Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintech vc 2018

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage expands into India. GreenSky launches loan product for elective health care. Lending Works hits 150M GBP in loans in five years. Ant Financial’s money market fund shrinks to two-year low. Ant Financial raised close to combined raise of all U.S., Europe fintechs last year. Varo Money raises annual percentage yield on savings accounts to […]

The post Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

fintech vc 2018

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

GreenSky launches new loan product for elective health care (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Atlanta fintech on Tuesday announced the launch of a revolving credit line of up to $25,000. GreenSky previously offered only installment loans; the new product is designed to be a better fit for elective medical providers that rely heavily on repeat business.

Is SoFi Money the Bank Account of the Future? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

There are three main benefits that SoFi touts with the SoFi Money account:

  1. Pay zero account fees.
  2. Earn more interest.
  3. Free ATMs everywhere.

SoFi will pay (as of this writing) 2.25% on balances held in a SoFi Money account. Note about the small print: you will only earn this 2.25% for the first three months and then the interest rate drops to a (still respectable) 1.25% unless you do one of two things. Either setup a salary direct deposit of $3,000 or more a month or do $500 in debit card transactions each month. I am in the process of moving my salary deposit to my SoFi Money account.

The cash balance in SoFi Money Accounts is swept to one or more program banks where it earns a variable rate of interest and is eligible for FDIC insurance. FDIC Insurance is not provided until the funds arrive at partner bank. There are currently six banks available to accept these deposits, making customers eligible for up to $1,500,000 of FDIC insurance (six banks, $250,000 per bank).

Mixed Credit Card Issuers’ Earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Credit card master trust data shows that delinquencies have picked up from their lows but remain significantly below their peaks. Issuers (with the exception of Capital One), have increased loan loss reserves at a rate higher than loan growth as credit renormalization continues.

30 and 90-day delinquency rates from credit card master trust data

Source: Bloomberg, Bank Credit Card Trust Data, PeerIQ

How online platforms shook small-business lending in America (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the years after the financial crisis, small businesses that needed credit were stuck. New capital rules discouraged big banks from touching any borrower perceived as risky. The bond and loan markets, where larger businesses flocked for inexpensive debt capital, have little use for sums under $100,000 — which is what most small enterprises need.

A handful of non-bank lenders, payment and e-commerce companies have leapt into the gap. In an environment of easy money and economic expansion, small business lending operations at OnDeck, Kabbage, PayPal, Square and others have grown fast.

LendingTree Analysis Reveals How Personal Loan Purposes Vary by States and Credit Scores (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Key takeaways

  • Managing existing debt is far and away the most popular reason for a personal loan, representing 61 percent of all loan requests in 2018. Thirty-nine percent of borrowers plan to use their loans to consolidate debt, and 22 percent plan to use it to refinance credit cards.
  • Consumers seeking personal loans to manage debt also requested the highest origination amounts: $14,107average amount for credit card refinance, and $12,670 for debt consolidation.
  • Almost 15 percent of loans reasons are categorized as “other” — the third most popular choice. Home renovation and improvement loans are the next-most popular loan purpose, accounting for 7.7 percent of loan requests with an average loan amount of $12,384.
  • New Englanders are the most likely to use their loans to manage existing debt, taking the top five spots. The residents of MississippiLouisiana, and Arkansas are the least likely.
  • Washington, D.C. is home to the highest rates of a few offbeat loan purposes, with more residents requesting loans here for a move (7.4 percent) or business (2.6 percent). It’s also tied with New York and Louisiana as the place where wedding loans are most requested, with 1.5 percent of loans in these states intended to cover the costs of tying the knot.
  • West Virginia is the top state for borrowers requesting loans for their home, specifically home improvements (8.6 percent of loans requested in this state) or home buying (4.9 percent).
  • In Wyoming, residents request personal loans for medical expenses more than anywhere else (6.5 percent). In fact, most of the states where people are more likely to request a loan for medical costs are low-density states with more rural areas.
Source: LendingTree

See the full report here.

Cities Where Homeowners Stay Put the Longest (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • Cities with shorter housing tenure have greater price appreciation. The top 10 cities had an average tenure of 7.46 years and an average three-year home price appreciation of 12%. The bottom 10, with an average tenure of 6.63 years, have average price appreciation 30%. This suggests that higher housing turnover drives prices upwards, while faster price appreciation could be enticing home owners to sell.
  • The northeast dominates the list of cities with the longest tenure. The top three cities, Pittsburgh, New York and Buffalo are all in the northeast. An additional three northeastern cities are in the top 10 for a total of six.
  • Hot and sunny places have the shortest tenures. The three cities with the shortest tenures — Las Vegas, Phoenix and Austin — are all in warm-weather areas. This reflects high migration rates to those cities, something we looked at in a prior study on where Americans are moving. Denver is the only city in the bottom 10 that experiences a significant winter season.

A George Soros-backed fintech has raised millions to analyze consumer loan trends just as recession worries pick up steam (Business Insider), Rated: A

dv01, a New York-based startup, has raised $15 million in a series B round led by Pivot Investment Partners, a venture capital firm started by a a trio of bankers who worked together at Deutsche Bank AG. One of those ex-bankers, Dinkar Jetley, will join dv01’s board.

Kabbage hires chief revenue officer from LegalZoom (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Atlanta-based Kabbage Inc. has hired the chief marketing officer at LegalZoom as its new chief revenue officer.

Laura Goldberg‘s appointment is effective immediately, according to a Kabbage spokeswoman. She succeeds Victoria Treyger, who vacated the CRO position at Kabbage in August 2018 to accept a position with Felicis Ventures.

Varo Raises Annual Percentage Yield on Savings Account to Industry-Leading 2.80% (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

In a move to make high-yield savings available to more Americans, no-fee mobile banking company Varo Money, Inc., announced today that it raised the Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) on its FDIC-insured Varo Savings Account to 2.80% for customers whose Savings Account balance is $50,000 or less, and who have qualifying direct deposits and debit card purchases from their Varo Bank Account.1 An APY of 2.12%1 will apply if these conditions are not met.

Elevate’s RISE Brand Announces Scholarship to Promote Financial Literacy (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that its largest consumer product, RISE, will offer college scholarships in an effort to promote financial literacy.

The RISE scholarship will offer five $5,000 awards each year to students who demonstrate a desire to improve their financial knowledge and educate others on personal finance. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must complete an online financial literacy course that was developed in partnership with digital education expert EVERFI.

Credit card player Petal picks up $ 30m funding (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

New York-based credit card firm Petal is back in the money with $30 million in Series B funding.

This is Petal’s second investment from Valar, which was also the lead investor in its Series A funding round. Back in October 2018, Petal got $34 million in financing.

Fintech targets banks keen for out-of-market CRE loans (American Banker), Rated: A

As more banks take the often risky step of expanding outside their traditional markets, especially through digital means, some fintechs sense an opportunity to offer them data they need to find new customers and assess risk.

LendingClub, OnDeck Capital and Lending Tree are each online lending platforms that have bet on this trend. CrediFi, a finance data provider, aims to do the same with a focus on one of the largest asset classes around: commercial real estate.

LoanSnap Raises $ 4.7M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based creator of smart loan technology, raised an additional $4.7M in funding.

The round, which brought total financing to $17M, was led by Thomvest Ventures and existing investors.

Oxygen gets $ 2.3m funding for digital banking life (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

San Francisco-based digital banking service Oxygen has raised $2.3 million in funding to breathe life into its gig economy plans.

In this round it got funding from Digital Horizon Capital; Cynthia Chen, investor, advisor, executive and board member for several US-based fintechs and now co-founder and chief risk officer at Figure; ZMT Capital (China); Locus Ventures; Endure Capital; PioneerFund; Magic City; Light Bridge; Strawberry Creek; Base Ventures; The House Fund and Sam Yam, co-founder of Patreon.

Better Mortgage Secures $ 70 Million in Series C Funding from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, one of the leading digital mortgage lenders in the U.S., today announced its closing of $70 million in Series C financing from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), in addition to existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs, and Pine Brook. The new capital will support continued growth and investment in Better’s technology platform.

CFPB Announces $ 3.2 Million Settlement with Online Payday Lender (JD Supra), Rated: A

On January 25, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it had entered into a consent order with an online lender that extends unsecured payday and installment loans, as well as lines of credit, resolving allegations that the lender had engaged in unfair acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531, 5536.

Popular ‘robo-advisor’ Betterment picks Philly for its first office outside New York; to hire 20 by end of 2019 (Philly.com), Rated: A

Betterment, a digital wealth manager popular among millennials, has picked Philadelphia for the first office outside its New York home base.

The company, which manages $15 billion in assets, plans to open a Philadelphia office as soon as February, according to founder Jon Stein. Betterment is looking for office space in Center City, with the intent of adding 20 employees in its computer and engineering departments by the end of 2019.

Numerated and PayNet Partner to Improve Digital Lending (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Numerated announces that it will integrate PayNet’s MasterScore v2 within its real-time lending and growth platform. PayNet, a leading commercial lending data and analytics firm, will integrate its proprietary database within Numerated’s customizable rules- and segment-based credit decisioning engine to offer banks additional business scoring criteria for managing risk when lending to businesses in real-time.

Planet Home Lending Opens Several Branches; Sees Growth in Business Channels (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Planet Home Lending, LLC opened 26 active distributed retail branches and brought on 165 mortgage loan originators in 2018. Planet Home Lending also enjoyed additional growth in 2018 in its other channels.

Senior Counsel, Litigation (Employment Focus) (Built in Chicago), Rated: B

Guaranteed Rate is building a winning team to reinvent the mortgage experience through innovation, technology and a relentless focus on providing industry-leading mortgage products and superlative customer service.  The Senior Counsel will embrace and support these efforts by working to pursue claims and resolve disputes as appropriate through negotiation, arbitration or litigation, with a particular focus on employment claims and matters.

United Kingdom

Lending Works hits £150m of loans in five years (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Lending Works, the peer-to-peer lender, has surpassed £150m in loans to households and firms.

Nick Harding, Lending Works Co-Founder and CEO, says the firm is aiming to reaching £300m loans by the end of 2019 thanks in part to its “greatest ISA season yet ”.

LendInvest provides GBP7.35 million bridging loan in under seven days (Property Funds World), Rated: A

UK property finance specialist LendInvest has facilitated a GBP7.35 million bridging finance loan for a developer in just seven days.

Brexit blamed for slowdown in consumer lending (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

UNSECURED consumer lending has slowed to its lowest level since 2014, as Brits scale back their spending amid Brexit uncertainty.

The latest Bank of England Money and Credit statistics also found that the total number of mortgage approvals fell from 126,794 to 124,829 in December 2018, indicating an overall lag in the lending market.

Meanwhile, mortgage approvals for house purchase were around 63,800 in December – just slightly less than the 2018 average of 65,200.

Ultimate Finance lends record £1.4bn to small firms (AltFi), Rated: A

Small business financer Ultimate Finance said it lent a record £1.4bn to small firms across the UK last year.

The Bristol-based business said its overall lending jumped 35 per cent in the year to December 2018, boosted by writing more loans across its operations.

It said its bridging loans more than doubled to £31m over the period, asset finance jumped 37 per cent to £46m, while invoice finance also increased by almost a quarter to £117m.

Primary Factors to Have At Hand When Borrowing Money Online (EconoTimes), Rated: A

Online borrowing should be all about convenience, and Loanski loans have made this aspect their rising pillar for excellence. The only requirement for one to apply for a loan through the platform is they must be United Kingdom residents and have an active bank account. These minimum requirements essentially mean that anyone who uses their bank accounts frequently can have the pleasures of having an instant loan when they need it the most.

China

Ant Financial’s money market fund shrinks to 2-year low (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The world’s largest money-market mutual fund, Ant Financial’s Tianhong Yu’E Bao, was at its smallest for two years by the end of last year as Chinese regulators pressured it to downsize over concerns about systemic risk.

The shrinkage is a sign that Ant, the financial services business of Alibaba Group, is shifting away from marketing its own financial products to serving as a platform for other groups to access its huge customer base.

Cryptocurrency and pyramid schemes add to US$ 44.5 billion surge in illegal fundraising in China (SCMP), Rated: A

Chinese police investigated more than 10,000 cases of illegal fundraising last year, a 22 per cent rise in the caseload, according to China’s top prosecutors.

The total amount involved also rose, more than doubling to about 300 billion yuan (US$44.5 billion), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said on Wednesday.

Apart from traditional hotbeds such as product marketing, real estate investment, and education, there has been a big rise in fundraising schemes in online lending, wealth management, private equity, cryptocurrency, and elderly care services.

European Union

Europe’s fintech companies are preparing for a no-deal Brexit (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Europe’s fintech companies are getting serious about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

As uncertainty looms over the U.K.’s split from the EU, the industry gathered this week at the Paris Fintech Forum. Payments providers, cryptocurrency exchanges and digital banks all said they were taking steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

N26 is a Berlin-based digital bank that was recently named one of Europe’s largest fintech start-ups.

Synsam Group and Klarna Launch Innovative Contact Lens Subscription in the Nordics (Webwire), Rated: A

Synsam Group has over 50 years of experience in improving people’s eye health and is today Sweden’s largest optician chain with over 190 stores in Sweden, and 500 stores throughout the Nordic region. One of the company’s most popular services is Synsam Lifestyle Contact Lens Subscription, which includes home deliveries and annual contact lens examinations. To create a better and smoother customer experience, Synsam Group and Klarna have developed a new concept that allows customers to subscribe to contact lenses by using their mobile phones instore, while they can manage all the administration around the subscription online.

International

China’s Ant Financial raised almost as much money as all US and European fintech firms combined (Quartz), Rated: AAA

When it comes to financial technology companies, Ant Financial is in it own league. The affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $14 billion in venture capital last year, not far from the $15.9 billion for all fintech investments in the EU and US in the same period. A key question is whether the growth of the world’s most valuable fintech firm is an anomaly or a sign of things to come from China.

Ant Financial accounted for 35% of global venture capital investment in fintech firms last year, according to CB Insights.

Source: Quartz

Cross River and Railsbank Announce Partnership (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a leading innovator and provider of banking services for financial technology companies, and Railsbank Technology Limited (“Railsbank”), a leading UK-based open banking and RegTech technology services platform, today announced that they have entered into a partnership arrangement that will provide Railsbank the opportunity to offer a variety of API-powered, banking and payment processing services across the U.S.

Fintech companies raised a record $ 39.6 billion in 2018 (Reuters), Rated: A

In the last three months of the year, five companies joined the coveted ranks of fintech “unicorns”, or companies valued at more than $1 billion. These include credit card provider Brex, digital bank Monzo and data aggregator Plaid.

Australia

Canada’s Eguana will set up local manufacturing to join South Australia Home Battery Scheme (Energy-Storage.news), Rated: AAA

The South Australia Home Battery Scheme, launched by the state government, offers a maximum of AU$6,000 assistance per household for the purchase of battery energy storage. Home storage systems are typically, but not always, paired with solar PV, and homeowners can get back between AU$500 and AU$600 per kilowatt hour of battery storage capacity purchased.

Announced in September and then launched a month later, the scheme will assist up to 40,000 households financially, with the state government putting in AU$100 million and peer-to-peer lending group RateSetter later committing the same amount of funding in the form of low-interest loans.

ING latest lender to hike variable home loan rates (Mozo), Rated: A

Online lender ING has become the latest bank to lift its variable home loan rates following an announcement earlier today.

The lender will raise rates across all of its variable rate home loan products by 15 basis points, effective as of February 7, 2019.

India

Small Business Lender Kabbage Expanding to India (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Kabbage has opened an office in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) and plans to have 125 employees by year end. For comparison, the company has about 350 employees in their Atlanta headquarters.

To our knowledge Kabbage is the first US-based lender to enter the Indian market.

RBI directs P2P lenders to file quarterly reports on key metrics (TechCircle), Rated: AAA

Lending has been our star performer: MobiKwik founder (India Times), Rated: A

As of the end of the last financial year, we have a register user base of more than 107 Mn users and a network of over 3 Mn merchants. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are adding over 3 Mn new users every month, one of the highest in the industry. We will have close to 200 million users by the end of 2019.

A) Lending is growing by leaps and bounds ever since we started out. The opportunity is huge with less than 10% of Indians having access to credit.

Blockchain-based Loan Marketplace Streamsource Raises $ 1 Mn Seed Funding from Accel India (IndianWeb2), Rated: A

Gurgaon-based StreamSource Technologies, a decentralized marketplace for loans, has raised $1 million in seed funding from Accel India, making it Accel’s first local investment in the blockchain sector.

Indian banks unveil blockchain-linked funding for SMEs (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

A group of 11 Indian banks have teamed together to unveil the nation’s first blockchain-linked funding for SMEs.

According to the Economic Times, the participants include ICICI, Axis, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, Yes Bank, Standard Chartered, RBL, South Indian Bank, IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.

How are interest rates set on P2P platforms? (India Times), Rated: A

“Borrowers on our platform are given a score out of 100, which determines their risk profile. A score of 52 to 60 points is high risk while a borrower with more than 60 points will get a lower interest rate,” says Bhavin Patel, Founder & CEO, LenDenClub.

IndiaMoneyMart App Brings P2P Investment and Wealth Creation for Masses (Business Standard), Rated: A

lending or lending is a mode of direct financing that enables individuals to borrow and lend on mutual terms. Platforms like IndiaMoneyMart (IMM) eliminate the traditional financial institutions and enable businesses to flourish through a people to people contact.

P2P industry expectations from Budget 2019 (India Times), Rated: A

“While a great boost to the P2P industry would be via the regulator easing lending caps, we look forward to a critical role from the finance ministry for better financial inclusion by extending SOPs to retail investors,” says Dhiren Makhija, CEO, Cashkumar.

Here’s how you can invest in peer-to-peer lending (CNBCTV18), Rated: A

According to i2ifunding.com, a category A borrower may face the least risk while a category F borrower faces the highest risk.

Following interest rates are paid by borrowers across categories:

  • A category borrowers – 12.00 percent to 14.99 percent
  • B category borrowers – 15.00 percent to 17.49 percent
  • C category borrowers – 17.50 percent to 19.99 percent
  • D category borrowers – 20.00 percent to 22.49 percent
  • E category borrowers – 22.50 percent to 24.99 percent
  • F category borrowers – 25.00 percent to 36.00 percent

CreditVidya receives $ 3m funding to develop credit score tech (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

CreditVidya, an Indian alternative credit score firm, has raised $3 million in a funding round led by Bharat Innovation Fund.

Ryan Khoury, Navroz D. Udwadia and Rick Gerson (founding members of Falcon Edge Capital) also participated in the round.

Abhinav Kumar, of Trivago fame, joins Paisadukan as a marketing advisor (India Times), Rated: B

Digital marketing strategist Abhinav Kumar who shot to fame because of his appearance on television commercials of travel search engine Trivago has joined peer to peer lending platform Paisadukan as a digital marketing and branding advisor and also will be on the company’s advisory board.

Asia

P2P lending third most complained about business sector (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The country’s growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector has become one of the most complained about business sectors partly because of high interest rates and aggressive debt collection practices, according to a report.

The report by the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) shows online lending platforms are the third most complained about business sector while property and banking rank second and first respectively.

NTU and Chinese online lender WeBank launch research centre (Straits Times), Rated: A

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and China’s first digital-only bank have opened a research centre that aims to help customers manage their finances in real-time wherever they are.

NTU research scientists and engineers from WeBank will also study how to provide personalised wealth management advice to customers, among other projects, in the five-year partnership.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday April 25 2018, Daily News Digest

banking the nonbanks

News Comments Today’s main news: Wells Fargo still the largest bank to lend to nonbanks. Digit adds credit card payments to app. UK finance chief calls for regulatory crackdown on tech giants. Humaniq implements smart biometrics identification. Today’s main analysis: World Bank releases Global Findex Database. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit history, debt ratio are biggest constraints for would-be homeowners. Lending […]

banking the nonbanks

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Wells Fargo Leaves a Potential Subprime Smudge on Its Way to Squeaky Clean (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Sloan provided some evidence for that argument last week when the bank paid a $1 billion fine to regulators to close an investigation into abusive practices in its auto lending and mortgage unit.

But a look at one of its lending businesses suggests that exposure to questionable practices isn’t so much an oversight as a business decision. Wells Fargo, according to reports over the past few years, is by far the largest lender among the big banks to payday loan companies and others that make high-interest loans to subprime borrowers, including some that regulators have accused of predatory practices.

Source: Bloomberg

Banks don’t have to report how much they lend to subprime lenders, which falls broadly into the category of nonbank lenders. Wells Fargo, at the end of last year, had by far lent the most to nonbank lenders, with $81 billion in outstanding loans. Citigroup was the bank with next largest exposure, with just $30 billion outstanding.

Source: Bloomberg

Credit History and Debt Ratio are Biggest Constraints for Would-Be Homeowners (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the cities with the highest rates of denied mortgage applications and why mortgage shoppers in those areas have been denied.

Since the financial crisis, mortgage lending standards have tightened as underwriting has become more stringent. There are numerous reasons why a lender could deny a loan, from poor credit score to prior bankruptcies, but other reasons can include a lender’s inability to verify a borrower’s employer.

Source: Lending Tree

LendingTree delved into data from more than 10 million mortgage applications using the most recent available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set to find out the main reasons would-be borrowers were rejected, and to see if location has any correlation for rejection.

Fintech firm Digit adds credit card debt payment to savings app (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Digit, maker of one of the first apps to help people save by automatically sweeping modest amounts of money from checking into savings, is turning its attention to credit card debt.

The app can now be set to automatically make an extra payment every month on a user’s credit card, the fintech announced Tuesday.

At the end of January, the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. consumers had $1.03 trillion in credit card debt.

Breaking Away From The Bi-Weekly Payroll Tradition (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Today, this payroll schedule means an estimated 70 percent of employees in the U.S. live paycheck-to-paycheck – and many struggle to make necessary purchases or payments in the days leading up to payday. It’s also linked to the rise in the payday loan industry, which has more U.S. storefronts today than McDonald’s, according to data from Pew. Lenders make a collective $7 billion in fees, according to analysts, and they stem from more than $46 billion worth of payday loans issued each year.

According to Steve Barha, CEO of Instant Financial, the rise of the payday loan industry and overdrafts certainly comes with its controversies, but it’s no mistake that the industry exists in the first place.

Unison Reports 1000% Growth Year over Year in Home Ownership Origination Volume (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Unison, a unique financing platform for home ownership investments, is reporting strong year-over-year growth. According to the company, following a solid 2017, the origination volume for the first quarter of 2018 has grown and increased 1000 percent over the comparable period last year. This is due in part to an expansion of the management team and the availability of their service in ten new states.

Unison says these new hires will help extend their company into more states. In April alone, Unison HomeOwner and HomeBuyer programs will be available in 10 additional states including Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Missouri and Delaware, bringing its total footprint to 22 states plus Washington D.C. Unison expects to broaden its reach over the course of 2018 to over 70 percent of U.S. single family residential housing units.

Mulvaney response to CFPB data security gaps baffles cyber experts (American Banker) Rated: A

Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney has repeatedly pointed to data security as a defect in the agency’s supervisory program, but security experts are scratching their heads over the bureau’s response to such problems.

Mulvaney has said hundreds of CFPB-related data breaches justified his announcement in December that the agency would halt collecting personally identifiable information from companies it supervises.

Elevate vs. LendUp Payday Loans: Everything You Need to Know (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Pros of a LendUp payday loan
Getting cash fast is the main reason you’d choose a company such as LendUp. But they have some other benefits, as well.

  • If you pay your installment loan on time, you could boost your credit score.
  • The lender has an incentive program called the LendUp Ladder. You’re awarded points as you take out LendUp loans and repay them on time. As you accumulate points, the lender will reward you by allowing you to borrow at progressively lower rates.

For the sake of a side-by-side comparison, we’ll focus on Rise. Here are some pros of a Rise loan.

  • You can apply for a seven-day payment extension if you can’t pay on time.
  • The company will provide you with free access to your TransUnion credit score.
  • If you borrow from the company more than once, your interests rates could decrease.
  • Rates are lower than those offered by payday loans.
Source: Student Loan Hero

Chase customers can now use their voices to unlock their accounts (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Chase card members’ voices will soon be their passwords when they call for help.

The bank is debuting a voice-authentication feature for credit card customers dialing the call center this spring to reduce the customer burden of having to remember multiple passwords and answer cumbersome security questions. The initial launch would only be for credit card customers, but the bank plans to expand the feature to all customers by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said.

 

Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen’s venture capital group is on a fintech tear (CNBC) Rated: B

On Tuesday, Point72 Ventures will announce it led a $3 million investment in a startup called Extend, which has built mobile technology business owners can use to share their corporate credit cards with employees and freelancers without handing over the actual cards.

Earlier this month, the venture capital arm was a co-lead in a $29.4 million round for a New Jersey startup, DriveWealth, that has developed a mobile site for investing in exchange traded funds and stocks, and it led an $18.5 million investment in Silicon Valley-based DeepScale, which is developing autonomous driving technology.

United Kingdom

UK finance chiefs call for regulatory crackdown on tech giants Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Two of the financial technology executives involved in the FT debate — Funding Circle chief executive Samir Desai and Rhydian Lewis, his opposite number at RateSetter — agreed that GDPR was a welcome protection for consumers.

UK Fintech Humaniq Implements Smart bioID System to Further Strengthen Outgoing Transaction Security (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based fintech Humaniq announced on Tuesday it has implemented additional bioID settings that will act as an extra safeguard be integrated into Humaniq app, which the company reports has already had more than 100,000 downloads in the Google Play store.

Humaniq also revealed that the total transaction volume has reached 400,000 HMQ in more than 250,000 transactions per month. The company noted with the introduction of an additional layer of biometric authentication, this means over 10,000 transactions will be totally secured from fraud, benefitting over 100,000 users of Humaniq App.

Regtech start-up ClauseMatch lands £3.6m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

ClauseMatch, a UK-based start-up in the regtech space, has raised £3.6 million ($5 million) in its Series A funding round.

ClauseMatch, specialises in smart document management. It is a graduate of Barclays’ accelerator programme, Techstars, and has Barclays and Intesa Sanpaolo on its customer list.

Could a credit card cap protect chronically broke Brits? (Guardian) Rated: B

A credit card cap is needed to protect “chronically broke” Britons struggling to make repayments on high interest loans, ministers have been told.

Labour’s Stella Creasy warned that credit card firms were pushing millions into debt in the same way payday lenders did before action was taken to prevent anyone having to pay back more than double what they borrowed.

The Walthamstow MP made the comments as she moved an amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill which would require the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take tougher action on credit card firms.

Ministers must extend cap on payday loans to other high credit that’s targeting poor, vulnerable Brits, MPs say (The Sun) Rated: B

MINISTERS should “learn the lessons” of the payday loan cap and extend it to cover other forms of high-cost credit such as credit cards and doorstep lending, MPs have demanded.

In a boost for The Sun’s campaign to stop millions of families falling prey to doorstep and legal high street loan sharks, MPs called on the Government to take tough action to stop the nation “drowning in debt” and protect “chronically broke” Brits.

China

Hong Kong Approves Dual-Class Shares, Paving Way for Tech Titans (Yahoo Finance) Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. approved the biggest change to its initial public offering rules in two decades, putting it in a position to battle New York for some of the world’s hottest companies.

Technology firms that have shares with different voting rights will now be allowed to go public in Hong Kong, overturning rules that barred the likes of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. from considering the former British colony. Businesses will be able to apply under the new regime starting April 30, HKEX said Tuesday.

 

European Union

Swedbank invests €3m in banking tech vendor Meniga (Fintech Future) Rated: AAA

Meniga, a white-label digital banking solutions provider, has received a €3 million equity investment from its customer, Swedbank.

The two firms partnered in 2017 to improve Swedbank’s digital customer experience through a personal finance activity feed and data aggregation platform. The new solution is intended to “give customers better control over their daily finances and a more personal, engaging experience than today”, according to Meniga.

The bank’s view of Open Banking (The Finanser), Rated: A

Another conversation about Open Banking, and an interesting point was raised by one bank. They said that they had been mapping financial moments – getting married, buying a house, having a baby, crashing your car, etc – and had started to reimagine the whole customer experience in those moments using APIs.

For example, I bring up my banking app 3-4 times a day. The bank probably thinks it’s love them as I bring up their app so often. Well I don’t love them at all. I’m just going into the app so regularly because, as a small business, I want to see if my customers have paid yet.

International

World Bank Releases the Latest Global Findex Database (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

The Global Findex Database and accompanying report give a clear indication of how fintech is impacting access to financial services globally.

Source: World Bank

Globally, about 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked—without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. Because account ownership is nearly universal in high-income economies, virtually all these unbanked adults live in the developing world. Indeed, nearly half live in just seven developing economies: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Fifty-six percent of all unbanked adults are women. Women are overrepresented among the unbanked in economies where only a small share of adults are unbanked, such as China and India, as well as in those where half or more are, such as Bangladesh and Colombia.

Read the full report here.

US fintech funding boomed at the start of 2018 — but early-stage funding is drying up in Europe (Business Insider) Rated: A

VC-backed fintech companies raised $5.4 billion across 323 deals globally in the first quarter, according to CB Insight’s latest fintech report, released on Monday.

The figures were supported by a big uptick in deal-making activity in the US. US fintechs raised $2.1 billion across 147 deals. Notable investments include a $165 million funding round for insurance startup Oscar in March and a $110 million capital injection for San Francisco’s Collective Health in February.

Source: CB Insights

While deal activity spiked in the US and Asia, it fell to a 5-quarter low in Europe with just 63 first quarter deals.

The slump was largely down to a decline in early-stage funding deals and came despite several $100 million-plus funding rounds for European challenger banks N26 and Atom. European fintechs raised $933 million in the first quarter.

 

Will Beijing Manage to Survive the US-Chinese Trade War? (Sputnik International) Rated: A

Beijing has kicked off a number of measures aimed at bolstering its economic growth, Chinese researcher Liu Dan told Sputnik. According to Liu, the country’s internal difficulties have not been triggered by the US tariff war unleashed by the Trump administration on China.

One should not overestimate the impact of Sino-American trade frictions on China’s economy, says Liu Dan, a researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies (RDCY) of Renmin University of China.

Australia

Lending continues to rise Down Under for RateSetter Australia (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER lending platform RateSetter continues to pass lending milestones in Australia as its loanbook reached A$250m (£136.5m).

The firm, which is the only Australian P2P lender open to retail investors, also announced that it now has more than 10,000 registered users on its site.

RateSetter has doubled its investor base in the country within a year, which it says is due to customer dissatisfaction with Australian banks.

P2P lender’s growth due to consumer ‘rebellion’ (Australian Broker) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has attributed its recent rapid growth to consumers actively rebelling against the big banks.

The amount invested by these investors has increased by 14% over the last 12 months, with average investment now sitting at close to $40,000.

Asia

House hunting? Soon you can crowdsource your downpayment via blockchain and smart contracts (E27) Rated: AAA

For millennials, this presents a major barrier to homeownership. While 70% of Chinese millennials have already managed to purchase their first real estate, only 35% of their Malaysian peers have followed suit according to HSBC data. For 64% of millennials around the world a combination of low income and soaring property prices make the prospects of owning a house rather gloomy. A lot of them also do not qualify for traditional loans and do not have the family support for making that downpayment.

Add to this new concept the technology of blockchain, and you have a method by which borrowers can access an alternative down payment funding source, and an immutable record of each borrower-lender agreement is permanently recorded. This serves four purposes:

  1. Blockchain eliminates the traditional borrowing method, with its middlemen and fees. The repayment details are worked out between the borrower and the individual lender.
  2. Blockchain democratises borrowing, because credit scores, history, etc., are not factors in obtaining the loans. If a borrower can show basic ability to repay, an individual lender will be willing to put up the money at an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.
  3. The borrower-lender arrangement is codified and recorded in a blockchain that is secure and permanent. Both borrower and lender have the security of knowing that their agreement cannot be changed except by mutual agreement.
  4. Re-payments are also recorded in the blockchain environment, so there is never a question about the amount or the ultimate meeting of a borrowing obligation to any individual lender.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 5 2018, Daily News Digest

small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Wealthfront gets backing from Tiger Global. Funding Circle partners with Kansas bank. Elevate customers see rise in credit scores. NextCapital raises $30M for digital advice platform. London tops tech funding. HMT Treasury says P2P lending not deposit-taking. Yields lower in Euro zone as MiFID II begins. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO monthly alt lending market […]

small business lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

An investing startup that grew by $ 100 million in a single day just got some big name backing (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Wealthfront, a robo-adviser with more than $9 billion under its management, announced Thursday that Tiger Global, the New York investment firm, would lead a $75 million fundraising round.

Wealthfront plans to use the new capital to enhance its Path platform, which allows users to view all of their financial accounts.

“Path’s appeal to young people propelled our growth such that people under 45 now represent 85% of our clients,” Wealthfront cofounder Andy Rachleff said in a statement.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

As FT Partners wraps up 2017 and looks forward to 2018, we are extremely proud of our accomplishments. Celebrating over 16 years in business, we executed a record number of deals, significantly expanded our team, continued our global expansion and won a number of industry awards during the past twelve months. We are confident that 2018 will be another successful year for the Firm and we are incredibly thankful to our clients and friends across the industry.

In case you missed it, we recently published our latest in-depth, 200+ page industry report: “

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Business-Loan Growth Fell Off a Cliff in 2017 and No One Can Figure Out Why (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Business-loan growth fell to its lowest levels since the aftermath of the financial crisis in the final weeks of 2017, a puzzling development that could weigh on bank earnings later this month.

Bank loans to companies grew 1.1% from a year earlier as of Dec. 20, up slightly from a 0.8% rate the prior week, according to Federal Reserve data. That Dec. 13 level was the lowest since spring 2011, when banks were just starting to lend to companies again after the financial crisis.

The readings likely cement 2017 as the worst year for this type of lending in recent history. The average weekly rate of business-loan growth was 2.7% for 2017 through Dec. 20, compared with 9.3% in 2016 and double-digit growth in the two years before that.

Looking at 2018: A Discussion with Ron Suber (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

“[People] from the banking industry from the tech industry. We have grown up,” said Suber. “We had some people that were great from the early days but were not good for long term growth. There has bee a major turnover in the leadership at many of these companies. My call is that companies are focusing on cash flow, profitability and EBITDA for the first time. Earnings on GAAP basis … I think that is great for the industry. You are seeing companies generate cash. [In the past] Prosper did $400 million in month and it lost money. Now it is doing, say $200 million a month and it is making money. They are being run to be profitable businesses. That is the takeaway from 2017.”

Suber says that today, Prosper makes money every quarter. They have $100 million on the balance sheet and it gets higher every month.

“We are seeing lots of money coming in from Asia to buy loans now. More than ever,” added Suber.

LendingClub, a reporting company, has had a tough two years as its stock has tanked while Wall Street looked elsewhere for growth.

ELEVATE ANNOUNCES BOOST IN CUSTOMER FINANCIAL HEALTH (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

More than 140,000 customers of Elevate’s RISE product have seen an improvement in their credit scores. Additionally, more than 35,000 RISE customers are now eligible to receive at least a 50 percent reduction in their APR and more than 13,000 customers are eligible to receive RISE’s lowest rate.

More than 160 million Americans are either non-prime or “credit invisibles,” without any credit score. These customers account for almost two-thirds of the U.S. population, yet are significantly underserved by the traditional financial industry.

RISE loans are originally priced to risk. Customers are eligible to receive 50 percent off of their rate on subsequent loans after 24 months of payments, eventually achieving a further reduction to 36 percent. Today, more than 35,000 customers have received or are eligible to receive a 50 percent rate reduction and more than 13,000 customers are eligible for an APR of 36 percent.

About the Data

Elevate worked with a major credit bureau to which it reports, gathering anonymized data on RISE customers. Elevate reviewed credit scores of customers from the customer acquisition point up to two quarters after loan completion.

The number of customers who have reached the necessary number of payments to receive a rate reduction was calculated by tabulating the number of accounts at the number of payments necessary.

  • 24 months of payments are required to receive 50 percent off of the customer’s original APR
  • 36 months of payments are required to reach 36 percent

NextCapital Raises $ 30M for its Digital Financial Advice Platform (ChicagoINNO), Rated: AAA

NextCapital officially announced Thursday that it has raised $30 million in new funding to grow its enterprise digital advice platform.

The Series C round brings the company’s total funding to more than $52 million. The round was led by Oak HC/FT, and included additional investments by Manulife Financial, Transamerica Ventures, Vermont Seed Capital Fund and Route 66 Ventures.

FSOC Annual Report on Financial Stability Highlights Marketplace Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Last month the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) released their annual report. This 165-page report highlights potential risks to our financial system by looking at new developments and providing recommendations to improve financial stability.

Section 4.14 of this year’s report deals with new financial products and there is an entire section on marketplace lending. Here is their conclusion about our space:

Although marketplace lending has the potential to reduce costs and expand access to credit, the extent to which these benefits have been realized thus far is unclear. Furthermore, the marketplace lending model has not been tested through a full credit cycle. There are risks that misalignment of incentives could exist on these platforms.

Can blockchain technology revive peer-to-peer lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The original premise of online peer-to-peer lending platforms was simple and democratic: A single mom from Kalamazoo, Mich., could post her story explaining why she needed $5,000 to pay off her credit card, and a retired electrician in Illinois could read it, decide to fund her loan and receive interest far exceeding what he could get on his savings account.

LendingClub and others that proffered this people-helping-people model quickly found they needed to make changes.

 

Unbanked vs. Underbanked: Who they are and how they differ (MicroBilt), Rated: A

Slightly more than two-thirds of households in America frequently make use of traditional banking services, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. But that leaves 33 percent of people in the U.S. who don’t, a significant percentage by any measure.

Unbanked

As the title implies, unbanked Americans are those who don’t make use of any banking services whatsoever. This includes debit cards and checking accounts, as well as savings accounts. In 2015 – the most recent year for which data is available – the unbanked represented 7 percent of U.S. households, translating to approximately 23 million individuals, including children, the FDIC reported. The percentage of unbanked households in the U.S. is down slightly from 2013, when it was 7.7 percent.

Families have a plethora of rationales for why they opt to go without banking services, but it’s usually due to what they do not have in terms of savings. Nearly 57 percent of unbanked households cite this as their prime reason, according to the FDIC report.

Underbanked

Around 20 percent of Americans are underbanked, according to the FDIC, which means they have either a checking or savings account, though rarely both. Households are also usually given the underbanked distinction if they’ve used alternative financing options during the previous year, such as money orders or rent-to-own services. Around 67 million Americans are underbanked, or the equivalent of 24.5 million households, based on 2015 figures from the most up to date FDIC survey.

As far as demographics are concerned, millennials are among the most likely to be underbanked, with 31 percent of them under the age of 24, according to federal figures.

‘We don’t need to stay in the student market’: How BankMobile wants to grow its offering and replicate its model (Tearsheet), Rated: A

BankMobile, the digital-only bank that offers checking accounts to students, wants to start offering them credit.

The three-year-old Customers Bank subsidiary launched a personal loan product for its customers at the end of December, but that was just the first of a suite of credit products the bank plans to roll out this year as part of its “customer-for-life” strategy, according to Luvleen Sidhu, president and chief strategy officer.

BankMobile has 1.8 million customers to date and has opened about 300,000 new accounts each year in the student demographic through its university partnerships.

Why are you expanding into credit now?
We’re just looking at our demographic. Many in our current customer base are living paycheck to paycheck — that’s why personal loans make sense.

How do you plan to expand your products after the personal loan?
We have a lot of products to introduce on the credit side: credit cards in the second quarter, student refinancing in the second quarter, auto loans and home equity by the second half of next year.

You’re partnering with Upstart on credit products. What are the advantages of that approach?
In the longterm you could say it’s more expensive to partner but those costs outweigh the fact that we get to market much faster.

How has competition changed since BankMobile launched?
It’s accelerated. Challenger banks and Neobanks like Moven, GoBank, Simple and Varo continue to flourish and grow. Digital banks like Ally, USAA and Captial One 360 have really done a push in 2017 attracting millennials, tweaking their product, tone, messaging, branding to make sure they start penetrating that segment. Traditional banks are finally realizing the branch based customer acquisition model is not sufficient.

Banks compete for tech talent by helping on student loans (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks spend not only a lot of time thinking about how to attract millennial customers, but also how to get millennials to work for them.

Though banks might be hard-pressed to offer similar wages — average starting salaries at Uber, Pinterest, and Airbnb are all over $220,000, according to Paysa — they can offer something most tech companies don’t: a student loan repayment benefit plan.

Inside Citizens Bank’s branch redesign strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banking giants like Citi and Capital One with much more money and resources at hand have been making branches look more like lounges, coffee shops or museums as they figure out what to do with them with less foot traffic, but in 2018, smaller institutions could start to make a move on their plans.

The Providence, Rhode Island bank is transforming its branches into digitally-connected community centers, Johnson said.

Citizens currently has 1,200 branches, and the bank is in the second year of a 10-year plan to reduce its branch footprint as lease expiries take effect. It’s replacing paper pamphlets with digital tools, like a digital retirement checkup platform customers can use while meeting with bankers. The bank can also project digital content onto the walls of a meeting room — a nod to the digital-first habits of some younger customers. Citizens is on an ambitious track to reduce its retail footprint by as much as 50 percent — a “do more with less” approach that over the long term that will save occupancy costs, CEO Bruce Van Saun said in an earnings call last year.

How banks use behavioral economics to win over customers (American Banker), Rated: A

When a major international bank was looking to improve the response rates for its credit card mailers in 2017, rather than changing the graphics or upgrading the paper stock, it turned to a firm that could offer guidance on how consumers make decisions.

It was trying to tap into the insights of behavioral economics, a discipline that uses psychological observations about human behavior to analyze and predict how people will act.

A Fight Over the Credit Score Lenders Use for Your Mortgage (WWJ), Rated: A

Banks and rival lenders are butting heads over the credit scores used to decide millions of mortgage requests by U.S. home buyers.

Now, a federal agency is weighing whether to step into the fight, which revolves around a longtime requirement for lenders who sell mortgages to Fannie Mae FNMA -3.17% and Freddie Mac FMCC -3.31%to gauge most borrowers using FICO scores. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s ultimate decision could have wide-reaching ramifications for the mortgage market and home buyers across the U.S.

Many nonbank lenders, which in some recent quarters have accounted for more than half of the mortgage dollars issued in the U.S., want the ability to use a credit score provided by a company owned by credit-reporting firms Equifax Inc., EFX +0.00% Experian EXPGY 0.23% PLC and TransUnion . TRU 0.80% These lenders argue the alternative score would open the mortgage market to a greater number of people and lead to more mortgage approvals, helping to boost home sales and the economy.

That is where VantageScore Solutions LLC, the scoring firm that Experian, Equifax and TransUnion launched in 2006, says it can step in.

The company says it can assign a credit score to about 30 million more consumers than FICO. Roughly 7.6 million of those consumers would potentially be eligible for a Fannie or Freddie mortgage, VantageScore says.

Envestnet Finalizes Acquisition of FolioDynamix for $ 195 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

Wealth management intelligence solutions company Envestnet has finalized its acquisition of Actua Corp’s FolioDynamix, a wealth tech solutions company, this week.

PropertyMetrics helps real estate investors create more accurate proformas (Realty Biz), Rated: A

With that in mind, a company called PropertyMetrics has built a web based platform that’s designed to help investors come up with a proforma that includes evaluation and analysis. With PropertyMetric’s software it’s possible to analyze any property in minutes, from any device. This means investors can quickly generate a quick cash flow proforma, perform a cash flow analysis and generate PDF reports from anywhere, in a matter of minutes.

10 favorite stocks for 2018 from top-ranked stock newsletter writers (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Michael Brush, Brush Up on Stocks

I also recently suggested Lending Club Corp. LC, +0.98% in part because of the huge buying by Chinese technology and internet expert Tianqiao Chen, who founded the online gaming company Shanda Interactive Entertainment years ago while he was in his 20s.

He owns around 20% of Lending Club, an online peer-to-peer lending platform. LendingClub recently tightened its lending standards, which hurt loan growth, so the company missed earnings estimates and guided down. But it still expects 15%-20% annual revenue growth over the next few years. This seems plausible given how many people with OK credit would like to refinance their credit card debt with loans. Lending Club estimates $300 billion to $350 billion in credit card debt could potentially be refinanced in this way.

An Online Lending Task Force is Coming to New York (deBanked), Rated: A

An online lending task force DFS study will be coming soon to New York, according to legislative records.

Chippewa Cree Tribe Settles BEH Gaming Ltd Lawsuit (PRWeb), Rated: B

Plain Green, LLC, the online resource for the short-term financial needs of underbanked and subprime consumers, today announces a successful settlement with BEH Gaming Ltd related to loans to the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation. Plain Green’s settlement and payment of the debt to BEH releases the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation from all liability. The settlement amount is under seal of court order.

The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by Florida-based BEH Gaming Ltd in 2014 (Case # DV-14-142 in the 12th Judicial District Court in Hill County, Montana) to repay loans to expand Northern Winz Hotel and Casino.

Portland ad agency lands $ 126M LendingTree account (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Advertising agency R2C inked a deal late last month to become the new media partner for LendingTree Inc.

LendingTree is an online loan marketplace for financial needs like auto loans, small business loans and credit cards headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. AdWeek reports that the company had a media budget of $126.5 million in 2016, and spent nearly $61 million during the first half of 2017, though R2C won’t manage LendingTree’s entire media budget.

Growing your business? These 3 financing mistakes can cost you big (News-Journal), Rated: B

1. Not understanding the true cost of your loan

When shopping for a business loan, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by fast-talking salespeople, endless strings of acronyms and confusing terms. If it’s unclear how much you’ll really pay for financing, that’s a good sign you should walk away, Hodges cautions.

2. Getting trapped in daily or weekly repayment cycles

Term loans are often the better option, Hodges says. They allow businesses to borrow a set amount of money for a specific purpose, like hiring new staff or stocking up on inventory. The funds are then paid back over a set amount of time, with consistent monthly payments and no surprise fees.

3. Not knowing what you deserve

After seeing countless small businesses get stuck with credit products they couldn’t afford or understand, a coalition of small business advocates, lenders and online credit marketplaces came together to launch the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights. As the first-ever gold standard for responsible business lending, the Bill of Rights outlines the rights and safeguards that small businesses should expect from finance providers.

3 Behaviors To Keep Credit in Good Standing (MicroBilt), Rated: B

Source: MicroBilt
United Kingdom

London was top destination for tech funding in 2017 (Reuters), Rated: AAA

London was the top city in Europe for technology investment last year, with more funding going into companies in the British capital than into firms based in Paris, Berlin and the next seven cities combined, data showed on Friday.

Tech firms in London attracted 2.45 billion pounds ($3.3 billion) in venture capital funding in 2017, about 80 percent of the 2.99 billion pounds invested in Britain as a whole, according to data compiled by funding database PitchBook for London & Partners.

Fintech, or financial technology, was the most popular segment for investors, attracting a record 1.34 billion pounds in venture capital, the data showed, led by major rounds for TransferWise, Funding Circle and Monzo.

London’s tech scene pulls in record £2.5bn in 2017 venture capital bonanza (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

London’s tech venture capital investment reached another all-time high in 2017 as firms raked in four times more cash than Paris, the nearest European rival.

Softbank’s $502m (£392m) investment in game development platform Improbable was the biggest single investment during the year, but it was London’s burgeoning fintech firms which led the way with a record haul of investments.

European cityLondon Total funding raised (£)

2.45bn

European cityParis Total funding raised (£)

564.97m

European cityBerlin Total funding raised (£)

456m

European cityStockholm Total funding raised (£)

360.27m

European cityMadrid Total funding raised (£)

65.38m

European cityAmsterdam Total funding raised (£)

212.18m

European cityDublin Total funding raised (£)

117.45m

European cityHelsinki Total funding raised (£)

56.98m

European cityCopenhagen Total funding raised (£)

40.23m

European cityLisbon Total funding raised (£)

2.43m

Treasury clarifies whether P2P lending constitutes deposit-taking (AltFi), Rated: AAA

HMT Treasury has passed an order confirming that straight-forward peer-to-peer lending does not constitute deposit-taking.

The order relates to the now-infamous “Dear CEO” letter, sent in March 2017, in which the FCA effectively ordered P2P platforms to cease and desist with all wholesale lending activities. The rationale was that a business borrowing money in order to lend that money on constitutes a form of deposit-taking. This was deemed illegal, per article 5, paragraph 1 of the regulated activities order.

How angel investors support UK start-ups (Growth Business), Rated: A

Investing in start-ups is becoming increasingly popular and accessible in the UK. The attractiveness of that market has come from two main factors: the success of a number UK start-ups built over the past two decades (ASOS, Just Eat, Zoopla, Funding Circle) which are showing the way for many more to come and the supportive policies implemented by the various governments over the same period to encourage investment in ventures.

These schemes have proven to be extremely popular with private investors who every year invest over £1.5 billion into high growth ventures under SEIS and EIS.

So how do you get started with investing in start-ups if you are new to this market?

Your first option is to invest through online equity crowdfunding platforms (ECF) such as Seedrs, Crowdcube and Syndicate Room, which showcase dozens of investment opportunities from start-ups looking to raise equity funding from the public. The advantage of ECF websites is that they are convenient and accessible to anyone with investment tickets starting at £10.

If you consider yourself to be a more sophisticated type of investor looking to build a portfolio of investments with tickets of more than £5,000 per company, then you should probably think about joining an angel syndicate.

A third option to get started is to invest through a start-up fund.

High numbers using expensive credit to buy basic household appliances (Ekklesia), Rated: A

Research found almost 60 per cent of people on a low income turn to more expensive forms of credit to purchase home appliances because they do not have the means to pay up front or access to affordable credit. Seventeen per cent say they used a credit card to make the purchase, 10 per cent used an overdraft and 10 per cent used a store card. More worryingly, significant numbers said that they used high cost credit to buy home appliances, with 13 per cent relying on hire-purchase and eight per cent saying that they used a payday loan.

Blockchain-based banking startup Babb names Paul Johnson as CIO (Finextra), Rated: B

Blockchain-based banking startup BABB (Bank Account Based Blockchain) has appointed banking technology veteran, Paul Johnson who previously lead one of the UK’s leading challenger banks, Aldermore, as CIO to spearhead the development of the world’s first decentralised bank.

European Union

Euro zone yields edge lower as MiFID II kicks in (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield fell 2 basis points to 0.44 percent DE10YT=TWEB, off two-month highs hit on Tuesday after weekend comments from the European Central Bank’s Benoit Coeure that there was a “reasonable chance” ECB stimulus will not be extended this year.

Most core euro zone bond yields were down 1-4 bps on the day, with the gap between Italian and German 10-year bonds yields tightened to 160 basis points as Italian yields dropped as much as 6 bps to 2.03 percent. IT10YT=TWEB

Ireland meanwhile kicked off its annual funding drive by raising 4 billion euros with a syndicated 10-year bond, covering around a quarter of its issuance target just three days into the year.

P2P platform bosses offer cautious support for pan-EU licences (AltFi), Rated: A

“Opt-in passports” are the way forward, says Lendix co-founder Patrick de Nonneville.

The EU Commission is laying the groundwork for a licence that will allow European crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms to operate across the bloc.

“We think it’s a great development that will be useful for us,” said Patrick de Nonneville, chief operating officer at French marketplace lender Lendix.

Raffael Johnen, CEO and co-founder of leading German marketplace lender auxmoney, offered his thoughts.

“Getting closer to a single digital market will further boost the creation of true European fintech champions.”

International

Online lender Funding Circle inks partnership with Kansas bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, an online lender that operates in four countries, is partnering for the first time with a U.S. bank.

On Thursday, the 7-year-old company announced a deal with Intrust Bank in Wichita, Kan., under which it will sell $20 million worth of its small-business loans to the $5 billion-asset institution.

This Cryptocurrency Inventor Has Suddenly Become One of the World’s Richest Men (Money), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency has a new king. His name is Chris Larsen, and he’s the co-founder and former CEO of Ripple, which created the digital token known as XRP. He’s now one of the world’s richest billionaires, thanks to XRP’s incredible hot streak.

XRP, a cryptocurrency intended for international transactions, has had a meteoric rise this winter. Its value went from $0.25 a coin in mid-December to $3.16 as of Wednesday, according to Coinmarketcap. It’s currently the second biggest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin.

Forbes reports that, as a result, Larsen almost instantly became worth $37.3 billion (based on XRP’s Monday exchange rate).

India

BCCL invests in fintech company FinREQ in an ads-for-equity deal (Medianama), Rated: AAA

Bennett, Coleman & Co Limited (BCCL), the publisher of the Times Of India and the parent of Times Internet, has acquired an undisclosed stake in online loan company FinREQ.

As such, it looks like the investment in FinREQ is an ads-for-equity deal.

FinREQ was founded in 2011 and has tie-ups tie-ups with nationalized, co-operative, foreign, private banks, NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies. The company provides a variety of loans ranging from overdrafts, import & export finance, supply chain financing, loans against property (LAP), loans against share, lease rental discounts and others.

Online lending platform EarlySalary raises $ 15.7 mn in Series B round (VC Circle), Rated: A

Pune-based Social Worth Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs online lending platform EarlySalary, has raised Rs 100 crore ($15.7 million) in a Series B funding round led by Eight Roads Ventures India, a company statement said.

Invest smart with these asset class investment options (ANI), Rated: B

Fixed Depositsinvestment in goldReal Estate and many other traditional options are losing grounds when trying to woo the new age investors.

A research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies indicated that nearly three-quarters of millennials are saving for retirement and that we started doing so at an earlier age than previous generations.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in India currently gives a net return of 18-22 percent to lenders.

Asia

Commencement of Online Lending Service for Small Businesses That Leverages Accounting Big Data and AI Technology (Orix), Rated: A

ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) and Yayoi Co., Ltd. (“Yayoi”) announced today that the ALTOA Online Lending Service, which leverages accounting big data and AI technology, will commence its operation through the jointly established entity, ALTOA, Inc. (“ALTOA”).

The ALTOA Online Lending Service is an online lending service that provides small amount, short-term loans for small businesses through a new credit model that leverages the credit know-how of ORIX, the accounting big data of Yayoi, and the AI technology of d.a.t. Inc., who is a partner in this venture.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 30 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club rolls out its next-generation small business credit policy. Elevate’s RISE surpasses $300M in outstanding loans. Upgrade, Corridor collaborate on big data, credit analytics. Assetz Capital completes Seedrs funding round with 1.6M GBP. Alibaba seeks majority stake in SenseTime. Revolut banks on cryptocurrency. Comunitae suspends activities due to fraud. Today’s main analysis: The hidden relationship between […]

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

MENA

News Summary

United States

Next Generation Small Business Credit Policy (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

We are excited to announce the next generation small business credit policy on our platform which allows us to power the vision of even more small business owners.

Minimum qualifications have been reduced from 24 months in business to 12 months in business and from $75,000 to $50,000 in annual sales.

Since 2014 we’ve facilitated over $500 million in loans to thousands of small businesses across the nation.

Elevate’s RISE Product Surpasses $ 300 Million in Outstanding Loans (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced its RISE product has surpassed $300 million in total outstandings, with more than 130,000 open accounts.

Will Lending Club Turn a Corner? (GuruFocus), Rated: AAA

Lending Club arguably pioneered peer-to-peer lending, which has been one of the most vibrant segments of the credit market. Some analysts, however, have questioned the company’s ability to continue growing without adopting some traditional banking practices, like taking deposits.

Lending Club has failed to manage costs well over the past two years, leading to its inability to net profits. As illustrated in the chart below, the company’s trailing 12-month revenue now stands at about $551 million, but it has managed to reduce the net loss from about $175 million in the first quarter to about $94 million in the third quarter.

Source: GuruFocus

Lending Club’s first-half 2017 loan originations figure, however, declined from the prior-year period, dropping to approximately $4.1 billion versus $4.7 billion last year.

Would You Take Out a Loan for a Pair of Jeans? (Racked), Rated: AAA

Jocelyn Vera Zorn is not eager to talk about the loan she took out to buy the pants. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” she grimaces.

For merchants, Affirm provides exceptional benefits, increasing average order values across the board; perhaps not surprisingly, people will shop more, and more often, when they don’t immediately feel the costs. And for many customers, including Jocelyn, the predictable, convenient payments are worth the higher interest rates.

Affirm claims to be a more transparent and honest, if not cheaper, line of credit for the underserved. Using internal, proprietary data science and artificial intelligence, the company says it approves 126 percent more borrowers than traditional lenders, based on soft credit pullsand an opaque mosaic of consumer information.

Source: Racked

While more than two-thirds of Americans own at least one credit card, 20 percent are considered subprime, with a FICO score of 600 or below. Another 10 percent are on the bubble.

Source: Racked

Upgrade and Corridor Collaborate on Big Data and Credit Analytics (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, today announced a strategic partnership with Corridor Funds (), a new credit analytics and portfolio management platform founded by Manish Gupta. Mr. Gupta was recently EVP, Global Head of Information Management and Advanced Decisioning at American Express and prior to that spent many years as Chief Credit Officer of the Amex US consumer lending business. Under the terms of the partnership, Corridor will provide independent analytical review and validation to investors in Upgrade’s personal loan products, and will collaborate with Upgrade on new product design.

TechCrunch Founder Arrington Raising 0 Million XRP Fund (Coindesk), Rated: A

Announced today at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Invest in New York, TechCrunch founder Michael Arringtonrevealed he’s raising $100 million for a hedge fund that will buy and hold crypto assets while making investments in token sales and (some) equities and debt.

Launched under a new entity called Arrington XRP Capital, the fund claims to be the first that will require all limited partners (LPs) to make investments in XRP, the cryptocurrency that powers San Francisco startup Ripple’s RippleNet software.

Why Social Impact Matters in Tech: How LendUp Saved our Customers More Than $ 150 Million Dollars (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Five years later, LendUp customers are improving their credit scores, and now I’m proud to say that LendUp Loan customers have saved $150 million versus what they would have spent with traditional small dollar lenders, all while improving their credit score to open up more financial options in the future.

Two-thirds of LendUp Loan customers report having income swings of $100 or more a month. And since our newest customers lack short-term savings — 83% aren’t confident they can cover a $400 emergency — 77% report that they often miss bill payments.

Fintech Can Help Fast-Track Puerto Rico’s Recovery (Forbes), Rated: A

Agile, customer-experience-focused financial technology businesses continue to drive innovation, modernization and access to credit in America’s financial services marketplace when banks and other traditional providers can’t meet consumers’ needs. For example, fintech lenders help consumers and small businesses alike find financial products and services that meet their credit needs, whether it’s a short-term loan for an emergency expense or capital to help grow a small business — even when these applicants have been denied by their banks.

OnDeck monthly series highlights successful small businesses (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Online small business lender OnDeck today launched a new monthly series spotlighting the achievements of its small business customers and how they are thriving as a result of receiving capital from OnDeck.

For December, the customer success spotlight is on Dana Donofree, the owner of AnaOno, a lingerie and loungewear company for women with a unique mission.

“Applying for a loan can be incredibly stressful but fortunately, OnDeck had quick questions and quick responses.  Right away, I could see how much financing I was approved for and what that meant regarding payback. I had the opportunity to review everything before I took the loan.”

New Survey Finds Relationship Tension and Anxiety are Hidden Costs of Debt (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The old saying goes, ‘money can’t buy happiness.’ It should also say ‘and debt can make you anxious, keep you up at night and cause problems in relationships.’ That’s according to a new telephone survey of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The survey found nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) are living with debt driven by factors such as everyday expenses, a lack of income, mortgage costs and student loans, reflecting the far-reaching potential impact of debt upon society.

Recent data shows outstanding household debt reached a record high of $12.84 trillion, making this survey timely. With U.S. consumer spending growing at its fastest pace since 2009, it appears the frugal habits many Americans adopted directly after the Great Recession are a thing of the past.

More than half of Americans with debt (56 percent) say it has negatively impacted their life.

Of those, one-in-five (21 percent) say debt is causing relationship tension with a spouse or partner and one-in-ten (11 percent) have misled family or friends about their financial situation. Debt is not just impacting life at home, it has found ways to creep into all aspects of the day. Nearly a third (31 percent) admit to worrying about their debt in general while nearly one-in-five (18 percent) say they worry while at work and one-in-four (25 percent) worry at bedtime.

Living with debt has become a financial and mental burden for nearly three-in-ten Americans with debt (28 percent) who stress about everyday financial decisions because of their debt. Nearly one-fifth of Americans with debt (19 percent) have received letters and calls from collection agencies. While the low interest rate environment has the potential to keep payments lower, one-in-four (25 percent) say that they’re worried a rate hike could change that.

Nearly seven-in-ten Millennials with debt (68 percent) admit it has had a negative impact on their everyday life compared with roughly half of Baby Boomers (48 percent) and three-fifths of GenXers (59 percent) with debt. Most concerning, the survey found that of those with debt, Millennials are twice as likely to worry about debt compared to Baby Boomers (M: 43 percent, BB: 19 percent) and more than a third (37 percent) admit that their debt causes them to stress about everyday financial decisions.

Source: BusinessWire

World’s largest bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer, enters the US (CNBC), Rated: A

The world’s largest bitcoin exchange by trading volume is launching in the U.S.

BitFlyer, based in Tokyo, announced Tuesday it became the fourth digital currency exchange to receive a “BitLicense” to operate in New York. The exchange said it also has licenses to operate in 40 other states.

Former U.S. Comptroller Thomas Curry, Now At Boston Firm, Is Still Fintech Advocate (The National Law Journal), Rated: A

Curry, who was integral in leading the federal banking regulator’s efforts in advancing financial technology, including through the proposal of a special purpose national bank charter for fintechs, joined Nutter McClennen & Fish this week. He is a partner and will co-lead Nutter’s Banking and Financial Services practice group.

How involved with fintech do you plan to be?

That will be a key area and something I’m excited about working with the other members of the firm on. Fintech is interesting, especially if you’re talking about online lending and marketplace lending.

Do you expect the fintech charter will, in fact, move forward?

From my standpoint, I would not have pursued the charter without being very comfortable with the legal foundation for it.

How will you advise clients in the meantime until any special purpose charter is finalized?

Today institutions, banks as well, need to be making strategic decisions about which direction they’re going in. Well before you decide whether to apply to a fintech charter, you should be thinking through the process, so I think the time is now.

Here’s How Andreessen Horowitz & Union Square Ventures Are Betting On Blockchain (CB Insights), Rated: A

This year’s blockchain craze has pushed a huge amount of new money into cryptocurrencies, private blockchain projects, and companies holding initial coin offerings (ICOs). As of now, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies stands at more than $340B — a huge leap from where it started the year at $18B.

Source: CB Insights

Blockchain startup AlphaPoint names Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde CEO (Finextra), Rated: B

As it gears up for the launch of a public blockchain network promising to democratise asset digitisation, AlphaPoint has poached Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde and installed him as CEO.

Should I Refinance My Student Loans? (Credible), Rated: B

But you shouldn’t make the decision to refinance your loans lightly. Refinancing can help some borrowers save money, but what refinancing can do for you depends on a number of factors, including the repayment term and repayment options that you choose for your new loan.

Source: Credible
United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Completes Latest Seedrs Round With More Than £1.6 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital completed its latest equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs. The online lender launched the funding round last month and raised a total of £1,665,892.

Thistle and lender rescue developer (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

LendInvest has teamed up with specialist packager Thistle Finance to provide a developer with a £1.3m development exit finance loan.

The developer was set to move from his standard development finance rate on to a more punitive default rate on 1st December, which could have added 0.75% to his monthly interest payments.

However, the development exit finance loan provided by LendInvest – at around 70% LTV – will save the borrower 0.5% on the standard rate he had been paying.

Finance a vital resource as billing delays hit building industry (Asset Finance International), Rated: A

Businesses in the UK construction sector have been hit by a leap in payment delays, with invoices taking an average of 69 days to be settled.

Analysis of more than 13,000 companies by Funding Options, the online business finance supermarket, shows that delays have risen 8% in the past two years.

Yours Clothing in payments tie-up with Klarna (Retail-Systems), Rated: A

Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options.

Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.

Klarna’s second payment option – Slice it – gives shoppers the ability to spread the cost of any purchases over £60 into equal monthly instalments.

Proplend Joins the NACFB (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

On Wednesday, Proplend, a UK based peer to peer lender in the property space, announced it has joined the NACFB.

3 smart New Year’s resolutions for business owners (Funding Circle), Rated: B

  • Manage your stress level
  • Make smart money decisions – 
    • Improve your personal credit. Yes, this has everything to do with money. You see, the higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll be able to score lower interest rates on the money you borrow. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, so it’s definitely a resolution worth making.
    • Compare financing offers. Some options just aren’t good for your business. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know the APR you’ll be paying, and compare multiple loans to pick the best deal.
  • Continue to learn
China

China fintech lending boom fuels risks of data theft (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The rise of online consumer loans in China has spawned a thriving black market in stolen user data.

Virtually non-existent in the country five years ago, consumer lending through websites and mobile apps has expanded rapidly over the past 18 months amid a proliferation of fintech start-ups that use big data to assess credit risk.

In a chatroom devoted to consumer lending on Tencent’s QQ social-media platform, the Financial Times contacted a person claiming to be an employee of an online lender who was offering user data for sale.

For Rmb4 ($0.61) per user, he offered to provide the full name, national ID number, phone number and loan limit. He added that for some borrowers, the data would also include a credit score from Sesame Credit, the unit of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial that sells credit scores to banks and consumer lenders with users’ consent.

Alibaba Seeking Biggest Stake in AI Startup SenseTime (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is in discussions to invest about 1.5 billion yuan ($227 million) and become the largest backer of Chinese facial recognition startup SenseTime, according to a person familiar with the matter.

SenseTime, which says it’s valued at more than $2 billion, is backed by Qualcomm Inc. and considered one of the more advanced players in machine vision technology.

Uncertainties of overseas markets may transmit P2P risks back to China (Global Times), Rated: A

A number of Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies went public in the US this year. Those P2P firms have been growing quickly, with some venturing into high-risk segments such as campus loans and cash advances. As they go public overseas, it creates potential risks that may eventually affect China’s financial stability. Supervision is needed to bring the P2P lending sector in order.

That these companies listed in the US reflects several factors. One main reason is the companies are expanding. Most are underperforming, and some are in the red. US stock exchanges do not have strict requirements for indicators such as net profit and cash flow. Also, the US market attracts investors from all over the world, easily raising more funds.

China’s Lending Crackdown Is Notable for Three Reasons (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Policy makers from the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission convened in Beijing on Nov. 23 to discuss new measures to crackdown on online consumer loan platforms, including those for payday loans and peer-to-peer lending. On the same day, Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial said it will enforce a cap of 24 percent on interest rates charged by lenders on its website, or 12 percentage points lower than current rates.

Although the measures haven’t been made public, our industry checks suggest three notable changes. First, the issuance of new licenses to online micro-loan platforms is being suspended, suggesting that regulators are scrutinizing online lending practices. Second, banks and bank-holding companies are being told not to buy loans underwritten by online platforms because such assets are deemed too risky. Third, turning the loans into securities will be forbidden because regulators believe securitization amplifies risks and gives investors less of an incentive to perform due diligence on the underlying assets.

So-called P2P online lending platforms have mushroomed from fewer than 10 to more than 2,000 in just over seven years, but only a few hundred operate with government-issued permits.

European Union

Digital Bank Revolut Prepares to Launch Cryptocurrency Features (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Digital only challenger bank Revolut is preparing to enter the cryptocurrency world with new features on their bank app to allow users to exchange and use Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

While no official announcement has been made yet, Edward Cooper, Head of Mobile at Revolut, recently tweeted out Revolut’s intent to offer digital currency solutions.

Spanish Peer to Peer Lender Comunitae Suspends Activity Due to Fraud (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to a report in El Español, peer to peer lender Comunitae has ceased all operations indefinitely due to fraud detected on the platform this past October. The Comunitae web site is still live but certain portions are not functional.

Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017 to Klarna and Daloc (Sweden Abroad), Rated: B

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the Netherlands, The Embassy of Sweden and Business Sweden are very proud to announce the winner of the Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017; Klarna.The prize aims to strengthen the Swedish-Dutch business relations and has been awarded since 2012 to Swedish related companies in the Netherlands.

International

Alibaba-Backed Paytm Aims to Become World’s Largest Digital Bank (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Paytm Payments Bank aims to create the world’s largest digital bank with 500 million accounts, envisioning an online financial services provider of everything from wealth management to credit cards and stock market trading.

The bank, backed by the country’s largest digital wallet of the same name, launched formally Tuesday and is targeting people who don’t have access to professional financial services. That aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to broaden access for the under-banked in the nation of 1.3 billion people.

Paytm was one of fewer than a dozen entities that secured permits to start payments banks, which can accept deposits and remittances but cannot lend.

It said it will operate a mobile-first bank with zero fees on online transactions and no minimum balance.

Cryptocurrencies and the ‘crowd’ are small businesses’ bank alternative (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

A major trend shaping the small-business landscape is the rise in cryptocurrency, which can provide alternative means for a variety of cross-border financial transactions.

Cryptocurrency is ideal for cross-border transactions in several ways. In addition to being secure and permanent, cryptocurrency transactions allow borrowers and lenders to sidestep time spent working through a bank, as well as converting from one currency to another. For many investors, the speed and convenience of cryptocurrency-based transactions presents an opportunity to magnify gains.

Along with crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrency can improve access to both payments and credit for SMEs.

International Fintech companies with > 5M funding (Crunchbase), Rated: A

TransferWise is an money transfer service allowing private individuals and businesses to send money abroad without hidden charges.
Funding Circle is a lending platform focused exclusively on small businesses operating in in the U.S., the U.K. and Continental Europe.
Blockchain is a web-based bitcoin platform that makes using bitcoin safe, easy, and secure for all consumers and businesses worldwide.
Building a bank as smart as your phone. Intelligent notifications, instant balance updates and financial management.
WeLab analyzes unstructured mobile big data within seconds to make credit decisions for individual borrowers.

Independent Asset Managers need to become polygamous (Finextra), Rated: A

Independent asset managers shall maintain relationships not only to custodians. Due to disintermediation and distributed ledger technology they will be able to profit from a much broader range of financial assets.

Source: Finextra

SWIFT warns banks on cyber heists as hack sophistication grows (Reuters), Rated: A

Brussels-based SWIFT has been urging banks to bolster security of computers used to transfer money since Bangladesh Bank lost $81 million in a February 2016 cyber heist that targeted central bank computers used to move funds.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency last month reported that Far Eastern International Bank (2845.TW) lost $500,000 in a cyber heist. BAE later said that attack was launched by a North Korean hacking group known as Lazarus, which many cyber-security firms believe was behind the Bangladesh case.

Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank lost $580,000 in a cyber heist, two Nepali officials told Reuters earlier this month.

Australia

FACEBOOK LIVE: Treasurer Scott Morrison on fintech and the banking royal commission (Business Insider), Rated: A

He’s now in Sydney at fintech business Prospa, the nation’s leading online lender to small business, where’s he talking to Business Insider about the sector as well as the 12-month investigation into misconduct by the banks.

See the video interview here.

India

Want a loan? Make sure you’re tweeting the right things (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The article that someone tweeted about, posts that they liked on Facebook, and a new phone just bought on an e-commerce site—all these events now play a crucial role in determining if an individual is eligible for a loan or not.

Online lending firms have seen rapid growth in the last two years, despite the presence of a wide network of banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India. That’s because, till 2015, about 70% of Indians remained under-served by banks and other financial institutions, an opportunity that these firms are trying to cash in on. Now, even banks and NBFCs are tying up with online lending firms to reach out to more customers.

The 166 million households that make up middle-income India—with annual earnings of between Rs2.2 lakh ($3,414) to Rs3.59 lakh ($5,572)—typically apply for personal loans to buy consumer durables, for weddings, to meet medical expenses, set up a new business, and the likes.

“We have about 80-90 parameters that are used to check a consumer’s credit worthiness. And that’s where technology comes into play to ensure that it can be done swiftly and efficiently,” said Satyam Kumar, co-founder, LoanTap, an online fintech platform that provides retail loans to salaried individuals.

Delhi start-up wins GIST pitch (The Hindu), Rated: B

GyanDhan, a Delhi-based start-up working in the space of education loans, emerged winner of a GIST pitch competition for enterprises in the Fintech and Digital Economy, one of the four focus sectors at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, here on Wednesday.

Lupiya Circle, an online market place created by women in Zambia to financially empower women in the African nation through a branchless banking model was declared the runners-up.

MENA

Saudi Arabia puts buzz back into Mideast startup scene (Arab News), Rated: A

Since 2005, the top 200 funded startups in the MENA region have attracted more than $2 billion in capital, according to a report issued by MAGNiTT, which tracks the development of startups across the region.

To date, the majority of top funded startups in the region were established in the UAE, and the primary financial backers have also tended to be UAE-based.

But a recent uptick in funding from Saudi investment firms points to a developing ecosystem for startups in the Kingdom, according to MAGNiTT founder Philip Bahoshy.

Bahoshy said that startups providing solutions for broader regional challenges such as sticky logistics and cross-border banking frictions stand the best chance of attracting meaningful investment.

2018 will be the year African fintech takes off (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Next year will be a good year for Sub-Saharan Africa. After a challenging 2017 for many of its nations, 2018 will see economic growth return across the continent, gas activity boom and fintech innovation pick up in speed.

So says Ecobank Research as it recently launched the newest version of its yearly Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Guidebook, which provides analysis on African markets for investors and businesses.

The research department of the Pan-African bank forecasts three key trends that will take hold across Africa during the next 12 months. GTR takes a closer look at them.

3. Africa’s evolving role in fintech leadership

But 2018, he emphasises, will see African fintech firms increasingly driving this innovation. “There will still be international investors, but the actual leadership of fintech development is going to start coming increasingly from the Africans. It’s not going to be the Europeans and Americans going in, saying, ‘you should do this’.”

Ecobank’s research highlights South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire as tech hubs that will nurture the next wave of African startups and help connect them with investors.

One fintech that has caught Ecobank’s attention in particular is IroFit, a firm that uses the mobile network to enable real-time financial payments without the need for an internet connection.

Other emerging innovations in Africa include digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’ or using blockchain technology for digital identity and KYC solutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor