Thursday July 11 2019, Weekly News Digest

Asset-backed securities

News Comments Today’s main news: Morningstar completes DBRS purchase. Figure issues $85M in loans per month. Zopa chief says banks are trying to put fintech lenders in a box. DBRS praises Funding Circle. Yirendai’s Q1 results. Octopus expands into Germany. Today’s main analysis: Over 60% of purchase borrowers received mortgage rates under 4.5% last week (A […]

The post Thursday July 11 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Asset-backed securities

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney’s New Blockchain Startup Is Issuing $ 85 Million In Loans A Month (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Since the streamlined HELOC Mike Cagney, the co-founder and former CEO of fintech unicorn Social Finance (SoFi), knows that it is essential to focus on customer experience to build a loyal client base. Today, he is using that knowledge to create a platform aimed at driving mainstream adoption of blockchain technology in the financial sector.

Over 60% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 4.25% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Mortgage Rate Distribution

  • For 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, approximately 60.1% of purchase borrowers received offers of 4.25% or less. That is up from 57% of borrowers the previous week. A year ago, 0.06% of offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, 4.125% was the most common interest rate. This rate was offered to 14.3% of borrowers.
  • Of 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance borrowers, 72.8% received offers of 4.25% or less, which is up from 70.4% the previous week. A year ago, no refinance offers were under 4.25%.
  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage refinance applications, the most common interest rate was 3.875%, offered to 18.9% of borrowers.

Mortgage Rate Competition Index

  • Across all 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchase applications on LendingTree, the index was 1.19, down from 1.22 the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to get a mortgage APR that’s 1.19 percentage points lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $56,826 in savings on a $300,000 loan (see Mortgage Savings Tracker graphic below).
  • The index was wider in the refinance market at 1.35, up from 1.34 the previous week. Refinance borrowers could have saved $65,108 by shopping for the lowest rate.
Source: LendingTree

It’s Taking Less Time to Close on a Mortgage in 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • The time to close in new purchase transactions has been steadily declining, from 74 days in 2017 to 51 days in 2018 and just 40 days thus far in 2019.
  • For refinances, the decline has been less dramatic: from 55 days in 2017 to 43 days in 2018 and just 38 days so far in 2019.
  • Some of the decline can be attributed to lower mortgage volumes, as refinancings have been on a downward trend. But increased digitization is also playing a major role.
  • Closing times vary based on the characteristics of the mortgage type and borrower. Having a higher credit score can knock a few days off: Purchase borrowers with scores above 760 averaged 38 days in 2019 compared with 45 days for those below 720. Refinancings did not show much variation by credit score.
  • Loan-to-value ratios below 80% had shorter closing times for refinances, at 37 days compared with 42 days on mortgages with a ratio above 95% in 2019.
  • Loan amounts also affect closing times, with lower amounts, perhaps surprisingly, taking the most time. Loans under $150,000 averaged 47 days compared with 39 days for those above the conforming limit ($484,350 in 2019). Why? Higher loan amounts are typically being made to more credit-worthy borrowers. Lower-priced homes may be in some form of distress or have some type of damage; lenders thus may require more extensive appraisals to better estimate the home’s value and this adds time to the process.

Mortgage Fintech Innovation (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In broad-brush strokes, mortgage innovation centers on:

  • Customer experience (Better, Roostify, Blend, HomeCaptain) solutions are re-inventing the onerous mortgage with a digital experience, speeding decision times and opening up the lending buy box in the process.
  • Intermediation (OpenDoor, HomeLight, Zillow) – Some platforms are stepping in between buyers and sellers to provide liquidity, capturing transaction fees in the process
  • Data (House Canary, Zillow, Atom Data) – are amassing large data sets to providing accurate, standardized pricing models for investment decisioning
  • Banking 2.0 (SoFi, ZeroDown) – seek to provide a range of banking or investing services to consumers
Source: PeerIQ

Guaranteed Rate Companies Breaks 15 Company Records with Exceptional June Production Volume (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Guaranteed Rate Companies, one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the nation, announces 15 new company milestones—breaking its monthly total locked volume for the fourth consecutive month in June.

Breaks its record of total locked volume with $5.31 Billion earned across more than 15,000 units

Can Commercial Real Estate Investment Truly Be Democratized? (Commercial Observer), Rated: AAA

Most real estate crowdfunding sites continue to highlight the equalizing benefits of the model. Fundrise provides “access to a once-unattainable investment class,” and Rich Uncles, which has a minimum of $5, wants to “level the playing field” for the average investor. The sites offer investments in funds that focus on income-producing assets, like single-tenant office, multifamily housing and convenience centers nationwide.

Jeff Holzmann, the former COO of crowdfunding site iintoo, says the definition of an accredited investor is very divisive: “You can have an economics degree, and if you make $199,000 a year, you can’t invest, but Kim Kardashian can walk right on up and buy a multifamily building for $200 million. Should our bar be set by how much money you make?”

Ryan Williams Is Bringing the ‘Proptech’ Revolution to Real Estate Investing (Fortune), Rated: A

Real estate is an industry notoriously stuck in its ways and slow to change. Cash-generating, bricks-and-mortar assets are at the very heart of the enterprise, and in many ways, business is conducted the same way it was 100 years ago. Until recently, real estate owners, investors and brokers had little patience for the kinds of technological advances that have swept through myriad other industries.

But that’s all changing now. Just as there’s fintech, medtech, edtech and regtech, so is there proptech—and there are few companies in the realm of real estate technology as closely watched as Cadre, led by a 31-year-old Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs alum named Ryan Williams.

7 Reasons Why Long Distance Investing Isn’t As Risky As You Think (Forbes), Rated: A

In 2019 we have many ways we can verify the information we are provided when we invest outside of our own market. These methods will be the focus of this article. By the time you’re done with this, I think you’ll have a much better understanding of how to conduct due diligence, why out out state investing isn’t as risky as you thought, and why I’m such a big proponent of it

1.The Internet

There is very little you can’t find out with a little online searching.

2. You Can Find Rent Estimates Easily

Websites like Rentometer and Craigslist make a preliminary rent search fast and easy.

7. You Can Find Comps Yourself Online

BlueVine Reaches $ 2 Billion In Total Funded Volume (Bluevine), Rated: A

This past month, BlueVine achieved a major milestone, having provided access to more than $2 billion in total working capital to businesses across the nation.

Finitive Announces $ 100 Million Credit Facility For Platinum Auto (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Finitive announced on Monday its client Platinum Auto of Tampa Bay secured a $100 million credit facility through its platform. Platinum notably purchases auto loan contracts from a network of over 300 auto dealers in the southeast region of the U.S.

Affirm lets you pay off a large online purchase over time — here are 35 stores that accept it (Business Insider), Rated: A

You can apply for a loan as you’re shopping at one of many Affirm’s partner stores, which include women’s and men’s fashion, furniture, sports and fitness, electronics, jewelry, and watch brands.

You can see which online retailers accept Affirm below.

They’re divided by category and we’ve also designated which ones offer loans starting at 0% APR with an asterisk.

Will Abercrombie & Fitch’s “Buy Now, Pay Later” Plan Lock in Gen Z Shoppers? (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) recently partnered with payment solutions provider Klarna to let U.S. shoppers split purchases into up to four interest-free payments over two months. A&F is aiming this “buy now, pay later” system — which its rival Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) has also adopted — at younger shoppers with less spending power.

But will “buy now, pay later” work?

Only a third of millennials have credit cards according to Bankrate. The average millennial in the U.S. also has a net worth of just $8,000 according to Deloitte, which gives them significantly less spending power than previous generations. Most Gen Z shoppers don’t have credit cards yet. They mostly use debit cards or linked payment apps, which restrict purchases to the amount of cash in their bank accounts.

rue21 is Totally on Trend with the Addition of Klarna (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Klarna, the global alternative payments provider, is getting trendy with the Millennial favorite fashion brand rue21. Customers can choose to pay with four equal payments collected bi-weekly – with no interest or fees. With Klarna, these cool customers get the ability to stay ahead of trends even faster with a smooth checkout and a payment option that boosts flexibility and purchase power.

The necessity for businesses to keep up with the customer is increasingly important considering that U.S. shoppers admit to buying clothes and accessories online an average of 10 times a year. For Gen Z shoppers, aged 16-24, this number increases to 18 times per year, with nearly a quarter (23%) of them admitting to shopping online 1-3 times per month. Millennials are shown to shop online 14 times per year and the 55+ age group, 8 times per year. Considering these Millennial and Gen Z demographics are credit card averse and debt conscious, Klarna delivers an appealing and accessible method for shoppers to take control of their finances in a manageable way.

Metro Denver businesses mostly seeing green, not red (Denver Post), Rated: A

Of 42,610 businesses in metro Denver, 29,560 or 69.4 percent reported turning a profit, according to an analysis from online lender LendingTree.

That placed fifth out of the 50 metro areas that LendingTree ranked based on Census Bureau data. Seattle had a business profitability rate of 70.9 percent, making it the leader nationally. The only other cities ahead of Denver were Louisville, Ky.; Indianapolis and Portland, Ore.

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Climbs on Bigger Credit Card Balances (Bloomberg), Rated: A

U.S. consumer debt climbed in May at about the same pace as a month earlier, led by the largest advance in revolving debt outstanding since October, suggesting Americans’ favorable economic outlook is underpinning continued spending.

Total credit rose $17.1 billion from the prior month, in line with the median estimate of economists, following a $17.5 billion gain in April, Federal Reserve figures showed Monday. While credit card and other revolving debt outstanding increased at a faster rate, non-revolving credit posted the smallest increase in almost a year.

Small Business Loan Approvals at Big Banks Hit Record Highs (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Approval rates for small business loan applications inched up to yet another record high of 27.6% at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets) in June, while the approval percentage also climbed at small banks, hitting 50% for the first time in 2019, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Indexreleased today.

Small bank approvals of small business loan applications climbed one-tenth of a percent from 49.9% in May to 50% in June.

Small business loan approval rates among alternative lenders dropped one-tenth of a percent to 57.0% in June, down a notch from 57.1% in May.

LendingTree Survey Finds 45% of Newlyweds Went into Debt for Their Wedding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Approximately 45% of newlyweds between the ages of 18 and 53 went into debt to pay for their wedding. And once married, nearly half of the newlyweds who obtained wedding-related debt said money has caused them to consider divorce. On the flip side, only 9% of couples without wedding-related debt contemplate divorce.

LendingTree released its study on newlyweds and wedding expenses.

How Using Fintech Can Help Pay Off Student Loans (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Companies like SoFi, Laurel Road and Splash Financial are just a few of the fintech industry names that have made their way into the student lending world.

Credible. This is a platform that allows you to compare student loan refinance rates from eight different lenders.

LendKey. Similar to Credible, Lendkey is a platform that allows the borrower to compare refinance rates side by side.

CommonBond. CommonBond for Business offers a flex contribution program that includes an option to directly contribute to paying down employee student loans, or to work with employees on financial literacy techniques for reducing their debt.

Gradifi. Gradifi is another fintech offering refinance options, bundled with employee benefits packages called SLP, or “student loan paydown”.

Earnest. This fintech offers refinance options to individuals with a more limited credit history that may not qualify for other traditional options.

FutureFuel. FutureFuel uses behavioral economics, which is the study of human behavior to explain economic decisions people make.

3 Alternative Financing Options for Small Businesses in 2019 (Digital Journal), Rated: B

Online finance is a very popular option to emerge of late. A few click on the website can bring about quick processing and loan approval.

Another alternative financing option is that of merchant cash advance.

Crowdfunding is an innovative and extremely popular way to raise money for new ideas, concepts, prototypes and creative products.

New Study on Digital Identity Shows Changing Consumer Behaviors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, according to Pew Research Center more than 50 million American adults are mobile-only consumers.

Each year, IDology publishes a Consumer Digital Identity Study aimed at giving businesses visibility into how consumer preferences and opinions related to identity and fraud are shifting. This year’s study confirms the continued movement toward mobile, finding that in the last 12 months, for the first time, consumers opened more new accounts online with their mobile devices than on computers. A closer look at the data shows that 50 million American consumers (20% of all online adults) registered for new accounts exclusively on a mobile phone, up 10% from last year. This growing number has implications for financial service providers as they strive to keep fraud out while giving consumers a seamless digital experience.

Online Lending Startup Tries To Push Usury Suit To Arbitration (Law360), Rated: B

Online lending startup MoneyLion told a North Carolina federal court Tuesday that a suit over alleged unlicensed payday lending belongs in arbitration, arguing the proposed class of borrowers had signed valid arbitration agreements when taking out their loans.

United Kingdom

Zopa boss Jaidev Janardana: big banks are trying to ‘put fintech lenders in a box’ (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

In just a few months, a string of Zopa’s rivals in peer-to-peer lending have collapsed. Others have exited the sector altogether.

The latest company to fall into administration, Lendy, resulted in £165m of customer cash being put on the line and affected more than 20,000 investors.

Zopa survey finds Brits are more open about bank balance than Netflix password (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A survey of 2,000 adults by the peer-to-peer lender found that 47 per cent of respondents felt more comfortable revealing details about their bank accounts with their partner than their most intimate secret, while the same percentage would prefer to give an insight into their finances over their Netflix password.

Zopa looks to grow secured car finance offering (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

ZOPA is readying to launch its secured car finance product as a direct offer on its website, as it looks to expand this segment of the business.

Ratings agency backs Funding Circle strategy to tighten lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

SME focused peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle was correct to proactively take the decision to tighten its lending criteria in pulling back from higher-yielding lower-quality loans, according to ratings agency DBRS.

Investor fintech demand drives record six months for Crowdcube (AltFi), Rated: A

Crowdcube saw revenues soar 39 per cent to £3.72m in the first half of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018, with £103.4m pledged to companies through the platform.

NatWest-backed Esme hits £60m lending milestone (AltFi), Rated: A

Esme Loans said it has hit over £60m of lending to UK small businesses just two years after its launch.

The small business lender unit said its loans have leapt 20 per cent since the end of April.

Habito launches buy-to-let mortgages (Which), Rated: A

Online mortgage broker Habito has launched a comprehensive range of buy-to-let mortgages, as it makes its first foray into lending.

The brokers offers a range of two and five-year loans for landlords, as well as more niche three, seven and 10-year fixed terms.

FCA misconduct probes into retail financial services firms increase by a third (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE NUMBER of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) cases opened into misconduct in retail financial services has increased by 29 per cent in the past year.

The number of cases has increased to 101 for the 12 months ended 31 March, up from 78 the previous year, the FCA said in its annual report on Tuesday.

The regulator also said that the overall number of enforcement cases it is undertaking is up by 31 per cent over the past year – rising to 650 from 496 at the beginning of the year.

OakNorth lends £19.5m to Care Concern Group (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Klarna teams up with UK festival We Out Here (Retail Tech Innovation Hub), Rated: B

PayTech venture Klarna has announced a partnership with new jazz and electric festival We Out Here.

It will unveil a ‘Smoooth Sanctuary’ at the event, which will be held in Cambridgeshire in August.

China/Hong Kong

Yirendai Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results, Closing of Business Realignment Transactions with CreditEase (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

First Quarter 2019 Operational Highlights

Consumer Credit—Yiren Credit

  • Total loan originations in the first quarter of 2019 reached RMB 10.9 billion (US$1.6 billion), representing a decrease of 45% from RMB 19.8 billion in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Cumulative number of borrowers served reached 4,404,812, representing an increase of 15% from 3,824,341 in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Number of borrowers in the first quarter of 2019 was 149,715, representing a decrease of 48% from 287,166 in the first quarter of 2018.
  • The percentage of loan volume generated by repeat borrowers was 38.8% in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Total outstanding principal balance of loans reached RMB 63,213.8 million (US$9,419.2 million) as of March 31, 2019, representing a decrease of 16% from RMB 75,271.5 million March 31, 2018.

Reviewing China Rapid Finance Limited (XRF)’s and X Financial (NYSE:XYF)’s results (NBO News), Rated: A

This is a contrast between China Rapid Finance Limited (NYSE:XRF) and X Financial (NYSE:XYF) based on their analyst recommendations, profitability, institutional ownership, risk, dividends, earnings and valuation. The two companies are Credit Services and they also compete with each other.

Earnings & Valuation

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
China Rapid Finance Limited 1 0.27 N/A -0.85 0.00
X Financial 5 0.00 N/A 0.85 6.34

Table 1 shows the top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation for China Rapid Finance Limited and X Financial.

Court Upholds Ruling That Sent Two Peer-to-Peer Lending Executives to Prison for Life (Caixin Global), Rated: AAA

Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group Co. Ltd., along with two affiliated companies, and 15 defendants were convicted of fraudulent fundraising or illegal fundraising or both, according to the final ruling (link in Chinese) made by the Shanghai High People’s Court on Tuesday.

Kuailu, along with its affiliates, illegally raised more than 43.4 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) from the public, causing 40,000 people to take financial losses, the court said.

Foreign Investment Restrictions in P2P Lending Intermediaries (Lexology), Rated: A

The Interim Administrative Measures for the Business Activities of Peer-to-Peer Lending Information Intermediaries define “peer-to-peer lending” as direct lending/borrowing realized between peers on an internet platform. Peers include natural persons, legal persons and other organizations.

Bitmain’s Affluent Co-Founder Establishes the New Crypto Startup Matrixport (All Stocks), Rated: A

With the hope of capitalizing on the recent rise of the Bitcoin price, the co-founder of the mining giant Bitmain, Wu Jihan, has organized a group to develop “Matrixport,” a financial services startup for cryptocurrencies. According to its CEO Ge Yuesheng, Matrixport will function as a one-stop-shop for not just safekeeping of digital assets but also for crypto lending and over-the-counter trading.

European Union

Online Lender October Pushes into Germany as it Continues Expansion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Marketplace lending platform October, which is based in France, has expanded in Germany, according to a blog post by CEO and founder Oliver Goy.

October has selected Thorsten Seeger, a Funding Circle veteran, as CEO of October Deutschland as its plots its ongoing expansion across Europe. October currently operates in France, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Investors are putting £9bn to work in P2P Lending across Europe, UK still dominating (AltFi), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer lending market is now funding more than £9bn of loans across Europe each year with two thirds (67 per cent) of this funding coming through UK platforms.

Revolut brings the fintech battle to Berlin with a new hub (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

British fintech startup Revolut is opening a new European tech centre in Berlin, the home turf of its online-banking rival N26.

Lagan Investments takes 10% stake in Property Bridges (Irish Times), Rated: A

Lagan Investments, a fund founded by the North’s biggest house-builder, Kevin Lagan, has taken a 10 per cent stake in peer-to-peer lender Property Bridges and is to supply it with €5 million in lending capital.

International

Morningstar Names Detlef Scholz President of Expanded Credit Ratings Organization (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: MORN) has named Detlef Scholz as president of its expanded, global ratings organization. The leadership announcement comes as Morningstar today completes its previously announced acquisition of DBRS, the world’s fourth largest credit ratings agency, for a purchase price of US$669 million.

Scholz will assume his new role Aug. 1, 2019 and report to Morningstar Chief Executive Officer Kunal Kapoor.

Source: Morningstar

View the Morningstar/DBRS overlapping ratings.

Deutsche Bank in partnership talks with SoftBank-backed OakNorth (Reuters), Rated: A

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) is in talks with SoftBank-backed (9984.T) British fintech firm OakNorth to use the latter’s credit analysis and monitoring platform, a source with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.

CoVEX Exchange — A Single Platform to Complete the Entire Crypto Lifecycle (Coinfomania), Rated: B

P2P loan: The CoVEX platform also implementing a decentralized p2p lending service. This allows users across the world to receive loans in lesser time and even reduces the repayment fee while at the same time protecting the interests of the lender.

Australia/New Zealand

An alternative loan scheme could help 2.1 million Australians in financial distress (UNSW Sydney), Rated: AAA

A social lending scheme could help bridge the gap between traditional lenders and government welfare for the 2.1 million Australians under high levels of financial stress.

Alexa Chung partners with Klarna challenger Laybuy (AltFi), Rated: A

Payments platform Laybuy has struck a new retail partnership with fashion brand of Alex Chung  – called ALEXACHUNG – allowing customers to spread the cost of purchases over six equal weekly payments.

New Zealand’s largest digital buy now, pay later app launched in March with its first partnership with Footasylum.

The true role of the SME broker (Australian Broker), Rated: A

Yet SMEs are being stiffed by traditional lending practices: 44% of small businesses have been knocked back for finance in the last 12 months. Put simply, SMEs are being underserved and ignored by the banks.

India

‘NiYO’ Raises US$ 35 Mn in Series B Round led by Horizons Ventures & Tencent (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Indian new-age digital banking start-up NiYO Solutions has raised US$ 35 million in Series B funding round from Horizons Ventures, Tencent and existing investor, JS Capital. NiYO is founded by banking veteran Vinay Bagri and technology veteran Virender Bisht. NiYO had previously raised US$ 14 million in funding rounds led by Prime Venture Partners. With the current round the total fund raised by NiYO is US$ 49 million.
Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 11 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday May 23 2019, Weekly News Digest

young credit card delinquents

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

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

young credit card delinquents

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

View the full report here.

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

Mixed FinTech Earnings

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

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

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

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

Key findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this podcast you will learn:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

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

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

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

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

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

European Union

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

According to 

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

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

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

Australia/New Zealand

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

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

Asia

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

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

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

Africa

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

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

Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest

Annual fintech financing Singapore

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out crypto trading with Coinbase. Walmart now offers Affirm loans. Funding Circle fund ups the ante on buyback strategy. Orca launches IFISA. LendDenClub cross 1 million borrowers, lenders milestone. Today’s main analysis: 2019 securitization update. How marketplace lending is a growing and dynamic global market. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: The 2009 […]

The post Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Annual fintech financing Singapore

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Fintech Startup SoFi to Roll Out Crypto Trading Via Partnership With Coinbase (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup SoFi — known for its online lending services — is partnering with major United States-based crypto exchange Coinbase to roll out crypto trading support, according to a CNBC report Feb. 26.

Millennial online lender SoFi to offer zero-fee ETFs, an unexpected rival for index fund giants Vanguard, iShares (CNBC), Rated: A

The race to zero-fee exchange-traded funds has found an unlikely competitor: Online lending and personal finance platform SoFi, which has filed for two index ETFs that will waive management fees for the first year. In making the move to zero-fee ETFs, the online lender is crashing an ETF party dominated by Vanguard and BlackRock‘s iShares.

FTC orders SoFi to stop misleading consumers (MPA Mag), Rated: B

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered online lender SoFi to stop lying about how much borrowers can save by refinancing with the company.

Digital lender founded by ex-SoFi CEO raises $ 65M to fuel expansion (American Banker), Rated: A

The new company founded by Mike Cagney, the former embattled chief executive of Social Finance, plans to announce a $65 million funding round on Wednesday, bolstering firm’s expansion into other financial services, including wealth management.

With the new venture, Cagney is using some of the strategies from his tenure at SoFi — like diversification into areas typically only occupied by traditional banks. However, the new company, Figure, is focusing on different customers, and it’s taking steps to avoid scandals similar to the ones that saw Cagney step down from the SoFi helm.

Walmart teams with Affirm to offer point-of-sale loans (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Walmart will offer its customers point-of-sale loans for the first time — both on its website and in nearly 4,000 U.S. stores — under a partnership with the Silicon Valley lender Affirm.

Under the deal, Walmart shoppers will be able to get Affirm loans of three, six or 12 months to finance purchases ranging from $150 to $2,000. The loans are already being offered in Walmart stores, and they will be available to Walmart’s online shoppers in the coming weeks.

Affirm’s latest partnership brings its alternative financing to Walmart’s US stores and website (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The companies announced this morning that Affirm’s financing options would be made available in more than 4,000 Walmart Supercenters across the U.S., and will roll out to Walmart.com in the weeks ahead.

The offering will go live across Walmart Supercenters nationwide, except in Iowa, West Virginia and Puerto Rico, and will be soon available on Walmart.com.

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership (CNBC), Rated: A

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership from CNBC.

ABS Vegas – 2019 Securitization Update; Square Charter Status (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In regulatory news, Square’s ILC charter application has received opposition from 37 community groups. The groups are concerned about Square’s CRA activities and have asked the FDIC to bolster Square’s CRA requirements. Before this letter from community advocates, nearly all of the 15 letters the FDIC received were in favor of Square’s bid. Square is the furthest along the path to getting an ILC charter and its experience will determine whether other FinTechs follow its lead.

Structured Credit Investor magazine explores the challenges facing the maturing marketplace lending sector. Issuers need to distinguish between the borrower experience that they provide and manage liquidity. The article also makes the point that the sector is ripe for consolidation, although we haven’t seen any M&A yet.

2019 Securitization Update

The first two months of 2019 saw 5 securitization deals totaling $1.7 Bn in new issuance. The issuance volume represents a 23% drop over that seen in the first two months of 2018, as the market recovers from the volatility in equity and credit markets seen at the end of 2018. Total securitization issuance now stands at $46.2 Bn, with 147 deals issued to date.

Source: PeerIQ

The Housing Market’s 10 Year Challenge — Comparing The Housing Market of 2009 to Today (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

When the real estate bubble burst in late 2008, many Americans saw their home values fall drastically, but a lot has changed in the 10 years since — housing prices have rebounded from their lows during the Great Recession. And though prices are now starting to cool, in many cases, home values have even exceeded their 2006 highs.

On average, median home values have increased by nearly $50,000 across the 50 largest metros in the United States since 2009.

Metros where housing prices have recovered the most since 2009

San Jose, Calif.

Median home value 2009: $638,300
Median home value 2017: $957,700
Median home value change: $319,400
Median unemployment rate change: -6.4%
Median household income change: $32,991

San Francisco

Median home value 2009: $591,600
Median home value 2017: $849,500
Median home value change: $257,900
Median unemployment rate change: -5.4%
Median household income change: $27,889

Los Angeles

Median home value 2009: $463,600
Median home value 2017: $617,100
Median home value change: $153,500
Median unemployment rate change: -5.0%
Median household income change: $11,467

Source: LendingTree
Source: LendingTree

Gen Xers Carry the Biggest Auto Loan Burden; Study Finds (One World Herald), Rated: A

According to the loan comparison website, the median balance of Gen Xers who have auto loans is $18,741 is higher than other age groups. It is 9% more than baby boomers’ $17,185 median balance. This is higher than millennials’ $16,200 and 37 percent more than the lowest median balance of $13,666 held by Gen Z.

Personal Loan Interest Rates for February 2019 (Nerdwallet), Rated: AAA

Personal loan interest rates, whether you’re considering a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender, generally range from about 6% to 36%. The actual rate you receive depends on factors such as your credit score and history, annual income, existing debt and where you get the loan.

Online lenders offer the lowest starting interest rates on personal loans to borrowers with good to excellent credit.

Source: Nerdwallet

LightStream and Marcus both require a minimum credit score of 660. LightStream accepts joint applications, and one applicant can have a credit score lower than its minimum. SoFi has a slightly higher credit score requirement and requires at least $45,000 in annual income.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Posts Earnings Results, Meets Expectations (Fairfield Current), Rated: A

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 11th. The company reported $0.09 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.09, Bloomberg Earnings reports. The business had revenue of $207.29 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $212.42 million. Elevate Credit had a return on equity of 15.72% and a net margin of 1.59%. Elevate Credit updated its FY 2019 guidance to $0.55-0.65 EPS.

Source: Fairfield Current

Hunt Real Estate Capital buys RealtyMogul’s proprietary loan underwriting program (Housing Wire), Rated: A

Hunt Real Estate Capital, which offers financing for all types of commercial real estate, will soon have a new underwriting system to help it originate those loans, as the company is buying a proprietary loan underwriting system from RealtyMogul.

Elevate’s Joan Kuehl Named Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year (The Progress), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”) today announced that Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Joan Kuehl has been named the Large Enterprise CIO of the Year by the Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year Awards. The award honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership.

A Recession Coming? Small Business Lending Platform Kabbage Says It’s Prepared (Forbes), Rated: A

The world is bracing for a recession, with the latest data showing  in the U.S. expect it to occur by the end of 2021

If those predictions prove true, it will be the first major economic downturn for some of the nation’s leading fintechs. Born out of the ruins of the recession, these startups have enjoyed nearly a decade of success buoyed by strong economic growth, a bull run in the stock market and low unemployment.

Here’s more on the  AJC Top Workplaces midsize companies (AJC.com), Rated: B

Kabbage has been named to the list for five consecutive years and this is its first year in the top five. The private financial technology company, founded in 2009, has 489 global employes and 367 at its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta. Flexibility at work and perks, such as a daily catered lunch and snacks, are among reasons employees appreciate working for Kabbage. Wellness benefits include fitness classes, health equipment onsite, biweekly meditation classes, CPR training, an annual flu shot clinic and sponsoring sports clubs. It also fully pays health benefits for individuals and provides annual bonuses and a 401(k) match. Through its sabbatical program, employees of five years can receive six weeks of paid time off and an additional $6,000. In 2018, Kabbage participated in the Atlanta PRIDE parade and also took a stand against gun violence after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Workers in 2019 will build a Habitat for Humanity home as part of its Kabbage Kares program, which also has supported PAWS Atlanta, Easter Seals and the Epilepsy Foundation.

Diversifying a Self-Directed IRA Made Simple with New Offering from CrowdStreet (The Progress), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), today launched a streamlined, investor-friendly approach to investing qualified retirement account funds into commercial real estate offerings. This new option makes it easier than ever for individuals to access CRE investments with their self-directed IRAs (SDIRA), thus reducing their investment exposure to a volatile stock market and achieving more independence in managing their investments.

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar Announce Strategic Partnership (Liquid P2P), Rated: A

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar are pleased to announce that they have entered into a strategic partnership. The two third-party investing services for online peer-lending giant Lending Club will combine strengths under a single platform to deliver a more comprehensive automated tool with a patent-pending liquidity solution.

Direct Lending Investments Suspends Investor Withdrawals (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Earlier this month Brendan Ross, the CEO of Direct Lending Investments, Inc., sent a letter to investors notifying them that they have suspended withdrawals and redemptions effective February 8, 2019. Lend Academy was able to obtain a copy of this investor letter, dated February 11, that provides some color into what happened. The reason given was the delinquency of a large holding, VOIP Guardian, a telecom receivables factoring company.

Fintech deal will provide access to midsize businesses in U.S. (American Banker), Rated: A

Add HSBC to the list of banks partnering with commercial online lenders.

The bank on Tuesday announced a partnership with Neptune Financial, a San Francisco online lender that focuses on businesses with $10 million to $100 million in assets. The bank estimates that, with the access it will get to Neptune customers, the deal represents a $1.5 trillion opportunity.

Venmo debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored card (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venmo, the PayPal-owned peer-to-peer (P2P) giant, debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored version of its physical card product. The card will function the same as regular Venmo cards, allowing customers to pay wherever Mastercard is accepted, split costs and tips, withdraw funds from select ATMs, and manage their Venmo balance, but it will only be available for as long as supplies last, according to Venmo.

Source: Business Insider

Why digital identities will be so important in the next few years, according to Mastercard’s vice chairman (CNBC), Rated: A

The pace with which we are moving toward the internet of things is “very rapid” but we “can’t have the internet of everyone without the inclusion of everyone,” according to the vice chairman of payments giant Mastercard.

“You have to start focusing on how does the human get involved, and that’s going to be through having a digital identity,” Ann Cairns told CNBC’s Karen Tso on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Credit Karma’s Dana Marineau: ‘We want users to think of us as more than just free credit scores’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Today’s marketer on the hot seat is Dana Marineau, Credit Karma’s vice president of brand, creative and communications. People love Credit Karma for its free credit scores, but the company provides so many other free tools. Dana’s team is tasked with elevating the brand beyond just free credit scores, as a place to get help with financial decisions and achieve financial progress. She brings a 15 year experience at EA, working on many of the top sports games in the business.

Why this small bank created a separate, digital-first brand (American Banker), Rated: AAA

When Midwest BankCentre, a community bank in St. Louis, launched the digital-first Rising Bank in February, it joined the ranks of other financial companies —generally large players such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and MUFG Union Bank — that have created separate, digital-only brands. Unlike them, the $1.9 billion-asset Midwest hopes to keep a community bank feel at the internet-only unit.

The Future Is Plastic: Fintech Unicorn Brex Launches New Credit Card For E-Commerce Merchants (Forbes), Rated: A

Brex, a San Francisco credit card startup that reached a valuation of $1.1 billion late last year, 22 months after its founding, is launching its second product, a physical credit card for e-commerce companies. Its first card, targeted to venture-backed tech startups, has attracted more than 3,000 customers by providing higher spending limits and simplifying the application process.

YieldStreet raises $ 62M to democratise alternative investments in shipping, real estate and more (TechCrunch), Rated: A

YieldStreet — which provides a platform for making alternative investments in areas like real estate, marine/shipping, legal finance, commercial loans and other opportunities that in the past were only open to institutional investors — is today announcing that it has raised $62 million in a Series B round of funding.

Guaranteed Rate Leads Mortgage Executive Magazine’s List of Top Loan Originators in America (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

For the seventh consecutive year, Guaranteed Rate has the most loan originators of any lender on Mortgage Executive Magazine’s annual list of the “Top 200 Mortgage Originators in America,” including the number one originator.

Guaranteed Rate led the way with 36 originators ranking within Mortgage Executive Magazine’s Top 200, including three of the top five. Shant Banosian of Boston, Mass., was named the nation’s 2018 Top Originator by funding $536 Million in total loan volume.

Americans Focus On Debt Management But Lose Focus On Retirement Savings (Forbes), Rated: A

Our minds are wired to prioritize the near-term over the long-term. We shouldn’t be surprised that a new survey by 

U.S. banking regulator fights NY lawsuit over fintech charters (Reuters), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has asked a Manhattan federal court to dismiss a lawsuit by a New York financial regulator over its plan to issue banking charters to fintech companies, saying the lawsuit is premature.

Blockchain and data protection: the main concerns (JDSupra), Rated: A

Blockchain’s usage is no longer limited to digital crypto currencies, as blockchain databases may be deployed in innumerable circumstances and scenarios, including, for instance, within the financial services and insurance sectors for money transfer, peer-to-peer lending and transfer of securities, as well as automatic execution of contracts.

LoanStreet positions for growth with new hires (LoanStreet Email), Rated: B

After the launch of LoanStreet’s commercial lending product and the announcement of their $6.5 million funding round, LoanStreet – the first fully-integrated platform that streamlines the process of sharing, managing, and originating loans – has appointed three credit union industry veterans to support LoanStreet’s aggressive growth.

These new hires include Mike Doherty, Managing Director and Head of Credit Union Sales; Tony Harter, Business Development Director; and Joe Parvin, Business Development Director.

White Oak Business Capital Hires Carol Bader Apicella to Expand Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Markets (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

White Oak Business Capital, Inc. (“WOBC”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, has announced that Carol Apicella has joined the firm as Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer. Apicella will be responsible for expanding the firm’s markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle fund adds firepower for buyback strategy (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The portfolio, an investment trust, of loans originated by Funding Circle lowered its dividend expectations amid lower projected returns last year prompting a discount to its net asset value.

Following a move to a more than 10 per cent discount last year it started share buybacks in a bid to narrow its discount. It has now made additional capital available from its free cash flow to be deployed into share buybacks, the fund said yesterday.

Orca Innovative Finance ISA Launches, Enables Diversified P2P Investment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca Money is finally launching its long-anticipated Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). Orca’s spin on the savings vehicle allows investors to spread their money across multiple peer-to-peer lenders (P2P) thus providing a heightened degree of diversification. Additionally, Orca Money conducts due diligence on behalf of IFISA investors.

Currently, the Orca IFISA allows access to 5 P2P platforms: Lending Works, Assetz Capital, Landbay, Octopus Choice and Lending Crowd.

Experian, ClearScore scrap merger plans (Reuters), Rated: A

Experian Plc, the world’s biggest credit data firm, said on Wednesday that it had agreed with rival ClearScore to abandon their proposed merger, after Britain’s competition watchdog indicated that it may block the deal.

NatWest launches account aggregation as Open Banking takes hold (AltFi), Rated: A

It’s been a long time coming, but Open Banking is finally spreading through the traditional banking industry, this week with the launch of account aggregation for NatWest customers.

The RBS subsidiary becomes the UK’s 4th bank to let customers connect rival current accounts.

Will Open Banking boom in 2019? (AltFi), Rated: A

It has been over a year since the Open Banking UK initiative under the Competition and Markets Authority order and Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was launched and has become one of the industry’s biggest technology and regulatory shake ups in recent years. It is no surprise that the initiative’s first year has seen a relatively low consumer uptake. This has been coupled with reports that consumers’ knowledge of the scheme appears to be markedly low.

Aave Launches Platform to Pay Bills Using Crypto (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

In an attempt to bring crypto closer to the mainstream, the London-based fintech startup has announced the launch of Aave Pay.

The app will allow its users to pay their utility bills using digital coins by converting crypto into fiat in real-time using bank transfer facility. The company is claiming that the platform can be used to business expenses as well including employee salaries, income taxes, and other commercial or corporate expenses.

Investing in crowdfunded development projects – what you need to know (Property Investor Today), Rated: A

You can invest in peer to peer development loans for the short term or in an Innovative Finance ISA for a longer commitment period, but with the potential to earn tax free returns.

By comparison, a peer to peer lending platform with its own development company will have much more control over its projects and be able to give you more detailed and trustworthy updates.

Failed Lender Reaching ‘From Beyond The Grave,’ MPs Warn (Law360), Rated: A

Failed payday lender Wonga is damaging the finances of thousands of customers “from beyond the grave” because they cannot seek redress for allegedly missold loans as the company was not covered…

International

Some Bankers Are Doing Even Worse Than in 2009 (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

It may not feel like it, but some corners of banking are suffering as badly as they did during the depths of the financial crisis. Global volumes of initial public offerings and share placings in January and February have been nearly 60 percent lower than in the same period last year. The numbers are worse than the first two months of 2009. If activity doesn’t pick up soon, it would be worrying evidence of the fragility of investor sentiment.

The hope is that the lull is temporary, and technical. The government shutdown in Washington has gummed up U.S. IPOs. Uncertainty over the U.K.’s future relationship with Europe just drags on. And the December stock-market wobble probably killed off deals that were being planned for the window that traditionally opens between January and the start of the full-year earnings season in late February.

Marketplace Lending – A Growing and Dynamic Global Market (DBRS Email), Rated: AAA

I wanted to share with you a new joint report from our U.S. and European structured finance teams. The new report, attached to this email, analyzes the growth of the marketplace lending market around the globe.

The commentary includes the following topics:

— The evolution in finance, from traditional banking to FinTech.
— FinTech’s influence on marketplace lending around the globe.
— Growth hurdles.
— Securitization considerations.

Bank on it: How Enova’s software expands credit access worldwide (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

Not all credit histories are created equal.

That’s the case for a large part of the world’s population who can’t get access to a loan from a traditional credit provider — like a bank — creating a world in which the hardest working people don’t always get access to the credit they need. Enova, however, believes it has a solution. The fintech company draws on the power of machine learning and data to offer products that expand access to credit for consumers and small businesses.

Blossom Capital scores $ 85m from Robinhood and Funding Circle backers (AltFi), Rated: A

Blossom Capital, which has already backed five startups including rental marketplace Fat Lama, today raised $85m which it will use to lead Series A rounds of between $5m and $10m in Europe.

Eight Simple Ways to Earn Bitcoin Online Legally (The Crypto Updates), Rated: B

Earn Bitcoins as the interest payments: If you have earned some Bitcoins already, you can put the Bitcoins to earn for you. Lend them out at particular interest rate. You can lend the Bitcoins directly to someone known at a greed interest rate and repayment period. You need to assess trustworthiness of borrower. Peer to peer Bitcoin lending is another way to let the earned Bitcoins earn for you. There are many peer-to-peer lending websites where the borrowers post the borrowing requests. Over these websites, you can act as a lender. It is also possible to fund the small portion of numbers of loans to reduce the risk.

European Union

Grid Finance suspends taking investments below € 100,000 (Irish Times), Rated: AAA

One of the largest providers of peer-to-peer loans in the State has shut down a key part of its business aimed at smaller investors, blaming an absence of regulation in the crowdfunding space.

Grid Finance, which is backed by Enterprise Ireland, wrote to holders of its “Brick” accounts – that facilitate the investment of up to €100,000 – in recent days stating that it would withdraw the offering from the marketplace.

China

Dragon Victory International: Exposure To The Chinese Crowdfunding Market At A Regulatory-Driven Discount (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

In recent years as China winds down its industrial and manufacturing powerhouse growth, it’s looking to other developed nations to determine which platforms it should invest in and pave the way to sustained economic growth. As most other major developed nations have done over the past century, financial services and engineering have been a very profitable platform and companies in China are quick to launch their own services to capitalize on the triple-digit growth in online financial services exhibited since 2003.

Similar to Hexindai (HX), which I’ve previously covered as a leading online lender which is capitalizing on the middle class appetite for debt to finance their lives and vacations, Dragon Victory International Limited (LYL) is taking on the crowdfunding segment in the People’s Republic of China. Similar to countless other platforms around the world, the company’s services are around financing new companies and capitalizing entrepreneurs through public funding and they already have over 4.5M users who use their services, a number nearly doubling each year.

Source: Dragon Victory International F-1 filings

China Fintech Today: The P2P Boom Is Truly Over (SupChina), Rated: A

This year, the government has continued to lead a reorganization of the industry:

  • More companies will die: As of February 17, only 60 percent of online lending institutions had disclosed their operational information for January 2019, including five problematic platforms.
  • However, the current asset quality of the online lending industry has improved significantly according the data from firms that did report.
  • As of the end of January 2019, the accumulated amount of the online P2P online loan industry was about 7.78 trillion yuan ($1.16 trillion). The total loan amount in January was 91.4 billion yuan ($13.61 billion), down 55.1 percent year-on-year and down 1.3 percent from the previous month.
  • Further consolidation of industry players is certain. Some experts quoted in media reports predict that the scale of future online loans will continue to shrink because of regulation.
  • Some listed companies, such as Aoma Electric and Panda Financial Companies, have abandoned their P2P businesses.
  • Aoma Electric issued a letter of concern to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on February 14, attributing the decision to the broader economic slowdown, and a high number of overdue loans.
  • Panda Gold Control in 2018 was also dragged down by its P2P business, and expects a net loss of 41.16 million ($6.13 million) to 57.63 million yuan ($8.58  million) in 2018. Faced with the uncertainty of the P2P sector, Panda Gold Control chose to divest.

A Crypto Project That Raised $ 20 Million Is Caught Faking Its Founding Team (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Launched on Dec. 2, BHB claims to offer an ethereum-based solution for peer-to-peer lending, but by Jan. 18, local media reports were already accusing the project of operating an illegal pyramid scheme. Now, CoinDesk is able to reveal inconsistencies in the information provided about its founding team that further suggest something may be amiss at the China-based project.

However, the image of Bobby White used in BHB’s marketing materials is identical to that of an economics professor at China’s Tsinghua University named Alexander White. Meanwhile, the image of Gregory Moss is the same as one used by a philosophy professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, who is also named Gregory Moss.

Tencent-backed brokerage firm downsizes US IPO amid weak market demand (Technode), Rated: A

Tencent-backed online brokerage firm Futu Securities has set the terms for its US initial public offering (IPO) to raise up to $130 million, which will value the company at more than $1 billion. The company previously set its target at as high as $300 million when it filed for the US listing in December.

Chinese tech behemoth, Tencent, owns over 38% of the company, has shown interest in purchasing up to 25% of the new shares issued.

Australia

How should accountants talk to clients about fintechs? (In the Black), Rated: A

Like the ombudsman’s office, ASIC has also made information available to educate consumers and advisers, including on its MoneySmart Borrowing Basics and Peer-to-Peer Lending sites.

Is any flexibility possible, Shiel wonders, with a peer-to-peer lending model in which the borrower likely doesn’t know who is providing the funds?

India

LenDenClub crosses 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders milestone (News Barons), Rated: AAA

LenDenClub, one of India’s fastest growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, recently crossed an important landmark with more than 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders on its platform. The breakdown of borrowers to lenders is 83,300 and 16700, respectively. The company crossed this milestone by keeping up with latest market trends, and saw an increase in the use of its product InstaMoney, which was launched in June 2018.

Why Do Fintech Startups and Investors See a Huge Potential in Lending? (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

Today, thanks to the ongoing digitization, borrowing has become as easy as it can get in India. For contrast, all it takes now is the touch of a few buttons, answers to a few verification-related questions, and anyone can receive a loan in a matter of hours or days, if not minutes. And all of this is without any collateral and while enjoying the comfort of your home. Now, compare this with taking a day off to go to the bank, doing extensive paperwork, visiting frequently to check the progress of your loan application, and ultimately, getting your application rejected because of the loan officer’s misjudgement. All while wasting two months of time in the constant to and fro and taking multiple days off from your office.

It is beyond doubt that the advent of fintech startups has altered the game of lending in India. It has become both simpler and convenient to borrow using their revolutionary approaches driven by state-of-the-art technologies. Currently, more than 1,500 fintech startups (of all shapes and sizes) are catering to the Indian market, and more than half of these startups have been launched over the last 3 years. This gives us a clear picture of how lucrative the sector is becoming for our startup ecosystem. But what is essentially fuelling this trend? Let’s find out.

Banning of UDS to benefit P2P Lending Industry (Inventiva), Rated: A

The latest ordinance of the Banning of Unregulated Deposits (UDS) 2019, was passed by the government to provide a comprehensive mechanism to ban UDS as well as to protect the interest of depositors. This is in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines on the NBFC-P2P sector, issued in October 2017 to regulate the unorganized lending business in the country.

Asia

Singapore fintech investments rose two-fold to US$ 365m in 2018 (SBR.com.sg), Rated: AAA

US$102.2m of the total funds raised went to lending fintech companies such as the homegrown Funding Societies.

Fintech investments in Singapore more than doubled to US$365m in 2018 from US$180m in 2017, putting the country amongst the top five fintech markets by funds raised last year in Asia Pacific, behind China, India, Australia and Japan, according to Accenture’s analysis of CB Insights data. The number of deals in the country rose to 71 from 61 in 2017, making it the third busiest market in the region, behind only China and India.

Source:

Validus Capital raises $ 15m for SME financing (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Validus Capital, a Singapore-based SME financing platform, has raised SGD 20.5 million ($15.2 million) in a Series B funding round, led by FMO, a Dutch public-private development bank.

Latin America

PayPal expands its small business loans initiative to Mexico (Leaprate), Rated: AAA

Online payment giant PayPal launched its Working Capital initiative in 2013 as an alternative method for business to access working capital much faster than through traditional means. Many small and medium-sized business (SMB) clients embraced the program and since then the company has advanced more than $6 billion in loans to over 170,000 businesses in the UK, US, Germany and Australia.

PayPal also recently revealed that it has partnered with Konfio, a Mexican online lender that utilizes unconventional data sources to facilitate fast credit assessments, in a deal that will allow PayPal to extend its Business loan and working capital programs to Mexican businesses.

ID Finance eyes ‘pivotal moment’ for Latam fintech as revenue in region climbs 403% (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

ID Finance, the fintech company operating in Europe and Latin America, saw revenue of $49m in 2018. This represents growth of 236% for the business, which was formally separated from its operations in Russia and CIS region last year.

The company is enjoying particularly strong growth in Latam, one of the world’s fastest growing markets for fintech adoption thanks to high mobile penetration and a sizeable underbanked population – according to the World Bank 61% of Mexico’s population is excluded from the traditional banking system, while 40% of Brazil’s 207m population are blacklisted. The company now has 141 employees in Latam and saw revenue growth of 403% in the region last year.

Challenger bank N26 expands to Brazil (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Germany-based mobile challenger bank N26 is powering on yet again as it has revealed its plans to expand to Brazil.

Africa

How FinTech Companies Inspire Africa With Mobile Technology (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

With the potential for rapid growth and job creation, FinTech firms in Africa have caught the attention of global investors. According to the London Stock Exchange Group’s 2019 “Companies to Inspire Africa” report, which highlights these firms, the FinTech sector has the second highest growth rate representation of technology and telecoms as well as financial services. As it stands, companies in this space represent more than a quarter of 360 featured firms from 32 different countries. Pan-African payments firm Cellulant is among the companies that appeared in the first and second editions of the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

What Happened at the Money 20/20 2018 Conference in Las Vegas?

Money 20/20

Its a good thing that everything that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, which is where the Seventh Annual Money20/20 Conference took place on October 19-21, 2018. With the goal to “fearlessly take on the mission of creating a simpler, fairer, faster and more inclusive financial system for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole,” the three-and-a-half […]

Money 20/20

Its a good thing that everything that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, which is where the Seventh Annual Money20/20 Conference took place on October 19-21, 2018. With the goal to “fearlessly take on the mission of creating a simpler, fairer, faster and more inclusive financial system for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole,” the three-and-a-half day event included more than 500 speakers and 15 agenda themes.

Themes included :

  • Payments and Platforms
  • Banking and Personal Finance
  • AI and Deep Learning
  • Cybersecurity and Fraud
  • Alt Lending and Credit
  • Blockchain and Crypto
  • Digital Identity and Biometrics
  • And much more

While this is going to serve as a brief overview of the Conference, some of the notables who spoke, and bigger announcements, there will be special interest on Alternative lending and credit. We’ll also look at the all-important payments race.

A lot of the coverage is available on YouTube where Money20/20 has its own channel, so, if you missed the conference, you still have free access to some of the information.

Day One

Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak is always a good bet to help you get a financial conference rolling. The business legend’s assurances that the claims that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, along with other forms of technology, are going to cut into human productivity are unwarranted helped to establish an ongoing theme that tech is necessary for the broader inclusiveness of our collective financial future.

Jennifer Bailey, VP Internet Services for Apple Pay, detailed some of the expansions of the new iPhone X, which include face ID security.

Other notable speakers from the first day of the conference included John Collison of Stripe, Michael Mebach, CPO of Mastercard (who spoke on how to build a seven-trillion-dollar middle class), Anand Sanwal of CB Insights, and Bill Ready of PayPal.

Day Two

Day Two’s lineup of speakers was headed by none other than Virgin’s own Richard Branson, who told a remarkable story about how he created Virgin by renting a plane and selling seats to the other passengers scheduled to be on the American Airlines flight that was delayed. Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest’s CEO and co-founder, had some valuable remarks on diversity, and Vanessa Colella, head of Citi Ventures and CIO of CitiGroup, shared some keen insights on partnerships.

Possibly the speaker from the conferences second day who made the biggest impression was Nikolay Storonsky, CEO of Revolut. The way money is moved is changing rapidly, but if Storonsky is correct in his predictions, it may change even faster. He predicts that in 10 years, two or three large fintech players will take 95 percent of banks’ business marking an industry overhaul akin to how Amazon bypassed the retail industry and Uber took on taxis.

Day Three

Patrick Gauthier, VP of Amazon Pay, spoke to Tracey Davies’s central theme when he talked about the use of technology to make things simpler and more natural between the merchant and the consumer. Harley Finkelstein, CEO of Shopify, pointed out that middlemen will not be totally going away in the financial realm of the future, but they will have to “provide a disproportionate amount of value for their profit margin in the future.”

Other notable speakers included Asiff Hijri, president and COO of Coinbase, who framed the crypto world well when he spoke of the two base use cases of the space, the store of value of bitcoin and the ability to build apps on top of Ethereum, while noting that we’re still looking for that breakthrough app. His quote “Fintech before crypto, and the promise of a stablecoin…is like mobile before the iPhone came along” might be one of those “remember when” moments.

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal also spoke on the third day of the conference. Now an advisor and advocate of Steady, the platform which helps Americans find work, says his partnership with these efforts is driven by recollections of a past where the only investments that paid off were those he embarked on in order to help others.

Day Four

Much of what happened on Day Four is listed below, including the Uber/Barclays and the Grab/Mastercard partnerships, but the day also had some other mentionable happenings.

Marisol Menendez, head of open innovation for BBVA, introduced the overall winner of the 10th annual BBVA Open Talent competition, the reward going to Sedicii; founder Rob Leslie accepted the award. Sedicii provides a service that identifies data between two organizations without exposing the underlying data.

Also, adding some hope for the financial sector in general, Ripple’s Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Chris Larson stated that he thinks digital assets can help guard against another financial crisis by solving some of the key problems of global liquidity. He also predicts that a fluid digital asset (he thinks it will be XRP, of course) will make more fluid the trillions of dollars that are tied up due to the “clunkiness” of current systems.

Focus on Alternative Lending and Credit Cards

As instant payments and expanded remittance options gain more prominence in the world of payments and commerce, an app designed to speed up the remittance process, designed via Visa APIs, took top honors at the conference.

American Express and Amazon announced a partnership, which will produce a no-annual-fee business card. Cardholders (Amazon Prime members) will get to choose if they want to receive five percent rewards on any Amazon purchase (Whole Foods included) or 90-day payment terms, a reward that might benefit small businesses with cash flow issues.

Goldman Sachs’s Marcus Platform announced a new wealth management offering designed to make the financial market more inclusive for average Americans. The offering will focus on online savings accounts and personal lending, the end game being to educate customers on some of the ins and outs of the financial sector.

Grab Financial and M and A Mastercard announced a partnership that will make prepaid cards available to underbanked and underserved customers in Southeast Asia in order to bring them into the financial realm and allow them to conduct business globally.

Gregory Wright, CPO and SVP of Experian, touched on a common theme from the conference, that of businesses going forward by putting consumers first. He reinforced the platform’s focus on putting the consumer at the center of the lending decision by giving the consumer more control over his or her data to allow them to make a more informed lending decision. The goal is for lenders to make better decisions at lower risk while giving more consumers access to credit.

David Richter, global head of business and corporate development for Uber, joined with Curt Hess, CEO of BarclayCard US, to announce the unveiling of the Uber Visa card. A native app specifically designed for the Uber platform, the app will make it more engaging and enjoyable for Uber riders and Uber eaters to experience the platform. The card will also offer real-time notifications of rewards and balances, rather than customers having to wait a month for a statement as credit cards traditionally do.

Other Noteworthy Announcements

  • ViSync took the grand prize in the conference’s hackathon challenge. According to a Visa spokesperson, their entry, an app designed to help send remittance payments overseas, should make it easier for migrant workers to send money back to their home countries.
  • FICO announced an “Ultra” FICO rating. The new device will consider how people manage their checking accounts and will incorporate things like overdraft history to determine credit scores. The goal is to help younger people and others with little or no credit and people who are rebuilding their credit after a couple of setbacks.
  • Tracey Davies, president of Money20/20, also announced the Rise Up! program, the pilot of which took place at this event. Rise Up! seeks to increase inclusion into the financial sector on all levels. This pilot program, which will expand to other demographics in the future, focused on gender (women make up 50 percent of the population, but only 20 percent of leadership roles in the financial sector.). Of the 300 women who applied to the program, only 35 were selected. Those who were selected were privy to special seminars and one-on-one access to various leaders from the financial space.

The Payments Race

Knowing how we build points of sale, I wonder if the organizers of the original event knew just how apropos the payments race would be to the overall message of the Money20/20 events. Whether they did or not, the event serves to draw a good picture of how we use and interact with different forms of currency in our daily lives.

Closely resembling the scavenger hunt of the television series The Amazing Race, five participants were given six days to make it to Las Vegas for the opening day of the convention. They drew to see which host city will host most of their scavenging, and then they all have to make it to their city and then to Vegas. Along the way, they got points for things like the number of states they visited and the different modes of transportation they use.

The catch is this: Each participant was only allowed to use one form of payment; the options were

  • Team Checks
  • Team Cash
  • Team Credit Cards
  • Team Devices (Apple Pay and such)
  • Team Crypto

The episodes—all of which can be seen on YouTube—show the obstacles in trying to perform these tasks with only the given form of payment.

As you can imagine, Team Checks had a hard time of it, and they had to rely on the goodness of many others to navigate their journey. Team Cash didn’t face as many obstacles, but travel required some finagling as they got deeper into the trip. Team Crypto had some transportation issues early on, but also relied on the kindness of others to make the necessary accommodations.

Team Credit seemed to have the most ease traveling—they just rented an RV and drove—and the representative from Team Devices said after it was all over that using only devices proved to be easier than she thought it was going to be; she did have to go to some pretty significant lengths to rent a car.

In all, the little series of videos showed the importance of various forms of payment and that we still haven’t gotten to the point where we can survive conveniently on one single form of payment; still, everything from the conference seems to speak to the reality that we’ll get there.

And how did the race turn out? Well, I haven’t seen an actual crowning, but Team Crypto was the first to get to the Las Vegas sign, which was basically the finish line—I haven’t seen anything that mentioned how each fared at the number of states visited or modes of transportation used. If Team Crypto did prove the winner, it was their second straight title.

The event will return to Vegas next year, the dates being October 27-30, 2019.

Author:

Written by Paul Keenan.

Wednesday June 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Marcus future plans

News Comments Today’s main news: N26 reaches 1 million customers. Prospa postpones float. Transferwise could be working with Monzo. Ant Financial shifts away from finance. Goldman Sachs backs Marqeta. BlueVine raises $60M. Today’s main analysis: Capitalists invest in Chinese companies. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Goldman shares its vision for Marcus. 10x Banking founder discusses the future of fintech. Indonesia’s looming digital disruption. United […]

Marcus future plans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Goldman Sachs backs card issuing, processing startup Marqeta (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has joined a $45 million investment round in Marqeta, a U.S. fintech company offering technology businesses can use to issue payment cards, the startup said on Tuesday.

The round, which brings Marqeta’s total funding raised to $116 million, was led by venture capital firm ICONIQ Capital, according to a statement from the companies. Marqeta is also backed by Visa Inc (V.N).

Goldman Sachs Shares Their Vision for the Future of the Marcus Platform (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Source: Lend Academy

In the presentation Solomon did not address everything on this slide directly but much of it is self-explanatory. First, Goldman is breaking down their vision for their consumer platform into four key areas: Borrow, Spend, Save, Protect with 12 separate products listed. It is also interesting that Clarity Money is front and center on this slide. They clearly view the personal financial management app as a critical piece of the puzzle.

Let’s look at the future products in the Borrow space beyond personal loans:

  1. Credit Cards – we have already heard about their deal with Apple but there will likely be a Marcus branded credit card at some point.
  2. Mortgage – This is a huge market and one that still has plenty of room for disruption. While it won’t be easy to displace the banks or large non-bank lenders like Quicken Loans and loanDepot there is a huge market to go after.
  3. Auto – Another big market with no clear fintech leader. The banks still dominate auto lending, particularly for new cars. LendingClub has started in the auto space focused on auto refinancing and I expect that will be the area Marcus would go to first.

When disaster strikes, digital banking can become a lifeline (American Banker) Rated: A

As chief information and digital officer at Popular Inc., Burckhart’s role is mostly in the office and boardroom. But in the aftermath of the Category 4 storm, she and her team spent days in the field, figuring out how to get banking services to those who needed them.

Their efforts cannot be overstated, since the company occupies a key role in the island’s economy: Its Banco Popular claims to have 56% of the deposits in Puerto Rico and 49% of the net loans, as of year-end.

A week after Hurricane Maria, despite islandwide communication and electrical outages, Popular had 53 of 168 branches and 150 of 635 ATMs in service, as well as all digital channels.

Digital Banker of the Year: Fifth Third’s Tim Spence (American Banker) Rated: A

Last year, Spence oversaw the configuration of so-called Agile teams to work on Fifth Third’s online banking channels and mobile apps. This resulted in a revamped bill pay experience, along with the addition of online branch appointment scheduling and the ability to withdraw cash at ATMs using the bank’s mobile app. In months, it was also able to launch Zelle peer-to-peer payments and Momentum, a proprietary app that helps millennials pay off student loans faster through micro payments from rounding up purchases.

The plumber to US fintechs branches out (Financial Times) Rated: A

Apex Clearing helps to power leading fintech firms like Robinhood, Betterment and Stash, acting as the plumbing and operating in the background; as these digital platforms begin to slow their growth Apex has started to look beyond the startups for bigger clients; Bill Capuzzi, CEO of Apex Clearing, says there is more than $500bn of addressable market with larger firms who want to digitize; the effort is not easy as some traditional players still use fax machine technology; making progress slow but firms know they need to digitize and Apex is hoping to take a big share of those making the shift.

The Woz: Blockchain might be a bubble, but it’s on the right track (AltFi News) Rated: A

The ‘Woz’ also offered thoughts on digital banking and artificial intelligence.

He said that online banks ‘just aren’t as secure’ as their incumbent rivals, referencing a time that his own crypto-currency holdings, or a portion of them, were stolen from a digital bank.

Real Estate Startup FlyHomes Raises $ 17m in Series A Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

FlyHomes, a Seattle, WA-based real estate startup, raised $17m in Series A funding.

The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Mark Vadon and Shasta Ventures, among others.

The company intends to use the funds to increase deployment of its Cash Offers program, accelerate hiring, invest in further product development, and drive new market expansion in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

IDology Study Reveals Consumer Insights on Digital Identity Fraud (IDology) Rated: B

Key consumer behavior trends and other major findings identified in the IDology Consumer Digital Identity Studyinclude:

  • Fraud concerns are impacting consumer choices online, with 83 percent surveyed having extreme to moderate concern that their identities will be used to fraudulently open accounts.
  • Consumers view biometrics, knowledge-based authentication and one-time passcodes as the most secure methods of authentication. Overall, 90 percent of consumers are comfortable answering knowledge-based authentication questions to verify their identities but prefer demographic-based questions over credit-based questions two to one.
  • Fifty-six percent of consumers report that they are more likely to choose a financial institution if they know it offers advanced identity verification methods.
  • When opening an account online, consumers place a premium on security (88 percent) and ease (72 percent), with 31 percent reporting they have abandoned signing up because it was too difficult or took too long. This reveals that more than ever, consumers are looking to do business with companies and financial institutions that have minimal friction as part of their overall service experience, along with assurance that their transactions and identities are secure.

Despite worries, America’s small business owners bullish on economy (Bankless Times) Rated: A

According to the survey, 53 per cent and 52 per cent respectively of small business owners named (1) the cost of providing health insurance for employees and (2) the effect of changes in the new tax law as key business considerations. What’s more, 35 per cent of respondents report the new tax plan has already caused them to make changes in their business, with 10 per cent reporting that they are actively investing in new equipment or staffing.

Cross River Hires Veteran Banker To Lead SBA Loan Practice (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Cross River, a leader in the emerging Fintech industry, has hired Kevin Gallagher, an accomplished small business lending specialist, to head its Small Business Administration loan division.

Gallagher joins Cross River from Empire State CDC: The 504 Company, where he led business development efforts around various SBA loan products and community lending products. Prior to that, he served as national sales director for SBA-related programs at Customers Bank and Citibank.

United Kingdom

TransferWise’s next partnership could be with U.K. challenger bank Monzo (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

According to sources, the international money transfer service and European unicorn is working with the fast-growing U.K. challenger bank Monzo.

The tie-in will likely see TransferWise functionality offered within Monzo’s mobile banking app, courtesy of the TransferWise API. It will give Monzo’s 700,000 customers the ability to send money in various supported currencies at the ‘mid market’ rate in addition to TransferWise’s low and transparent fees.

A partnership with U.K. challenger bank Starling was also announced last year, but integration with the bank’s app never materialised and TechCrunch learned last week that the partnership has now dissolved entirely. That is particularly noteworthy given that Monzo and Starling are direct competitors with an interesting shared history, shall we say.

10x Banking Founder on Why FinTech Is the Future (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Sphonic to partner with Paysafe on digital wallet services (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

DATA and risk management specialist Sphonic has been chosen to provide digital wallet services to global payments provider Paysafe Group.

Sphonic, which works with peer-to-peer lenders including Funding Circle and Zopa, supplies data networking services.

These include customer on-boarding, anti-money laundering, know your customer, fraud detection and monitoring as well as authentication.

Automated financial advisor Multiply raises £1.75 million (Finextra) Rated: A

Multiply, the UK’s first fully-automated independent financial advice service, has secured investments totaling £1.75 million, led by Octopus Ventures.

Octopus Ventures, the early stage investor, invested £1 million, and was joined by Portag3 Ventures LP and Entrepreneur First to support Multiply’s development and roll-out of their beta consumer facing product. Angel investors include Nick Hungerford, former CEO of Nutmeg, Taavet Hinrikus, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise, Peter Rading, Michael Orland and Toby Moore.

China

Ant Financial is shifting its focus from finance to tech services (CNBC) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial Services, the dominant Chinese fintech company, is shifting its main focus to technology services and away from payments and consumer finance as Beijing’s crackdown on financial risk deepens, four sources with knowledge of the matter said.

But in five years, technology services will make up 65 percent of Ant Financial’s revenue, compared with an estimated 34 percent in 2017, according to confidential company projections viewed by Reuters. That would involve helping banks and other institutions with services like online risk management and fraud prevention.

Mao is Laughing: Capitalists Pour Money into Chinese Companies (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

Over the past week, two private Chinese technology unicorns, Xiaohongshu (“Little Red Book”) and Sensetime, announced that they had raised nearly $1 billion, adding to the ranks of large Chinese enterprises thinking about going public. Another Chinese company is scheduled to IPO in June, 3 recently selected bankers (a key step for launching an IPO) and 11 have already gone public for a total of 15 year to date, compared to 15 in all of 2017.

Year to date, the 11 Chinese companies are up 39%, compared to only 3% for last year’s vintage. HUYA, a leading live streaming platform for video games, is up 147% since its May 10, 2018 IPO, followed by another video streamer, IQIYI, up 62%. Last year’s big winner was tiny filter maker Newater, up 177%, followed by online lender Lexin Fintech, up 73%, while more than half of its 2017 comrades are under water.

China’s fintech startup Caogen Touzi secures $ 358m Series D round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: A

Hangzhou-based fintech platform Caogen Touzi has closed an RMB 2.3 billion ($357.8 million) Series D round led by Shanghai-listed Geo-Jade Petroleum, a property development and oil and gas firm, and other investors.

In a security filing, Geo-Jade Petroleum said it will invest no more than RMB 500 million ($78 million) in Caogen Touzi.

Caogen Touzi told Kr36 that the firm will focus on tapping the rural finance market in the future and use the funds for business development.

Fintech Company Pintec Raises $ 103M in Equity Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

Pintec, a Beijing, China-baased independent technology platform enabling financial services, raised US$103m in financing.

The round was led by Mandra Capital and SINA Corp., with participation from STI Financial Group, Shunwei Capital Partners and ZHONG Capital Holding Group, among others.

The company intends to use the funds to increase investment in R&D, traffic integration, risk management and operations.

European Union

N26 passes million customer milestone (Finextra) Rated: AAA

We are very excited to announce that N26, that’s us, now has over a million customers.

To celebrate we put together a look at how customers help us transact €1 billion a month. Before continuing though, we’d like to mention that while we do look at aggregated data, we never look at individual data unless explicitly asked to do so.

ING pushes for open banking with SME financing platform and Yolt expansion (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

ING is launching a marketplace for SME financing in the Netherlands, which will open to other external financing providers, becoming the first Dutch bank in doing so.ING is keen to maximise the possibilities of open banking and is working with Yolt and Funding Options on bringing new features to customers across Europe.

ING is also expanding its money management capabilities offered to consumers with the launch of Yolt in France and Italy.

Fintech Company FinCompare Raises €10M in Series A Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

FinCompare, a Berlin, Germany-based fintech company, raised €10m in Series A funding.

The round was led by ING Ventures with participation from Speedinvest and Uniaq Ventures.

The company intends to use the funds for the expansion of the team, investment in IT and further growth.

Challenger bank Banco BNI Europa selects Alterestfor effortless loan data management (Banco BNI Europa Email) Rated: B

Banco BNI Europa and Alterest, an innovative loan data and intelligence platform, publicly announced today their partnership to streamline investment analytics and risk management between the bank and its credit originating partners. Initiated in Oct, 2017, the partnership comprised of data-feeds integration with tech-enabled lending platforms, implementation of a reconciliation process between operations and nostro accounts, and configuration of an IFRS9-compliant impairment calculation model.

Euro MPLs growing, but securitization a ways off (GlobalCapital) Rated: A

The marketplace lending sector in Europe is growing, with a sharp focus on the small to medium sized enterprise segment, but it is still lagging UK and the US markets and lenders will need to ramp up scale and educate investors before a meaningful pipeline of securitization can build

A panel on focused on European marketplace lenders on day one highlighted the risks and the challenges facing the sector. Speakers hit on some well tread talking points, such as the availability of data on underlying loan portfolios and the lack of performance history.

International

FusionFabric.cloud platform changes the way software is developed, deployed and consumed in the financial world (Finastra) Rated: A

Finastra announced the availability of the three core components within its FusionFabric.cloud platformfor open innovation:

  • FusionCreator – A rapid development environment for financial applications with low-code capabilities and integrated API management tools
  • FusionOperate – A management system to deploy and operate applications in a secure cloud infrastructure
  • FusionStore – An online marketplace for banks to search, try and buy applications

FusionFabric.cloud already has over 60 Fintechs and providers signed up.

The AI and robo-advice questions you should be asking (Professional Adviser) Rated: A

Automated advice, robo-adviser, machine learning, AI-enabled expert advice, robo-advice digital journey, hybrid machine/adviser solution … in a very short space of time the advisory sector has coined a significant amount of terminology for robo-advice.

Being properly informed about these issues and asking the right questions of a provider can make an enormous difference in levels of investment.

Australia

Prospa float postponed as ASIC queries small business loan terms (Australian Financial Review) Rated: AAA

Small business lender Prospa says it has taken a conservative approach in delaying its $576 million ASX float by two days, in order to respond to renewed concerns from the corporate regulator that its standard form contracts may contain unfair clauses in breach of consumer laws.

New build financing gap boosts Southern Cross (Good Returns) Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender Southern Cross Partners has seen an increase in investor demand as first time buyers struggle to finance new-build properties.

The lender says it experienced a 10-20% increase in investor demand last year amid a lack of available funding for the construction and sale of new homes.

Mortgage group’s “mortgage hell” billboard above CBA (Australian Broker) Rated: A

Online mortgage startup HashChing is advertising with a billboard above a Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) branch.

The home loan marketplace has launched a campaign against the big banks, which includes this billboard in the Melbourne CBD. The slogan reads, “Our brokers will go to mortgage hell, so you don’t have to”.

MENA

Israeli fintech co BlueVine Raises $ 60m (Globes) Rated: AAA

Israeli alternative business lending company BlueVine today announced that it has closed $60 million iSeries E financing round led by Menlo Ventures, and including new investors, such as SVB Capital. All major existing investors also participated. Including this financing round, the company has raised $533 million to date including $128 million in equity financing and $405 million in debt financing. This latter figure included $200 million raised from Credit Suisse two months ago.

The new financing will support BlueVine’s plan to expand its highly-successful invoice factoring and business line of credit products, and to explore new products catering to small and medium-sized businesses. BlueVine also plans to use the funding to accelerate R&D hiring.

Asia

Indonesia’s coming digital disruption (The Business Times) Rated: AAA

INDONESIA’S digital economy is set to boom, helping its overall economy expand from US$1 trillion in 2017 to US$2.7 trillion by 2027.

Over the next 10 years, we expect online retail in Indonesia to increase 14-fold from just US$4.4 billion in 2017 to US$63.2 billion, or 19 per cent of total retail sales versus 3 per cent currently.

To support this growth, as well as the rise in e-services such as ride hailing, travel bookings and food delivery, we expect an equally rapid adoption of e-money from just 2 per cent of nation-wide transactions in 2017 to 24 per cent by 2027.

We are also seeing the emergence of fintech solutions such as peer-to-peer lending targeting the 44 per cent of the population who do not have access to banking services today.

Thierry Sanders, CEO Of Mekar (Indonesia Expat) Rated: A

We’ve shifted our activities and are now mainly financing women’s businesses. Lending to women is safer in Indonesia. Statistics show that five percent of male borrowers, on average, will not pay back. With our female borrowers, it’s only 0.5 percent. Which is why we chose to focus on women. They also have a harder time getting financed. Now, 95 percent of the businesses we finance are women’s businesses.

Caribbean

ECCB advises caution regarding non-traditional financial services (St. Lucia Times) Rated: AAA

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is aware of the emergence of several initiatives which compete directly with traditional financial services. These include but are not limited to: peer to peer lending, digital wallets, crowd funding ventures, crypto-assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 4 2018, Daily News Digest

Average segment revenue Qudian

News Comments Today’s main news: Yirendai announces earnings results. LendingCrowd goes over 3M GBP in loan originations in May. Starling seeks 80M GBP in funds. Transferwise partners with first European bank. Today’s main analysis: Is Qudian too risky? Today’s thought-provoking articles: The most well-funded tech startups in each U.S. state. Alipay isn’t just for the Chinese. International P2P lending volumes […]

Average segment revenue Qudian

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

The United States Of Startups: The Most Well-Funded Tech Startup In Every US State (CB Insights) Rated: AAA

Using the CB Insights database, we identified the most-well funded VC-backed technology startups by state based on disclosed equity funding. We excluded funding from debt as well as lines of credit, and only considered companies that have raised at least $1M of equity funding since 2015 to date (5/23/18).

Source: CB Insights

Citi has announced a direction for a new digital bank (Business Insider) Rated: A

A digital-only bank can allow Citi to continue onboarding new account holders despite its shrinking physical presence.

And because Citi already has 10 million active mobile banking customers as of Q1 2018, which represents 25% year-over-year (YoY) growth, it’s likely that consumers with Citi accounts will continue to do their mobile banking through Citi, so it’s a good move for the firm to target another customer base by leveraging its card network and cobrand partnerships.

How Capital One sees digital identity as a business opportunity (American Banker) Rated: A

Capital One has taken a different tack, spending much of the past year building out a digital identity platform that it can potentially position as a service it would sell to businesses.

By buying the startup Confyrm and hiring its founder, consumer identity expert Andrew Nash, the bank is taking another step toward making a business out of addressing the industry’s digital identity needs, industry observers say.

Source: American Banker/Experian

Hottest Alternative Lending Options Available for Small Businesses (All Business) Rated: A

Here are some trending alternative lending options—one of them may be just right for your SME.

Revolving business line of credit-Individuals and corporations are eligible to take out revolving lines of credit; this type of credit line allows entrepreneurs to pay a commitment fee and then utilize funds on an as-needed basis.

Unsecured business loan-Secured business loans require collateral and unsecured business loans do not. If you’re an entrepreneur and would prefer not to borrow money without putting your home, auto, or business inventory (or something else along those lines) up as collateral, then seeking out an unsecured business loan from an alternative lender may be your most practical option.

Crowdfunding-This funding method involves raising capital via individual investors, friends, customers, and family. It’s about tapping into the collective efforts of a big group of people, mostly through crowdfunding platforms and social media networks.

Too broke to own a home? These startups will fund your American Dream (Fast Company) Rated: A

Loftium, a Seattle-based startup, will contribute to a buyer’s down payment in exchange for Airbnb income.

Loftium has so far closed on nearly 50 homes, says Yifan Zhang, cofounder and CEO.

Other startups are taking a similarly innovative approach to the staid, highly regulated housing market. HomeFundMe, for example, helps homeowners crowdsource down payment funds from family members, friends, and employers. Point, based in San Francisco, buys equity from existing homeowners, and then cashes out when they sell–a homeowner-friendly twist on home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

Laurel Road, MoviePass Join Forces  (Broadway World) Rated: A

Laurel Road, an online lender and FDIC-insured bank, has announced an exclusive, first-of-its-kind partnership with MoviePass, the nation’s premier movie theater subscription service, designed to further amplify savings and value for its customers.

As part of the agreement, MoviePass customers who refinance their student loans with Laurel Road will receive a free annual membership to MoviePass.

How credit card issuers are prepping for the next downturn (American Banker) Rated: A

Is the next turn in the credit cycle right around the corner? Or is it still years away?

The answer has big ramifications for the $1 trillion credit card industry, which has enjoyed unusually strong profits in the post-crisis period, but typically suffers during recessions.

At an industry conference in New York, credit card industry executives said Thursday that they still see sunshine on the horizon. But they were also careful to make clear that they are taking steps to prepare for rainy days ahead.

2018 Rising Stars: Viral Shah (Housing Wire) Rated: B

Viral Shah is cofounder and head of capital markets at Better Mortgage, where he oversees financial product innovation, the mortgage marketplace and corporate nance. Shah’s experience includes consumer nance, capital markets, corporate development and strategy.

Shah led the acquisition and integration of the mortgage lender that Better Mortgage purchased in 2015, while concurrently running the $30 million Series A capital raise.

Shah built out the capital markets infrastructure for the company, obtaining multiple warehouse lines and establishing a loan marketplace representing $700 billion of annual demand and 70% of the mortgage market, including some of the largest GSEs, banks, hedge funds, REITS and asset managers.

PeerStreet’s Nia Patel Named One of HousingWire’s 2018 Rising Stars (Business Wire) Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that Nia Patel has been named to HousingWire’s 2018 Rising Stars list of young leaders to watch in the housing industry. HousingWire’s 2018 Rising Stars list recognizes talent that demonstrate leadership and innovation, inspiring not only those within their company, but also their communities and the industry at large.

United Kingdom

LendingCrowd Milestone: Celebrates Record Month For Loan Origination (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

LendingCrowd, one of the UK’s fastest-growing alternative finance lenders to the SME market, announced on Friday it is on course for continued expansion after completing loan deals totaling to more than £3 million during May, marking the p2p lending platform’s best month ever. The company also reported that despite the month having two bank holidays it also saw its deal volumes reach a fresh record and secured loans for 36 small business covering a wide range of sectors across Britain.

UK challenger bank Starling seeks £80m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

UK challenger bank Starling is looking to raise £80 million in its latest quest for funding – and it has ended its relationship with TransferWise.

In addition to the cash injection, Starling is hiring a new international advisory firm, as it potentially hunts for action beyond the UK. Starling is already in Ireland.

Catch the budgeting bug: apps aimed at millennials (The Sunday Times) Rated: A

Chip promises to help you save “without feeling it”. You link the app to your current account (12 providers are signed up); it works out what you can afford and sends this money every few days to a savings account paying 1% interest. It’s free, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and available for iOS and Android.

Plum uses Facebook Messenger to analyse your cashflow before banking money. You can invest it in peer-to-peer platform RateSetter and earn up to 3% interest (RateSetter is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme). Plum is free and available for iOS and Android.

If you are self-employed or do freelance work, Coconut allows you to track your income and outgoings and any tax you owe.

In the red: the soaring cost of middle-class borrowing (The Times) Rated: A

This week the city regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said charges for dipping into an unarranged overdraft, something 13 million people do each year, can be ten times higher than the cost of paying off the same amount on a payday loan.

While 19 million people use the planned overdraft that comes with their bank account, most don’t see this as debt and will also probably have paid charges.

UK financial watchdog calls for ‘radical overhaul’ of high-cost credit (Financial Times) Rated: A

The UK financial regulator called for a “radical” overhaul of rules surrounding bank overdrafts and rent-to-own businesses on Thursday, dismissing criticism that it was dragging its heels in its efforts to protect vulnerable customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority said forcing banks to give more transparent information about overdrafts would save customers more than £200m a year. The regulator said it would consider more fundamental changes in future, such as a ban on fixed fees and ending distinctions between unarranged and arranged borrowing costs.

When Tandem met Harrods: we had ‘sir’, but we didn’t have ‘dame’ (AltFi News) Rated: A

When Tandem’s banking plans went up in smoke last year, after a failed fundraise, few could have guessed that it would rise from the ashes on the wings of luxury department store Harrods’ banking arm.

But that is exactly what happened. The digital challenger completed the acquisition of Harrods Bank in January, giving it a banking licence, £80m of equity capital, £400m of deposits and a £375m mortgage loanbook. It has now launched a cashback credit card and fixed savings accounts – not to mention having signed up 100,000 customers.

In announcing that milestone earlier this week, Tandem revealed that its chief executive Ricky Knox (pictured, right-middle) had invited Harrods Bank’s 7,000 global customers to meet face-to-face in his office in the months following the acquisition.

Finance companies and retailers are experimenting with Slack (Tear Sheet) Rated: B

While no major bank has rolled out a Slack bot for customers (though they’ve done so on Facebook messenger or iMessage), challenger bank Revolut is testing its capabilities for business customers.

This week, the bank launched Revolut Connect, a feature that lets business account holders “talk” to companion apps they use frequently for crucial day-to-day functions like payroll and expense management.

China

Yirendai Announces Earnings Results (The Ledger Gazette) Rated: AAA

Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, May 24th. The technology company reported $1.72 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.73, Briefing.com reports. The firm had revenue of $253.90 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $250.75 million. Yirendai had a net margin of 21.93% and a return on equity of 51.90%. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $5.81 earnings per share.

Qudian: The Risky Chinese Fintech Opportunity (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

QD’s average loan size is small. Roughly speaking it ranges from $100-200 per customer. The average cash credit was $136, as listed in its IPO prospectus. QD considers that these small credits pose a favorable risk-reward profile because customers are likely always to pay back their debts. Also, since their credit is short term, its risk is lower compared to longer-term credit products.

Source: SEC filings, quote QD, and author’s elaboration
Source: SEC filings, quote QD, and author’s elaboration

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

International Tuition Payment Platform Easy Transfer Receives Tens of Million Yuan in Series A Financing

This week, Easy Transfer announced that it has won tens of millions yuan in Series A financing, which was led by Zhen Fund and followed by IDG Capital. It is reported that this round of investment will be mainly used for product development, team-building and marketing.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is Expected to License Virtual Banks by the End of this Year

On May 31st, Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issued the revised “Virtual Bank Recognition Guidelines”. The president of the HKMA, CHAN Tak-Lam, said that some interested parties have begun to submit applications to the HKMA. HKMA will carefully and quickly assess the applications and is expected to license virtual banks by as early as the end of this year.

Consumer Finance Company Dauron Secures Tens of Million Yuan in Pre-A Round of Financing

Dauron, an online consumer finance company, announced that it had received tens of million yuan in Pre-A round of financing from Jingbei Investment and Wanrui Factoring.

European Union

Transferwise partners with first major European bank BPCE (City A.M.) Rated: AAA

Out with the old and in with the new: digital money transfer service Transferwise has partnered with Banques Populaires’ and Caisses d’Espargne (BPCE), France’s second largest bank, to integrate its API directly into BPCE’s banking apps.

Set to go live at the beginning of 2019, the partnership between Groupe BPCE, its international banking arm Natixis Payments and Transferwise will see the fintech’s international payments API power all payments made digitally by the group’s 15.1m retail customers at the mid-market exchange rate.

Transactions will also be set at Transferwise’s low-cost 0.5 per cent fee on most routes, and will serve over 60 international destinations. Currently over 3m people use the platform to transfer more than €2m (£1.75m) every month.

How European FIs Are Building Delightful Banking Experiences (Medici) Rated: A

BBVA was the first financial institution in Spain to launch ‘Online Onboarding’via mobile in 2016, which allows anyone to open an account in just a few minutes and start banking right away. This service uses a procedure that verifies a customer’s identity through a selfie and a video call.

The Estonian eID card system is one of the most advanced in the world and serves as the basis for all of the digital services that are available in the country. The system has been in service for 16 years already and represents a highly sophisticated digital access card for all of Estonia’s secure e-services.

Monzo uses a photo of the customer’s passport or DL for identification and matches it to a video selfie; N26 uses passport/ID proof + video chat-based ID verification (in Germany, specific nationalities are also required to check at the closest post office to show their ID); similar to N26, Fidor asks for passport/ID proof + a video chat for ID verification.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes May 2018 (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Source: P2P Banking

So you think Alipay is just for the Chinese? (Chris Skinners Blog) Rated: AAA

It all started with a very good sum-up of Ant Financial’s recent $150 billion by Huy Nguyen Trieu, CEO @ The Disruptive Group. Ant were valued at around $50 billion when I first started to focus upon them two years ago, so a tripling in value in two years is notable, especially as it would make them the tenth largest bank in the world by value.

Second point is that valuation of $150 billion. In another conversation on social media, someone questioned that valuation (coincidentally a former member of Standard Chartered, Axel Winter, Former Global Chief Architect & Technology Strategy Head).

Source: Chris Skinners Blog

How Banks Can Stay Relevant in a Changing World (Payments Journal) Rated: AAA

The idea that we don’t care about our finances is counterintuitive. Hot new fintech start-ups and challenger banks are racing to develop apps providing evermore detailed analytics. But to make an impact and deliver real value, Brkic argues that banks need to take a step back and get better at delivering simple services that make a big difference.

Take overdraft charges. A service that alerts the consumer when they are about to go overdrawn and comes up with a solution (such as transferring money from a savings account, or temporarily extending a planned overdraft) is useful because it instantly solves a problem before it arises. For those living pay check to pay check, an avoided overdraft charge is more immediately beneficial than knowing that 10% of income is spent on dining out.

Meet the new bank. Same as the old bank

Advanced algorithms that promote generic, impersonal user experiences should be avoided. To immunise against engineers’ disease, Hammersley contends that inherently human interactions, such as customer service chatbots, should not be left solely in the hands of engineers.

Accessible Data and Artificial Intelligence: Is this the Future of Fintech? (Payments Journal) Rated: A

For organizations faced with the rise in product liability and fraud losses, AI is progressively positioned as a key tech to help robotize instant fraud detection and maximize performance in the near future. In addition, overlooked factors that influence the effectiveness of access data will include:

  • Geographical variances in data
  • Varied risk across products, apps, and channels
  • Accuracy of fraud classification
  • Relatively occurrence of fraud compared to transactions

With the advancements of AI and Accessible Data, we can add in precious metals, international currencies, peer-to-peer lending, identity protection, e-Wallet security, cloud computing access and more into the global payment experience.

Cyber, battery, sports tech win big investments (Isreal 21c) Rated: B

Lending Express of Tel Aviv, San Francisco and New York City, an AI-powered business loan marketplace with more than 55,000 customers in the US and Australia, secured $2.7 million in seed financing.

Millennials and money (Gulf News) Rated: A

Millennials make up about one-fourth of the global population today and are the inheritors of one of the largest inter-generational wealth transfers seen in human history, holding $17 trillion (Dh62.44 trillion) or about 10 per cent of the world’s private wealth. Banks and financial institutions have the challenge of catering to a newer type of customer in a rapidly changing technological environment, blurring boundaries and creating new business paradigms.

For banks, merely building a digital version of a branch is not the answer if your customers have never been to one. As author and futurist Brett King says, a bank is no longer somewhere you go to, it is something you do. Banks that are able to provide anytime, anywhere banking, combining tech and touch intelligently, stand to win.

Australia

How this fintech startup chief facilitated $ 50 million in Australian business loans without stepping foot in the country (Smart Company) Rated: AAA

Business loan marketplace Lending Express launched in Australia in 2016, and since then it’s facilitated $50 million in small business loans. But it was only last month that co-founder and chief executive Eden Amirav first set foot on Australian soil.

Now the Israeli startup has secured $US2.8 million ($3.7 million) in funding, Amirav has plans to further improve the artificial intelligence-enabled platform, and to get his message to even more Aussies.

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Lending Express connects small businesses seeking loans with alternative lenders. The business owner fills in an application via the online platform, and Lending Express runs an algorithm, immediately identifying the lenders that would be most likely to approve the loan.

Upcoming IPOs this week (Motley Fool Australia) Rated: A

According to ASX Ltd (ASX: ASX) there is only one IPO this week. That share is:

Prospa Group Limited (ASX: PGL)

Its principal activity is online lending to small businesses.

It’s looking to raise $146.5 million and list on 6 June 2018.

Asia

Fintech in Iran: Challenges and opportunities (Tehran Times) Rated: AAA

According to statistics published by International World Stats (IWS) until December 31, 2017, there are 56,700,000 Internet users in Iran, which is 69.1% of the population.

The internet finance in Iran is now mostly PSP-based, which offers shops online services for accepting electronic payments by a variety of payment methods including credit card and bank-based payments.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 2 2018, Daily News Digest

Wednesday May 2 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter overhauls Rolling Market product. Revolut to offer cash back in cryptocurrency. Kabbage hires new CTO. BlueVine raises $200M. iZettle expected to IPO. ETMoney launches CreditLine. Today’s main analysis: Are marketplace lenders, tech companies living up to the hype? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Revising the ICAPM to reflect effects of style investing. Cagney’s Figure to offer home […]

Wednesday May 2 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Kabbage Hires CTO to Lead Development of Future Data-First Solutions for Small Businesses (PRNewswire) Rated: AAA

Kabbage, Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, appoints James Chou as its chief technology officer (CTO). With more than 20 years of successfully leading technology innovations, Chou will oversee the development of the company’s next generation of data-driven financial products and services for small businesses.

Ex-SoFi CEO Mike Cagney Makes a Comeback With a New Blockchain-Focused Startup (Fortune) Rated: AAA

The new startup plans to offer three- to 10-year home equity loans and a buy-lease-back product, the report says. In other words, it will purchase retirees’ homes and then lease them back. Many banks cut down on these types of loans following the financial crisis, but they’re starting to gain traction again due to rising home prices.

 

Online Lender BlueVine Receives $ 200 Million Line of Credit from Credit Suisse (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Online lender BlueVine has secured a $200 million asset-backed revolving credit facility with Credit Suisse. Additionally, the SME focused platform said it has upped its business line of credit to $250,000. Earlier in 2018, BlueVine doubled its invoice factoring credit limit to $5 million. BlueVine’s total funded volume since founding is expected to top $1 billion in 2018.

To date, BlueVine has raised more than $400 million in equity and debt funding and is funded by Lightspeed Venture Partners, 83NORTH, Correlation Ventures, Citi Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Rakuten Fintech Fund and other private investors.

Senate should take up bill to help lenders see ‘credit invisibles’ (American Banker) Rated: A

The Credit Access and Inclusion Act of 2017 would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to allow the reporting of certain positive consumer credit information, such as on-time payment histories, to consumer reporting agencies. In other words, the legislation would help consumers build up their credit history for something they’re already doing.

A New Crop of Fintech IPOs Will Face Skeptical Investors (Bloomberg) Rated: A

There are now close to 30 private fintech startups with valuations at or above $1 billion, according to data platform PitchBook. A few of them are increasingly cited as possible IPO candidates. Among the most closely watched are Pimco-backed GreenSky, which has already filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Dutch payments company Adyen BV, said to be considering IPO as soon as this year.

The question now is what happens to those billion-dollar-plus valuations when the public gets a look at the companies’ financials and growth projections. In the past, fintech companies haven’t fared too well. Square Inc., which is set to report earnings this week, is the exception.

BOK Financial Implements Partnership With Roostify to Streamline Mortgage Process (Business Wire) Rated: A

BOK Financial, a top-25 regional financial services company, has implemented a partnership with Roostify, a digital lending platform that gives customers more control of their home buying process while allowing loan officers to utilize the latest technology to more easily process loans.

The new digital platform is a tool that offers functionality and efficiency to customers including:

  • Customers can start an application, provide documentation and follow their loan’s progress online.
  • Applicants have a secure way to upload, send, and receive loan documents. Homebuyers can add other involved parties to transaction, such as the real estate agent.
  • Users don’t have to guess where they are in the process – they will receive timely loan status updates.

Inside a swanky New York party for graduates who paid off their student loans (Market Watch) Rated: A

Garrido also entered a competition to win a trip to New York furnished by SoFi, the company that’s made its name refinancing student loans, including one of her own. The occasion of the competition, which Garrido ultimately won: To join other SoFi customers—or “members” in the company’s parlance—who paid off their debt to celebrate at a rooftop bar and restaurant last Thursday in the swanky William Vale hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

On one side of the student debt story are those that our college finance system has truly crippled: Borrowers who leave school with debt and no degree or graduate with degrees worth little in the labor market, or benefit less from their degree simply because of where they came from. Many in the latter group struggle to repay the debt—and not necessarily due to lack of ambition. Despite the rebounding economy, levels of student-loan delinquency remain stubbornly high.

Mom, CFP: New Varo Money Survey Reveals That When Americans Need Financial Advice, They Come To Mama (Payment Week) Rated: A

Mobile banking company 

U.S. judge dismisses state regulators’ lawsuit over national ‘fintech’ charter (Reuters) Rated: A

A District of Columbia federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by state bank regulators against the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency over its proposal to offer charters that would let so-called fintech companies do business nationwide.

Since the OCC has not reached a final decision on the fintech charters, the claim of harm by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) was speculative, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich wrote in her decision tossing out the case, issued late on Monday.

The future of lending is here, meet RAD Lending (TechBullion) Rated: A

Introducing the RAD Lendingplatform, a foundation for the financial products for the modern crypto economy, where a family of RAD credit products — personal and business loans, credit cards — will help filling the gap between crypto holdings and real-life fiat spending.

RAD Lending’s peer-to-peer (p2p) lending platform will use the benefits of the blockchain and smart contracts for its crypto secured credit products. The platform will connect fiat money investors looking for the predictable yield, with crypto-asset holders looking for loans in easily spendable fiat. By accepting crypto assets as a collateral against loans, and using the guardrails of the blockchain and smart contract technology, the platform will mitigate risks for both investors and lenders.

REVISING THE ICAPM TO REFLECT EFFECTS OF STYLE INVESTING (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

A recent paper by Michael Stutzer, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Leeds School of Business, suggests that the intertemporal version of the capital asset pricing model (ICAPM) needs some revision in light of the market dominance of style investors.

A more full statement of that might be: it needs revision in light of the lack of empirical support for its foundations on the one hand, and in light of the dominance of style investors on the other: and that these two revisions turn out to be one and the same.

Read the full paper here.

5 Top Lenders You Should Consider for Tiny House Financing (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

 Upstart

  • Upstart personal loans come with an APR range of 7.73% to 29.99%
  • Borrow between $1,000 and $50,000
  • Repayment terms of three or five years
  • Qualify with a credit score of 620 or better

2. LendingClub

  • LendingClub personal loans come with an APR range of 5.99% to 35.89%
  • Borrow between $1,000 and $40,000
  • Repayment terms of three or five years
  • Qualify with a credit score of 600 or better

4. FreedomPlus

  • FreedomPlus personal loans come with an APR range of 4.99% to 29.99%
  • Borrow between $10,000 and $35,000
  • Repayment terms of two, three, four, or five years
  • Qualify with a credit score of 640 or better

5. SoFi

  • SoFi personal loans come with an APR range of 5.37% to 14.24%
  • Borrow between $5,000 and $100,000
  • Repayment terms of three, five, or seven years

Personal Capital links with employers to grow user base (Tearsheet) Rated: B

Digital wealth adviser Personal Capital is offering its financial advice platform to employers to grow its user base beyond its core group of investors.

The company last week inked an agreement with benefits provider Alight and investment firm AllianceBernstein to use Personal Capital’s tech platform to help participating employers select personalized 401(k) offerings for their staff members. Co-branding with Personal Capital exposes large swaths of new users to the platform.

PLI 23rd Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute, Chicago session (JDSupra) Rated: B

The second presentation of the 23rd Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute, sponsored by the Practising Law Institute, will take place in Chicago on May 7-8, 2018.  I am co-chairing the event, as I have for the past 22 years.

New to the Institute this year will be a panel on the second day that I will moderate and that will discuss the rapidly changing landscape for marketplace lending and fintech.

United Kingdom

RateSetter overhauls Rolling Market product (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has unveiled a series of changes to its Rolling Market product, removing the ability for investors to set their own rate on reinvested funds and altering how returns are paid.

Currently investments in the Rolling Market are reinvested each month, meaning the interest rate can change, but from 6 June, investments will remain matched to the same borrower until the loan is repaid, so the return will remain the same.

The rate will only change when the money is reinvested.

UK Fintech Startup Revolut Will Give Cash Back In Cryptocurrencies (Forbes) Rated: AAA

In a bold bid to further tempt young, tech-minded customers, London-based fintech startup Revolut is going to launch a debit card that gives users 1% cash back in cryptocurrencies.

UK challenger banks braced for fresh wave of consolidation (Financial Times) Rated: A

Senior executives at several smaller lenders and established high street banks said they expect a pick-up in M&A activity, after last year’s £850m takeover of Shawbrook and FirstRand’s £1.1bn purchase of Aldermore put the sector on notice for a return to dealmaking.

Cryptocurrency lobby group calls for regulation based on P2P model (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

A GROUP of the UK’s leading cryptocurrency platforms want the regulator to use peer-to-peer finance legislation as a framework for their own sector.

CryptoUK, a self-regulatory trade association with eight members, has set out new plans for the Treasury to make cryptocurrency investment a regulated activity under the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The plans are part of a written response by CryptoUK to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee inquiry into digital currencies, which is currently underway.

Do you live in a P2P property hotspot? (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

But as the P2P property market has expanded, a few clear trends have begun to emerge. In some parts of the country, P2P property lending is going strong. In fact, if you’re based in one of these P2P property hotspots, you may be living next door to one…

Walthamstow-Wellesley is currently offering investments in three new-build properties in E17, while Octopus Choice has loaned money on more than 30 properties in the E17, N17 and N15 areas. The Octopus platform is offering rates of between 4.49 per cent and 7.99 per cent of borrowers, with an average of four per cent in returns for investors.

Huddersfield-The West Yorkshire town of Huddersfield has been a surprising recipient of P2P property funding, largely thanks to property platform Lendy, which has financed several large property developments there. Its proximity to Manchester and Leeds means that it is likely to attract even more developer interest in the coming years.

Eastbourne-Landbay currently keeps 21 per cent of its property portfolio in the South East, with dozens of properties in and around Eastbourne.

YPO Innovation Week Unites Innovators for the Global Fintech Summit 2018 in London (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

As a part of its third annual YPO Innovation Week, YPO will host the Global Fintech Summit in London, United Kingdom, where the most dynamic global innovators will be together for a rare chance to network, overturn conventional thinking and leave inspired with the tools to infuse innovation in their companies and communities.

The Global Fintech Summit 2018 will explore the latest disruptive technologies and opportunities across the fintech landscape – including blockchain, bitcoin and robo-advice to online payments, crowdfunding, P2P lending and private equity while connecting YPO leaders from throughout Europe and across the world to share challenges, insights and needs.

China

China’s Biggest Tech Unicorns Stampede to Go Public (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

An unprecedented wave of Chinese technology companies is accelerating plans to raise money from the global capital markets, hoping to leverage investors’ optimism about the sector and lock in buoyant stock valuations.

In recent months, at least a dozen Chinese companies with collective private valuations of roughly $500 billion have been in talks with bankers and potential investors about initial public offerings in the second half of this year or in early 2019, according to people familiar with the discussions.

European Union

iZettle to announce IPO plan early next week (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

iZettle is gearing up to announce its intention to float as early next week in what would be the largest initial public offering by a European financial technology company.

The Swedish payments and ecommerce group has been in talks with potential investors and could seek a valuation of about SKr10bn ($1.1bn) when it is expected to launch its IPO process on Tuesday next week, according to people involved in the flotation.

International

Banks and Fintechs: Adversaries or Partners? (Wharton) Rated: AAA

Some fintechs will aggressively go it alone and challenge the legacy banks in their most lucrative markets. And recent rule changes in Europe, which force banks to transfer closely guarded customer information to fintechs upon customer request, will add new momentum to the upstarts.

Still, the drive towards collaboration is well underway, as the following on-the-ground examples suggest.

  • ICICI Bank, India’s largest private bank, and Paytm, the country’s largest digital payments platform, have jointly launched a digital credit account on the Paytm app. Paytm-ICICI Bank Postpaid gives customers access to instant micro-credit for everyday expenses — from bill payments to movie tickets. Its algorithm – from ICICI – is based on a customer’s financial and digital behavior and evaluates credit-worthiness in seconds.
  • Bocom International, the investment banking arm of China’s Bank of Communications, has partnered with Hong Kong fintech firm FDT-AI to develop intelligent, personalized investment research based on bank clients’ past transactions. The hope is to offer more tailor-made investment advice.
  • ING Group has partnered with Scalable Capital, a leading online wealth manager and robo-advice firm in Europe, to offer a fully digital investment solution to ING’s retail customers starting in Germany. Customers do a paperless registration in under 15 minutes. With a minimum investment of 10,000 euros they can monitor their portfolios on both Scalable Capital and ING mobile apps and online portals.
  • Kabbage, a U.S.-based leading online lender, has partnered with large players such as Scotiabank, for streamlining online lending; MasterCard, for business loans through MasterCard’s network of acquirers; ING, to provide capital to small businesses; and Santander Bank, for loans to small and medium enterprises.

Financial regulators turn their sights on banks’ use of cloud (Financial Times) Rated: A

Financial regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have turned their attention to the cloud, as concerns mount over how to supervise online storage services, which hold information from the world’s biggest banks.

Global financial institutions are becoming increasingly reliant on the cloud — using it to store customer-account data and their banking systems, leading supervisors to fret about what might happen if a bank collapses.

As well as cyber risk, regulators ‎are worried about concentrating so much information in the hands of Amazon, Google and Microsoft — the three big companies that dominate cloud provision — without the same level of supervisory oversight as banks, according to people familiar with regulatory discussions.

Chris Larsen: From Marketplace Lending Pioneer to Creating the New Internet of Value (Lend Academy) Rated: A

But Chris had an itch to start a new company, one that was based on this emerging blockchain technology.

Of course, this move proved to be prescient and his new company, which eventually became known at Ripple, has the potential to completely rewrite the rules of global commerce. In 2013 they introduced the XRP token as the vehicle to help them achieve this goal. XRP (as of this writing) is the third most valuable token with market cap of $32 billion. This is down considerably from its high in January when its market cap reached around $150 billion and briefly made Chris Larsen one of the wealthiest people in the world.

When you think about how far technology has come and the fact that information has flowed freely across borders now for 25 years it is just crazy that the way we move money internationally has barely changed since the 1980s. And while companies like Transferwise have made it more efficient and simple to send money internationally, it is still more expensive and much slower than the system that Chris Larsen envisions. He sees this new system as the second internet: the internet of value.

Living Up To The Hype (Or Not) (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Bitcoin, marketplace lending — pick your poison — they came to disrupt, but the jury is still out on whether they can ever achieve that goal. The global citizen and international nomad may change the nature of work around the world, but they need a “finabler” to help them do it.

And new EU regulations like GDPR may be a sea change in how business worldwide will get done, but no one seems to know if that change will come as an easy, rising tide or a tsunami of transformation.

Source: PYMNTS

BFEX: EMPOWERING THE WORLD WITH A BETTER FINANCIAL IDENTITY BY SHANKAR BISWAS (Bitcoinist) Rated: A

BFEX’s peer to peer lending platform is a financial market place with a difference: it is transparent, secure and credible and different from the banks with its proprietary; Decentralized Social Trust Credit Scoring that will provide millions with access money at fair rates with a new improved social identity. BFEX will create better indicators by making meaningful connections between traditional and nontraditional data where raw Credit scores are only a part of the story. Nontraditional data will allow us to look at trends in consumer behavior that completes the picture and tells a better story of the person.

India

ETMoney forays into lending with the launch of CreditLine (Medianama) Rated: AAA

Times Internet’s ETMoney has entered into the lending space with the launch of a new service called CreditLine on its platform, in partnership with RBL Bank.

ETMoney is a personal expense management app which allows users to invest in mutual funds, gold deposits, liquid funds etc, buy insurance, manage expenses and more. The company claims that the app has 4 million users so far and said that it has grown 20x in the last 12 months.

Competition

Paytm is reportedly trying to enter the lending space and is seeking a licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to become a peer-to-peer lending platform.

Mobikwik too is working on the launch of a lending product that will offer instant credit to customers directly from its app.  Other players in this segment are like Capital Float, NeoGrowth, Paytm-backed CreditMate, CASHe, LendingKart, MoneyTap, EasySalry, Faircent, LoanMeet amongst others.

Asia

New P2P lender snares key Asian backers (Financial Review) Rated: AAA

OurMoneyMarket has just closed a $4 million funding round which saw N2N Connect, a Malaysian stock exchange-listed financial information provider backed by Japan’s financial media giant, Nikkei Inc, emerge as a key shareholder. Singapore-based YK Capital, a tech company investor, also tipped into the raising.

Run by Adam Sutherland, formerly a securitisation banker at National Australia Bank, and chief operating officer Crystal Anderson, and chaired by John Barry, NAB’s former head of debt capital markets in Asia, OurMoneyMarket has been up and running for nine months and during that time has made $1.5 million in loans.

It’s taking things slowly; there have been $95 million in applications. It has delivered early investors a 13 per cent net return. Revenue is growing at 45 per cent month on month.

Singapore launches the “Fintech Fast Track” for new patents (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has announced the launch of a new initiative, dubbed the Fintech Fast Track initiative, which aims to grant patents for fintech innovations at a faster pace than before. While it can traditionally take up to 2 years for a patent to be granted, this new initiative will bring that down to 6 months for new fintech solutions. The initiative includes fintech innovations related to electronic payments, investment platforms, insurance technology, blockchain, banking, security, fraud, and authentication, among others.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday April 19 2018, Daily News Digest

Personal Loan providers

News Comments Today’s main news: Tala raises $65M for international expansion. The House Crowd hits 1M GBP in one day. Silicon Valley investment into UK hits $1B. 100Credit gets $159M from state-owned fund in China. Mintos adds ID Finance loans issued in Kazakhstan. Today’s main analysis: The 5 best personal loans for good credit. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendIt Fintech […]

Personal Loan providers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech lender raises $ 65M to expand in developing nations (American Banker) Rated: AAA

A U.S.-based lender that targets borrowers in developing nations where credit scores are often hard to come by has raised $50 million in new equity funding.

Tala, based in Santa Monica, Calif., plans to use the latest round of funding to develop new products for its customers in Kenya, Tanzania, the Philippines, India and Mexico.

It also raised $15 million in debt capital that it will use to fund loans.

Wrap-Up of LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Last week the sixth annual LendIt USA conference took place in San Francisco. Officially known as LendIt Fintech USA 2018 this event was, in my opinion, the best we have ever produced.

The opening keynote, for the second year in a row, was delivered by Scott Sanborn, the CEO of LendingClub. He gave a different kind of presentation this year. He didn’t talk much about LendingClub at all, instead choosing to focus his keynote on financial health and the looming crisis that maybe coming. He gave us all something to consider beyond just disruption, he said we should think about three key areas: financial inclusion, regulatory innovation and customer alignment. He ended with a call to action for the industry. He wanted everyone to focus on what problem you are solving and what you can do to help restore financial health to all Americans.

The 5 Best Personal Loans for Good Credit (Student Loan Hero) Rated: AAA

The average credit score of Americans is 700, based on April 2017 data from Fair Isaac Corp., an analytics company that issues the FICO credit score.

If your score meets or beats that average, it’s enough to put you in the good credit score range, which goes from 670 to 739. As a result, you should have a good chance of getting approved for some of the best personal loans for good credit.

Source: Student Loan Hero

Your Best Options If You Need a Personal Loan With a Cosigner (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

As you compare, you’ll find LendingClubCitizens Bank, and FreedomPlus— all online lenders that accept cosigners. They all accept FICO scores under 700, with LendingClub accepting FICO scores as low as 600.

Here’s a list of some online lenders that accept cosigners for personal loans:

  • LendingClub
  • Citizens Bank
  • FreedomPlus
  • Backed
  • OneMain Financial
  • LightStream

Avant vs. LendUp: Which Is Right for You? (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Not only will Avant consider your application even if you have a low credit score, but working with this lender has other benefits.

  • You can get your money after one business day.
  • There are no prepayment fees.
  • Although the average customer has a credit score between 600 and 700, those with poor credit are also considered.
  • The company has a 95% customer satisfaction rate.
  • The lender offers self-service tools and live support seven days a week.

The biggest benefit of LendUp is the ability to get money fast. In certain states, you could even have your funds in 15 minutes. But there are some other positives as well.

  • There are multiple options if you’re having trouble paying back the loan.
  • Repeat customers can borrow more and at lower rates.
  • There’s an education platform with free videos and articles breaking down complex financial matters. It also teaches you how to make better money decisions.

Wunder Capital Raises $ 112 Million in Financing To Fuel Commercial Solar Growth in the U.S. (Crowdfunder Insider) Rated: A

Wunder Capital, a firm that develops and manages solar investment funds through partnerships, test processes, underwriting framework and its investment portal, announced on Wednesday it secured $112 million in equity and debt financing to accelerate the growth of the company.

9 Ways To Invest In Real Estate Without Buying Property (Forbes) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs Has Big Plans for Marcus and the Future of Retail Banking (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Blankfein commented on the other obvious strategic advantage. Their cost of capital is super low.  Unlike many of the early entrants into the online lending sector, Marcus has access to deposits via their acquisition of GE Capital Bank several years back – something no other US based online lender can claim. Even with their industry leading interest rate for current accounts (now 1.6% when most banks pay a fraction of that), Marcus can crush the competition in loan originations.

Goldman Sachs’ hot new business is lending to subprime consumers, and Wall Street’s starting to ask questions (Business Insider) Rated: B

Marcus has originated more than $3bn of loans since inception, recently it has become know that more than 10 percent of the loans were sub prime; they have said this is a natural evolution of the loan business and they are being very selective in approving of applications.

GreenSky Personal Loans Review: Low-Interest Loans for Home Improvement (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

As an online loan servicer, GreenSky works with borrowers and merchants to provide low-cost personal loans for home improvement, specialty retail, and healthcare expenses. It’s funded more than $10 billion in loans to over 1.3 million customers, according to the lender.

Individual borrowers can apply for home improvement loans, which can be used for flooring, windows, landscaping, or other projects. Home improvement loans come with fixed APRs between 3.99% and 23.99%, as of April 18, 2018. You can choose terms of 42, 66, or 90 months. For the most up-to-date rates, check GreenSky’s website.

Real estate crowdfunding: What you need to know (Bankless Times) Rated: A

Right now, real estate crowdfunding companies are becoming very popular because they allow you to pool your resources in order to buy property or to finance real estate companies who are looking to build properties.

48 Million Detailed Psychometric Records on Individuals Leaked (InfoSecurity Magazine) Rated: B

About 48 million records of detailed personal information on tens of millions of individuals have been leaked, containing Cambridge Analytica–style information gathered and scraped from multiple sources.

The culprit, as is the case all too often, is a misconfigured cloud storage repository, in this case belonging to a company called LocalBlox. LocalBlox bills itself as a personal and business data search service, but it’s bread and butter is data-harvesting and the creation of psychometric profiles of individuals.

Point Initiates Forward Flow Purchase Program with Atalaya: Unlocking Home Equity Wealth (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Point, a fintech platform that allows homeowners to unlock home equity wealth without taking on new debt, has agreed to a forward flow purchase program with investment firm Atalaya Capital Management to purchase up to $150 million of Point’s structured home equity investment instruments.

StreetShares Appoints Mohan A. Rao New Chief Product & Technology Officer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Financing military veteran-owned small businesses lender StreetShares announced on Wednesday it has appointed Mohan A. Rao as Chief Product and Technology Officer. According to the online lender,  Rao is the former Chief Technology Officer of Hobsons, Inc., and brings more than 25 years of experience with building software products, R&D, and management consulting to the StreetShares team.

Millennium Trust Recognized as “Professional Services Company of the Year” at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Millennium Trust Company, LLC, was honored at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 as the “Professional Services Company of the Year,” which is awarded to the service provider that has demonstrated deep expertise, unique value, strong ROI, commitment to clients, and the fostering of a deeper understanding of fintech. Organizations such as Cloud Lending Solutions, Deloitte, First Associates, Manatt and Salesforce also received nominations for the award.

Capsilon Expands Digital Mortgage Platform, Automating up to 80% of Manual Data Auditing & Processing Across Back Office (Capsilon) Rated: B

Capsilon, an enterprise SaaS digital mortgage solution partner to the mortgage industry, today announced the expansion of its digital mortgage platform through the addition of big data capabilities and a new set of smart tools designed to radically improve back office workflows and accelerate loan production. With this new data audit functionality, Capsilon can reduce manual data entry and speed up data auditing across the loan process, enabling companies to automate up to 80% of manual processing functions.

 

United Kingdom

Crowdfunding platform hits £1 million in a day (Growth Business) Rated: AAA

Property crowdfunding platform The House Crowd have raised just over £1.3 million over a 24-hour period to support housing developments in Greater Manchester. This is the first time the business has broken the £1 million mark in a day.

Most of the money – £1.2 million – was for its Egyptian Mill Development of 42 house and 15 apartments in Lees, just outside of Manchester. Attracted by a typical return of 10 per cent each year over a 15 month investment term, investors have clambered to raise funds and support new build houses and flats as the UK housing crisis continues.

Silicon Valley investment into the UK breaks $ 1BN for the first time (Information Age) Rated: AAA

UK law firm Pennington Manches has today revealed that British companies are enjoying an unprecedented period of investment from West Coast-based US firms, with 74 deals contributing to a total value of £1.08 billion in 2017 – the first time Silicon Valley investment into the UK has broken the billion-dollar mark.

​The new report found that software companies take the lion’s share of this investment, benefiting from £2.2 billion in funds since 2011. The number of deals from Silicon Valley into UK firms has increased by 252% over that period.

P2P lending set to pass £9bn milestone (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

LENDING at the UK’s largest peer-to-peer finance platforms is fast approaching £9bn.

Data from the industry’s trade body the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), released on Thursday, showed its eight members – Crowdstacker, Folk2Folk, Funding Circle, Landbay, LendingWorks, MarketInvoice, ThinCats and Zopa – reached cumulative lending of £8.96bn at the end of the first quarter of 2017.

The figure is up 11.5 per cent on the fourth quarter and 57 per cent higher year on year.

Transferwise becomes first non-bank to join BoE payments system (AltFi News) Rated: A

TransferWise has become the first non-bank payment services provider to hold a settlement account in the Bank of England’s Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system.

The new access should lower costs for Transferwise, one of the UK’s largest fintech start-ups, as TransferWise joins the Faster Payments Scheme (FPS also).

 

Alternative funding for SMEs demystified (Business Matters) Rated: A

However, as Business Matters reported back in December, over 40 per cent of companies say they would have to put their expansion plans on hold if they could not attain funding.

Research shows that most SMEs turn to traditional sources of funding – such as overdrafts, credit cards and bank loans – when they need a cash injection. What’s more, many are unaware of – or are unclear about – the recent expansion in alternative forms of business financing such as crowdfunding or P2P lending. That’s a shame, because many of these new funding options are very well suited to the needs of SMEs and start-ups.

Crowd2Fund prepares to cross fintech bridge to Australia (Finextra) Rated: B

Leading P2P lending platform Crowd2Fund are launching an Australian office by becoming one the first UK-based companies to utilise the new ‘FinTech Bridge’ between the UK and Australia.

Mechanics Cooperative Bank chooses Finastra for core banking system (Real Wire) Rated: B

Mechanics Cooperative Bank has selected the Fusion Phoenix core banking system from Finastra, as well as a full suite of ancillary offerings, to provide its new technology foundation. The solution will bring together a wide-range of proven, specialized software into a single environment that is more easily managed in the back-office, providing greater workflow and interface efficiencies for the bank’s staff, and ultimately customers.

China

CreditEase Wins Major Awards at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

As the exclusive “Global Leader” partner of LendIt Fintech USA 2018, Yirendai was awarded “Top Consumer Lending Platform” and was the only Chinese enterprise to receive a LendIt Fintech industry award, which demonstrates high recognition of its outstanding contributions to the innovation of the financial services industry. In addition, Ms. Yihan Fang, CEO of Yirendai was nominated for “Executive of the Year” and CEFIF was nominated for “Top Fintech Equity Investor”. Both nominations are strong recognition of the great achievements CreditEase has made in both wealth management and Fintech investment fields.

Fintech Start-up 100Credit Gets $ 159M From State-owned China Reform Fund (China Money Network) Rated: AAA

China Reform Fund Management Co.,Ltd, a private equity firm backed by China Reform Holdings Corporation Ltd and other central state-owned enterprises, has led a RMB1 billion (US$159 million) series C round in 100Credit, a fintech start-up that uses big data to provide credit services.

Existing investor Sequoia Capital China also participated in the round, according to 100Credit’s announcement on its official WeChat account.

Softbank leads $ 25m Modalku round, while 500 Startups backs HelloGold (TechinAsia) Rated: B

Alipay pilots digitized national ID cards (China). The digital payments app run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial is testing out integration of the Chinese government’s pilot digital ID card scheme, which could one day replace physical ID cards.

European Union

Orange’s entry into digital banking forces old guard to react (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Orange Bank has already onboarded more than 100,000 customers since launch, only Revolut and Boursorama, Société Générale’s digital banking arm have made more progress in the same timeframe; this continues the wider trend across Europe as digital banking becomes a bigger part of the financial services ecosystem.

Swedish startup Tink just smashed open the floodgates to 300 banks’ data – and it’s a game-changer for Nordic fintech (Business Insider Nordic) Rated: A

Last year, after raising €14 million in funding from a consortium of traditional and online banks, Tink pivoted to licensing its technology to banks so they can build their own apps and fintech services.

The startup is now doubling down on its B2B business by launching a third-party developer platform. This means that the same technology that Tink has provided to banks like Nordea and SEB, will now be open to any company that wants to gain access to a given consumer’s account data (with the consumer’s permission).

The Crowdfunding Trend – Threat or Opportunity? (Eureka) Rated: A

There are some concerns that the rise of crowdfunding will cause major disruption across industries. According to the world bank, 2016 saw more money raised from crowdfunding than from venture capital.

In Finland, for example, there is no requirement for crowdfunders to have an MiFID licence, which means that companies who have obtained a licence are more strictly regulated than their unlicensed competitors. Other nations have been quicker to adapt – in France and the UK existing legislation has been brought smoothly up to date to be compatible with crowdfunding.

GDPR and financial advice: Special categories of personal data (Professional Adviser) Rated: A

The difference between ‘data’ and ‘sensitive data’ – that is, between Article 6, which we considered in more detail here, and Article 9 – is that the individual must give explicit consent to the processing of each type of special category of data.

If, for example, a firm will be asking someone whether they are a smoker and will also be recording they are a member of a specific trade union, then the firm would to need capture explicit consent from the individual that they are happy for the firm to collect and process this data about their health and their trade union membership.

For financial advisers, this consent will need to be gathered early in the customer engagement process, with it being made clear the data will be processed and what it will be processed for.

International

Mintos Marketplace Adds ID Finance Loans Issued in Kazakhstan (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Mintos, an online marketplace that provides individuals with a simplified way to invest in loans originated by a variety of alternative lending companies, announced on Wednesday that fintech firm ID Finance has further diversified investment opportunities on the Mintos marketplace by launching personal loans listed in Euro (EUR) and Kazakhstani tenge (KZT) under its Solva brand in Kazakhstan.

According to the companies, Solva uses a scoring system built around machine learning, advanced risk assessment techniques, multiple search technologies, big data and text mining. The system also evaluates the device on which the loan application is being filled out and the user’s behaviour when filling out the application.

Mo money, mo cash (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

But according to a new report published by G4S, the massive 117-year-old global security firm, we’re actually still moving in the other direction — at least in most countries.

Poor old cheques. And cryptocurrencies don’t fare too well either.

India

US-based fintech firm announces its expansion in India’s lending space (Medianama) Rated: AAA

California-based fintech company Tala said that it is bringing its lending app to India. This expansion was announced along with a new $50 million Series C funding led by Revolution Growth its operations in the country which is already in progress. In addition to Revolution Growth, Tala’s Series C round includes existing investors IVP, Data Collective, Lowercase Capital, Ribbit Capital, and Female Founders Fund. Steve Murray, managing partner at Revolution Growth, will join Tala’s board of directors.

Asia

 

Singapore Fintech Association established Marketplace Lending Committee (Finextra) Rated: AAA

The Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) today announces the launch of the Marketplace Lending committee and website, in response to the rapid growth in the sector.

In 2016, Southeast Asia’s alternative finance market reached a record US$215.94 million, a growth of 362% compared with 2015. Data for 2016 showed that Singapore’s alternative finance market size was valued at US$163.75 million, more than double the entire value from 2013-2015. This upward trend is reflected internationally. The global lending market valued at US$3.5 billion in 2013, expecting to reach US$1 trillion by 2050, according to Statista, a market research company.

Revolut empire-builder seeking to tame “the Asian dragon” (AltFi News) Rated: A

Rishi Stocker, head of partnerships at Revolut, is currently focused on coordinating the banking challenger’s entry into Japan. Speaking to AltFi, Stocker said that the Japanese market, unlike others in Asia, is a tough nut to crack.

He said that regulators are “very keen on local presence and very concerned about international companies entering and then suddenly changing their strategy and leaving”.

To allow Revolut to set up shop in Japan, regulators have insisted that the fintech firm appoint an experienced local Japanese expert as a director of the entity. “That’s quite an interesting nuance of Japan whereas a lot of other markets are a lot more open – so long as there’s a strong compliance team based in our head office in London,” explained Stocker.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Digital Identity Verification for Alternative Lenders

Digital Identity Verification for Alternative Lenders

Trust is the root of all business transactions. For any financial institution to lend money or offer a banking service, being able to identify the counterparty is a must. And though anonymity is a blessing in a lot of situations, business cannot be conducted under the cloak of secrecy. Financial services are a particular focus […]

Digital Identity Verification for Alternative Lenders

Trust is the root of all business transactions. For any financial institution to lend money or offer a banking service, being able to identify the counterparty is a must. And though anonymity is a blessing in a lot of situations, business cannot be conducted under the cloak of secrecy.

Financial services are a particular focus area for the highest standards in identification, especially due to the strong regulatory push on money laundering, terrorism financing, and KYC (Know Your Customer). Also, according to the World Bank, around 1.1 billion people worldwide cannot prove their identity. They form a major chunk of the 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to financial services. This highlights that identity is a fundamental part of financial inclusion.

Mitek Systems, a global leader in mobile capture and identity verification software solutions, is in the forefront of this growing niche industry. We had an exclusive chat with the company CTO, Stephen Ritter. He gave his views on the opportunity and developments in the ID verification space and how it will be an underlying pillar for the growth of fintech lending and blockchain-led services.

Mitek’s Business Model and Technology

Mitek started as a software company and has evolved to become the leader in mobile banking and mobile deposit solutions. It enables bank customers to take picture of checks for depositing, rendering the physical deposit process redundant. It has entered the digital ID verification market and has developed artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-powered proprietary algorithms. It will verify the ID by having the user take a picture of  a government-issued ID and compare it with a selfie. This allows the software to cross verify the selfie face with the picture on the government-issued ID.

Mitek’s solutions specializes in accurately identifying the personal document, and can even recognize and evaluate IDs of multiple countries. It can also extract relevant information from the document. Its advanced forensic algorithms can detect signs of forgery or fake documents. Further, it can distinguish good and bad documents and provide a risk score to determine if the document can be trusted. Its algorithms can also determine if the human face is real or a spoof.

The company’s core competency is computer vision, a specific niche within machine learning. The company has been developing software in the field for the last 15 years and considers itself among the pioneers in the space. With the intense speed of development in the field, the company is actively working with partners for integrating third-party sophisticated technology into their own solutions.

The main solutions provided by Mitek include:

  • Mobile Fill – A solution which allows personal information to be pre-filled in the forms of the applicants, taking help of the Mobile ID capture solution provided by Mitek.
  • Mobile Verify – A combination of Mitek’s computer vision technology and auto capture experience, Mobile Verify validates the authenticity of identity documents thereby simplifying the KYC compliance processes.
  • Mobile Deposit – Mobile deposit is a solution that helps in saving time by allowing the person to deposit checks to the participating banks by uploading the image using the device’s camera.

Mitek’s Competition, and Its Impact on Lending

Mitek has an operating history of over two decades. With more than 6,100 banks and financial institutions as customers, the company has a wide moat compared to startups entering the field. Its direct competitors are few and usually early-stage companies. The more traditional players in the space would be the ones that follow the data bureau approach and are beginning to integrate mobile verify solutions for verification of IDs into their platforms.

Lending will receive a boost across the board as lenders, both traditional and alternative, will be able to onboard customers faster and more securely. Alternative lenders, in particular, should see higher approval rates for prospective borrowers with increased confidence they are not being defrauded. Mitek is currently processing over several million ID documents a month. Both MoneyGram and Kabbage use Mitek’s MobileVerify technology. The company is seeing major traction in the fintech lending industry as players are nimble and the first target for most fraudsters.

Financial Inclusion, Privacy, and Real Life Applications

Ritter believes governments need to step up their efforts in ensuring everyone has access to an identity proof. Financial inclusion is positioned prominently in the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda, and the need for a digital identity goes far beyond the ability to participate in the formal economy. Its impact is multifold and helps to increase overall trade and access to healthcare and government services. Mitek is also focused on data privacy laws, with GDPR the hot topic in Europe. It has taken GDPR as its baseline for information security and is operating with GDPR recommended data security not only in Europe but across the globe.

Kabbage Case Study
Kabbage facilitates easy funding options to small and medium enterprises through its automated technology-backed data platform. With Mitek’s digital identity verification solutions integrated into the Kabbage platform, users are able to automatically populate the loan application form with pre-filled data in less than a second allowing customers to access funding quickly. Mitek’s solution applies advanced algorithms that automatically assess the authenticity of the driver’s license, providing assurance about the identity of the ID’s holder and reducing the likelihood of fraud during the loan application process.

Anonymous Payments Processor Case Study
Customers were facing a lengthy identity verification process, which forced them to leave the platform before completing the transaction. Driven by the need to comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) and KYC regulations, a leading global payment processor selected Mitek’s Mobile Verify to provide the customers with more efficient ways to reduce the verification process from days to just minutes. Mitek was able to eliminate 92% of the temporary restrictions that the company previously had to place on customer accounts whenever they would reach a certain dollar threshold. By eliminating these temporary restrictions, the company has improved customer experience as well as increased profitability.

Mitek’s Collaboration with Nocks
Mitek’s digital verification identity has enabled blockchain payments platform Nocks to improve their customers’ onboarding by 98%. A cryptocurrency payments platform, Nocks also has to execute AML and KYC compliances. Nocks has now been able to verify the identity of applicants in real-time, dramatically improving new customer conversion rates due Mitek’s Mobile Verify interface.

MoneyGram Case Study
MoneyGram, the money transfer giant, is also using Mobile Verify to validate its customers’ ID. To complete the identity verification step in the money transfer process, MoneyGram customers simply take a picture of their passport or other identity document using their mobile device camera. Mobile Verify then uses advanced machine learning technology to instantly validate the authenticity of the ID.

Mitek is Experimenting With the Blockchain

Mitek is also developing technology to leverage blockchain infrastructure. The public ledger approach in general is interesting as it could allow for generating self-sovereign IDs which are owned and managed by the users themselves. When businesses need their information, people can control their data and allow only limited or conditional access. Moreover, even banking customers are exploring blockchain-based solutions, and Mitek is experimenting to integrate its ID verification systems on a distributed ledger.

Mitek’s Technology Leadership

Mitek was founded in 1985 and is listed on NASDAQ with a market cap of an estimated $250 million. Mitek’s innovative solutions are embedded into the apps of more than 6,100 organizations and used by more than 80 million consumers.

Stephen Ritter is the Chief Technology officer (CTO) of San Diego-based Mitek Systems. He helps in the technological development of the key processes of the company, along with overseeing Mitek Labs. He has more than 22 years of experience bringing new commercial software solutions to market. Ritter worked as tech lead with Emotient (acquired by Apple) before he joined Mitek.

With the increase in regulatory complexities and fraudulent practices, it is critical for businesses to make sure that they are on the right side of the law and yet are simultaneously making their customers’ life easier. Mitek helps them balance this fine line with its suite of sophisticated identification technologies.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

How to Avoid the Downstream Effects of Data Breaches

How to Avoid the Downstream Effects of Data Breaches

It seems like there’s a news story almost daily about data breaches involving retailers, credit bureaus, or government entities. While many of the stories focus on the immediate consequences for consumers, the downstream effects of these data breaches can wreak havoc on online lenders and their customers. The trouble for lenders often starts when fraud […]

How to Avoid the Downstream Effects of Data Breaches

It seems like there’s a news story almost daily about data breaches involving retailers, credit bureaus, or government entities. While many of the stories focus on the immediate consequences for consumers, the downstream effects of these data breaches can wreak havoc on online lenders and their customers.

The trouble for lenders often starts when fraud teams respond too aggressively to a major data breach. By setting overly conservative identity verification screening rules, for example, lenders can end up rejecting good customers, resulting not just in the loss of immediate business but also the potential for long-term customer revenue. Once they are denied a loan that they probably should have been approved for, customers are unlikely to return and certainly won’t be likely to recommend the lender to others.

While it’s a difficult balance to strike, there are proven methods for lenders to confidently verify a customer’s identity in the era of constant data breaches. Here are three rules of thumb:

#1. Assume every identity has been compromised

In the first half of 2017, the number of data breaches climbed 29 percent. From the Republican National Committee contractor whose breach exposed voting data on nearly 200 million Americans to Verizon’s breach that affected more than 14 million customers, data hacks are increasing in frequency and severity across all industries.

The recent breach of credit reporting giant Equifax is another example. Reported by the Wall Street Journal as the largest social security data breach in history, approximately 143 million U.S. consumers’ confidential data, including social security numbers, names, birth dates, and addresses were compromised. What’s more, the breach exposed the credit card numbers of 200,000 consumers as well as “dispute documents” with personal information of another 180,000.

Because personal data of every kind is readily available to fraudsters, online lenders face significant identity verification challenges. They need smarter systems to allow borrowers to use their own (likely compromised) data while being able to recognize when criminals are using the same data illegally.

#2. Go beyond Social Security Numbers

For many online lenders, the social security number has long been regarded as a key indicator of identity. But if it wasn’t made abundantly clear by the Equifax data breach, social security numbers (SSNs) can no longer be a trusted piece of identity data. In fact, SSNs were never meant to serve this purpose in the first place. They were created solely as a way to keep track of an individual’s earnings for social security and benefits purposes.

So, what do you do if SSNs are a key customer identifier for your business? Start incorporating modern identifiers into your verification process. Those include home address, email, phone, and IP address. Better yet, verify all of these elements and link them back to the customer.

#3. Confirm Whole Identities by Linking Identity Data Attributes Together

While it’s easy to use and piece together stolen identity data, it is impossible to fabricate the linkages that effectively mimic a real person. Legitimate borrowers can be confirmed by verifying many identity data elements and ensuring they all connect to the individual behind the transaction, clearly distinguishing them from bad actors whose data elements won’t correlate properly.

Linkage analysis can include connecting name, address, phone, IP, and other non-personally identifiable information (non-PII) data.

Some positive signals include things like:

  • an email address age of more than 720 days
  • an IP address within 10 miles of the physical address
  • a match between phone and address
  • a match between email and name
  • a match between phone and name
  • a match between address and name

And common risk signals include:

  • a mismatch between linked email, phone, or address details
  • an email address less than 90 days old
  • a non-fixed VoIP or toll free phone number
  • a phone country code and physical address mismatch
  • invalid phone, email, or address info
  • a proxy IP address

Eva Casey Velasquez, President and CEO of the ID Theft Resource Center, which provides non-profit resources and support to victims of identity fraud, has recommended businesses take action with multi-factor authentication processes. “We are encouraging businesses to be fearless in their security,” she said. “At the end of the day, it is your customer base that you are helping.”

The rate of data breaches continues to pick up speed with no end in sight. Lenders that fortify their fraud management strategies with a multi-layer approach will be able to avoid reactive decision-making in the aftermath of a data breach.

Just because the personal data of your borrowers is available on the dark web doesn’t mean that verifying their identity is hard or impossible. It just means that basic identity data attribute verification won’t work and whole identity verification will be required. Your teams will appreciate their newfound ability to excel through the wake of the next data breach and your growing base of happy customers will be more apt to refer your business to a friend.

Authors:

Tom Donlea leads the global marketing efforts of Whitepages Pro, the worldwide identity verification data provider for risk management in banking and online lending. With over ten years of online payments and risk experience, he previously was the founding executive director of the Merchant Risk Council.