Thursday February 1 2018, Daily News Digest

software hacks

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi lays off 5% of workforce. BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines. Chime reaches 750K bank accounts, $2.5B transaction volume. SoftBank injects funding into Moven, who could be buying a bank. Zopa hits 3B GBP in lending. Crowd Genie kicks off ICO. Today’s main analysis: Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in crypto lending, […]

software hacks

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Bermuda

News Summary

United States

SoFi Lays Off 5% of Staff (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based financial-technology company told staffers on Tuesday it is cutting around 65 jobs, roughly 5% of its 1,300-person workforce, the people said. The layoffs are centered in SoFi’s mortgage-operations centers in Healdsburg, Calif., and Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

He added that SoFi is currently looking to fill more than 175 open jobs.

‘A 401(k) of the future’: How SoFi wants to grow student loan refinancing with WeWork (Tearsheet), Rated: A

SoFi wants to sell its loan refinancing products to WeWork and its member companies by offering them an additional 0.125 percent discount.

growing number of companies have been adding student loan repayment as a workplace benefit. With $1.4 trillion in outstanding federal and private student loans, it’s a huge market.

SoFi’s Top 20 Law Schools Producing the Highest Salary Averages (JDJournal), Rated: A

SoFi examined the salary earned upon graduation from different law schools compared to the cost of the education. They looked at 60,000 student loan refinancing applications that had been submitted to them between January 2014 and December 2016. They took that data and formed SoFi’s Return on Education (ROED) Law School Rankings. The ranking uses the average salary and student debt load of the graduates three years out of law school that is reported to them by graduates looking to refinance their loans.

The top 20 law schools with the highest average salaries are:

  1. Cornell University – $183,377
  2. Columbia University – $177,962
  3. New York University – $177,203
  4. University of Chicago – $174,238
  5. Harvard University – $173,578
  6. Georgetown University – $173,464
  7. Northwestern University – $173,204
  8. Yale University – $171,779
  9. University of Pennsylvania – $170,954
  10. Duke University – $169,096
  11. University of Virginia – $166,396
  12. University of Michigan Ann Arbor – $164,713
  13. University of California Berkeley – $163,940
  14. University of Southern California – $161,823
  15. Fordham University – $160,590
  16. Stanford University – $158,088
  17. George Washington University – $153,302
  18. University of California Los Angeles – $152,469
  19. Vanderbilt University – $149,475
  20. University of Texas at Austin – $147,444

BlueVine doubles invoice financing credit lines to up to $ 5 million (Finextra), Rated: AAA

BlueVine has doubled the credit line size for its invoice factoring product to up to $5 million, underscoring the online business lender’s push to offer fast and flexible working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses.

BlueVine also increased the limit for its business line of credit product to $200,000 from $150,000, making its Flex Credit product an even more attractive financing option for larger or fast-growing companies.

Court upholds constitutionality of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Politico), Rated: A

A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure, a decision that preserves the agency’s independence in the face of challenges from business interests and conservatives.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 7-3 on Wednesday that a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that limits the president’s ability to remove the CFPB director during his or her five-year term does not violate the president’s authority to appoint and remove executive branch officers.

Chime Reaches 750,000 Bank Accounts, $ 2.5 Billion Transaction Volume (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Chime is on track to open more than 100,000 bank accounts per month and expects to reach 1 million total this quarter. With more than 750,000 bank accounts opened to date and over $2.5 billion in total transaction volume, Chime has emerged as the clear leader in the challenger banking segment.

While most Americans pay more than $27 a month on average in bank fees, Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees, monthly fees or foreign transaction fees. With its award-winning mobile banking app, Chime members avoided more than $225 million in potential overdraft fees from traditional banks in 2017 alone, while putting over $72 million into savings accounts with help from Chime’s automated savings tools.

Moven to receive funding from SoftBank, plans to buy bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Moven, the mobile-first “neobank” founded by Brett King in 2011, is getting a multi-million dollar infusion from the Japanese company SBI Group, owner of SoftBank. At the same time, Moven says it is pursuing the acquisition of a bank.

SBI Group will hold one of the six seats on Moven’s board, and the two companies will set up a joint venture in Japan.

At the same time, Moven is making major changes to its overall business, including splitting the company in two.

On one side will be the software provider that already develops digital banking software for TD Bank in Canada and Westpac in New Zealand.

On the other side will be the neobank, which will be called MovenBank.

Is Marcus Going to Launch a Credit Card? (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Ainsley Harris reported in Fast Company today that Goldman Sachs is acquiring the employees who built Final, a credit card startup based in Oakland. Final offered a unique kind of credit card, one that would create a different virtual card number for every merchant, thereby reducing the risk of credit card fraud.

It has been a busy couple of years for Goldman Sachs when it comes to their consumer facing business. This latest deal follows a long list of acquisitions for Goldman recently:

  1. Acquisition of GE Capital Bank – this jumpstarted GS Bank giving it a huge deposit base.
  2. Acquisition of Honest Dollar – the digital retirement savings app was acquired in March 2016.
  3. Launch of Marcus with debt consolidation loans.
  4. Acquisition of Genesis Capital – not really consumer facing but could add a real estate development arm to the bank.
  5. Bond Street – employees of the online small business lender moved to Goldman Sachs.
  6. Addition of home improvement loans to the Marcus offerings.

Why big financial firms are building robos instead of white labeling (Tearsheet), Rated: A

In November, Wells Fargo launched Intuitive Investor, its digital-human hybrid offering from Wells Fargo Advisors. The following month Morgan Stanley launched Access Investing and JPMorgan Chase launched JPMorgan Digital Investing. Goldman Sachs, Raymond James, YF Financial and ICBC are all currently developing their own.

The start of the robo phenomenon was meant to address small, do-it-yourself investors, said Tom Streiff, special consultant to HBW Partners.

“A lot of these big firms have a lot more small accounts than they’re willing to admit,” he said. “Robos were one answer to that. Now they want to have something that has more of their own mark on it … not just to get the technology but to get the smart people inside.”

Typically, the white label provider will take 15 basis points of the total and leave the rest to the bank for distribution, Saxena said. Pricing from independent players, like Betterment or Wealthfront, is competitive.

SmartBiz Loans Launches AI-powered Digital Advisor Tool for Small Business Owners (Digital Journal), Rated: A

SmartBiz Loans, the SBA loan marketplace and bank-enabling technology platform, today announced the launch of SmartBiz Advisor, the first, AI-driven, online education tool that makes the financial insights and analysis provided by a typical CFO available to small businesses at no cost.

SmartBiz Advisor is an intelligent online platform that allows small business owners to easily and quickly learn how banks typically evaluate their business on key criteria before applying for a loan.

The Future of Real Estate, Part 2: A Crowdfunding Revolution? (GuruFocus), Rated: A

A well-managed crowdfunding platform should provide a range of deals, after having done sufficient due diligence itself so as to not place potential investors in financial jeopardy, and itself in legal jeopardy. When dealing in investment assets, whether equity or real estate, investors are still expected to be sophisticated and have the means to weather losses that are part and parcel with any private investment deal.

A growing cast of players

Interestingly, even as equity crowdfunding in startup companies has been slow to take off (Indiegogo’s platform raised just $7.53 million in equity investments during its first year of operation), real estate crowdfunding platforms have been popping up like weeds. RealtyMogul.com, for example, has an investor community of 150,000 people that have invested $318 million through its platform since it went live in 2012. The crowdfunder claims to have returned $70 million to investors thus far. RealtyShares, founded in 2013, has also posted big numbers, with platform users reportedly investing $700 million across more than a thousand deals.

A new breed of of private REIT

Private REITs are obviously opaque and potentially dangerous, but the crowdfunding platform has forged ahead all the same. Perhaps, with their interactive dashboards and high levels of investor transparency, these crowdfunded REITs will be able to correct some of the ills of their less technologically sophisticated forebears.

This College Grad Found an Affordable Way to Start Investing in Real Estate (The Penny Hoarder), Rated: A

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio would invest her money into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States. It would do all the heavy lifting for her — and play landlord on her behalf.

She didn’t need to have hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed away, either. She could get started with a minimum investment of just $500.

Fundrise lists an average annualized return of 11.44% in 2017. Investors pay 1% in annual fees — a 0.85% asset-management fee and a 0.15% investment advisory fee.

Breaking down the barriers of real estate investment: A Q&A with Peter Vekselman from WeLend (AtlantaAgent), Rated: A

Q: What sort of problems were you experiencing when it came to financing real estate projects?

The problem is that behind the scenes the money is handled by hedge funds. All of the hedge funds on Wall Street do their own thing and no one knows who they are. So what happens is you have a potential investor and the first problem for them is finding the financing.

Q: How exactly does We Lend work, and how does it help solve some of the problems previously mentioned?

I’ve consolidated and cut deals to put all the hedge funds under one roof, so now investors don’t have to go through this huge undertaking to find the funds. They can came to us, and we can underwrite them and then figure out on the back end the best match.

It’s like LendingTree for the investor world.

Q: What types of projects and people does We Lend work with?

We work with small developers or a mom-and-pop builder that does five properties a year. And we mainly work with residential properties only because there are more residential opportunities than anything else.

In terms of price points, we try to stay as low as $50,000 per project.

On Deck Welcomes Paul Rosen & James Hobson As Two New Senior Vice Presidents (OnDeck), Rated: A

Today, On Deck announced the appointments of Paul Rosen as Senior Vice President of Sales and James Hobson as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Platform Solutions.

Santander Consumer USA And AutoFi Team Up To Provide Car Buyers And Dealers With Fast And Easy Online Sales And Financing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SC, or the Company) today announced that it will work with automotive technology leader AutoFi to streamline and simplify the car-buying process for consumers, while giving dealers a robust digital sales channel.

Climb Credit Reveals A Solution To Student Lending Crisis (Climb Credit Email), Rated: A

A few key findings include:

  • The median student saw a 66.7% salary increase
  • For Climb students who have held two different jobs since attending their program, there is a median pay increase of 38.9% from the first to the second job
  • Nearly three out of four students surveyed said they would not have been able to attend their education program if they didn’t have Climb Credit as a financing option

House Approves New Payday Loan With 200 Percent Interest Rate (Indiana Public Media), Rated B

The Indiana House approved legislation Wednesday to create a new type of payday loan – with interest rates of up to 200 percent – that opponents argue amounts to predatory lending.

The legislation creates a loan of between about $600 and $1,500, with a term of up to 12 months.

Consumers warned not to borrow from unlicensed online lenders (International Falls Journal), Rated: B

The Minnesota Commerce Department warns Minnesota consumers not to borrow money from unlicensed lenders that advertise and offer short-term, payday or installment loans through the internet.

United Kingdom

Zopa hits £3bn lending landmark (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA said that it now has more than 60,000 active investors and more than 300,000 borrowers.

It has now lent out more than £3bn since inception, Zopa said on its website on Wednesday, having lent more than £985m in the past 12 months.

Investors are lending on average £13,000 while the average loan amount is £6,000.

China

Chinese internet users grow to 772 million (Technode), Rated: AAA

China now has 772 million internet users according to a report published by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) today (in Chinese).

Growth rates of internet users have remained steady. During 2017, a total of 40.74 million new netizens were added with a growth rate of 5.6%. Internet penetration rates have reached 55.8% in China, more than the global average (51.7%) and the average rates for Asia (46.7%).

The number of mobile phone users in China has reached an impressive 753 million. The proportion of internet users using mobile phones rose from 95.1% in 2016 to 97.5% in 2017.

Since the end of 2016, the proportion of internet users that pay with their phones rose from 50.3% to 65.5%.

There was another number that went up at an impressive rate. The number of internet users buying internet financial products in China has reached 129 million, up 30.2% from the same period last year.

Alibaba-backed online lender MYbank owes cost-savings to home-made tech (Reuters), Rated: A

MYbank expects double-digit increases in all growth measures in 2017 due to lower costs enabled by technology, the bank’s president, Huang Hao, said in an interview at his office in Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

As a result, the cost of approving a small business loan can be as little as 2 yuan, compared to at least 2,000 yuan ($317.97) at a traditional bank, according to data provided by the bank.

European Union

Remarks by Vice-President Dombrovskis at the European Financial Forum 2018 in Dublin (Europa.eu), Rated: AAA

 

Our immediate priority is to complete the Banking Union. For this, we should move in parallel on risk reduction and risk sharing. All elements are on the table. On risk reduction, this includes our November 2016 bank reform package and our ongoing work to reduce Non-Performing Loans. On the risk sharing side, we recently came with ideas on how to unblock negotiations on the European Deposit Insurance Scheme. And we have broad support to finalise the work on the backstop for the Single Resolution Fund. So the time is ripe to move at political level on completing the Banking Union.

The second immediate priority for deepening the EMU is setting up the Capital Markets Union. Deeper capital markets across Europe will increase risk-sharing among private investors and improve the shock-absorption capacity of the economy. In the past three years, we have taken fundamental steps towards deeper and more integrated EU capital markets. Of the 33 actions we announced in 2015, 25 have now been completed.

One strength of Ireland’s financial sector is asset management. As of September last year, Irish fund managers had more than €4.2 trillion assets under management. A true Capital Markets Union would enable Irish fund managers to further benefit from the full scale of the single market. In March of this year, revised rules for the EU venture capital label – EuVECA – will enter into application. Large managers can then run EuVECA funds, providing economies of scale and trusted brands. We have also expanded the range of eligible assets, and decreased the costs associated with cross-border marketing.

We are also looking more broadly at the rules for offering funds across the EU. This market is still predominantly organised along national lines. For example, 70% of the assets under management are held by funds available for sale in only one EU country. The share of alternative investment funds that is marketed in more than three countries is very low – only 3%.

Europe has what it takes to develop a globally competitive Fintech sector. We can rely on our strengths in research and engineering. For example, we have 32 artificial intelligence research institutions in the world top 100, which is more than the US or China. I also see great Fintech potential here in Ireland, with its strong information technology culture.

We will also present a legislative proposal to enable EU-wide crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.

The future of finance will not only be digital, it will also have to be green.

• Third, we could boost green investments and loans by introducing a so-called green supporting factor. This could be done at first stage by lowering capital requirements for certain climate-friendly investments, such as energy-efficient mortgages or low-carbon cars. However, this exercise would be delicate. Green does not mean risk-free. Any measures would have to be carefully calibrated, and based on a clear EU classification.

CreditEase Founder, CEO Ning Tang Spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading financial technology conglomerate specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced that its Founder and CEO, Mr Ning Tang, participated and spoke at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

Under the central theme of “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, this year’s meeting has drawn an estimated 2,500 participants, including a record number of heads of state and leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society.

“Technology has greatly improved access to financial services for Chinese consumers and small businesses in the past decade, and we expect more progress to be made in the SME lending space with the help of FinTech in coming years,” said Mr Tang. “Financial services like angel investing and VC/PE, powered by technology, will bring more high-quality growth to the Chinese economy.”

International

IOU Financial partners with CDE solutions in funding CDE’S network of 26,000 convenience store owners (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), an online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Marietta, GA-based POS solutions provider CDE (CDEsolutions.com).  Through this strategic partnership, CDE’s network of 26,000 convenience store owners nationwide will be able to access IOU’s fast, convenient, non-collateral funding solutions.

Crebit: Blockchain DLT in wave of transforming P2P financing (NewsBTC), Rated: A

Adopting Blockchain and DLT for P2P lending system can facilitate capital mobilization within the financial system through flat-out transfer of monetary values from parties unrestricted by barriers-to-entry. Thus, the potential for P2P lending in support of free international financial flows remains vastly untapped.

Ipsos MORI veracity Index shows 75% of investors complain about banks data provision, but rather P2P investment groups maintain a credible and transparent operation.

Crebit is a blockchain-empowered network provider that offers global microfinance lending collateralized by crypto assets, based on the artificial intelligence credit scoring system. This microfinancing solution leverages blockchain technology to finance through top cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple against up to 80% of investors collateralized crypto assets value. Crebit leads the way into crypto financing by building P2P lending agreements on smart contracts in the secured and decentralized Ethereum blockchain. The platform matches funding gaps for crypto holders, traders as well as multiple exchanges and transaction solutions. Crebit aims to provide businesses and individuals a decentralized credit scoring database for innovative and trustless transaction solutions unrestricted by geographical boundaries.

Australia

Trial by fire in an untested market (CMO.com.au), Rated: AAA

But this is precisely why Rebecca James, Prospa’s new chief marketing and enterprise officer, took the job almost five months ago.

“In just five years, the team has lent over $500m. But there are 2.1 million small businesses in Australia, and over half need cashflow support to take advantage of opportunities, to grow, or to cover an unexpected cost. My hope is to take the Prospa proposition and meet the growing needs of this audience. We’re just getting started.”

Launched six years ago, Prospa is now Australia’s number one online lender for small business, providing loans to more than 12,000 small businesses across the country. In November, it placed second in the AFRFast 100 for 2017 thanks to a 239 per cent average revenue growth since 2013-14. Last year, Prospa secured over $50m in equity and debt funding, and doubled the size of its loan book.

Online Cash Flow Loans Australia Announces Unsecured Cash Flows Loans Up To $ 500k (PRWire), Rated: A

Online Cash Flow Loans is a fast emerging player in the online cash flow loans marketplace. The organization is an arm of Magnolia Finance that specializes in offering low cost business loans to small businesses in Australia.

These cash flow loans are tailored to meet the growing business finance needs of businesses operating in the hospitality, retail, construction, medical and agribusiness. Basically any small business operating in Australian and in need of unsecured business loans can apply for business loan online on the company website.

Loan terms from 3 to 24 months
Same day funding
Flexible repayment options
Redraw facility available
India

Budget Reaction Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Faircent. com (Faircent Email), Rated: AAA

Hon. Finance minister budget speech reflects the government’s intent to increase the credit access for the MSME sector and women entrepreneurs under MUDRA scheme. P2P lending is using technology and new-age data and diligently working towards taking organised credit to the non and under-banked segments of the Indian economy. This is an opportunity for the government to directly invest or co-fund through registered P2P Lending Platforms and ensure credit access for MSMEs, New-To-Credit as well as female entrepreneurs. P2P lending is an asset class ensuring flow of investments from those with surplus to those in need. Hence it’s important that the lenders are supported through tax incentives. We look forward to working with the govt towards common goal of financial inclusion.

The popular FinTech platforms serving MSMEs in India (KNN India), Rated: A

Keeping in view the credit crunch faced by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in India due to various reasons, new FinTech platforms are coming up to improve loan disbursal to the sector.

According to a media report, there are four popular FinTech platforms that are helping in robust loan disbursal – CreditMantri, Aye Finance, CoinTribe and Faircent.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 And Beyond (CXO Today), Rated: B

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders.

Asia

MAS Regulated Peer to Peer Lender Crowd Genie Announces Initial Coin Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte Ltd, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has announced an initial coin offering (ICO) via their related entity CGSPV Pte. Ltd. The peer to peer lender states that it intends on issuing 60 million Crowd Genie Coins, or CGCoins, for a soft cap of USD $5 million. The public sale commences today and 400 CGCoins may be purchased for a single ETH. Bonus CGCOINs, between an additional 5% and 25%, will be given to early buyers as an incentive.

Coincheck’s recent hack could mean big changes in the crypto space (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck revealed on Friday that its 

Source: Business Insider

Online lenders join gold rush into SE Asia (Ecns.cn), Rated: A

Chinese online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies have been rushing into Southeast Asian countries in recent months to cash in on untapped and lightly regulated markets that feature huge potential, as growth in the domestic market slows amid tightening regulations.

While much of Southeast Asia offers a promising future for these lenders given its huge population and underdeveloped financial services industry, most of the Chinese companies are betting on short-term gains rather than long-term growth, an industry expert noted on Wednesday.

Over 50 Chinese online lenders have launched overseas operations, with Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Cambodia being the top destinations, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Wednesday.

In Indonesia alone, there are more than 50 Chinese consumer lending apps at the moment, up from 30 just a month ago, the report said.

Here are the new services launched by startups in Indonesia this week (e27), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Investree on Tuesday officially launched a sharia-based P2P lending programme.

The programme has been tested since November 2017. The startup claied that by January it has managed to channel IDR2.7 billion (US$200,000) worth of loan from 1,340 lenders to 313 borrowers.

Bermuda

Peer-to-Peer Lending & Equity Crowdfunding (Bernews), Rated: AAA

A Bermudian expert on information technology, asset and risk management tools is today celebrating the global launch of her book on peer-to-peer lending and the securities crowd funding industry.

“The book, entitled ‘Peer-to-Peer Lending and Equity Crowdfunding: A Guide to the New Capital Markets for Job Creators, Investors and Entrepreneurs,’ highlights the inequality gap is widening and persists worldwide,” a spokesperson said.

“The book not only describes how debt and equity crowdfunding works but also explains investment approaches, secondary markets, governance and compliance, transparency, and risk models that are necessary for investors to make informed decisions.

The book is available here.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday January 8 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace banking

News Comments Today’s main news: Texas regulator sends cease & desist order to BitConnect. UK wins race for tech investment. Tencent licensed to sell mutual funds to WeChat users. Wishfin to raise $50M. FINTQ goes beyond lending. Today’s main analysis: Strategies banks, credit unions must implement this year (a must-read). Today’s thought-provoking articles: How the tech giants are going […]

marketplace banking

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Securities Regulator Issues C&D to UK Based Cryptocurrency Marketplace BitConnect & Planned ICO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Texas State Securities Boardhas issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order targeting BiConnect, a UK based cryptocurrency platform. BitConnect is planning a new initial coin offering (ICO) later this month and Texas is stating the tokens are unregistered securities.

The Texas regulators say BitConnecthas placed 9.4 million of the coins into the online cryptocurrency marketplace, representing a market value of $4.1 billion as of Jan. 3 and expects to issue a maximum of 28 million coins.

The tech giants are coming for your customers (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Lost in all this was an inescapable fact: Big tech firms like Amazon don’t need a charter to disrupt the banking industry. Indeed, they are already changing it.

Amazon has done more than $1 billion in small-business lending since it first started offering loans. In 2017, it launched Amazon Cash, which effectively allows it to take cash deposits from customers via ubiquitous convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Sheetz. Other tech firms, including Apple and Samsung, offer their own payment apps.

If banks effectively end up as utilities to larger tech firms, they will lose out. McKinsey forecasts manufacturing will produce only 35% of profits in finance, a return on equity of 4.4%. Distribution, meanwhile, will produce 65% of profits, with a return on equity of 20%.

It’s not clear what tech giants have in store next, but they will likely push the limits of traditional finance. It’s not hard to imagine the Bank of Alexa, enabling customers to move money and pay bills just by shouting at the Amazon Echo in their living rooms.

The year of digital is upon us (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

With that, these are our top 10 market structure trends to watch in 2018:

MiFID II soft launches

You’re probably thinking, “It’s not a soft launch—MiFID II is the law of the land now!” That is technically true, of course. And for better or worse, even though the SEC has provided U.S. firms with “no-action relief” from some European rules, Europe’s regulators don’t have the no-action relief lever that U.S. regulators became so fond of using as they implemented Dodd-Frank. However, MiFID II is so wide-reaching and impactful, it is unreasonable to think European regulators can or will crack down on imperfect compliance as the year gets underway.

Active investing is still huge, but passive keeps growing

However, Greenwich Associates research in 2017 found that most portfolio managers see 40% of assets in passive as the limit, compared to today’s 22%—that is a huge opportunity for growth.

Alternative data becomes less alternative

Ninety percent of investors using alternative data today tell Greenwich Associates they’ve see a positive return on their investment.

And while the alpha to be captured via alternative data is set to grow, the sheer quantity of data available to drive investment decisions is growing exponentially faster.

Data matters more than trading

But even in these and other cases where some data is made public, individual market participants can only find real value when also examining trades that failed, RFQs that were lost and orders that never left the blotter. Even equity exchanges will need to up their game, as the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) reporting requirements finally become a reality and MiFID II makes the market more transparent than ever before. Selling data is great, but helping clients to understand what it really means to them is even better. Inject the growing focus on indices (following several notable acquisitions in 2017) as passive investing grows, and things really start to get interesting.

Wealth management comes out of retirement

Robo-advisors are an opportunity, not a threat.

The move to fee-based accounts couldn’t have come at a better time, with this never-ending bull market generating wealth for investors that, in turn, generate fees for their managers. However, if the market decides to correct, as baby boomers pull out more money than millennials put in, this party might not last forever.

Podcast 133: Rosemary Kelley of Kroll Bond Rating Agency (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How KBRA got started and how their focus has evolved.
  • When marketplace lending first got on Rosemary’s radar.
  • What made KBRA comfortable enough to be able to provide their first rating in the space.
  • How KBRA has become the leader in rating unsecured consumer lending deals.
  • What has been driving the growth of securitization in marketplace lending.
  • What does the tightening of spreads tell us about investor appetite.
  • How platforms creating their own shelf has changed how these deals get done.
  • Why the deals that have breached their triggers have not tempered investor demand.
  • Some best practices for a platform doing their first securitization.
  • What leads to KBRA deciding to upgrade a deal.
  • Rosemary’s thoughts on the macro environment and how it will impact consumer credit.
  • What platforms can do to mitigate a slow down in securitization markets.
  • What Rosemary thinks about the competitive environment in marketplace lending.

Roostify’s Rajesh Bhat: ‘We’re still in the first quarter of the online mortgage game’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Why did you enter the digital mortgage space?
That first year, we spent the entire year looking for a home to buy and it was an entirely painful and traumatic experience. Born out of that was the idea behind Roostify. That’s where we began building out the solution we have today.

Why are mortgages so hard to digitize?
The eligibility aspect is complex. Once eligibility is determined, the fulfillment process is equally complex — if not more. Those two things coupled with the fact that on a normal year over half the mortgages issued have a real estate transaction integrally tied to the mortgage transaction make it very complex.

Where are we in the evolution of the digital mortgage?
If this is a four quarter game, we’re still in the first quarter. The evolution has been, and will continue to be, driven by the consumer. Banks recognize that consumers are willing to do certain tasks themselves to drive this process. Companies are launching now that really understand the consumer pain points and they’re delivering to that as opposed to banks’ pain points.

YieldStreet brings new opportunities to smaller investors (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Rather than cut a $20,000 check to access one opportunity, what if you could use that amount to diversify across 30 deals? Mr. Mehere asked himself that question back in 2014 when consumer P2Ps, small business financing platforms and real estate companies were gaining footholds online.

YieldStreet launched in April 2015 with 80 investments across various asset classes. The idea has proven attractive to retail investors, from whom they have raised $240 million.

They have returned more than 100,000 individual payments and in excess of $80 million in principal and interest to investors. 15 of the original 80 investments have fully matured without a loss.

Wells Fargo’s 2017 Silver Lining Is Drop in CFPB Complaints (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Complaints lodged against the lender with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau through Dec. 15 dropped 18 percent from the same period of 2016, the steepest decline among major banks, federal figures show. Still, it remained first among that group in total complaints.

Source: Bloomberg

Seven of the 10 biggest banks by U.S. deposits experienced a drop in CFPB complaints compared with the 2016 period, including Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Bank of America Corp.

10 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loans (Quicken Loans), Rated: A

You might have a million questions running through your head. Luckily, we reached out to the experts at RocketLoans to answer these 10 frequently asked questions about personal loans.

