What Happened at the Money 20/20 2018 Conference in Las Vegas?

Money 20/20

Its a good thing that everything that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, which is where the Seventh Annual Money20/20 Conference took place on October 19-21, 2018. With the goal to “fearlessly take on the mission of creating a simpler, fairer, faster and more inclusive financial system for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole,” the three-and-a-half […]

Money 20/20

Its a good thing that everything that happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, which is where the Seventh Annual Money20/20 Conference took place on October 19-21, 2018. With the goal to “fearlessly take on the mission of creating a simpler, fairer, faster and more inclusive financial system for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole,” the three-and-a-half day event included more than 500 speakers and 15 agenda themes.

Themes included :

  • Payments and Platforms
  • Banking and Personal Finance
  • AI and Deep Learning
  • Cybersecurity and Fraud
  • Alt Lending and Credit
  • Blockchain and Crypto
  • Digital Identity and Biometrics
  • And much more

While this is going to serve as a brief overview of the Conference, some of the notables who spoke, and bigger announcements, there will be special interest on Alternative lending and credit. We’ll also look at the all-important payments race.

A lot of the coverage is available on YouTube where Money20/20 has its own channel, so, if you missed the conference, you still have free access to some of the information.

Day One

Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak is always a good bet to help you get a financial conference rolling. The business legend’s assurances that the claims that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, along with other forms of technology, are going to cut into human productivity are unwarranted helped to establish an ongoing theme that tech is necessary for the broader inclusiveness of our collective financial future.

Jennifer Bailey, VP Internet Services for Apple Pay, detailed some of the expansions of the new iPhone X, which include face ID security.

Other notable speakers from the first day of the conference included John Collison of Stripe, Michael Mebach, CPO of Mastercard (who spoke on how to build a seven-trillion-dollar middle class), Anand Sanwal of CB Insights, and Bill Ready of PayPal.

Day Two

Day Two’s lineup of speakers was headed by none other than Virgin’s own Richard Branson, who told a remarkable story about how he created Virgin by renting a plane and selling seats to the other passengers scheduled to be on the American Airlines flight that was delayed. Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest’s CEO and co-founder, had some valuable remarks on diversity, and Vanessa Colella, head of Citi Ventures and CIO of CitiGroup, shared some keen insights on partnerships.

Possibly the speaker from the conferences second day who made the biggest impression was Nikolay Storonsky, CEO of Revolut. The way money is moved is changing rapidly, but if Storonsky is correct in his predictions, it may change even faster. He predicts that in 10 years, two or three large fintech players will take 95 percent of banks’ business marking an industry overhaul akin to how Amazon bypassed the retail industry and Uber took on taxis.

Day Three

Patrick Gauthier, VP of Amazon Pay, spoke to Tracey Davies’s central theme when he talked about the use of technology to make things simpler and more natural between the merchant and the consumer. Harley Finkelstein, CEO of Shopify, pointed out that middlemen will not be totally going away in the financial realm of the future, but they will have to “provide a disproportionate amount of value for their profit margin in the future.”

Other notable speakers included Asiff Hijri, president and COO of Coinbase, who framed the crypto world well when he spoke of the two base use cases of the space, the store of value of bitcoin and the ability to build apps on top of Ethereum, while noting that we’re still looking for that breakthrough app. His quote “Fintech before crypto, and the promise of a stablecoin…is like mobile before the iPhone came along” might be one of those “remember when” moments.

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal also spoke on the third day of the conference. Now an advisor and advocate of Steady, the platform which helps Americans find work, says his partnership with these efforts is driven by recollections of a past where the only investments that paid off were those he embarked on in order to help others.

Day Four

Much of what happened on Day Four is listed below, including the Uber/Barclays and the Grab/Mastercard partnerships, but the day also had some other mentionable happenings.

Marisol Menendez, head of open innovation for BBVA, introduced the overall winner of the 10th annual BBVA Open Talent competition, the reward going to Sedicii; founder Rob Leslie accepted the award. Sedicii provides a service that identifies data between two organizations without exposing the underlying data.

Also, adding some hope for the financial sector in general, Ripple’s Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Chris Larson stated that he thinks digital assets can help guard against another financial crisis by solving some of the key problems of global liquidity. He also predicts that a fluid digital asset (he thinks it will be XRP, of course) will make more fluid the trillions of dollars that are tied up due to the “clunkiness” of current systems.

Focus on Alternative Lending and Credit Cards

As instant payments and expanded remittance options gain more prominence in the world of payments and commerce, an app designed to speed up the remittance process, designed via Visa APIs, took top honors at the conference.

American Express and Amazon announced a partnership, which will produce a no-annual-fee business card. Cardholders (Amazon Prime members) will get to choose if they want to receive five percent rewards on any Amazon purchase (Whole Foods included) or 90-day payment terms, a reward that might benefit small businesses with cash flow issues.

Goldman Sachs’s Marcus Platform announced a new wealth management offering designed to make the financial market more inclusive for average Americans. The offering will focus on online savings accounts and personal lending, the end game being to educate customers on some of the ins and outs of the financial sector.

Grab Financial and M and A Mastercard announced a partnership that will make prepaid cards available to underbanked and underserved customers in Southeast Asia in order to bring them into the financial realm and allow them to conduct business globally.

Gregory Wright, CPO and SVP of Experian, touched on a common theme from the conference, that of businesses going forward by putting consumers first. He reinforced the platform’s focus on putting the consumer at the center of the lending decision by giving the consumer more control over his or her data to allow them to make a more informed lending decision. The goal is for lenders to make better decisions at lower risk while giving more consumers access to credit.

David Richter, global head of business and corporate development for Uber, joined with Curt Hess, CEO of BarclayCard US, to announce the unveiling of the Uber Visa card. A native app specifically designed for the Uber platform, the app will make it more engaging and enjoyable for Uber riders and Uber eaters to experience the platform. The card will also offer real-time notifications of rewards and balances, rather than customers having to wait a month for a statement as credit cards traditionally do.

Other Noteworthy Announcements

  • ViSync took the grand prize in the conference’s hackathon challenge. According to a Visa spokesperson, their entry, an app designed to help send remittance payments overseas, should make it easier for migrant workers to send money back to their home countries.
  • FICO announced an “Ultra” FICO rating. The new device will consider how people manage their checking accounts and will incorporate things like overdraft history to determine credit scores. The goal is to help younger people and others with little or no credit and people who are rebuilding their credit after a couple of setbacks.
  • Tracey Davies, president of Money20/20, also announced the Rise Up! program, the pilot of which took place at this event. Rise Up! seeks to increase inclusion into the financial sector on all levels. This pilot program, which will expand to other demographics in the future, focused on gender (women make up 50 percent of the population, but only 20 percent of leadership roles in the financial sector.). Of the 300 women who applied to the program, only 35 were selected. Those who were selected were privy to special seminars and one-on-one access to various leaders from the financial space.

The Payments Race

Knowing how we build points of sale, I wonder if the organizers of the original event knew just how apropos the payments race would be to the overall message of the Money20/20 events. Whether they did or not, the event serves to draw a good picture of how we use and interact with different forms of currency in our daily lives.

Closely resembling the scavenger hunt of the television series The Amazing Race, five participants were given six days to make it to Las Vegas for the opening day of the convention. They drew to see which host city will host most of their scavenging, and then they all have to make it to their city and then to Vegas. Along the way, they got points for things like the number of states they visited and the different modes of transportation they use.

The catch is this: Each participant was only allowed to use one form of payment; the options were

  • Team Checks
  • Team Cash
  • Team Credit Cards
  • Team Devices (Apple Pay and such)
  • Team Crypto

The episodes—all of which can be seen on YouTube—show the obstacles in trying to perform these tasks with only the given form of payment.

As you can imagine, Team Checks had a hard time of it, and they had to rely on the goodness of many others to navigate their journey. Team Cash didn’t face as many obstacles, but travel required some finagling as they got deeper into the trip. Team Crypto had some transportation issues early on, but also relied on the kindness of others to make the necessary accommodations.

Team Credit seemed to have the most ease traveling—they just rented an RV and drove—and the representative from Team Devices said after it was all over that using only devices proved to be easier than she thought it was going to be; she did have to go to some pretty significant lengths to rent a car.

In all, the little series of videos showed the importance of various forms of payment and that we still haven’t gotten to the point where we can survive conveniently on one single form of payment; still, everything from the conference seems to speak to the reality that we’ll get there.

And how did the race turn out? Well, I haven’t seen an actual crowning, but Team Crypto was the first to get to the Las Vegas sign, which was basically the finish line—I haven’t seen anything that mentioned how each fared at the number of states visited or modes of transportation used. If Team Crypto did prove the winner, it was their second straight title.

The event will return to Vegas next year, the dates being October 27-30, 2019.

Author:

Written by Paul Keenan.

Thursday June 7 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Tree Purchase APR by Month

News Comments Today’s main news: Circle seeks a banking license. Revolut has 2M users. Ping An looks beyond insurance. TransferWise partners with first big bank. Today’s main analysis: How microfinance is navigating the fintech revolution in Africa. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where retail credit, charge cards are used the most. The case for a VRP strategy. A different type of Know Your […]

Lending Tree Purchase APR by Month

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Crypto Unicorn Circle Aims to Expand Into Regulated Banking (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Circle Internet Financial Ltd., one of the world’s most valuablecryptocurrency platforms, is looking to make a big leap into the highly regulated realm of U.S. banks and brokerages.

The venture, partly backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., plans to seek a federal banking license to provide more services to customers. It also intends to pursue registration as a brokerage and trading venue with the Securities and Exchange Commission, so it can help investors buy and sell tokens deemed to be securities.

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for May (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree
  • May’s best rate offers for borrowers with the best credit profiles had an average APR of 4.35% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 4.26% in April.
  • Refinance loan offers for borrowers with the best profiles were up 12 bps to 4.35%.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 10 bps to 5.02%. The loan note rate of 4.91% was also up 10 bps.

CompareCards Study Reveals Which Places Use the Most Retail Credit and Charge Cards (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

CompareCards by LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the places that use the most retail credit and charge cards. The study found that some metro areas are home to heavy users of retail cards while other locations have a population who use retail cards more sparingly.

Nationally, 61.3 percent of credit card owners have at least one retail card. Of those who have at least one retail card, 30.4 percent carry a balance on a retail card, representing 11.4 percent of outstanding balances. The average balance on a retail card in the U.S. is $2,699.

Highlights from the report:

  • Residents of McAllen, Texas are by far the highest users of retail credit and charge cards. The metro earned a final score of 87.2 and ranked first in these categories:
    • The number of people who have retail cards (72%)
    • The number of retail card owners who carry a balance on their retail cards (45%)
    • And the percentage of credit card debt carried on a retail card (17%)
  • People in Charleston, S.C. have this retail card claim to fame: They carry the highest balances on their retail cards among all 100 metros, with an average balance of $4,026and a median balance of $1,746. Meanwhile, Albany, N.Y. had the lowest average balance ($2,420).
  • Honolulu has the lowest retail card usage, with a final score of 9.4. Although it didn’t rank last in any individual category, it ranked extremely low in all.
Source: Benzinga and CompareCards

AQR MAKES THE CASE FOR A VRP STRATEGY (all About Alpha) Rated: AAA

AQR Capital Management, the Greenwich, CT-based global investment firm, has posted a new discussion of thevolatility risk premium and of the advantages of strategies based thereon.

In principle the premium would disappear if markets efficiently estimated the probability of significant losses. But it remains, because investors are risk averse and tend to overestimate the probability of substantial losses.

QR models an investor who was hypothetically long the S&P 500 from 1996 to 2016, while hedging his position with a continuously rolled one-month 5% out-of-the-money put. The hedged strategy will in fact lessen portfolio volatility as measured against simply being long in the S&P without the hedge. Vol falls from 16.1% in the latter case to 14.7% in the former.

But, as noted, this risk aversion comes at a hefty cost. Average portfolio returns decline from 5.1% to just 1.8%.

Unchained Capital Raises $ 3M To Lend Fiat To HODLers (Crunchbase News) Rated: A

Austin-based crypto-finance startup Unchained Capital has raised nearly $3 million in seed funding. Unchained’s first product is a crypto asset-backed loan, which is like borrowing against one’s home—except the company lends against digital assets such as bitcoin and ethereum.

The round includes $2.4 million in new capital and $595,000 of SAFE notes converting.

Court upholds sanctions against lawyers, KC firm in payday case (Kansas City Business Journal) Rated: A

A federal appeals court upheld $150,000 in sanctions levied against Stephen Sixand Austin Moore of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP in Kansas City, Darren Kaplan of the Darren Kaplan Law Firm PC in New York, and their respective law firms.

The plaintiff filed a class-action lawsuit that wasn’t against the online payday lending companies themselves, but against four nonlender financial institutions — Generations Federal Credit Union, BMO Harris Bank, Four Oaks Bank & Trust Co. and Bay Cities Bank — that processed the debit transactions and were paid fees.

LoanNow Reviews: Beware Personal Loan Offers With Sky-High APRs (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

That’s where online lender LoanNow comes in. LoanNow reviews your application even if you don’t have strong credit.

Here are the ranges for APRs and repayment terms in the six states that LoanNow operates in as of June 6, 2018. Double-check the LoanNow website for the latest rates.

State Loan amount APR Repayment term
Alabama $2,500 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
California $2,500 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
Georgia $3,100 – $5,000 29.00% – 59.00% 12 – 48 months
Missouri $1,000 – $2,500 29.00% – 299.00% 9 – 24 months
New Mexico $2,600 – $5,000 29.00% – 229.00% 12 – 48 months
Utah $1,000 – $2,500 29.00% – 299.00% 9 – 24 months

Startup Aims to Disrupt High-Interest Payday Lending With Blockchain (Thirty K) Rated: A

Meje Tuyo thinks the payday loan industry is ripe for disruption and he wants to do it using blockchain technology. Specifically, Tuyo wants to deliver more equitable access to loans through Owo, a startup venture set to debut this fall. The company’s name means “money” in the West African language of Yoruba.

Tuyo, a native of Nigeria, is looking to, at first, address the challenges of African Americans, a population that relies more on payday loans than other groups. Another study from the Pew Charitable Trusts from 2012 found that 12 percent of African-Americans had taken out payday loans, compared with 4 percent of whites and 6 percent of Hispanics.

The company plans to launch an app called Pazimawhich will allow consumers to request loans that will be automatically repaid when they receive their paychecks.

Renovate America Named “Esoteric ABS Issuer of the Year” (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Renovate America, a leading provider of home improvement financing, has been recognized as “Esoteric ABS Issuer of the Year” in the 2018 U.S. Securitization Awards announced by GlobalCapitalmagazine. The award recognizes Renovate America’s position as a leader in the esoteric ABS market, which includes not only PACE, but also equipment leasing, containers, marketplace lending, whole business, solar, and cell tower deals, to name a handful.

Sallie Krawcheck thought she hated banking (Business Insider) Rated: A

  • Sallie Krawcheck spent years as a Wall Street exec, commonly called “the most powerful woman on Wall Street.”
  • But when she got her first investment banking job in her early 20s, she hated it, and even went back to business school to transition into her dream jobs in media.
  • It wasn’t until she asked herself what she loved about media that she could find in banking that she found a place in equity research, which launched her into a series of executive roles on Wall Street.

David Mitchell Joins White Oak Business Capital as Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

White Oak Business Capital, Inc. (“WOBC” or White Oak), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, today announced the appointment of David Mitchell to the role of Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer, responsible for expanding business in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.

United Kingdom

UK fintech start-up Revolut reaches 2 million users (The Telegraph) Rated: AAA

London fintech start-up Revolut has announced that it has grown to 2m users following its launch in 2013.

Revolut said that it has now signed up 2m customers in Europe ahead of plans to launch in the US this year. Customers have also made over 100m transactions, the company said, with a monthly transaction volume of $2bn (£1.4bn).

Going tribal: A different type of ‘know your customer’ (Mortgage Finance Gazette) Rated: AAA

The fintech industry is coming of age. Global investments in the sector have grown from $20 billion in 2014 to $39 billion in 2017, according to Fintech Global. Fintechs like Transferwise, Nutmeg, Revolut, Starling Bank and Funding Circle in the UK have grown rapidly over the last five years. A large reason for this success is attributable to the way fintechs are able to develop deep relationships with their customers who rally around them in an almost tribe-like manner. Successful firms manage to convert isolated customers into communities and finally highly engaged ‘tribes’.

Fintechs that have successfully demonstrated that they can generate a sense of community within their customer base share the following six characteristics.

  1. Transparency-or at least the perception of it – is a great way to build trust and attract younger customers. Transferwise publishes its rate card in full on its website for instance.
  2. Reachability-In general, fintechs are much more in tune with what their customers want to be developed next. Revolut got this formula right from the start – this has helped them to grow to a $1.7 billion company in just 33 months.
  3. A sense of purpose-A large part of fintechs’ success in tribe-building is their ability to generate the sense of a greater purpose. Fintechs are typically focussed on achieving a specific goal which on its own, is mundane and something on the lines of – ‘help you transfer money cheaply’. However, this mundane goal is transformed into a grandiose vision when put into the intended context— ‘transfer money cheaply and beat the big banks at their game’. An origin story is the final touch required to transform this vision into a sense of purpose for the community – ‘transfer money cheaply, beat big banks and be a part of something meaningful’.

The growing popularity of bridging loans for investors (Property Week) Rated: A

This trend has only been exacerbated by Brexit as the ongoing uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the EU leaves borrowers, banks and new lenders without a clear picture of the next few years.

In light of this, bridging loans are increasingly popular as a short-term solution for investors and a way for high-net-worth individuals to see a return on capital.

Although the recent rise of bridging loans is associated with specialist lenders, particularly in the commercial space offering non-FCA regulated loans, the product originated as an option for property buyers to bridge a gap between exchanging contracts and completion of a sale where you needed to purchase a property in the interim but did not have the capital.

China

Chinese Giant Ping An Looks Beyond Insurance To A Fintech Future (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Global 2000 list — look beyond the stodgy insurance business and into the realm of high technology, whose tentacles reach into every aspect of commerce in China and eventually show up in the mobile handsets of Chinese consumers.

European Union

Klarna at Money 20/20: Banks are obsessed with themselves (Bobs Guide) Rated: A

In a presentation entitled ‘Banking on the CX factor’, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski spoke to a packed crowd under The Big Top at Money 20/20 EU, Amsterdam, today, taking the opportunity to open fire on the banks.

The audience heard insight from Klarna on customer experience, including the fact that, according to the Happiness Index, consumers are more stressed and unhappy than ever before.

Auto1 Joins Deutsche Bank, Allianz in Fintech Car Financing Push (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Auto1 Group GmbH is partnering with Deutsche Bank AG and Allianz SE as the German startup expands into fintech to ease financing for customers buying its used cars.

The three partners together own more than 50 percent in a new company called Auto1 Fintech, that will offer refinancing loans and insurance products to car dealerships buying SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Auto1’s vehicles, co-Chief Executive Officer Hakan Koc said Wednesday in an interview.

International

TransferWise just partnered with its first big bank (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based cross-border money transfer company TransferWise has announced a partnership with France’s second-largest bank, BPCE Groupe, that will take effect at the beginning of 2019. Under the partnership, TransferWise will provide international money transfer services for BPCE Groupe’s customers, enabling them to send money in different currencies with TransferWise’s low standard fees.

Source: Business Insider

StartUp Nation Ventures Announces the Israel-Florida Innovation Alliance’s First Call for Proposals (PR Newswire) Rated: A

StartUp Nation Ventures (“SUNV”) in partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority (“IIA”) is proud to announce the initial Call for Proposals through the Israel-Florida Innovation Alliance (“Innovation Alliance”).

The Innovation Alliance was created to support Israeli innovation companies in the discovery and selection of Florida as their destination to establish U.S. headquarters—a gateway for expansion into the U.S., and Latin America markets.

The joint collaboration between SUNV and the IIA establishes a scalable platform to support Israeli companies that have proven the feasibility of their technologies and have a minimal viable product or working prototypes for the U.S and Latin America markets in the following areas:

  • Financial Technologies (FinTech), Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Entertainment, Cryptocurrency, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs); and
  • Tech Innovation related to smart contracts, supply chain, asset verification, certification, identity, health and financial transactions, digital and mobile payments; capital markets & investing, banking & corporate finance, financial platforms, crowdfunding & peer-to-peer lending, and personal financial management.

How Fintech Is Disrupting the Personal Loans Market (The Market Mogul) Rated: A

Lending has experienced one of the biggest changes in the traditional banking marketplace with financial technology startups, or simply, fintechs, introducing disruptive products to consumers. Peer-to-peer lending platforms have been at the forefront in this space, but recent developments suggest more could be about to unfold over the coming years.

Startup lending companies have managed to gain a substantial chunk of the market over the last few years. According to credit analysts, this growth has been driven by personal loans. In a report published by TransUnion late last year, it was established that fintechs continue to disrupt the personal loans market at an alarming rate. In the report titled Fact versus Fiction, the TransUnion study found that fintechs have grown from a mere 1% of personal loan originations in 2010 to one-third of the entire personal loan market in 2017.

The 32% market share for fintechs in the personal loans market was more than the 29% for banks, 24% for credit unions, and 15% for traditional finance. This clearly shows that fintechs are on the path to dominate the entire lending market if the momentum can be maintained.

Here’s why robo-advisors won’t replace human financial advisors (CNBC) Rated: A

Robo-advisors give retail investors access to automated investment strategies, creating portfolios and coming up with an asset allocation that’s based on client data points, including time horizon and risk tolerance.

As convenient as it may be, this technology doesn’t make human financial advisors obsolete, said Joe Duran, founder and CEO of United Capital.

That’s because robo-advisors fail to account for the complexity of financial planning, he says.

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Launches Global Research (Crowdfund insider) Rated: B

Having now tracked alternative finance for five years, and from this relatively short perspective, the Centre has noted an emerging industry that has progressed quickly. Where once there were only handful of early adopters and innovators in a given country, they now see an “altfin” landscape that is growing rapidly, with an exponential number of new platforms driving competition and introducing new products.

In many regions (the EU, UK, USA) the Centre is also seeing their first cases of consolidation, but with continued diversification of products and services to customers.

Africa

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “How Microfinance is Navigating the Fintech Revolution in Africa” (MicroCapital) Rated: AAA

We are also looking to provide insight for microfinance stakeholders into how MFIs can leverage Fintech solutions to remain competitive in the rapidly changing financial landscape in Africa. While it is still too early to present a definitive response to the opportunities and challenges of Fintech, we are
convinced that MFIs will need to adapt to succeed in this increasingly dynamic microfinancing environment in Africa.

Source: Triple Jump

Fintech is considered more as an enabler than as a disruptor.

  • The MFIs surveyed perceived Fintech more as an opportunity than as a threat to their business (see graph 3: 88% consider it as a (very) great opportunity, while only 35% see a moderate to high threat).
Source: Triple Jump
  • Few MFIs foresee increasing competition in the future from Fintech-based (B2C) companies. This is explained by the fact that most digital lenders enter relatively easy markets with a target audience that is tech savvy, literate and more urban and where data and technical infrastructure are already available. But to access more informal and rural client segments effectively, these Fintech players face a number of challenges, such as client acquisition, initial high write-offs and limited profitability.

Read the paper in full here.

Asia

The Trillion-Dollar Investment Trend You’ve Never Heard Of And How You Can Be A Part Of It (Indonesia Expat) Rated: AAA

You can support Indonesian micro businesses and help them grow and thrive by investing in their loans. A leading, Indonesia-based peer-to-peer lending platform lets you do just that in just a few simple steps. Mekar (PT Mekar Investama Sampoerna) connects you, the investors (also called ‘funders’ in Mekar) from all over the world, with micro businesses in many provinces in Indonesia that are in need of funding.

About 99% of the micro businesses that are seeking loans in Mekar are run by women. Loans in Mekar range from around Rp 2 million (US$ 140) to Rp 8 million. For the last couple of years 99.5% of these borrowers have repaid on time.

Source: Indonesia Expat

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday December 21 2017, Daily News Digest

PBC interest rates

News Comments Today’s main news: SoftBank leads $120M funding round for Lemonade. Shareholders file class action against Qudian. RateSetter looks to cautious growth in car financing. LoanBook rakes in 650K GBP on Crowdcube. Prospa planning a 2018 IPO. Today’s main analysis: Muddy Waters goes cold on China Internet Nationwide Financial Services Inc. (CIFS). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Two big banks […]

PBC interest rates

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

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United States

SoftBank leads a $ 120 million round for insurance startup Lemonade (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The SoftBank Group has finally made a good tech investment around real estate.

After investing $4.4 billion in what is essentially a bespoke office space rental business (WeWork) and another $450 million in Zillow for rich people (Compass), the gargantuan Japanese tech investor is leading a $120 million round of funding for Lemonade, a startup providing renters and homeowners insurance.

Additional investors in the round include previous backers Alphabet’s investment firm, GV, General Catalyst and Sequoia Capital.

Shareholder Class Action Filed Against Qudian Inc. – QD (GuruFocus), Rated: AAA

The law firm of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP announces that a shareholder class action lawsuit has been filed against Qudian Inc. (NYSE: QD) (“Qudian” or the “Company) on behalf of investors who purchased the Company’s securities between October 18, 2017 and November 20, 2017, inclusive (the “Class Period”).

Qudian shareholders may, no later than February 12, 2018, petition the Court to be appointed as a lead plaintiff representative of the class through Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, or other counsel, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

Two Big Banks Set to Launch Their Own Online Lending Platforms (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

A little over a year ago Goldman Sachs launched their consumer lending platform Marcus as part of a digital strategy to move into the retail banking segment. They have since grown faster than any online lending platform with originations approaching $2 billion. Goldman Sachs now believes revenues from online loans will equal that of trading in the near future.

U.K. based Barclays has been increasing their footprint in the U.S. the last few years through the Barclaycard brand. They are now one of the top 10 credit card issuers in the US.  News broke last month that Barclays would be launching a digital bank in 2018 and rebranding from Barclaycard to Barclays in the US.

Pittsburgh based PNC Financial Services Group is one of the top 10 largest banks in the US with $371 billion in assets. They are looking to launch their online consumer lending product in new branches and through their mobile wallet product.

From On Fire To Under Fire: Marketplace Lending Enters 2018 Taking On Flak (ValueWalk), Rated: A

After a meteoric rise, marketplace lending has had its share of challenges and scrutiny, but the future should still be bright for such an industry on the forward edge of technology and consumer needs. Yet marketplace lending seems to be ending 2017 under an unwarranted attack from regulators and commentators determined to find similarities in marketplace lending to the subprime mortgage market in the years leading up to the financial crisis.

EquityMultiple CEO Charles Clinton Highlights Real Estate Opportunities & Disruption, Predictions for 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

CEO Charles Clinton and CIO Marious Sjulsen co-founded EquityMultiple with a shared vision of transforming real estate investing through tech and by providing new access to private transactions while streamlining the investment process.

Erin: Please share EquityMultiple’s latest stats.

Charles: We’ve funded 32 investments to date and are expecting to hit around 100% year-over-year growth in dollars invested. For investments that have fully repaid or are currently cash-flowing to investors, we’re averaging around a net 9% annualized dividend.

Erin: What sets EquityMultiple apart from its industry peers? How will EquityMultiple continue to differentiate itself?

Charles: We’ve taken a different path from most of our direct competitors and I suspect that will continue. This started at the very beginning – rather than look for venture capital financing, we sought out a real estate firm to partner with and found that in Mission Capital, a national capital markets firm that has done over $70 billion of business in its 15-year history.

Erin: Earlier this year you stated that individuals made up 100% of EquityMultiple’s investments. Has institutional money entered into this investment flow?  Why or why not? What are your methods of tapping into new investors?

Charles: We are still 100% focused on individual investors by design. We feel that individual investors are the customers that we provide the most value to. For institutional investors, there often is no real accessibility issue for getting into commercial real estate. Individual investors, on the other hand, are significantly under-allocated into real estate by comparison.

Krawcheck expands Ellevest robo to three service levels with more human advice (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Investors can access the robo-adviser by itself for 25 basis points (formerly 50 basis points), which includes algorithmic portfolio construction, tax minimization strategies, and now support from human advisers via email and text.

For 50 basis points and an account minimum of $50,000, investors can access Ellevest Premium, which includes the technology platform as well as personalized goals-based planning from an adviser with certified financial planner credentials.

Why Employers Need To Help Workers Deal With Income Volatility (Forbes), Rated: A

Roughly a quarter of American families suffer a major disruption to their income each year, according to the Urban Institute. Nearly one in five of those families suffer an income drop of 50% or more: a potentially catastrophic shock for low-income families.

But it’s not just these one-time shocks that affect families’ ability to plan and save — it’s the month-to-month fluctuations, as well. The JP Morgan Chase Institute foundthat, between 2012 and 2015, 55% of the bank’s customers regularly experienced more than a 30% change in income — up or down — from one month to the next.

BankMobile deploys AI, alternative data to lend to FICO-poor students (American Banker), Rated: A

BankMobile has become the first bank to start using online lending software developed by Upstart, which is designed to use artificial intelligence and alternative data to determine the creditworthiness of consumers with thin or no credit files.

BankMobile, the digital-only subsidiary of Customers Bank in Wyomissing, Pa., which is due to be spun off and merged with Flagship Community Bank in mid-2018, is planning to use the software to offer its first credit product to the students it reaches through relationships with 800 universities.

 

Merrill Lynch Fined $ 1.4M Over Supervisory Failures (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Finra has fined Merrill Lynch $1.4 million for alleged supervisory failures related to extended settlement transactions, the industry’s self-regulator says in a press release.

From April 2013 through June 2015, the wirehouse allegedly didn’t collect enough margin to offset credit, market and exposure risk presented by the longer time period between trades and settlements inherent in such trades, Finra says.

‘Banks can’t attract the talent they want or need’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banks have always proclaimed themselves as technology companies with banking licenses. But culturally, banks are still banks: conservative. Innovation teams can only innovate so much before someone in legal or compliance tells them no; they can only move so fast before someone tells them to slow down.

In this installment of Confessions, in which we trade anonymity in exchange for honesty, we spoke with an analyst at a startup attached to a large bank about internal innovation, attracting strong talent and why alternative bank service companies should get serious about becoming or partnering with a bank.

10 who had a rough year in 2017 (American Banker), Rated: A

Move over Wells Fargo, another prominent financial firm has taken your place as the poster child for bad behavior.

Equifax, the credit reporting agency whose primary responsibility is to protect consumers’ personal information, became public enemy No. 1 this year when it revealed that thieves hacked into its database and stole the personal information — birth dates, credit card data, Social Security numbers — of some 145 million consumers.

Runway Growth Credit Fund Successfully Closes $ 275 Million Equity Offering with Increased Investment from Oaktree Funds (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Runway Growth Credit Fund Inc. (“Runway Growth Credit”), a provider of term debt to fast-growing companies seeking an alternative to raising equity, today announced the successful closing of its $275 million initial equity capital raise with an increased commitment to $139 million from OCM Growth Holdings, LLC, an entity owned by certain investment funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), along with commitments from other investors.

Investors Commit 0 Million to tZERO ICO (Coindesk), Rated: A

As reported by CoinDesk, the first leg of the sale – in which the firm is selling Simple Agreements for Future Equity (SAFEs) that will later be redeemed for tokens by accredited investors – began yesterday, albeit a bit laterthan planned. Hiccups aside, Byrne told CoinDesk the sale ultimately attracted a big crowd – some 2,000 accredited investors.

As such, he indicated the company may move to shorten the initial two-month timeframe for the token sale.

Some of the offers, he said, were as high as $5 million or more for single token allocations.

OCC’s Otting sees future for fintech charter, CRA reform (American Banker), Rated: A

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a press conference Wednesday morning that there is a place in the banking world for some kind of fintech charter, though the exact parameters of such a charter are still unclear and have to be worked out.

“I’m not sure what it looks like, and how it’s funded, but I do think there’s a space there that a technology solution can solve,” Otting said when asked whether he sees a future for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s nascent fintech charter.

BLACKSTONE LOOKS AT THE SECONDARY PRIVATE EQUITY MARKET (All About Alpha), Rated: A

An October paper put out by Strategic Partners Fund Solutions, of Blackstone, argues that (despite risks and drawbacks) investing in the secondary private equity market  can still be a smart play, offering “accelerated returns with lower volatility, lower loss rates, and greater downside protection” than the primary market.

How the digital community is supporting small business (Rapid Growth Media), Rated: A

The 2016 Small Business Credit Survey, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, reports that startups are more likely than their mature counterparts to be undergoing growth and planning to add jobs. The report shows 70 percent of startup applicants are in need of funding to support this growth, versus 60 percent of mature applicants. Additionally, in 2016, 52 percent of startups applied for financing.

The Credit Survey highlights that only “31 percent of startup applicants were approved for the full amount of financing sought”.

Debt crowdfunding: Peer-to-Peer lending

Lending Tree was a revolutionary option for individuals to secure financing when they simply wanted to compare options or if they may not have been bankable. Kiva, for example, allows lenders to contribute small amounts, sometimes as little as $25, to help fund requests.

As of October 2017, Kiva reports funding over 1M loans resulting in $1 billion being lent.

Equity crowdfunding

Now, instead of searching for affluent individuals looking to invest in a business, entrepreneurs can turn to sites like MicroVentures. MicroVentures is a public, online venture capital investment bank. Investors have the opportunity to invest as little as $100, which opens up the market to a much larger pool of potential investors. This option is best suited for established companies with strong historical performance and larger financial needs. Since their launch in 2011, MicroVentures reports facilitating over 160 investments, resulting in over $100M in capital investment to date.

Mayor Kasim Reed Announces Bank on Atlanta Initiative (AJC.com), Rated: B

Bank on Atlanta, a financial access program that will focus on providing free or low-cost banking products, along with financial education and financial counseling, to unbanked and underbanked residents in the city of Atlanta has been created.

Research shows that relying on alternative financial service providers such as check-cashing or payday lending establishments makes it hard for residents to rise out of poverty in our city.

9 Holiday Gift Cards That Give You Something for Nothing (TheStreet), Rated: A

Online student loan marketplace LendEDU.com studied the most sought-after gift cards and listed them in descending order: Amazon (AMZN – Get Report) , Walmart (WMT – Get Report) , Target (TGT – Get Report, Best Buy (BBY – Get Report) , and Subway. But these cards sold for only 2% to 5% less than face value, compared with 1-800-Flowers (FLWS – Get Report) , H&M or Dress Barn gift cards which offered, on average, 30% off face value on their sites. Even Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN – Get Report) and Godiva mark down their gift cards by 25%.

RealtyMogul Hires New Chief People Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

RealtyMogul, a unique commercial real estate private markets investing platform, today announced the addition of Soley Van Lokeren as Chief People Officer.

Credit Karma adds Gannesh Bharadhwaj as General Manager, Credit Cards (Credit Karma), Rated: B

Credit Karma, the leading personal finance technology company in North America, today announced it has appointed Gannesh Bharadhwaj as general manager of credit cards. Previously president of Renew Financial, Bharadhwaj brings a strong background in financial institutions as Credit Karma remains focused on using innovative technology to bridge the gap between banks and consumers.

The Small Business Benefits of Being Charitable (Business2Community), Rated: B

Entrepreneurs can make charity a part of their approach to business, and in a variety of ways. A survey by Funding Circle revealed some interesting figures, as reported by Joshua Sophy last December for smallbiztrends.com.

  • Of 1,400 small business owners polled, 52 percent said they were donating or had already donated to charity.
  • 46 percent planned to donate “up to $1,000.”
  • 44 percent preferred to donate cash.
United Kingdom

RateSetter plans ‘cautious growth’ in car finance market (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is planning to grow its motor finance division to take advantage of the huge opportunities it sees in the market.

The peer-to-peer lender entered the consumer hire purchase industry in May when it acquired Vehicle Credit Limited out of its parent company’s administration as part of its wholesale lending “interventions”. Vehicle Credit Limited has now been integrated into the group as part of RateSetter Motor Finance.

Chip, the chatbot savings app, raises over £1M in crowdfunding with plans to apply for a banking license (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Chip, the chatbot app that plugs into your bank account and lets you automatically save for a rainy day, has raised nearly £1.1 million on equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The fund raise, which is part of a larger £2.4 million funding round, forms part of plans for the London-based startup to apply for a banking license so that it has more flexibility regarding the kinds of products it can offer in the future. The app currently claims 30,000 active users “who are collectively saving millions a month”.

China

Muddy Waters Is Short China Internet Nationwide Fncl Srvcs Inc (CIFS) (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

We conclude that China Internet Financial Services Inc. (NASDAQ:CIFS) is a King Zero – just another worthless China fraud, says Muddy Waters Research.

  • Every one of the purported borrowers to which CIFS disclosed having made loans (accounting for 84.2% of loan balances) appears to be a sham counterparty.  (The purported borrowers of the remaining 15.8% of reported loan balances were not disclosed; however, we strongly suspect that most – if not all – of these loans and associated income are also fabrications.)
  • CIFS’s recently announced “big data” company purchase also appears to be a lie.
  • 47.3% of CIFS’s reported 2016 net income purportedly was generated by its Kashgar subsidiary; however, that subsidiary existed for only two days in 2016.
  • CIFS is too good to be true – claiming to turn a seeming commoditized business model into an overnight juggernaut with purported gross margins over 97% and net margins over 70%.
Source: ValueWalk

Read “The Farce Awakens: CIFS” in full here.

China Ripe for Auto Finance Boom as Consumer Penetration Rate Rises (Auto Finance News), Rated: AAA

Since 2009, China has surpassed the United States as the largest market for new-vehicle sales, according to Deloitte Consulting LLC. And now, auto finance is starting to catch up.

For many years, the Chinese automotive market has been propped up by government incentives like tax breaks, which encouraged customers to purchase cars. So far, this incentive has led to more than 2 million cars being sold a month, with growth running up 15% last year, the Wall Street Journal reported in March. But as the tax breaks are expected to wind down, auto lenders have a greater opportunity to step in and capture marketshare in China, where penetration rates remain lower than other developed nations.

In the U.S., for instance, 84% of new cars in the U.S. were financed in 2014 compared with 20% in China, according to Experian. The Chinese auto finance rate rose to 38% in 2016, and is expected to rise steadily in the next few years; reaching an estimated 55% in 2021, according to ReportLinker.

Debtors in China are placed on a blacklist that prohibits them from flying, buying train tickets, and staying at luxury hotels (Business Insider), Rated: A

China maintains a public blacklist of debtors that effectively restricts their movements and their spending habits.

The country’s highest court publishes the names and ID numbers of “dishonest people” on its website and restricts those people from flying domestically, using high-speed trains, or enrolling their children at expensive private schools.

Defaulters are also prevented from staying at hotels with three-stars or more. They also face tougher exams if they want to join the civil service, and are charged higher fees for booking cars. The bans work by linking to a person’s ID number. Some people used their passport when travelling to circumvent the ban, but that loophole now appears to be closed.

European Union

Spanish Marketplace Lending Platform LoanBook Secures £650,000 Funding Target on Crowdcube (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LoanBook, a Spanish marketplace lending platform, has successfully secured its initial £650,000 funding target from more than 200 investors through equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Founded in 2013, LoanBook claims to be Spain’s largest marketplace lending platform, with a 4-year track record of working capital lending to Spanish SMEs and 40% market share.

Two Additional Ways to Improve API Security for Fintech startups (Finextra), Rate: AAA

It’s simple: the probability of being under cyber attack is 100%.

With high probability and high impact, the risk is very high that API’s in the PSD2 era will enable a New Normal in Bank Robberies. Not IF, rather WHEN and WHO.

1. Consider new AI-based approaches in vulnerability scanning.

2. Know what’s under the hood

Think of the Infineon-developed RSA Library version v1.02.013, which lead to Estonia having to reissue over 750,000 certificates, part of their National ID scheme. Or the 2014 GnuTLC bugwhich allowed a Man-in-the-Middle attack due wrong behavior during a TLS handshake.

My advice is to keep track of all dependencies and track vulnerabilities in all underlying components. OWASP has a project calledDependency-Check aimed to do just that.

5 hugely successful Nordic entrepreneurs share their advice to young people (Business Insider), Rated: A

iZettle CEO Jacob de Geer says you should team up with peers – and experiment.

“Apart from getting the business started, is to experiment with whatever idea you have. Most of your trials will fail, but one in 100 will work. If you view problem solving as a way of increasing the value of the company that you are building, then you are off to a good start.”

Klarna co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski thinks it’s important to have a holistic approach to problem solving.

When I advise young entrepreneurs, I tell them, “It’s not about figuring out the best business ideas, and it’s not about solving problems theoretically, but it’s about testing your ideas. It’s about coming up with an idea, and then trying it and learning from it.”

A small fintech company surges 250% after launching a blockchain-focused business unit (Business Insider), Rated: A

Australia

Online lender Prospa joins the 2018 IPO pipeline (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Investment bankers lining up for a stronger 2018 pipeline of initial public offerings have online business lender Prospa in their sights.

Street Talk understands a handful of banks have pitched their wares to Prospa’s chief executives Greg Moshal and Beau Bertoli in recent weeks ahead of a planned run at the local bourse some time next year.

India

“Five best alternative investment strategies to consider in 2018” (Business Today), Rated: AAA

Alternative investing is as much a mindset, as it is about specific investments. Here are some alternative investments approaches culled from our members around the world that are applicable to any investment decisions.

Invest in markets or assets that your analysis leads you to believe will do well; don’t invest in a product just because it’s likely to (or, worse, has in the past) “outperform the market”.

Understand that returns are one-dimensional, risk is multi-dimensional

You should constantly revisit your assumptions of the return drivers of the investment (much more so than its price performance), in case they change and you need to rethink your investment.

When we’re asked to define alternatives, we often end up saying “well, anything that’s not traditional”. Actually that’s not quite such a lame definition; alternative investment practitioners know that the best opportunities are usually those that are yet well known or exploited, and hence the field of “alternative investment” is one populated by investment ideas that may not be immediately obvious.

Diversification is the only free lunch – make sure you are diversified

Alternative asset classes: P2P lending emerges as viable option in India (Financial Express), Rated: A

India has a unique problem of too much money chasing too few customers. So at one end, we have traditional salaried class getting loan offers and at the other end, people are left at the mercy of hawkish money lenders ever-more resembling Shakespeare’s Shylock. Clearly, P2P lending and borrowing is the disruption that was waiting to happen as banks and NBFCs have successfully struggled at twin accounts of making credit affordable and accessible in a credit-hungry nation.

Regulations helped fintech mature in 2017; yet 2018 may prove challenging for cos to navigate (Economic Times), Rated: A

If 2016 saw demonetisation change India’s fintech ecosystem forever, this year will be remembered for the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) multiple regulations aimed at organising the sector. Recognition of peer-to-peer lending startups, revised guidelines for digital wallets, finalising charges for digital payments—the second half of the year saw it all, setting the template for a more mature yet challenging 2018.

Meet The Top 20 Finalists Of The 5th Edition Of Wharton India Startup Challenge (Inc42), Rated: B

The 22nd Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) has announced the finalists of the Yes Bank – Wharton India Startup challenge.

Perpule: Perpule’s 1Pay is a self -checkout app for express checkouts and easy payments in Perpule’s partnered stores like Hypercity, Spar etc.

Capzest: Capzest is a digital lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to individuals for income generation purposes. It secures partnerships with income generation service platforms and provides short term capital to their various stakeholders. It was founded in October 2015 in Mumbai by Rohan Adlakha andSayantan Sarkar.

Luharia Technologies Pvt. Ltd: Based in Hyderabad, Luharia Technologies owns and operates peer-to-peer platforms for businesses and individuals. Founded by ISB alumni Keerthi Kumar Jain, Luharia’s flagship solution is Vote4Edu, which is an online peer-to-peer lending platform for K-12 education loans. The company also runs Vote4Cash, a P2P marketplace where borrowers can avail cash loans. Machine Bank, an infrastructure ecommerce platform, and P2P lending platform SMEBank are also owned by Luharia Group.

Asia

Cyberattack brings a cryptocurrency exchange to its knees (Business Insider), Rated: A

A South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange was brought to its knees by a cybersecurity attack.

Yapian, the operator of crypto-exchange Youbit, halted trading of cryptocurrencies on its venue Tuesday and filed for bankruptcy after a hack, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported the exchange had 17% of its digital currency holdings stolen.

How to get a personal loan without a credit score? (Asianet Newsable), Rated: B

Your credit score reflects how well you have treated your credit in the past. It is one of the most important factors that lenders consider while evaluating a loan or credit card application. But what if you don’t have a credit score?

  1. NBFCs

If your bank has rejected your personal loan application, approach NBFCs. Since they usually target customers with low or no credit score, they are more flexible with credit scores than banks.

  1. Peer to Peer Lending

Since P2P platforms connect borrowers and investors online, they run with lower overheads and resultantly offer services cheaper than what traditional financial institutions have to offer. There are over 40 peer-to-peer lending platforms in India that are helping a large section of people who have been failed to qualify for loans from banks.

Canada

RATEHUB REPORTS GENERATIONAL DIVIDE WHEN IT COMES TO TRUST IN FINTECH (Betakit), Rated: A

A RateHub report examining FinTech trends in 2017 found that there is a generational divide when it comes to trust in the emerging technology.

Nearly twice as many millennials (44 percent) and Generation Xers (42 percent) said they trust robo-advisors, compared to baby boomers (23 percent).

Forty-seven percent of millennials and forty-eight percent of Gen Xers trust marketplace lenders, compared to 23 percent of boomers.

Online banking and contactless payments were the two most trusted FinTech offerings this year, capturing the trust of 85 percent and 62 percent of Canadians on average.

Access the full report here.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday September 20 2017, Daily News Digest

low credit scores

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal to fully integrate Swift Financial after closing acquisition.GoCardless raises $22.5M.Qudian poising for U.S. IPO.Varengold Bank AG to give $61M to MarketInvoice.Bondora hits 100M Euro milestone.Reserve Bank of India to treat P2P lenders as non-banking financial companies. Today’s main analysis: Public distrusts regulators as much as Wall Street.(a must-read) Today’s […]

low credit scores

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Latin America

Africa

News Summary

United States

PayPal will fully integrate Swift Financial ‘over the next year’ after loan provider acquisition closes (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

A little over one month after revealing plans to acquire Swift Financial, PayPal has announced that the deal is now complete.

PayPal said that it plans to fully integrate Swift Financial into its payment service “over the course of the next year,” according to Darrell Esch, PayPal’s vice president and commercial officer of global credit, in a blog post.

PayPal has actually offered a working capital program for lending money to small businesses since 2013, and it has loaned more than $3 billion through the program to date. This compares to the $3 billion Amazon has loaned SMEs since the launch of Amazon Lending back in 2011, and the $1.5 billion in loans Square has doled out since launching Square Capital in 2014.

Public Distrusts Wall Street Regulators as Much as Wall Street (Cato.org), Rated: AAA

The new Cato Institute 2017 Financial Regulation national survey of 2,000 U.S. adults released today finds that Americans distrust government financial regulators as much as they distrust Wall Street. Nearly half (48%) have “hardly any confidence” in either.

Americans have a love-hate relationship with regulators. Most believe regulators are ineffective, selfish, and biased:

  • 74% of Americans believe regulations often fail to have their intended effect.
  • 75% believe government financial regulators care more about their own jobs and ambitions than about the well-being of Americans.
  • 80% think regulators allow political biases to impact their judgment.

But most also believe regulation can serve some important functions:

  • 59% believe regulations, at least in the past, have produced positive benefits.
  • 56% say regulations can help make businesses more responsive to people’s needs.

Americans want regulators to focus on preventing banks and financial institutions from committing fraud (65%) and ensuring banks and financial institutions fulfill their obligations to customers (56%).

  • 77% believe bankers would harm consumers if they thought they could make a lot of money doing so and get away with it.
  • 64% think Wall Street bankers “get paid huge amounts of money” for “essentially tricking people.”
  • Nearly half (49%) of Americans worry that corruption in the industry is “widespread” rather than limited to a few institutions.
Source: Cato Institute

Few Americans Want “More” Financial Regulations—They Want the Right Kinds of Regulations, Properly Enforced

Polls routinely find that a plurality or majority of Americans want more oversight of Wall Street banks and financial institutions. This survey is no different. A plurality (41%) of Americans think more oversight of the financial industry is needed. However, only 18% think the problem with federal oversight of the banking industry is that there are “too few” rules on Wall Street. Instead, 63% say the government either fails to “properly enforce existing rules” (40%) or enacts the “wrong kinds” of regulations on big banks (23%).

Despite Distrust of Wall Street, Americans Like Their Own Banks and Financial Institutions

  • 90% are satisfied with their personal bank; 76% believe their bank has given them good information about the rates and risks associated with their account.
  • 87% are satisfied with their credit card issuer; 81% believe their credit card issuer has given them good information about the rates, fees, and risks associated with their card.
  • 83% are satisfied with their mortgage lender.
  • Of those who have used payday or installment lenders in the past year, 63% believe the lender gave them good information about the fees and risks associated with the loan.
Source: Cato Institute

Democrats and Republicans Want a Bipartisan Commission to Run CFPB, Divided on CFPB Independence

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Americans think the CFPB should be run by a bipartisan commission of Democrats and Republicans, rather than by a single director. Support is post-partisan with 67% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans in favor of a bipartisan commission leading the agency.
  • A majority (54%) of Americans think that Congress should not set the CFPB’s budget and should only have limited oversight of the agency.
  • Few Americans (26%) believe the CFPB has achieved its mission to make the terms and conditions of credit cards and financial products easier to understand. Instead, 71% say that since the CFPB was created in 2011 credit card terms and conditions have not become easier to understand—including 54% who believe they have stayed the same and 17% who think they have become less clear.

Most Support Risk-Based Pricing for Loans, Say Low Credit Scores are Due to Irresponsibility

Nearly three-fourths of Americans (74%) say they’d be “unwilling” to pay more for their home mortgage, car loan, or student loan to help those with low credit scores access these loans.

Source: Cato Institute

PayPal Officially Adds Swift Financial to Fuel More Dreams (PayPal), Rated: A

The acquisition will expand PayPal’s ability to provide access to business financing options to the millions of small business owners who rely on PayPal and our partner platforms to run their businesses. As we’ve said before, increasing access to capital is vital to the success of small businesses and is a strategic offering for PayPal, which drives merchants’ sales growth, increases processing volume, and reduces merchant churn.

A Manifesto to All Men: We Have to Do Better (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Like many of you I was shocked and infuriated by the news out of SoFi last week. I think we all expected better from the company and its leaders. Some of the behavior that has been reported is reprehensible and it points to a much deeper problem that goes way beyond fintech. The problem of sexual harassment in the workplace is bigger than any one company, any one industry or even any one country. It is rampant throughout the globe.

Men: we cannot keep behaving this way.

I have been drinking at the bar late at night at enough conferences to know that many men believe it is still ok to treat women as objects. This kind of attitude has consequences in the workplace. And if the leaders of the company condone this behavior there will be a culture that is at best unwelcoming towards women and at worst so toxic it can endanger the very survival of the company.

Women in Fintech

People often complain to me about the lack of women in fintech. People say that LendIt does not have enough female speakers and there are not enough women in general at our events.

This article is the first step in what I expect will be a long journey towards making fintech a more welcoming place for women. I want to see us do better as an industry. We should do everything we can to make fintech an attractive career choice for young women. We have several initiatives around this that are in the planning stages that we hope to roll out at LendIt USA in San Francisco next year.

Today In Data: SoFi’s Woes (PYMNTS), Rated: A

In addition, there are rumors circulating that improperly funded SoFi loan products were sold to investors.

Here are the numbers:

  • $4 billion | Valuation of SoFi as of Sept. 15
  • $3.1 billion | Value of loans funded by SoFi in Q2 2017
  • $1.9 billion | Total venture capital funding raised by investors like Baseline Ventures, Discovery Capital and SoftBank
  • $134 million | SoFi revenue generated in Q2 2017
  • 350,000 | Number of borrowers who have used SoFi’s lending services, totaling more than $20 billion in loans
  • $75,000 | Settlement SoFi reached with a former executive assistant, as detailed by The New York Times
  • 30 | Number of employees who have leveled accusations against SoFi’s former CEO

Sallie Krawcheck’s Ellevest just landed a big new round of funding (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Ellevest, a nearly three-year-old, New York-based digital investment platform built for women and led by former Wall Street titan Sallie Krawcheck, has raised $34.6 million in fresh funding.

It’s technically a Series A round, according to the company, which says a widely reported $10 million round that closed last year was seed capital.

The round — which was led by Rethink Impact, and includes participation from PSP Growth, Salesforce Ventures, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, LH Holdings, SK Impact Fund, Morningstar, Khosla Ventures, Mellody Hobson, Ulu Ventures, Contour Venture Partners and Astia Angels — brings the company’s total funding to $44.6 million.

Ant Financial to try again for U.S. approval of MoneyGram deal (Reuters), Rated: A

Chinese payments company Ant Financial is planning to resubmit its application for U.S. review of its deal to buy MoneyGram International Inc (MGI.O) for $1.2 billion, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Ant Financial and MoneyGram have already refiled for clearance from Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) when they were unable to secure it within an assessment period after the first application, Reuters reported in July, citing sources.

Ant Financial’s latest attempt for approval would be its third as the maximum time of 75 days for assessing such applications nears completion.

JPMorgan Seeks to Banish Paper Payments With a Fintech Venture (Bloomberg), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is partnering with another fast-growing technology firm, this time to help business clients eradicate paper checks.

The bank is working with Bill.com, the largest U.S. business-to-business payments network, to enable customers to send and receive electronic payments and invoices, according to Stephen Markwell, a product strategy head for JPMorgan’s commercial bank. The New York-based lender will pilot the service in early 2018 and plans to offer it to more business and commercial clients later in that year, Markwell said.

While many consumers already are embracing digital tools for sending money, like PayPal Inc.’s Venmo or the banking industry’s Zelle, more than half of business payments are still via check, according to Markwell. Companies write 8 billion checks a year, each costing about $4 to print and handle, he said.

In an ongoing acquisition streak, LendingTree buys another online loan marketplace (Biz Journals), Rated: A

LendingTree Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE) has acquired an online loan platform for businesses called Snap Capital, known as SnapCap, in a potential $21 million deal. SnapCap is LendingTree’s fifth acquisition since June of 2016.

LendingTree says the acquisition has a potential value of $21 million. The online marketplace will pay $12 million in cash upfront and if SnapCap hits certain performance targets over time, it will receive contingent payments of up to $9 million.

Charlotte-based LendingTree has been diversifying its business over the last several years beyond mortgages. And its stock price has been on the rise as a result. LendingTree’s stock was up about 7% Tuesday afternoon after the acquisition announcement. The company’s shares were trading at $251 Tuesday afternoon, up from about $93 per share a year ago.

LendingPoint Closed On $ 500M Credit Facility In August (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Online lender LendingPoint announced Tuesday (Sept. 19) that it had closed an up to $500 million credit facility on Aug. 22.

In a press release, the company said the credit facility was arranged by Guggenheim Securities. LendingPoint noted it drew down $138.5 million of the facility at the closing, and it took an additional $32.7 million on Sept. 15. The proceeds are being earmarked to bankroll the growth of its consumer installment loan portfolio, a business element which has roughly doubled between August 2016 and August 2017.

According to the company, the up to $500 million credit facility is among the largest credit facilities raised in the online consumer lending market in 2017.

Pine River Capital Shutting $ 1 Billion Flagship Hedge Fund (WSJ), Rated: A

Pine River Capital Management is closing its $1 billion flagship hedge fund after clients asked to withdraw more money than the firm was expecting, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move will further shrink the Minnetonka, Minn.-based firm’s assets under management to $7.5 billion, half the roughly $15 billion it managed in 2015.

Don’t let court squander online lenders’ chance to reach underserved (American Banker), Rated: A

Most of the country has never heard of Madden v. Midland Funding and the common law doctrine of “valid-when-made,” but the impact of the misguided decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on consumers is far-reaching.

Rate exportation has been key to the rise of standardized nationwide financial products, like credit cards, allowing banks to lend to borrowers across state lines without necessarily establishing a physical presence in every state, giving consumers better choices.

Following the Madden decision, it is unclear in the 2nd Circuit whether certain bank loans transferred to a marketplace lending platform would be ruled valid or not. Are loans bound by the bank’s “home” state rate cap, or the borrower’s “host” state rate cap? No one knows for sure. This legal uncertainty has caused nonbank investors in these loans to pull back, which, in turn, has led to a reduction in responsible and affordable online lending. Borrowers who are still trying to build credit have lost better options. According to an August study by professors at the Columbia, Stanford and Fordham law schools, “the decision reduced credit availability for higher-risk borrowers in affected states.”

Reliant Funding and Merchants Capital Access to be known as Reliant Funding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

San Diego-based Reliant Funding and New York-based Merchants Capital Access are now joined as one under the Reliant Funding name.

Four Facts about Reliant Funding

  • Reliant Funding’s business model provides access to capital for businesses that traditional banking typically does not serve. With innovative pricing and cutting-edge risk management, it gives businesses the fuel they need to penetrate their market and grow.
  • Since its founding, Reliant has funded businesses over thirty thousand times, providing over $900 million in working capital to America’s small businesses.
  • Reliant Funding speaks directly with thousands of American small and medium sized businesses each month and services thousands more. The focus is always on the individual client, their business story and meeting their needs.
  • Reliant Funding’s Wholesale Division currently works with hundreds of partners, providing them with funding for their clients as if those clients were directly originated in-house. The key is a commitment to strategic alliances, ensuring the relationship lasts longer than a single transaction. It’s just one aspect of many which sets Reliant Funding apart from the competition.

Randstad Professionals addresses technology’s impact on finance and accounting (Business Insider), Rated: A

Cloud computing, big data and financial technologies have raised the stakes for finance and accounting professionals according to Randstad Professionals‘ new whitepaper, Technology’s Impact on Finance and Accounting.

There are three broad areas in which emerging technologies and digital tools are causing significant disruption to the way things are done:

 

  • Breaking down big data for strategy: Finance and accounting employees can use big data to their advantage by forecasting trends, pinpointing behavioral patterns and suggesting probable outcomes — all of which can tie into a company’s strategy and impact their bottom line.
  • Leaving repetitive work to the cloud: Cloud actions have the ability to handle inventory management, generate invoices and provide accurate financial data. The software also delivers convenience for employees who want to digitally share company finances among coworkers, financial advisors, customers and other key stakeholders at a moment’s notice.
  • Putting the functionality in finance: Finance is making its way into fixed markets that provide mobile phone applications and access on everyday devices. Over the years, we have revolutionized how we pay, view our bank statements and transfer money through start-ups such as Bitcoin and Linden Dollar. Technologies that also integrate peer-to-peer lending or personal loan requests allow for a frictionless experience for customers.

 

Opponents Ready For US Payday Loan Rule (America Now), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is expected in coming days to release a long-anticipated rule curbing payday lending, now that a final review by other regulatory agencies has concluded, three people familiar with the matter said.

The rule pits the country’s consumer financial watchdog against payday lenders who say the new regulation will wipe out much of their established industry, currently overseen by the states, and push poor and rural customers to use illegal loan sharks.

Because the loans can carry interest rates as high as 390 percent, borrowers can become trapped in devastating cycles of taking out new loans to pay outstanding ones, the CFPB said.

When The Payday Lending Rule Drops, Opponents Are Ready To Attack (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Payday and short-term lending is an approximately $6 billion-a-year industry, one that both critics and supporters of payday lending agree will take a major hit if the CFPB’s proposed rules on payday lending go through.

To make that block happen, Republicans in the House of Representatives added a “rider,” or amendment, to a spending bill banning the CFPB from regulating the payday loan industry.

The CFPB rules on payday lending have been in the works for some time and would require lenders to conduct background checks showing borrowers can afford the loans and to limit the number of loans made to a single borrower.

First Associates Loan Servicing Earns Morningstar’s Highest Ranking  (PR Web), Rated: B

First Associates Loan Servicing announced today the release of the Morningstar ranking report certifying their overall excellence in loan servicing. Morningstar awarded First Associates a MOR RV1 ranking of ‘stable’ which is the highest certification possible and deeply assesses risk management, call center performance, quality assurance, technology, security protocols, project management and disaster recovery protocols.

Low-cost loans help hurricane victims rebuild (TheStreet), Rated: B

Since the majority of consumers lacked insurance coverage for flood damage, the costs keep adding up from replacing furniture and appliances to renting another home or apartment until the costly repairs are completed.

The Small Business Administration offers both homeowners and renters disaster loans ranging from 1.75% to 3.5% of up to $40,000 for property damage such as furniture, clothing, cars and appliances and up to $200,000 for repairs to the house.

Using money from your IRA or 401(k) account is likely a better option than asking friends or family or seeking a loan from a payday lender.

RealtyShares Gives Investors Access To Real Estate With Just A Few Clicks (Benzinga), Rated: B

What makes it so diverse? The markets available or the types of real estate?

Amy Kirsch: All of the above. We’ve done deals in 39 states, we offer debt and equity, commercial and residential, and we’ve done basically every asset class.

Do you have a minimum for investment?

The lowest limit we have now is $5,000, but it varies on how large of a fundraise we’re completing.

What’s innovative about RealtyShares? The technology, or what it lets you access?
A combination of both—I’ve invested in real estate in the past, and it’s always come through people I knew, and it was concentrated to where I was living at the time. When you’re looking at middle-market opportunities or don’t have hundreds millions of dollars to invest, the opportunities become a little more rare. So access is definitely a differentiator here.

Prime-Ex Perpetual Launches Pre-ICO for Residential Real Estate Crowdfunding Effort (EIN News), Rated: B

On Monday, Prime-Ex Perpetual‘s real estate crowdfunding effort began in earnest with the launch of their PEX-Token cryptocurrency sale, aimed at generating $25,000,000 in USD equivalent cryptocurrencies. The PEX-Token is a dividend token in which the company will pay 80% of company profits back to the PEX-Token holders. Beginning Monday people purchasing PEX-Tokens will receive 15% bonus PEX-Tokens for purchasing PEX-Tokens early.

United Kingdom

GoCardless, a fintech that makes recurring payments easy for subscription businesses, raises $ 22.5M (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Once again, Accel, Balderton Capital, Notion, and Passion are backing GoCardless, this time to the tune of $22.5 million and on the back of what the startup says is record annual growth in the U.K. and strong, early traction in new markets. Outside of Blighty, the company operates its bank-to-bank payments network in the Eurozone and Sweden.

GoCardless isn’t disclosing revenue. Instead the company says it processes over $4bn worth of transactions across more than 30,000 organisations in the U.K. and Europe, working with small startups and large enterprises across a number of industries. It offers an API and off the shelf integrations with over 100 partners including Xero, Sage and Zuora. Customers include Sage, Thomas Cook, Box and The Guardian.

Artificial intelligence: the legal and regulatory challenges (Lexology), Rated: A

Artificial intelligence (AI) will soon be everywhere. The insurance industry is facing huge changes as AI steps boldly into every aspect of its internal operations and external relationships wearing the bright new clothes of InsurTech.

It has brought new players into the insurance market with some, like Lemonade, the world’s first peer-to-peer insurance carrier powered by AI and behavioural economics, experiencing phenomenal growth over a very short time.

It is estimated that around £1.32 billion was invested globally in the InsurTech arena in 2016, up 32% on the previous year. The lion’s share of this was in the United States but the UK and Europe are increasing their investment (see chart below).

Other innovations, such as fractional insurance where customers buy on a pay-as-you-go basis or peer-to-peer insurance, will have a deeper impact.

For Rutter, one of the key cultural challenges for the insurance industry is going to be its cautious approach to regulation.

he Financial Conduct Authority is the lead regulator in this area and it has been trying to engage the industry, setting up a ‘sandbox’ to encourage insurers to work with it to explore the impact of regulation on technological innovation. In particular, it will be aiming to test the boundaries of legislation such as the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD).

There will be some InsurTech applications that get it wrong, predicts Rutter, potentially selling large numbers of policies to the very people underwriters don’t want on their books: “Insurers need to understand that once automated decisions have been made, you can’t pull back from them by cancelling policies. That is hardly treating customers fairly”.

Source: Lexology

Peer-to-peer lending: should you be worried about falling returns and the poorly-performing Innovative Finance ISA? (love money), Rated: A

Falling returns, big loans going bad and news that new Innovative Finance ISA has failed to attract investors is leaving questions hanging over the future of peer-to-peer lending.

The bad news began last month when RateSetter, one of the biggest peer-to-peer lenders, was forced to cough up nearly £9 million to stop customers losing money after a big loan went wrong.

It’s not just Ratesetter

At the same time, another peer-to-peer lender is coming under fire from its customers. Zopa is being criticised by customers who are seeing falling returns on their investments.

Paltry take up on the Innovative Finance ISA

Finally, interest in the new Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) has been disappointing. New stats from HMRC shows that just 2,000 IFISAs were opened in the 2016/17 tax year.

Abundance boss joins government’s Green Finance Taskforce (AltFi), Rated: B

Bruce Davis, co-founder and MD of green energy-focused P2P platform Abundance, has been appointed to the government’s Green Energy Taskforce. The group has been set up to help accelerate the growth of green finance and the UK’s low carbon economy.

Abundance is the UK’s biggest green energy-centric peer-to-peer site, with roughly £50m in finance facilitated for projects to date, according to AltFi Data. Its investors are able to invest in debentures for projects such as wind turbines and solar farms, and can hold those investments in an Innovative Finance ISA.

China

Online lender Qudian set for New York IPO (China Economic Review), Rated: AAA

Online consumer microlender Qudian said it plans to raise up to $750 million in a New York IPO, in the second of two major fintech deals this month which are expected to kick off a wave of similar listings by year-end. But a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Caixin the final fundraising amount is likely to exceed $1 billion, possibly making it the largest IPO by a Chinese company in the US this year.

European Union

German Bank Hands $ 61 Million to U.K. Online Lender Amid Brexit (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Uncertainty around Brexit may be mounting as political leaders from the U.K. and the European Union clash on the terms of separation, but that isn’t slowing down foreign investors from betting on Britain’s top peer-to-peer lenders.

Varengold Bank AG, a Hamburg-based private banking firm, will provide 45 million pounds ($61 million) in annual funding for loans to small businesses arranged by MarketInvoice Ltd., the British finance company said in an emailed statement.

28,639 investors have already invested EUR 102 million through Bondora and have received EUR 15 million in interest (Bondora), Rated: AAA

2017

Company reaches cash-flow profitability 100 million euro of loans issued.

Source: Bondora

Pan-European P2P Lender Younited Credit Raises €40 million from Historical Investors & the French Public Investment Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Younited Credit, the Paris-headquartered consumer lender announced a capital increase of €40 million subscribed by a panel of the top of the crop growth investors in France. Next to its historical shareholders, EurazeoCrédit Mutuel Arkema, AG2R La Mondiale and Weber Investissements which are already very active in Fintech and alternative finance financing, the startup now takes on board new major investors: Bpifrance, Matmut Innovation, and Zencap Asset Management.

GoldMint, Provider of Gold-Backed Cryptoassets Launches ICO Today (The Merkle), Rated: A

Today, on the 20th of September, GoldMint is launching its ICO.

GoldMint is celebrating the beginning of its ICO by attending 3 major events on the same day the crowdsale kicks off.  One of these events is BlockchainLive in London  – Europe’s leading Blockchain conference bringing together over 75+ global experts in various fields.

Another one is Moscow’s ICO Event which this time mainly focuses on how legislation will impact the cryptocurrency space.

Today GoldMint is also present at the Global Blockchain Summit in Hong Kong gathering iconic speakers from various industries to discuss about the real-world applications of blockchain technology, as well as its potential benefits, risks, and regulatory concerns.

To spread the word about GoldMint in the USA  – GoldMint’s advisor and business developer Evgeniy Volfman has recently completed the official Northern American road trip representing the project in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

Simultaneously, GoldMint is opting to expand its campaign globally, with the Middle East & Singapore regions being the current primary focus.

International

Nominations open to global Women in Fintech Powerlist (Disrupt-Africa), Rated: A

Nominations are open to Innovate Finance’s Women in Fintech Powerlist, which recognises women shaping the future of fintech around the world.

UK-based membership organisation Innovate Finance compiles its Powerlist of Women in Fintech each year, with the aim of closing the fintech gender gap by showcasing the women driving the global fintech space.

SegWit2x, NYA Bitcoin Agreement Loses Another Signatory (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

Bitcoin peer-to-peer lending platform Wayniloans has withdrawn its support for the SegWit2x bitcoin scaling proposal and the New York Agreement (NYA).

Wayniloans joins several other companies in withdrawing support for SegWit2x and the NYA. Banking and payment processor Bitwala announced last month it will only follow the SegWit2x blockchain if it receives support from Bitcoin Core, which does not appear likely.

Australia

FinTech loans and payments (Choice), Rated: A

FinTechs are certainly in competition with other FinTechs, but the real competition is the established financial service industry, epitomised by the big four banks. Consumer banking is where FinTechs aim to cause the most disruption – and many would say it’s an area where disruption is long overdue.

One recent startup, Spriggy, is out to grab its fair share of the kids’ bank accounts market, for instance.

Over the past 10 years, consumers have lost about $5.7 billion to financial advisers and financial services providers who put their own interests first. The scandals have included Opes Prime, Storm Financial, Timbercorp/Great Southern, Bridgecorp, Fincorp, Trio/Astarra, Westpoint and Commonwealth Financial Planning.

The size of the market in Australia has grown substantially year on year. In 2014, $9.45 million changed hands by way of P2P consumer lending platforms, for instance; in 2015, the P2P consumer lending figure stood at $43.15m.

And when it comes to money raised through crowdfunding, the figure jumped from $8.2m to $26m over the same time period.

At the moment, there are at least 86 FinTech tools operating in Australia through which you can borrow money, most of which are P2P lending services.

And there are at least 24 crowdfunding services on offer. It’s no surprise, then, that the biggest external challenge for FinTechs these days is finding customers.

Nine Australian FinTech companies made the 2016 list of the top 100 FinTech innovators around the world, an annual roundup compiled by the FinTech investment firm H2 Ventures and KPMG Fintech.

  • Prospa – Offers small business loans from $5000 to $250,000 with payback terms from three to 12 months, “for any business purpose”
  • Tyro – A payment system technology designed for businesses.
  • Society One – A P2P lender that says it provides “simple, investor funded personal loans with low rates based on your good credit history”.
  • Afterpay – Allows you to pay for goods in instalments direct debited from your credit card or other payment option.
  • Brighte – Offers 0% interest loans to approved homeowners for household energy efficiency improvement, such as solar panels or more efficient windows.
  • Data Republic – A customer data exchange service to help businesses better target their services to customers.
  • Identitii – Allows banks and other financial institutions to get more information about where and when payment transactions occur.
  • HashChing – An online home loan service that connects you with mortgage brokers.
  • Spriggy – Allows parents to manage kids’ bank accounts using digital tools.
India

RBI notifies P2P lending platforms as NBFCs: Agencies (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday notified that peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms would be treated as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), an agency reported. This suggests the lending interface will now come under the purview of RBIs regulation under the RBI Act.

Company Name : Rubique (Business Wire India), Rated: B

Rubique, India’s leading FinTech company, is now taking giant strides in enhancing the level of education and training in the FinTech domain in India. In view of the highly lucrative opportunities that await young professionals in the landscape, it is leveraging its expertise to co-certify courses in FinTech at the prestigious SP Jain School of Global Management.

Latin America

Fintech Startups Attract Capital In Latin America (Forbes), Rated: A

Many Latin Americans are hard pressed to obtain credit for their businesses or family needs, as 49% of adults do not have bank accounts.

The region’s fintech industry secured $186 million in venture capital investments last year, according to the Latin America Venture Capital Association (LAVCA) – with more than one-third going to startups. Deal count increased by 81%, with 38 transactions.

In Brazil, 160 million adults have some type of banking relationship, but only 55 million are borrowers, according to the country’s central bank. This, combined with more than 20 million unbanked people, turns Latin America’s largest economy into a fertile ground for fintechs, says Jose Prado, founder of Conexao Fintech, an online hub for fintech entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.

Creditas raised $19 million in a Series B funding round. The Sao Paulo-based firm provides asset-backed debt focused on auto and mortgage loans.

In Mexico, where 55.9% of adults have no access to any form of savings deposits, fintechs are offering digital, user-friendly alternatives to traditional banking products, according to Jorge Ortiz, founding president and CEO of non-profit organization Fintech Mexico.

Ripio Credit Network Announces ICO Pre-Sale, Crowd Sale Starts on October 17 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Ripio Credit Network, a company that has raised $5 million in funding from VC like Tim Draper, Pantera, DCG, Overstock (Medici Ventures) and others. Has launched their Initial Coin Offering pre-sale as they gear up for the crowd sale scheduled to launch on October 17th. This comes just as Ripio has received a nice recognition, along with a check, from the d10e Pitch competition.

Ripio, a prominent crypto-based company in Latin America, is building a global credit network solution that aims to enhance transparency and reliability in credit and lending. Ripio is designed to enable connections between lenders and borrowers located anywhere in the world, regardless of currency.

Africa

FMO and above & beyond launch Fintech platform for African Banks to accelerate financial inclusion (FMO), Rated: AAA

FMO together with Miami based Fintech and digital transformation strategists above & beyond (a&b),  launched “ FinForward”, a marketplace where Fintech companies, Financial Institutions (FIs) and Mobile Money Providers (MMPs) in Africa are matched.

The objective of the new platform is to accelerate the digitization of the financial industry in Africa by supporting innovation of the core business with digital solutions. The matching and integration tool will make global Fintech companies accessible and top-of-mind to African financial institutions in order to help them to reduce costs, innovate, add services, tap into new revenue streams and work towards open banking platforms. It will also enable them to service difficult to reach segments such as the bottom of the pyramid, women and small entrepreneurs.

The matching and integration tool will make global Fintech companies accessible and top-of-mind to African financial institutions in order to help them to reduce costs, innovate, add services, tap into new revenue streams and work towards open banking platforms. It will also enable them to service difficult to reach segments such as the bottom of the pyramid, women and small entrepreneurs.

How does it work?

  • Outreach  – Banks, Mobile Money Providers and Fintechs are invited to join
  • Fintech Opportunity Scan – Participating banks and mobile money providers define their problems and needs
  • Matching – Pairing of Fintechs based on problem definition
  • Acceleration & Integration – Testing of Fintech solutions in a sandbox and integrating the technology into the bank’s operations
  • Showcase – demonstrate success during showcase days

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday August 25 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative investing

News Comments Today’s main news: Ellevest raises $32M to target women investors. eOriginal, Notarize close first digital mortgage closing. OFF3R launches SIPPS portal. Zopa reduces higher-risk lending. China issues draft rules on illegal fundraising. TWINO adds second Russian originator. African university to offer fintech degree. Today’s main analysis: Should P2P lending investors worry about default rates?Early-stage fintech investment in UK, Germany. Today’s […]

alternative investing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Wall Street alum Sallie Krawcheck just raised $ 32 million for her investing platform (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

But the uncertainty and risk that comes with the markets is very often a major deterrent, especially for women, who invest at a much lower rate than men in the US.

To combat this, former Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck launched Ellevest in 2016, a digital investing platform that puts female investors’ money in low-cost ETFs based on a pick-and-choose set of goals, like starting a business, buying a home, having children, and retiring comfortably.

This week, the startup raised $32.5 million in its latest round of funding, according to CNBC. Tennis superstar Venus Williams, who is a champion of equal pay and opportunity for women both on and off the court, was among Ellevest’s first investors.

Just 28% of women are willing to take on high risk to get a good return on their investment, compared to 45% of men, according to a 2015 report by BlackRock.

Man finds it can be hard to return $ 6,000 (WoodTV), Rated: AAA

When 53-year-old Wyoming resident Duane La Varier found $6,180 had mysteriously appeared in his bank account, he never dreamed how hard it could be just trying to give money away.

He said he and his wife never filled out any applications and never sought any kind of loan.

The deposit a week ago had come from a company called LendingClub.

“I said, ‘I did not apply for this loan. Just take it back, just take it all out of my account.’ They said no.”

LendingClub is not the actual lender — it represents lenders — but Dudum said the company will take the hit for the $6,000 loan and its fees.

eOriginal and Notarize Make Digital Mortgage the New Reality (Broadway World), Rated: AAA

With its launch of Notarize for Mortgage, the company’s proprietary signing and remote notarization platform, Notarize recently completed the first-ever online mortgage closing. By integrating directly with eOriginal’s electronic vault, they enable lenders to leverage a joint solution that takes only a few short days to set up and launch before borrowers can start closing loans online. Together, Notarize and eOriginal allow lenders to quickly provide a seamless digital experience spanning the entire closing process all the way through registration with MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc.) and sale into the secondary market.

Connecting lenders, title agents, borrowers and notaries online 24 x 7 to digitize the closing process, the Notarize for Mortgage platform is approved by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, underwritten by national title underwriters, and was launched with five lender customers and numerous warehouse lender and mortgage servicer partners. The platform is available to lenders online or via modern APIs that allow them to integrate an online closing process directly into their existing tools, automating their closing operations entirely.

eOriginal’s platform of integrated solutions delivers a fully digital mortgage and supports every type of digital closing strategy.

TRANSPARENCY IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTING (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

In February of this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 200 senior asset managers and institutional investor executives to learn what factors are most important in the way they make their decisions. Several different types of institution were involved, including hedge funds, private equity firms, insurance companies, and nonprofits.

New Business Models – and Transparency

The 2008 global financial crisis of course had a negative impact on the alternative investments industry.

New business models have arisen to supply demand across the spectrum of investors, including those investors eligible for and interested in alternatives. Publicly traded limited partners are one important example.

Who will win the robo advisor IPO race? (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

It’s been a decade since the launch of the industry’s leading independent digital advice platforms — Betterment, Wealthfront and Personal Capital.

The question that now remains for all three: who will cross the IPO finish line first?

In terms of assets, the trio has kept their positions in the market respectively, with Betterment leading all independents with over $10 billion in AUM, followed by Wealthfront’s $7.4 billion and Personal Capital’s $4.9 billion.

Collectively, the three count just over 420,000 clients and over 548,000 accounts, according to SEC filings and company statements.

Personal Capital, which always tailored its services for HNW clients before lowering its account minimums (and then raising them up again) claims its average client account size is roughly $380,000; users with more than $1 million in investable assets, the company says, comprise about 40% of its AUM.

Source: Financial-Planning.com

Online Lenders Featured in the Inc. 5000 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Every year Inc. pulls together a list of the top 5000 fastest growing private companies in the United States. This year there were around 250 companies that made it in the financial services category and there are several familiar names on the list.

Other lenders readers may recognize are Lighter Capital (634), FastPay (1653), National Funding (2030), and ZestFinance (2202).

How Debit Activity Can Benefit Lenders in a Cashless Society (Clarity Services), Rated: A

With nearly half the American population carrying a subprime credit score, rent-to-own companies, online installment, storefronts and others are embracing new tools to intelligently navigate a market that has been largely overlooked.

  • Cash is only 14 percent of the share of transactions by value of payments (The Federal Reserve System Cash Product Office).
  • While the average American spends roughly $100 per day – not counting the purchase of a home, motor vehicle or normal household bills (Gallop), half of us are walking around with less than $20 cash (Bankrate.com).
  • If given the choice between a cashless and cash-only shop, most consumers in the wealthiest countries prefer the cashless option (ING Group/eZonomics).
  • Nearly 40 percent of Americans said that they would be happy to go completely without cash. (ING Group/eZonomics).

The top 7 startups from Y Combinator S’17 Demo Day 2 (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Standard Cognition is using machine vision to build the checkout of the future. Called autonomous checkout, the technology will allow shoppers to grab what they want and walk out of a store without having to go to a cashier. Standard Cognition believes it tech will enable those companies to save money and reduce theft.

Dharma Labs is building what it calls the first “protocol for debt on blockchains.” Citing the popularity of ICOs, the startup believes there’s a “proven demand for cryptoassets that look and act much like equity.” So Dharma has built a mechanism for decentralized peer-to-peer lending. “Anyone in the world can borrow and anyone in the world can lend.”

Emailage Raises $ 10m in Growth Equity Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Emailage, a Chandler, AZ-based provider of global fraud prevention and identity verification using email address scoring, raised $10m in growth equity funding.

The round was led by Anthos Capital, with participation from Radian Capital, Wipro Ventures, Mucker Capital and Tallwave Capital.

The company intends to use the funds to expand existing partnerships, further advance its email address-based predictive scoring system, and accelerate growth in North America, EMEA, LATAM and other key markets.

How to Expand Your Business Online by Offering More Products or Services (Kabbage), Rated: A

Hopefully, increased revenues will help ease cash flow problems and in the end, improve profits. Other advantages of growing business may include the chance to bring in more qualified employees, acquiring more customers and improving credit scores.

Expand service areas

Companies that provide services to homes or other businesses may find that their hometown or neighborhood has a limited customer base.

Expanding to nearby locations is one of the most common ways that local businesses grow into regional businesses. This also allows the company to add some more geographic areas to a business website, directories, and social pages to show up in more local searches.

Expand services

Most small business owners have to work to manage cash flow, and this task is much tougher when revenues are only high for a few months but operational costs last all year.

These are some ways to expand services both offline and online:

  • One good way to promote this kind of service online could be through holding webinars with tax tips for small businesses or even individuals. Some tax preparers might also produce books or videos for sale to help startups and small businesses manage tax planning better.
  • Some of these plucky entrepreneurs have learned to keep business flowing by offering holiday specials for getaways. Others have opened their facilities up to host seminars or workshops for organizations.
  • He kept his local business website to attract repair customers, but he also added an online store to sell products to the DIY crowd all over the country. He promoted this online store by creating some how-to videos.

This credit card alternative could be bad for your wallet (WSBTV.com), Rated: B

The problem is that these instant loans encourage impulse spending — and it doesn’t have to be a pricey vacation! Affirm will spread payments over a period of 12 months for loans of $100 or more.

To put that in perspective, you could easily pay more than $15 in interest on just a $100 loan!

LENDINGCLUB INVESTOR REVIEW: THE BEST PEER TO PEER LENDING SOLUTION (The College Investor), Rated: B

Over the last 8 years, 150,000 investors have lent over $26 Billion in personal loans through the peer to peer LendingClub platfrom. On average, investors in the top grade loans earned 5-7% annualized with strong cash flow.

As an added bonus, LendingClub allows you to invest as little as $25 per note. That means it’s easy to spread your risk across dozens or even hundreds of loans.

First, you need to meet some strict investor requirements.

  •  Income requirements: Must earn $70,000 annually ($85,000 in California)
  • Net Worth Requirements: Must have a net worth (exclusive of your home value) of $70,000 ($85,000 in California). People with a $250,000 net worth do not have to abide by the income requirements ($200,000 in California).
  •  Kentucky residents must be accredited investors (earn $200,000 annually or have a net worth of $1 million)
  •  Residents of Alaska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania cannot invest in LendingClub
  •  No more than 10% of your net worth can be investing in lending club notes
  •  $1,000 minimum investment

LendingClub charges $100 per year for their self directed IRA accounts, but they waive that if you maintain $5,000 of investments in your first year or $10,000 in subsequent years.

Once you select your loans, LendingClub will help you evaluate the risk on your portfolio of loans. They will even provide a projected rate of returns based off of history.

Source: The College Investor

TD Auto Monitors Fintech Startups (Auto Finance News), Rated: B

TD Auto Finance is keeping a close eye on fintech startups as it evaluates “opportunities that might exist” for auto refinance and private-party transactions, President and Chief Executive Andrew Stuart told Auto Finance News.

TD Auto is already “in discussions” with several fintech players to evaluate “where that might go,” Stuart said.

5 Things To Know Before Taking A Loan Online (ValueWalk), Rated: B

If you’ve considered taking a personal loan online here’s what you need to know:

  1. More accessible – Smaller, newer financial firms have stepped in to fill the gaps left behind by traditional banks since the crisis.
  2. Tailored products – You can tailor the specifics of the loan, such as the timeline for payback and the purpose of the loan. Businesses can use everything from inventory to invoices without the need for a personal guarantee.
  3. Pricing Variety – Whether the payments are amortized monthly or weekly. Whether the effective annual rate is as attractive as you expected.
  4. Less Regulation – Alternative lenders and online loan providers are not regulated by the FDIC the same way as traditional banks.
  5. More awareness – The lack of regulation means alternative online lenders have more flexibility to provide custom lending solutions. They can be as innovative as they want with these financial products. However, you need to be more careful when dealing with an online lender. Look into their history, get assurances from the company, and do your best to educate yourself about their business.
United Kingdom

OFF3R launches new SIPPS portal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

OFF3R has launched a new channel dedicated to Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), the tax-free vehicle for pension savings.

The investment aggregator’s SIPPs portal launched on Tuesday 22 August with an initial list of three pension providers: Hargreaves Lansdown, IG, and True Potential Investor. It details the various fees and investment thresholds of each platform, as well as information on the different management styles.

Zopa reduces higher-risk lending (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa has revealed it is taking steps to attract more lower-risk customers as it continues its reduction in higher-risk lending.

Zopa has reduced the amount of lending in its higher return D-E markets, which are included in its Plus product.

The Plus product was designed for investors who were willing to accept more risk for higher returns, with rates of between 6-7%.

Zopa expects that the lower-risk approach will mean the targeted returns for new investments in the Plus product will be 4.5%.

“For example, the proportion of D and E loans in the Plus product would go from 30% until now, to 10-15% in the future.”

Peer-to-peer lending: should you worry about default rates? (Your Money), Rated: AAA

Neil Faulkner, managing director of peer-to-peer research and ratings agency 4thWay, explains that investors should pay close attention to published bad-debt figures (which cover loan write-offs as well as simple defaults) of the different platforms.

Zopa

When a loan is approved, Zopa makes an assumption about its likelihood of falling into default over the lifetime of the loan, and then revises this default expectation over the lifetime of the loan.

Source: YourMoney.com

Zopa divides up investor money between many borrowers matching the risk profile specified at the outset by the investor, to spread the risk. If a borrower misses four months of repayments, then a recovery process begins.

RateSetter

The headline rate to note is that over its lifetime, 98.31% of loans are up-to-date – in order words, around 1.7% are in some form of arrears.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is a little different in that you are lending to businesses rather than people. Over the lifetime of the site, it says that around 2% of loans have turned bad.

Lending Works

To date, Lending Works has an actual bad debt rate of 1.1%.

Assetz Capital Update: Investors Have Earned £25 Million to Date (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Assetz Capital has shared that investors in aggregate have earned gross returns of more than £25 million on their investments in approximately four years. Assetz Capital says lenders earned an average of 8% gross interest across all Assetz Capital loans since platform launch, before allowances for tax or any losses not covered by a provision fund.

Currently, Assetz Capital has about 20,000 registered and active investors. The returns since the launch of the platform were generated from over £309 million lent to UK businesses from a range of industries looking to raise funds, including SME, bridging and development sectors.

ThinCats plans staggered IFISA roll-out before end of 2017 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Earlier this month, ThinCats received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allowed the firm to apply for ISA manager status from the HMRC. While a launch date has not been officially set, Stewart Cazier, head of retail, told Peer2Peer Finance News: “I’m definitely thinking 2017. I’d be very disappointed if it didn’t happen this year.”

Innovate Finance CEO steps down (AltFi), Rated: B

After two and half years at the helm of the fintech member association, Innovate Finance, Lawrence Wintermeyer has stepped down.

Wintermeyer is leaving to pursue other opportunities, he said.

China

China issues draft rules in crackdown on illegal fundraising (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China issued draft rules targeting illegal fundraising on Thursday, as the authorities step up a campaign to crack down on risky and illicit behavior in the country’s financial sector.

The draft rules, issued by the law office of China’s State Council, call for participants engaged in illegal fundraising to cover the losses stemming from those activities.

Regulators will guide financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers on tightening up their supervision of suspicious fund flows, the draft rules said.

Financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers, if found to be negligent, will be subject to having their illegal income forfeited. They will also be subject to a fine of more than 1 time but less than five times of the illegal income, the draft rules said.

The executives responsible for the illegal activity will be removed and banned from entering the financial industry for a certain period of time and could be subject to fines of between 50,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan each ($7,507-$75,072), the rules said.

China Rapid Finance Posted a $ 13.5M Net Loss in Q2, but Very Close to Profitability (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, China Rapid Finance (NYSE:XRF) released an unaudited financial report for the second quarter of 2017. In the second quarter, the company reported a gross income of $24.5 million, up 59% from a year earlier, and their net income was $15.2 million, up 9 percent year on year. The company posted a net loss of $13.5 million in the second quarter, compared with $5.9 million in the same period last year, as the cost of including customer incentives increased.

However, the company still held the “Low and Grow” business strategy. Compared to the profitability, there are more concerned about gross income. Through analysis of the company’s financial and business data, we can find that some business data is changing and the potential for profit is increasing.

Better Buy: SINA vs. Weibo (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Chinese internet companies SINA (NASDAQ:SINA) and Weibo(NASDAQ:WB) are closely tied to each other. SINA holds a 46% stake in Weibo, deriving 72% of its top line from the Chinese Twitter clone (as Weibo is referred to by some).

Weibo’s greater gains have made it more expensive with a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 132 as compared to SINA’s 30.

SINA relies on Weibo for 70% of its revenue, which means that investors can still enjoy the latter’s rapid growth via a stock with a lower valuation. Additionally, SINA’s non-Weibo business has started gaining some traction of late, with the company witnessing 8% year-over-year growth from this segment in the latest quarter.

While there is no denying that Weibo’s growth is still impressive — as the 28% year-over-year jump in its monthly active users boosted its advertising revenue by 72% last quarter — at the same time, there will be a limit to the company’s growth given its negligible presence outside China and the competition from the likes of Tencent‘s (NASDAQOTH:TCEHY) WeChat.

Fluid Wins LendIt Choice Award – Aug 2017 (FluidFi), Rated: B

Fluid, a California based FinTech & AdTech startup announces today that it received LendIt LangDi Fintech Choice Award from LendIt Conference in Shanghai, China.

European Union

Latvian P2P Lender TWINO Adds Second Russian Originator (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Latvian peer-to-peer lending platform TWINO has reportedly added a second Russian originator to its platform since its December 2016 launch.

According to P2P Finance News, over 40% of TWINO’s investors have funded Russian loans.

Early-Stage Fintech Investment In The UK & Germany Goes To Insurtech, Banking (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Year-to-date, European fintech companies have raised close to $2.6B across 295 deals, meaning that at the current run rate 2017 could see 500 deals and $4.5B in total funding by year end. For perspective, funding to European fintech companies is already 30% higher in 2017 YTD than the 2016 total.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

UK early-stage fintech financing has remained above 15 deals quarterly since Q2’14. Total disclosed funding has been a bit choppier: at $27M, Q4’16 was the lowest quarter since Q2’14, while the following quarter (Q1’17) saw the third-highest total funding at $81M and the largest number of deals at 33. Most recently, Q2’17 figures fell to $41M across 16 deals.

For example, Monese, which provides banking services for immigrants and expats, raised a $10M Series A in Q1’17, while Wirex, which allows for the holding of fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies in a single account on its personal banking platform, raised a $3M Series A in the same quarter.

Insurance is trending up across Europe at large, with more than 20 early-stage deals closing for approximately $50M year-to-date.

GERMANY

Funding hit its peak in 2016 as well, at $135M, well above the previous high-water mark of $46M in 2013 and more than 4X the $31M total for 2015. 2017 is on pace to surpass 2016 early-stage fintech financing figures, with 22 deals and $83M year-to-date.

Germany has also seen an increase in early-stage deals to small business banking and API-focused mobile banking platforms. Financing rounds to this group have increased steadily since 2015, which saw 5 deals close for $17M and was followed by 7 deals in 2016 (for a much smaller $6M).

Klarna (Hortonworks), Rated: A

Klarna uses Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) and Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) to help drive its deep data mining and AI, and to thus mitigate risk for buyers and sellers.

International

San Francisco and Berlin have new competition for the capital of ‘fintech’ (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Dubai has seen a surge of interest from fintech startups and banking assets over the last three years, according to the emirate’s financial center’s management body.

It’s fast becoming a destination for financial technology startups because of its location, private investment and innovation.

He told CNBC that the financial services industry contributes about 12 percent to Dubai’s total gross domestic product and it is expected to increase to 18 percent by 2024.

Increased appetite for fintech investment in Dubai from CNBC.

AXIS Capital Partners with Plug and Play Tech Center (BusinessWire), Rated: A

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited and its operating subsidiaries (“AXIS Capital”) (NYSE:AXS) today announced it has partnered with Plug and Play, a global digital startup innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley. By joining Plug and Play’s InsurTech platform, AXIS will gain access to world-class digital insurance startups and will provide mentorship and technical support, along with underwriting and actuarial expertise, to help turn their ideas into products or services.

To help address the rapid and transformative changes underway within the (re)insurance industry, AXIS will work with property and casualty, life/health and general InsurTech startups that have been accepted to Plug and Play’s InsurTech program. This 12-week program attracts applications from hundreds of startups from around the world that utilize technology, data and analytics to develop innovative new business models, products and services.

AXIS will focus on the areas of Insurance, Reinsurance, Health, IoT (Internet of Things), FinTech and Mobility, with leaders from different business areas serving as program mentors and technical advisors.

Australia

Digital advice embraced by all ages (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

Superannuation fund member engagement via Decimal’s digital financial advice software increased 37% in the past year, latest quarterly statistics show.

Decimal’s digital insights report for the June quarter shows 2366 members in its superannuation client base decided to engage with super via the digital advice channel over a 12 month period, up from 1731 the year prior.

Total funds under advice increased to $8.4 billion, up 72% year-on-year, and Decimal Software chief executive Nick Pollock said compound growth is stimulating for the super sector.

“The insights show that 43% of all logins were by women, 28% of logins took place outside of business hours, with 31% of those logins happening between 10pm and 6am,” Pollock said.

Australian fintech launches industry census (AltFi), Rated: A

Australian fintech has launched an expanded industry census, which will seek to unpack key issues like how to expand overseas and gender diversity and help set lobbying and policy priorities.

Working on the census, consultancy firm EY, and industry group FinTech Australia, have asked Aussie fintechs to complete it by 3 September.

FinTech Australia Reveals Initial Speaker Line Up for Inaugural Fintech Fest (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinTech Australia and Next Money, along with the State Government of Victoria, a gearing up for their inaugural week long Fintech event –  Intersekt. The Fintech festival will be taking place in Melbourne, Australia from October 27 to November 3rd if you happen to be in Australia.

Confirmed speakers for Intersekt so far include:

  • Anthony Thomson, founder of the UK’s Metro and Atom Banks (and the current chairman of Atom Bank). Atom Bank is one of the leading UK Challenger banks.
  • Ron Suber, called the “godfather of Fintech” due to his globe-trotting reputation for promoting online lending and all things Fintech. Suber recently joined the leadership team at Credible, the multi-lender marketplace for student loans. Suber is also President Emeritus of Prosper Marketplace and holds a broad portfolio of Fintech investments.
  • Megan Caywood, chief platform officer for the UK’s mobile only Starling Bank, who has delivered a range of major customer experience improvements.
  • David Birch, an international thought leader in digital identity and digital money and author of “Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin”
  • Van Le, who is the co-founder of Xinja, which is on track to be Australia’s first independent, 100% digital bank made for mobile.
    Lucy Liu, co-founder and chief operating officer of Melbourne-based payments company Airwallex who was this year named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30
  • Emma Weston, CEO and co-founder of AgriDigital, which provides a blockchain-enabled, integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry
India

Over 40% Indians act on financial advice given by spouse, RBI report shows (Zeebiz), Rated: AAA

Key Highlights:

  • Over 50% Indians think that their children will take care of them financially after retirement
  • 44% Indians do not think they will ever retire from work 
  • An average of 66% of randomly selected adult household members have a bank account.
Source: Zeebiz

The report found that the average Indian household holds 84% of its wealth in real estate and other physical goods, 11% in gold and the residual 5% in financial assets.

Source: Zeebiz

The report said that 44% Indians have not thought of retirement as “people like me cannot retire from work,” they said.

Only 13% people surveyed were actively saving for their retirement while 33% had absolutely no planning for retirement.

Only around 5% people had money invested in financial assets for their retirement planning while gold formed nearly 10% of this fund.

India’s Domestic Workers Have A New Ally In This Innovative FinTech Startup (Forbes), Rated: A

The team at SERV’D has a simple but ambitious goal: to organize India’s unorganized domestic workforce. That means bringing financial inclusion to millions of unregistered workers via a mobile contract and payment app.

The lack of written contracts also makes it difficult for low-income domestic workers to build a financial history. Without that, they struggle to save money or obtain insurance, which all but guarantees they will remain in poverty. Exclusion from formal financial services bars people from accessing health insurance, bank accounts, and can even inhibit them from finding affordable housing.

SERV’D seeks to replace the verbal work agreements made between customers and their hired help. Instead of tenuous oral contracts, the fintech startup wants employers and employees to create digital agreements on the SERV’D app. The platform also allows them to make digital payment transfers so neither party has to worry about dealing with cash.

Most importantly, the online payment trail creates traceable income records for poor, unbanked workers. With enough proof of income built up, they will eventually be able to open bank accounts and access financial products that are currently beyond reach.

Ezetap’s fresh funds are the latest VC dollars flowing to Indian fintech (PitchBook), Rated: A

Mobile payments startup Ezetap is the latest Indian fintech company to pull in new equity financing. The company has raised $16 million from investors including JS Capital Management, Social Capital and Horizons Ventures.

Fintech NBFC “Prest Loans” Forays Its Operations In Rajasthan (BusinessWorld), Rated: B

Prest Loans the new age FinTech NBFC, providing online loans to small businesses and MSME segment has expanded its operations by opening new office in Rajasthan.

Asia

LATTICE80 & FINOLAB Sign MOU on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LATTICE80, a Singapore based non profit Fintech hub backed by Marvelstone Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FINOLAB in Japan to mutually boost their Fintech ecosystems and global networks. Marvelstone is a global VC group based in Singapore.

This Fintech bridge will seek to create a passporting system for Fintech’s in each country to expand into new markets.

PH startups urged: Aspire to be unicorns (Cebu Daily News), Rated: AAA

Aldo Carrascoso, founder and chief executive officer of GlycoProX Biosciences, Veem, and Jukin Media & Verego, said that focusing on becoming “unicorns” detracts the purpose of why people launch startups in the first place.

Lee argued that the first unicorns were founded in the 1990s, Google Inc. being the clear “super unicorn” of the group with a valuation of more than $100 billion. Many unicorns were also born in the 2000s, although Facebook Inc. is the decade’s only super unicorn.

Other prominent unicorns today include Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Spotify, Pinterest, and Lazada, to name a few.

Treading the path toward that level takes mindfulness of revenue, a good business model, addressable market, and a product-market fit, said Carrascoso.

Benjamin cited Xoom, a San Francisco-based digital money transfer or remittance provider, which traces its foundations to serving clients between the Philippines and the US.

Since then the company has expanded to India and Mexico, among others, and was bought by PayPal for $890 million. Today, they do $9.1 billion in money transmissions and are operating in 18 countries with a demand for money remittance services.

The search for a unicorn is on (Sunstar), Rated: A

THE Philippines may have its own “tech unicorns” or technology businesses valued at $1 billion in the future. But experts says more work and collaboration is needed to achieve this dream.

To date, no Philippine tech startup has managed to meet the goal of being a billion-dollar company.

Globally, the US and China lead in numbers, having produced the most number of unicorns like Facebook, Uber, Airbnb as well as Xiaomi and Alibaba. Meanwhile, Malaysia in Southeast Asia has produced two unicorns in Grab and the Lazada Group.

First, he said Philippine startups need to know how to be fundable. Instead of aiming to be a unicorn, he advised local startups to become a “cockroach” instead, one that characterizes strong survival skills, or a rhino, “big and realistic.”

Getting payments to pay off (The Edge Markets), Rated: A

“A key advantage of e-wallets is the low cost. You can make payments and transfer money at much cheaper rates than in conventional payment systems,” explains Gunther Zhen, the founder and CEO of iPayLinks Financial Information Service (Shanghai) Co Ltd.

For China, this is certainly the case. While incumbent payment systems that rely on Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay charge merchants an estimated 2.5% to 3% MDR (merchant discount rate), new rivals like Alipay charge between 0.7% and 1.2%.

In Malaysia, however, the landscape could be different as the current MDRs are already quite low. Bank Negara Malaysia’s Payment Card Reform Framework has slashed the MDR on debit and credit cards since July 2015 when it took effect.

Today, domestic debit cards have an MDR of only 0.56% while for international debit cards, it is 0.96%. Credit cards are still relatively expensive with an MDR of 1.35%, but that is expected to drop drastically by 2021 when Bank Negara will cap interchange fees (the largest component of MDR) at 0.48% — less than half the 1.1% ceiling imposed today.

Just look at Touch ’n Go Sdn Bhd, which booked RM15.3 million of interest income in 2015 on RM429.3 million worth of deposits in card balances. And this is merely from the relatively small balance in each card.

Alipay creation, Yu’E Bao, is one of China’s most popular internet-based funds. It had amassed RMB1.43 trillion as at end-June. By comparison, Bank of China, one of the four major commercial banks in the country, had total deposits of RMB1.6 trillion as at end-2016.

Pundi-Pundi Raises $ 4M in Pre-A Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Pundi-Pundi, a Jakarta, Indonesia-based mobile payments and micro-loan startup aiming to create a cashless environment in South East Asia, closed a $4M pre-A round of funding.

Africa

UCT to offer fintech-focused degree from 2018 (BusinessDay), Rated: AAA

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has become one of the first tertiary institutions in Africa to offer a degree specifically designed to equip students with the critical skills and knowledge to embrace the technological revolution in the financial services sector.

One of its key focus areas will be blockchain technology, or the distributed ledger system, that has given rise to new crypto-currencies such as bitcoin and ether.

The crypto-currency market is reportedly now worth more than $50bn and the use of virtual currencies is gaining traction in SA.

UCT has sought to tackle this problem by offering a new master’s degree in data science with a specialisation in financial technology, said Georg, who is also the course convener. The programme is due to commence in 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor