t give you a rundown of all the various moving parts that would be affected, but I can tell you for sure that it would be significant.”

In a separate interview with Bloomberg BNA, Richard Eckman, a partner at Delaware-based Pepper Hamilton LLP, said alternative lenders are probably wise to pay attention to this possibility.

REFILE-Marlette gets second ever online loan ABS over the line, (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Marlette Funding got its second-ever bond backed by personal loans easily over the line on Wednesday, but investors said the primary market was still wary of deals from the online lending industry.

Marlette’s deal narrowed its pricing from guidance, but investors said global low rates had turned all types of US consumer debt-related assets with yield into a hot commodity.

And similar deals from a year ago were pricing far tighter.

Marlette priced its top US$149m of 1-year Single A (rated by Kroll) notes at 225bp over EDSF, tighter than a 235bp-250bp area guidance, two investors said.

Last July, Citigroup cleared its top class of A3 (rated by Moody’s) bonds – one notch lower – of Prosper Marketplace loans at 140bp over EDSF, according to IFR data.

Riskier Ba3 notes from Citigroup priced at 385bp over interpolated swaps, whereas Marlette’s BBs Wednesday printed at a whopping 825bp over swaps.

By another measure, the BBs were about 75bp more than a deep subprime auto ABS sold this week by lender Consumer Portfolio Services, according to IFR data.

“Marlette’s business model ensures an alignment of interests among the company, the originating bank and institutional loan buyers,” Kroll Bond Ratings wrote in its presale report.

The hunt for yield, meanwhile, has prompted two banks with exposure to online loans to revive postponed deals in the primary market, buyside sources said.

Non-bank Jefferies has rekindled a roughly US$140m bond deal of near-prime Lending Club loans, which was shelved for two months after Laplanche stepped down from Lending Club.

Bankers said that Goldman Sachs could also look to bring out its paused prime-quality Lending Club deal after Jefferies.

United Kingdom

Oxford economist John Kay: Where the opportunities are for fintech, (Alt Fi Credit), Rated: A

Large scale financial services firms are still ripe for disruption, according to the economist John Kay, who believes the City of London and other major financial centres have taken a wrong turn.

Kay explains that he sees four main ways that fintech can be successful and help the real economy by disrupting financial services.

These are firstly; the payments system This is the system that enables the payment of wages and salaries as well as bills. Secondly; capital allocation. This how peoples’ savings become invested in the physical assets and infrastructure of a country. Risk management is third, i.e mitigating the risks of everyday life such as insurance. Lastly is wealth management in a broader sense.

Technology will take over a lot this spectrum and he argues wealth management “is an area of major disruption”, encompassing P2P lending/investing, robo-advice and other discretionary investment services. However, he says payments is the one that will most clearly disrupt things and change our lives. He thinks cash will “seem crazy” in 20 years’ time.

Kay has a sizeable investment in online investment management firm Nutmeg, however, which is one of the dominant players seeking to disrupt the fund management and wealth management industries although they have yet to announce a P2P/market place lending function.

City regulator warns on peer-to-peer lending, (Financial Times), Rated: A

Chris Philp, a Conservative MP on the Treasury committee, said many consumers do not understand the dangers they are exposed to through P2P.

He said the way P2P sites are paid fees without taking on the risk of loans on a balance sheet is akin to the securitisation of subprime loans before the financial crisis.

Mr Bailey said in response, “I agree with you on the risks”.

Mr Bailey noted that although some platforms have so-called reserve funds to pay out to investors in the event that borrowers default, there is “no guarantee in that fund”.

European Union

Renowned investor Peter Thiel increases investment in leading European fintech, Deposit Solutions, (Press Release), Rated: AAA

Prominent venture capital firms today announce they have invested €15 million in European fintech company Deposit Solutions GmbH, a fast growing fintech innovator operating in the €9 trillion market for retail deposits in Europe.

The key highlights include:  PayPal co-founder and Facebook’s first outside investor, Peter Thiel, and German leading fintech investor FinLab jointly increase their share in the company  US investor Greycroft Partners, the global growth fund of e.ventures as well as Valar Ventures come on board as three new partners  The funding round increases the valuation of Deposit Solutions to €110 million.  This is the second successful investment round for Deposit Solutions within a year, following last year´s investment into the Company of €6.5 million. Since then the valuation of the company more than quadrupled.  The funds raised will be used to further develop the proprietary technology platform and continue Deposit Solutions´ international expansion, having already recently expanded to the UK and Switzerland.  Deposit Solutions will increase the number of employees at its UK HQ in the City of London and is expected to launch its retail platform in the UK in 2017.

“We are seeing substantial demand from banks looking to offer their clients attractive deposit products under the existing account relationship. As a result we have gained access to millions of clients and billions of deposit appetite in a very short amount of time. This in turn is very attractive to banks wanting to raise deposits through our platform.”

Max von Bismarck, Chief Business Officer and Managing Director of Deposit Solutions, said: “We address an important structural problem in European banking today for banks and retail customers: Many banks are unable to offer attractive interest rates to their clients. At the same time other banks find it difficult and costly to gain access to retail deposit funding. Our platform provides a solution for both while savers find it easier to get access to better rates.”

ECrowd! Spanish Crowdlending Platform Receives License by the CNMV, (Crowdfunding Insider), Rated: A

Debt-based crowdfunding platform ECrowd! is one of the first Spanish sites to receive a formal operating license from the Comision del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), the securities regulatory agency in Spain. ECrowd!, based in Barcelona, has joined Crowdcube Spain, Lendix and MyTripleA in receiving official approval as a Collaborative Finance Platform under regulations enacted in 2015.

They were on track to achieve 100% growth during 2016. [Comment: Some authors have issues with important verb tenses, it is unclear if the author meant they are or they were.]

Switzerland

The era of Crowlending opens new market for startups, (Startup Ticker), Rated: AAA

In Switzerland significant growth in Crowdlending was achieved in the previous year. The Crowdfunding monitoring report 2016 published by theUniversity of Applied Sciences Luzern early this year reported a significant increase in the total amount of money raised through Crowdlending in the year 2015. A total sum of CHF 7.9 Million was collected through crowdlending with a growth rate of +126%. 266 campaigns were financed. Crowdlending has continued to become more popular not only among start-ups but also among investors.

The crowdlending market in Switzerland is booming and has opened new opportunities for entrepreneurs. New startups operating crowdlending platforms are been established and many projects have been successfully financed. Today, there are 7 crowdlending platforms: the pioneer Cashare for both SMEs and private ventures, CreditGate24 for private and institutional investors, creditworld for both private and on SME loan, Lend, splendid that is specifically focusing on education loans,swisspeers for SMEs and Wecan.fund for SMEs. Other platforms – such as Miteinander-Erfolgreich and Raizers – also operate alongside other models as crowdlending platforms.

India

India’s Mywish Marketplaces raises $ 15 M to expand to new financial products, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

This isn’t a huge round compared to what other companies have closed, but it is entirely strategic. The capital was proved by Franklin Templeton, the U.S. banking giant with more than $700 billion in assets under management. Puru Vashishtha, who is board director at Mywish Marketplaces, told me in an interview that the company didn’t need to raise the funds and it wasn’t short of interest, but it did so for growth opportunities and was very deliberate with the capital that it did close.

“We were chased by a lot of venture capitalists and investors globally,” Vashishtha said. “Because we were profitable, we did not need to raise a lot and didn’t want to dilute too much too soon — that’s one of the reasons we chose Franklin Templeton. Also, Franklin Templeton has built a very big emerging market business, we want to leverage the experience and leadership of their team.”

To backtrack a little, Mywish Marketplaces operates Deal4Loans, a price comparison and loan aggregation website in India. Its products include credit cards, home loans, business loans and personal loans.

Like Credit Karma in the U.S. and countless others worldwide, it works with banks, credit card companies and other financial institutes to help drive customers, while for its users, it tries to provide a holistic look at financing option and which one suits best for each case. The Deal4Loans site claims to have served more than 6.3 million “satisfied” customers, while the company says it has dispersed a total of $2 billion loans in the last six years at a current rate of $400-$450 million per year.

So why is this profitable company — profitable from day one, it claims — raising money?

I hinted at it earlier, but Mywish Marketplaces wants to expand into more verticals with new financing products for Indian consumers.

P2P lender Faircent makes strategic C-suite appointments, (Economic Times), Rated: B

India’s largest peer- to- peer (P2P) lending marketplace, Faircent.com, on Wednesday announced the appointment of Shivam Gupta, who was a part of the global risk management team of Standard Chartered Bank based in Singapore, as chief risk officer and Karun Thareja, who was a part of the leadership at an analytics startup called WyzMindz, as head of marketing.

Thareja, on the other hand has extensive experience in Marketing, Sales and Business Management spanning more than 20 years. His domain expertise includes Analytics, Enterprise Systems, Contact Center Management and Process Management. In his prior roles he has led multi-fold growth in business units at companies like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Dassault Systems and NIIT.

Singapore

Online lending platform to offer investor insurance, (Straits Business), Rated: AAA

Online peer-to-peer funding platform Validus Capital has partnered home-grown insurance provider EQ Insurance to offer investor protection on some of the financing it provides to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

It will be the first platform in Singapore to provide investor insurance on its invoice financing services, the company said.

The platform, which was founded last year, has had a zero-per-cent default rate to date thanks to its “rigorous due diligence”, the company said. In the last few months, the company has had 27 SMEs approved for invoice financing services, each with an average revenue of $5 million.

Mr Prakash Somosundram, co-founder of Pealo – an aggregated marketplace for SMEs to access working capital – said the firm is looking into investor protection products. “This will definitely help us to attract more investors, and more people will see this form of investing as an asset class,” he added.

Pealo’s platform was launched in January – 300 SMEs have signed up and there are 46 live campaigns under way.

Mr Brian Teng, chief executive of InvoiceInterchange – which allows SMEs to put up their unpaid invoices for auction – also said the platform hopes to eventually make insurance available to investors.

Mr Teng declined to reveal how many SMEs have used the platform, but said there is significant room for invoice financing to grow as a source of funds for SMEs here.

“The penetration rate of invoice financing in Singapore is still low when compared with nations like Britain and the United States,” he noted. The company has funded $4 million of invoices since its launch in 2015.

Mr Roger Crook, chief executive of Capital Springboard – which runs a crowdfunding platform for invoice financing – said more than 100 SMEs have used the service.

The platform has funded over $85 million worth of invoices over the past year, with over 50 accredited and institutional investors taking part.

Australia

Online home loan marketplace exceeds billion in loans, (Broker News), Rated: AAA

HashChing, an online home loan marketplace, has surpassed $1 billion of home loans as momentum builds for the Sydney fintech company. The platform officially launched in August 2015 with just a few brokers on board across Australia. Now, more than a billion dollars’ worth of loans have been received and more than 1,200 mortgage brokers across the country have signed up. The platform works as an online marketplace connecting consumers to mortgage brokers.

“Customers aren’t just looking to save time. The key to our success is that our offer extends far beyond convenience. We’re able to offer pre-negotiated home loan deals from different lenders with equal features, the same products, but with an even better rate,” Sodhi, co-founder and CEO said.

Narang, co-founder and CIO added: “Our broker registration process has been automated to make it really easy and quick by allowing them to digitally sign the contract which instantly activates their account and saves the paper clutter at both ends.”

As the platform continues to build momentum, Sodhi and Narang have welcomed Claire Wivell Plater of The Fold Legal to their advisory board. Wivell Plater is a long standing member of the Business Advisory Committee to ASIC’s Licensing Division and was recently appointed to the Treasurer’s Fintech Advisory Group.

Narang explains HashChing 2.0 will involve more intelligent use of analytics for a better consumer experience.

China

How Chinese Search Giant Baidu Is Getting Deeper Into Banking, (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Chinese search giant Baidu is investing more deeply in financial technology startups as it seeks to expand its own lending efforts.

On Monday, Baidu announced an investment in ZestFinance, a startup taking on the credit scoring industry by using machine learning and a wide variety of data about borrowers to rate their ability to repay loans.

While the amount of the backing was not disclosed, Baidu also invested Bitcoin payments startup Circle Internet Financial last month, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Wednesday.

Both investments followed Baidu’s decision last year to form an online bank in partnership with Citic Group’s banking unit. The new bank would be the first in China that “truly understands both the Internet and financial services,” Baidu CEO Robin Li said at the time.

Baidu had also made several notable hires from the finance sector, the Nikkei paper reported, including executives with experience from American Express , online financial marketplace Lufax, and Everbright Bank in China.

While online lending sites like Lending Club LC -0.22% have faltered in the United States, the market is strong in China. The peer-to-peer lending market reached almost $67 billion last year, the largest in the world, Nikkei reported citing data from Citigroup.

Baidu will use ZestFinance’s credit rating technology to assess the creditworthiness of its own users. Unlike the U.S., China lacks centralized credit bureaus, and only a small portion of the population has a credit card.

Author:

George Popescu
George Popescu

July 20st 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States A very interesting risk that has not been clearly described so far: the risk that small SMB loans end up being regulated like personal loans. A fascinating read on politics and regulators. Goldman announcing their p2p lender will be live in the fall with $16bil in lending capital from depositors. Goldman […]

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

India

Singapore

China

  • The take away from Lendit China per Orchard and Lendit Organizer Jason Jones :
    • There continues to be strong interest from Chinese Wealth Management firms to invest in US Online Lending loans
    • Investor interest is focused on making strategic equity investments in all types of global FinTech firms within Online Lending
    • Chinese Marketplace Lenders continue to increase their focus on offering more diversified products to clients including wealth management, insurance, and other financial services
    • Implementing a robust operational infrastructure is widely understood as a necessity required to successfully invest in the US Online Lending industry
United States

Small-Biz Online Lenders Aim to Dodge Consumer-Loan ‘Nightmare’, (Bloomberg DNA), Rated: AAA

Online marketplace lenders would face significantly higher regulatory hurdles if most of their loans to small businesses were reclassified as consumer loans, as the Treasury Department has recommended, an industry representative and a legal expert told Bloomberg BNA.

Officials discussed the need for greater transparency and noted that small-business loans under $100,000 “share common characteristics with consumer loans, yet do not enjoy the same consumer protections.”

The industry is pushing hard to head off the suggestion.

“They’re very smart in being concerned about that,” said Richard Eckman, a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Wilmington, Del. “There are a whole host of consumer laws that apply to loans that are for personal, family and household purposes; that’s sort of the definition of a consumer loan.”

The federal consumer protection law that ranks as the biggest concern of marketplace lenders such as CAN Capital, which cater exclusively to small businesses, is the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).

“TILA, in particular, is onerous,” Eckman, a specialist in marketplace-lending law, said in an e-mail.

On May 3, 16 members of the committee’s Republican majority and three of its minority Democrats, along with House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sounding themes that foreshadowed Sanz’s testimony. The Treasury Department at that time was preparing its report on marketplace lending, and the House members wrote that they wished “to raise concerns with recent comments by public officials that seem to indicate a preference to regulate lending to small businesses and consumers similarly.”

“[W]e believe it is important for the Department to carefully study and understand key distinctions between commercial and consumer lending markets,” the letter said. “Mistaken efforts to conflate these categories would restrict the availability of capital to small business owners.”

“There’s no reason why small businesses shouldn’t have the same protection as consumers,” Lauren Saunders, associate director of the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center, in Washington, told Bloomberg BNA.

“The research has shown that these small-business owners who borrow smaller loans, under $100,000, are not that sophisticated and at times they really don’t understand the fine print, the hidden terms and conditions that we see in the typical fintech loans to small businesses,” she said. “These contracts are very opaque. The fees and terms are hidden in a way that really makes it impossible for the borrower to do any kind of comparison shopping.”

Goldman’s Shot Across LendingClub’s Bow, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

There wasn’t a ton to get excited about in Goldman Sachs’searnings report on Tuesday.

Sure, per-share earnings beat analysts’ estimates, but how excited can you get over beating an estimate that dropped like this?

However, there was a tantalizing detail or two offered on the conference call by Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz about the firm’s intriguing efforts to tap into the Main Street customer base. Schwartz said that the bank would roll out its consumer lending platform this fall after surveying thousands of consumers on what they would look for in such a thing. The bank developed one product involving unsecured loans, Schwartz said as way of teaser, telling analysts to standby for more information in the fall.

This may not end up being a big enough business alone to return Goldman’s revenue to record highs, at least not in the short term. Rather, the intrigue lies in its potential to disrupt the disruptors — the online startups that have pioneered the brave new world of peer-to-peer or marketplace lending.

With 20,000 customers opening up new savings accounts on top of the $16 billion in deposits it acquired from General Electric’s online bank in the second quarter, Goldman theoretically should be able to fill in the gaps easily at times when investor demand gets skittish.

Will deposit accounts be the next wave of fintech innovation?, (DailyFintech), Rated: AAA

There’s one sector of finance that really doesn’t get a lot of airtime when it comes to fintech – deposits. Checking accounts, savings accounts, transaction accounts – while they’re the bread and butter of banking, they’ve been relatively untouched since they were first invented. You put money in, and, if you’re lucky, earn a little interest before you take the money out.

Is there an opportunity here for a fintech startup to slice away this part of a bank’s core business, by adding a little flavour to the whole deposit experience?

Serial fintech investor and entrepreneur Peter Thiel certainly thinks there are opportunity in deposits. In January of this year he invested €1M into a German fintech startup Deposit Solutions.

Deposit Solutions is the first open architecture platform for retail deposits in Europe. Among many things, it solves one of the central problems for account holders related to accessing great deposit products – it eliminates the need to switch banks. Instead, a saver requires just one master account with Deposit Solutions and can then pick and choose their deposit product of choice from the Deposit Solutions marketplace.

There are a number of other fintech startups playing in this space, either building the deposits piece from scratch or interfacing into an existing authorized deposit-taking institution. Digit,SmartyPig and Qapital are a notable few. With lending having taken most of the glory to date, opportunities here are getting thin on the ground. Maybe the humble bank account is the next big fintech play.

Bridging the Great Divide: Collaboration Considerations for Banks and Marketplace Lenders, (Lexology), Rated: A

Online Platforms as Chartered Banks

The increasingly close relationship between banks and marketplace-lending platforms, as well as the uncertainty surrounding the “rent-a-charter” model to avoid state usury limits described above, have led to speculation that marketplace lenders may ultimately obtain bank charters. A fundamental issue is whether the equity and institutional investment markets will provide a stable long-term source of funding for the industry. This issue has garnered attention in recent months as leading marketplace-lending platforms have experienced steep declines in their stock prices and as questions have been raised about how lending platforms interact with fund investors and about weak secondary-market trading of asset-backed securities. The question may acquire renewed urgency in light of the governance issues at a leading marketplace lender that recently made headlines, along with its disclosure that the DOJ is now investigating. [5]

An important prudential regulatory concern with acquisitions of bank charters by marketplace lenders is a desire to avoid making the marketplace-lending industry an attractive supplier of brokered deposits, which are an unstable source of capital and may be particularly risky where a bank has inadequate anti-money-laundering controls or is undercapitalized. Regulators also anticipate grappling with the activities of many lending platforms that may be incompatible with partner banks that have charters limiting their activities to those activities that are considered “incidental to the business of banking”—typically insurance and securities work. The edgy innovations of marketplace-lending platforms that use technology in creative ways to marry finance with social media offerings are a particular challenge in this regard.

Will Madden v Midland Disrupt Loan Sales and Platform Lending?, ( National Law Review), Rated: AAA

Although Madden v. Midland applies directly only to cases where a national bank is selling or assigning a loan, the policy underlying the decision to limit the exporting authority under the NBA might also be applied to a state bank’s rate exportation powers under Section 27 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (the state bank equivalent to section 85 of the National Bank Act). Secondary market participants and marketplace lenders now wait for the decision from the District Court on remand.  If the court upholds the Delaware choice of law provision, market participants may manage the impact of the Madden v. Midlanddecision by electing a favorable choice of law provision in the underlying debt contract.  That at least will provide an option for continuing to work with national banks despite the Madden case.

Unfortunately, that solution will not work for buyers and sellers of existing loans, although presumably such parties are not too inconvenienced by a limit on the post-assignment interest that can be charged on a loan after substantial interest has already accrued, particularly if they have purchased the debt at a substantial discount.   Other lenders may continue to rely on the state banks’ ability to export interest rates.  In that situation, lenders should choose state banks whose state has a generous interest rate cap and is outside the Second Circuit.

The group impacted most by the Madden v. Midland decision appear to be marketplace lenders who acquire a loan shortly after origination and therefore have essentially all accruing interest at risk of challenge.  One alternative option  adopted by one on-line marketplace lender picking up on the “substantial interest” distinction in the Madden decision, is to require the bank loan originator to maintain an on-going economic interest in all loans after sale and receive certain payments on the loans only when borrowers made payments.

What remains following the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Madden v. Midland is an outlier Second Circuit on the issue of the “valid-when-made” rule, and the blueprint for how to apply preemption under the National Bank Act as provided by the Solicitor General in its brief, a brief that as noted above clearly considers theMadden v. Midland decision to be wrong.  Unfortunately, until such time as the right case comes along, market participants will have to make adjustments to accommodate the decision as necessary to address its impact on their particular situation.

The Outlook for Fixed Income: Stagnant Prices, Tighter Money, (Enterprising Investor), Rated: AAA

The start of a new credit cycle means that income investors will have to adjust to stagnant bond prices, and new opportunities in credit markets from peer-to-peer lending will be tested by tighter monetary policy, according to David Schawel, CFA.

Returns for fixed-income investors consist of the coupon; the shortening of the bond, known as the roll; and price appreciation. Since the 1980s, falling interest rates have caused existing bonds to appreciate, as their prices increased to match the yields of bonds issued at lower interest rates. Schawel, a portfolio manager for New River Investments, thinks interest rates are nearing a lower bound.

“Most likely we’re not going to be in a 30-year bull market for interest rates falling again,” Schawel told Will Ortel during a recent Take 15 interview.

Schawel cautions fixed-income investors against assuming that bonds will continue to appreciate. Instead, the coupon and the roll will drive returns from bonds. With the roll becoming more important, investors need to pay close attention to the yield curve. Much of the return from bonds will come from the roll while the bond is on the steep part of the curve. Recently, the curve has flattened, reducing the yield premium, as the US Federal Reserve moved to tighten monetary policy.

Schawel sees the rise of marketplace or peer-to-peer lending as indicative of inefficiencies in yield.

30 Best Workplaces sin Finance and Insurance, (Fortune), Rated: B

#23: OnDeck Capital

# of work sites 3
U.S. employees 625
Global employees 638

United Kingdom

Fintech MarketInvoice Attracts m In First ‘P2P Lender’ Major Fundraise Post Brexit, (Forbes), Rated: AAA

MarketInvoice, a 100-strong firm based on the edge of The City in the confines of London’s Silicon Roundabout, has just announced a multi-million investment totalling £7.2 million (c.$9.5m) led by MCI.TechVentures Fund of MCI Capital, a listed Polish private equity group. Sylwester Janik, a senior partner of MCI Capital, a multi-stage private equity group based in Warsaw with nearly two decades of expertise of investing in digital economy companies, has at the same time joined MarketInvoice’s board.

To date the platform has provided £850m (c.$1.11bn at current exchange rate) worth of funding to UK businesses, and the firm is set on path to reach the £1bn mark before the end of 2016. At present the firm provides over £1.5m (c.$2m) per day in cash flow finance to UK businesses via its platform. At present MarketInvoice has a current market share of around 13% in its P2P alternative financing segment.

MarketInvoice, which has seem 100% year-on-year growth over the last three years, typically charges between 2%-3% on invoices handled for clients depending on the amount of the invoice. Businesses can select those invoices they want to finance, unlocking tied-up cash in 24 hours.

“In the wake of Brexit, we think the coming months present a big opportunity for MarketInvoice. Recent intervention by the Bank of England suggests that we might see significant reductions in bank lending.”

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Raises GBP14.5 Million In Placing, (London South East), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Ltd on Wednesday said it has raised GBP14.5 million via a share placing.

The London-listed closed-ended fund, set up to invest in loans originated through peer-to-peer lending marketplace Funding Circle, said it had issued 14.3 million shares at 101.53 pence per share.

Shares in Funding Circle SME were untraded on Wednesday, having last traded at 98.00p.

The new funds from the share placing will be used to back investment plans.

Can it really be “business as usual”, (Alt Fi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings said “the process of leaving the European Union will take two years and there will be no immediate change to Funding Circle’s day to day operations”.

A few weeks ago, AltFi Data cut its projection for 2016 UK origination by 14%, after the £840m originated in Q2 2016 became the first quarterly volume figure ever to fail to eclipse the sum originated in the preceding quarter.

Matthias Knecht quit Funding Circle Continental Europe at the end of June. Knecht was a member of Funding Circle’s global leadership team and a former co-founder of Zencap, a peer-to-peer lending outfit which Funding Circle acquired in October 2015. An article in Gründerszene suggested that a conflict had arisen between Knecht and Funding Circle CEO Samir Desai over the allocation of resources.

LendInvest, the UK’s largest marketplace for real estate loans, has also been making changes. In the immediate aftermath of the Leave vote, LendInvest tightened its lending criteria for loans worth more than £3m, adjusting the cap on LTVs for these loans to 65%. The company has also temporarily paused lending on new second charge applications.

Funding Circle CEO Samir Desai described 2015 as the year in which “it looked like we were turning water into wine”. He described 2016, by contrast, as a year for getting heads down, and for getting on with building business.

Lately the Wall Street Journal has been set to attack mode. Its coverage of the US marketplace lending sector has become almost exclusively cynical. The Times, The Telegraph and This is Money covered the recent insolvency and subsequent acquisition of the business lender FundingKnight. How many other news items in the history of the peer-to-peer lending industry have enjoyed that level of attention in the national press? Not many!

Ben McLannahan, US Banking Editor at the FT, aptly summed the whole thing up when he posted on Twitter saying “#LendingClub = have we hit the trough of disillusionment?” He was referring to something called the Gartner Hype Cycle, which is an attempt to chart the typical growth trajectory of disruptive technology companies.

UK firm claims largest ever P2P loan, (Finextra), Rated: A

UK-based Nucleus Commercial Finance claims it has made the largest ever P2P loan to date following a £14.5 million financing facility offered to UK steel stockholder Industrial Metal Services (IMS). The company has lent more than £400m to date and Shah claims that 90% of this has already been pad back with just £5,800 incurred in bad debts.

P2P lender launches new website, (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

The new BridgeCrowd website features a fully online view of the current live and historic loan book, a loan performance update system and an E-Wallet, where investors can place capital into loans and manage their account and interest.

The BridgeCrowd has launched a new website with added features following strong growth over the last 18 months.

Bridge Crowd offers 68% LTVs across residential owner occupied and buy-to-let properties.

Zopa names Ronen Benchetrit CTO, (Finextra), Rated: B

The UK’s oldest peer-to-peer lending service Zopa, has today announced that Ronen Benchetrit will become the company’s new Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in a strategic hire for the fintech business.

Most recently, Ronen served as CTO for leading online gaming operator PokerStars. In this role, Ronen was responsible for the provision of the areas of technology and for management of the company’s product roadmap, ensuring the quality, reliability and security of external and internal systems, networks and platforms.

India

LenDenClub Launches Automated P2P Lending Platform Adhering to Proposed RBI Guidelines, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LenDenClub has launched its new version of P2P lending platform with features such as end-to-end automation of lender-borrower transaction cycle right from registration, document verification, credit analysis, transaction matching to report generation. An algorithmic-based program, built based on artificial intelligence, will be used for reviewing borrower’s creditworthiness. For the company, the upgradation of P2P platform will accomplish a major milestone and prepare them for payment and digital signature automation to bring 100% automation in lending process through right technology for borrower identification, data collection, digital signature usage, payment automation, etc.
The company had successfully raised seed funding recently.

Singapore

Overview of the Regulatory Framework for P2P Lending and Equity-based Crowdfunding in Singapore, ( P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

From the document published by the MAS on Lending-based Crowdfunding – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)[11], generally, the operation of P2P lending is restricted by MAS under the Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289) (SFA) and the Financial Advisers Act (Cap. 110) (FFA).

Specifically, the P2P lending business needs to prepare and register a prospectus with MAS in accordance with Section 239(3) of the SFA. In addition, not only the registration of the prospectus but also the P2P lending platform need to follow the licensing requirements, particularly, the P2P lending business which fall within the scope provided by MAS needs to hold a Capital Market Services (CMS) license.

From the document, MAS states in paragraph 10 that “ …Platform operators should now ensure that the participants on their platforms are aware that each lender has to lend at least $100,000 if the borrower is to fall within the Promissory Note Exclusion. Offers of consolidated promissory notes commenced after the date of these FAQs must comply with the Prospectus Requirements” This means, that the P2P lending platforms, which previously used a single promissory note issued by the borrowers, need to apply for a license, if they still want to proceed their lending business; however, as provided in the MAS document, the removal of the Promissory Note Exclusion will be effected after the amendment of SFA.

This will affect many of existing P2P lending platforms such as MoolahSense and Capital Match which have the main function to help businesses to find loan from investors because some of P2P lending platforms are using a promissory note exemption without a Capital Market Services (CMS) license; however, MAS will make it easier for licensed P2P platforms. Therefore, a small offer exemption in accordance with the aforementioned law might be used by many P2P lending platforms.

China

Orchard Platform’s Jeremy Todd Shares Lang Di Fintech Experience Highlights, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

  • There continues to be strong interest from Chinese Wealth Management firms to invest in US Online Lending loans
  • Investor interest is focused on making strategic equity investments in all types of global FinTech firms within Online Lending
  • Chinese Marketplace Lenders continue to increase their focus on offering more diversified products to clients including wealth management, insurance, and other financial services
  • Implementing a robust operational infrastructure is widely understood as a necessity required to successfully invest in the US Online Lending industry

Increased interest in US Online Lenders from Chinese investors and notable US-Chinese partnerships such as those between DriveWealth and CreditEase, Robinhood and Baidu, and Saxo Bank and Lufax — that further emphasize the importance of this series of events.

Author:

George Popescu
George Popescu