What Is a Personal Loan?

Also known as an “unsecured loan,” a personal loan isn’t backed by collateral like a mortgage or car loan.

What Is a Personal Loan with Collateral?

If you don’t have a credit score that’s between the 600 and 700+ range that most personal lenders look for, some lenders might offer you a secured personal loan, also known as a collateral loan.

How Much Can I Borrow and How Long Can I Borrow?

Depending on the lender and your personal financial situation, personal loans can average between $5,000 and $15,000, with a maximum of $35,000 and terms between 24 and 60 months.

What Is an Origination Fee, and How Much Is It?

An origination fee can range from 1% to 6% depending on the lender and, like your interest rate, is based on your credit and length of the loan. Like the interest rate, the higher the credit score, the lower the origination fee.

Chord of Confidence: Making Real Estate Agents Look Like Rock Stars (RISMedia), Rated: A

Quicken Loans is the largest online mortgage lender and the second-largest retail mortgage lender in the United States, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

Putting Agents at the Center of the Transaction
To make the mortgage process better for consumers, Quicken Loans executives turned their attention to working hand-in-hand with real estate agents, their most powerful ally, says Tom Dempsey, divisional vice president of Business Development with Quicken Loans.

The centerpiece of this effort: MyQL Agent Insight, a custom back-end platform that increases loan visibility by letting agents see exactly where their client stands in the loan approval process.

Service, Technology Part of a Broader Culture
What exactly makes Quicken Loans different from its competitors? It starts with the company’s culture of service and the many “ISMs,” or ideals, the company strives to work and live by, Dempsey says.

Some of the standout ISMs include “Do the right thing,” “Every second counts,” and “Simplicity is genius.”

Q-text
A texting service that allows agents to receive text updates on the status of their clients’ loans, keeping agents up-to-date on each step in the process while they’re on-the-go.

Elevating the Consumer Experience
Quicken Loans has evolved in its 33-year history as a direct lender.

In its first full year of operation, Rocket Mortgage funded more than $7 billion of the record $96 billion in total closed loan volume in 2016 for Quicken Loans.

Rocket Mortgage clients have gone from application to closing in as little as eight days on refinance loans, and 16 days on the purchase side, according to internal data. In contrast, the industry’s average closing time on new purchase loans is about 45 days.

President of the Jason Mitchell Group at My Home Group Real Estate in Scottsdale, Ariz., Mitchell has closed more than 900 transactions and over $215 million in sales volume since 2012. More than 65 percent of that business came from clients who used Quicken Loans, Mitchell says.

Source: RISMedia

FormFree’s AccountChek Asset Report Meets Underwriting Guidelines for VA Loans (PR Newswire), Rated: A

FormFree today announced that asset reports generated by its AccountChek® automated asset verification service meet all underwriting guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for loans guaranteed by its Loan Guaranty Service. The announcement follows the VA’s December 29, 2017 release of Circular 26-17-43, which was issued in response to increasing lender interest in automated verification of borrower assets for VA loans.

AccountChek eliminates the burden of gathering asset documents for loans by letting consumers easily and securely transmit their online banking, retirement and investment account data for automated analysis. In just minutes, AccountChek delivers asset data to lenders in a standardized report along with a ReIssueKey that enables secure and streamlined sharing with the secondary market. The result is an easier, safer and more accurate process that closes loans up to 20 days faster, provides a better borrower experience and circumvents a host of common “hiccups” that plague manual asset verification.

4 Best Investments To Make In 2018 (Forbes), Rated: A

#1: The Stock Market

One company I always suggest is Betterment. With Betterment, your money can be invested in ETFs and they don’t charge a fee for managing these for you. Plus, they actually pick the ETFs you invest in based on your appetite for risk, investing goals, and other factors.

Plus, there are a multitude of other “robo-advisors” to choose from.

#2: Peer-to-Peer Lending

A second place to stash some of your excess cash this year is in peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club and Prosper. With these companies, you’re able to loan money to individuals in small increments as if you were the bank. The best part is, you get to earn a pretty decent rate of return – usually upward of 6% or more.

#3: Real Estate

One option I’m really excited about is a company called Fundrise. Fundriseoffers an investing scenario similar to the one above. They buy commercial properties and allow investors to invest small sums of money. Obviously, this is yet another hands-off investment. You may own part of a commercial real estate project, but you don’t even see or deal with the property itself.

Like Lending Club, Fundrise requires an upfront sum of around $1,000 to get started.

Fundrise claims its returns have averaged between 8.76% up to 12.42% over the last five years.

Payday Loan Mogul Trades Ferrari-Racing Life for Prison Term (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Scott Tucker says he’s a pioneering self-made man who, without a college degree, founded successful businesses in a variety of fields and contributed billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. A judge says he’s an unrepentant fraud and sentenced him to almost 17 years in prison.

Jurors found the men guilty of collecting unlawful debts, using misleading contracts and falsely stating that the businesses were owned and operated by Native American tribes. That bogus claim helped them get around state laws that prohibited the business practices, the U.S. said. The scam ran from 1997 to 2013, Castel said.

From 2008 to 2012 alone, Tucker victimized 4.65 million people, according to prosecutors, collecting $1.3 billion in illegal interest payments as some people paid a total of almost $1,000 to settle a $300 loan.

Ad Valorem! The Future of Niche Reserve Based Value Investing and Lending is Here (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Valorem Foundation, the community peer-to-peer platform for multi-party transactions, is launching soon. It is a new blockchain-based platform that allows users to exchange value via smart contracts. Once on the platform, users can borrow, lend, invest, transfer, and exchange money between each other, creating a trust-based platform that removes the need for 3rd-party services or external vendors.

One of Valorem’s products, the Microloan, has been quite successful because of the platform’s risk distribution system and foundation on smart contract-based functionality. Its feature of spreading loan default risk over multiple people forces people in the Valorem community to make smarter choices about buying products like cars, student loans, and insurance.

Marine Corps Vet Earns OnDeck Small Business Spotlight (Guru Focus), Rated: B

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced that digital agency Majestyk Apps, led by Marine Corps veteran Donald Coolidge, has been selected as the OnDeck Small Business of the Month for January 2018.

United Kingdom

UK shrugs off Brexit worries by winning race for technology investment (Express.co.uk), Rated: AAA

Venture capital funding in UK technology firms was nearly £3billion, more than double the amount invested in Germany and France combined.

London technology drew the most. Its £2.45billion was more than the other top 10 cities put together, according to funding database Pitchbook for London & Partners figures.

Fintech, or financial technology, attracted £1.34billion in venture capital funding, with TransferWise and Funding Circle investment, while artificial intelligence companies raised a record £488million, more than double 2016.

Brexit cynics were wrong about London’s fintech companies (Quartz), Rated: A

Below the surface there are reasons to be concerned, but the data so far looks positive. UK companies raised $7.7 billion last year, more than double that of 2016, according to Dealroom. Fintech companies raked in $2.9 billion, the biggest share. TransferWise raised £211 million ($286 million) while Funding Circle took in £81.9 million, according to lobby group London & Partners.

Source: Quartz

Attitudes across Europe are diverging. While the UK is the No. 1 destination for investment, entrepreneurs in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg (Benelux) are substantially more positive about the future of Europe’s tech scene than their peers in Britain: 70% of the former are more optimistic than they were 12 months ago, compared with 42% in the UK and Ireland, according to a survey by venture capital firm Atomico.

Olivier Goy, founder of crowd-lending platform Lendix, says he’s even more positive about France’s potential than he was after the poll.

A risky P2P opportunity for 2018 (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

Returns from investing directly in the biggest platforms, including Zopa, Ratesetter and Funding Circle, averaged 5.4% including losses from defaults, according to analytics firm AltFi Data.

For example, P2PGI moved from a premium of 15% to a discount of 15% – ie, the share price now trades at 15% below the net asset value (NAV) of the fund’s investments.

Funding Circle’s SME Income fund trades at a small premium (around 2%) to NAV, and has delivered returns equivalent to a 5.6% yield on the current share price.

As for bonds, Lendinvest – a property lending platform – issued the first listed retail bond from a P2P platform, raising £50m at a yield of 5.25%. This was well received and is now trading at a small premium of 2%.

China

Tencent gets a licence to sell mutual funds to WeChat’s 1 billion users in China (SCMP), Rated: AAA

The Shenzhen Bureau of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the nation’s top securities watchdog, has given Tencent subsidiary Tengan Funds Sales (Shenzhen) the licence to sell funds directly.

Before gaining the licence, the tech giant was only able to act as a platform for fund houses and third-party fund sales companies to sell their products through qian.qq.com, its online wealth managing platform and its popular instant messaging tool, WeChat. Qian.qq.com is for users to access the service on PC, while a similar service on WeChat is for mobile users.

Also on Thursday, the tech giant launched the promotion of a new service that will allow users to pay their credit card bills via using the money-market funds available on Licaitong, or WeChat’s wealth management app.

Users will avoid having to pay a 0.1 per cent charge on a credit card payment of more than 5,000 yuan (US$770) monthly. Tencent is also offering users cash incentives, capped at 88.88 yuan, for those who use the promotal service until February.

Chinese social network’s stock jumps 47% after it says it’s raising money through cryptocurrency (CNBC), Rated: A

The share price of Chinese social network Renren has almost doubled after the company said it was raising money through a digital currency sale.

The company, headquartered in China and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, saw its stock climb 47.39 percent to $18.32 a share by the close of the U.S. trading session Wednesday.

Renren is looking to raise funds through an initial coin offering (ICO), according to a white paper released Tuesday.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On January 2, 2018, the Shenzhen Securities Regulatory Bureau issued this year’s first fund sales license to internet giant Tencent Holdings, or more specifically Teng An Information Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.

The Nansha District Government Affairs Service Center in Guangzhou introduced “WeChat Police Certified” face recognition technology and issued China’s first WeChat ID card on December 26, 2017.

According to Bloomberg News, insiders said some loans on HNA’s P2P platform Jbh.com have been faced with deferred payment since last November. Jbh.com offers products like fixed income, P2P lending, insurance and funds on its app.

European Union

20 of Europe’s hottest fintech start-ups to watch in 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

Advanon is an online platform for invoice-financing SMEs. The platform enables SMEs to better manage their cash flows and focus on their core business. Founded in 2015 by Philip Kornmann, Phil Lojacono and Stijn Pieper, Advanon has raised $3.9m in funding so far, including a $3.5m Series A round from Btov Partners, VI Partners and Swisscom Ventures.


Circle is a P2P payments platform founded by Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire. Using the technology – available as an app on iOS and Android devices or even through a Circle app for iMessage – users can send and receive P2P payments with native euro support. Circle also claims to be the first and only cross-border payments platform in the world to make it possible to beam cash from an app into a US bank account at no cost.

Founded by Marc Murphy, Fenergo offers solutions for client life-cycle management, anti-money laundering, regulatory compliance and client data management.

A fast-growing fintech company, ID Finance specialises in online lending in emerging and growing markets.

Regarded as one of Europe’s most valuable fintech firms, Klarnaprovides online payment services for e-commerce sites in order to eliminate the risk for buyer and seller.

Monzo has more than 20,000 current-account holders and the start-up bank has amassed something of a cult-like following in the UK, with almost 500,000 people using its distinctive hot coral cards and thousands more on the waiting list. It was founded in 2015 by Gary Dolman, Tom Blomfield, Jason Bates, Jonas Huckestein and Paul Rippon. Stripe, the payments company founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison in San Francisco, joined Goodwater Capital and investor Michael Moritz (through his charitable investment vehicles) in a recent £71m investment round, joining existing investors Eileen Burbidge’s Passion Capital as well as Orange Digital Ventures and Joshua Kushner’s Thrive Capital in the round.

Founded in 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, Revolut is an app-based banking alternative with a multi-currency card.

TransferMate was founded in 2010 to reduce international payments costs for business customers and has since developed a wide regulatory footprint in Europe. So far, more than $10bn has been sent to more than 100 countries over the TransferMate platform.

TransferWise was founded in 2011 by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, and provides international money transfer.

Wefox, also known as FinanceFox, is a next-generation insurance app built entirely on the Salesforce platform.

Younited Credit wants to build the biggest crowd-lending platform in continental Europe. Currently live in Spain, France and Italy, consumers can borrow between $1,200 and $48,000 without the need to talk to a bank. So far, it has managed more than $600m in loans. Founded by Charles Egly, Geoffroy Guigou and Thomas Beylot, Younited recently raised $47.8m in a Series F funding round led by Zencap Asset Management.

International

33 Strategies Banks and Credit Unions Must Implement in 2018 (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Below are the top 10 trends identified in the Digital Banking Report entitled, “2018 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions,” sponsored by Kony, Inc.. The comprehensive 106-page report is now available here.

1. Improve the Consumer Experience

2. Expand Use of Data and Analytics

Immediate Strategies:

  1. Break down the barriers within your organization that perpetuate data silos. Only after silos are eliminated can advanced analytics be the most effective.
  2. Establish a data analytics function or partner with an outside organization to provide help in improving the actionability of your data.
  3. Replace timed marketing ‘programs’ with ongoing marketing ‘processes,’ leveraging real-time data to take advantage of immediate opportunities.
  4. Test the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) beyond risk and fraud analysis, including offer generation and bundling of services.

4. Embrace Open Banking

Immediate Strategies:

  1. Review existing data privacy mandates and potential changes, determining the risk/benefit appetite for new marketplace opportunities.
  2. Explore data-sharing possibility with fintech and non-financial services firms to be prepared for imminent changes.
  3. Build an API strategy for both third-party data access and potential service offerings outside traditional banking ecosystem.

5. Build Fintech Partnerships

Immediate Strategies:

  1. Foster a top-down culture of innovation, testing and understanding the digital consumer.
  2. Investigate partnerships and/or collaboration with fintech firms for products and processes not currently possible within the banking organization.
  3. Replace all or a portion of legacy systems, integrating new technologies while embracing an agile IT culture. This action step has been put on the back burner for years which is hurting many organizations.
  4. Consider having an online lender power the organization’s online loan application, to using an online lender’s credit model to better underwrite and service bank loan applications.

Marketplace Lending News Roundup – January 6 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Funding Circle poised for £1bn float from Peer2Peer Finance News – We begin the year with news that Funding Circle is preparing to go public, possibly in Q3.

The Tech Majors are coming? Really? from AltFi – Interesting take from David Stevenson on why Amazon and Google may not come to dominate finance.

How Blockchain Will Revolutionize Invoice-Backed Financing from Let’s Talk Payments – We’re going to hear a lot about blockchain disrupting industries in 2018, here is a take on invoice finance.

Can blockchain technology revive peer-to-peer lending? from American Banker – Blockchain has given rise to a new breed of online lending platforms. Penny Crosman delves into this phenomenon.

VPC continues shift away from P2P with sale of Prosper loans from P2P Finance News – The publicly traded Victory Park fund in the UK has divested its portfolio of Prosper loans.

Finastra bolsters global capital markets team (Asset Servicing Times), Rated: B

Finastra has appointed Pedro Porfirio as global head of capital markets.

Pedro will be responsible for driving the growth of Finastra’s capital markets business line, focusing on treasury, capital markets, and investment management.

Australia/New Zealand

Would you take money advice from a computer? (NZ Herald), Rated: A

Kiwis are set to start getting financial “robo-advice” this year — a move tipped to help those on lower incomes but which some are warning comes with risks.

Investment watchdog the Financial Markets Authority is expected to open applications for exemptions to provide digital advice around KiwiSaver, insurance and mortgages early this year.

Research by the FMA has found most of those who get financial advice in New Zealand have assets of more than $200,000, raising concerns that people with lower incomes and assets are missing out.

India

Consumer loans marketplace Wishfin looks to raise up to $ 50m (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Online marketplace for consumer loans and other financial products Wishfin will raise up to $50 million in its next round of funding as it looks to make acquisitions in niche segments, a top company official said.

The company claims to have 9 million customers and $3 billion worth of disbursals to date.

Plan to save in 2018? Refer to these new age investment options (siasat.com), Rated: B

The quick returns that one gets through investments in cryptocurrencies have caught everyone’s attention.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in India currently gives a net return of 18-22 percent to lenders.

People are becoming investors and expanding investment portfolio by investing small ticket size in different startups. Venture Catalysts, India’s first integrated incubator, emerging as largest investor of the year with closing 33 investment in this year.

APAC

PLDT’s fintech unit going beyond lending (Inquirer.net), Rated: AAA

FINTQ, the financial technology (fintech) arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations, disbursed more than P12 billion in new loans through its digital lending platform, Lendr, last year or nearly a third higher than the year-ago level.

With more than the P12 billion disbursed last year, total disbursement has reached about P27 billion since Lendr came to market in 2015, Villanueva said.

With Fintech, Pakistan set to dismantle barriers to branchless banking (Tribune), Rated: A

In an effort to promote fintech, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) – the telecom regulator – has decided to award Third Party Service Providers’ licences by June or July 2018, which will pave way for inter-operability between cellular mobile operators and ramp up financial inclusion all over the country.

At present, Telenor’s Easypaisa, Jazz’s Mobicash and United Bank Limited’s Omni are providing mobile-based branchless banking services. However, their customers cannot transfer money from one service to another.

The new platform will help dismantle existing barriers that prevent digital wallets (branchless bank account-holders) from sending money to different bank accounts. Users will be able to make transactions from wallet to wallet or wallet to the bank account.

Fintech firm Avaloq’s chairman streamlines his role to focus on China expansion and possible listing (SCMP), Rated: B

The chairman of Switzerland-based financial technology company Avaloq will focus on expanding business in China and Asia as well as preparing for a possible stock exchange listing, after handing over his chief executive duties.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 3 2018, Daily News Digest

ETFs Europe

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky raises $4.5B in equity, becomes most valuable online lender. Funding Circle has eye on IPO at 2B GBP valuation. P2P lenders in India blame lending limit on rising costs. GN Compass wants to disrupt lending liquidity in Canada. Today’s main analysis: Can Mifid II spur growth in European ETF market? Today’s thought-provoking […]

ETFs Europe

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Who’s the Most Valuable Online Lender? After This Deal, It’s GreenSky (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC raised new equity from Pacific Investment Management Co. in a deal that valued the digital lender at nearly $4.5 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.

It vaults GreenSky over Social Finance Inc. to become the most highly-valued online lender in the U.S. It also makes the Atlanta company the second most valuable privately held U.S. fintech company behind Stripe Inc., which processes payments for Internet businesses.

Pimco, the Newport Beach, Calif., money manager, invested at a valuation roughly 25% above the $3.6 billion GreenSky fetched in 2016.

What 2018 Will Mean For Marketplace Lenders (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

2017 was a tough year for some of the biggest names in alternative financial services in the U.S. – Prosper, OnDeck and LendingClub, in particular.

Breslow is hyping OnDeck’s future of partnerships with mainstream baking players – in particular, calling out a renewed partnership with JPMorgan Chase in August to expand the banks’ SMB lending reach.

Prosper, perhaps unsurprisingly, is focused on remaining prosperous, as measured by profitability and further developing its new securitization platform.

LendingClub finally got investors to show them some love – and after its record low following its analyst day earnings accounting, stock jumped 15 percent in mid-December and has managed to hold relatively stable.

Marketplace Lending Predictions for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

First, let’s review my predictions I made exactly one year ago.

  1. 2017 will be the year of the bank partnership
    I would say I was partially right on this one.
  2. The OCC Fintech Charter will receive a positive reception
    So, while many of the fintech platforms supported the charter there was no real positive movement this year.
  3. Lending platforms will offer banking products
    While we had a couple of platforms offering credit cards for the most part this prediction failed to materialize.
  4. One large platform will be acquired
    Student lender Earnest was acquired by Navient in a deal announced in early October.
  5. There will be no new IPOs this year
    I was almost right on this one but one US lending platform did have an IPO in 2017.
  6. China will become an important source of capital outside the USA
    I got this one right.
  7. Artificial intelligence will take center stage
    I think I read more articles about AI this year than in the previous five years combined.

My 2018 Marketplace Lending Predictions

  1. Five top 25 banks will launch their own online lending platforms
    Banks have realized that if you want to provide successful loan products today you need to have an online presence.
  2. Two new pieces of legislation will be passed that will benefit the industry
  3. One of the top five (non-bank) online lending platforms will be acquired
  4. A major lending platform will get hit with a cyber attack
    Here is the one prediction where I really hope I am wrong.
  5. The tech giants consolidate their positions in online lending
    Amazon, PayPal and Square have all started to roll out various online lending offerings to their huge customer bases.
  6. 2018 is the year of product line expansion
  7. Messaging apps start to get integrated into online lending

The Top 10 Most Important Marketplace Lending Stories of 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Mike Cagney is Gone as CEO of SoFi Effective Immediately
  2. The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending”
  3. Prosper Finally Closes Their Big $5 Billion Deal
  4. Renaud Laplanche is Back with a New Consumer Lending Platform Called Upgrade 
  5. The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square
  6. The Fastest Consumer Lenders to $1 Billion in Originations
  7. CFPB Announces No-Action Letter to Upstart
  8. The OCC Publishes Details on the Fintech Charter
  9. Bills Being Introduced to “Fix” Decision in Madden v. Midland
  10. Takeaways From LendingClub’s First Ever Investor Day

Ex-Netflix Exec Thinks This Fintech Company Has Netflix-Like Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Netflix has completely disrupted the entertainment industry, sending large incumbents scrambling to compete with its vast global scale.

How did Netflix pull this off? Several reasons, but one is certainly Netflix’s unique culture, outlined in its now-famous Culture Deck.

That deck was constructed by Patty McCord, who spent 14 years as Netflix’s chief talent officer.

The company McCord joined is Lending Club (NYSE:LC).

In the press release, McCord stated:

I see a lot of parallels between where Netflix was as a company 10 years ago, where LendingClub is today, and where it can go in the next 10 years. I’m attracted to LendingClub for the stellar people and the way it exemplifies the concepts of freedom and responsibility. Culture can help drive innovation in companies that are paving new ground and transforming legacy industries, like Netflix did and like LendingClub is doing today. … In our innovative world, I see marketplaces like LendingClub as the future.

Ousted SoFi CEO is back with a new startup (Axios), Rated: A

Why it matters: If 2017 was the year in which VCs began to fire controversial execs, 2018 may be the year in which they’re forced to decide on quick-turn second acts.

Affirm’s big business for 2018 is marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Affirm isn’t just a payment method or a personal loan anymore — it’s a marketing lever for merchants

  • Affirm sees every transaction at the point of sale — who is buying, what they’re buying and where; it’s a departure from the way credit is underwritten today, where lenders have no idea why borrowers need the money or how they’ll use it

Where Does Alternative Lending Go in 2018? (Hackernoon), Rated: A

When most people think of alternative lending, they immediately think of payday loans and other abusive loan products. In the tech world, the first thing that comes to mind are online lenders: those who take loans traditionally originated in person and move them online. That was the first wave of alternative lenders — think LendingClub, Prosper, OnDeck, to name a few.

Alt investments on the rise among RIAs (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Based on the success of the RIA industry, the trend of breakaway advisers interested in exploring the independent channel continues to gain momentum.

Propagated by wirehouse branch management to keep their top producers in their seats, this false campaign is now being revealed as its exact opposite; there are more customizable solutions for RIAs to access and deploy alternative investments for their high net worth clients than ever before.

For example, to access alternatives on their own, RIAs in the past typically would be looking at $25 million AUM minimums just to reach cost-effective scale, and many alternative managers have $10 million individual minimums themselves.

5 fintech charts that surprised us this year (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Loyalty and rewards incentives may not be enough to make consumers like mobile payments, and it could be on retailers to find what would keep people coming back to their mobile wallets. Mobile payment adoption among Apple, Android and Samsung Pay today is low. Paying with cash or card works just fine for them, customers say.

Transparency is the big sticking point when it comes to why small businesses still prefer banks to online lenders.

What Silicon Valley Misunderstands About Banking & Fintech (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

There are some relevant lessons learned about behavioral finance and digital adoption discussed in the book “FinTech Innovation.” One of the most important lessons is the distinction between digital banking winners and laggards over time.

  • Disruptive innovation is ultimately less important than sustaining innovation.
  • Digital is a ‘pull’ technology, while much of financial serves are ‘push’ market places.
  • Platforms win on digital: bundling is more important than unbundling.

The Distinction Between ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ Marketplaces

Digital brings many benefits to streamline the processes in financial services, but front office disintermediation could easily create financial exclusion in the Western world because many households operate in a ‘push’ modality. Only the few self-directed consumers are comfortable enough to ‘pull’ financial products.

This is the reason why the growth of first mover Robo-Advisor solutions were initially very promising but then faltered, while firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab can still grow fast on digital.

Being a ‘pull’ marketplace means using digital with a purpose, like looking for a specific product on Amazon. However, very few households would google for the next investment fund or business loan. Instead, the majority would ask a friend, a banking organization or an advisor about their recommendations.

Will tomorrow’s core banking systems run on open-source software? (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks, long committed to keeping customer data private and their own code proprietary, are now opening up to fintechs and third-party developers in new ways.

Open-source projects are underway at Deutsche Bank, which made code from its Autobahn commercial banking software publicly available this fall, and at JPMorgan Chase, whose Quorum blockchain software is available in the open-source software repository GitHub.

For fintech owned by a CUSO, will banks buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Morales, CEO of QCash Financial, a credit union service organization (CUSO) owned by WSECU (formerly Washington State Employee Credit Union), says that constraint may be lessening based on the final ruling on payday lending issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October.

Credit unions, however, are interested in the QCash small-dollar lending platform. Morales says that nine credit unions have signed up for the product and five are currently live with it.

Fintech Predictions For 2018 (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Identity verification will be a priority in 2018, with 60 percent of online marketplaces and other websites adopting technologies and techniques for verifying new users’ identities, the company predicts.

Bankers anxious as Trump mulls credit union regulator for CFPB (American Banker), Rated: B

The Trump administration’s consideration of J. Mark McWatters to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stoking fears among bankers that he will show favor to credit unions once in office.

United Kingdom

UK’s Largest P2P Lender Funding Circle Said to be Planning IPO at £2 Billion Valuation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, a UK based peer to peer lender, is reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) for 2018. The news of the new listing is courtesy of SkyNews that reports Funding Circle will begin meeting with investment banks during Q1 of 2018 as they sign up underwriters for the deal. Shares are expected to list at some point in late 2018. If Funding Circle trades on an exchange it will become the first UK P2P lender to do so thus representing a seminal event in the online lending industry.

Urban Jungle Raises £1M in Seed Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Urban Jungle, a London, UK-based insurtech startup, completed a £1m seed funding round.

Moneywise reveals top 2018 financial resolutions for UK adults (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Research from financial advice website Moneywise has revealed the top financial goals of its users for 2018.

Moneywise found that cutting down on unnecessary spending was the top financial resolution for 2018, with 18 per cent citing this as their main priority.

Starting or boosting cash savings was voted the second most popular financial resolution for 2018, with this goal being set by 11 per cent of Moneywise users, whilst 10 per cent plan to start investing for the first time or boosting investments in a Stocks and Shares Isa.

When IFAs fight back against digital investment management (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

More robo-advice platforms are on the market than ever before, and the number will grow rapidly during 2018. A joint report from the FCA and the Treasury, published last June, found that 100 robo firms are either on the market already or in active development.

IFAs may well find this frustrating – even with professional credentials and years of experience, they are subject to more distrust and scrutiny than a number of untested algorithms. Worse, these algorithms may come to represent their primary competition: they offer lower prices, they open up access to financial advice, and there is a range of options available for customers minded to use them, with more to come.

Proplend Looks Back on 2017 P2P Successes & Announces 2018 Plans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Tuesday, online platform Proplend gave its 2017 peer-to-peer lending year in review.

  • The majority of platforms gained full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorization
  • Many platforms sought ISA Manager Status to launch Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – with Proplend being among the early adopters.
  • LendInvest withdrew FCA approval application and stepped down from the Peer to Peer Finance Association as it moved from all P2P activity
  • RateSetter’s wholesale lending practices notably proved costly. The lender eventually withdrew from the P2PFA after breathing the association’s operating principles

The lender went on to note its plans for 2018:

  • The redesign of Lender Dashboards, Proplend.com website and the launch of our Auto-Invest product
  • Initially Proplend Auto-Invest will be a low-risk (Tranche A), three-year, Innovative Finance ISA product targeting returns of c.5% each year
  • The lender has built a “healthy” loan pipeline which will be available on the platform from early 2018, subject to due diligence, valuations, and legals.

5 alternative investments to the stock market (BM Magazine), Rated: B

  1. Real Estate
  2. Gold and other Precious Metals
  3. Backing and Staking in Poker
  4. Peer-to-Peer Lending
  5. Equity Crowdfunding

Could 2018 be a bumper year for tech IPOs? (Computer Business Review), Rated: B

After a couple of quiet years on the IPO front, the market could be ready to bounce back with Funding Circle said to be the first targeting flotation.

In January 2017 the P2P site surpassed a £1bn valuation thanks to an £82m funding round, led by the likes of Accel.

With distribution deals with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, Funding Circle lent more than £1.7bn in 2017.

The London Stock Exchange revealed that 106 companies floated on its markets in 2017, raising £15bn, up 63% by number and 164% by value on 2016. These numbers mean that the LSE surpassed all European exchanges in the year by both IPO number and by money raised.

European Union

ETF providers hope Mifid II will spur European growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

ETF trading has since spread to 25 exchanges across Europe, but no accurate record of activity has been required by regulators. About 70 per cent of ETF trading in Europe goes unreported because it occurs via private bilateral over-the-counter transactions.

This should begin to end from Wednesday with the introduction of sweeping European rules designed to strengthen protection for investors and improve transparency across the continent’s financial markets. The package of regulations, known as Mifid II, requires comprehensive, detailed reporting of ETF trades.

Source: Financial Times

The passive investment industry, which is dominated by BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, are betting Mifid II will set their European businesses on a growth path akin to the US, where usage has spread far more widely and deeply. Assets held in US-listed ETFs stood at $3.5tn at the end of November, compared with just $790bn across all European-listed ETFs, according to ETFGI.

Source: Financial Times
International

The FinTech outlook for 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

There are four big things for 2018 from a FinTech viewpoint that are obvious to me however, which are:

  1. Getting down to business with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  2. Rationalising and cleansing core data structures
  3. Continuing the digital drive
  4. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to rise

Therefore, rather than me making predictions, I thought it interesting to review the views of other commentators.

Jim also wrote another piece that nicely summarises Forrester’s predictions for 2018 which include:

  1. Banks not embracing Open Banking, but increasing partnerships with start-ups;
  2. Faster moves to embrace Digital Banking whilst losing focus on face-to-face communications; and
  3. Focus on back office transformation.

 

Saxo Bank’s Payments business sent me a press release with their top three predictions, which are:

  • The demise of traditional, slow, expensive cross border payments
  • Payment Service Providers (PSPs) will help merchants to expand internationally
  • Tech giants move into banking

Top 10 Companies of the Blockchain Industry in 2017 (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

The total market capitalization of all the cryptocurrencies hit the $600 bln mark in December.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Coinbase is one of the top digital currency wallet and platform for exchange. Market capitalization: $2 bln (GDAX)

Ripple is a real-time gross settlement and currency exchange. Its main goal is to make an entire system devoted to money transferring. Market capitalization: $30 bln

India

P2P players blame lending limit for rising costs (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms have seen a rise in traffic as well as investor interest after registering themselves with the  But they argue the Rs 1-million limit placed on across all platforms is restrictive.

“With time, these limits are going to be relaxed by the  These have been imposed in order to avoid rapid growth that could lead to systemic risk,” said Ekmeet Singh, CEO, Lendbox.

Industry players want the to raise the limit for individual borrowers and remove the limit for institutional 

P2P lender AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr, tech firm Imanis raise funds (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

While Spice Digital is investing up to $3.9 million in AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr has raised $3.8 million from JLL and others. Also, Wipro has put in an additional $2 million in US-based tech firm Imanis.

Asia

Crowdo Recaps 2017 Milestones: 3,500+ Projects Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding, posted an infographic citing its 2017 milestones.

Canada

Meet GN Compass: The ICO Attempting to Disrupt Liquidity In The Lending Market (Equities.com), Rated: AAA

Collins: I left the railway, cashed out my pension and started my own lending company; Great North Capital Inc. We have successfully funded approximately 100 loans; primarily focusing on high risk clients. Based on my accumulative knowledge and experience in both banking and running Great North Capital, I started to develop the idea for a peer-to-peer lending solution where there is very limited risk to the investors (lenders) while making loans liquid. Also by having our own credit system for borrowers, they have the opportunity to improve their credit rating on the platform by making timely payments and having no delinquencies. At the same time, I was learning more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. I quickly realized the huge potential of the blockchain and how it can solve the liquidity problem as well as securing an investor’s principal capital; which are the main issues of current peer-to-peer lending platforms. I got in touch with Jean Pierre Rukebesha who immediately liked the idea and decided to come on board as co-founder and CFO. Hence GN Compass (Great North Compass) was born.

Older Canadians still leery of fintech despite flood of services, RateHub finds (IT Business), Rated: A

Between last year’s official release of Android Pay, the increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered support platforms such as Sun Life’s Ella, and the ongoing digital transformation of Canada’s banks, Canadians have more opportunities than ever to integrate fintech into their lives – but according to financial comparison platform developer Ratehub.ca, the eldest among us aren’t taking advantage.

According to the company’s 2017 Digital Money Trends Report, released last month, fewer than half of baby boomers reported trusting robo-advisors, mobile payments, marketplace and peer-to-peer lenders, and rate comparison website, while in many cases millennials and generation X-ers were nearly twice as likely to do so.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Nearly twice as many millennials (44 per cent) and generation X-ers (42 per cent) reported trusting robo-advisors compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • Nearly twice as many millennials (71 per cent) said they trust mobile payments compared to boomers (38 per cent). (62 per cent of generation X-ers said they trust mobile payments.)
  • Twice as many millennials (47 per cent) and generation X-ers (48 per cent) trust marketplace lenders compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • 58 per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of generation X-ers trust peer-to-peer lenders, versus only 32 per cent of boomers.
  • 63 per cent of millennials and 60 per cent of generation X-ers trust rate comparison websites, versus 42 per cent of boomers.
Africa

Internet firm Opera bets on Kenyan to steer Africa Fintech (Business Daily), Rated: A

Internet browser company Opera has picked Eddie Ndichu to drive its Fintech strategy in Africa even as it prepares to set up an office in Nairobi.

Opera has said that it is investing Sh10.3 billion ($100 million) in Africa’s digital economy over the next two years and OPay is part of those investments.

In a statement Tuesday, Opera said that it had appointed Mr Ndichu as the managing director and vice president for Fintech in Africa.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 3 2018, Daily News Digest

ETFs Europe

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky raises $4.5B in equity, becomes most valuable online lender. Funding Circle has eye on IPO at 2B GBP valuation. P2P lenders in India blame lending limit on rising costs. GN Compass wants to disrupt lending liquidity in Canada. Today’s main analysis: Can Mifid II spur growth in European ETF market? Today’s thought-provoking […]

ETFs Europe

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Who’s the Most Valuable Online Lender? After This Deal, It’s GreenSky (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC raised new equity from Pacific Investment Management Co. in a deal that valued the digital lender at nearly $4.5 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.

It vaults GreenSky over Social Finance Inc. to become the most highly-valued online lender in the U.S. It also makes the Atlanta company the second most valuable privately held U.S. fintech company behind Stripe Inc., which processes payments for Internet businesses.

Pimco, the Newport Beach, Calif., money manager, invested at a valuation roughly 25% above the $3.6 billion GreenSky fetched in 2016.

What 2018 Will Mean For Marketplace Lenders (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

2017 was a tough year for some of the biggest names in alternative financial services in the U.S. – Prosper, OnDeck and LendingClub, in particular.

Breslow is hyping OnDeck’s future of partnerships with mainstream baking players – in particular, calling out a renewed partnership with JPMorgan Chase in August to expand the banks’ SMB lending reach.

Prosper, perhaps unsurprisingly, is focused on remaining prosperous, as measured by profitability and further developing its new securitization platform.

LendingClub finally got investors to show them some love – and after its record low following its analyst day earnings accounting, stock jumped 15 percent in mid-December and has managed to hold relatively stable.

Marketplace Lending Predictions for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

First, let’s review my predictions I made exactly one year ago.

  1. 2017 will be the year of the bank partnership
    I would say I was partially right on this one.
  2. The OCC Fintech Charter will receive a positive reception
    So, while many of the fintech platforms supported the charter there was no real positive movement this year.
  3. Lending platforms will offer banking products
    While we had a couple of platforms offering credit cards for the most part this prediction failed to materialize.
  4. One large platform will be acquired
    Student lender Earnest was acquired by Navient in a deal announced in early October.
  5. There will be no new IPOs this year
    I was almost right on this one but one US lending platform did have an IPO in 2017.
  6. China will become an important source of capital outside the USA
    I got this one right.
  7. Artificial intelligence will take center stage
    I think I read more articles about AI this year than in the previous five years combined.

My 2018 Marketplace Lending Predictions

  1. Five top 25 banks will launch their own online lending platforms
    Banks have realized that if you want to provide successful loan products today you need to have an online presence.
  2. Two new pieces of legislation will be passed that will benefit the industry
  3. One of the top five (non-bank) online lending platforms will be acquired
  4. A major lending platform will get hit with a cyber attack
    Here is the one prediction where I really hope I am wrong.
  5. The tech giants consolidate their positions in online lending
    Amazon, PayPal and Square have all started to roll out various online lending offerings to their huge customer bases.
  6. 2018 is the year of product line expansion
  7. Messaging apps start to get integrated into online lending

The Top 10 Most Important Marketplace Lending Stories of 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Mike Cagney is Gone as CEO of SoFi Effective Immediately
  2. The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending”
  3. Prosper Finally Closes Their Big $5 Billion Deal
  4. Renaud Laplanche is Back with a New Consumer Lending Platform Called Upgrade 
  5. The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square
  6. The Fastest Consumer Lenders to $1 Billion in Originations
  7. CFPB Announces No-Action Letter to Upstart
  8. The OCC Publishes Details on the Fintech Charter
  9. Bills Being Introduced to “Fix” Decision in Madden v. Midland
  10. Takeaways From LendingClub’s First Ever Investor Day

Ex-Netflix Exec Thinks This Fintech Company Has Netflix-Like Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Netflix has completely disrupted the entertainment industry, sending large incumbents scrambling to compete with its vast global scale.

How did Netflix pull this off? Several reasons, but one is certainly Netflix’s unique culture, outlined in its now-famous Culture Deck.

That deck was constructed by Patty McCord, who spent 14 years as Netflix’s chief talent officer.

The company McCord joined is Lending Club (NYSE:LC).

In the press release, McCord stated:

I see a lot of parallels between where Netflix was as a company 10 years ago, where LendingClub is today, and where it can go in the next 10 years. I’m attracted to LendingClub for the stellar people and the way it exemplifies the concepts of freedom and responsibility. Culture can help drive innovation in companies that are paving new ground and transforming legacy industries, like Netflix did and like LendingClub is doing today. … In our innovative world, I see marketplaces like LendingClub as the future.

Ousted SoFi CEO is back with a new startup (Axios), Rated: A

Why it matters: If 2017 was the year in which VCs began to fire controversial execs, 2018 may be the year in which they’re forced to decide on quick-turn second acts.

Affirm’s big business for 2018 is marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Affirm isn’t just a payment method or a personal loan anymore — it’s a marketing lever for merchants

  • Affirm sees every transaction at the point of sale — who is buying, what they’re buying and where; it’s a departure from the way credit is underwritten today, where lenders have no idea why borrowers need the money or how they’ll use it

Where Does Alternative Lending Go in 2018? (Hackernoon), Rated: A

When most people think of alternative lending, they immediately think of payday loans and other abusive loan products. In the tech world, the first thing that comes to mind are online lenders: those who take loans traditionally originated in person and move them online. That was the first wave of alternative lenders — think LendingClub, Prosper, OnDeck, to name a few.

Alt investments on the rise among RIAs (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Based on the success of the RIA industry, the trend of breakaway advisers interested in exploring the independent channel continues to gain momentum.

Propagated by wirehouse branch management to keep their top producers in their seats, this false campaign is now being revealed as its exact opposite; there are more customizable solutions for RIAs to access and deploy alternative investments for their high net worth clients than ever before.

For example, to access alternatives on their own, RIAs in the past typically would be looking at $25 million AUM minimums just to reach cost-effective scale, and many alternative managers have $10 million individual minimums themselves.

5 fintech charts that surprised us this year (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Loyalty and rewards incentives may not be enough to make consumers like mobile payments, and it could be on retailers to find what would keep people coming back to their mobile wallets. Mobile payment adoption among Apple, Android and Samsung Pay today is low. Paying with cash or card works just fine for them, customers say.

Transparency is the big sticking point when it comes to why small businesses still prefer banks to online lenders.

What Silicon Valley Misunderstands About Banking & Fintech (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

There are some relevant lessons learned about behavioral finance and digital adoption discussed in the book “FinTech Innovation.” One of the most important lessons is the distinction between digital banking winners and laggards over time.

  • Disruptive innovation is ultimately less important than sustaining innovation.
  • Digital is a ‘pull’ technology, while much of financial serves are ‘push’ market places.
  • Platforms win on digital: bundling is more important than unbundling.

The Distinction Between ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ Marketplaces

Digital brings many benefits to streamline the processes in financial services, but front office disintermediation could easily create financial exclusion in the Western world because many households operate in a ‘push’ modality. Only the few self-directed consumers are comfortable enough to ‘pull’ financial products.

This is the reason why the growth of first mover Robo-Advisor solutions were initially very promising but then faltered, while firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab can still grow fast on digital.

Being a ‘pull’ marketplace means using digital with a purpose, like looking for a specific product on Amazon. However, very few households would google for the next investment fund or business loan. Instead, the majority would ask a friend, a banking organization or an advisor about their recommendations.

Will tomorrow’s core banking systems run on open-source software? (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks, long committed to keeping customer data private and their own code proprietary, are now opening up to fintechs and third-party developers in new ways.

Open-source projects are underway at Deutsche Bank, which made code from its Autobahn commercial banking software publicly available this fall, and at JPMorgan Chase, whose Quorum blockchain software is available in the open-source software repository GitHub.

For fintech owned by a CUSO, will banks buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Morales, CEO of QCash Financial, a credit union service organization (CUSO) owned by WSECU (formerly Washington State Employee Credit Union), says that constraint may be lessening based on the final ruling on payday lending issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October.

Credit unions, however, are interested in the QCash small-dollar lending platform. Morales says that nine credit unions have signed up for the product and five are currently live with it.

Fintech Predictions For 2018 (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Identity verification will be a priority in 2018, with 60 percent of online marketplaces and other websites adopting technologies and techniques for verifying new users’ identities, the company predicts.

Bankers anxious as Trump mulls credit union regulator for CFPB (American Banker), Rated: B

The Trump administration’s consideration of J. Mark McWatters to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stoking fears among bankers that he will show favor to credit unions once in office.

United Kingdom

UK’s Largest P2P Lender Funding Circle Said to be Planning IPO at £2 Billion Valuation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, a UK based peer to peer lender, is reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) for 2018. The news of the new listing is courtesy of SkyNews that reports Funding Circle will begin meeting with investment banks during Q1 of 2018 as they sign up underwriters for the deal. Shares are expected to list at some point in late 2018. If Funding Circle trades on an exchange it will become the first UK P2P lender to do so thus representing a seminal event in the online lending industry.

Urban Jungle Raises £1M in Seed Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Urban Jungle, a London, UK-based insurtech startup, completed a £1m seed funding round.

Moneywise reveals top 2018 financial resolutions for UK adults (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Research from financial advice website Moneywise has revealed the top financial goals of its users for 2018.

Moneywise found that cutting down on unnecessary spending was the top financial resolution for 2018, with 18 per cent citing this as their main priority.

Starting or boosting cash savings was voted the second most popular financial resolution for 2018, with this goal being set by 11 per cent of Moneywise users, whilst 10 per cent plan to start investing for the first time or boosting investments in a Stocks and Shares Isa.

When IFAs fight back against digital investment management (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

More robo-advice platforms are on the market than ever before, and the number will grow rapidly during 2018. A joint report from the FCA and the Treasury, published last June, found that 100 robo firms are either on the market already or in active development.

IFAs may well find this frustrating – even with professional credentials and years of experience, they are subject to more distrust and scrutiny than a number of untested algorithms. Worse, these algorithms may come to represent their primary competition: they offer lower prices, they open up access to financial advice, and there is a range of options available for customers minded to use them, with more to come.

Proplend Looks Back on 2017 P2P Successes & Announces 2018 Plans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Tuesday, online platform Proplend gave its 2017 peer-to-peer lending year in review.

  • The majority of platforms gained full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorization
  • Many platforms sought ISA Manager Status to launch Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – with Proplend being among the early adopters.
  • LendInvest withdrew FCA approval application and stepped down from the Peer to Peer Finance Association as it moved from all P2P activity
  • RateSetter’s wholesale lending practices notably proved costly. The lender eventually withdrew from the P2PFA after breathing the association’s operating principles

The lender went on to note its plans for 2018:

  • The redesign of Lender Dashboards, Proplend.com website and the launch of our Auto-Invest product
  • Initially Proplend Auto-Invest will be a low-risk (Tranche A), three-year, Innovative Finance ISA product targeting returns of c.5% each year
  • The lender has built a “healthy” loan pipeline which will be available on the platform from early 2018, subject to due diligence, valuations, and legals.

5 alternative investments to the stock market (BM Magazine), Rated: B

  1. Real Estate
  2. Gold and other Precious Metals
  3. Backing and Staking in Poker
  4. Peer-to-Peer Lending
  5. Equity Crowdfunding

Could 2018 be a bumper year for tech IPOs? (Computer Business Review), Rated: B

After a couple of quiet years on the IPO front, the market could be ready to bounce back with Funding Circle said to be the first targeting flotation.

In January 2017 the P2P site surpassed a £1bn valuation thanks to an £82m funding round, led by the likes of Accel.

With distribution deals with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, Funding Circle lent more than £1.7bn in 2017.

The London Stock Exchange revealed that 106 companies floated on its markets in 2017, raising £15bn, up 63% by number and 164% by value on 2016. These numbers mean that the LSE surpassed all European exchanges in the year by both IPO number and by money raised.

European Union

ETF providers hope Mifid II will spur European growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

ETF trading has since spread to 25 exchanges across Europe, but no accurate record of activity has been required by regulators. About 70 per cent of ETF trading in Europe goes unreported because it occurs via private bilateral over-the-counter transactions.

This should begin to end from Wednesday with the introduction of sweeping European rules designed to strengthen protection for investors and improve transparency across the continent’s financial markets. The package of regulations, known as Mifid II, requires comprehensive, detailed reporting of ETF trades.

Source: Financial Times

The passive investment industry, which is dominated by BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, are betting Mifid II will set their European businesses on a growth path akin to the US, where usage has spread far more widely and deeply. Assets held in US-listed ETFs stood at $3.5tn at the end of November, compared with just $790bn across all European-listed ETFs, according to ETFGI.

Source: Financial Times
International

The FinTech outlook for 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

There are four big things for 2018 from a FinTech viewpoint that are obvious to me however, which are:

  1. Getting down to business with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  2. Rationalising and cleansing core data structures
  3. Continuing the digital drive
  4. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to rise

Therefore, rather than me making predictions, I thought it interesting to review the views of other commentators.

Jim also wrote another piece that nicely summarises Forrester’s predictions for 2018 which include:

  1. Banks not embracing Open Banking, but increasing partnerships with start-ups;
  2. Faster moves to embrace Digital Banking whilst losing focus on face-to-face communications; and
  3. Focus on back office transformation.

 

Saxo Bank’s Payments business sent me a press release with their top three predictions, which are:

  • The demise of traditional, slow, expensive cross border payments
  • Payment Service Providers (PSPs) will help merchants to expand internationally
  • Tech giants move into banking

Top 10 Companies of the Blockchain Industry in 2017 (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

The total market capitalization of all the cryptocurrencies hit the $600 bln mark in December.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Coinbase is one of the top digital currency wallet and platform for exchange. Market capitalization: $2 bln (GDAX)

Ripple is a real-time gross settlement and currency exchange. Its main goal is to make an entire system devoted to money transferring. Market capitalization: $30 bln

India

P2P players blame lending limit for rising costs (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms have seen a rise in traffic as well as investor interest after registering themselves with the  But they argue the Rs 1-million limit placed on across all platforms is restrictive.

“With time, these limits are going to be relaxed by the  These have been imposed in order to avoid rapid growth that could lead to systemic risk,” said Ekmeet Singh, CEO, Lendbox.

Industry players want the to raise the limit for individual borrowers and remove the limit for institutional 

P2P lender AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr, tech firm Imanis raise funds (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

While Spice Digital is investing up to $3.9 million in AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr has raised $3.8 million from JLL and others. Also, Wipro has put in an additional $2 million in US-based tech firm Imanis.

Asia

Crowdo Recaps 2017 Milestones: 3,500+ Projects Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding, posted an infographic citing its 2017 milestones.

Canada

Meet GN Compass: The ICO Attempting to Disrupt Liquidity In The Lending Market (Equities.com), Rated: AAA

Collins: I left the railway, cashed out my pension and started my own lending company; Great North Capital Inc. We have successfully funded approximately 100 loans; primarily focusing on high risk clients. Based on my accumulative knowledge and experience in both banking and running Great North Capital, I started to develop the idea for a peer-to-peer lending solution where there is very limited risk to the investors (lenders) while making loans liquid. Also by having our own credit system for borrowers, they have the opportunity to improve their credit rating on the platform by making timely payments and having no delinquencies. At the same time, I was learning more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. I quickly realized the huge potential of the blockchain and how it can solve the liquidity problem as well as securing an investor’s principal capital; which are the main issues of current peer-to-peer lending platforms. I got in touch with Jean Pierre Rukebesha who immediately liked the idea and decided to come on board as co-founder and CFO. Hence GN Compass (Great North Compass) was born.

Older Canadians still leery of fintech despite flood of services, RateHub finds (IT Business), Rated: A

Between last year’s official release of Android Pay, the increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered support platforms such as Sun Life’s Ella, and the ongoing digital transformation of Canada’s banks, Canadians have more opportunities than ever to integrate fintech into their lives – but according to financial comparison platform developer Ratehub.ca, the eldest among us aren’t taking advantage.

According to the company’s 2017 Digital Money Trends Report, released last month, fewer than half of baby boomers reported trusting robo-advisors, mobile payments, marketplace and peer-to-peer lenders, and rate comparison website, while in many cases millennials and generation X-ers were nearly twice as likely to do so.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Nearly twice as many millennials (44 per cent) and generation X-ers (42 per cent) reported trusting robo-advisors compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • Nearly twice as many millennials (71 per cent) said they trust mobile payments compared to boomers (38 per cent). (62 per cent of generation X-ers said they trust mobile payments.)
  • Twice as many millennials (47 per cent) and generation X-ers (48 per cent) trust marketplace lenders compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • 58 per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of generation X-ers trust peer-to-peer lenders, versus only 32 per cent of boomers.
  • 63 per cent of millennials and 60 per cent of generation X-ers trust rate comparison websites, versus 42 per cent of boomers.
Africa

Internet firm Opera bets on Kenyan to steer Africa Fintech (Business Daily), Rated: A

Internet browser company Opera has picked Eddie Ndichu to drive its Fintech strategy in Africa even as it prepares to set up an office in Nairobi.

Opera has said that it is investing Sh10.3 billion ($100 million) in Africa’s digital economy over the next two years and OPay is part of those investments.

In a statement Tuesday, Opera said that it had appointed Mr Ndichu as the managing director and vice president for Fintech in Africa.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday November 27 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech TransUnion

News Comments Today’s main news: Ant Financial bans high-interest consumer loan products. Lending Club boosts MPL credit metrics in 3rd self-sponsored ABS. Funding Circle to launch Isa next week. Zopa reforms how returns are displayed. Robo-advisors in China must be licensed. CreditEase to pioneer fund of funds for direct real estate purchases. New Zealand publishes first P2P/crowdfunding statistical returns. Today’s main […]

fintech TransUnion

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Lending Club boosts MPL credit metrics in 3rd self-sponsored ABS (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

LendingClub’s third self-sponsored securitization of online marketplace loans is benefiting from the company’s recent tightening of credit standards.

The loans backing the $330 million Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P2 involve borrowers with higher FICO scores that have allowed LendingClub to reduce its credit enhancement levels on the deal.

CLUB Credit Trust 2017-P2 has a collateral pool of 22,062 prime, consumer loans with a cumulative net balance of $368 million, or an average balance of $16,681.

TransUnion Study On FinTech Market; PayPal Enters Robo Advice Market (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that household debt totaled $12.95 Tn last quarter – the 13th straight quarterly increase. As a share of GDP however, household debt stands at 66% below a peak of 87% in early 2009.

PayPal continues to expand the range of its consumer offerings. PayPal started with payments initially, moved to personal and small business loans, and is now delivering asset management solutions. The partnership will offer Acorns a unique channel for customer acquisition and allow Acorns to compete with Betterment and Wealthfront. Paypal led a $30 Mn investment round in Acorns Grow in April 2016.

FinTechs are Growing and Taking Market Share

FinTech’s market share has grown from virtually zero in 2012 to 30% in 2016. The outstanding balances on personal loans have doubled to over $100 Bn in 2017 from late 2013, with 128 lenders making more than 10,000 personal loans annually. FinTechs compete with banks to originate loans to prime consumers, and FinTech’s originate 30% of their loans to non-prime consumers where there is less competition from banks.

Source: TransUnion

FinTechs Have The Most Robust, Risk-Based Pricing

Source: TransUnion

Brian Dally of Groundfloor (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Where the idea for Groundfloor come from.
  • Why Brian decided to start in the real estate asset class.
  • How many states they are operating in today for both borrowers and investors.
  • How they go about sourcing real estate deals.
  • Why they decided to focus on non-accredited investors.
  • How their securities offering is structured.
  • The minimum investment allowed per deal.
  • How returns have been for investors.
  • Which side of the marketplace is constraining growth today.
  • How they differentiate themselves from their competition.
  • The performance of their loan book to date.
  • Their business model and how they make money.
  • Details of their first institutional investor and why this is good for retail investors.
  • Their goal for an institutional/retail investor mix.
  • What the future holds for Groundfloor.

Online lenders pull out the popcorn, as the Trump administration fights to control the CFPB (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Republican lawmakers have long sought to reduce the CFPB’s oversight. Now dueling appointments put its immediate future in question. Last night, President Trump named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as acting director of the agency hours after its current leader, Obama-appointed Richard Cordray, announced he would leave the job.

To counter the administration’s plans, on his way out the door, Cordray named his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the agency’s deputy director.

Under the law, the appointment should make English the agency’s acting director, though the White House says that Mulvaney plans to show up at the CFSB Monday morning anyway. The White House further says Mulvaney will keep his current job as head of the Office of Management and Budget.

If the Trump administration follows through on its threats, Mulvaney will lead both agencies until a permanent head of CFPB is chosen and confirmed by the Senate.

Nobody Knows Who the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s New Boss Is (New York Magazine), Rated: A

On his way out, he appointed his chief of staff, Leandra English, to take over the CFPB, citing the Dodd-Frank Act, which states that the agency’s deputy director will take over the agency if the director leaves. Trump responded by naming Mulvaney as expected, pointing to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act as justification for his move.

The eventual director must be confirmed by the Senate; Trump’s pick is expected within weeks.

3 trends powering the rise of financial robo-advice (VentureBeat), Rated: A

1. Availability of data

We generate more than 2.5 billion GB of data every day.

In one notable example, JP Morgan and Intuit earlier this year announced their companies will make data available via the Open Financial Exchange API. Their goal is to make it easier and more secure for consumers to use their data across various financial apps and websites.

2. Increased power and storage

  • Google Tensor Processing Unit.
  • Nvidia Volta.
  • Huawei Kirin.

3. Advancements in AI

In particular, deep learning and boosting models enable significant leaps forward in the application of machine learning. These include design concepts such as Google’s Capsule Network, which offers an alternative to traditional neural nets, and replicative and transfer learning, which enable pattern discoveries and accuracies impossible by human counterparts.

The results of studies using these ideas are impressive. In one example, University of Mannheim researchers showed how ontologies help some machine learning models validate data 50 times faster. And Google’s AutoAI demonstrated it can create better machine learning code than the researchers who made it.

Student debt relief trumps other benefits (Employee Benefit Adviser), Rated: A

Student loan repayment programs are climbing the pantheon of employee benefits, suggests a recent survey of full-time workers with student loan debt.

Pollfish found that 23% would gladly give up healthcare benefits for a student loan repayment benefit. In addition, 46% would relinquish paid time off and 33% would do the same for retirement benefits in exchange for a repayment benefit. Also, 53% said they’d consider a salary cut in exchange for a student loan repayment benefit.

Of 1,000 college graduates polled by SoFi, an online personal finance company, 90% were more willing to accept a job offer at a new company if their employer offered a student loan contribution benefit. In the Pollfish survey, 84% gave the same response.

The Most Well-Funded Fintech Startup In Each State (CB Insights), Rated: A

State Company Total Equity Funding ($M)
Arizona CampusLogic $ 17.5
Arkansas LumoXchange $ 0.2
California SoFi $ 2,040.5
Colorado IP Commerce $ 54.7
Connecticut PayVeris $ 14.2
DC Fundrise $ 52.6
Delaware College Avenue Student Loans $ 50.0
Florida YellowPepper $ 34.0
Georgia Kabbage $ 490.0
Idaho VisitPay $ 18.4
Illinois Avant $ 655.0
Indiana Allied Payment Network $ 2.6
Iowa Dwolla $ 39.1
Kansas C2FO $ 99.7
Kentucky Inked Brands $ 4.0
Louisiana Zlien $ 7.2
Maryland Regent Education $ 39.7
Massachusetts Toast $ 138.0
Michigan Clinc $ 7.5
Minnesota Bright Health $ 240.0
Missouri Clearent $ 27.5
Nebraska D3 Technology $ 35.6
Nevada Filament $ 31.8
New Jersey Billtrust $ 104.5
New York Oscar Insurance Corporation $ 727.5
North Carolina AvidXchange $ 558.2
Ohio Aver $ 23.2
Oklahoma CreditPoint Software $ 1.1
Oregon NVoicePay $ 21.5
Pennsylvania InstaMed Communications $ 101.9
Rhode Island Upserve $ 191.5
South Carolina Ceterus $ 10.2
South Dakota ReliaMax $ 3.9
Tennessee Digital Reasoning Systems $ 75.6
Texas BigCommerce $ 164.5
Utah MX $ 54.1
Virginia StreetShares $ 18.9
Washington Avalara $ 253.0
Wisconsin Dynamis Software Corporation $ 4.3
Source: CB Insights

Bridge loan helps borrowers as they pursue graduate degrees (SFGate), Rated: B

The sellers wanted to accept the offer but were concerned about the VA financing with an online lender who was unresponsive to the listing agent’s calls. The Realtor advised the couple that if they could find a local lender who could preapprove them with conventional financing, their offer would be accepted.

Wyatt held a video conference with the couple to clarify the structure of the file and learned that both clients were pursuing their graduate degrees and took time off work to attend classes. In addition, the co-borrower had recently received an employment offer for a salaried position.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Isa to launch next week (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle has announced that it will start rolling out its Isa account to all current investors from next Thursday (30th November).

UK peer-to-peer lenders plan to raise millions from ISAs (Financial Times), Rated: A

Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lenders plan to raise hundreds of millions of pounds from savers in the coming weeks even as many of them say they will reduce higher risk lending in case there is a downturn.

“We expect a lot of demand,” Samir Desai, chief executive of Funding Circle, told the Financial Times. “We have done lots of surveys and a huge proportion of the base told us they would like to put all of the money they invest with us through the ISA.”

Zopa addresses default concerns by reforming how returns are displayed (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is working on improving the way long-term returns are displayed so investors do not become overly concerned with monthly defaults in their portfolio.

The peer-to-peer lender said it is working on a prototype that would show investors their current portfolio performance, a range of what their returns will be and what their target rate is.

The display, currently in testing, includes a graph showing portfolio growth, and the net cash earnings after losses, a range of what the returns will be that narrows closer to maturity and what the target rate is in comparison to what was advertised.

Welendus launches new £150,000 crowdfunding campaign (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER payday loan platform Welendus has launched a new crowdfunding round on Seedrs this morning to raise an additional £150,000.

The lender, which raised £100,000 from investors during a Seedrs fundraise in March, has already reached 92 per cent of its target by attracting funding from the existing crowdfunding backers.

NatWest joins the robo-advisers (This is Money), Rated: A

High-street bank NatWest has launched a fully regulated robo-advice proposition charging £10 for customers seeking to invest sums as low as £500.

Unlike some rival robo-advisers that offer guidance based on responses to just a few questions, or simplified advice that doesn’t factor in your complete financial position, NatWest said its process will offer full-fat advice akin to the traditional face-to-face process but online.

57% of SMEs support European Free Trade Agreement (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

More than half of small business owners (57%) are supportive of joining the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA), a new survey has revealed.
Research by peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle has found that the key reasons cited by businesses for wanting to join the EFTA included the ease of exporting and importing (59%), a larger customer base (46%) and lower tariffs (42%).

 

Was the Budget boom or bust for personal finance? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lenders are split about the outcome of the Budget for people’s finances.

RateSetter said there was “a notable absence of measures to help people put away more for the future” in Wednesday’s fiscal event, but Lending Works called it “a boost for personal finance”.

Rethinking bricks and mortar: alternatives for property investors (Your Money), Rated: B

A mismatch of supply and demand has made UK property more unaffordable than ever for would be buyers. Property investors pursuing the buy-to-let route are also facing challenges due to a recent crackdown in tax legislation. Against this backdrop, peer to peer (P2P) and equity crowdfunding have grown in popularity as alternative ways to access the property market.

Key considerations before picking an investment route

 

  • Investment risk
  • Debt or equity
  • Liquidity
  • Who’s the provider

RateSetter Appoints Richard Steele Regional Manager of Midlands (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter announced on Friday it has appointed Richard Steele as its regional manager for the Midlands. According to the online lender, Steele has more than 15 years of business lending experience and prior to joining RateSetter, he held the relationship manager position at Barclays and business development manager at BCRS Business Loans.

China

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On November 17th, top financial regulators in mainland China (including PBOC, CBRC, CSRC, CIRC and SAFE) released a new set of rules covering the country’s asset management market. It is the first time that the regulators designated one of the articles to Robo-advisors.

According to the article, financial institutions that conduct Robo-advisory services or AI-driven investment programs should be granted license from financial regulator before carrying out any operations.

Here Comes Tencent Credit

Two years ago, Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, launched its own credit scoring system Sesame Credit. This week, Tencent, Alibaba’s main rival in China, finally followed suit by launching a similar and competitive product, Tencent Credit. The credit score ranges between 300 and 850.

Sesame Credit Ceases Cooperation with Cash Loan Platforms

On November 21st, a cash loan platform told the media that they had received a notification from Sesame Credit, the credit scoring services of Ant Financial. According to the notification, Sesame Credit will cease to cooperate with cash loans from December 12th of 2017 due to some of its illegal behavior regarding interest rate setting and debt collection.

Chinese fintech firm CreditEase to pioneer funds of funds as alternative to direct real estate purchases (SCMP), Rated: AAA

CreditEase, one of China’s largest financial technology companies, has set its sights on funds of funds focusing on real estate projects as founder and chief executive Tang Ning anticipates a new property investment scenario.

At present, high-net-worth individuals in China seeking returns from property investment often directly buy and own residential or commercial units, betting on the appreciation of assets.

CreditEase, which specialises in lending to small businesses and consumers as well as wealth management for affluent investors, plans to set up a clutch of funds of funds that will allocate capital to leading global real estate funds managed by big names such as Blackstone and KKR.

China Online Lender Qudian’s Latest Plunge Knocks CEO From Billionaire Ranks (Forbes), Rated: A

Qudian lost 24.3% on Friday to end at $12.22, the worst close since it listed at $24 on Oct. 18.  Friday’s decline left Luo’s fortune at $776 million.

Luo, 34, ranked No. 255 on the 2017 Forbes China Rich List published on Nov. 16 with an estimated fortune of $1.48 billion.

Shares in Qudian, which is 11% owned by Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial, and other Chinese online lenders have been falling on reports that regulators plan to tighten restrictions on microlenders. On Friday, Qudian said it would cap charges and costs to customers linked to Alipay at an annual interest rate of 24% (see announcement and details here).  Qudian also said it is working to extend credit through its own app where it can charge up to an annual rate of 36%.

Alibaba Affiliate Bans High-interest Consumers Loan Products (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba, has barred consumer loanswith an annual interest rate above 24% on its Alipay platform.

Ant Financial stated that it has increased monitoring of the financial service providers on Alipay and its credit platform, Sesame Credit, and found some inappropriate collection methods and interest rates above legal limits, according to Reuters. Further, Alibaba’s Ant Financial stated that it would withdraw cooperation with some cash loan providers. Sesame Credit is a proprietary credit scoring system, which gives Alipay e-wallet users a credit score.

China Fintech Firm Is Said to Mull Fate of $ 500 Million IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: A

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., owner of Chinese online lending platform Fenqile, plans to meet advisers this weekend to discuss the fate of its proposed U.S. initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company aims to decide whether to imminently start its IPO roadshow or wait for a later date when market sentiment may be better, according to the people.

Yirendai Awarded ISO 27001 Certification (Business Insider), Rated: A

Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE: YRD) (“Yirendai” or the “Company”) announced today that it has been awarded certification to the international standard for Information Security Management (ISO 27001) from British Standards Institution.

The ISO 27001 certification is an internationally recognized best practice framework for an information security management system (“ISMS”) and specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving information security management within an organization. It also takes into account risk assessment and risk treatment with regards to security of information.

Tencent to set up fintech lab in Xiongan (ECNS.cn), Rated: B

Tencent Holdings Ltd, Asia’s most valuable firm, is planning to set up a financial technology lab and digitize public medical services in the Xiongan New Area, as part of a broader push to gain a foothold in China’s latest economic zone.

European Union

One Idea to Make Europe Bigger in Tech Is to Pay Employees More (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Europe isn’t producing the kind of large, globally-influential technology companies like those coming out of the U.S. and China. A perennial question is why?

One reason might be that European startups don’t give employees as much of a chance to strike it rich, according to a new study by the European venture capital firm Index Ventures. While startup employees in the U.S. are often rewarded with stock options — allowing them to cash out handsomely if a company is sold or goes public — young firms in Europe don’t offer the same scale of incentives.

In an analysis of 73 companies, Index found that European employees own on average about 10 percent of the startup where they work, compared to 20 percent for U.S. workers. European companies often skew stock options to executives rather than rank-and-file employees.

A tech VC explains why Revolut is such a hot ticket as the fintech app hits 1 million users (Business Insider), Rated: A

Revolut announced the milestone on Friday, saying that customers have now completed 42 million transactions on its app worth a combined $6 billion (£4.5 billion). The company began as a foreign exchange app linked to a pre-paid card but has since branched out into broader financial services, such as current accounts, insurance, and investments.

Revolut, which is applying for a full European banking license, said that 42% of its customers are aged 25-35, “a clear indication that traditional banks are no longer meeting the needs of younger, tech-savvy generations.”

Flender closes in on £2m funding round (Independent), Rated: A

Dublin-based peer-to-peer lending business Flender is close to raising more than €2m in its latest funding round.

Some €400,000 of the money has been raised from its own platform – the first peer-to-peer equity investment on an Irish platform. Terms are close to being agreed for the remaining balance of a £2m (€2.25m) round.

CS Invests in Swiss Fintech (finews), Rated: B

Credit Suisse has bought a majority stake in Tradeplus24, a Zurich-based fintech firm specialized in small- and mid-sized business loans. The Swiss bank bought into a series A1 financing through its subsidiary, SVC, the bank said in a statement.

International

2 investment trusts for income investors seeking reliable high yields (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

With interest rates still near historic lows, it can be hard to find mainstream investments that will pay out a significant yield.

But for investors who don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up their own account with a peer-to-peer lending platform, P2P Global Investments (LSE: P2P) offers an alternative route to gain access to the sector. It’s an investment trust that offers investors a ready-made and diversified portfolio of peer-to-peer loans, saving time from building a portfolio from scratch and enabling investors to earn income straight away. At its current share price, it has a trailing 12-month dividend yield of 6%.

ETHLend – A Fully Decentralized & Democratized P2P Lending Platform On The Ethereum Blockchain (Chipin), Rated: A

The main feature of ETHLend is the financing options available in ETH, which allows users to borrow or lend ETH using ETHLend’s digital tokens in an efficient manner or by using ENS domains as a collateral.

The ETHLend platform can be also used as a tool for both B2B and B2C transactions.

An interesting aspect of ETHLend is that both borrowers and lenders will receive 0.1 credit tokens (equal to 1 ETH) each for every loan that is repaid successfully.

These credit tokens can then be used as collateral for loans on the platform or sold for profit.

Here are the details of the upcoming LEND token sale:

Token name: LEND

Token base: Ethereum (ERC-20)

Token supply: 1,000,000,000

Token sale duration: 25th November, 2017 – 27th December, 2017

Token sale target: 37,600 ETH (hard cap)

Token exchange rate: 1 ETH = 25,000-27,500 LEND (depending on period of sale)

Celsius – The P2P Decentralized Credit Protocol Built On Smart Contract Technology (Chipin), Rated: A

The modern credit system is a mess, particularly for millennials and the Generation X youths.

Celsius is a P2P and blockchain-powered global credit network designed to improve the efficiency of modern credit and financing systems.

There are 4 types of loans in the Celsius platform:

    • The platform will enable millennials to establish a digital credit score and be issued a credit line; the credit can then be accessed by a sponsored credit card from Celsius.
    • Celsius will also allow the platform’s users to expand their credit limit against their own cryptocurrency asset holdings they have at Celsius. The extended credit can be easily accessed through several options.
    • Members can also choose to lend any cryptocurrencies they own and earn up to 5x the normal interest rates they get from banks. Finally, members can borrow cryptocurrencies in a secure and transparent manner
    • To safeguard the platform’s ecosystem, both lenders and borrowers on Celsius are verified and carefully selected to prevent fraud.

Here are the details of the upcoming DEG token sale:

Token name: DEG

Token base: Ethereum (ERC-20)

Token supply: 1,000,000,000

Token sale duration: 25th of January, 2018 – TBA (pre-sale is currently LIVE)

Token sale target: $100,000,000 (hard cap)

Token exchange rate: $0.20 = 1 DEG

Australia/New Zealand

Why SocietyOne needs more than its billionaire backers (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

The other is it’s in the midst of what is expected to be its last funding round before listing the business, raising up to $20 million in equity based on a valuation of up to $200 million, which is based on a multiple of one times its loan book.

The raising, managed by Venture Advisory and due to close late this month, is part of a long-term, highly anticipated plan to target a sharemarket listing in 2018.

SocietyOne is expected to need a book worth $500 million or so before it starts breaking even.

Chief executive Jason Yetton has said previously the company is eyeing a 2 per cent to 3 per cent share of the $105 billion consumer finance market in the long term, of which credit card debt comprises $42 billion.

Fortress backs $ 120m capital raising by MoneyMe (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

Global credit investor Fortress Investment Group will invest $100 million in debt capital to support MoneyMe’s consumer lending growth as the fintech considers an initial public offering in early 2019.

Fortress’s investment is part of a $120 million asset-backed securitisation deal, which also includes a $20 million bond, issued by Evans & Partners, which was oversubscribed.

MoneyMe, which has made $150 million in personal loans to 70,000 customers in the past four years, is both cash flow positive and profitable, very rare for an Australian fintech.

Of its $150 million in lending, $80 million has been advanced in the past 12 months.

New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority Publishes First Peer-To-Peer/Crowdfunding Statistical Returns (MondoVisione), Rated: AAA

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) today published its first statistical reporton peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding in New Zealand.

The data shows $259.9 million is currently loaned to individuals and $29.5 million loaned to businesses through peer-to-peer lending in the year ending 30 June 2017.

A total of $74.2 million was raised from investors through crowdfunding, including wholesale investors, in the same period.

Tic:Toc to undercut broker distribution in white label play (TheAdviser), Rated: A

Mortgage brokers are facing a double threat from online lender Tic:Toc, which is seeing a surge in demand from consumers and interest from banks and non-bank lenders looking for cheaper distribution.

The fintech started lending four months ago and has received approximately $330 million of applications in that time, with conversions hovering around 17 per cent this month.

Financial regulator shines light on P2P lending, crowdfunding (Stuff), Rated: A

Kiwis have nearly 17,000 loans through “peer-to-peer” lending platforms, but more than one in 12 borrowers were behind on repayments, according to the Financial Markets Authority.

There were 16,977 loans outstanding with P2P lenders at the end of June, it said, of which 1469 were in arrears. The average size of loans being taken out was $8771.

During the year, 833 loans with a total value of $8.5 million were written off.

Why banks and fin-techs need each other (NZ Herald), Rated: B

Chris Russell, HSBC New Zealand chief executive, said history was littered with banks who had spent large sums of money on developing new technology, only to find it had gone in another direction while it was working on it.

Globally Russell said HSBC was setting up innovation labs to work with financial technology firms and it was China and India where it saw the biggest sources of development.

In New Zealand it is also partnering with a local fin-tech, although Russell won’t name who yet.

India

The quick and safe way to build a credit score (livemint), Rated: A

If you are new in the workforce, you can start by getting a low-limit credit card from the bank where you have a salary account, said Sumit Bali, senior executive vice president and head-personal assets, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

Alternative credit scoring

While the RBI-regulated credit bureaus are currently not allowed to use alternative data for credit scoring; in other developed markets parameters like utility bill payments, insurance premium payments have been used for credit scoring (read more on it here.

However, financial institutions including top public and private sector banks and NBFCs in India, have started using alternative data in multiple verifications and validations across the credit value chain, Agarwal said.

Asia

Considering an ICO… then read this (The Star), Rated: AAA

The ICO euphoria is likely being fuelled by the fact that despite all the negative news surrounding ICOs and cryptocurrencies, the price of bitcoin has generally kept soaring, despite the many mini crashes it tends to suffer.

For sober markets like Malaysia and Singapore, the regulators’ stance is clear. They are not outlawing ICOs but making a simple statement: if fund-raising is your main objective, then please take note of existing securities laws, which have been built and refined over a very long time.

Malaysia should not become a hotbed for dodgy ICOs.

Asian regulators should focus on light touch for ICOs (Asian Review), Rated: A

China banned initial coin offerings in September as “a form of unapproved illegal public financing behavior.” South Korea followed suit a few weeks later. Regulators in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S. and other countries have also expressed concerns. What is it that has them so worried?

Africa

A Digital Transactions Takeover right under our nose – Cassava Fintech (Newsday), Rated: AAA

Cassava Fintech is a specialized Pan-African Fintech company that delivers innovative digital transaction solutions across the mobile ecosystem. Sounds fancy right? Not quite. Simply put Econet’s vision has expanded beyond Telecoms and our Zimbabwean borders. Econet’s premise sits within an inclusive connected future that leaves no African behind.

Fintech SMEs to drive 72% of bank innovation (The Star), Rated: A

Financial technology startups, commonly known as fintechs, will be responsible for 72 per cent of financial innovations in the next three years, a new industry report shows.

Financial technology startups, commonly known as fintechs, will be responsible for 72 per cent of financial innovations in the next three years, a new industry report shows.

81 per cent of financial institutions said they are currently partnering with start-ups or intend to in the next 12 months.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday May 4 2017, Daily News Digest

auto loan originations

News Comments Today’s main news: Banks pull back on car loans as used-auto prices plummet. Trump’s expected OCC pick, a banker, signals paradigm shift. Elevate Credit rated a buy. RateSetter rejigs relationships with former wholesale lending partners. China Rapid Ffinance raises $60M in IPO. Today’s main analysis: Goldman Sachs embraces banking’s bland side. Global money transfer. Today’s thought-provoking articles: German […]

auto loan originations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Banks Pull Back on Car Loans as Used-Auto Prices Plummet (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo & Co., one of the largest U.S. auto lenders, last month reported a 29% fall in its auto loan originations for the first quarter from a year earlier. The decline, the biggest for the San Francisco-based bank in at least five years, was part of a common refrain in quarterly announcements from lenders including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. , Ally Financial Inc. and Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc.

Bankers’ caution is increasingly showing up in car sales, which Tuesday came in worse than expected for April. The declines are mostly occurring in lending to riskier borrowers, in particular those with low credit scores, where lending had ramped up for years.

Some banks, including regionals Fifth Third Bancorp and  Citizens Financial Group Inc.,  are beginning to retreat from higher-quality “prime” auto loans as new risks emerge.

Some anticipated the market would cool off after record new car sales in 2015 and 2016. But banks are also posting higher losses on defaulted auto loans, hit by a mix of more borrowers falling behind on payments and the declining value of used cars.

When lenders repossess cars, they resell the vehicles and use the proceeds from the sale to recover as much of the unpaid balance as possible. Declining values mean that lenders are recouping a smaller share of those balances. Lenders who are repossessing cars tied to prime auto loans that were securitized in 2015 are recovering about 51% of the unpaid loan balances on average, down from 56% for 2014 loans and 65% for 2011 loans, according to S&P Global Ratings.

Car loans have been among the fastest-growing consumer lending categories since the last recession.

 

Mimecast Limited versus Yirendai Ltd. Head to Head Compare (CMLVIZ), Rated: AAA

We will compare the two companies on revenue growth, earnings, revenue per employee, operating margins, free cash flow and valuation.

  • Yirendai Ltd. has larger revenue in the last year than Mimecast Limited.
  • YRD is showing a profit while MIME has negative earnings over the last year.
  • YRD generates substantially larger revenue per employee ($344,000) than MIME ($202,000).

  • Both companies are growing revenue. Yirendai Ltd. is growing revenue massively faster than Mimecast Limited.
  • For every $1 in revenue, the stock market prices in $6.42 in market cap for MIME and $3.66 in market cap for YRD.

Goldman Sachs Embraces Banking’s Bland Side: Lending Money (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The firm has been opening its checkbook for the past several years to finance corporate takeovers, lend against mansions and art, and make personal loans for things such as kitchen remodels and fixing broken windshields.

It is exploring new credit businesses such as trade finance, equipment leasing and extending credit that consumers use for online purchases, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Loans outstanding across Goldman have doubled to $95 billion since 2011, filings show. Real-estate loans are up 10-fold. Business lending has tripled, while loans in its private-wealth division, secured by everything from stock portfolios to rare artwork, have quadrupled. Goldman doesn’t report revenues tied to lending, which remains a small part of its overall business.

 

Elevate Credit Inc (ELVT) Now Covered by William Blair (The Cerbat Gem), Rated: AAA

They set a “buy” rating and a $12.00 price objective for the company. Compass Point reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $9.00 price objective on shares of Elevate Credit in a report on Tuesday, April 18th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $11.00.

Shares of Elevate Credit (NASDAQ:ELVT) opened at 7.64 on Monday. Elevate Credit has a one year low of $7.00 and a one year high of $8.86. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $8.05 and its 200-day moving average is $8.05. The firm’s market capitalization is $99.33 million.

State Regulators Mount Counter-Offensive Seeking to Stop OCC’s Fintech Charter (Lexology), Rated: A

Clearly, CSBS is mounting a legal counter-offensive to the OCC’s attempt to license entities historically regulated by the states. While state and federal regulators currently are arguing as to who should control the regulatory sandbox, the true focus of regulatory concern should be on the development of innovative financial services, consistent with safe and sound operations, with viable and effective consumer protections. While, historically, payments companies and lenders have been regulated by the states, the OCC’s SPNB Charter has sparked a dialogue as to whether the current regulatory system for fintech operations is viable. Innovation of financial services may also require innovation of financial services regulation. Rather than trying to pigeon-hole financial services into traditional regulatory models, perhaps it is time for regulators, at both the federal and state level, to act in concert to develop a system of licensing, regulation, and enforcement for financial products and services that is efficient, not redundant, and minimizes the regulatory burden on financial institutions while it provides for the continued protection of consumers. Setting aside the merits of the pending suit, the right policy prescription will likely involve the federal and state governments working together to minimize the regulatory burden while appropriately protecting the safety and soundness of FinTechs and provide necessary consumer protection.

Trump’s Expected OCC Pick Signals Shift at Regulator That Could Ripple Through Financial Markets (WSJ), Rated: A

President Donald Trump’s expected move to replace the Comptroller of the Currency signals a change in direction at the bank regulator that could ripple through the financial markets, from private-equity buyouts to financial technology—and even municipal securities.

Comptroller Thomas Curry, whom people familiar with the matter say could be replaced as soon as this week, is a career regulator appointed by President Barack Obama. Mr. Curry used his office to tamp down on what he viewed as overly risky lending practices in the banking industry.

His expected replacement—Joseph Otting, a former chief executive of OneWest Bank—would be the first former banker to hold the comptroller’s job since the 1990s.

Wall Street Pushes Back on Mnuchin’s Idea of Ultralong Debt (WSJ), Rated: A

A committee of Wall Street advisers is pouring cold water on a proposal by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue superlong 50-year and 100-year U.S. government bonds, arguing that the big pension funds and insurers expected to buy the securities won’t have much interest.

The committee meets quarterly, in advance of a regular release by the Treasury on its plans for financing the U.S. debt. Currently, the U.S. Treasury issues no debt longer than 30 years. Mr. Mnuchin has argued that ultralong bonds could be a useful tool for locking in today’s low borrowing costs for a very long time. Last month, the Treasury requested the advisory committee analyze the viability of bonds longer than 30 years.

The 30-year bond strengthened Wednesday, after the advisory committee cast doubt on the idea 50- and 100-year bonds. The yield on the 30-year Treasury dropped to 2.963% from 2.982% on Tuesday, according to Tradeweb. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

A key question for the Treasury is what types of investors would buy ultralong bonds, especially if the members of its advisory committee aren’t interested. Relatively few individual investors have 100-year or even 50-year investing horizons.

Real Estate Crowdfunding to Take Center Stage at Crowd Invest Summit (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Crowd Invest Summit, the country’s largest crowdfunding investment conference, taking place on September 6 th and 7th at the Los Angeles Convention Center, has today announced that it will be expanding its focus on Real Estate crowdfunding.

Since the signing of the JOBS Act in 2012, Real Estate Investing has been the fastest growing segment of the new Crowdfunding Industry. According to Fundingtree.com, over $3 Billion Dollars has been raised so far.

Crowd Invest Summit is the largest investment focused crowdfunding event in the country. It was founded by pioneers in the equity crowdfunding sector Josef Holm and Alon Goren. The conference was developed with the vision that every American – whether accredited or not – can now become equity investors.

Nav raises $ 13 million to help small businesses with credit scores (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs is leading a $13 million investment in Nav, a startup that helps small businesses with financial advice and credit scores. Billionaire Steven Cohen’s Point72 Ventures is also investing, along with Clocktower Ventures and the CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund.

This follows $25 million that was invested in the company last year, and is considered part of the same Series B round, bringing the total to $38 million.

Characterizing Nav as a Credit Karma for small businesses, King believes his startup will “materially decrease the death rate of small businesses in the U.S.” They currently have over 200,000 customers, most of whom don’t pay anything for their credit score, but can opt to pay about $20 per month for added financial advice.

Data Suggests That Venmo Is Winning Mobile Payments (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

  • 68% of mobile payments users are using Venmo most often.
  • Venmo processed $6.8B in mobile payments in Q1.
  • Rapid smartphone adoption, alongside a large unbanked population, makes the theme of mobile payments an attractive investment.

In the days leading up to the quarter, a new survey of 2,170 Millennials found that Venmo is leading the category. The researchers asked the following question: “Which of the following mobile payment apps do you use most often?”

Researchers found that 44% of respondents answered “Venmo”, 1% of respondents answered “Square Cash”, 14% of respondents answered “My bank’s mobile payment app”,and 4% of respondents answered “Other”. However surprisingly, 35% of respondents answered “I don’t use a mobile payment app”.

Colorado versus Fintech (OLPI), Rated: A

On February 15, 2017,  the Administrator of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code for the State of Colorado (“Colorado”) sued Avant and Best Egg (in separate actions), claiming in both actions that they violated Colorado’s usury rate and entered into loan agreements containing a governing law provision other than Colorado.

Shortly after, WebBank and Cross River separately sued Colorado seeking Declaratory Judgement and Injunctive Relief.

On April 25, 2017, Colorado filed a Motion to Dismiss both Complaints for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief.

Colorado initially argues that WebBank’s action for declaratory judgement should be dismissed based on the well-pleaded complaint rule. There seems to be two issues with this position: (1) WebBank was purposely left out of Colorado’s initial complaint (although this theory might apply if Avant brought the federal action for declaratory judgment), and (2) diversity jurisdiction does apply as to Avant and WebBank vis-a-vis Colorado.

Second, Colorado argues that WebBank’s action should be dismissed because WebBank’s injury is too attenuated. Colorado does not directly address WebBank’s contention that the suit challenges WebBank’s overall business model.

Finally, Colorado argues that “interest exportation does not preempt the application of state usury laws to non-banks as a matter of law.”   Colorado seems to acknowledge WebBank’s right to preempt Colorado’s usury rate based on DIDA (the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 – extending the National Bank Act’s preemption to FDIC-insured state banks).  Colorado argues that WebBank is trying to assign its preemption to Avant – that Avant is the lender.

Colorado also argues that the valid when made doctrine is not applicable because “there is no ‘subsequent usurious transaction’ between WebBank and Avant that is alleged to invalidate a consumer’s loan obligation.  Instead, Avant merely purchased the subject consumer loans from WebBank.”  This is a difficult argument to follow.  Colorado sued Avant claiming that Avant loans are usurious and Avant, and not WebBank, is the true lender.  Colorado points out that Avant buys the loans from WeBank within two business days of the loans being made.  Relying on Midland in the Avant action, Colorado states that Avant cannot “enforce a bank’s federal interest rate exportation rights when they purchase loans from banks (or purchase loan receivables) because banks cannot validly assign such rights to non-banks.”   It seems to imply that Colorado is not saying the loans are invalid (due to Avant having a Supervised Lender’s License), but rather the loans just need to be limited to the Colorado usury rate –yet, as noted, the argument is difficult to follow.

What fintech is going to do to banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

  • Fintech is ultimately about taking away frictions.
  • I guessed that there was a 25 or 30 per cent chance that 10 years from now, there was about a 25 per cent chance that there would be a fintech company with the kind of $250bn market cap that some big American banks have. I do not expect that in the foreseeable future fintech will have the kind of existential impact on banks that Netflix has had on Blockbuster. But I do think in some areas fintech companies are likely to have the kind of effect Skype has had on the big telephone companies — forcing drastic reductions in pricing and profit margins on some key products.
  • I was quite serene about the impact of fintech on financial stability.
  • By providing for faster settlements, more transparency, and diversification, fintech is likely to have as many stabilising as destabilising effects.
  • If the large banks of today are not as large five or 10 years from now, I think it is more likely to be because of bad lending, heavy regulation or market pressures to break up because the whole is valued less than the sum of the parts than because of disruption from fintech. I say this because much of what fintech does depends on the banking system and because I doubt that over this horizon banks can be completely disrupted.

FinTech Funding in New York Declines (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

In the report from data provider CB Insights, The Global FinTech Report: Q1 ’17, it found that during the first three months of the year, fintech funding to venture capital-backed New York companies dropped by 35 percent on a quarterly basis. However, while financial technology deals in the state rose by 26 percent from Q4 ’16, it registered a 33 percent drop below the same quarter last year.

During the first three months there were three New York City companies – Namely, Trumid, and Payfone – who were among the top ten U.S. financial technology backed deals.

Namely raised $50 million in Series D funding from Altimeter Capital, Scale Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Four Rivers Group, Matrix Partners, and Greenspring Associates.

Trumid raised $27.6 million in Series D funding from Thiel Capital, and Payfone raised $23.5 million in Series E funding from BlueCross Blue Shield and Andrew Prozes.

First Associates Implements AI to Enhance Customer Satisfaction and Boost Portfolio Performance (PRWeb), Rated: A

First Associates has announced today that it has implemented A.I. enabled speech analytics as part of its third-party loan and lease servicing. The speech analytics platform facilitates higher quality customer interactions while ensuring compliance with financial industry regulations.

Using speech analytics, First Associates monitors, scores and provides agent feedback on 100% of voice interactions with consumers using data-driven benchmarking. Traditional loan servicing management techniques call for a 1% sample size of voice interactions using human quality assurance agents to assess quality and effectiveness. The company has already seen significant improvements across quality and performance metrics from the implementation.

Adams Business Credit Rebrands as Context Business Lending (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Adams Business Credit, a national asset-based lender, will rebrand as Context Business Lending, bringing the firm in unison with the family of businesses and affiliates under Context Capital Partners, an alternative investment firm. The newly named Context Business Lending will continue to focus on providing flexible working capital solutions for businesses that do not qualify for traditional bank financing.

Context Business Lending typically provides loans of up to $15 million for lower middle-market businesses that may be experiencing some type of challenge, which may include: rapid growth; seasonal fluctuations; supply chain and vendor pressure; operating losses/negative net worth; turnaround and restructuring; merger or acquisition and debtor-in-possession financing. The firm is sector agnostic and works with businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, wholesaling and service sectors.

‘Hybrid’ Approach To Robo Investing Models a Winner (Insurance News Net), Rated: A

Investors who rely on “robo-only” investment models are making a big mistake, financial advisor tells InsuranceNews.Net.

McElwee provides three specific reasons why that’s the case:

  • Robo advice assumes that the past is destined to repeat itself.
  • People make bad financial decisions when they are under financial stress.
  • Questions, questions, questions. Robo advisors build financial profiles of clients based on a set of questions designed to reveal how a client thinks about risk, return, and financial planning.

MoneyLion Shortlisted for Top Industry Award (MoneyLion Email), Rated: B

 May 11th.

Usage of MoneyLion’s app nearly quadrupled in the second half of 2016, allowing them to track $12bn in transactions from more than one million users. To date, users have saved over $5 million in rate reductions through MoneyLion.

De Rito Partners Chooses RealtyShares for Acquisition of Shops at Fry’s Marketplace Shopping Center (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has just announced an $800,000 commercial equity investment in Mesa, Arizona, funded through the company’s network of accredited investors. The deal is sponsored by De Rito Partners, one of Arizona’s largest retail investment and brokerage firms.

De Rito Partners acquired the property in 2016, and is seeking to capitalize on a temporary tenant turnover in a formerly fully-leased retail property. The firm intends to use the funds raised through RealtyShares to invest in tenant improvements and implement a leasing strategy to achieve market-level rents.

The property is shadow-anchored by a Fry’s Marketplace, one of the largest grocers by sales in the Phoenix metropolitan area according to Chain Stores Guide. The shopping center is comprised of more than 20,000 square feet of rentable retail space, and is currently leased to tenants including Starbucks, H&R Block and Subway. It is located at the intersection of two major thoroughfares, four miles from downtown Mesa.

De Rito Partners owns 20 properties, manages approximately 1.9 million square feet of retail space, represents 180 shopping centers in a leasing agency capacity, and is currently developing a Fry’s Marketplace-anchored shopping center and a strip center located in Chandler, AZ.

Download a complimentary copy – ALTERNATIVE CREDIT GUIDEBOOK (NN Investment Partners), Rated: B

United Kingdom

RateSetter rejigs relationships with former wholesale lending partners (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The acquired motor finance companies are Vehicle Stocking Limited and Vehicle Credit Limited. Both firms were acquired out of their parent company’s administration, and both have previously received wholesale funding from RateSetter. RateSetter will now lend directly to these companies’ customers.

The size of these two motor finance firms’ combined loanbooks is roughly £30m. These portfolios are said to be “performing well”, and we’re told they would have continued to be serviced had RateSetter not stepped in.

Another of RateSetter’s former wholesale lending partners is George Banco, a guarantor lender with a representative APR of 49.7 per cent. RateSetter has now taken an equity stake in the company, and will lend directly to its 10,000 customers.

Lendy: 2017 is the Year that P2P Lending Finally Matures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Lendy, a UK based peer to peer lending platform in the secured property sector, believes 2017 is the year for P2P lending to finally mature. Management says that P2P will shift from alternative finance to “main challenger to the traditional banks.”  But to accomplish this goal, P2P lending platforms must build upon best practices and operate more like mainstream lenders while providing rigorous due diligence and superlative service.

Lendy advocates on four key steps in providing a better service than traditional financial firms:

  • Initial due diligence – carry out an extensive ‘know your customer’ (“KYC”) process when they first source a loan.
  • Legal panel – after the loan has passed the first stage it is then reviewed by a legal panel. Solicitors ensure that a legal charge is properly made against each security property, and that each of the security properties has good title.
  • Valuation – use a highly rated independent firm to value security properties.
  • Credit checks – put each lending proposition under extensive scrutiny to determine its viability.

Robots and responsibility (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Robo-advice has become a widely-known concept in the financial advice community over the past 12 months, as more and more firms launch their own proposition.

In addition, it is important to have someone understanding the algorithm from the client experience, and for advisers to grasp the inputs into the algorithms.

One of the areas that needs to be tackled, according to Mr Strachan, is the grey area between fully automated guidance and full-on advice.

The report, The Next Frontier: The Future of Automated Financial Advice, outlines the amount people will be prepared to pay for the use of a robo-adviser. By the far the largest cohort said they would be prepared to pay £125, with popularity rapidly declining the more the price goes up.

Automated advice on investing £11,000 charged at £225 only received support from 16 per cent of people, while a £360 fee saw support from 6 per cent.

Fintech startup Curve names Callum McCaig as its first PR hire (Gorkana), Rated: A

London fintech startup Curve has made its first PR and comms hire with the appointment of Burson-Marsteller’s Callum McCaig, as the business prepares to scale out of ‘beta’ and launch its digital banking platform to the mass market. 

Curve has raised £3m in seed funding from investors, including Seedcamp and the founders of Transferwise, Betfair, Azimo and Google Wallet, and plans to announce a Series A funding round later this year.

MarketInvoice joins UK FinTech Financial Crime Exchange (Finextra), Rated: B

MarketInvoice, the world’s largest peer-to-peer online invoice finance marketplace, has joined the UK FinTech Financial Crime Exchange (FFE), a joint initiative by think tank RUSI and risk consultancy FINTRAIL, launched today.

The FFE brings together FinTech firms who have agreed to collaborate, by sharing best practice and pooling information on financial crime typologies to protect their customers and strengthen their sector’s ability to detect and counter the global threat of financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption, tax evasion and market manipulation.

The UK FinTech sector is at the forefront of the global FinTech revolution, contributing £7b to the UK economy.

European Union

German Crowdfunding Association Urges Regulator Not to Exclude Real Estate from Crowdfunding Regulation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Invited to defend their views vis-à-vis the financial commission of the parliament, representatives of the German Crowdfunding Association have challenged the government’s position and presented substantial counterarguments.

As a reminder: crowdfunding regulation at European Union (EU) level was so far deemed “premature” by EU authorities and is therefore not included in the Capital Markets Union, the EU’s effort to harmonize capital market regulations at EU level. Hence, each EU country currently issues its own regulation which creates a legal patchwork and hinders cross border deals.

The German government’s report firstly notes that German real estate projects represent 10% of the successful projects and 33% of the capital raised through crowdinvesting, that is €36 million. Projects are typically residential property development, mostly construction, the reminder being renovations. German real estate crowdinvesting nearly doubled in size last year while the growth of startup crowdfunding slumped.

The government finds this trend negative. It justifies its proposal to exclude real estate from the scope of the crowdfunding exemptions as follows:

  • The large share of real estate in crowdinvesting represents a deviation from the intention of the legislator which was to foster the funding of high-growth startups.
  • There is no lack of funding for real estate projects. Social real estate, for example, can be funded through schemes that are specific to social housing. 
  • Real estate crowdinvesting could be considered as a form of deregulation of real estate finance which could, bearing in mind the role played by real estate in the 2008 financial crisis, create a price bubble, and ultimately pose a threat to financial stability.

The Crowdfunding Association and crowdinvesting platform leaders found many of the government’s arguments “incomprehensible” and offered point-by-point rebuttals:

  • Crowdfunding counters price bubbles and real estate overheating. The current real estate market boom is in no way due to crowdfunding, which is much too small to influence market prices, but rather to macroeconomic factors such as the currently low interest rates.
  • Crowdfunding helps finance real estate SMEs and innovative entrepreneurs. There is no sensible criterion for distinguishing real estate financing from other types of business financing.
  • The risk of subordinated debt instruments is not specific to real estate. It would therefore be more appropriate to open crowdinvesting to all securities, including profit sharing securities, rather than to exclude real estate from crowdinvesting.

Currently, the German crowdfunding market is disproportionately small. It is surpassed on the Continent by the French market (28% smaller GDP) and dwarfed by the UK market (15% smaller GDP).

This guy is quickly but quietly building Sweden’s next fintech giant – already operating in 65 markets (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Johan Tjärnberg is quietly building a fintech business that may prove as successful as Klarna. During 2016, his payments company, Bambora, grew 20% to revenues of SEK 2 billion.

Bambora is a platform that aggregates hundreds of payments services, and it’s currently available in 65 markets. Bambora’s clients can even choose to use Klarna as their payment service.

During 2017 the business will expand to North America, where the number of merchants using the service will increase by 10,000 over the year. That will boost the sales of the group by 30% to EUR 260 million, Johan Tjärnberg said to Bloomberg News.

Currently, the company has about 100,000 clients, of which 30,000 are located in the US and Canada.

Can a Public-sector Organization Become a Fintech Disruptor? (ValueWalk), Rated: A

In 2010, Klaus Regling, the head of the euro-area rescue fund for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), asked me to join the board. I agreed, and said that I wanted to build the Google of the public sector. He looked at me and asked: “Why Google? We can be better than that.” And of course, he was right.

The ESM provides financial assistance to Eurozone countries that have lost market access. It was set up at the height of the euro crisis. Without the ESM, countries such as Greece would have defaulted, and the euro would have broken up. The ESM is the institution that kept the euro together during the crisis. Our total lending capacity is $742 billion. We have provided assistance to five countries: Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. In all, we have provided $281 billion in loans, which is three times as much as the IMF over the same period of time.

Here is how we are planning to move forward to build a modern public institution.

Digital at Heart

First of all, we wanted a lean model, and so we kept only the strategic functions in-house, like funding, economics and investments. We outsourced support functions and non-strategic functions as much as we could. We were the first financial institution worldwide to use a fully cloud-based trading system.

Secondly, we wanted to leverage new technology where possible.

Finally, our workforce of tomorrow, made up of millennials, is the first in our field to consist almost entirely of technology natives.

A Public Sector-driven Fintech solution

Europe has launched the capital markets union, an ambitious effort to harmonize corporate, tax, and bankruptcy laws across the countries of Europe. The differences between these laws are vast because of centuries of history in the 28 members of the European Union. Now we hope to make the laws more similar, because it would create a truly pan-European financial market. For example, the union would break down borders for private equity investment and venture capital, and open up an alternative channel of funding for small- and mid-sized enterprises. Thus, it would reduce Europe’s heavy reliance on bank lending.

The ECB idea is about the centralization of settlement and payment processes for securities. This is a very important initiative, and one that could be complemented by a similar initiative for the primary issuance of securities. It is worth considering a European public sector issuance platform to help distribute debt more efficiently: a fintech solution, driven by the public sector.

One could even think of using new technologies, such as blockchain, to set up the new issuance platform.

International

P2P MONEY TRANSFERS TO DRIVE DIGITAL PAYMENT GROWTH AS MARKET APPROACHES $ 3.9 TRILLION IN 2017 (Juniper Research), Rated: AAA

A new study by Juniper Research has found the value of digital payments will approach $3.9 trillion this year, representing an increase of more than 14% on last year’s total. While the bulk of transaction value (55%) will be accounted for by online retail purchases for physical goods, P2P (Person to Person) money transfers will see the largest year-on-year net increase in value ($200 million).

The new research – Digital Payment Strategies: Online, Mobile & Contactless 2017-2021 – argued that the US would see particularly strong growth, with the bank-backed Zelle Network expected to build on its successful debut in 2016 as additional banks come on board.

The research also emphasised that the demonetisation policies employed by India’s government had encouraged a surge in mobile wallet adoption and, with it, sharp increases in both P2P and mobile retail transactions.

Global Money Transfer (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Download this must-read report here.

Australia

CFA considers AI, robo-advice in exams (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

The CFA Institute believes artificial intelligence, fintech and robo-advice will have the greatest impact on the financial services industry – to the extent it is considering including such topics in its examinations.

An overwhelming majority (70%) of CFA members globally who took part in a study said affluent investors will be positively affected by automated financial advice tools in the form of reduced costs, improved access to advice product choices.

Respondents (46%) however, were concerned about automated financial advice algorithms being the biggest risk emanating from robo-advice, followed by mis-selling (30%) and data protection concerns (12%).

China

VC-backed China Rapid Finance raises $ 60m in US IPO (AVCJ), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance (CRF), a VC-backed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, is trading up 32% on its IPO price following an offering on the New York Stock Exchange that raised $60 million.

The stock closed on May 2 at $7.90, giving the entire company a market capitalization of around $448 million.

India

P2P funding platforms or traditional banking systems (India Info Online), Rated: AAA

India’s P2P Lending sector is poised to grow at a rapid pace thanks to favourable demographics, rising computer literacy, internet connectivity and the ongoing wave of digitalisation among others. With the higher economic growth, the credit-backed consumption growth may jump too.These could be the possible triggers for the growth of P2P Lending Industry.

There is no official assessment suggesting the size of the market in India. But it is estimated to be around Rs 200 Cr. The P2P lending industry may grow 25 to 30 times over next 5-6 years. Talking about the interest rate, the yield on 10-Year Sovereign benchmark bond hovers in the range of 6.45% to 6.95%.

However, it is also important to note that the P2P Lending sector is unregulated.

On the other hand, in P2P lending projects, investors can earn in the range of 14% p.a. to 30% p.a. on a reducing balance method. In P2P Lending, interest rates are decided depending upon the creditworthiness of borrowers.

Asia

5 Korean Fintech Startups to Watch in 2017 (Seoul Space), Rated: AAA

Blocko is a blockchain technology startup that developed the platform called CoinStack v3.0 and was able to raise $1.3 million in their series A funding led by Samsung Venture Investment Corporation.

Korean fintech startup company Honest Fund is a P2P crowdfunding company that raised over $6 million in funding led by KB Investments, Shinhan Capital, Hanwha Investment, and others.  It is a peer to peer personal loan lending service that connects borrowers and lenders directly without the need of banks.  These funds will not impact the borrower’s credit rating and will charge between 5% to 15%with the average being 9%.  They offer a different personal credit review model compared to the banks that only look at a person’s credit rating.

PeopleFund is the first Peer-to-Peer lending platform through a Bank in Korea focused on unsecured personal loans.  In 2015 alone PeopleFund has processed over $13 million in loans.

8 percent is a P2P lending company that raised over $13 million.  Their APR is set at 8 percent which is why the company is called 8 percent.  Established in late 2014 this P2P lending company has become the pioneer in this industry.  8 percent reviews an application and based on credit score and other measures.  It is cheaper for clients to use 8 percent than a bank and therefore 8 percent has been able to grow every month.  Loans for startup employees and a bridge for big companies have been their new model in 2016.  They made news in 2016 for getting funding of $10 million from KG Inicis, one of the leading payment gateway companies in Korea.  Bringing together investors and creditworthy borrowers are what 8 percent brings to the table.

Viva Republica runs a money transferring service called TOSS which raised over $48 million in funding from Altos Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Paypal, and KTB Network. They are known for Toss, which is a financial services platform that makes payment system easier by only asking users for 1 password to go along with three easy steps.  The max they can transfer per transaction is $430 which makes everyday payments easy.  Now they have over 6 million registered users in Korea and Toss has already processed over $3 billion in transactions. Toss now does credit scoring as well as micro-loans and is looking into cross-border money transfers and loan brokerages.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 2 2017, Daily News Digest

Morningstar average credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: CFPB sues 4 online Indian-tribe lenders. Sharestates launches real estate lending white label solution. China Rapid Finance announces IPO pricing. Yirendai files Form 20-F. Today’s main analysis: Corporate credit tightens amid sluggish Q1 growth. Avant’s first 2017 ABS. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Europe on pace to set new record for fintech deals. United States CFPB […]

Morningstar average credit spreads

News Comments

United States

  • CFPB sues four online lenders operated by Indian tribe. GP:”In general India-tribe lenders attract more lawsuits. It is unclear if it is because they tend to be sloppier on compliance or lenders who are more aggressive on terms tend to partner with Indian-tribes because no bank will partner with them. In all cases being associated with an Indian-tribe seems to bear stigmata at least recently.”AT: “The CFPB is attempting to do what it was set up to do, but with attacks coming from state regulators, who knows how long it will be able to continue to do so?”
  • Corporate credits spread amid Q1 economic growth sluggishness. GP:”An interesting data point in the overall economic cycle.”
  • Avant’s first 2017 ABS. GP:”A good test of market perception of the Avant underwriting and product quality. Securitization has seen favorable investor demand. Avant retained 5% of the deal per Dodd-Frank. “
  • Sharestates launches white label solution for real estate private lenders. GP:”A sign that the market is maturing. Also a sign that cost of customer acquisition is growing as real estate crowdfunding companies get into technology sales / white labels entrusting 3rd parties to finding customers and letting them focus on the platform.”AT: “This is brilliant, and I’m not just saying that because I write for this company. Real estate is inherently local. By establishing a white label solution for real estate private lenders, Sharestates could position itself as the leader in RECF for many years to come. As far as I know, this is the first white label solution specifically for the real estate lending market. If the solution is any good, they should get a lot of participation.”
  • Colorado moves to dismiss suits. GP:”A very standard move in any lawsuit. It is unlikely to suceed.”AT: “These are interesting arguments, but I don’t see it happening. There is too much at stake to allow states to railroad online lenders and relegate them to second-class status. There needs to be a real discussion about which level of government has the power to regulate and legislate online lending.”
  • Fundrise files new Reg A+ for Income eREIT. GP:”We haven’t seen many Reg A+ fund raises in our space. I do think it is a very interesting tool for early stage companies. “AT: “This should have been expected. Selling out of shares as quickly as they did on the first round, I wonder why they didn’t file a second Reg A+ sooner.”
  • Thrive to power small biz lending for Horizon Community Bank. AT: “Perhaps we’ll see a wave of community banks getting in on the online lending act.”
  • Online lending has reached a tipping point. GP:”I think they actually mean it has reached maturity.” AT: “GDR’s Charlie Moore lays good groundwork for his argument. He makes some great points.”
  • Lendio announces annual list of top 10 best states for small business lending. GP:”There is very little transparency and public data in the SME lending space (unlike in personal lending thanks to Lending Club for example). This data is a step in the good direction. We hope more will be made available.”AT: “This is based on their own data, so it’s not objective. Interesting nonetheless.”
  • The future of finance. AT: “What’s interesting about this is the unchanging talking points from SoFi’s Mike Cagney about how banks should adopt technology, and how it would affect their businesses if they did. Short story: They could lay off more employees and cut business expenses.”
  • How Goldman Sachs is trying to erase debt stigma. GP:””
  • Leverage digital tech to forge relationships with your clients’ children. AT: “For financial advisors.”
  • Justices affirm cities’ right to sue banks under housing law.
  • SoFi personal loans review. GP:”A good summary of SoFi’s approach, which has pushed them where they are today. Most notably: no origination fee. SoFi is probably the only major online lender that has no origination fee. Avant started without an origination fee and lately had to introduce one for profitability. “
  • Celent’s corporate banking appoints Alenka Grealish as senior analyst.

United Kingdom

  • TransferWise to set up office in Singapore. GP:”Singapore is a good compromise between pro-business environment, trained workforce with good skills and price. Hong Kong is extremely expensive. Mainland China is not a good base to do business outside China. However, in the past, I found that for South East Asia a good cost/quality/location compromie was Jakarta.”AT: “I can’t think of a better place to set up office if you want to tackle the Asian markets.”

European Union

Australia

China

India

News Summary

United States

CFPB Sues Four Online Lenders Operated by a California Indian Tribe (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has sued four online lenders for collecting debt from consumers they allegedly did not owe. The four lenders include: Golden Valley Lending, Inc., Silver Cloud Financial, Inc., Mountain Summit Financial, Inc., and Majestic Lake Financial, Inc.

The CFPB alleges that the lenders made deceptive demands and illegally took money from consumer bank accounts for debts that consumers did not legally owe. The CFPB filed to stop the practices, recoup relief for impacted consumers, and asses a penalty on the aforementioned lenders. Each of the four lenders operate out of a single address in Upper Lake, California and is owned and incorporated by the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Indian Tribe (Habematolel Pomo Tribe or the Tribe), a federally recognized Indian tribe.

The CFPB states that since at least 2012, Golden Valley Lending and Silver Cloud Financial have offered online loans of between $300 and $1,200 with annual interest rates ranging from 440 percent up to 950 percent.

Read the actual complaint here.

Economic growth for the first quarter of 2017 slowed to a 0.7% annualized rate compared with a 2.1% rate in the fourth quarter of 2016. This represents the slowest rate of economic expansion over the past three years.

On a positive note, business investment picked up rapidly.

The average corporate credit spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 2 basis points over the course of last week to +121. In the high-yield market, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 22 basis points to end the week at +375. In the equity markets last week, the Nasdaq index broke through 6000 to new highs and the S&P 500 rose 1.5%.

As an indication of how tight corporate credit spreads have become compared with their historical averages, since the beginning of 2000, the average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index has registered below the current level only 26% of the time. The preponderance of the time that the index was at a level tighter than the current credit spread occurred during the buildup to the 2008-09 credit crisis. In 2004-07, corporate credit spreads were pushed to historically tight levels as new structured investment vehicles were engineered to arbitrage the differentials in expected default risk. But once the credit crisis emerged, investors found that many of these vehicles did not perform as advertised.

Avant’s First 2017 ABS (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

We see a bifurcation in credit performance trends between mass affluent credit card issuers, and issuers focused on mass market credit segments. Synchrony, the largest store credit card issuer, shares dropped 16% on Friday due to a 45% increase in its loan loss provision. Capital One and Discover also increased their provision by 33% and 14% respectively. By contrast, the credit card master trusts of large card issuers (AXP, BAC, JPM) exhibit delinquencies that are near all-time lows (as analyzed in prior PeerIQ newsletter) due to their focus on higher credit quality relationship customers.

On Friday, bond investors welcomed the first Avant ABS deal of the year. AVNT 2017-A was upsized to $247.8 Mn collateral and received significant interest from broader credit investors.

Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-A (AVNT 2017-A)

Avant priced its first unsecured subprime consumer deal of 2017 on April 26th (AVNT 2017-A), its fourth rated securitization. The transaction was upsized from $192.6 Mn to $218.9 Mn due to favorable investor demand. The deal was led by JP Morgan who also structured the transaction, as well as Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley. Avant retained 5% of the deal, consistent with risk retention requirements of Dodd-Frank Act.

Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg, Kroll Rating

Strong Alignment of Interests

Avant’s business operating model allows for several important components that strengthen alignment of interests between Avant and institutional investors. According to Kroll Rating’s pre-sale report, as of March 31st Avant retained approximately $2.5 Bn (65%) of the $3.8 Bn in loans originated through the Avant Platform. For this transaction, Avant contributed 95% of the loans in the collateral pool.

Further, on the deal Closing Date, Avant or its majority-owned affiliate acquires and retains at least 5% of the fair value of total capital structure by Regulation Risk Retention.

Loss Assumptions

Kroll increased the weighted average cumulative net loss (CNL) rate when rating AVNT 2017-A. For loans with 36 months or less terms, the CNL was increased from 13.86% in AVNT 2016-C to 18.39% in AVNT 2017-A (“Run-off Portion”). Further, Kroll assumed 16.55% for the representative portion in its pre-sale report, suggesting an upward shift in loss assumptions for AVNT loan product.

Pricing Tighter

We observe a parallel shift in the credit curve: the A tranche was 100 basis points tighter and the B tranche was 185 basis points tighter than the corresponding tranches in AVNT 2016-C. The C tranche was priced at 450 basis points.  The C tranche (BB-rated) was fourteen times over-subscribed, reflecting credit investors’ “risk-on” mentality.

Source: PeerIQ

Trigger Talk

The exhibit conveys that trigger profiles can be very different even for similar collateral from the same shelf. AVNT 2017-A shows a much higher starting CNL profile (MOB=1) than AVNT 2016-B, starting at 1% and peaking at 25%. Although the changes in the underwriting standard is obvious, the loss trigger profile is slightly steeper, reflecting more up-front loss timing for AVNT 2017-A as compared to older deals, such as AVNT 2016-B.

Source: PeerIQ

Sharestates Launches White Label Lending Solution for Real Estate Private Lenders: Shareline Solution (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Sharestates, an online real estate investment marketplace, has announced the launch of a new financing capability; Shareline Solution. The new service is a hybrid between lending and brokering a loan. Private lenders will have access to Sharestates lending capabilities to directly serve their clients all under their own brand. The new lending service is described as a white label, correspondent lending program that empowers private lenders to quickly launch a robust real estate crowdfunding and lending marketplace.

With this solution, Sharestates explains it will tap into more geographical regions by working directly with local, private lenders through strategic partnerships.

Colorado Moves to Dismiss Suits (Orrick), Rated: A

As we noted in a recent Alert, WebBank and Cross River Bank filed separate federal civil actions to enjoin the Administrator of Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code from enforcing state lending laws against Avant, Inc. and Marlette Funding LLC, online lending platforms that facilitate and service loans originated by the two Banks. The Banks assert that Colorado’s lending laws are preempted by federal banking statutes. On April 25, the Administrator moved to dismiss the Banks’ actions on several grounds.

First, the Administrator contends that the lawsuits do not present a federal question and thus fail to establish subject-matter jurisdiction.

Second, the Administrator argues that the Banks lack standing because their alleged injuries—including loss of revenue from the assignment or sale of their loans—are either inadequately pled or insufficiently related to the enforcement proceedings against Avant and Marlette.

Third, the Administrator argued that if the State’s enforcement actions against Avant and Marlette (which were removed to federal court) are remanded to state court, then the federal court should either dismiss or stay the action brought by WebBank and Cross River Bank’s cases based on the Younger abstention doctrine (which establishes rules against federal courts from interfering with ongoing state court or administrative proceedings).

Fourth, and perhaps most significantly, the Administrator asserts that the Banks’ preemption arguments fail as a matter of law because federal banking statutes—particularly the National Bank Act (“NBA”), 12 U.S.C. § 85, and the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (“DIDMCA”), 12 U.S.C. § 1831d—do not preempt the application of state lending laws to nonbank entities.

Fundrise Files New Reg A+ for Income eREIT (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fundrise, an online marketplace for investing in real estate, has filed a Reg A+ offer with the SEC to sell additional shares in their Income eREIT. This will be the second round for the Fundrise Income eREIT. The first round sold out raising the maximum amount allowable of $50 million. Fundrise is offering up to $41,189,280 in common shares which represents the value of shares available to be offered as of the date of the offering circular out of the rolling 12-month maximum offering amount of $50 million in the eREIT shares.

Thrive Platform to Power Small Business Lending for Horizon Community Bank (Thrive Email), Rated: A

Thrive Inc. (Thrive) is pleased to announce a multi-year technology licensing agreement with Horizon Community Bank (HCB), a leading Arizona-based FDIC insured bank and subsidiary of Horizon Bancorp, Inc.

Thrive’s proprietary cloud-based lending technology will power the complete, end-to-end small business lending process for HCB encompassing:

  • Digital applications, automated credit / financial analysis and background/verification checks, loan offers and declines, e-closings, integrated servicing, borrower interface and real-time risk management capabilities
  • Operationally, HCB will benefit significantly from improved loan processing efficiencies and reduced origination costs:
    • Loan processing time is expected to be reduced from weeks to days
    • Cost reductions of greater than 40% are expected for each loan application cycle
  • HCB will benefit extensively from new digital customer acquisition channels, while user experiences for existing and new customers will be modernized and improved

Online lending has reached a tipping point (Business Insider), Rated: A

Online lenders have been facing an uphill battle recently as investors question whether they are truly getting the loan transparency they need to confidently invest in this young industry. Investors, credit providers and ratings agencies are worried about loan data integrity as well as collateral and ownership rights behind the loans.

Phase One: Concept – The Early Days (2006-2010)

The concept of partner banks – like WebBank and Cross River – issuing loans on behalf of these platforms, quickly became an established model. These banks helped ensure the borrower regulations were met, including state licenses among others. Consumers are well protected and borrower fraud is tightly managed.

But in 2008, regulators took notice of this rapidly expanding market, and the SEC issued a statement requiring lending platforms to register and report loan financials to the Commission to protect investors. With this change, the SEC highlighted the need to treat fractional loans as securities that need to be reported.

Phase Two: Institutional Entry – Enter the Big Dogs (2011-2015)

In 2011, the landscape changed for online lenders with institutional investors, in search of yield in a near-zero interest rate environment, tossing their hats in the ring to enter this emerging industry. A $5 million investment from an anonymous institutional investor into LendingClub marked the first infusion of institutional investor capital into the online lending space.

And that was only the beginning as institutional investment continued to flow into the market, primarily from specialist hedge funds, often with lines of credit from well-known large investment banks. At this point, the industry evolved its name from Peer to Peer to Marketplace Lending and ultimately Online Lending to reflect the fact that large institutions were now funding a large portion of the loans.

Also in 2013, securitization changed the face of online lending, providing lending platforms more scalable access to capital to fund the needs of new lenders. Eaglewood Capital closed on a $53 million unrated securitization deal for loans originated by LendingClub, making it the very first securitization deal in the space.

Analytics and secondary markets began to emerge in 2015, with companies like PeerIQ, dv01 and Monja providing analytics and reporting tools to help investors better track their online lending investments. Secondary markets for these loans kicked off this same year, with the launch of both Orchard and Ldger, aiming to provide additional liquidity options for investors in the space.

Later in 2015, the first partnership between a bank and lender was forged with JP Morgan and On Deck leading the charge.

Phase Three: Maturity & Scale – The Future is Clear (and transparent!) (2016 – …)

And now we arrive at the present – a tipping point where the fate of the industry lies squarely in its ability to adopt effective risk control infrastructure for investors to bring certainty to this asset class and therefore attract new capital.

A modern fintech lending model has been using a thirty-year-old due diligence methodology, comparing loan tapes with loan agreements, both provided by the seller. It goes without saying that this method is far from modern or efficient, with no independent validation of data integrity against trusted data sources.

Today, transparency is being redefined. Online lending has undoubtedly provided greater loan data and performance reporting than investors are used to. However, loan transparency from the seller without independent data certainty has been proven dangerous.

A vital part of this infrastructure is for the industry to adopt a central loan information clearing house that focuses on ownership rights and asset certainty for each loan as well as serving as a collateral pledge registry to prevent the double pledging of assets. Increased asset certainty is helping to protect and attract capital from new larger, more risk averse investor segments. With the infrastructure changes we’re seeing emerge in the industry today, including the potential of Blockchain technology, this goal of new capital sources is closer to reality for online lenders than ever.

Lendio Announces Annual List of Top 10 Best States for Small Business Lending (PRWeb), Rated: A

In honor of National Small Business Week, Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced its second annual list of top 10 states for small business lending, based on lending data from the Lendio platform, which matches businesses with more than 75 lenders.

This year’s top states for small business lending are:

  1. Utah
  2. Washington
  3. California
  4. Virginia
  5. Texas
  6. Florida
  7. New York
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Georgia

The ranking is based on a calculation of several key indicators, including approval rates and loan sizes, from among thousands of Lendio’s customers from April 2016 to March 2017.

1 – Utah
2016 Ranking: 3
No. SMBs: 268,872*
No. SMB Employees: 540,268*
Average Loan Size: $37,648

2 – Washington
2016 Ranking: 4
No. SMBs: 574,455*
No. SMB Employees: 1,300,000*
Average Loan Size: $24,746

3 – California
2016 Ranking: 2
No. SMBs: 3,800,000*
No. SMB Employees: 6,800,000*
Average Loan Size: $23,391

4 – Virginia
2016 Ranking: 13
No. SMBs: 706,626*
No. SMB Employees: 1,500,000*
Average Loan Size: $20,520

5 – Texas
2016 Ranking: 6
No. SMBs: 2,600,000*
No. SMB Employees: 4,600,000*
Average Loan Size: $21,003

6 – Florida
2016 Ranking: 7
No. SMBs: 2,400,000*
No. SMB Employees: 3,200,000*
Average Loan Size: $21,103

7 – New York
2016 Ranking: 18
No. SMBs: 2,100,000*
No. SMB Employees: 4,000,000*
Average Loan Size: $23,014

8 – New Hampshire
2016 Ranking: 5
No. SMBs: 132,432*
No. SMB Employees: 289,914*
Average Loan Size: $19,893

9 – Pennsylvania
2016 Ranking: 22
No. SMBs: 1,000,000*
No. SMB Employees: 2,500,000*
Average Loan Size: $17,561

10 – Georgia
2016 Ranking: 8
No. SMBs: 1,000,000*
No. SMB Employees: 1,600,000*
Average Loan Size: $16,348

*Source:

The Future of Finance: More Data, Fewer People (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

Credit Suisse is now piloting a robot named Reggie, a virtual assistant not unlike Amazon’s Alexa. Credit Suisse’s Reggie was programmed to answer regulatory questions, according to Brian Chin, CEO of global markets for the investment bank. Chin, who spoke on a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, expects that the Swiss bank will be able to ultimately cut the number of calls to its call center by 50 percent. But at this point, Reggie is better at providing information for simple questions than appropriately addressing more complex inquiries.

The technology exists now to streamline labor-intensive processes such as loan underwriting. Mike Cagney, CEO and co-founder of SoFi, an online consumer lender, uses five pieces of data to provide instantaneous loan decisions. SoFi is now moving to use non-traditional information for underwriting, including data from cell phones, which it thinks will predict consumers’ future behavior. Cagney said banks could shed thousands of people if they used similar technology.

How a Goldman Sachs brand is trying to erase debt stigma (Tearsheet), Rated: A

“There’s a stigma around debt, people don’t like to talk about it,” Nicole Sbarra, a product manager for Marcus, said at an event in New York Thursday night. “It makes them very uncomfortable. And most people also don’t think of credit card debt as actual debt, they see it as a balance… [Marcus] is going to help you understand that there’s more to you than this extreme amount of debt on your shoulders.”

Keeping the brand separate, as much as possible, from Goldman is necessary, in some ways, considering the bank’s history. From 2005 to 2007, Goldman issued and underwrote mortgages and securities backed by residential loans that were borrowed by consumers with poor credit. This led to the housing bubble burst and economic recession. Last year Goldman paid out $5.1 billion for its role in the financial crisis.

Money is one of the most personal and sensitive topics for people, even people with lots of it, which is why empathy plays such an important role in building a financial product. The average American carries some $16,000 in credit card debt and about 70 percent of them don’t know there are alternative options to that credit card debt, said Michael Cerda, head of product.

Leverage Digital Technology To Forge Relationships With Your Clients’ Children (FA Magazine), Rated: A

According to various statistics, millennials and members of Generation X will inherit anywhere from $15 trillion to $40 trillion or more from their baby boomer parents by 2050. This will be the largest cross-generational transfer of wealth in history, but many financial advisors haven’t yet prepared for this opportunity.

As the relationship progresses, advisors can proactively invite a client’s children to meetings, and reach out to them to offer financial planning education at applicable stages of their lives. This education can have a big impact if it is taught using the state-of-the-art reporting, proposal and prospecting tools that come with today’s digital advice platforms. For example, when a client mentions that their teenage son or daughter just secured their first after-school job, the advisor can offer to meet with them to deliver an interactive digital presentation on how to save and invest their earnings.

Justices affirm cities’ right to sue banks under housing law (Arkansas Online), Rated: B

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that cities may sue banks under the federal law that bans discrimination in housing, but it said such lawsuits must tie claims about predatory lending practices directly to declines in property tax revenue.

The justices’ 5-3 ruling partly validated an approach by Miami and other cities to try to hold banks accountable under the federal Fair Housing Act for the wave of foreclosures during the housing crisis a decade ago.

SoFi personal loans: 2017 comprehensive review (Bankrate), Rated: B

Who is a SoFi personal loan good for?

  • Anyone with good to excellent credit. SoFi borrowers have an average credit score of 730, although credit scores range from 680 to 850, according to the company. Check your credit score for free before you apply.
  • High-income earners. SoFi borrowers have an average annual income of $114,000. Real median household income in the U.S. is about $56,500.
  • Someone who has a short credit history. SoFi has no minimum requirement for how long you’ve used credit, but rather looks at how responsible you’ve been at paying bills.
  • Someone who doesn’t need a co-borrower. SoFi, like many other online lenders, does not allow joint borrowers on a single loan. If your credit or income aren’t good enough to qualify on your own, you may want to consider using a different lender.
  • Someone who doesn’t mind an entirely online experience. The entire process takes place virtually — from applying for a loan to receiving approval to having the money deposited in your bank account if you are funded.

SoFi offers both fixed- and variable-rate personal loans that range from $5,000 to $100,000 and are repayable over three, five or seven years. Minimum loan amounts are higher in four states: Arizona, Kentucky, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Fees and penalties

  • SoFi doesn’t charge an origination fee.
  • Late payment fee is either 4% of the unpaid installment amount or $15, whichever is less.
  • You won’t be penalized for paying off your loan early.

Celent’s Corporate Banking Appoints Alenka Grealish as Senior Analyst (citybizlist), Rated: B

Celent is pleased to announce that Alenka Grealish will be joining the Banking practice as a Senior Analyst based in San Francisco. Her research will focus on innovation in treasury management services, trade finance, working capital finance, and the implications for customer journeys across segments, including small business. As part of her research, she will track the digitization of the financial supply chain, and the rise of fintechs and new business and revenue models.

United Kingdom

TransferWise Goes Big. Sets up Office in Singapore for Asian Expansion & Global Domination (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

I am not alone in using the service as Transferwise has grown rapidly around the world. In the UK, 10% of the people who transfer money utilize the service. A recent funding round gave Transferwise a billion dollar valuation so it has achieved Fintech Unicorn status.

Today, Transferwise is moving  around $ 1.2 billion monthly. They estimate they save consumers and businesses, around $2 million daily. Who loses out? The banks, of course.

Global remittance stands at around half a trillion dollars each year. According to the World Bank, remittances in East Asia and Pacific registered about $126 billion last year. If you add South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh) you can add another $110 billion to that number. Transferwise setting up shop in Singapore just makes sense.

European Union

Europe On Pace for Record Year in Fintech Deals (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

CB Insights reported that European fintech firms raised over $667 million over the first three months of the year through a total of 73 deals. It’s important to note that CB Insights’ report is based only on VC-backed deals as opposed to KPMG’s Q1 report which was based on all types of deals, which is why the report released by KPMG last week showed over $880 million raised from 89 deals in Europe.

In just three months, European firms this year have already raised 60% of the total amount that was raised all of last year.

What’s also promising is the fact that early-stage investing has increased as well. Over $195 million of the amount raised in Q1 of this year was in seed and series A funding rounds. Q4 of 2016 only saw $54 million raised in those rounds.

Australia

PledgeMe Launches Lending Month of May: Seeks to Help Kiwis Learn More About Crowdlending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, New Zealand’s crowdfunding platform PledgeMe announced it was dedicating the month of May to lending related goodness.

As part of the program, the PledgeMe crew will be doing the following:

  • Explaining what it means in a super straight forward way; borrowing money doesn’t need to be as complicated as it’s been made out to be. 
  • Create case studies on how it has worked in the past.
  • Hosting a webinar to answer questions real time, and then blog about it.
  • Writing a weekly blog series showcasing how crowdlending can work for various company organizations 
  • Creating a podcast series
  • Putting together a mini-documentary on the company behind “the bubble”

Australian youth drive P2P revolution (AltFi), Rated: A

But its millennials that are driving the P2P revolution. They’re turning away from banks and property in droves and creating space for fintech disrupters, according to new research by RateSetter Australia.

The company has seen the number of millennial investors using its platform increased a startling 250 percent the past 12 months.

The average investment from millennials was only A$10,000, much smaller than the A$50,000-plus averaged by baby boomers and the ‘silent generation’.

China

China Rapid Finance Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that its initial public offering of 10,000,000 American depositary shares (“ADSs”) was priced at US$6.00 per ADS, with a total offering size of US$60 million. Each ADS represents one Class A ordinary share of China Rapid Finance. China Rapid Finance has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,500,000 ADSs at the initial public offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commission. The ADSs have been approved for listing on the New York Stock Exchange and are expected to begin trading on April 28, 2017 under the symbol “XRF.”

Yirendai FORM 20-F (SEC), Rated: AAA

119,512,300 ordinary shares, par value US$0.0001 per share, as of December 31, 2016.

IFC and Ant Financial to enable digital financial inclusion in emerging markets (The Asset), Rated: A

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Ant Financial Services Group, the parent company of Alipay, have signed a memorandum of understanding to make basic financial services more accessible in China and other emerging markets.

Under the new memorandum the two parties will strengthen their collaboration for inclusive digital finance, green digital finance, business-environment enhancement and credit-data analysis.

Ant has invested in payment and digital finance companies in India, Thailand and Indonesia.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

Monthly Report of China’s P2P Lending Industry
On 1st May, Online Lending House released the monthly report of P2P lending industry. According to the report, the total business volume decreased in April due to the two minor long leaves(Qingming Festival holiday and May Day holiday). However, the trend of the industry is optimistic especially in the number of borrowers, cumulative trading volume and the development of lending platforms.

In April 2017, the loan volume is 224.92 billion RMB, and the cumulative volume reached to 4,330.12 billion RMB, however, the same figure of the corresponding period last year was 1,888.12 billion RMB. Over the past year, the volume in P2P lending industry has nearly increased by 2.5 trillion RMB. The loan balance mainly concentrates on Beijing(338.70B RMB), Shanghai(242.35B RMB) and Guangdong province(177.98B RMB) , jointly accounting for 79.26% of the country’s total balance.

Ant Financial:Alipay Model will be Replicated in B&R(Belt and Road) Countries
The globalization process of Ant Financial started since February 2015 and the business has spreaded to India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines etc. “We look for local partners instead of running a branch abroad, and aim at developing countries with great demand for e-payment rather than developed countries. The immediate benefits from this mode will save 5-8 years’ research and development time.” Jia Hang, the general manager of international division, explained the company’s overall global strategy for the first time. Ant Financial also announced they would keep replicating the Alipay business to other B&R Countries.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

This week, China Banking Regulatory Commission released a documentation “Guidelines on risk prevention and control in banking industry” to regulate the small cash loans market by perfecting the in-out mechanisms, paying more attention to the supervision and decreasing operation risk.

Here are some recommendations for this round of regulatory reform:

  • At present, diverse interest rates should be permitted to coexist, but the existence of exorbitant usury must be prohibited. It is reported that the average interest rate of cash loans has reached 158%, which produces disastrous influence on the development of microfinance industry in China.
  • To reduce risk, government should make the relevant laws to conduct stricter regulation on different kinds of cash loans companies.
  • Training should be provided to microfinance organizations in order to improve operations and strengthen management capabilities.

The Beijing Municipal Administration Traffic Card, more commonly known as the Yikatong, is preparing to tap into demand for mobile payment devices, with the launch of a wristband capable of making contactless payments.

With the wearable tech industry on the rise, Yikatong believes engineering a variety of payment methods is essential to ensuring customer satisfaction. According to analysts at IDC, the wearable devices market is booming, with around 50 million units projected to be sold in 2017, which is expected to achieve a target of 78% average growth a year until 2018.

One of China’s largest online lending platform, CreditEase, has launched a private blockchain service based on ethereum.

Renren Inc., which operates a social networking service and internet finance business in China, announced to reach a strategic partnership with Ping An Bank to develop automobile finance in China.

This week, Chinese bike-sharing startup ofo announced a strategic investment from Ant Financial, but the total funding volume was not disclosed. In the future, ofo will work with Ant Financial on payments, credit and other international business expansion.

India

FinMomenta launches peer-to-peer online lending platform Tachyloans (The Hindu BusinessLine), Rated: AAA

Even as a final set of regulations is yet to be firmed up in the country’s burgeoning digital peer to peer (P2P) lending space, a Singapore-based fintech start-up FinMomenta has launched its operations to tap individuals and businesses that are considered ‘risky’ by the bigger NBFCs and banks.

The company uses a proprietary credit scoring model enabled by Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to assess the creditworthiness of applicants. It also uses e-KYC and Aadhaar for verification of the borrowers that helps lenders to automatically invest in the recommended list of borrowers, according to Khaderbad.

Tachyloans also analyses the social media profiles of its borrowers and uses psychometric analysis to understand their creditworthiness.

The platform is currently open for all resident individuals looking for loans in 50 cities across India.

Tachyloans Targets India’s Fintech Segment Which is About to Touch $ 2.4B By 2020 (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

Tachyloans has made its entry at a strategically important time in India’s burgeoning fintech sector that is forecasted to touch $2.4bn by 2020. Tachyloans uses a proprietary credit scoring model enabled by Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to assess the creditworthiness of applicants. The stronger the credit profile, lesser the credit or default risk. The company’s innovative platform electronically verifies the borrower information using the KYC (Know Your Customer) documentation provided, and qualifies them through their proprietary credit decision model.

At Tachyloans, the entire registration, application and documentation procedure is simplified for both borrowers and lenders, thereby offering complete transparency throughout the process. Unlike the traditional banks, in Tachyloans lenders can earn returns as high as 25% per annum and borrowers can avail loan at lower interest rates starting from 11.5% per annum. The background verification check of the borrowers is also done by various parameters at the backend before getting them on board.

Furthermore, FinMomenta will be looking at collaborating with banks and other financial institutions to ensure a straightforward process and faster disbursement of loans.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday February 17 2017, Daily News Digest

P2P Global Investments

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck Capital struggles. SoFi in talks with Silver Lake for $500M funding. UK FinTech funding bounces back Today’s main analysis: FinTech deal sizes are shrinking. The alternative income source top managers are buying. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Starling CEO says EU law is good for UK FinTech. United States OnDeck Capital struggling. GP:” […]

P2P Global Investments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Capital shares plunge on downbeat outlook (Reuters), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital Inc (ONDK.N) shares fell as much as 24 percent on Thursday after the online lender posted its fifth straight quarterly loss and set aside more money for future losses after determining its calculations were askew.

Like its digital lending peers, OnDeck has been struggling with investor’ concerns over the quality of its underwriting and ability to maintain a rapid pace of growth.

As a result, OnDeck’s provision for loan losses more than doubled during the fourth quarter, to $55.7 million.

Amid all the changes, OnDeck’s originations of $2.4 billion in 2016 were up 26 percent from the prior year, less than half the pace of growth it posted in 2015.

The company is taking several steps to slash costs by $20 million a year, including cutting 11 percent of its staff and reducing marketing and technology expenses, Breslow said.

SoFi Is in Talks for $ 500 Million Funding Led by Silver Lake (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. is close to raising about $500 million in a funding round expected to be led by private equity firm Silver Lake Partners to bolster the expansion of its online-lending businesses and personal financial services, according to people familiar with the matter.

The fundraising round values SoFi at $4.3 billion, higher than its previous valuation of $3.2 billion, one of the people said. The deal isn’t finalized and could still fall through, the people said.

Why Online Lenders Keep Disappointing (The Wall Street Journal), Rated: A

Online lenders LendingClub and On Deck Capital took some nasty tumbles in 2016. Now, just as it began to look like they had regained their footing, they are getting tripped up again.

LendingClub shares fell 4.7% on Wednesday after the company gave disappointing guidance for 2017. Then, on Thursday morning, On Deck shares tanked by around 15% on a fourth-quarter net loss that was much bigger than expected. LendingClub’s stock fell again by around 6%.

The company’s fourth-quarter results show progress on all these fronts, but also the costs. Banks, which had shied away from buying the company’s loans after last year’s revelations, have largely returned, funding 31% of loan originations in the fourth quarter, up from 13% the previous quarter.

But LendingClub still disappointed investors by forecasting a bigger-than-expected net loss in 2017. Higher expenses are one reason, with stock-based compensation rising by 35% last year to $69.2 million. This likely has to do with the need to retain and attract talent in the wake of last year’s turmoil, says KBW analyst Jefferson Harralson. The company’s loan originations also have been basically flat for three quarters in a row, making it harder to grow revenue enough to overcome the higher expenses.

ArborCrowd Announces $ 22.4 Million Commercial Real Estate Deal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ArborCrowd announced on Thursday the launch of its latest real estate investment opportunity that is open to accredited investors. According to the portal, the “Southern States Multifamily Portfolio” features three multifamily properties in both Alabama and Mississippi.

Since its debut, ArborCrowd has provided the public with exclusive multifamily investment properties in New York City.

According to ArborCrowd, the $24.4 million Southern States Multifamily Portfolio was acquired in November 2016 by Varden Capital Properties, LLC as a value-add repositioning. ArborCrowd investors have the opportunity to own a piece of a $2 million equity stake in the Portfolio with a targeted 17 percent to 20 percent Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and a targeted investment hold period of two to three years.

Fintech deal sizes are shrinking (Business Insider), Rated: A

Global VC-backed fintech funding reached $12.7 billion in 2016, down 13% year-over-year (YoY) from $14.6 billion in 2015. However, deal numbers held firm at 836, down just 1% YoY from 848 in 2015. That suggests the decline in funding was the result of smaller deal sizes, and that’s backed up by a couple of other key pieces of data.

  • Fewer mega-rounds. There were 38 mega-rounds ($50 million+) in 2016, down from 63 in 2015.
  • Two deals in China accounted for $2.2 billion. Lending platform LU.com raised $1.2 billion, while JD Finance, a subsidiary of e-commerce giant JD.com, raised $1.0 billion.

OCC fintech charter: Something Ds and Rs can both love (American Banker), Rated: A

As the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency moves forward to grant national bank charters to fintech companies, unity of purpose could be achieved by stepping back to consider the broad policy goals that Democrats and Republicans typically seek in regulating and supervising financial services markets and businesses.

Both Democrats and Republicans want to address the financial needs of smaller Main Street businesses. Both parties understand that small and midsize businesses are the ones creating the jobs of the future. Both Republicans and Democrats prefer simplicity over complexity.

Concern for abuse of this charter by unscrupulous actors is legitimate and is best addressed by continuing to allow state regulators and attorneys general to enforce civil and criminal laws against fraud and unfair and deceptive practices, while consolidating supervision in a single strong agency at the federal level.

A charter is a perfect example of retaining significant state authority made possible by clear and simple federal rules. This federal-state partnership will produce strong governance and controls on a national scale through the supervisory process. It is the only way to achieve uniform requirements across all 50 states. Maintaining a costly, complex and time-consuming state licensing process while at the same time requiring companies to satisfy federal mandates will kill off a job-creating pro-consumer innovation.

US regulatory environment threatens the rise of fintech (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Fintech companies earned approximately ₤6.6 ($8.15) billion in revenue globally in 2015, according to a report commissioned by the Treasury of the U.K. government. Recent data on the sector from KPMG shows that while North America has fallen behind Asia in terms of regional investments in fintech, companies in North America still received $900 million of $2.4 billion, or more than 37.5 percent of funds, in the third quarter of 2016. KPMG notes that both the number of deals and total amount invested in American fintech companies has dropped significantly, while Asia continues to see growth in fintech investments.

The U.S. is producing many fintech startups attractive to investors — just not as attractive as the less numerous Asian startups. The third quarter of 2016 was the second of the year in which Asian fintech companies attracted more venture capital funding than North America, and pending fourth quarter results, total investment for the year by venture capital in Asian fintech outstrips that in North American fintech $4.7 billion to $4.5 billion. America remains a fintech leader, but its position is being challenged.

Not just the Treasury report, but investors themselves, as well as founders, have identified regulation as a main concern, and European regulators have responded by overhauling EU laws related to payment services to benefit fintech startups. In Asia, numerous countries have already adjusted regulations to promote fintech growth, including the largest consumer markets, China and India.

The problem with fintech regulation in the U.S. is not just what those regulations are, but persistent confusion about what those regulations are, and deep uncertainty about how they are evolving.

Marketplace Lending, The Crowdfunding Alternative? (GlobeSt.com), Rated: A

We sat down with Gary Bechtel, president of Money360, to talk about the growth in the market and the acceptance of marketplace lending platforms.

GlobeSt.com: What are the benefits of marketplace lending?

Bechtel: Speed, flexibility and creativity are huge competitive advantages, especially in the bridge lending arena, where the ability to react and close loans quickly is key. The ability to operate under reasonable regulatory oversight, and without the multiple layers of approvals and regulation that govern more traditional lenders, helps us speed up the process dramatically.

GlobeSt.com: What opportunities has this created for Money 360?  

Bechtel: We are seeing more and more transactions that otherwise would have gone to traditional lending sources because of our ability to react quickly and be more creative with deal structures. We have grown to accommodate larger transactions, filling a void left by banks, credit unions, life companies and CMBS lenders. We see this opportunity as an ongoing trend and are building our business accordingly.

The Whaley Report: Peer-to-peer pressure (Market Intelligence Center), Rated: A

I read an article last week, “How Investors Can Earn 7% Returns in a 2.5% World” and  I’m convinced it’s the beginning of the end for some unsuspecting investors.

The author, Stephen McBride, discusses the benefits of peer to peer lending as an asset class for investors who want to enhance the yield on their portfolios in light of the current low yield environment.

P2P lending may not wipe out wealth like a good old fashioned financial crisis but there are certainly less risky situations. Bungee jumping in Mexico or “investing” your paycheck in lottery scratchers comes to mind.

Size Matters

First, the average loan amount on various P2P platforms, like Lending Club, is $25. Let’s be conservative and say that you have decided to “invest” $20K of your hard-earned shekels in P2P lending to enhance your investment yield. Your $20K would be lent out to approximately 800 people, to fund everything from movie screenplays to food trucks specializing in cuisine from New Caledonia.

Fees

Just like any other investment opportunity, you pay to play. Lending club charges 1% on all monthly payments that you receive from your peers to whom you’ve lent money. They also take a healthy amount of fees for any collections process they go through for delinquent payments. On that basis alone, if your return starts out at 7%, like this article suggests, you are already down to a 6% net return before you ever transfer the money to your bank account.

Loan Shark Says What?

This is going to shock you but not all 800 of your peers are going to repay you the $25 you lent them to start their new Cat Tattoo Parlor. Based on data from Lending Club, the default risk of your peer group is not to be trifled with.

Similar to corporate bond ratings, people seeking to borrow money through a P2P platform are rated from “A” to “G.” An “A” rating is lower risk and a “G” is the guy who has 10 credit cards maxed out, no income but somehow manages to buy lottery scratchers every week.

No rational person is carving out a percentage of their portfolio for peer to peer lending. The risk-adjusted reward of this type of investing just doesn’t warrant it.

5 Common Misconceptions About Alternative Lending (Business2Community), Rated: B

Today, businesses have learned that alternative lending, which includes commercial business loans, factoring, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, can solve many problems quickly and efficiently without a lot of the delay and paperwork associated with bank loans.

Only bank-rejects apply to alternative lenders:

While it’s true that many businesses find it easier to qualify for a loan from an alternative source than from a bank, many owners prefer dealing with alternative lenders, as they tend to be more flexible, less judgmental and faster to respond. Many alternative lenders do not require collateral, can process an application in a few hours, and fund a loan within a day or two.

You have to be desperate to seek an alternative loan:

Alternative lenders assess the risk of each loan and assign an interest rate that makes sense. Any good alternative lender wants to see its borrowers succeed, not fail, and will usually work with business owners to come up with solutions with the right fit.

You can hurt your credit score by borrowing from an alternative lender:

If you pay back your loan responsibly, your business’ credit score should increase.

You need high margins to make alternative loans work:

IOU Financial has only four funding requirements, and none have anything to do with margins. We require that you own and operate your own business, have been in business for at least a year, make 10 or more deposits per month and have average daily balance of $3,000 per month.

Alternative lending is unregulated:

The business model and cost structure of alternative lenders are much different from those of banks. Nonetheless, alternative lenders must adhere to federal and state lending regulations that require truthfulness and disclosure. There is also the whole area of contract law that governs alternative loans.

SoFi hires Condé Nast’s Danika Owsley for consumer comms (PR Week), Rated: B

Financial technology company SoFi has hired media specialist Danika Owsley as its first director of consumer comms.

Owsley will report to SoFi’s comms leader, VP of communications and policy Jim Prosser, when she starts in the role on February 28.

The San Francisco-based company hired Owsley to work in New York, home to most media outlets that are relevant to SoFi’s operations. SoFi bills itself as a “modern finance company” and many of its services are focused on millennials.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Folk2Folk Joins Peer to Peer Finance Association (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender Folk2Folk has joined the UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA).  The P2PFA is acknowledged as a stamp of quality operations as members are held to a high standard and required to follow certain transparency guidelines.

Founded in 2011 as a self-regulatory entity for the sector, the largest UK peer to peer lending platforms are members of the P2PFA and represent more than 75% of the UK P2P lending market. P2PFA members operate a diverse range of business models within this segment of finance and collectively lent almost £3 billion during 2016.

The alternative income source the top managers are buying (Trustnet), Rated: AAA

Industry powerhouses Invesco, Woodford, M&G, Aviva and AXA are among those turning to peer-to-peer lending for alternative streams of income, according to industry experts.

Indeed, over the past 18 months, UK gilts have performed particularly strongly, returning 8.59 per cent – though this has fallen back from highs in August 2016 where the index was up 17.23 per cent.

In fact, if not for a strong run for UK equities at the start of the year, gilts would still be outperforming the FTSE 100, which has returned 14.51 per cent over the period.

The industry brings a stable pool of capital to an industry that craves that stability of capital as knowing that the lender is there enables a much more attractive and reliable borrowing rhetoric, he adds.

His company runs the £682m P2P Global Investments PLC trust, which buys higher-quality loans (grade A, B and C) from the platform providers from across the market cap spectrum, though it currently focuses on the developed markets only.

Since its launch in 2014, the fund has grown its dividend in each year and currently pays out 5.48 per cent.

Over its lifetime, had an investors paid in £10,000 on the day of its launch, the trust would have paid £1,158, according to FE Analytics.

However, Sachin Patel, chief capital officer at peer-to-peer platform provider Funding Circle says delinquency rates are currently at historic lows.

While the sector will likely be hit by a financial crisis – such as the one seen in 2008 – as borrowers will be more likely to default, he says they are not seeing any signs of stress among their borrowers.

Indeed, with delinquency rates so low, the platform released the SME Income fund at the end of 2015 with the aim of giving investors a passive option to the asset class.

UK FinTech Funding Bounces Back in Q4 2016 (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

U.K. FinTech startups raised $173 million across 16 deals in Q4 2016, an increase of $95 million from Q3, according to a report from CB Insights.

Despite an increase in U.K. financial technology investment during Q4 2016, across the whole year the amount raised only amounted to $494 million compared to $962 million in 2015. During Q4 2015, U.K. FinTech funding reached $275 million.

CB Insights found that in 2016, European venture capital funding reached $1.2 billion across 179 deals, down from $1.6 billion during 2015.

Uber launching financial advice sessions and appeals panel for UK workers (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

Uber is offering English courses, financial advice and introducing an appeals panel for its UK workers after facing criticism over lack of support and rights for its drivers.

It is now launching earnings advice sessions on how to best take advantage of the app, flexible pay options that allow drivers to cash out their fares before the end of the week and discounted online investment advice for products like ISAs and pensions.

European Union

The CEO of startup bank Starling says EU law is ‘important and good’ for UK fintech (Business Insider), Rated: A

The founder and CEO of digital-only, startup bank Starling says EU law has been good for fostering Britain’s flourishing fintech — financial technology — sector and says she fears Brexit may set it back.

However, Boden is worried that Brexit will cause the UK to miss out on laws such as the Payment Service Directive Two (PSD2), which forces banks to open up their data to new entrants. This will allow third parties to help people manage their accounts and loosen banks’ stranglehold of customer relationships. PSD2 comes into force in 2018.

Boden, a former executive of Allied Irish Bank, told the FT it is “disappointing” that Starling will be unable to launch across Europe using passporting rules. Theresa May has made clear that her government plans to sacrifice EU passporting rules, which let financial firms sell services across the EU from London, in order to regain control over immigration.

Starling has yet to launch but has gained its banking licence.

REAL ESTATE LESS THAN 10.000 EUROS, IT IS POSSIBLE! (The Quebec Telegram), Rated: A

Note: it is possible to lodge the shares in a PEA, to erase taxation. “However, we advise against investing below 5,000 euros, because the tax savings will be absorbed by bank charges , ” says Cyril Benchimol, CEO of Immovesting.

Asia

Experian Partners With Lenddo to use its Solution in Financial Inclusion efforts (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

Experian, the leader in global information services, will partner with Lenddo, a leader in non-traditional data solutions, as part of Experian’s Consumer Financial Inclusion Indexing platform in Indonesia and Vietnam.Using Experian’s global expertise and knowledge, the introduction of Lenddo’s technology into Experian’s platform will provide financial firms with more information to offer appropriate financial services. Consumers who are unbanked or underserved by major financial institutions will gain access to a gamut of financial services including remittances, savings, credit and wealth management services.

Southeast Asia is poised to remain one of the fastest groups of economies in the world, with an unbanked population of about 438 million people. With the wealth of alternative data and innovative technology available, financial access for the unbanked has seen a rapid rise and many opportunities created to serve this new and underserved market.

Africa

Investment group buys into SA peer-to-peer lending firm RainFin (BusinessTech), Rated: AAA

RainFin and the LeBashe Investment Group have concluded a transaction for the latter to acquire a 30% stake in RainFin, for an undisclosed amount.

Barclays Africa (Absa) originally acquired a 49% stake in the peer-to-peer lending firm in 2014, however, in late 2016, the company’s founders and directors said that they would buy that stake back.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday February 17 2017, Daily News Digest

P2P Global Investments

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck Capital struggles. SoFi in talks with Silver Lake for $500M funding. UK FinTech funding bounces back Today’s main analysis: FinTech deal sizes are shrinking. The alternative income source top managers are buying. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Starling CEO says EU law is good for UK FinTech. United States OnDeck Capital struggling. GP:” […]

P2P Global Investments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Capital shares plunge on downbeat outlook (Reuters), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital Inc (ONDK.N) shares fell as much as 24 percent on Thursday after the online lender posted its fifth straight quarterly loss and set aside more money for future losses after determining its calculations were askew.

Like its digital lending peers, OnDeck has been struggling with investor’ concerns over the quality of its underwriting and ability to maintain a rapid pace of growth.

As a result, OnDeck’s provision for loan losses more than doubled during the fourth quarter, to $55.7 million.

Amid all the changes, OnDeck’s originations of $2.4 billion in 2016 were up 26 percent from the prior year, less than half the pace of growth it posted in 2015.

The company is taking several steps to slash costs by $20 million a year, including cutting 11 percent of its staff and reducing marketing and technology expenses, Breslow said.

SoFi Is in Talks for $ 500 Million Funding Led by Silver Lake (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. is close to raising about $500 million in a funding round expected to be led by private equity firm Silver Lake Partners to bolster the expansion of its online-lending businesses and personal financial services, according to people familiar with the matter.

The fundraising round values SoFi at $4.3 billion, higher than its previous valuation of $3.2 billion, one of the people said. The deal isn’t finalized and could still fall through, the people said.

Why Online Lenders Keep Disappointing (The Wall Street Journal), Rated: A

Online lenders LendingClub and On Deck Capital took some nasty tumbles in 2016. Now, just as it began to look like they had regained their footing, they are getting tripped up again.

LendingClub shares fell 4.7% on Wednesday after the company gave disappointing guidance for 2017. Then, on Thursday morning, On Deck shares tanked by around 15% on a fourth-quarter net loss that was much bigger than expected. LendingClub’s stock fell again by around 6%.

The company’s fourth-quarter results show progress on all these fronts, but also the costs. Banks, which had shied away from buying the company’s loans after last year’s revelations, have largely returned, funding 31% of loan originations in the fourth quarter, up from 13% the previous quarter.

But LendingClub still disappointed investors by forecasting a bigger-than-expected net loss in 2017. Higher expenses are one reason, with stock-based compensation rising by 35% last year to $69.2 million. This likely has to do with the need to retain and attract talent in the wake of last year’s turmoil, says KBW analyst Jefferson Harralson. The company’s loan originations also have been basically flat for three quarters in a row, making it harder to grow revenue enough to overcome the higher expenses.

ArborCrowd Announces $ 22.4 Million Commercial Real Estate Deal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ArborCrowd announced on Thursday the launch of its latest real estate investment opportunity that is open to accredited investors. According to the portal, the “Southern States Multifamily Portfolio” features three multifamily properties in both Alabama and Mississippi.

Since its debut, ArborCrowd has provided the public with exclusive multifamily investment properties in New York City.

According to ArborCrowd, the $24.4 million Southern States Multifamily Portfolio was acquired in November 2016 by Varden Capital Properties, LLC as a value-add repositioning. ArborCrowd investors have the opportunity to own a piece of a $2 million equity stake in the Portfolio with a targeted 17 percent to 20 percent Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and a targeted investment hold period of two to three years.

Fintech deal sizes are shrinking (Business Insider), Rated: A

Global VC-backed fintech funding reached $12.7 billion in 2016, down 13% year-over-year (YoY) from $14.6 billion in 2015. However, deal numbers held firm at 836, down just 1% YoY from 848 in 2015. That suggests the decline in funding was the result of smaller deal sizes, and that’s backed up by a couple of other key pieces of data.

  • Fewer mega-rounds. There were 38 mega-rounds ($50 million+) in 2016, down from 63 in 2015.
  • Two deals in China accounted for $2.2 billion. Lending platform LU.com raised $1.2 billion, while JD Finance, a subsidiary of e-commerce giant JD.com, raised $1.0 billion.

OCC fintech charter: Something Ds and Rs can both love (American Banker), Rated: A

As the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency moves forward to grant national bank charters to fintech companies, unity of purpose could be achieved by stepping back to consider the broad policy goals that Democrats and Republicans typically seek in regulating and supervising financial services markets and businesses.

Both Democrats and Republicans want to address the financial needs of smaller Main Street businesses. Both parties understand that small and midsize businesses are the ones creating the jobs of the future. Both Republicans and Democrats prefer simplicity over complexity.

Concern for abuse of this charter by unscrupulous actors is legitimate and is best addressed by continuing to allow state regulators and attorneys general to enforce civil and criminal laws against fraud and unfair and deceptive practices, while consolidating supervision in a single strong agency at the federal level.

A charter is a perfect example of retaining significant state authority made possible by clear and simple federal rules. This federal-state partnership will produce strong governance and controls on a national scale through the supervisory process. It is the only way to achieve uniform requirements across all 50 states. Maintaining a costly, complex and time-consuming state licensing process while at the same time requiring companies to satisfy federal mandates will kill off a job-creating pro-consumer innovation.

US regulatory environment threatens the rise of fintech (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Fintech companies earned approximately ₤6.6 ($8.15) billion in revenue globally in 2015, according to a report commissioned by the Treasury of the U.K. government. Recent data on the sector from KPMG shows that while North America has fallen behind Asia in terms of regional investments in fintech, companies in North America still received $900 million of $2.4 billion, or more than 37.5 percent of funds, in the third quarter of 2016. KPMG notes that both the number of deals and total amount invested in American fintech companies has dropped significantly, while Asia continues to see growth in fintech investments.

The U.S. is producing many fintech startups attractive to investors — just not as attractive as the less numerous Asian startups. The third quarter of 2016 was the second of the year in which Asian fintech companies attracted more venture capital funding than North America, and pending fourth quarter results, total investment for the year by venture capital in Asian fintech outstrips that in North American fintech $4.7 billion to $4.5 billion. America remains a fintech leader, but its position is being challenged.

Not just the Treasury report, but investors themselves, as well as founders, have identified regulation as a main concern, and European regulators have responded by overhauling EU laws related to payment services to benefit fintech startups. In Asia, numerous countries have already adjusted regulations to promote fintech growth, including the largest consumer markets, China and India.

The problem with fintech regulation in the U.S. is not just what those regulations are, but persistent confusion about what those regulations are, and deep uncertainty about how they are evolving.

Marketplace Lending, The Crowdfunding Alternative? (GlobeSt.com), Rated: A

We sat down with Gary Bechtel, president of Money360, to talk about the growth in the market and the acceptance of marketplace lending platforms.

GlobeSt.com: What are the benefits of marketplace lending?

Bechtel: Speed, flexibility and creativity are huge competitive advantages, especially in the bridge lending arena, where the ability to react and close loans quickly is key. The ability to operate under reasonable regulatory oversight, and without the multiple layers of approvals and regulation that govern more traditional lenders, helps us speed up the process dramatically.

GlobeSt.com: What opportunities has this created for Money 360?  

Bechtel: We are seeing more and more transactions that otherwise would have gone to traditional lending sources because of our ability to react quickly and be more creative with deal structures. We have grown to accommodate larger transactions, filling a void left by banks, credit unions, life companies and CMBS lenders. We see this opportunity as an ongoing trend and are building our business accordingly.

The Whaley Report: Peer-to-peer pressure (Market Intelligence Center), Rated: A

I read an article last week, “How Investors Can Earn 7% Returns in a 2.5% World” and  I’m convinced it’s the beginning of the end for some unsuspecting investors.

The author, Stephen McBride, discusses the benefits of peer to peer lending as an asset class for investors who want to enhance the yield on their portfolios in light of the current low yield environment.

P2P lending may not wipe out wealth like a good old fashioned financial crisis but there are certainly less risky situations. Bungee jumping in Mexico or “investing” your paycheck in lottery scratchers comes to mind.

Size Matters

First, the average loan amount on various P2P platforms, like Lending Club, is $25. Let’s be conservative and say that you have decided to “invest” $20K of your hard-earned shekels in P2P lending to enhance your investment yield. Your $20K would be lent out to approximately 800 people, to fund everything from movie screenplays to food trucks specializing in cuisine from New Caledonia.

Fees

Just like any other investment opportunity, you pay to play. Lending club charges 1% on all monthly payments that you receive from your peers to whom you’ve lent money. They also take a healthy amount of fees for any collections process they go through for delinquent payments. On that basis alone, if your return starts out at 7%, like this article suggests, you are already down to a 6% net return before you ever transfer the money to your bank account.

Loan Shark Says What?

This is going to shock you but not all 800 of your peers are going to repay you the $25 you lent them to start their new Cat Tattoo Parlor. Based on data from Lending Club, the default risk of your peer group is not to be trifled with.

Similar to corporate bond ratings, people seeking to borrow money through a P2P platform are rated from “A” to “G.” An “A” rating is lower risk and a “G” is the guy who has 10 credit cards maxed out, no income but somehow manages to buy lottery scratchers every week.

No rational person is carving out a percentage of their portfolio for peer to peer lending. The risk-adjusted reward of this type of investing just doesn’t warrant it.

5 Common Misconceptions About Alternative Lending (Business2Community), Rated: B

Today, businesses have learned that alternative lending, which includes commercial business loans, factoring, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, can solve many problems quickly and efficiently without a lot of the delay and paperwork associated with bank loans.

Only bank-rejects apply to alternative lenders:

While it’s true that many businesses find it easier to qualify for a loan from an alternative source than from a bank, many owners prefer dealing with alternative lenders, as they tend to be more flexible, less judgmental and faster to respond. Many alternative lenders do not require collateral, can process an application in a few hours, and fund a loan within a day or two.

You have to be desperate to seek an alternative loan:

Alternative lenders assess the risk of each loan and assign an interest rate that makes sense. Any good alternative lender wants to see its borrowers succeed, not fail, and will usually work with business owners to come up with solutions with the right fit.

You can hurt your credit score by borrowing from an alternative lender:

If you pay back your loan responsibly, your business’ credit score should increase.

You need high margins to make alternative loans work:

IOU Financial has only four funding requirements, and none have anything to do with margins. We require that you own and operate your own business, have been in business for at least a year, make 10 or more deposits per month and have average daily balance of $3,000 per month.

Alternative lending is unregulated:

The business model and cost structure of alternative lenders are much different from those of banks. Nonetheless, alternative lenders must adhere to federal and state lending regulations that require truthfulness and disclosure. There is also the whole area of contract law that governs alternative loans.

SoFi hires Condé Nast’s Danika Owsley for consumer comms (PR Week), Rated: B

Financial technology company SoFi has hired media specialist Danika Owsley as its first director of consumer comms.

Owsley will report to SoFi’s comms leader, VP of communications and policy Jim Prosser, when she starts in the role on February 28.

The San Francisco-based company hired Owsley to work in New York, home to most media outlets that are relevant to SoFi’s operations. SoFi bills itself as a “modern finance company” and many of its services are focused on millennials.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Folk2Folk Joins Peer to Peer Finance Association (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender Folk2Folk has joined the UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA).  The P2PFA is acknowledged as a stamp of quality operations as members are held to a high standard and required to follow certain transparency guidelines.

Founded in 2011 as a self-regulatory entity for the sector, the largest UK peer to peer lending platforms are members of the P2PFA and represent more than 75% of the UK P2P lending market. P2PFA members operate a diverse range of business models within this segment of finance and collectively lent almost £3 billion during 2016.

The alternative income source the top managers are buying (Trustnet), Rated: AAA

Industry powerhouses Invesco, Woodford, M&G, Aviva and AXA are among those turning to peer-to-peer lending for alternative streams of income, according to industry experts.

Indeed, over the past 18 months, UK gilts have performed particularly strongly, returning 8.59 per cent – though this has fallen back from highs in August 2016 where the index was up 17.23 per cent.

In fact, if not for a strong run for UK equities at the start of the year, gilts would still be outperforming the FTSE 100, which has returned 14.51 per cent over the period.

The industry brings a stable pool of capital to an industry that craves that stability of capital as knowing that the lender is there enables a much more attractive and reliable borrowing rhetoric, he adds.

His company runs the £682m P2P Global Investments PLC trust, which buys higher-quality loans (grade A, B and C) from the platform providers from across the market cap spectrum, though it currently focuses on the developed markets only.

Since its launch in 2014, the fund has grown its dividend in each year and currently pays out 5.48 per cent.

Over its lifetime, had an investors paid in £10,000 on the day of its launch, the trust would have paid £1,158, according to FE Analytics.

However, Sachin Patel, chief capital officer at peer-to-peer platform provider Funding Circle says delinquency rates are currently at historic lows.

While the sector will likely be hit by a financial crisis – such as the one seen in 2008 – as borrowers will be more likely to default, he says they are not seeing any signs of stress among their borrowers.

Indeed, with delinquency rates so low, the platform released the SME Income fund at the end of 2015 with the aim of giving investors a passive option to the asset class.

UK FinTech Funding Bounces Back in Q4 2016 (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

U.K. FinTech startups raised $173 million across 16 deals in Q4 2016, an increase of $95 million from Q3, according to a report from CB Insights.

Despite an increase in U.K. financial technology investment during Q4 2016, across the whole year the amount raised only amounted to $494 million compared to $962 million in 2015. During Q4 2015, U.K. FinTech funding reached $275 million.

CB Insights found that in 2016, European venture capital funding reached $1.2 billion across 179 deals, down from $1.6 billion during 2015.

Uber launching financial advice sessions and appeals panel for UK workers (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: A

Uber is offering English courses, financial advice and introducing an appeals panel for its UK workers after facing criticism over lack of support and rights for its drivers.

It is now launching earnings advice sessions on how to best take advantage of the app, flexible pay options that allow drivers to cash out their fares before the end of the week and discounted online investment advice for products like ISAs and pensions.

European Union

The CEO of startup bank Starling says EU law is ‘important and good’ for UK fintech (Business Insider), Rated: A

The founder and CEO of digital-only, startup bank Starling says EU law has been good for fostering Britain’s flourishing fintech — financial technology — sector and says she fears Brexit may set it back.

However, Boden is worried that Brexit will cause the UK to miss out on laws such as the Payment Service Directive Two (PSD2), which forces banks to open up their data to new entrants. This will allow third parties to help people manage their accounts and loosen banks’ stranglehold of customer relationships. PSD2 comes into force in 2018.

Boden, a former executive of Allied Irish Bank, told the FT it is “disappointing” that Starling will be unable to launch across Europe using passporting rules. Theresa May has made clear that her government plans to sacrifice EU passporting rules, which let financial firms sell services across the EU from London, in order to regain control over immigration.

Starling has yet to launch but has gained its banking licence.

REAL ESTATE LESS THAN 10.000 EUROS, IT IS POSSIBLE! (The Quebec Telegram), Rated: A

Note: it is possible to lodge the shares in a PEA, to erase taxation. “However, we advise against investing below 5,000 euros, because the tax savings will be absorbed by bank charges , ” says Cyril Benchimol, CEO of Immovesting.

Asia

Experian Partners With Lenddo to use its Solution in Financial Inclusion efforts (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

Experian, the leader in global information services, will partner with Lenddo, a leader in non-traditional data solutions, as part of Experian’s Consumer Financial Inclusion Indexing platform in Indonesia and Vietnam.Using Experian’s global expertise and knowledge, the introduction of Lenddo’s technology into Experian’s platform will provide financial firms with more information to offer appropriate financial services. Consumers who are unbanked or underserved by major financial institutions will gain access to a gamut of financial services including remittances, savings, credit and wealth management services.

Southeast Asia is poised to remain one of the fastest groups of economies in the world, with an unbanked population of about 438 million people. With the wealth of alternative data and innovative technology available, financial access for the unbanked has seen a rapid rise and many opportunities created to serve this new and underserved market.

Africa

Investment group buys into SA peer-to-peer lending firm RainFin (BusinessTech), Rated: AAA

RainFin and the LeBashe Investment Group have concluded a transaction for the latter to acquire a 30% stake in RainFin, for an undisclosed amount.

Barclays Africa (Absa) originally acquired a 49% stake in the peer-to-peer lending firm in 2014, however, in late 2016, the company’s founders and directors said that they would buy that stake back.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday January 30 2017, Daily News Digest

price & yield table for SCLP 2017-1

News Comments Today’s main news: ABA Banks seeks MPL partnership. Zopa passes 2bil GBP milestone. Today’s main analysis: SoFi Unsecured Consumer 2017-1. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Orchard Online Lending Snapshot. Five mistakes to avoid when starting a FinTech company. Spanish banks lead FinTech VC in Europe. Tyro, RateSetter, Stockspot and Westpac on past and future. United States ABA seeks MPL partnership. […]

price & yield table for SCLP 2017-1

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

U.S. bank trade group seeks marketplace lending partnership (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The American Bankers Association, a trade group for U.S. banks, has been hunting for a marketplace lending platform to help its members ramp up their digital offerings.

The ABA has run a formal bidding process to secure a marketplace lending partner, spokesman John Hall confirmed on Friday. He could not say which companies were under consideration because the information was confidential.

Weekly Industry Update: January 29, 2017 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The ABS market finished January on a high note with strong buyer interest. SoFi and Mosaic priced their first and inaugural transactions respectively in 2017, which were both heavily oversubscribed.
FinTech financings continue apace. Nyca announced the successful closing of a

Orchard Weekly Online Lending Snapshot (Orchard Platform), Rated: AAA

It was reported this week that LendingRobot launched a robo-advisor hedge fund for accredited investors that will invest in loans from LendingClub, Prosper, Funding Circle, and Lending Home. loanDepot announced that they have funded $100 billion in home, personal, and home equity loans since their inception in 2010. In yet another sign that positive sentiment seems to be returning to the industry, BorrowersFirst, an online consumer lending platform, announced last week that it has secured an additional $100 million in debt financing to accelerate loan originations and fund continued growth of its balance sheet. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued OCC Bulletin 2017-7 as a supplement to OCC Bulletin 2013-29, which “governs the risk management frameworks maintained by OCC- regulated banks in establishing, monitoring and concluding third party relationships (including relationships with bank affiliates).” On Monday, we announced that LendIt has partnered with us for our 2017 Meetups–as a way to enrich the events–strengthening the depth and breadth of ourrelationships in the industry.

DiversyFund Takes Crowdfunding Real Estate Investment Giants Head On (Military Technologies), Rated: A

DiversyFund, Inc., announces the launching of its new full-service online crowdfunding real estate investment platform. DiversyFund principals, Craig Cecilio and Alan Lewis, have been delivering exclusive investment opportunities that generate high returns for their investors for over a decade. The company has planned to offer some unique features to its investors in the upcoming months. These are aimed to disrupt the current status quo of the industry.

With their new online crowdsourcing platform, DiversyFund is planning to become the key sponsor and lead developer to the majority of their projects, if not all of them. This is a key difference in their crowdfunding real estate investment platform. It makes them stand out since many of their competitors work with third-party sponsored projects and act only as mediators by providing technology to implement funding for outsourced deals.

AirBnb’s Fintech Future (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: A

This week, word “leaked” that Airbnb is in advanced talks to acquire Tilt, a group payments/social network hybrid start-up that helps people split the cost of rent, dinners and events. Whether or not this deal happens (it probably will), the rumors support our view that of all the next-wave tech giants known as WASSUPPs (WeWork, AirBnb, Slack, Snap, Uber, Pinterest and Palantir), AirBnb is the most aggressive in embracing fintech as core to its business.

Crowdfunding takes aim at commercial real estate (Westfair Online), Rated: A

Despite a lack of data on the exact size of the real estate crowdfunding market in the U.S. – no federal agency or national trade association tracks those deals – the investment vehicle apparently is attracting a particular class of investor.

“This investor is typically younger,” said Ben Sayles, director in the Boston office of real estate brokerage HFF. “From what I am seeing, this person is high-earning, usually in the tech world – though maybe in the financial world – and doesn’t have a lot of expenses. They probably rent their apartment, do not have a car and have an extra income that they want to put to work.”

Among real estate professionals, the use of crowdfunding to raise capital also appears to be concentrated within a particular demographic.

“For a smaller commercial real estate developer or investor, the non-Donald Trump type, this can be a cheaper source of financing for a $10 million to $30 million project,” said professor Anthony Macari, executive director of graduate programs at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.

Three Crowdfunding Sectors to Watch in in the US in 2017 (Crowdfunding), Rated: A

With investors becoming increasingly more comfortable with new Fintech platforms, the amount of money invested in crowdfunding in the Americas jumped from $11.4 billion in 2014 to $36.49 billion in 2015 — and Technavio market research analysts predict the overall industry will grow at a compounded average annual rate of 27% through 2020.

Since the first provisions of the JOBS Act went into effect, real estate has remained one of the most popular crowdfunding investment classes. The physical nature of buildings and land lends real estate more security than higher risk startups. And with a self-proclaimed real estate mogul now in the White House, many leading experts are predicting a record year for real estate. We are also seeing increasing issuer adoption — more real estate firms are launching their own crowdfunding platforms, and a variety of Regulation A+ real estate funds and traditional investment firms are increasingly using platforms to raise a portion of their capital stack.

In addition to standard real estate crowdfunding platforms, we think we will see an influx of hybrid platforms that allow users to not only invest but to solve other problems as well.

Last year’s announcement from OPEC to cut production in combination with President-elect Trump’s oil friendly appointments has oil and gas prices on the rise. Oil prices have already climbed 17.5 percent as of December 27 and show no signs of slowing. And investors are taking notice. EnergyFunders, a crowdfunding marketplace that allows investors to directly invest in U.S. oil and gas wells, reported a 45 percent increase in signups after OPEC’s announcement.

Impact investing, or investing in companies that bring about positive change in the world, is growing in popularity as more millennials enter the market. A recent survey from U.S. Trust states 93% of millennials believe that social impact is key to their investing decisions. Ryan Ràfols, CEO of Newchip.co an aggregation platform that uses Robo-advising to showcase impact investing crowdfunding offering, explains;

“Millennials want to invest in companies that can make a return while making a difference in the world.”

Elon Law dean addresses poor SoFi ranking (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Social Finance Inc. (commonly known as SoFi) ranks Elon among the bottom 10 law schools in the nation in its Return on Education Law School Rankings. It ranked Elon eighth out of the 10 worse schools. Elon’s graduates, SoFi said, average $87,680 in salary and $145,610 in debt.

Luke Bierman, dean of Elon Law, which is based in Greensboro, said he doesn’t argue that a law school degree requires a sizeable investment from a student in terms of both time and money. But he said Elon adopted a new curriculum two years ago intended to make it quicker and less expensive for a student to earn a law degree. He said the school’s current tuition is 20 percent below the national average for private law schools and said the new curriculum allows a student to graduate in 2.5 years as opposed to the three years required through a traditional curriculum.

He said the study released by SoFi doesn’t reflect students who have enrolled at Elon since the adoption of the new curriculum. The first group enrolled solely under the new curriculum, he said, will be graduating in December. He said it’s Elon’s hope that those students will be graduating with less debt.

Bitcoin P2P Lending Remains A Risky Business (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: A

On paper, the service provided by companies such as BTCJam is an excellent way to use Bitcoin. Extending loans to people from all over the world is a great solution to promote Bitcoin usage. Unfortunately, this concept still needs a lot of work, as there are a lot of caveats to using services such as BTCJam right now. In most cases, a lot of the loans are never repaid in full.

It is evident a lot of BTCJam users are losing money unless they are the borrowers for a specific amount of Bitcoin. In fact, some Reddit users argue the only people who benefit from using BTCJam are the ones who borrow money, and everyone else is losing money left, right, and center. BTCJam has been dealing with these issues for quite some time, yet it seems very little has changed over the past year or so.

Global Debt Registry Successfully Completes SOC 1 and 2 Attestation (Global Debt Registry Email), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company known for its loan validation expertise, today announced receipt of its Service Organization Control [SOC] 1 and SOC 2 Type 1 attestation engagement report, providing independent validation that the Company’s internal security controls are in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (“AICPA”) applicable Trust Services Principles and Criteria. Just days after International Data Privacy Day on January 28, this attestation showcases GDR’s continued dedication to meeting the highest industry standards for protecting confidential consumer information.

GDR’s SOC 1 and 2 Report demonstrates that the Company has the necessary internal controls and processes in place to protect consumer data, maintain operational integrity, and comply with industry standards and regulations.  The SOC 2 engagement included evaluating GDR in accordance with the trust principles of security, availability, processing integrity, and confidentiality. The AICPA created the SOC guidelines to provide an authoritative benchmark for service organizations to demonstrate implementation of proper policies, operational practices and controls.

As a partner to online lenders, investors, warehouse lenders and other industry stakeholders, GDR delivers real validation and helps ensure asset certainty including protection against double pledging and double selling of assets with its suite of digital due diligence solutions. The Company contracted with KirkpatrickPrice for its SOC 1 and 2 engagement to meet the ongoing public and private reporting requirements of its financial institution clients.

GDR is also compliant with a number of additional industry standards, including PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), the GLBA (Gramm Leach Bliley Act) Safeguards Rule, and ISO 27002 (International Organization for Standardization 27002). As evidenced by the SOC 1 and 2 Report, the Company is continuing its focus on meeting the highest standards of data and information protection and operational integrity for its clients.

The 4 Best P2P Lending Platforms For Investors In 2017 — Detailed Analysis (Forbes), Rated: A

With interest rates at all-time lows since 2008 and many historically “safe” investments like government bonds carrying negative yields, investing in P2P loans in 2017 is a no-brainer.

Founded in 2007, Lending Club is the world’s largest P2P lending platform with over $20 billion in loan issuance. Lending Club has grown exponentially and currently has a 45% market share. It raised over $900 million from its IPO in 2014, but its share price has since fallen 72%.

Launched in 2006, Prosper was the first P2P platform in the US. It has since funded over $6 billion in loans and serviced over 2 million customers. Prosper grades borrowers through its Prosper Score. This proprietary system focuses on criteria such as debt-to-income ratio and other “soft checks” conducted by credit bureaus.

Launched in 2014 by a bunch of ex-Googlers, Upstart has originated more than $300 million worth of loans. Upstart uses unique grading criteria. It looks at FICO scores but also considers educational background. The firm has the lowest default rates across the industry thus far. Over 94% of loans are on track to be repaid in full. The company makes its money solely on origination fees from the borrower.

Funding Circle was founded by Sam Hodges who, after the 96th time of being rejected by banks, decided to take action. The company only makes business loans and operates in the US, UK, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. Funding Circle was founded by Sam Hodges who, after the 96th time of being rejected by banks, decided to take action. The company only makes business loans and operates in the US, UK, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Why More Consumers Are Seeking Alternative Investments (Newswire.net), Rated: A

However, modern consumers are starting to look at alternative investments, which stray from “conventional” standards either because they’re riskier, newer, less tested, or involve unknown variables. What you need to know about alternative investing is this: it’s on the rise, and there may be a benefit in jumping in early.

Types of Alternative Investments

  • Private lending. Private lending has grown in popularity in recent years, thanks to peer-to-peer apps that make it possible, such as Lending Club. Here, you may lend some of your own money to one or more private borrowers, who pay you back with interest.
  • Currencies. Currencies are constantly shifting in value against each other as various countries grow or shrink economically. Investing in a country’s currency when they’re poised for growth with an app like XE could result in a major gain.
  • Other tech-based solutions. There is also a rising number of new apps and technological solutions opening the doors to new investment possibilities. The rise of machine learning and automated investing solutions, like Wealthfront, is an example of this.

Manhattan Beach’s PeerStreet opens real estate investing to individuals (TBR News), Rated: B

Headquartered in Manhattan Beach just across the street from the town’s iconic 24-hour diner, The Kettle, PeerStreet may be located in a small beach town, but the reach of this real estate investment firm is national.

Crosby describes PeerStreet as an eTrade for real estate investing.

The business began right in the heart of Manhattan Beach, and currently has 50 employees. According to Johnson, they’ve recently received funding from venture capitalist Andreesen Horowitz and investor Michael Burry.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Zopa passes £2 billion loans milestone (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the fintech businesses credited with inventing peer-to-peer lending, has passed £2 billion ($2.5 billion) in loans over its online platform.

The milestone means Zopa is still just about Britain’s biggest peer-to-peer lender by historical loan book. Funding Circle, which lends to small businesses, has lent £1.92 billion since its launch in 2010.

Zopa says in a release on Monday that the £2 billion in lending represents 300,000 loans made to 246,000 borrowers since its founding in 2005. 75,000 investors funded the lending over the platform.

Five mistakes to avoid when starting a fintech company (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

However, what I feel very comfortable doing is pointing out some things that failed companies do, based on my experience in Startupbootcamp as well as building a number of successful companies. Here it goes:

  1. They forget to validate

Intuition, experience and opinions are important and helpful. However, building a fintech start-up based only on these three is very risky. A business can’t be built on limited data. Without really understanding if there is a real pain you are solving, a need you are fulfilling or knowing how many people would pay for your product or service you are multiplying the possibility of going after the wrong market, building the wrong solution or having the wrong commercial model or doing the wrong thing.

  1. They lose focus

 

Successful entrepreneurs focus on one thing at a time and they are very good at saying “No” to anything that would distract their real focus. This does not mean that they are not aware of what is going on around them or blindsided to changes or competition but they just know how to use their time efficiently.

  1. They focus too much on being “investable” and forget to build a sustainable business

It is easy to fall trapped to the chants of investors. It can be easy to believe that you have a sustainable business when an investor says that the company you started working on 12 months ago is worth £2 million. That does not mean that you have a business. It means that you can build a viable business. The criterion that investors use is not normally sustainability but potential for a large payout. Sometimes, those two factors are contradictory. Investors have to go for big money and some of these attempts fail.

  1. They don’t invest enough in team and culture

Building a fintech company is hard. The pressure is incredibly strong and never stops. Under continuous pressure, it is very easy for teams to crack and fall apart which in many occasions kill the company. A start-up’s biggest challenge is getting the team right and having the different skill sets covered to succeed. Complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses is extremely important in small teams, especially with co-founders.

  1. They underestimate what it takes

The journey of an entrepreneur is incredibly hard and requires grit, execution and a lot of patience. In many cases, entrepreneurs get caught in the “fintech celebrity” hype and think that being on panels, and ranking high in different top lists and Twitter means success. Building a real business takes a lot of hours “in the basement”. Once the reality hits, many founders get bored and quit or fade.

Welendus – One Week on Seedrs (Welendus Email), Rated: A

One week has passed since the release of our Seedrs fundraise campaign with significant results.

Over the past week, Welendus attracted over 50 investors and raised over 25% of our target which only proves the level of interest people have in Welendus. The level of engagement and the discussion is another indication of how much people love Welendus.

We are raising £300k for equity in our company and would like to invite you to be one of our first investors and shareholders. You can access our Seedrs campaign at

Assetz Capital CEO Stuart Law Shares His 2017 P2P Lending Predictions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Nearly one month after ringing in the new year, Stuart Law, CEO and co-founder of peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capitalprovided his alternative finance predictions for 2017. 

Law stated:

“Brexit has already had a very positive effect on the peer-to-peer (P2P) market, and all indications signal that it will grow further in 2017 whilst bank lending remains subdued. With the larger platforms announcing record second half results in the six-month period after the Brexit vote, they are also attracting increasing amounts of capital in the form of equity.  Smaller P2P players however will likely struggle to lure the necessary lending or growth capital to survive independently, so we expect a degree of consolidation and some to drop out of the market altogether.

Alternative finance has certainly started to make its mark with savvy investors, but the biggest attraction to date will be the Innovative Finance (IF) ISA.  We predict that this will attract a huge amount of capital onto the main platforms and represent as much as 30% of all capital inflows to P2P platforms this year, assuming all large P2P lenders such as Assetz Capital get approved before the end of March 2016, and perhaps as much as 50% in 2018.

“The desire to invest in secured loans will increase amongst lenders and professionals.”

P2P Lender Flender Closes Successful Seedrs Campaign (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

P2P lending platform Flender has officially closed its successful equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Originally seeking £500,000, the initiative secured a total of £501,700 from more than 230 investors.

Flender stated it does not consider itself a traditional P2P platform with an anonymous marketplace. Instead, its team believes that it will help businesses create lasting bonds with customers, and for consumers to reach through their existing networks and be part of each other’s success. And at the same time, underpinned with legal contracts created by the platform between borrowers and lenders.

ArchOver Announces P2P Business Lending Services Expansion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Friday, peer-to-peer business lending platform ArchOver announced it is expanding its current “Secure & Insured” lending model by launching “Secure & Assigned” business loans.

According to the lender, the first Secured & Assigned loan will be for Ergowealth, a firm of chartered financial planners based in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

The loan announcement comes just a couple of months after ArchOver revealed it was extending its exclusive partnership with international credit insurer and collections company Coface by a further three years.

Banks and lenders face clampdown from the Bank of England on household borrowing (This is Money), Rated: A

The Bank is due to release figures this week showing that the growth in personal loans and credit cards is running at more than 10 per cent a year.

Lenders have been slashing rates in the past six weeks and banks including TSB are offering unsecured personal loans at less than 3 per cent.

The rock bottom rates come alongside cheap loans by peer-to-peer lenders which bypass the banks by allowing loans between private individuals. Ratesetter and Zopa are offering loans at just 3.1 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively.

Funding Circle welcomes new BDM (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: B

Funding Circle has announced the appointment of Sarah Beard as its new business development manager.

Prior to joining Funding Circle, Sarah spent three years at Lease Plan as an account manager and three-and-a-half years at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, where she managed a portfolio of 30 introducers.

Sarah, who will be based in Bristol, said she was very excited about joining the company.

European Union

Spanish Banks Lead FinTech VC Investments Against Their European Peers (The Corner), Rated: AAA

Citi’s analysts also take a look at how different the FinTech evolution has been in the West: (1) the U.S. pivoted to InsurTech in 2016; and (2) two of the largest U.S. FinTech VC funding rounds in 2016 were in the health insurance space. Big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and wearable devices, among other trends, will help insurance companies use FinTech to be more creative and customized.

Europe remains a laggard for start-ups/VC investing at about 10% of global FinTech VC investment in 2015-16. This is not a big surprise as Europe has a smaller VC market versus the U.S., it has none of the large technology/Internet companies that exist in the U.S. or China and its banking system (despite the sector’s weak stock prices, earnings and capital challenges of the past decade) offers more of a full-service provision versus U.S. or Chinese peers.

As reported by Citi:

European banks are increasingly interested in FinTech and with more bank investors and affiliates, we will see more of a shift to business-to-business (B2B). In 2017 we expect more focus on B2B FinTech topics, such as Artificial Intelligence, especially in London which is a hotspot with DeepMind and its concentration of universities; regulatory tech both in the U.K. and the U.S.; and cybersecurity primarily in the U.S. and Israel.

European Crowdfunding Networks Calls for Members to Assist with EU Crowdfunding Regulatory Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), a pan-European alternative finance advocacy group, is asking members to participate regarding input on the Capital Markets Union.  Specifically, the ECN will be working with the Directorate‑General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) regarding input on obstacles to cross-border

The ECN will also launch an open survey to all EU securities and lending crowdfunding platforms with will deliver input for the European Commission’s review of the Capital Market Union and which will be followed up by individual interviews with interested parties.crowdfunding for both online lending (peer to peer lending) and equity crowdfunding.

Australia

Tyro, RateSetter, Stockspot and Westpac on 2016 and the year ahead (The Mitchel Lake Group), Rated: AAA

CK: The transferability of information is huge with a growing number of middleware, SaaS applications and APIs. Sharing data and improving collaboration in the market is continually on the improve, benefiting the customer.

DF: Investors are much more discerning in the businesses they back. This will be better in the medium term, but it’s been difficult for some businesses locally.

CB: This year Stockspot became the first robo-adviser in the world to give clients the flexibility to personalise their portfolio with the launch of Stockspot Themes. We’ve already managed to generate some fantastic net returns for early adopters (6.2% and 9.2% per year) while charging clients less.

DF: For RateSetter, expanding our offering from consumer lending to business lending was a significant development. In Australia there’s been a real lack of business financing options outside residential property-secured bank finance and expensive short-term working capital finance, so we’re excited that RateSetter now offers Australian businesses a low-rate funding alternative to help them grow and prosper.

JS: My biggest highlight has been Tyro receiving a bank license. We are the only tech company to have achieved this so far. This was such a massive win for us and the sector. Following this, we were then able to deliver next-gen banking, a cloud-based, totally mobile & totally integrated banking solution for SMEs and growth companies.

JS: The FinTech community has limited potential if banking is not opened up. In a way, Australia is cursed by the entrenched bank oligopoly. If we don’t get our act together and open up banking, the next-gen banking providers will not be Australian.

CB: There are two things the Government could do to improve fairness for consumers when it comes to investing and superannuation. One is to require all superannuation and managed funds to provide fee and performance data to comparison websites so consumers can easily compare fund options. The second is to implement a public tender for the right to manage default super funds as outlined by the [Grattan Institute]( Chile established public tenders for the right to manage default super funds and it has reduced average annual super fees by 50%.

John Cummins Appointed New CIO for Australian Marketplace Lender SocietyOne (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Australian largest marketplace lending platform SocietyOne announced John Cummins has joined the group as CIO, according to The Advisor. Reporting to SocietyOne CEO and MD Jason Yetton, Cummins will be responsible for SocietyOne’s funding requirements to support demand from an expanding number of borrower customers, including building on SocietyOne’s existing network of investor funders which features large financial institutions, mutual banks, credit unions, high net worth individuals and SMSFs.

India

India Money Mart Serves as a P2P Lending Platform (Military Technologies), Rated: A

With India Money Mart serving as a P2P lending platform, borrowers and lenders find transactions easy. This online market place provides a reliable platform for both lenders and borrowers in India with a minimal operational cost.Lenders and borrowers can avail loan facilities at their own will. Borrowers can choose single or multiple lenders at the same time. IMM ensures that these transactions are carried forward without any hassles or meeting one another personally.

Through an easy lending process, Kissht helps consumers avail quick loans (YourStory), Rated: A

There is an entire population that has the money to repay loans, yet mainstream banks reject their loan applications. This does not favour consumer spending, although consumption has grown in this country. According to data available with the RBI there are only around 27 million credit cards in the country, and 300 million bank accounts. In 2016, although personal loans were 22 percent of all bank credit disbursed, several Indians remained without personal credit.

With this as the backdrop, Krishnan Vishwanathan, a consultant from McKinsey, wanted to find a fix to help people consume. Giving up his lucrative career, he set up Kissht, which means EMI  in Hindi, to provide collateral-free loans for products that consumers want to purchase. The total loans disbursed so far are to the tune of Rs 17 crore, with over 9,000 customers.

Asia

Peer-to-peer lending platform awaits BOT nod (The Nation), Rated: A

VORAPOL PHORNVANICH, chief executive of PeerPower, a financial-technology start-up, aims to create a new online peer-to-peer lending platform for investors and borrowers.

“At present, investors and savers in Thailand earn a relatively low return on their funds, averaging 0.5 per cent for savings accounts, 2-2.5 per cent for fixed deposits and 4-4.5 per cent for corporate bonds.

“On the other hand, if you are a borrower, you have to pay a relatively high interest rate on consumer loans, which have no collateral. Interest rates are currently as high as 15-36 per cent per annum. The interest-rate spread is huge, so we think this new online platform can help narrow the gap between deposit and lending rates as happens in other countries.”

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor