Wednesday May 23 2018 Daily News Digest

Interest rates & new delinquencies on CC debt

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to get into crypto investing by 2019. How Goldman Sachs predicts economic slumps. How SoFi personalizes the mobile experience. A Monzo case study. Klarna acquires Shop.co. Today’s main analysis: More Americans are struggling to pay with credit cards. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 4 in 10 Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense, Fed survey […]

Interest rates & new delinquencies on CC debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi will get crypto investing by 2019, says CEO Anthony Noto (CNBC) Rated: AAA

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto says the “modern finance” company wants members to be able to invest in cryptocurrency as soon as 2019.

“We want to accelerate our investment in some new products, one of which is our wealth products, and we want to add cryptocurrency to that,” Noto said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

Goldman Sachs has a novel method for predicting the next economic slump  (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

You might remember that Goldman Sachs is lending to subprime borrowers. Turns out, it’s all part of a plan to help predict the next credit cycle.

In February, Goldman Sachs surprised Wall Street when it said that more than 80% of borrowers for its Marcus consumer-lending product had a FICO score of more than 660 at year end. The implication was that nearly 20% had a score of less than 660, placing them in a group often referred to as subprime.

In September, the bank said it saw a $1 billion revenue opportunity in the Marcus loan-and-deposit platform based on a $13 billion lending opportunity over three years. Whether it reaches that goal will depend in part on how those subprime borrowers behave.

More Americans are struggling to pay their credit cards (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Interest rates, which influence the cost of borrowing, are on the rise after the Federal Reserve kept them near zero for years. That period of super-low interest rates achieved one key outcome: encouraging Americans to borrow, spend, and help grow the economy after the Great Recession.

Last June, credit-card debt finally hit a new high. But the share of borrowers who make payments more than 30 days late is rising along with interest rates.

Source: Business Insider

The Fed is set next month to raise its benchmark rate for the seventh time since late 2015.

Source: Business Insider

How SoFi is personalizing its mobile experience (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

SoFi is personalizing its digital customer experience by fusing event planning, career services and personal finance insights inside its mobile app.

SoFi is joining a group of financial institutions that are letting customers aggregate accounts to get a full financial picture — even if they’re not with the same institution, with recent examples including Citi and HSBC.

As it grows its digital offerings, the company is adding services to meet the needs of a fast-growing customer cohort. SoFi currently has 500,000 customers — up 200,000 from last year.

 

 

 

50. SoFi (CNBC) Rated: A

This has been quite a year for SoFi (short for Social Finance).

The company claims to have 500,000 members and has made $25 billion in loans to date. SoFi has raised $2.1 billion in funding, including $500 million in a round led by Silver Lake Partners. In early interviews after taking over the top spot, Noto spoke about eventually taking SoFi public, but did not outline a timetable.

For millennials, it’s about having a house, children and retiring early (CNBC) Rated: A

Julia Boorstin live with SoFi CEO Anthony Noto discusses running what he describes as a “modern day” financial services company.

Watch the interview here

SoFi Makes Graduation From Student Debt An Epic Experience (PR Newswire) Rated: A

In a video released today on YouTube, SoFi made that moment of relief from student debt a grand occasion for one Midwestern woman. The company surprised Candice, a SoFi member who had refinanced her student debt, with an epic surprise “debt graduation” ceremony with friends, family, and some unconventional surprises planned by the company, together with production and entertainment studio GenPop.

Guaranteed Rate Partners with DocMagic to Cut Closing Time (Florida Newswire) Rated: A

DocMagic, Inc., the premier provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation, regulatory compliance and comprehensive eMortgage services, announced that retail mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate can now cut closing time by electronically signing mortgage closing documents in advance.

Guaranteed Rate has branded the solution FlashClose, which allows customers to opt-in, review and complete most documents in advance of the notary arriving, saving an hour or more at the closing table – with some averaging a mere 10-minute appointment to provide inked signatures.

First wave of neobanks resets for new offensive (American Banker) Rated: A

BankSimple (now just called Simple) was bought by BBVA and went through a painful process of migrating accounts to the big bank’s systems; its founder recently announced he’s leaving. Moven became a seller of software to large banks including TD Bank and Westpac, while still maintaining its own mobile banking service. Varo Money has been trying for almost a year to get a banking license. Chime remained independent (in partnership with The Bancorp Bank) but is going through growing pains.

This year, all are taking up their swords again, renewing an anti-bank message of helping consumers lead financially healthy lives, with fewer fees and more helpful products and software than traditional banks. Following is a look at how the neobanks are fighting back.

Cadre seeks at least $ 100M from SoftBank (The Real Deal) Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform Cadre is seeking at least $100 million from a fund started by the SoftBank Group.

Representatives for the SoftBank Vision Fund met with a top executive from Cadre recently, Bloomberg reported. The fund gets nearly half of its $100 billion from the Saudi Arabian government and at least $15 billion from the United Arab Emirates.

Lending Express garners $ 2.7 mln (PE Hub Network) Rated: A

Lending Express, the only AI-powered marketplace for business loans, today announced the securing of a $2.7 million investment round led by Entrée Capital, iAngels, and existing investors. The funds will be used to build out their innovative loan-matching technology and scale up operations in the United States and Australia.

How fintech gave this SBA lender an edge (American Banker) Rated: A

Add Seacoast Banking in Stuart, Fla., to the list of community banks that now believe in working with fintechs.

The $6 billion-asset company is gaining traction in Small Business Administration lending after partnering with SmartBiz Loans to speed its approval process. The move halved the interval from application to funding, to as little as 10 days, said Julie Kleffel, Seacoast’s community banking executive.

Four in 10 can’t cover an emergency expense of $ 400, Fed survey finds (Market Watch) Rated: AAA

The Fed’s new survey of household economics and decision-making found 41% could not cover a $400 emergency expense using cash in 2017. That’s actually a slight improvement, since 44% could not in 2016, 46% could not in 2015 and only 50% could in 2013.

Those that couldn’t afford the expense turn to credit cards or borrowing from family or friends, while only 5% would turn to a payday loan or similar product.

Source: Federal Reserve

Read the full report here.

Why real estate tech won’t kill the middleman (The Real Deal) Rated: A

Not too long ago, it seemed like the real estate business was about to enter a new era. To some observers, websites like Zillow and Trulia or their office equivalents 42Floors and LoopNet threatened to put brokers out of business (although officially these firms said no such thing). Crowdfunding startups dreamed of doing the same to pricey fund managers. Why pay a cut to an agent if you can just find your house or office online, for free? Why give your savings to a pension fund, which gives it to an asset manager, which gives it to a real estate lender, which gives it to a developer, if you can just lend the money to a developer yourself, online, and save a fortune in fees?

ENACOMM Adds FoneLogix as Ally to Bring Data-Driven AI and Phone Banking to Financial Institutions (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

ENACOMM—a fintech company that empowers banks, credit unions and credit card companies with solutions for improving the customer experience (CX), fighting financial fraud, and increasing operational efficiency—today announced a new reseller agreement with FoneLogix, an Atlanta-based provider of cloud-hosted VOIP Phone Systems, Solutions and Support.

Through the partnership, FoneLogix’s bank and credit union customers will be able to take advantage of ENACOMM’s VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) Conversational Banking and the ENACOMM Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

AI Challenging Bank Lending Practices (Forbes) Rated: A

CultureBanx notes 

The Best Business Loans and Financing Options for Freelancers (The Entrepreneur) Rated: A

Most banks view freelancers as high-risk, and as such, may be unwilling to enter a loan agreement. Because a freelancer is considered a sole proprietor, he or she alone is liable for all losses and debts his or her business may incur. If the freelancer gets hurt or sick and cannot work — or is just terrible at running a business — the bank is left holding the bag.

Online lenders offer an interesting alternative. Typically, these non-traditional lenders have more relaxed loan approval criteria and a swifter approval process. Importantly, your personal income, assets and credit score are assessed for loan approval, not the value of your business. You should expect to pay higher rates of interest, a natural trade-off for the perceived risk you present.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Personal Loans: 2018 Review (Nerdwallet) Rated: A

First Tech offers unsecured and secured personal loans as well as personal lines of credit. Annual percentage rates start at 9% on unsecured loans, or 3% on secured loans, which can be backed by a First Tech savings account, First Tech share certificates, or stock you own in the company you work for or one listed on the NYSE, Nasdaq or Amex.

You can apply for a loan of as little as $500, making First Tech a good option for borrowers looking for small loans. Payments for unsecured and secured loans are fixed over two to seven years, and you can choose between monthly or biweekly payments.

 

 

Trump signs resolution overturning CFPB auto lending rule (Consumer Affairs) Rated: B

President Trump has signed a resolution, passed by Congress, overturning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) auto lending rule, designed to prevent racial discrimination by dealers who finance purchases.

United Kingdom

Monzo Case Study (AWS) Rated: AAA

Monzo has grown from an idea to a fully regulated bank on the AWS Cloud. A bank that “lives on your smartphone,” Monzo has already handled £1 billion worth of transactions for half a million customers in the UK. Monzo runs more than 400 core-banking microservices on AWS, using services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

Open banking regulations, which came in at the start of 2018, required the nine largest banks in the UK to provide an API for their users’ account information.

 

Meet the 35 most exciting young entrepreneurs, engineers, and advisors in UK fintech (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Business Insider has covered UK fintech since our 2014 launch. The UK Fintech 35 under 35 highlights the most promising young entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers, and sector experts under the age of 35. It spans both startups and big banks operating in the sector.

35. Pierce Glennie, iwoca

The company has lent over £400 million since its founding in 2011. Glennie was one of iwoca’s first outside hires and just 21 when he joined the business.

27. Aneesh Varma, Aire

Varma, who started his career at JPMorgan, set up Aire in 2014. It is his second startup, having previously founded enterprise software business FabriQate in 2005.

24. Anil Stocker, MarketInvoice

MarketInvoice is an online platform that lets businesses borrow against unpaid invoices. The lender isn’t MarketInvoice itself but institutional investors and high net worth individuals looking for strong returns.

23. Karen Kerrigan, Seedrs

Seedrs is one of the UK’s first equity crowdfunding platforms, letting ordinary people invest in startup businesses. 600 businesses have raised over £320 million since the platform launched in 2009.

17. Simon Miller, Scalable Capital

Scalable Capital is one of a number of so-called “robo advisors” — online investment advisors and platforms — that have sprung up around the world in recent years. The company already has £600 million in assets under management and has attracted investment from asset management giant BlackRock.

13. Joe Cross, TransferWise

Cross was one of TransferWise’s first employees and has seen the international money transfer business grow from a small East London startup to business worth over $1 billion.

6. Megan Caywood, Starling Bank

She is now chief platform officer at startup, app-only bank Starling, which is trying to make a new kind of bank that functions more like an app store than a traditional lender.

5. Martin Ijaha, Neyber

Neyber works with employers to let staff borrow money then repay through salary deductions. Neyber was founded in 2012 and now works with 160 employers with a combined 1 million staff. Last year Goldman invested £100 million into the platform.

3. Tom Blomfield, Monzo

The fully licensed bank now has over 500,000 current account customers who have spent £1 billion on Monzo’s iconic hot coral cards. The company has raised over £71 million to date and is valued at £280 million.

2. Samir Desai, Funding Circle

Their platform has now lent over £4 billion to businesses across the UK, Germany, US, and the Netherlands. Desai was awarded a CBE for services to financial services in 2015 and his company is tipped to float on the stock exchange later this year with a price tag of at least £1 billion.

1. Nikolay Storonsky, Revolut

Revolut began life as a foreign exchange card linked to an app that offered rock-bottom FX prices. The company is less than three years old but the popularity of its product has already seen it hit 2 million customers and a valuation of $1.7 billion.

Proptech Startup When You Move Raises £3M in Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

When You Move, a UK-based proptech startup, secured new funding which brings the total amount raised to £3m.

Backers included Fig, a proptech VC, and a hybrid network of friends and family, private HNW investors and incumbent shareholders.

The company intends to use the funds to build out it customer excellence teams, scale up the development team and solidify its position as the solution for professionals involved in property purchases.

The UK fintech economy will create different pockets of excellence all over the country (Computer Weekly) Rated: A

He said fintechs such as Leeds based White label Crowdfunding which build peer to peer lending software, business lender Rebuildingsociety.com also in Leeds, and Accespay in Manchester have been involved with the Fintech North events.

Mark Carney: Every household £900 worse off because of Brexit (The Telegraph) Rated: A

UK households are £900 worse off than they would have been because of Brexit, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has claimed.

Mr Carney revealed in a Treasury Select Committee grilling that growth has been up to 2pc lower than the central bank had expected because of the UK’s decision.

Banks ‘charging more’ for overdrafts than payday lenders (BBC) Rated: A

Unarranged overdraft fees can cost borrowers up to seven times more than a payday loan, a consumer group warned.

Which? compared the cost of borrowing £100 for 30 days in an unarranged overdraft across 16 high street banks with borrowing the same amount through a payday loan.

Ireland Issues Tax Guidance On Peer-To-Peer Lending (Tax News) Rated: B

A company that pays interest on finance raised via peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding is obligated to withhold income tax at the standard rate of tax on interest payments made on the finance raised. The underlying lenders are liable to pay income tax on any interest they earn on which withholding tax has not been suffered.

‘Lenders need to be more transparent about portfolios’ (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: A

Far from deserting the sector, lenders are now presenting landlords with a wider range of borrowing options than ever before. New figures from financial information site Moneyfacts suggests that there are currently more than 2,000 buy-to-let mortgage deals available, a new record high.

And while the various regulatory and tax changes have spelt trouble for the small-time landlords, the professionals seem to be in the ascendency. A recent study by Aldermore suggested that more than four out of 10 portfolio landlords are looking to expand their portfolios in the next 12 months.

China

Chinese fintech’s global future is arriving now (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial recently raised an oversubscribed $10bn round which values the firm higher than Goldman Sachs, American Express and BlackRock; the Alipay product has more than 500 million users and is incredibly simple to use; they have integrated into Alibaba’s retail operation and have the world’s largest money market fund with Yu’E Bao; they have begun expanding globally as well as they have built partnerships with firms in Africa and have tried to enter the U.S. market through an acquisition of MoneyGram which was blocked by regulators; regulators will need to figure out how handle a company that doesn’t look to fade from the financial scene anytime soon.

Legal concerns heat up for wanted Founders Group leader as partner testifies in China (Myrtle Beach Sun News) Rated: A

Liu’s partner in the Chinese company Yiqian Funding, a peer-to-peer lending business that seeks investors, testified May 3 in her fraud trial in Nanjing that Liu was in control of the company when it became unable to pay many investors what prosecutors estimate to be $1.17 billion — or 7.4 billion yuan.

 

European Union

Klarna acquires universal shopping cart Shop.co (Ecommerce News) Rated: AAA

Klarna has acquired Shop.co, a small German startup that wants to simplify online shopping by offering a universal shopping cart. There’s little known about the deal, but according to Klarna it’s mostly about the acquisition of intellectual property and taking over a mere Shop.co employees..

According to t3n, a purchase sum somewhere in the mid double-digit millions is also likely. But later on, Klarna told another media outlet, Tech.eu, that the purchase price is far lower than some media have been speculating. It also said that it’s most acquiring intellectual property and employees.

Keeping on Top of Emerging Payment Solutions – Q&A with Klarna (Retail Tech News) Rated: A

Luke Griffiths: Klarna’s approach to online commerce is very different from that of traditional providers. Our overarching philosophy is to give consumers the freedom and flexibility to decide how and when they want to pay. At Klarna, we offer three payment options that cover all consumer needs for seamless shopping: ‘Pay now’, ‘Pay later’, and ‘Slice it’.

Pay now enables straightforward and immediate online payment purchases. This option allows customers to pay for their purchases in full via Klarna’s speedy online checkout and payment service using a card. Many of our merchants choose the Klarna checkout as it is proven to reduce abandoned baskets and provide a better user experience for shoppers.

Our second payment option, Pay later, allows shoppers to ‘try before they buy’. Customers have either 14 or 30 days to pay for their goods (depending on the merchant) after their items have been delivered, with no interest or fees – or they can return the items if they’re not what they expected.

EMaC launches ‘Drive Now Pay Later’ service for dealers (Motor Trader) Rated: B

EMaC, the service plan specialist, is widening the services it offers dealers and end consumers with the launch of a pay later credit facility for vehicle repairs and accessories.

The company, which is has also launched a new identity, has teamed up with credit provider Klarna to offer the “Drive Now Pay Later” service.

EMaC said its new Drive Now, Pay Later product would give dealers access to a credit facility to assist their customers in financing repairs and other vehicle related accessories.

Banks seek tech talent for digital shift (Financial Times) Rated: A

European Banks have increased advertising for IT and engineering roles by more than 10 times in the last 3 years; a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Temenos shows for the first time that bank executives believe technology like AI and blockchain will have a bigger impact than regulation; being about 10 years removed from the financial crisis has help shift the view of banks to focus more of their time on digitization instead of regulatory compliance.

 

 

International

Meet the Goldman Sachs-Backed Fintech Startup Aiming to Take Over North America (Fortune) Rated: AAA

Now Plaid, which raised $44 million in a funding round led by Goldman SachsInvestment Partners nearly two years ago, is looking to expand internationally. The company announced Tuesday that Plaid is available in Canada for the first time—and compatible with both U.S. and Canadian dollars—a move designed to both support current clients’ Canadian expansions as well as attract new Canadian fintech players.

Companies use Plaid’s APIs (or application programming interfaces) as a foundation for building their own fintech products, depending on that secure way to link customers’ bank accounts. Its extension into Canada is a sign that the nascent fintech industry is gaining traction in more parts of the world. TransferWise, a London-based cross-border payments startup that uses Plaid, recently expanded into Canada as part of a global push. And Toronto-based Drop, a loyalty rewards app, is one of Plaid’s first Canadian clients.

Is Fraud a Solved Problem? (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

But one statement stood out to me. Jeff Stewart, the Chairman and Co-Founder of LenddoEFL said that “fraud is a solved problem”.

That is quite a bold statement. So, I reached out to Jeff yesterday to get some more color on what he really means here. He stood by what he said on the panel at LendIt. While we can’t get rid of 100% of fraud what we can do is catch fake identities, fraud rings, and large-scale theft of identity.

It is not surprising that the type and amount of fraud varies between countries. We learned from Thomas Wang of China Rapid Finance in this same session that a staggering 97% of loan applications in China are fraudulent. Think about that for a moment. Only 3% of the applications that a Chinese online lender receives is from a real person. The rest is fraudulent activity often from established fraud rings.

Small Business Banking Catching Up in Innovation Race (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

There are quite a few lending solutions these days for small businesses — Funding Circle, OnDeck, Kabbage, and Square Capital, to name a just a few — but innovation and digitization are lagging in other areas, such as digital account opening. Enter Gro Solutions, a sales and marketing platform for financial institutions.

Australia

Understanding the SME mindset (Australian Broker) Rated: A

More than one in five SMEs – a total of 22% – opted for non-bank alternatives to funding their growth. A further 24% looked to borrow from their main relationship bank, and this bank lending percentage has trended down from 38% in our initial 2014 Index.

The most popular funding choices for SMEs using alternative working capital options in 2017 were debtor finance, which was used by 77%; merchant cash advances, used by 23%; P2P lending, with a total share of 10%; and crowdfunding, utilised by 9%.

India

Payday loan firm EarlySalary acquires CashCare (Media Nama) Rated: AAA

Payday loan firm EarlySalary has acquired CashCare. CashCare sells loans to customers on websites like Infibeam and Shopclues, and accepts repayments in EMIs at annual interest rates ranging between fifteen and 25%, according to CashCare’s website. The service is offered to people who don’t have a credit card too.

While CashCare’s 15% annualized interest rate is not too different from what credit card companies charge, EarlySalary’s payday loans come at a steeper cost. Charging ₹9 for each dayper ₹10,000 borrowed, their interest rate comes out to over 30%, compared to the 1.5–3% annualized interest credit cards charge, as we’ve pointed out before.

Xiaomi to start lending operations in India; to target salaried professionals (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

IPO-bound Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi has launched its first lending product in India on the lines of the microlending product Mi Credit that it offers in China.

The new credit product, launched in partnership with lending platform KrazyBee, has already gone live and will be officially announced in a few weeks, as per a person aware of the development.

Called CreditBee, the credit product is a payday loan starting from Rs 1,000 up to Rs 1 lakh for a period of 90 days, as per the person cited above. The credit will be offered at an interest rate of 3% per month and will be targeted at salaried professionals, the person said.

P2P lending startup Cashkumar secures angel investment (VC Circle) Rated: A

Cashkumar, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup, has raised angel investment of Rs 5 crore (around $735,000) through deals platform LetsVenture.

The startup’s first external funding was led by Mohan Kumar, executive director at global investment firm Norwest Venture Partners, and telecom company Reliance Jio’s chief digital officer Vishal Sampat.

Capacity-building workshop by RBI (Tribune India) Rated: B

Rachna Dikshit, Regional Director, RBI, Chandigarh inaugurated the workshop. In the event, topics like RBI guidelines, credit guarantee architecture for MSME financing and recovery management, alternative tech driven approaches to financing MSMEs like big data, fintechs, P2P lending, TReDS, movable asset based financing, role of CERSAI, management of sick account, credit scoring and rating models for MSMEs, assessment of term loans and composite loans, effective communication were covered.

 

Asia

Fintech Firm Flywire Teams Up With SP Jain For New Student-Led Singapore-Based Startups Competition (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Flywire, a fintech firm that provides global payment and receivable solutions for education, healthcare, and commercial enterprises, announced this week it has partnered with SP Jain School of Global Management to launch a startup competition, the Flywire Challenge, to power a new generation of transformative entrepreneurship in Singapore and the APAC region.

According to the duo, this competition, which is set to launch this month, solidifies Flywire’s dedication to partnering with powerful regional universities, government bodies and industry, and investing in education and the start-up space, as well as their long-term relationships with international educational and healthcare institutions as a leading payments solutions provider. Flywire will host, sponsor and evaluate a contest following an open call for teams to submit proposals for innovative start-up ideas. Any and all students and graduates, not limited to SP Jain students, will be invited to compete for three awards in the Health Technology, Education Technology and Travel Technology sectors.

Latin America

Mexican investors back microlending startup Vola (VC Circle) Rated: AAA

Bengaluru and US-based Vola, which offers an alternative lending platform for students, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.4 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round from Mexican insurance and credit firm Credika and unnamed angel investors from the North American nation.

MENA

AI Business Loan Company Lending Express Raises $ 2.7 Million (CTech) Rated: AAA

Israeli business loan startup Lending Express announced on Tuesday it has raised $2.7 million in a seed investment round led by Entrée Capital and iAngels, among other investors.

The company said it would use the capital to further develop its loan-matching technology and scale up its operations in the U.S. and Australia.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 23 2018 Daily News Digest

Interest rates & new delinquencies on CC debt

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to get into crypto investing by 2019. How Goldman Sachs predicts economic slumps. How SoFi personalizes the mobile experience. A Monzo case study. Klarna acquires Shop.co. Today’s main analysis: More Americans are struggling to pay with credit cards. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 4 in 10 Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense, Fed survey […]

Interest rates & new delinquencies on CC debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi will get crypto investing by 2019, says CEO Anthony Noto (CNBC) Rated: AAA

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto says the “modern finance” company wants members to be able to invest in cryptocurrency as soon as 2019.

“We want to accelerate our investment in some new products, one of which is our wealth products, and we want to add cryptocurrency to that,” Noto said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

Goldman Sachs has a novel method for predicting the next economic slump  (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

You might remember that Goldman Sachs is lending to subprime borrowers. Turns out, it’s all part of a plan to help predict the next credit cycle.

In February, Goldman Sachs surprised Wall Street when it said that more than 80% of borrowers for its Marcus consumer-lending product had a FICO score of more than 660 at year end. The implication was that nearly 20% had a score of less than 660, placing them in a group often referred to as subprime.

In September, the bank said it saw a $1 billion revenue opportunity in the Marcus loan-and-deposit platform based on a $13 billion lending opportunity over three years. Whether it reaches that goal will depend in part on how those subprime borrowers behave.

More Americans are struggling to pay their credit cards (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Interest rates, which influence the cost of borrowing, are on the rise after the Federal Reserve kept them near zero for years. That period of super-low interest rates achieved one key outcome: encouraging Americans to borrow, spend, and help grow the economy after the Great Recession.

Last June, credit-card debt finally hit a new high. But the share of borrowers who make payments more than 30 days late is rising along with interest rates.

Source: Business Insider

The Fed is set next month to raise its benchmark rate for the seventh time since late 2015.

Source: Business Insider

How SoFi is personalizing its mobile experience (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

SoFi is personalizing its digital customer experience by fusing event planning, career services and personal finance insights inside its mobile app.

SoFi is joining a group of financial institutions that are letting customers aggregate accounts to get a full financial picture — even if they’re not with the same institution, with recent examples including Citi and HSBC.

As it grows its digital offerings, the company is adding services to meet the needs of a fast-growing customer cohort. SoFi currently has 500,000 customers — up 200,000 from last year.

 

 

 

50. SoFi (CNBC) Rated: A

This has been quite a year for SoFi (short for Social Finance).

The company claims to have 500,000 members and has made $25 billion in loans to date. SoFi has raised $2.1 billion in funding, including $500 million in a round led by Silver Lake Partners. In early interviews after taking over the top spot, Noto spoke about eventually taking SoFi public, but did not outline a timetable.

For millennials, it’s about having a house, children and retiring early (CNBC) Rated: A

Julia Boorstin live with SoFi CEO Anthony Noto discusses running what he describes as a “modern day” financial services company.

Watch the interview here

SoFi Makes Graduation From Student Debt An Epic Experience (PR Newswire) Rated: A

In a video released today on YouTube, SoFi made that moment of relief from student debt a grand occasion for one Midwestern woman. The company surprised Candice, a SoFi member who had refinanced her student debt, with an epic surprise “debt graduation” ceremony with friends, family, and some unconventional surprises planned by the company, together with production and entertainment studio GenPop.

Guaranteed Rate Partners with DocMagic to Cut Closing Time (Florida Newswire) Rated: A

DocMagic, Inc., the premier provider of fully-compliant loan document preparation, regulatory compliance and comprehensive eMortgage services, announced that retail mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate can now cut closing time by electronically signing mortgage closing documents in advance.

Guaranteed Rate has branded the solution FlashClose, which allows customers to opt-in, review and complete most documents in advance of the notary arriving, saving an hour or more at the closing table – with some averaging a mere 10-minute appointment to provide inked signatures.

First wave of neobanks resets for new offensive (American Banker) Rated: A

BankSimple (now just called Simple) was bought by BBVA and went through a painful process of migrating accounts to the big bank’s systems; its founder recently announced he’s leaving. Moven became a seller of software to large banks including TD Bank and Westpac, while still maintaining its own mobile banking service. Varo Money has been trying for almost a year to get a banking license. Chime remained independent (in partnership with The Bancorp Bank) but is going through growing pains.

This year, all are taking up their swords again, renewing an anti-bank message of helping consumers lead financially healthy lives, with fewer fees and more helpful products and software than traditional banks. Following is a look at how the neobanks are fighting back.

Cadre seeks at least $ 100M from SoftBank (The Real Deal) Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform Cadre is seeking at least $100 million from a fund started by the SoftBank Group.

Representatives for the SoftBank Vision Fund met with a top executive from Cadre recently, Bloomberg reported. The fund gets nearly half of its $100 billion from the Saudi Arabian government and at least $15 billion from the United Arab Emirates.

Lending Express garners $ 2.7 mln (PE Hub Network) Rated: A

Lending Express, the only AI-powered marketplace for business loans, today announced the securing of a $2.7 million investment round led by Entrée Capital, iAngels, and existing investors. The funds will be used to build out their innovative loan-matching technology and scale up operations in the United States and Australia.

How fintech gave this SBA lender an edge (American Banker) Rated: A

Add Seacoast Banking in Stuart, Fla., to the list of community banks that now believe in working with fintechs.

The $6 billion-asset company is gaining traction in Small Business Administration lending after partnering with SmartBiz Loans to speed its approval process. The move halved the interval from application to funding, to as little as 10 days, said Julie Kleffel, Seacoast’s community banking executive.

Four in 10 can’t cover an emergency expense of $ 400, Fed survey finds (Market Watch) Rated: AAA

The Fed’s new survey of household economics and decision-making found 41% could not cover a $400 emergency expense using cash in 2017. That’s actually a slight improvement, since 44% could not in 2016, 46% could not in 2015 and only 50% could in 2013.

Those that couldn’t afford the expense turn to credit cards or borrowing from family or friends, while only 5% would turn to a payday loan or similar product.

Source: Federal Reserve

Read the full report here.

Why real estate tech won’t kill the middleman (The Real Deal) Rated: A

Not too long ago, it seemed like the real estate business was about to enter a new era. To some observers, websites like Zillow and Trulia or their office equivalents 42Floors and LoopNet threatened to put brokers out of business (although officially these firms said no such thing). Crowdfunding startups dreamed of doing the same to pricey fund managers. Why pay a cut to an agent if you can just find your house or office online, for free? Why give your savings to a pension fund, which gives it to an asset manager, which gives it to a real estate lender, which gives it to a developer, if you can just lend the money to a developer yourself, online, and save a fortune in fees?

ENACOMM Adds FoneLogix as Ally to Bring Data-Driven AI and Phone Banking to Financial Institutions (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

ENACOMM—a fintech company that empowers banks, credit unions and credit card companies with solutions for improving the customer experience (CX), fighting financial fraud, and increasing operational efficiency—today announced a new reseller agreement with FoneLogix, an Atlanta-based provider of cloud-hosted VOIP Phone Systems, Solutions and Support.

Through the partnership, FoneLogix’s bank and credit union customers will be able to take advantage of ENACOMM’s VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) Conversational Banking and the ENACOMM Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

AI Challenging Bank Lending Practices (Forbes) Rated: A

CultureBanx notes 

The Best Business Loans and Financing Options for Freelancers (The Entrepreneur) Rated: A

Most banks view freelancers as high-risk, and as such, may be unwilling to enter a loan agreement. Because a freelancer is considered a sole proprietor, he or she alone is liable for all losses and debts his or her business may incur. If the freelancer gets hurt or sick and cannot work — or is just terrible at running a business — the bank is left holding the bag.

Online lenders offer an interesting alternative. Typically, these non-traditional lenders have more relaxed loan approval criteria and a swifter approval process. Importantly, your personal income, assets and credit score are assessed for loan approval, not the value of your business. You should expect to pay higher rates of interest, a natural trade-off for the perceived risk you present.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Personal Loans: 2018 Review (Nerdwallet) Rated: A

First Tech offers unsecured and secured personal loans as well as personal lines of credit. Annual percentage rates start at 9% on unsecured loans, or 3% on secured loans, which can be backed by a First Tech savings account, First Tech share certificates, or stock you own in the company you work for or one listed on the NYSE, Nasdaq or Amex.

You can apply for a loan of as little as $500, making First Tech a good option for borrowers looking for small loans. Payments for unsecured and secured loans are fixed over two to seven years, and you can choose between monthly or biweekly payments.

 

 

Trump signs resolution overturning CFPB auto lending rule (Consumer Affairs) Rated: B

President Trump has signed a resolution, passed by Congress, overturning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) auto lending rule, designed to prevent racial discrimination by dealers who finance purchases.

United Kingdom

Monzo Case Study (AWS) Rated: AAA

Monzo has grown from an idea to a fully regulated bank on the AWS Cloud. A bank that “lives on your smartphone,” Monzo has already handled £1 billion worth of transactions for half a million customers in the UK. Monzo runs more than 400 core-banking microservices on AWS, using services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

Open banking regulations, which came in at the start of 2018, required the nine largest banks in the UK to provide an API for their users’ account information.

 

Meet the 35 most exciting young entrepreneurs, engineers, and advisors in UK fintech (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Business Insider has covered UK fintech since our 2014 launch. The UK Fintech 35 under 35 highlights the most promising young entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers, and sector experts under the age of 35. It spans both startups and big banks operating in the sector.

35. Pierce Glennie, iwoca

The company has lent over £400 million since its founding in 2011. Glennie was one of iwoca’s first outside hires and just 21 when he joined the business.

27. Aneesh Varma, Aire

Varma, who started his career at JPMorgan, set up Aire in 2014. It is his second startup, having previously founded enterprise software business FabriQate in 2005.

24. Anil Stocker, MarketInvoice

MarketInvoice is an online platform that lets businesses borrow against unpaid invoices. The lender isn’t MarketInvoice itself but institutional investors and high net worth individuals looking for strong returns.

23. Karen Kerrigan, Seedrs

Seedrs is one of the UK’s first equity crowdfunding platforms, letting ordinary people invest in startup businesses. 600 businesses have raised over £320 million since the platform launched in 2009.

17. Simon Miller, Scalable Capital

Scalable Capital is one of a number of so-called “robo advisors” — online investment advisors and platforms — that have sprung up around the world in recent years. The company already has £600 million in assets under management and has attracted investment from asset management giant BlackRock.

13. Joe Cross, TransferWise

Cross was one of TransferWise’s first employees and has seen the international money transfer business grow from a small East London startup to business worth over $1 billion.

6. Megan Caywood, Starling Bank

She is now chief platform officer at startup, app-only bank Starling, which is trying to make a new kind of bank that functions more like an app store than a traditional lender.

5. Martin Ijaha, Neyber

Neyber works with employers to let staff borrow money then repay through salary deductions. Neyber was founded in 2012 and now works with 160 employers with a combined 1 million staff. Last year Goldman invested £100 million into the platform.

3. Tom Blomfield, Monzo

The fully licensed bank now has over 500,000 current account customers who have spent £1 billion on Monzo’s iconic hot coral cards. The company has raised over £71 million to date and is valued at £280 million.

2. Samir Desai, Funding Circle

Their platform has now lent over £4 billion to businesses across the UK, Germany, US, and the Netherlands. Desai was awarded a CBE for services to financial services in 2015 and his company is tipped to float on the stock exchange later this year with a price tag of at least £1 billion.

1. Nikolay Storonsky, Revolut

Revolut began life as a foreign exchange card linked to an app that offered rock-bottom FX prices. The company is less than three years old but the popularity of its product has already seen it hit 2 million customers and a valuation of $1.7 billion.

Proptech Startup When You Move Raises £3M in Funding (Finsmes) Rated: A

When You Move, a UK-based proptech startup, secured new funding which brings the total amount raised to £3m.

Backers included Fig, a proptech VC, and a hybrid network of friends and family, private HNW investors and incumbent shareholders.

The company intends to use the funds to build out it customer excellence teams, scale up the development team and solidify its position as the solution for professionals involved in property purchases.

The UK fintech economy will create different pockets of excellence all over the country (Computer Weekly) Rated: A

He said fintechs such as Leeds based White label Crowdfunding which build peer to peer lending software, business lender Rebuildingsociety.com also in Leeds, and Accespay in Manchester have been involved with the Fintech North events.

Mark Carney: Every household £900 worse off because of Brexit (The Telegraph) Rated: A

UK households are £900 worse off than they would have been because of Brexit, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has claimed.

Mr Carney revealed in a Treasury Select Committee grilling that growth has been up to 2pc lower than the central bank had expected because of the UK’s decision.

Banks ‘charging more’ for overdrafts than payday lenders (BBC) Rated: A

Unarranged overdraft fees can cost borrowers up to seven times more than a payday loan, a consumer group warned.

Which? compared the cost of borrowing £100 for 30 days in an unarranged overdraft across 16 high street banks with borrowing the same amount through a payday loan.

Ireland Issues Tax Guidance On Peer-To-Peer Lending (Tax News) Rated: B

A company that pays interest on finance raised via peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding is obligated to withhold income tax at the standard rate of tax on interest payments made on the finance raised. The underlying lenders are liable to pay income tax on any interest they earn on which withholding tax has not been suffered.

‘Lenders need to be more transparent about portfolios’ (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: A

Far from deserting the sector, lenders are now presenting landlords with a wider range of borrowing options than ever before. New figures from financial information site Moneyfacts suggests that there are currently more than 2,000 buy-to-let mortgage deals available, a new record high.

And while the various regulatory and tax changes have spelt trouble for the small-time landlords, the professionals seem to be in the ascendency. A recent study by Aldermore suggested that more than four out of 10 portfolio landlords are looking to expand their portfolios in the next 12 months.

China

Chinese fintech’s global future is arriving now (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial recently raised an oversubscribed $10bn round which values the firm higher than Goldman Sachs, American Express and BlackRock; the Alipay product has more than 500 million users and is incredibly simple to use; they have integrated into Alibaba’s retail operation and have the world’s largest money market fund with Yu’E Bao; they have begun expanding globally as well as they have built partnerships with firms in Africa and have tried to enter the U.S. market through an acquisition of MoneyGram which was blocked by regulators; regulators will need to figure out how handle a company that doesn’t look to fade from the financial scene anytime soon.

Legal concerns heat up for wanted Founders Group leader as partner testifies in China (Myrtle Beach Sun News) Rated: A

Liu’s partner in the Chinese company Yiqian Funding, a peer-to-peer lending business that seeks investors, testified May 3 in her fraud trial in Nanjing that Liu was in control of the company when it became unable to pay many investors what prosecutors estimate to be $1.17 billion — or 7.4 billion yuan.

 

European Union

Klarna acquires universal shopping cart Shop.co (Ecommerce News) Rated: AAA

Klarna has acquired Shop.co, a small German startup that wants to simplify online shopping by offering a universal shopping cart. There’s little known about the deal, but according to Klarna it’s mostly about the acquisition of intellectual property and taking over a mere Shop.co employees..

According to t3n, a purchase sum somewhere in the mid double-digit millions is also likely. But later on, Klarna told another media outlet, Tech.eu, that the purchase price is far lower than some media have been speculating. It also said that it’s most acquiring intellectual property and employees.

Keeping on Top of Emerging Payment Solutions – Q&A with Klarna (Retail Tech News) Rated: A

Luke Griffiths: Klarna’s approach to online commerce is very different from that of traditional providers. Our overarching philosophy is to give consumers the freedom and flexibility to decide how and when they want to pay. At Klarna, we offer three payment options that cover all consumer needs for seamless shopping: ‘Pay now’, ‘Pay later’, and ‘Slice it’.

Pay now enables straightforward and immediate online payment purchases. This option allows customers to pay for their purchases in full via Klarna’s speedy online checkout and payment service using a card. Many of our merchants choose the Klarna checkout as it is proven to reduce abandoned baskets and provide a better user experience for shoppers.

Our second payment option, Pay later, allows shoppers to ‘try before they buy’. Customers have either 14 or 30 days to pay for their goods (depending on the merchant) after their items have been delivered, with no interest or fees – or they can return the items if they’re not what they expected.

EMaC launches ‘Drive Now Pay Later’ service for dealers (Motor Trader) Rated: B

EMaC, the service plan specialist, is widening the services it offers dealers and end consumers with the launch of a pay later credit facility for vehicle repairs and accessories.

The company, which is has also launched a new identity, has teamed up with credit provider Klarna to offer the “Drive Now Pay Later” service.

EMaC said its new Drive Now, Pay Later product would give dealers access to a credit facility to assist their customers in financing repairs and other vehicle related accessories.

Banks seek tech talent for digital shift (Financial Times) Rated: A

European Banks have increased advertising for IT and engineering roles by more than 10 times in the last 3 years; a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Temenos shows for the first time that bank executives believe technology like AI and blockchain will have a bigger impact than regulation; being about 10 years removed from the financial crisis has help shift the view of banks to focus more of their time on digitization instead of regulatory compliance.

 

 

International

Meet the Goldman Sachs-Backed Fintech Startup Aiming to Take Over North America (Fortune) Rated: AAA

Now Plaid, which raised $44 million in a funding round led by Goldman SachsInvestment Partners nearly two years ago, is looking to expand internationally. The company announced Tuesday that Plaid is available in Canada for the first time—and compatible with both U.S. and Canadian dollars—a move designed to both support current clients’ Canadian expansions as well as attract new Canadian fintech players.

Companies use Plaid’s APIs (or application programming interfaces) as a foundation for building their own fintech products, depending on that secure way to link customers’ bank accounts. Its extension into Canada is a sign that the nascent fintech industry is gaining traction in more parts of the world. TransferWise, a London-based cross-border payments startup that uses Plaid, recently expanded into Canada as part of a global push. And Toronto-based Drop, a loyalty rewards app, is one of Plaid’s first Canadian clients.

Is Fraud a Solved Problem? (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

But one statement stood out to me. Jeff Stewart, the Chairman and Co-Founder of LenddoEFL said that “fraud is a solved problem”.

That is quite a bold statement. So, I reached out to Jeff yesterday to get some more color on what he really means here. He stood by what he said on the panel at LendIt. While we can’t get rid of 100% of fraud what we can do is catch fake identities, fraud rings, and large-scale theft of identity.

It is not surprising that the type and amount of fraud varies between countries. We learned from Thomas Wang of China Rapid Finance in this same session that a staggering 97% of loan applications in China are fraudulent. Think about that for a moment. Only 3% of the applications that a Chinese online lender receives is from a real person. The rest is fraudulent activity often from established fraud rings.

Small Business Banking Catching Up in Innovation Race (Bank Innovation) Rated: A

There are quite a few lending solutions these days for small businesses — Funding Circle, OnDeck, Kabbage, and Square Capital, to name a just a few — but innovation and digitization are lagging in other areas, such as digital account opening. Enter Gro Solutions, a sales and marketing platform for financial institutions.

Australia

Understanding the SME mindset (Australian Broker) Rated: A

More than one in five SMEs – a total of 22% – opted for non-bank alternatives to funding their growth. A further 24% looked to borrow from their main relationship bank, and this bank lending percentage has trended down from 38% in our initial 2014 Index.

The most popular funding choices for SMEs using alternative working capital options in 2017 were debtor finance, which was used by 77%; merchant cash advances, used by 23%; P2P lending, with a total share of 10%; and crowdfunding, utilised by 9%.

India

Payday loan firm EarlySalary acquires CashCare (Media Nama) Rated: AAA

Payday loan firm EarlySalary has acquired CashCare. CashCare sells loans to customers on websites like Infibeam and Shopclues, and accepts repayments in EMIs at annual interest rates ranging between fifteen and 25%, according to CashCare’s website. The service is offered to people who don’t have a credit card too.

While CashCare’s 15% annualized interest rate is not too different from what credit card companies charge, EarlySalary’s payday loans come at a steeper cost. Charging ₹9 for each dayper ₹10,000 borrowed, their interest rate comes out to over 30%, compared to the 1.5–3% annualized interest credit cards charge, as we’ve pointed out before.

Xiaomi to start lending operations in India; to target salaried professionals (The Economic Times) Rated: AAA

IPO-bound Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi has launched its first lending product in India on the lines of the microlending product Mi Credit that it offers in China.

The new credit product, launched in partnership with lending platform KrazyBee, has already gone live and will be officially announced in a few weeks, as per a person aware of the development.

Called CreditBee, the credit product is a payday loan starting from Rs 1,000 up to Rs 1 lakh for a period of 90 days, as per the person cited above. The credit will be offered at an interest rate of 3% per month and will be targeted at salaried professionals, the person said.

P2P lending startup Cashkumar secures angel investment (VC Circle) Rated: A

Cashkumar, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup, has raised angel investment of Rs 5 crore (around $735,000) through deals platform LetsVenture.

The startup’s first external funding was led by Mohan Kumar, executive director at global investment firm Norwest Venture Partners, and telecom company Reliance Jio’s chief digital officer Vishal Sampat.

Capacity-building workshop by RBI (Tribune India) Rated: B

Rachna Dikshit, Regional Director, RBI, Chandigarh inaugurated the workshop. In the event, topics like RBI guidelines, credit guarantee architecture for MSME financing and recovery management, alternative tech driven approaches to financing MSMEs like big data, fintechs, P2P lending, TReDS, movable asset based financing, role of CERSAI, management of sick account, credit scoring and rating models for MSMEs, assessment of term loans and composite loans, effective communication were covered.

 

Asia

Fintech Firm Flywire Teams Up With SP Jain For New Student-Led Singapore-Based Startups Competition (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Flywire, a fintech firm that provides global payment and receivable solutions for education, healthcare, and commercial enterprises, announced this week it has partnered with SP Jain School of Global Management to launch a startup competition, the Flywire Challenge, to power a new generation of transformative entrepreneurship in Singapore and the APAC region.

According to the duo, this competition, which is set to launch this month, solidifies Flywire’s dedication to partnering with powerful regional universities, government bodies and industry, and investing in education and the start-up space, as well as their long-term relationships with international educational and healthcare institutions as a leading payments solutions provider. Flywire will host, sponsor and evaluate a contest following an open call for teams to submit proposals for innovative start-up ideas. Any and all students and graduates, not limited to SP Jain students, will be invited to compete for three awards in the Health Technology, Education Technology and Travel Technology sectors.

Latin America

Mexican investors back microlending startup Vola (VC Circle) Rated: AAA

Bengaluru and US-based Vola, which offers an alternative lending platform for students, has raised $500,000 (Rs 3.4 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round from Mexican insurance and credit firm Credika and unnamed angel investors from the North American nation.

MENA

AI Business Loan Company Lending Express Raises $ 2.7 Million (CTech) Rated: AAA

Israeli business loan startup Lending Express announced on Tuesday it has raised $2.7 million in a seed investment round led by Entrée Capital and iAngels, among other investors.

The company said it would use the capital to further develop its loan-matching technology and scale up its operations in the U.S. and Australia.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 30 2018, Daily News Digest

Friday March 30 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub grows short interest. Larry Summers resigns from LendingClub board. RealtyShares intros gap financing for projects under $20M. Mark Davies steps down from RateSetter board. Today’s main analysis: Heap’s behavior attribution platform. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Noto sell mortgages at his new SoFi post? China banks report drop in bad loans. Chinese families rack up […]

Friday March 30 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Corp (LC) Sees Significant Growth in Short Interest (the Ledger Gazette), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest during the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 31,244,316 shares, an increase of 11.0% from the February 15th total of 28,142,392 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 9,132,224 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 3.4 days. Currently, 11.3% of the company’s stock are short sold.

Larry Summers Has Resigned From the LendingClub Board (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Yesterday, we learned that after nearly six years Mr. Summers will be leaving the board of LendingClub. He is being replaced by leading economist and Stanford professor Susan Athey. While she is not nearly as well known as Larry Summers she still brings serious economics clout to the board.

Heap launches behavioral attribution platform (Venture Beat), Rated: AAA

Source Heap

Heap is aiming to automate insights and is starting today with the launch of Heap Behavior Attribution. The new product is the industry’s first attribution product that measures behavior and does so in a way that requires no data science or engineering resources, the company said.

The Heap Behavioral Attribution measures standard marketing channels (i.e. Google and Facebook), and also ties in a set of broad user behavior, including email, customer relationship management (CRM), shopping cart, customer success, and either-or testing platforms. Examples include user behaviors stored in Salesforce, Marketo, Shopify, Autopilot, Optimizely, Oracle, and more.

Source Heap

It has more than 100 employees and 6,000 customers, including Twilio, Lending Club, App Annie, Morningstar, Monotype, and Casper.

 

RealtyShares Introduces Gap Financing Program For Projects Under $ 20 Million (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares today announced a gap financing program that delivers subordinated financing solutions to commercial real estate owners seeking higher leverage on the financing of projects under $20 million. The suite of solutions, which includes preferred equity, mezzanine debt, and second lien loans, helps commercial real estate operators get the capital they need to buy, refinance, or renovate commercial properties.

He Can Fix Your Student Debt, but Can He Sell You a Mortgage? (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

As chief operating officer of Twitter Inc., Anthony Noto did a lot to calm the company’s perpetually anxious shareholders. On Feb. 26, however, Noto took over as chief executive officer of a financial technology startup, Social Finance Inc., or SoFi.

He’ll be facing increasingly tough competition. SoFi sees Marcus, the consumer-lending business started by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in 2016, as the biggest threat, according to people familiar with SoFi’s thinking.

One question Noto will have to navigate is how much SoFi should use its own balance sheet—that is, hold on to the loans it originates as opposed to selling them to other investors. It currently keeps a slice of loans but sells off most of them. Holding loans allows a company to earn a stream of interest income, but investors generally put a lower value on financial firms than tech platforms.

SoFi says it plans to hold 500 events in 2018, up from 41 in 2015.

The wealth management unit, fully launched in May 2017, had $42.3 million in assets under management as of Jan. 18, according to Prosser.

 

Instant Financing Offers Drive Sales, Decrease Cart Abandonment (Retail Touchpoints), Rated: AAA

E-Commerce retailers in the U.S. recognize the value of instant financing offers, and 64% believe providing financing options through their online store is important to driving new and increased sales, according to a survey from Klarna. Another 46% believe such services decrease cart abandonment, which is a pressing concern for retailers.

Instant financing is a revolving line of credit that shoppers can apply for during online checkout, letting them spread payments out over time with low annual percentage rate (APR) offers. The option is particularly appealing to Millennials, as fewer than 33% of them carry credit cards, according to a 2016 Bankrate survey.

Retailers’ enthusiasm for online financing is shared by shoppers, and a 2017 Researchscape International survey conducted on behalf of Klarna found that consumers:

  • Prefer online merchants that offer instant financing (75%);
  • Want to be presented with an instant financing option when shopping online (47%);
  • Would spend more if given instant credit options when making a purchase (39%); and
  • Are very or completely likely to change retailers to use instant financing (28%).

FINANCE THEORY, LISTED EQUITIES, AND LIQUIDITY (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

A recent paper from Robeco discusses whether a liquidity premium exists in the stock market. The authors, David Blitz, Jean-Paul van Brakel, and Milan Vidojevic, conclude that “the evidence for such a premium is, at best, weak.”

Less politely, these authors refer to the whole notion of a liquidity premium as having been “challenged and debunked in various studies.”

Theory and Practice

In a sense there “should” be a liquidity premium. The more illiquid a stock, the more difficult it is to trade it, which on some models means that illiquid stocks are less attractive than liquid stocks, and should command a premium. One should have to be bribed to hold an illiquid stock just as one has to be bribed to hold a risky one.

BLACK ENTREPRENEURS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SBA OFFERINGS (Black Enterprise), Rated: A

Here is a surprising statistic: Over 80% of small business owners have never visited their local U.S. Small Business Administration office.

The finding was revealed as part of a random survey of 409 owners and senior leadership at small businesses by national online lender Fundera and online research firm Qualtrics.

Fundera also offers a list of other resources black entrepreneurs can tap into to help them get help with everything from how to run a small business to becoming a certified minority business.

Marketplace Lending Update #2: Another Rocky Mountain Remand (The National Law Review), Rated: A

In our prior Clients & Friends Memo “Who’s My Lender?” published on March 14, 2018, we analyzed two actions brought against marketplace lenders, one against Kabbage Inc. (“Kabbage”) in federal court in Massachusetts1 and the other against Avant in federal court in Colorado.2 In that memo, we noted that the Massachusetts action against Kabbage is proceeding to arbitration, while the action against Avant was remanded to state court.

Last week, Colorado courts issued several new rulings related to marketplace lending. First, the federal court in Colorado remanded another enforcement action brought by the Administrator of the Colorado Consumer Credit Code against Marlette Funding (“Marlette”),3 which had been doing business as a marketplace lender in Colorado under the name Best Egg. Following the reasoning in the Avant decision discussed in our prior memo, the court rejected the marketplace lender’s argument that Colorado’s usury laws were subject to complete preemption under federal law and therefore the court granted plaintiff’s motion to remand. As a result, Avant and Marlette will be forced to make their arguments that a bank is the “true lender” and that the Colorado Administrator’s usury claims are therefore preempted by federal law, and any other defenses, in Colorado state court.

KBRA Comments on Cross River Bank’s Settlement with the FDIC (Business Wire), Rated: A

The FDIC announced yesterday that it had reached settlements with Cross River Bank (“Cross River”) and Freedom Financial Asset Management (FFAM). Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) believes that the settlement and related consent order have a low likelihood of adverse impact upon the credit profile of Cross River and that of its parent, CRB Group, Inc. (CRB). While FFAM represents a very small portion of Cross River’s customer base, KBRA believes any adverse regulatory action draws heightened scrutiny to Cross River and the MPL industry, a factor already considered in the current ratings. Furthermore, KBRA believes that the matters cited by the FDIC were isolated instances and is not representative of pervasive issues with Cross River’s Compliance Management System (CMS). Nonetheless, we believe that has Cross River has since adopted enhanced compliance and reporting requirements consistent with FDIC guidance and incorporated enhancements to their CMS.

Enacomm and VOX Network Solutions to Provide Financial Institutions with Data-Driven Phone and Digital Assistant Banking (Global Newswire), Rated: B

VOX Network Solutions (VOX) has announced a partnership with Enacomm, Inc. (Enacomm) to bring Enacomm’s self-service solutions to VOX clients.  Through the reseller agreement, financial institutions will be equipped with VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) banking and the Enacomm Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

Crypto Asset Expert David Drake Joins Advisory Board of Digits (Nothing in Particular Blog), Rated: B

Digits, a leading crypto company using technology aimed to combine the convenience of credit and debit card payments with the utility of cryptocurrency payments and to easily allow the consumer the ability to effortlessly pay for goods and services with crypto via their existing credit or debit card, announced today the addition of a highly respected crypto expert, David Drake, to its advisory board team.

United Kingdom

Betfair founder Mark Davies steps down from RateSetter board (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

MARK Davies has stepped down from the board of RateSetter after more than six years.

Davies, who was part of the founding management team at e-gaming company Betfair, joined the board of the peer-to-peer lender as a non-executive director in November 2011 – just 13 months after the company’s launch.

Data gatherers should be regulated like financial advisers (Financial Times), Rated: A

There was a time in the UK when most people were under the impression that financial advice was free. They went to see an adviser. He gave them advice. They handed over their money to him to be looked after. They never got a bill.

Only when the government changed the laws in 2012 did they realise they were paying. A lot. They just hadn’t noticed for the simple reason that they did not physically pay it to the adviser.

Deal maker Numis on the front foot after M&A numbers surge (Evening Standard), Rated: A

The City broker, which worked on the Trinity Mirror takeover of the Daily Express, and the sale of cocktail bar Revolution, said sales would be “significantly ahead” of £53 million recorded last year.

Since September, the company has worked on big deals like  the Mirror-Express takeover, the £600 million float  of car insurer Sabre and  the Aveva tie-up with Schneider’s electrical business.

Numis is also lined up to work on AJ Bell’s £500 million float and Funding Circle’s £1.5 billion float later in the year.

Shares rose 1.5%, gaining 5.5p to 365p.

One year to Brexit: How to protect you finances (Money Observer), Rated: A

Brexit is officially one year away and the impact it is having, and will continue to have, on our financial lives is filling the pages of our newspapers and TV screens daily.

Foreign currency

Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, sterling has fallen significantly in value against the euro. The pound reached a high of €1.42 in October 2015, but at the time of writing on 20 March 2018, it was worth 21 per cent less at €1.14, according to currency specialist Moneycorp.

Typical transaction costs for using your card abroad are between 2.75 and 2.99 per cent, and you will be charged a non-sterling purchase fee of up to 1.25 per cent on top.

Each time you use an ATM abroad, you can also be charged anything from £1.50 to £2 a time, so it is wise to withdraw larger sums in one go or to get a specialist overseas card that allows fee-free spending and cash withdrawals, according to Nick England, chief executive of travel money firm EasyFX.

Where are the current UK BTL hot spots? (Property Reporter), Rated: B

The latest UK buy-to-let index from property finance experts, LendInvest, has shown that the Midlands appears unaffected by the UK’s current house price growth slowdown, sending three of its largest cities into the top 5 places to invest – but where came out top?

  1. 1.  Colchester
  2. 2.  Northampton
  3. 3.  Leicester
  4. 4.  Luton
  5. 5.  Birmingham
  6. 6.  Manchester
  7. 7.  Ipswich
  8. 8.  Brighton
  9. 9.  Rochester
  10. 10.  Norwich

Together appoints new regional development director (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: B

Together has expanded its professional sector team with the appointment of Mel Fourie as its new regional development director.

Mel joins the specialist lender from RateSetter, where she was its strategic partnership manager covering the North of England.

China

Big four China banks report first drop in bad loans in 6 years (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Industrial and Commercial Bank of ChinaChina Construction BankAgricultural Bank of China and Bank of China had a total of 765.7 billion yuan ($122 billion) in non-performing loans on their books at the end of 2017, marking a 0.2% drop on the year.

Non-performing loans ratios — a gauge of asset quality — averaged 1.57% at the four state-owned lenders, 0.15 percentage point less than at the end of 2016. “Special mention” loans with an elevated potential for default decreased 0.9% to 1.59 trillion yuan. All four banks had reported 2017 results as of Thursday.

Famous for hoarding cash, Chinese families are now racking up debt on an unprecedented scale (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Chinese families with their long tradition of saving money are now accumulating debt at a rate never been seen before, according to data compiled by a state-backed think tank in Beijing.

The country’s household leverage ratio – or the ratio between debt incurred by families and gross domestic product – surged to 49 per cent at the end of last year from 17.9 per cent at the end of 2008, going up about 3.5 percentage points annually, the think tank said in a report released on Thursday.

So in the period from 1993, when the data became available, to 2008, the household debt ratio went from 8.3 per cent to 17.9 per cent, with an annual rise of 0.65 percentage points.

According to its report, average disposable income could cover standard loan interest and mortgage repayments, while households were still sitting on 70 trillion yuan (US$11.13 trillion) worth of bank deposits and cash overall – enough to offset the 40 trillion yuan in outstanding bank debt.

Dianrong and Sino Guarantee Announce Lenders Protection Plan (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Dianrong and China United SME Guarantee Corporation, known as Sino Guarantee, one of China’s leading guarantee companies, today announced a new lenders protection plan for Dianrong customers. The plan, which went into effect at the beginning of 2018, is designed to provide third-party protection in the event of a loan default.

Dianrong’s borrowers now have the option to purchase the Sino Guarantee lenders protection plan, which further improves the borrower’s risk and credit profile. Sino Guarantee will then use a dedicated fund account to pay lenders the loan principal and any outstanding interest in the event of a loan default covered by the plan.

European Union

Spotcap Roundtable: Customers Expect More as Fintech Boosts User Expectations (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Spotcap, an SME focused online lender based in Berlin, recently held a roundtable on the future of finance. Individuals from prominent firms joined with the Fintech lender to assess progress made so far. Representatives from Deutsche Bank, Figo, GP Bullhound, McKinsey along with Spotcap debated how the financial ecosystem model will evolve, the implications for the customer, and the challenges and opportunities for Fintechs and more traditional financial service firms.

International

Alt.Estate To Become an Industry Standard for Blockchain-Based Real Estate Transactions (the Merkle), Rated: A

Using the blockchain technology to disrupt the real estate market, Alt.Estate has a strong potential to become an industry standard for the blockchain-based real estate transactions. A strong technology stack, a go-to-market strategy with 10X leverage, a working prototype with three tokenized apartments in key geographies, strong community support, and a solid pipeline of enterprise deals all position Alt.Estate as a win-win solution for real estate developers and investors.

Estimated at $217 trillion, the real estate market is worth nearly 2.7 times the global GDP.

“ERC-20” FOR REAL ESTATE

Developed two years ago, ERC-20 has quickly become a significant industry standard for all the tokens on Ethereum. Inspired by the approach of ERC-20 developers, Alt.Estate’s Protocol aims to become an industry standard for the tokenized real estate.

 

Asia

This Startup Combines FinTech And Traditional Lending Circles To Empower Women (Forbes), Rated: AAA

When Fonta Gilliam joined the foreign service out of school, she didn’t expect it would lead her to entrepreneurship. But after seeing community lending in practice throughout her work in East Asia and Africa, Gilliam wondered what would happen if she combined these traditional practices with new financial technology.

It all started when Gilliam was working in the visa department at the embassy in South Korea.

The practice of a lending circle is a kind of informal savings program. Say you have 10 members who each put $100 into the lending club each month. One member collects the full 1,000 each month and each month the total amount rotates until 10 months has passed and the circle starts back at the beginning.

Proptech – the emerging disruption in real estate (The Business Times), Rated: A

In proptech, three forms of technologies are particularly pertinent and pervasive: blockchain, augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI). In Singapore, these technologies are already making their impact felt in the real estate industry with their adoption by startups, global corporations and the government.

Blockchain: facilitating real estate transactions

A form of distributed ledger, the blockchain is distributed across nodes, locations and even countries. Being decentralised, it eliminates the need for an intermediary to process, validate or authenticate transactions.

Artificial intelligence: extracting insights from data

The most valuable tech companies (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) are where they are today because of the trove of consumer data they possess and continue to accumulate. In the realm of technology, data is wealth, and AI is the key to unlocking this wealth. AI, as the name suggests, is teaching the computer to think like a human, making sense of the data fed to it.

Proptech: transforming real estate in Singapore

Cognisant of the need to keep up with change, the Singapore government has introduced an Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the real estate industry. The ITM is focused on using automation, digitised contract templates, and predictive systems to streamline processes for property transactions and facilities management.

MENA

How GISC LoanCoin Network (GIS) is democratizing Credit with its Blockchain P2P, B2B & Altcoin Lending Platform (MenaFn), Rated: AAA

GISC uses a strict proprietary model composed of a fundamental and technical analysis strategy. So when their analysts suggested that cryptocurrency are poised to outperform in developing nations for some years to come, the company dedicated to coming up with a solution that would basically democratize lending of blockchain digital assets on a global scale.

GISC LoanCoin Network platform is designed with an aim of bridging traditional lending services to the blockchain and opening access to the non-banked. GISC LoanCoin Network is a Ethereum blockchain utility token based lending platform that will support P2P and B2B lending by eliminating intermediaries like banks and other financial institutes. It’s a platform where borrowers can interact and deal directly with the lender and GIS token holders can earn income by becoming Lenders or Guarantors.

GISC differs from other lending platforms like ETHLend and SALT in a way that GLN lends against Altcoins and this feature is yet to be introduced by any other lending platform. The platform usually takes a low, around 2% transaction fee for credit assessment/KYC-AML/ ID verification and connection through the network.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 26 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi completes $960.2M student loan securitization. Robinhood adds zero-fee crypto trading, tracking. Goldman partners with Cadre. South Korea earmarks 11.2T won for midrange borrowers. Today’s main analysis: Buying overdue loans at discount on Mintos’ secondary market. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What RateSetter will look like without unsecured commercial loans. AltFi Data predicts strong U.S. MPL […]

marketplace lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi Completes $ 960.2 Million Student Loan Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender SoFi announced on Thursday the closing of its $960.2 million offering of SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A Notes (SoFi 2018-A). According to the lending platform, the offering reflects underlying collateral of more than $1billion in student loans and is SoFi’s largest ever securitization, as well as the first by any fintech lender to reach the billion-dollar collateral mark.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1 (“SCLP 2018-1”). This is a $591.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2018-1

Class Preliminary Rating Class Principal
A-1 AA+ (sf) $320,000,000
A-2 AA+ (sf) $142,500,000
B A (sf) $81,000,000
C BBB (sf) $48,000,000

A Knife in Twitter’s Back Could Bring A Happy Ending to SoFi Investor’s Wild Ride (Inc.), Rated: A

And the reason that departure could make me better off is that I invested in SoFi in December 2014 when the company was valued at $1 billion. The last time SoFi raised money – in 2017 – it was valued at $4.3 billion.

There are five reasons I invested in SoFi  — of which these four are the most important.

1. It was targeting a huge market

SoFi started out targeting the $1.2 trillion student loan industry and in 2014 announced an expansion into the $12 trillion mortgage market.

 2. Its management team had excellent industry knowledge

 3. It knew what ailed stakeholders and provided a remedy

Of the 15,500 borrowers who had taken out about $1.3 billion worth of loans in 2014, SoFi estimated that it had saved the average borrower $11,783.

 4, It looked like it could reach $100 million in revenue

In November 2017, Bloomberg reported that in the third quarter of 2017 SoFi’s adjusted operating revenue rose 8.2% to $145.3 million in the third quarter while its adjusted earnings totaled $56.1 million.

Moreover, SoFi added 55,000 members in the quarter to a total of 400,000 – having completed “more than $3.52 billion in loans in the period and completed three securities offerings totaling more than $1.5 billion,” according to Bloomberg.

Scandal-rocked SoFi says it has foundation for full recovery (American Banker), Rated: A

He points to the $12.9 billion in loan originations SoFi did last year. The company sold more than $2 billion of those loans.

“All our investors are still buying, and we’ve added many new investors post Mike leaving,” Jain said. “All our lenders continue to lend to us and they’ve shown interest in lending us more. In the face of adversity, we did all we could.”

Source: American Banker

6 Awesome Benefits of SoFi Parent Student Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

If your child is a college student, you can borrow money to help offset their education costs with a SoFi Parent Loan. According to the company, borrowers can save $3,637 over the life of the loan compared to a federal Parent PLUS Loan, on average.

If you took out a federal Parent PLUS Loan, you could face interest rates as high as 7.00%.

  1. Low interest rates – Depending on your credit score and income, you could qualify for a much lower rate with SoFi than you would with a federal student loan. SoFi student loans have fixed interest rates as low as 3.25% and variable rates as low as 2.58%.
  2. No origination or application fees – For borrowers who received their loans after October 2017, that fee is 4.264 percent of your loan amount. On a $10,000 loan, that means you’ll have to pay a fee of $426.40, adding to the cost of your child’s education.
  3. Career support
  4. Wealth advisors
  5. Member discounts – If you have a SoFi parent student loan and go on to take out a personal loan, mortgage, or another student loan with the company, you’ll receive a 0.125 percent interest rate discount on the new debt.
  6. Customer support

Loan Program Plans to Offer Students Prepaid Bank Cards (The New York Times), Rated: A

The Department of Education plans to provide students with a prepaid card that would hold surplus loan money that is not needed for tuition, giving the government and financial services providers a firsthand look at how students are spending those dollars.

Robinhood adds zero-fee cryptocurrency trading and tracking (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

No-commission stock trading app Robinhood will let you buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum without any added transaction fees starting in February, compared to Coinbase’s 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US. And as of today Robinhood will let all users track the price, news, and set alerts on those and 14 other top crypto coins, including Litecoin and Ripple.

Former Ripple Exec Invests $ 57.5 Million in Uphold (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Digital money platform Uphold today announced it has received a $57.5 million investment from former Fed Reserve senior analyst and Ripple chief risk officer Greg Kidd.

Goldman Sachs Teams Up With This Silicon Valley Upstart in Commercial Real Estate (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Goldman’s strategic investments group, which makes venture-capital-like investments, now owns 80 portfolio companies.  One such company is Cadre, a fintech company involved in online commercial real estate investing that Goldman funded in its Series B, C, and D funding rounds. The start-up, which happens to be led by some Goldman alumni, also just received a $250 million investment from Goldman’s private wealth clients.

Cadre also charges its LPs less than a typical private real estate fund. These funds usually charge a management fee, often around 1.5%, as well as a 20% cut of the profits above an 8% “preferred” return to LPs. On Cadre’s website, it advertises a 1% “transaction fee” (I assume that’s based on a per-deal fee, like a broker would get) and then a similar 1.5% management fee, but no incentive fee. Cadre claims this fee structure will increase investors’ invested rate of return by over 2% compared with a typical fund, all other factors being equal.

Instant cash out comes to Venmo (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venmo, the PayPal-owned digital peer-to-peer (P2P) transfer service, is within 30 minutes) cash out their Venmo balance for a flat $0.25 fee.

Trump administration prepares to roll back key financial protections for consumers (MarketWatch), Rated: A

The new leadership has taken over at a time when consumers are struggling with credit-card, auto loan and student loan debt. They’re also worried about their personal data, after a 2017 breach at the credit reporting agency EquifaxEFX, +0.81%   exposed personal information of more than 145 million U.S. adults, including their Social Security numbers and financial accounts.

Mulvaney requested zero dollars for his second-quarter budget

The bureau already had $177 million in reserves, enough to cover the $145 million the bureau projected it would need during the second quarter, he said.

USA consumer bureau delays prepaid card rules into 2019 (AliveForFootball), Rated: B

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today finalized changes to its final rule on prepaid products, including an overall delay of the rule’s effective date until April 1, 2019 – an extension long sought by the American Bankers Association. The bureau also made changes meant to boost compliance with the rule and loosen rules on linking credit cards to prepaid accounts or “virtual wallets”.

The rule requires companies to disclose fees on prepaid cards and cooperate with consumers who discover unauthorized charges or errors.

Mastercard eyes biometric totality by 2019 (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Mastercard says all consumers will be able to identify themselves with biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when they shop and pay with Mastercard by April next year.

StreetShares lands $ 23M for expansion, will look for new office space (Washington Business Journal), Rated: A

The veteran-oriented online lender will beef up staff and look to expand its government contracting offerings.

REIT Industry Veteran Talks About What to Expect from the Sector in 2018 (NREI Online), Rated: A

NREI: More specifically, what’s your take on how publicly-traded REITs will perform this year? Will 2018 be better overall than 2017?

Aaron Halfacre: In 2017, publicly-traded REIT performance was anemic relative to the S&P 500. I think that can be largely attributed to a few factors: big demand for large-cap “infotech” names driving the broader market, a meaningful sell-off in retail REITs and general market hesitation on REITs in front of the tax bill and Fed decisions. On a relative basis, publicly-traded REITs are well-positioned in 2018, not only from the fundamentals picture, but from a value perspective.

NREI: What about non-traded REITs?

Aaron Halfacre: I think 2018 could be as strong, or stronger, than what we saw in 2017. Personally, I am excited about the industry changes in the non-traded REIT space. It is a good thing to see Blackstone and Starwood entering the space while some of the traditional fee-hungry shops have bowed out—a good advocacy trend for the individual retail investor. Institutional-grade real estate choices without the… fee structures of yesteryear, combined with greater valuation transparency and an investment that is not correlated to the broader equity market — that’s a positive story for all of us who aren’t part of the 1 percent.

‘AI isn’t just technology, it’s good judgment’: Cathy Bessant on why banks need humans (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Bessant is transforming B of A into a technology firm and leading it into a future that requires humans to apply immense computing power to immense amounts of data — an artificial intelligence future. But like any every other technology executive, she’s facing a shortage of talent with science, technology, engineering and math backgrounds. The result is often departments hiring from other departments.

Bank of America will spend $600 million this year on cyber defense alone. It employs 1,200 people whose jobs are dedicated to nothing else but information security, although the company makes that “the job of every single employee,” Bessant said. But the caliber of the talent the bank hires is just as important as the technology it invests in, since they’ll be the ones that determine how to work responsibly with AI.

Bank of America Enters Car Subscription Space With Volvo (Auto Finance News), Rated: A

All of Volvo Car Financial Services’ loan and lease originations end up on Bank of America’s balance sheet, Hollodick explained, including subscriptions to Care by Volvo, which starts at $600 a month for an XC40 compact crossover.

2,000+ bank branches closed in US in 2017 (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

US banks accelerated their pace of branch closures in 2017, shutting down 2,069 locations (an 18% increase compared to 2016), according to CoStar, a US-based commercial real estate news site.

3 Industries that can benefit from alternative credit data (MicroBilt), Rated: A

Although alternative credit remains a murky, unfamiliar concept to some, its adoption is slowly but steadily spreading. Some sectors may be particularly well-positioned to benefit from its use, and businesses under those umbrellas should consider adopting them if they haven’t yet done so.

Rally Rd collects $ 2.6 mln seed (PE Hub), Rated: A

Rally Rd., A marketplace for making investments in collector cars the same way you buy & sell stock, announced that it has raised a $2.6 million seed round investment from leading venture capital firms and individual investors.

The Unconventional Way This Man Paid Off $ 70,000 in Student Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

When Ray Laureano and his wife graduated from college, they left school with a staggering amount of student loans. Between the two of them, they were over $200,000 in debt.

Ray and his wife paid off over $70,000 in just one year.

A radical debt repayment strategy

Instead, he talked to each loan servicer and entered the lower-interest loans into forbearance; in other words, he paused payments on those loans.

With his other debt payments on hold, he put all of his extra money toward just one loan with the highest interest rate. When that loan was fully paid off, he tackled the next highest-interest debt, and so on.

Ray estimates that they will be debt-free by March 2020.

Enacomm Inks Reseller Agreement with Telvoyant (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Data intelligence and advancements in communications technologies are helping financial institutions dramatically improve the customer self-service experience. Enacomm, Inc., a leading provider of intelligent interactions and customer authentication technologies for banks, credit unions and credit card companies, today announced a new partnership with Telvoyant, a premier telecom consulting firm providing comprehensive telecom solutions for business, non-profit organizations and government institutions. Through a reseller agreement between the two companies, Telvoyant’s bank and credit union customers will be able to take advantage of Enacomm’s VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) banking and the Enacomm Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

United Kingdom

What will RateSetter look like without unsecured business lending? (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Consumer loans still make up the lion’s share of RateSetter’s £2.2bn loan book, while its commercial arm – both secured and unsecured – makes up 9.8 per cent, equating to £223.4m.

Of 2,213 commercial loans in total, including those that have been paid and repaid, 1,622 were unsecured and 591 secured as of the end of last year.

But its secured loans tend to be larger. 42.5 per cent of the value of RateSetter’s commercial loan book are listed as unsecured. This represents £95.1m worth of unsecured business loans compared with £128.2m of secured business loans.

UK Federation Of Small Businesses Says AltFin Is Just Heating Up (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The not-for-profit Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been a vocal proponent of faster SMB payment times, greater access to more robust banking services and tighter regulation in support of small businesses across the U.K. Most recently, the FSB announced plans to join the alternative finance world and establish the FSB Funding Platform, a marketplace lending portal through which small businesses can access funding from more than 100 lenders.

The FSB’s own research on small business finance, outlined in its Q4 FSB Voice of Small Business Index, found that fewer SMBs were concerned about their access to finance in Q4 2017 than they were in the same quarter of 2016. For the first time since Q1 2012, the FSB’s credit availability index has surpassed its credit affordability index.

And yet, according to the report, small business confidence fell into negative territory, with 73 percent of SMBs reporting a rise in the cost of doing business.

Does cutting-edge technology require a new approach to insurance? (techworld), Rated: A

Digital Risks, an insurtech startup launched in 2014, focuses solely on providing insurance to startups working in the digital, media and tech space.

“We insure things like challenger banks, peer-to-peer lending, payments, medtech, teleadvice, fraud detection, cyber security software, and sharing economy businesses,” Rose adds. “The general focus is around technology.”

Digital Risks doesn’t provide insurance itself – rather, it acts as a broker between companies and a group of about 20 different underwriters.

Lendinvest backs £12m Leeds-based PRS scheme (Specialist Lending Solutions), Rated: B

The specialist property finance lender has completed a £12.5m financing deal with KMRE Group to build 111 new homes in Kirkstall, in a private rental sector (PRS) scheme.

The whole development will be managed as a PRS scheme, and was forward sold before construction commenced to a £300bn investment management group.

International

AltFiData Predicts Strong Growth for Marketplace Lending in the US in 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Today, leading data analytics provider for marketplace lending, AltFiData, released the total origination numbers for the UK, Europe and the USA. They are predicting solid growth for the industry in all three regions in 2018. The new loan volume for the USA in 2018 is expected be $38.9 billion, a year on year increase of 46%.

Still, I think 46% growth is a little on the high side for the four companies covered here but I expect we will get close to those numbers. Interestingly, AltFiData is expecting the UK industry to grow at 43%, slightlty slower than the USA, and Continental Europe to grow at 73% off a much smaller base.

Investing on the Mintos Secondary Market – Hint 2 – Buying overdue loans at discount (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

I get a result of 349 loans with various discounts and an YTM of up to 14%. Not surprising for me, many of the loans listed at the top are Mogo loans.

Source: P2P-Banking

If these loans do pay up and then run till regular maturity date, then he recieves a yield of 12.4% to 13.8%. Decent, but not very high compared to other Mintos loans.

However there is a chance of at least 50% that these loans will default and are bought back within the next 30 days. If that happens to a loan, that a buyer bought at 0.3% discount, it will boost his yield very roughly by more 3.6% (0.3% for 30 days multiplied by 12 to get annual effect). Likely it is more because the next payment date will be less than 30 days away. But even taking 3.6% the yield will be around 17%.

The loan with the 0.6% discount would mean a boost of very rougly 7.2% yield on top (0.6*12). So that could lead to about 20% yield.

Global Venture Capital Investment Market – Top 3 Trends by Technavio (BusinessWire), Rated: A

According to Technavio analysts, the global venture capital investment market will grow at a CAGR of more than 27% during the forecast period.

The three emerging market trends driving the global venture capital investment market according to Technavio research analysts are:

  • IPO market gains momentum
  • Growing portion of new investments in China and India
  • Increased participation from mutual funds, hedge funds, and banks in the VC market

In 2017, a lot of major startups such as Cloudera, China Rapid Finance, and Okta came up with IPOs. Most of the companies issuing IPOs were technology-focused and were software and cloud service providers.

During the forecast period, the Americas was the leading venture capital investment market with a market share of more than 56%, with the US being the leading country in the region.

Source: BusinessWire

Crowdfunding – Raising Billions (BW Disrupt), Rated: B

Equity crowdfunding has also become legal in countries like United Kingdom, France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong and the U.S. with President Obama legalizing the equity crowdfunding by signing the JOBS Act into law.

Source: BW Disrupt

The Crowdfunding statistics for 2017 reports a global amount raised for $34 billion, broken into $25 billion through peer-to-peer lending, $5.5 billion through reward and donation and $2.5 billion through equity crowdfunding. The projection of the crowdfunding industry is expected to grow over $300 billion by 2025.

Australia/New Zealand

Big banks, biased financial advisers, and the three tricks to avoid them (The NewDaily), Rated: AAA

This week the big banks got more bad press when the corporate regulator ASIC declared that their huge networks of financial advisers were failing to operate in the best interests of their customers.

The report, which covered the financial advice arms of the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, NAB and AMP, found that an astonishing 75 per cent of advice provided was not in the best interests of customers.

And in 10 per cent of cases, consumers were actually worse off than they would have been if they hadn’t got advice.

PledgeMe announces new crowdlending-inspired platform in the works (bizEDGE), Rated: A

PledgeMe has jumpstarted the year with the announcement of the launch of a new lending platform they will be offering.

The Ta Koha platform will be based on a crowdlending model in partnership with the Māori Women Development Inc (MWDI).

India

Innovative products pay off for e-lending startups (ET Rise), Rated: A

After payments, digital lending as a space is at the vanguard of innovations, driven by a clutch of startups seeking to take formal lending to a customer segment that never got easy credit from banks.

From a digital EMI card to instant personal loans and a line-of-credit product, new-age disruptors such as Stashfin, Kissht, and Antworks, along with their established peers Paysense and Moneytap, are trying to generate traction through innovative lending products. Mumbai-based Kissht is financing consumption requirements of low-income households with a digital EMI card that can be used to make payments directly.
“There are around 40 online merchant partners and 2,000 points of presence accepting the Kissht EMI card across businesses like electronic stores, furniture shops and others,” said Krishnan Vishwanathan, chief executive of Kissht. Another Delhi-based startup, Stashfin, is also targeting consumers with income levels between ?20,000 and 1 lakh per month.
Asia

W11.2tr earmarked for midrange borrowers (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission said Thursday it plans to circulate a combined 11.2 trillion won ($10.6 billion) this year for local retail borrowers that hold midrange credit scores while having trouble finding corresponding loans.

The FSC pledged to pour a combined 8 trillion won into state-run loan products sold at banks, including those designed for refinancing. The remaining 3.2 trillion won will be spent to encourage private banking institutions to develop and sell midrange loan products this year, and the volume of support is expected to gradually increase, according to the plans.

By 2022, the government’s annual financial support for five commercial banking groups — Shinhan, KB, KEB Hana, NH and Woori — will increase by 2.5 times to 2.4 trillion won from 2017, according to the plans. Direct banks Kakao Bank and K Bank received 900 billion won in 2017, and the volume will increase by 3.5 times to 3.1 trillion won in 2022.

Africa

SelfKey Receives Regulatory Sandbox License in Mauritius (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

SelfKey, a blockchain-based digital identity firm, has obtained a Mauritius’ Regulatory Sandbox License (RSL), according to information provided by the company. This license will allow SelfKey to develop their self-sovereign digital identity wallet and financial services marketplace under supervision and scrutiny of the Board of Investment of Mauritius.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor