Thursday September 5 2019, Weekly News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: LendingPoint closes $178M personal loans securitization. OnDeck hits $879M in online financing in Texas alone. RateSetter adds three products. Funding Circle lenders face longer cash out waits. Yirendai files Form 6-K. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for August 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Silicon Valley is building a social […]

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United States

LendingPoint : Closes $ 178 Million Personal Loans Securitization (MarketScreener), Rated: AAA

LendingPoint, the company revolutionizing and democratizing commerce, announced today that it closed its inaugural securitization of consumer loans. LendingPoint Receivables Trust 2019-1 (“LDPT 2019-1”) issued $177.85 million of notes backed by a pool of $187.22 million of direct-to-consumer loans originated on the LendingPoint platform.

The LendingPoint Receivables Trust securitization was rated by Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Inc. and includes $117.76 million of Class A notes rated “A-“, $24.74 million of Class B notes rated “BBB-“, $23.68 million of Class C notes rated “BB-” and $10.67 million of Class D notes rated “B-.” The notes priced at a blended yield of 4.05% per annum and provided for a 95% advance rate. The transaction has a 5% overcollateralization Deposit and a 5% overcollateralization Target. The risk adjusted yield of the receivables securing the notes is expected to be 13.14% per annum.

TyMac Electric Powers Business Success with Online Financing from OnDeck (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck today announced that TyMac Electric of Plano, Texas is its Small Business of the Month for August, 2019.  The 30-person company serves the Dallas-Fort Worth area with high-quality, professionally managed electrical services.

Over the last two years, OnDeck has provided additional financing to TyMac Electric as the business grew to meet demand in the Dallas-Fort Worth commercial marketplace.

Overall, OnDeck has provided more than $879 million in financing online to small business owners in the State of Texas.

2019’s Best & Worst Places to Retire (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

Best Retirement Cities

Overall Rank
(1 = Best)
City Total Score ‘Affordability’ Rank ‘Activities’ Rank ‘Quality of Life’ Rank ‘Health Care’ Rank
1 Orlando, FL 60.87 9 11 68 48
2 Tampa, FL 59.06 10 19 45 95
3 Scottsdale, AZ 58.35 98 22 3 58
4 Charleston, SC 58.30 42 21 56 51
5 Miami, FL 57.21 51 5 105 74
6 Denver, CO 57.08 113 17 43 17
7 Fort Lauderdale, FL 56.58 65 18 82 56
8 Cape Coral, FL 56.50 19 51 15 109
9 Minneapolis, MN 56.46 145 3 58 5
10 Cheyenne, WY 56.06 2 142 50 33

Source: WalletHub

Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system (Fast Company), Rated: AAA

Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.

Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Fundrise Opportunity Zone Fund Has Raised Over $ 22 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate investment platform Fundrise has raised over $22 million for their Opportunity Fund. The information was revealed in a recent Form D 5o6c filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Kabbage acquires Radius Intelligence, the marketing tech firm with a database of 20M small businesses (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Data is the new oil, as the saying goes, and today Kabbage — a fintech startup backed by SoftBank that has built a business around lending up to $250,000 to small and medium enterprises, using AI-based algorithms to help determine the terms of the loan — is picking up an asset to expand its own data trove as it looks to expand into further SMB financial services. The company has acquired Radius Intelligence, the marketing technology firm that has built a database of information on some 20 million small and medium businesses in the U.S.

Here is a list of the top nonbank and alternative lenders in 2019 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Nonbanks and alternative lenders have garnered attention in the banking industry due to their ability to partner with legacy banks and utilize technology to make financial transactions more efficient and convenient for users.

Source: Business Insider

Chime now has 5 million customers and introduces overdraft alternative (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Challenger bank Chime has reached 5 million customers in the U.S. The San Francisco-based startup is creating an FDIC-insured mobile bank without any physical branch. The company also promises fewer fees.

Back in March, Chime  said it had 3 million customers when it announced its $200 million Series D round. So that’s 2 million additional customers in roughly 5 months.

Zac Prince of BlockFi (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Even Financial raises $ 25 million to connect banks with channel partners (VentureBeat), Rated: A

Even Financial, a four-year-old New York-based provider of APIs for financial services search, acquisition, and monetization, today announced that it’s raised $25 million in a strategic round of investment co-led by Citi Ventures and MassMutual Ventures, with additional participation from LendingClub. Existing backers American Express Ventures, Canaan Partners, F-Prime Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, and Goldman Sachs also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total raised to $50 million.

Credit Sesame, a platform for managing loans and credit scores, picks up $ 43M en route to IPO (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Credit Sesame — which lets consumers check their credit scores and evaluate options to rebalance existing debts and loans to improve that score and thus their overall “financial health,” in the words of CEO and founder Adrian Nazari — has raised $43 million. With the company already profitable and growing revenues 90% each year for the last five, Nazari said that this round is likely to be the last round the company raises before it goes public.

Household debt in the U.S. continues to rise and as of this year now stands at nearly $14 trillion.

Fintech startup CrowdBureau closes $ 1.1 million Series A equity funding with $ 9.7M valuation (Tech Startups), Rated: A

CrowdBureau Corporation, a fintech startup and index provider, has closed $1.1 million Series A equity funding to expand its series of benchmarks and launch a pilot program for its patent-pending regulatory technology product. The round, which values the company at $9.7 million, was led by Clydagh Limited, Estuary Holdings Ltd. and Alpama Limited along with existing investors.

Some Companies Offer a New Benefit: Payroll Advances and Loans (WSJ), Rated: A

A growing number of companies are helping workers gain access to payroll advances and loans, reflecting concern over the impact money problems are having on productivity levels and worker retention.

Employers including Walmart Inc. and Pima County, Ariz., have recently added these services. The aim is to help cash-strapped employees, many with damaged credit, cover unexpected expenses without resorting to high-cost debt.

Lendingblock Launches Institutional Crypto Lending Platform (Lendingblock), Rated: A

Lendingblock, the regulated, open exchange for institutional borrowing and lending of digital assets, today announces the launch of its institutional lending platform on September 3, 2019. The lending product, which is a reinvented version of securities lending from traditional capital markets, is the first exchange fully dedicated to pure crypto lending and aims to support the needs of the broader cryptocurrency market by providing a secure and liquid venue for lending and borrowing needs of institutional market participants.

Upon launch, Lendingblock platform users will be able to borrow and lend BTC, ETH, PAX and USDT on a fully collateralized basis, for loan terms of 1, 7, 14 and 30 days, with a minimum trade size of $100,000 equivalent of a specified digital asset.

How American Express uses machine learning to detect fraud (American Banker), Rated: A


A financial planner says there’s a ‘huge opportunity’ to build wealth during a recession (Business Insider), Rated: A

As long as you have a cash safety net to fall back on should you lose your job or face an unexpected expense, there’s little reason to panic, says Lauren Anastasio, a certified financial planner at SoFi, a personal-finance company.

Are P2P Loans A Viable Investment for Your Portfolio? (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Peer to peer (P2P) loans allow you to act as a bank, providing loans directly to other individuals or businesses in exchange for a return on your investment via interest payments. Investing in P2P loans, which are typically smaller than a traditional bank loan, has proven to be reliable no matter the economic climate.

Judge Rejects States’ Fintech Charter Challenge, Again (Bloomberg Law), Rated: A

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency was able to beat back a challenge by state regulators to its proposed charter for financial technology firms for a second time, but the charter remains in limbo due to other litigation.

White Oak Global Advisors Announces Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing Program (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (“White Oak”) is pleased to announce the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (“CSCDA”) has named White Oak as a commercial PACE Program Administrator for the CSCDA’s Open PACE Program.  As a Program Administrator, White Oak will provide up to 100% financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and seismic retrofit projects on commercial real estate.

White Oak is seeking to fund projects ranging in size from $500,000 to $150 million.

United Kingdom

RateSetter revamps investment products (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is rejigging its investment products, to boost liquidity and give the peer-to-peer lender more control over market rates.

The three new products, which will be available on 3 October, will be called Access, Plus and Max. Access will offer three per cent interest and no fees to access money; Plus will offer four per cent interest and cost 30 days’ interest to access money; and Max will offer a five per cent interest rate, with a fee of 90 days’ interest to access money.

Funding Circle Amateur Lenders Facing Longer Waits To Cash Out (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Amateur lenders on peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle Holdings PLC are facing waits of 100 days to cash out of their loans, it has emerged.

Investors who provide funding for small businesses through the platform can list old loans for resale to other investors if they wish to withdraw all their money.

But the PA news agency understands that the amount of time taken to re-sell the loan parts has risen from just a few days in January to up to three months in recent transactions.

Funding Circle reveals inclusion in FTSE4Good Index Series (Funding Circle), Rated: A

Funding Circle today reveals its inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index Series, which recognises companies that demonstrate the highest standards of corporate governance and sustainability.

Woodford trust is on the FTSE 250 casualty list (The Times), Rated: B

The investment trust, which focuses on early-stage companies, was one of six companies to be relegated from the second tier of quoted stocks.

Among them is Funding Circle, the online peer-to-peer lender aimed at small and medium-sized companies, which floated at 440p a year ago. Last night its shares closed at 110¼p.

P2PGI blames writedowns and Funding Circle bad debts for poor July (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P GLOBAL Investments has blamed writedowns in the value of two equity stakes and bad debts from Funding Circle for a “disappointing” performance in July.

The alternative finance-focused investment trust delivered a 0.33 per cent NAV return for the month of July, down from 0.48 per cent the previous month. This brought the trust’s year to date return to 2.88 per cent, and 23.93 per cent since inception.

Investors ‘nearly’ double IFISA holdings (AltFi), Rated: A

Small investors have parked £588m across 40,400 accounts by the end of the second quarter of this year, according to trade body the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA).

The compares with around £300m invested in this product 12 months ago across major platforms such as Funding Circle, Ratesetter, Zopa, said the trade body.

Lending Works targets profitability and £10m turnover in 2019 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer consumer lender reported a loss of just over £2.1m for the year ended 31 December 2018, up from £1.41m the previous year, which chief executive Nick Harding (pictured) attributed to a larger wage bill.

There is no requirement for businesses to report revenues in small company accounts, but Harding revealed that the firm saw revenues rise to £6.2m last year and is targeting £10m this year.

Peer to Peer Lender Folk2Folk Tops £300 Million in Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Folk2Folk, a peer-to-peer lender for local, rural and SME businesses, has now surpassed £300 million in lending, according to a company release. Folk2Folk notes that it is the 3rd largest P2P Lender to UK businesses in terms of money lent.

P2PFA boss Paul Smee: ‘Lendy was an outlier that should not have been authorised’ (AltFi), Rated: A

The collapse of Portsmouth-based property peer-to-peer firm Lendy, with outstanding loans of more than £160m, and some £90m in default, prompted the new rules from the FCA. The watchdog is also carrying out an in-depth report into the firm’s failure, which affected with some 21,500 investors. Critics argue that Lendy under competitive pressure wrote poor quality loans to swell its balance sheet, which then turned bad.

However, the Lendy crash, taken together with the poor float of the sector’s biggest firm Funding Circle last October, which languishes 75 per cent below its 440p float price at around 112p this week, has tarnished the sector.

UK Fintech Curve fastest startup ever to reach £4m Crowdfunding on Crowdcube (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Last month, Curve announced plans to launch a seven figure crowdfunding campaign for early September, with plans to raise £1million. However, just 42 Minutes after launching to pre-registered customers, Curve had raised four times that figure, breaking records in the process. The current overfunding amount stands at £5million.

China

Form 6-K Yirendai Ltd. For: Sep 30 (Street Insider), Rated: AAA

  • Cumulative number of investors served reached 2,185,513, representing an increase of 1% from 2,159,490 in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to 1,974,984 in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Number of active investors in the second quarter of 2019 was 671,957, representing a decrease of 13% from 768,514 in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to 928,251 in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Total assets under management (“AUM”) for Yiren Wealth was RMB 43,604.2 million (US$ 6,351.7 million) as of June 30, 2019, representing a decrease of 7% from RMB 46,663.1 million as of March 31, 2019. Average AUM per investor reached RMB 149,480 (US$ 21,774) as of June 30, 2019, representing an increase of 7% from RMB 139,473 as of March 31, 2019.
  • AUM of non-P2P products amounted to RMB 354.3 million (US$ 51.6 million) in the second quarter of 2019, representing a decrease of 23% from RMB 457.7 million in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to RMB 951.0 million in the second quarter of 2018. Non-P2P products include money market funds, mutual funds and insurance.

Consumer Credit—Yiren Credit

  • Total loan originations in the second quarter of 2019 reached RMB 9.7 billion (US$1.4 billion), representing a decrease of 12% from RMB 10.9 billion in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to RMB 18.2 billion in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Cumulative number of borrowers served reached 4,491,466, representing an increase of 2% from 4,404,812 in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to 4,027,254 in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Number of borrowers in the second quarter of 2019 was 135,246, representing a decrease of 10% from 149,715 in the first quarter of 2019 and compared to 267,628 in the second quarter of 2018.
  • The percentage of loan volume generated by repeat borrowers was 35.9% in the second quarter of 2019.
  • 52.5% of loan originations were generated online in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Remaining principal of performing loans reached RMB 58,071.3 million (US$8,459.0 million) as of June 30, 2019, representing a decrease of 8% from RMB 63,213.8 million as of March 31, 2019.

Yirendai Ltd. (YRD) Q2 2019 Earnings Call Transcript (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

As of September 2019, the line of credit we have obtained from our institutional partners has increased from RMB19 billion in Q1 2019 to close to RMB30 billion. We are now working with approximately 10 partners, including leading joint stock and city commercial banks. We expect loan origination funded by institutional partners to reach approximately 30% by the end of this year.

China Rapid Finance Retains China Merchants Bank New York and Pangaea Finance as Co-Financial Advisors for Recapitalization and Restructuring (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (XRF) (the “Company”) today announced that its Board of Directors has retained China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd., New York Branch (CMBNY), and Pangaea Finance as separate Co-Financial Advisors, and Pangaea Finance as Structuring Agent, to advise it for strategic alternatives, including but not limited to potential strategic partnerships, recapitalization of certain operating companies, and for a related reconfiguration of the Cayman company as a listed investment vehicle for China credit.

Central bank to include troubled P2P lending industry in credit system (Technode), Rated: A

China’s central bank will include the country’s troubled online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in its credit reference system as the clampdown on illegal financial services continues, Chinese state-run media reported on Wednesday.

China’s credit system to cover P2P lending in tightening regulation (Xinhua), Rated: A

P2P lending platforms in operation will provide certain information such as online lending interest rates to credit reference agencies such as operators of financial credit information basic databases and Baihang Credit, China’s only licensed and market-oriented personal credit agency, according to an official guideline.

China Central Bank’s Credit System to include P2P Lending Platforms amidst tightening regulations (China Knowledge), Rated: A

Credit information of P2P lending platforms will be collected, regardless of their operational status. New penalties will also be imposed on defaulting borrowers of P2P online lending. Some of the penalties include higher loan interest rates and restriction limits to loan and insurance services.

Chinese entrepreneur among 41 arrested over illegal P2P platform (CGTN), Rated: A

Property mogul and founder of a leading Shanghai contemporary art museum Dai Zhikang has turned himself into police following the collapse of a peer-to-peer lending platform, as China continues to crackdown on illegal online lending.

Shanghai police confirmed Monday that Dai, the founder and head of Zendai Group, was among 41 people being investigated over illegal fundraising through an online P2P platform called Laocaibao.

European Union

Revolut is looking to hire 400 customer support staff following compliance complaints (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Revolut is looking to hire up to 400 staff at a new base in Portugal, a move that will increase its employee headcount by almost a third.

Source: Business Insider

German online bank N26 expands to Switzerland (Verdict), Rated: A

German online bank N26 has launched its services in Switzerland, as it continues to build up its footprint across the globe.

Binance Crypto Lending Program expansion – a bad idea for traders (FX Street), Rated: A

Binance is one of the latest entries in launching its crypto lending platform on August 28. In the first phase, it began with a short period fixed return on Binance (BNB), USDT (Tether) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). It provides an annual return of 15%, 10%, and 7% respectively, beginning with a 14-Day fixed period. Binance starts with about $30 million in crypto-lending. Moreover, the annual interest offered is higher than the return from banks.

International

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

Milestones in culumulative volume lent crossed this month:

  • Bondora: 250M EUR
  • Fellow Finance: 500M EUR
  • Mintos: 3000M EUR
  • Thincats: 500M GBP

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 634 million Euro. I track the development of p2p lending volumes for many markets.

Source: P2P-Banking

Fall Conference Season for Fintech Kicks Into Gear This Month (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

ABS East

When: Sept 22-24, 2019
Where: Miami, FL
Link:  /> Discount code: LEND10

Lend360

When: Sept 25-27, 2019
Where: Dallas, TX
Link: 

LendIt Fintech Europe

When: Sept 26-27, 2019
Where: London, UK
Link: 
/> Discount code: LENDACADEMYVIP

Moneyconf

When: Nov 4-7, 2019
Where: Lisbon, Portugal
Link: 

Money2020 China

When: Dec 4-6, 2019
Where: Hangzhou, China
Link: 

I WISH I’D BOUGHT IT WITH KLARNA (The Drum), Rated: B

The Swedish ‘pay later’ service, Klarna has launched its first international campaign – ‘I wish I’d bought it with Klarna’ – with the internet sensation Celesta Barber as its leading lady.

Australia

Ethereum lossless lottery PoolTogether is still innately flawed despite updates (finder), Rated: A

How do you encourage people to practice responsible saving? Easy. You shake it up with a dose of randomness and call it a lottery instead. This is the basic principle behind Pool Together, a lossless lottery designed in such a way that there are no losers. The idea is that everyone always gets back the price of their ticket, but one lucky person walks away with a lot more than that.

Pool Together is built on Ethereum, and utilises the Dai stablecoin in combination with the Compound crypto lending system.

India

Online lender Namaste Credit launches digital-only bank (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Online lending marketplace Namaste Credit today said that it is launching its Neobanking solutions for MSMEs, becoming a full-fledged “Digital-Only Bank” with a foundational SaaS play.

IndiaMoneyMart opens the first East-India branch for NBFC-P2P Lending (United News of India), Rated: A

Making sense of regulatory sandbox for Fintech startups (Vantage Asia), Rated: A

Over the past few years India has seen rapid development in the financial technology sector and it has the second highest number of Fintech startups in the world. According to certain estimates, India’s Fintech sector added about 1,300 startups from 2015 to 2018. According to the National Association of Software and Services Companies, India’s Fintech market is expected to be worth US$2.4 billion by 2020.

India Government Panel Pushes for Fintech, Regtech Adoption (Regulation Asia), Rated: A

The panel has also proposed the development of a marketplace model for P2P lending, and the introduction of virtual banking in India.

Why fintech panel believes P2P platforms can ease credit supply (India Times), Rated: A

While the importance of P2P lending sector in India is understood by all stakeholders, and a lot has been done over the last few years to encourage the sector, a lot more needs to be done to accelerate its growth.

APAC

Leading Southeast Asian Peer to Peer Lender Funding Societies Revamps with New Executive Team (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies, one of the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in Southeast Asia, has revamped its executive team with new hires.

Matt Lambie joins as the Chief Technical Officer, Dheeraj Chowdhry as the Chief Executive Officer and Jared Goldberg as the Chief Data Officer.

Top 10 APAC Startups Reigning the Future Finance Industry (Banking CIO Outlook), Rated: A

Africa

AlphaCode of South Africa Invests $ 1.5 Million in Three Domestic Fintech Startups (CryptoNewsZ), Rated: AAA

AlphaCode is the incubation and investment arm of Rand Merchant Investment Holdings, and in a new development, the company has decided to invest a combined $1.5 million in three separate Fintech startups in South Africa. The companies in question are Zande Africa, which is a platform meant for merchant finance, while the others are Bright On Capital, a peer to peer lending firm and Livestock Wealth, an agricultural investment startup. AlphaCode invested $655,000 each on Bright On Capital and Zande Africa, while Livestock Wealth got an injection of $131, 000.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 5 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

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News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

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

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

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

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

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

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

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

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor