Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

chinese p2p lenders

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle US small biz loan portfolio surpasses $2B. JPMorgan Chase to compete with Affirm, Klarna on POS financing. Funding Circle expands into Canada. Funding Circle financial highlights. Revolut fights new allegations. Dianrong lays off 2,000. Today’s main analysis: U.S. credit card debt hits record $870B IN 2018. International P2P lending volumes for February 2019. Today’s thought-provoking […]

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chinese p2p lenders

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News Summary

United States

Funding Circle US Small Business Loan Portfolio Surpasses Most Banks with $ 2 Billion Lent Through Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the global small business loans platform, today announced that investors have lent more than $2 billion through its platform to small businesses in the United States. With this milestone, Funding Circle now has more US small business loans outstanding than almost 98% of FDIC-insured banks1.

Funding Circle now has more than $1 billion of small business loans in its portfolio, which means that if it were a bank it would be among the 50 largest small business commercial & industrial loan portfolios in the United States, according to the latest FDIC data available1. However, unlike a bank, Funding Circle provides a single financial product. Its fully amortizing business loans, powered by sophisticated technology and proprietary credit models, enable business owners to access financing with speed and efficiency, allowing them to devote more time to delivering their product or service to the market and ultimately create more jobs and vitalize their communities.

JPMorgan Chase Enters A Hot Fintech Space: Point-Of-Sale (POS) Financing (Forbes), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase announced that it is moving into the point-of-sale (POS) financing market.

POS financing certainly isn’t new. In 2016, merchants in nine different retail categories saw more than 160 million POS loan applications—only 53% of which were approved, however.

Source: Forbes

Filene Research Institute 

Source: CORNERSTONE ADVISORS

Shopping at Discount Stores Could Help Get You a Loan (WSJ), Rated: A

Discount-store shoppers may soon get an unexpected benefit: better odds when applying for personal loans from Discover Financial Services.

Discover, best known for its credit cards, plans to use artificial intelligence to assess hundreds of unusual characteristics about personal-loan applicants in an attempt to get its rising losses under control.

U.S. Credit Card Debt Closed 2018 at a Record $ 870 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

U.S. credit card debt hit $870 billion — the largest amount ever — as of December 2018, according to the data from the Federal Reserve. Credit card balances rose by $26 billion from the prior quarter.

Source: New York Federal Reserve

Nearly 480 million credit cards are now in circulation — up by more than 100 million since hitting bottom after the recession a decade ago.

At the end of last year, credit cards were the fourth-largest portion of consumer debt in the U.S. after mortgage, student loan and auto debt. But the quarterly increase in credit card debt was faster than the other categories. Overall debt reached a record $13.5 trillion.

Source: New York Federal Reserve

LendingTree Compares Renting and Owning a Home in the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas in the U.S. (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Louisville, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City are the metros where median rents are cheapest when compared to median mortgages. In these areas, median rent costs are an average of $310 cheaper than median mortgage costs.

Source: LendingTree

Miami and Orlando, Fla.; and Virginia are the metros where rent payments are the most expensive when compared to mortgage payments. Median mortgage payments are an average of $215 cheaper than median rent payments in these metros.

Four of the top 10 metros where monthly rents are higher than monthly mortgage payments are in Florida. According to a recent housing study from Harvard University, low wages and too few rental units are key factors that have caused Florida’s rental affordability crisis to become the worst in the nation.

Source: LendingTree

‘Stop pitting misery against misery’: How TrueAccord is turning debt collections into a financial service (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Ohad Samet has spent his career working on lending analytics — first, at a firm called FraudSciences, which got bought by eBay. He ran analytics at Analyzd, which was acquired by Klarna. As the chief risk officer at the pay later lender, he became aware of how antiquated the debt collections industry was. Call centers, dialing for dollars, it just hadn’t kept pace with the front end of the business.

So, in 2013, he left and with two co-founders started TrueAccord, which is essentially a nearly-automated marketing and sales campaign for debt collection. Based on consumer data and data from the lender, it can determine who to call, what time to call, what communications channel — phone, text, email, chat — and what message to use. It purports to be a much better experience for consumers.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, Series 2019-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to five classes of notes (the “Notes”) issued by Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, Series 2019-1 (“Kabbage 2019-1”).

This transaction is Kabbage, Inc.’s (“Kabbage” or the “Company”) third securitization and it is expected that the proceeds of the sale of the Notes will be used to refinance the Company’s existing $610 million outstanding Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC Series 2017-1 Notes and provide extra funding capacity for Kabbage.

Notes Preliminary Rating Initial Principal Balance
Class A AA (sf) $421,221,000
Class B A (sf) $59,715,000
Class C BBB (sf) $69,348,000
Class D BB (sf) $35,316,000
Class E B (sf) $24,400,000

Peer to Peer Lending Platform Beehive Raises $ 4 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Beehive, a peer to peer lending platform servicing SMEs in the MENA region, has closed on $4 million Series B funding round, according to a release from the platform. This most recent funding brings the Fintech’s total raised to $15.5 million since platform launch.

Loan officers cast serious doubt on latest loanDepot, Chase mortgage promises (HousingWire), Rated: A

In recent LendingLife news, loanDepot announced its new digital mortgage, which it says can identify significant time and cost-savings for borrowers in seven minutes.

AI Foundry Unveils Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence Platform and Mortgage Automation Solution (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AI Foundry, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform company, today announced the launch of its next-generation Cognitive Business Automation Platform along with a new Agile Mortgages solution. This patent-pending technology incorporates the latest in AI, machine learning and machine vision to deliver a higher level of problem solving and decision making for enterprises. The new Agile Mortgages solution, which is built on top of the platform, automates manual, labor-intensive mortgage processes, enabling lenders to dramatically accelerate the lending lifecycle.

Could A Selfie Put An End To False Identities? (Forbes), Rated: A

Earlier this year, 

Auto Loan Statistics (LendingTree), Rated: A

Key facts

  • Americans originated a record 2.5 million auto loans in July 2018, the most recent month for which data is available.
  • Americans owed more than $1.14 trillion in auto loans as of September 2018, 23% more than 2013.
  • Outstanding auto loan balances are rising about 3.1% a year in dollar amounts.
  • Auto loans accounted for about 8% of outstanding consumer debt in 2018, including mortgages, about 2 percentage points higher than a decade earlier.
  • Gen Xers carry the highest auto loan balances with a median of $18,741 and are the most likely of other age groups to have a car loan.
  • The average new car loan originated by a finance company is $29,921.27, an increase of more than $5,000 from 10 years earlier.
  • Average monthly payments are rising, too:
    • $530 for new vehicles, up 5% year over year
    • $381 for used vehicles, up 4%
    • $430 for a new vehicle lease, up 4%

For many Americans, car loans are their largest debt burden, a weight which threatens to become overwhelming as they stretch loan terms to buy increasingly expensive vehicles — new and used. To get the full picture of auto loan debt in the U.S., we looked at auto loan originations, prices and term lengths. Here are the numbers.

Online bank Chime now valued at $ 1.5 billion after new funding round (CNBC), Rated: A

Digital bank Chime has tripled its valuation, officially passing the $1 billion-mark this week.

The San Francisco-based company announced a $200 million Series D financing round that brings its new valuation to $1.5 billion. Investors were led by DST Global, which also participated in earlier fundraising rounds, and new investors Coatue, General Atlantic, Iconiq Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group, Chime said Tuesday.

Jason Gross of Petal (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The personal experience that led to the founding of Petal.
  • Their core product and how it is different to what else is out there.
  • A profile of their typical customer.
  • How they are approaching underwriting.
  • The typical APRs and credit limits they offer on their card.
  • How they are protecting their company against fraud.
  • How Petal is getting the word out about their credit card.
  • The large waiting list they had when they launched last year.
  • The early signals they are seeing with credit performance.
  • How they are generating income.
  • The primary funding sources they use in providing the credit lines.
  • What they mean on their website when they say “a credit card with a conscience”.
  • Their biggest challenge as they grow their company today.
  • The goals the Petal team has for 2019.

FINRA Approves Circle’s Acquisition of SeedInvest, Continues Mission of Tokenization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FINRA has given their stamp of approval to the acquisition of SeedInvest by Circle. The crypto focused company announced the purchase of SeedInvest in October of 2018.  The acquisition of a regulated securities crowdfunding platform by the blockchain based Circle represented a seminal turning point in the crypto industry.

Virginians say online lender uses tribal immunity to get around state laws (Pilot Online), Rated: A

Virginians are taking a lead attacking what they say is a legal loophole that has left thousands of people stuck with debt they can’t escape.

The case involves loans at interest rates approaching 650 percent from an online lender, Big Picture Loans, associated with a small Indian tribe on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Lula Williams of Richmond, the lead plaintiff in one case, still owes $1,100 on the $1,600 she borrowed from Big Picture Loans — debt that she’s already paid $1,930 to retire. One of her loan documents reports the annual percentage rate for her debt at 649.8 percent, calling for her to pay $6,200 on an $800 debt. Her first three installments on that loan, each for $400, would have yielded Big Picture a 50 percent profit on the loan after just three months, court records suggest.

How to Invest in Real Estate without Buying Property (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

Lastly if you love jumping on the latest trends, then jumping on one of these companies services that how recently cropped up will help you get involved in real estate investing. You are able to invest in commercial and residential real estate investments and receive cash flow distributions in return, and just like the other options on this list, someone else is doing the heavy lifting whilst you reap the rewards.

Whilst there is no one standout company that we can confidently recommend, since they all havent been around long enough for us to make a property judgement, Fundrise returned an average of 11.4% on the invested dollars in 2017 and a further 9.11% in 2019.

The best part is you don’t even need to be an accredited investor to open an account, meaning if you’re new to the market, then this is your chance to get in on something thats shiny and new and that could potentially give you a place to invest your cash and reap the rewards of owning physical property.

Elevate Appoints Kathleen Vanderkolk as Head of Enterprise Risk Management (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE: ELVT) (“Elevate” or the “Company”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that it has promoted Kathleen Vanderkolk to Chief Risk Officer.

Vemanti Group Engages With Securitize And DSLG To Launch Digital Security Offering For eLoan, JSC (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Vemanti Group, Inc. (OTC PINK:VMNT), a technology-driven holding company, today announced that it has engaged with Securitize, Inc. (“Securitize”) and Digital Securities Law Group (“DSLG”) to launch a Digital Security Offering (“DSO”) to fund and propel the business objectives for eLoan, JSC (“eLoan”), its portfolio company. The Company recently announced that it has completed its investment in eLoan, a fintech company based in Vietnam.

The offering will be conducted by the Company on behalf of Fvndit, Inc. (“Fvndit” – formerly Directus Holdings, Inc.), eLoan’s US-based parent company, as the issuer. The issuance will be managed by Securitize’s platform and DS Protocol. Details of the offering will be announced at a later date.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Announces Expansion to Canada (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the leading small business loans platform in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, today announced its plans to enter the Canadian market and expand access to fast, affordable and transparent financing for Canadian small businesses.

Funding Circle will establish operations in Canada in the second half of 2019 with an office located in Toronto. The business will be led by Tom Eilon, who previously led the commercial strategy for Funding Circle in the United Kingdom.

Funding Circle Holdings plc (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Financial Highlights:

  • Strong Group performance delivering IPO guidance whilst continuing our strategy of investing for growth
  • Revenue of £141.9 million (2017: £94.5 million). Year-on-year growth of 55%1 (excluding property2) exceeding c.50% guidance stated at IPO
  • Segment adjusted EBITDA3 of £7.0 million (2017 loss: £3.9 million) with margin of 5% (2017: negative 4%)
  • Adjusted EBITDA4 loss of £28.5 million (2017 loss: £25.1 million) with margin improving to negative 20% (2017: negative 27%)
  • Basic loss per share of 18.2 pence (2017 loss: 14.0 pence)
  • Loss before tax £50.7 million (2017 loss: £36.3 million)
  • Free cash outflow5 of £42.0 million (2017 outflow: £35.3 million)
  • Cash of £333.0 million, £244.1 million higher than at the end of 2017 (£88.9 million), including IPO proceeds of £300.0 million, before expenses of £15.0 million

UK Peer to Peer Lending: Loans top £800 Million in Q4 as Industry Matures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer-to-Peer Finance Association(P2PFA) has published fourth quarter numbers for member platforms. According to their data, cumulative lending now tops £9.5 billion with over £800 million originated during the period.

The P2PFA states that platforms facilitated loans worth nearly £3 billion during 2018.

In Q4, P2PFA platforms originnated £527 million to businesses and £282 million to almost a quarter-of-a-million consumers. Cumulative lending among P2PFA platforms has now exceeded £5.5 billion for business lending and £4 billion for consumer lending.

Revolut is fighting back after yet more allegations were made against the $ 1.7 billion fintech unicorn after a week from hell (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Financial Times on Tuesday alleged that the UK National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is examining a complaint from a customer, adding to Revolut’s issues after a difficult week for the fintech.

However, the allegations were denied by Revolut and the Financial Times article was subsequently taken down.

The FT, citing emails, reported on an incident in which £70,000 was incorrectly paid into a Revolut customer’s account.

Is the Innovative Finance Isa worth it? We look at the pros and cons (City A.M.), Rated: A

At barely three years old, the Innovative Finance Isa still has some proving to do. And for some savers, it’s a product that is deemed too risky. But how risky is it really?

Of course, the IFISA is merely a tax-free wrapper, so the risk actually depends on the underlying investments held within.

And while investments can vary wildly, most IFISAs are invested in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market, where lenders are grouped together to invest capital through an online platform which distributes funds to borrowers.

How savers can use an Innovative Finance Isa to reap the rewards from the property market (City A.M.), Rated: A

Investors can open one IFISA per tax year, and have an annual subscription allowance of £20,000, with substantial tax-free returns.

There are also several different opportunities available when it comes to property IFISAs, including buy-to-let and development.

Wealth management firm urges greater awareness in investments (Wealth Adviser), Rated: B

Last year, the National Trust was criticised for investing in a fund with holdings in fossil fuel companies, while the Church of England was shown to have ploughed funds into Wonga, despite having publicly criticised the payday lender.

Provident fights back in bitter £1.3bn bid battle as it accuses former boss of destroying shareholder value and failing to grasp modern technology (This is Money), Rated: B

A war of words has erupted between the doorstep lender Provident Financial and its former boss John van Kuffeler as he mounts a £1.3billion hostile takeover bid.

The Provvy has accused van Kuffeler of destroying shareholder value and failing to grasp modern technology.

China

Dianrong has laid off as many as 2,000 employees amid a regulatory crackdown (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

China-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Dianrong has laid off as many as 2,000 employees and will shut down 60 of its 90 brick-and-mortar outlets, which helped verify the identities and qualifications of users, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

Additionally, the company has been accused of falling behind on wages and severance pay, per a Chinese media outlet cited by TechNode . The company reportedly started shrinking its business around 10 months ago, despite securinga $70 million funding round in January to expand its services, including SMB lending.

Source: Business Insider
European Union

How PSD2 Will Change Lending (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Merchants and customers are now transacting under PSD2 and GDPR in the European Union (EU) — regulations that allow a greater window into how customer data is being used. While these regulations are aimed at increasing consumer trust by allowing them more transparency, many consumers in the region are still adjusting.

French regulatory body, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), has fined Googlethe equivalent of $56 million for noncompliance with GDPR within the region, alleging that the information services company was using EU customer data for advertising purposes without obtaining clear consent from those customers.

For third-party providers, such as P2P lending and investment provider Zopa, PSD2’s data transparency rules provide an opportunity to “level the playing field” when it comes to gaining that consumer trust.

International

10 Fintechs Have Already Raised Monster Rounds in 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

We came into 2019 after a strong year of fintech investments with about $40 billion invested globally according to CB Insights.

Acorns

  • $105 million round led by NBCUniversal and venture arm of its parent company Comcast. NBCUniversal is now their largest shareholder.

Better

  • $70 million Series C from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). The company originated $1.3B in mortgages in 2018.

Figure

  • The $65 million Series B round was led by RPM Ventures as CEO Mike Cagney continues to show his fundraising prowess. Their valuation is said to be $365 million today about double the valuation from last year. Read our coverage here.

International P2P Lending Volumes February 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 531 million Euro.

This month I added Bondster (use Bondster Promotion Code 5506 to get 1% cashback).

Source: P2P-Banking

Omidyar Network spins out its fintech investment arm as Flourish, with up to $ 300 million (TechCrunch), Rated: A

After twelve years spent investing in impact-oriented financial services startups around the globe, the Omidyar Network,  which serves as the family investment office for eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, is spinning off its financial inclusion investment arm as Flourish Ventures.

Equipped with up to $300 million in capital for operations and investments, the new Flourish will continue to invest around the Network’s core mission of backing companies with a dual focus on making a social impact and achieving quality financial returns.

List of Multi-Crypto Wallets To Consider For Your Portfolio (Cryptomorrow), Rated: A

Everus

Everus is a multi crypto wallet that allows for payment of bills and for mobile top-ups in multiple crypto and management of multiple crypto. The wallet, which is part of an ecosystem featuring bill payment, marketplace, peer-to-peer lending and micro-finance; allows customers to send, receive, store and withdraw multiple cryptocurrencies (more than 50 currently).

Peer-to-peer lending will allow people to offer and accept microloans affordably, which will be more targeted to the un-banked.

Infinito Wallet

Other features to be added soon include crypto lending where users can lend crypto and earn profits, exchange integration to allow users to exchange crypto from the wallet, fiat gateway to let users purchase crypto with fiat, digital identity and KYC where users can register their digital identity and use it everywhere else without needing to create another one, news portal to furnish users with happenings in the crypto space, and App Square for browsing dApps.

Quppy Wallet

It links to other parts of the company’s product ecosystem including decentralized exchange to allow users to buy and sell crypto, a licensed crypto bank, Prepaid co-brand bank cards, a decentralized peer-to-peer lending for borrowers as well as merchants, individuals, corporate, financial and non-financial institutions as well as crypto-fiat payments for merchants and 100% legal fiat-crypto-fiat transactions regardless of region and legislation.

India

P2P lenders develop new ways to build trust (India Times), Rated: AAA

Monexo ensures less risk for lenders by keeping a lender’s contribution to a loan to only Rs 1,000. So if a Monexo customer lends Rs 1 lakh on the platform, it gets split across 100 loans.

Faircent also has a similar strategy. It does not allow lenders to lend more than 20% of a single borrower’s requirement. So for an average loan of Rs 1 lakh, there will be on average 43 lenders funding that. They also advice lenders not to lend beyond Rs 5,000-7,000 for one loan.

Scaling small businesses with alternative finance (India Times), Rated: A

Lack of access to finance is the most widely cited constraint by SMEs for growth and scaling up business. Generally commercial banks perceive SMEs fall in the category of high default risk due to limited collaterals, smaller in asset size and limited historical track record.

Asia

Tightened supervision needed for P2P lending services: Deputy PM (Nhan Dan), Rated: AAA

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked competent ministries and sector to enhance inspections, supervision and settlement of violations related to peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model which has been springing up in Vietnam in recent two years.

E-Money, P2P Lending The Hotspots (Fitch Solutions), Rated: A

  • The e-money and payments segment continues to show strong growth, and consolidation within the sector is positive to improve services and ease competitive pressures.
  • P2P lending is emerging as a bright spot, and regulation remains lax enough for lenders to thrive.
  • Cryptocurrencies show little potential for growth as the regulator remains apprehensive towards crypto-based assets.

FINTERRA Calls for All Thought Leaders and Regulators to Envision A Global Waqf Bank (Salaam Gateway), Rated: B

Malaysia has the potential to become the first nation in the world to set up a global “Waqf” bank using blockchain technology, expounded Hamid Rashid, the Founder of FINTERRA.

The platform is a blockchain-based solution to crowdfund Waqf charity, Islamic investments, and peer-to-peer lending.

Canada

Klarna And PayBright Partner To Give More Shoppers The Ability To Pay Over Time (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today, Klarna, a global payment provider, announces a partnership with Canadian instant financing provider, PayBright. Klarna and PayBright are joining forces to give Klarna’s 100,000 global retailers the ability to turn on a consumer finance solution for their Canadian shoppers quickly and easily.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Competing With Banks Through a Mobile App

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost […]

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost trust in traditional banks, and millennials don’t see the appeal in standing in line for banking services. To fill the void, Varo Money has launched a mobile banking business. The aim is to disrupt how banking is done in the United States. Its goal as to help customers cover their expenses, pay their bills, and build wealth over time.

Varo Money was founded in 2015 by Assaf Guery, Colin Walsh, Mykola (Kolya) Klymenko, and Roger Van Duinen. Its headquarters is located in San Francisco, California. The company has managed to raise over $78 million in various funding rounds with PE giant Warburg Pincus as the lead investor. CEO and Co-Founder Colin Walsh previously served for over 25 years in various reputed financial institutions like Amex in Europe, Lloyd Banking group, and Wells Fargo.

More Than a Bank

Throughout his professional career, Walsh realized a growing need to empower the next generation with tools that will help them improve their overall financial condition. He also realized incumbents were too entrenched in their existing business models to concentrate on developing products for the millennial generation. This became the driving force behind Varo Money. So he built a talented team with deep financial services expertise and a strong consumer technology knowledge. Varo Money is trying to be a one-stop shop for users’ banking needs and wants to inculcate better financial habits among customers by providing them with the right tools and financial guidance.

Last year, Varo Money launched their mobile app and banking products through a partnership with The Bancorp Bank. The partnership helped the platform come to the market with a FDIC-insured product. This helped them compete against incumbent banks and appeal to a larger cross section of the population. But Varo has big ambitions and wants a bigger share of the pie. That’s why the company applied for a national bank charter through the OCC. Even though obtaining this charter will be an uphill task, considering no new charter has been issued in the last decade or so, it’s a courageous move. It puts the spotlight on the young entrant and highlights its intention to be a serious regulated player in the industry.

Varo’s Business Model

The foundation of the Varo Money platform is relationship banking. It offers a basic consumer checking account just like any other bank, but the difference is a customer can perform all the basic functions like deposits and money transfers without having to go visit a bank branch. It even issues a debit card to customers and has started offering savings accounts. A customer can open a savings account on his or her mobile app and Varo offers interest rates up to 50 basis points as compared to 1 or 2 basis points offered by traditional banks.

Apart from the bank account, Varo also offers short- and long-term financing solutions. The short-term line of credit is a flexible line of credit (LOC) and is available to customers unexpected financial challenges. The LOC helps customers manage cash flows while avoiding the need to take a payday loan or cash advance. Also, 3- and 5-year fixed rate installment loans are aavailable for long-term financial needs.

Varo Money’s Technology and Competitive Posture

Varo Money is available as an iOS application with an Android version coming soon. The app is loaded with features like touch ID, a geolocation service to spot nearby ATMs, and the ability to link other accounts through APIs. The app is free and requires no minimum balance to open an account. Also, there are no foreign exchange charges or overdraft fees. Its customer base has access to over 55,000 ATMs worldwide as compared to 18,000 ATMs for Chase and 12,000 for Wells Fargo.

Varo charges a nominal fee for debit card usage. It also sells financial products of its partner bank earning income from that partnership. However, its lending products are a primary income generator. The pricing and structure of LOC products are developed to compete with other alternative lenders in the market.

Varo has a lot of competitors in different niches of banking. Players like Discover, Ally, and Goldman Sachs concentrate on only a few lending segments; these lenders do not follow a complete relationship model, but only offer a specific product. On the other hand, there are neobanks like Chime, Simple, and BankMobile that are single-purpose saving apps. Though they are doing a great job when it comes to user experience, the range of products offered by them is narrow compared to a full suite of products offered by a traditional bank.

This is where Varo Money is different. It is focused on customer relationships and wants the ability to offer the entire gamut of banking services to consumers. This gives it multiple cross-selling opportunities and reduces the cost of client acquisition. Its strategy seems to be paying off. In just 7-8 months, Varo has garnered tens of thousands of customers and over 100k downloads.

Conclusion

Varo Money is focused on replacing traditional banks with its comprehensive suite of online banking services and products. Coupled with its obsession for helping millennials make smarter financial decisions, Varo Money is looking to be an emerging player in the digital bankin sector.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Thursday December 7 2017, Daily News Digest

Robinhood

News Comments Today’s main news: Credible raises $50M in Australian IPO. Kabbage considers IPO. Blockchain project gives New York homeless a digital identity. Funding Circle surpasses $5B global lending, $1B to U.S. businesses. RateSetter publishes 2016-17 accounts. Starling Bank gets full FCA, PRA approval. N26 launches premium debit card, partners with WeWork. Revolut rolls out bitcoin services. Vietnam gets first P2P lending platform. IOU […]

Robinhood

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Kabbage Mulling An IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

According to FT Partners, the FinTech market saw a record 412 financial deals during the third quarter of 2017. One of the largest deals in the quarter involved a $250 million investment by Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY) in billion-dollar unicorn Kabbage (Private:KBGE).

Kabbage generates revenue from the fees on the loans. It expects revenue of over $200 million in 2017, roughly double the revenue in 2015. The company claims to have a loss rate lower than the rest of the industry, and that its direct lending business had turned profitable in the fourth quarter of 2016. It expected the whole business to be profitable in the second half of this year.

Kabbage plans to use the funds for expansion into Asia and build new products like insurance and payroll services. It will also be positioning the company for a possible IPO.

Securitizations Securing the Future (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

As we near year’s end, we’re excited to announce that LendingClub has closed its third self-sponsored securitization. The $330 million transaction saw immediate traction and has further increased access to consumer credit for the stable and scalable pool of investor capital in the liquid Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) investor market.

Of note, with 48 total securitization investors this year, over two-thirds 34 are new to LendingClub, including insurance companies, hedge funds, a bank and a pension fund.

We Analyzed 7 Of The Fastest-Growing Personal Finance Apps Of All Time To Figure Out The Secrets To Their Success (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Ninety-two million millennials will soon be in what Goldman Sachs calls their “prime spending years.” In aggregate, they command $1.3 trillion in annual spending.

(Bankrate found 83% of millennials don’t think they’ll ever retire: they simply “don’t think they’ll have the money” to do so.)

Source: CB Insights

For three of the tools we looked at — Mint, Level Money, and Check — we studied how their product evolved all the way up to their acquisition (by Intuit, Capital One, and Intuit, respectively).

Source: CB Insights

What follows are the results of our analysis — six secrets to success in the world of personal finance management.

1. Use pre-launch marketing to build both trust and hype

Mint had by far the most significant growth in its valuation — from $0 to $170M in just two years.

Source: CB Insights

2. Making the first experience valuable

Keeping users around is hard: according to Localytics, the average mobile app loses 80% of its users within just three days of download.

The best apps retain about 70% of users after three days. The next-best retain about 60%.

Source: CB Insights

3. Design for The Specific User You Want

Source: CB Insights

Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

A few minutes later, Therrien’s phone buzzed. It was the same guy. He gave his name as Charles Cartwright and said Therrien owed $700 on a payday loan. But Therrien knew he didn’t owe anyone anything. Suspecting a scam, he told Cartwright just what he thought of his scare tactics.

Therrien had been caught up in a fraud known as phantom debt, where millions of Americans are hassled to pay back money they don’t owe. The concept is centuries old: Inmates of a New York debtors’ prison joked about it as early as 1800, in a newspaper they published called Forlorn Hope. But systematic schemes to collect on fake debts started only about five years ago. It begins when someone scoops up troves of personal information that are available cheaply online—old loan applications, long-expired obligations, data from hacked accounts—and reformats it to look like a list of debts. Then they make deals with unscrupulous collectors who will demand repayment of the fictitious bills. Their targets are often poor and likely to already be getting confusing calls about other loans. The harassment usually doesn’t work, but some marks are convinced that because the collectors know so much, the debt must be real.

The problem is as simple as it is intractable. In 2012 a call center in India was busted for making 8 million calls in eight months to collect made-up bills. The Federal Trade Commission has since broken up at least 13 similar scams.

This New Blockchain Project Gives Homeless New Yorkers A Digital Identity (Fast Company), Rated: AAA

Three thousand homeless people in New York are about to receive a special holiday gift: a free smartphone that allows them to manage their digital identity, access shelters and food pantries, and make use of financial services.

The project comes from Blockchain for Change, a New York City startup that has developed a mobile app called Fummi that’s preloaded on the phone. It has teamed up with Life Wireless, which provides phones to low-income groups using federal subsidies. Also involved are NYC service providers like Urban PathwaysPart of the Solution (POTS), Hakook, and the Robin Hood Foundation.

Life Wireless is distributing the phones, starting in the Bronx. The service groups create the blockchain identities for individuals. Once on the system, they can then open an account, receive money, and track their activity.

Blockchain for Change has raised more than $500,000 in a seed round, but it’s also planning a public initial coin offering where it hopes to raise up to $50 million. It generates revenue by charging fees to users at a rate of $3 per month.

On Earnings Calls, Which Tech Company Are Senior Execs Most Obsessed With? (CB Insights), Rated: A

More than Google, Apple, or Facebook, there’s one company that CEOs and public company execs are talking about the most. We analyzed earnings call transcripts to identify the new king of technology.

Amazon has been mentioned nearly 3000 times in the last year.  That’s more than Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft combined.

Source: CB Insights

 

Global Debt Registry joins Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (Finextra), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company, today announced its membership to The Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA).

WSBA is an industry non-profit trade association created for financial market professionals, by financial market professionals. The alliance engages market participants, regulators, policymakers and technology innovators to advocate the adoption of blockchain’s distributed ledger technology.

Discover Enables Apple Pay Cash (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Discover has announced that transactions made with Apple’s new Apple Pay Cash card will leverage the Discover Network.

The card is part of the new Apple Pay functionality, which allows U.S. customers to quickly, easily and securely send and receive money among friends and family. When Apple customers receive money on a supported device, the money is added to their new Apple Pay Cash card. They can use the money instantly to pay someone or to make purchases using Apple Pay in stores, apps and on the web.

Payday lender Curo to launch in New York with $ 620m valuation (Financial Times), Rated: A

One of America’s biggest payday lenders is launching on the stock market with a $620m valuation, cashing in on mounting hopes that the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress will ease regulatory restrictions on the sector.

Curo Group, which targets “underbanked” consumers and is behind WageDayAdvance in the UK as well as Speedy Cash in the US, begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Shares in the private equity-backed company were priced on Wednesday evening at $14 per share, according to Bloomberg data.

Jury Convicts Online Lender Of $ 220M (Mondaq), Rated: A

Recently, a Manhattan federal jury convicted Richard Moseley Sr., the head of an online network of payday lenders and loan servicers, on charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and Truth in Lending Act, among other counts.

Moseley was convicted due to his leadership role over a vast and complicated system of interrelated companies that collected over $220 million from more than 600,000 borrowers and deceived regulators in the process. Convincing state and federal regulators and even his own lawyers that his companies were based offshore and not bound by U.S. law, Moseley coordinated a network of lenders and loan servicers that routinely misled both consumers and regulators.

Instamotor Customers Can Now Apply for Financing While Shopping For A Used Car (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Instamotor, the free online used car marketplace, announced today that its customers can now apply for and receive financing for vehicles on its platform.

An estimated 54% of used car buyers need financing according to Experian. By working with leading direct-to-consumer automotive lenders, Instamotor will become one of the few true automotive marketplaces to enable its users to shop for a used car and secure the financing more than half of them will need, all conveniently integrated in one place.

Loans enabled through Instamotor will be available to consumers with FICO scores as low as 500, which are people who commonly have trouble receiving optimal loan terms through traditional financing methods. Also, the application is optimized to be completed entirely in the comfort of one’s home rather than in a dealership office or credit union.

Lendio Opens New Franchise in Nashville (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Marketplace lending platform Lendio, recently announced its has opened its new franchise located in Nashville, Tennessee. Lendio revealed that its franchise program makes accessing business loans easy by helping small business owners skip the legwork of looking for a small business loan.

Progressive Leasing and Marqeta Partner to Power New Lease-to-Own Financing Experience (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Marqeta, the open API payment card issuing platform, and Progressive Leasing, a virtual lease-to-own company and a division of Aaron’s, Inc., today announced a technology partnership that will enhance the checkout process for Progressive Leasing customers.

As one of the largest players in the lease-to-own industry, Progressive Leasing sought a partner who could support their needs today and provide innovative solutions to help build their future payment checkout roadmap. Through the partnership, Marqeta will enable Progressive Leasing to issue virtual cards at the point of sale and work with them to create additional innovative payment offerings.

With the partnership, Marqeta will enable Progressive Leasing to take advantage of a wide range of modern features, including virtual card issuance, tokenization, and its patent-pending Just-in-Time (JIT) Funding, allowing Progressive Leasing to authorize and reconcile transactions in real time.

Real estate crowdfunding expands into more niche markets (Curbed), Rated: A

To those unfamiliar with real estate crowdfunding, the Fair-Haired Dumbbell development in Portland may be just the kind of wacky, esoteric project one envisions when imagining what happens when strangers pool funds online, crossing Kickstarter with construction. A pair of six-story towers connected by a skybridge, the commercial project does in fact resemble a hand weight, with an ostentatious, colorful Italianate pattern sprawled across the facade for extra impact.

Funded in part by investors who pooled money via the Crowdstreet crowdfunding platform, the building, located in a former industrial neighborhood called Burnside Bridgehead, is also open for business and looking for tenants. It’s the city’s first crowdfunded building, and a sign that the growing world of real estate crowdfunding has developed and matured since a 2012 change in investment regulations made these platforms possible.

While reliable numbers about this growing and fragmented market prove difficult to come by, research firm Massolution estimated the global market for real estate crowdfunding surpassed $3.5 billion in 2016.

Hope grows that a larger SEC crackdown on ICOs is coming — and soon (TechCrunch), Rated: A

More than $3 billion has been raised through so-called initial coin offerings so far in 2017.

That wait-and-see stance looks to evolve into much more action in 2018, suggest those who’ve either spoken with the Securities and Exchange Commission or otherwise have a vested interest in its rulings. (The SEC isn’t commenting publicly on its specific plans.)

Just Friday, a new division of the agency that’s focused on ICOs filed charges against an outfit called PlexCoin that reportedly raised $15 million from thousands of investors by promising a 1,354 percent return in 29 days or less.

Credit score row as FICO chief hits out at banks over ‘Fako’ rivals (Financial Times), Rated: A

A row has erupted over credit scoring after the head of FICO, the company whose metric underpins trillions of dollars in lending decisions in the US, hit out at some lenders for supplying customers with a rival measure he dismissed as “Fako”.

The group that supplies lenders with the rival assessment, VantageScore, hit back, saying Mr Lansing was spreading “misinformation aimed at discrediting FICO’s only real competitor”.

The spat points to the opacity of credit scoring, a crucial part of America’s consumer finance economy that is in the spotlight after the huge data loss at the credit reporting company Equifax.

Tips for Reducing College Costs (Earnest Email), Rated: B

Source: Earnest

Roostify to Integrate With Black Knight’s LoanSphere Empower Loan Origination System (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced that it has signed an agreement with Black Knight, Inc. (NYSE:BKI) to integrate its platform with Black Knight’s LoanSphere Empower loan origination system (LOS). The integration will enable Empower users to add further efficiency and transparency to the loan origination process – from application to closing.

Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator Unveils New Class of Fintech Disruptors (Business Insider), Rated: B

Envestnet | Yodlee(NYSE: ENV) today announced the members of the newest Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator class.

The members of the 2017–2018 Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator class are:

  • Amplifunds helps donors find non-profits that match their interests and performance expectations.
  • Datasine turns transactional data into psychometric insights, allowing banks to better serve their customers.
  • Golden helps families care for their senior parents’ financial health, wealth and security.
  • Peanut Butter offers a cloud-based software to help employers attract college-educated talent by managing student loan assistance programs.
  • Starbutter AI makes text and voice chat Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents that help consumers pick financial products like credit cards and mortgages.
  • Stessa enables property owners to manage, track, and communicate performance of their real estate assets.
  • Tangello improves home affordability by bridging the gap between renting and buying and offering a flexible, lower cost, and quicker way to finance homes, directly from mobile devices.
  • Veryfi provides mobile-first bookkeeping software that empowers business owners by automating the tedious parts of accounting through AI and machine learning.

AutoGravity Names Sheng Wang As Chief Technology Officer (PR Newswire), Rated: B

AutoGravity has announced the appointment of Sheng Wang as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to drive the company’s global engineering efforts. Wang joins AutoGravity’s executive team with responsibility for leading product and engineering to deliver a trustworthy and innovative car buying experience that empowers the consumer.

Prior to her appointment as CTO, Wang led AutoGravity product development as the company’s first Director of Product, building cross-functional teams to develop and launch the award-winning AutoGravity platform, as well as branded platforms for Volkswagen Credit and Kia Motors Finance. Wang joined AutoGravity with more than fifteen years of leadership experience in the technology industry and an uncompromising dedication to building dynamic teams and high-impact products that people love.

QCash Financial Wins Financial Times Future of Fintech Awards for the Innovation Category (BusinessWire), Rated: B

QCash Financial, a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) providing automated, cloud-based small-dollar lending technology for financial institutions, announced that it was selected as the winner of Financial Times Future of Fintech Innovation Award.

The FT Future of Fintech awards recognize pioneering companies able to demonstrate innovative ideas capable of creating lasting change in the financial services sector on a global scale. Financial Times offers an Innovation Award for newer Fintech companies that are bringing out novel solutions. QCash Financial was awarded the Innovation Award.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle passes $ 5 billion lent globally, including $ 1 billion lent to US businesses (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle today announced that investors have lent more than $5 billion globally to small businesses through the Funding Circle platform. This has supported a network of 40,000 businesses across the UK, USAGermany and the Netherlands and helped to create more than 100,000 new jobs.*

Today’s news follows a record November for Funding Circle globally with the business facilitating more than $260 million of lending, including $175 million in the UK (£130m), $70 million in the US and $15 million in Continental Europe (€14.5m). Together this has helped thousands of business owners to access fast, transparent finance to grow their businesses, and will lead to an estimated 7,500 new jobs.

With US businesses now having accessed more than $1 billion in funding through the platform, Funding Circle becomes the first lending platform anywhere in the world to have facilitated more than $1 billion across two markets.

Your December Review – Insight and Analysis (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Your lending has reached £3 billion in the UK! November was also a record month, with £129 million lent to small businesses in the UK.

Over half of Brits (56%) think they have the skills to run their own business, but only 13% believe they’re entrepreneurial.

Source: Funding Circle
Source: Funding Circle

RateSetter Publishes 2016-2017 Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, UK peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter released its accounts for the year ending on March 31, 2017. The online lender reported that revenues were £23.7m, up 38 percent from 2015-16; loans under management grew by 23 percent, from £581m to £714m; the number of active lenders grew by 36 percent from 31,036 to 42,049; and, over the same period, the number of active borrowers grew 27 percent from 161,000 to 204,000.

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter’s losses jump as it takes a hit from bad loan to ad company (Business Insider), Rated: A

RateSetter booked a pre-tax loss of £23.3 million in the year to March 2017, compared to a £5.3 million in the previous year. The company operates a peer-to-peer platform that matches retail investors with individuals looking to borrow money.

Operating losses were £9.2 million last year but the figure was pushed higher by a one-off write-down relating to a loan the platform made to Adpod Limited, an advertising business RateSetter lent £12 million.
‘A resilient business’
RateSetter’s accounts also show that revenue rose by 38% to £23.7 million. Loans under management rose by 23% to £714 million. The number of active lenders on the platform rose by 36% to 42,049 and the number of borrowers rose by 27% to 204,000.

Goodwill impairment helps push Ratesetter further into to the red (Verdict), Rated: A

A goodwill impairment pushed pre-tax losses for RateSetter down to £23m in the year ending March 2017, despite revenue growth of 38% to £23.7m.

The company, which launched a consumer vehicle and commercial assets HP offer this year, saw a rise of 36% in the number of lenders and 27% of borrowers. However, operating losses of £9.2m were further weighed down by a £14.1m goodwill impairment on a loan to advertising company Adpop.

In 2015 Vehicle Trading Group, a company operating in motor finance for consumers and dealerships, used a wholesale facility from RateSetter to lend £12m to Adpop. Both Vehicle Trading Group and Adpop subsequently went into financial difficulties, and RateSetter then bought the two companies.

RateSetter thus decided to back Adpop’s repayments of third party loans, preventing its provision fund from absorbing the hit, as it normally would in case a borrower defaults.

Starling Bank Receives Full Regulatory Approval from FCA & PRA to Offer Broad Portfolio of Financial Products (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Starling Bank has been granted approval by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) to offer customers a wide array of financial products by the mobile only bank.  Starling Bank received a licence to operate as a bank by the Bank of England in 2016. The digital only challenger bank will now be able to provide; mortgages, consumer loans, ISAs, and other investment products via their App. No bricks and mortar necessary.

Barnett backs P2P Global Investments for recovery (Citywire), Rated: A

P2P Global Investments (P2P), the largest of the listed alternative lending funds, has won the backing of Invesco Perpetual’s Mark Barnett, its largest shareholder, for the turnaround plan it outlined last week.

The future of advice is ‘Fintegration’ (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

The financial advisory sector has seen much change in the past few years, much of it driven by new technologies and a wave of new market entrants. While we are seeing consolidation and innovation in response, this is just the start. So if you thought the merry-go-round was slowing down, then grab hold tightly because it is only going to accelerate.

‘Fintegration’ – the integration with fintech services – is emerging as an important factor.

What is common to both groups is their appetite for financial online and digital services – from online banking and mortgage management to peer-to-peer lending platforms. There is no doubt we will shortly see the fully integrated dashboard becoming commonplace.

China

China targets booming online lending as crisis fears build (Hong Kong FP), Rated: AAA

The 24-year-old secretary is among millions of Chinese who have turned to proliferating online companies that dish out quick loans — and are worrying the country’s leadership.

Jia started accumulating her debt when she was in college, turning to tech titan Alibaba when she could not get a credit card.

The ease of a few taps on her phone and a four minute wait led Jia to borrow and borrow and when she was finally able to take out a card, she used it to repay Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial.

But her debt reached roughly US$9,000 this summer, and her monthly interest payments eclipsed her meagre salary.

‘Lending nirvana’ 

Alternative lending, with loans that can be wired to accounts within minutes, has taken off in China and accounts for 85 percent of the global market, according to a University of Cambridge report.

European Union

N26 launches a premium debit card for ‘the digital customer,’ partners with WeWork (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

N26, the European mobile banking service, today announced the launch of N26 Metal, the company’s premium MasterCard-affiliated debit card “tailored to the needs of digital customers” at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin. N26 Black customers in Germany, France, Italy and Austria will be able to sign up for the new NFC-enabled card, which obviously features a metal core made from tungsten and that makes the card weigh a lot, starting December 14.

It’s also worth noting that this is the first metal card in Europe that supports contactless payments.

What better company to partner with then than co-working and real estate startup WeWork. Using the N26 Metal service, N26 customers will also be able to join the WeWork network and get credits to reserve workspaces and conference rooms.

International

Currency trader Revolut’s offer to those champing at the bitcoin (The Times), Rated: AAA

Revolut, which provides foreign currency services to consumers and small businesses, said that from today its users would be able to buy bitcoin and other “cryptocurrencies” using 25 conventional currencies.

BFS Capital has Extended Over $ 1.7 Billion in Financing to Businesses across the US, UK and Canada (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Marking its 15th anniversary year, BFS Capital, a leading small business financing platform, announced it has now extended over $1.7 billion in financing since funding its first deal in 2002. The company also reported that over 75 percent of its originations have occurred in the last five years and more than 25 percent took place in the last 18 months. For full year 2017, BFS Capital expects to generate more than $300 million in originations, a new annual high.

Recent Origination Milestones in Online Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, Kabbage announced they had crossed the $4 billion mark. They have now lent to more than 130,000 small businesses which they claim is the largest customer base of any online small business lender.

This week LendingHome announced it had crossed $2 billion in mortgage loans for homeowners and real estate investors.

Funding Circle UK crossed the £3 billion (approx. $4 billion) mark in small business lending for their UK business.

LendingClub quietly announced total small business originations of $500 million since 2014 in a recent blog post.

Emerging markets are under pressure, but I’m buying the dip (CNBC), Rated: A

The Chinese government instituted tough new regulations on online consumer lending platforms, which are made up of payday loans and peer-to-peer lending. Some of them are associated with large holdings in the emerging markets exchange-traded fund like Ant Financial, an Alibaba Group affiliate.

While much of this is a continuation of the Chinese debt bubble, the move suggests that it has gotten out of the regulators’ control.

We see a global trade boom continuing to drive emerging markets as global Purchasing Manager indexes show continued growth in demand for manufactured goods. For example, Korea is already registering signs of slowing Chinese demand but is still showing 9.6 percent year-on-year growth for November exports. However, we continue to watch the tone out of Washington, since a shift toward more protectionism could put a dent in this.

Viola FinTech is a new $ 100M Israel-based VC fund targeting fintech startups around the world (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Viola, the Israel-based technology investment group, is launching new independent VC fund targeting fintech startups from anywhere in the world. Dubbed Viola FinTech, the “cross-stage venture fund” has an initial closing of $100 million but will extend that towards $120-150 million. It is backed by global banks, insurance companies and asset managers from North America, Europe, APAC and Israel, including Scotiabank, The Travelers Companies, Inc and Bank Hapoalim.

Australia/New Zealand

San Francisco’s Credible Raises $ 50 Million in Australian IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

San Francisco-based financial technology company Credible Labs Inc. is going public, but not on a U.S. exchange.

The startup, a consumer loans marketplace, raised $50 million (A$66 million) in an initial public offering on the Australian Securities Exchange, according to a statement Thursday.

The IPO values Credible at A$300 million, about 50 percent higher than the valuation it got in its last fundraising round, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the details aren’t public.

Yellow Brick Road Adds Prospa to Lending Panel in Boost to Aussie Small Business (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Yellow Brick Road has added online lender Prospa to its lending panel. The move was described as an effort to diversify its lending offerings for Australian small business customers. Yellow Brick Road is a full service wealth management company that offers products and services for home loans, financial planning, insurance, superannuation, and investments.

Marketplace lenders must ‘start educating’ SMSFs on opportunities, discipline (Nestegg), Rated: A

Speaking to Nest Egg, CEO of fully licensed marketplace lender Zagga, Alan Greenstein said that self-directed investing is now a “very, very big part of SMSF investment” and that according to Zagga research, well over 30 per cent of SMSFs at a sophisticated wholesale level are self-directed investors.

Pointing to a recent whitepaper produced by Zagga, Mr Greenstein said SMSFs tend to be invested at either end of the spectrum; very high risk and high yielding opportunities, or very low risk opportunities.

He said that Zagga’s newly launched ZAG Fund offered a middle ground, with a targeted net return of 6.5 per cent.

Ngā Tangata Microfinance breaking hold of predatory lenders (Scoop), Rated: A

With loan capital provided by Kiwibank, Ngā Tangata Microfinance (NTM) provides no-interest loans to qualifying clients for family well-being and relief from high-interest debt.

An evaluation conducted by the University of Auckland’s Centre for Applied Research in Economics found NTM’s no-interest loans were crucial in helping low-income clients break the cycle of debt caused by predatory payday and fringe lenders.

Partnering with local budgeting advisors, NTM has now disbursed more than $660,000 in no-interest loans to more than 300 clients, with 70% of the support being for relief from high-interest debt. It is estimated these loans had potentially saved clients a total of more than $1 million in interest and additional costs. Requests for help continued to trend up – 30% more NTM loans were approved in the past 12 months compared to the previous year, amounting to nearly 130 loans worth $275,000.

India

Loans are easy to get, but are they for you? (livemint), Rated: AAA

When you buy a phone, you have the option to pay for it then or pay later. You have this option even when you are buying grocery or paying bills. Credit these days can be available relatively easily, even for amounts as low as Rs1,000. In fact, in a country where you need to have a good credit history and credit score to get loans from banks, you can now get loans on your phone—even if a bank would not lend to you.

According to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd (CMIE), personal loans (incremental numbers) increased 179% and credit card outstanding rose 34.63% in value during April to October period in FY 2017-18. In comparison, incremental numbers during the same period for housing loans showed negative 32.7%.

Source: livemint

HDFC Bank Ltd saw a 35.75% growth in personal loans and 44.50% growth in credit card business in the second quarter (on a year-on-year basis). ICICI Bank, in its second quarter results this financial year said that its personal loan book saw a 40.1% year-on-year growth and the credit card business grew by 36.5%. And this is true for the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) as well. Bajaj Finance Ltd saw a 42% growth in consumer lending in the same period.

Asia

Vietnam launches first peer-to-peer lending platform (XinhuaNet), Rated: AAA

Vietnam has launched its first peer-to-peer lending service Vay Muon, enabling people to borrow and lend money without having to go through a financial institution.

Matching lenders and borrowers via a smartphone application, the lending platform does not require mortgages and one-on-one meetings, local VTV online newspaper reported on Thursday.

First-time loan requests will be reviewed and disbursed within four hours and subsequent requests will be handled in just half an hour.

‘Korean startups should do what they are good at to get funding’ (The Investor), Rated: A

Korean startups flock to Silicon Valley hoping to become the next Facebook or Google. However, setting up a business from scratch where thousands of new startups come and go every year, is not easy, and becoming a “unicorn” is near impossible.

One fundamental reason is because they can’t get enough funding, according to Tim Chae, head of the Korean unit of US accelerator 500 Startups.

First of all, a company should either run a business in a certain sector for which Korea is widely famous worldwide, such as beauty and e-sports segments, rather than roll out me-too services and products.

Datarius Cryptobank Participates at BlockShow Asia 2017 (Digital Journal), Rated: B

On November 29–30 a large-scale event — Block Show Asia 2017 — was held, and Datarius Cryptobank participated in this event.

Datarius Cryptobank is a unique project. This is a first social cryptobank built on base of the distributed register technologies using neural networks and artificial intelligence. The main attractive features of the project for investors and future customers are the lowest transaction fees, as well as P2P-lending.

Canada

IOU Financial Surpasses US$ 500 Million in Loans Originated (Cision), Rated: AAA

IOU Financial Inc. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announces today that it has facilitated more than US$500 million in financing to thousands of merchants and small businesses across the United States and Canada since launching its lending platform.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor