Thursday March 28 2019, Weekly News Digest

structured debt

News Comments Today’s main news: Klarna launches open banking platform. SoFi re-engineers home loans. Apple’s new credit card. OakNorth secures guarantee of $133M. Qupital raises $15M to bumrush China. Today’s main analysis: Arbuthnot Banking Group audited final results for 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: U.S. yield curve, new fintech products. Cities with most overleveraged mortgage debtors. Household debt. Expanding access to credit […]

The post Thursday March 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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United States

SoFi Refreshes Home Loans, Making Home Buying Painless and Paperless (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Today, SoFi announced the refresh of its mortgage offering as SoFi Home Loans, complete with a reengineered process that helps people buy or refinance a home with an online application, no hidden fees, or prepayment penalties.

SoFi Home Loans offer competitive rates including affordable down payments, with as little as 10% down on loans up to $3MM, with no hidden fees or prepayment penalties. SoFi allows applicants to choose between four different loan terms and fixed or adjustable rates. Those interested in refinancing can choose between traditional mortgage refinancing, cash-out refinancing, and student loan cash-out refinancing. If SoFi Home Loans isn’t able to handle a loan request, SoFi provides an easy option to digitally transfer member information to its affiliate partner who may be able to help.

Apple’s new credit card keeps advisors guessing (Financial Planning), Rated: AAA

The Apple credit card is the latest offering by a Silicon Valley tech giant looking for a ready-made avenue into the financial services’ sector. While the new card mostly benefits loyal users of Apple products, it’s also an unwelcome reminder of an ever present question on the minds of wealth managers: Will the FAANG companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet continue their land grab of services historically provided by the financial services industry — and at what cost to traditional RIAs?

Ominously, a majority of investors considering switching financial services providers said they would consider banking with a tech company like Facebook, Google or Amazon if they could, according to a recent survey by Novantis.

US Yield Curve Inverts; New Products from FinTechs (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

For the first time in 3,000 days, and with much anticipation, the 3-month and 10-year treasury curve inverted. The median time to a recession after this curve inverts is between 1 to 1.5 years. However, unprecedented interventions such as QE (and higher central bank holdings globally) make it difficult to draw hard and fast conclusions. Market participants are pricing in a 41% probability of an interest rate cut in the September meeting.

Source: PeerIQ; Bianco Research

New Products from FinTechs

FinTech innovation continues with new products from PeerStreet and Figure. PeerStreet has launched a 30-year loan to enable private investors to buy rental properties. Residential for Rent loans are targeted towards rental home operators. The rental market in the US has grown exponentially post-crisis people struggle to buy homes. The number of rental homes has grown from 36 Mn in 2006 to 43 Mn in 2017.

Source: FactTank, PeerIQ

2019’s Cities with the Most Overleveraged Mortgage Debtors (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

Buying a home represents an important milestone for most consumers. But for those who dive in to the deep end of real estate without a financial safety net, the decision could lead to buyer’s remorse in the long run. Mortgage rates are slowly falling after reaching their latest peak in November 2018, and are close to the lowest they’ve been in the past 3 decades. This makes 2019 a tempting time to buy a home. Some industry experts believe 2019 is friendlier toward buyers than sellers because of the lower rates.

Source: WalletHub

Household Debt – Mixed Signals (DBRS), Rated: AAA

The most recent Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (the Fed) and Equifax Inc. (Equifax) showed that household debt rose for the 18th consecutive period during Q4 2018 to $13.5 trillion, $869 billion higher than the peak reached in 2008. This represented the third-smallest increase (0.24%) over the 18 consecutive periods of growth, partly because of decreasing mortgage loan debt during Q4 2018 to $9.2 trillion from $9.4 trillion at the end of Q3 2018 and flat levels of auto loan debt at $1.3 trillion for both Q3 and Q4 2018.

Expanding Access to Credit in the Land of New “Halves” (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Credit is one of the largest, most powerful, lucrative and important industries in the world. It also is one of the best tools for wealth creation – home ownership, small business ownership and growth, and, leveraged investing.  This is readily accessible for prime consumers with more options now than ever before. But for the other half of the country that is non-prime, options are still limited and in many cases non-existent.

Early pioneers of securitizations like SoFi, the scaling of marketplace lending like Lending ClubProsper and Best Egg, and new distribution models like Greensky and Affirm have contributed towards increasing comfort of these “new asset classes” that were mostly locked up in bank’s balance sheets.

There are a lot of new “halves” in today’s world.

Amount Delivers Seamless Digital and Mobile Lending Platform to TD Bank (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Amount, a technology provider for financial institutions, today announced a strategic partnership with TD Bank. TD Bank, a top ten U.S. bank, is leveraging Amount’s platform to power the bank’s TD Fit Loan, which launched in August 2018. This initial offering allows consumers to consolidate higher-interest debt, while helping TD meet growing consumer demand for a seamless digital and mobile lending experience. Through this partnership, TD and Amount will roll out additional offerings, as well as standalone tools addressing fraud, verifications and decisioning.

5 Freebies With Your Student Loans (NerdWallet), Rated: A

1. Career coaching

Who offers it: SoFi.

SoFi members have received over 15,000 coaching sessions to date.

4. Referral bonuses

Who offers it: Multiple refinance lenders.

  • Education Loan Finance offers $400 for each successful referral, as well as $100 for the loan applicant.
  • Laurel Road lets you split its $400 bonus however you and your referral see fit.
  • Splash Financial provides $250 apiece for both parties.

5. Charitable work

Who offers it: CommonBond.

If you prefer freebies that help others, CommonBond has a one-for-one social impact mission. For each loan the lender issues, it donates an amount based on a formula that funds a child’s education in a developing country through the nonprofit Pencils of Promise. Those donations have totaled over $1 million to date.

CNote Launches Wisdom Fund to Close Lending Gap for Women (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. Yet less than 5 percent of small business lending—only $1 in $23—goes to women. CNote aims to fix this disparity with the Wisdom Fund, a new impact investment opportunity launching today.

Investors in the Wisdom Fund will earn an estimated 4 percent annual return, over a 60-month term, on a loan portfolio that’s diversified across established CDFIs. Email wisdomfund@mycnote.com to learn how you can help fund more women-owned businesses today.

Women seeking loans should contact a participating CDFI. Partners in the Wisdom Fund’s first phase include:

  • Carolina Small Business Development Fund, which provides small business loans and financial training to startups, existing businesses and community organizations in North Carolina.
  • LiftFund, a Texas-based organization that empowers underserved entrepreneurs with capital and support services in 13 states.
  • TruFund, a national nonprofit organization that provides affordable capital to small businesses and nonprofits in AlabamaLouisiana and New York.

Study Finds 70% of Americans Would Share More Personal Data for Fairer Credit Decisions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

More than half (54%) of loan applicants don’t even have a clear understanding of why they receive the interest rate they do from a lender, while a majority (70%) say it is difficult finding lenders who will look at them as something other than their credit score.

  • 7 in 10 American adults (71%) wish there was another way to prove themselves to credit lenders outside of the standard credit score.
    • Hispanics (82%) and African Americans (81%) are more likely than Whites (67%) to want lenders to look at additional factors in lending decisions.
  • 77% believe more data is better when evaluating potential borrowers’ credit.
  • 71% would be willing to share more personal data with a lender if it resulted in a fairer credit decision. The motivation is even higher among middle-class earners. 79% of people making $50,000 to $75,000 would share more personal data to prove their creditworthiness, compared to 66% of people making over $100,000.
  • 84% think their bank should use modern technology to assess their creditworthiness.
    • Specifically, about half of loan applicants (53%) would like their ideal lender to use machine learning to make fairer credit decisions.
    • More than 2 in 5 (42%) would like their ideal lender to use machine learning to make the credit for homeownership more accessible to everyone.
    • Surprisingly, older generations want newer technology even more. Baby boomers and seniors (83% and 87%, respectively) wanted their banks to use new technologies to score them, compared to 79% for Millennials and Gen Zers.

Survey: Alternative Data Sharing (Urjanet), Rated: B

Urjanet surveyed more than 300 U.S.-based adults to assess consumer sentiment around alternative data sharing in the lending process. Key findings include:

  • A majority of consumers have multiple alternative sources of payment history
  • Alternative data sharing represents a huge opportunity for lenders to drive financial inclusion
  • Most consumers (59%) are willing to share utility and telecom data to boost chances of approval

SigFig launches platform to help retail banks sell financial products (Investment News), Rated: A

SigFig, the financial technology firm that developed digital advice platforms for several large financial institutions, wants to help banks automate more than investment management.

Technology to Play Crucial Role in Preparing ABS Professionals for Next Economic Cycle (ABL Advisor), Rated: A

An overwhelming majority (90 percent) of asset-backed securities (ABS) professionals feel that adopting new technologies will be important to preparing their businesses for the next economic cycle, according to Capital One’s sixth annual survey at SFIG Vegas 2019.

The survey also revealed that ABS professionals believe the biggest risks to their businesses are uncertainty around regulatory risk and increased credit risk, both at 29 percent. However, despite regulatory risk being a top concern, the industry’s apprehension has nearly cut in half over the last two years. In 2018, 48 percent noted regulations were the biggest risk to their businesses while 58 percent thought so in 2017. Additional top-of-mind concerns for 2019 include increases in interest rates (18 percent) and increased competition (17 percent).

TrustToken’s Stablecoin Now Available On Cred’s Crypto Earning Platform (BlockTribune), Rated: A

Asset tokenization platform TrustToken has announced a strategic partnership with crypto lending platform Cred.

Founded by former PayPal financial technology veterans, Cred is a decentralized global lending and borrowing platform that allows stablecoin issuers, exchanges and wallets to provide valuable earn and lending services worldwide.

Fintech in Brief: Update on Legal Challenges to OCC Fintech Charter (JDSupra), Rated: A

On March 19, 2019, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) filed a brief in opposition to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (“OCC”) motion to dismiss the NYDFS’ lawsuit challenging the OCC’s statutory authority to grant special purpose national bank charters to Fintechs (the “Fintech Charter”). The brief in opposition signals that the NYDFS will continue its opposition to the Fintech Charter under the leadership of Acting Superintendent Linda Lacewell, who replaced outgoing Superintendent Mari Vullo in February. In opposing the OCC’s motion to dismiss, the NYDFS argued that it has standing to challenge the Fintech Charter, the matter is ripe for judicial review, and its claims are not time-barred. The NYDFS also argued that the OCC’s interpretation of the “business of banking” is not entitled to Chevron deference and “should be invalidated in its entirety.”

Mortech Partners with Roostify for Enhanced Online Mortgage Experience (Business Wire), Rated: A

Today, Mortech, a Zillow Group business providing mortgage technology solutions for mortgage lenders and secondary market teams, announced a new partnership between Mortech’s product and pricing engine (PPE) and Roostify, a digital lending platform that gives customers more control of their home buying process while allowing loan officers to utilize the latest technology to more easily process loans. The strategic partnership will integrate two proven mortgage technology solutions to improve the digital mortgage experience for many industry-leading lenders.

Finastra brings community banking services outside the branch with the launch of Fusion Digital Front Office (Finastra), Rated: A

Finastra has launched Fusion Digital Front Office, an innovative tablet-based banking platform that enables community banks and credit unions to take services directly to the consumer, outside of the branch. The solution provides a simple gateway to manage account origination, sales and service, and transaction processing from any remote location.

Huobi’s US Arm Launches Institutional Group for OTC Crypto Trading (CoinDesk), Rated: A

“We’re entering the market now with a real institutional offering, we’re definitely going to be offering some new products and services,” such as token lending and over-the-counter (OTC) trading, in the coming months, he added.

Elevate Named as a Finalist for LendIt Fintech 2019’s Financial Inclusion Award (AP News), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, has been named as one of six finalists in the “Excellence in Financial Inclusion” category for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards 2019. This award is given to the company that has made the biggest impact in expanding access to financial services in new and innovative ways.

J.D. Power ranks Regions among top alternative lenders for personal loans (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Birmingham’s largest bank has ranked among the top alternative lenders in the U.S. for providing personal loan satisfaction through digital applications.

United Kingdom

ARBUTHNOT BANKING GROUP (“Arbuthnot”, “the Group” or “ABG”) Audited Final Results for the year to 31 December 2018 (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

·      Profit Before Tax £6.8m (2017: £2.5m)

·      Underlying profit before tax £7.4m (2017: £3.2m)

·      Operating income increased by 24% to £67.9m (2017: £54.6m)

·      Negative earnings per share 134.5p (2017: positive 43.9p)*

·      Continuing earnings per share 38.0p (2017: 14.0p)

·      Underlying earnings per share 40.3p (2017: 17.6p)

·      Final dividend per share 20p (2017: 19p), an increase of 5%

·      Total full year dividend per share 35p (2017: 33p)

·      Bonus share issue to create new class of non-voting shares

·      Net assets £196m (2017: £236m)

·      Net assets per share 1283p (2017: 1547p)

·      Underlying return on deployed equity 5.6% (2017: 4.2%)

Consolidated statement of financial position

 

At 31 December

2018

2017

Note

£000

£000

ASSETS

Cash and balances at central banks

17

405,325

313,101

Loans and advances to banks

18

54,173

70,679

Debt securities at amortised cost / held-to-maturity

19

342,691

227,019

Assets classified as held for sale

20

8,002

2,915

Derivative financial instruments

21

1,846

2,551

Loans and advances to customers

22

1,224,656

1,049,269

Other assets

24

12,716

20,624

Financial investments

25

35,351

2,347

Deferred tax asset

26

1,490

1,527

Interests in associates

27

– 

83,804

Intangible assets

28

16,538

15,995

Property, plant and equipment

30

5,304

3,962

Investment property

31

67,081

59,439

Total assets

2,175,173

1,853,232

EQUITY AND LIABILITIES

Equity attributable to owners of the parent

Share capital

37

153

153

Retained earnings

38

209,083

237,171

Other reserves

38

(13,280)

(949)

Total equity

195,956

236,375

LIABILITIES

Deposits from banks

32

232,675

195,097

Derivative financial instruments

21

188

931

Deposits from customers

33

1,714,286

1,390,781

Current tax liability

236

705

Other liabilities

34

18,549

16,239

Debt securities in issue

35

13,283

13,104

Total liabilities

1,979,217

1,616,857

Total equity and liabilities

2,175,173

1,853,232

Read the full report here.

Tech Nation Lists 10 Fintech Pioneers In Future Fifty 2019 Cohort (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Revolut, Monzo, Starling Bank, Currencycloud, Aire, Blockchain, MarketInvoice, Quantexa, Nested and Salary Finance were revealed to be among the 24 most dynamic and fast-growing late-stage technology companies to be chosen to join Future Fifty’s 2019 cohort.

Tech Nation and Dealroom data has also revealed that the U.K. has attracted a whopping $7.9 billion in funding in 2018 and closed the gap for exits of venture-backed companies with the U.S. As well as this U.K. sales, IPOs and mergers were worth $40 billion – ahead of every other European country – which points to the success of the tech sector as a whole in the country.

OAKNORTH ANNOUNCES BRITISH BUSINESS BANK ENABLE GUARANTEE OF £133M (Business Leader), Rated: AAA

OakNorth has today announced its participation in the ENABLE Guarantee programme, securing a guarantee of £133m from the British Business Bank, the UK government’s economic development bank. OakNorth will use the guarantee to strengthen further its lending support to fast-growth businesses and established property developers and investors.

The ENABLE Guarantee programme is designed to encourage banks to increase their lending to smaller businesses by reducing the amount of capital required to be held against such lending. Under an ENABLE Guarantee, the UK Government takes on a portion of the lender’s risk on a portfolio of loans to smaller businesses, in return for a fee.

Inside OakNorth’s plan to take its lending technology global (Tearsheet), Rated: A

As a challenger bank, OakNorth charts a different course. While Revolut, Monzo, and N26 focus on putting their digital current accounts in the hands of millions, OakNorth doesn’t even offer a current account. While other challengers are racing to acquire banking licenses all over the world, OakNorth is happy with just a UK license.

OakNorth is also posting profits while other challengers aren’t.  The bank announced a £33.9m profit for 2018, up 220 percent from 2017.

OakNorth provides debt financing to entrepreneurs in growing businesses, lending £0.5M to £40M to profitable, scale-up, British businesses. To fund its underwriting, OakNorth offers digital savings accounts. It currently has 40,000 customers with digital savings accounts and has lend £3 billion in under four years.

Successful UK Payday Lender Western Circle Limited Begins Offering Personal Loans Online (Finger Lakes Times), Rated: A

Western Circle Limited has made a name for itself by offering responsible payday loans online. Their decision to branch out into the personal loans market through the new brand PersonalLoansNow.co.uk was well received by their customers.

Five last-minute IFISA ideas (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE END of the tax year is fast approaching, so if you haven’t yet taken full advantage of your £20,000 ISA allowance to make tax-free returns, now is the time. The peer-to-peer lending industry is expecting to see an uptick in inflows into Innovative Finance ISAs (IFISA) this year now that there is a much wider choice of products available and the potential for higher returns than cash with lower volatility than the stock market.

FINTECH LAUNCHES AI LOAN COMPARISON SERVICE (Business Cloud), Rated: A

Loan marketplace Monevo has launched a new platform to give consumers comparisons of pre-approved loans.

Based in Macclesfield, the business is a licensed credit broker for personal and business loans and is Europe’s largest personal loan marketplace.

An Alternative Approach (IFA Magazine), Rated: A

When it comes to asset allocation, advisers constantly face the challenge of finding real diversification in client portfolios. Sue Whitbread met with Matthew Ardron and Benedict Yung of Basset & Gold Group, to talk about their approach of offering fixed rate bonds that invest in alternative lending.

Half of Brits running out of cash before payday – pushing them to rogue lenders (Mirror), Rated: A

Exclusive research for Mirror Money shows by the end of this month, those turning to payday loans will have shelled out more than £214million – that works out at £28 per second

P2P to have strong presence at Innovate Finance Global Summit (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

FOUNDERS of the ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lenders are among the confirmed speakers at Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS), which takes place next month at London’s Guildhall.

Giles Andrews of Zopa, Samir Desai of Funding Circle and Rhydian Lewis of RateSetter are all participating in various sessions at the fintech industry trade body’s flagship conference on 29-30 April 2019, which marks the start of UK Fintech Week.

Other confirmed speakers from the P2P world include Zopa chief executive Jaidev Janardana, ArchOver’s Angus Dent, Ali Celiker from British Pearl and Roxana Mohammadian-Molina from Blend Network.

China/Hong Kong

Hong Kong SME financing platform raises $ 15m for China push (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong-based online SME trade financing platform Qupital is targeting the mainland after closing a $15 million Series A funding round led by CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund.

Consumers hunger for loans, lenders popping up everywhere (Shine), Rated: AAA

Qin Shuifeng, 30, who lives in the suburban district of Jiading, went to a branch of the Postal Savings Bank of China in 2016 to seek a loan for home improvements.

The lender granted her and her husband a credit line of 1 million yuan (US$148,600), of which they drew 600,000 yuan, with an interest rate 10 percent higher than the benchmark rate.

Competition 

The central government has issued a series of policies favorable to consumer lending since the second half of 2018.

Still, risks remain. To realize sustainable development, players need to build strong operational and risk control capabilities, either by themselves or in partnership with financial technologies firms.

European Union

Klarna Launches Open Banking Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Today, Klarna, one of Europe’s leading payment providers and the global market leader in payment initiation services, announces the launch of its own Open Banking Platform. This platform will enable access to more than 4,300 European banks through a single Access to Account (XS2A) API in line with Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Klarna’s XS2A API is the most established and proven solution that has been developed at scale across markets for almost 15 years through the Klarna Group company Sofort.

This platform provides a fully proven and mature infrastructure, superior market coverage and connectivity, with access to 99% of online banking consumers currently across 14 European markets. By opening up its own advanced technology and capabilities, Klarna is simplifying and democratising access to APIs securely. Both established and newer banks and fintechs as well as other licensed businesses, will be able to build smart and personalised offerings that meet the evolving needs of consumers across Europe. Klarna has been one of the leading proponents of the PSD2 legislation and believes high-quality APIs will drive innovation and competition but most importantly will empower consumers across Europe with increased choice, control and clarity on their finances, and ability to access better products.

International

Has Alternative Lending Seen Its VC Peak? (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

U.S. FinTech funding reached its highest level in five years in 2018, according to CB Insights data published last month, hitting $11.89 billion. Yet at a time when analysts say VCs are focusing more on late-stage investment, alternative lenders are having a tougher time securing funding, particularly market newcomers in a crowded market.

But there is evidence that investors’ appetite for alternative lending startups is on the wane, even as overall FinTech funding continues to climb — and as the success of the alternative lending market grows, too.

eToro buys blockchain company Firmo (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Just weeks after launching in the US, trading and investment platform eToro announced plans to purchase Copenhagen-based blockchain firm Firmo, reports Julie Muhn  at Finovate

Founded in 2017, Firmo offers a programming language called FirmoLang that runs on a sidechain. Exchanges can leverage FirmoLang to create financial instruments such as P2P lending platforms or cryptocurrency derivatives with tokens. And Firmo is versatile, allowing the tokens to be run on any blockchain.

Battlestar Capital Earns 30% Returns For Holding Crypto (ChainBits), Rated: B

Battlestar Capital, which is a blockchain staking-as-a-service company, revealed that customers could potentially earn up to 30 percent on a yearly basis when it comes to their idle crypto holdings. Here is everything about the startup’s claims in a nutshell.

In an interview, the company said that it has teamed up with crypto lending startup called Celsius Network in an attempt to launch a large-scale service capable of offering potentially high returns.

Australia

APRA Proposes Stricter Credit Risk Management Standards (Regulation Asia), Rated: AAA

The revised prudential standard enhances board oversight of credit risk and requires more intensive credit checks on borrowers. APRA also highlights the risks of P2P originated loans.

India

New modes of lending, fund raising on cards (The Asian), Rated: AAA

In a bid to change the market dynamics of the banking and financial sectors, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon come up with alternative models of lending and capital raising for the sectors.

Asia

Bukalapak partners three P2P lenders to provide loans for offline businesses (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Bukalapak is teaming up with Indonesian P2P lending startups Amartha, Modalku, and PohonDana to provide loan facilities in a program called Modal Mitra. The loans are available to offline vendors who are part of the company’s Mitra Bukalapak program.

The financing offered through Modal Mitra ranges between US$70 and US$700 and can be paid back in up to six months, with weekly installments starting from US$6. It can only be used for purchases in the Mitra Bukalapak app.

Eurasia

Russian fintech launches digital bank 131 (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Bank 131, a new digital bank focused on Russian companies and entrepreneurs that work for global internet companies and/or buy from global ecommerce companies with a Russia presence, announced today they have received their banking license from authorities – the first and only new bank to do so in four years.

Canada

Shadow banking has grown, but risks to financial systems are modest (Advisor’s Edge), Rated: AAA

Canada’s shadow banking sector has grown substantially in recent years, but the overall financial system has grown even faster, keeping risks in check, suggests a new report from the Bank of Canada.

In the report, the central bank details the results of its monitoring of so-called “non-bank financial intermediation” (NBFI), also known as shadow banking. Among other things, the report finds the Canadian NBFI sector has grown by 1.7 times since 2006, driven by strong growth in investment funds, securities financing transactions and private lending.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday March 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Friday Match 23 2018, Daily News Digest

ifisa

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper changes pricing. Revolut launches disposable virtual cards. OakNorth reports annual profit. Lufax delays IPO. eToro raises $100M for blockchain development. Today’s main analysis: Isas that pay up to 16%. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Is personal service getting lost in digital? What makes big data BIG? How quantum computing can change financial services. Can the blockchain prevent bank […]

ifisa

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United States

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China

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United States

Prosper Announces Pricing Changes (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Earlier this week in anticipation of the Fed Rate hike, we discussed Prosper’s approach to portfolio pricing in a rising rate environment. Our goal with rate-setting is to deliver value for both sides of the Prosper platform by providing a fair price for borrowers and a reasonable return for investors.

In order to deliver on this objective, the borrower rates offered in our marketplace must react to rate changes in the economy at large.  Today, the Federal Reserve announced a 25 basis point (bps) increase in the Fed Funds rate.  In light of this development, the rates offered to borrowers through the Prosper platform are being modified.

Pricing Change Impact Simulation

The table below summarizes the simulated impact of the rate increase on the portfolio originated through the Prosper platform in March month-to-date (MTD) 2018.  Overall borrower rates on the platform are increasing by 26 bps.

Source: Prosper

 

Is Personal Service in Fintech Getting Lost Amid the Digital Mindset? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Profitability of digital-only businesses can be astounding because the model is so cost-efficient. Some just don’t want customers with “high maintenance” needs such as human customer support.

The best overall answer is to offer all options. Enable customers to interact solely in a digital way or with live support to guide through the process, answer questions and solve problems. Make it easy to use both, such as Amazon does. Online ordering is usually a breeze. But when a problem or concern arises, they have caring and competent live human beings to help.

Ways To Show That You’re Invested (Or Want To Be) In Human Caring

  1. Check in with your world.
  2. Beat your “human caring” drum.
  3. Extend human touch company-wide.

WHAT MAKES BIG DATA SO … BIG? (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: AAA

A Paper from Citi

A new paper by Citi Business Advisory Services throws a lot of light on where Big Data stands.

The paper argues that due to Big Data, “the innovation seen in systematic trading models over the past decade could accelerate” and (a closely related point) the “differences between what used to represent quantitative versus qualitative research” could disappear.

Not all Roses and Plush Toys, Though

The process by which the new data capabilities and principles get internalized by the swifter funds, those that want to be on the winning side of the arb plays, isn’t a painless one. There are “integration and cultural challenges” that have to be overcome. After all, the experts that an aspiring arbitrageur would hire come from “internet firms, gaming companies, the military” and consumer research. The world of asset management will be new to them, so everyone on the developing teams can “work effectively together.”

2017 Digital Lending Fraud Report (Mitek), Rated: A

The explosive adoption of the digital channel is changing the nature of lending. Consumers are coming to expect the kind of convenience and speed that a digital experience can deliver, and lenders are increasingly looking to oblige. Although many of the consumer benefits of digital lending are clear, certain complications related to fraud arise when lending goes digital. This is a function of the degree of separation and anonymity in the digital lending process. Building on these factors, today’s fraudsters are relying on a diversified playbook of schemes and techniques to commit loan fraud in digital channels, including the use of synthetic identities, volumetric attacks, and technology designed to disguise their digital footprint. In this report, Javelin explores how these issues have come to unfold and the steps that lenders must take if they want to effectively resist this growing epidemic of digital lending fraud.

Key questions discussed in this report:

  • What effect has the use of digital channels had on the lending space?
  • How has fraud changed as a result of lending going digital?
  • What are the technology factors affecting the risk of lending fraud in digital channels?
  • What are the fraud risks specific to each type of loan product?
  • How are different segments of consumers affected by digital lending fraud?
  • What are the steps that FIs and other lenders can take to effectively prevent new account fraud?

Foolishness Versus Fintech: Foolishness Wins Again (Lexology), Rated: A

A recent decision from a federal district court in Colorado, Colorado ex rel. Meade v. Avant, strikes another blow against many of the financial technology firms that are revolutionizing the way consumers and businesses access credit. Joining what is now a line of decisions, the court limited the valid-when-made doctrine, which provides that a loan that is valid when it is made does not become invalid (i.e., usurious) when it is sold or assigned to a third party.

2nd Colo. ‘True Lender’ Case Sent Back To State Court (Law360), Rated: A

A Colorado federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Federal Deposit Insurance Act doesn’t so completely preempt a state financial regulator’s claims against nonbank lender Marlette Funding LLC that they have to be heard in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer remanded the case from Julie Ann Meade, the administrator of Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code, making it the second such “true lender” action to get kicked back to Denver state court this month.

CFPB handled over 84K debt collection complaints last year: Report (American Banker) Rated: A

In a joint annual report to Congress released Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission about debt collection practices, the CFPB said it had initiated four enforcement actions last year, had resolved one case and has five others pending related to unlawful debt collection practices.

Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney has indicated that debt collection will be a top priority for the agency. About 26% of consumers with a credit file have debt that is being collected by a third party, the CFPB said.

The CFPB recovered $577,000 in consumer relief from its enforcement actions while $78,800 was paid into the civil penalty fund, which is used to provide relief to eligible consumers who otherwise would not be compensated.

 

United States: Taking Stock Of Washington State’s New Student Education Loan Bill Of Rights (Consumer Protection), Rated: A

On March 14, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington signed the Washington Student Education Loan Bill of Rights. This law had been in the works since 2017 when a report, released by Attorney General Bob Ferguson in December, documented significant disparities across gender, income, age, and race in student loan borrowing and highlighted a handful of the hundreds of complaints the office received from student loan borrowers about their student loan servicers. Providing strong protections for Washington’s more than 730,000 student loan borrowers, whose debt now totals $22.9 billion, the law changes Washington’s regulatory schematic for lenders and servicers operating in the student loan marketplace in the following ways:

  • It creates the position of “Advocate” within the Washington Student Achievement Council to assist student education loan borrowers with student loans, akin to the position off “ombudsman” under proposed and enacted servicing bills in other states.
  • It requires servicers to obtain a license from the DFI.
  • Per this law, all student loan servicers, except those entirely exempt from the statute, are made newly subject to sundry statutory duties.
  • It imposes several requirements on third-parties providing student education and loan modification services.
  • It compels institutions of higher education to send borrower notices regarding financial aid.
  • It calls for the establishment, by rule, of fees sufficient to cover the costs of administering the program that it itself creates.
  • Lastly, the statute provides for a complete exemption for “any person doing business under, and as permitted by, any law of this state or of the United States relating to banks, savings banks, trust companies, savings and loan or building and loan associations, or credit unions.”

Upstate N.Y. popular for millennial home buyers, study says (Rochester Business Journal), Rated: B

Upstate New York is a popular place for millennials to buy houses, according to a national survey by online lender Lending Tree. For home buyers 35 and under, Rochester ranks 16th among the nation’s 100 largest cities for home mortgage requests and offers from borrowers between Feb. 1, 2017, and Feb. 1, 2018.

STUDY: FRESNO SMALL-BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT AMONG BEST IN NATION (The Business Journal), Rated: B

LendingTree, an online lending exchange company, released a study listing the best and worst cities for a new small business, and Fresno ranked ninth for best cities to start a new small business.

Ranking at first is Sacramento.

To conduct the study, LendingTree used data from over 80,000 queries submitted by new small-business owners seeking loan offers through their small business loan marketplace to find out where businesses tend to perform the best.

 

Even Financial Announces Expanded Partnership With Credit.com; Will Power Personal Loan Marketplace (Benzinga), Rated: B

Fintech service provider Even Financial has announced an expanded partnership with Credit.com that will make it the sole provider of Credit.com’s personal loan marketplace.

The change will allow Credit.com users to get matched with personal loan offerings that can be pre-approved in real-time without leaving the site thanks to Even’s technology. Previously, users looking for personal loans on the site were referred to individual lender websites.

Roostify Adds Mark McLaughlin as Vice President of Business Development (Business Wire), Rated: B

Roostify today announced the addition of Mark McLaughlin as the company’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. McLaughlin will be responsible for formulating the company’s overall partner strategy, creating a scalable operational model, and further developing an ecosystem of technology partners and strategic alliances.

Citi sets restrictions on gun sales by retail clients (KFGO), Rated: B

Citigroup Inc added restrictions on firearms sales for new retail-sector clients, the Wall Street bank said on Thursday, the strongest move to date by a major U.S. lender following last month’s high school shooting in Florida.

In an emailed statement Citi said it will require those clients only sell firearms to customers who have passed a background check, restrict firearms sales for buyers under 21, and not sell so-called “bump stocks” or high-capacity magazines.

United Kingdom

Revolut launches disposable virtual cards (AltFiNews), Rated: AAA

In an effort to stay one step ahead of the game at all times, digital banking app Revolut is set to launch disposable virtual cards next week to help users of its Premium service protect themselves against online card fraud.

Revolut users will be able to create disposable virtual cards for online purchases in seconds, with card details that automatically regenerate after each transaction. This will also protect users from inconveniences like chargebacks from sites on one-off purchases, as well as preventing fraudsters from tracking bank account information.

The virtual cards will work alongside existing Revolut security features, such as location-based transaction security, the familiar “freeze/unfreeze” physical card ability, as well as being able to disable swipe and contactless payments.

OakNorth becomes first UK digital bank to report annual profit (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

UK based digital bank OakNorth reported an annual profit of $149mn, becoming the first digital bank to do so; in their second year of full operations the bank has seen their loan book triple in size and deposits double in size; Rishi Khosla, OakNorth chief executive, told the Financial Times, “we build them for profit and on strong foundations so as you grow you’re scaling a real business rather than what happens to a lot of fintech where you just keep building for top-line or number of customers, but don’t necessarily have the strongest business model.”

These Isas pay up rates of up to 16%: what’s the catch? (Which? News), Rated: AAA

See the table below to see what Ifisas are on the market, what industry they invest into, the minimum investment amount and what kind of returns you can expect.

Source: Which? News

Among the highest rates, FundingSecure offers up to 16% on investments from £25. However, as a peer-to-peer ‘pawnbroking platform’ borrowers are looking for urgent loans to be given within 24 hours, which are secured against their assets. Borrowers are not required to pass any credit checks. Ablrate offers variable rates up to 16%, but they’re set by the borrower and you have to decide if the return is worth the risk. Past funded loans include units for a film studio, a waste management company and a modular building company.

Where else can I find high interest rates? They may not offer 16% interest, but there are a number of current accounts that pay up to 5% – and they don’t come with the associated risks of a Ifisa.

  • Nationwide’s FlexDirect account offers 5% AER on balances up to £2,500 when you pay in at least £1,000 a month. This is only for the first 12 months, however.
  • The TSB Plus account offers 3% AER on funds up to £1,500 as long as £500 is paid in each month and you register for online and paperless banking. There’s also the opportunity to earn up to £10 cashback a month, for a limited time.
  • The Tesco Bank current account also offers 3% AER on balances up to £3,000. You need to pay in £750 a month and set up at least three direct debits.

Tide gets FCA-authorised, launches new card and integrations (AltFiNews), Rated: A

From today, digital business bank Tide has been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an electronic money institution (EMI), which according to Bevis will give Tide “the option to access the same banking infrastructure as older banks”. Since the bank launched last January, 1 in 12 of all business accounts opened in the UK has been with Tide.

Now managing the accounts of over 30,000 businesses, Tide has today also launched a new vertical card and updated app design, and an integration with online accounting provider FreeAgent, which will automatically upload Tide transaction data into the software for easy expenses tracking.

Tide’s recent partnership with iwoca for business lending is also proving fruitful, with the fastest rate of service from first click to credit in the user’s account sitting at 6 minutes and 1 second.

China could snatch the crown of fintech capital, Britain is warned (The Times), Rated: B

Mark Tucker, chairman of HSBC, Britain’s largest bank, and Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, the insurer, said that there was no room for complacency in Britain’s so-called fintech industry.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, told an industry conference yesterday that the UK was the “global capital of fintech” and that the emerging industry contributes £7 billion to the economy.

China

Lufax Delays IPO Amid Regulatory Crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

One of China’s largest online lenders has shelved their IPO because of the regulatory crackdown on online lending; the FT reports that Lufax is waiting until the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) required online lenders to apply for a license; the current thinking is the government will approve licenses in April, though the time frame could be a bit longer; Lufax wants to ensure they get it right instead of rushing to be first.

Small Business Confidence in Mainland China Booms, Driven by Technology, E-commerce and Social Media (Markets Insider), Rated: A

Seventy-eight per cent of small businesses in Mainland China expect to grow in 2018 and 97.5 per cent of small business are confident that the local economy will remain the same or improve in the next 12 months. These are the best survey results for MainlandChina since 2014.

“The high rates of technology use among Mainland China’s small businesses is one of the key drivers of growth, with over 80 per cent of businesses in Mainland China earning more than 10 per cent of revenue from online sales — ranking MainlandChina at the top of the surveyed markets.

European Union

Will PSD2 Open up New B2B Lending Opportunities? (Payments Journal), Rated: A

This referenced posted blog is a good question and likely the answer is ‘yes’, but also we need to wait and see how effective.  Since PSD2 is a legal imperative, one key question posed by the author is whether or not end user companies (the client buying or using a particular financial services product) wishes to share actual bank or account data with the 3rd party vendors for which API-based sharing was designed to assist.

‘When it comes to new services around B2B and working capital, I believe like any good market hypotheses to test, we need to understand a basic question when it comes to corporates – will they provide third party vendors this access?   I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know it comes down to trust and value proposition.  Certainly making sure vendors have the security around your bank data will be important in this age of constant hacking threats’. 

Cerberus Capital Management Appoints Roberto Nicastro as Senior Advisor in Europe (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. and its affiliates (“Cerberus”), a global leader in alternative investing, announced today that Roberto Nicastro has become a Senior Advisor to the firm. In this role, Mr. Nicastro will consult with Cerberus as it continues its focus on investment opportunities and strategic partnerships in the European financial services sector.

International

eToro raises $ 100m Series E to fund blockchain effort (AltFiNews), Rated AAA

The raise is set to support eToro’s expansion as it heads into new markets, and continued research and development of blockchain technology and digital assets. The round brings the platform’s total capital raised to $162m, following a signficant period of growth for the business driven in part by its foray into cryptocurrency investments.

eToro added Stellar as its eighth cryptocurrency asset listed on its Crypto Copyfund in February, joining fellow cryptos Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereuem and Ripple amongst others. The trader launched its Crypto Copyfund in July 2017, which uses CFDs to enable investors to diversify across all available cryptocurrencies (weighted by market cap) with just one click.

How quantum will change everything (including banking, money and security) (The Financier), Rated: AAA

Basically, a quantum computer doesn’t work with bits but with qubits using particles that can be in superposition (two or more quantum states added together to create another state). This is why particles can take on the value 0, or 1, or both simultaneously. The reason that this is important is that it will allow computers to process and store far more information with far less energy and far more speed than current state computers. For example, in 2016, a team of Google and Nasa scientists found a quantum computer was 100 million times faster than a conventional computer. Elsewhere, in a step towards quantum computing, researchers have guided electrons through semiconductors using incredibly short pulses of light. These extremely short, configurable pulses of light could lead to computers that operate 100,000 times faster than they do today.

This is important in banking because it could displace blockchain, ledger and digital identity developments within a decade. This is because the quantum internet would excel at sending information securely through what is known as quantum encryption. This technology enables banks and businesses to be able to send “unhackable” data over a quantum network. This is because quantum cryptography uses a mechanic called quantum key distribution (QKD), which means an encrypted message and its keys are sent separately. Tampering with such a message causes it to be automatically destroyed, with both the sender and the receiver notified of the situation.

Australia/New Zealand

Cash, crypto and crowdlending: meet New Zealand’s rising FinTech future (The Spinoff), Rated: A

It’s this hassle that Hnry (pronounced ‘Henry’) wants to help resolve, doing away with the need for spreadsheets, software and even costly accountants. Whether it’s income tax, GST, ACC or student loan repayments, Hnry will calculate and pay all of these for you. Same goes for your tax returns, which Hnry will complete on your behalf. It’ll also handle all your invoices, regardless of whether you work for a single client or multiple clients at the same time.

Source: the Spinoff

Jrny

Born from a desire to change how enterprise companies and individuals interact with one another, Jrny uses AI and conversational interfaces to create more relevant, two-way channels of communication. Jrny allows businesses to handle thousands of messages instantly in an effort to build a closer relationship between company and customer.

India

Could blockchain tech help prevent bank fraud? (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A massive fraud that cost India’s second-largest bank at least $2 billion is highlighting concerns about vulnerabilities in institutions’ internal controls and spurring some to claim that blockchain could have prevented the crime.

In a recent incident at Punjab National Bank, a deputy branch manager and his subordinate allegedly falsified 150 letters of undertaking directing other banks to give loans to a group of jewelry companies, with PNB providing surety for those letters. Virtually all of them defaulted, causing PNB to be on the hook.

What made the fraud so difficult to detect was that, as far as its internal systems were concerned, the transactions didn’t exist. The letters of undertaking were sent using the Swift network, but none were recorded on PNB’s internal record-keeping software, which wasn’t linked to the Swift system.

Source: American Banker

That’s why some are arguing that bockchain, or distributed ledger technology, could have prevented the fraud. Because immutable records are kept on a decentralized database that multiple parties can view, it’s possible that the fraud either wouldn’t have happened or could have been detected sooner.

Now here’s a crypto bank you can grow with (The Economic Times), Rated: A

In this virtual bank, your savings are stored in crypto format on a blockchain, and instead of interest on your savings, you get a virtual share in the revenue of the bank.

This is an unconventional concept developed by Mumbai-based entrepreneurs Varun Deshpande, Ratnesh Ray and Siddharth Verma, whose product Nuo Bank went live this week.

Afica

Naspers To Sell $ 10bn Tencent Shares To Invest In Fintech (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Naspers, the most valuable listed company in Africa, will be selling $10-billion of its shares of Chinese messaging giant Tencent to invest in fintech, classified and online food delivery businesses.

Naspers announced it will sell up to 190-million Tencent Holdings Limited shares, or  2% of Tencent’s total issued share capital. Naspers is reducing its stake in the maker of WeChat and QQ – which is worth an estimated $545-billion – from 33,2% to 31,2%.

Canada

Royal Bank of Canada Launches API Developer Portal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) announced it has opened its very own API developer platform. According to the bank, the RBC Developers platform will allow eligible external software developers, industry “innovators,” and clients to access select RBC APIs. While sharing more details about the platform, Sumit Oberai, Senior Vice President of Digital Technology at RBC, stated: “Across other industries we’ve seen the transformational effects of APIs. By providing external developers, industry innovators, and clients with access to select RBC APIs, we have the opportunity to increase connectivity, create new tools and experience for clients, and enable open and innovative collaboration to improve the future of banking.”

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday December 15 2016, Daily News Digest

consumer confidence index

News Comments Today’s main news: Fitch says OCC charter could harm innovative firms. UK’s Govt. bank funds almost 10% of MarketInvoice’s loans. Rakuten invests EUR10M in Kreditech. Today’s main analysis: CCI highest since before great recession. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Bank SME lending surges, alt-lenders flop. Vaya, RateSetter launch online mobile shop. United States OCC FinTech charter could harm agility, […]

consumer confidence index

News Comments

United States

  • OCC FinTech charter could harm agility, cost of innovative firms. GP:” Absolutely everything has a good side and a bad side, including OCC’s new fintech charter. It goes without saying that getting an OCC charter is more onerous than no regulation at all. But is it more or less onerous than partnering with a FDIC Bank ? I think that only once a few fintech companies jumps the gun and get a charter will we be able to compare. In my eyes even if it is more onerous, the benefits of being independent and not at the merci of a life-or-death partner (the FDIC bank) is worth a lot and if I would advise fintechs to setup a separate structure and test the waters with an OCC charter while continuing to operate as they have been so far with their primary structure.”
  • Consumer confidence high. AT: “This is political commentary, but it’s not just political commentary. There is a great deal of insight here regarding the economy on the whole and consumer confidence in the economy specifically, especially regarding investments. If Halbert is correct and consumer confidence leads to increased investments in equities and stocks, how will that affect alternative investments? My guess is, there will be a negative correlation. Remember, part of the reason for the rise in alternative investing has been the decline in the stock markets. On the other hand, millennials are full of surprises, so continued distrust of banks may keep alternatives interesting to a segment of the investor class. Any way you look at it, the next four years should be an interesting run.”
  • Bank SME lending surges, alt-lenders flop. GP:” The interesting number here is the 23.7% approval rate for traditional bank’s SME loan approval rate in Nov 2016. It seems high to me but if it is true, and it could be, that is much higher than the single digits numbers we all had in mind I believe. “. AT: “It’s possible this renewed faith in bank lending is tied to consumer confidence in the economic outlook.”
  • Possible credit score changes for 2017. AT: “The initial comment on this Reddit thread has been redacted. Judging from some of the comments, it likely had something to do with medical bills being removed from credit scores if paid off.”
  • SmartBiz Loans to offer up to $5 million SBA 7(a) CRE loans.
  • InterNex Capital’s asset-based loans now available to small businesses through Bizfi.
  • RECF is here and thriving.

United Kingdom

European Union

Canada

China

News Summary

United States

Fitch: OCC Fintech Charter Could Harm Agility & Cost of Innovative Financial Firms (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Fitch Ratings is out with a note on the recently announced Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Fintech charter. The OCC has crafted a document to allow digital banks to become regulated entities by receiving federal bank charters. Fitch is of the opinion the Fintech charter could have significant impacts on the operating strategies and regulatory environments of these innovative firms. And the impact may not be all good.

As for benefits, some Fintech firms such as marketplace lending platforms may no longer have to partner with banks to facilitate loan origination.  This echoes a similar comment that Moody’s made just a few days back. A Fintech banking charter may also reduce uncertainty regarding state usury rate caps that have become a more prominent issue recently following the Madden versus Midland decision in June, which stated that agreed upon interest may not be enforceable in certain circumstances.

A special purpose digital bank charter may not allow for insured deposit-taking, which would require FDIC approval and regulation, but in Fitch’s opinion, it could be an initial, gradual step in that direction.

Consumer Confidence Highest Since Before Great Recession (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

The US Consumer Confidence Index has been soaring since the end of the Great Recession, and it hit another recent new high last month. The Conference Board reported Friday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to a surprising 107.1 in November, versus the pre-report consensus of 101.1, the highest reading since 2008.

On the other hand, the Commerce Department reported that 3Q GDP rose by 3.2% in the 3Q as reported on November 29. That surprising estimate will be revised again on December 22. But if the next GDP estimate confirms that GDP growth is above 3%, we will need to upgrade our outlook for the US economy going forward.

The post-election surge in the major stock market indexes also has buoyed feelings about equities, with 40% saying now is a good time to invest, up 10 points from before the election. Here again, Democrats became somewhat more negative on stocks while Republicans grew significantly more optimistic.

Those differences are also clear in the choice for what Americans believe are the best investments right now. While real estate remains the top choice for the third straight year, stocks gained the most ground at the expense of gold, real estate and Treasuries. For now, the shine is off of gold for Republicans and they, along with Independents, have grown more favorable toward equities.

Virtually everyone expects the Fed Open Market Committee to raise its short-term interest rate by 0.25% at the meeting today and tomorrow. Fed Funds futures put the odds at 97%. While the first rate hike last December sent stocks sharply lower, stocks are today at yet another new record high.

Investors are aggressively seeking alternative investments to generate income in today’s continued low interest rate world. While the US equity markets have soared to new highs since the election, many are wary of an overdue downward correction. That’s understandable.

Bank SME Lending Surges, Alt-Lenders Flop (PYMNTS.com), Rated: AAA

Reports Tuesday (Dec. 13) said Biz2Credit’s latest index showed surges in traditional banks’ SME loan approval rates in November, hitting 23.7 percent. According to researchers, eight out of the past nine months have seen loan approval rates for small business applicants increase among traditional, large banks.

Even small banks have seen their loan approval rates tick up to 48.8 percent.

At the same time, Biz2Credit found continuing declines in alternative lending activity for SME borrowers. November saw a decline in SME loan approval rates among alt-lenders, down to 59.2 percent in November, according to the report.

Growth of consumer borrowing slows a bit (News Journal), Rated: A

Total borrowing rose $16 billion, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday. The October increase was the smallest since June.

Revolving credit, which covers credit cards, increased $2.3 billion in October. The non-revolving category, which covers auto loans and student loans, rose $13.7 billion in October.

Possible Credit Score Changes for 2017 (Reddit), Rated: A

I had over 12 collections on my credit as of a year ago and about 8 of them were hospital bills. What I did was write each creditor a letter saying essentially: “I dispute this debt. I don’t not recall this debt in anyway and it was not me. However, I am willing to pay the debt in full if you will agree to remove the debt from all credit bureaus. If you agree to these terms please send me on company letterhead the terms. Once I receive the agreement I will send payment by certified mail the same day I received your letter. If you do not accept these terms I am asking you to send me all proof that this debt is mine and I will dispute it further. You and I both know that paying this debt without you agree g to remove it from my credit report will not benefit me at all and I may as well wait until it falls off naturally.”

I now have 3 collections left, the rest were removed and

I’m working on the last few. You don’t even have to offer to pay 100% I’ve seen others offer 50% for a pay for delete and it went through. I offered 100% because I have the funds and I really wanted it off my credit report.

Edit 2: one of the collections was for capital one. They sent me a letter saying they denied my pay for delete request. Then about a month later they sent me another letter saying since I requested proof of the debt and they couldn’t provide it they are removing the debt from my credit report and my balance is $0. So they denied the request then started to assemble the proof and couldn’t find it. Was pretty funny.

SmartBiz Loans Announces New Online SBA Commercial Real Estate Loan Offering up to million (BusinessWire), Rated: A

SmartBiz Loans, the first online SBA marketplace and bank-enabling technology platform, has announced that they will now offer SBA 7(a) Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Loans up to $5 million to eligible business owners based in the U.S.

The CRE loans are now available through SmartBiz for purchase or refinance through an automated, mobile-optimized online flow that allows eligible businesses to pre-qualify online (even on their mobile phones) in less than five minutes without impacting their credit score. Loans are available for amounts between $350,000 to $5 million with 25-year repayment terms, variable rates as low as 5%, no balloon payments and no prepayment penalty after the first three years. Unlike traditional bank commercial real estate loans, SmartBiz SBA 7(a) CRE loans do not require re-qualifying every three to five years.

The loans are available to small-business owners based in the U.S. with a personal credit score of 675, a minimum of three years in business and $250,000 or more in annual revenue.

InterNex Capital’s Asset-Based Loans Now Available to Small Businesses through the Bizfi Marketplace (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Today, Bizfi (www.bizfi.com), the premier fintech company with a platform that combines aggregation, funding and a marketplace on a single platform for small businesses, expands its business lending capabilities through a funding partnership with InterNex Capital, an asset-based digital lender. The partnership will allow small to mid-sized businesses in manufacturing, wholesale, trucking, business and consulting services to apply for and access an asset-based revolving line of credit from $250,000 to $5 million through the Bizfi marketplace at www.bizfi.com.

Along with short-term financing, equipment financing, SBA loans, and many other products, small businesses that require $250,000 or more can easily and quickly apply for the revolving line of credit online. In addition to InterNex, the Bizfi platform features 45 lenders providing financial options to small businesses in the United States. Bizfi also acts as a direct lender on the platform.

Real Estate Crowdfunding is Here and Thriving For Investors (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

As a real estate investor, are you staying current with the latest investing technology? Just like all modern industry, the real estate industry continues to evolve and how investments are made has a new technology that is on the cutting edge for real estate investors, welcome to real estate crowdfunding.

Both dealmakers and lenders found a strong interest in private financing following the Great Recession. Dealmakers needed access to capital that the banks quit providing. Qualified investors and individuals with 401k funds to invest quickly became attractive. For money investors, more reliable and more secure investments (real estate) outside of the stock and bond markets also became attractive. Now, with crowdfunding, this match becomes even more powerful as more investors (beyond qualified investors) are able to participate in the market.

United Kingdom

Government cash funds almost 10% of peer-to-peer MarketInvoice’s loans (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The taxpayer-backed British Business Bank is providing a major boost to fintech MarketInvoice, new figures show.

9% of loans by value made over MarketInvoice’s platform to date have been financed by money from the government-backed British Business Bank, according to a Freedom of Information request seen by Business Insider.

The bank has provided the cash for £93.2 million-worth of loans on the platform, out of a total of just over £1 billion made by the platform.

New crowdfunding platforms following peer-to-peer lending are riskier than many realise (Express.co.uk), Rated: AAA

The new breed of crowdfunding platforms that have followed in the wake of P2P are far riskier than many realise.

City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is looking to crack down on these crowdfunding platforms to protect savers who do not understand the dangers.

It is lining up tough new regulations after warning that some platforms fall short of its demands to be “clear, fair and not misleading”.

The best-known platforms are Zopa.com, which has taken £1.89billion from savers since 2005, and RateSetter.com, which has taken almost £1.6billion since 2010.

Their interest rates have dipped lately, but Zopa still pays a variable 3.1 per cent and RateSetter pays 2.9 per cent.

Hannah Maundrell, editor-in-chief of , says P2P platforms need a robust fallback plan so people do not lose money if the company goes bust: “They will also have to carry out more thorough checks on borrowers.

“Some do, but the FCA’s rules could make it compulsory.”

Vaya, RateSetter get together to launch online mobile shop (ITWire), Rated: AAA

Mobile service provider Vaya has teamed up with peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter to launch an online mobile phone shop.

Vaya says it has worked with RateSetter to provide fair financing terms and an easy online sign-up process for mobile phone customers – combining “some of the sharpest handsets on the market with the choice of outright purchase or wallet-friendly payment terms over 12 or 24 months”.

The two companies say they are bucking the trend of telcos locking people’s mobile plans up with their handset repayments.

Taplend: Viktor Ihnatiuk (Startups.co.uk), Rated: A

Taplend is a financial help service. With our app, people can get up to £2,500 in a few minutes, provided by friends or lending companies.

The problem we are solving is a fairly common one for all of us – situations when you need money urgently, but cannot get it immediately. The mechanism of Taplend is a very simple one: after the user downloads the application, he sets the desired amount of money and return terms, submits detailed information and sends a request via the service to his friends or credit companies.

After the request is accepted, it takes a couple of minutes for the money to come to the user’s bank account or mobile wallet.

While working in the p2p lending area, we noticed that the average time to get a loan through such a platform is around three days, under affordable rates. It is clear that millions of people have the urgent need for money.

Our business model can be split into two parts:

  1. We let friends help each other with money under a 0% interest rate. Taplend would be useful for these people, who might face the strong need for the financial assistance to be provided as soon as possible. In other words, Taplend is a p2p money transfer tool for friends to help each other. In this case, we charge a small split fee from transactions between the users.
  1. Besides asking from friends, Taplend lets the user request the loan from our partners – financial institutions. In this case, we let the user to choose the lender among the list of companies, after this we provide him with specific loan application form (depends on the lender).

When the user finishes filling the application form, we send this data to the lender. If everything is ok with this data, the user gets his request approved, receives the money and the lender pays Taplend a lead generation fee.

Denheath Desserts Closes PledgeMe Crowdlending Campaign With Nearly 0,000 in Funds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Denheath Desserts, a custard square brand from South Canterbury, has officially closed its crowdlending campaign, which raised nearly $369,001 from 161 investors, on PledgeMe. Denheath Desserts currently produces 10,000 custard squares per day from its Timaru factor.

The UK alternative finance industry is still not transparent enough (City A.M.), Rated: A

One of the most important risks when it comes to crowdfunding and online lending, which will be fairly obvious to anyone with investment experience, is asset risk.

Then there is the risk in the instrument. What do you get for your money? Share, bonds, a loan contract? Are there other lenders? Are you senior or junior? Is the investment secured?

Crowdfunding should not say it is transparent, but be transparent. You don’t think people are funny because they tell you they are comedians. You think they are funny when they tell you a joke that makes you fall off your seat.

That means being transparent about fees for starters. How does that platform get paid? By the lender, the borrower or a bit of both? When does it get paid, and do they take a spread?

Platforms should earn their fees – and yes, those should be completely and clearly set out too.

Appropriateness tests and caps on the amount of investment are just some of the other methods that platforms can implement to help manage risk. Each of these are worth an article in their own right, but the most important thing for investors to be aware of, for now, is that not all platforms offer the same levels of disclosure and protection.

European Union

Rakuten invests EUR10m in Kreditech (Finextra), Rated: AAA

This is another landmark investment in fintech by Rakuten, a leader in internet services and global innovation headquartered in Japan. Rakuten joins Kreditech’s outstanding group of backers, including J.C. Flowers and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. Michael Piechalak of the Rakuten FinTech Fund will join the Board as an observer.

Kreditech aims to invest the new funding into further developing its partnership business. The company has launched its Lending-as-a-service in spring 2016. Renowned partners such as PayU (Naspers) are making use of Kreditech’s POS financing integration.

Firm seals biggest-ever Irish P2P loan (Independent), Rated: A

Irish peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firm Linked Finance has completed the country’s largest ever P2P loan, raising €150,000 for serviced workspace provider Iconic Offices.

The loan, which is double the size of the previous biggest amount raised by Linked Finance, will be used to fit out Iconic Offices’ location at Herbert House, Dublin 2.

Linked Finance, which targets the non-bank SME-lending sector, said the loan was fully subscribed in less than 20 hours.

EstateGuru’s average historic return highest in the market! (EstateGuru Email), Rated: B

In December, EstateGuru’s average historic return reached the level 13.4% (since December 2014), which is the highest return among crowdfunding platforms for secured property loans.

Within two operational years, EstateGuru has offered its investors the chance to invest in 95 secured property loans with a record high annual average historic return 13.4%,“ said EstateGuru’s founder and CEO Marek Pärtel.

In comparison, some of Europe’s most popular and most established crowdfunding platforms like LendInvest, PropLend and Saving Stream have an annual average return of respectively 7.06%, 9.39% and 12%.

EstateGuru has managed to offer its investors the best returns due to high-quality projects and additional bonuses (e.g when the loan is repaid earlier, the borrower is obligated to pay the minimum 3-4 months interest). Our platform allows both professional and still experimenting investors earn equally great returns. Moreover, our more eager investors can take advantage of our affiliate program,“ Marek Pärtel added.

EstateGuru’s more than 5600 investors from 34 countries have earned a cumulative interest revenue €648,421 and more than €15 million worth of loans have been funded. Largest investment portfolios on the platform exceed €700,000 and the investors have not lost a single euro on the EstateGuru platform throughout its entire history. EstateGuru’s priority is to offer its investors secured and high-quality investment opportunities in Estonia and abroad.

Canada

NCFA Publishes Research on Alternative Finance in Canada (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA) has published a report on the status of crowdfunding and other forms of alternative finance including online lending.

The report tallied numbers for 2015, tracking 100 online platforms including both rewards and investment, stating that Canada reached $133 million in total volume. This amount is predicted to increase to $190 million during 2016.

The NCFA is not totally complimentary of the current crowdfunding ecosystem. Earlier this year, one industry insider labeled the regulatory approach as a “mess”. Another called it “dead in the water.”

China

eToro Announces Key Strategic Partnership for China with Lufax Holding (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

One of the leading social trading networks in the foreign exchange and CFDs space, eToro has announced that it has signed a strategic partnership with Lufax Holding Ltd. The cooperation agreement between the firms is aiming to boost eToro’s profile with Chinese clients.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 10 2016, Daily News Digest

India FinTech tweet

News Comments Today’s main news: Modi’s plan to turn India into a fintech powerhouse. Georgia Supreme Court rejects narrowing Payday Lending Act. New York state rules MCAs are loans. Today’s main analysis : India’s PM Modi’s strategy for making his country a FinTech superpower. Today’s thought-provoking articles: India’s decision on rupee notes. How Aussie government can spur FinTech. WeiyangX FinTech […]

India FinTech tweet

News Comments

United States

India

  • Modi’s master plan to make India a FinTech superpower. AT: “The best reading today is about India, which seems to be moving toward the cashless society and FinTech firms in that country are eating it up. Here’s how the Prime Minister has positioned the company since 2014. There’s a lot going on in Asia right now with India and Singapore taking great strides to compete with China.”
  • India’s decision on rupee makes FinTech happy. GP:”The fact that Modi actually took a real , swift action by discontinuing the large banknotes in India and forcing people to go to electronic money is a token to his commitment for action on fintech. Very impressive. ” AT: “Forbes talks to FinTechs in India to get their views of Modi’s recent decision to nix certain rupee notes.”

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia / New Zealand

China

News Summary

 

United States

Georgia Supreme Court Rejects Attempts to Narrow State Payday Lending Act (JD Supra Business Advisor), Rated: AAA

Last week, in Western Sky Financial v. State of Georgia, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a decision rejecting challenges to the state’s Payday Lending Act (the “Act“) and affirming the denial of a motion to dismiss claims alleging violations. The decision confers sweeping authority on the state’s Attorney General to regulate out‑of‑state lenders who extend small, high-interest-rate loans to Georgia residents.

Georgia’s Payday Lending Act imposes civil and criminal liability on lenders extending loans in the amounts of $3,000 or less, unless the loans are permissible under applicable state usury law or subject to certain exemptions.

Court Rules MCA Arrangement Is a Loan Under NEW YORK’S Usury Laws, (Pepper Hamilton), Rated: AAA

On October 25, 2016, the New York Supreme Court of Westchester County issued a decision in Pearl Capital Rivis Ventures, LLC v. RDN Construction, Inc. that helps clarify the circumstances under which the provision of a merchant cash advance in exchange for the assignment of future receivables may be deemed a loan subject to usury restrictions, versus a non-loan purchase and sale agreement.

In Pearl Capital, the New York Supreme Court, which is the trial-level court in that state’s court system, considered whether the merchant cash advance arrangement between plaintiff Pearl Capital and defendant RDN Construction was either a loan subject to New York’s criminal usury restrictions or a non-loan contract for the purchase and sale of future accounts receivables. Athough New York’s civil usury laws do not apply to commercial loans, such loans are subject to the state criminal usury statute (N.Y. CLS Penal § 190.40), which imposes a 25 percent maximum interest rate. Under the terms of the parties’ agreement, the court deemed the arrangement to constitute a loan.

Although the defendant’s witness testified that by purchasing future receivables RDN Construction accepted business risks besides the normal risks of repayment common to a loan, the court discounted this testimony on the basis that “[m]erely telling the Court that risk is contemplated under the terms of the Agreement is inadequate…”

The Pearl Capital case highlights the critical importance of paying close attention to the terms and conditions of any merchant capital advance agreement. In considering a judicial challenge to the parties’ agreement, a court is likely to look beyond the general nature of the relationship and probe the precise terms of the governing contract.

For a sale of receivables to be treated as a purchase and sale agreement versus a loan, the sale must be without recourse to the seller. In the case of a sale without recourse, the purchaser accepts the business risk that the seller may not perform as expected, and that the planned-for future receivables may not materialize.

A violation of certain representations and warranties in the merchant cash advance agreement may allow the purchaser of the receivables to proceed directly against the seller for breach of contract, such the seller’s opening other bank accounts, filing bankruptcy, or engaging in fraud or other misconduct.

November 16 Executive Briefing To Explore Regulatory And Legal Environment For FinTech Innovation (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Helping FinTechs prepare for the regulations of tomorrow is the focus of an afternoon briefing, Growing a FinTech Enterprise: Legal and Business Frameworks, which is part of the Bloomberg Next series.  The event takes place at the Washington, D.C. offices of Bloomberg Government the afternoon of Wednesday, November 16 and is underwritten by Sullivan & Cromwell.  For additional event and registration information, visit

Don’t Miss Future Stars 2016: The Premiere Networking and Career Event for Fintech in Atlanta (Kabbage), Rated: A

Fintech companies in Georgia generate about $72 billion in annual revenues. Only New York and California produce more income from financial technology, making Georgia third in the entire country. Atlanta and its surrounding areas have grown into one of the country’s fintech capitals. Because of this, the state can also claim global leadership in this emerging industry. This makes Atlanta the perfect location for a networking and career event called Future Stars 2016.

  • When: Rising Stars 2016 will be held on Tuesday, November, 15 from 8 AM until 11 AM.
  • Where: The Research Institute Conference Center at Georgia Tech will house the event.
  • Host: FinTech Atlanta will host this event in order to fulfill its mission of supporting the rise of the financial technology industry in the Atlanta Metro Area.
  • How to attend: You may register online for free.
  • Event cost: The event is free for registered attendees and includes a continental breakfast.

Digital Advice Delivery Has Both Perks and Limitations (Plan Adviser), Rated: A

A new analysis from Cerulli Associates projects the digital advice market will exceed $83 billion by the end of the year, with no sign of slowing growth through the end of the decade.

The Cerulli research observes that growth for robo-advisers is strong now and will likely remain strong for some years to come, but at the same time, it is becoming increasingly apparent that robo-advisers “are not necessarily the fundamental disruption that the traditional financial industry has been concerned about.”

Big VC says what start-ups can expect from a Trump presidency (CNBC), Rated: B

As the dust settles on the reality of a Donald Trump presidency, Bradley Tusk, a prominent venture capital investor, said start-ups should prepare for a less intrusive regulatory regime, but warned that the new administration might also be more willing than his predecessor to protect legacy industries.

Endeavor Hosts Inaugural Fintech Tour in New York City (Endeavor), Rated: B

Endeavor hosted its first ever New York City Fintech Tour on November 8-9, connecting ten entrepreneurs from eight different countries with leading Fintech innovators in the city.

Day one began with advisory board-style sessions at Barclays, in which the bank’s senior executives and managing directors strategized with participating entrepreneurs on their growth challenges. The group then toured Bloomberg, the original Fintech innovator, and discussed the company’s historical focus on building Fintech products and services with the core B2B customer in mind with with Global Head of Platform Technologies Cory Albert.

Day two kicked off with an entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur lunch for members of the fintech community in Endeavor’s own network to share their own challenges, best practices, and solutions with each other.

India

Here’s Modi’s master plan to make India a fintech superpower (Your Story), Rated: AAA

In all this flurry of the government scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes with immediate effect, what most have failed to see is the series of moves that had been leading up to this moment.

First, there was the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana launched on August 28, 2014. The move was essentially to set the foundation of creating bank accounts for the unbanked and bringing them under the gamut of financial inclusion.

Then came the much awaited Unified Payment Interface (UPI), which allowed individuals to make payments through a single identifier like Aadhaar number or virtual address. This, along with the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) launched in September 2016, was an effort to institutionalise digital payments in the country.

This almost seems like the Indian economy has started the curve of becoming a credit economy like the US.

Anurag Jain, co-founder and COO of peer-to-peer online invoice discounting platform KredX believes that the elimination of black money will lead to more compliance from businesses.

Speaking to YourStory, Govind Rajan, Freecharge CEO, claimed that post the announcement, there was a 12x surge in their customer’s wallet balances overnight.According to Govind, the average transaction size on a wallet ranges from Rs 500– 700. With individuals using wallets for higher value transactions, this is expected to double in the coming year.

Amrish also believes that digital payments will explode in offline, which includes toll booths with a different check out experience. And we saw this as a part of Paytm partnering with the country’s toll booth authority to facilitate digital transactions.

India’s Decision On Rupee Notes Has Made Local Fintech Very Happy (Forbes), Rated: A

In a move that surprised many, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech on Tuesday evening announced that Rs 500 ($7.5) and Rs 1000 ($15) notes were abolished as of midnight. The move is aimed at reducing black money and busting the counterfeit currency racket in the country since moving unaccounted cash transactions to online will ensure monetary dealings to fall under the purview of scrutiny by the income tax department. This is expected to give a push to the PM’s Digital India vision — a move to increase cashless transaction and empower India, a largely cash-driven economy, as a digital nation. Fintech companies, not surprisingly, are rejoicing.

Paytm, the country’s top mobile wallet company, is already seeing a surge in its user base.

Capital Float, one of the most funded startups in the fintech lending space in the country, said the move will help startups target more customers.

Other fintech companies like ftcash and PayPal see this as a watershed moment for the industry.

United Kingdom

LendInvest offers development exit opportunity (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: AAA

The product, available on loans between £250,000 and £5m, is for developers who have completed projects but not yet sold all the units.

It is priced at 0.7% interest per calendar month, allowing developers to switch to short-term, lower-cost funding. A maximum loan-to-value of 75% applies but there are no early repayment charges and borrowers may be able to retain part of the proceeds from every unit sale.

MW Eaglewood-backed Zorin Finance breaks cover (altfi), Rated: AAA

Zorin Finance, a residential development finance specialist, has broken cover after having funded more than £100m in development loans (with a gross development value of over £150m) in just 12 months. The platform is backed by funds managed by MW Eaglewood and Sir John Beckwith’s Pacific Investments, and has been flying almost entirely under the radar up until now.

Zorin, which was founded in 2011, set out to plug the financing gap for small-to-medium sized house builders that had emerged in the wake of big banks pulling back from real estate developments. The technology oriented firm claims to lend faster and more flexibly than its counterparts in the world of banking.

LendInvest continues Scottish offensive (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

Online mortgage lender LendInvest has completed a series of bridging and development finance cases in Scotland.

Deals already agreed include a £480,000 bridging loan to an investor buying in Edinburgh’s Quartermile area and a £200,000 bridging loan on a property in the West End of Glasgow, which is to be refurbished into a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

LendInvest entered the Scottish market in June with the recruitment of Peter McDermid as business development manager for Scotland. He joined from Shawbrook Bank and his appointment was LendInvest’s first official presence outside of London.

Yvonne Dunn: Robo-advice debate risks hampering innovation (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

Robo-advice tools have the potential to help address the UK’s ‘advice gap’, which was highlighted in the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) published earlier this year.

Figures in 2015 showed there was appetite in the UK market for greater regulatory clarity on the use of robo-advice solutions. From autumn 2014 up until 19 August 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) received 39 requests from companies for assistance on how to implement robo-advice systems, technology or services, under its Project Innovate initiative.

There remains, however, an unexpressed debate about the way robo-advice tools should be treated for regulatory purposes. The debate – and the uncertainty that results – threatens to hamper innovation in the UK.

EToro taps machine learning to offer ‘algo-funds’ (Finextra), Rated: A

eToro, the world’s leading social trading network, is entering the world of thematic investing with the launch of CopyFunds.

CopyFunds will be divided into Top Trader CopyFunds™; comprising the best performing and most sustainable traders on the network and Market CopyFunds™ made up of specially-selected instruments such as stocks, commodities or ETFs allowing investors to track a wide array of sectors around a defined market strategy.

Top Trader CopyFunds™ is built using machine learning technology that selects the best performing traders on the eToro network.

As fintech companies compete with established lenders, options for business funding has increased (SME Web), Rated: A

One of the hottest topics in the banking world this year is lending solutions for SMEs. A sudden increase in alternative lenders targeting SMEs, and a surge of innovation from traditional lenders in SME propositions – such as commercial cards and working capital loans – have highlighted the extent to which SMEs have been, and continue to be, under-served since the financial crisis.

Product innovation in SME lending has also required fundamental changes in business models. The ideal SME proposition should incorporate the following key factors:

  1. Speed – Fast decision making and short waiting times for receipt of funding
  2. Simplicity – Easy to understand processes
  3. Flexibility – Flexibility with use of funds and repayment processes
European Union

Bitcoin P2P lender Bitbond gets BaFin license, will add EUR as base currency (SMN Weekly), Rated: AAA

In a more recent interview for the site Crowdfund Insider, Albrecht said that after obtaining the BaFin license – a process that took three years – Bitbond will introduce the Euro as a base currency and will turn its attention to creating a secondary market for investors to buy and sell notes on the platform.

Furthermore, Albrecht added, Bitbond is planning to bring larger institutional investors onto the platform in 2017 in order to scale more efficiently.

Siemiątkowski, Knox, Graubner-Mueller – the great minds coming to impact’16 fintech/insurtech (WBJ), Rated: A

Sebastian Siemiątkowski, founder of Klarna, Ricky Knox, CEO of Tandem Bank and Alexander Graubner-Mueller from Kreditech will come to Wroclaw to attend impact’16 fintech/insurtech – a congress devoted to the technological trends in financial sector.

Another guest coming to impact’16 fintech/insurtech is Ricky Knox, founder of Tandem Bank, a financial institution available only through mobile application. Tandem Bank was built thanks to a crowdfunding campaign.

Alexander Graubner-Mueller, CEO of Kreditech will be also present in Wroclaw. Kreditech by using non-traditional data sources and machine learning provides access to better credit and higher convenience for digital banking services. As a result Kreditech can provide us with the information about borrower within less than a minute.

Congress that will take place from 7-8th of December in Wrocław will be focused on the most important problems from fintech and insurtech areas. Among topics covered, we will find such as finacial education, new regulations, blockchain, cryptocurriencies, cybersecurity, information management and new payment methods.

Australia

NZ’s first fintech umbrella organisation to be launched (Voxy), Rated: AAA

Augen Software Group director and NZTech chair Mitchell Pham made the announcement to set up FinTechNZ at the inaugural Finnotec 2016 conference in Auckland today. The event was organised by fintech company SavvyKiwi, whose founder is passionate about providing a place for the NZ fintech community to learn and grow together each year.

“We have seen the power of collectives in other sectors and countries, and so are 100 percent behind the bringing together of the NZ fintech community.

FinTechNZ will give New Zealand participants a better chance to collaborate, engage and grow, both domestically and internationally.”

Pham says FinTechNZ can leverage on NZTech as a platform to get up and going quickly and efficiently.

How ASIC and the Australian government can kindle the fintech boom (The Australian), Rated: A

Australia is beginning to enjoy the benefits of a fintech boom, but for this emerging industry to grow properly it needs infrastructure support. Without it, we’re at risk of seeing Aussie fintechs left behind as overseas players dominate the Australian and Asian landscape.

There have been some welcome initiatives recently, like ASIC introducing a regulatory sandbox for start-ups to trial new ideas. But compared to other governments around the world, Australia doesn’t have the political support to turn this industry into a powerhouse.

There are four main ways we can support Australian fintech now, in the medium term, and into the future:

  1. Copy the initiatives that are working overseas
  2. Require banks to refer to alternative lenders
  3. Encourage fintech investors by enforcing minimum standard on the quality of advice
  4. Standardise presentation of interest rates to SME borrowers

Trade Me Invests $ 670,000 in P2P Lender Harmoney (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Trade Me (ASX:TME) has purchased $670,000 woth of shares in New Zealand based P2P lender Harmoney. The investment was said to be designed to hold its stake at 14.4%.

According to a report in NBR, Trade Me purchased 1.3 million Series B shares at $0.51 each.

Many Kiwis ready to embrace ‘Money Robots’, Kiwi Wealth report says (Stuff), Rated: A

Kiwis are open to the idea of a robo-adviser helping them manage their finances, but still want real people available to help them with some decisions, research by KiwiSaver provider Kiwi Wealth shows.

The Rise of the Money Robots: Kiwis’ attitudes to roboadvice report has been released to coincide with New Zealand’s first ever “fintech” conference being held today in Auckland.

Few people seek financial advice, and roboadvisors could play a role in providing it easily and cheaply, once New Zealand laws have been changed to legalise roboadvice. Currently financial advice can only be given by a person, not a well-programmed machine.

Paul Goldsmith: Speech to SavvyKiwi Finnotech Conference (Scoop), Rated: A

One of the great things about a country with the size and innovative culture of New Zealand is that when technology shakes up a sector we can get the key people together in one room to share intelligence, identify opportunities and build relationships.

I’m almost certain there will be at least one fintech business of the future that will begin its life as a discussion at the morning tea break of this conference.

I’d like to start by acknowledging the impressive performance of our fintech sector.

Xero has shown now just New Zealand but the world just how far you can go, but it is by no means the only exciting kiwi fintech business.

From our smart-payments start-ups, to our crowdfunders, to our peer-to-peer lending platforms, to some of the work our big banks are doing, we already have a varied fintech ecosystem.

We provide a good test-bed for fintech products, as our population is digitally literate with an appetite for new technology.

We also have a proven history of nimbleness when it comes to regulation and licensing that enables innovation.

This is what allowed us to be ahead of the curve with innovations such as equity crowd-funding and peer-to-peer lending.

I know many of you attended the launch of the new Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator last week. I hear it was a great, and well attended event.

This accelerator is one of three new accelerators supported with money the Government allocated in this year’s budget.

It will be run through Wellington’s Creative HQ and will help ten fintech teams develop their products and pitch to investors.

The teams will work directly with Kiwibank, Xero and other financial industry partners.

China

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

It has been reported that Bank of China and HSBC will launch a blockchain-based housing mortgage service in Hong Kong.

On November 3rd, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) announced it would strengthen regulations towards online mutual insurance platforms.

Last week, R3 announced the addition of China Foreign Exchange Trade System(CFETS) to its innovative blockchain consortium, the third member from China after Ping An Bank and China Merchants Bank.

It has been reported that the PBOC is planning to set strict control on Bitcoin-FX exchange in order to prevent excessive capital outflow. However, none of the major bitcoin trading platforms in China have confirmed reciving such regulations.

According to the Interim Provisions issued in August, in order to protect the investors from illegal fund-raising, P2P platforms in China should isolate with the capital of lenders and borrowers, and pool the money in a third-party escrow account in banking financial institutions. On October 13th, the General Office of State Council also urged the establishment of a third-party deposit system in a regulation document about the risk of internet finance.

China Rapid Finance Marketplace Lending Platform Hits One Million Borrowers (BusinessWire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“CRF”), China’s largest consumer lending marketplace in terms of number of loans facilitated, today announced the cumulative number of borrowers on its platform had exceeded one million as of October 31,2016.

The platform had facilitated 8.8 million loans in total as of the same date, the Company reported.

The EMMA population –who have no credit histories and can’t borrow money from traditional financial organizations– is estimated at around 500 million people in China. This represents the world’s largest untapped consumer credit market. This typically young, urban, educated and internet-savvy group is expected to become the consumer mainstream in China in coming years.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor