Cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream in 2017. The million dollar fortunes made and 1,000% returns hogged the headlines. But behind all the hoopla is blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, quietly and steadily changing the business universe. The technology has myriad applications. Also called distributed ledger technology (DLT), it can reimagine entire industries in hitherto unknown ways. […]
Cryptocurrencies entered the mainstream in 2017. The million dollar fortunes made and 1,000% returns hogged the headlines. But behind all the hoopla is blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, quietly and steadily changing the business universe. The technology has myriad applications. Also called distributed ledger technology (DLT), it can reimagine entire industries in hitherto unknown ways. From issues of security to scalability and cost effectiveness, entrepreneurs are incorporating DLT to bring the benefits to the masses.
Similarly, alternative lending has changed how Americans borrow. Small business and consumer lending was hard hit when banks decamped en masse after the 2008-09 crisis. Online lending came to the fore with players like Lending Club, SoFi, OnDeck building multi-billion dollar lending platforms.
Almost 10 years since, alternative lending is growing but not at the speed which experts had imagined. Morgan Stanley had predicted Trillion Dollar funding via such platforms in the coming future. The sector is nowhere close to these figures. Aside from corporate governance issues, fraud and high default rates have been the true bane of the industry. IdentityMind, a RegTech company, reports that fraud caused 12% of losses in P2P online lending. That translates to almost 1.2% of total funding, which is also 2-3 times as compared to banks or retail cards.
Blockchain and Alternative Lending
Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that records transactions between two parties in a verifiable and efficient manner. Putting digital assets (contracts, documents, financial data, etc.) on blockchain technology helps build a wall against unauthorized access and prevents fraud. Blockchain helps maintains transparency between entities; it could be between buyer and seller, business and employee, or customers and investor.
A World Economic Forum report predicts that, by 2025, 10% of GDP will be stored on blockchains. Amalgamating blockchain and alternative lending has not only a technical appeal but is business common sense. Online finance decentralized lending allows savers to directly fund borrowers; they took away the middlemen, traditional banks, who otherwise used to take the major benefit away from the transaction. Now, it is the alternative lending sectors’ turn to leverage the power of decentralization via blockchain.
The Benefits of a Decentralized Distributed Ledger
Currently, alternative lenders hold their complete data centrally, in either their own servers or on Amazon Web Services-type cloud structures. This is a honey pot for hackers. In 2017, an Equifax data breach collected 145.5 million users’ data. The breach was caused by a software flaw that allowed the hackers to take over the company’s website.
Lenders have access to extremely sensitive data such as bank account numbers, social security numbers, and other personal identification information. Losing control of that data can compromise the entire financial history of an individual or a business. Blockchain eliminates the risk by storing information on a decentralized ledger. So a massive data hack would never be possible because it will be practically impossible for the hackers to have access to each and every part of the distributed record.
A distributed ledger also provides transparency and allows that all transactions are recorded are on the blockchain in an immutable manner. Thus, backdating of contracts is not possible under any circumstance (Re: Lending Club backdating loans scandal). Corporate governance improves across the board, and investors and regulators can breathe easy knowing that the data they are seeing is the absolute truth.
Digital loans can be tokenized via blockchain and be constructed as a tradeable security. This, in effect, allows securitization for loans; so you don’t need to wait till you are a billion dollar fintech lender. Othera, a blockchain lending platform, is doing just that. It creates an online marketplace where lenders can tokenize their cashflow by putting the loan on the blockchain and selling it to investors.
Apart from this, blockchain technology is more user-friendly as it is open to the public with no authentication or permission issues. It is scalable and cost efficient for businesses to incorporate into their existing systems and allows for all stakeholders to easily extract relevant information about their transactions without risking the entire system’s database.
Digital identity verification
Identity theft is one of the biggest reasons for online lending fraud. That is exacerbated by the fact that the lender and the borrower usually never meet in real life. The old traditional way was to go through the lengthy and costly process of physical verification. But in the age of blockchain, by merging identity verification with decentralized blockchain principles, a tamper proof digital-id can be used as the digital signature for recording and validating all transactions.
How Blockchains Are Revolutionizing Lending
Alternate lending has seen many iterations and pivots since inception. From being a pure peer-to-peer platform, the sector has metamorphosed to one dominated by balance sheet lenders and institutional investors. Now, the era of Alt Lending 2.0 is emerging, which is going to be dominated by players who have co-opted blockchain as an integral part of their business processes.
Here is a brief description of some companies that are doing innovative work in the field.
The ERP giant is experimenting with blockchain on an enterprise level. One of its applications is focused on KYC. The distributed ledger solution is to store a customer’s ID and link it to their personal documents, which are not stored on the blockchain. Once the transaction is cleared, the link is established and the documents are accessed to prove identity and the onboarding process continues. In this, SAP provides a solution to KYC issues, with running proof of identity. Thus, there is a single source of truth for all parties.
WishFinance is a Singapore- and Honk Kong-focused lender to merchants and small businesses. It is keeping its entire loan portfolio on a public blockchain to push transparency for investors. The investors can evaluate the performance of a loan at anytime (the data is anonymized so no identifiable borrower information is shared).
SALT is reversing the model by allowing crytpocurrency holders to cash out without actually selling their crypto assets. It allows loans for Bitcoin. The borrower can redeem his crypto assets once the loan is paid.
Blockchain has the power to allow alternative lending companies to scale effortlessly and solve fraud and KYC issues haunting the industry. Lenders who are able to get their blockchain game right should see renewed investor interest and benefit from higher unit economics.
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 […]
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.
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.
News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage lends $4B to over 130K small businesses. RateSetter loses 23M GBP in ad investment. RateSetter to launch IFISA in February. Klarna, WorldPay partner on invoice and credit-based payments in Europe. Two new crypto-asset backed fiat loan platforms. Toss to expand into southeast Asia. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s monthly mortgage offer report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]
Kabbage hits $4B SMB lending milestone. AT: “This is still small compared to the amount of small business lending overall. For instance, the SBA reports that in June 2015 alone, small business loans of $1 million or less totaled $599B. Still, Kabbage leads the alternative lending sector by far. Congratulations.”
Learning all about machine learning. AT: “Not specific to the lending industry, let alone alternative lending, but machine learning is going to be a huge part of the financial services ecosystem going forward. This PYMNTS article has some interesting insight into AI and machine learning all around.”
Banks are getting concerned about doomsday defenses. AT: “The interesting thing here is that banks aren’t relying on the government to bail them out if cybersecurity threats get the best of them. They’ve developed their own defense, but is it strong enough?”
Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland are closing branches. AT: “We could see a spiraling effect: As digital banks become more popular more brick-and-mortar bank branches will close and as more traditional branches close the more people will use mobile banking apps.”
Kabbage Delivers $ 4 Billion to More Than 130,000 Small Businesses (Kabbage Email), Rated: AAA
Kabbage, Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, has extended over $4 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses, serving the largest customer base than any online small business lender. These landmarks represent an approximate 30-percent increase in total funding and total customers served since the company’s last milestone announcement in April 2017. With over 1.5 million live data connections with its customers, Kabbage’s high growth is attributed to its fully-automated lending technology as it continues to be a trusted lending partner to tens of thousands of small businesses across all industries in all 50 U.S. states.
Robert Sharpe also joined the company as its chief operating officer. Sharpe has more than 20 years of executive leadership in North America, Europe and Asia. He has successfully held various C-level positions, including president, chief executive officer and chief operating officer with multiple global consumer goods companies, each serving tens of thousands of customers and generating billions of dollars in revenue. With an additional ten years of commercial banking and corporate finance experience, Sharpe will be responsible for Kabbage’s continued growth and operational oversight as the company expands internationally and scales its services to serve more and larger small businesses.
During 2017, Kabbage reached major milestones, including:
LendingTree today released its monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.
November’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.75% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, unchanged from October. Refinance loan offers were down 1 bps to 3.69%. Mortgage rates vary dependent upon parameters including credit score, loan-to-value, income and property type.
For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were down 1 bps to 4.30%, the lowest since November 2016. In contrast, the loan note rate of 4.18% was unchanged from October when it reached the highest since July. We prefer to use the APR as lenders often make changes to other fees in response to changing interest rates.
Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.16% in November, vs 4.43% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 27 bps between these score ranges was 5 bps wider than in October and the widest since July 2016. The spread represents nearly $13,400 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $233,127. The additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were down 2 bps to 4.24%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 19 from 16 bps, amounting to $9,500 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $235,973.
Average proposed purchase down payments have been rising for 8 months and reached $62,409.
Certainly, the mountains of data are becoming larger by the day. Seven years ago, the total amount of information produced on a global scale passed one zettabyte. The scale shakes out thusly: If a single cup of coffee holds a gigabyte, then the Great Wall of China stores a zettabyte. In just three years, the tally will be 44 zettabytes, or 44 Great Walls of China, as estimated by global market intelligence firm IDC.
Along with the impressive growth in data created, stored and used on a global scale, so too is AI poised to grow in leaps and bounds. It will create nearly $37 billion in annual revenues for companies of all stripes, sizes and sectors, according to market intelligence firm Tractica.
Within that figure, machine learning is a sector that will see $15.3 billion in revenue in 2019, as noted by BCC Research and cited by business process outsourcing company TeleTech, with an average annual growth rate of 19.7 percent. The savings for U.S. companies could be as high as $60 billion in 2020, Forbes noted. In addition, AI is expected to add $8.3 trillion in economic activity for the U.S. by 2035, according to projections by business management consultancy Accenture.
Consider a financial institution processing credit card information. The transaction data is passed to the machine learning system as soon as it is entered at the terminal or point of sale, and the system then analyzes the transaction against the system on which it has been trained. The historical data offers a way to glean what “normal” behavior of a transaction looks like.
To combat a payments fraud adversary that is evermore fluid with bad actors’ tactics and operates in a card-not-present (CNP) world, the machine deployed by a financial institution must be able to “explain” what it is doing, Feedzai said. The “learning” should result in explaining the reasoning so the logic behind the decisions is transparent and meets compliance needs.
On Friday of last week, LendingClub announced that it closed a new kind of transaction. It was a whole loan transaction structured as a tradable pass through security called a CLUB Certificate.
This was an initiative that was investor led. Basically, they had a potential investor who did not want to invest in whole loans. They are not for everyone, given they are an illiquid investment that has a duration of several years. What this investor wanted was a security that acted like a whole loan but one that had liquidity.
While LendingClub would not share details of this deal we did learn that these were both three and five year loans of one particular loan grade. They customized this deal to meet the investors exact requirements.
LendingClub claimed that this was a first of its kind deal in marketplace lending but in my research I discovered this piece on Asset-Backed Alert from April 2016 that talked about a similar structure that Prosper was working on last year.
However, when the lending process is digitized the amount of paperwork is reduced dramatically. This is because account activity, credit history, income history as well as tax compliance can be fed into the system with the click of a button. This has made the collection and verification of information quite easy. Besides streamlining the application process, the amount of time it takes to get a loan has also reduced.
In addition, some lenders have developed some innovative mobile solutions that enable customers to submit an application from anywhere. The most outstanding feature about mobile loans is that there is a constant interaction between the lender and the borrowers. This goes a long way in improving service delivery.
Courtesy of technology advancements, now it’s possible to view the status of your loan application as well as your account status with a lender. This helps borrowers to stay updated during the entire online installment loans process. In addition, you can get instant communication about any requests that a lender may have that is critical to the borrowing process.
When bankers complain about the security risks of sharing data with fintechs, they get an eye roll. Such complaints tend to be regarded as a cover for an ulterior motive: unwillingness to give customer details to competitors.
After a number of months of testing and refining an alternative way to bank, Ally Bank launched Ally Skill. “It was ready for prime time,” said Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking at Ally Bank. Since mid-November, a customer can ask Alexa — in their own words — what their balance is, what the price of something costs in hours worked, and notably, to move money.
Since Capital One announced its skill in March of 2016, U.S Bank, American Express and several credit unions announced Alexa skills in addition to Ally. Others have been testing Alexa, including bank innovator USAA. Even smaller banks are readying to launch skills. FIS, one of the biggest bank vendors that has been testing Alexa since 2016, said about a dozen of its thousands of bank customers are on track to roll out a bank skill for Alexa by Christmas. Most recently, Amazon announced Alexa for business, and Capital One is one of its launch partners.
US regulators appear to be paying more attention to the opaque world of initial coin offerings.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday it halted a fraudulent ICO “falsely promising” over 1,000% returns. The regulator said this was the first case filed by its brand-new cybersecurity unit, aptly named Cyber Unit.
US banks and other financial companies are preparing for a lightening of their compliance burden in areas from payday lending to mortgages as President Donald Trump tightens his grip on a powerful regulator set up to protect consumers.
“Virtually the entire range of regulations previously adopted by the CFPB could be subject to review,” says Quyen Truong, a former senior figure at the agency who is now a partner at law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. “There’s no particular set of rules that would be considered sacrosanct.”
In an early sign of his intent, Mr Mulvaney instituted a 30-day freeze on new initiatives within hours of assuming office.
Reforms that Mr Cordray had yet to introduce that would extend the CFPB’s reach into new areas, including mooted restrictions on small business lending, are now unlikely to see the light of day.
As we noted when we first covered the final draft of the payday lending rule, Congress retains the power to keep the rule from ever making it into the books, so to speak, through the power of the Congressional Review Act. The CRA not only would prevent the payday lending rule from going into effect, but it would also prevent any similar rule changes from being considered for the next five years.
After some dormancy on the issue, the House of Representatives passed a CRA resolution Friday that would effectively kill the payday lending rule in its cradle.
The move comes as a bi-partisan effort – somewhat surprising, given the general tenor of Congress at present, particularly when it comes to consumer protection issues – with three Republican and three Democrat co-sponsors.
Mulvaney has won the first round in court, as a U.S district judge rejected English’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Mulvaney from taking over. But English has said she intends to fight on and will seek a preliminary injunction against Mulvaney and the administration.
Congress has only 60 legislative days from the publication of the rule in the federal register to invoke the CRA, and the rule passed on Nov. 17.
I have been, far more often than not, on the same side of policy issues as the leading consumer and civil rights groups. But I disagree here: Maddenis not just legally wrong; it is also bad public policy, because it moves us further away from creating a more effective and inclusive financial system. Bipartisan, bicameral proposals have already been introduced in Congress to fix Madden. Congress should pass them.
LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), the online loan marketplace, announced today that it has entered into a multi-year subscription for segmentation analysis and database scoring with Gordian Knot Analytics Group, utilizing their unique segmentation methodologies and proprietary machine learning toolset. Gordian Knot offers proprietary marketing analytics machine learning tools that help LendingTree more effectively target and engage with the right consumers to drive the business forward and maximize value for current and future customers.
Socially responsible online lender OppLoans received top rankings in Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Places to Work award. The start-up was named the sixth-best place to work nationally for small- to medium-sized businesses.
PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that its Co-Founder and CEO, Brew Johnson, has been named to HousingWire’s 2017 list of Vanguard Award winners. HousingWire’s 2017 Vanguard Award recognizes top leaders from all areas of the mortgage industry, including those in lending, real estate and investing.
If Affirm was used to finance a purchase from the Republic Online Store, all carted items, including shipping, must be financed through Affirm. Shipping charges are not refunded by Republic Wireless. This means that you will still be responsible to Affirm for any shipping costs you financed and interest that has accrued.
Ratesetter slumped to a £23 million loss for the year after a disastrous investment in an advertising business.
The loss was due in large part to a £14 million write-off on Adpod Limited, which the lender ended up owning after using its own capital to prevent a huge default on its peer-to-peer loan book from hitting investors.
The loss is sharply higher than the previous year’s figure of £5.3 million.
PEER-TO-PEER investment platform Orca is one of 18 firms that have been accepted into the third phase of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox scheme.
The FCA received 61 submissions for the third phase of the scheme, of which 18 met the eligibility criteria and were accepted to move towards testing.
One of the successful applicants is Orca, which is developing an intelligent peer-to-peer investment platform which lets users diversify across multiple P2P platforms, lending sub-sectors and borrowers.
Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, announced this week that it now processes £1 million a month. The company reported that it processed its 10 million last week.
Israeli Shachar Bialick spent the first decade of his working life founding and backing start-ups before he dropped everything to move overseas and take an MBA.
He started Curve, a fintech company, to simplify personal finances with a single bank card for multiple accounts from different providers.
“We have too many cards, too many accounts, and too many products and services we use to manage our money,” he adds. “Curve is my biggest, most ambitious business so far. We are aiming to create an entirely new category in the banking system.”
Curve has raised $12m in venture capital funding and added corporate partnerships to extend the services it offers, such as an expense filing system provided by Xero, the online accountancy service.
Aire partners with retailer N Brown as more retailers become lenders for shopping middle class (Aire Email), Rated: A
Aire, which provides a more accurate way for lenders to understand and score new applicants, today announces a first-of-its-kind partnership with online retailer N Brown, as research data reveals the ‘new norm’ of UK shoppers choosing to spread the cost for their retail purchases over time.
The new agreement will see Aire provide its augmented credit assessment technology to support N Brown, which operates online stores such as JD Williams, in analysing the full picture of online customers and the true benefits and risks that come with them. Aire combines technologies of Artificial Intelligence with data science and deep knowledge of credit, which will enable N Brown to reach a wider group of customers without increasing its risk. After recent announcements about new partnerships in the p2p lending and car finance spaces, Aire’s expansion into the retail sector means that it is adding another new market to its portfolio in under six months.
– New partnership between Aire and online retailer N Brown for customers who choose to open a new credit account
– Aire adds retail finance to its growing portfolio
– New research finds that UK adults pay off on average of £40 per month for retail purchases
– 9% of UK adults increased their monthly commitments in the last two years
The new research by Swedish payments provider Klarna delves into the views of more than 2,000 consumers, and reveals that Brits today are so stressed out in the extended run up to Christmas that they’re overwhelmed when the day itself arrives.
In-store crowds were the number one stress for a quarter of respondents, whilst finding the perfect gift was the biggest source of stress for 20% of those surveyed.
These pressures could have a big impact on the bottom line of merchants if they’re not addressed; more than a third of consumers have previously walked out of a shop in frustration as a result. This is not just a bricks and mortar issue – 1 in 10 respondents have abandoned their online basket in frustration when the process is too complex, suggesting there’s still work to be done to smooth the purchase process online.
Wealth Migrate, (KPMG Global Fintech Top 50), a global online real estate marketplace, today announced the opening of a new office in the U.K. and the appointment of a new country CEO, as the firm continues to build on its global presence as part of a strategy to meet growing demand from investors.
To better serve its community of investors in this region, Wealth Migrate has opened a new office in London.
Adding to the news of this expansion, Wealth Migrate additionally announced the opening of their U.A.E. office and the appointment of a new U.S. based CEO this week.
To head up the new office, Wealth Migrate has appointed Ken Williams as its CEO of Wealth Migrate, U.K.
China’s online lending boom has sent a steady stream of new clients to Guangzhou lawyer Luo Aiping in recent months: the parents and siblings of young men trapped or ruined by usurious debts.
Zeng Hong, from Hunan province, is a typical client. She went to Luo for help because she had been harassed by calls from debt collectors for months after her 27-year-old brother ran away, leaving behind a two-year-old son and more than 300,000 yuan (US$45,400) in debts.
Zeng wanted to help repay her younger brother’s loans, but 300,000 yuan is a big sum for a poor family and her husband strongly opposed her plan. She approached Luo to ask whether the debts and interest her brother had incurred were legal.
You see, in an effort to fuel economic growth over the past few years, China has taken on a lot of debt. Since 2008, China’s debt as a percentage of economic output has increased from around 160 percent to around 280 percent at the end of 2016. (By comparison, the total debt in the U.S. as a percent of economic output is upwards of 300 percent.)
Why it matters: China is BIG and getting bigger
With a GDP of US$11.2 trillion, China is already the world’s second-largest economy (it will soon be the largest), and it has the second-largest stock market. The country will also soon have the world’s biggest middle class, totalling over 550 million people by 2022. To put this in perspective: That’s 1.7 times the entire population of the U.S.
Consumer loans (such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and payday loans) have grown rapidly recently. For example, consumer loans jumped 300 percent compared to last year.
Lufax, the online wealth manager that’s among the world’s biggest startups, has hired five banks to work on a Hong Kong initial public offering of as much as $5 billion, according to IFR.
Lufax is the world’s 10th-largest unicorn, or startup worth at least $1 billion.
Lufax had a loan balance as of Sept. 28 of more than 158 billion yuan ($24 billion), more than three times the 43 billion yuan held by China’s second-biggest P2P lender, New York-listed Yirendai Ltd., according to wdzj.com, a Chinese website that tracks online financiers.
What happened: The Ping An-backed online wealth management firm Lufax has hired five banks to work on an up to $5 billion Hong Kong IPO.
Why it’s important: A major player in China’s P2P lending market, Lufax will join a number of fintech companies that go public in recent months. It was eyeing an IPO as early as last year but later delayed the process due to market challenges and regulatory uncertainties, the CEO told Bloomberg last year. —Rita Liao
CreditEase, a world-class financial technology conglomerate based in Beijing, China, specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced today that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”) has recently been ranked No. 7 by CB Insights as “Top 10 Most Active VC Investors in Global FinTech Companies” and No. 1 by FT Partners as “Most Active FinTech Investors (Corporate VC)”.
Particularly, Ning Tang, CEO of fintech firm CreditEase, is lending consumers cows in a bid to reach those living in rural areas who might have limited access to credit and financing.
The rural population accounts for 48% of China’s total, with agriculture accounting for about 8.6% of the the nation’s Gross Domestic Production in 2015, according to the World Bank. Income in rural China has also been on the rise, with urban income narrowing to 2.7 times that of rural income from 3.3 times in 2009. And though migration toward the city has been on the rise and the nation’s dependence on farming and livestock is on the slide, rural populations and agriculture are still a significant part of the country’s economy.
iQiyi, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Baidu, adopted the tactic first and developed it into a commercial product when it broadcast the 1930s tomb-raiding adventure tale “The Mystic Nine” last year. The first batch of advertisers ranged from iQianjin, a peer-to-peer lending app, to PepsiCo, which showed characters chowing down on Lay’s and gulping Pepsi.
The other major services, Alibaba Group’s Youku Tudou and Tencent Holdings‘ video platform, have embraced the tactic too. At iQiyi, the cost for embedding one such commercial in an episode ranges from $150,000 to $530,000, depending on projected viewership, Yuan says.
Worldpay, a global leader in payments, has announced that it will partner with Klarna, a leader in invoice and credit based payments, to further enhance its product portfolio. From today, Worldpay customers trading in Austria, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and wishing to accept payments on invoice or instalments, will be able to use Klarna’s invoice and credit based payments from Worldpay. This will help eCommerce businesses to improve conversion rates by up to 20% and provide a fast and smooth checkout process.
These new payment options will allow consumers to decide when to pay for the items once they have received their goods. Instead of a request for credit or debit card details at the point of checkout, consumers are prompted for their email address and postcode, ensuring a quicker checkout process and leading to lower cart abandonment. The solution allows consumers to manage the terms of their payment, be it 14-day payment by invoice, by fixed or flexible instalments, spreading the cost over several months.
The move into credit and invoicing payments follows demand from customers wanting to expand the breadth of payment methods offered. Worldpay is one of the first payments companies to deploy this new payment integration, providing superior market coverage as well as faster time to market since there is no need for a new plug-in when legacy technology is updated.
Savings specialist Raisin continues to gain momentum. The savings account marketplace now has itself 100,000 customers. The company is also integrated with more than 40 banks, from across 18 European countries, including a number of challenger banks and even an online lender (Younited Credit). SolarisBank is its newest partner.
Lativan p2p lending marketplace Mintos just launched a cashback campaign running for the remainder of December. Investors investing in new loans with a term of at least 24 months on the primary market will receive a cashback of 2% to 5% depending on term length. The cashback will be credited within 6 days says Mintos.
Important: To be eligable an investor needs to enroll once for the campaign by clicking on the promotion banner inside the Mintos dashboard.
Typically, when we think of taking a loan, we think of going to a bank, filling out a ton of paperwork and then getting denied the loan unless a guarantor or cosigner signs as well. However, blockchain banking startups like Salt and Coinloan aim to change this by creating a peer to peer lending platform on the blockchain. These platforms allow users to leverage their bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as collateral for fiat loans.
Salt hails from the land of the free, a.k.a Denver, Colorado, USA.
On the other hand, Coinloan has Baltic roots and is headquartered in Estonia.
Salt will be starting straight out of Denver, Colorado and is set to launch their blockchain backed lending platform, BTC collateralized loans and loan fund by the end of 2017. In 2018, they will be launching ethereum collateralized loans in Q1, credit cards in Q2 and altcoin collateralized loans in Q3.
By contrast, Coinloan is still currently running their ICO. By 2018, they hope to obtain payment licences in Q2, develop mobile applications for IOS and android by Q3 and enter the Asian market in 2019.
In about 2 weeks, Lendoit will launch its official token Pre-sale, but it can’t wait to reveal the secret that will change the future of decentralized BTC lending, which the company has entered together with the largest and most promising blockchain-based project, The RSK Project.
Right from Argentina is Rootstock or popularly called RSK. This company is well-known for its open-source smart contract stage which has a 2-dimensional peg to Bitcoin. Amazingly, RSK uses merge-mining to reward bitcoin miners and give them the chance to be part of the smart contract ecosystem.
The Goal? To ensure that the highest level of functionality and value is added to the entire bitcoin ecosystem through the use of smart contracts, increased scalability, and near-instant payments.
Lendoit removes all intermediaries in the lending process, creates a trusted and secure platform for participants through the smart contract, and gives users a decentralized, anonymous platform where upscaling, lending, and borrowing are done hassle-free.
PNC, a top-10 US bank by assets, is live on RTP, The Clearing House’s new US real-time payments system, using Finastra’s payment services hub, Fusion Payments.
“The ability to make an immediate payment at any time, on any day of the week, with a real-time confirmation of the payment significantly transforms the way businesses and consumers make payments in the United States. Emerging technologies such as RTP are creating opportunities for banks and clients to re-imagine our business models.”
Morgan Stanley expects India’s digital payments penetration to increase from 5 percent today to 20 percent, and the e-commerce market to reach $200 billion, with 475 million e-commerce shoppers, adding up to a GDP upwards of $6 trillion — all by 2027.
India now has 800 million mobile phone users with 430 million having internet connectivity. According to Morgan Stanley, the number of internet users is expected to grow to 915 million by 2027.
In 2016, China’s digital payments were already 50 times America’s. Alibaba and Tencent understand ecosystems better than anyone else in the world, including American companies.
After emerging as one of the top fintech start-ups in Korea, Viva Republica, the company behind Korea’s top peer-to-peer transfer app Toss, is zeroing in on Southeast Asia as its next target market.
“While more than 70 percent of the population is using smartphones, their financial services are equivalent to that of Korea in the 1980’s. Our goal is to bring our story and product to Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam and to improve the level of financial services in the market.”
As of November this year, the accumulated transactions through Toss reached 10 trillion won ($9.2 billion). In November alone, the platform handled more than one trillion won, a feat that comes just two and half a years since it launched in February 2015. The company said its annual sales will come to 20 billion won by the end of this year and reach the break-even point sometime next year.
Mexico’s Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would regulate its fast-growing financial technology sector, including crowdfunding and cryptocurrency firms, paving the way for a vote by the lower house.
The bill, which seeks to promote financial stability and defend against money laundering and financing of extremists, is expected to pass in a final lower house vote by Dec. 15, said three sources familiar with the measure.
News Comments Today’s main news: Revolut sings 1 millionth customer. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Lending Club’s Consumer Loan Underlying Bond Credit Trust 2017-P2. Funding Circle to launch Isa. Orca is launching investment platform. Chinese regulators investigating potential Qudian data leak. China cracks down on shadow banking. China tells provincial goverments to halt microlender approvals. Swiss consortium adopts single digital identity for […]
Peter Renton’s MPL results for Q3. AT: “I wonder why Lending Club’s investments are struggling while Prosper’s are doing well. The interesting part of this read are the new investments for this quarter.”
Assault on microlenders threatens U.S. IPO listings. AT: “Chinese lenders need U.S. capital more than Wall Street needs Chinese companies. But if China wants to compete on the world stage for capital fundraising, they’ll need to consider the protection of consumer interests.”
As Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lends more money to Main Street, one question won’t go away: How many borrowers will pay them back?
A recent example it gave suggests the firm expects loan losses to be lower than what some rivals are seeing, and half of what many credit-card lenders experienced the last time the economy went south.
The bank is counting on its consumer push to deliver $1 billion in revenue growth over the next three years. While the firm looks to attract borrowers with better credit than many rivals, others think it may be underestimating the risks of a business where it’s the upstart.
If you have been reading these posts in the past year or so you will have noticed a steady decline in my returns, primarily caused by underperformance in my LendingClub accounts.
Earlier this year I adjusted my strategy and started investing across the entire risk spectrum but it is a bit like steering a battleship. Given my many thousands of notes it takes a while for any changes to show up in my portfolio returns.
My trailing 12 month returns for the year ended September 30, 2017 across all my accounts was 6.64%.
My main LendingClub account has performed poorly over the past 12 months. My TTM return is at a paltry 1.64%, my lowest return ever. All of my LendingClub accounts are below 5% and all have shown reduced returns over the past year.
Prosper continues to perform quite well. My three accounts are all returning between 7% and 8% which I consider quite respectable. My average interest rate of the loans I have invested in is just under 20% but returns have been quite consistent recently in the 7-8% range.
PeerStreet is a real estate platform focused on fix and flip properties. These are short term loans, typically between 6 and 24 months, and they are backed by the property. I use their automated investment tool to invest in only those loans that are paying 8% or more, up to a 75% LTV and a duration up to 24 months.
My first new entrant this quarter is AlphaFlow. They are a real estate platform that build diversified portfolios of fix and flip properties for you. What I like about AlphaFlow is that they deploy your money quickly, my entire investment was fully deployed in a matter of days. And they diversify across 75-100 properties, my own portfolio currently has 83 investments in 22 states with an average LTV of 68%.
Finally, as I do every quarter I want to end by highlighting the net interest number which for the last 12 months stands at $46,631.
Get the lowdown on the full range of Peter Renton investments here.
Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P2 (“CLUB 2017-P2”). This is a $330.0 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close December 6, 2017.
This transaction is LendingClub Corporation’s (“LendingClub” or the “Company”) third rated sponsored securitization and the second sponsored securitization consisting of “prime” unsecured consumer loans facilitated by LendingClub’s proprietary technology platform supporting an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors by offering a variety of loan products originated by issuing banks through the platform, www.lendingclub.com (the “LendingClub Platform” or the “Platform”).
The transaction has initial credit enhancement levels of 35.45%, 26.05% and 10.83% for the Class A, Class B and Class C notes, respectively.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s campaign to reduce risk in the financial system is being felt in New York. The assault on the sector threatens to stymie any new listings of such lenders on New York’s stock exchange — as well as spelling trouble for investors in the handful of companies that have already listed.
One-third of small business owners work at least three of the six major holidays in the US.
Kabbage’s new survey reveals several work/life balance issues related to the sacrifices small business owners are willing to make. The research involved surveying 400 small business owners, with 67 percent stating they expect to increase revenues by the end of the year. More than half of the small business owners interviewed said they anticipate an increase in revenue of 10 percent or higher.
The survey found that 60 percent of small business owners only take one full vacation a year, while 23 percent take less than two holidays off annually. Furthermore, when on holiday, 75 percent of small business owners continue working.
Vermont residents on Tuesday hit a hedge fund with a proposed class action in federal court alleging it helped concoct a sham tribal payday lending scheme meant to skirt laws preventing companies from charging consumers exorbitant interest rates while hiding behind tribal sovereign immunity.
Plaintiffs Jessica Gingras and Angela Given accused the firm, Victory Park Capital Advisors LLC, of striking a deal with payday lender Plain Green and the Chippewa-Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation to use the tribe’s name in exchange for a small…
The same deception that hides the real cost of predatory, consumer loans is reflected in the title of pending legislation in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. The Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 (H.R. 3299 and S. 1624) would allow payday lenders, high-cost online lenders, and other predatory lenders to partner with banks to make loans that surpass existing state interest rate limits.
The next Chairman of the Federal Reserve System (Fed) confronts a deep and growing problem: rising inequality. A new Fed Chair could combat this problem in an unexpected way by implementing real-time payments. The few days between checks clearing are a major driver of why it is so expensive to be poor. They are also unnecessary given technology and easily removable with some regulatory will. Real-time payments could save billions of dollars for American families living paycheck to paycheck.
The check casher costs $20, but two overdrafts cost $70. Check cashing is a $2 billion a year business and represents yet another cost born by those who have less.
The technology for real-time payments has been around for a long time. The United Kingdom adopted real-time payments in 2008. Japan, Poland, Mexico and South Africa all have the technology in place today. Financial technology (FinTech) firms like PayPal are offering real-time payments for customers who exist on both ends of their system. But unless your employer will migrate to using a FinTech for payroll, you need the banking system to modernize.
The Federal Reserve’s eggheads are usually a pretty reliable bunch. So when researchers at the central bank’s Cleveland branch recently published a study asserting that peer-to-peer loans were defaulting at rates reminiscent of subprime mortgages a decade ago, it seemed to confirm the worst fears about the budding online-lending market. But industry critics and academics questioned the researchers’ data, forcing the Fed to pull the paper.
It’s not easy to come by good data for this nascent field of finance, which makes the botched study all the more regrettable.
Duracell and personal finance company SoFi have “snapped up” some of the six-second spots Fox has set aside for its Thanksgiving broadcast of Vikings-Lions, while Disney will “air a mini trailer for ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi,'” according to Anthony Crupi
Revolut, an app-based banking alternative which has over 50,000 customers in Ireland, has now signed up 1 million customers globally and claims it has saved users over £120 million (€134 million) in fees.
London-based Revolut said it is now signing up between 3,000 and 3,500 new users every day, an increase of 50 per cent growth from three months ago.
Users have now made over 42 million transactions since the company officially launched in July 2015 with a total transaction volume of $6.1 billion.
In an email to its customers seen by Moneywise and confirmed directly with Funding Circle, the provider says it will allow existing customers to invest in an Isa from Thursday 30 November.
It has yet to announce a launch date for new customers and says this is because it is anticipating strong demand for the product. For the same reason, customers will not be able to transfer existing Isas to Funding Circle when the product is launched.
Customers must deposit at least £1,000 to open an Isa.
MORE THAN half of small business owners want the UK to join the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) once Brexit is complete, Funding Circle research has found.
A survey of 1,254 borrowers on the peer-to-peer lending platform found 57 per cent would support EFTA, also known as the ‘Norway option,’ as it provides a regional free trade area comprising of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
ThinCats unveiled a new brand last week at an event attended by more than 100 business leaders. The gathering took place at the National Space Centre in Leicester but the new branding will not be officially launched until mid-December.
Effectively, FG17/8 is the new bible for everyone interested in developing a new automated (digital /robo /telephone-based) advice solution. Or it is a checklist for those who have already trodden down this well-worn path.
Do note though – as if you did not already know – the paper “contains general guidance and is not binding”, is not “exhaustive”, must not be read in isolation of the handbook, and does not address any potential changes that might arise from the implementation of the Insurance Distribution Directive. (Heaven forbid anyone would actually take any accountability for what is between the covers).
Two years. Two years. To pull together in one document the working practices that professional firms already follow with their eyes closed?
New research shows that 78% of financial advisers are confident robo-advice offers no threat to their business, despite nearly half expecting more demand for robo-advice over the next 12 months.
The research from Aegon found that the degree of concern felt by advisers correlates to the typical size of their client portfolios, with advisers whose client portfolios are at the lower end of the scale more alert to the threat from the lower cost option of robo-advice.
For advisers with client portfolios of more than £200k, 88% feel it offers no threat to their business, and even for portfolios of up to £100k, the figure remains high at 73%.
While the majority of advisers believe robo-advice is no threat to their business, a third (31%) do point to robo-advice and similar digital services as one of the top challenges to the wider industry over the coming two years, a little behind Brexit (40%).
Chinese regulators and police are investigating a potential leak of data from online lender Qudian Inc., according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Officials are probing allegations that data from more than a million students who are clients of Beijing-based Qudian was leaked and possibly sold online, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information.
The probe’s initial findings show that at least part of the leaked data match information clients had provided to Qudian, the people said. Investigators are checking whether the data came from Qudian, if the company was aware of the breach, and whether it took necessary measures to ensure the safety of personal information it collects.
Chinese regulators introduced major rules on Nov. 17—the scale of which has been compared to the U.S. Dodd-Frank Act—to unify regulations for the asset managementindustry and curtail shadow banking activities.
The rules are broad-based, covering China’s $15 trillion of asset management products issued by all financial institutions.
For example, the rules will prohibit asset managers from promising guaranteed rates of return to investors, and require issuers to set aside 10 percent of their fees from managing client assets in escrow, to serve as a buffer against losses.
For publicly offered funds, total assets cannot exceed 140 percent of the funds’ net asset value. The same ratio is set at 200 percent for privately offered funds.
According to the International Financial News, China plans to purge the country’s 157 online micro-lenders, leaving only large state-owned companies and the biggest internet firms intact with licenses. Few of the existing lenders will survive, said the newspaper, which is managed by the official People’s Daily.
A comprehensive cleansing of the industry, which offers almost immediate unsecured loans over the Internet, often at high interest rates, would escalate earlier moves to crack down on the sector and its estimated $152 billion of loans. News that China has halted further approvals for online micro-lenders has already pummeled the New York shares of firms like Qudian Inc. and PPDAI Group Inc.
“It would seem to be an enormous, enormous risk to try an IPO with that hanging over your head,” said Christopher Balding, an associate professor at Peking University HSBC School of Business. “It would most likely put a halt to any IPO plans of these companies now.”
The listing of online lender Qudian at the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 18 heralded the birth of a new China billionaire, 34-year-old chairman and CEO Luo Min. The stock rose by as much as 43% that day, giving Luo a fortune worth $2.2 billion amid optimism about industry prospects.
Five weeks later, more than half of Qudian’s value has been wiped out and he’s on the verge of dropping from the ranks of the world’s billionaires altogether. Qudian fell 16% last night and at yesterday’s closing price, Luo’s fortune (which he shares in a trust with family) was worth $1.02 billion. Investors in other China fintech stocks got socked yesterday, too. Jingpu Technology plunged 12.9% to $5.75, way below it IPO price of $8 from last week. China Rapid Finance fell 6% yesterday and PPDai fell a whopping 24%.
WeLab Ltd. has picked banks to advise on a Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise about $500 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The China-focused lender, whose backers also include billionaire Li Ka-shing, is aiming to list as soon as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Stop panicking about China’s online lenders. The real target of the crackdown is rogue local governments.
Financial News said government entities can’t issue new licenses for internet micro-lending beyond the 157 institutions that already have them. The consequences were immediate: Zhejiang Busen Garments Co., for one, said in a filing Thursday it’s terminating plans to set up an online lender.
As of September, there were 8,610 micro-lenders with 970 billion yuan ($147 billion) of loans outstanding. Many of those weren’t licensed by national regulators such as the People’s Bank of China or the China Banking Regulatory Commission, which have strict rules.
Rather, authorization was handed out by local governments, most of which have no fintech expertise, to companies claiming to be affiliated with state-owned enterprises.
Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, has announced that China now has more than 520m mobile payment users, reports state-owned news agency Xinhua.
A report released by the People’s Bank of China detailing the country’s payment system in the second quarter of 2017, notes that Chinese banks dealt with 8.6bn payments from mobile services during that period – up 33.84 percent from last year.
The combined value of mobile payments increased by 33.8 percent to 39.2tn yuan (around US$6tn).
IN China, an alternative capital market is taking shape with the rise of fintech companies, where fintechs are the intermediaries linking borrower and lenders. Moreover, fintechs are edging into the credit rating space, leveraging on their big data capabilities.
One core competence of fintech companies is their IT stability in the areas of payments and cloud computation. The strength of their IT infrastructure makes the technology players resilient under extreme conditions. During the recent Singles’ Day sale on November 11 – China’s online shopping bonanza equivalent to that of the US’ Black Friday – Alibaba’s Alipay processed a peak of 256,000 transactions per second and Alibaba Cloud processed as many as 42 million instructions per second.
A consortium of nine large companies — including UBS, Credit Suisse, Swisscom, Swiss Post, SIX, Raiffeisen, Swiss Railways, Zuercher Kantonalbank and Mobiliar — will enable Swiss consumers to use a single digital identity when making eCommerce purchases.
According to a report in Reuters, the idea behind the project is to get to a point where consumers can use one login to make purchases at shops, buy train tickets and engage in banking activities online. The group aims to create a joint venture in 2018.
Lendoit is a Decentralized P2P lending platform, which connects borrowers and lenders from all over the world in a trusted, fast and easy way using the advantages of Smart Contracts and the Blockchain technology.
What do you think is the biggest problem Lendoit will solve and why is it important?
The lending industry is not efficient because it’s controlled by centralized financial organizations that set the interest rates according to their own interest. It’s not fair that honest borrower from Brazil is paying 60% interest rate while borrower from Japan pays around 1%.
Lendoit uses three types of scoring:
Local rating provided by a local supplier from the borrower’s state. Lendoit is working to create cooperation with some entities in various countries to provide this service.
International scoring providers that are using innovative methods such as scanning social networks and scanning the borrower’s e-mail.
Lendoit is working to create cooperation with these International entities.We have already signed / in the process of signing with several companies in the scoring area, such as FriendlyScore, BLOOM, LENNO, and others, as noted in Lendoit’s WhitePaper.
In the Lendoit eco-system platform, there is a special Smart Contract: a Reputation contract that retroactively checks each borrower who takes a loan, and set reputation score according to his or her historical activities within the platform
5 years have passed since I first started to invest into p2p lending at Bondora in October 2012. I still have 604 loans in my Bondora portfolio with an outstanding principal of 7,467 Euro at an average interest rate of 23.78%. Of these 2,746 Euro are in current loans, 778 Euro in overdue loans and 3,941 Euro in 60+ days overdue loans.
Bondora shows a net return of 19.0% for my portfolio. In my own calculations, using XIRR in Excel, assuming that 30% of my 60+days overdue and 15% of my overdue loans will not be recovered, my ROI calculations result in 17.2% return. Even if I assume total loss on all outstanding loans that are 60+days overdue my ROI calculation results in 15.6%.
Banks – local banks, in particular – have traditionally been the main and sometimes the only source of external capital for SMEs. However, increasing regulatory requirements have lowered the probability for SMEs to obtain access to bank financing.
P2P lending is part of the wider universe of crowdfunding. This is a bigger market than many people expect. For example, a 2016 paper for the European Commission reported that crowdfunding expanded by 167pc in 2014 and reached $16.2bn. North America remains the largest market ($9.5bn), followed by Asia ($3.4bn) and Europe ($3.3bn). While there are no accurate figures on the Irish market, Orca Money reports that the UK P2P market had £9.6bn cumulative lending since 2010, £1bn of which was in Q1 2017. In 2016, Orca Money reported that the UK P2P market comprised 177,000 retail investors with consumer (46pc), business (35pc) and property (19pc) borrowers.
P2P platforms have been very cautious about the loans they offer to investors, with most of them being classified as low-risk. This has resulted in low default rates and acceptable positive returns for investors. The potential for positive returns has attracted institutional and professional investors (eg investment banks, venture capitalist etc) into the game and created a disproportionate capital supply and demand. Such a trend is particularly visible in the US and UK, the two largest P2P markets, but it has recently emerged in smaller markets like Australia and New Zealand and is likely to occur, to a greater or lesser extent, in all regulated markets, including Ireland.
The lack of a clear regulation has arguably prevented the growth of the Irish P2P lending market by discouraging both investors and small businesses to participate. A clear regulatory framework is necessary to ensure transparency and to increase investors’ confidence in P2P lending markets.
On 12 September 2017, FCA published a consumer warning on initial coin offerings (ICOs), stating that they are ‘very high-risk, speculative investments’, and that ‘there is a good chance of losing your whole stake’ as a purchaser.
Earlier in September, the People’s Bank of China had denounced ICOs as ‘illegal fundraising’ and issued a ban that caused the value of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to plummet. The following day, Canadian regulators accepted a firm offering ICOs into its regulatory sandbox as part of its broad goal of supporting innovative fintech projects. The European Securities and Markets Authority has been the latest to denounce ICOs, echoing the FCA’s warning to consumers that ICOs are ‘very risky and highly speculative investments.’
By applying the conditions from SEC vs Howey, the US Supreme Court test for determining whether transactions qualify as investment contracts (and by extension, securities), the investigation found that the tokens emergent from the DAO’s ICO are securities and thus could fall within the US regulatory perimeter.
The SEC made the classification by fulfilling the following criteria from the Howey test:
The FintruX Network has been established to transform unsecured loans to highly secured loan without any hurdles to borrowers and investors. The platform has unique blockchain approach of global P2P lending highways which proposed to raise $30 million by selling digital tokens.
The FintruX Network aims to enhance credit enhancements by introducing cascading levels which involves:
It should not be a problem if the three judges have no background or experience in fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, peer-to-peer lending, equity crowd funding and payment systems riding off messaging services such as those offered by WeChat, Facebook, Apple and Google.
After all, this is not about the future. This inquiry is about spending more than $200 million looking in the rear view mirror.
Futurist and chief executive of global consultancy firm Tomorrow, Mike Walsh, told the 2017 Financial Planning Association Professionals Congress that sweeping technological change driven by complex algorithms is nothing to fear as it’s simply “not unique.”
Walsh said financial planners’ fear-based thinking that technology will replace jobs must shift to ask how will jobs need to change.
INDIA’s fifth-largest private sector bank, YES Bank, is raising a total of US$400 million in two transactions in the offshore syndicated loan markets as it further diversifies its funding sources.
The first transaction is a five-year loan amounting to US$250 million raised from a group of Taiwanese banks, led by CTBC Bank, Bank of Taiwan, Mega International Commercial Bank and Land Bank of Taiwan. The deal was upsized from the initial target of US$200 million as YES Bank exercised the green shoe option following an oversubscription of US$355 million from 13 other banks.
Adhil Shetty, CEO of BankBazaar, was recognized by the India FinTech Awards 2017 earlier this month. Shetty was named Fintech Leader of the Year at the event, which featured more than 200 attendees, more than 40 speakers, and 20 shortlisted startups from six countries.
The migrant and their unbanked families in emerging and frontier markets have been suppressed for the longest time without any access to basic services, financial or otherwise. Approximately 2.4 billion people in poverty worldwide are often excluded from free movement or basic rights which often leads them to corruption and crime, including slavery, human trafficking and in extreme cases, death. Migrants far too often are denied basic financial tools.
LALA World (“LALA”) is a wholesome ecosystem for the unbanked, starting with the migrants and their families back home. The base of this ecosystem is the LALA Wallet platform. By creating a whole new peer-to-peer infrastructure, LALA aims to revolutionize the way individuals, small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs transact, make domestic and cross-border payments, borrow money and associated products like insurances, cards, wealth and other general banking products.
LALA World Products from their Ecosystem
LALA Transfer – A Peer-to-Peer local and global remittance backed by crypto as well as fiat. LALA Bill Pay – Local and International bill payments for you and your family. LALA Lends – Domestic and International peer-to-peer lending via crypto and fiat, individual and small businesses. LALA Card – Crypto and Fiat card synced to your Wallet and usable at millions of PoS globally. LALA Kit – Contains a mobile phone with pre-loaded LALA Wallet, LALA Insurance, LALA Card, partners’ products, etc.
News Comments Today’s main news: Earnest is looking for a buyer. SoFi gets into wealth management. DBRS assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC. Prosper issues new securitization backed by George Soros. Lending Club hires PayPal exec as new president. TransferWise reaches profitability. Renren announces 2016 results, unaudited. Today’s main analysis: Capital One forays into digital ID. Today’s […]
SoFi gets into wealth management. GP:”Offering multiple financial products will help with branding and with creating a customer reflex to contact SoFi for all their financial needs.” AT: “SoFi is getting into more and more areas of financial services. A part of me applauds all of the efforts, but there is a part of me that wonders if expansion is happening too rapidly. One thing is for sure, they know how to earn media attention.”
Capital One forays into digital ID. AT: “Capital One has long been a leader in banking services. Banks in general are way behind on digital services. I’m glad to see a big national bank approaching this.”
Lending Club hires PayPal global credit head as new president. GP:”Very impressive hire from Scott Sanborn to continue building up the team. Credibility continues to improve. If only origination was closer to $3bil /quarter, I think all indicators would be in the green. “AT: “When startups snag top talent from established companies, it’s time to stop calling them startups. This is a great talent acquisition for Lending Club.”
Earnest is looking for a buyer. GP:”This is going to be a hard sale. We have published a few articles (here is one from Frank Rotman) trying to understand the value of an online lender to banks or potential purchasers and it is not clear. “AT: “This is interesting. Last November, Earnest announced helping to refinance $1 billion in student loans. This would be a good buy for an online lender, or a bank, that wants to tap into this market. It could be one way for a legacy bank to get into online lending without building its own platform.”
TransferWise reaches profitability, planning new financial services. GP:”Profitability is over rated in the UK and underrated in the US. This is a great milestone at a good time in the company life. Well done. IPO next? “AT: “Congratulations. This is a boon to online lending in general and UK P2P lending in particular. The more firms that achieve profitability, the better it is for all.”
SoFi wants to be at the center of its members’ financial lives, and believes the best way to do so is to provide new products that complement its existing portfolio of student loan, mortgage and other loans. Today the company is announcing the launch of SoFi Wealth, a product it believes will compete with Wealthfront, Betterment and other low-cost wealth management platforms.
But the company is looking to go a step further than just creating yet another roboadvisor. SoFi Wealth will offer access to non-commissioned, licensed financial advisors that members can reach by phone or by chat to answer investment questions or just help them improve their overall financial health.
Wealth management customers will get the same benefits as other members, including access to community events, career coaching and discounts on other SoFi products. Management fees will be waived for SoFi loan borrowers, but otherwise are just 0.25 percent and will be waived for the first $10,000 invested.
People interested can sign up with as little as a $500 initial investment or monthly recurring deposit of $100 for access to any of its low-cost ETFs.
Capital One Financial is trying to turn the expense of thoroughly vetting bank customers into a moneymaker with new digital identity products.
In so doing, Capital One is one of the first in the U.S. to test if businesses will pay banks to check users’ identities, and if consumers will sign into websites through their banks the way they use social media accounts. Since banks already have to collect and verify sensitive information, to comply with know-your-customer regulations and to prevent fraud, they theoretically could leverage this work and expertise for other businesses. Consumers, in turn, would have fewer passwords and usernames to remember and would not have to give out sensitive information such as Social Security numbers quite as often. Banks in Europe and Canada have begun to offer such services.
DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes (the Notes) issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-C LLC (SoFi 2017-C):
— $96,069,000 Class A-1 rated AAA (sf)
— $230,156,000 Class A-2A rated AAA (sf)
— $175,653,000 Class A-2B rated AAA (sf)
— $41,000,000 Class B rated AA (sf)
— $18,000,000 Class C rated A (sf)
Lending Club has hired the head of Paypal’s global credit business as its new president, amid efforts to get on the front foot after last year’s loan mis-selling scandal.
Steve Allocca, PayPal’s vice-president of global credit, will start work at Lending Club next week, the company said in a statement on Tuesday, reporting to Scott Sanborn, chief executive. He will lead Lending Club’s efforts to deliver credit to more people across an expanding range of product categories, the company said.
PayPal Credit is the successor to BillMeLater, which PayPal’s then-parent, eBay, bought in 2008. The idea was to expand the company’s financial offerings, help merchants get more business and beef up its fraud detection tools.
Before joining PayPal in 2013, Mr Allocca had various consumer-facing roles at Wells Fargo after training as a banker at First Chicago, a bank bought by Bank One and then JPMorgan Chase.
According to a report by Bloomberg, Earnest is up for sale. The San Francisco based online lender is said to have an asking price of $100 million. Founded in 2013, Crunchbase reports Earnest has raised over $99 million not including an undisclosed sum in a VC round in January 2016 and $200 million of debt financing.
DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has today conducted a review of the outstanding public ratings of five securities from three structured finance asset-backed securities transactions: OnDeck Asset Securitization Trust II LLC, Series 2016-1; OnDeck Account Receivables Trust 2013-1 LLC; and Prime OnDeck Receivables Trust II, LLC. Of the five ratings reviewed, all were confirmed at their current rating levels.
SoFi was founded on the business of helping high-earning graduates refinance their student loans. But perhaps ironically, CEO Michael Cagney thinks today’s record amount of student loan debt is a bad thing.
“When you go to a school and take a loan out, no one explains what you can afford, how much money you’re going to make when you graduate and how much you’re able to pay back,” he explained.
Meanwhile, universities aren’t incentivized to provide that education because it’s in their interest to have students matriculate, and there’s no downside to the college when a graduate is unable to pay back their loans.
Money360, a commercial real estate marketplace lending platform, closed more than $45 million in loans in April, the company announced today. This brings the company’s total production to over $250 million in closed loans, with an expected $500 million in transactions by year-end. Money360’s recent loan closings span properties nationwide and provide a variety of borrowers with quick funding to purchase or refinance income-producing properties.
The more than $45 million in loan closings, all of which have loan-to-value ratios of not more than 75 percent, include:
A $9.70 million bridge loan for a two-story, 198-room hotel property in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The 131,000 square foot property was built in 1983 and renovated in 2011.
A $7.70 million bridge loan for a multi-tenant, medical office building in San Jose, California containing 20,341 square feet of rentable space.
An $8.50 million bridge loan for a five-story, multi-tenant office property in Orange County, California containing 58,755 square feet of rentable space.
A $4.90 million bridge loan for a two-tenant, 19,107 square-foot anchored retail property in Ocean County, New Jersey.
A $6.00 million permanent loan for a one-story, 10-tenant retail property in Johnson County, Kansas containing 39,483 square feet of rentable space.
A $3.48 million permanent loan for a one-story, four-tenant retail property in Johnson County, Kansas containing 21,450 square feet of rentable space.
A $5.00 million permanent loan for an anchored retail center containing 202,219 square feet of rentable space, located in San Bernardino County, California.
Financial advisors may want to pay closer attention to automation in retirement savings accounts. Auto-escalation and auto-enrollment played major roles in how Fidelity retirement savings accounts reached new highs this year, Bloomberg writes.
Among the 27% of employees who raised their contribution, 50% did so in such auto-escalation accounts, Jeanne Thompson, a senior vice president at Fidelity, tells the news service. And for workers under 30, automated increases accounted for a whopping 68% of the rise in savings rates, according to Fidelity’s analysis.
CBC National Bank, headquartered in Fernandina Beach and with branches in Fernandina Beach, Ocala and The Villages, Fla., and Beaufort and Port Royal, S.C., today announced that it has been named by LendingTree as the 3rd highest customer-rated mortgage lender in the first quarter of 2017.
Online loan marketplace LendingTree said its rankings feature top lenders in multiple loan product categories, including mortgages, personal loans, business loans, and auto loans. CBC National Bank earned the 3rd highest ranking in the mortgage category.
Last year, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) set a course for the future of financial services. Now it appears that the agency is adrift without a captain, and a storm is upon it.
The fintech charter proposal may not survive legal challenge. The OCC has said that it has authority to issue fintech charters to non-depository companies if they engage in other “core banking activities,” such as paying checks or lending money. But that position is based only on the OCC’s own 2003 regulation, which the state regulators are also challenging. And, as Sens. Merkley and Brown noted, other SPNBs that do not accept deposits (bankers’ banks, credit card banks, and trust banks) are specifically authorized by Congress under the National Bank Act.
Congressional Republicans and Democrats have both recognized the importance of the issue, and Congress is the right institution to explore the implications for the burgeoning fintech industry and the federal-state banking system. And unlike the highly partisan warfare over the Dodd-Frank Act, the SPNB charter provides a rare opportunity for members of both parties to work together to fully examine the risks and benefits of providing a national bank charter to fintech companies.
Finra chairman John J. Brennan said on Tuesday that even if the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule is repealed, it has elevated and put into plain language the idea of providing investment advice that’s better for clients’ returns than for financial advisers’ revenue.
The DOL regulation, which would require financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement accounts, was supposed to be implemented on April 10. That date was pushed back to June 9 so that the agency can reassess the measure under a directive from President Donald J. Trump that could lead to its modification or repeal.
If the DOL rule meets its demise, the concept will live on at the Securities and Exchange Commission and at Finra, the broker-dealer self-regulator, Mr. Brennan said.
Finra president and CEO Robert Cook said he supports the concept of raising advice requirements for brokers.
The SEC’s new chief is likely to focus on well-functioning capital markets and capital formation rather than enforcement, Todd Cipperman writes in the Hill.
But Clayton’s “Wall Street pedigree” and his opening statement to the Senate Banking Committee suggests that he will not spearhead enforcement to the same extent as his predecessor, Mary Jo White, Cipperman writes.
As a securities lawyer to Wall Street firms, Clayton will likely focus on broader policy goals and regulations vetted by the financial industry, in part by putting more emphasis on the Division of Investment Management and the Division of Trading and Markets rather than enforcement, according to Cipperman.
But Clayton’s reign isn’t likely to result in unregulated markets. Clayton cites as role models former SEC chairmen Arthur Levitt and William Donaldson, both of whom were tough on the industry despite being insiders, according to Cipperman. Because of that — and because regulatory change occurs slowly — advice firms should stay focused on compliance, he writes.
A local startup that uses crowdfunding to invest in residential real estate is starting to make bigger acquisitions by progressing from rental homes to apartment complexes.
Jacob Blackett and Sterling White launched Holdfolio in October 2014 by attracting investors to collectively purchase run-down rental houses that the company could renovate with hopes of turning a profit.
Now the company has acquired its first apartment property, in the Garfield Park neighborhood on the city’s near-south side, and has another under contract in Beech Grove.
Holdfolio buys properties and bundles them into a portfolio. The residential properties are renovated, and outside investors can buy equity stakes in the properties via an online platform. They receive returns from rents paid for the properties.
The company so far has drawn about 100 investors who have forked over a minimum of $10,000 each. Holdfolio says they have reaped an 8 percent average annual return on their contributions.
The company targets properties that are considered distressed and in areas of the city that can benefit from the company’s investment. Holdfolio typically purchases the homes it targets for roughly $25,000.
Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the appointment of Denise Russell as Chief Risk Officer, effective immediately.
As Chief Risk Officer, Russell will oversee internal audit, regulatory compliance and enterprise risk management operations including risk identification and mitigation activities. She will work closely with the Elevate executive and legal teams to identify opportunities for enterprise risk reduction in support of the company’s strategic plan. Russell will lead a team of more than 15 compliance, audit and risk management professionals.
Six years after launch, TransferWise, the London-headquartered international money transfer startup, which was most recently valued at a reported $1.1 billion, has announced that it has finally reached profitability this calendar year and is “cash-generating”.
Breaking this down a little, the company says it’s currently seeing £8 million per month in revenue, which extrapolates to a £100 million revenue run-rate, and is growing 150 per cent year-on-year and expecting to do the same this year. It also says over £1 billion is being moved every month, saving its customers what it claims to be over £1.5 million per day in foreign exchange fees.
With that said, let me speculate on what products I think the company could quite easily move into, should it choose to do so. Friend-to-friend or P2P payments within the same country, along the lines of Paypal’s Venmo or Barclays Pingit, doesn’t seem a stretch, given that TransferWise already has much of that infrastructure already in place. It also seems odd that the company doesn’t offer its own debit card with low cost currency exchange when spending abroad, for example.
Were TransferWise to do the latter, that would see it go up against Revolut, and a ton of other much more recent fintech startups that utilise MasterCard’s low exchange rate, including all-your-cards-in-one app Curve, of which Hinrikus himself is an investor.
Peer to peer property lender Lendy has surpassed £310 million in originations with £50 million coming in last 100 days. The P2P lender states that investors and developers are responding to post-Brexit slowdown in bank lending. Lendy adds that quick turnaround, security and low Loan to Value (LTVs) are key to their growth. Lendy says there are over 16,000 registered users on their site.
Lendy highlighted several UK property investments recently listed on their platform:
£7.5 million for the purchase and redevelopment of a commercial building in Marylebone, central London
£5.7 million for the development of a major residential building at Liverpool waterfront
£2.4 million for the development of a major student accommodation complex in Huddersfield
CreditEase announces today that its founder and CEO Ning Tang has been appointed to the University of Oxford’s Said Business School’s (“Oxford Said”) new Global Leadership Council. This council of senior global leaders will provide independent advice and guidance to the school.
Said Business School is a vibrant and innovative business school embedded in the historic and prestigious University of Oxford. The school offers programs and research opportunities that have global impact and help individuals and organizations find ideas and valuable network to tackle world-wide problems. As one of the fastest growing business schools in the world, the school is ranked 1st in the UK in the FT’s ranking of open enrollment programs in 2016, and 2nd globally for aims achieved in the FT ranking of MBA programs in 2017.
PEER-TO-PEER investment manager BondMason is increasing its exposure to non-P2P lenders to broaden its offering.
The firm aims to get its clients a seven per cent return by selecting P2P loans across approved platforms on their behalf, but chief executive Stephen Findlay says he is now looking outside the industry to provide more diversification for investors.
BondMason is also working to increase awareness among financial advisers and recently partnered with professional body the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) to compile a report on the P2P sector.
Revolut has quietly allowed users to make international money transfers in roughly 3-5 days for some time. These transfers are free for amounts of up to £5,000, with a 0.5 per cent charge applying for larger amounts.
Now there is a new Turbo option, which will see international transfers delivered in 1-2 business days, for a flat rate fee of £5 for amounts of up to £5,000, again with a 0.5 per cent fee applied for larger sums.
China Development Bank Capital, an investment unit under China Development Bank, has led a US$42 million strategic investment in Chinese financial technology firm Wacai.
Chinese investment firms CBC Capital, New Horizon Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and Ally Bridge Group also participated in the financing round, the company announced today. Today’s investment brings the company’s total fundraising to over US$200 million cumulatively.
The company has cumulative users of 160 million and has facilitated wealth management product transactions in the range of RMB100 billion (US$14.5 billion) annually, it says.
TWINO, Europe’s fastest growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has today released the first ever Alternative Lending Index (ALI) in conjunction with KPMG.
The report compares lending environments across Europe over the period 2010- 2016.
· Highest ranked countries for alternative lending in Europe are: Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Greece and Ireland
· Countries with largest potential in terms of overall lending market size and alternative lending environment are: Poland, Greece and Ireland
· In 2010-2016 total density of credit institutions per 1 million inhabitants decreased from 19 to 15
· Aggregate European credit gap has increased from close to breakeven in 2010 to 12 percentage points of GDP
· Significant differences in availability of financing for household and corporate borrowers across countries:
· UK significantly higher for corporate borrowers than for households
· Credit gap for the UK and France is negative, indicating lending demand is met with a surplus
· Germany is lending market leader – total outstanding loans reach EUR 2.5 trillion, followed by France, where outstanding loans are EUR 2.1 trillion
· Ireland top country by number of credit institutions per 1 million inhabitants, followed by Austria and Finland
Currently the countries ranked as the most favourable for the expansion of alternative lending are Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Greece and Ireland whilst France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Sweden show highly efficient lending markets and therefore the lowest ALI.
Potential investment risks for investors are well-balanced and brought to minimum: all loans are secured with a BuyBack guarantee. If the borrower doesn’t pay back the loan, you don’t have to wait for an extra 30 days (after the investment due date) to get your funds back – your money is available right away;
You have access to your money at any time – if you decide to withdraw invested money before the due date, you can receive your money starting from 14 to 28 days after your request with (or without) accumulated interest, depending on your chosen investment plan and preferred withdrawal term;
Your money never sits still; it is always earning. Auto Invest program on DoFinance reinvests funds the moment the borrower returns the loan and the investor’s money becomes available.
According to the press release Alfa Finance Group has invested 2 million Euro in launching DoFinance. Can you please describe what the money was used for?
The money was invested in technologies to create the platform and in building our loan portfolio.
What was the greatest challenge so far in the course of launching DoFinance?
The greatest challenge was to develop a risk assessment tool that would minimize the risk of failure to repay the loan, be effective and secure. Risk assessment and management is our strength, and all our loans are secured with a BuyBack guarantee. If the borrower doesn’t pay back the loan, you don’t have to wait for an extra 30 days (after the investment due date) to get your funds back – your money is available right away.
Another challenge was becoming available also to Asian investors. DoFinance is the first European-based P2P lending platform to open customer center in Indonesia, bringing together European customer centered approach and Asian investors. We are happy to be the first ones to offer such individual approach to all our customers and give the chance to Asian investors to invest in Europe.
Is DoFinance open to international investors?
Yes, DoFinance is available to private individuals holding a bank account in EU, EEA countries as well as Asian countries which are not included in the lists of high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions and international sanctions (Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam etc.).
What is your opinion on the planned upcoming regulation in Latvia for p2p lending?
Fintech industry has a potential to become Latvia’s success story which would contribute to both image and prosperity of the country, thus there must be healthy balance between industry regulation and its self-regulation. The entire financial industry and eventually the consumer will benefit from the development of FinTech as banks and FinTech companies will start cooperating when it comes down to providing financial services, customer service etc. Therefore, it is the state’s responsibility to create environment where these companies will stand and where intellectual capacity of labor will increase and taxes will be paid. At the same time, the regulation must ensure transparency and monitoring – simply because then dishonest entrepreneurs wouldn’t be able to harm investors.
U.S. stocks are strong; developed world stocks are rallying, but still uncertain; and despite some investors’ fears, emerging markets are still appealing. Here’s what’s been happening in the market over the past few weeks.
U.S. equities remain strong
United States equities are continuing to look very attractive after a positive jobs report and an impressive earnings season. The hiring report in early May was more positive than expected with 211,000 jobs added in April, bringing unemployment to a 10-year low. There was also continued wage growth, meaning that, on average, households were getting a bump in income. This increased spending power in the economy bodes well for U.S. equities (stocks).
Earnings season has also revealed impressive corporate earnings growth. While it’s relatively easy to have nowhere to go but up after negative earnings growth in the first two quarters of last year, it’s still reassuring to see higher company earnings and sales growth pushing stock prices up.
Developed world equities still uncertain despite rally
Over the past two weeks, stocks of companies in the developed world outside the U.S. are catching up after lagging behind for much of the post-U.S. election rally. This is largely because European equities were held back due to uncertainty about which way the French election would go. With Macron’s victory and a smooth election in the Netherlands back in March, developed world (excluding U.S.) equities have begun to close the gap.
In Japan, equities remain reliant on Japanese policy makers to lead the country out of its current disinflationary state, but current efforts inspire little confidence based on the failure of similar policies in the past.
Emerging markets hold potential
The cyclical recovery story in emerging markets is still holding our attention. After years of lagging behind the developed world with recessions in Brazil and Russia, we are finally seeing growth at a faster pace. Global trade is accelerating once more, and the positive growth in the U.S. and E.U. is expected to further boost emerging market economies as demand for exports increases.
There have been some recent signs of slowed growth in China. This is mostly due to the fact that China recently raised interest rates in order to curb property price inflation.
European and U.S.-based tech ‘scale-ups’ with Asia ambitions, rejoice. Outing today is a new $500 million VC fund from Silk Ventures, and backed in part by the Chinese government.
It plans to invest across all stages from Series-A upwards, and says that, although it will remain open to tech startups from any sector, a key focus will be “deep tech and science, industry 4.0 technologies, such as Internet of Things and robotics, fintech and medtech companies”. I’m told that the first investments from the fund will be announced in July.
Headquartered in London but with offices in Menlo Park, Beijing and Shenzhen, too, Silk Ventures took its tentative first steps as what it describes as a “digital accelerator,” consisting of an online platform connecting startups to corporates, thus facilitating links to Asia.
Meanwhile, the new $500 million fund is backed 50 per cent by the Chinese state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) Shenzhen, who is acting as both an LP and Strategic Partner.
Ever ubiquitous, in 2016 the term ‘fintech’ appeared in the global print media 90,000 times and multiple times that in social media. In a study conducted by Citigroup in 2015, they found that fintech investments topped $19 billion, which represents a tenfold increase from 2010.
The argument towards fintech being perceived as a disruptor is largely due to the fact that fintech start-ups have the freedom to be a lot more nimble. They are not burdened down with legacy technology systems and restrictive regulations.
For example mobile-based banks have emerged in the past year, such as Monzo, Starling, Tandem and Atom, all of which offer accounts that allow customers to manage their money and lifestyle.
Yet, there are many who are of the contrasting opinion that fintech developments are set to be an enabler for established financial service companies. In possession of enormous capital, they are in a position to invest in these technologies and take a more innovative approach towards attracting new customers, cut costs and boost profits.
The emergence of fintech has motivated banks to consider their pain points, in ways which may be solved through technological innovation.
Additionally, banks can look to fintech as a means to enable their revenue growth with higher margin and through less capital-intensive programs, such as insurance or wealth management. By incorporating fintech applications such as robo-advisers and automation into their operational model, they then have the means to scale their business more rapidly to provide services to clients that beforehand were not profitable or were too taxing on their customer service systems.
The campaign, which is already running on radio in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, is scheduled to run across outdoor, social (LinkedIn and Facebook) and digital media to encapsulate an integrated multi-channel outreach.
With the #turnthatNOaround campaign, OnDeck aims to reach small business owners who have experienced a “no” from their banks, giving them an opportunity to secure a loan that is much faster than the banks – taking just one business day.
The founder of an Australia’s robo-advice business says a law change may not be enough to allow such companies to operate in New Zealand.
Under the current law only “natural persons” may give financial advice in New Zealand but a change to the Financial Advisers Act is expected to make robo-advice legal here by 2019.
In New Zealand there are growing concerns about an advice gap after research by the Financial Markets Authority found most people who got professional financial advice had assets of more than $200k, leaving question marks over how people with less money, including those with savings in KiwiSaver, get advice.
Chris Brycki, who founded robo-advice business Stockspot in 2014 and now has several thousand customers, said he was keen to enter the New Zealand market but could not do so because the company could not find a suitable banking partner.
A Singapore central bank-backed fintech firm, CCRManager Pte Ltd, on Tuesday launched what it says is the first digital platform for the distribution of international trade financing, transactions now handled mainly by phone and email. CCRManager Pte Ltd, which received a grant from the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Financial Sector Development Fund, is supported by 16 financial institutions, including Bank of China, DBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Spain’s BBVA and the commercial insurance arm of Swiss Re.
CCRManager charges a transaction fee on every successful deal. The Singapore-based company said its users will be able to list assets for distribution, negotiate deals, and manage supporting documentation in a secure environment. The web-based platform will enable members to manage the entire process of distributing trade finance internationally to other banks, credit insurers, and fund managers.
The Central Bank of Brazil is eyeing regulations for the FinTech sector this year to help industry startups and companies to enter and expand in the country currently reeling from a recession.
According to a Reuters report today, the Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) – the country’s monetary authority- is looking at implementing these regulations within this year to fuel the growth of FinTech firms and services in Latin America’s biggest economy.
As of March 2017, Brazil’s economy was 8% smaller than it was in December 2014.
While details are scarce, some of the new regulations will help financial technology companies and startups in areas including:
Financing via peer-to-peer lending platforms connecting borrowers directly with individual investors
A wider playground, by facilitating foreign banks to enter Brazilian shores without the need for a presidential decree
Diversification, by helping financial technology companies team up with banks to offer loans or ‘securitized credit from institutional investors.’