Thursday July 6 2019, Weekly News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: 3 top execs exit SoFi. Zopa proclaims end of monogamous banking. LendInvest earnings hit the roof. Financial Conduct Authority sets new rules for UK P2P lending. Quarter of global small firms are significant fintech users. Biz2Credit raises $52M. Today’s main analysis: Alternative lenders steal business from banks. P2P lending will be […]

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United States

SoFi Loses Three Top Executives (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Three top executives of Social Finance Inc. are leaving the financial-tech startup in the coming weeks, adding to the challenges the company faces as it moves through a tough environment for online lenders.

Marketing chief Joanne Bradford, head of risk Kevin Moss and Ashish Jain, the lender’s top capital markets executive, recently told Chief Executive Anthony Noto about their plans to step down from their roles. All three had been at the company prior to Mr. Noto taking the reins in early 2018.

Tech Driving Bank Earnings Growth (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US first quarter GDP growth was revised lower to 3.1%. There is fear that the economy is slowing due to the ongoing trade war and the length of this economic expansion. The 3 month-10 year yield curve fell to its most inverted since 2007 to -12.3 bps. Recessions have usually followed within 18 months of this curve inverting. The market is looking to the Fed to bolster economic growth with the odds of a rate cut at the September meeting now at 54%.

Source: CME, PeerIQ

Technology Driving Earnings Growth

Banks and lenders are reaping the benefits of their technology investments now. Banks like Citi have been able to offer new products and grow their deposit base, while Capital One has improved its efficiency ratio by 400 bps. Banks and lenders continue to make large technology investments for faster growth at lower cost.

Alternative Lenders Continue to Steal Business From Banks (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

What is less well known is the rapid growth of PayPal as a digital lending alternative. It may be time for banks and credit unions to wake up, however, as the company announced that they had crossed $10 billion in small business lending in only 5 years.

Amazon Joins PayPal as Top 5 Small Business Digital Lender

Amazon has joined PayPal, OnDeck, Kabbage, and Square as a top 5 digital small business lender. In fact, Amazon revealed that it had made more than $1 billion in small business loans to US-based merchants in 2018.

The peer-to-peer business lender, Funding Circle, also revealed its first-quarter trading update, showing that loans under management rose by 44% compared to the first quarter of 2018, while originations grew by 23% (they have originated $9.5 billion in loans).

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Rules for Comprehensive Reform of Debt Collection Industry (Debevoise & Plimpton), Rated: AAA

On May 7, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM” or “Notice”) to increase regulation of the debt collection industry.1 The much-anticipated Notice is the outgrowth of the CFPB’s 2016 Outline of Proposals (the “Outline” or the “2016 Outline”), which was a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s efforts to protect consumers and overhaul all aspects of consumer finance (see our August 10, 2016 client alert on the Outline here). One presidential election and two CFPB Directors later, CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger announced a more limited plan to put in place substantial protections, but which rejects some of the 2016 Outline’s more ambitious proposals. The NPRM would overhaul the industry by, for example, requiring that debt collectors make no more than seven attempts by telephone per week to reach consumers about specific debts, and allow debtors to opt out of allowing collectors to contact them via e-mail, text messages, or other media. However, the proposal fails to address many of the Outline’s calls for increased regulation of substantiation of debt, decedent debt, and transfer of information to subsequent collectors (among other things).

See the full report here.

Biz2Credit Raises $ 52M In Funding To Expand (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Biz2Credit, the online lending platform that helps banks and other financial institutions manage small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending processes, announced Tuesday (June 4) that it raised $52 million in venture funding.

Biz2Credit said the Series B funding round was led by WestBridge Capital.

Jared Kaplan of OppLoans (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Jared Kaplan, the CEO of OppLoans.

Lighter Capital Introduces Suite of Alternative Financing Solutions to Fund More Startups up to $ 3 Million (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Lighter Capital announced today that it has launched new financing products to better match the capital needs of growing startups. To date, Lighter Capital has provided over $150 million in more than 500 rounds of financing to over 300 startups. The company has historically provided Revenue-Based Financing and has now broadened its portfolio to include lines of credit and term loans, designed to provide startups capital over time as they need it. Unlike most venture debt, startups do not need to have raised Venture Capital to qualify for funding.

1. Lighter Line of Credit – Startups have fluctuations in capital needs, to make essential payments like payroll or wait for a big customer payment. The Lighter Line of Credit is a revolving working capital line. It enables startups to draw and return capital numerous times, to even out their cash needs.

2. Lighter Term Loan – Provides startups growth capital in a traditional structure with predictable payments. Lighter Capital will also make forward commitments, giving startups the right to get additional capital for a period of time. For example, a startup could get a $500,000 loan today and a commitment from Lighter Capital to provide an additional $500,000 over the following six months.

LendPro Unveils Dynamic Routing Capability to Streamline POS Financing (LendPro Email), Rated: A

LendPro LLC, a provider of Lending-As-A-Service (LaaS) products and platforms for retailers, today unveiled Dynamic Routing —an innovative POS financing solution that automatically matches consumer credit applications with the best-available lending option.

While alternative lending software moves credit applications through a pre-defined, inflexible process, Dynamic Routing by LendPro dynamically guides borrower application data to lenders in the merchant’s financing portfolio based on the attributes of the sale. For example, if the total price for a specific purchase is too large (or small) for a lender’s target loan size, LendPro’s Dynamic Routing system can route the applicant to a different lender. This technological innovation saves time, increases simplicity, and may help the borrower avoid an unwanted credit application.

Why it’s Time to Ask Your Wealth Manager About P2P Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Using a crowdfunding platform, however, 5,000 individuals might each invest $1,000 into the company. Each of those individual investors is exposed to a very small amount of risk, and the company is able to raise the funds without surrendering ownership.

Possible Finance lands $ 10.5 million to provide consumers softer, kinder short-term loans (TechCrunch), Rated: A

It’s one reason that venture capitalist Rebecca Lynn, a managing partner with Canvas Ventures  and an early investor in the online lending company LendingClub, has largely steered clear of the numerous startups crowding into the industry in recent years. It’s also why she just led a $10.5 million investment in Possible Finance, a two-year-old, Seattle-based outfit that’s doing what she “thought was impossible,” she says. The startup is “helping people on the lower end of the credit spectrum improve their financial outlook without being predatory.”

Santa Clarita Ranked Second Highest ‘Debt-Ridden’ City In California (Home Town Station), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, released a report this week detailing the accrued debt of all California cities with a population of at least 50,000.

Santa Clarita ranked the second highest in auto loan debt with an average of about $21,000, and second in the state for personal loan debt, excluding mortgages, with an average of just over $6,000.

Source: Home Town Station

Cities With the Highest Percentage of Black Homeowners (Black Enterprise), Rated: A

Even though housing discrimination has been outlawed for 50 years, studies show that the U.S. black homeownership rate isn’t any higher than when the Fair Housing Act initially passed in 1968. In fact, the racial gap between white and black homeowners today is significant. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the homeownership rate among white Americans is 73.2%, while the black homeownership rate stands at 41.1%. In comparison, 42% of black households owned their homes back in 1970, two years after housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin was outlawed.

According to the report, the U.S. cities that have the highest percentage of black homeowners are San Jose, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Portland. On the other hand, the cities where black homeownership is lowest relative to overall population are Memphis, New Orleans, Baltimore, Virginia Beach, and Milwaukee, where the median household income for black residents is a mere $28,928.

See LendingTree’s report here.

Real Crowd Says HNW Investors Poised to Boost Real Estate Investments in 2019 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform RealCrowd reports that High Net Worth (HNW) investors are looking to increase their portfolio of real estate investments during 2019. According to a survey by the Fintech platform, 53% of surveyed HNW individuals expect to make “two-to-four direct real estate investments in 2019.” Specific details on the survey process were not revealed.

This is a big improvement over year prior when just 33% planned to do the same thus an increase of around 20%.

The survey also stated that 47% of respondents’ desire to allocate more than 25 percent of their investment portfolio to commercial real estate.

WealthStone – Democratizing Access to Commercial Real Estate (PR Newswire), Rated: A

WealthStone LLC announces the launch of its new website, WealthStoneLLC.com, where technology brings increased access to institutional-quality commercial real estate investments to a wider audience, while delivering the best customer experience possible for its growing global investor base.

3 Investments That Lead to Passive Income (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending is a relative newcomer to the world of investments. Lending Club and Prosper were the first institutions to offer P2P loans beginning in mid-2000, and they’ve changed the way countless loans are handled. Instead of going to the bank, borrowers apply for loans from other people. People who have been denied loans from financial institutions are often approved for P2P loans at rates that are lower than those of larger financial institutions.

Sagent Lending Technologies to Transform the Lending Experience, Powered by Microsoft Azure (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Sagent Lending Technologies announced today a strategic initiative to transform the borrower and the lender experience through Microsoft Azure. Sagent will leverage the potential of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and cognitive services available on Azure that will provide a reimagined experience for Sagent clients and their consumer borrowers.

BofA, Longtime Leader in Leveraged Loans, Warns of `Carnage’ (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The U.S. economy is on solid footing except for one potential trouble spot, according to Bank of America Corp.’sChief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan: leveraged loans — a business the bank has dominated for a decade.

Bank of America was bookrunner on some $317 billion of leveraged loans this year, accounting for 10.8 percent of the market share, the Bloomberg data show, which captures all leveraged term loans and revolver facilities that are either new or have been amended.

Moody’s Investors Service said covenant quality for 2018’s last quarter was close to a record low, and the rating company sees no signs of improvement this year. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last month that the market looks a lot like the mortgage industry in the run-up to the subprime crisis.

Digital Banks Look to Attract Older Generations (LendIt), Rated: A

One of the challenges for the challenger banks like Monzo, Starling and Revolut is to go beyond the young demographic they’ve been successful at attracting to their products; not surprisingly, less than 5% of Monzo’s customers over 60; as more bank branch close they are looking to bring in older customers who are no longer being served by traditional banks; Monzo and Starling have both added the ability to make cash deposits; Starling recently partnered with the post office and Monzo partnered with a payments service which is in 30,000 shops in the UK; these digital banks and their competitors are experimenting in how they can have more physical points of contact with customers; Revolut recently shared a plain English customer contract in a move to help their customers better understand the product.

The tech banks are using to boost deposit growth (American Banker), Rated: A

First Arkansas & Trust, for example, is using Plinqit, a goal-oriented savings app from a fintech called HTMA Holdings, in the hopes of boosting deposits.

And some banks have begun to specialize in the banking-as-a-service model to increase deposits.

Following is a look at how regional and community banks are employing tech to help in the race for deposit growth:

Wharton just released an online fintech course for the masses (Technical.ly), Rated: A

On Thursday, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Online announced its new virtual fintech specialization program, “FinTech: Foundations and Applications of Financial Technologies,” for students and professionals who want to learn about the rapidly changing tech.

The four-course financial program is available via online education platform Coursera, and will detail the use of cryptocurrency, robo-advising, crowdfunding and modern investing.

BlueVine Appoints Silicon Valley Veteran Herman Man to Chief Product Officer (BlueVine), Rated: B

BlueVine, which provides small- and medium-sized businesses with access to fast and simple online financing, announced today that it has named Silicon Valley technology and engineering veteran, Herman Man, its Chief Product Officer. In this role, Man will focus on developing the next generation of BlueVine products and oversee the company’s product vision, strategy, design and execution to deliver on its mission to provide fast, fair and easy financing solutions every small business needs to thrive.

Lendio Announces New Senior Vice President of Lender & Partner Strategy (Lendio), Rated: B

Lendio announced today that Denada Ramnishta has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Lender & Partner Strategy.

Thomas M. Affolter Joins White Oak as Managing Director to Bolster Origination Efforts (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (White Oak) is pleased to announce that Thomas (Tom) M. Affolter has joined White Oak as a Managing Director based in Chicago. Mr. Affolter will focus on originating new investment opportunities and expanding the coverage network for White Oak’s private debt funds.

United Kingdom

Zopa says fintech revolution has killed off monogamous banking (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has declared that “monogamous banking is a thing of the past”, as new research reveals that the average UK adult has a relationship with seven different financial providers.

The peer-to-peer consumer lender, which is launching a digital bank, said that the fintech revolution has changed the shape of financial services for consumers.

It cited a survey that found 71 per cent of UK adults said they do not need a relationship with their main bank, while two thirds are actively using products from banks and financial providers other than their main current account provider.

LendInvest earnings soar as it looks to disrupt ‘slow moving’ banks (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ONLINE property lender LendInvest has reported an 82 per cent jump in core earnings, as it looks to disrupt the UK mortgage market.

LendInvest, which used to be a peer-to-peer lender before it shut its platform to retail investors, posted core earnings of £4m for the year ended 31 March 2019, up from £2.2m the previous year.

The firm, which is considering a stock market flotation, said that platform assets rose by 69 per cent to £788.3m over the same period, while revenue rose by 36 per cent to £72.7m.

FCA Announces New Rules For UK P2P Lending Platforms (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The long awaited changes to P2P lending regulations in the UK are finally here. Today, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that the new rules for peer to peer lending platforms have been set and will come into effect on December 9, 2019.

  • Introducing more explicit requirements to clarify what governance arrangements, systems and controls platforms need to have in place to support the outcomes they advertise. These new rules focus particularly on credit risk assessment, risk management and fair valuation practices, especially for platforms with more complex business models.
  • Strengthening rules on plans for the wind-down of P2P platforms.
  • Applying marketing restrictions to P2P platforms, designed to protect new or less experienced investors. We have also clarified the practical implication of these new rules as they apply to P2P agreements.
  • Introducing a requirement that an appropriateness assessment (to assess an investor’s knowledge and experience of P2P investments) be undertaken, where no advice has been given to the investor. We have also provided guidance on what the assessment should include.
  • Setting out the minimum information that P2P platforms need to provide to investors

Assetz Capital hits bridging loans and small business lending milestones (AltFi), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender Assetz Capital said it has hit a double milestone, providing over £100m in bridging loans and a further £50m in small business funding, “as the appetite for alternative forms of finance continues to rise across the UK”.

The Manchester-based fintech adds that since it was founded six years ago it has lent over £780m to small firms and property developers, helping build 3,700 homes in Britain.

UK P2P sector poised for “significant further growth” (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE UK’S peer-to-peer lending sector is set to experience “significant further growth”, according to Standard & Poor’s.

A report released by the ratings agency this week said that the growing involvement of institutional funds and increased securitisation issuance are set to boost the industry.

Santander and eBay team up on UK loans app (Techradar), Rated: A

In an effort to fend off tech giants and newer digital rivals, Santander and eBay have announced a new lending partnership for small businesses.

The Spanish bank will begin offering loans to over 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses that sell products on eBay in the UK through its financial technology app Astro.

As £165m Lendy collapses, experts warn ‘a dozen more peer-to-peer firms will follow’ (The Telegraph), Rated: A

While investments of varying risk are available, some platforms have tempted consumers with returns of more than 12pc on high-risk projects. But the collapse of one large platform, Lendy, which offered loans on property developments, has concerned investors across the sector.

Wagestream Says One Complaint Against PayDay Lenders is Resolved for Every Three Received (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Payday loan alternative Wagestream has issued a release stating the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has received 47,220 complaints against payday lenders since 2018. Yet while many complaints have been received only a fraction have been resolved. Wagestream states that only one out of three are resolved or just under 17,000.

Welendus unveils rebrand as Fund Ourselves (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday lender, has rebranded as Fund Ourselves.

ARBUTHNOT SPECIALIST FINANCE CONCLUDES FIRST LOAN COMPLETION SINCE LAUNCHING THE BUSINESS (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: B

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance (ASFL) is pleased to announce it has concluded its first loan completion since announcing its launch in late May. The deal is a 70% LTV residential product loan on a property located less than half a mile from the University of Central Lancashire campus in Preston.

China/Hong Kong

The Escalating US-China Trade War, Part 1 (In Homeland Security), Rated: AAA

China is in debt, significantly. Part of the problem is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to assign a figure to the debt. There are Chinese statistics for official debt, but following the 2008 economic crisis, China implemented new restrictions on lending. Over the past decade, those restrictions have shifted from one type of loan to another so Chinese citizens get creative with how they borrow money for business purposes or to purchase property.

Furthermore, the economic crisis took “shadow lending” to new heights. Shadow lending can include everything from organized crime to banks obfuscating the purpose of a loan or peer-to-peer lending. China cracked down on this lending practice too, but the debt amount is significant and official numbers do not typically include shadow lending.

New US Tariffs Spell Doomsday for China’s Economy (The Epoch Times), Rated: AAA

The additional 25 percent tariff imposed by the United States on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will trigger a new round of factory closures in China, driving economic collapse.

In the context of the blow-up of the P2P (peer-to-peer lending) and other usury, the 8.4 trillion will cause most medium and small-sized banks to fall into bankruptcy crisis.

HSBC Rolls Out Digital Wallet To Hong Kong Businesses (PYMNTS), Rated: A

HSBC has reportedly expanded its PayMe digital wallet to startups and small businesses, marking its first foray into the business payments marketplace.

European Union

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

ING is keen to maximise the possibilities of open banking and is working with Yolt and Funding Options on bringing new features to customers across Europe.

Firstly, ING is launching a marketplace for SME financing in the Netherlands, which will open to other external financing providers, becoming the first Dutch bank in doing so.

International

We are “very close” to peak fintech, with more than 10,000 startups jumping into the boom (Quartz), Rated: AAA

According to Curve’s Shachar Bialick, the founder and CEO, an app that lets customers to link all their credit and debit cards to just one card, says there are more than 10,000 fintech startups around the world, and even he can’t keep track of them all. Some, or even most, aren’t going to make it.

Quartz: It’s been about four months since Amex blocked Curve. What are your plans now?

Bialick: Amex was never a critical part of Curve. It was always an opportunity to solve a big problem Amex has in the UK and Europe, which is access.

Curve has continued to grow in Europe without Amex.

Have we reached the peak in terms of new fintech startups?

I don’t know if we reached the peak, but we definitely are very close, because today there are over 10,000 fintechs globally. I don’t know over 90% of them.

Peer To Peer Lending To Be The Next $ 1 Trillion Industry (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

By eliminating the need for banks, peer to peer lending allows investors to invest in individual and company debt with 5-10% returns – a far cry from the the lowly 1.5% that you’ll received in a regular CD account.

And it works better for borrowers too. Borrowers are able to take out loans with greater ease and lower interest rates, typically offered in the region of 3-4%.

The average default rate at Lending Works is only 3.2% over the last six years. And many P2P lenders allow you to choose secured loans for additional protection.

Transparency Market Research estimates the industry be worth $900 billion by the end of 2024, with an annual growth rate of 48%, up from $26 billion in 2015.

Source: ValueWalk

One quarter of world’s small firms are ‘significant’ fintech users, says report (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Fintechs are becoming the ‘new normal’ in financial services, said a survey by professional services firm EY.

Fintech adoption is by far the highest in China, where 61 per cent of small businesses use their services, followed by the US, 23 per cent, the UK, 18 per cent, South Africa, 16 per cent, Mexico, 11 per cent, with the average set at 25 per cent.

Source: Ernst & Young

See the full report here.

Tencent, Temasek Invest $ 35 Million in U.K. Open-Banking Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Singapore government-owned fund Temasek is to invest $35 million in London-based TrueLayer.

The Fintech Bubble Floats Toward a $ 64 Billion Pin (The Washington Post), Rated: A

Trendy U.S. online payments company Stripe, worth some $22.5 billion according to private-market valuations, is joining Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. in warning about the impact of EU rules aimed at getting customers to double-check payments going out from their accounts.

Adyen trades at a gob-smacking 110 times this year’s earnings, with a market value of 20.8 billion euros. That’s almost twice the worth of Deutsche Bank AG, even though the Dutch fintech only employs the equivalent of 1% of the German lender’s staff. Stripe is the sixth most expensive private company in the world, according to researchers at CBInsights.

Australia

RBA Boss Warns Banks On Undermining The Economy (SB Dirty South Soccer), Rated: A

THE Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cut the cash rate to a new record low.

The online lender announced a new headline variable rate for owner-occupiers at 3.34 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 6 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Tuesday February 27 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s new CEO wants to get the company ready to go public. Revolut’s transaction volumes increased 700%. China to crackdown on non-bank lending. Blender raises $16M. Today’s main analysis: Stay away from LendingClub’s notes and shares. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Legacy banks, digital startups see opportunity to go beyond storing money. LendingBlock aims to mainstream […]

LendingClub

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

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United States

Anthony Noto’s Mission as SoFi CEO: Get the Startup Ready to Go Public (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Anthony Noto, the new chief executive officer of Social Finance Inc., is looking to steer the company out of crisis and get it in shape for a potential initial public offering.

The vision for SoFi outlined by Noto didn’t stray far from the one set by his predecessor Mike Cagney, who was ousted after accusations of sexual misconduct inside the company. Noto wants to create a broad online financial-service company, adding checking and savings accounts and wealth management to the main business of refinancing student loans.

SoFi’s new CEO says bank charter remains an option (American Banker), Rated: A

In an interview during his first day on the job, Anthony Noto did not promise any big course changes, though he did leave open the possibility that SoFi will revive its quest to get a banking license.

LendingClub’s Underwriting: Stay Away From The Notes And The Shares (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

I bought my first batch of $25 notes on April 22, 2016. Now, it is important to note that LendingClub is very clear in its advertising that “99% of portfolios with 100+ Notes have seen positive returns.” So I suppose I added a level of risk by not having a portfolio worth at least $2500. But even still, returns can be .1% annualized and count as ‘positive’, but that is not an acceptable return by anyone’s standards given the risks involved in lending to strangers.

My Portfolio

To date, I have received $436 in payments, $96 of which is interest. I have lost $100 on notes that have charged-off, meaning that there is zero expectation of future payment and LendingClub collectors have stopped attempting to reach the borrower. I also have a note that is late, and based on how things have gone so far, I fully expect that to charge-off too and will lose the $11.50 still owed. In short, I have already lost almost 20% of my initial investment, crossing my fingers that none of the 14 notes I still have that are current don’t enter a late status with more than a year to go before the oldest reaches full term. My results have been dismal.

Source: Seeking Alpha

LendingClub’s ratings are A-G, with A being the safest. As you can see, the vast majority of my portfolio sits in A-C, with one E and one G note (LendingClub did away with F and G notes last year).

Source: Seeking Alpha

Legacy Banks and Digital Startups See a Big Opportunity to Move Beyond Simply Storing Money (AdWeek), Rated: AAA

Change can be hard for the financial industry, which is dominated by decades of processes and internal systems. But with a slew of upstarts making their way into the trillion-dollar industry, the old guard is finding innovative ways to beat these challenger brands at their own game.

“A lot of these companies have what we call ‘technical debt’—very expensive mainframe systems that are very difficult to change, run [and are] expensive and obviously that limits their ability to innovate,” said Oliwia Berdak, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “The biggest challenge is often culture … In banks the attitude has always been to perfect [products] before it’s unleashed on customers and [technology] is a big change where you’re working with a certain degree of uncertainty and risk.”

According to data collected by Accenture, 90 percent of banking executives said that their companies needed to “innovate at an increasingly rapid pace just to remain competitive,” but only 47.8 percent say that they are actually “investing comprehensively” in digital.

Another challenge: For all the talk about slick mobile banking apps and services, consumers—gasp—still like going to physical banks to manage financial decisions. Eighty-seven percent of customers enjoy going to a physical bank and prefer to interact with a human while there, per Accenture.

Source: AdWeek

Retail Banks Are Missing Opportunities to Give Digital Financial Advice (Wealth Management), Rated: A

Most customers who received face-to-face financial advice from their retail bank felt their needs were completely met (58 percent), but satisfaction drops when advice is delivered by other means, according to J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Retail Banking Sales Practices & Advice Study. Only 45 percent of customers who received digital advice through their bank’s website or mobile app felt their needs were met and only 33 percent felt their needs were met via email.
The majority of customers surveyed for the study (58 percent) said they want to receive advice through their bank’s website and mobile app, but only 12 percent said they received advice in that manner.

Why neobanks need to find a niche offering (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Customers still aren’t excited about digital-only banks. Less than 10 percent of Americans looking to open a checking account would consider doing so at a digital bank, according to a new report by Cornerstone Advisors.

For example, San Francisco-based neobank Chime’s customers are mostly middle-income millennials, with a median age of 29 and incomes between $45,000 to $65,000. Chime says it caters to a gap in the market for younger customers who felt larger institutions weren’t meeting their needs.

Neobanks should focus on a “clear, differentiated value proposition” for the customer, but too many of them are just adding a little technology to a customer experience that’s not terribly different from what the big banks offer, said Satya Patel, a partner at Homebrew, a seed-stage venture capital firm based in San Francisco and an investor in Chime.

How Capital One is rethinking its approach to products (Tearsheet), Rated: A

For the past year, Capital One has been rethinking how it can get out of the too-common approach of “innovating” by layering new technology on top of an old product — it’s realized it needs to entirely reconsider the customer’s interaction with it.

Are banks too blasé about mobile security? (American Banker), Rated: B

About a third of companies have knowingly sacrificed security for expediency or business performance, according to a newly published study, and researchers said that bankers’ responses were consistent with the group as a whole, which included health care and other sectors.

Bringing Credit Invisibles Into Focus with Alternative Financial Data (LendIt), Rated: A

Ten percent of the U.S. adult population do not have a credit score or history with any of the big three credit bureaus.

That’s 1 in 10, or roughly 26 million people who are considered “credit invisible.”

But the financial underserved market spends $173 billion in fees and interest to use $1.94 trillion in financial services, according to the 2017 Center for Financial services Innovation study.

There are four basic categories of people who fall under the credit invisibles umbrella:

  • Millennials: People between 18– 34 and have not yet borrowed money or gotten a credit card.
  • Low-Income: People who don’t make enough money to gain access to credit.
  • Recent immigrants: People who recently moved to the U.S. but haven’t established credit.
  • Mass-affluent: People who earn more than $100,000 per year and pay with cash instead of credit.

Mobile Payments In US To Reach $ 3 Trillion Within Two Years (Payment Week), Rated: A

in 2015, mobile payments in the US represented $550 billion. That’s good by most any standard, but the growth expected is staggering. By 2020, that number is projected to hit $2.8 trillion. That represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.1 percent, which is far beyond most any but the most unlikely investments.

China represents $5.5 trillion in mobile payments use as of right now, a combination of various societal factors like a comparative eschewing of the personal computer in favor of the mobile device, as well as a near-ubiquity of locations that accept the system.

BREAKFORM | RE Closes a Small Lot Subdivision Development in Record Time Via Crowdfunding (PRWeb), Rated: A

BREAKFORM | RE closed its latest small lot subdivision development project in the prime West Hollywood adjacent neighborhood in record time using Equity Multiple, one of the leading real estate crowdfunding platforms. The offering was 145% subscribed in 72 hours.

Credible Appoints Chris Bishko as Chief Financial Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Credible, the consumer finance marketplace that helps consumers save money and make smarter financial decisions, today announced that it has appointed Chris Bishko as chief financial officer. Mr. Bishko will report to Credible’s founder and CEO Stephen Dash.

New York Lawmakers Open to Revisiting the BitLicense (CoinDesk), Rated: B

A bill to reform the regulation could be introduced “very soon,” State Senator David Carlucci told CoinDesk.

But what is likely to remain is the animosity toward the BitLicense, as evidenced by the small but dedicated protest gathering outside just before the roundtable began, not to mention the grievances aired by the two dozen or so attendees.

United Kingdom

Transaction volumes increase 700pc at fintech firm Revolut (Independent.ie), Rated: AAA

Fintech start-up Revolut has seen its monthly transaction volume increase by over 700pc in the last 12 months to $1.5bn (€1.2bn).

Lendingblock Aims to Popularize Crypto Lending in a Secure and Transparent Way (cryptovest), Rated: AAA

Lendingblock aims to become the first to build a marketplace where cryptocurrency lenders meet borrowers, and can exchange their assets across blockchains. The platform aims to bring securities lending to the crypto economy. The current estimates of the market paint a picture of enormous potential for development: in 2017, $2 trillion of assets on loan in traditional securities lending brought approximately $4 billion in revenue. Replicating this in crypto could generate up to $300 million within 3 years as the project notes in its white paper.

 

Britain’s big banks play catch up with fintech with new apps (Reuters), Rated: A

British retail banks are poised to introduce money management apps to compete with those already launched by financial technology start-ups, betting their trusted brands, broad client base and deep pockets will help them make up lost ground.

NatWest sets up network of fintech accelerator hubs (Finextra), Rated: B

The UK’s NatWest is launching four specialist fintech accelerators based in its Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester sites.

China

Screws to tighten further on non-bank lending (The Standard), Rated: AAA

China will tighten its crackdown on illegal fundraising to fend off financial risks, according to an inter-agency meeting.

European Union

European Fintech Alliance raises bank API fears (Finextra), Rated: A

The European Fintech Alliance has fired another broadside in its tussle with the financial services establishment over PSD2, raising fears that banks will develop substandard APIs as a way to fend off competition.

Specifically, the alliance of 74 fintechs, challenger banks and fintech associations is unhappy that the Regulatory Technical Standards on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication under PSD2 allow banks the possibility to be exempted by their National Competent Authority from having to accommodate licensed Third Party Payment Services Providers (TPPs) to access accounts via the so called fallback option in case of malfunction of the API.

International

Marketplace lenders worldwide raised nearly bn last year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE GLOBAL marketplace lending sector saw nearly $9bn (£6.45bn) invested across 233 deals last year, marking a new funding record for the industry.

Consultancy firm Fintech Global, who compiled the data, found that equity investment in the sector rebounded to $8.9bn last year after a slowdown in 2016. The total was boosted by the top 10 deals, which raised a combined $4.4bn.

The second half of the year was strongest for funding, with the largest deal of the year closing in the fourth quarter when Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender Lufax raised $1.2bn.

Online lender ID Finance bolsters security with beahvioural biometrics (Finextra), Rated: A

ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, is incorporating behavioural biometrics into its AI-based fraud scoring engine to eliminate fraud, boost loan approvals and reduce the incidence of non-performing loans.

The behavioural biometrics system studies the unique typing and behavioural patterns users display during the loan application process to capture a range of patterns. These include mouse movements, to how fingers interact with a keyboard. The biometrics record patterns such typing speed, typos, flight time between keys, keystroke depressions, as well as the patterns from actual input.

Celsius: Get Dollars When You Need Them or Get Paid to HODL (cryptovest), Rated: A

The global financial system is wobbling. Banks and other traditional financial institutions have so far managed to survive the crisis resulting entirely from their errors, greed, and arrogance. Now, many believe, they won’t live through the crypto revolution unless they embrace it.

Meet the Celsius Wallet – a combination of a digital wallet and a peer-to-peer lending platform where members can earn passive interest on their crypto holdings and use them as collateral to get loans in fiat currencies.

Australia

‘Essential’ brokers advising Xinja on mortgage strategy (TheAdviser), Rated: A

The chief executive of banking disruptor Xinja has revealed that mortgage brokers have been involved in the group’s home loan plans and will be “essential” to its strategy.

The crowdfunded online lender recently received an Australian credit license (ACL) from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and plans to utilise the broker channel to facilitate its digital home loan approval process.

Mortgage franchise sees decline in loan settlement (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

Mortgage franchise Yellow Brick Road posted a 2% decline to $7.74bn in loan settlement volume in the first half of FY18 over the previous period as it reduced its number of branches.

Overall, the company delivered 85% growth in profitability, with net profit before tax increasing to $0.53m in the first half of FY18 over the same period of FY17. It cited higher revenue – up by 5% – and lower costs – down by 4% – as drivers of its result.

The company also expects the addition of a small business lending product through its partner Prospa to provide additional revenue opportunities for its network and support growth in commercial lending.

India

P2P platforms as NBFCs gaining popularity in small cities, but there’s a catch (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

P Kanwal is from Punjab’s Bhatinda. He has a furniture business which mainly deals in cash, because of which it was difficult for him to get a secured loan from the formal banking system. For him, a Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform came as a rescue, which got him an unsecured loan for his kid’s education and expanding his business.

This not just the story of Mr Kanwal, but many more small entrepreneurs who are operating their businesses in Tier-1, Tier-2 cities and far-flung areas, some not even on Google map, who are getting financial support through P2P lending.

The pattern that emerges currently from the P2P lending is that borrowers from tier-2 and tier-3 cities comprised 20% and 17% of the total number of loans disbursed through the platform. The new-to-credit borrowers comprise 35% of fulfilled borrowers, while those with poor credit ratings accounted for 10% of the overall number.

MENA

Peer-to-Peer Lending Startup Blender Raises Million in Debt Financing and Equity (CTech), Rated: AAA

Israel-based peer-to-peer lending startup Blender P2P Israel Ltd. has raised $16 million in equity and debt financing, the company announced Monday.

Latin America

Airfox Launches Mobile App in Brazil, Giving Unbanked Access to Financial Services (PRWeb), Rated: A

Airfox, a mobile financial services company, today launched its free Android app in Brazil, giving millions of people unprecedented access to much-needed financing solutions.

More than 44 percent of Brazil’s population is unbanked, another 30-44 percent lack sufficient access to mainstream financial services, and those with credit cards face interest rates upwards of 200 percent (sources: World Bank, Bloomberg).

Canada

Big banks strive to give better digital financial advice (BNN), Rated: AAA

CTV’s Chief Financial Commentator Pattie Lovett-Reid discusses the Canadian banks’ quest to deliver quality online financial advice in an effort to catch up with the digital age.

Africa

PayJoy Partners With Vodacom & CBA to Bring Smartphone Financing to Tanzania (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

PayJoy, a San Francisco fintech startup, announced this week it has teamed up with Vodacom and CBA to bring smartphone financing to the country of Tanzania.

PayJoy Teams Up With Allied Mobile to Bring More Smartphones to Africans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

PayJoy, a San Francisco fintech startup, announced on Friday it has teamed up with mobile distributor Allied Mobile to bring affordable smartphone payment plans to markets across the continent of Africa. According to the duo, Allied Mobile will use PayJoy Checkout, an instant paperless finance system for customers without access to formal credit, and the patented PayJoy Lock which enables “pay-as-you-go” access to the phone. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

An Overview of African Alternative Lending

African alternative finance

The majority of the African population is underserved and unserved when it comes to banking services. Therefore, a new crop of fintech startups are thriving in Africa by developing innovative products to accommodate the needs of the community. Accenture estimates that over one-third of mainstream financial services revenue is at risk due to disruption in […]

African alternative finance

The majority of the African population is underserved and unserved when it comes to banking services. Therefore, a new crop of fintech startups are thriving in Africa by developing innovative products to accommodate the needs of the community.

Accenture estimates that over one-third of mainstream financial services revenue is at risk due to disruption in the industry from fintech.

Africa: The Land of Opportunity

According to Disrupt Africa’s Finnovating for Africa Report, there has been a boom in fintech startups since 2015. About 301 startups were tracked, and the majority of them were set up in the last two years. They’ve collectively raised around $93 million since 2015.

The reason for this exuberance is smartphone adoption. South Africa and Kenya are the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. As per 2015 research statistics, 88% of Africans didn’t have a bank account, but they did have smartphones. In 2015, 183 million people in Africa had a mobile wallet. That was 3 times the number of digital wallet users in the U.S. and expanding at 3 times the annual growth rate. If this trajectory continues, every African will have a mobile wallet by 2020. Numbers here clearly suggest that fintech startups have a huge opportunity staring at them.

Potential for Home Grown Peer-to-Peer Platforms

As per the Africa and Middle East Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, Kenya and South Africa are leading the P2P business lending market in Africa. But a noteworthy point here is that 90% of online alternative lending originated from platforms headquartered outside of Africa.

Source: d/p2p-lending-potential-africa/

The third largest alt-lending model in Africa was P2P business lending, which experienced astronomical growth from a modest $2 million in 2014 to $14 million in 2015. In 2015, Kenya and South Africa were the market leaders, garnering $16.7 million and $15 million, respectively.

“(Source) The East Africa region has the largest market share of the African alternative finance market. In 2015, East Africa accounted for 41% of total African market share, while West Africa accounted for 24% and Southern Africa accounted for 19%.”

Source: d/p2p-lending-potential-africa/

Since the market is still in a nascent stage, there has been no regulatory policy for the alternative finance industry. But positive efforts have been made in recent times to develop a regulatory ecosystem that will help in developing this budding industry in the region.

The Alternative Lending Leaders in Africa

Leading alternative lenders in Africa include:

  • Aella Credit – Started in 2015 by Akin (Akinola) J, Aella Credit’s headquarters is in Mountain View, California. The firm provides instant credit solutions that eliminates the hassle of standard loan applications and enables employees to borrow at competitive and fair rates through their employers.  Company offices are located in the United States and Nigeria. They raised a paltry $150,000 as seed capital but have gone on to raise an additional $1 million. Aella Credit disbursed over $1 million in loans with a 0% default rate to about 1,100 borrowers in the course of its soft launch.
  • Branch – Branch was launched in 2015 by Daniel Jung, Matt Flannery, and Random Bares. They raised over $11 million in various funding rounds. Branch eliminates the challenges of getting a loan by using the data on borrowers’ phones to create a credit score. It encrypts the data, thus ensuring complete privacy. Branch is a for-profit socially-conscious company based in San Francisco and Nairobi.
Source: Branch
  • KiaKia – Founded in 2016 by Chiemeziem Anyadike, Olajide Abiola, and Olajide Abiola, KiaKia is headquartered in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria. Utilizing machine learning, big-data, predictive analytics, digital forensics, and social collateral as part of its proprietary algorithm for credit scoring and risk assessment, the company provides real-time access to consumer and SME capital to underbanked Africans. Loans offer interest as low as ₦10K – ₦200K at 0.80%, durations ranging from 7-30 days, and no collateral. It has managed to raise $50,000 in funding.
  • Microcred Group – Microcred was created in 2005 by Arnaud Ventura with the support of Positive Planet and a number of institutional investors. Its headquarters are in Paris, Ile-de-France, France. A leading digital finance player for financial inclusion in Africa & China, Microcred offers financial services to emerging client segments, particularly the unbanked with a focus on micro & SMEs. The company operates in Madagascar, Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Mali, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, and China. The group has raised over € 99 million in various rounds of funding.
  • Musoni – Founded in 2009, Musoni is headquartered in Amsterdam. Musoni BV is a social enterprise that establishes best-practice microfinance institutions and uses technology to lower costs, reduce risk, and improve efficiency. In 2009, Musoni set up the first cashless Microfinance Institution (MFI) in the world using mobile payments for all transactions. Since then, Musoni Kenya has disbursed close to 50,000 loans to micro entrepreneurs with a total value of $12 million. In 2011, Musoni won the award for ‘most innovative use of technology’ at the Global Microfinance Achievement Awards in Geneva.
  • RainFin – RainFin was launched in 2012 by Hannes Van Der Merwe and Sean Emery. Headquartered in Somerset West, South Africa, RainFin was South Africa’s first lending marketplace. It pioneered a viable alternative for quality borrowers looking for access to finance and lenders looking for returns that are higher than fixed deposits or the stock market. It offers loans ranging from 6-24 months and at an APR starting from 10.25%.
  • FarmDrive – Founded in 2014 by Peris Nyaboe and Rita Kimani, FarmDrive is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. This firm is a social enterprise that connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to credit, while helping financial institutions to cost effectively increase their agricultural loan portfolios.

Apart from the above-mentioned lenders, there are a few more who are trying to make their mark in the African market, such Merchant Capital, Lydia.co, and many more.

Conclusion

Africa is not a homogeneous market. It is imperative for alternative lending startups to understand the different cultural nuances so they can develop products that have utility. As the region continues its socioeconomic upliftment, more people will need access to financial services. This makes Africa an exciting market for alternative lending in years to come.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Monday July 31 2017, Daily News Digest

credit card issuers

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter tops 2B GBP in lending. P2P Global Investments holds steady. P2P Finance Association reports new lending growth. One of China’s largest P2P lenders quits. BNI Europa invests 15M Euro in Creditshelf. Marqeta, Visa partner on global payments. Prospa secures $20M debt facility. Today’s main analysis: Bank and credit card issuer charge-off trends. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

credit card issuers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

News Summary

United States

Earnings Season Continues—Bank and Card Issuer Charge-Off Trends (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

As PeerIQ observed last quarter, we continue to see a “tale of two cities”–a divergence in charge-off rates of card issuers and large money center banks.

Discover reported a 55% increase in loan loss reserves citing re-normalization of credit performance, an increased supply of consumer credit, and an increase in consumer leverage. We also see observe increases in loan loss reserves from Synchrony Financial (30%), American Express (26%), and Capital One (13%).

Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg

Outlook for Consumer Lending 

The backdrop for consumer lending businesses is strong. Although delinquencies have picked up, originators remain compensated for taking on credit risk. The ROE for Discover and American Express are both over 20% as compared to C, JPM, WFC, and BAC where ROE remains stubbornly low in the 6 to 11% range. Also, consumer loan demand continues to grow (total loan requests on Lending Tree increased 48% year-over-year to 5.4 Mn).

The biggest challenge to the above state-of-play is the latest scale entrant to the retail banking business–Goldman Sachs. GS’s new lending business, Marcus, is on pace to originate $2 Bn in loans this year–the fastest growth rate of any lender that PeerIQ tracks.

Inside seven plans for a faster U.S. payments system (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A task force convened by the Federal Reserve has released its evaluations of 16 proposals to build a faster U.S. payment system. The plans were judged by the task force’s consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., based on how well they satisfied 36 criteria related to speed, security and other attributes.

EastWest ties up with PLDT unit (Inquirer.net), Rated: A

Gotianun-led EastWest Banking Corp. has teamed up with FINTQ, the technology arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations, to offer consumer loans through digital lending platform Lendr.

With this partnership, consumer-focused lender EastWest will make available personal loans and auto loans through Lendr by the fourth quarter of this year. Eventually, the offering will also include EastWest home loans, small and medium enterprise (SME) loans and credit cards.

Providing well-rounded financial advice and servicing through automated technologies (CGI.com), Rated: A

While robo-advice may account for only a fraction of the total assets under management today, it is a technology that is here to stay—but not in the way that has dominated news stories. Rather than supplanting the financial advisor with technology, firms need to leverage new multi-channel automation to empower their advisors to focus on value-added, relationship-building activities. In this paper, we look at how wealth management players can focus on getting to the right combination of human advisors and automated investment advisory solutions in a hybrid model that seamlessly integrates the two.

Read the paper here.

Overstock’s TØ Has Already Built a Platform for Trading Regulated ICOs (Coindesk), Rated: A

US retail giant Overstock.com has been waiting for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to tell the world exactly when a crypto token is a security.

Then, earlier this week, tØ got the news it had been waiting for when the SEC finally published the results of a landmark report in which it clearly laid out its rationale for why some tokens are still securities.

Long a detractor of a practice called “naked short selling” – where traders methodically bid down the price of stock by selling shares they haven’t first procured, Byrne set about using blockchain to cut out everyone who stood in the way of buyers and sellers.

BLOCKCHAIN AND INITIAL COIN OFFERINGS: SEC PROVIDES FIRST U.S. SECURITIES LAW GUIDANCE (Pepper Hamilton LLP), Rated: A

For those who hoped that the SEC would allow cryptocurrency and ICO markets to evolve unregulated, their hopes were dashed by the report and the bulletin. The SEC did not outlaw ICOs by any stretch of the imagination, but it did indicate that, depending on the facts and circumstances, an ICO may indeed involve an offering of securities. In that case, organizations that proceed without registering with the SEC or that structure the offering in such a manner so as to qualify for an exemption from registration will violate federal securities laws. The remedies for such a violation include rescission of the offering, cease-and-desist orders, fines and penalties, bans from participating in the securities industry, bans on serving as an officer or director of a public company, and, in the most egregious cases, referral to the local U.S. Attorney for possible criminal prosecution. So, whether an offering involves a “security” is a very important initial determination.

Inside the development of Erica, Bank of America’s AI-powered bot (Tearsheet), Rated: A

However, when Bank of America got a sense of the vision for its AI-enabled “digital assistant,” called erica, it didn’t take the bank long to gather the resources necessary to make her real.However, when Bank of America got a sense of the vision for its AI-enabled “digital assistant,” called erica, it didn’t take the bank long to gather the resources necessary to make her real.

The bot is now in the beta testing phase.

Fintech Apps and Banking Mobile App Development for Startups (Upwork), Rated: A

Paypal is the world leader in processing payment apps today. The app for Android and iOS devices provides the same functionality as the online Paypal.com service.

A good choice for small businesses Due.com lets users benefit from a convenient digital wallet, invoicing service and fast operations handled at low transaction rates.

iZettle also efficiently serves small businesses. What this fintech app does perfectly is that it allows small business owners accept cash and credit card payments from a smartphone or tablet. With additional cash drawers and receipt printers from iZettle one can also provide customers with printed or online receipts.

Another interesting example of a successful fintech app is Mobikwik. Now with the base of 50 million users Mobikwik offers a user-friendly digital wallet, which has become a real substitute of a physical purse for its users worldwide.

In regards to the ways of making personal loans an easier experience for users, LendUp offers just one of them. It’s a web application (also available for mobile) that lets users from selected US states apply for a short-term loan 24/7.

Citi Mobile is one of the leading mobile apps for iOS and Android mobile devices introduced by Citibank. According to Business Insider, the app has significantly grown in popularity mainly due to addition of FICO scorefeature.

Rating the Robo-Advisors (Barrons), Rated: A

By tech start-up standards, robo-advisors are already approaching middle age. Betterment, the pioneering robo-advisor and still the largest of the independent firms, turned seven in May. It now has $9.1 billion in assets under management.

Lawmaker Queries Alt-Lenders With Concerns Over ‘Trapped’ Small Biz Borrowers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) has reportedly sent letters to five alternative SMB lending companies with questions regarding borrower protections, anti-discrimination efforts, transparency and other factors.

Cleaver is reportedly seeking details of the companies’ business models and products offered to small businesses, how those products are originated, information on fees and rates and whether these businesses offer borrowers a repayment plan based on future credit card receivables, reports said.

The lawmaker is also seeking information on how these lenders handle transparency and whether they make disclosures to SMBs the same way they do to consumers as required under the Truth in Lending Act. He is also asking about whether these firms pull a consumer credit report for small business lending.

The SEC’s ICO crackdown will help in the long-run. (The Financial Revolutionist Email), Rated: A

But unless your plan was to make a quick billion in ICOs in time to ring in 2018 with Payments deal activity is en fuego.

Also in payments land, 

What is “working capital”? And how can it help my small business? (OnDeck), Rated: A

For many business owners, it makes sense to borrow funds to create a liquid cash cushion to operate their business to the best of their ability. Before you decide to borrow, you need to understand what your working capital needs are and to make sure numbers make sense for you and your business.

3 Reasons Why the Finance Industry Needs VR (UploadVR), Rated: A

The finance industry is one of the most data-driven trades, and by visualizing and analyzing data in VR, early adopters can get a leg up on the competition. Not only can VR improve the way data is viewed, but it can also improve the level of communication through the use of a shared virtual office (SVO). This is immensely important because, in the high stakes world of finance, a mistake or lapse in communication could cost millions of dollars.

The Biggest Trends in Home Mortgage Loans We’ve Seen This Year (Huffington Post), Rated: B

Typical of hot real estate markets, there’s a cycle. Home prices rise, people catch on and want in, and then they decide to sell. Soon, even more people jump in the market and serious sellers make their sale, causing inventory to thin. Buyers get wise to the overheated marketplace and decide to wait until the prices come down. The sellers who are eager to make a buck overprice their houses and when they don’t sell, they become income properties. As a result, the rental markets fill up with income properties, and the inventory continues to thin out.

We are at historic lows for mortgage rates, and they are not going to spike that drastically in the next year that it would preclude you from getting a solid thirty-year fixed rate loan.  The important thing is that you do NOT overpay for a home.

GE Alum Brings Discipline to High-Growth Financial Firm (CFO), Rated: B

After 16 years at General Electric, Chris Capozzi was still a young man. That was because he’d joined the company upon graduating from Boston College, where he earned a degree in finance and management information systems.

Eventually, one of the alumni introduced Capozzi to Stone Point Capital, which had just become a major investor in Freedom Financial Network, a privately held financial services firm. Everything clicked with the company’s co-founders and co-CEOs, Bradford Stroh and Andrew Housser, so Capozzi moved across the country to start work as Freedom’s CFO at the beginning of this year.

What kinds of opportunities are you focused on?

Secondly, we’re in the process of developing a securitization platform to complement our existing sources of capital and further expand our investor base, which will enable the growth on the marketplace lending side. Initially the plan is to securitize unsecured consumer loans, very similar to what other marketplace lenders, like SoFi and Avant, have done.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter passes £2 billion lending milestone (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter announced on Monday that it has passed £2 billion in loans over its platform, with more than £1 billion of the total made since the beginning of 2016.

About £1.3 billion of the total lent has gone to individuals, with £700 million going to businesses. The company now has 423,000 customers, the majority of whom are borrowers, more than any other UK peer-to-peer lender.

P2P fund holds steady on dividend (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Onerous banking regulations will continue to hamper growth in regulatory capital‐intensive lending asset classes, according to the investment managers of the £821m P2P Global Investments trust.

The fund is moving away from a pure P2P play, instead transitioning more into direct lending and other Alternative Credit niches. Its manager MW Eaglewood is also merging with Pollen Street Capital, which while still on-going, is expected to close later this year subject to regulatory approval. Pollen Street is also the manager of £359m Honeycomb investment trust which invests in direct lending assets.

Source: AltFi Data

P2PFA reports growth in new lending as LendInvest departs (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CUMULATIVE lending among the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) members in the second quarter of 2017 fell slightly to £8.39bn, due to LendInvest’s departure from the trade body.

However, new lending among the members has still grown significantly year on year, the P2PFA said on Friday.

The number of investors in P2PFA member-platforms has now hit 185,652, the trade body said, while the number of current borrowers has risen to 435,267.

UK P2PFA: Peer to Peer Lending Rises in Q2 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Q3 2016

Q4 2016

Q1 2017

Q2 2017

Folk2Folk

£139,344,302

£161,408,804

Funding Circle

£1,524,427,000

£1,830,397,245

£2,158,457,107

£2,455,740,443

Landbay

£42,948,000

£43,142,119

£43,975,419

£46,515,723

LendInvest

£776,112,000

£855,354,293

£971,875,952

Lending Works

£33,636,000

£39,368,050

£48,864,686

£58,441,220

MarketInvoice

£754,325,000

£837,793,900

£918,450,994

£1,018,021,696

RateSetter

£1,442,743,000

£1,604,406,564

£1,815,320,079

£1,995,142,453

ThinCats

£196,907,000

£211,446,000

£226,981,000

£242,540,000

Zopa

£1,731,685,000

£1,926,038,724

£2,172,561,894

£2,409,257,844

Total

£6,502,783,000

£7,347,946,895

£8,495,831,433

£8,387,068,183

The LendInvest bond promises to pay investors 5.25% with two payments a year until 2022 (This is Money), Rated: A

Alternative property lender and investment platform LendInvest has launched a five-year bond paying 5.25 per cent a year for investors with a minimum of £2,000.

In an era of one per cent savings rates and where yields ranging beyond 5 per cent are hard to come by in the equity markets, this deal is sure to whet the appetite of many investors – particularly as it comes with twice-yearly payouts.

LendInvest’s Christian Faes On Why Property Investing Is Still Going Strong (Forbes), Rated: A

According to Christian Faes, CEO and co-founder of LendInvest, the retail bond serves a number of purposes – it allows the business to diversify its funding and expand its capacity to lend to property professionals, but also creates a new entry point into property for investors.

He explains:

[The retail bond] is launching at a critical time when demand in the UK’s residential property market continues to outstrip supply. There’s a serious lack of capital available to professional property investors who buy, build, refurbish and renovate homes for UK streets. Our model allows us – and by extension our investors – to support these people and small businesses.

Faes says that it is difficult to pin down what a typical LendInvest investor looks like; the investor base ranges from those looking to build a portfolio of property loans on the firm’s online investment platform all the way up to pension funds, infrastructure funds and banks.

Fintech company DueCourse goes into administration (Manchester Evening News), Rated: A

Manchester fintech company DueCourse has called in administrators.

This comes less than a year after the cloud-based invoice financing service for SMEs was boosted by a £6.25m investment, the largest seen outside of London for a fintech firm.

Bosses said the money will be used to expand and grow its software with plans to raise a further £10-15m to grow its services worldwide.

Abundance Tops £50 Million in P2P Invesment into Renewable Energy Projects (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Abundance Investment, a UK based peer to peer lending platform in the renewable energy sector, has just topped £50 million in investment, according to a company report. Management said the “huge” popularity of its IFISA and three highly popular renewable projects from tidal, geothermal and energy efficiency technologies helped to fuel the recent growth. Abundance says three projects have attracted more than £10 million of new investment in less than 2 months.

  • Atlantis tidal energy debenture has sold out raising £4.3 million,
  • Green Deal bond will close in 4 days’ time and has raised £3.95 million to date
  • United Downs Geothermal project has raised 60% of its £3.8 million target (£2.7m) in less than a week.

New products and milestones for ethical P2P platforms (AltFi), Rated: A

Investors looking for ethical options now have more choices when it comes to peer-to-peer lending.

Lending platform Downing Crowd has launched two regular access crowd bonds, with one for a renewable energy generation and storage company.

Cash management and peer-to-peer lending could boost your balance sheet (Director), Rated: A

With inflation on the rise but interest rates at an all-time low in the UK – and some high-street banks even raising the prospect of charging commercial customers to keep deposits – companies’ savings may actually be losing value in real terms.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

Over the past few years a new way to potentially beat the banks has emerged – one that plays them at their own game. Called property-backed peer-to-peer lending, it gives companies the opportunity to be the lending bank themselves.

One of the fastest-growing products of this type is Choice, offered by Octopus Investments, an experienced investment company that manages more than £6bn of assets.

Working with a growing roster of challenger banks, Octopus can offer a savings product that currently provides an interest rate of more than one per cent.

This week in MoneyWeek: banks are back (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

Banks have been out of favour for the last ten years after they almost brought the global financial system to its knees.

So why would anybody invest in them? Oddly, one reason is “the failure by politicians to enforce a key promise” – that no bank would ever become “too big to fail” again. “In every developed country”, says Jonathan, the big banks have just got bigger. The “never again” promises have been replaced with “complex rules to strengthen bank capital, thus reducing the chances of collapse”. Another reason is that “banking has changed for the better” – governance has improved and customer satisfaction has shot up.

Why Banks Can’t Help But Help Fintechs (Fintech Weekly), Rated: B

It remains to be seen if any bank can ever do what the music industry is in the process of doing – taking back “their” industry by becoming the pre-eminent innovators. Such a thought might be laughable right now. But a word of caution on laughing too soon – if they do realise how to leverage their enormous power, accept that legacy systems must be overhauled and replaced wth the truly innovate, and execute such a strategy well, would you bet against them retaining and entrenching their dominance?

For now and the foreseeable future, most banks prefer to sit back and avoid risk. Really the risk lies in doing nothing and inviting a slow death by a thousand cuts. OK, yes, you can talk about record bank investment in fintech, cooperation between banks and fintechs – again, this is only helping fintechs move in on bank stomping ground.

China

One of China’s biggest P2P lenders quits ahead of clampdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China’s pending regulatory crackdown on the $120bn peer-to-peer lending industry has claimed its first scalp before it has even begun, with one of the biggest players saying it will wind up its business in an industry full of bad loans and no profits.

P2P lending, in which borrowers are matched with investors via online platforms, has mushroomed in the past five years, with China boasting more than 2,100 such platforms, but so too have scandals. Last year was marked by multibillion-dollar scams in China and a governance scandal that rocked New York-listed LendingClub.

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Beijing this month said it would delay regulations that will bar online lenders from guaranteeing principal or interest on loans they facilitate, cap the size of loans at Rmb1m for individuals and Rmb5m for companies, and force lenders to use custodian banks — a requirement only a fraction of the industry has met so far.

Three more Chinese banks join Swift’s global payments innovation (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Three local Chinese commercial banks have joined Swift’s global payments innovation initiative (gpi), bringing the number of Chinese banks involved to 16, the most in the world, according to Xinhua.

The new trio are Yinzhou Bank and Bank of Ningbo in eastern China’s Zhejiang province; and the Bank of Jiangsu, in the eastern Jiangsu province (and just south of Zhejiang).

Embrace the cardless era, CUP launched the electronic account cloud flash, or its Jedi fight back (TMT Post), Rated: A

A few days ago, UnionPay cloud flash together with Apple Pay launched promotional activities; early June, CUP also joined nearly 10 million businesses to create “62 CUP cloud flash to the whole people Sheng Hui.” Looks, CUP is imitating Alipay, WeChat to pay the subsidy routine.

Can you imagine using your Jingdong or US group (the new US big) account, you can pay through the UnionPay POS machine? Do not scan, do not have to swipe, do not open the APP, just need to close the POS machine and verify the fingerprint can be completed to pay.

The point is that you do not need to use the bank card account directly, but through the Jingdong or US group to pay the account, you can use the phone in the UnionPay POS machine to complete the payment.

European Union

BNI Europa invests EUR15 million in Creditshelf (Finextra), Rated: AAA

In Banco BNI Europa (“BNI Europa”), Creditshelf has succeeded in acquiring another strategic partner to help it provide financing to small and medium-sized undertakings (SMEs).

The online marketplace that specialises in SME financing, and the Bank, which operates throughout Europe, have agreed that Banco BNI Europa will invest up to 15 million Euro in the credit platform over the coming months.

Your Banker Is Always In: Sweden Rolls Out the Robots (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Aida is the perfect employee: always courteous, always learning and, as she says, “always at work, 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Aida, of course, is not a person but a virtual customer-service representative that SEB AB, one of Sweden’s biggest banks, is rolling out. The goal is to give the actual humans more time to engage in more complex tasks.

Besides Aida at SEB, there’s Nova, which is a chatbot Nordea Bank AB is introducing at its life and pensions unit in Norway. Swedbank AB is adding to the skills of its virtual assistant, Nina. All three are designed to sound like women, based on research suggesting customers feel more comfortable with female voices.

International

Marqeta & Visa Ink Global Partnership to Power Payments & Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Visa (NYSE: V) and Marqeta, a payment card issuing platform that can provide consumers with immediate loans, has announced a global partnership to propel innovations in commercial and consumer payments in lending. Visa has also made a strategic investment in Marqeta and led a $25 million funding round that included the participation of previous Marqeta investors including Commerce Ventures, 83 North, Granite Ventures, IA Capital, and CommerzVentures GmbH, as well as new investor CreditEase in China, one of the world’s largest alternative lender.

15 ‘RegTech’ Investors Every Fintech Startup Needs to Know (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

  1. Octopus Ventures
  2. SeventySix Capital
  3. Summer Capital
  4. Carrick Capital Partners
  5. EQT Ventures
  6. Insight Venture Partners
  7. JMI Equity
  8. Aquiline Capital Partners LLC
  9. Sageview Capital
  10. Accel Partners
  11. Warburg Pincus
  12. HarbourVest
  13. Digital Currency Group
  14. TTV Capital
  15. Balderton Capital
Australia

Online lender secures $ 20m debt facility (Australian Broker), Rated: AAA

Digital online lender Prospa has secured a $20m debt facility from the Australian arm of a US-based commercial finance provider, Partners for Growth (PFG).

Fintechs target millennials with online financial services (The Australian), Rated: A

Millennials are likely to fall into three categories:

• Inheritors: With wealthy parents, they are major consumers while they wait to inherit.

• Strivers: Coming from a more modest background, they are studying, saving and working hard with ambitions for promotion. They will borrow to support their lifestyle, not unlike inheritors.

• Given-ups: They are more likely earning a low salary but continue to consume as much as the other two categories. Buying a house is not on the agenda, so they do not see the point in saving.

And 71 per cent of millennials, according to Viacom’s Millennial Disruption Index, would rather go to the dentist than to the bank.

India

i2ifunding looks to break even by second half of FY20 (DNA India), Rated: AAA

i2ifunding.com, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, today said it aims to break even by the second half of 2019-20, given its robust growth in the last two years and promising outlook in the next two years.

It has a vision to scale up this disbursement up to Rs 200 crore over the next two years, i2ifunding.com said in a statement.

Fin-tech startup Finomena shuts down after failing to raise funding (The Indian Wire), Rated: A

Finomena, a startup which provided small ticket loans to students and young professionals, has shut down after failing to raise pre-Series A funding round.

The company is now no longer accepting new users on its website.

FinMomenta to introduce new products; targets SMEs (Deccan Herald), Rated: A

After working in a bank for many years, Brahma Mahesh and his friend decided to do something in the burgeoning FinTech space. They zeroed in on lending, as only 5-6% of the population is covered by banks and NBFCs. Mahesh, along with four other co-founders, started FinMomenta last year, and launched its first product ‘Tachyloans’, a peer-to-peer lending platform in May this year.

FreeCharge’s acquisition is proof that the Axis of Indian banking is changing (Quartz), Rated: A

In the next five years, almost 50% of the world’s financial services are planning to acquire fintech startups, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Collaborations, too, are expected to increase, with eight out of 10 companies waiting to partner with these new players, the report added.

Some 67% of senior Indian financial sector executives believe their business is at risk following the rise of fintech firms, and 95% of them were willing to explore partnership with them, a separate report by PwC released this April revealed.

On July 27, Axis Bank, the country’s third-largest private sector lender, acquired FreeCharge, a payments application and mobile-wallet company, for Rs385 crore ($60 million). This is the first such deal in the sector, potentially setting off more such transactions in the future, believe experts.

These serial entrepreneurs are offering bank products through an Ola-Uber model (YourStory), Rated: A

Five-month-old fintech startup Cashcow, which provides banking services and products to a customer at his doorstep, has expanded its operations to seven cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai. 

Joining fintech company Rubique as a chief product officer in 2016 introduced him to Manish Aggarwal, his future co-founder, who was leaving the startup at that point.

According to the founders, Cashcow is a platform providing banking services and products to a customer at his doorstep.

Can Regulatory Sandbox Nurture India’s FinTech Innovation? (CXO Today), Rated: A

The Indian financial services sector is undergoing major changes today. With more than 600 startups in the space of lending, payments, insurance and trading space, Fintech startups are not only spearheading innovation, but are also prompting traditional banks and financial institutions to explore new technologies and investing heavily in digital service delivery channels.

However, fintech startups unlike others face additional challenges of operating in a heavily regulated industry and have stiff competition as their key competitors are well established banking players. To overcome this challenge, experts believe, adopting a “Regulatory Sandbox” based approach where the regulator works closely with emerging Fintech firms make better sense.

Asia

Finca launches Pakistan’s first ever digital wallet (Daily Pakistan), Rated: AAA

FINCA Microfinance Bank, one of the fastest growing microfinance banks in Pakistan, has announced a movement to make digital commerce and payments free in the country.

SimSim, a mobile payment platform, was introduced in partnership with Finja – an internationally funded FinTech startup – at a launch event Thursday night at Mohatta Palace, Karachi. The event was attended by major industry stakeholders, government officials, artists, tech enthusiasts and media figures.

SimSim will give people access to frictionless payment options directed towards a diverse pool of merchants.

Middle East

Bahrain’s FinTech Sector Loses Ground to Dubai (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

Africa

FINTECH Association of Nigeria debuts to support development of the financial technology industry (PR Share), Rated: AAA

Over 25 FinTech companies attended the recent inaugural meeting of FTAN – FinTech Association of Nigeria – which principal objective is to serves as a platform for the development of the financial technology industry in Nigeria and to be a forum for the exchange of ideas and dissemination of information by and between various stakeholders in the industry. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor