Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest

leveraged loans

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi launches ETF for gig market. LendingClub’s higher fees lead to earnings win. CrowdStreet hits $500M in real estate investments. Funding Circle offers manual lending in foreign markets. Marcus delays German launch. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub, GreenSky, and OnDeck earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: GDP growth continues. The pros and cons […]

The post Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

leveraged loans

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United States

United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

SoFi launches gig-focused ETF (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today, the company announced a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) product focused on the gig economy. GIGE, which trades on Nasdaq, is an actively managed fund advised by Toroso Investments that allows investors to capitalize on this hot sector of the economy. Toroso offers a range of services around creating and managing ETFs.

The company also announced the creation of an ETF focused on high-growth stocks. That ETF, which trades as SFYF on the NYSE, is designed to identify and capture the growth of the top 50 of the 1,000 largest publicly traded issues.

LendingClub Records Higher Transaction Fees on the Way to Earnings Beat (TheStreet), Rated: AAA

Online-loan marketplace LendingClub (LC – Get Report) was rising more than 14% Wednesday to $3.70 after reporting a surprise profit in the first quarter, though the company’s guidance was short of expectations.

LendingClub reported a 22% increase in transaction fees that led to a 15% increase in revenue to $174.4 million and adjusted earnings of 2 cents per share. Wall Street was expecting the company to report revenue of $169.4 million and a loss of 3 cents per share.

Higher Fees Drive LendingClub’s Earnings Beat (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The marketplace lending platform reported adjusted net loss of $11.25 million, or 3 cents a share — red ink, but less than the 4 cents per share loss analysts were forecasting.

That stronger-than-expected revenue outcome was driven by stronger-than-expected loan originations during the first quarter, which rose 18 percent year-on-year to $2.73 billion. That increase in originations drove an increase in transaction fees, which were up 22 percent to $135.4 million.

For the second quarter, the company expects net revenue between $185 million and $195 million, with the high end slightly below the average analyst estimate of $196.7 million.

Why LendingClub Stock Leapt 12.4% Today (The Motley Fool), Rated: B

Wedbush believes LendingClub’s improving operating efficiency will help it produce an adjusted EBITDA margin of 20% by the end of 2019. The firm also expects LendingClub to grow revenue by 12%-15% annually in the coming years.

LendingClub, GreenSky and OnDeck Q1 2019 Earnings Results (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub

LendingClub rounded out 2018 originating the most loans in the company’s history at $10.9 billion. With their Q1 2019 results, the company is off to a great start in 2019. Originations were $2.7 billion, up 18% year over year. The company reported that application growth was 31% over the same period.

Source: Lend Academy

Net revenues came in above high end guidance of $172 million at $174.4 million for the quarter, up 15% year over year. GAAP Consolidated Net Loss was $(19.9) million, compared to $(31.2) million in Q1 2018. Finally, the company delivered adjusted EBITDA of $22.6, up 47% year over year and well above their projections of $13-$18 million. LendingClub is on track to become adjusted net income profitable over the second half of 2019.

GreenSky Q1 2019 Earnings

In Q1 2019 GreenSky increased transaction volume on the platform 20% to $1.2 billion. They also grew revenue 22% to $103.7 million form the prior year period. GAAP Net Income in Q1 2019 was $7.4 million. The company had aggregate commitments of $11.8 billion from nine bank partners of which $4.5 billion remain unused. The company ended the quarter with $268 million in cash.

Source: Lend Academy

OnDeck Q1 2019 Earnings

Originations fell for the quarter to $636 million compared to $658 million for the previous quarter. This was attributed to OnDeck tightening their credit box during the quarter. The company shared that their line of credit product reached an all time high of $150 million for the quarter.

Strong GDP Growth Continues (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

Unemployment fell to 3.6% – the lowest level since 1969. The last time unemployment levels were this low, the first humans landed on the moon. The inflation rate was 5.5% The DJIA was 800. The average cost of a new home was $15K, and the average salary was $9K. A gallon of gas cost a scorching thirty-five cents.

Source: PeerIQ

On the regulatory front, Senator Durbin introduces a bill to create a 36% APR Cap on Consumer Loans. The 36% cap matches a similar rate for loans offered to service members and is superseded by strict state-level caps, and offers no preemption of the patchwork of state laws for digital models.

Online marketplace reaches $ 500M in online real estate investments (Real Estate Weekly), Rated: AAA

CrowdStreet, Inc., a technology provider with an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), announced that in March it crossed the $500 million threshold in total online investments with a record number of new individual investors.

The news accompanies a record quarter with over $75 million invested.

The Pros And Cons Of Leveraged Loans (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Corporate America has taken on substantially more debt in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Today, the underlying structure of that leverage looks different. Fewer bonds are being issued. Bank loans to indebted companies now match junk bonds in total issue. This article will review the market for leveraged loans – a marketplace that has grown tenfold in the new millennium and has passed the $1 trillion threshold.

In 2017, nearly 70% of levered loans were refinanced at lower interest rates. That creates a lot of turnover.

BlackRock is building a team of 30 data scientists to create a next-generation stock-lending platform (Business Insider), Rated: A

BlackRock founded a Palo Alto, California-based group called AI Labs last year, directed by the Stanford professor Stephen Boyd. Now, according to job postings reviewed by Business Insider, the 30-member team is tackling projects ranging from next-generation lending platforms to automating human tasks.

ONLINE LENDER SETTLES WITH FTC FOR .85 MILLION (Lawyers and Settlements), Rated: A

Avant LLC, the online lending phenomenon which had previously been hailed as a “breakout financial success story,” has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $3.85 million. Although the lawsuit largely relied on a different federal statute, it shares much of the consumer financial protection zeal of the excessive overdraft fee lawsuits recently leveled against credit unions, banks and payday lenders. But it also reveals shortcomings in federal consumer protection laws.

Providing Additional Liquidity to Some Delinquent Borrowers Can Actually be a Win-Win (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Consumers who fall behind on credit payments may find an unexpected lifeline—another loan from their lender. A new TransUnion (TRU) study found that, in some instances, both lenders and consumers can benefit when additional loans are extended to customers during difficult times. The findings were released today during the 2019 TransUnion Financial Services Summit, attended by more than 300 executives from across the globe.

In the study, 31% of delinquent borrowers experienced improvement on one or more of their delinquent debts when securing a new personal loan. In addition, 24% of borrowers also performed well on the new loan.

Monzo plots US launch as soon as this summer (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Monzo, the mobile banking app known for its coral coloured debit cards, is planning to launch in America as soon as this summer, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

The £1bn start-up challenger bank is in the process of hiring executives to lead its product and marketing arms in the US. It is expected that the company will choose Los Angeles as its base.

Affirm, Kabbage, Tala — The Big Three of Online Loans (Bitnews Today), Rated: AAA

Affirm is a company that provides payday loans online and at points of sale. To receive an approval decision, a potential Affirm client does not have to wait long — the company’s scoring system processes its questionnaire, profiles in social networks and other documents very fast.

Source: Bitnews Today

KABBAGE

Kabbage also provides loans online using an automated system. However, the clients of this company are not ordinary consumers, but owners of SMEs. When the founders of Kabbage decided to launch a new project in 2009, there was a gap between personal loans for consumers and credit lines allocated to small businesses in the lending system.

Source: Bitnews Today

TALA

  • the initial idea of the company’s founder Shivani SIROYA to start her own business was that “the existing credit system works very poorly”;
  • to assess the creditworthiness, Tala uses its own scoring system, which examines a set of data about the potential borrower, using machine learning technology and big data;
  • the intellectual service works in automatic mode: it investigates, makes a decision, issues loans.
Source: Bitnews Today

Resolve launches as a B2B online financing service (Digital Commerce 360), Rated: A

Financial technology company Affirm is betting that what works for online retailers will also work for B2B merchants who want to offer online financing to customers.

Affirm has launched Resolve as a B2B version of an online financing service that Affirm provides to retailers.

Kabbage Teams with BTEA to Fuel Access to Funding for Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses (Finanzen), Rated: B

Kabbage, Inc., a cash flow technology and automated lending platform for small businesses, has formed a strategic alliance with New York’s largest contractor association, the Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA), to provide access to fast and flexible small business funding for BTEA members through the Kabbage platform. The alliance will support women and minority-owned business enterprise (WMBE) contractors who often have difficulty accessing the funding required to procure contracts for New York’s largest construction projects.

The alliance between BTEA and Kabbage provides BTEA’s 1,300 contractor companies, including more than 100 MWBE contractor members, the opportunity to access lines of credit as high as $250,000 and attain greater financial capacity.

In The Face Of Growing Fraud Threats, Finance Firms Should Look At Managed Security (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions face a complex array of threats — from the immediate such as synthetic identities which have been used to defraud individual firms multiple times.

In 2018, more than 43,000 breaches across all industries involved the use of customer credentials stolen from botnet-infected clients, the Accenture report said.

Read the full report here.

Fig Loans Becomes First-Ever FinTech to Receive CDFI Certification (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Fig, a mission-driven FinTech company that offers credit building alternatives to predatory loans for low-income borrowers, has become the first-ever FinTech company to become both a Certified B Corporation and federally certified Community Development Institution (CDFI). VilCap Investments and Techstars are early Fig Loans investors.

CFPB plan a mixed bag for debt collectors (American Banker), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a plan Tuesday to restrict how often debt collectors can call borrowers about unpaid credit and to allow consumers to opt out of other types of communications.

The proposal to overhaul the debt collection industry would limit phone-based collection attempts for the same consumer to seven calls per week. Debtors could also opt out of allowing collectors to contact them via voice mail, email and text messages.

Read the full text of the proposed rule here.

Behind The Scoop: An inside look at Genesis’ lending business (The Block Crypto), Rated: A

  • $250m worth of outstanding loans gives it an estimated 2/3 share of the total outstanding crypto loan pie
  • Genesis has seen its total USD value of borrows increase 35% QoQ in 1Q19, vs. lending protocols which saw a ~20% decline; Genesis total borrow volumes were almost an order of magnitude greater than all of borrows on lending protocols in 1Q19

Ocrolus, inFactor Partner on End-to-End Automation for Merchant Cash Advance Lenders (Ocrolus), Rated: B

Ocrolus today announced a partnership with inFactor, the financing platform that brings clarity and security to small business financing. This partnership combines two powerful technology solutions to drive end-to-end underwriting automation for Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) lenders

United Kingdom

Funding Circle still offers manual lending in other markets (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is still offering investors the option to self-select their loans in its three overseas markets, its annual report revealed last month.

The peer-to-peer business lender scrapped its manual lending option in the UK in 2017, saying that its auto-invest product ensures better diversification.

Digital Lending Platform Esme Loans Hits £50 Million of Lending to UK Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Esme Loans, the NatWest backed standalone digital lending platform for SMEs, announced last week it has hit £50 million of lending to UK businesses. The online lender reported that it has seen a continued period of strong growth, following an uplift in lending of 337% between 2017 and 2018.

Goldman Sachs’ digital savings account Marcus just reached a UK milestone (AltFi), Rated: A

Just eight months since launching in the UK, Goldman Sachs’ digital savings account has attracted a quarter of a million customers.

Investors are getting more comfortable with the P2P ISA (AltFi), Rated: A

In the 2016/17 tax year just 5,000 customers opened IFISAs with a total £36m subscriptions (these figures were disputed by some platforms as being too low). In the following 2017/18 tax year this shot up 31,000 investors backing the IFISA with £290m subscribed in the tax year and a total of £366m in outstanding balances in IFISAs at 5 April 2018.

What is the best provision fund structure? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PROVISION FUNDS are designed to cover peer-to-peer investors in the event that a borrower defaults on their loan, but the way they are funded and operated varies widely across platforms. So what should investors be looking for and is there an optimal structure to reduce their chances of losses?

One key difference is whether pay-outs from reserve or provision funds are automatic or discretionary.

RateSetter is credited with the invention of the provision fund concept, which has been part of its business model since it launched in 2010. It is funded by borrowers’ repayments and money is automatically reimbursed to investors if loans go into arrears.

Tandem Recognized as Best New Digital Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Challenger bank Tandem has been recognized by CFI.co (Capital Finance International) as the “Best Neo Bank UK 2019.”

OakNorth launches mortgages for HNWIs, SMEs, and clients with atypical income streams (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has today announced it is entering the retail mortgage market with lifetime tracker rate products, aimed at affluent individuals with atypical sources of income.

The six largest banks in the UK dominate 77 percent of the mortgage market, but often find it commercially unviable to create bespoke mortgages for these individuals as they lack the appropriate cost base and expertise to cater to them. These individuals therefore require more bespoke lending solutions, and as a lender that has provided over £3bn in bespoke loans to UK entrepreneurs since its launch, OakNorth has the necessary expertise and tailored credit analysis models to cater to this unique market niche.

China

Jiayin Group Readies $ 40 Million U.S. IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Jiayin Group (JFIN) has filed to raise $40 million in an IPO of ADSs representing underlying Class A shares, per an amended registration statement.

According to a 2017 Oliver Wyman report on Chinese FinTech firms, outstanding loan balances for online peer-to-peer lending platforms have exploded in recent years, from RMB 31 billion ($467 million) in January 2014 to RMB 856 billion ($129 billion) by January 2017.

P2P lending in crisis as regulatory bubble pops (Technode), Rated: A

Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Dianrong, once hailed as the “LendingClub of China,” appears to be in crisis following an announcement that it is closing around two-thirds of its offline branches and laying off as many as 2,000 employees. At around the same time, it was accused of falling behind on wages and severance payment. In mid-April, the company reportedly sought $100 million in investment to meet new capital requirements.

European Union

Goldman Delays Marcus’ Germany Launch (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs has decided to delay the German launch of its consumer bank Marcus until 2020.

International

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

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 571 million Euro.

Milestones achieved this month (total volume since launch):

  • Mintos crossed 2 billion EUR
Source: P2P-Banking

This credit card won’t let you buy anything else after you’ve hit your annual carbon limit (Fast Company), Rated: A

Doconomy is launching two versions of the card later this year. One just tracks your carbon footprint as you spend, and the other, called Do Black, takes the additional step of setting a hard limit on your footprint for the year. Initially, the data used to calculate the impact of each purchase will be imprecise—the system pulls the category code of a merchant that classifies it as a particular kind of store, then makes a calculation based on the general carbon footprint of the industry, whether you’re buying something from a fast-food joint, a clothing store, or an airline. The limit is based on a country-specific calculation of how much carbon each citizen can emit to stay on track with the 2030 goal to cut emissions in half.

Others are working on similar solutions; a startup nonprofit called Poseidon Foundation is beginning to work with retailers to track the impact of specific purchases and let customers instantly buy a carbon offset equal to their emissions. Ben and Jerry’s tested the concept at an ice cream shop in London last year.

Over 50 Banks, Firms Trial Trade Finance App Built With R3’s Corda Blockchain (CoinDesk), Rated: A

ABN Amro, Standard Chartered, ING and around 50 other banks and companies have participated in tests of a trade finance application called Voltron.

The tests saw firms across 27 countries use Voltron, which was developed by R3 using its Corda platform, to make simulated letter of credit transactions.

Real Estate Tokens: What They Are and How to Invest (Bitcoin Market Journal), Rated: A

Put simply, a real estate token is a virtual asset used to represent ownership of land, apartments, homes, and various other real properties. The intent is to eliminate antiquated and outdated methods of dealing with real estate. Instead, buyers and sellers complete transactions with digital tokens.

Currently, it can be a challenge to find the right place to invest in real estate tokens; however, there are a few platforms that can get you started.

Harbor

The Harbor platform provides users with a way to trade real estate on a blockchain network. Assets available on Harbor include private REITs, real estate funds, building ownership, and land. Using blockchain technology means Harbor provides transparency, efficiency, fractional ownership, and, of course, liquidity.

Slice

Additionally, Slice gives users the ability to hold, trade, or liquidate their tokens with its built-in security exchange platforms. The platform is available to anyone who has $10,000 he or she is willing to invest.

Meridio

Meridio is a platform that gives its users the ability to invest in shares of real estate on the blockchain. Through Meridio, properties are split into digital shares, which gives investors and owners a way to interact with one another seamlessly.

Bitfinex Releases Whitepaper to Confirm $ 1 Billion Initial Exchange Offering (CryptoGlobe), Rated: A

Cryptoasset exchange Bitfinex has confirmed that it is planning to raise $1 billion through an initial exchange offering (IEO).

Dong has also been accepting pre-orders for Bitfinex’s upcoming token sale through his crypto-lending application Renrenbit. The well-known investor had reportedly taken pre-orders from users who wanted to participate in the public phase of Bitfinex’s upcoming $1 billion token sale, even before IFinex published an official whitepaper for it.

Cred Partners with Tron and Bitcoin.com to Provide Crypto Lending and Borrowing Services (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

Bitcoin.com has announced a partnership with Cred in which Bitcoin.com users will earn interests of up to 10% on their crypto holdings. Cred is a crypto borrowing and lending company whereas Bitcoin.com is an information portal that has over 4 million Bitcoin wallets.

Fvndit Launches $ 10M Equity-Back Digital Security Offering (Financial Buzz), Rated: A

Fvndit, Inc. (“Fvndit”), a California- and Vietnam-based fintech company, today announced the launch of a $10M digital security offering. Proceeds from the raise will be used to further propel Fvndit’s business objectives as the market leading SME-focused crowd-based funding platform in Vietnam.

Its wholly-owned subsidiary, eLoan, JSC (“eLoan”), operates an online Peer-to-Peer (P2P) funding and investing marketplace in Vietnam, its current local market. Today, SMEs account for more than 41% of Vietnam’s GDP (of $241B USD) and 97% of all enterprises but still remain largely neglected by traditional banks with 70% of them do not have access or have difficulty in accessing credit. eLoan was launched in late 2017 with a clear mission – to make credit more simple and investing more rewarding.

TomoChain teams up with Constant to bring first stablecoin to its platform (Cryptoninjas), Rated: B

Creci Wins its Category at the Innovate Finance Global Summit (PR Web), Rated: B

Creci, an early stage start-up, with headquarters in Hollywood, Florida and offices in Medellin and Bogota, was selected on April 30, 2019, as the category winner for Peer-to-Peer Lending, Alternative Funding, and SME Lending at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London.

Australia

YOZO a quick and open answer to business lending maze (Mirage News), Rated: A

YOZO is redefining lending for small business by offering a transparent and seamless experience for their borrowing needs. Firstly, by taking the guessing game out of an increasingly frustrating question, “how much can my business borrow?”. YOZO helps small business gauge their borrowing capacity in under a minute. Secondly, by providing an intuitive online experience to apply and receive funds in 48 hours for approved customers.

Southeast Asia

Brankas wants to bring Southeast Asia’s banks and e-commerce into the digital era (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Fintech continues to be among the biggest topics driving startups and investment in Southeast Asia. The region’s “internet economy” is forecast to grow massively as its 600 million people increasingly come online — already Southeast Asia has more internet users (350 million) than the U.S. has people, but developing a robust payment landscape underpins those heady growth forecasts.

Brankas,  an Indonesia-based startup that operates regionally, is one such young company — it operates a platform that gives banks and financial companies the tech to roll out digital products and embrace online services.

Singapore Fintech Firm Heading into Indonesia (Retail News), Rated: A

Following a successful Series B funding round, SME lending platform Validus Capital is launching in Indonesia. SME lending platform Validus Capital has launched in Indonesia, its first Southeast Asian market outside its home country of Singapore, the firm announced in a media release on Thursday.

Latin America

Brazil fintech Nubank opens Mexico office as it seeks Latam expansion (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Brazilian fintech firm Nubank will open an office in Mexico on Tuesday, an initial step in a potential expansion into other Latin American countries, a company executive said.

Nubank, a six-year-old startup that has raised $400 million from investors such as China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management and Kaszek Ventures, will start Mexican operations with 20 employees, Nubank executive and co-founder Cristina Junqueira said in an interview.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday May 9 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday February 8 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingTree personal loans

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter’s IFISA finally arrives. Renaud Laplanche to keynote at LendItFintech USA 2018. LendingClub makes changes to IRA product. Goldman could be buying Clarity. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree January 2018 Personal Loan Offers Report. LendingTree January 2018 Mortgage Offers Report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Amsterdam gaining ground on London as Europe’s fintech capital. Senmiao Technologies sets terms […]

LendingTree personal loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

MENA

Canada

Bermuda

News Summary

United States

Renaud Laplanche Joins LendItFintech USA 2018 As Keynote Speaker (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendItFintech, the world’s leading event in financial services innovation, today announced that Renaud Laplanche, founder and CEO of Upgrade, Inc., will join the keynote speaker roster for LendItFintech USA 2018. For three days, the world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEO’s will gather at the Moscone Center to focus on the hot button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

Laplanche’s keynote speech will focus on his vision for Online Lending 2.0 and in particular how new technology, blockchain, enhanced processes and the combined learnings of the past 10 years have helped make online lending better for consumers and investors alike.

Laplanche will also unveil Upgrade’s next major consumer credit product that industry observers are already touting “the biggest innovation in financial services since the credit card. Also, to illustrate how the Online Lending 2.0 principles help create more value for consumers and enable faster growth while achieving better risk management, compliance and credit performance, Laplanche for the first time, will release metrics about Upgrade exactly one year after its public launch.

Tax Efficient Investing and LendingClub IRA Changes (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Tax rates for 2018 start at 10% and go up to 37% for the highest wage earners. It’s important to understand how this ordinary income affects taxes compared to other asset classes like equities.

Let’s assume you decide to invest through a taxable LendingClub account. In a given tax year, you are only allowed to deduct $3,000 in losses against your ordinary income unless you have capital gains to offset the losses.

If you have a sizable investment in LendingClub and have no capital gains you’ll have to carry forward any losses beyond the $3,000 to future years.

LendingClub Offering a Bonus for IRA Investors

After understanding the benefits of investing through an IRA it’s worth mentioning that LendingClub offers bonuses for new accounts. The bonuses range from $25 all of the way up to $3,000 and are available on Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs or SIMPLE IRAs. Below are the bonus amounts in place for 2018.

TaxSlayer Teams Up With Kabbage To Provide Small Businesses Easy Access To Working Capital (PR Newswire), Rated: A

TaxSlayer, a leading online and professional tax and financial technology company, today announced a strategic partnership with Kabbage, Inc., a global technology and data platform powering small business lending. The collaboration offers qualified small business customers hassle-free access to lines of credit up to $250,000 from Kabbage, and exclusive tax resources, including tips, promotions and discounts from TaxSlayer.

TaxSlayer customers will have access to:

  • Lines of credit from Kabbage up to $250,000 for qualified borrowers
  • Promotions from Kabbage, including a $100 gift card after qualification
  • Partner offers through the Kabbage Customer Perks network
  • Tips and insight on small business lending and finance

Kabbage customers will have access to:

  • Small business and personal tax tips from TaxSlayer
  • Market leading tax-filing support from TaxSlayer
  • Unique promotions and discounts from TaxSlayer, including 20 percent off services

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.41% in January.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.41%, a decrease of 13 basis points from the prior month, and 47 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $24,218, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 and above, was down up 17 basis points ($41) from December, but up over 23% ($5,607) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had APRs of 4.98% on average, and loan amounts of $34,892. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $2,896 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
Source: LendingTree

Good credit (680 – 719 score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score between 680 and 719 averaged 15.79% in January.

  • The average best APR for all borrowers with credit scores of 680 – 719 was 15.79%, down 12 basis points from last month, but up almost 200 basis points from a year earlier.
  • At $15,628, borrowers with scores of 680 – 719 saw the amounts offered with the best APRs increase by 1% ($160) in the last month, but drop by 1.72% ($268) from January 2017.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within the 680 – 719 credit score range, had an average best APR of 7.19%, offered with an average loan amount of $24,130. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,215 by consolidating debt from a 15% APR over a three-year term.
Source: LendingTree

LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • January’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.93% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 3.80% in December. Refinance loan offers were up 5 bps to 3.75%.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 13 bps to 4.55%. The loan note rate hit the highest since March 2016 at 4.45% and was also up 13 bps from December.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.41% in January, vs 4.70% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 29 bps between these score ranges was 1 bps narrower than in December but still near the widest since this data series began in April 2016. The spread represents nearly $15,000 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $238,518.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 15 bps to 4.46%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 25 from 24 bps, amounting to $13,000 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $244,540.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments fell for the first time in 8 months to $63,411.
Source: LendingTree

Apple May use Marcus for Point of Sale Financing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Indicative of this systemic trend is a report this week in WSJ.com saying Apple may be cutting a deal with Marcus – Goldman Sachs’ vision of the future on online lending.

According to the WSJ report, Goldman may provide Apple with point of sale credit at interest rates far lower than the typical credit card.

“By offering a lower-cost loan, Goldman hopes to siphon off some of that business. Goldman charges 12% interest on its average Marcus loans. Credit cards can charge upward of 20% and carry late fees and other charges. Partnerships with big retailers like Apple are key. They can deliver millions of customers that Goldman would struggle to find on its own.”

Goldman is said close to buying personal-finance startup Clarity (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is in discussions to acquire the personal finance startup Clarity Money, with plans to fold it into its Marcus online lender, according to people familiar with the matter.

Robinhood users ramped up deposits during Monday’s market bloodbath (Business Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, the US stock market witnessed its largest point decline ever. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped as much as 1,600 points during Monday trade before closing down 1,175 points. Still, a spokesperson for Robinhood, the California-based brokerage, told Business Insider its users ramped up deposits on its zero-commission stock trading platform.

Venmo monetization may be on the horizon (Business Insider), Rated: A

Source: Business Insider

Venmo alone hit $10.4 billion, about 39% of the P2P total. As P2P surges across the board, it’s helping 

Identity fraud hits all time high with 16.7m US victims in 2017 (Payments Cards and Mobile), Rated: A

The 2018 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, revealed that the number of identity fraud victims increased by 8% (rising to 16.7 million US consumers) in the last year, a record high since Javelin began tracking identity fraud in 2003.

The study found that despite industry efforts to prevent identity fraud, fraudsters successfully adapted to net 1.3 million more victims in 2017, with the amount stolen rising to $16.8 billion.

The 2018 Identity Fraud Study found four significant trends:

  • Record high incidence of identity fraud  In 2017, 6.64% of consumers became victims of identity fraud, an increase of almost 1 million victims from the previous year.
  • Account takeover grew significantly – Account takeover tripled over the past year, reaching a four-year high. Total ATO losses reached $5.1 billion, a 120% increase from 2016.
  • Online shopping presents the greatest fraud opportunity – Card Not Present Fraud is now 81% more likely than point of sale fraud, the greatest gap Javelin has observed.
  • Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated

Nearly half of small businesses plan to invest in cybersecurity in 2018 (AZ Big Media), Rated: A

Half of all U.S. small businesses were breached in 2016, according to 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report. Disruption to normal operating expenses costs an average of $955K, which can be devastating to small business owners.

As part of Kabbage’s ongoing effort to help small businesses to be successful, Kabbage recently surveyed more than 800 customers and nearly half (47 percent) plan to invest in cybersecurity products and services in 2018.

Hackers find value in obtaining employee and customer data, bank account information and/or intellectual property, no matter the size of the business. Today, more than 70 percent of attacks are targeted toward small businesses, largely due to the their beliefs that they won’t be hacked (mostly due to their size).

Virginia consumers to receive $ 2.7 million in relief from settlement with internet lender (WINA), Rated: A

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced today that more than $2.7 million in relief will be provided to Virginia consumers who took out loans with Internet lender MoneyLion of Virginia LLC-an affiliate of New York based Internet lender MoneyLion, Inc. Attorney General Herring’s settlement with MoneyLion will provide refunds and debt forgiveness to 3,800 consumers as a result of the company’s alleged violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Since creating a Predatory Lending Unit in his Consumer Protection Section, Attorney General Herring’s Office has recovered more than $25 million in restitution and debt forgiveness for Virginia consumers from online lenders.

The settlement includes the following key terms relating to loans made by MoneyLion during the period in question:

• MoneyLion agrees to provide $359,811.50 in refunds to 1,161 Virginia consumers who paid more than their loan principal plus 12% APR;
• MoneyLion agrees to give up the collection of $2,354,097.05 in illegal interest it charged on loans with 2,639 Virginia consumers;
• A payment to the Commonwealth of $10,000 as a civil penalty for MoneyLion’s alleged violations of the VCPA;
• A payment to the Commonwealth of $20,000 for its costs and fees in investigating MoneyLion’s alleged violations of the VCPA;
• Permanent injunctions preventing MoneyLion from misrepresenting its license status, allowable interest rates, and allowable fees.

Bankrupt Payday Lender Can’t Move CFPB Suit To Texas (Law360), Rated: A

A Montana federal judge refused to transfer a CFPB action alleging Think Finance duped borrowers and used sham tribal payday lenders to collect money it was not owed, finding Tuesday the case need not be moved to where the financial technology company’s Texas bankruptcy is.

U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris said the state of Montana has a “substantial interest” in hearing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s case since Think Finance LLC’s loans were voided under the state’s law.

Movement Mortgage Implements CompenSafe to Automate LO Compensation (Send2Press), Rated: B

LBA Ware, a leading provider of automated compensation software and systems integration solutions for mortgage lending and retail banking, announced that South Carolina-based Movement Mortgage has implemented CompenSafe to automatically calculate commissions for its loan originators (LOs) located in 700 branches across 49 states.

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. today announced that an affiliate has entered into an agreement to acquire Cyanco Holding Corp. from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”).  Cyanco is the largest global producer of sodium cyanide, a critical input in the gold and silver mining industry. Terms of the transaction, which is subject to customary conditions to closing, were not disclosed.

OCC Chief Praises Mulvaney On Halting Payday Rule (PYMNTS), Rated: B

After a 45-minute meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 6), Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting had nothing but praise for acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mick Mulvaney.

“Acting Director Mulvaney has helped reduce the burden on the banking system by delaying implementation of his agency’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rule, committing to reconsidering its payday lending rule, and deferring action on additional regulations until completing a more thorough review of those matters,” Otting said in the release. “I also applaud him for realigning his agency’s mission to the current needs of the nation, making its processes more transparent and fair.”

United Kingdom

RateSetter Innovative Finance ISA is Finally Here (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter has shared that is Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) will launch tomorrow (February 8th). RateSetter said the IFISA will initially be available to existing customers, then to new customers on 1 March and to inward transfers from other ISAs in April.

What a difference a tax year makes! P2P platforms pile in to the IFISA market (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Just a handful of peer-to-peer platforms had full Financial Conduct Authority approval in time to launch an IFISA product in April 2016, with 2,000 accounts and £17m subscribed up to April 2017.

Many saw this as a damp squib, but as we enter ISA season for the 2017/18 tax year, platforms representing almost 80 per cent of the market could be set to lead the charge.

Both Zopa and Funding Circle have loan books worth more than £3bn each, while RateSetter boasts a portfolio worth £2.5bn.

ISA Innovation: What do investors think? (AltFi), Rated: A

Crowdstacker’s CEO Karteek Patel reveals why investors have opted for the Innovative Finance ISA over the past two years. 

When the first types of ISA launched in 1999 the country was still in the first flush of a much feted Blair Government, the economy was buoyant, and the outlook rosy.

It was the end of a decade that saw average base rates of around 8%. Inflation meanwhile may have started at 9.5% in 1990, but it rapidly fell to a more manageable 1.5% by 1999.

2016-17 average ISA subscriptions were £5,558. Average subscriptions for our Innovative Finance ISA were above £11,000 – probably indicating early adopters of the IFISA are more seasoned investors, who are investing larger sums. Of course, as we know from other innovations such as smartphones and social media, where early adopters lead, the masses will follow, as long as the proposition is attractive.

How UK challenger bank Monzo turned its customers into a loyal community (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Monzo asks customers for feedback on product launches and fees, allows them to invest in the company through equity crowdfunding rounds and holds community events across the U.K., either at Monzo offices or customer suggested venues. Its approach is based on the principle that customers will stay loyal and will refer others if they’ve got some kind of stake in it. Banks have traditionally relied on large-scale ad campaigns and promotions to get customers to change their providers. But U.K. customers still aren’t changing their banks in droves; according to U.K. nonprofit Bacs only 4.45 million successful switches have taken place since 2013. Plus, they’ll have less and less motivation to switch bank providers as more non-bank entities begin offering comparable services.

The company’s biggest growth driver is loyalty, with word-of-mouth referrals being the source of 80 percent of new customer growth, according to the company. The remaining 20 percent is based on a limited amount of sponsored ads on Facebook and Twitter. More than 30,000 customers participate in an online feedback forum for new products.

Separately, Monzo holds eight to 12 events per year around the U.K.

 

Esme Loans joins NatWest’s alternative finance panel (Finextra), Rated: A

Esme Loans, the digital lending platform that allows small and medium sized businesses to quickly obtain unsecured loans of up to £150,000, will join a select group of leading alternative finance firms on NatWest’s Capital Connections panel.

Princeton dispute pushes Ranger’s 2017 returns into negative territory (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

RANGER Direct Lending (RDL) saw its net asset value (NAV) slide 2.95 per cent over 2017 due to its ongoing Princeton legal arbitration.

The investment trust’s December update showed its NAV return was 4.53 per cent in 2017 but the ongoing legal dispute with its Princeton investment over bankrupt lender Argon pushed it into negative territory.

On a monthly basis, RDL’s NAV was actually at a six-month high to 0.48 per cent.

Lendy secures major repayment on west London flat (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

P2P lending platform Lendy has announced that it has received a major repayment in excess of £2.1m on a luxury flat in west London.

The property has a security value of £3.25m, a loan value of £2.12m and an LTV of 65%.

Personal lending increases four times faster than wages (BBC), Rated: A

In comparison, wage data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the typical full-time worker has seen pay increase by 6.5%, over the same period.

British households amassed £37bn in unpaid personals loans in 2017, an increase of £7bn from three years earlier.

In Northern Ireland personal loan debt is just over £1bn and has risen 4% since 2014.

FINTECH AND BANKING GROUP SET FOR IPO (BusinessCloud), Rated: B

TruFin has published a document announcing its intention to float on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in late February.

TruFin has offices in London and Birmingham and currently operates under three separate businesses: Distribution Finance Capital (DFC), Satago and Oxygen Finance.

The group also owns a 15 per cent stake in technology-led peer-to-peer lender Zopa. The platform was launched in 2005 and has since originated over £2.6bn of unsecured loans, connecting more than 320,000 customers to 70,000 investors.

China

China’s recent crackdowns indicate growing pains for its advanced fintech industry (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The central bank is now reining in “social credit” scoring models by companies like Tencent and Alibaba that use consumer data from purchases and social behavior, as of the past weekend. These programs are designed to make up for the lack of institutional records of individuals’ creditworthiness in China’s financial system — something the central bank itself has tried to address with its own solution. Now the government is worried e-commerce-turned-fintech giants could use social scoring as marketing to sell their financial products.

China is a mobile-first nation. Mobile e-commerce took off there because its retail landscape was weaker and less efficient 15 years ago compared to that of the U.S.

European Union

Amsterdam Makes The Most Of Its Fintech Credentials (Global Finance), Rated: AAA

Despite Brexit, London has managed to hang onto its status as Europe’s leading fintech hub, at least for now. According to the Nesta 2016 European Digital City Index, “London leads for both start-ups and scale-ups.” However, Stockholm and Amsterdam, which rank second and third respectively out of 60 cities, are leading the pack nipping at London’s heels, according to the index, which looks at how European cities support “digital entrepreneurship.”

Amsterdam has many claims to fame, but one of its lesser-known features is its concentration of 350 fintech companies, more notably in the payments (Adyen, Payvision, GlobalCollect), trading (BinckBank, Flow Traders) and alternative finance (Funding Circle, Spotcap) spaces.

European Investors Elect Favorite Projects as Prêtons Ensemble Launches New €200 Million Digital Lending Fund (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The asset management firm Eiffel Investment Group which manages the €100 million marketplace lending fund “Prêtons Ensemble” (meaning “Let’s Lend Together”) for institutional investors Aviva France, AG2R LA MONDIALE, MAIF, MGEN and Klesia awarded European Digital Lending Awards at a gathering held in Paris on February 1st. The awards recognized SME projects presented on the lending platforms backed by the fund.

Nominated platforms included leaders such as Funding Circle and Lendix. The prizes however went to smaller marketplaces, a good opportunity to put the spotlight on these up-and-coming fintechs:

  • Green Economy award: Générale du Solaire, a project presented on Lendosphere, France.  
  • Job creation award: Metalliance on Wesharebonds, France.  
  • Innovation award: Selfstock on ClubFunding, France.  
  • Quality of Life award: All About Healthcare on Linked Finance, Ireland. Linked Finance is Ireland’s largest P2P lending platform with more than 16,000 registered lenders who have lent over €32 million to Irish businesses
  • Inclusive Economy: Mujeres y CIA on Finanzarel, Spain, and
    Nou verd and Nou set on Loanbook, Spain.  
  • Best pivot: Sky Hero on Look & Fin, Belgium.  
International

Senmiao Technologies Proposes Terms For $ 14 Million U.S. IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Senmiao Technology (AIHS) intends to raise $14 million in a U.S. IPO by selling 3.25 million shares at between $4.00 to $4.50 per share.

According to a 2017 research report by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, the global direct selling volume increased by 1.9% in 2016, reaching $183 billion in sales between 107 million direct sellers.

In 2014, 45% of direct selling volume came from the Asia Pacific region and grew to 46% in 2015 – 2016, as the chart below shows:

Source: Seeking Alpha

According to management, ‘there are approximately 40 lending platforms in Sichuan province.’ Major competitive vendors that provide similar services include:

  • Sichuan Jinding Wealth Information Technology
  • Koudai Network Services
  • Chengdu Hongxue Jinxin Business Consulting
  • Chengdu Zhongke E-Commerce Co

Revenue ($)

  • Six months ended Sept 30, 2017: $182,960
  • FYE March 31, 2017: $73,237

Operating Loss ($)

  • Six months ended Sept 30, 2017: ($671,729)
  • FYE March 31, 2017: ($185,535)

Operating Margin (%)

  • Six months ended Sept 30, 2017: Negative
  • FYE March 31, 2017: Negative

Cash Flow from Operations ($)

  • Six months ended Sept 30, 2017: $302,568 cash flow used in operations
  • FYE March 31, 2017: $1,324,449 cash flow from operations

As of Sept 30, 2017, the company had $76,863 in cash and $736,246 in total liabilities.

(Source: Senmiao S-1/A)

 

Exclusive Interview with FintruX CEO Nelson Lin (Chipin), Rated: A

FintruX is an established online lending platform that is introducing blockchain into its financial network to better serve both kinds of customers.

Nelson. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and FintruX?

I am the founder and CEO of FintruX and also Robocoder. Robocoder provides the technology behind Fintrux.

FintruX is a global peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform on the Ethereum blockchain network for providing unsecured loans. It connects small businesses who need money for cash flow issues, with lenders who want to earn a better return on their money.

In some ways, tokenized P2P lending platforms is a “killer app” for the blockchain technology. We are pretty sure you would agree, but can you elaborate and in the context of what you are trying to do.

All the current monetary transactions require too many intermediaries to facilitate a simple transaction from end-to-end and the process itself is also inefficient and time-consuming. Furthermore, most of the systems are fragmented, inconsistent and usually require extensive human intervention. Finally, such transactions require numerous touch-points to handle and manage the “trust” between all of the parties involved. Our mission is to make trustless financing a no-brainer for both borrower and lender.

What is the biggest problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for FintruX to fill?

The biggest problem is that small and startup businesses do not have sufficient credit history or access to capital for their short-term cash flow needs. Furthermore, the traditional systems are inadequate, fragmented, inconsistent, labor intensive and involve lots of intermediaries. There are many P2P lending platforms in existence but they do not talk to each other.

Australia

Global tech giants will threaten bank tax receipts (Financial Review), Rated: A

The $14 billion in taxes the federal government receives each year from the banking sector could be eroded by global technology companies including Apple capitalising on policies designed to boost competition in the sector, the chief executive of the Australian Bankers’ Association, Anna Bligh, will warn on Thursday.

In its half-year results presentation on Wednesday, Commonwealth Bank, the country’s second largest taxpayer, pointed to the $2 billion of taxes it pays to contribute to the economy. This contrasts to many of the global tech players, who book little profit in Australia despite huge sales, and therefore pay much less tax.

India

Credit is here to stay, new lenders beyond banks to play bigger role (money control), Rated: A

Emerging as an alternative to mainstream banking, NBFCs have also been playing an important role in bridging the credit gaps, i.e. in meeting the increasing financial needs of the underserved and unbanked areas in the corporate sector, unorganized sector and also for the local borrowers.

According to the Reserve Bank of India, in January 2017, a total of 28.8 million credit cards were in operation. Credit cards, also known as revolving credit, have been the preferred choice of masses as it enables repetitive use for daily purchases that can be paid back in instalments on a monthly basis.

According to PwC research, over 95% of financial services incumbents seek to explore FinTech partnerships.

MENA

A year when new innovations show up in Dubai realty (Gulf News), Rated: AAA

In the UAE, we are seeing some significant strides, where one technology-driven real estate crowdfunding platform, Smart Crowd, recently received approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority to establish the region’s first regulated real estate crowdfunding platform. This will enable any individual to invest and own a piece of UAE property for as little as Dh5,000 and will most likely stimulate sales in the secondary market.

Canada

Business loans: Which one works for you? (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Source: Bankless Times
Bermuda

Trunomi Closes $ 3.5 Million Round from CloudScale Capital (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Consumer consent and data rights company Trunomi closed a $3.5 million round of funding today. This investment brings the Bermuda-based company’s total funding to $10.5 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor