Thursday September 26 2019, Weekly News Digest

LendingClub eligibility

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi intros crypto trading. Investors locked out of LendingClub in 4 states. Funding Circle asks US regulators to folow UK’s model. Fundbox raises $176M. Klarna surpasses 12M transactions per year. Today’s main analysis: U.S. subprime auto loan ABS recession scenarios (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Recession talk cooling. Consumers with […]

The post Thursday September 26 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

LendingClub eligibility

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Introduces Crypto Trading With SoFi Invest (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it has added crypto trading to its fast-growing SoFi Invest platform, as a response to demand from its over 800,000 members. SoFi Invest is now the first platform to offer automated and active investing with stocks, ETFs, and crypto through a single app.

SoFi Adds Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum to Invest Platform (Cheddar), Rated: A

SoFi goes live with crypto trading service for its over 800K users (The Block), Rated: B

SoFi users can initially buy and sell three cryptocurrencies – bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and litecoin (LTC). The Block first reported the story last week, saying that the firm is beta testing the service in partnership with Coinbase.

SoFi CEO on what’s next for the company (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Sofi CEO Anthony Noto joins The First Trade to discuss what’s next for the company.

Watch the video here.

Charlie Lee {LTC} praises SoFi as crypto-investing with Litecoin kicks-off (Our Bitcoin News), Rated: A

Litecoin is ranked at #6 underneath Tether, as well as Bitcoin Cash, in the market. The price jumped up at a rate of 0.60% in the course of the past 24-hours. This led to LTC scaling all the way up to $57.03 where it presently rests. The trading volume recorded stands at roughly $2.957 billion, whereas the supply has 63,337,479 LTC coins included as part of circulation. The total market cap of Litecoin amounts to $3.612 billion which depicts a massive decline compared to the value attained a week back.

SoFi CEO: Start investing in your 20s (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto discusses how his company’s consumers can now buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

SoFi Refunds Investors Hit By Capital Gains from Proprietary ETFs (ETF Trends), Rated: A

Financial technology company SoFi is offering refunds to investors hit by capital gains taxes following the change of replacing Vanguard funds with their proprietary ETFs in certain portfolios managed by their robo-adviser.

Some Investors Locked Out of Investing in LendingClub Loans (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Over the last 24 hours we’ve received several messages from Lend Academy readers alerting us that they have received information that they are no longer able to invest in LendingClub notes. There is is also an active discussion on the Lend Academy forum.

LendingClub state eligibility as of 9/24/2019. Source: Lend Academy

Funding Circle urges US regulators to follow UK model (P2p Financ News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle’s US division is urging the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to amend its restrictions on peer-to-peer retail investment.

The US financial regulator limits annual investment to five per cent of an investor’s annual income if their yearly income or net worth is under $107,000 (£86,075), rising to 10 per cent if the investor earns more than that.

Two Franchise Trends Aspiring Franchisees Should Look Out For (Forbes), Rated: A

Over the past 14 years, I’ve coached more than 1,500 people who were searching for the best franchise for their situation. I recently read the 2019 Small Business Trends 

Fintech Fundbox raises $ 176M to lend to business using AI (Information Management), Rated: AAA

Fintech Fundbox Inc. has raised $176 million in a new funding round from investors including Allianz SE and General Catalyst. The company planned to announce the funding along with a new $150 million credit facility.

A Fundbox spokesman said the new round valued the company at between $500 million and $1 billion, but would not disclose the exact valuation.

U.S. Subprime Auto Loan ABS: Evaluating Recession Scenarios (DBRS), Rated: AAA

Summary Highlights

  • Under the hypothetical Recession Scenarios, DBRS found that credit enhancement (excluding excess spread) coverage of remaining expected losses, as determined by a multiple calculation, decreased at the inception of the hypothetical recession for all of the Sample Transactions. The senior debt tranches experienced a swift deleveraging whereas some of the subordinated debt tranches could be at risk for a potential downgrade during the hypothetical Recession Scenarios.
  • After the initial decline in the multiple calculations at inception of the hypothetical Recession Scenarios, the deleveraging nature of the sequential pay structures of the transactions resulted in the calculated multiples for the analyzed debt tranches to move into the multiple range corresponding to the original rating of the debt tranche over varying lengths of time. The multiples for some of the debt tranches originally rated BB were weaker and moved into the BB range at a slower pace. As a result, those tranches would be more likely to be considered for a potential downgrade as compared to the more senior debt tranches where the structures delevered more quickly and the multiples reached the range corresponding to the original rating over a generally shorter period.
  • Over the life of the Sample Transactions, the credit enhancement multiples for all of the debt tranches analyzed, some on a delayed basis, ultimately moved into the AAA rating multiple range.
  • In each of the Recession Scenarios, the structure of each of the transactions provided sufficient credit enhancement for timely payment of interest and ultimate payment of principal of all debt tranches.
Source: DBRS

Read the full report here.

A Cooling in Recession Talk, Heat Up in Housing (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Lower rates, improved credit scores, and tighter housing inventory are improving the outlook for housing. Housing market achieved an 18-month high in housing starts and a record high in FICO scores.

The Citigroup Economic Surprise Index – a measure of actuals vs economist’s expectations – has also registered readings above the neutral baseline suggesting slowdown fears may be exaggerated.

Source: PeerIQ, CitiGroup

Consumers with Significant Liquidity Needs Often Access Alternative and Traditional Credit Markets Concurrently (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Many lenders believe that consumers who turn to the alternative credit market for liquidity do so because they have no other options. However, a TransUnion study presented today at the Lend360 conference found that these borrowers are frequently applying for and receiving traditional credit at the same time. While traditional subprime installment lenders and alternative lenders are competing over the same consumers, the study finds that the liquidity need is often not fully met in either market.

Source: TransUnion

Risk Levels Higher for Traditional and Alternative Loan Borrowers

Controlling for risk score, 8.5% of the alternative credit-active consumers had a serious delinquency in the first 12 months, vs. just over 2% for the control group. Bankcard performance was also worse. While these borrowers exhibited a preference for unsecured personal loans under $1,500 within 12 months of the alternative credit origination, they also originated auto and bankcard credit during that time.

Read the full report here.

Lendio to Double Sales Force, Expand Loan Product Offerings (Benzinga), Rated: A

Lendio today announced plans to double the sales force at its Lehi, Utah, and Woodbury, New York, offices. The company has hired 80 employees in 2019, and intends to add another 40 sales representatives by the end of the year, with plans to bring on another 40 in the first quarter of 2020. In addition to the expanding workforce, Lendio plans to bolster its selection of loan products for small businesses, with a 10% increase in the number of product offerings in the coming year.

Fintech lenders taking more market share from banks, survey finds (American Banker), Rated: A

Fintechs are continuing to siphon away customers for unsecured personal loans from traditional lenders, according to a study released Wednesday by Experian.

The study found that digital lenders more than doubled their market share in the past four years, with consumers across the credit spectrum increasingly turning to fintechs like Lending Club and Social Finance.

Fintechs now provide 49.4% of unsecured personal loans as of March compared to 22.4% in 2015, according to Experian.

Fintech Lenders Could Hold the Keys to Recession Recovery (Salon), Rated: A

Born out of the last recession, young fintech lenders have not yet been tested by a significant economic storm, and many in the industry are wrapped up in a dialogue of speculation about the industry’s ability to ride out an impending recession. It’s time to turn the conversation instead to focus on how fintech lenders can position themselves to play a critical role in recovery from the next downturn, whenever it may happen.

WeWork should ask SoFi CEO for advice on how to save the company (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

The two new guys running the slowly sinking ship known as once hot tech startup WeWork should give SoFi CEO Anthony Noto a holla on his Apple iPhone. Trust me, Noto has some good, timely advice for Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham.

Because the former Goldman Sachs banker and Twitter chief financial officer, now SoFi chief clearly gets how to rebuild a promising tech startup after a high-profile challenge or two. And then possibly, take it down the path of a successful initial public offering.

Generation Z’ers want more financial education – and innovative tools to help them learn (PR Newswire), Rated: A

As high school students return to school, they may see the benefits of new state laws across the country that require curriculums to offer a class about personal finance. This is great news for young adults as 76% of recent high school graduates agree it should be required, according to a national survey by Experian.

Many Gen Z’ers surveyed say innovative tools are the way to go when it comes to learning about credit (45%) and almost half (48%) would prefer to use tech-driven tools versus textbooks to learn more.

Survey respondents also say they are currently learning about finances mostly through their friends (28%), YouTube (27%) and some form of social media (24%).

D.C. Court Dismisses Challenge to OCC’s Fintech Charter (Manatt), Rated: A

In the latest battle over the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC’s) plan to issue special purpose national bank (SPNB) charters, a D.C. federal judge has for a second time dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS).

The decision creates the potential for circuit split, as a New York federal court reached the opposite conclusion in a nearly identical action filed by the state’s Department of Financial Services (DFS).

9 Ways To Build an Empire Without Lifting a Finger (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Another way to build your real estate empire is through real estate crowdfunding. As with investing in a REIT, real estate crowdfunding allows you to pool your money with other investors to invest in real estate. This could include multifamily units, commercial properties and bundles of single-family homes.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the top real estate crowdfunding platforms are ArborCrowd, RealCrowd, Groundfloor, CrowdStreet, PeerStreet, Small Change and RealtyMogul.

If you can afford the minimum investment — which is usually $25,000 — you can make big returns. Groundfloor boasts 10% returns for individual investors and CrowdStreet’s is even higher with 25.5% total average annual returns across all fully realized deals.

RealCrowd offers a breakdown of average annual income on a $1 million investment based on the property type: $78,000 for a suburban office, $72,000 for a retail space, $59,000 for a downtown office and $58,000 for a multifamily unit.

The Best And Worst MA Towns For Young Families (Patch), Rated: A

The online mortgage broker Lending Tree has tried to take some of the guess work out of that decision by ranking every community in Massachusetts with 5,000 or more residents based on their appeal to families with school-age children.

Hingham, under Lending Tree’s methodology, received a score of 72.5. Last-place Webster’s score was 31.9. Other towns in the top 10 included Winchester, Needham, Milton, Longmeadow, Wellesley, Cochituate, Pinehurst, Lexington and Nantucket.

JPMorgan donates $ 25M to get fintech in hands of underbanked (American Banker), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday a $25 million commitment to the Financial Health Network’s Financial Solutions Lab, a program meant to focus on the creation of fintech tools to help consumers better manage their finances.

The Financial Health Network (formerly The Center for Financial Services Innovation) previously received a $30 million philanthropic donation from the bank that spanned the last five years.

Bitcoin and Ethereum dive deep, is Bakkt to blame? (Mashable), Rated: A

“The disappointing BAKKT opening signals to the crypto community that institutions are less ready to invest in BTC at scale than was supposed, which means the price was probably too high and due for a correction. What we’ve just seen is short sellers and momentum traders piling on to make things worse, and now here we are back at support,” Alex Mashinsky, CEO at crypto lending and depository company Celsius Network, told Mashable in an emailed statement.

STRATA Trust Company Reaches $ 2 Billion AUC Milestone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

STRATA Trust Company (“STRATA”), a custodian dedicated to the complexity of holding alternative investments in tax-advantaged, self-directed retirement accounts, announced today that the firm has surpassed $2 billion in assets under custody. STRATA offers access to a range of asset classes that include private equity, private debt, real estate, crowdfunding, structured settlements and more. Since 2008, STRATA has been committed to empowering investors and the investment community with wider diversification and alternative asset custody solutions in retirement portfolios by delivering industry-leading service, education and support.

Online Pawn Lending Goes Back Offline (Business Wire), Rated: A

Prominent online lender Borro Private Finance unexpectedly ceased its collateral-based lending program this summer after nearly ten years of business. The UK-US-based establishment specialized in online pawn loans against valuable assets, including fine art, jewelry, and watches. Borro’s discontinuation of its operations comes nearly two years after the company’s withdrawal from the bridge loan market in July 2017.

Eleventh Circuit Tosses Online Lender’s Forum Selection, Class Waiver Clauses (Lexology), Rated: A

Siding with six consumers who filed suit asserting violations of state usury laws against online lenders, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh…

Marqeta Hires Vidya Peters As First Chief Marketing Officer, as Company Continues to Build Out Expansive Global Vision (Business Wire), Rated: B

Marqeta, the first global modern card issuing platform, today announced the addition of Chief Marketing Officer Vidya Peters to its executive team.

White Oak Commercial Finance Acquires Veritas Financial Partners’ Asset-Based Loan Portfolio (ABL Advisor), Rated: A

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, announced today it has purchased a portfolio of asset-based loans from Veritas Financial Partners, a Boca Raton, FL based specialty finance company.

Alchemy Technology And Equifax Partner To Drive FinTech Innovation (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Alchemy Technology Inc. and  Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) today announced a new partnership to drive FinTech innovation. The relationship is designed to help banks, specialty financing firms and FinTech startups accelerate their time to market with easily deployable white labeled lending solutions. The two companies will make the “tech” in FinTech available to organizations of all sizes with a powerful combination of the Alchemy Lending Operating System and Equifax data analytics, credit, identity and income verification solutions.

Ex-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Joins Lendingblock as Strategic Advisor (Lendingblock), Rated: B

Lendingblock, the regulated, open exchange for institutional borrowing and lending of digital assets, today announces the appointment of John Macpherson as a strategic advisor.

CoreLogic Credco Integrates its Three-Bureau PreQual Solution with eLEND Solutions (CoreLogic), Rated: B

CoreLogic, a global provider of property information, insight, analytics and data-enabled solutions, today announced that CoreLogic Credco integrated its Three-Bureau PreQual credit report and score solution on eLEND Solutions, an automotive technology company specializing in online and in-store credit and finance solutions. The integration of the prequalification solution gives CoreLogic Credco customers who use eLEND instant, single-source access to a consumer’s credit report and FICO score from all three national credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion or Equifax.

Tavant Named to 2019 IDC FinTech Rankings (Business Wire), Rated: B

Tavant, a Silicon Valley-based provider of AI-powered digital lending technologies, announced today it has been named to the 2019 IDC FinTech Rankings, the most comprehensive vendor ranking within the financial services industry.

United Kingdom

Klarna Surpasses 12M Transactions This Year (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

FinTech payments disruptor Klarna has announced the start of its “No drama, just Klarna” retail campaign in partnership with 13 brands in the U.K., the company said in a press release on Wednesday (Sept. 25).

Klarna offers “pay later” payment options and attracts 50,000 new users each week. The startup said that in the past year, it has processed 12 million transactions. In August, more than 100,000 U.K. shoppers downloaded the Klarna app.

Klarna reports surge in payments, merchant growth during first half of 2019 (Mobile Payments Today), Rated: A

Klarna, a London based installment financing provider and challenger bank, said it surpassed 3 million active users in the U.K. and 170,000 retail merchants worldwide.

Brits hit financial maturity at 31 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE age at which UK men and women finally feel secure in their finances is 31, according to Zopa.

The survey showed a clear split between age groups, with 21 to 25 year-olds believing 32 would be the age when they finally felt good about their finances, while those age 26 to 30 were less optimistic about the future, saying they would reach money maturity at 38.

OakNorth Bank completes £20m loan to specialist lending fund (London Loves Property), Rated: A

OakNorth Bank, the UK bank powered by OakNorth, has provided a £20m loan to the RAW Mortgage Fund, a specialist fund providing buy-to-let property loans against residential real estate in the UK.

Wonga borrowers have less than a week to submit payday loan reclaims (The Sun), Rated: A

Anyone who believes they have been mis-sold a Wonga loan is allowed to apply for compensation, but its administrators set a deadline of 11.59pm on September 30.

If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to apply anymore and you won’t get any compensation for mis-selling.

Nexo Now Accepts Tokenized Gold for Instant Credit Lines and Will Offer Interest-Bearing Accounts on Gold (Covington Journal), Rated: A

Nexo is adding the NYDFS-regulated PAX Gold as a collateral option for its signature , bringing gold-backed lending to the blockchain.

With PAX Gold, now offers gold investors instant access to their gold wealth in over 45 fiat currencies via same/next day transfers and across 200+ jurisdictions.

European Union

Kreditech Eyes Expansion After Securing EUR 20 Million in Equity Financing (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Kreditech is ready to scale globally in the near-prime customer segment – declares David Chan, Kreditech CEO. The Germany-based online direct lender and Point-of-Sale (POS) financing provider estimates its global target market at ca. EUR 300 bn in consumer credit issuance. It aims to reach EUR 1 bn in revenue by 2025, which will be driven by growth in existing markets where Kreditech is present, as well as expansion into new geographies. Kreditech currently operates in IndiaPolandRussia and Spain, and serves over one million customers. The company has raised EUR 20 million in its latest equity financing round.

You’ve heard of challenger banks, now meet the challenger lenders (sifted), Rated: AAA

For better or worse, it was Wonga that first put “challenger lenders” on the map. The UK payday lender’s meteoric rise saw it become a household name before its collapse last year after a string of irresponsible, inflated loans.

This month alone, large funding rounds were announced by Sweden’s Capcito and Lendify, as well as by UK’s Sonovate, an invoice lender for SMEs with over 750 active clients. Banks are also watching closely, with Goldman Sach’s equity arm being a notable funder in Lendable, recently ranked the UK’s sixth fastest-growing private tech company.

In the UK, the challenger-lender industry grew to £6.1 billion in 2017, according to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF). The CCAF also estimated that 29% of all new loans issued to SMEs came from challenger lenders in 2017. PwC predicts that figure will rise to nearly 40% in the next decade.

Source: Financial Times
International

Marketplace Lenders Navigate The Choppy Waters Of Compliance (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Regulators the world over are beginning to take a closer look at the alternative and marketplace lending business model.

In June, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority announced plans to impose stricter restrictions on marketplace and peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders beginning this December following the watchdog’s decision to place P2P lending platform Lendy into administration — a result, the FCA said, of the industry’s lenient requirements to disclose governance arrangements and controls.

Also, in China, analysts at Yingcan Group pointed to the government’s P2P and marketplace lending crackdown as being likely to shrink the industry by as much as 70 percent this year.

This Fintech Safari Could Be a Wild Ride (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

From ATMs to credit cards and PayPal, the West’s dominance of innovation in consumer finance appears to have exhausted itself.

At the top of the emergent new order is the fintech duo from China — Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Next in line are Alphabet Inc. and Walmart Inc., whose highly localized smartphone payment rivalry is playing out between Google Pay and PhonePe in India. In Southeast Asia, two homegrown ride-hailing giants are aspiring to dominate commerce.

The rise of African mobile money is associated with M-Pesa, Kenya’s digital-wallet revolution. Now traditional lenders like Standard Chartered Plc, with a presence on the continent going back more than a century, are discovering that online banking can help them mobilize low-cost current and savings accounts more profitably than acquiring customers via physical branches.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney says the P2P lender has been ‘slowly moving to lending our own money’ since 2015 (interest), Rated: AAA

The founder of Harmoney, New Zealand’s biggest licensed peer-to-peer (P2P) lender, says he can’t see a viable P2P lending model in New Zealand which is why Harmoney has started lending its own money.

Neil Roberts and David Stevens of Harmoney (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Harmoney, the first peer to peer lender to be licensed in New Zealand, has originated more than NZ$1 billion in loans since launching five years ago.


Read the PDF transcript here.

India

Kreditech targets India after EUR20m funding boost (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Kreditech, a German-based online lender and POS financing provider focused on “near prime” borrowers, is looking to the Indian market after raising EUR20 million in funding.

The round was co-led by Runa Capital and unnamed German private investors, with participation from existing shareholders HPE Growth and Amadeus Capital Partners.
Southeast Asia

Accumulated P2P lending exceeds W6tr (The Investor), Rated: AAA

Accumulated peer-to-peer loans in South Korea have surpassed 6 trillion won ($5 billion), data showed on Sept. 26.

Outstanding P2P loans extended by 220 companies stood at 6.2 trillion won in June, compared with 4.7 trillion won at the end of last year, according to the data compiled by the Financial Supervisory Service.

Indonesia’s Investree in talks to raise series C funding for regional expansion (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Indonesia’s fintech peer-to-peer lending startup PT Investree Radhika Jaya is in talks with several investors to raise a series C funding as the firm looks to boost its expansion in Southeast Asia.

The Securities Commission Malaysia Approves EdgeProp as First Property Crowdfunding Platform in Malaysia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has registered EdgeProp Sdn Bhd as the first “Recognised Market Operator” to establish and operate a property crowdfunding platform in Malaysia. EdgeProp was granted an approval in principle in September 2019.

FINTECH COMPANIES FACE TALENT SHORTAGE (StaffingIndustry.com), Rated: A

The majority, or 94%, of fintech companies in Singapore, say the country requires fintech talent, according to survey data from Michael Page Singapore.

The number of Singapore consumers adopting fintech products and services has drastically risen in the last two years, tripling from 23% in 2017 to 67% in 2019, according to Michael Page.

Bitcoin Daily (PYMNTS), Rated: B

And Singapore-based exchange Bitrue has announced the launch of a low-interest crypto lending platform, which goes live on September 30.

MENA

Qatar Boosts FinTech Focus (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As reported by Crowdfund Insider, the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has expanded the number FinTech-related activities that will be awarded licenses. The additional support will come from the QFC platform.

The seven firms include DecisionLogic, which focuses on advanced bank verification that lets lenders qualify borrowers.

Africa

Proven ways you can make money in real estate (Daily Monitor), Rated: A

You can utilise a variety of methods that includes any of the following:
•Seller financing through lease options
•Trading fixed assets such as cars, jewellery and more
•Taking over someone else’s mortgage payments who might be in a distressed situation
•Bringing in an investment partner with cash
•Borrowing from a bank or getting a hard money loan
•Taking out a home equity line of credit
•Utilising a peer-to-peer lending network

Caribbean

Victoria Mutual acquires shares in Barbados-based FinTech Carilend (Jamaica Observer), Rated: AAA

Victoria Mutual Investment Limited (VMIL) has acquired a 30 per cent stake in Carilend, a Barbados-based financial technologies (FinTech) company, that is said to have revolutionised borrowing and lending in the Caribbean.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 26 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday August 8 2019, Weekly News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle debuts U.S. ABS platform for small biz loans. LendingClub to pursue national bank charter, reports Q2 losses. SoFi sues unnamed defendants over Consumer Loan Program 2015 Trust. DigiFi launches first open-source loan origination system. BlockFi raises $18.3M for crypto lending. Funding Circle posts higher revenues, bigger pre-tax losses. […]

The post Thursday August 8 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle debuts ABS platform for U.S. small-business loans (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle is securitizing its first pool of U.S.-based small business loans.

According to Kroll Bond Rating Agency, the online business-loan lender is marketing $198.45 million in notes backed by loans made to small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. Funding Circle has previously issued notes for asset-backed pools of small-business loans in its native UK.

The transaction consists of four classes of notes, including a $142.8 million Class A tranche with an initial A- rating from Kroll, and benefiting from 32.5% credit enhancement.

LendingClub Discusses National Bank Charter, GreenSky Exploring Sale (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

A topic that has been coming up more often is the potential of a national bank charter. Last week we learned that small business lender OnDeck was pursuing a charter and LendingClub is doing the same.

Today LendingClub reported their Q2 2019 earnings. Highlights include record loan originations of $3.1 billion, up 11% from the prior year period and record net revenue of $190.8 million, up 8% year over year.

Source: LendingClub and LendAcademy

GreenSky Q2 2019 Earnings

David Zalik, GreenSky Chairman and CEO included this statement in the press release:

Notwithstanding the Company’s solid operating results, in light of the complexity of the Company’s operating model, we do not believe that the Company’s current market value is reflective of the Company’s strong record of cash flow generation and intrinsic value. Accordingly, GreenSky’s Board of Directors, working together with its senior management team and legal and financial advisors, has commenced a process to explore, review and evaluate a range of potential strategic alternatives focused on maximizing stockholder value. In connection with this review, GreenSky has retained FTP Securities LLC (“FT Partners”) and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC as its financial advisors, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Troutman Sanders LLP as its legal advisors.

The news sparked Christopher Donat, an analyst Sandler O’Neill to speculate that Square or Goldman Sachs could be potential buyers according to this article in American Banker.

LendingClub envisions a ‘marketplace bank,’ seeks charter (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform LendingClub is exploring the possibility of obtaining a national bank charter as it adjusts its strategy following a $10.6 million loss in the second quarter.

Digital Banking: LendingClub Gets Some Fintech Love as it Pursues National Bank Charter (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Shares in LendingClub (NYSE:LC) are rising during another down market day as the trade war with China has no end in sight and political tempers flare. Shares are currently trading over 10% higher following yesterday’s Q2 earnings report where LendingClub said it expected to finally report a positive net incoming in Q3 following years of losses.

Second, LendingClub has hardened its lending model with years of fine-tuning. Unlike some other digital-only banks, LendingClub has been providing credit to consumers for more than a decade having originated over $50 billion in loans.

LendingClub Logs Lower-Than-Expected Losses (PYMNTS), Rated: A

By the numbers, net loss came in at $10.66 million or $0.12 per share — a lower loss than last year when Lending Club reported a loss of $60.86 million or $0.72 per share. Adjusted loss per share narrowed to $0.01 from $0.08 a year earlier.

Net revenue increased 8 percent from year-ago revenues of $176.98 million in 2018 to $190.8 million in 2019, driven by the higher volume of loan originations Sanborn mentioned.  Loan originations during the quarter were at $3.1 billion, up 11 percent year over year. While the revenue number is an improvement, it came in very, very slightly below analysts’ estimates.

LendingClub posts smaller-than-expected loss on loan originations (Nasdaq), Rated: A

LendingClub said it now expects smaller loss for the year than it had previously forecast. Adjusted net loss is expected to be between $5 million and $20 million, from $9 million to $29 million.

P2P lender LendingClub increases credit access with Select Plus Platform (Verdict), Rated: B

LendingClub, a US-based P2P lending platform, has introduced the Select Plus Platform to offer borrowers access to sophisticated investors.

LendingClub: America Does Not Need Another Credit Card, Apple Card Spells Disaster for Consumers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Apple Card, a “new kind of credit card” launched by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in partnership with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is expected to be made available to the public within the next few days. In fact, it has been reported that invitation emails have already gone out to a small group of iPhone owners. More will follow during August.

One detractor is LendingClub.

Anuj Nayar: Americans don’t need another credit card. They need the right tools to help them build their financial futures and pay down debt without the opportunity to accumulate more at high-interest rates. Goldman Sachs tried to pursue building a helpful consumer tool with Marcus but now has slipped back into its old ways, looking to make money by getting consumers hooked on revolving, high-interest debt on Apple’s credit card.

Court activity on July 12: Sofi Lending Corp. vs Jaime Daric (Northern California Record), Rated: AAA

The Superior Court of California for San Francisco County reported the following activity in the suit brought by Sofi Lending Corp. against Jaime Daric and other unnamed defendants on July 12: ‘Declaration Of Non Service (transaction Id # 63543270) Filed By Plaintiff Sofi Lending Corp., As Attorney In Fact For Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, Trustee Of Sofi Consumer Loan Program 2015 Trust’

Rate cuts (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, we discuss the Fed rate cut to the 2 to 2.5% target range, and provide market color on OnDeck earnings.

Fun fact #1: It has been 3,878 days (10.5+ years) since the FOMC last cut rates.

This is the second longest streak on record behind the 4,115 days that passed between cuts in the discount rate since 1954. Markets are speculating on additional rate cuts before year-end although Fed Chair Powell positioned the rate cut as an “adjustment” rather than a change in trend.

Source: Chicago Fed PeerIQ

DigiFi Launches the World’s First Open-Source Loan Origination System (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

DigiFi, an enterprise SaaS company building the future of lending technology, announced today the launch of its open-source loan origination system (LOS). The free-to-use platform, which was built over 45,000+ development hours and has been operating in-market with top lenders since late 2018, provides an end-to-end suite of modular capabilities that can be used individually or together to drive digital transformation.

DigiFi’s open source release underscores the lending industry’s dissatisfaction with the closed-loop systems available from existing LOS providers, which force lenders into onerous long-term contracts for inflexible systems.

Bitcoin and Ether Lender BlockFi Raises $ 18.3 Million Series A (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Crypto lending startup BlockFi received $18.3 million in a Series A funding round led by Valar Ventures, the company announced Tuesday.

Valar, which was founded in part by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, was joined by Winklevoss Capital, Galaxy DigitalConsenSys, Akuna Capital, Susquehanna, CMT Digital, Morgan Creek, Avon Ventures and PJC. Valar’s investment was its first in the cryptocurrency industry following prior investments in other fintech firms like Transferwise, a press release said.

Want to Hire Millennials? Better Help Repay Student Debt (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Like millions of her peers, Nicole Read graduated with thousands of dollars of debt. Unlike most of them, she’s getting direct help from her employer to pay it back.

In Read’s case, it’s $100 a month.
Such plans are spreading. They were on offer to staff at about 8% of U.S. employers in 2019, more than double the 2015 level, according to an April survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Another study by business adviser Willis Towers Watson found that 32% of firms are considering introducing a similar benefit by 2021.

Source: Bloomberg

Verishop Inc. is excited to announce a partnership with financial technology company Affirm Inc., giving customers more choice at checkout to pay for their purchases over time.

To see if they qualify, customers only need to provide five simple pieces of information2 and a credit decision is made within seconds. Monthly payments are shown in real dollars instead of hard-to-calculate percentages so customers will know exactly what they owe with no hidden or late fees. Customers never pay a dollar more than they agree to at checkout. The pay-over-time option is available for purchases ranging from $50 to $17,500 with a 30-day payment deferral available for smaller amounts.

Klarna offers payment installments to Toms, Asos US customers (Retail Dive), Rated: B

  • Klarna, an alternative payment platform, announced Monday that Asos shoppers in the United States will now be able to use its services, according to a press release. The announcement comes after Klarna also publicized its partnership with Toms on Thursday.

Lendio Surpasses $ 1.5 Billion in Small Business Loans Facilitated (Lendio), Rated: A

Lendio today announced it has facilitated more than $1.5 billion in financing to small businesses across the U.S.

According to the Federal Reserve Banks’ 2019 Small Business Credit Survey, “applications to online lenders continued to trend upward” last year, with 32% of applicants turning to online lenders, up from 24% the previous year.

Lendio’s 15-minute online application gives business owners access to multiple lenders with offers suited to meet their capital and business needs.

Behind the growth of PayPal’s SMB lending business (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In just a few years, PayPal’s business financing solutions has serviced over 225,000 small businesses around the world with funding. Between PayPal Working Capital and PayPal Business Loans, the company has recently surpassed $10 billion of capital it’s leant out to SMBs

Online lender backed by Nas says it was hit by security breach (New York Post), Rated: A

Earnin, which is also backed by tech investor Andreesen Horowitz, discovered in February that a third-party security firm had accessed customers’ bank transactions — including all their debit card purchases and payment statements going back for months, the company confirmed to The Post.

Small Business Loan Approvals at Banks Hit Record Highs (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Approval rates for small business loan applications rose to another post-recession record (27.7%) at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets), while also climbing above 50% at small banks in July, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index released today.

Small bank approvals of small business loan applications inched up one-tenth of a percent to 50.1% from 50% in June.

Small business loan approval rates among alternative lenders dropped three-tenths of a percent to 56.8% from 57.1% in June.

What business does a crowdfunding fintech have with banks? (American Banker), Rated: A

Krista Morgan, the founder and CEO of the crowdfunding fintech P2Binvestor, always understood that funding small-business loans through investors would be challenging. But when the firm launched in 2014, she quickly recognized it wasn’t lining up the investors or capital that was the difficulty.

“Finding capital through our investor platform has been relatively straightforward,” she said. “Finding businesses and winning the business and being competitive in market and building the technology that supports the lending has been the harder side of the marketplace.”

Fox Corp. Buys 67% Stake In Consumer Loan Marketplace Credible Labs (Stock News Press), Rated: A

Citing reports, as per the terms of the deal, the shareholders of Credible Labs will reportedly receive A$ 2.21 in cash per CHESS depository interest (CDI), representing A$55.25 per share of common stock of the company.

Fox says it will commit up to $USD 75 million ($AUD110.8 million) of growth capital to Credible over the next two years.

Cross River — A Regional Bank Providing Specialized BaaS Services (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Who we spoke to: Gilles Gade (Founder and CEO) and Phil Goldfeder (SVP and Communications)
  • Establishment year: 2008
  • Bank license: Yes
  • API documentation

Al Goldstein of Avant and Amount (Lend Academy), Rated: A

We last had Al Goldstein, the CEO and Chairman of Avant and Amount, on the show back in 2015. So much has changed since then not just in the personal loan space but in the banking space as well. And Avant has evolved to meet those challenges.

Mall landlords weigh becoming lenders to blunt retail crash (American Banker), Rated: A

Mall landlords accustomed to offering rent reductions to ailing retailers are mulling a new strategy to forestall the industry’s collapse: positioning themselves as lenders to tenants struggling to stay afloat.

The boutique bank PJ Solomon has organized discussions with several mall owners about pursuing such a strategy with the troubled retailer Forever 21, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in what could serve as a model for future transactions within the sector.

This woman paid off ,000 in credit-card debt with a personal loan, but her first attempt landed her in the red again (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Rogers is far from the only person to have used this debt-consolidation strategy with success. At the end of 2018, nearly 11% of adults in the U.S. held a personal loan, according to data from ExperianEXPN, +1.84%.   The number of personal loans has risen 42% since 2015, making them the fastest-growing category of debt in the country.

Around 61% of personal loans are used for debt consolidation, said Ezra Becker, senior vice president of research and consulting at TransUnion.

An update on credit access and the Bureau’s first No-Action Letter (CFPB), Rated: AAA

For some consumers, the use of unconventional sources of information, or “alternative data,” to evaluate creditworthiness may be a way to increase access to credit or decrease the cost of credit. Alternative data includes information not typically found in core credit files of nationwide consumer reporting agencies and may indicate a likelihood of meeting obligations on time that a traditional credit history may not reflect.

The Bureau remains committed to using all of the tools at its disposal under the Dodd-Frank Act to help address these important issues around access to credit.  Toward that goal, the Bureau is currently reviewing comments to its proposed No-Action Letter, Trial Disclosure, and Product Sandbox policies.

Don’t let AI trigger a fair-lending violation (American Banker), Rated: A

The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning poses both opportunities and risks for financial institutions.

While using such predictive techniques may mitigate consumer lending credit risk, financial institutions should be cognizant of the potential impacts of bias and its implications on fairness.

Peer-to-peer crypto lending startup Dharma pauses new deposits and loans (The Block Crypto), Rated: A

Dharma, the San Francisco-based crypto lending startup behind the open-source protocol of the same name, has announced via Twitter that it is “pausing new deposits and loans” on its platform.

I quit my job at 34 with $ 3 million—here are my 5 biggest regrets about early retirement (CNBC), Rated: AAA

And in 2012, I finally retired at 34. By the time I quit my job, I had amassed a net worth of about $3 million that generated roughly $80,000 in investment income per year.

If I worked a few extra years before retiring, I would have had the financial confidence to buy more real estate in 2012, right before prices began to take off. (A rental property in San Francisco that cost $900,000 in 2012 would be worth roughly $1.6 million today.)

Source: Bay Area Market Reports, Compass

I also could have leveraged my interests in real estate and technology to start a real estate crowdfunding company — or, at the very least, join one. I still believe that real estate is one of the most straightforward ways most Americans can build wealth over the long term.

OppLoans Review: Installment Loans for Borrowers with Bad Credit (Money Check), Rated: A

One such lender that is looking to capitalize on this space is OppLoans. The US-based lender offers loans to those with poor credit, ranging from $500 up to $5,000.

Galaxy Digital Makes Its Next Move in Crypto Lending Markets (Bitcoin Magazine), Rated: B

DrawBridge Lending (DBL), a digital asset loaning, borrowing and investing company, has received an investment from merchant bank Galaxy Digital with the aim to greatly expand DBL’s institutional investment and lending capacity.

Minneapolis-based Digital Finance Startup DeFiner.org Wins 2019 Detroit Fintech Challenge (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Less than two years after being conceptualized, Minneapolis-based digital lending & borrowing platform DeFiner.org has beat out 17 other Fintech startups to win one of the industry’s most coveted prizes.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle adds to August ABS supply with first US deal (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

UK-based marketplace lender Funding Circle is set to issue its first US securitization, a $198.45m deal backed by loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Funding Circle posts higher revenues but pre-tax losses widen (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has increased its revenues but widened its pre-tax losses, according to a half-year report which echoed last month’s results preview.

The FTSE 250-quoted firm posted a 29 per cent jump in revenue to £81.4m but pre-tax losses widened to £30.8m from £27.1m in the first half of 2018.

Adjusted core earnings fell year-on-year to £1.2m from £3.3m.

Tide, Starling Ramp Up Rivalry Over SMB Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The rivalry between U.K. challenger banks Tide and Starling continues to heat up as Tide signs on its 100,000th small business customer.

Reports in The Telegraph on Monday (Aug. 5) said the companies continue to compete for the small business customer base. Tide has on-boarded 100,000 small business customers, described by the firm’s chief executive Oliver Prill as a “very significant milestone.”

Young SMEs and companies that have recently switched banks are prime UK neobank targets (Business Insider), Rated: A

1 in 4 UK robo-advisors shuttered in two years (AltFi), Rated: A

Digital wealth management, or robo advice as it used to be called, has been around for more than a decade and launched into the UK in 2011 with the arrival of Nutmeg. Things started to get really interesting around 2016 and 2017 when a flurry of companies were founded to attack the space dominated by traditional wealth management, an industry looking after £1trn of investors’ assets.

OakNorth strengthening leadership team with appointment of Jackson Hull as CTO and COO (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

OakNorth has today announced the appointment of Jackson Hull as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO). With over 15 year’s C-suite experience in London and San Francisco, Jackson is a leading expert in building high-volume eCommerce applications, global SaaS platforms, mobile and IoT platforms, as well as award-winning products and services in finance, fintech, travel, accommodation and retail.

China

Jiayin Closes Cases Against 12,000 Debtors Online (CapitalWatch), Rated: AAA

Jiayin Group Inc. (Nasdaq: JFIN), China’s online lending platform, announced it has solved more than 12,000 cases of overdue payments and attempts to escape debt as of May.

Shanghai-based Jiayin runs a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, known as Niwodai, which connects borrowers and investors. The company has established a tailored legal department for post-loan management to handle online arbitration. As it reported on its website, as of the end of May, it has closed more than 12,000 cases in more than 30 provinces in China.

European Union

Swedish fintech Klarna valued at $ 5.5 billion in funding round (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Online payments firm Klarna, which has attracted a growing following with its “buy now, pay later” service for shoppers, said on Tuesday it had raised $460 million in a funding round that makes it Europe’s most valuable fintech startup.

Investors led by San Francisco-based Dragoneer Investment Group put new money into the Swedish company, giving it a valuation of $5.5 billion and additional financial firepower to expand in the United States.

Video: What’s next for Klarna, the most valuable EU fintech (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Yahoo Finance’s Adam Shapiro, Julie Hyman, Rick Newman, and Scott Gamm join Klarna Co-Founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

Penta, the German business banking startup, raises €8M additional funding (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Penta, the business banking provider for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that was recently acquired by fintech company builder Finleap, has raised “over” €8 million in new funding.

The startup raised a €7 million Series A round in late 2018, and is thought to have had more than €18 million investment since being founded in 2016.

Two Issues Currently Evolving on P2P Lending Marketplaces (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

This week some investors on the p2p lending marketplaces ViventorGrupeer and Mintos are affected by issues that hinder the normal procedures on these marketplaces.

(Screenshot from Viventor.com)

Update 14:02: Apparently Mintos has now suspended trading of Aforti loans on the secondary market.

EstateGuru, a Marketplace for Short-Term, Property Backed Loans, Launches in Portugal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EstateGuru, an online marketplace for secured, short term loans, has launched in Portugal, according to a note from the company. EstateGuru is now providing crowdfunding services in six different countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, and Spain. EstateGuru said by opening in the Portuguese market the company had achieved its next milestone in its long term strategy.

International

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

Mintos leads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 611 million Euro.

Source: P2P-Banking

Ethereum’s Latest Milestone — 200,000 Smart Contracts (Crypto.IQ), Rated: A

DeFi protocols such as Compound, Dharma, and Uniswap are among the most advanced tools of Ethereum-based P2P lending solutions. Another interesting use case built on Ethereum is the decentralized prediction market platform Augur (REP).

Crowdfunding: alternative ways to find a community of impact investors (Specialist Banking), Rated: B

At the same time, there’s been a remarkable increase in the impact investment market — investments made with the intention to generate positive social and environmental impact alongside a financial return — with the Global Impact Investing Network valuing the global market at $502bn.

Australia/New Zealand

CommBank Invests US$ 100 Million In Fintech Klarna As Digital Transactions Continue To Grow (Which-50), Rated: AAA

Commonwealth Bank has invested in Klarna, a Swedish rival to Afterpay, and will bring the European buy now, pay later provider to Australia. The deal accompanies the bank’s continued investment in its digital capabilities.

CommBank invested US$100 million in the fintech’s US$460 million funding round, announced yesterday, which values the company at $5.5 billion. The bank will also become Klarna’s exclusive partner in Australia and New Zealand.

Prospa Establish NZ Warehouse Facility, Shares Rise on ASX (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender Prospa Group Limited (ASX: PGL) has established its first warehouse facility specifically to fund New Zealand small business loans. According to a note from Prospa, the 3-year facility has an initial capacity of NZ $45 million.

Judo bank breaks Aussie record with $ 400m round (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Australian challenger, Judo Bank, has completed the biggest single funding round in the country’s history by raising $400 million, writes Jane Connolly.

StartupSmart reports that the finance – which is double Judo’s original target for the round – came from new institutional investors, including Bain Capital Credit and Tikehau Capital, along with existing investors.

India

India’s Indifi raises $ 21M to expand its online lending platform (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Indifi, a Gurgaon-based startup that offers loans to small and medium-sized businesses and also operates an online lending marketplace, has raised 1,450 million Indian rupees ($21 million) in a new financing round to expand its business in the country.

Indifi, which has raised about $34 million in venture capital to date, has also relied on debt to grow and finance loans on its platform. Currently, it’s in about $21 million in debt, Alok Mittal, co-founder and managing director of Indifi, told TechCrunch in an interview.

A typical loan processed by Indifi is of about $7,000 in size. Overall, the startup offers between $1,400 to  $70,000 in capital to businesses.

Asia

65% of Singapore Customers Interested in Digital Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to a recent survey, in Singapore digital banking has some pent up demand. JD Power has published a brief retail banking satisfaction study and, according to their numbers, 65% of consumers are interested in opening digital bank accounts. This is an increase from the year prior where 52% of surveyed individuals expressed similar digital banking interest.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 8 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub restructures SME lending. Funding Circle lowers return projections. RateSetter receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise. SoFi could get $500M funding from Qatar. Today’s main analysis: How personal loans impact credit scores a year into repayment. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Employer payday loans and continuous billing using today’s technology. Interview with Deserve’s […]

The post Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

fintechs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingClub shuts down SME lending arm (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

US peer-to-peer lending pioneer Lending Club has closed the doors on its in-house small business lending operation, reports Julie Muhn at Finovate.

Opportunity Fund, a non-profit small business lender; Funding Circle, one of the largest alternative small business lending platforms in the US; and Lending Club have teamed up to offer Lending Club’s small business clients’ access to credit. Businesses can now borrow up to $300,000 for rates as low as 5%.

How Personal Loans Impact Debt and Credit Scores a Year Into Repayment (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Key findings

  • One year after taking on a personal loan, 52% of borrowers owed less overall on credit cards and personal loans. These borrowers’ balances — the sum credit card and personal loan balances — fell $811 on average.
  • Among baby boomers who took out personal loans, 56% lowered their overall balances after their first year of repayment, compared with 52% of Generation X and 48% of millennials.
  • Boomers also lowered their balances by much larger amounts, owing an average $2,048 less after a year. Balance reductions of younger borrowers were more modest: Generation X lowered their overall balance by $338, and millennials reduced their overall balance $250.
  • A year into repaying a personal loan, credit scores declined slightly for all age groups. Boomers’ credit scores declined the least, with the median falling just 1 point from 669 to 668. The median score of Generation X personal loan borrowers fell 7 points, from 659 to 652. Millennial credit scores fell 10 points, dropping from 661 to 651.
  • Credit utilization rates — the ratio of the sum of credit card balances to the sum of credit card limits — show a similar trajectory. One month after taking a personal loan, the median utilization rate fell from 35% to 26%. But after the first month, utilization increased. The median utilization rate one year after taking a loan increases to 44%.

How To Get Your Paycheck Early (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Speaking of Walmart, the retailer has partnerships with two fintech startups–Even Responsible Finance and PayActiv–that enable its US workers get part of their salary paid before payday.

Employees can get up to eight drawdowns (called Instapays) on their salary ahead of scheduled payouts. The first eight drawdowns are free to the employees, and then in subsequent use, fees are levied across a personal finance app available through Even.

Continuous Billing

There’s no reason why billers can’t provide continuous information about what a customer owes, in real time, online or through mobile apps.

Deserve’s Kalpesh Kapadia: ‘We promise the best credit card for our customer’s profile and life stage’ (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The financial system has always struggled with young people. Because the system uses credit history, young people were frequently excluded from credit products because they’re new to the system. If you’re an immigrant or foreign student studying in the US, it’s way worse. Kalpesh Kapadia set out to change a system that was skewed against young people. He’s the co- founder and CEO of Deserve, which offers credit cards to college students at 2500 universities in the US.

To do this, he’s created an analytics-based lending platform that’s also branching out into powering credit cards as a service. We talk about how Deserve is able to underwrite credit-thin files and why he thinks his firm is at an advantage when it comes to competing against Marcus’s credit products and Apple’s new credit card.

Resolve Accelerates Shift to B2B eCommerce with Automated Net Payment Terms (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

According to Forrester Research, business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce is poised to reach over $1.8 trillion by 2023. To help power this explosive growth, Resolve today announced that it has formally spun out of Affirm to launch an automated payments platform offering extended net terms. Early customers using Resolve’s payment automation technology have realized significant increases in B2B sales, growth in order size, and faster sales cycles.

Online Auto Loans: The Pros and Cons (U.S. News), Rated: A

Things are different now. Almost every financial institution has an online presence, and most offer information about car loans on their site. Most also provide an opportunity to apply for financing online, with a growing number able to take car buyers through the entire auto loan process without ever having to visit a bank or credit union branch.

It’s Not Easy Solving For $ 1.5 Trillion In Student Debt (PYMNTS), Rated: A

There is $1.5 trillion worth of student loan debt outstanding in the U.S. and it is creating problems.

Admittedly the plan is quite a bit more complex than that, as detailed by Sen. Warren in a Medium post that went live yesterday (April 22). In broad strokes, for students from families with less than $100,000 a year in annual income, $50,000 in student loan forgiveness would be available. The post also calls for “substantial debt cancellation for every person with household income between $100,000 and $250,000.” The Warren plan also calls for the elimination of tuition at all two-year and four-year public institutions of higher learning, and would create a fund of at least $50 billion specifically for historically black colleges and universities. Federals subsidies for for-profit colleges would be banned.

Would You Take a Job Just for the Fertility Insurance? (Glamour), Rated: AAA

The cost, however, put it out of reach. A single round of IVF rings in at about 

dv01 Launches Credit Risk Transfer Market Surveillance Offering (dv01 Email), Rated: A

dv01 today announces the launch of its Credit Risk Transfer (CRT) Market Surveillance offering, which will be showcased on April 25 at the 4th Annual Credit Risk Transfer Symposium in New York.

dv01’s latest offering adds $1.8 trillion of Freddie Mac (STACR) and Fannie Mae (CAS) CRT securitizations to dv01’s modern web-based data analytics platform, furthering their goal of bringing greater transparency to capital markets. Building on the success of dv01’s Market Surveillance offering for consumer loans (launched in 2017), the CRT offering will allow investors to analyze historical performance of CRT deals both individually or as combined deals, perform whole market analysis, and run cash flow scenarios.

Let’s give post offices another job (The Student Life), Rated: A

As of 2017, approximately 6.5% of households in the U.S., totaling more than eight million, don’t have an account open at an insured bank, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. An additional 24.2 million households utilize non-traditional financial services that often make them vulnerable to usurious lending rates.

Americans utilizing alternative forms of credit spend nearly 10% of their salaries on fees alone. For a family making the average salary of $25,500 in 2012, those fees average out to $2,412.

The USPS has 59% of its locations in zip codes that have one or fewer banks, according to a 2011 government report. This could help people to overcome a geographic boundary.

Equifax acquires PayNet to help expand access to capital for small and mid-sized businesses (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Equifax Inc., a global data, analytics and technology company has acquired PayNet, a company that provides commercial credit risk underwriting and management solutions to online and alternative finance lenders, and commercial finance and leasing companies in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Marketplace Lending Update #5: The Very Long Arm of Colorado Law (The National Law Review), Rated: A

Recently a state court in Colorado ruled that securitization trusts that acquire marketplace lender loans originated to Colorado consumers are subject to Colorado jurisdiction. The court’s ruling derailed the attempt by the securitization trusts to escape the ongoing battle between the State of Colorado and marketplace lenders over rates and fees that can be charged to Colorado residents.

Berman Tabacco Announces Major Win for Victims of Plain Green Online Lending Scheme (BusinessWire), Rated: A

In a long-awaited opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today ruled that borrowers who took out loans from the Native American-affiliated online lender Plain Green can proceed with their nationwide RICO class action in Vermont federal court. The Second Circuit affirmed a May 2016 ruling by District Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford and comes nearly two years after oral argument on Defendants’ appeals. Berman Tabacco and Gravel & Shea PC are Lead Counsel in the case, Gingras, et al. v. Rosette, et al., No. 5:15-cv-00101-gwc (D. Vt.).

2nd Circ. Says Tribal Officers Not Immune In Payday Loan Suit (Law360), Rated: B

The Second Circuit on Wednesday rejected a bid by officers of tribe-owned lending company Plain Green LLC to escape a suit claiming they charged exorbitant interest rates on so-called payday loans,…

White Oak Global Advisors Completes $ 30M Loan for Danimer Scientific Holdings (AP News), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (“White Oak”) today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent to provide a $30 million senior credit facility to Danimer Scientific Holdings, LLC (“Danimer”), a manufacturer of specialty compostable and biodegradable plastics. This transaction expands on White Oak’s ESG-lending platform, which aims to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) that are developing solutions to help address environmental and social issues around the world.

Online Lender Upgrade Recognized as Top Place to Work in San Francisco (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Online Lender Upgrade, a Fintech serving the consumer credit market, has been named a “Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’”by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal. Upgrade is the creation of  CEO Renaud Laplanche, the founder of publicly traded marketplace lending platform LendingClub. This is the second time Upgrade has been recognized as a nice place to work in the notoriously work focused bay area.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle lowers return projections (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has revised down its annual return projections in the face of a weaker environment for consumer credit.

The peer-to-peer business lender now predicts investors in its Balanced portfolio will achieve a return of 4.5 to 6.5 per cent a year.

Investors in its Conservative portfolio, meanwhile, could achieve 4.3 to 4.7 per cent a year.

Peer to Peer Lender RateSetter Receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer investment platform RateSetter has been recognized with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for excellence in innovation.

Challenger bank Tandem to double headcount as CEO warns of Brexit brain drain (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Tandem Bank said on Tuesday it had moved into a new 16,000 square foot office in London as part of plans to double headcount this year to 230 and grow to 300 people by the end of 2020.

“Last year we hit 500,000 customers when we had an expectation for 150,000,” Knox told Yahoo Finance UK.

Consumer P2P loans weigh on P2PGI fund returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) has warned that its legacy peer-to-peer lending portfolio continues to be more volatile than expected despite posting an improved net asset value (NAV) return for 2018.

P2PGI – the world’s first P2P-focused investment trust – revealed in its annual report that its NAV for 2018 was 5.2 per cent, up from three per cent in 2017.

China

How Leverage Turns Market Corrections into Crashes (Yale Insights), Rated: AAA

Q: Is shadow borrowing unique to China?

It’s difficult to study the phenomenon very precisely. We do observe shadow lending in various forms growing throughout the world, including in the U.S., and, if left unregulated, this type of lending could mean that household and financial institution leverage keeps rising in a way that is both unregulated and undocumented.

Because the Chinese government believed that the shadow sector was partly responsible for the crash, it seized the data from some shadow lending platforms and allowed us to analyze it.

Q: Who’s providing the financing in these situations?

The exact sources of financing are not well known. Some of it could be other stock investors that have put up their own holdings as collateral and borrowed against it and then lend out the proceeds on the shadow market. It could also be peer-to-peer lending platforms. It’s also believed that some of the financial institutions and brokerage firms within China may have also lent out within the shadow sector.

Trade war with US could lead to economic ‘cold war’ for China, Beijing researchers say (SCMP), Rated: A

The tit-for-tat tariff war with the US and the broad hostility is seen as a major risk endangering China’s “economic security”, along with a property bubble, local debt, unemployment and online financing including peer-to-peer lending, according to the latest edition of China’s Economic Security Outlook.

European Union

French Lender Societe Generale Issues $ 112 Million Bond on Ethereum (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

French financial services giant Societe Generale Group has issued about $112 million worth of bonds in the form of a security token on the public ethereum blockchain.

Announced today, a subsidiary called Societe Generale SFH used the OFH token (obligations de financement de l’habitat, or home financing obligations) to represent 100 million euros of covered bonds, a type of security that is backed by specific assets but remains on the issuer’s balance sheet.

The bond has a five-year maturity with a 12-month extension period, Moody’s said.

N26 opens tech hub in Vienna with a focus on security (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Fintech startup N26 is opening an office, its fourth, in Vienna. Eventually, the company plans to hire 300 software engineers, product managers and IT specialists.

API card platform Marqeta signs up three customers in Europe (Verdict), Rated: B

The platform has been signed up by French digital bank Morning, Swiss digital bank Yapeal, and Spanish POS lender Aplazame.

CoinLoan Plans IEO and Seeks Partners (Digital Journal), Rated: B

CoinLoan crypto-backed lending platform declares its intention to launch an Initial Exchange Offering and invites discussion with major crypto exchanges interested in the listing.

International

SoFi Is in Talks With Qatar for $ 500 Million Funding Round (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup Social Finance Inc. is in the final stages of closing a funding round from the Qatar Investment Authority and others, according to four people familiar with the matter.

The new round, which could close as soon as this week, is said to value the startup at an amount similar to the $4.3 billion valuation of its 2017 funding round, led by Silver Lake. Two of the people said that in order to achieve the same valuation, investors were asking for more protections should the company raise money or sell itself for a lower price tag in the future. The terms of the deal have not been finalized and could still change, the people said. All of the people asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

These are the top 10 hottest fintech startups and companies in the world (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Fintech industry funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.

Brex

What it does: Brex is a US-based corporate credit card provider, which initially focused on serving startups.

Raisin

Why it’s hot in 2019: Raisin became a fintech unicorn after raising $114 million in January, and has since then formed partnerships with Commerzbank and ClearScore. Additionally, the startup partnered with Starling Bank in 2018 to launch bank accounts in the UK

SoFi

Why it’s hot in 2019: While the company previously focused on loans, including student loans, in 2019 it has made some significant moves into the wealth management space, and launched both free ETFs and an investment product, dubbed SoFi Invest. As it becomes a more rounded financial product, SoFi will be worth watching in the next few years.

Lending Express

What it does: Lending Express is a US-based lending platform, which focuses on SMBs, and helps them gain access to more funding by providing them with advice.

Volt Bank

Why it’s hot in 2019: In January, Volt became Australia’s first fully licensed neobank. The challenger bank will first offer a suite of retail banking products, as well as budgeting and account aggregation tools, and plans to enter the SMB banking sector in 2020.

U.K. fintech now has war chest to push stateside (American Banker), Rated: A

Fresh off a $100 million funding round last year, the British startup OakNorth is preparing to license its business lending technology to U.S. banks and beyond.

The 3-year-old small-business lender is entering the U.S. at a time when fintechs and banks have stepped up their digital business lending efforts. Though OakNorth has not announced any official partnerships in the U.S., CEO Rishi Khosla said there’s appetite for what the firm is offering.

BlockFi Is Now Paying Interest on $ 53 Million of Crypto Deposits (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Crypto lending startup BlockFi has gathered another $18 million of bitcoin and ether deposits since last month, bringing its total interest-earning accounts to $53 million.

The company also lowered its minimum balance to earn interest on bitcoin from 1 BTC to 0.5 BTC and expanded its operations to India, meaning its service is now available globally, except for territories sanctioned by the U.S., U.K. and E.U.

No crypto winter for BlockFi as client base reaches 50% (CoinGeek), Rated: B

Crypto lending startup BlockFi has been growing, and now claimed that it has grown its client base by 50% in just one month.

Funds at your disposal: Digital lending making inroads into traditional lending (Finextra), Rated: A

The penetration of the internet of things and devices such as smartphones has brought in many advancements. This has made economic activities available at the touch of a button. Among the various sectors, the digital world has evolved the way traditional banking processes are being carried out. A growing number of businesses and individuals are filling applications online for taking loans rather than getting into the lengthy lending process.

Microsoft Will Pay You To Develop… Ethereum? (CryptoBriefing), Rated: B

“[ConsenSys Labs] has put up a few bounties in the vein of rethinking the lending market, and thinking about a peer-to-peer lending and a decentralized credit score system,” explains ConsenSys’ Operations Lead Vivek Singh. Instead of relying on centralized credit agencies, such a system—if successful—could allow borrowers to leverage their social connections into a sort of decentralized credit score.

India

Indian lendtech ZestMoney raises $ 20m (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

ZestMoney, a start-up that helps consumers with no credit history get loans to buy online, has raised a $20 million Series B.

‘Money Loji’ launches App that offers loans to salaried professionals within 5 Minutes (Business Standard), Rated: A

Money Loji, a modern money ending platform, has launched its App, which offers quickest and the most secure loans to salaried professionals for an immediate requirement with flexible repayment options starting from 7 days to a maximum of 90 days. They follow a unique three-step process – application, approval, disbursement which is carried out within 3-4 minutes. The eligibility criterion is a minimum in-hand of Rs 20,000/month and a minimum age of 23 years. The application requires the users to upload an identity proof, an address proof, last 3 alongside the slips.

Blockfi Launches High-Interest Crypto Lending Program in India (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

New Jersey-based crypto startup Blockfi announced Tuesday that it has expanded service to users in India. Its flagship Blockfi Interest Account (BIA) for BTC and ETH is now available in 65 countries.

Asia

Nuo Network Crypto Lending Platform Becomes Asia’s Biggest with $ 2 Million in Reserves (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: AAA

ConsenSys ventures backed Nuo.Network, which is a non-custodial lending platform recently made it to the top 5, dollar Defi (Decentralized Finance) projects and it presently the largest lending platform based in Asia. In the past month, the value of loans given has doubled, this is partly due to the growth of DAI reserves, which is now about 500,000 USD and the surge in Maker stability fees.

Why China’s Ping An OneConnect picks Indonesia for expansion (The Asset), Rated: A

The archipelago is viewed as an ideal market to benefit from the services offered by the enterprise. According to the Ping An Group, Indonesia, at around US$27 billion in 2018, is the largest and fastest-growing internet economy in Southeast Asia.

MENA

Banks use fintech to make up for lost time on financial inclusion (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

It fell to a mobile phone company more than a decade ago to financially empower tens of millions of Africans who found themselves passed over by the traditional banking sector. Now, some 12 years after Vodafone co-founded M-Pesa, the mobile payments venture that took east Africa by storm, banks are upping their game to improve financial inclusion rates across Africa and the Middle East, as technology widens their ability to deliver banking services at lower costs.

Source: Financial Times

In east Africa, the Catalyst Fund has backed Sokowatch, a three-year-old Kenya-based fintech that enables small retailers to order goods from suppliers registered on the mobile-focused platform and receive same-day deliveries. It also offers access to credit. The platform has already expanded into Tanzania and Rwanda.

In the Middle East, Citigroup has given $5m to a microloans fund in Jordan that helps give women access to credit. The financial support will help provide loans to around 10,000 additional women.

Iraq’s financial inclusion drive boosted by homegrown fintech (Financial Times), Rated: A

Around 7m Iraqis are now receiving welfare benefits or public sector salaries electronically, as the government replaces cumbersome cash dispersals with biometric debit cards that can be used at ATMs and in shops.

Only 23 per cent of Iraqis aged 15 and over held an account with a financial institution in 2017, according to the World Bank — although that figure has doubled since 2011.

Source: Financial Times

YouHodler Cryptocurrency Lending Platform Adds Dash (Dash News), Rated: A

Users will now be able to borrow in EUR, USD, or Stablecoin against their Dash as well as use the site to covert Dash to any crypto or fiat on the platform and withdraw to their crypto or fiat wallet. If a user enters their credit/debit card on the platform then they can “convert DASH to fiat and instantly withdraw that amount onto their personal cards, adding a unique “real world” utility for crypto”.

Canada

7 ways emerging fintech hubs are taking on the giants (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

Toronto is another significant fintech force in North America, and the leading fintech zone in Canada, because of the high concentration of financial organizations and technology development in Ontario. Last year Toronto accounted for CA$221 million (US$165 million) in total fintech investments across 25 deals, according to a recent report from Toronto Financial International (TFI).

Toronto ranks ninth out of the top 15 global fintech hubs, according to TFI. Currently the region has more than 190 fintech companies and 20 incubator/accelerators in operation. Payments represent the single leading category of fintech investment in the Toronto area, and combined with lending and digital currencies/FX firms it accounts for half of all local fintech activity, according to TFI.
Source: PaymentsSource
Latin America

Brazilian Credit Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 11 Million in Series B Round (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

FinanZero, a Brazilian fintech that operates as a consumer loan broker, received a new round of investment, raising USD 11 millionfrom Atlant Fonder, Dunross & Co and Vostok Emerging Finance, among other investors.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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

Money 20/20

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

Money 20/20

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

Themes included :

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

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

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

Day One

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

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

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

Day Two

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

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

Day Three

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

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

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

Day Four

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

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

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

Focus on Alternative Lending and Credit Cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Noteworthy Announcements

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

The Payments Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author:

Written by Paul Keenan.

The Rise of Crypto Lending, a Natural Progression of Peer-to-Peer Financing

Nexo

The rise of new technologies often give rise to new business models. The peer-to-peer lending space is just over a decade old and still have much to grow into. However, not long after the first P2P lender–Zopa in 2005–opened its doors, a new technology that promises to challenge traditional ways to deliver financial services emerged. […]

Nexo

The rise of new technologies often give rise to new business models. The peer-to-peer lending space is just over a decade old and still have much to grow into. However, not long after the first P2P lender–Zopa in 2005–opened its doors, a new technology that promises to challenge traditional ways to deliver financial services emerged. That technology was the blockchain, a distributed ledger that underlies the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Since then, other blockchains have been created along with new business models to suit. As it stands in 2018, crypto lending has not made a big dent in P2P lending services, but the potential is there. This article will highlight some of the more significant blockchain-based P2P lenders, which we hope will inspire a new look at technological innovation in this space.

Think of crypto lending like you would the banking industry: Even if Capital One provided perfect products at every turn, there would still be plenty of room for JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America. There would still be room for the hundreds of other banks that compete for customers.

The companies listed here are not ranked in any manner. Rather, they=se are just some of the choices available for consumers in the market for cryptocurrency loans.

1. SALT (Secured Automated Lending Technology) Lending

One of the best benefits crypto-based lending has to offer is that a lessened importance on traditional credit scores as a factor for risk assessment. SALT Lending touts blockchain-based assets as “the perfect form of collateral.” The company is using this fact to “dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of the loan process.” SALT operates under Regulation D and, in lieu of credit checks, the company does AML and KYC verifications.

Offering three tiers of product, SALT’s loans start at $5,000 and go as high as $250 million. Loan percentages run between 12 and 22 percent APR, but the borrower retains the value of the collateral currency claiming any gains and losses that happen over the life of the loan. SALT accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin as collateral, and funds loans in USD.

One fact that could be a significant factor when deciding to use the SALT Lending platform is that loans are not transferable on the blockchain, but through existing financial channels. Thus, they become securities.

It’s not foolish to base a good bit of faith in a company that has proven players on its team. Founder Erik Voorhees was also involved in founding several other crypto websites prior to starting SALT Lending. Among these include Satoshi Dice, which he later sold, Coinapult, and ShapeShift.

2. ETHlend

Unlike SALT Lending, Estonia-based ETHlend is a fully decentralized P2P platform built on the Ethereum blockchain for lending Ether as tokens for collateral. Some insiders fear that platforms that allow their loans to become securities might run the risk of being swallowed up by banks.

ETHlend lends Ethereum, Bitcoin, their own LEND tokens, and DAI tokens, as well as 180+ other Ethereum-based tokens. The company offers address-to-address loans that are sent within minutes, with no middle men, assuring that no one, not even Ethlend, can stop one’s lending or borrowing. The company plans to expand beyond Ethereum to other distributed ledger platforms in Q3 of 2019.

The company’s interest rates range from .25 to five percent MPR, and all transactions are carried out on digital wallets. Borrowers that transact in the LEND token can get a no-fee loan.

Announced earlier this week, Aave is a tech-based company designed to expand on the offerings of centralized fintech companies like PayPal and Coinbase. Aave Pocket, Aave Gaming, and Aave Lending (SaaS) are among the offerings this expansion adds to the platform.

Unfortunately, the service is not yet available everywhere including a block to U.S. citizens.

3. Nexo

A new kid on this block is Nexo, and being a new kid means that they are doing things in a new manner. Founded in Zug, Switzerland—even more of an “EF Hutton” mention than Estonia—in 2017, Nexo promises the world’s first instant crypto-backed loans. Available worldwide, Nexo loans start at $1,000 and top out at $2 million.

The process is an easy one.

  • Log on to the website.
  • Verify your account
  • Deposit crypto assets into Nexo wallet
  • Withdraw loan to your bank account

There will be brief pauses while the borrower is verified—the company complies with the highest AML and KYC (provided by Onfido) standards—and while your deposit is confirmed on the blockchain. Overall, the Nexo process reads like a rather quick and seamless process.

The platform loans Euros, USD, and Tether while accepting Ether, bitcoin, Bincance coin (BNB), and Nexo as collateral currency. The interest rate is eight percent if the collateral currency is Nexo and 16 percent for all others. Nexo assets are stored in multi-signature wallets, more than one multiple cryptographic keys are necessary to gain access, and cold storage (wallets not connected to the Internet) at BitGo and PrimeTrust.

4. LendingBlock

LendingBlock predicts that, as digital assets grow as an asset class, demand for hedging, swaps, repurchases, and short selling will increase. The currency crypto market has more than $500 billion in assets circulating with less than one percent used as collateral. That leaves lots of room for growth.

Touted as the first cross-chain lending platform for the crypto economy, the company promises a product that will help its customers access secure, transparent, and fair crypto-to-crypto loans. Not a lender itself, LendingBlock provides the platform upon which parties can enter P2P contracts. The company acts as agent for both lender and borrower, as well as security trustee of the collateral. This ensures that the borrower doesn’t face any uncovered credit risk to the lender.

All collateral deposits are held in cold storage. Those who think regulation will be necessary before the crypto market can fully mature can take comfort in the fact that the company is focused on becoming a regulated business. They have submitted the full regulatory application to the country of Gibraltar and await the regulator’s response. They have also begun regulatory processes with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, and the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodities Futures Trading Commission in the United States.

Basing the platform on its own token (LND), which is used to make payments and receive interest on loans, allows the company to reduce the cost of exchange fees and makes it easier to manage interest payments. The use of smart contracts reduces expenses, risks, and complexity, which makes for lower costs for borrowers and higher returns for the lenders.

5. BlockFi

New York-based BlockFi might be the ideal platform for Americans who want to secure USD loans with Bitcoin and Ethereum, provided that said Americans live in any of the 44 states where the company is currently conducting business.

The attractive thing about the BlockFi platform is that it seems easy enough for a lay person to understand without any kind of financial advice. A borrower needs to meet only two requirements to qualify for a loan: They can have no liens or bankruptcies on their record, and they must have at least $15,000 of crypto assets between their Bitcoin and Ethereum portfolios.

If those criteria are met, the customer can borrow up to 35 percent of their crypto asset value, with loans ranging from $2,000 to $10 million. Interest rates go from 12 to 14 percent APR, and there is an added fee of one to four percent of the loan value. Borrowers can take a loan in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin.

Unlike other crypto-based lenders on this list, BlockFi does not have its own coin or token.

6. Unchained Capital

Texas-based Unchained Capital could very well be the platform of choice for those who want to liquidate their Bitcoin while maintaining it and seeing it go to work in the world.

Not only is the team at Unchained Capital in the market to make money as a lender, they have an idealistic side as well. Noting that 60 percent of Bitcoin sits around and does nothing, they have a goal to circulate it and use it to strengthen the platform. The company was founded by people who believe cryptocurrencies can change the world only if they’re useful.

The Unchained Capital team has designed its personal loans to be ideal for people who are looking to make large purchases, who hope to avoid tax events, and who want to invest. Their commercial loans are geared to companies that want to free up capital, expand their businesses, buy expensive equipment, and balance their portfolios.

Unchained Capital does not have its own cryptocurrency.

7. Other Companies to Consider

The crypto lending space is expanding. New lenders seem to be popping up quite often, which means that some people in the cryptocurrency space, at least, see a market for crypto-backed lending. Despite the market having taken a downturn in 2018, rebounding from the bull run last year that catapulted Bitcoin to $20,000 in December, this space is expanding. Lately, Bitcoin has been holding around the $6,500 mark. Since the majority altcoins tend to follow Bitcoin’s price, that means the market as  whole is down, yet more crypto lenders are ambling to get in the door.

Some of the other companies in the crypto lending space that might be worth checking out include BitBond, Credible Friends, Bitfinex (a crypto exchange that facilitates crypto financing transactions between parties), Celsius, Poloniex (another cryptocurrency exchange that allows traders to lend to other users), CoinLoan, Nebeus, GetLine, and BTCpop.

Authors:

Written by Paul Keenan and Allen Taylor.

Allen Taylor

Lending Against Cryptocurrencies

crypto lending

In an era where blockchain is transforming the financial landscape, loans against cryptoassets will emerge as an essential financial service allowing investors to retain ownership of their cryptocurrencies along with offering them much needed liquidity. In fact, this is already happening. SALT Lending SALT Lending’s co-founder, Blake Cohen, started working on blockchain technology in 2014. […]

crypto lending

In an era where blockchain is transforming the financial landscape, loans against cryptoassets will emerge as an essential financial service allowing investors to retain ownership of their cryptocurrencies along with offering them much needed liquidity. In fact, this is already happening.

SALT Lending

SALT Lending’s co-founder, Blake Cohen, started working on blockchain technology in 2014. Shawn Owen joined with Cohen and spent the next year surveying the evolving blockchain landscape. The blockchain universe lacked a host of products and services required to support the growing sector, but their Eureka moment came when they saw there was no lending product that allowed blockchain assets to be collateralized for lending in fiat currencies.

Cohen is now the chief business development officer. His background in real estate coupled with a family history in hard money lending helped him realize the problem of liquidity in the crypto world. After spending a few months conducting a thorough feasibility study where he evaluated the technology barriers, regulatory hurdles, and market size of the crypto market, he realized there was a massive business opportunity. He and Owen incorporated SALT Lending in June 2016 and launched its operations in June 2017.

The company is based in Denver, Colorado. The one year between incorporation and launch was spent building the technology and in business development. The platform enables cryptocurrency owners to take a loan using their cryptocurrency as collateral thereby safeguarding their investments, which can be reclaimed at any time after the repayment of the loan. This allows them to monetize their blockchain investments without having to sell them off. Salt facilitates liquidity for borrowers, but they still get to enjoy the upside (or downside) in the price of their original investments.

The platform went public at the Consensus conference held in New York in 2017 and received an overwhelming response. It started official disbursement of loans in December 2017.

Funding Crypto Lending

Initially, SALT Lending was funded through family and friends and raised an amount in the region of $1 million. Last year, it went on with a membership sale denominated in utility tokens – SALT. The same was considered as a revenue event and not a fundraising initiative. The sale of tokens is still going on. In the discounted round, it had raised an amount of $42 million.

The thought process behind issuance of membership tokens was that ICO is a misleading term and usually confused with IPOs (Initial Public Offering). Membership tokens offered by the company will bring the interested population to the company’s platform without requiring it to spend huge amounts of money on marketing. The idea seems corollary to an IPO, but the difference is that IPOs create shareholders in the company whereas only a small percentage of ICOs are securities giving contributors ownership rights. The majority of ICOs generate utility tokens that are to be utilized in the business ecosystem of the company.

How the SALT Lending Platform Works

The biggest driver behind the platform is its in-house technology. The automated platform operates on Ethereum-based smart contracts that facilitate crypto loans backed by blockchain assets as collateral. Membership, premier, and enterprise versions of products offered by the company allow investors to receive loans in USD or any other currency depending upon selection of the package.

The blockchain assets of borrowers are secured by the company’s proprietary custodian technology. The proprietary multi-signature wallet regularly monitors the blockchain assets from origination till release thereby reducing the risk. The multiple signer features provide borrower and lender with a private key along with a third-party custodian; this ensures that there can be no misappropriation of the collateral.

With a view to minimize the default risk, SALT Oracle Wallet regularly tracks the value of collateral assets and generates alerts in case of a drop in value  below a certain specified limit, which will further trigger liquidation of the collateral. Each loan originates with an LTV of about 60%. In case of a drop in valuation, the system will automatically liquidate a certain portion of the collateral to reach the original LTV, but only after notifying the borrower.

Products Offered

Products offered by the company facilitate borrowers with a maximum of 36 month term loans with interest rates ranging from 10% to 20% depending upon the LTV. Very few companies are offering loans with such favorable conditions. The first product offered by the company was in the form of fiat loans backed by crypto assets.

At present, SALT Lending is working with over 70 full-time employees, has processed 17,000 loan requests, and has 12,000 active SALT members. To date, it has originated loans worth $40 million.

The customer base is widely distributed across different segments. The comapany also serves small investors who are keen to invest in cryptocurrency and do not want to sell their assets for temporary liquidity issues. The purpose of loans may vary from customer to customer. Some may use a loan to repay student loans, rent a home, or invest in other assets, while corporate lenders may require a loan to expand their business and introduce additional revenue streams.

SALT Lending’s Future Plans

Lending against crypto assets is still an immature market and no complete set of solutions is currently available. Regular adoption of technological updates in the blockchain and fintech world is helping the company to fully automate each aspect of the operations and scale the business to new and emerging markets.

Custody of blockchain assets is one of the main issues that needs to be addressed. No platform or solution provider is providing a user-friendly experience in this respect. According to Cohen, this year will bring a drastic change in custodial architecture, and SALT Lending will be at the forefront of this progress.

Conclusion

Borrowers under the cryptocurrency mechanism have no issue with respect to the comparatively high interest rate because the appreciation in value of the underlying asset is expected to indemnify the high finance charges. Sale of such underlying assets results in high amount of capital gains and, therefore, borrowing against these assets provides a more tax efficient solution for crypto investors.

The industry at present is in price discovery mode. Economic pricing policies, daily reviews, and revisions in terms of lending will help SALT Lending establish a long-term market.

Different industries and asset classes are moving to the blockchain technology. SALT Lending is on its way to creating a platform that will bring together the crypto and fiat worlds where crypto assets can be used in the normal course of business.

One target for the company is to analyze and understand the needs of its customer base and respond accordingly. One such need is to make available lines of credit backed by a crypto portfolio. The company is also continually looking to partner with investors who will bring capital to meet the ever-increasing demand for loans in the industry.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday May 15 2018, Daily News Digest

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper loan originations up 27% year-over-year, over $2B co-sponsored securitizations closed. Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive. Renren investors seek to block asset sales. PayMate acquires Z2P Technologies. Today’s main analysis: Singapore’s biggest bank vs. China’s tech giants. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 80% of startup money goes to three states. The Sharestates story: $1B […]

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

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News Summary

United States

Prosper Loan Originations up 27% Year-over-Year; Over $ 2 Billion of Co-Sponsored Securitizations Closed (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Prosper today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2018. Loan originations increased 27% year-over-year to $744 million, driven by strong demand for the company’s personal loan product and stable funding.

Financial highlights include:

  • Total Net Revenue, which includes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, was flat year-over-year at $30.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to $30.8 million in Q1 2017.
  • Core Revenue(1), which excludes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, increased $11.6 million or 34% year-over-year to $45.7 million in Q1 2018 compared to $34.2 million in Q1 2017.
  • Net Loss decreased by $12.6 million to ($11.4) million in Q1 2018 compared to a Net Loss of ($24.0) million in Q1 2017.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased $13.6 million to $4.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to ($9.0) million in Q1 2017, the fourth consecutive quarter of positive Adjusted EBITDA(1) generated by Prosper.
Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Three Months Ended March 31,
2018 2017
Loan Originations $ 744,127 $ 585,590
Transaction Fees, Net 31,354 26,869
Servicing Fees, Net 7,184 6,154
Total Net Revenue 30,450 30,845
Core Revenue (1) 45,729 34,152
Net Loss (11,401 ) (24,021 )
Adjusted EBITDA(1) 4,520 (9,039 )

80% of start-up money goes to three states — here’s what one visionary is doing to help spread the wealth (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Baird: And the microfinance industry is — $30 billion a year around the world is lent in $500 chunks to small businesses, near a 100% repayment rate.

Microfinance is a tool. All investing is a tool. Every microfinance bank, every bank is neither good nor bad, they’re amoral. It’s just what are people trying to do with it. I’ve seen microfinance banks that act in extractive ways and their primary goal is extract as much profit out of poor communities as possible. I’ve seen payday lenders do the same thing. I’ve also seen microfinance banks that are very good and say, “Our core goal is building wealth for the community and we’ve structured our business in a way that works for us.”

One percent of start-up investment goes to African-Americans. Two percent of start-up investment goes to women. There are a lot of people who are overlooked.  So roughly 80% of start-up investment goes to three states: New York, Massachusetts, California. If you’re in Ohio or Florida or Nairobi or Mumbai, it’s really hard to get your idea into the system.

The Story of Sharestates: From Startup to $ 1 Billion in 3 Years (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Now, just over a year later, they have announced they recently crossed the $1 billion mark in originations. The company did so in just over 3 years, having officially launched in February 2015, just before LendIt USA that year. They are the second company in the real estate crowdfunding space to do so and are on our list as one of the ten options available for accredited investors in the marketplace lending space.

Originations in the lending space is only one metric. Any lending company’s survival depends on the quality of the loans they are making. According to the Sharestates’ website, investors have earned an average 10.54 percent annualized return. They also report 0% loss of principal for their investors. As of last year when we checked in the company was profitable which sets them up for continued success going forward. We’ve seen very few companies in the marketplace lending space broadly achieve this goal.

BuildDirect Partners With Affirm (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

BuildDirect, the first technology platform for the home improvement industry, today announced its partnership with Affirm Inc., a financial technology company that provides transparent payment alternatives to traditional credit. Now, U.S.-based BuildDirect customers have easy access to flexible and transparent financing options to pay for home improvement and renovation materials over time. At the point of sale, shoppers will see exactly how much they’ll pay in fixed monthly installments over the term they choose.

Banks struggle to combat the cyber crime bad guys (Financial Times) Rated: A

Digital banking has been a big positive for the financial services industry, though it has opened companies to greater cyber risk; cyber criminals now have a lot more entry points when it comes to getting access to funds illicitly; banks have increased their spending on defense but it isn’t enough as they also need to construct better, more secure systems; the CEO of Standard Chartered writes in the FT that banks can better utilize the data they collect, design tech better and work more closely with governments to catch bad actors.

Blockchains Could Be the Answer to Fairer Lending Systems (Nasdaq) Rated: A

The advancement of blockchain technology, this is poised to change. Through the technology, anyone anywhere in the world can raise financing from peers without having to rely on the traditional credit scores and the often heavily bureaucratic conventional mortgage processes.

Blockchain solutions such as Homelend  are making it possible for borrowers to directly reach lenders without depending on any intermediary and with no paperwork. The whole process is safeguarded by smart contracts to ensure that all parties in the deal adhere to their part of the bargain. According to Aneeza Haleem , a senior account manager at Cognizant Technology Solutions, blockchain-powered peer-to-peer mortgage financing significantly reduces the costs involved in the mortgage process.

Will Wells Fargo hurt Zelle by improving on it? (Payments Source) Rated: A

The irony of the explosive growth of mobile P2P is this: As consumers get more comfortable with paying one another through mobile devices, they’re thinking of P2P less as a service that one should find within a bank’s app.

This is a problem for Early Warning’s Zelle, the bank-run P2P network whose main selling point is its integration with banks. It’s a sharp contrast to rivals such as Venmo, which styled itself on a social media app; and Facebook and Apple, which took their own messaging platforms and blended P2P payments into the interface.

Capital One buys digital identity start-up Confyrm (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Capital One has acquired San Francisco-based digital identity start-up Confyrm as it seeks to capture the market for consumer identity services.

Financial details were not disclosed, but as part of the deal Andrew Nash, founder and CEO of Confyrm, has become managing vice-president of Capital One’s consumer identity services. No word on what happens to the rest of the staff.

Confyrm was founded five years ago and offers help against online fraud.

Where Bank of America uses AI, and where its worries lie (American Banker) Rated: A

Bank of America spends $3 billion developing and buying technology every year, and about three times that on keeping its existing IT infrastructure going, says David Reilly, global banking and markets technology chief information officer.

As you might expect, some of that goes to artificial intelligence technology. The bank does not disclose how much.

An old-school fraud analytics program might see a customer using a card in a place they have never used a card before and block the transaction.

AI can do better.

The one area where banks and fintechs want more regulation (American Banker) Rated: A

Banks, fintech firms and data aggregators are asking regulators to provide more clarity on how to handle consumer data and who is responsible for leaks when it is shared between firms — a request that’s seemingly a reversal from the deregulatory approach the industry often takes.

The potential liability stemming from consumer data has become a critical concern for the financial industry as more data aggregators and fintech firms rapidly enter the space, seeking access to customers’ bank account information in order to offer loans and other products.

Could US Post Offices Become Banks? Here’s How The Plan Would Work (10 News) Rated: A

Now, there are a couple different ways Congress could build banking into the U.S. Postal Service. The first approach would just cover the basics.

That means offering low-dollar checking accounts and debit cards to low-income earners. That would at least offer basic financial services to all Americans, regardless of wealth. And it probably wouldn’t be too tough politically because the big banks typically aren’t interested in these customers.

But Gillibrand’s proposal would go further, allowing the postal service to also make loans of up to $1,000 with a super low interest rate around 2 percent, even to the poorest Americans. Because many of those loans would be at risk of not being paid back, some experts say the interest rate will have to be higher, maybe 25 percent. But that would still be a lot lower than rates from payday lenders, which often have people pay back three or four times what they borrowed.

Citizens Financial To Launch Online Consumer Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group announced on Monday (May 14) plans to launch Citizens Access, a nationwide direct-to-consumer online bank.

In a press release, Citizens Financial said the digital platform will offer FDIC-insured deposits products aimed at serving people who want to save and want the flexibility of an online banking service. The company said it will provide digital deposit services at attractive rates and lower costs to help consumers save more for the future. The platform will be launched in the third quarter and will be available throughout the U.S.

 

Now Is the Time to Refinance Student Loans (Pharmacy Times) Rated: B

Refinancing your student loans from pharmacy school can potentially save you a significant amount of money while providing the convenience of making one payment a month. Keep in mind refinancing may not be for everyone. Individuals with a poor credit history, low salary from a pharmacy residency or fellowship, or those who want to keep the provisions in federal loans may want to closely consider their options before jumping right into refinancing their loans.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is offering £1,500 in Amazon vouchers to anyone who refers a business that takes out a loan of £25,000 or more with the peer-to-peer lending platform.

The UK’s third-largest lender to small businesses said the borrowers may need the cash to grow, refurbish, buy stock or equipment, hire more staff or simply boost their cash flow.

HMRC updates crypto investors on tax confusion (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

However, a HMRC representative has told Peer2Peer Finance News that the tax office will deal with cryptocurrency related tax bills “on a case-by-case basis”.

The 2017-18 tax year saw huge volatility across the cryptocurrency sector, with Bitcoin reaching a high of £13,840 in mid-December before ending the tax year at approximately £4,750 per coin. This has led to confusion among retail investors regarding their tax liability, particularly if they sold out of the market at a high, then reinvested the profits only to see any gains wiped out.

Frederic Nze of Oakam (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What was the catalyst that led to the founding of Oakam.
  • The loan products that Oakam offers.
  • The difference between small dollar loans in the US and the UK.
  • How Oakam is able to find their customers.
  • What percentage of their customers apply for a loan on a smartphone.
  • Why they still have physical stores where people can apply for loans in person.
  • How they have refined their underwriting models over the years.
  • How they are dealing with increased fraud via their online channels.
  • The interest rates they charge.
  • How their customers are able to reduce these rates for future loans.

Technology not size is key to banking success (Financial Times) Rated: A

Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays and now head of 10x Future Technologies, writes in the FT that technology is key to the battle with banks; having technology that is more nimble and focused on the customer will help to better position challengers; UK challengers banks have found it hard to compete against the big names, even with recent consolidation; understanding what the customer needs most and allowing them to access services anytime and anywhere is what firms should focus on.

Fintech most popular sector for HNW investors (Investment International) Rated: B

Capitama’s current registered investors have a total annual investment capacity of £7.6bn. Of this total capacity, investors have expressed an annual investment capacity of £5bn into private equity opportunities, with £2.3bn total annual investment in Debt and Income opportunities. The interest of the registered investors in Philanthropic and Social Impact opportunities currently stands at £300m per year. This is an additional theme on Capitama given the rise in interest in these organisations from wealthy individuals and organisations.

69% of Capitama investors are interested in fintech investment opportunities and 67% want to see software and technology deals. Of the nine different investment types available on Capitama, Growth funding is the most popular, with 83% of Capitama registered Investors interested in this area, followed by Early stage investments (72%), Buy-outs (63%), and Real Estate (47%).

 

 

China

Renren Investors Seek to Block Asset Sales to Chief, SoftBank (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

A group of Renren Inc. investors are trying to block the private sale of company-owned assets to a consortium that includes its own top executive and major shareholder SoftBank Group Corp.

Renren announced the complex deal in April, which it said was necessary to address concerns that the SEC might deem it an investment company — forcing its delisting if it failed to obtain relevant licenses.

The letter accused management of trying to transfer the assets at values equal to or lower than their book value, neglecting their duty to smaller shareholders and misrepresenting certain financial statements. For example, it says the shares in SoFi — one of America’s biggest student loan refinancers — are being sold at a valuation of $269 million when they could be worth double that amount.

US online lending model is unproven, Eisman of The Big Short fame says in Hong Kong (South China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Steven Eisman, famous for successfully shorting the US subprime market before the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, has said the online lending business model used in the United States is unsustainable, and that losses from Canadian mortgages could widen.

The one pocket of financial market anomaly in the US was online lending, where, he said, the underwriting of peer-to-peer credit was unproven, as selling a loan to investors such as hedge funds and other financial institutions was an unsustainable business model.

“The problem [with P2P lending] is that selling a loan [online] is not the same as selling a book. You buy a book on Amazon and that’s the end of the transaction. When you make a loan, that’s the beginning of a relationship. The question is how you manage that relationship,” said Eisman.

Soft Chinese Tech IPOs Test Next Wave of Listings (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

More than a dozen technology companies from China are rushing to go public abroad, in an enticing opportunity for investors but one that has generated poor returns recently.

Shares of most Asian tech companies that have listed in New York and Hong Kong since the start of 2017 have notched lackluster performances, with the bulk trading below their initial public offering prices after strong early gains.

European Union

Bondora Go & Grow – Bondora Rolling Out New Product (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Go & Grow is designed for the passive investors as hands off p2p lending. One of the main advantages is that Bondora says it is tax optimised.

The Bondora Go & Grow product features a target interest rate of 6.75% which will accrue daily. It runs completly on autoinvest. The investor just needs to join it and pay money into the Go & Grow account (or transfer it from the normal Bondora account). The Go & Grow account promises daily liquidity. There is a 1 EUR withdrawal fee making small withdrawals expensive but for portfolios of 1000 EUR or more and usual investment horizons this fee is negligible.

Three Year Old Fintech Mintos is Profitable (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Latvian Fintech Mintos is reporting a profit in its brief three year old history. According to the company, the global online marketplace for loans has seen their revenue increase more than four-fold in 2017 to € 2.1 million generating a net profit for the year of € 197,000. Mintos says it has experienced significant growth, making it the “peer-to-peer lending market leader for continental Europe” with a 38% market share.

In aggregate, Mintos has topped € 660 million in investments by investors and the company expects the amount of loans funded to reach EUR 1 billion before the end of this year. As of May 2018, Mintos claims more than 58,000 investors using the platform and this number is expected to surpass 100,000 at some point in 2017. Currently, investors may expect an average 12.1% rate of return.

International

The 30 most valuable VC-backed companies in the world (Pitch Book) Rated: AAA

Ridehailing giants Uber and Didi Chuxing, based in San Francisco and Beijing, respectively, lead the list of most valuable private companies around the globe. And moving down the rankings, the pattern set at the top continues. A total of five of the companies are in the ridehailing industry, and 26 of the 30 are based in either the US or China.

 

Source: Pitch Book

What is Libra Credit: Digital Assets as the Future for International Credit (Coin Central) Rated: AAA

Libra Credit is offering a decentralized lending Ethereum-based ecosystem that helps users get open access to credit anywhere and anytime.

As long as a user has digital assets, they will be able to borrow money from Libra Credit by using those digital assets as collateral. Additionally, these users will be able to build an international credit history – a concept that Libra Credit and its partners plan to push to be recognized globally.

Source: Coin Central

Libra Credit plans to charge a fixed 8% annual interest rate charged by Libra Credit, which is party enabled by its partnerships with traditional finance institutions. The rate is competitive with that of other peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Lending Club and Salt, but isn’t tied to the availability of a peer match.

Source: Coin Central

How Misbehaving Australian Banks Are Causing Global Pain (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Australia’s four biggest banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp.National Australia Bank Ltd. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. — have been plagued by a string of scandals. The accusations run the gamut from giving misleading financial advice to trying to manipulate a benchmark interest rate. Simmering public resentment — stoked by a sense banks were gouging fees to fuel record profits and executive pay — boiled over last year when Commonwealth Bank was sued for systemically breaching anti-money laundering rules.

The government has announced tough new penalties for corporate wrongdoing and beefed up the regulator’s powers; analysts have trimmed earnings forecasts and speculate future legislation could force the biggest banks to sell off advice businesses.  All this comes at a time when bank profits are under pressure from a slowing housing market, rising costs and increased competition. Most of the banks are trying to simplify their operations and sell non-core operations.

Citi Inks $ 100 Million Trade Finance Deal With Asian Development Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Global financial institution Citi is expanding its existing partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to share risk in trade finance transactions, reports in The Financial said Friday (May 11).

The ADB’s Trade Finance Program reached a deal worth $100 million with Citi that sees the financial institutions (FIs) sharing risk on trade finance transactions in an effort to bolster support for trade and access to finance across Asia.

 

Australia/New Zealand

FINNIES 2018: Here are all the finalists for Australia’s fintech industry awards (Business Insider) Rated: A

89 companies and individuals were chosen for Australia’s only industry-backed fintech awards, from a record field of more than 200 entries.

Excellence in Business Lending
● Finstro
● Prospa
● Spotcap Australia
● The Invoice Market – tim
● Trade Ledger

Excellence in Consumer Lending
● HashChing
● MoneyMe
● MoneyPlace
● RateSetter Australia
● SocietyOne

Robot financial adviser granted FMA exemption (Radio New Zealand News) Rated: A

The country has its first robot financial adviser after KiwiWealth was given an exemption by the Financial Markets Authority from the current law which requires humans to give financial and investment advice.

But Mr Bishop said it would still have human advisors offer detailed advice and have control of the robot.

India

PayMate Acquires Digital Lending Platform Z2P Technologies to Benefit SMEs (BW Disrupt) Rated: AAA

PayMate, an early pioneer in India’s payments industry and a leading player in electronic Business-to-Business (B2B) payments space, announced today the acquisition of Z2P (Zaitech Technology Pvt. Ltd.), a digital lending platform which provides hassle-free and real-time credit using social and banking data along with proprietary analytics and AI.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by May 2018 and it follows the announcement in February of this year by PayMate of its B2B partnership agreement with Visa.

As a result of the acquisition, PayMate acquires an innovative and proven lending solution in Z2P, which when combined with PayMate’s proprietary B2B payments platform will revolutionize the way businesses manage their payment operations, cashflow, and access to growth capital. PayMate plans to partner with banks and NBFCs to improve the flow of credit to SMEs.

Canada

Last week, Power Financial CEO Jeff Orr told reporters he plans to invest more money in fintech startups as the company looks to find technologies that can be incorporated into its business model and avoid disruptions that have hurt other sectors.

Widely known on the Street for its empire of financial advisers and investment products, Power Financial has spent $320-million in the fintech sector – with more than half the funds being allocated toward online robo-adviser Wealthsimple.

Asia

Singapore’s Biggest Bank Takes on China Giants in Fintech Battle (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

 

Almost 55% of customers say they would consider branchless digital-only bank

Source Bloomberg

Gupta credits his early recognition of the threat to his early days in Citigroup’s transaction banking division, unusual for a bank CEO, who tend to hail from the retail or investment banking arms of their institutions. That background taught him both the nuts and bolts of banking and the importance of technology, Gupta said. He also dabbled briefly but unsuccessfully in the startup world, when he quit Citigroup in 2001 to found an Internet portal in India, around the time the dotcom bubble was bursting.

Latin America

Morgan Stanley Goes After Brazilian FinTech Market (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Bloomberg, citing four people with direct knowledge of the matter, reported that Morgan Stanley purchased $14 million in local subordinated bonds from online consumer lender Geru Tecnologia e Servicos. The Geru bonds, which the company issued in December of 2017, have a four-year maturity and pay about 11.2 percent each year, noted the report.

The company is also reportedly in talks with international investors about raising $50 million via an equity round that QMS Capital is handling. QMS has a 10 percent stake in Geru. General Atlantic could also be an investor in the round of fundraising, noted the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Smart Contracts Open the Door for Safe Alternative Lending

smart contract alternative lending

In a small business survey, it was recorded that even with the advent of new-age online lending platforms, small businesses find it difficult to raise debt capital. The survey also revealed that 45% of the loan applications were rejected more than once, and 23% were unaware of the reasons their applications were rejected. The situation […]

smart contract alternative lending

In a small business survey, it was recorded that even with the advent of new-age online lending platforms, small businesses find it difficult to raise debt capital. The survey also revealed that 45% of the loan applications were rejected more than once, and 23% were unaware of the reasons their applications were rejected. The situation is similar for consumer lending and other lending verticals.

It is important to assess how smart contracts can help alleviate the issue and create a sustainable solution for all stakeholders.

The Smart Contract Makes and Entry

Cryptocurrency has brought smart contracts into the limelight. The ‘smart contract’ concept was introduced over two decades years ago, but it has gained popularity only now with the advent of Ethereum. A smart contract has similar features to an ordinary contract but differs in the sense that it is digital, with specialized algorithms and other computer programming codes. Basically, it is a software program which stores the terms of an agreement, verifies fulfillment automatically, and executes once the terms are met.

Initiating business relations using the concept of smart contracts enables both parties involved to transact directly with each other without the dependency on any third-party service.

For instance, in a crowdfunding platform, the project teams share their projects and gather money from the supporters until the goal is attained. If this platform is centralized, a third-party service like an agent or a broker will be required between the product team and the supporters. So, they will have to pay some additional fees to the third-party and trust it for the validation of all terms and conditions.

Smart contracts carry out the same crowdfunding process (including sharing projects, setting goals, gathering collections, etc.) without any third-party support. So, we can prepare a program which a smart contract will execute according to the defined conditions within it. Therefore, if the project completes the funding target before its deadline, money will automatically go to the product team, but if the project fails for some reason, the money will then be returned to the supporters automatically.

Since, lately, all smart contracts are usually based on the blockchain platform, data gets stored on a distributed ledger. Therefore, no one party controls the money, replacing the third-party concept. It can now be structured in a way that everyone involved, rather than one single nodal authority, can evaluate the results of the contract.

Smart contracts are extremely useful for projects that need to have conditional funding. For example, a lender to a small business promises to increase the funding limit as soon as the borrower hits a particular revenue number. In today’s world, this will be a lengthy process of checks and permissions, but with smart contracts, it involves automatic disbursal. This not only improves the experience of the borrower but also reduces major administration costs for the lender.

Advantages of Using Smart Contracts in Lending

Smart contracts come with many benefits, some of which are listed below.

Transparency
Smart contracts consist of terms and conditions which are visible and accessible to all the participants of the agreement, enhancing transparency to its customers. Banks have among the lowest net promoter scores among all industries. Ensuring a system which is transparent and auto executes saves all participants a lot of effort and bureaucratic friction.

Fast
As the contract is made up of computer codes, transactions are carried out quickly with no manual submission of documents/paperwork. For alternative lenders, with their focus on making everything digital, this adds another layer of functionality over traditional lenders.

Efficiency
As it operates automatically over computer networks, there is a remote chance of a clerical mistake. Consider a situation when your interest rate will automatically reduce if you pay your installment on time for six consecutive months. With smart contracts, this lowering of interest rate is not left to a human (or even the bank, which has no incentive to lower the interest rate).

Storage and Backup
Whenever a contract or a transaction is entered into, all the details get stored permanently in the ledger. In case of a future need, the data will be available for any legal or technical evaluation.

Communication
In manual contracts, there are chances of miscommunication. With the degree of automation in smart contracts, there is a very low chance for misconception or miscommunication.

Secure
In smart contracts, data is protected by the use of data encryption techniques to store the transaction details, which makes smart contracts a very secure way for carrying out transactions.

Cheap
During the contract implementation, there is no need for third-party support in the form of agents, brokers, or middlemen. This helps save additional fees passed to rent-seeking middlemen who do not really add value to the transaction.

An Application of a Smart Contracts in Lending

ETHLend, founded by Stani Kulechov, is leveraging smart contracts to enable peer-to -peer crypto lending. The platform can be accessed through any browser, and loans may also be requested in digital currencies. ETHLend basically provides USD-pegged loans with .

For instance, at the beginning of a contract, a person lends $1,000 worth of ETH for 10% interest to the borrower. The details pertaining to the same get noted permanently in the smart contract. Now, the lender expects to receive $1,050 at the end of the loan term. The smart contract performs the transaction details at the predetermined time. In the end, the lender receives the complete $1,050 without worrying about the price volatility of ETH.

Conclusion

Smart contracts will soon disrupt the lending sectors, bringing in digitalization, building trustless contracts, simplifying processes, and saving time and money. Smart contracts herald a new future for lending that is focused on automation and scalability while allowing lenders to tap the bottom of the pyramid funding scheme that was earlier too expensive for even alternative lenders to process. It may or may not involve digital currencies, and with future advancements to the technology, the alternative lending sector can look for new and better ways to incorporate smart contracts into their business models.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

The Personal Data App Consumers Can Earn Money With

Opiria personal data mobile app

Consumers have a reason to be concerned as news of personal data mining, bundling, and selling seems to be accelerating. As a result, the data brokerage industry has grown. Opiria’s white paper indicates the industry has a market value of $250B USD. That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars made off other people’s rightfully-owned data, […]

Opiria personal data mobile app

Consumers have a reason to be concerned as news of personal data mining, bundling, and selling seems to be accelerating. As a result, the data brokerage industry has grown. Opiria’s white paper indicates the industry has a market value of $250B USD. That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars made off other people’s rightfully-owned data, but precious little of it went to the people whose data is in question.

Opiria have an idea that attempts to make both sides of the consumer experience more successful and rewarding. How often have consumers chosen not to do something online because they were concerned about the security of their data? If Opiria’s platform is successful, those concerns could be a thing of the past.

The Opiria Solution

Opiria is an online consumer and usability research platform enabling companies to optimize products and services by understanding what consumers think, experience, see, and feel. Through mobile surveys and mobile diaries distributed directly to consumers’ smartphones, companies can get a better understanding of their target audiences without violating their personal data rights.

Christian Lange, the company’s CEO and founder, sheds light on the Opiria vision. He says the Opiria system is a decentralized marketplace built on the Ethereum blockchain for the secure trading of personal data. Consumers sell their data to companies for compensation, which is measured with the PData (for personal data) token.

Lange started his first company in 2005. Focused on measuring human behavior, that company developed software that was used by automotive companies worldwide offering detailed analysis to measure driver behavior with modifications to the automobile’s navigation system. The solution was limited, however, as companies only received data from one driver at a time.The need for big data was evident. This led Lange to the development of a new idea– something easy to use and makes it easy to collect data with technology available worldwide.

To fill that need, Opiria came up with a smartphone app for companies to get feedback from consumers worldwide, 24/7. They began designing the app in September 2015 and had the first version ready to launch by the close of 2016.

How Opiria Works

Opiria is a market research platform for which companies pay an annual licensing fee. The software allows them to interact with consumers through the Opiria app. The system centers on consumer feedback and opinions, part of it is based on surveys.

Still, those who don’t have the time for surveys, or who are not inclined to take them, still have data to sell. “We generate data through our web browsing and our online shopping,” Lange said. “We give information on our wearables, our smart devices, and pretty much anything that has anything to do with being human in the Internet world.”

Through the Opiria app, the company can sell that data knowing that consumer personal data is completely protected. Consumers share what they want to share and with whom they want to share it. Those who care to receive surveys will only receive those which fit their profiles. Being that the app is built on a blockchain, the data will be securely stored to release to further inquirers going forward.

One featured tool of the app is the Mobile Data Survey, which allows feedback over a longer period of time than the moment of usage. When consumers use a product or service, they can provide feedback in the moment. Then they can document it through videos, photos, and comments. This allows companies to get real-time data within seconds where most market research tools are email- and browser-based, and can take as long as a week to provide a company with the data.

For consumers, not only is the app free, but they can also turn their involvement into profit. The PData tokens can be saved and traded for cash.

Opiria’s Progress to Date

A profitable privately held company, Lange says the company needed no external funding to get off the ground. An ICO was launched on January 8 to raise capital. They set the hard cap at $19M USD.

The market has yet to be fully realized, but Opiria has almost 50 companies and 4,000 to 5,000 consumers signed up. Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Intel, and Proctor and Gamble are among the major players paying for the service. Lange tells us that other customers come from every realm of the bitcoin industry including restaurants, hotels, fitness studios, and retail companies.

Opiria is also planning to use 60% of the funds generated from the ICO to grow the number of consumers to 1 million by the end of the year. “If we have a million customers, companies will flock to us,” Lange said.

One attractive aspect that might help them toward the goal of 1 million consumer participants is that personal information is not shared, only consumer data.

Opiria’s Competition and Future Outlook

While Lange says the company has a lot of competition, Survey Monkey possibly being its biggest competitor, he isnt concerned about it. “What gives us the advantage is that we do it all by app; it’s a faster way to do research and a direct line to the consumer,” he said. “A company can send out a survey and it can be delivered to consumers within seconds.”

The next thing they plan to release is software to capture, in an unobtrusive manner, where someone is looking and the emotions they have when they browse the Internet. Marlene Gagesch, the company’s co-founder and chief technical officer, is overseeing this work in Engostott, Germany.

Opiria is also working with Quicken Loans, a collaboration that hopes to equip Quicken with a mobile app that will do a longitudinal study of how people are tracking interest rates, among other things.

Lange goes on to list some other ways Opiria can be beneficial to online lenders. Understanding what kind of lending products people are interested in, for instance. “We can survey potential customers to understand how much interest they are willing to pay, the duration of loans, how you would like your contract laid out, and more,” he said. “You could perform A/B tests to see how people react emotionally to different offers made.”

Lange lays out the process in order to show how Opiria can “perfectly adapt [an] offering to meet potential customer expectations; deploy, get feedback, improve product, repeat.” This process takes weeks or months with classical market research, but with Opiria, it’s done a matter of minutes. “That gives companies a huge competitive advantage,” he said.

Why Opiria, and Can It Do Any Good?

If personal data is already out there for companies to buy—and it’s evident that they are buying it—then who’s to say this is going to work? Lange had an answer for that as well. It seems we’re getting better at guarding our information, and we’ve even gotten to a point where companies find themselves looking for data that just doesn’t exist. That has created this new market for personal data.

Opiria is one of those ideas off the beaten path enough to catch hold. A problem exists–consumer data needs protection–and consumers have to hope that something comes along that pays them for giving up some personal data security. If anyone knows that, it’s Opiria.

Author:

Written with Paul Keenan.

Allen Taylor

6 Blockchain-Based Crypto Lenders Changing P2P Lending

ETHLend

The integration of blockchain technology into multiple facets of our world could greatly streamline many industries that affect our day-to-day lives, and financial lending is the ideal forum. A natural progression of P2P lending, blockchain application can make the entire lending process more seamless and greatly reduce the amount of time the process takes. Here […]

ETHLend

The integration of blockchain technology into multiple facets of our world could greatly streamline many industries that affect our day-to-day lives, and financial lending is the ideal forum. A natural progression of P2P lending, blockchain application can make the entire lending process more seamless and greatly reduce the amount of time the process takes.

Here are a few of the players in the early days of this promising technology.

SALT (Secured Automated Lending Technology)

According to its website, SALT is the only platform built to facilitate loans secured by blockchain assets.

“Distributed ledgers represent a paradigm shift in the storage and transfer of assets and, for the first time in history, there is a perfect form of collateral: blockchain assets,” the website reads.

Basing loans on blockchain assets makes creditworthiness no longer an issue. Writing for Forbes, Roger Aitken reported that SALT asserts that, by focusing on the borrower’s assets instead of their credit score, it is able to “dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of the loan process.” SALT seeks to streamline every step of the loan process, facilitating a new blockchain-backed lending market.

The investor retains the value of their holdings, with any earnings or losses that occur to the wealth during the process reverting completely to the borrower.

Among the potential assets to blockchain-based coin lending are that it is a realm where crypto wealth is recognized. Company CEO Shawn Owen, speaking with Forbes, said “if you’re a holder of blockchain assets, a lot of your financial wealth is not being recognized by lenders.” This technology is poised to open those funds to be leveraged and also break down geographic constraints while bringing the potential for the unbanked and underbanked into the financial world.

SALT offers three value tiers and products.

  1. The basic membership package affords one up to $10k in term financing, paid only in USD; terms go from three to 24 months
  2. The premier package offers up to $100K in term financing with a line of credit. This can be paid in USD, Euro, GBP, JPY, and RMB. Term lengths are anywhere from one hour to 36 months.
  3. The enterprise package provides access to over $1M of term financing and a line of credit to be paid in an ad hoc currency selection, dictated by metered terms. This package offers two benefits that the premier package doesn’t–API integration and cold storage enterprise wallets.

All three packages offer no pre-payment penalties, market data and educational resources, and loan management web portals. The premier package offers access to the SALT hardware wallet, customizable loan terms, and early access to new products. These are not offered with the basic membership package.

All member lenders are Regulation D accredited investors, and while credit checks are not done on borrowers, SALT undertakes full Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) verification checks.

The loans, which sport interest rates in the 10 to 15 percent range, are not transferable via the blockchain, as they become securities and are thus transferable through existing financial channels.

EthLend

EthLend is an Estonian-based fully decentralized P2P lending platform on the Ethereum blockchain for lending Ether as tokens for collateral. The platform uses any ERC20 token. All lending on the platform is facilitated through the use of smart contracts, a feature unique the Ethereum blockchain.

The company’s Twitter feed from January 3 reports that it has reached nearly $600K USD in lending volume. The company offers address-to-address loans that are sent within minutes, with no middle men, assuring that no one, not even EthLend, can stop one’s lending or borrowing.

With a roadmap that goes into Q4 2019, the company seems to have a well-plotted vision. Included in that roadmap are:

  • Q1 2018—Plans for a Decentralized Credit Rating (DCR), which will draw on Credit Tokens (CRE) and previous loans on EthLend to create a decentralized credit rating that can be used for other Decentralized Applications (DAPPs) as well
  • Q2 2018—The addition of bitcoin to the DAPP
  • Q2 2018—CRE from third party services, such as uPort and Civic, which can be used when the borrower doesn’t have enough previous loans
  • Q4 2018—the incorporation of the lending of other altcoins and tokens
  • Q3 2019—expansion beyond Ethereum to other distributed ledger networks

Rating the company, CrushCrypto.com says “use cases may seem limited for now, but we believe as tokenization of real assets becomes more prevalent, EthLend has a good chance to become a market lender in this space.”

A pre-ICO lasting from September 25th to October 25th of last year sold 62.5 million LEND available at a sale price of 1 ETH = 25K LEND. The ICO, which ran from November 25-30, saw the company raise $17.86M USD, essentially 100% of the $17.9M goal.

In Q4 2107, the company opened up to USD-based loans and installments.

The platform is not without some aspects that may cause concern for some industry insiders. Certain functions are only accessible with LEND tokens, such as featured loan listings and email marketing for new loan requests. Also, EthLend is currently only available through the Eidoo ICO search engine.

On the upside, only dealing with crypto-to-crypto borrowing means there will be fewer regulation restrictions when those start to be handed down. Also, some insiders fear that other blockchain lending platforms that deal in fiat currencies might be swallowed by the banks, as they do open their transactions to become securities.

ICO Bench rates EthLend at 4.4 out of 5.

Celsius

Celsius is a New York-based NPO based on the Ethereum blockchain, which extends instant credit through a decentralized P2P network. The network is akin to a membership organization that consists of both lenders and borrowers. Members must complete a Celsius profile to join.

Celsius touts itself as the “first crypto wallet that allows users to earn interest (7%) on their held coins” and allows borrowers to use cryptocurreny as collateral to gain access to USD loans. Using a token called a DEG, Celsius deals in BTC, ETH, and USD and uses smart technology to bind the lender/borrower relationship.

Borrower’s metrics are ascertained by using the Celsius Score, a digital credit score calculated by using various traditional metrics, such as FICO scores and mortgage history, as well as non-traditional ones such as Uber and Amazon histories. Lenders choose their borrowers using this score to determine risk.

An NPO acting in the best interests of its users through lower fees and no hidden fees, Celsius’s ultimate goal is to give credit to large blocks of the public who are underserved by banks.

ICO Bench rates Celsius at 2.8 out of 5. The central reason for the less than stellar mark centers around the company being long on marketing, but less so in technology terms.

Some Other Players

Fusion LenderComm

Seven banks, including BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING, BNY Mellon and State Street, have joined forces with R3 and Finastra to develop a blockchain-powered marketplace for syndicated loans. The first pilots have already been successfully completed.

With the early support of seven global banks (two of which do not yet wish to be named), the platform will cover 10% of the syndicated loan market when live next year.

Inspeer

An expansion under the Russian LightFin.ru brand, Inspeer deals in crypto and fiat. The company serves three million regional customers and processed 200,000 loans in its first year.

LendingBlock

For those who like to be in the know a little earlier, there is LendingBlock, a securities lending platform for crypto and digital assets. Users can lend and borrow cryptocurrencies against collateral of other cryptocurrencies in a completely decentralized and private manner. Watch for a Q1 token presale and a Q3 launch. LendingBlock is not currently working with fiat currencies.

 

Conclusion

The business of cryptocurrency lending is looking like the Wild West. There are some promising players to consider, and more if you look. SALT has Erik Voorhees associated with it, who founded Coinapult and gambling site SatoshiDice. He is a long-time cryptocurrency and blockchain advocate.

Do your own homework to make informed choices, but if crypto lending is in you future, start your research with these platforms.

Author:

Written with Paul Keenan.

Allen Taylor