Thursday July 6 2019, Weekly News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: 3 top execs exit SoFi. Zopa proclaims end of monogamous banking. LendInvest earnings hit the roof. Financial Conduct Authority sets new rules for UK P2P lending. Quarter of global small firms are significant fintech users. Biz2Credit raises $52M. Today’s main analysis: Alternative lenders steal business from banks. P2P lending will be […]

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United States

SoFi Loses Three Top Executives (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Three top executives of Social Finance Inc. are leaving the financial-tech startup in the coming weeks, adding to the challenges the company faces as it moves through a tough environment for online lenders.

Marketing chief Joanne Bradford, head of risk Kevin Moss and Ashish Jain, the lender’s top capital markets executive, recently told Chief Executive Anthony Noto about their plans to step down from their roles. All three had been at the company prior to Mr. Noto taking the reins in early 2018.

Tech Driving Bank Earnings Growth (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US first quarter GDP growth was revised lower to 3.1%. There is fear that the economy is slowing due to the ongoing trade war and the length of this economic expansion. The 3 month-10 year yield curve fell to its most inverted since 2007 to -12.3 bps. Recessions have usually followed within 18 months of this curve inverting. The market is looking to the Fed to bolster economic growth with the odds of a rate cut at the September meeting now at 54%.

Source: CME, PeerIQ

Technology Driving Earnings Growth

Banks and lenders are reaping the benefits of their technology investments now. Banks like Citi have been able to offer new products and grow their deposit base, while Capital One has improved its efficiency ratio by 400 bps. Banks and lenders continue to make large technology investments for faster growth at lower cost.

Alternative Lenders Continue to Steal Business From Banks (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

What is less well known is the rapid growth of PayPal as a digital lending alternative. It may be time for banks and credit unions to wake up, however, as the company announced that they had crossed $10 billion in small business lending in only 5 years.

Amazon Joins PayPal as Top 5 Small Business Digital Lender

Amazon has joined PayPal, OnDeck, Kabbage, and Square as a top 5 digital small business lender. In fact, Amazon revealed that it had made more than $1 billion in small business loans to US-based merchants in 2018.

The peer-to-peer business lender, Funding Circle, also revealed its first-quarter trading update, showing that loans under management rose by 44% compared to the first quarter of 2018, while originations grew by 23% (they have originated $9.5 billion in loans).

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Rules for Comprehensive Reform of Debt Collection Industry (Debevoise & Plimpton), Rated: AAA

On May 7, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB” or the “Bureau”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM” or “Notice”) to increase regulation of the debt collection industry.1 The much-anticipated Notice is the outgrowth of the CFPB’s 2016 Outline of Proposals (the “Outline” or the “2016 Outline”), which was a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s efforts to protect consumers and overhaul all aspects of consumer finance (see our August 10, 2016 client alert on the Outline here). One presidential election and two CFPB Directors later, CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger announced a more limited plan to put in place substantial protections, but which rejects some of the 2016 Outline’s more ambitious proposals. The NPRM would overhaul the industry by, for example, requiring that debt collectors make no more than seven attempts by telephone per week to reach consumers about specific debts, and allow debtors to opt out of allowing collectors to contact them via e-mail, text messages, or other media. However, the proposal fails to address many of the Outline’s calls for increased regulation of substantiation of debt, decedent debt, and transfer of information to subsequent collectors (among other things).

See the full report here.

Biz2Credit Raises $ 52M In Funding To Expand (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Biz2Credit, the online lending platform that helps banks and other financial institutions manage small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending processes, announced Tuesday (June 4) that it raised $52 million in venture funding.

Biz2Credit said the Series B funding round was led by WestBridge Capital.

Jared Kaplan of OppLoans (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Jared Kaplan, the CEO of OppLoans.

Lighter Capital Introduces Suite of Alternative Financing Solutions to Fund More Startups up to $ 3 Million (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Lighter Capital announced today that it has launched new financing products to better match the capital needs of growing startups. To date, Lighter Capital has provided over $150 million in more than 500 rounds of financing to over 300 startups. The company has historically provided Revenue-Based Financing and has now broadened its portfolio to include lines of credit and term loans, designed to provide startups capital over time as they need it. Unlike most venture debt, startups do not need to have raised Venture Capital to qualify for funding.

1. Lighter Line of Credit – Startups have fluctuations in capital needs, to make essential payments like payroll or wait for a big customer payment. The Lighter Line of Credit is a revolving working capital line. It enables startups to draw and return capital numerous times, to even out their cash needs.

2. Lighter Term Loan – Provides startups growth capital in a traditional structure with predictable payments. Lighter Capital will also make forward commitments, giving startups the right to get additional capital for a period of time. For example, a startup could get a $500,000 loan today and a commitment from Lighter Capital to provide an additional $500,000 over the following six months.

LendPro Unveils Dynamic Routing Capability to Streamline POS Financing (LendPro Email), Rated: A

LendPro LLC, a provider of Lending-As-A-Service (LaaS) products and platforms for retailers, today unveiled Dynamic Routing —an innovative POS financing solution that automatically matches consumer credit applications with the best-available lending option.

While alternative lending software moves credit applications through a pre-defined, inflexible process, Dynamic Routing by LendPro dynamically guides borrower application data to lenders in the merchant’s financing portfolio based on the attributes of the sale. For example, if the total price for a specific purchase is too large (or small) for a lender’s target loan size, LendPro’s Dynamic Routing system can route the applicant to a different lender. This technological innovation saves time, increases simplicity, and may help the borrower avoid an unwanted credit application.

Why it’s Time to Ask Your Wealth Manager About P2P Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Using a crowdfunding platform, however, 5,000 individuals might each invest $1,000 into the company. Each of those individual investors is exposed to a very small amount of risk, and the company is able to raise the funds without surrendering ownership.

Possible Finance lands $ 10.5 million to provide consumers softer, kinder short-term loans (TechCrunch), Rated: A

It’s one reason that venture capitalist Rebecca Lynn, a managing partner with Canvas Ventures  and an early investor in the online lending company LendingClub, has largely steered clear of the numerous startups crowding into the industry in recent years. It’s also why she just led a $10.5 million investment in Possible Finance, a two-year-old, Seattle-based outfit that’s doing what she “thought was impossible,” she says. The startup is “helping people on the lower end of the credit spectrum improve their financial outlook without being predatory.”

Santa Clarita Ranked Second Highest ‘Debt-Ridden’ City In California (Home Town Station), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, released a report this week detailing the accrued debt of all California cities with a population of at least 50,000.

Santa Clarita ranked the second highest in auto loan debt with an average of about $21,000, and second in the state for personal loan debt, excluding mortgages, with an average of just over $6,000.

Source: Home Town Station

Cities With the Highest Percentage of Black Homeowners (Black Enterprise), Rated: A

Even though housing discrimination has been outlawed for 50 years, studies show that the U.S. black homeownership rate isn’t any higher than when the Fair Housing Act initially passed in 1968. In fact, the racial gap between white and black homeowners today is significant. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the homeownership rate among white Americans is 73.2%, while the black homeownership rate stands at 41.1%. In comparison, 42% of black households owned their homes back in 1970, two years after housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin was outlawed.

According to the report, the U.S. cities that have the highest percentage of black homeowners are San Jose, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Portland. On the other hand, the cities where black homeownership is lowest relative to overall population are Memphis, New Orleans, Baltimore, Virginia Beach, and Milwaukee, where the median household income for black residents is a mere $28,928.

See LendingTree’s report here.

Real Crowd Says HNW Investors Poised to Boost Real Estate Investments in 2019 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform RealCrowd reports that High Net Worth (HNW) investors are looking to increase their portfolio of real estate investments during 2019. According to a survey by the Fintech platform, 53% of surveyed HNW individuals expect to make “two-to-four direct real estate investments in 2019.” Specific details on the survey process were not revealed.

This is a big improvement over year prior when just 33% planned to do the same thus an increase of around 20%.

The survey also stated that 47% of respondents’ desire to allocate more than 25 percent of their investment portfolio to commercial real estate.

WealthStone – Democratizing Access to Commercial Real Estate (PR Newswire), Rated: A

WealthStone LLC announces the launch of its new website, WealthStoneLLC.com, where technology brings increased access to institutional-quality commercial real estate investments to a wider audience, while delivering the best customer experience possible for its growing global investor base.

3 Investments That Lead to Passive Income (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending is a relative newcomer to the world of investments. Lending Club and Prosper were the first institutions to offer P2P loans beginning in mid-2000, and they’ve changed the way countless loans are handled. Instead of going to the bank, borrowers apply for loans from other people. People who have been denied loans from financial institutions are often approved for P2P loans at rates that are lower than those of larger financial institutions.

Sagent Lending Technologies to Transform the Lending Experience, Powered by Microsoft Azure (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Sagent Lending Technologies announced today a strategic initiative to transform the borrower and the lender experience through Microsoft Azure. Sagent will leverage the potential of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and cognitive services available on Azure that will provide a reimagined experience for Sagent clients and their consumer borrowers.

BofA, Longtime Leader in Leveraged Loans, Warns of `Carnage’ (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The U.S. economy is on solid footing except for one potential trouble spot, according to Bank of America Corp.’sChief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan: leveraged loans — a business the bank has dominated for a decade.

Bank of America was bookrunner on some $317 billion of leveraged loans this year, accounting for 10.8 percent of the market share, the Bloomberg data show, which captures all leveraged term loans and revolver facilities that are either new or have been amended.

Moody’s Investors Service said covenant quality for 2018’s last quarter was close to a record low, and the rating company sees no signs of improvement this year. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last month that the market looks a lot like the mortgage industry in the run-up to the subprime crisis.

Digital Banks Look to Attract Older Generations (LendIt), Rated: A

One of the challenges for the challenger banks like Monzo, Starling and Revolut is to go beyond the young demographic they’ve been successful at attracting to their products; not surprisingly, less than 5% of Monzo’s customers over 60; as more bank branch close they are looking to bring in older customers who are no longer being served by traditional banks; Monzo and Starling have both added the ability to make cash deposits; Starling recently partnered with the post office and Monzo partnered with a payments service which is in 30,000 shops in the UK; these digital banks and their competitors are experimenting in how they can have more physical points of contact with customers; Revolut recently shared a plain English customer contract in a move to help their customers better understand the product.

The tech banks are using to boost deposit growth (American Banker), Rated: A

First Arkansas & Trust, for example, is using Plinqit, a goal-oriented savings app from a fintech called HTMA Holdings, in the hopes of boosting deposits.

And some banks have begun to specialize in the banking-as-a-service model to increase deposits.

Following is a look at how regional and community banks are employing tech to help in the race for deposit growth:

Wharton just released an online fintech course for the masses (Technical.ly), Rated: A

On Thursday, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Online announced its new virtual fintech specialization program, “FinTech: Foundations and Applications of Financial Technologies,” for students and professionals who want to learn about the rapidly changing tech.

The four-course financial program is available via online education platform Coursera, and will detail the use of cryptocurrency, robo-advising, crowdfunding and modern investing.

BlueVine Appoints Silicon Valley Veteran Herman Man to Chief Product Officer (BlueVine), Rated: B

BlueVine, which provides small- and medium-sized businesses with access to fast and simple online financing, announced today that it has named Silicon Valley technology and engineering veteran, Herman Man, its Chief Product Officer. In this role, Man will focus on developing the next generation of BlueVine products and oversee the company’s product vision, strategy, design and execution to deliver on its mission to provide fast, fair and easy financing solutions every small business needs to thrive.

Lendio Announces New Senior Vice President of Lender & Partner Strategy (Lendio), Rated: B

Lendio announced today that Denada Ramnishta has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Lender & Partner Strategy.

Thomas M. Affolter Joins White Oak as Managing Director to Bolster Origination Efforts (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (White Oak) is pleased to announce that Thomas (Tom) M. Affolter has joined White Oak as a Managing Director based in Chicago. Mr. Affolter will focus on originating new investment opportunities and expanding the coverage network for White Oak’s private debt funds.

United Kingdom

Zopa says fintech revolution has killed off monogamous banking (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has declared that “monogamous banking is a thing of the past”, as new research reveals that the average UK adult has a relationship with seven different financial providers.

The peer-to-peer consumer lender, which is launching a digital bank, said that the fintech revolution has changed the shape of financial services for consumers.

It cited a survey that found 71 per cent of UK adults said they do not need a relationship with their main bank, while two thirds are actively using products from banks and financial providers other than their main current account provider.

LendInvest earnings soar as it looks to disrupt ‘slow moving’ banks (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ONLINE property lender LendInvest has reported an 82 per cent jump in core earnings, as it looks to disrupt the UK mortgage market.

LendInvest, which used to be a peer-to-peer lender before it shut its platform to retail investors, posted core earnings of £4m for the year ended 31 March 2019, up from £2.2m the previous year.

The firm, which is considering a stock market flotation, said that platform assets rose by 69 per cent to £788.3m over the same period, while revenue rose by 36 per cent to £72.7m.

FCA Announces New Rules For UK P2P Lending Platforms (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The long awaited changes to P2P lending regulations in the UK are finally here. Today, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that the new rules for peer to peer lending platforms have been set and will come into effect on December 9, 2019.

  • Introducing more explicit requirements to clarify what governance arrangements, systems and controls platforms need to have in place to support the outcomes they advertise. These new rules focus particularly on credit risk assessment, risk management and fair valuation practices, especially for platforms with more complex business models.
  • Strengthening rules on plans for the wind-down of P2P platforms.
  • Applying marketing restrictions to P2P platforms, designed to protect new or less experienced investors. We have also clarified the practical implication of these new rules as they apply to P2P agreements.
  • Introducing a requirement that an appropriateness assessment (to assess an investor’s knowledge and experience of P2P investments) be undertaken, where no advice has been given to the investor. We have also provided guidance on what the assessment should include.
  • Setting out the minimum information that P2P platforms need to provide to investors

Assetz Capital hits bridging loans and small business lending milestones (AltFi), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender Assetz Capital said it has hit a double milestone, providing over £100m in bridging loans and a further £50m in small business funding, “as the appetite for alternative forms of finance continues to rise across the UK”.

The Manchester-based fintech adds that since it was founded six years ago it has lent over £780m to small firms and property developers, helping build 3,700 homes in Britain.

UK P2P sector poised for “significant further growth” (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE UK’S peer-to-peer lending sector is set to experience “significant further growth”, according to Standard & Poor’s.

A report released by the ratings agency this week said that the growing involvement of institutional funds and increased securitisation issuance are set to boost the industry.

Santander and eBay team up on UK loans app (Techradar), Rated: A

In an effort to fend off tech giants and newer digital rivals, Santander and eBay have announced a new lending partnership for small businesses.

The Spanish bank will begin offering loans to over 200,000 small and medium-sized businesses that sell products on eBay in the UK through its financial technology app Astro.

As £165m Lendy collapses, experts warn ‘a dozen more peer-to-peer firms will follow’ (The Telegraph), Rated: A

While investments of varying risk are available, some platforms have tempted consumers with returns of more than 12pc on high-risk projects. But the collapse of one large platform, Lendy, which offered loans on property developments, has concerned investors across the sector.

Wagestream Says One Complaint Against PayDay Lenders is Resolved for Every Three Received (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Payday loan alternative Wagestream has issued a release stating the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has received 47,220 complaints against payday lenders since 2018. Yet while many complaints have been received only a fraction have been resolved. Wagestream states that only one out of three are resolved or just under 17,000.

Welendus unveils rebrand as Fund Ourselves (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer payday lender, has rebranded as Fund Ourselves.

ARBUTHNOT SPECIALIST FINANCE CONCLUDES FIRST LOAN COMPLETION SINCE LAUNCHING THE BUSINESS (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: B

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance (ASFL) is pleased to announce it has concluded its first loan completion since announcing its launch in late May. The deal is a 70% LTV residential product loan on a property located less than half a mile from the University of Central Lancashire campus in Preston.

China/Hong Kong

The Escalating US-China Trade War, Part 1 (In Homeland Security), Rated: AAA

China is in debt, significantly. Part of the problem is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to assign a figure to the debt. There are Chinese statistics for official debt, but following the 2008 economic crisis, China implemented new restrictions on lending. Over the past decade, those restrictions have shifted from one type of loan to another so Chinese citizens get creative with how they borrow money for business purposes or to purchase property.

Furthermore, the economic crisis took “shadow lending” to new heights. Shadow lending can include everything from organized crime to banks obfuscating the purpose of a loan or peer-to-peer lending. China cracked down on this lending practice too, but the debt amount is significant and official numbers do not typically include shadow lending.

New US Tariffs Spell Doomsday for China’s Economy (The Epoch Times), Rated: AAA

The additional 25 percent tariff imposed by the United States on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will trigger a new round of factory closures in China, driving economic collapse.

In the context of the blow-up of the P2P (peer-to-peer lending) and other usury, the 8.4 trillion will cause most medium and small-sized banks to fall into bankruptcy crisis.

HSBC Rolls Out Digital Wallet To Hong Kong Businesses (PYMNTS), Rated: A

HSBC has reportedly expanded its PayMe digital wallet to startups and small businesses, marking its first foray into the business payments marketplace.

European Union

ING pushes for open banking with SME financing platform and Yolt expansion (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

ING is keen to maximise the possibilities of open banking and is working with Yolt and Funding Options on bringing new features to customers across Europe.

Firstly, ING is launching a marketplace for SME financing in the Netherlands, which will open to other external financing providers, becoming the first Dutch bank in doing so.

International

We are “very close” to peak fintech, with more than 10,000 startups jumping into the boom (Quartz), Rated: AAA

According to Curve’s Shachar Bialick, the founder and CEO, an app that lets customers to link all their credit and debit cards to just one card, says there are more than 10,000 fintech startups around the world, and even he can’t keep track of them all. Some, or even most, aren’t going to make it.

Quartz: It’s been about four months since Amex blocked Curve. What are your plans now?

Bialick: Amex was never a critical part of Curve. It was always an opportunity to solve a big problem Amex has in the UK and Europe, which is access.

Curve has continued to grow in Europe without Amex.

Have we reached the peak in terms of new fintech startups?

I don’t know if we reached the peak, but we definitely are very close, because today there are over 10,000 fintechs globally. I don’t know over 90% of them.

Peer To Peer Lending To Be The Next $ 1 Trillion Industry (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

By eliminating the need for banks, peer to peer lending allows investors to invest in individual and company debt with 5-10% returns – a far cry from the the lowly 1.5% that you’ll received in a regular CD account.

And it works better for borrowers too. Borrowers are able to take out loans with greater ease and lower interest rates, typically offered in the region of 3-4%.

The average default rate at Lending Works is only 3.2% over the last six years. And many P2P lenders allow you to choose secured loans for additional protection.

Transparency Market Research estimates the industry be worth $900 billion by the end of 2024, with an annual growth rate of 48%, up from $26 billion in 2015.

Source: ValueWalk

One quarter of world’s small firms are ‘significant’ fintech users, says report (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Fintechs are becoming the ‘new normal’ in financial services, said a survey by professional services firm EY.

Fintech adoption is by far the highest in China, where 61 per cent of small businesses use their services, followed by the US, 23 per cent, the UK, 18 per cent, South Africa, 16 per cent, Mexico, 11 per cent, with the average set at 25 per cent.

Source: Ernst & Young

See the full report here.

Tencent, Temasek Invest $ 35 Million in U.K. Open-Banking Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Singapore government-owned fund Temasek is to invest $35 million in London-based TrueLayer.

The Fintech Bubble Floats Toward a $ 64 Billion Pin (The Washington Post), Rated: A

Trendy U.S. online payments company Stripe, worth some $22.5 billion according to private-market valuations, is joining Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. in warning about the impact of EU rules aimed at getting customers to double-check payments going out from their accounts.

Adyen trades at a gob-smacking 110 times this year’s earnings, with a market value of 20.8 billion euros. That’s almost twice the worth of Deutsche Bank AG, even though the Dutch fintech only employs the equivalent of 1% of the German lender’s staff. Stripe is the sixth most expensive private company in the world, according to researchers at CBInsights.

Australia

RBA Boss Warns Banks On Undermining The Economy (SB Dirty South Soccer), Rated: A

THE Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cut the cash rate to a new record low.

The online lender announced a new headline variable rate for owner-occupiers at 3.34 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday July 6 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Tuesday September 13th 2016, Daily News Digest

Tuesday September 13th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s top news : Klarna is taking over the online retail (credit?) market; Point raised $15.4 mil ; Lending Club hired new CFO ; and Facebook is enabling payments in their 30,000 chat bots. Analysis : A great summary of the P2P market economics ; US SME’s optimism survey and retail credit card […]

Tuesday September 13th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

 

United States

Facebook Messenger now allows payments in its 30,000 chat bots, (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Messenger bots can accept payments natively without sending users to an external website, Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus announced today onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016.

Finally, the credit card info people already have stored in Facebook or Messenger can be used to instantly make purchases in bots that are part of the new closed beta the developers can apply for. Marcus also revealed that 34,000 devs have joined the platform and built 30,000 bots in the April launch, up from over 10,000 devs in May and 11,000 bots in July.

To support payments in Messenger, Marcus says that the company is working with all the major players in the industry including Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Visa, MasterCard and American Express — not just Stripe and PayPal which the Facebook developer blog post mentioned.

During the talk, Marcus discussed Messenger’s rise to 1 billion users thanks to a forced migration from Facebook’s main app, his relationship with Mark Zuckerberg, and the early stumbles with chatbots that have been used by millions of people across 200 countries.

Optimism of America’s Small Businesses at Record High, (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

The survey found that 87.5 percent of small business owners are investing more in their business in 2016 than 2015. Of those business owners who said they will be investing, the vast majority (91.4 percent) plan to borrow funds to do so. More than a third (38.3 percent) plan to borrow between $10,000 and $40,000, and 37.5 percent plan on borrowing more than $40,000.

When it comes to assessing growth or working capital, the majority (67.6 percent) of small business owners prefer alternative financing over other available options, including traditional bank loans. 20.7 percent plan to access short-term financing, less than a third (31.53 percent) plan to borrow funds from a local bank, and 27.9 percent plan to use a credit card or line of credit. In addition, 28.7 percent of respondents said they were affected by the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike earlier this year, which impacted their willingness to spend and invest in their businesses.

More than half of respondents (61.7 percent) are borrowing funds for working capital, and of those 38.3 percent will use the money for marketing purposes. More than a third (38.3 percent) are borrowing to invest in inventory, and 30.9 percent are doing so to hire employees.

In total, 63.1 percent of all respondents are increasing their staff. Of those, 48.8 percent are hiring full-time employees and 32.5 percent are hiring a mix of full-time and part-time staff.

In addition, 42.9 percent of business owners plan to expand locations this year, and of those borrowing money, 22.3 percent are doing so to add locations.

The Small Business Growth Survey, which surveyed small businesses from around the country, was conducted by Bizfi, the platform that combines aggregation, funding and a marketplace for small businesses. Bizfi surveyed more than 100 small business owners in 33 states. The companies ranged from restaurants, retailers, healthcare providers and transportation to real estate. More than half of the businesses have four employees or less and 38% have between 5 and 50 employees. The revenue of the companies range widely from less than $100,000 to more than $5 million.

Bizfi surveyed more than 100 small business owners in 33 states. The companies ranged from restaurants, retailers, healthcare providers and transportation to real estate. More than half of the businesses have four employees or less and 38% have between 5 and 50 employees. The revenue of the companies range widely from less than $100,000 to more than $5 million.

Study Says US Credit Card Debt Jumped in Q2 as Average Household Indebtedness Moved Up, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

WalletHub has published their Credit Card Debt Study that shows a dramatic increase in household indebtedness – specifically in credit card debt. According to the report, US consumers cranked up on credit during Q2 of 2016 generating $34.4 billion in debt. This is the largest Q2 accumulation since 1986, according to the report. Credit card debt is now on track to hurdle $1 trillion in outstanding balances by the end of 2016 with average debt balances moving up to $8500 per household.  The authors called the situation “perilous” and stated;

“Q2 2016 also appears strikingly similar to Q2 2007, which ended less than six months prior to the start of the Great Recession.”

The report said “we are flirting with financial disaster” coming on the heels of last year’s record increase in credit card debt of $71 billion and last quarter’s record-low first-quarter pay down of $27.5 billion. Consumers may be reverting to bad habits.

Lending Club Hires Former Chase, Citi Exec as CFO, (American Banker), Rated: A

Lending Club, which has been rebuilding its executive ranks in the wake of a recent scandal, is hiring Thomas Casey as its chief financial officer.

Casey worked most recently as executive vice president and CFO at the medical device company Acelity. He previously spent more than two decades in senior leadership roles at GE Capital, Washington Mutual, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, Lending Club said in a press release.

In an interview, Sanborn said that Lending Club’s search for a new CFO began before Dolan’s resignation, since she had signaled her intent to leave the company.

Yirendai Limited (NYSE:YRD) Sellers Covered 31.46% of Their Shorts, (Press Telegraph), Rated: A

The stock of Yirendai Limited (NYSE:YRD) registered a decrease of 31.46% in short interest. YRD’s total short interest was 725,200 shares in September as published by FINRA. Its down 31.46% from 1.06M shares, reported previously. With 1.04 million shares average volume, it will take short sellers 1 days to cover their YRD’s short positions. The short interest to Yirendai Limited’s float is 8.53%. The stock decreased 3.48% or $0.74 on September 9, hitting $20.51. About 512,373 shares traded hands. Yirendai Ltd – ADR (NYSE:YRD) has risen 370.41% since February 5, 2016 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 357.23% the S&P500.

HERO Funding securitization, (Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Email), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns a preliminary rating of AA(sf) to HERO Funding 2016-3 (“HERO 2016-3) Class A1 Notes and Class A2 Notes (together, the “Class A Notes”). The notes are newly issued asset-backed securities backed by a portfolio of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bonds.

The notes are secured by an Initial PACE Bond Portfolio and a Subsequent PACE Bond Portfolio (together, the “PACE Bond Portfolio”), each consisting of limited obligation improvement bonds (each, a “PACE Bond”) issued by the Western Riverside Council of Governments (“WRCOG”), San Bernardino Associated Governments (“SANBAG”) and the County of Los Angeles, California. The Initial PACE Bond Portfolio comprises 180 PACE Bonds with an aggregate principal balance of approximately $264.1 million and is secured by 12,394 PACE assessments levied against 12,394 residential properties (“PACE Assessments”) in 34 California counties. The average PACE Assessment is approximately $21,310 with an average annual payment of approximately $2,916. The Subsequent PACE Bond Portfolio is expected to consist of PACE Bonds with an aggregate principal balance of $66.0 million. The transaction benefits from credit enhancement in the form of excess spread, over collateralization, and a liquidity reserve.

Point Raises $ 15.4 Million In Total Funding, Led By Andreessen Horowitz, To Help Homeowners Unlock Home Equity Wealth Without Borrowing, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Point, the first financial technology platform that allows homeowners to unlock their home equity wealth without taking on new debt, announced today that it has raised $8.4 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz which also led the company’s seed round in 2015, bringing the total funding to $15.4 million (including venture debt financing). Alex Rampell, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, has taken a board seat at Point. Andreessen Horowitz was joined by the company’s earlier backers Ribbit Capital and Bloomberg Beta. Individual angel investors include Orogen Group CEO Vikram S. Pandit, Airbnb CFO Laurence Tosi, LendingHome founder/CEO Matt Humphrey, and Invitation Home’s co-founder Brad Greiwe.

Point reached several key milestones including building a proprietary pricing engine that unifies property risk and homeowner risk, investing in over 50 properties across California, and bringing investor capital to its platform.

Point is the first financial technology platform that allows homeowners to unlock their home equity wealth without taking on new debt and gives investors access to a new asset class — owner-occupied residential real estate.

Weekly Orchard Lending Snapshot, (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Self-driving cars to cut U.S. insurance premiums 40%, Aon says, (Property Casualty), Rated: A

Comment: Not really in our field , but I find interesting to talk about how financial sectors are being disrupted by technology.

(Bloomberg) — Premiums for U.S. auto insurers may drop more than 40 percent once the use of automated vehicles has been fully adopted by 2050 and driving becomes safer, according to insurance broker Aon Plc.

United Kingdom

Alternative finance lending market booming on the back of low rates, (Consultancy.uk), Rated: AAA

 

The report also sought to identify what the main drivers for the use of MPLs are for borrowing money among consumers. Ease and quick turnaround are the most cited reasons by respondents, 81% say that one of the main drivers is an easy/quick application process, with 72% saying that it is the fast decision-making that makes the use of MPLs attractive. Additionally, MPL services offer competitive rates, and repayment flexibility – attracting a wide range of price conscious customers.

The consultancy firm further explores whether the MPL business model is really of sufficient improvement on that of the traditional banking proposition, to give rise to a ‘disruptive’ shakeup of the SME and consumer lending market. As it stands – within the current banking environment – the cost of an unsecured personal loan comes in at around 815 bps at banks, while at MPLs total costs stand at around 800 bps. For retail buy-to-let mortgages the bps for loans comes in at 460 for MPL and 500 for banks, while for SME loans, MPL can offer solutions at around 720 bps while banks offer loans at around 715 bps.

The current market conditions are, in many ways, abnormal. Interest rates remain at historic lows, while QE and other measures continue to operate across Europe. The researchers consider whether the current financial environment, rather than a disruptive new business model, is the main driver for the rise of MPL.

As part of the research the Big Four firm considers the total cost of attracting the required funds for the respective loans. For banks, a large portion of the loan is not sensitive to changes in rates, at around 270 bps, while for MPLs around 90 bps is not sensitive to changes in rates. This means that, as a proportion of the total bps of the loan, the credit environment disproportionately affects MPL loans – mainly in terms of return to lenders whose money is on the line. When, and if, the UK, European and US rates again begin to see relatively significant increases, the higher proportion of interest sensitive loan costs will disproportionately affect MPLs, seeing an unsecured loan increase from 470 bps to 530 bps for banks, while for MPLs the increase is from 635 bps to 795 bps.

Neil Tomlinson, Deloitte UK head of banking, says that MPLs are unlikely to become a disruptive force in the long-term, “More broadly, our research shows that total funding costs for banks are lower than for MPLs, and the interest rate-sensitive component of an MPL’s funding profile is higher than that of banks. On that basis, MPLs’ costs could rise by more than banks as the credit environment normalises and interest rates increase. Despite the challenges, MPLs do have an opportunity to carve out a niche market and can do so by exploiting their market-leading user experience and boosting word-of-mouth recommendations. These benefits could decrease customer acquisition costs, making MPLs a more viable option. As more MPLs become fully authorised by the FCA, issues surrounding trust and security could lessen. In turn, we may well see banks become more open to partnering with them to enhance their overall customer proposition.”

Study identifies uptick in P2P interest since Brexit vote, (Professional Adviser), Rated: AAA

Among the findings of the study by P2P lender ThinCats was that almost a third (30%) of those surveyed said they had been put off investing in more traditional asset classes following the EU referendum.

ThinCats Caley concluded: “In the last two months alone, our research tells us, thousands of investors have started looking at P2P lending as a way of earning meaningful returns while avoiding the rollercoaster ride of volatile markets.”

According to Caley, “a major attraction of P2P lending is it sits apart from market volatility, providing high and predictable returns, whichever way the market winds are blowing” although he also recognised continuing misgivings from the wider financial services sector.

“Another obstacle preventing advisers from suggesting P2P to their clients is the FCA classification of it as a ‘non-standard’ investment’. Change is in the air, however, with the Innovative Finance ISA in the pipeline. When it arrives, this will allow people to invest their full ISA allowance in P2P without paying tax on the interest they earn.”

Fintech unicorn Klarna just signed a big deal with Sir Philip Green’s Topshop and Miss Selfridge, (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Comment: Klarna in the US has very recently ” launched a real-time consumer financing solution for the US commerce market. They are launching together with Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Cybersource, Demandware and OpenCart. Financing will be available via core integrations and plugins.”

To separate buying a product from paying for it online, Klarna effectively offers credit to buyers although they do not go through lengthy application processes. Credit is a highly regulated space.

Swedish fintech unicorn Klarna has signed a deal with Sir Philip Green’s huge retail conglomerate Arcadia, marking the first major partnership for the online consumer credit company in the UK.

The deal will see Klarna launch its “Buy now pay later” online payment option on the websites of Topshop and Miss Selfridge, two of Arcadia’s biggest brands. It will then be rolled out to Arcadia’s other five brands, which include Burton and Dorothy Perkins.

While Arcadia does not breakout online sales numbers, the conglomerate had revenues of just over £2 billion last year and digital sales surged 24%.

Siemiatkowski says Klarna has been working on the Arcadia deal for almost a year.

Klarna uses non-traditional credit measures to assess whether to approve buyers, but Siemiatkowski stresses that the company looks at a range of different factors rather than simply eye-catching examples such as browsing habits.

Sir Philip Green, the retail tycoon behind Arcadia, has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, caught up in the row over the collapse of BHS and its pensions black hole. Siemiatkowski didn’t express an opinion on the furore, saying he has not met Sir Philip and Klarna dealt with Arcadia’s e-commerce team.

Fintech start-ups put banks under pressure, (Financial Times), Rated: A

Some established companies have drawn inspiration and are creating their own fintech projects. Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, for example, recently launched a mobile banking app called ‘B’. Similar to the new mobile banks, B aims to help customers manage their money, for example by sending prompts when customers fall into an overdraft.

Other traditional companies have dedicated funds that invest in external fintech firms

Santander UK recently teamed up with Kabbage, a US company in which it invests, to allow it to provide small businesses with funding in a matter of hours. [Comment: old news for our readers.]

For financial services companies, often weighed down by old IT systems, partnerships with fintech firms can be a more efficient way of plugging gaps in their business models.

Royal Bank of Scotland, for example, has joined forces with a number of online lenders to small business, including Iwoca.

Warren Mead, global co-head of fintech at KPMG, said: “Getting access to customers is very hard and expensive, so more fintech companies are turning to banks to have partnerships. I don’t see them dominating the space in banking; I think they’ll end up being acquired. One or two could merge.

Some incumbents have already taken large stakes in a number of fintech firms. Spanish Bank BBVA, for example, acquired a 30 per cent stake in Atom Bank last year.

LendInvest calls on Government to lift barriers on small-scale housebuilding, (Dash.com), Rated: A

Recent decades have seen the numbers of SME housebuilders plummet. In 1988, the number of small builders – defined as those building 100 units or fewer – stood at 12,200 in the UK.

This fell to 5,700 by 2006 and then 2,400 by 2014.

Land

  • The Government should take action to ensure that land is not unnecessarily banked and that larger developers who do not develop land in their stock sell it on to SMEs who will develop the land swiftly.
  • Place increased scrutiny on the land market, including requiring the publication of data on land pricing, option agreements and ownership.
  • Prioritise SMEs over major housebuilders in bids to develop land released from public ownership.

Finance

  • The Government should explore state-backed funding schemes to provide businesses like LendInvest with more capital to lend to SMEs.
  • Put SME property development at the heart of the industrial strategy. Commit to and act upon the funding understood by industry to have been earmarked by government for SME development projects.
  • Build on the Government’s support for alternative finance as a route for SME growth by promoting cross-fertilisation between small scale developers and alternative finance companies.

Skills

  • The Government should support industry initiatives to develop skills for property developers.
  • The Industrial Strategy should go further in incentivising development activity to position property development as an attractive entrepreneurial opportunity.
  • Government at all levels must work with SME developers to make it easy to plan and develop property.
China

Protesters Wrongly Target Ernst & Young in Shanghai, (Caixin Online), Rated: A

Dozens of peer-to-peer online financing investors lodged an hours-long protest in front of Ernst & Young in Shanghai last Friday — only to learn they had targeted the wrong business.

At about noon, dozens of P2P investors gathered in front of the EY office in the bustling financial district of Lujiazui in Shanghai. They complained they lost money after investing in Uprosper Asset, an online lender that boasted of a “strategic cooperation” with EY, one of the “big four” audit firms. Some protestors refused to leave until 6 p.m.

However, the London-based EY dismissed any strategic cooperation with the P2P lender and told Caixin it has never audited or commented on that company’s financial reports.

EY demanded the online lending company remove all “relevant falsified information.” Since then, the names of all companies with whom the P2P site claimed to have a partnership have been deleted.

In June, Usprosper Asset owner Wang Mian disappeared, causing investor panic and a cash crunch at the P2P platform. Since then, 2,216 investors have been unable to get back a combined estimated 436 million yuan ($65.2 million).

Author:

George Popescu