Monday April 16 2018 Daily News Digest

yield curve

News Comments Today’s main news: Goldman buys Clarity Services. Zopa to receive 400M GBP valuation. Lending Works surpasses 100M GBP in online lending. ETHLend expands into fiat lending. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ’s valuation report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why you’re not making much on your bank account. The impact of Brexit. Adjusting to new digital demands. UK venture funding takes a breather. […]

yield curve

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Goldman Sachs Comes to the App Store (The Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bought personal-finance app Clarity Money, acquiring a mobile storefront for its growing consumer bank.

The deal closed on Friday for Clarity Money, whose backers include Soros Capital and Citigroup Inc.’s venture-capital arm. Adam Dell—brother of Michael Dell, the personal-computer pioneer—founded Clarity Money and will join Goldman as a partner, a title rarely given to outsiders.

Strong Bank Earnings, LendIt Update, PeerIQ’s Valuation Report (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo’s earnings also beat analyst expectations, but the bank cautioned that these results could change due to the ongoing CFPB investigations. Consumer loans decreased $9.5 Bn QoQ – more than LendingClub or SoFi originate in a year – driven by a $3.8 Bn decline in auto loans, $1.9 Bn seasonal decline in credit card balances, and a $1.8 Bn decline in the junior lien mortgage portfolio.

 

Source: PeerIQ

PeerIQ’s Valuation Report 

Source: PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ

Why You’re Still Not Making Much on Your Bank Account (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

After a decade of being near zero, short-term interest rates have risen sharply in recent months. Typically, these rates — three-month T-billsLiborcommercial paper — move together because they reflect the same basic economic reality.

Source: The New York Times

Slow but solid growth in the United States since the Great Recession has finally altered the balance between borrowers and lenders. Higher rates mean those with cash to spare now have the upper hand and can demand a higher price to part with it.

That’s how it’s supposed to work. But as any saver can tell you, some short-term rates have barely budged.

Adjusting to new digital demands goes beyond technology (American Banker) Rated: AAA

One of the dominant themes at the recent Oracle Industry Connect conference was that banking customers are not in a state of transition to digital anymore — they are all digital now.

But whether an institution is drawing up plans on how to respond to big tech firms entering the banking market, or engaged in an effort to overhaul legacy systems, Suber said, the guiding emotion shouldn’t be fear. Instead, he said, bankers should embrace a “golden age of fintech.”

Key’s goal is to use digital to enable self-service when appropriate, while gearing the branch towards serving customers with issues best suited for a one-on-one request.

Regions Bank Announces Partnership With Fintech Mortgage & Consumer Digital Lending Tech Platform Lender Price (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Regions Bank announced on Thursday it has invested in and formed a partnership with fintech mortgage and consumer digital lending technology platform provider, Lender Price. According to the bank, the duo will focus on streamlining Regions’ digital process and simplify interaction between banks, borrowers, and bank.

LendingTree considers moving headquarters to Pineville (WBTV Chorlotte) Rated: A

Online loan marketplace LendingTree is considering moving its headquarters from SouthPark in Charlotte to the Cone Mill site in Pineville.

The company released a statement Thursday concerning the possible move.

In the statement the company said that given its considerable growth since the 2016 purchase of two buildings in SouthPark, their headcount projections have expanded significantly, so they are evaluating alternatives, including Pineville.

Wells Fargo could face $ 1 billion penalty for auto and mortgage abuses (CNN) Rated: A

The beleaguered bank warned on Friday that it may revise its first quarter earnings results because of the fine. The bank says that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have offered to resolve their investigations for that amount.

Wells Fargo (WFC) apologized last year for charging as many as 570,000 clients for car insurance they didn’t need.

An internal review by Wells Fargo found that about 20,000 of those customers may have defaulted on their car loans and had their vehicles repossessed in part because of those unnecessary insurance costs.

DiversyFund Launches New $ 50 Million Growth Fund for Multifamily and Commercial Real Estate Deals (PR Newswire) Rated: A

DiversyFund, a crowdfunding platform that is revolutionizing real estate investing, has launched its Commercial and Multifamily Real Estate Growth Fund. Investors in this fund will own shares of a variety of real estate investments, with 80% of the fund dedicated to commercial and multifamily properties.

Projected returns are between 15% and 20% per year. The minimum investment is $5,000.

Nonprofit Credit Unions Provide Alternatives to Payday Loans (Nonprofit Quarterly) Rated: A

According to the latest factsheet by the Center For Responsible Lending, over four out of every five payday loans are taken out within the same month of the borrower’s prior loan. In other words, the impetus behind making unaffordable loans is to create demand for additional loans based on deceitful lending practices. As the market for payday lending has grown to $40 billion, the profits from these businesses are directly stripped from low-income consumers with few alternatives. While some legislative efforts have reduced the growth of this market, there are still 12 million US households that use payday loans annually, spending an average of $520 on fees to borrow $375, according to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts in 2017.

Senate Banking Committee Probes Mulvaney’s Leadership at the CFPB (National Law Review) Rated: A

On April 12, 2018, Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs regarding the Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress.  The Senate Hearing comes the day after Democrats in the House Financial Services Committee questioned Mulvaney about his leadership at the Bureau.  A copy of his written testimony is here.

  • Increased Congressional Oversight. Throughout the hearing, Mulvaney stressed his recommendations for greater oversight to hold the Bureau accountable.
  • Payday Lending. Mulvaney noted, however, that he has the discretion to reach a different conclusion about the payday lending rules than his predecessor, Richard Cordray.
  • Data Security.  While data security was an issue that spanned both sides of the aisle, Republican senators focused on the Bureau’s handling of consumer data while their Democratic colleagues focused on Mulvaney’s position on the Equifax data breach.

As to the Bureau’s handling of data, Mulvaney explained that he has instituted a data freeze and commissioned a report about the Bureau’s data collection and protection.  While the data freeze does not apply to enforcement actions, the Bureau plans “to limit data that we take possession of.  . . . instead of having them send it to us electronically, we are going to look at it.”  Mulvaney acknowledged that “everything that we keep is subject to being lost.”  When Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) asked what data had been lost, Mulvaney declined to publicly comment.

 

Some companies are turning their noses up at Softbank’s huge cash offers (CNBC) Rated: A

SoftBank’s massive Vision Fund said in 2017 that its minimum check size is $100 million. But in the financial-technology market, the number appears to be twice as big.

Executives at a half-dozen fintech companies said the Vision Fund has told them it’s looking to do deals where it can put at least $200 million to work over one or multiple investment rounds. These people asked not to be named because their talks with SoftBank are confidential.

Young Consumers Want Financial Advice (Credit Union Times) Rated: A

Analysts from LIMRA and Life Happens have reported that finding in summaries of results from a joint online survey of 2,082 US. adults

Only 7% of the boomers said they were looking for financial advisors; 41% said they already had advisors and were happy with their advisors.

But 18% of the millennials polled, and 19% of the members of Generation X, said they would like to have advisors and were searching.

Fintechs aiming AI at advisers (Investment News) Rated: B

Dream Forward deploys AI chatbots in its automated 401(k) platform, and is now beta testing a mobile-only version that can answer client questions via text message without requiring customers to log into their accounts.

Laserfiche develops automated workflows for advisers and later this year plans to go one step further with “robotic processes” that will automate even more of advisers’ manual, repetitive front- and back-office tasks.

United Kingdom

Zopa to receive GBP 400mn valuation in new fundraising plans: Sky News (Zephyre) Rated: AAA

UK-based peer-to-peer lender Zopa is in advanced negotiations with potential investors to seek around GBP 50.00 million in funding, helping advance the company to one of the largest financial technology (fintech) businesses in the country, Sky News reported.

Citing sources close to the matter, the broadcaster observed the simple loans and smart investment firm could be valued at GBP 400.00 million as a result of the deal, expected to be led by existing shareholders Wadhawan Global Capital.

In the loop: the continuous woes of traditional retailers (Elite Business) Rated: A

Lender Zopa reportedly targets £400m valuation with new fundraising round

Zopa, the peer-to-peer lender, is planning to raise a £125m round, according to Sky News. This will push the company’s valuation to a soaring £400m and is rumoured to serve as a pre-IPO funding round.

UK VC investment dropped in Q1

Worryingly, it seems as if Brexit has left investors clutching their chequebooks tighter in the first quarter of 2018, according to KPMG Enterprise.

Former P2PFA chair joins Zopa (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: B

Zopa has appointed the former Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) chair Christine Farnish (pictured above) as chair of its P2P board.

Lending Works Surpasses £100 Million in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based peer-to-peer lender Lending Works announced this week it surpassed £100 million in online lending. According to Lending Works, the milestone comes just a little over a year after the platform surpassed £50 million. The lender also reported that 20,000 customers (over 16,000 borrowers and nearly 4,000 lenders) have used its platform.

2018 Venture Capital investment in UK takes a breather after a bumper 2017 (Business East Midlands) Rated: AAA

Following a blockbuster year of over 8 billion USD invested within the UK bolstered significantly by multiple mega-rounds, – 2018 still managed to achieve a healthy start, with one $100 million round pushing the nation’s tally over 1 billion USD. The UK played host to seven of the top 10 European deals in the last quarter of 2017, but managed to scrape just one of the 10 in the first quarter of 2018. Four of the ten biggest European deals done in the first three months of 2018 were located in Germany.

What happens when fintech valuations come back down to Earth? (Financial Times) Rated: A

No tech subsector has reached stratospheric valuations as consistently as financial technology, or fintech. The heady combination of huge markets, a radical platform shift to mobile, and newly vulnerable incumbent dinosaurs (be they banks, wealth managers, or insurers) has attracted over $30bn of annual investment. After a decade of evolution, 2018 looks set to be the first year we’ll see a herd of fintech firms go public. At least ten have filed or talked about an impending listing this year, including TransferWise, Credit Karma, Adyen and Funding Circle.

 

 

‘YOU KICK IT’ AND THE ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT INDUSTRY (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

The Alternative Investment Management Association, the London-based organization representing the interests of the world’s alternative investment industry, has issued a new whitepaper about the impact of the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The United Kingdom has the largest alternative assets industry in Europe, so AIMA is unsurprisingly interested in the consequences of such an exit.

Read the full report here.

Fintech recruits ahead of open banking ‘tsunami’ (Insider) Rated: A

Scottish fintech business The ID Co is on a recruitment drive ahead of an expected ‘tsunami’ with the advent of so-called open banking.

The Edinburgh-based company helps banks make lending decisions by analysing live financial data including online bank statements, cashflow and credit agency records – and was one of the first agitators for open banking.

 

 

 

Time to think outside the bank? (Love Money) Rated: A

Savers subscribed to 8.5 million Cash ISAs in the tax year ending 5 April 2017, down from 10.1 million the previous year, while the total amount saved tumbled by a third to £39.2 billion.

LendingCrowd’s original IFISA product, the Growth ISA, is designed for those who want a quick and simple way of creating a diversified portfolio of secured business loans.

By automatically reinvesting their interest and capital repayments, the Growth ISA has actually delivered an average return for investors of 8.5% – more than three times the rate of inflation – as shown in the chart below.

Source: Love Money

 

China

 

 

Technology and eCommerce Are Now Driving China’s Small Businesses’ to Success (eSeller Cafe) Rated: B

According to the recent survey, Mainland China’s small businesses are the top users of fintech application and in digital payment technologies. More than 84 percent of the survey’s respondents say that at least 10 percent of their overall revenue came via these platforms. Businesses also use fintech to access funds from crowd-sourced funding and peer-to-peer lending.

 

European Union

EU Banks Losing Profits, Lending Ability Because Of Reforms, Report Says (PYMNTS) Rated: A

The Association for Financial Markets (AFME) in Europe wants regulators to curb the development of aggressive bank regulation, according to Reuters reports on Thursday (April 12).

The bank lobby has released a study aimed at reducing regulators’ heavy hand in the financial services market that the group said has made it more difficult for banks in Europe to support the broader economy in the wake of the financial crisis.

The AFME released a report along with PwC which surveyed 13 international banks, accounting for a combined 70 percent of capital market activity around the world, reports said. Analysis found the annual cost of regulation costs $37 billion for 13 banks combined, amounting to 39 percent of total capital markets expenses in 2016.

International

ETHLend Expands to FIAT Lending, Initiating Licensing Process (Finance Magnates) Rated: AAA

ETHLend, a crypto-to-crypto lending platform, has started a process to obtain a license on lending activities in over thirty countries in the European Economic Area (EEA). ETHlend’s initiative will also include other countries as well with its helping expand its current business model (crypto-to-crypto lending) to provide financing in FIAT currencies such as EUR, USD, and GBP against cryptocurrency holdings.

 

Everything You Need To Know About What’s Coming ‘Round The Corner (PYMNTS) Rated: A

In payments and commerce, it’s an eternity. Too long, according to ZestFinance, a company that believes credit needs a machine learning upgrade. Trulioo thinks verification needs to step up so financial institutions can actually “know their customer.” Global cross-border payments between businesses need a major boost to support the trillion dollars worth of transactions they’ve have to support in five years.

Source: PYMNTS

12 Selected Finalists at the 2017 Seedstars World Prize (Tech in Africa) Rated: B

RedCapital from Chile is a crowdfunding P2P lending startup. It offers a platform through which investors get attractive returns at low risk. Furthermore, the SMEs acquire loans at favorable rates. The startup has a risk predictor that allows its investors to realize zero default.

Australia

 

Latitude Financial pledges to grow lending responsibly and profitably (Australia Financial Review) Rated: AAA

Unsecured personal lender and ASX-aspirant Latitude Financial is targeting up to $5 billion of new loans over the next few years as its chief executive Sean Morrissey insists it can grow responsibly amid heightened scrutiny on lending standards.

During a “non-deal roadshow” over the past month, Latitude has met with around 100 fund managers ahead of what is expected to be the biggest ASX initial public offering since Medibank Private in 2014. Latitude’s three shareholders, KKR & Co, Varde Partners and Deutsche Bank, have not yet made a decision on timing for the float, which could value the equity in the group at around $5 billion.

N2N Connect expanding into P2P lending (The Edge Markets) Rated: A

Maintain outperform with an unchanged target price (TP) of RM1.53: N2N announced plans to acquire a 28% interest in Australian-based OurMoneyMarket Holdings Pty Ltd (OMM) through a subscription of new shares for a cash consideration of A$2.8 million (RM8.43 million).

India

Aye Finance receives 30 cr debt funding from Swiss investor (Business Line) Rated: AAA

Online lender from micro businesses Aye Finance said that it has received Rs 30 crore debt funding from from Swiss-based impact investor, BlueOrchard Finance Ltd. The funds would help the MSME lender to further diversify its lending portfolio, reaching out to the long trail of MSMEs in India.

Fintech company Cash Suvidhakeen to enter microfinance biz (Business Line) Rated: A

Cash Suvidha, a start-up fintech company that extends business loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, is looking to foray into microfinance business.

According to Rajesh Gupta, founder, Cash Suvidha, the company is exploring the possibility of either acquiring an existing microfinance institution (MFI) or setting up a separate vertical for its MFI business in the next two-to-three years.

“Rural lending is one area which excites me the most,” Gupta told BusinessLine.

Asia

After rounding off 2017 at a remarkable high bolstered by megadeals, Asia continued to see large deals in Q1 2018. These include two US$1 billion+ megadeals which were struck outside China, with Singapore-based Grab’s Series G financing and Go-Jek in Indonesia’s Series E round.

“Singapore saw a record US$2.68 billion of VC investment in Q1 2018, despite a relatively muted level of activity. It is testament to the maturing of Singapore’s ecosystem that a business such as Grab could be built here to tackle the regional market. In addition, the top deals in Singapore also span across diverse sectors, from logistics, internet retail to biotechnology,” said Chia Tek Yew, head of Financial Services Advisory, KPMG in Singapore.

UOB, China fintech Pintec team up to offer credit services in South-east Asia (Straits Times) Rated: A

United Overseas Bank (UOB) has entered into an agreement with Beijing-based financial technology firm Pintec Technology Holdings to set up a joint venture company, Avatec.ai.

UOB will have a 60 per cent stake in the joint venture, the bank said in a regulatory filing on Monday (April 16).

Avatec will have an issued and paid-up capital of up to S$10 million and will be a subsidiary of UOB.

Alternative finance the option for millennials (Financial Standard) Rated: A

Speaking at the AltFi Australasia Summit in Sydney today, OnDeck chief executive Noah Breslow said he can see the Australian alternative finance industry working with $2 billion in new loan volumes by 2020. He expects the industry to oversee about $700 million in new loans this year.

“Compared to five years ago, 70% of small business owners perceive there are more small business lending options today than there were in 2013. It shows how mainstream this type of financing is becoming,” Breslow said.

Equifax group managing director Asia Pacific, Mike Cutter, said 54% of online lending enquiries come from Australians 35-years-old and under. And Queensland is leading the charge, he said.

Singapore Weary Of Forcing Open Banking On FinServ Market (Pymnts) Rated: A

Singapore is ready for open banking, but regulators don’t want to force it on the financial services market, according to reports in Bloomberg.

Bloomberg highlighted how Singapore’s approach differs from open banking initiatives in Europe and Japan, where regulators have imposed requirements for banks and other financial institutions to support the movement of data between their systems and those of third-party financial service providers. Such was the aim of PSD2 in Europe and Open Banking in the U.K.

Singapore fintech startup Silot raises almost US$ 3m in pre-Series A funding (Business Times) Rated: A

SINGAPORE-headquartered fintech company Silot has raised some US$2.87 million from investors Arbor Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures with the completion of its pre-series A funding.

Arbor Ventures is a global early-stage venture capital firm, while Eight Roads Ventures is the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International.

OJK to relax muscles in next fintech regulation (The Jakarta Post) Rated: B

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) has adopted a more relaxed view toward the financial technology (fintech) industry, believing that rigid policies may only make them obsolete in the face of fast-growing businesses in the digital sector.The financial regulator already has a policy, called OJK Regulation (POJK) No. 77/2016, which governs peer-to-peer (P2P) lending fintech companies.

Flat loan growth positive for banks (The Edge Markets) Rated: A

After missing loan growth targets in 2017, several Malaysian banks have kept expectations more conservative this year, even as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) data indicated a moderation in the total outstanding financing growth of 4.1% in 2017 compared with 5.6% in 2016.

 

 

Almost 50 peer-to-peer lending businesses licensed with OJK (The Jakarta Post) Rated: A

OJK deputy commissioner Sukarela Batunanggar said as of April, there were 44 P2P lending businesses that had been granted operational permits by the authority. This figure, he said, was a considerable increase from just 30 P2P lending businesses in January, indicating robust growth in the industry.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 2 2018 Daily News Digest

Alibaba and Tencent investments

News Comments Today’s main news: Vanguard partners with Raisin. Rumor alert: Upstart seeking $100M from investors. LendInvest changes commercial property products. Apple may be blocking Chinese P2P lenders from app updates. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ’s MPL earnings insights report. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: Fintech holds promise to expand credit. How the PE lifecycle can be audited by the blockchain. How […]

Alibaba and Tencent investments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Online lender Upstart is said to seek $ 100 million from investors (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Upstart, which was founded by Google veterans, is testing venture capitalists’ appetite for an investment round of about $100 million, said two people briefed on the matter.

The San Carlos, Calif.-based startup is looking to sell shares that would value the business at $500 million to $1 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. This venture capitalist didn’t pursue a deal because of an existing competitive investment.

PeerIQ’s Marketplace Lending Earnings Insights (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

    • Where are we in the credit cycle? Earnings calls indicate CEOs/CFOs are constructive on the health of the US consumer and see a tax reform as improving consumers’ disposable income. However, an increasing supply for credit and demand for credit, as well as re-normalization trends and increased competition are leading to higher charge-offs.
Source: PeerIQ
  • Credit re-normalization continues across all major lending groups. Credit performance this quarter is mixed. We observe improvements, and record low delinquencies from ONDK, OMF, and FinTechs in particular. LendingClub expects 31 bps lower charge-offs going forward due to tighter credit standards. At Discover – a bellwether for personal loan performance – the net charge off rate jumped 92 bps YOY to 3.62% – the largest increase in several years.
  • Card issuers are increasing loan loss reserves at a higher rate than loan growth, indicating expectations of higher losses going forward. American Express increased loan loss provisions 33% although loan growth was only 14%.
  • GS & Morgan Stanley remain comparable in market cap, revenues, and margins – are focused on lending to improve ROE. MS is doubling the size of its warehouse lending footprint. GS continues to invest in Marcus and aggressively pursue M&A. If GS executes on its strategic plan of generating, in 5 years we should observe a growth in ROE from their consumer lending activities.
  • Bank FinTech partnerships, and M&A continues. Banks are either partnering with FinTechs or investing in beefing up their technology capabilities in payments, lending, digital banking and wealth management. Banks like JP are partnering with Amazon by rolling out co-branded checking accounts and credit cards. A specter is haunting financial services – the specter of Amazon.
  • Lenders are taking actions to pass rising rates on to borrowers to protect margins and investor returns. Lenders are also trying to reduce all-in funding costs by reducing the credit spreads on their securitizations.
Source: PeerIQ

Read the full report here.

 

Fintech Holds Great Promise To Expand Credit, Says Fed’s Bank Supervision Ace (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Fintech holds great promise to expand credit, Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Bank Supervision Randy Quarles told a forum on financial services for the underserved Monday.

While promoting the advantages of algorithm credit rating and other forms of fintech, he voiced it is important for banks to understand the risks when they offer new products of their own or partner with emerging fintech companies.

Touching on another issue, Quarles said the decline in lending by small banks to small businesses can be attributed in part by entrepreneurs using big bank credit cards.

THE PE LIFECYCLE CAN BE AUDITED BY BLOCKCHAIN (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: AAA

The hyperledger fabric is an open-source cross-industry collaborative effort to create a standardized enterprise code base. No cryptocurrency is required, the network is permissioned, and the system of consensus is PBFT rather than proof of work.

That latter point is important in the finance/auditing context, and so is worthy of some explanation here. The usual system in blockchains is “proof of work.” The creator of a new “block” within the chain is required to do something mathematically laborious, a calculation, also called “mining.” This is what allows the trustless and distributed consensus that made possible the creation of “bitcoins” and the launch of blockchain as a technology.

But “proof of work” takes up a lot of computational energy, and for some non-currency uses of blockchain it is just too much trouble. So alternatives protocols have developed within the blockchain world, and one of them has the ungainly name “practical byzantine fault tolerance.” That term comes from a game-theoretical issue called the “Byzantine Generals’ Problem,” which is something like the “prisoner’s dilemma” on steroids. But it is generally best to ignore all of that and just to think of the alternative protocol as PBFT.

Avant Founders Raise $ 15 Million for Blockchain Firm, Token Sale (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The team that founded marketplace lender Avant Inc. raised about $15 million to start a firm that will use blockchain technology and digital tokens to motivate companies to share data about customer identities and credit worthiness.

The venture, which is called Springcoin but does business as Spring Labs, is building a decentralized network that seeks to allow lenders, banks and data providers to pay one another for direct access to consumer information, Spring Labs Chief Executive Officer Adam Jiwan said in an interview. Many companies are hesitant to give out customer data due to concerns about regulation and security, while others don’t have a financial incentive to do so, he said.

TD Bank in commercial lendtech revamp with nCino (Fintech Futues), Rated: A

Chalk up another big win for cloud-based lendtech vendor nCino. The North Carolina-based fintech has signed a deal with TD Bank in the US that will put nCino’s Bank Operating System to work for the bank’s corporate and commercial lending divisions, reports David Penn at Finovate.

The technology is already live with employees in the TD Equipment Finance department. nCino’s platform will give prospective business borrowers faster decisions on their loan requests, as well as add transparency to the loan process. The Bank Operating System will also enable the bank’s credit risk management, sales, and underwriting professionals to benefit from insights into TD Bank’s commercial lending portfolio and better collaborate on deals. Built on top of Salesforce.com, nCino’s Bank Operating system features CRM, loan origination, account opening, workflow, content management, business process management, customer engagement, and instant reporting all on a single platform.

How blockchain is affecting banking (Stitcher), Rated: A

In this episode the host John Siracusa and co-host Sarah Bacehowski. Interview Jason Jones co founder of the Lendit Fintech Conference they discuss how blockchain is affecting national and global banking today and how it may impact credit and lending.

Fintech’s Focus Shifts Toward Finance (CFO), Rated: A

The financial technology industry is maturing at a dizzying pace, having exceeded a combined $31 billion in total funding last year alone, according to KPMG’s recent Pulse of Fintech report.

With this sustained influx of funding, innovations within the space are moving traditional banks to partner up with fintech firms. That benefits both sides as well as customers like corporate finance departments.

On Deck Capital and Lending Club have both recently found themselves in publicly precarious situations related to risk management. On Deck has had to change its strategy several times over the years to address investor concerns. Lending Club experienced a systematic fraud issue that resulted in a CEO departure, stock-price drop, and public cynicism. Other, smaller companies have faced similar problems stemming from a deficient focus on this important role.

Top 5 Debt Consolidation Loan Companies for 2018 (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

Using a personal loan to consolidate debt can simplify your financial life. But this move is most worthwhile if you can get debt consolidation loan rates that are lower than what you’re currently paying.

This overview can help you quickly find debt consolidation loan companies with the best rates. From there, you can find the lender that offers the best rates and terms to help you get ahead of your debt.

Source: Student Loan Hero

Omnichannel and Short-Term Lending (Lendit), Rated: A

Research conducted in late 2016 noted that three things were apt to cause the average customer to end his or her interaction with a company. These included being transferred between multiple employees when seeking a resolution to a problem, long wait times, and having to repeat themselves during a transaction process. To solve these kinds of discrepancies between customer expectations and the quality of service provided across multiple platforms, more companies are taking an omnichannel approach to the customer experience—especially in the financial services industry.

Below are three questions and answers about how this novel approach to customer experience can benefit both short-term lenders and borrowers.

  1. What does the omnichannel approach offer businesses and customers in the short-term lending industry?
  2. What obstacles stand in the way of the mass adoption of omnichannel lending?
  3. What is the best way for short-term lenders to implement an omnichannel model?

LAUREL ROAD DEBUTS TRULY DIGITAL MORTGAGE PLATFORM (PR Newsire), Rated: A

Laurel Road, an online lender and FDIC-insured bank, today debuts a truly digital mortgage product that uses the company’s secure lending technology to offer home buyers and owners personalized mortgage options at real, competitive rates. Laurel Road’s platform builds mortgages entirely online, simplifying the process with transparent fees and a customized end-to-end digital experience with human support only when customers need it.

Additional product features include:

  • Truly digital experience – Laurel Road’s mortgage product puts customers in the driver’s seat by enabling a digital-first user experience, with human support via phone or online chat as needed but never required outside of closing
  • Stated pricing – Customers who have a price range or specific house in mind can input these details upfront to generate customized options and rates
  • Maximum affordability – By inputting basic financial information, customers can determine the maximum affordable loan they’re eligible for early in the process with no commitment required
  • Added savings – Customers have the ability to earn savings off their closing costs by using the online capabilities throughout the process, such as data verification
  • Optimized for efficiency – Digitally-enabled experience and built-in incentives for options that streamline the process allows Laurel Road to invest more in customer experience and deliver mortgages in just a few weeks
  • Educational resources – Prompts integrated into the user journey will help customers establish their financial readiness and evaluate how Laurel Road can be a partner in the process
  • Expert options and clear terms and fees – Based on a customer’s preferences, 3 unique mortgage options are presented in a transparent way so one doesn’t get caught with misleading teaser rates or hidden fees
  • Soft credit pull – Laurel Road will conduct a soft credit pull during preliminary stages to avoid credit penalties when customers are still exploring options

DiversyFund Hires New Chief Technology Officer (Digital Journal), Rated: B

DiversyFund has named Mark Brogowicz as its new Chief Technology Officer as the firm ramps up its efforts to reinvent alternative investing through its revolutionary crowdfunding platform.

Brogowicz will lead the firm’s product and engineering teams. Brogowicz previously helped Los Angeles startup PeerStreet launch their product and is now looking to replicate that process in San Diego.

MassChallenge wants to pair fintech startups with finance giants (Boston Business Journal), Rated: B

MassChallenge is preparing to launch a program for startups specializing in financial services technology, or fintech — a fast-growing field that’s increasingly a top priority for Boston’s investment firms, banks and insurance companies.

While details are still being worked out, the program is expected be similar to the Boston-based organization’s accelerator for health technology startups, according to MassChallenge. That program, known as Pulse@MassChallenge, pairs later-stage startups with some of the industry’s biggest local and national players, like Aetna and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The program provides them with mentoring, office space, and an opportunity to compete for cash prizes.

Shinnecock Partners Publishes an Investor’s Guide to Fine Art Secured Lending (PR News), Rated: B

Shinnecock Partners, a 28-year old family office boutique with significant expertise in alternative finance and fintech, has published “Creative Collateral: Lending Against Fine Art,” by the firm’s founding partner, Alan C. Snyder and co-authors/firm analysts Michael Cervino and Christian Williams. The 16-page report outlines a little-known niche investment opportunity, art-secured lending, which, as reported by Deloitte, is a $15 – $20 billion market that is growing at an annual rate of 13 percent.

The research paper covers:

  •     An overview of the market and the “buzzword” lexicon
  •     Key factors to consider
  •     Risk mitigants
  •     An investor participation road map

You can access the report at: 

Private Lending Association to Offer Class for Certified Fund Manager Designation (PR Newswire), Rated: B

The American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL) is offering the Certified Fund Manager (CFM) designation class May 9, 2018, at the Geraci Activate Conference, located at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. AAPL members are eligible for the CFM designation and may register for the class at  or  The CFM designation class requires a separate registration from the Geraci Activate Conference.

Seek Capital Wins Again, #1 Customer-Rated Lender for the Business Loans Category from LendingTree in Q4 2017 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

On LendingTree’s platform, Seek Capital has a 4.9 out of 5 star rating. 57 different businesses have reviewed Seek Capital on LendingTree.

Seek Capital specializes in getting startup business loans for new businesses. While there is a large array of funding options for established businesses, new businesses are left with little to no options. Seek Capital provides solutions to this under-serviced segment of the business funding market. In 2017, Seek Capital originated close to $100 million for startup businesses in the form of an unsecured line of credit.

United Kingdom

LendInvest changes commercial property products (Mortage Introducer), Rated: AAA

Borrowers wishing to fund the purchase of, extend the lease on, or refurbish a commercial property where the use will remain commercial, are directed to the updated commercial bridging product.

LendInvest has increased the maximum term for its commercial bridging loans from 12 to 24 months, and reduced rates.

Its commercial bridging rates vary between LTV but the base 60% has been reduced from 0.90% to 0.79%.

Best refer-a-friend schemes: how you can earn up to £500 (Which?), Rated: A

NatWest has launched its first ever refer-a-friend scheme, which could earn eligible customers up to £500 – and it’s not the only company offering incentives for signing-up your loved ones.

Until 20 April 2018, eligible customers will receive up to £500 when their friends and family join NatWest. But it’s not open to everyone, with NatWest randomly selecting 300,000 customers for the test phase.

Refer-a-friend: current accounts

Earn £500 with NatWest-NatWest recently launched its first ever refer-a-friend scheme, offering existing members the chance to earn up to £500 by recommending its current accounts to friends and family.

Earn up to £500 with Nationwide-Nationwide is offering existing members the chance to earn up to £500 by encouraging friends and family to switch their current account.

Earn £25 with Vanquis -Vanquis Bank customers could earn £25 for convincing friends and family to sign up to the Vanquis Credit Card.

Earn £25 vouchers with Scottish Friendly-Customers of Scottish Friendly could earn £25 by introducing a new friend or family member to the company.

P2P securitisation boom still on the cards (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

PREDICTIONS of a securitisation boom in the peer-to-peer lending sector last year failed to materialise, but analysts are still optimistic about the market.

Ratings agencies such as Moody’s predicted a boom in P2P securitisations, but the only activity in 2017 was a £208.9m Zopa deal led by investment trust P2P Global Investments.

Ratings agency S&P Global is also expecting more activity and has predicted a 30 per cent increase in securitisations from marketplace lenders around the world during 2018.

7 TECH STARTUPS THAT ARE TAKING IRELAND BY STORM (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

Pro-business policies have made the country an extremely favourable environment for startups, and the capital can lay a convincing claim to be Europe’s Silicon Valley. Here are just seven of the most interesting and highly awarded startups finding success in Ireland.

Mingo- Mingo are aiming to replicate the success of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum by floating their own currency called (quite logically) Mingocoin.

Trezeo- Firms are using digital tools to revolutionise the process of transferring and storing traditional currencies as well as digital-only ones. Trezeo are a perfect example of this mindset, and offer a product that’s of use to the everyman rather than the big financial institutions.

FlenderFlender is one of the success stories from crowdfunded investment platform Seedrs. The premise: peer-to-peer lending, where lenders can set their own rates and terms for borrowers to agree to.

Don’t Innovate for Innovation’s Sake. Understand the Need for Change. (Retail Tech News), Rated: A

Here, Luke Griffiths (pictured below), general manager, Klarna UKexplains why that means it’s crucial that retailers consider the shopping journey from browsing through to purchase, delivery, and returns.  

It’s no longer good enough for retailers to wait on the sidelines while others make the first move into innovation – something which was highlighted in a recent white paper Klarna produced in association with Internet Retailing. In it, we explored the main qualities needed to be successful in today’s ever-changing retail sector.

Retailers can’t afford to ignore more innovative payment options. This was highlighted by recent Klarna research, which found that 53% of shoppers are looking for new, easier ways to pay online; while 56% would buy more online if there was more variety in payment options available.

 

British Business Bank provides 1pm with £35m funding line (Leasing Life), Rated: A

The British Business Bank provided 1pm Group with a £35m asset finance facility which will be used mainly on hard assets through its subsidiary Bradgate Business Finance.

At the end of February 1pm has entered into a cooperation agreement with Mintos to be a loan originator on its online marketplace for loans.

1pm is the first loan originator from the UK to access the Mintos marketplace and joins approximately 30 other loan originators globally.

 

 

It’s time to crack down on high-cost credit cards, says Labour MP (The Investment Observer), Rated: B

Stella Creasy is hoping to crack down on high-cost credit cards, introducing a cap on fees and interest charges.

The Labour MP, who was credited with the caps on interest rates and fees charged by payday loan companies, will attempt to enforce similar laws for credit cards on in Parliament on Tuesday.

The FCA has ruled out capping credit card costs after reviewing the market last year.

 

China

Apple App Store Said to be Blocking Chinese Peer to Peer Lenders from Updating Apps (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

We have received some information from an insider regarding Chinese peer to peer lending platforms being unable to update their Apps in the Apple App store due to a regulatory disconnect.

The problem is that not a single Chinese peer to peer lender has passed the necessary evaluations as regulators have not yet processed any. The first batch of approvals from the Chinese authorities is due at the end of April with the deadline by the end of June. According to the source, it is even more perplexing due to the fact that having an updated iOS App is necessary to comply with the Chinese regulations and pass the tests.

The Apple enforced process is described as follows:

  • We need to update our iOS App so that we can provide updated features to customers that are in compliance with regulations
  • Local financial regulators will not allow us to complete the record-filing process if they see that we have not come into compliance across all of our platforms (Android, iOS, PC)
  • If we can’t complete the record-filing process, then we will not be allowed to update our business license to include “internet loan information agency” in permitted activities
  • If we can’t update our business license, we can’t provide the necessary documentation to App Review to have our App Update approved
  • If we can’t get our iOS app updated, then we won’t be in compliance with regulations
  • Dead-end feedback loop back to point #1….
European Union

Vanguard Teams With German Fintech Raisin (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Vanguard, the king of passive investing and one of the world’s largest fund managers, is partnering with Raisin, the German fintech, enabling some of its investments to be sold on the fintech’s platform.

Raisin, among Europe’s largest fintechs, counting more than 100,000 customers, will offer four portfolios comprising index or exchange-traded funds from Vanguard and BNP Paribas. The Financial Times reported that the investment portfolios have annual costs on average that are less than 0.5%. According to The Financial Times, this is the first time Raisin is getting into the investment area, previously focusing its efforts on brokered savings deposits.

Banks deploy ID software for client verification (Financial Times), Rated: A

Banks have begun to implement new technologies to help verify who the customer is, though the new GDPR rules in Europe could complicate usage; the General Data Protection Regulation, which will restrict how companies collect and store data, allows for customers to ask for their data to be removed and non compliance results in huge fines; banks have started to slowly add new technology but they are still figuring out where to limit storage; new companies are trying to sell services into bank that allow them to collect information but store it in a certain way to be compliant; with new technology being developed so rapidly, governments need to ensure they keep up with innovation and clearly tell the market how to comply.

German fintech Penta launches new business banking platform (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Berlin-based Penta has announced its newest fintech “Compass”, a platform that allows incorporating businesses in Germany to deposit their share capital and open a bank account in under 24 hours.

According to Penta, incorporating a business can take up to 6-8 weeks because of the bureaucratic process of opening a bank account and registering with the correct government bodies, which is legally required in Germany. Penta’s latest proposition will allow founders to open a bank account in a process that takes less than 15 minutes, completing the whole process online for free.

 

International

BBVA-backed fintech launches global bank account (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A new fintech backed by the Spanish bank BBVA aims to do something that others before it have failed to do: simplify international payments.

The fintech, Denizen, claims it has created a “global banking platform” that allows customers to receive money in one country and pay it out in another immediately, avoiding international transfer fees and eliminating currency exchange fees.

The firm says the cross-border money movement service is the first in a planned series of products. Denizen is currently available to expatriates living in Spain and the United States. The service is set to expand in 2018, adding as many as 10 European Union countries in the second half of the year as well as the United Kingdom.

Finastra appoints new CTO to lead next wave of financial services innovation (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Finastra today announced that Eli Rosner has joined the firm as Chief Product and Technology Officer. Eli is responsible for global product and technology strategy and will support Finastra to deliver world class products, fully integrated solutions and its open FusionFabric.cloud platform for innovation.

Eli brings more than 25 years of industry experience to the role at Finastra. He joins from NCR Corporation where he served as CTO and Head of Product Management. Based in London, Eli will lead a global team of strategy and product managers, enterprise architects, data scientists and software engineers.

Australia

Online lender launches new loan portal (The Adviser), Rated: AAA

A custom-built introducer portal designed to facilitate fast, real-time processing of loan applications for brokers has been launched by an Australian marketplace lender.

Online lender Zagga this week launched the new portal, which uses custom-built algorithms to match wholesale investors with borrowers.

Speaking to The Adviser, Zagga CEO Alan Greenstein said the portal would provide brokers with simple, fast, and direct access to the loan application process from start to finish.

Sydney Angels funds QPay $ 570k to steal millennial students from banks (Finextra), Rated: A

Australia’s first ever student marketplace app, QPay, has raised $570,000 from a series of high profile investors, including Sydney Angels and the Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund 2, to break into student banking through the release of a student-targeted QPay MasterCard.

QPay aims to use the QPay MasterCard to capture the largest cluster of millennial consumers at the point when they’re most likely to begin making serious financial decisions – when enrolled in tertiary education.

Asia

How Alibaba and Tencent became Asia’s biggest dealmakers (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The China Music story shows just how hard it can be to say no to Tencent — and the other big player in the Chinese tech world, Alibaba. With their large resources and long-term perspective, the two Chinese groups are transforming Asia’s investment landscape, posing challenges for private equity and venture capitalists as well as the start-ups looking for funds. In some parts of the region, SoftBank, the Japanese investment group, is playing a similar role.

The reach of Tencent and Alibaba in their home market dwarfs that of the big tech groups in the US. While the latter accounts for less than 5 per cent of all venture capital flows in their home market, Alibaba and Tencent account for 40-50 per cent of venture capital flows in mainland China, according to data from McKinsey.

If the venture capital market in China has become a fierce battle between Alibaba and Tencent, in other parts of the region it is often a three-pronged competition that also includes SoftBank.

 

Can Korean entrepreneurs help create Indonesia’s next unicorn? (The Investor), Rated: A

Indonesia is home to four unicorns — startups whose value reaches over US$1 billion — Go-jek, Traveloka, Tokopeida and Bukalapak. But the world’s fourth populous country with more than 250 million potential spenders wants more such success stories.

“Currently, we have four startup unicorns from Indonesia but none are from fintech services. I hope to see the next unicorn from this field,” said Rudiantara, adding that he believes P2P lending fintech startups have a chance to become the next unicorn.

His wish may soon become a reality as Indonesia’s market potential, combined with the government’s push for creating a startup hub are attracting aspiring entrepreneurs from all around the world.

Africa

How technology is changing wealth management (Money Web), Rated: AAA

The investment world is no different. Robo-advice is but one small part of the broader fintech landscape, but it has already made a major impact on the investment space through improved access and by allowing investors to plan for specific needs without the use of a traditional advisor. Technology has also made pricing more competitive.

According to Accenture, global investment in fintech ventures tripled from just over $4 billion in 2013 to more than $12 billion in 2014.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 31 2018, Daily News Digest

eloans

News Comments Today’s main news: Spreads narrow on SoFi’s SCLP 2018-1 consumer loan ABS. DiversyFund raises $1M. Ranger Direct Lending sees arbitration delay. Klarna partners with Maplin. BNI Europa partners with Funding Circle on German SME lending. Western Union opens tech center in India. Today’s main analysis: Banco Popular reboots Eloan. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Marketplace Lending Association executive director’s testimony […]

eloans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

APAC

News Summary

United States

Spreads narrow on SoFi’s 1st consumer loan ABS of 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Strong demand and higher credit enhancement allowed Social Finance to offer lower spreads on its first consumer loan securitization of the year, even after upsizing the deal to $850 million from $650 million originally.

Four tranches of rated were issued, resulting in an advance rate of 91%, according to a person familiar with the transaction. The amount of overcollateralization in the deal will gradually build from 9% to 16%.

Two senior tranches of notes rated AA + by KBRA were issued. The Class A-1 tranche, which has a shorter expected life, pays 50 basis points over the Eurodollar synthetic forward curve, in from 57 basis points on the comparable tranche of the previous transaction. The Class A-2 tranche pays 75 basis points over the interpolated swaps curve, in from 90 basis points on the previous deal.

 

Ranger Direct hit by arbitration delay and manager uncertainty (Citywire), Rated: AAA

The New Year rally in Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) shares has come to an abrupt halt after the listed loan fund, which is backed by fund manager Mark Barnett, said arbitration to settle the legal dispute between it and Princeton Alternative Finance had been extended by around two months.

The £119 million investment trust has been locked in an argument with Princeton, a New Jersey-based investment fund in which it is the leading investor, over its exposure to Argon Credit, a US peer-to-peer lending platform that collapsed in December 2016.

Uncertainty over the exposure to Argon – which represents 14% of its £217 million net assets – and doubts over the due diligence by its adviser Ranger Alternative Management (RAM) have hobbled the shares. They fell over 23% last year but had rallied since the end of December when they hit a record low discount of 32% below net asset value. From 704p at the start of the year they recovered to 767p last week but have dropped 4% or 31p today after yesterday’s announcement. Although still wide, the discount has narrowed to just under 13%.

Relx pays £580m for digital identity company (Financial Times), Rated: A

Relx, the UK-listed information and analytics group formerly known as Reed Elsevier, has struck its biggest deal in a decade with the £580m purchase of ThreatMetrix, an online identify verification business.

ThreatMetrix has one of “largest repositories of online digital identities”, according to UBS analysts, and has built a database containing 1.4bn unique online digital identities from 4.5bn devices in 185 countries.

GLI Finance scores £50m funding line from HoneyComb fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The funding line has a term of 3 years and comprises a £50m revolving credit facility, of which £20m will be drawn and deployed immediately.

Ezbob Raises £15M in Expansion Capital (Finsmes), Rated: A

Ezbob, a London, UK-based E-lending company, raised £15M in funding.

Da Vinci Capital Management Ltd. reportedly made the investment at a post money valuation of £100m.

Meet The Lenders That Need Your SME’s Money More Than You Need Theirs (Forbes), Rated: A

in particular, the UK’s peer-to-peer lending platforms are now crying out for new customers.

Today, however, more than 30 lending platforms, including all the large small business lenders, offer their own IFISA or are on the verge of launching a product. For investors, moreover, the returns available from these schemes looks very attractive: annual yields of 10 per cent or more in some cases look phenomenal when set against the backdrop of bank and building society accounts typically paying less than 0.5 per cent a year, even if there is a risk of losses on IFISAs if borrowers default.

Augmentum Capital to seek public listing to back fintech start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: B

Augmentum Capital, the venture group backed by Lord Rothschild, is planning to list a financial technology investment fund in what would be one of the sector’s biggest initial public offerings in a decade.

It is understood to be applying for admission to London’s main market in March and will seek to raise up to £125m with the sale of new shares.

China

China’s financial risk worse than in US before financial crisis, says former finance minister (Today Online), Rated: AAA

The level of risk facing China’s financial system could be higher than was seen in the United States before the global crash, according to a former Chinese finance minister.

“China’s ratio of M2 [a broad measure of money supply] to gross domestic product has surpassed 200 per cent, which is more than twice that of the United States, yet the average Shanghai interbank offered rate is 4.09 per cent, far higher than the 1.1 per cent in the US.”

According to official figures, the M2 money supply at the end of December was 167.68 trillion yuan (S$34.75 trillion), or 203 per cent of China’s nominal GDP in 2017.

Chinese P2P lending platform Senmiao Technology sets terms for $ 14 million US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Senmiao Technology, an early-stage Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, announced terms for its IPO on Tuesday.

The Chengdu, China-based company plans to raise $14 million by offering 3.3 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Senmiao Technology would command a market value of $109 million.

European Union

Klarna signs Maplin for online pay-later (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Today, leading payments provider Klarna has announced a partnership with Maplin – the UK’s number one specialist technology retailer. Maplin customers will now be able to use Klarna’s Pay later and Slice It services, allowing them to order online and receive the very latest Smart Home tech, security/CCTV products, top quality drones and so on, and then pay for them either at a later date or spread the cost over time.

Pay later enables online and mobile Maplin customers making purchases of £200 or less to receive their products and pay for them 30 days later, with no interest or fees.

BNI Europa to fund German SME loans via Funding Circle (Finextra), Rated: AAA

The Portuguese online bank Banco BNI Europa and Funding Circle have entered into a strategic partnership to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Germany.

Investment will support the funding needs of c. 600 companies and thereby help to create c. 1,500 new jobs

Banco Popular reboots Eloan for new era in online lending (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Banco Popular is relaunching E-loan (it dropped the hyphen from the name) to serve as its “fintech arm,” a stand-alone brand offering solely digital products.

Launched in 1997, Eloan re-enters a market where fintechs now account for over 30% of personal loan originations, according to TransUnion. The brand will compete for clients alongside well-financed upstarts like LendingClub as well as new offerings from banks such as Marcus from Goldman Sachs.

 

Spendesk Raises €8 Million to Expand Its Platform for All Company Purchases (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Spendesk, a fintech solution that helps businesses manage their spending, has raised an €8 million Series A round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investors. The funds will be used to accelerate product development and expand across Europe.

ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank hit by cyberattacks (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Three Dutch banks, ABN AmroING and Rabobank, suffered a series of DDoS attacks last weekend (27 and 28 January).

During the attack, internet banking, mobile banking, its website and Ideal were unavailable or extremely slow on 27 January from around 8pm to 12.15am CET and on 28 January from 12pm to 2pm CET and after 7pm CET.

International

 

CHECQIT, the P2P Lending Platform Aiming to Empower the Unbanked (The Merkle), Rated: A

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex report, nearly 2 billion adults and 160 million small businesses from all over the world do not have bank accounts. Efforts to approach them to traditional financial institutions have not been enough, limiting their economic growth potential.

Only 14% of adults living in the Middle East hold a bank account, opposed to the 94% of citizens from first world western countries that do. Developing regions with underserved communities such as India and sub-Saharan Africa comprise, when combined, nearly 32% of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population.

As a response to this issue, Nassim Benzekri and his team developed CHECQIT, an Ethereum-based, decentralized, peer-to-peer lending platform that allows users to grow their collaterals against a fast-guaranteed loan.

Finastra acquires Olfa Soft SA (Realwire), Rated: B

Finastra has acquired Olfa Soft SA and its cutting edge FX e-trading platform for banks and financial institutions. The move enables Finastra to deliver a unique end-to-end real-time eFX trading solution for banks’ treasury departments, covering distribution, position-keeping, post-trade and payments.

India

Western Union Opens Tech Center In India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Cross-border payments company Western Union is opening a technology center in India, which will focus on biometrics, machine learning, and robotics, the company announced yesterday.

The center, located in Pune, Maharashtra, will have over 1,000 employees all focused on building these “innovative digital and retail customer experiences globally,” the company said in a press release.

Rubique announces strategic partnership with Optacredit (Outlook), Rated: AAA

Rubique, a marketplace lending platform for individuals and SMBs, entered into a strategic partnership with OptaCredit, an Artificial Intelligence-powered, data-driven online lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to salaried professionals across India.

With its Online PLUS technology led model and proprietary matchmaking algorithm, Rubique will enlist the company on its online marketplace for applicants to avail viable loan products from OptaCredit’s offerings.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders. The NBFC-P2Ps will act as an intermediary to provide an online platform to lenders and borrowers to transact on mutually agreeable terms. RBI has defined P2P lending as a form of crowdfunding that entails issuing unsecured loans to borrowers via an online portal in its 2016, ‘Consultation Paper on Peer to Peer Lending’. However, P2P lending is different from other crowdfunding activities in being a purely debt product, in which multiple lenders fund borrowers as personal loans or small business loans. Most of the P2P platforms in India such as IndiaMoneyMart curate their borrowers after conducting KYC checks, credit assessment, and due diligence before listing them on their loan exchanges.

On the positives, the regulation has made P2P lending platforms accountable to furnish credit repayment/non-repayment information to all 4 credit bureaus, thereby increasing transparency in the credit rating system. The credit rating agencies have records on about 150 million population but P2P lending platforms are also going to bring customers hitherto relying on private money lenders. This presents a huge opportunity to close the credit information gap. It will also reward sub-prime borrowers with a better credit score for showing improvement in loan repayment behaviour.

As many first time or retail borrowers take loans from money lenders or payday companies which charge interest as high as 5% to 20% per month, P2P platforms like IndiaMoneyMart are bridging the gap by making credit not only accessible but affordable. Bangalore-based IT consultant, Tanmay Thorat* (name changed) was paying over 300% interest to payday loan companies and approached IndiaMoneyMart for a small ticket size loan of INR 1 Lakh secured at rate of 13% annualized interest in March 2016required to settle his credit card debt and pay rent deposit.

The expectation from the Union Budget 2018 is immense in the BFSI segment, especially after RBI regulation. Experts hope that essential financial services will have GST rates revised from 18% to 5% or nil.

Budget 2018: how can we enhance the growth of startups in India? (YourStory), Rated: A

Most importantly, the fund of funds for startups (FFS) has begun to take shape with as much as Rs 1,100 crore being disbursed to SIDBI for allocation to venture funds. As of September 15, 2017, 17 venture funds have raised Rs 605 crore from SIDBI and as many as 72 startups have received about Rs 318 crore funds. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has also recently announced that this number will be increased to Rs 2,400 crore by the end of the next fiscal.

For instance, the startup space has reportedly seen a decline of 53 percent in seed funding and 25 percent in venture funds in 2017.

Listed below are four suggestions for Budget 2018.

  1. Abolish angel tax
  2. Encourage Indians to fund India
  3. Extend tax holiday
  4. Standardise and simplify   

10 things FM Arun Jaitley can do to boost access to capital via digital lenders (Financial Express), Rated: A

  1. Allow a lower MHP for servicing short-term needs of MSMEs
  2. Raise rate caps under MUDRA scheme: The RBI currently has capped the final rate that can be charged above the refinance rate offered by MUDRA at 3% for banks, 6% for NBFCs and 10%-12% for MFIs, depending on portfolio size. Since most of the new lenders incur high opex, this cap should be increased in the Budget 2018 to 10-12% in line with MFIs, for loans up to Rs 5 lakhs, and 8-10% for loans from Rs 5-25 lakh value.
  3. Extend the SIDBI net
  4. Make P2P platforms more attractive: A cap of 5% of net worth for lenders and a maximum individual loan amount of Rs 25 lakh for the borrowers would make these platforms attractive for both lender and borrower.
  5. Expand access to MSMEs
  6. Introduce PSU Banks turndown program
  7. Raise eKYC-based lending limit: The cap for lending through OTP based eKYC should be increased from Rs 60,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
  8. Promote eSign
  9. Mandate eMandate
  10. Increase the flow of data for lending
APAC

Lancers raises $ 9.2m venture round (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Tokyo-based Lancers, which operates a crowdsourcing platform under the same name, has closed a JPY 1 billion ($9.2 million) round from Tokyo-listed enterprises Persol Holdings and Shinsei Bank.

The investment sees Lancers concluding business partnership contracts with both companies concurrently and will also see it commence its new financing business targeting freelance workers, which the company claims comprise 17 per cent, or 11.22 million workers of Japan’s entire working population.

The addition of Shinsei Bank as an investor will see Lancers, Persol and Shinsei collaborate to develop and provide a new loan service to individual workers who need equipment investment or education/training upon starting a new business.

Crowd Realty closes $ 5.2m Series A (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Tokyo-based property crowdfunding portal Crowd Realty has closed its Series A round at JPY 580 million ($5.2 million) from Tokyo-listed Mitsubishi Estate, Shinsei Corporate Investment, Shinsei Bank, and Mizuho Capital, based on an account from The Bridge.

The Series A round saw two tranches: a follow-on investment of JPY 230 million subsequent to a JPY 350 million investment from Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Kabu.com Securities.

SSC warns against investing in cryptocurrencies (Viet Nam News), Rated: B

In a notice issued on its website on Monday, SSC said that the market now had companies operating in fintech, including cryptocurrency, initial coin offering, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and blockchain. These were new products that had not been regulated, SSC said, thus posing high risks.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday September 18 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: 400K UK consumers may have been affected by Equifax breach. Independent Community Bankers of America letter opposing ILCs. RateSetter launches consumer hire-purchase product. Klarna partners with Wacom. Google enters digital payments in India. Payday type loans come to e-tailers in India. Today’s main analysis: Analysis of SoFi deal SCLP 2017-5 and Lending Club deal CLUB 2017-P1. […]

LendingClub

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Independent Community Bankers of America Letter (ICBA), Rated: AAA

As you may be aware, ICBA recently filed a comment letter with the FDIC objecting to the deposit insurance application of SoFi Bank, an industrial loan corporation to be chartered by the state of Utah. In our letter, we urged FDIC, for safety and soundness reasons and to maintain the separation of banking and commerce, to not only deny SoFi Bank’s application but also impose a moratorium on ILC deposit insurance applications. Furthermore, we said that Congress should close the ILC loophole because it not only threatens the financial system but creates an uneven playing field for community banks.

The news that Square also intends to apply to the FDIC for deposit insurance as an industrial loan corporation has significantly increased our concerns and made it even more urgent that the FDIC immediately impose a moratorium on approving deposit insurance applications for ILCs. As we noted in our SoFi Bank letter, the ILC charter is nothing more than a loophole in the law to circumvent the legal prohibitions and restrictions under the Bank Holding Company Act.

SoFi Bank and Square are applying as ILCs and not as commercial banks because their parent companies and their affiliates do not want to be subject to the legal restrictions and supervision attendant to the BHCA. Square, for instance, already owns a point-of-sale hardware appliance business and a food delivery service and therefore could not own a commercial bank without divesting its commercial activities. For safety and soundness 2 reasons and to maintain the separation of banking and commerce, the FDIC should deny SoFi Bank’s application and impose a moratorium for at least two years on future ILC deposit insurance applications, including any application by Square. 

Read the entire letter here.

Did Lending Just Change for Good? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank lending regulations have rarely been thought of as dynamic or exciting but last night’s ruling by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to allow a lender to begin using alternative data in their underwriting could herald the beginning of a new era in lending and how banks work.

Why is this significant?

US banks have traditionally been guided by three key pieces of legislation, the Truth in Lending Act of 1968, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977.  These three acts were created before the era of personal computers yet still guide bank lending today.  Since the rise of marketplace lending, which began in 2006, where borrowers go through a platform and investors fund those loans, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many of these regulations are in need of updating.

In an overly simplistic interpretation (and I am not an attorney), the regulator is giving an online consumer lender the right to underwrite loans using ‘alternative data’ which before was not in line with how the Equal Opportunity Act is interpreted by lenders.  It is not clear what data will be allowed but in a CNBC interview, Upstart co-founder Paul Gu suggested that SAT scores, college grades and even college majors are data points which are helpful in predicting loan defaults. 

So assuming the change stands, what is next?

As alternative lenders have more scope to use alternative data, machine learning complex data analysis is opening up an entirely new space for investors.  Gone are the days where banks only competed against each other with marketplace lenders now allowing investors to allocate capital in a similar way to banks, choosing loans to fund based on their own ideas and risk profile.   For now, this is mostly impacting consumer credit, but in the years to come, look for marketplace lending to impact all areas of lending as investors get more comfortable investing in this space regulations start to adapt.

Scandal costs Sofi chance to become a bank, says ex-SEC head (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

SoFi’s application to become a bank has almost no chance of approval in the wake of a sex scandal that forced out its chief executive, says a close adviser and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But last week’s departure of Mike Cagney, the co-founder, chairman and chief executive, has effectively killed the application, said Arthur Levitt, a former chairman of the SEC, who began advising the company two years ago.

“This departure of Mike makes that a very questionable attainment,” Mr Levitt said, referring to the charter.

He noted that the FDIC had turned down this type of application “many times” before.

Equity podcast: SoFi loses its CEO, big rounds for unicorns, and will this VC buy the iPhone X? (TechCrunch), Rated: A

We turned first to SoFi, a consumer-finance unicorn that has raised more than a billion in equity, and over $2 billion in total. The company is now down a CEO after allegations of misconduct brought censure upon its CEO, Michael Cagney, and the company’s culture.

Listen to the podcast here.

Fat cat frat boys ape the worst of banking and tech (Financial Times), Rated: A

The article also described employee concerns about lending practices and alleged that investors had been misled over a 2012 financing.

SoFi complained in a public blog about “inaccuracies” in the Times report, but focused on defending its lending practices.

If the allegations are true, SoFi and LendingClub have many of banking’s worst attributes with Silicon Valley’s warts layered on top.

Meanwhile, the allegations of doctored loans and conflicts of interest at LendingClub were reminiscent of some of the excesses of the bankers who fed the subprime mortgage market.

Goldman Sachs thinks fintech has as much potential as trading (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs has been pilloried for lackluster results from its trading division (paywall), so this week the bank gave investors a peek into its plans (pdf) for making more money. Surprisingly, the Wall Street powerhouse thinks it can generate as much revenue from online consumer loans—a market targeted by many fintech startups—as from buying and selling securities.

Specifically, Goldman thinks it can make $1 billion in extra revenue from its consumer lending business over the next three years, as much as it expects for its trading operations. Combined with new lending for the wealthy and companies, the bank expects to bring in $2 billion in additional sales from loans. Goldman co-chief operating officer Harvey Schwartz said it’s one of the fastest-growing lending platforms ever launched, even though he says the bank is taking its time with the nascent business. The bank’s digital consumer-lending arm called Marcus is expected to have lent out $2 billion by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, big banks have access to cheaper funds than peer-to-peer lenders like Lending Club or Zopa. With consumer deposits and the billions of dollars they routinely borrow in credit markets, banks can undercut the loan rates offered by smaller companies.

That said, Schwartz acknowledged that consumer lending isn’t immune to economic downturns, and analysts cited by Bloomberg were skeptical about Goldman jumping into a market outside its core expertise.

Source: Quartz

The Bank of Google or Amazon? Don’t count on it (American Banker), Rated: AAA

It might seem like it is only a matter of time before the tech giants knock on banking’s door. In fact, a recent World Economic Forum report posited that big tech companies present a greater challenge to banks than fintech startups. The report notes that regulators will accept a more “oligopolistic distribution of financial services products by tech firms.” Already, the fintech providers Social Finance and Square have applied for FDIC-insured banking charters, just as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency continues work to develop its limited-purpose fintech charter. Are the largest tech firms next in line?

Incumbents still hold the upper hand. The risk of an Amazon or Google or Apple dominating the traditional banking sector is nowhere near a slam dunk.

In every scenario, the tech giants would need to persuade regulators to grant them some kind of charter access in order to effectively compete and level the playing field on funding costs. This would involve easing traditional limits on commercial firms owning banks, and potentially navigating opposition from members of Congress.

But more fundamentally, tech giants have had mixed experiences in rolling out financial services such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay. And despite the reported consumer skepticism of legacy institutions, banks still continue to maintain a high volume of customer relationships.

SoFi CEO Resigns; Goldman & Mosaic Ink Deal; SoFi & Lending Club Deal Analysis (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In the fallout of the Equifax breach, the leading credit bureaus are dealing with an overwhelming volume of credit freeze requests from consumers. While it is still too early to tell, it seems that the genie is out of the bottle. The breach is sparking additional focus on FinTech innovation to protect consumers (e.g., digital identity verification, disposable card numbers, etc.).

Beyond the headlines, SoFi’s growth engine continues. In Q2 2017 alone, SoFi funded $3.1 Bn in loans with $134 Mn in revenue and $61.6 Mn in adjusted EBITDA. Revenue and adjusted EBITDA were up 67% and 60% year over year respectively.  The news of Cagney’s resignation coincided with SoFi marketing its latest personal loan deal which priced this Friday. Interest in SCLP 2017-5 was initially strong, however the bond priced somewhat wider than guidance.

SoFi’s Latest Consumer Lending Deal: SCLP 2017-5

After Mike Cagney’s resignation on Friday, the lead underwriter re-launched SCLP 2017-5. Since guidance was released before the critical NY Times article on Tuesday, we have a close (but imperfect) control to study the consequences of management upheaval on deal execution.

ABS investors reacted negatively to the news; the bonds priced 10 to 15 bps wider than guidance on Monday.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, S&P, Kroll Bond Rating Agency

LendingClub’s Self-Sponsored Prime Consumer Deal: CLUB 2017-P1

This is the second self-sponsored deal from LendingClub, and it follows the success of CLUB 2017-NP1. LendingClub expects to alternate between prime and near-prime securitizations at least once a year going forward. Of the $363 Mn outstanding, approximately $100 Mn came from LendingClub’s balance sheet (a shift from prior management’s business practice); the remaining loans were contributed from investors.

The CLUB 2017-NP1 and CLUB 2017-P1 deals total to approximately $628 Mn in loans, yet LendingClub has facilitated almost $29 Bn in loans on its platform as of Q2 2017 making it a small part of LendingClub by dollars loaned but a meaningful portion of EBITDA.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, Kroll Bond Ratings Agency

The FinTech Investor Podcast Series: Interview With Ron Suber (SoundCloud), Rated: A

DiversyFund Sells Pre-IPO Shares in Accredited Offer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

DiversyFund, a real estate crowdfunding marketplace, is selling pre-IPO shares in a Series A crowdfunding round through a Reg D 506(c) offering.

The Form D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicated that Diversyfund had sold $200,000 of a $6 million funding round as of August 31st. Minimum investments of $100,000 are being accepted from accredited investors only.

Misha Esipov of Nova Credit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How talking with international students at Stanford led to the idea for Nova Credit.
  • The big problem that Nova Credit is trying to solve.
  • How they began their journey in trying to solve this problem.
  • Details of their Credit Passport product, the international credit report.
  • How they were able to convince international credit bureaus to share their data.
  • Why the big three U.S. credit bureaus have not developed an international credit report.
  • How Nova Credit is able to standardize data from very different countries.
  • Nova Credit’s business model and their similarity to a traditional credit bureau.
  • How they can report back credit data to international bureaus.
  • The other vertical they focus on beyond lending.
  • The kinds of lending platforms they are working with today.
  • The progress they have made since LendIt USA 2017.
  • When they first started making revenue.
  • Who has been backing Nova Credit.
  • What is on their road map for the next 6-12 months.
  • How they view expanding into new markets to help immigrants other countries.

The SoFi Sex Scandal Highlights How Hard It Is For Women In Fintech (Fast Company), Rated: A

Fintech has become a major force over the decade since the financial crisis, with $12.8 billion in venture capital flowing into the sector in 2016 alone. But of the nearly 500 deals that took place in the U.S. last year, less than a dozen went to companies founded by women.

“It’s lonely to be a woman in fintech, especially as a CEO,” says Rachel Mayer, cofounder and CEO of Trigger, an automated tool for investing alerts.

At Anthemis, based in London, 56% of employees are women, a remarkably equitable gender breakdown that is consistent at every level.

Former banking executive Sallie Krawcheck is following a similar playbook with her female-focused investing service, Ellevest. Since founding the company three years ago she has raised over $50 million in venture funding.

A survey of U.K.-based fintech firms published last week revealed that women represented just 3 in 10 employees. Of fintech board directors globally, just 8% are women.

Good news for fintech seen in CFPB’s ‘no-action’ move (American Banker), Rated: A

In an interview Friday, Upstart co-founder and CEO Dave Girouard explained why the fintech applied for the letter and how it works.

Is it fair to think of a no-action letter as a stay-out-of-jail-free card?

DAVE GIROUARD: We’re careful about not trying to interpret it in any way that is different than what the CFPB says it is. The letter makes it clear that they have reviewed what we do and how we do what we do and that they don’t find issue with it.

How do you feel about the agreement?

We’re pleased that the CFPB recognized the consumer advantage of alternative data and machine learning, the fact that it could make affordable credit more broadly available to more people.

So it’s not just about Upstart for sure — it’s the acceptance of these more modern techniques because they can and will benefit consumers broadly over time.

Sharestates Appoints New Chief Operating Officer, Adds SOC 2 Type 2 Certification (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real estate crowdfunding marketplace, has announced that Nicole Joseph has joined the executive team as the new Chief Operating Officer.

The new hire is accompanied by the completion of the company’s SOC 2 Type 2 Certification, which affirms that Sharestates now meets the security requirements and parameters for storing information on the cloud as laid out by The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

ReliaMax Announces New Whole Loan Portfolio Placement Service (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ReliaMax®, the complete private student lending solutions provider for banks, credit unions and alternative lenders, today announced at the 23rd Annual ABS East 2017 Conference a new whole loan trading service, ReliaMax Portfolio Placement, as an extension of its existing capital markets and liquidity programs. The ReliaMax Portfolio Placement service will facilitate qualified existing private student whole loan portfolios for sellers and buyers.

The ReliaMax Portfolio Placement service provides unique value to the private student lending marketplace in multiple ways including insurance, default prevention, credit analysis, and servicing. Some benefits include:

  • State-of-the-art servicing through ReliaMax helps buyers maximize the value of their portfolio, providing compliance and regulatory support and staffing to manage student loan-specific servicing requirements.
  • Loan insurance through ReliaMax Surety Company covers 100% principal and interest and mitigates risks, reduces defaults, and provides better cash flow.
  • Portfolio review and credit analysis provides guidance around the price at which the portfolio might transact.

ReliaMax has been involved in many third-party portfolio transactions. For example, in December 2106, MetaBank acquired a $151 million student loan portfolio which ReliaMax Surety Company now insures. The transaction also included the conversion of the portfolio servicing onto the ReliaMax Platform. Over the last three years, ReliaMax has provided insurance and/or servicing on 12 portfolio placement transactions.

The Top Small Business Funders By Revenue (deBanked), Rated: A

Square $1,700,000,000 $1,267,000,000 Went public November 2015
OnDeck $291,300,000 $254,700,000 Went public December 2014
Kabbage $171,800,000 $97,500,000 Received $1.25B+ valuation in Aug 2017

Lendio Partners with Ocrolus to Automate Bank Statement Analysis (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans,today announced a partnership with Ocrolus, the emerging leader in bank statement review automation. The PerfectAudit API, powered by Ocrolus, analyzes uploaded bank statements with 99+% accuracy, replacing manual review with automation. Ocrolus technology allows lenders, for the first time, to review every potential borrower’s bank statement data automatically, regardless of whether or not the borrower provides sensitive bank login credentials.

In April, Lendio became the first lending marketplace to integrate with Ocrolus, whose clients include banks, alternative lenders, accounting firms, law firms, and government entities. The PerfectAudit API gives Lendio the ability to systematically combat bank statement fraud and conduct a hyper-accurate review for every potential borrower.

Outsiders and Insiders Are Behind the Fintech Revolution (JD Supra), Rated: A

From peer-to-peer lending to online banking, the fintech industry is a rapidly growing area for technology investment. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, U.S. venture capital-backed fintech start-ups raised $1.1 billion across 90 deals, according to CBInsights Global Fintech Report. The only region to outdo the U.S. during this same period was Asia, which reported for the same group investment of $2.7 billion across 226 deals.

There exists a wide range of technologies that fall under the definition of fintech, and each is seeing significant growth. One such technology is artificial intelligence, which, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2017 Global Fintech Report, 30 percent of large financial institutions are investing in. For example, another factoid from a separate PricewaterhouseCoopers report, projects that, by 2020, AI will automate a considerable amount of underwriting.

Mobile payments are another rapidly growing area of fintech, with TechCrunch reporting that there will be an estimated $60 billion worth of payments made on mobile platforms in 2017. The site also predicts that, by 2020, 90 percent of smartphone users will have made a mobile payment, which serves to underscore just how commonplace this fintech will be within a very short time.

AON: ALTERNATIVE RISK PREMIA VIABLE FOR MANY (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

A new report from Aon discusses the contemporary market for alternative risk premia: where it is, how it got here; where it may be headed.

The authors, Matthew Towsey and Chris Walvoord, begin with some very basic considerations of what ‘risk premia’ are. They are, on the one hand, the payments one receives for taking on a risk that others do not wish to hold (providing insurance), or they are on the other the winnings one pockets on strategies that take advantage of market anomalies.

A Q&A With NerdWallet CEO Tim Chen: ‘We’re Making An Impact’ (Benzinga), Rated: B

How does NerdWallet create its content and recommendations? Do data and algorithms play a role in your platform? I’m curious about the company from a fintech perspective.

It’s actually a mixture of both — algorithms and incredibly smart, financially savvy humans power our recommendations, reviews and expert advice.

The company seems to simplify financial information for everyday consumers. Do you think NerdWallet has helped to democratize the space?

That’s the goal! I truly believe that a person that has spent no time at all thinking about personal finance and can’t afford a financial advisor, should be able to make the same quality of choice as the most financially savvy person in the country

SDIRA TV Offers New Strategies Amidst Massive Equifax Hack (PR Web), Rated: A

Experts deliver new alternative investment advice and resources for individuals being impacted by the giant 2017 Equifax data breach. This includes all new episodes of SDIRA TV with national finance experts and investment advisors, as well as a side by side comparison white paper on retirement investing options.

Deeper concerns have surfaced as it was discovered three Equifax executives sold off substantial amounts of personally held stock before making the breach known.

20 Places You Can Raise Funding for Your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

  1. Crowdfunding

There are several platforms where you can create your crowdfunding campaign. Examples include KickstarterIndiegogoand Go Get Funding.

  1. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending involves a group of people coming together to lend money to each other. You can look for an entrepreneur peer who is willing to fund ideas similar to yours.

  1. Online Lending

There are several online lending service providers. Good examples are Kabbageand OnDeck.These online lenders will process your application within hours as opposed to traditional lenders.

 

My Take On Real Estate Crowdfunding (ValueWalk), Rated: B

Many of these platforms seem to market to investors, showcasing high dividend yields in the 8% – 10%/year range.

I read the following two articles in my research:

In general, those are new untested platforms, which may or may not do well for you over time. These investments have not been time tested during a recession. In addition, I do not understand very well how investment assets are segregated in those platforms, and how things would work out if a project you invested in fails miserably.

As Financial Processes Go Digital, Detroit Looks To Siphon Talent From New York, Chicago (Benzinga), Rated: B

He’s talking about fintech, which has leveled the playing field for non-New Yorks to flourish in financial services. Inspired by emerging tech trends, Raznick and Benzinga are taking stakes in Michigan’s future by spearheading the new Detroit Fintech Association.

The nonprofit trade organization will enhance the community’s exposure, connect startups with national leaders and mentors, support talent recruitment and magnify the Detroit voice in U.S. regulatory discussions. The DFA also aims to improve financial literacy in the city through work with Detroit high schools and higher education institutions.

FHA Loan Originations Expected to Generate Servicing Portfolio Growth Leading to Servicers Taking on Greater Non-Performing Loans and REO (Marketwired), Rated: A

Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (“Altisource”) (NASDAQ: ASPS), a provider of real estate, mortgage and technology services, today issued the results of its inaugural Default Servicing Survey, a survey of over 200 mortgage default servicing professionals. According to the study, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of servicing professionals surveyed predicted FHA/VA loan volumes would increase within their organizations in the next 12 to 24 months; 41 percent believed FHA loans will offer their organizations the most portfolio growth over the same time period.

According to the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, FHA loans accounted for over 17 percent of newly originated mortgages in 20161 and currently constitute 35 percent of all loans delinquent for 30 or more days2. As the issuance of FHA loans grows, so does the potential increase in volume of default assets. Thus, it is not surprising that 93 percent of servicing professionals surveyed stated that foreclosure/trustee and Claims Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) capabilities are important factors to consider when evaluating a vendor to manage growing default portfolios.

Servicing Professionals Cite Challenges Stemming from Costs of FHA Conveyance and Managing CWCOT Programs

Servicing professionals (29 percent) cited remitting fees, costs and financial obligations associated with FHA conveyance as the greatest challenge for effective CWCOT programs. For servicing professionals working with third-party vendors to manage CWCOT portfolios, 15 percent said overall vendor management is a challenge associated with managing CWCOT programs while another 15 percent pointed to timeline delays and increased costs due to attorney oversight; 11 percent cited not having enough in-house personnel on staff to effectively manage the program.

Third-Party Expertise and Central Coordination are Critical to Successful CWCOT Program Administration

In order to overcome the financial, regulatory and oversight challenges associated with their vendors’ CWCOT programs, servicers must carefully evaluate their third-party vendor strategy to ensure vendors possess the right expertise and resources to execute the program. Most servicing professionals surveyed (97 percent) said they are exploring options including a single-vendor approach to help achieve their objectives; 91 percent identified FHA asset management experience as an important criterion for vendors. When specifically evaluating single vendors, 72 percent of servicing professionals surveyed said consistency and efficiency in managing REO properties is a very important consideration; 69 percent also pointed to compliance management.

United Kingdom

Equifax says as many as 400,000 UK consumers may be affected by data breach (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Equifax, the US credit-reporting company at the heart of a cyber-security scandal, has admitted that as many as 400,000 UK consumers may have had their personal information stolen.

The company said that while its UK systems were not affected by the massive cyber raid that targeted information for as many as 143m Americans, UK customer data “may potentially have been accessed”, because it was stored on US systems between 2011 and 2016.

If Equifax’s forecast is borne out, the data breach will be the biggest in UK cyber history, bypassing that of payday lender Wonga, which affected more than 250,000 customers.

RateSetter launches consumer hire-purchase product (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has launched a hire-purchase (HP) product for individuals looking to buy vehicles.

Consumers will be able to borrow up to £25,000, but the peer-to-peer lender expects the agreements typically to be around £6,000. The terms range between 12 and 60 months, with APRs going from 19.9 per cent to 49.9 per cent depending on the customer’s creditworthiness.

Assetz Capital Reports “Development Funding Boom” with 175% Increase (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Assetz Capital is reporting it has seen a year-on-year increase of 175% in the number of property development projects funded around the UK. The online lender says this rise comes following sustained growth in the funding pool for property developments, as investors hunt for a piece of the development market.

There are two new types of Isa – should you switch to them? (The Telegraph), Rated: A

But as new types of Isa have emerged and new rules have been introduced, the situation has become more complicated.

And some Isa features – notably “flexibility”, which allows account holders to make withdrawals and then pay the money back in during the same tax year while keeping the tax benefits – have not been introduced by all providers, which has further muddied the waters.

A Help to Buy Isa, a type of cash Isa, is also an option. First-time buyers can deposit £1,200 in the first month and £200 a month thereafter to put towards a home purchase. The Government then tops up savers’ money by 25pc.

However, you can’t pay into a normal cash Isa and Help to Buy Isa in the same year, unless you choose a provider that allows you to split the cash. Nationwide and Aldermore both offer this option; they pay 2pc and 1.75pc respectively.

Lifetime Isas 

The Lifetime Isa is the newest addition to the Isa family.

Consumers between the ages of 18 and 40 can use the accounts to save towards their first home or retirement. Up to £4,000 can be put away each year into either a cash Lisa or a stocks and shares version. Eligible savers can continue to contribute until the age of 50.

Hargreaves Lansdown, Britain’s biggest fund shop, and rivals including AJ Bell, The Share Centre and Nutmeg, an online wealth manager, offer investment Lisas.

Innovative Finance Isas 

These Isas shield peer-to-peer investments, which allow consumers to offer unsecured loans to individuals and businesses through online platforms such as Zopa and Ratesetter, and certain “crowdfunding” investments, from tax.

Lending Works was the first to offer the new Isa, paying the same return as the firm’s existing accounts.

Zopa allows existing customers to sell their loans and buy them back within the Isa. They can also transfer their Isas with other providers to Zopa.

Networks are the new corporations (Inside Bitcoins), Rated: A

There are a lot more people in the world that can collectively lend micro loans on a regular basis than there are corporations that can regularly distribute loans above the value of a thousand dollars.

“A network of independent lenders committed to distributing micro loans could potentially rival long established financial organisations in terms of the combined value of peer to peer loans serviced to borrowers on a world wide scale” says Richard Ochieze, Managing Director at Ledgermark, LTD.

The case for Digital Collateral

The internet makes non repayment of loans a marvellously simple task for borrowers and as such; organisations like the Funding Circle, a peer to peer lending firm, are left wide open to have the profits of their retail investors depleted due to this lingering risk.

Traditional financial institutions have been able to maintain a fortress of checks and balances such as strict collateral requirements for both business and personal loans in order to provide themselves with a means of recourse should a borrower fail to repay his debt.

In this digital age in which peer to peer transactions are becoming the norm, this same form of protection must be made available to the average individual who wishes to loan his money out to borrowers in return for profit.

However, the question must be asked: how can a borrower pledge his house or farm as collateral via an online loans application?

Prior to the invention of the Blockchain such an asset did not exist and now that it does, the door has been opened to allow individuals based anywhere in the world to distribute and/or become the recipient of a secured micro-loan.

Can a robot help you invest for retirement? (AOL), Rated: A

Robo-adviser Wealth Wizards, for example, typically charges £65 for advice on investments of up to £30,000, and 0.30%, or £300, for guidance on what to do with a £100,000 retirement savings pot.

A typical financial adviser, meanwhile, charges about £580 for telling you how to invest a £200-a-month pension contribution, or between £1,000 and £2,000 for at-retirement advice on your £100,000 pot, according to figures from UK adviser network Unbiased.

JustGiving targeted by criminals for money laundering (BBC), Rated: B

Fundraising website JustGiving has said criminals are attempting to use its site to launder money.

The website told the BBC it had shut down nearly 100 of its appeal pages in the past 18 months because it believed they were fraudulent.

When discovered, no payments were processed, he said.

China

China will step up supervision of overseas investment risks – insurance regulator (Reuters), Rated: A

China will strengthen its supervision of overseas investment risks and capital flows from insurance funds, the insurance regulator said on Monday, adding that it will urge companies to improve their risk monitoring systems.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) will step up supervision over the use of insurance funds, with focus on “chaos” such as irrational stock market fundraising and overseas acquisitions, said Guo Jing, vice head of the finance and accounting department of the CIRC.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Shanghai-based BTCC is the largest and first domestic bitcoin exchange in China. On September 14th, BTCC announced that it would immediately stop new user registration and close operation in China on September 30th.

The 2nd China Fintech Conference (2017) will be held on September 17th, 2017 in Beijing.
IDC Financial Insights announced the 2017 Fintech Rankings and Real Results at Finovate Fall New York 2017. This year, 4 Chinese companies won the honor to be named in the 2017 IDC Fintech Rankings. They are Ping An Technology (38), Hundsun Technologies Inc. (54), Pactera Technology International, Ltd. (55) and ECCOM Network System, Ltd. (64).
Last week, China’s financial and educational regulators announced to ban online lenders from offering loans to college students, and encouraged commercial banks to offer micro-credit products for the campus market. As a response to the call, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has launched its own student loan product Rong e Loan this week.
European Union

Order not going to “Pending” with Klarna (Drupal), Rated: A

Project:  SOFORT Banking for Ubercart
Version:  7.x-3.1

Sofort has been bought by Klarna. Although everything should function as normal according to Klarna, since the switch the order is not going into “pending” after checkout — order status is “in checkout”.

commented 

This is a good place trying to get this sorted. My questions are:

  • Is this a new shop or one that runs for a while and worked OK before?
  • From the screenshot it looks like Sofort sends notifications pretty often, is that true?
  • The expectation is that the first of those notifications should switch the status to pending and confirming that to Sofort so that they know you got it and then they wouldn’t notify you again, right?

commented 

That’s exactly why this is failing. The Ubercart payment module wants to write into its table the value Aus sofort-Überweisung wird Klarna into the field method.

You should notify Sofort AG about this problem and I will do the same.

International

Klarna partners with global technology company Wacom (Klarna), Rated: AAA

Today we are proud to announce a new partnership with global technology company Wacom® that further accelerates Klarna’s expansion in the U.S. Wacom is now bringing our simple retail financing solution to the world of creative interface technology and software.

Financing a purchase over time has historically been optimized for brick and mortar stores. But the online equivalent can often be an ordeal, with redirects, lengthy forms and unclear information. Our process only requires a few fields of information, and lets consumers know instantly if they qualify for the financing solution.

How Incumbents Can Take on FinTech Challengers (LendIt), Rated: A

Digital technology has changed financial services. It has facilitated innovation, increased competition and made the mobile customer experience the key differentiator.

This embodies a strategic threat with McKinsey estimating that legacy financial institutions will see profits decline by up to 60% by 2025 if they fail to evolve, a figure which should be motivating incumbents to look outside of traditional practices for growth and sustainability.

Millennials and digital natives have turned away from traditional banks in search of mobile alternatives. They are drawn to the best products and experience, and banks with the right level of service can win over this large market. Mobile-only banks like N26 are leading the way.

SME lending also offers a significant opportunity for growth. The European Commission’s SME Performance Review estimated just under 23 million small and medium enterprises generated €3.9 trillion in value add and employed 90 million people in 2016-2016, and McKinsey has identified a $350 billion untapped lending opportunity within this sector.

One path is acquisition, which banks like BBVA have followed by acquiring companies like Finland’s Holvi and neobank Simple. This is an expensive option complicated by having to find a company with the right fit for the business.

Given the technology available, a cleaner option would be to build a digital banking spinoff which can operate like a FinTech.

Meridian Proposes to Bring Peer to Peer Lending into the Age of the Blockchain (Crypto Insider), Rated: A

The far reaching nature of the internet has allowed the myriad of local economies that exist in the world to become merged into one, global, interwoven marketplace.

Despite this, it is still incredibly difficult for people to get a loan from an international organisation – without offering some form of collateral and/or proving credit worthiness.

The average size of deposit needed to get a mortgage is 62% of annual income, and in London, it’s 131%.

As a result, only 20% of 25-year-olds own their home today compared with 46% 20 years ago – less than half.

If you have a bad (or no) credit history, it is virtually impossible to borrow from a mainstream lender.

Banks and building societies advertise temptingly low rates, but they only need to apply to 51% of successful applicants, so almost half of all borrowers pay a different rate – probably higher.

Director of Ledgermark LTD, Richard Ochieze, explains:

An alternative should be offered to people who are being let down by the traditional banking system. We believe that the Meridian system can do a lot to alleviate some of the problems that exist in today’s online lending market.

The Meridian service offers users the opportunity to procure a loan of up to one Bitcoin at a time.

To qualify for a loan users must pledge a certain amount of Meridian tokens as collateral.

Meridian tokens can be purchased during the ICO on 12 October 2017 and will then become tradable on all alternative currency exchanges.

India

Google gets into digital payments fray in India (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

Google is expected to launch a mobile payments app in India next week, according to several news reports. Google Tez, which means “fast” in Hindi is the anticipated name of the payments service, which Indian news outlet The Ken says is “largely fashioned on the company’s global product – Android Pay“.

As TechCrunch notes, “this is a big deal because Google hasn’t made a big push into payments outside of the US.”

ICICI plans payday-type loans in pact with e-tailers (India Times), Rated: AAA

In a first of its kind for India, ICICI Bank will partner with e-commercefirms to provide automated payday loan-type credit to customers at the bottom of the digital pyramid. Unlike other software-based loans, the digital credit planned by the bank will be available to non-customers and new-to-credit borrowers.

Speaking to TOI, Anup Bagchi, executive director, ICICI Bank, said that the bank would price these loans similar to credit card advances. In the West, payday loans are advances that fund the low-income individuals to make up for cash shortfalls until their salary. The difference in the ICICI Bank loan is that for the first month, the buyer will get free credit for up to 45 days. It is only if they do not pay on the due date that borrowers will be charged interest at close to credit card rates.

The bank will lend to new-to-credit customers based on their track record with the e-commerce provider.

Here’s why RBI wants to regulate online P2P lending (VC Circle), Rated: A

“The RBI is concerned that this can go big and get out of control,” says Harish.

Faircent—which is backed by financial institutions like JM Financial, venture fund Aarin Capital and Mohandas Pai-promoted 3one4 Capital—is seen as the largest online P2P lender in India. Other names include Lendbox, Rupaiya Exchange and LenDen Club.

There are typically three models through which such lenders operate, says Aditya Kumar, founder and chief executive officer at Qbera.com, an online lender that began operations in February this year and claims to have a Rs 10 crore loan book. “While there are at least 30-40 P2P players, who connect lenders to borrowers, 15-20 do marketplace lending (where money is raised from banks and other financial institutions) and then there are loan aggregators who have been around for longer,” says Kumar.

While Kumar says the total P2P lending market size would be around Rs 25 crore, Rajat Gandhi, founder and CEO at Faircent, puts the figure at Rs 50-70 crore on an annualised basis.

Figures available with Peer2Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) suggest that the global P2P lending market saw cumulative lending of £8.5 billion during the first quarter of 2017, against £5.8 billion three quarters before. In the same period, the number of lenders grew by a fifth from 1.5 lakh to just over 1.8 lakh.

How to boost your retirement income with P2P Lending (India Times), Rated: A

The discourse around P2P lending has always been centered around what it means for borrowers and the advantages they can derive. However, what gets missed is that P2P lending has the potential to be a great source of investment for the lenders contributing to their retirement fund.

P2P lending is an investment delivering multiple benefits when building a retirement plan:

1. Add Lending to your Portfolio Mix: The adage that talks of not putting all your eggs in one basket still holds true. An investor should not limit his portfolio to only a few asset class, but focus on investing across investment opportunities so that market fluctuations do not have a huge negative impact on their retirement funds.

2. Steady and high returns not Linked to Stock Markets: P2P lending adds to building such a diversified investment portfolio while delivering returns that are not merely comparable, but often preferable to returns from other investment instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, and SIPs.

Lenders on Faircent.com are earning gross returns to the tune of 18% to 24% per annum on an average by building a diversified loans portfolio.

3. Income Generation & Power of Compounding: Another reason that P2P investment does well is because investors can compound their earnings. Lenders are earning back part of their investment, both principal and return, every month.

Asia

Get Me My Wedding Present: How We Run a Micro-Lending Business in Cambodia (Cointelegraph), Rated: AAA

MicroMoney co-founder and CEO Anton Dzyatkovsky on attracting new customers, recruitment issues and risks in greenfield countries.

Now that we’ve opened new offices in Myanmar, Thailand and Sri-Lanka, our decision to start with Cambodia can be seen as a definitive step which enabled us to embrace the largest community of unbanked people in the region, bringing the advantages of Blockchain as the key technology for global financial inclusion.

Cambodia is all about banks

For us as Europeans, the first surprise was the population’s absolute trust in local banks.

The US dollar is as used in Cambodia as the local currency is, and the exchange rate has remained stable for over 20 years. State regulators do not exercise particular pressure on the financial industry, and by the time we stepped into the game, 50 organizations had been involved in the consumer loan industry, each with an average capital of $1.5 mln and an ARPU of $5,000.

30-day overdue loans in Cambodia account for only 0.9 percent of the total, so the PAR ratio (portfolio at risk) is quite profitable (according to the local Central Bank).

Our Cambodian lessons

  • A growing share of the middle class due to the growth of GDP. For instance, Cambodian GDP grew six percent in 2016.
  • A market capable of generating cheap leads. We discovered all Cambodians belonging to the target audience have at least one active Facebook account, and for them Facebook often equals Internet in general: every national mobile operator provides free access to Facebook.
  • Dormant or non-existent competition. in Cambodia there were no paperless lending services without an escrow of land or real estate property.
  • Eager audience in need of a product. when we were checking out the market, we found only five percent of the population had a credit record. According to McKinsey, the number of ‘unbanked’ people in Asian region overall ranges from 65 to 80 percent of the adult population.
  • Collaboration at the local level. It helped us understand local customers and comply with local regulations (in this case you must be ready to assign 51 percent of your newly established company to a local partner).

Peer lending for small businesses (The Star), Rated: A

Funding Societies, which started in Singapore in 2015, is one of the first peer-to-peer (P2P) financing companies to open its doors here in Malaysia in February this year. It is also present in Indonesia.

Wong, who learned about alternative financing while studying at Harvard Business School, says P2P is well-suited for the Malaysian and South-East Asian markets where there is a big gap in SME financing. He estimates financing needs for small businesses in Malaysia to be at RM80bil.

According to Research and Markets, the global P2P lending market was valued at US$26bil in 2015 and is projected to reach US$460bil by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 51.5% from 2016 to 2022.

Funding Societies has made it to the Fintech 250 list, which is recognised and regulated by Securities Commission Malaysia, to provide financing to SMEs. The company also provides flexible investment opportunities with rigorous risk assessment and returns of up to 14% per year for investors, says Wong.

So far, the company has done more than 800 deals and disbursed more than RM180mil in financing to SMEs in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Default rate in the region is low at about 2%.

Bank approves online accounts in foreign currencies (Taipei Times), Rated: A

Taiwanese could soon be able to open bank accounts denominated in foreign currencies on the Internet after the central bank on Thursday gave its go-ahead to the plan.

Local banks could seek approval for the new accounts by the end of this year, or 60 days after the introduction of the new regulations, the central bank said in a statement.

Taishin, the banking arm of Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) and the nation’s largest online lender by the number of accounts, told reporters that it aims to be the first applicant when the notification period begins.

Africa

Outsurance buys CoreShares stake as it launches robo-adviser (BusinessDay), Rated: AAA

Outsurance is to acquire a 25% stake in passive investment manager CoreShares, as the insurance company’s robo-adviser, Outvest, goes live.

The acquisition complemented Outvest, an online, automated advice business, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

In SA, financial advisers, to more effectively service their clients, are predominantly using these platforms, although there are platforms available to retail investors.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday August 15 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper reports strong Q2, closes $500M securitization. Zopa to refund investors affected by IT glitch. RateSetter in final stages of FCA authorization. Funding Societies joins international association of credit portfolio managers. Goldmoney reports Q1 profits, plans to open physical branch. Today’s main analysis: Third largest corporate note offering easily digested by bond market. Today’s thought-provoking […]

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Prosper Progress: Online Lender Reports Strong Q2 Growth, Closes $ 500 Million Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Summary of Key Financial Highlights for Prosper during the quarter:

  • Prosper facilitated $775 million in loan originations through its platform, up 32% quarter-over-quarter and 74% year-over-year driven by strong demand for its personal loan product.
  • Transaction fee revenue rose to $35.4 million, up 32% quarter-over-quarter and 84% year-over-year.
  • The company reported a Net Loss of $41.4 million in the second quarter of 2017, which included $39.3 million in non-cash charges related to warrants to purchase preferred stock that were issued to a consortium of investors, and a third party in connection with a settlement agreement.
  • Prosper generated $8.6 million of Net Cash from Operating Activities and Adjusted EBITDA of $6.7 million in the second quarter of 2017, driven by an increase in origination volume, improved marketing efficiencies and lower general and administrative expenses.

Third-largest corporate note offering easily digested by bond market (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

From a microeconomic perspective, second-quarter earnings reports have generally been in line, with the usual amount of hits and misses. Thus far, our corporate credit analysts have not discerned any significant change to their sector outlooks. From a macroeconomic perspective, second-quarter real GDP was reported to have expanded an annualized 2.6%, and as widely expected by the market, the Federal Reserve did not make any change to monetary policy.

In the corporate bond market, the average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) continued its tightening trend but declined only 1 basis point to end the week at +106. In the high-yield market, the BofA Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 5 bps to +359. In equities, the S&P 500 was unchanged and volatility sank to new lows.

Fund flows in the high-yield market came to a near standstill last week, as the amount of redemptions from high-yield exchange-traded funds more than offset inflows into open-end funds, resulting in a net outflow of $0.1 billion.

Chatter Increases that Earnest is Up for Sale. Again. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Back in May, Crowdfund Insider reported that Earnest, an online lender providing personal loans, was up for sale. Referencing a report in Bloomberg, the rumor was quickly squashed by Earnest representatives who told this publication they were absolutely not for sale.

But now the chatter is increasing that Earnest is, in fact, on the auction block.  Apparently management is attempting to sell itself for $200 million. Alternatively, Earnest needs a quick equity injection of $50 million. Otherwise, things don’t look so good.

Millennials are financing everything from bed sheets to concert tickets (MarketWatch), Rated: A

In recent years, payment companies including PayPal PYPL, +1.76% Affirm and Bread have created installment plans for retailers that give consumers the option to finance the weirdest purchases over time.

These payment methods have taken hold at a time when millennials have been more reluctant than their parents to use credit cards. Millennials had about two credit cards each on average last year, according to the credit reporting company Experian. That’s compared with about three for boomers and an average of 2.5 for members of Generation X.

Brooklinen partnered with the payment company Affirm in June to offer a payment plan spread over three, six or 12 months. Financing doesn’t come cheap: Rates range from 0% to 30% APR, after Affirm checks the buyers’ credit and approves them. That compares to an average APR of almost 17% for credit cards — or zero if you’re paying with cash.

If the consumer does not pay within 120 days, Affirm no longer lends to that person, and writes off the debt. Affirm then sends the remaining balance to a third-party debt collector, which Affirm supervises, but Affirm does not package and sell the balances, Metcalf said. Affirm makes its money from simple interest consumers pay, Metcalf said.

PayPal offers two types of credit, both as part of a program called PayPal Credit. One option is to wait six months without paying anything, and no interest on purchases over $99 from select retailers. The other option is an installment payment plan called Easy Payments: Consumers pay interest at an APR of 19.99% if they don’t first pay off their balance within the term they select.

DiversyFund Announces First Ever ‘No Fee’ Real Estate Income Fund (Digital Journal), Rated: A

DiversyFund, Inc., a fast growing, online real estate investment platform, announced the first ever “no fee” real estate debt fund to investors today. With the Fund, investors gain the ability to invest in a diversified portfolio of real estate debt investments that target risk-adjusted returns and generate passive income.

The Fund already has an impressive four-year track record since its launch in March 2013, posting an average annualized net return of 11.4% since inception through Q1 2017, a track record that few Wall Street funds have been able to match. The Fund targets passive income by making real estate-backed debt investments in assets featured on DiversyFund’s platform. The Fund makes quarterly distributions of interest income to its investors and has never lost any investor principal.  The minimum investment amount is $10,000.

How Some Savvy FAs are Overtaking ‘Basic’ Robos (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Robo advice for mass-affluent investors keeps evolving. But brick-and-mortar advisors aren’t standing still. In fact, some traditional FAs are taking into their own hands ways to automate more sophisticated types of holistic planning – from philanthropy to tax strategies and healthcare issues.

For instance, Heron Financial uses a mobile app, Mobile Assistant, that helps Edwards turn client meetings into easy-to-disseminate notes in Redtail, the firm’s CRM system.

Savant Capital says it’s licensing new off-the-shelf software suites to create their own robo-like experience for clients.

By year’s end, Savant expects to start beta testing its own robo-style package that automatically plucks key data from a family’s tax returns.

Savant is also working on a similar tool to automate estate planning. It’s designed to automatically sort through internal client reporting software, CRM data and core financial planning databases to identify an appropriate estate planning strategy from 120 different scenarios, according to Brodeski.

Advisor Jonathan Swanburg in Houston isn’t writing special algorithms. But his employer, Tri-Star Advisors, finds it can achieve similar results automating more areas of clients’ comprehensive plans by taking advantage of new algorithms being embedded in core prepackaged financial planning suites.

Behalf Inc. Partners with FinWise Bank to Offer Small Business Loans (LendIt), Rated: A

Behalf, a rapidly growing on-demand commercial credit platform, today announced its partnership with FinWise Bank.

Operating since 2013, Behalf is an alternative financing provider that facilitates commerce between business buyers and sellers. Driven by data and technology, Behalf allows merchant partners to offer business customers instant credit and flexible payment terms at the point of sale. Once approved, Behalf customers can use their credit line to fund purchases with virtually any vendor, including MasterCard accepting businesses.

LendingTree Announces Finalists for $ 25,000 Startup Innovation Spotlight (Markets Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced the five finalists for its new initiative to showcase the top startup companies in financial technology (fintech) lead generation at LeadsCon this summer.

  • Traaqr
    Brian Handrigan, Co-Founder & Co-CEO

This SaaS disruptor is bringing click level analytics to companies of all sizes while providing automated data capture at a precision never believed possible before.

ForeverCar works with consumers to find and compare quotes for the right vehicle protection plan, and offers concierge support when a vehicle needs service or repairs, keeping you up-to-speed throughout the repair process.

  • Outleads
    Dorin Rosenshine, Founder and CEO

Outleads integrates with leading contact center software, including Genesys, Five9, and more, and onboards CRM data directly into Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics™ & AdWords™ for conversion attribution and real-time retargeting.

LeadCrunch solves the problem of finding optimal B2B targets by analyzing a company’s best customers to identify “Smart Personas”, and then engages look-alike personas with relevant content to generate permission-based leads.

Starbutter AI is a voice and chat app development company focusing on chatbots and AI agents, giving consumers high quality information so that they can pick the best financial products and helps financial companies match the right products to their customers.

The age of e-mortgages finally arrives (Scotsman Guide), Rated: A

The Michigan-based lender United Wholesale Mortgage recently received much media attention for rolling out what it claimed to be the first-ever truly digital mortgage after a Chicago couple in late July completed the entire process of refinancing their mortgage from a computer.

What was supposedly newsworthy about this event — worthy to be featured in an Aug. 9 article in the Wall Street Journal — was that a notary was remotely patched in for the e-signing, and didn’t have to be present in the couple’s home.

A male employee claims he was fired after reporting sexual harassment at a $ 4 billion startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

But a lawsuit filed on Friday against hot fintech startup Social Finance, better known as SoFi, is strikingly different.

This suit has been filed by a male employee who claims that he saw sexual harassment of his female coworkers and was fired after he reported it, according to a report by The New York Times’ Nathaniel Popper.

SoFi Harassment Suit (Fortune), Rated: A

Charles’ lawyer says he will file another lawsuit this week claiming broader employee mistreatment and seeking class-action status.

Fintech Startup SoFi Faces Wage, Retaliation Suits (Law360), Rated: A

Social Finance Inc. was hit with a wage-and-hour putative class action in California court Monday, just days after a former worker sued the financial startup, alleging it fired him for reporting the harassment of a female coworker and for reporting managers who fraudulently canceled loan applications to reap bonuses.

Five employees — Sean Pullen, Christina Cane, Michael Carrera, Matthew Taylor and Yulia Zamaora — allege that San Francisco-based SoFi failed to provide them with meal and rest breaks, failed to pay them for overtime and all….

Income& Selected for Highly Competitive Plug and Play Fintech Accelerator (LendIt), Rated: A

Income&, a real estate investment platform based in San Francisco, announced today that it was one of 24 startups selected for the sixth class of the Plug and Play Fintech Accelerator. The company will participate in a 12-week accelerator program geared toward financial technology startups, during which time it will gain access to Plug and Play’s extensive network of leading banks and financial institutions. Income& was among 3% of startup company applicants selected from a highly competitive pool for the fall 2017 Plug and Play Fintech Accelerator class.

How One Lawyer is Making Real Estate Investing Safer (Markets Insider), Rated: A

Last year, attorney Amy Wan, received a call from a real estate developer client who was trying to raise $300,000 from investors to acquire an investment property. When he asked how much the legal services would be, she gave him a flat fee of $10,000.

While working as a Partner in Crowdfunding Lawyers, a boutique real estate securities law firm, Wan says she began to come face-to-face with the reality that clients doing small raises could not afford her services.

She was named one of “Ten Women to Watch in LegalTech” by the American Bar Association Journal, and pivoted to a career in securities law when she became General Counsel of Patch of Land, a real estate crowdfunding startup. At Patch of Land, Wan works to help democratize investment opportunity. Now, she hopes to democratize access to counsel for small businesses.

Bootstrap Legal is a legaltech/fintech startup based in Los Angeles.

E-Signatures & Digital Lending: How to Move 99% of Customers off Paper (Bright Talk), Rated: A

In the sub-prime lending market, speed-to-close determines market share. Join us to learn how an end-to-end digital process with e-signatures transformed OneMain’s lending business – positioning the lender as the largest personal loan company in the U.S. Today,99% of OneMain’s loans are e-signed, enabling them to be closed and funded significantly faster than on paper.

In this 60-minute presentation, you’ll learn how the company took a phased approach and implemented e-signatures in the call center and online channels, then expanded to the branch network. This year, OneMain will complete its e-signature roll-out to 1,700 branches, where the majority of its loans are transacted.

Presenters

David Smith, Vice President, Application Systems, OneMain
Philip Hannah, Director of IT, OneMain
Mary Ellen Power, VP Marketing, eSignLive by VASCO

Live online Aug 31 11:00 am United States – Los Angeles  or after on demand

SEC Suspends OTC-Traded Emerging Markets Investor Over ICO Concerns (Coindesk), Rated: A

Issued August 9, the order was made against a firm called CIAO Group (now rebranded as NuMelo Technology), which trades on markets operated by OTC Markets Group. NuMelo first announced plans for an ICO on July 6, at the time indicating a desire to bring a “digital financial products marketplace” based on blockchain tech to the African market.

ETHLend announces date of LEND token presale and ICO (CryptoNinjas), Rated: B

ETHLend token pre-sale details:

Starting: 25.09.2017 at 12.00 GMT

Ending: 25.10.2017 at 23.59 GMT or when the cap is reached

AMOUNT TO RAISE: 2,000 ETH

TOKENS FOR SALE: 60,000,000,LEND (6% of total sold tokens)

LEND TOKEN PRICE: 30,000 LEND = 1 ETH

(price includes 20% bonus tokens for all pre-sale participants)

Minimum amount to participate: 1 ETH

ETHLend token pre-sale details:

Starting: 25.09.2017 at 12.00 GMT

Ending: 25.10.2017 at 23.59 GMT or when the cap is reached

AMOUNT TO RAISE: 2,000 ETH

TOKENS FOR SALE: 60,000,000,LEND (6% of total sold tokens)

LEND TOKEN PRICE: 30,000 LEND = 1 ETH

(price includes 20% bonus tokens for all pre-sale participants)

Minimum amount to participate: 1 ETH

3 Stocks That Doubled So Far in 2017 (Madison), Rated: B

LendingTree’s efforts have proven immensely successful. In its most recent quarter, the online loan marketplace reported record results both from mortgages and other types of loans, and the number of loan requests jumped by nearly half to 5.4 million. In particular, efforts to expand beyond the mortgage realm have been extremely lucrative, as non-mortgage product revenue more than doubled in just the past 12 months.

United Kingdom

Zopa to refund investors affected by technical glitch (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

The technical issue has now been fixed and Zopa will be refunding impacted investors the difference between the amount paid and the true value of the loans purchased.

RateSetter in “final stages” of FCA authorisation process (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER believes it is in the “final stages” of reaching full authorisation after becoming the last of the main peer-to-peer lenders to be trading on interim permissions.

The platform is the last of the Peer2Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) members still awaiting full permission after ThinCats announced it had received Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation last week.

Invesco sells £9.6m Ranger Direct Lending fund stake (AltFi), Rated: A

Invesco Perpetual, the asset management giant, has been trimming its exposure to the £243m Ranger Direct Lending fund amid a testing period for the alternative credit investment trust.

The firm is one of Ranger’s largest investors with, until this week, just under a third of total shares in the fund.  This, however, has been trimmed in the past seven days, according to regulatory documents, with Invesco Perpetual’s current holding now down at 27.9 per cent.

Invesco Perpetual, who owns the fund as an income play within their fleet of top equity income portfolios, sold £9.6m worth of Ranger’s stock last week.

London fintech Tail is a cashback platform built on the promise of Open Banking (TechCrunch), Rated: A

London-based Tail is a new fintech startup that offers a glimpse into the promise of Open Banking. This is seeing upcoming legislation in the EU and U.K. force banks to offer third-party developer access to your bank account data — with your permission, of course.

The app, initially available for iOS and serving London only, offers heavy discounts at local places to eat and drink, all linked to the card you pay with and delivered each week in the form of cashback. However, the draw is how seamlessly it all takes place, by being built on top of digital-only challenger bank Starling‘s API, with Monzo integration also in the works.

Hargreaves Lansdown cashes in on (not too much) excitement (FT Alphaville), Rated: A

Back on August 4, the Financial Conduct Authority said it needed to “reassess” the broker’s capital requirements, because of its plans to do things a little more interesting than selling investment funds – such as offering an online cash deposit service, and lifetime individual savings accounts.

That meant Hargreaves had to retain another £50m, scrap its planned special dividend, and reassure the market of its profitability ahead of schedule.

Hence, this morning’s results contain no real surprises. Its 21 per cent rise in pre-tax profit, to to £265m, for the year ending June 30 had been rushed out with the capital announcement 11 days ago, “to allow investors to assess its strong financial and trading performance”.

P2P lenders offering rates up to five times better than mainstream best buys (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE MAIN peer-to-peer lenders are currently offering rates five times higher than the best offerings on the mainstream savings market.

It comes as a new challenger bank launched last week called PCF, offering a fixed savings rate of 2.6 per cent.

This may come with Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection, but seven years is a long time to lock up your money for and savers could do better by taking a bit more risk with a P2P platform.

P2P investors can earn up to 6.1 per cent a year for backing consumer loans, even while using an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA).

End of Line for iFunding? Real Estate Crowdfunding Site May Be Done (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The chatter on Bigger Pockets regarding iFunding has taken a new twist. In a series of public posts investors are referencing a possible bankruptcy for the real estate crowdfunding platform.

According to the posts, a company named Jazco has offered to take over the remaining deals that have funded on the iFunding site.

Fewer Advisors View Robos as a Threat (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Sixty-six percent of advisors are undecided about whether robos are a positive or negative force for their practice, according to a survey of 102 advisors by U.K.-based Panacea Adviser cited by FT Adviser. Just last year, when Panacea Adviser last conducted the survey, a whopping 89% of respondents said robo-advisors were a threat, according to the paper. The rate of incorporating robos into traditional advice practices is also picking up. While only 2% of advice firms surveyed this year currently offer a robo platform, 8% are in the process of integrating one and 12% are considering doing so, FT Adviser reports.

Buy to Let mortgages and peer to peer lending explored (AXA), Rated: A

Zoopla research from May 2017 discovered that it’s now cheaper to rent than to buy in 54% of UK cities.

Those with good credit ratings could be offered interest rates as low as 3%. If your credit rating is not so great, however, rates can rise to as high as 30%.

Is this the end of fintech as we know it? (Banking Technology), Rated: A

In the age of the internet, fintech dominates finance. In the UK, the sector is currently worth £7 billion, employing around 60,000 people with figures set to increase.

With unseen levels of growth in fintech, it’s important for companies to make sure that they don’t fall prey to the same mistakes their predecessors did. The easiest way to do so is by sticking to regulation standards.

As online banking slowly becomes the norm for managing money, it’s only natural that online banks emerge. Usage of online banking has more than doubled since 2007, kindling a banking revolution through which the UK has lost 40% of its banks and building societies since 1989. Online banks offer two key services: better banking deals and superior user experience.

Challenger banks like MonzoAtom and Starling have been making a lot of noise in this new banking arena. In 2016, Monzo raised £1 million in just 96 seconds in the fastest crowdfunding campaign ever. Atom Bank established its base outside of London, and Starling is now expanding outside the UK.

LendInvest signs up former Interbay BDM (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

Specialist lender LendInvest has appointed Andy Virgo (pictured) as its first BDM for the South of England.

Virgo will be responsible for sourcing deals across the South of England and joins LendInvest from Interbay Commercial, the commercial mortgage lending arm of OneSavings Bank, where he was a senior BDM.

ONLINE LENDER QUIDIE UNVEILS NEW MARKETING PUSH (ResponseSource), Rated: B

Croydon based online lending company, Quidie has launched a new digital marketing campaign to support sales of its new low rate short term loan products (of up to £1,000 with a fixed interest rate of 180%*) which are available to qualifying UK consumers exclusively online via the website.

The new campaign includes a 40 second video ad starring up and coming rapper and actor Craige Middleburgh.

London-based Integrated Marketing Agency Brandnation was responsible for all campaign creative and production. Brandnation is also handling all supporting PR and Social Media activity for the campaign.

China

The Score On Tencent’s Credit Scoring (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Stock Exchange to Launch Blockchain-Powered Market in 2018 (Coindesk), Rated: A

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is planning to launch a blockchain-powered private market aimed at helping smaller firms obtain financing.

HKEX chief executive Charles Li detailed the plan, which would play out through a separate venture dubbed HKEX Private Market, in an August 1 note.

China’s biggest unicorns are a different breed (NASDAQ), Rated: A

China boasts 695 million mobile web users and shops more online than anywhere else in the world, with e-commerce sales likely to top $1.1 trillion this year, according to eMarketer, or more than twice the outlay in the United States.

China’s startups confront a particular set of regulatory risks. A crackdown on peer-to-peer lending and online “wealth management products” has probably delayed flotations by both Ant and Lufax, for example.

And Didi, which now has no serious local rivals, recently took in more than $5 billion from Japan’s SoftBank and others.

Overall, VC and private equity funds ploughed 384 billion yuan ($57.5 billion) into startups in the first half, according to Zero2IPO, not much changed from the previous year’s frantic pace. Local giants Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have deep pockets and want to keep emerging threats under control. They boast stakes in or ties to more than half of the top ten. SoftBank is also eyeing China as it invests a $93 billion mega-fund.

European Union

Fintech CEO says tech giants like IBM may go on M&A ‘shopping spree’ for start-ups in 2018 (CNBC), Rated: A

Tech giants like IBM and Capgemini could go on a mergers and acquisitions “shopping spree” for financial technology (fintech) start-ups next year, the chief of one such start-up has told CNBC.

new European directive, which becomes effective in January 2018, would enable third party businesses to monopolize on banks’ software and customer data to build new products – something referred to in the fintech world as “open banking”.

Döderlein, whose company helps develop mobile payments products for 17 banks, said that this would result in big, mainstream tech companies snapping up smaller fintechs to harness the newer technologies they have on offer.

International

Visa’s Latest Big Bets in Fintech (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

When extolling the virtues of long term, buy-and-hold investing, it’s hard to think of a better example than Visa Inc. (NYSE:V). Since going public in March 2008, Visa’s shares have returned well over 600%, crushing the market in the process.

Broadening its partnership with a Pal

Was it really just a little over a year ago when, after a frosty and testy co-existence as business frenemies, that Visa and PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) first struck a deal covering their North American business?

For starters, in Europe, Visa Checkout will automatically be enabled at any merchant utilizing PayPal’s Braintree payment processing. More impressively, however, is that, since PayPal holds a banking license in Europe, Visa will be issuing PayPal debit cards in Europe.

Kleaning up with Klarna

Visa also recently announced a strategic investment in and a new partnership with Klarna, a European online payments company that offers credit and flexible payments during the checkout process at online merchants.

Going to the market with Marqeta

Finally, in its most recent fintech deal, Visa announced a multiyear partnership and strategic investment in Marqeta, an open API (application programming interface) card issuer platform. Marqeta offers a number of payment solutions for issuers for on-demand delivery, alternative lending, the disbursement of earnings and rewards to card holders, advance cost controls, and on-demand virtual and tokenized cards.

Foolish takeaway

The payments industry is changing rapidly, with fintech start-ups and larger financial institutions all wanting a bigger piece of the pie. That is why Visa shareholders should take heart that the company is making constant investments to ensure it gives its clients and card holders the best payment experience possible.

The 10 largest P2P and marketplace lending deals of Q2 2017 (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The three months of this year, from April to the end of June, was a particularly active period for fundraising in the space. The top ten deals to marketplace lending companies received a combined investment total of $658m in the second quarter of the year, which represents 84 per cent of the total capital committed to deals in the sector, according to data provider Fintech Global.

The largest deal in Q2 went to Chinese P2P lender Tuandaiwang which raised a whopping $262.6m of private equity funding in May. This was the only marketplace lending company in Asia to feature in the top ten deals.

Fintech: Why It Matters So Much to Your Investment (FX Daily Report), Rated: A

In their latest report, Accenture established that international investment in fintech blast through the roof in just a couple of years. From $ 800 million in 2008, the figure has moved up to $ 12 billion by the onset of 2015. In Europe, the growth rate rose by 215% to $1.48 billion between 2008 and 2014. This figure is expected to continue going up and having a huge impact on individual businesses and institutions.

Transferring cash within and outside the country had made the traditional methods complicated, expensive, and unrealistic. However, latest technologies have made international cash transfer easy, transparent, reliable, and highly secure. Using online wallets such as Skrill, GOOG, and others, money is transferred within seconds and accounts maintained in top conditions.

India

Fin-tech startup DigiLend raises funds from InCred, Fullerton (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based fin-tech firm DigiLend Analytics & Technology Pvt Ltd has raised nearly Rs 2 crore ($311,939) from two non-banking financial services companies, filings with the Registrar of Companies show.

Mumbai-based InCred Finance and Temasek-owned Fullerton India Credit Company Ltd have made the investment, the filings indicate.

DigiLend will use the funds to pilot its product in the personal loan segment, Dattani said.

Asia

Funding Societies Joins Prestigious IACPM and Welcomes Risk Expert Terry Tse to Board of Directors (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies has become the first and the only peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company to attain membership at the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers (IACPM), a prestigious forum for credit risk management. In addition, risk expert Terry Tse joins Funding Societies’ Board of Directors. Mr. Tse is the former Chief Risk Officer of Dianrong — one of China’s leading P2P lending platforms.

Together with sister platform Modalku, Funding Societies is currently the biggest SME loan crowdfunding platform in Southeast Asia, with operations in SingaporeIndonesia, and Malaysia. Recently, Funding Societies has also become the only Southeast Asian digital lender to be selected by CB Insights to the Fintech 250, a list of 250 top private companies changing the face of financial services around the world.

Canada

GOLDMONEY REPORTS FIRST QUARTERLY PROFIT OF $ 3.3 MILLION, PLANS TO OPEN PHYSICAL BRANCH IN TORONTO (Betakit), Rated: AAA

Toronto-based Goldmoney, a gold-based payments and savings platform that allows users to acquire, store, and spend gold that is stored in a secure vault, has released the financial results for its first quarter of 2018, which ended on June 30, 2017.

Goldmoney reported an adjusted profit of $3.3 million and an IFRS profit of $2 million. The company said this is the first time it’s reported a quarterly profit in Goldmoney history.

Goldmoney also reported a quarterly revenue of $125 million, suggesting improvement from $112 million year-over-year (YoY).

Canadian Small Business Growth Continues (Lessors), Rated: A

PayNet, the premier provider of credit assessments on private companies reports that the PayNet Canadian Small Business Lending Index (CSBLI) increased 1% to 123.8 in June 2017 from 122 in May, the third month in a row of year-over-year increases. Compared to May 2016 the CSBLI is up 5%.

The Construction sector investment increased 4% which continues to reflect improvements in housing starts and prices throughout much of the country. Accommodation and Food fell 5% while all other segments were within 3% of May 2017. Growth geographically remains broad based as well with British Columbia and Quebec showed the largest increases from May, both up 3%, while Atlantic Canada exhibited the largest decrease (3%).

The financial health of Canadian companies continues to maintain stability with relatively few signs of deterioration of financial health. The PayNet Canadian Small Business Delinquency Index (CSBDI) 31-180 days past due held steady at 1.09% in June from May 2017. Compared to June 2016, delinquency decreased (10 bps).

Agriculture delinquency decreased by (11 bps), the largest monthly decrease amongst all industries in June.

Africa

Nigeria’s Fintech industry has grown by over 90 % in 4 years (Business Day Online), Rated: AAA

In 2009, we began to look at how digital  is affecting the economies and consumers. The economy has changed, the world has changed. We now live in global, digital economy and because of that, one of the key things that makes money gets to businesses is through payment.

Fintech in Nigeria has come to stay, but what is your assessment of the industry in Nigeria today?

We are coming a bit late but the nation is doing so well compared to other nations. In the last 3-4 years the industry has grown by over 90 percent. It is said that there is over 400 Fintech organisations working with Africa Fintech organisation. These are all entrepreneurs and different groups providing solutions.

Are you saying that  Fintech has impacted  hugely on the economy, assist to solve clients’ challenges and provide job opportunities?

Imagine the 400 Fintech firms working with Africa Fintech Organisation and many of them are at infancy.  And each of them has its own niche of providing  solution to a particular sector. This is the new economy. Before now we had an economy that is based on crude oil, manufacturing and others, but the new economy is digital.

Are there examples of countries that employed Fintech to drive their economy?

Fintech  manifests in different forms and that is why speakers at the forum said that they do not see Nigeria being a follower in Fintech market. They see Nigerian being a leader because it is leading its own form of Fintech which is different from countries like S/Africa.  Though South Africa is doing so well in Fintech with its peculiar needs and penetration of banks to customers.

Nigeria is now growing from a combination of these models. But there are some models, where Nigeria is yet to get to which have been done so well in other markets. For instance, Econet which has worked very well in Zimbabwe where the number of people who are insured through the mobile platform are higher than the number of people insured in Nigeria. Under Fintech, people can borrow money like in Kenya without going to the bank because the whole system can read all your transactions as the system knows how money comes in and how it goes out. So when you ask for loan, they know that you are trustworthy and then they can lend you money easily.

Shivani Siroya of Tala (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Shivani Siroya, the CEO and founder of Tala. While Tala is headquartered in southern California its lending operations are focused on the developing world. They launched in Kenya back in 2014 and in three short years they have become the #5 most downloaded app in that country. How they have done this is a fascinating story.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday June 14 2017, Daily News Digest

nonprime mortgages

News Comments Today’s main news: Misys, D+H team up to launch Finastra. Fundrise intros first real estate robo-advisor. UK businesses find it harder to get a loan. Singapore Life gets insurance license. Faircent offers online lenders ‘What-If’ scenario simulations. Today’s main analysis: Does anyone remember how to make a subprime mortgage? The most up-to-date numbers for Prosper, RateSetter. Today’s thought-provoking […]

nonprime mortgages

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Asia

European Union

International

Australia

India

MENA

Canada

News Summary

United States

Launch of Finastra (D+H), Rated: AAA

Today Misys and D+H have joined forces to create a diversified global financial software provider, unmatched in terms of depth and breadth of solutions. Operating under the new company name Finastra (www.finastra.com), the combination will create the third largest financial services technology company in the world. The company has approximately 10,000 employees and over 9,000 customers across 130 countries, including 48 of the top 50 banks globally. This follows the acquisition of D+H by Vista Equity Partners, which already owns Misys, creating a merger of two highly complementary financial technology providers.

Finastra will be led by Nadeem Syed in the role of Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Syed was previously CEO of Misys and has over 27 years of experience leading global technology companies through transformation and growth. The company has U.S. $2.1 billion* in revenues and has offices in 42 countries around the world. It will be headquartered in London, UK, maintaining North American headquarters in Toronto, Canada.

Finastra offers the broadest set of retail banking, transaction banking, lending, and treasury and capital markets software capabilities available in the world. The company’s open architecture and approach enable financial institutions to harness the power of software ecosystems and will be delivered on premises, hosted or via the cloud. With the increased scale and geographic reach, Finastra will be able to serve customers better, regardless of their size or geographic location – from global banks, to community banks, credit unions, and corporations. Using the company’s secure and reliable solutions, customers will be empowered to accelerate growth, optimize cost, mitigate risk and continually evolve to deliver a superior customer experience, both now and in the future.

Having long pursued a progressive vision of innovation within both businesses, Finastra will strive to further unlock the potential of people and businesses by executing the product strategy of ‘Protect, Extend and Innovate’. This includes protecting our customers’ investments in all of our solutions; extending the value of our solutions by integrating new products and services; and innovating to create the best-in-class solutions. Finastra will work in partnership to help customers transform their business, and become more agile, innovative, and resilient to better meet their evolving needs.

Finastra will be privately held.

Retailpocalypse: Bank branches are closing in droves (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

There may be no physical institution as historically revered as a bank.

Nice try. Banks these days are hardly elegant or imposing. Most have shrunk in size thanks to rising costs of real estate, and many have disappeared entirely, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Chase reduced its branch presence by 190 locations, a 3.4 percent decline, from 2012 to 2016. Wells Fargo closed 98 branches, a 1.6 percent decline in the same period. Its peers are even more aggressive. Bank of America closed 243 branches (16 percent) in that period and Citi closed 302 (28.5 percent).

Branches are consolidating locations with lower servicing volume, opening in higher growth areas and renovating existing branches and ATMs. More importantly, they’re evolving into more compact, digitally oriented spaces that incorporate new technology and help branch employees focus on improving the customer experience.

While those in the banking industry feel there will always be brick-and-mortar branches, in large part because the business of banking is grounded in trust, and in knowing the person with whom you’re working, the move to digital technologies is expected to grow exponentially.

Fundrise Revamps Service with First Ever Robo-Advisor for Real Estate (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Fundrise, one of the leading online investment platforms for real estate, has launched the “2.0” version of their platform. Fundrise has created a Robo-Advisor focused on real estate thus providing an investing tool to match individual investor needs.

The Fundrise Robo-advisor enables individual investors to create a highly diversified real estate portfolio accessing Fundrise’s growing number of eREIT’s. The service provides an estimate based on submitted variables to extrapolate potential returns. Fundrise estimates users will save up to 40% on fees versus traditional services.

Does Anyone Remember How to Make a Subprime Mortgage? (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Brokers willing to learn the lost art of making risky mortgages are in demand again.

Mr. Boyd, a 25-year-old account executive at FundLoans in a beach town outside of San Diego, is at the cusp of efforts to bring back an army of salespeople who once powered the mortgage industry and, some say, contributed to the housing crisis.

Brokers are a key part of a mortgage chain that starts with a borrower going to a broker for a loan. The broker surveys lenders for the best loan to fit the customer. The lender then funds the borrower’s loan.

While brokers before the crisis served banks and independent lenders, today they are working largely for nonbank lenders who make up a critical part of the mortgage market.

In the first quarter, nonbank lenders accounted for about half the mortgages originated in the U.S., according to industry publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

In the first quarter, nearly a decade after the start of the housing crisis, lenders originated just $6 billion in loans to borrowers with less than stellar credit scores or who are using alternative documentation to prove income, a category now known as “nonprime,” according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

In all of 2016, they originated $22 billion in loans, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. Back in 2005, at the peak for such loans, lenders made about $1 trillion of these mortgages.

Meanwhile, the volume of loans produced by mortgage brokers dropped to $37 billion in this year’s first quarter, down about 34% from the last three months of 2016. Loans from brokers peaked at around $1.1 trillion in 2003.

‘Fintech’ startup SoFi moving into traditional banking (Seattle Times), Rated: A

NEW YORK (AP) — Online lender and financial startup SoFi has taken the first step toward competing with the nation’s biggest banks on their home turf: the checking account.

The company, however, will have back-office operations in both Delaware and Salt Lake City, Utah.

In its application to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, SoFi plans to fund its new bank subsidiary with $166 million in capital.

Student Loans Are Holding Back Entrepreneurs. SoFi Is Changing That (Inc.), Rated: A

All your life, you’re told that an education will set you up to fulfill the American dream. But once you graduate, you’re faced with onerous payments that seem to hardly dent the principal. You need a steady job, stat. It’s terrifying to forgo a salary to start something new, let alone invest your assets, when you’re obligated to make monthly payments that can reach thousands of dollars.

One startup is helping its users get ahead of their debt and start the new ventures that our economy needs to thrive. SoFi (short for Social Finance) is largely known as the startup that will refinance your student loans, though it aspires to encompass its members’ entire financial lives.

Nevertheless, student loans are SoFi’s bread and butter, a reflection of the generation of Millennials saddled with insurmountable-feeling debt. That’s why, in addition to its unemployment support and career coaching, SoFi has an entrepreneurship program. The benefits include six months of loan deferment, mentorship resources such as connections to investors, and networking with other entrepreneur members.

Of course, SoFi can’t single-handedly revive American entrepreneurship, not least because the cohorts of accepted entrepreneurs are limited, and the types of businesses that SoFi favors skew toward scalable tech startups rather than conventional small businesses. But student loan relief has a definite impact on the participating SoFi members’ ability to launch companies.

Fundrise Offering Circular (Disclosure Quest), Rated: A

We are offering up to 5,000,000 shares of our Class B Common Stock to the public at $5.00 per share. This offering commenced on February 1, 2017 and as of May 30, 2017, we had settled approximately 2,884,129 shares of our Class B Common Stock of the 3,000,000 shares that we had previously qualified for sale. We are including in the offering an additional 2,000,000 shares of our Class B Common Stock to be sold pursuant to this offering circular.

Disruptor Alert: These 2 Companies Are Changing Banking (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Square (NYSE:SQ) has disrupted the mobile payment market, and could still be in its early innings of growth. Over the past year, Square’s stock has more than doubled, thanks to its impressive and better-than-expected growth and optimistic forecast.

Over the past year alone, Square’s payment volume increased by 33% to over $13.6 billion, and the company is on the verge of becoming profitable. Plus, Square’s services and subscription revenue more than doubled year-over-year, and has tremendous long-term growth potential.

P2P lenders aren’t the only players in the unsecured lending space anymore — some of the biggest names in the industry are getting involved, which could certainly shake things up in the years to come.

One in particular I have my eye on is Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

Goldman first announced its intention to get into the consumer lending business in 2015, and after a couple of years of development, the company recently launched Marcus (named for Marcus Goldman, one of the bank’s founders), its new lending platform that offers personal loans of up to $30,000.

According to a report by TransUnion, nearly 16 million people took out an unsecured loan in 2016, the highest on record. With an average balance of $7,640 and average interest rate of 12%, this translates into a billion-dollar revenue stream if Goldman can build its market share to just 7%.

IMAGE SOURCE: LENDING CLUB INVESTOR PRESENTATION.

Cadre Raises $ 65 Million in Series C Financing, Led by Andreessen Horowitz (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cadre, an online investment marketplace providing access and insight into institutional quality alternative assets, today announced a $65mm Series C financing round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with additional participation from Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital, Ford Foundation, General Catalyst, Goldman Sachs, Khosla Ventures, and Thrive Capital. Cadre’s existing investors include DST, Founders Fund, SL Green, and others.

Envestnet | Yodlee Unveils Personal Financial Wellness Solution Powered by Data Intelligence (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Envestnet | Yodlee (NYSE: ENV), a data aggregation and data analytics platform powering dynamic, cloud-based innovation for digital financial services, today announced the launch of its Personal Financial Wellness Solution at the Digital Banking Summit. The Envestnet | Yodlee Personal Financial Wellness Solution is a suite of applications and APIs that leverages enriched data and artificial intelligence to move beyond organizing historical financial data, helping financial institutions and fintech developers provide actionable, financial guidance to their customers across a spectrum of devices, user interfaces and platforms.

The Envestnet | Yodlee Personal Financial Wellness Solution enables financial institutions and fintech developers to provide actionable tools to help consumers identify their projected OK to Spend balance and easily Save for a Goal. By applying Envestnet | Yodlee’s advanced data intelligence to its enriched transaction data of over 15,000 data sources, financial service providers can derive actionable information from consumers’ financial data in order to measure, guide and improve consumers’ financial health.

OK to Spend

Core to the Personal Financial Wellness Solution is OK to Spend, which synergizes predictive analytics and user feedback to deliver smart financial forecasting. OK to Spend can be consumed as a financial application or a fully RESTful API framework that enables financial service providers to create forward-looking forecasts that organize and predict recurring income and financial obligations along with personalized notifications for financial events and projected balances. OK to Spend analytics is run across the consumers’ primary spending accounts (cash and credit card) regardless of which financial institution they primarily bank with, in order to provide a holistic view of their finances.

Patent-protected machine learning and data analytics enable the OK to Spend algorithms to identify sources of recurring income and accurately predicts future income, accounting for anomalies. Similarly, OK to Spend identifies recurring and forecasted financial obligations, while accounting for fluctuations determined from historic data.

Save for a Goal

The Save for a Goal application allows consumers to easily set and track savings goals. The application facilitates money movement across different accounts at a specific time frequency and allows customers to better track their goals by allowing consumers to allocate multiple goals to a single account, or spread a single goal across multiple cash and investment accounts. Save for a Goal provides visual data and notifications such as progress bars, charts, graphs and alerts, engaging customers with the option to flex and prioritize between goals.

The First In-Depth Report of the Single Family Real Estate Investor – the Iceberg Report (Newswire), Rated: A

The role of the individual and institutional single-family residential investor is highly undervalued and tremendously under-appreciated. About 10 million individuals, businesses and institutions provide secure housing and jobs for millions of average Americans. 67 million souls live in single-family rentals, a million more properties are added each year employing millions of individuals, to buy, renovate, lease and maintain as safe housing for tenants in affordable to luxury markets.  Single-family rentals have been discovered as a low-risk passive income revenue source and a growth asset in a balanced portfolio or personal retirement plan.

Using Harris Poll, single-family real estate investors were surveyed nationwide to understand why, where, what and how they invest and manage these properties to provide stable housing and realistic returns on their personal and company investments.

The report touches several other critical components that shape this market. Key among these are how the single-family real estate investor effects the economy, how investors view their properties (as added rental income or as an intentional business goal), investor decision points, and the investor as a customer,” says Steve Murray, Founder & CEO Real Trends.

To download your free copy of the Iceberg Report Executive summary, please go to

Want to Bring More Services to Your Clients? There’s A FinTech for That (CPA Practice Advisor), Rated: A

These days, there are few “typical” CPA firms left. As they seek to diversify, differentiate and grow by offering their clients value added services, firms are engaging in a much wider range of activities.

With the rise of a new generation of B2B financial technology companies, or Fintechs, the opportunities for CPA firms to offer new services have never been better.

Fintechs are infiltrating every aspect of B2B financial services, and venture investment continues to pour in. Where people used to look to QuickBooks, Oracle and SAP, now there are cloud-based accounting and ERP options like Xero and Freshbooks and NetSuite and Workday. But you probably know about those.

What you might not know is that Fintechs are moving into e-invoicing, expense reporting, data sharing and protection, compliance, tax management and fraud control. They’re executing specific parts of the banking value chain better, cheaper and faster, including lending, trade finance, and payments. Some are even considering becoming banks themselves.

Fintech solutions solve the whole thing– all types of payments and all the work that goes along with the payments. Companies can make 80 percent or more of their payments electronically, and that saves a lot of resources, especially if you’re a BPO writing hundreds of thousands of checks on behalf of your clients. You could be helping them get a lot more card rebates instead.

But what visibility really does is open up more opportunities for CPA or audit or BPO firms down the road. If you’re a BPO, visibility into payments could potentially help you work better with vendors.

The more you can help clients automate, the more nimble they are and the more nimble you are.

Goldman Sachs Bank Aggressively Going After Deposits (Lend Academy), Rated: A

So, I did a bit of research on what Goldman Sachs Bank is offering compared to others in the market. I looked at Bankrate and Nerdwallet to see who were the top offerings for savings accounts and CDs of various duration. What was interesting to me is that Goldman Sachs was at or near the top in every category.

For savings accounts there were a couple of small regional or local banks that had slightly higher rates but no major national banks were higher. If you look at 3-year CDs with a minimum investment of $500 (the Goldman Sachs minimum) I could not find an offering anywhere in the country that came close to matching Goldman’s 1.90% rate. In fact, the second highest rate available anywhere for a $500 3-year CD was 1.65% from Barclays.

Allstate, Marketplace Lending Association and others fly in (Politico), Rated: A

All sorts of interest groups are flying in this week to nab some time with lawmakers before the July 4 recess.

The Marketplace Lending Association, a trade group that represents digital financial and lending startups, is in town this week for its first-ever fly-in, meeting with lawmakers and regulators. “The goal is to bring Washington up to speed on the growth of the sector, as well as the emerging partnerships between the fintech member firms and banks,” according to the group. Its member companies include Lending Club, Prosper, Funding Circle, Avant, Marlette Funding and Affirm.

FINRA Establishes Innovation Outreach Initiative For FinTech (ETH News), Rated: A

On June 13, 2017, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) declared the establishment of the Innovation Outreach Initiative, in order to properly assess FinTech‘s industry impact.

FINRA’s Innovation Outreach Initiative comes after the launch of its FinTech site that’s dedicated to emergent topics in the field, and literature on blockchain technology and digital investing.

The initiative will consist of program elements, such as enhancing FINRA’s processes, timely publication of regulatory technology applications, regional outreach roundtable discussions (comprised of FINRA members and nonmembers), and the creation of a FinTech Industry Committee. The committee will help to assist with ongoing discussions about how FINRA’s programs and rules will intersect with FinTech innovations.

Online Lending Policy Institute Names Board of Governors (OLPI Email), Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI), a voice for policy analysis, in-depth research, and education for the online lending industry, today announced its Board of Governors, a group of industry experts ranging from academics to lawyers to executives from twelve leading organizations. This newly elected group joins founding members of OLPI: Cross River Bank, Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy, and RocketLoans.

The Board of Governors are:

  • Frank Borchert, General Counsel, Marlette Funding/ Best Egg
  • Colin Darke, General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer, RocketLoans
  • Dr. Michael Dooley, Chief Economist, SoFi; professor of economics UC Santa Cruz
  • Marc Franson, Managing Partner, Chapman and Cutler LLP
  • Michael Freedman, General Counsel, BorrowersFirst, Inc.
  • Gilles Gade, CEO, Cross River Bank
  • Adam Goller, Chief Credit Officer, Cross River Bank
  • Cornelius Hurley, Director, OLPI; professor Boston University
  • John Kromer, Partner, Buckley Sandler LLP
  • Robert Linderman, General Counsel, Freedom Financial Network, LLC
  • Tim Li, CEO, Kuber Inc.; professor Fintech School
  • Marshall Lux, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Marty Mitchell, Managing Director, ProBank Austin (formerly Professional Bank Services)

DiversyFund Announces New Luxury Investment With Roman James Design Build (Digital Journal), Rated: B

DiversyFund, Inc., a fast-growing full-service online real estate investment platform, announced the next ground-breaking real estate investment project that their partnership with Roman James Design Build will undertake. DiversyFund and Roman James will be building a new ultra-luxury in Hollywood Hills, one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

This investment opportunity is located at the end of Granito Drive in the prestigious Hollywood Hills community of Los Angeles, California, home to Hollywood celebrities, professional athletes and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Congressional Testimony on Fintech Innovation: “Today We Are Following Not Leading” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

This past week the House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, part of the Energy and Commerce Committee, held a hearing on Fintech innovation as part of their disruptors series.

Van Valkenburg called on Congress to “rationalize the chaos of financial regulation,” pointing to the horrifying reality there exists a byzantine environment of state and federal regulators that, well simply put, doesn’t make sense.

United Kingdom

London leads European fintech investment despite Brexit (Financial News), Rated: AAA

London-based fintech companies attracted more than three times as much capital in the first quarter as Berlin – Europe’s second largest fintech investment hub – and maintained its market share despite moves by other cities in the region to gain from the UK’s departure from the EU.

New research from data provider FinTech Global found six cities that stand out in Europe’s fintech arms race, with companies based in London, Berlin, Stockholm, Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam raising $823m in the first three months of 2017.

Overall European investment stood at $1.2bn, with London claiming a 36% share at $421m — more than treble the $140m investment in Berlin-based companies, according to the research.

Over the previous three years, London accounted for 39% of European investment, suggesting that the impact of last year’s Brexit vote has been slight.

UK businesses looking for finance are finding it harder to get a loan (Business Matters), Rated: AAA

With the UK in the early stages of Brexit and now facing a General Election, new research conducted by RateSetter Business Finance reveals how credit conditions look to be tightening again, with over 400,000 small businesses now interested in finding an alternative to the banks for a loan.

When asked, 32 per cent of SMEs that had considered raising finance said that it was now harder than six months ago.

As banks are progressively closing their branches and cutting back on front-line staff, businesses now need to go elsewhere to benefit from face-to-face contact before borrowing money. With over a third of small businesses preferring to seek advice in person, the move to online-only offerings and the closure of physical branches is a concern.

Hive ICO – the first crypto currency invoice financing platform for SMEs (Daily Fintech), Rated: A

Hive claims it will be the first crypto currency invoice financing platform for SMEs, with its ICO opening in 4 days and closing at the end of July.

From what I can gather – and I’d say you’re best to verify this yourself – Hive tokens give holders the right to participate in the network and generate a return by funding invoices. The carrot for small business owners is the speed of execution of the financing element.

And while I was lucky enough to get a master class in person, if you haven’t yet got your head around tokens and ICO, these articles are worth a read:

Asia

OBTAINING DIRECT LIFE INSURANCE LICENSE BY SINGAPORE LIFE (Credit China Fintech Holdings Limited), Rated: AAA

This announcement is made by Credit China FinTech Holdings Limited (“Company”) on a voluntary basis.

Reference is made to the announcement of the Company dated 26 April 2017 in relation to the Investment in Singapore Life (the “Announcement”). Unless otherwise defined, the capitalised terms used herein shall have the same meaning as those defined in the Announcement.

The board of directors of the Company is pleased to announce that Singapore Life has been approved as a fully licensed direct life insurer by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Singapore Life will also soon offer life insurance solutions to customers through its online platform www.singlife.com and financial advisers.

European Union

French Fintech Under Macron’s Presidency One Month On (Forbes), Rated: A

On the other hand, as Grossman points out, ‘since Macron has publicly stated that innovation and disruption is key for France’s growth potential, his intention for closer integration with Europe has been broadly welcomed by the fintech industry.’ Macron seems to be pro-PSD and has invited those affected by Brexit to work in the technology sector in France, all are welcome under En Marche. The French president is also very supportive of SME growth and is interested in helping French Tech.

Macron’s initiatives so far are clearly in favour of the development of fintech in France and with billions promised for innovation, the president is returning to supporting this space, as he did with The Family in Paris, as Grossman points out.

International

What do the most up-to-date numbers in marketplace lending tell us? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Prosper is currently lending significantly more than it is being repaid for the first time in roughly a year.

In March, the platform posted its first positive monthly net lending figure ($200k) since May of last year. April saw net lending growth to c. $15m.

 

RateSetter has posted back-to-back months of negative net lending in April and May (roughly £-700k and £-4m respectively). There are no other negative net lending months in the platform’s 6-7 year history.

Sovereign wealth funds ramp up private debt investment (AltFi), Rated: A

Gargantuan sovereign wealth portfolios are increasingly turning to private debt exposure with almost two-fifths of portfolios now actively investing in the asset class due to its potential for stable risk-adjusted returns and portfolio diversification benefit.

The report found that 39 per cent of sovereign wealth funds now invest in the asset class, an increase of five percentage points over the past 12 months. The majority of sovereign wealth funds with over $10bn in assets now allocate to the asset class, including two-thirds of those managing $250bn or more, and all of those managing $100-249bn.

Libyan Investment Authority is one such investor in private debt that allocates to the asset class as part of its private equity portfolio. The fund targets distressed debt and mezzanine funds in Europe, North America and MENA.

Mezzanine investments are the private debt fund type most appealing to sovereign wealth funds, with 70 per cent targeting the strategy over the next 12 month and direct lending is sought by 53 per cent.

Australia

Australia and Hong Kong seal fintech cooperation agreement (ZDNet), Rated: A

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has signed an agreement with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) to provide mutual support to fintech businesses from Australia and Hong Kong seeking to operate in each other’s markets.

Under the agreement, ASIC and SFC will refer fintech businesses to each other for advice and support via ASIC’s Innovation Hub — aimed at helping fintech businesses navigate Australia’s regulatory framework without compromising investor and financial consumer trust — and its Hong Kong-based equivalent, SFC’s Fintech Contact Point.

India

Now online money lenders can simulate ‘What-if’ scenarios on Faircent (Techseen), Rated: AAA

India based Peer-to-Peer lending website, Faircent, has announced the launch of what it claims to be a first-of-its-kind Portfolio What-if Analysis (PWA) tool on its platform. According to the company the tool will allow lenders to simulate different loan scenarios and understand how multi-loan portfolios in peer-to-peer lending operate through a ‘What-if’ analysis.

Using the tool lenders can create a test portfolio and specify the amount they would like to invest, along with the duration, interest rates, and tenure. The Portfolio Simulator will then perform advanced algorithm-based calculations based on the input, generating projected portfolio returns by following a standardized method using the concept of Net Annualized Return (NAR).

Rupaiya Exchange Receives Award for Best Peer-to-Peer Lending Platform in India (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Rupaiya Exchange received the award for Best Peer-to-Peer Lending Platform in India in The Asian Banker Financial Peer-to-Peer Audit Awards Programme 2017. The awards ceremony was held in conjunction with the prestigious Asian Banker Future of Finance Summit 2017, the foremost annual meeting for decision makers in the financial services industry in the Asia Pacific region, held at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore.

The awards evaluation criteria were based on multiple dimensions including financial performance, risk management processes, technology, innovation and strategy.

Online Peer-To-Peer Lending (BusinessWorld), Rated: A

Facilitating simple, fast, and tech-enabled banking services, the emergence of fintech is forcing banks to rethink old business models and delivery mechanisms to adopt a more technology-driven and consumer-centric approach to retail banking.

Leading this ‘uberisation’ of financial services is the online P2P (peer-to-peer) lending sector, which is driving disruption in the institutional lending space through its simplified, tech-enabled approach. What this also means is that online P2P lending will play a significant role in driving the Indian economy.

The adoption of technology means that loan approvals and disbursals can be facilitated in as little as 24 hours from the request origination, whilst digitised operations and processes allow for minimisation of overhead costs. This translates to greater benefits for all stakeholders; while borrowers pay lower interest rates and processing fees, lenders earn higher margins and returns on their investments.

MENA

MBRF, Beehive to offer start-up finance solutions (Gulf News), Rated: AAA

Dubai SME’s financial arm and peer-to-peer lending platform Beehive had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to aid financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The MoU between Beehive and the Mohammad Bin Rashid Fund (MBRF) will make it easier for SME owners in Dubai to obtain loans for development and expansion at competitive rates through the Beehive Group Finance Platform.

Under the deal, MBRF would act as a guarantor for credit of up to Dh500,000 on SME financing for a period up to 36 months.

Canada

Calgary-Based POS Lender LendingArch Expands into Quebec (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendingArch, a Calgary-based online and point-of-sale lending platform, announced its expansion to Quebec. LendingArch has partnered with medical clinics and home improvement contractors in Quebec to offer POS financing options, enabling LendingArch to become a fourth in-store payment method by applying online to finance products or services for up to 36 months.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday May 18 2017, Daily News Digest

Thursday May 18 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club increases minimum investment to open account. Consumers pay off unsecured personal loans first. American Households Return To Peak Debt, Thanks To Booming Student Loans. RateSetter sells off bad debts. Today’s main analysis: The fast lane to better small business funding. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Consumers pay off unsecured personal loans first. American Households […]

Thursday May 18 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Middle East

News Summary

United States

Lending Club Increases Minimum Investment to Open an Account to ,000 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Until today new investors at Lending Club could open an account with as little as $25. This has now changed. Going forward to open a new account at Lending Club you must deposit $1,000. The $25 minimum investment per loan still applies but you will no longer be able to start an account with less than $1,000.

The reason for this move can be explained in one word: diversification. We have written manytimes before about the importance of diversification and Lending Club has a page on their site dedicated to this topic. With $1,000 investors will be able to invest in 40 notes; while that is still not very diversified it is a lot better than investing in, say, four notes when someone starts with $100.

American Households Return To Peak Debt, Thanks To Booming Student Loans, (Buzz Feed), Rated: AAA

American households are back at peak debt, with new data showing the highest level of household debt since 2008.

Kind of.

Americans now sit on a $12.73 trillion pile of household debt, meaning mortgages, loans, credit cards, home equity lines of credit, car loans, and student debt. That figure previously peaked at $12.68 trillion in the early days of the Great Recession.

Those numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation, and $12.68 trillion 2008 dollars would be equal to more than $14.5 trillion today. And while debt number is at it’s highest ever, the economy has grown significantly in the last nine years, meaning that as a percentage of the total economy, it’s still well below its 2008 high.

“Almost nine years later, household debt has finally exceeded its 2008 peak but the debt and its borrowers look quite different today,” said Donghoon Lee, a Research Officer at the New York Fed. “This record debt level is neither a reason to celebrate nor a cause for alarm.”

The makeup of American household debt has changed in a big way. Back in 2008, people held $10 trillion in housing debt; that has fallen to $9.1 trillion today. In its place, student loan debt has boomed, and car loan and credit card debt also rose.

Home loans have become harder to come by for middle- and low-income buyers in the decade since the housing crisis began. And as the recession kicked into high gear and unemployment spiked, people poured into colleges in huge numbers, looking to weather the storm. That led to a boom in the for-profit college industry — and a soaring national student debt pile.

When household debt peaked in 2008, Americans had $610 billion in student loan debt, about 5% percent of all consumer debt and 23% percent of all non-housing debt. Today, student debt balances have more than doubled to $1.3 trillion, 11% of all consumer debt and 37% of all non-housing debt.

But people are now defaulting on those student loans at at a higher rate than any other form of debt. 11% of all student debt is now more than 90 days overdue, compared to 7.5% for credit cards and 3.8% for home loans.

“The standout, however, has been student loans—with new serious delinquency flows that deteriorated steadily between 2004 and 2014 and have remained stubbornly high since then,” the Fed researchers said.

The Fast Lane to Better Small Business Funding (Lendio Email), Rated: AAA

Consumers Place Personal Loans Atop the Credit Mountain (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

When faced with the choice of which debts to pay and which to miss, consumers in financial distress tend to prioritize unsecured personal loans ahead of other credit products such as auto loans, mortgages and credit cards. These findings were released today during TransUnion’s annual Financial Services Summit, attended by more than 300 senior-level financial services executives from around the globe.

The most recent study incorporates unsecured personal loans for the first time since TransUnion began analyzing the payment hierarchy dynamic in 2010. Beyond personal loans, this most recent analysis is consistent with prior TransUnion studies in finding that consumers have historically prioritized auto loans over their mortgages and credit cards, and have done so consistently since at least the beginning of 2004.

Personal Loan Delinquencies* Consistently Remain Lower Than Other Loan Types
Delinquency* Rates for Consumers Possessing

Auto Loans, Credit Cards, Mortgage Loans and Unsecured Personal Loans

Year Personal Loan Auto Loan Mortgage Credit Card
Q4 2012 1.10% 1.86% 3.49% 3.11%
Q4 2013 1.17% 1.84% 3.13% 3.23%
Q4 2014 1.19% 1.76% 2.63% 3.05%
Q4 2015 1.26% 1.68% 2.32% 2.87%
Q4 2016 1.49% 1.75% 2.44% 3.65%

*Delinquency rates after 12 months for consumers who possess and are current on all four credit products at the beginning of the respective performance measurement period.    

Recent TransUnion data show that average term lengths are much shorter for unsecured personal loans. For loans originated in Q4 2016, unsecured personal loans had an average term of 28 months. In this same timeframe, the length of auto loans averaged 60 months and mortgages averaged 230 months.

Why Millennials Are Interested In Real Estate Investing (Forbes), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares recently teamed up with Harris Interactive to put out the Real Estate Investing Report, surveying Americans on their investment preferences. And according to the survey results, 55 percent of millennials are interested in investing in real estate, the highest percentage of all demographics questioned. Research from Fannie Mae supports these findings, reporting that 85 percent of millennials think real estate is a good investment.

According to a recent Pew report, there are 75.4 million millennials compared with 74.9 million baby boomers.

In the RealtyShares survey results, 20 percent of millennials indicated they believe real estate has performed the best since 2000. In fact, millennials were the age group with the largest percentage with that belief. The next highest group to believe real estate outperformed the stock market since 2000 is comprised primarily of Generation X (ages 35–44), 16 percent of whom chose real estate as the top performer.

Millennials, ever-vigilant on the internet, are paying heed to online financial experts. One of these experts especially popular among millennials is personal finance blogger Financial Samurai, who recently shared his preference for investing in real estate over the stock market.

While the large down payment needed to invest in real estate is the biggest reason millennials aren’t buying real estate, thanks to online real estate investing platforms, millennials can now invest in real estate without saving tens of thousands of dollars for a down payment.

Juvo Appoints Financial Services Expert Ron Suber As Strategic Advisor (Juvo Email), Rated: A

Juvo, a pioneer in mobile Identity Scoring, today announced the appointment of Ron Suber, president of Prosper Marketplace, as strategic advisor to the company. An investor in Juvo, Suber is a prolific presence in fintech and is well known as an industry influencer around the world. In his advisor role at Juvo, he will help direct the company through its global growth, ongoing product development and expansion into new markets.

Ron’s appointment helps round out the Juvo advisory team, which includes:

  • Nils Puhlmann, leads Juvo’s security and privacy efforts: former Chief Security Officer & co-founder of Cloud Security Alliance
  • Vicente Silveira, fraud and risk management advisor: head of fraud data science at Uber
  • Allison Duncan, social impact advisor: founder and CEO of Amplifier Strategies
  • Ken Laversin, enterprise software/SaaS advisor: senior vice president, worldwide sales at Jasper
  • Monica Rogati, data science advisor: equity partner at Data Collective, former VP of data at Jawbone and LinkedIn data scientist

LendingHome Hires New CFO. Receives Fannie Mae Approval to Expand Home Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendingHome says it is ready to ratchet up platform growth. The marketplace lending platform that finances residential mortgages has made two announcements today.

First, the online lender has announced that former Nationstar Mortgage CFO, Robert Stiles, has been appointed to become LendingHome’s CFO.

Simultaneously, LendingHome has been approved by Fannie Mae as a seller and servicer provider which will enable  LendingHome to expand its consumer home financing business, a bit of a big deal.

By working directly with Fannie Mae, LendingHome may streamline operations and offer better loan pricing to its customers.

Is the CSBS Vision 2020 the Answer to the OCC Fintech Charter? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Earlier this week, the Conference on State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) announced their “Vision 2020” initiative.

The CSBS outlined their initial objectives:

  • Redesign the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS). CSBS has launched a technology effort that redesigns and expands NMLS, the common platform for state non-bank regulation. The redesign will use data and analytics to provide a more automated licensing process for new applicants, streamline multi-state regulation, and shift state resources to higher-risk cases. State regulators also will ensure transparency through NMLS Consumer Access, which was viewed 3.7 million times last year.
  • Harmonize multi-state supervision. CSBS has created working groups to establish model approaches to key aspects of non-bank supervision. The groups will work to enhance uniformity in examinations, facilitate best practices, and capture and report non-bank violations at the national level. To further streamline the process, CSBS will create a common technology platform for state examinations.
  • Form an industry advisory panel. CSBS will establish a fintech industry advisory panel to identify points of friction in licensing and multi-state regulation, and provide feedback to state efforts to modernize regulatory regimes. The panel will focus on lending and money transmission, and discuss a wide range of solutions. Individual state regulators already have been engaging the fintech industry in formal dialogue.
  • Assist state banking departments. CSBS education programs will make state departments more effective in supervising banks and non-banks. Updated standards and analytics will help states determine where new expertise is most needed, identify and address weaknesses, update supervisory processes, and compare themselves to and learn from other state departments. These higher standards will be validated through an enhanced CSBS accreditation program.
  • Make it easier for banks to provide services to non-banks. CSBS is stepping up efforts to address de-risking – where banks are cautious about doing business with non-banks, due to regulatory uncertainty – by increasing industry awareness that strong regulatory regimes exist for compliance with laws for money laundering, the Bank Secrecy Act, and cybersecurity.
  • Make supervision more efficient for third parties. Banks of all sizes work with a variety of third-party service providers, including fintech companies. CSBS supports federal legislation that would allow state and federal regulators to better coordinate supervision of bank third-party service providers.

Fintech Lawyers on State Regulators’ Possible Alternative to OCC Charter Plan (Corporate Counsel), Rated: A

Lawyers who work for and with fintechs are encouraged that the state regulators at the CSBS are at least thinking about changes to the system that they believe would modernize state regulations of nonbanks or help centralize regulation among the states.

The state banking regulators’ plan for nonbanks such as fintechs outlines six ways in which it seeks to provide “a regulatory system that makes supervision more efficient and recognizes standards across state lines” by 2020, according to a press release.

Initial actions will include: redesigning the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System, harmonizing multistate supervision, forming an industry advisory panel, assisting state banking departments, making it easier for banks to provide services to nonbanks and making supervision more efficient for third parties, according to the association.

LendUp And Beneficial State Bank Announce Major Expansion Of Credit Card Partnership (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendUp, a socially responsible lender for the emerging middle class, and Beneficial State Bank (Beneficial State), a social enterprise bank, today announced a significant expansion of the L Card, its credit card joint venture. The move is expected to quadruple the availability of L Cards, a Visa credit card product designed by LendUp and issued by Beneficial State for consumers traditionally shut out of mainstream banking due to poor credit scores or damaged credit files. The expansion builds on the firms’ partnership that extends back to the L Card pilot in April 2015.

According to the Credit Builders Alliance, a person with subprime credit pays on average $250,000 more in interest than borrowers with good credit over the course of their lifetime — and that doesn’t even include fees on financial products. In addition, according to LendUp research, many of its own customers are currently shut out of mainstream credit card products, such as rewards credit cards (98.5%) and retail rewards cards (66.5%).

In response, LendUp created a card for Beneficial State that meets borrowers’ immediate credit needs while helping to build their long term financial health. Features include:

  • Instant decisions
  • No over-the-limit fees or security deposits
  • Reporting to the three main credit bureaus
  • Affordable payments

The L Card carries an annual fee of $0$60 and APR ranging from 19.99% to 29.99%; it has a 4.8 average star review on CreditKarma.

Addepar To Buy Alternatives Data Provider AltX (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

Mountainview, Calif.-based Addepar announced on Thursday that it is purchasing AltX, an alternatives market intelligence platform.

Addepar hopes that the acquisition will boost it’s capabilities around alternative investing by enabling advisors to make better-informed decisions, said Eric Poirier, Addepar CEO, in a statement released on Thursday.

AltX’s platform uses machine learning to gather intelligence on alternative investments, incorporating reference data, public filings and news into a database of performance, holdings and key reference data for more than 17,000 funds.

Ascentium Capital Surpasses $ 3.0 Billion in Origination Volume (Ascentium), Rated: A

Ascentium Capital LLC, the top private independent finance company in the United States by new business volume, announced surpassing $3 billion in origination volume since the Company’s inception in August 2011.

Milwaukee FinTech firms aim to help consumers (Biz Times), Rated: A

The pace of FinTech disruption is increasing in the financial industry, with about $22 billion raised by FinTech startups over the past five years, Schedler said.

Northwestern Mutual has invested in two key early FinTech leaders, Betterment and Learnvest. And with its Future Ventures program, it plans to invest $50 million in series A and series B funding rounds over the next five to six years to bring in more partnership opportunities.

Bank My Biz has 13 bank partners in Wisconsin and many more across the country, he said. So if one of those banks isn’t able to extend an equipment or working capital loan of less than $100,000 to a small business, Bank My Biz may be able to do so with its financial partner, Brookfield-based national direct lender Advantage+.

Banks earn income off the term loan and Bank My Biz earns its revenue through the interest rate spread. It charges interest rates of between 9 and 13 percent.

Looking Glass buys marketplace loans on lending sites Funding Circle, LendingClub, Peerform and Prosper. Using its custom predictive analytics software, LGI evaluates and underwrites loans it has determined are unlikely to default. The alternative investment model promises investors a less volatile environment than the equity markets.

It also runs LoansOfTheDay.com, which uses big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to distribute risk and optimize returns on peer-to-peer lending sites. LGI contributes a minimum of $25 to each loan on the site.

And its newest product is LendSight, a SaaS underwriting tool banks can use to improve their profit margins by doing predictive underwriting, while allowing Looking Glass to capture more market share, Siefkes said.

Redpoint Capital Group Names Alex Dunev as Managing Partner (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Redpoint Capital Group, LLC (“Redpoint”), an alternative investment company focused on providing financing solutions to companies in the Specialty Finance and FinTech sectors, announced today that it has added Alex Dunev as a Managing Partner. Alex will be responsible for driving Redpoint’s strategic priorities, including sourcing new investment opportunities and raising capital to deploy into Redpoint’s investment strategies. Alex will also manage Redpoint’s office in Westport, Connecticut.

Alex was previously a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Division at UBS, leading the bank’s Specialty Finance efforts in the Americas. Prior to UBS Alex also covered Specialty Finance companies at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

DiversyFund, Inc. Brings New Innovations to Real Estate Crowdfunding (Digital Journal), Rated: B

Mr. Cecilio and Mr. Lewis formed DiversyFund, Inc. to create the industry’s first online crowdfunding real estate platform where the company acts as the real estate developer on all of its investment offerings in order to deliver to its investors better quality control and more detailed and robust investor reporting, including monthly construction updates on each real estate project with pictures of all work in progress.

Because DiversyFund, Inc. acts as the developer and receives a developer fee that is paid at the project level, DiversyFund does not charge any platform fees, servicing fees or other sales commissions to its investors, enabling investors to keep 100% of their investment returns.

Additionally, DiversyFund, Inc. is the only crowdfunding real estate site that focuses exclusively on strong-performing Southern California real estate markets.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Sells Off Bad Debts Worth £2.1 Million (iExpats), Rated: AAA

A British peer-to-peer lender has become the first platform to sell non-performing debt.

RateSetter has completed a deal with undisclosed terms to 1st Credit, a debt purchasing company.

The lender says the loans were taken out between 2010 and 2015 and that the company felt borrowers were unlikely to settle the debt.

RateSetter has a £22.23 million provision fund to cover bad debts and expects to pay out £18.78 million compensation to investors.

Landbay introduces retention fee for intermediaries (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

LANDBAY has announced that its intermediaries will now receive a retention fee for all customer renewals.

The peer-to-peer lender, which specialises in buy-to-let mortgages, said that it introduced the 0.3 per cent fee because of its ongoing recognition of the role of intermediaries in offering advice in the retention process of customers.

Investing in the UK’s growth when it needs it most (FT Adviser), Rated: A

The notoriety and growth of crowd funding, and its variations, has gathered a great deal of attention. For good and bad. Only last year, Lord Turner warned: “The losses which will emerge from peer-to-peer lending over the next five to 10 years will make the bankers look like lending geniuses.”

While investing in VCTs has its risks, just as any investment has, these risks are for more measured and disciplined with quality offerings. Many quality VCT providers have more recently felt lumped in the same bucket as the under fire feel peer to peer (P2P) lenders and equity crowdfunders (ECFs) both of which now the subject of a clampdown by the FCA.

Despite some of the misconceptions, VCTs raised £458m in the 2015-16 tax year, making it the third highest year for VCT investment since records began in 1995. In the tax year that has just closed, most but not all were fully funded by the end of 2016-2017.

VCTs invest in small, largely unquoted, companies in the UK of up to £15m in size.

London-based VC Notion Capital has announced a new $ 80 million startup fund (Business Insider), Rated: A

Notion Capital, a London-based venture capital firm that backs startups across Europe, has announced a new $80 million (£60 million) startup fund that will be used to back later stage companies.

The VC, which focuses on backing enterprise software and cloud companies, also announced on Tuesday the final closing of a $140 million (£107 million) venture fund to back early stage startups.

Ford: Wine, watches and cars: the rise of alternative investing (Automotive World), Rated: B

As savvy investors champion alternative commodities such as wine and watches, classic Fords have proved themselves another sound investment.

For those who think there’s no money to be made from cars, think again – total growth over the past decade was 457 per cent***. This is a bigger increase than even property, which has increased in value on average 20 per cent in the last decade and 152 per cent since 2000 across Europe*****. And it’s not just new super cars such as the latest Ford GT newly on sale in excess of $450,000 that command a hefty price tag and appreciate rapidly. Among the list of top investor car makes, Ford offers among the lowest entry costs.

In March 2016, a Ford Escort Cosworth with less than 2,500 miles on the clock sold at auction for £67,580 after originally going on sale at £22,050 in 1992. The average price of a Cosworth is now more than double that original price and the Fiesta XR2 which went on sale in 1981 for £5,150, has trebled in value since 2014 to prices well in excess of £10,000, with the best advertised at close to £20,000.******

China

Alibaba Invests In Its First Fintech Company In Hong Kong (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

As reported by Forbes today, Alibaba has invested in online invoice exchange marketplace Qupital, marking the Chinese e-commerce giant’s first foray into fintech investment in Hong Kong. Qupital raised a total of $2 million in its seed round.

Qupital bills itself as Hong Kong’s first and largest online invoice discounting exchange. The company aims to solve the problem of companies not having quick access to cash by allowing them to raise funds on the site through the auctioning off of unpaid invoices, essentially securitizing their accounts receivable.

Dianrong Announces Next Technology Agreement Outside Mainland China (Military-Technologies), Rated: AAA

Dianrong today announced a new technology agreement with Maggie Ng, a leading consumer banking executive in Asia Pacific, to launch the first global fintech marketplace connecting Asian investors with high-quality, low-volatility and largely untapped asset classes, including U.S. consumer lending. The new strategic alliance combines Dianrong’s advanced technology with Ms. Ng’s extensive consumer-lending experience.

Ms. Ng and Dianrong engineers are currently completing beta testing for the new fintech platform that will provide Asian investors with an integrated solution to access U.S. marketplace lending assets. The platform will utilize multiple U.S. marketplace lenders and a single onboarding and know-your-customer process. It will also offer advanced risk modeling capabilities, added credit enhancement and structuring features, and blockchain solutions to safeguard data integrity. Investors will also have access to real-time performance monitoring, U.S. tax-exemption filing capabilities and a secondary market for liquidity.

Chinese Celebrity-Backed Fintech Firm QuantGroup Considering US IPO (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

Fintech company QuantGroup, which was founded by several notable Chinese movie stars, is considering a US IPO, according to an article published in Bloomberg last week. The firm is looking to raise an estimated $200 million according to unnamed sources.

The Beijing-based QuantGroup is a financial services company that provides estimated credit ratings using big data.

QuantGroup joins a growing list of Chinese fintech firms in the process of launching US IPOs. Fenqile, a Chinese online shopping mall that lets customers pay in installments, is also looking to raise over $600 million through a US IPO.

LCQ5: Regulation of online crowdfunding and lending platforms (7th Space), Rated: B

Platforms for raising funds from and lending small loans to members of the public through the Internet (crowdfunding and lending platforms) have become popular in recent years. However, some financial advisers have pointed out that investors participating in crowdfunding activities are exposed to considerable risks. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it knows the number of companies currently operating local crowdfunding and lending platforms, and the number of complaints received by the authorities in the past three years concerning crowdfunding activities, with a breakdown by type of complaints;

(2) how the current legislation regulates the fundraising and lending activities conducted through crowdfunding and lending platforms;

(3) as some financial advisers have pointed out that investors provide funds through such platforms, which in turn lend the funds to borrowers, whether the authorities will, to avoid such investors breaching the law inadvertently, clarify if such investors are regarded as money lenders under the Money Lenders Ordinance (Cap. 163) and therefore are required to obtain money lender licences; and

(4) whether the authorities will conduct public education activities on the risks faced by investors participating in crowdfunding activities; if so, of the details?

Answers:

Year No. of complaints about crowdfunding No. of complaints about lending platforms
2015 0 6
2016 4 1
2017
(as at end March)
0 0

 

(2) and (3) Depending on the specific structure and features of the relevant arrangement, some types of crowdfunding activities, in particular equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, may be subject to the provisions of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap.571), and/or the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap.32).

(4) We will ensure that investors and consumers of crowdfunding and lending platforms will receive proper protection under Hong Kong’s regulatory rules and standards. In view of the rapid development of financial technologies (Fintech), the Investor Education Centre (IEC) is working on a series of articles to introduce various Fintech services/products, associated risks and regulatory framework to the public.

European Union

Older Swiss fintech additiv gets $ 21.3 million in new capital (CNBC), Rated: AAA

A Zurich-based Swiss financial technology (fintech) firm, additiv, has today raised CHF21m Swiss Francs ($21.3m) in capital from core investors including BZ Bank, acting on behalf of its clients, and the investment vehicle Patinex.

Additiv provides systems to help with the digitalization of banks, asset managers and insurers.

Additiv’s key software product is the Digital Finance Suite (DFS). It has offices in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as an international network of reselling partners and customers around the world.

Additiv’s key software product is the Digital Finance Suite (DFS). It has offices in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as an international network of reselling partners and customers around the world.

Lendity: ideal marketplace lending exposure for pension funds, asset managers, family offices, private banks (Daily Fintech), Rated: A

A sea of 300 suits is what I faced last week at the first Swiss Alternative Lending conference hosted at SIX and in partnership SIX and Lendity.

Lendity is focused on developing structures that a family office, an asset manager, a pension fund, can book on their books or a private bank can list in their private debt product offering for qualified investors. And at the same time include:

o   Global exposure – US and Europe for now (USD, CHF)

o   Asset diversification – Consumer, SME, real estate etc

o   Platform diversification

o   Tax efficiency, despite the cross-border exposure

o   Regulatory compliance, despite the cross-border exposure

o   Private debt without additional counterparty risk from the issuer.

Lendity is really solving a pain point for both marketplace lending platforms and for institutional investors.

For marketplace lending platforms, Lendity acts as a marketplace that matches them with institutional capital from Financial advisors, Private Bankers, Pension funds, Family offices, and Asset managers (the 5 “investor” types).

FinTech: the influence of technology on the future of the financial sector (Lexology), Rated: A

The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) has published its final report on ‘ (2016/2243(INI))’.

On the other side of the coin, the report stresses the following:

  1. Financial services legislation at both the EU and national levels should be sufficiently innovation friendly.
  2. Fintech companies should continue to contribute positively to the development of financial intermediation.
  3. There is scope for improvement in the means that can be used for cross-border payments (while noting the regret of the European Parliament that there is no EU-wide European-owned credit or debit card scheme).
  4. There are no clear European rules or guidelines for outsourcing data to the could with regard to the financial sector.
  5. It is concerned about the increased use of permissionless blockchain applications for criminal activities.

See the full report here.

Australia

Retirees are riskier investors than millennials, says ASX report (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

The latest ASX Australian Investor Study found the proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds who invested in the ASX over the past five years had increased from 10 to 20 per cent. The proportion of 25 to 34-year-olds had also increased, from 24  to 39 per cent.

The survey shows that 81 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds are seeking guaranteed or stable returns, compared to 67 per cent of 25 to 59-year-old investors and 60 per cent of retirees.

Millennials have grown to recently become the largest generational cohort in Australia, with 4.9 million people, eclipsing Gen X (4.8 million) and baby boomers (4.1 million), Roy Morgan Australia says.

According to the ASX research, 44 per cent of 18 to 24-year-old investors hold cash, 31 per cent hold shares and 25 per cent have investment properties.

The ASX survey also revealed that the proportion of 18 to 24-year-old investors using professional financial advisers was 37 per cent, but Mr Mahony said the number of people who used Google to see where they should be investing was 48 per cent.

NAB’s fintech arm brings robo-advice to home loans (AltFi), Rated: A

The fintech arm of Australian banking giant NAB, UBank, has unveiled a robo-advisor aimed at helping customers complete their home loan applications.

In a national first, “RoboChat” will offer real time help for online home loan applications available 24/7. The robot will answer FAQs, such as “what term do you offer on home loans?” and “do you offer redraws and how do they work?”, as well as stupid and unrelated questions with a sense of humour.

India

Robo advisors: Stay relaxed while getting accurate financial advice (DNA), Rated: A

Robo advisors give users access to advice by highly qualified experts who have multiple decades of financial experience with them as against serviced by a 22-25 year sales executive, or a family member. Also, since this is available online and requires minimal human intervention, it is the best and most economical way to make customised expert financial advice available to the masses.

Capacity (Who will cater to masses?): Bank relationship managers and advisors are a privilege of the rich as reduction in distributor commissions have made intermediaries vacate the low/ medium end of the market.

Robo-advisors reduce a lot of unpleasant experience of interaction. There is no pressure for you to buy right now, in addition to having the option of doing it at your own convenience. The design and UX at certain platforms are created to engage users without being too intrusive.

The unbundling of banking (CB Insights), Rated: A

Paytm, the private Indian mobile payment unicorn, is now coming for the banks.

Middle East

Abu Dhabi Global Market admits first five fintech start-ups into its Reglab sandbox (CNBC), Rated: B

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has announced its first batch of financial technology (fintech) regulatory laboratory (Reglab) companies that will go through its new innovation center.

They are:

  • Now Money – UAE: provides mobile technology to allow low income migrant workers in the UAE to access banking and remittance services, which would otherwise be out of reach.
  • Titanium Escrow – UAE: This is an automated escrow service that aims to increase trust in counterparties and stabilize the cash cycle for small businesses.
  • CapitaWorld – India: A one-stop digital platform that automates the entire loan value chain from loan application to credit appraisal and post-disbursement credit monitoring. Rather than needing to physically visit multiple banks to apply for a loan, the CapitaWorld platform allows a borrower to submit a loan application just once online, and its platform will use analytics to carry out verification and credit risk scoring. It will then match the borrower with multiple banks that have signed onto the platform and ensure that the credit risk appetite matches the borrower’s profile.
  • Rubique – India: Rubique is an online platform that connects banks and fund seekers/borrowers via a smart financing process that links to a range of loan, credit card and financing options that attempt to bridge the gap between lenders and borrowers.
  • Finalytix -US: This is a robo-advisory platform for wealth management applications that seeks to help clients optimize their holdings, mitigate risks and costs, and identify new investment opportunities.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday May 12 2017, Daily News Digest

LC servicing portfolio balance

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa receives full FCA authorization. Citi appointed depositary bank for China Rapid Finance ADR program. Auto loan fraud soars. Seedrs to launch UK’s first equity crowdfunding secondary market. CRF unveils underwriters’ option for purchase of additional ADS. Funding Societies to launch mobile app. Today’s main analysis: Why investors are betting against Lending Club. Today’s thought-provoking […]

LC servicing portfolio balance

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Citi Appointed Depositary Bank for CRF Limited’s Sponsored ADR Program (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Citi’s Issuer Services business, acting through Citibank, N.A., has been appointed by China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance”), a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability and operations in China, as the depositary bank for its American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program.

China Rapid Finance’s program was established in connection with a $69 million initial public offering (inclusive of the fully exercised over-allotment option), originally priced at $6.00 per ADR. The ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “XRF.” Each ADR represents one Class A ordinary share of China Rapid Finance. As a single-listed ADR program, the underlying Class A ordinary shares are not listed or publicly traded in the issuer’s home market.

Investors Are Betting Big Against Lending Club — Are They Right? (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

As of the latest available data, 14% of Lending Club‘s (NYSE:LC) shares are sold short — among the highest percentages in the financial sector. That means more than $300 million is being bet against the peer-to-peer lender.

Lending Club investors who got in at the beginning have seen their shares lose three-fourths of their market value, despite strong performance in the overall market.

For 2014, Lending Club originated $4.4 billion in new loans, compared with just $3.2 billion in its entire history before that year.

Source: Lending Club Q1 2016 Investor Presentation

After the first quarter of 2016, loan originations fell by 29% and have not managed to recover yet.

In fact, revenue is down 18% year over year, and Lending Club lost nearly $30 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared with a profit of more than $4 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Source: Lending Club Q1 2016 Investor Presentation

Auto Loan Fraud Soars in a Parallel to the Housing Bubble (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Borrower fraud in U.S. auto loans is surging, and may approach levels seen in mortgages during last decade’s housing bubble, according to a startup firm that helps lenders sniff out bogus borrowers.

As many as 1 percent of U.S. car loan applications include some type of material misrepresentation, executives at data analytics firm Point Predictive estimated based on reports from banks, finance companies and others. Lenders’ losses from deception may double this year to $6 billion from 2015, the firm forecast.

Those fraud rates are coming closer to the over-1-percent level for mortgages in 2009, when the financial crisis was boiling and more lenders started reporting incidents to one another, Frank McKenna, chief fraud strategist at the firm, said in an interview. While those losses will sting lenders, the impact on the overall economy will likely be much more muted than with the housing crisis, just because there’s less car debt outstanding.

Point Predictive has put together a consortium of lenders to share data about dealers and loans. The group, now 13 strong, met at the headquarters of Santander Consumer USA in Dallas last month. Common types of fraud include borrowers lying about their income and their jobs, including falsifying paystubs. Loan applications can also include bogus information about the type of car being financed, or its value. The deception can be perpetrated by consumers, or car dealers, or both.

About 3 percent of dealers can be responsible for all of a lender’s fraudulent applications, Point Predictive said in a February report. Losses from auto loan fraud this year will likely be $4 billion to $6 billion, up from $2 billion to $3 billion in 2015, the firm said.

During the housing bubble, as few as 3 percent of mortgage brokers helped perpetrate most or all of the reported fraud, Point Predictive said. Loans that required little or no documentation allowed borrowers and brokers to lie about employment, salary, and other key facts about their financial condition. One borrower’s application for a mortgage said she made $6,900 a month, when she actually made about $3,286.

What You Need to Know About The CFPB and Small Business Lending (deBanked), Rated: AAA

On Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) held a hearing on small business lending. Here’s why it mattered and what you need to know:

Why: The 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, aka Dodd-Frank, empowered the CFPB to collect data on small business lending. The CFPB is just now getting around to rolling this out.

Who: “I’m an MCA funder, factor, equipment lessor or other, and this only applies to lenders right”?
Maybe, maybe not. Although Section 1071 makes several references to loans and credit, it doesn’t refer to the companies subject to data collection as small business lenders. Instead it says financial institutions which it defines as “any partnership, company, corporation, association (incorporated or unincorporated), trust, estate, cooperative organization, or other entity that engages in any financial activity.”

What: What are they trying to collect?

  • the number of the application and the date on which the application was received;
  • the type and purpose of the loan or other credit being applied for;
  • the amount of the credit or credit limit applied for, and the amount of the credit transaction or the credit limit approved for such applicant;
  • the type of action taken with respect to such application, and the date of such action;
  • the census tract in which is located the principal place of business of the women-owned, minority-owned, or small business loan applicant;
  • the gross annual revenue of the business in the last fiscal year of the women-owned, minority-owned, or small business loan applicant preceding the date of the application;
  • the race, sex, and ethnicity of the principal owners of the business; and
  • any additional data that the Bureau determines would aid in fulfilling the purposes of this section.

Elevate Credit Inc’s Quiet Period Will End on May 16th (Sports Perspectives), Rated: A

Elevate Credit’s (NASDAQ:ELVT) quiet period will end on Tuesday, May 16th. Elevate Credit had issued 12,400,000 shares in its initial public offering on April 6th. The total size of the offering was $80,600,000 based on an initial share price of $6.50.

Several research firms recently issued reports on ELVT. Jefferies Group LLC assumed coverage on Elevate Credit in a research report on Tuesday, May 2nd. They set a “buy” rating and a $12.00 target price for the company. Compass Point restated a “neutral” rating and set a $9.00 price target on shares of Elevate Credit in a report on Tuesday, April 18th. Credit Suisse Group AG assumed coverage on Elevate Credit in a report on Tuesday, May 2nd. They set an “outperform” rating and a $11.00 price target for the company. Stifel Nicolaus assumed coverage on Elevate Credit in a report on Monday, May 1st. They set a “buy” rating and a $12.00 price target for the company. Finally, William Blair assumed coverage on Elevate Credit in a report on Monday, May 1st. They set an “outperform” rating for the company. One research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have issued a buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $11.00.

Elevate Credit (NASDAQ:ELVT) opened at 7.99 on Thursday. The stock’s market cap is $104.97 million. Elevate Credit has a 12-month low of $7.00 and a 12-month high of $8.86. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $8.01 and its 200 day moving average price is $8.01.

KBRA Upgrades Ratings on Earnest Student Loan Program 2016-B LLC (KBRA Email), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) upgrades the ratings on two classes of notes issued under Earnest Student Loan Program 2016-B LLC (EARN 2016-B), a private student loan ABS transaction which closed on May 11, 2016.

Credit enhancement has increased for each class of notes as a result of low losses, no delinquent loans that are 30+ days past due, low borrower usages of deferment and forbearance, and the deleveraging which has occurred as the notes have amortized. Current credit enhancement for the Class A and Class B notes is 15.23% and 10.44% as a % of Adjusted Pool Balance, respectively. Credit enhancement consists of overcollateralization, subordination of junior notes, cash reserves, and excess spread. The transaction has breakeven loss multiples which are sufficient for an upgrade of the ratings on the Class A and Class B notes.

Get the full report.

Why a virtual bank is making bank branches part of its US launch (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Iam Bank, a startup virtual bank based in Ireland that has offices in the U.K., is set to launch in the U.S. this fall — and it’s going to do it via a physical bank branch.

The bank, which is now in the process of buying a Chicago-based bank it declined to name, said it will set up its first branch, known as a “customer experience center” in Milwaukee in the fall.

“We’ve done a lot of research and it all comes down to trust and credibility,” said Simona Stankovska, head of communications for Iam Bank. “For us, the research shows that people have a massive distrust of purely digital offerings. They need to have a human touch, they need to be able to communicate with someone.”

Despite expectations about the death of the branch (for example, a report last month from commercial real estate firm JLL projected that the number of branches across the U.S. will shrink 20 percent in five years), recent surveys support Iam Bank’s view that consumers — especially millennial ones — will continue to demand a human touch to banking. An Accenture survey last year found that 87 percent of customers, including 86 percent of millennials, feel that they will continue to use branches because they trust or sense that they get more value from letting a human to deal.

Now the hard part for bank robos: Getting customers to use them (American Banker), Rated: A

A few years ago, many in financial services thought robo-advisers would completely disrupt traditional wealth and asset management services at banks.

That hasn’t entirely turned out to be the case. In fact banks have begun to partner with, acquire or create their own robos in an effort to appeal to wealth management clients who want more digital services.

With that in mind, Fifth Third recently launched several digital wealth management products it hopes will compel retail customers to use their wealth and advisory services. One is its Life360 product, which combines human advice with a digital platform that gives customers a full overview of their financial life, including accounts and investments that aren’t held at Fifth Third.

This month, the bank began offering a new digital estate planning product called LegacyLink. The service, available online and through its own dedicated mobile app, provides educational content and interactive checklists around estate planning. The basic service is free and there is an additional paid-subscription service that helps users catalog, track and distribute estate assets.

Indeed, an Accenture survey published in March found that customers who relied on both digital tools and personal help were more engaged clients. The survey found that 64% of hybrid users seek out and receive assistance on financial planning, compared with 44% of those who rely either entirely on digital products or those who use traditional advisory services.

These Millennials Stress about Finances, Jobs and Living Arrangements (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class released a series of reports on Millennials today that shed new light on the financial, employment and familial struggles faced by non-prime Millennials – defined as those with credit scores below 700 – as well as their remarkable optimism.

The Center’s Millennial series covers a variety of topics including savings, personal finance management and unexpected expenses. The series of corresponding reports are titled:

  • Millennials and Work: The Non-Prime Experience
  • Millennials’ Day-to-Day Finances: The Non-Prime Experience
  • Financial Education & Attitudes: Non-Prime Millennials
  • Getting By: How Non-Prime Millennials Overcome Financial Challenges

The first study of the series of four, “Millennials and Work,” notes that non-prime Millennials are 68 percent more likely to live in households with 4+ people, but much less likely to have two income-producing adults in the home, when compared to their prime counterparts.

Half of non-prime Millennials say that their finances cause them significant stress, with 58 percent living paycheck to paycheck and 41 percent running out of money every other month, or more often. The Center’s research found that this group is 55 percent less likely than their non-prime counterparts to say they can come up with $1,200 in an emergency. In fact, this group is 160 percent more likely to intentionally use overdraft to cover an expense when they didn’t have the money.

Core banking veterans raise $ 12m for new cloud-based venture (Finextra), Rated: A

Frank and Mike Sanchez, the men behind the Profile core banking platform, have raised $12 million in seed funding for their new cloud-based fintech firm Finxact.

The funding, which comes from Live Oak Ventures and other strategic investors and angels, will by used to complete development of Finact Core, a cloud-based core banking platform aimed at banks looking to overhaul their systems for the digital age.
Finxact says it is focused on creating an open API, cloud-based Core-as-a-Service platform that will enable the next generation of always-on, digital-first banking.
While several new cloud-based core banking providers, such as Mambu and ThoughtMachine, are looking to hoover up the host of digital-only challenger banks entering the market, Finxact is aiming to win over incumbents saddled with decades-old technology.

Foreign ‘FinTech’ companies flock to Atlanta (CBS46), Rated: A

Dozens of foreign financial tech, or FinTech, companies have chosen to call Atlanta home in recent years, a migration spurred by the area’s relative affordability and friendly business climate.  No less than 50 foreign companies have offices in the city, according the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Both he and Nelson cited the affordable rent and living prices, compared to the west coast and New York, as reasons why Atlanta was able to attract their business.

Anti Bank SoFi Will Become a Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

SoFi has decided to become a bank. The Fintech firm that has spent so much time telling the world they were not a bank has decided to join the ranks of their erstwhile adversaries and apply for a bank charter.

The ILC or “Industrial Loan Charter” is a financial institution in the US that can lend money and be owned by a non-financial institutions. Importantly ILC’s can hold FDIC deposits.

SoFi wants to outdo mega-banks like Citi by providing better, cheaper services around the world.  SoFi lays claim to the largest single Fintech investment ever when SoftBank kicked in $1 billion.  Not too long ago this was augmented by another $500 million giving SoFi plenty of head room to expand and grow.

6 FinTech Companies Disrupting the Investment and Lending Landscape (Due), Rated: A

We have the millennials to thank, however, for pushing changes to the investment and lending landscape because like all other financial matters, they want to do it on their terms with the technology that they have grown up with.

Acorns proves that the spare change in your life can go toward something much better than collecting dust under the seat in your car or a jar in a kitchen cupboard. Instead, this extra money can be turned into investment vehicles that grow over time.

With so many consumers and businesses becoming frustrated with traditional banks and lending institutions, it was time for a new kind of finance company that resonated with how people interact and make decisions today.

SoFi has delivered on that with the creation of what it has termed “social finance” in which it offers a range of lending and personal finance products, including life insurance, mortgage loans, personal loans, student loan refinancing and wealth management.

YieldStreet is an online marketplace that connects accredited investors and vetted borrowers with alternative investment opportunities and capital. While this sounds pretty straightforward, there’s much more to what the company is doing. They are opening up the world of investing in ways typically not available before.

One of the most difficult aspects of investing is knowing where and what to invest. While you can do research or get an advisor, not everyone has the time or access to do so.

However, Openfolio is turning investing into a social activity where you can leverage everything that is good about social networks and use your peer group to teach you the best investment tricks. You can also connect with the app’s team of advisors to get assistance and advice on an on-demand basis as well as receive numerous projections and tracking reports to help you better understand investing.

One of the most difficult aspects of investing is knowing where and what to invest. While you can do research or get an advisor, not everyone has the time or access to do so.

However, Openfolio is turning investing into a social activity where you can leverage everything that is good about social networks and use your peer group to teach you the best investment tricks. You can also connect with the app’s team of advisors to get assistance and advice on an on-demand basis as well as receive numerous projections and tracking reports to help you better understand investing.

Robinhood has leveled the investment playing field and has encouraged more people than ever to get involved in creating their own investment portfolio through this technology-driven brokerage. With market data and regular content updates, you’ll be able to learn more about what to invest in and what impacts the stock market. You can get real-time updates about dividends, stock splits, and upcoming initial public offerings (IPOs). This allows you to move on any of those actions immediately.

Intent on revolutionizing the business loan space, Fundera offers a convenient and efficient way to locate the best lending options for your company — from startups to established small businesses to large corporations.

$ 1.25M Raised in 3 Days Through DiversyFund (Digital Journal), Rated: B

DiversyFund, Inc., a fast growing, full-service online real estate investment platform, announced today that their online network of investors have successfully funded a $1.25 million investment in a record time for the Company’s first high-end luxury real estate project in La Jolla, California, with world-renowned design-builder, Roman James.

The investment is being used to fund the construction of a 7,200 SF luxury single-family home in San Diego’s seaside La Jolla community. Genesis Capital provided a $4.2 million construction loan as well for the project.

Cambridge Technology Partners Introduces New Capabilities for a Digital World (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Cambridge Technology Partners the preeminent company for foresight-based digital strategies (www.CambridgeTechnologyPartners.com) announced two new strategic capabilities today:

I.     Digital Strategies: Scenario Planning practice for a New Digital World; and

II.     Digital Platform: FinTech Innovation for Financial Wellness in the Workplace.

Cetera Financial Group Continues Build-Out of Advice-Centric Solutions with Launch of New Advisory Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Cetera Financial Group® (Cetera)*, a leading network of independent firms supporting the delivery of objective retail financial advice, today announced the launch of the first of its new Advice Architect Ecosystem™ suite of tools for financial advisors and their clients: My Advice ArchitectTM, a technology-driven, innovative investment solutions offering that provides advisors with a seamless and streamlined approach to conducting advisory business.  The platform constitutes a key component of the broader Advice Architect Ecosystem, a series of integrated platforms and services that the company will be announcing in the coming months as it works toward its strategic vision of creating a truly advice-centric experience for its advisors and their clients.

My Advice Architect, developed in collaboration with Envestnet, brings Cetera’s three core advisor-driven investment programs together on the same technology platform, enabling advisors to serve their clients with an unprecedented degree of flexibility, choice and transparency.  The new platform is being made available to financial advisors and financial institutions supported by Cetera in a phased rollout across the network, beginning with Cetera Financial Institutions, its firm specifically focused on serving the wealth management programs of banks and credit unions.

My Advice Architect combines the following investment programs on a seamless technology platform under a single client agreement with no ticket charges, allowing advisors to position their clients among the three solutions as needed:

  • Unified Program: Enables advisors to combine any number of advisor-directed models, fund strategist portfolios (FSPs) and separately managed accounts (SMAs) into one custodial account, thus eliminating the artificial silos around the different investment solutions and allowing advisors to invest their clients in the most appropriate portfolio. The platform provides advisors with access to a broad selection of nearly 100 strategists offering more than 800 mutual fund and ETF strategies, as well as approximately 300 managers offering more than 700 SMA models.
  • Guided Program: A solution that allows advisors to leverage asset allocation models created by third-party model providers and enables them to apply these models to their clients’ needs through asset-class weight adjustments and fund selection.
  • Advisor Program: A purely advisor-directed solution that offers a wide selection of asset types for both discretionary and non-discretionary client accounts.
United Kingdom

Zopa becomes the first of the ‘Big 3’ peer-to-peer lenders authorised by City watchdog (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa has become the first of the UK’s ‘Big 3’ peer-to-peer lenders to gain full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Zopa announced on Thursday that it has gained full authorisation from the FCA, almost two years after it applied in 2015.

CEO Jaidev Janardana says in a statement: “The authorisation process has been rigorous and in-depth and involved extensive scrutiny of our business.”

Funding Circle and RateSetter, the UK’s two other biggest peer-to-peer lenders, are still waiting for authorisation from the FCA. The size and complexity of their businesses is thought to be part of what is delaying the process. Funding Circle has lent £2.1 billion to date and RateSetter has lent £1.9 billion. Zopa has lent £2.1 billion.

Zopa gains full FCA approval (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The news is a pivotal moment for the industry, which has been waiting for the largest players to become fully regulated to move the sector into the mainstream. The regulator’s stamp of approval on the so-called grandfather of P2P lending is expected to boost the sector’s legitimacy to investors and financial advisers alike.

With smaller platforms already experiencing an influx of investor demand for the IFISA, it is likely that Zopa’s tax-free wrapper will attract high volumes of new inflows.

Seedrs To Launch UK’s First Equity Crowdfunding Secondary Market (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Seedrs is to be the UK’s first equity crowdfunding platform to offer secondary trading in the shares of businesses raising money on its website, the founders of the company announced today. If successful, the move could overcome the biggest fear of many investors considering crowdfunding – that they’ll be locked into their holdings.

Seedrs, launched five years ago, has so far raised £210m for around 500 companies and, along with rival platform Crowdcube, dominates the UK’s equity crowdfunding sector.

The facility will be open for trading for a single week each month, with shares trading only at a “fair value” dictated by Seedrs’ valuation policy.

Jeff Lynn, the founder of Seedrs, said each one-week trading window would begin on a “trading Tuesday”, and that the company would monitor the experiment closely to avoid abuses. The window could be expanded at a later date if trading volumes justify it.

LendInvest completes its largest development finance deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDINVEST has completed its largest development finance deal to date, which will fund the construction of 66 new homes in West Drayton, a town set to benefit from a Crossrail station in 2019.

The online mortgage lender, which is a member of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, has lent a total of £21m to Kearns Property Management and Development.

It first provided a bridging loan for the borrower to acquire the site, which subsequently transitioned to a £17m development loan to finance the construction. Then LendInvest lent a further £4m to the borrower to purchase a neighbouring site that became available.

LendInvest to test investors (Business Insider), Rated: A

In

Innovate Finance Seeks Support From UK Government (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Innovate Finance, the membership association for global fintech, announced on Thursday it sought support from UK Government, as well as political parties across the spectrum, for its Fintech Election Pledge.

While sharing details about the Fintech Election Pledge initiative, Innovate Finance stated:

“The UK’s digital economy accounts for 16% of UK domestic output, comprises 3 million workers, and between 2012 – 2016 attracted more venture capital (VC) and private equity investment than any other European country, at £28bn. At the heart of this digital revolution, stands the UK’s thriving Financial Technology (FinTech) sector.

Whilst VC investment in global FinTech rose to $17.4bn last year (an increase of 10.9% from 2015), over the same period UK FinTech saw a 33.7% decline in investment, to $783m. Although the United Kingdom continues to remain internationally competitive, ranking 3rd globally for investment in FinTech, the UK must continue to remain open to the talent, ideas and capital which underpin and strengthen our digital economy.”

China

CRF Unveils Full Exercise of Underwriters’ Option For Purchase of Additional ADSs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, peer-to-peer lender China Rapid Finance (NYSE: XRF) that the underwriters of its previously announced initial public offering (IPO) have exercised in full the option to purchase an additional 1.5 million American depositary shares (“ADSs”) from China Rapid Finance to cover over-allotments.

According to the online lender, each ADS represents one Class A ordinary share of China Rapid Finance and was sold at the initial public offering price of $6 per ADS.

CREDIT CHINA FINTECH HOLDINGS LIMITED (Credit China Fintech), Rated: AAA

Read the full report.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

Chinese P2P lender Wangcaigu Received 60 Million RMB in A+ round of financing
On May 9th, Chinese P2P lender Wangcaigu announced an A + round of financing of 60 million RMB, which was jointly invested by Delta Capital and other investors. On July 8, 2015, Wangcaigu raised A round of funding of tens million RMB from Ruiye Funds, a company with listed background. After the finish of this round of finance, Wangcaigu has expanded its business from accounts receivable business financing to P2P lending with comprehensive services. Recently, the platform has reached agreements on funds depository with Bank of Shanghai.

NIFA requires P2P companies disclose information and related platform is on the way.
The information disclosure work on P2P lending agencies will become more normative. On May 9th, National Internet Financing Association of China (NIFA) announced the Notice of Holding a Training Seminar for the future access to Centralized Information Disclosure Platform. According to the Notice, the beta version of disclosure platform built by NIFA will open in the near future.

In fact, early in November 30, 2016, Zheng Xiaodong, the director of business department of NIFA, declared that the situation of information disclosure of Chinese P2P lenders vary greatly, some are still not transparent. “All the members can disclose information on the platform according, which will avoid different criteria and improve transparency of the industry.

Rates on Bank Deposits Varies, Investors Prefer P2P lending platforms
Recently, the topic of tight finance in banks caused widely discussion again, and the accompanying growth of deposit rates is still weary. For many banks in China, the growth of rates in the long-term deposits is less than the short and medium term deposits.

Actually, there are some banks even offering the same or lower rates for a longer-term deposit. Such low rates can’t arouse attention for people anymore, especially for young people. A girl handling with banking business said that she put majority of her money in P2P financial products such as Yu’E Bao, in which are convenient for payment and enjoy the higher rates than one-year fixed-term deposits in the bank.

European Union

Why We Believe PSD2 Should be Better (Finextra), Rated: AAA

In April this year the European Banking Authority released their final RTS draft for PSD2 to be presented to the European Parliament.

To make our voice heard, an association has been formed consisting of 65 European Fintech companies (and growing), and a manifesto presented, to ask the European Parliament to ensure the RTS be technically neutral and in line with agreed objectives and text of the final PSD2 agreement.

We believe the proposed regulatory standards are inconsistent with PSD2 and will make Fintechs technologically dependent on banks and therefore grant incumbents a gatekeeper role on the fintech sector.

Digital banking arms race continues (AltFi), Rated: A

Monzo’s May Journal, which went out to users yesterday, indicated that its debit card launch is just around the corner. Meanwhile, a recent update to the Revolut app revealed new insurance and wealth tabs, currently listed as “coming soon”.

Both Monzo and Revolut have recently staged equity crowdfunding campaigns on Crowdcube and Seedrs respectively. Both rounds were oversubscribed and both were part of larger institutional investment rounds.

11 members of the Monzo team are also testing out overdraft facilities, which is relatively uncharted territory for digital banks.

Asked about its insurance and wealth plans, Revolut’s head of partnerships Rishi Stocker said that the focus has been on creating fully integrated insurance products, and that the first of these could launch within the next few weeks.

Solid full-year numbers for fintech firm Nucleus (The Scotsman), Rated: A

Nucleus Financial, the Edinburgh-based financial technology (fintech) specialist, has reported a hike in full-year profits and assets under administration despite a choppy economic backdrop.

Figures from the wrap platform, headed by founder and chief executive David Ferguson, show that profit before tax hit £4.3 million last year, up 21 per cent on a like-for-like basis from 2015.

Assets under administration reached £11.4 billion at the end of 2016, an increase of 23 per cent on the year before, with that total climbing to £12.2bn as of the end of March 2017.

Norwegian banks to expand mobile payment app for business use (Reuters), Rated: A

In February more than 100 Norwegian banks agreed to develop Vipps electronic payments app in a bid to fend off competition from Nordic rivals and the likes of Facebook, Apple and Google

International

Fintech in Microfinance: In Search of the High-Tech High-Touch Unicorn? (Center for Financial Inclusion), Rated: AAA

While microfinance still makes up a major share of impact investing portfolios, many investors appear to have moved on to fintech, the next wave of creative destruction. Rather than be toppled by it, microfinance institutions (MFIs) look to ride that wave too, to extend reach, reduce costs and prices, improve and deepen client services, and improve risk management.

As growth slows, should MFIs now abandon that approach and use high-tech to go low-touch for cost efficiency? If MFIs stay their course, will they be overtaken by new entrants with new models, like Chinese online peer-to-peer lender Yirendai, which went IPO on the New York Stock Exchange last year? Or instead, will MFIs find innovative high-tech ways to further leverage their deep relationships with clients and understanding of client needs?

Mobile payments networks like M-Pesa and BiM are high-tech, but decidedly low-touch delivery channels. Low-touch too are big data algorithms like those of Yirendai and its corporate parent CreditEase used for automated credit scoring and risk management. However, as digital financial technologies like these mature, will base of pyramid (BoP) financial customers still need high-touch MFIs? As fintech-driven models become more sophisticated, can MFIs hope to deliver anything that technology sophisticated telecoms and global commercial banks can’t?

Turns out MFIs, clients, and even global banks themselves demonstrably think the answer is Yes, plenty.

Quarterly InsurTech Briefing Q1 2017 (Willis Towers Watson), Rated: A

Arguably, insurers who stick too long with the old model will fade as premiums and their balance sheets shrink.

The $100 billion small business insurance sector is one of the most promising for disruption, as insurers attempt to navigate the complexity of automating underwriting processes to accommodate a broad range of business classes in a user friendly format and combat the inefficiency of processing small ticket premiums and claims.

While digital distribution platforms have achieved limited market penetration to date, industry research suggests that up to 25% of total small business insurance premium could be digitally underwritten by 2020 – a hypothesis supported by demographic trends and changing small business owner behaviors.

Read the full report here.

The Most Well-Funded Blockchain Startups (CB Insights), Rated: A

Q1’17 saw blockchain startup investment deals rise for the third consecutive quarter and funding rebound after a three-quarter drop, even as debates around scaling bitcoin, cryptocurrency ETFs, and token sales raged on. Notably, ethereum — a smart-contract enabled network that seeks to be the platform of choice for the development of decentralized applications — has seen real growth with its announcement of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a consortium of top tech firms and corporations advancing ethereum business use-cases. Ethereum’s price on cryptocurrency exchanges has skyrocketed along with the media attention.

Australia

Class partners with robo-advice provider (SMSFAdviser), Rated: A

Class has teamed up with an SMSF advice provider, allowing accountants administering SMSFs to offer financial advice services to clients without the need for an AFSL.

The partnership with Plenty Plus, which operates under its own AFSL, allows accountants to generate advice without the need for their own license.

India

P2P lending startups face funding woes (India Times), Rated: A

The fledgling peer-to-peer lending start-ups, which had been waiting for almost a year for the Reserve Bank of India to lay down the rules of operations, may find the going tougher.

“The Ministry of Corporate Affairs is said to have expressed worries regarding lending for corporate entities through P2P platforms,” said one a founder of a Mumbai based P2P lending platform. “While for retail lending it is not a major issue, SME lending falls under a different set of regulations of the Registrar of Companies which needs to be adhered to,” said the person quoted above.

In case of SME lending, it can either be as an investment against shares or as corporate deposits, but in case of P2P lending, it is a pure debt lending – thus those clarifications would be required before the final guidelines came out, resulting in further delays and might require a fresh set of rules around lending within the ministry.

As various issues keep delaying the final guidelines, P2P startups are finding it difficult to raise funds to scale their business because of regulatory uncertainty.

Asia

Funding Societies launch mobile app to get investors in the P2P game (Astro AWANI), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies Malaysia, fresh from their recent collaboration with RHB to enhance the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending scheme, has today launched a new mobile app, that is geared to get investors to join in on the P2P investing landscape.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday January 30 2017, Daily News Digest

price & yield table for SCLP 2017-1

News Comments Today’s main news: ABA Banks seeks MPL partnership. Zopa passes 2bil GBP milestone. Today’s main analysis: SoFi Unsecured Consumer 2017-1. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Orchard Online Lending Snapshot. Five mistakes to avoid when starting a FinTech company. Spanish banks lead FinTech VC in Europe. Tyro, RateSetter, Stockspot and Westpac on past and future. United States ABA seeks MPL partnership. […]

price & yield table for SCLP 2017-1

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

U.S. bank trade group seeks marketplace lending partnership (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The American Bankers Association, a trade group for U.S. banks, has been hunting for a marketplace lending platform to help its members ramp up their digital offerings.

The ABA has run a formal bidding process to secure a marketplace lending partner, spokesman John Hall confirmed on Friday. He could not say which companies were under consideration because the information was confidential.

Weekly Industry Update: January 29, 2017 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The ABS market finished January on a high note with strong buyer interest. SoFi and Mosaic priced their first and inaugural transactions respectively in 2017, which were both heavily oversubscribed.
FinTech financings continue apace. Nyca announced the successful closing of a

Orchard Weekly Online Lending Snapshot (Orchard Platform), Rated: AAA

It was reported this week that LendingRobot launched a robo-advisor hedge fund for accredited investors that will invest in loans from LendingClub, Prosper, Funding Circle, and Lending Home. loanDepot announced that they have funded $100 billion in home, personal, and home equity loans since their inception in 2010. In yet another sign that positive sentiment seems to be returning to the industry, BorrowersFirst, an online consumer lending platform, announced last week that it has secured an additional $100 million in debt financing to accelerate loan originations and fund continued growth of its balance sheet. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued OCC Bulletin 2017-7 as a supplement to OCC Bulletin 2013-29, which “governs the risk management frameworks maintained by OCC- regulated banks in establishing, monitoring and concluding third party relationships (including relationships with bank affiliates).” On Monday, we announced that LendIt has partnered with us for our 2017 Meetups–as a way to enrich the events–strengthening the depth and breadth of ourrelationships in the industry.

DiversyFund Takes Crowdfunding Real Estate Investment Giants Head On (Military Technologies), Rated: A

DiversyFund, Inc., announces the launching of its new full-service online crowdfunding real estate investment platform. DiversyFund principals, Craig Cecilio and Alan Lewis, have been delivering exclusive investment opportunities that generate high returns for their investors for over a decade. The company has planned to offer some unique features to its investors in the upcoming months. These are aimed to disrupt the current status quo of the industry.

With their new online crowdsourcing platform, DiversyFund is planning to become the key sponsor and lead developer to the majority of their projects, if not all of them. This is a key difference in their crowdfunding real estate investment platform. It makes them stand out since many of their competitors work with third-party sponsored projects and act only as mediators by providing technology to implement funding for outsourced deals.

AirBnb’s Fintech Future (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: A

This week, word “leaked” that Airbnb is in advanced talks to acquire Tilt, a group payments/social network hybrid start-up that helps people split the cost of rent, dinners and events. Whether or not this deal happens (it probably will), the rumors support our view that of all the next-wave tech giants known as WASSUPPs (WeWork, AirBnb, Slack, Snap, Uber, Pinterest and Palantir), AirBnb is the most aggressive in embracing fintech as core to its business.

Crowdfunding takes aim at commercial real estate (Westfair Online), Rated: A

Despite a lack of data on the exact size of the real estate crowdfunding market in the U.S. – no federal agency or national trade association tracks those deals – the investment vehicle apparently is attracting a particular class of investor.

“This investor is typically younger,” said Ben Sayles, director in the Boston office of real estate brokerage HFF. “From what I am seeing, this person is high-earning, usually in the tech world – though maybe in the financial world – and doesn’t have a lot of expenses. They probably rent their apartment, do not have a car and have an extra income that they want to put to work.”

Among real estate professionals, the use of crowdfunding to raise capital also appears to be concentrated within a particular demographic.

“For a smaller commercial real estate developer or investor, the non-Donald Trump type, this can be a cheaper source of financing for a $10 million to $30 million project,” said professor Anthony Macari, executive director of graduate programs at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.

Three Crowdfunding Sectors to Watch in in the US in 2017 (Crowdfunding), Rated: A

With investors becoming increasingly more comfortable with new Fintech platforms, the amount of money invested in crowdfunding in the Americas jumped from $11.4 billion in 2014 to $36.49 billion in 2015 — and Technavio market research analysts predict the overall industry will grow at a compounded average annual rate of 27% through 2020.

Since the first provisions of the JOBS Act went into effect, real estate has remained one of the most popular crowdfunding investment classes. The physical nature of buildings and land lends real estate more security than higher risk startups. And with a self-proclaimed real estate mogul now in the White House, many leading experts are predicting a record year for real estate. We are also seeing increasing issuer adoption — more real estate firms are launching their own crowdfunding platforms, and a variety of Regulation A+ real estate funds and traditional investment firms are increasingly using platforms to raise a portion of their capital stack.

In addition to standard real estate crowdfunding platforms, we think we will see an influx of hybrid platforms that allow users to not only invest but to solve other problems as well.

Last year’s announcement from OPEC to cut production in combination with President-elect Trump’s oil friendly appointments has oil and gas prices on the rise. Oil prices have already climbed 17.5 percent as of December 27 and show no signs of slowing. And investors are taking notice. EnergyFunders, a crowdfunding marketplace that allows investors to directly invest in U.S. oil and gas wells, reported a 45 percent increase in signups after OPEC’s announcement.

Impact investing, or investing in companies that bring about positive change in the world, is growing in popularity as more millennials enter the market. A recent survey from U.S. Trust states 93% of millennials believe that social impact is key to their investing decisions. Ryan Ràfols, CEO of Newchip.co an aggregation platform that uses Robo-advising to showcase impact investing crowdfunding offering, explains;

“Millennials want to invest in companies that can make a return while making a difference in the world.”

Elon Law dean addresses poor SoFi ranking (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Social Finance Inc. (commonly known as SoFi) ranks Elon among the bottom 10 law schools in the nation in its Return on Education Law School Rankings. It ranked Elon eighth out of the 10 worse schools. Elon’s graduates, SoFi said, average $87,680 in salary and $145,610 in debt.

Luke Bierman, dean of Elon Law, which is based in Greensboro, said he doesn’t argue that a law school degree requires a sizeable investment from a student in terms of both time and money. But he said Elon adopted a new curriculum two years ago intended to make it quicker and less expensive for a student to earn a law degree. He said the school’s current tuition is 20 percent below the national average for private law schools and said the new curriculum allows a student to graduate in 2.5 years as opposed to the three years required through a traditional curriculum.

He said the study released by SoFi doesn’t reflect students who have enrolled at Elon since the adoption of the new curriculum. The first group enrolled solely under the new curriculum, he said, will be graduating in December. He said it’s Elon’s hope that those students will be graduating with less debt.

Bitcoin P2P Lending Remains A Risky Business (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: A

On paper, the service provided by companies such as BTCJam is an excellent way to use Bitcoin. Extending loans to people from all over the world is a great solution to promote Bitcoin usage. Unfortunately, this concept still needs a lot of work, as there are a lot of caveats to using services such as BTCJam right now. In most cases, a lot of the loans are never repaid in full.

It is evident a lot of BTCJam users are losing money unless they are the borrowers for a specific amount of Bitcoin. In fact, some Reddit users argue the only people who benefit from using BTCJam are the ones who borrow money, and everyone else is losing money left, right, and center. BTCJam has been dealing with these issues for quite some time, yet it seems very little has changed over the past year or so.

Global Debt Registry Successfully Completes SOC 1 and 2 Attestation (Global Debt Registry Email), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company known for its loan validation expertise, today announced receipt of its Service Organization Control [SOC] 1 and SOC 2 Type 1 attestation engagement report, providing independent validation that the Company’s internal security controls are in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (“AICPA”) applicable Trust Services Principles and Criteria. Just days after International Data Privacy Day on January 28, this attestation showcases GDR’s continued dedication to meeting the highest industry standards for protecting confidential consumer information.

GDR’s SOC 1 and 2 Report demonstrates that the Company has the necessary internal controls and processes in place to protect consumer data, maintain operational integrity, and comply with industry standards and regulations.  The SOC 2 engagement included evaluating GDR in accordance with the trust principles of security, availability, processing integrity, and confidentiality. The AICPA created the SOC guidelines to provide an authoritative benchmark for service organizations to demonstrate implementation of proper policies, operational practices and controls.

As a partner to online lenders, investors, warehouse lenders and other industry stakeholders, GDR delivers real validation and helps ensure asset certainty including protection against double pledging and double selling of assets with its suite of digital due diligence solutions. The Company contracted with KirkpatrickPrice for its SOC 1 and 2 engagement to meet the ongoing public and private reporting requirements of its financial institution clients.

GDR is also compliant with a number of additional industry standards, including PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), the GLBA (Gramm Leach Bliley Act) Safeguards Rule, and ISO 27002 (International Organization for Standardization 27002). As evidenced by the SOC 1 and 2 Report, the Company is continuing its focus on meeting the highest standards of data and information protection and operational integrity for its clients.

The 4 Best P2P Lending Platforms For Investors In 2017 — Detailed Analysis (Forbes), Rated: A

With interest rates at all-time lows since 2008 and many historically “safe” investments like government bonds carrying negative yields, investing in P2P loans in 2017 is a no-brainer.

Founded in 2007, Lending Club is the world’s largest P2P lending platform with over $20 billion in loan issuance. Lending Club has grown exponentially and currently has a 45% market share. It raised over $900 million from its IPO in 2014, but its share price has since fallen 72%.

Launched in 2006, Prosper was the first P2P platform in the US. It has since funded over $6 billion in loans and serviced over 2 million customers. Prosper grades borrowers through its Prosper Score. This proprietary system focuses on criteria such as debt-to-income ratio and other “soft checks” conducted by credit bureaus.

Launched in 2014 by a bunch of ex-Googlers, Upstart has originated more than $300 million worth of loans. Upstart uses unique grading criteria. It looks at FICO scores but also considers educational background. The firm has the lowest default rates across the industry thus far. Over 94% of loans are on track to be repaid in full. The company makes its money solely on origination fees from the borrower.

Funding Circle was founded by Sam Hodges who, after the 96th time of being rejected by banks, decided to take action. The company only makes business loans and operates in the US, UK, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. Funding Circle was founded by Sam Hodges who, after the 96th time of being rejected by banks, decided to take action. The company only makes business loans and operates in the US, UK, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Why More Consumers Are Seeking Alternative Investments (Newswire.net), Rated: A

However, modern consumers are starting to look at alternative investments, which stray from “conventional” standards either because they’re riskier, newer, less tested, or involve unknown variables. What you need to know about alternative investing is this: it’s on the rise, and there may be a benefit in jumping in early.

Types of Alternative Investments

  • Private lending. Private lending has grown in popularity in recent years, thanks to peer-to-peer apps that make it possible, such as Lending Club. Here, you may lend some of your own money to one or more private borrowers, who pay you back with interest.
  • Currencies. Currencies are constantly shifting in value against each other as various countries grow or shrink economically. Investing in a country’s currency when they’re poised for growth with an app like XE could result in a major gain.
  • Other tech-based solutions. There is also a rising number of new apps and technological solutions opening the doors to new investment possibilities. The rise of machine learning and automated investing solutions, like Wealthfront, is an example of this.

Manhattan Beach’s PeerStreet opens real estate investing to individuals (TBR News), Rated: B

Headquartered in Manhattan Beach just across the street from the town’s iconic 24-hour diner, The Kettle, PeerStreet may be located in a small beach town, but the reach of this real estate investment firm is national.

Crosby describes PeerStreet as an eTrade for real estate investing.

The business began right in the heart of Manhattan Beach, and currently has 50 employees. According to Johnson, they’ve recently received funding from venture capitalist Andreesen Horowitz and investor Michael Burry.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa passes £2 billion loans milestone (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the fintech businesses credited with inventing peer-to-peer lending, has passed £2 billion ($2.5 billion) in loans over its online platform.

The milestone means Zopa is still just about Britain’s biggest peer-to-peer lender by historical loan book. Funding Circle, which lends to small businesses, has lent £1.92 billion since its launch in 2010.

Zopa says in a release on Monday that the £2 billion in lending represents 300,000 loans made to 246,000 borrowers since its founding in 2005. 75,000 investors funded the lending over the platform.

Five mistakes to avoid when starting a fintech company (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

However, what I feel very comfortable doing is pointing out some things that failed companies do, based on my experience in Startupbootcamp as well as building a number of successful companies. Here it goes:

  1. They forget to validate

Intuition, experience and opinions are important and helpful. However, building a fintech start-up based only on these three is very risky. A business can’t be built on limited data. Without really understanding if there is a real pain you are solving, a need you are fulfilling or knowing how many people would pay for your product or service you are multiplying the possibility of going after the wrong market, building the wrong solution or having the wrong commercial model or doing the wrong thing.

  1. They lose focus

 

Successful entrepreneurs focus on one thing at a time and they are very good at saying “No” to anything that would distract their real focus. This does not mean that they are not aware of what is going on around them or blindsided to changes or competition but they just know how to use their time efficiently.

  1. They focus too much on being “investable” and forget to build a sustainable business

It is easy to fall trapped to the chants of investors. It can be easy to believe that you have a sustainable business when an investor says that the company you started working on 12 months ago is worth £2 million. That does not mean that you have a business. It means that you can build a viable business. The criterion that investors use is not normally sustainability but potential for a large payout. Sometimes, those two factors are contradictory. Investors have to go for big money and some of these attempts fail.

  1. They don’t invest enough in team and culture

Building a fintech company is hard. The pressure is incredibly strong and never stops. Under continuous pressure, it is very easy for teams to crack and fall apart which in many occasions kill the company. A start-up’s biggest challenge is getting the team right and having the different skill sets covered to succeed. Complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses is extremely important in small teams, especially with co-founders.

  1. They underestimate what it takes

The journey of an entrepreneur is incredibly hard and requires grit, execution and a lot of patience. In many cases, entrepreneurs get caught in the “fintech celebrity” hype and think that being on panels, and ranking high in different top lists and Twitter means success. Building a real business takes a lot of hours “in the basement”. Once the reality hits, many founders get bored and quit or fade.

Welendus – One Week on Seedrs (Welendus Email), Rated: A

One week has passed since the release of our Seedrs fundraise campaign with significant results.

Over the past week, Welendus attracted over 50 investors and raised over 25% of our target which only proves the level of interest people have in Welendus. The level of engagement and the discussion is another indication of how much people love Welendus.

We are raising £300k for equity in our company and would like to invite you to be one of our first investors and shareholders. You can access our Seedrs campaign at

Assetz Capital CEO Stuart Law Shares His 2017 P2P Lending Predictions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Nearly one month after ringing in the new year, Stuart Law, CEO and co-founder of peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capitalprovided his alternative finance predictions for 2017. 

Law stated:

“Brexit has already had a very positive effect on the peer-to-peer (P2P) market, and all indications signal that it will grow further in 2017 whilst bank lending remains subdued. With the larger platforms announcing record second half results in the six-month period after the Brexit vote, they are also attracting increasing amounts of capital in the form of equity.  Smaller P2P players however will likely struggle to lure the necessary lending or growth capital to survive independently, so we expect a degree of consolidation and some to drop out of the market altogether.

Alternative finance has certainly started to make its mark with savvy investors, but the biggest attraction to date will be the Innovative Finance (IF) ISA.  We predict that this will attract a huge amount of capital onto the main platforms and represent as much as 30% of all capital inflows to P2P platforms this year, assuming all large P2P lenders such as Assetz Capital get approved before the end of March 2016, and perhaps as much as 50% in 2018.

“The desire to invest in secured loans will increase amongst lenders and professionals.”

P2P Lender Flender Closes Successful Seedrs Campaign (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

P2P lending platform Flender has officially closed its successful equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Originally seeking £500,000, the initiative secured a total of £501,700 from more than 230 investors.

Flender stated it does not consider itself a traditional P2P platform with an anonymous marketplace. Instead, its team believes that it will help businesses create lasting bonds with customers, and for consumers to reach through their existing networks and be part of each other’s success. And at the same time, underpinned with legal contracts created by the platform between borrowers and lenders.

ArchOver Announces P2P Business Lending Services Expansion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Friday, peer-to-peer business lending platform ArchOver announced it is expanding its current “Secure & Insured” lending model by launching “Secure & Assigned” business loans.

According to the lender, the first Secured & Assigned loan will be for Ergowealth, a firm of chartered financial planners based in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

The loan announcement comes just a couple of months after ArchOver revealed it was extending its exclusive partnership with international credit insurer and collections company Coface by a further three years.

Banks and lenders face clampdown from the Bank of England on household borrowing (This is Money), Rated: A

The Bank is due to release figures this week showing that the growth in personal loans and credit cards is running at more than 10 per cent a year.

Lenders have been slashing rates in the past six weeks and banks including TSB are offering unsecured personal loans at less than 3 per cent.

The rock bottom rates come alongside cheap loans by peer-to-peer lenders which bypass the banks by allowing loans between private individuals. Ratesetter and Zopa are offering loans at just 3.1 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively.

Funding Circle welcomes new BDM (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: B

Funding Circle has announced the appointment of Sarah Beard as its new business development manager.

Prior to joining Funding Circle, Sarah spent three years at Lease Plan as an account manager and three-and-a-half years at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, where she managed a portfolio of 30 introducers.

Sarah, who will be based in Bristol, said she was very excited about joining the company.

European Union

Spanish Banks Lead FinTech VC Investments Against Their European Peers (The Corner), Rated: AAA

Citi’s analysts also take a look at how different the FinTech evolution has been in the West: (1) the U.S. pivoted to InsurTech in 2016; and (2) two of the largest U.S. FinTech VC funding rounds in 2016 were in the health insurance space. Big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and wearable devices, among other trends, will help insurance companies use FinTech to be more creative and customized.

Europe remains a laggard for start-ups/VC investing at about 10% of global FinTech VC investment in 2015-16. This is not a big surprise as Europe has a smaller VC market versus the U.S., it has none of the large technology/Internet companies that exist in the U.S. or China and its banking system (despite the sector’s weak stock prices, earnings and capital challenges of the past decade) offers more of a full-service provision versus U.S. or Chinese peers.

As reported by Citi:

European banks are increasingly interested in FinTech and with more bank investors and affiliates, we will see more of a shift to business-to-business (B2B). In 2017 we expect more focus on B2B FinTech topics, such as Artificial Intelligence, especially in London which is a hotspot with DeepMind and its concentration of universities; regulatory tech both in the U.K. and the U.S.; and cybersecurity primarily in the U.S. and Israel.

European Crowdfunding Networks Calls for Members to Assist with EU Crowdfunding Regulatory Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), a pan-European alternative finance advocacy group, is asking members to participate regarding input on the Capital Markets Union.  Specifically, the ECN will be working with the Directorate‑General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) regarding input on obstacles to cross-border

The ECN will also launch an open survey to all EU securities and lending crowdfunding platforms with will deliver input for the European Commission’s review of the Capital Market Union and which will be followed up by individual interviews with interested parties.crowdfunding for both online lending (peer to peer lending) and equity crowdfunding.

Australia

Tyro, RateSetter, Stockspot and Westpac on 2016 and the year ahead (The Mitchel Lake Group), Rated: AAA

CK: The transferability of information is huge with a growing number of middleware, SaaS applications and APIs. Sharing data and improving collaboration in the market is continually on the improve, benefiting the customer.

DF: Investors are much more discerning in the businesses they back. This will be better in the medium term, but it’s been difficult for some businesses locally.

CB: This year Stockspot became the first robo-adviser in the world to give clients the flexibility to personalise their portfolio with the launch of Stockspot Themes. We’ve already managed to generate some fantastic net returns for early adopters (6.2% and 9.2% per year) while charging clients less.

DF: For RateSetter, expanding our offering from consumer lending to business lending was a significant development. In Australia there’s been a real lack of business financing options outside residential property-secured bank finance and expensive short-term working capital finance, so we’re excited that RateSetter now offers Australian businesses a low-rate funding alternative to help them grow and prosper.

JS: My biggest highlight has been Tyro receiving a bank license. We are the only tech company to have achieved this so far. This was such a massive win for us and the sector. Following this, we were then able to deliver next-gen banking, a cloud-based, totally mobile & totally integrated banking solution for SMEs and growth companies.

JS: The FinTech community has limited potential if banking is not opened up. In a way, Australia is cursed by the entrenched bank oligopoly. If we don’t get our act together and open up banking, the next-gen banking providers will not be Australian.

CB: There are two things the Government could do to improve fairness for consumers when it comes to investing and superannuation. One is to require all superannuation and managed funds to provide fee and performance data to comparison websites so consumers can easily compare fund options. The second is to implement a public tender for the right to manage default super funds as outlined by the [Grattan Institute]( Chile established public tenders for the right to manage default super funds and it has reduced average annual super fees by 50%.

John Cummins Appointed New CIO for Australian Marketplace Lender SocietyOne (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Australian largest marketplace lending platform SocietyOne announced John Cummins has joined the group as CIO, according to The Advisor. Reporting to SocietyOne CEO and MD Jason Yetton, Cummins will be responsible for SocietyOne’s funding requirements to support demand from an expanding number of borrower customers, including building on SocietyOne’s existing network of investor funders which features large financial institutions, mutual banks, credit unions, high net worth individuals and SMSFs.

India

India Money Mart Serves as a P2P Lending Platform (Military Technologies), Rated: A

With India Money Mart serving as a P2P lending platform, borrowers and lenders find transactions easy. This online market place provides a reliable platform for both lenders and borrowers in India with a minimal operational cost.Lenders and borrowers can avail loan facilities at their own will. Borrowers can choose single or multiple lenders at the same time. IMM ensures that these transactions are carried forward without any hassles or meeting one another personally.

Through an easy lending process, Kissht helps consumers avail quick loans (YourStory), Rated: A

There is an entire population that has the money to repay loans, yet mainstream banks reject their loan applications. This does not favour consumer spending, although consumption has grown in this country. According to data available with the RBI there are only around 27 million credit cards in the country, and 300 million bank accounts. In 2016, although personal loans were 22 percent of all bank credit disbursed, several Indians remained without personal credit.

With this as the backdrop, Krishnan Vishwanathan, a consultant from McKinsey, wanted to find a fix to help people consume. Giving up his lucrative career, he set up Kissht, which means EMI  in Hindi, to provide collateral-free loans for products that consumers want to purchase. The total loans disbursed so far are to the tune of Rs 17 crore, with over 9,000 customers.

Asia

Peer-to-peer lending platform awaits BOT nod (The Nation), Rated: A

VORAPOL PHORNVANICH, chief executive of PeerPower, a financial-technology start-up, aims to create a new online peer-to-peer lending platform for investors and borrowers.

“At present, investors and savers in Thailand earn a relatively low return on their funds, averaging 0.5 per cent for savings accounts, 2-2.5 per cent for fixed deposits and 4-4.5 per cent for corporate bonds.

“On the other hand, if you are a borrower, you have to pay a relatively high interest rate on consumer loans, which have no collateral. Interest rates are currently as high as 15-36 per cent per annum. The interest-rate spread is huge, so we think this new online platform can help narrow the gap between deposit and lending rates as happens in other countries.”

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor