Thursday October 18 2018, Daily News Digest

Major US Banks Active Mobile Banking Users

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade to debut ABS bond. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1. Funding Circle launches free iPad incentive. China’s P2P lending is in trouble. Today’s main analysis: State laws put installment loan borrowers at risk. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi’s data science head on machine learning and non-traditional lending. LendingClub’s Bill Walsh says […]

Major US Banks Active Mobile Banking Users

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Online lender Upgrade prepares debut ABS bond  (International Financing Review) Rated: AAA

Upgrade, an online lending company started by former LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche, is looking to sell a debut asset-backed bond deal, four people with knowledge of the deal told IFR on Wednesday.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1 (“UPGR 2018-1”). This is a $286.390 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close October 30, 2018.

This transaction represents the first ABS securitization collateralized by unsecured consumer loans originated through the online marketplace lending platform operated by Upgrade, Inc. (“Upgrade”) and the first from the Upgrade Receivables Trust (“UPGR”) shelf. Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1 (“UPGR 2018-1” or the “Issuer”) will issue four classes of notes totaling $286.390 million. The proceeds from the sale of the notes will be used to purchase the loans and related rights from Upgrade Receivables Depositor LLC (the “Depositor”), who purchased the loans from the unaffiliated transferors, to fund the reserve account and to pay transaction expenses. The Depositor will in turn sell the loans to the Issuer.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1

Class Preliminary Rating Expected Initial Class Principal
A A (sf) $187,308,000
B BBB (sf) $32,569,000
C BB (sf) $28,440,000
D B (sf) $38,073,000

SoFi’s data science head: Opening the funnel to non-traditional borrowers with machine learning (Thomson Reuters) Rated: AAA

ANSWERS: What are some of the issues in machine learning that you are working to solve for right now?

WU: I think where machine learning plays the biggest role is in datasets that have extremely high numbers of dimensions, very low signal ratios and very sparsely populated values. For example, people in lending use data from the bureau. There are millions and millions of rows, there are thousands and thousands of columns. Each specific field has very little to no signal and each person has very few things that are actually populated. Those are opportunities where machine learning, particularly deep learning, has an extremely high potential.

ANSWERS: How can machine learning assist with lending decisions, and how does one keep bias from creeping into that?

WU: When making a decision on creditworthiness, machine learning can help lenders look at metrics beyond FICO and income. Whether it’s adding more information to traditional metrics versus determining creditworthiness of applicants without a full credit history, machine learning can drive tighter risk management while assessing borrower’s creditworthiness where traditional models cannot.

LendingClub’s Bill Walsh: ‘At its core, marketing is a data problem’ (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

Today’s marketer on the hot seat is Bill Walsh, LendingClub’s general manager and head of marketing for personal loans. Bill brings an engineer’s approach to marketing. The MIT grad began his tenure at Lending Club in an operations role, where rigorous problem solving was used to solve some of the biggest problems in the business. Now that he’s leading marketing on the consumer side, he brings a similar approach.

We talk about how LendingClub defines marketing and approaches channels. We pay particular attention to a recent TV campaign you might have seen over the summer of 2018. Measuring and responding to the signal is core to LendingClub’s approach and in the course of this four week broadcast campaign, Bill’s team iterated twice. This puts ad agencies on notice — this is the new data-driven fintech marketing world.

Mobile banking is reaching a saturation point in the US (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase counted32.5 million active mobile banking customers in Q3 2018 — an 11% year-over-year (YoY) increase from 29.3 million in Q3 2017.

That’s up from the 31.7 million active mobile customers in Q2 2018, but is also a slight deceleration from the 12% YoY growth in Q3 2017— following several quarters of decelerating growth: Chase has been adding around 800,000 mobile users on a quarterly basis.

Wells Fargo counts 29 million total active digital customers — 22.5 million of which use mobile banking. This marks an 8% annual increase in mobile banking customers, but a 4% YoY increase in total digital customers, demonstrating that most of its new customers are coming from mobile channels.

Source: Business Insider

State Laws Put Installment Loan Borrowers at Risk (PEW) Rated: AAA

Pew’s analysis found that although these lenders’ prices are lower than those charged by payday lenders and the monthly payments are usually affordable, major weaknesses in state laws lead to practices that obscure the true cost of borrowing and put customers at financial risk. Among the key findings:

  • Monthly payments are usually affordable, with approximately 85 percent of loans having installments that consume 5 percent or less of borrowers’ monthly income.Previous research shows that monthly payments of this size that are amortized—that is, the amount owed is reduced—fit into typical borrowers’ budgets and create a pathway out of debt.
  • Prices are far lower than those for payday and auto title loans. For example, borrowing $500 for several months from a consumer finance company typically is three to four times less expensive than using credit from payday, auto title, or similar lenders.
  • Installment lending can enable both lenders and borrowers to benefit. If borrowers repay as scheduled, they can get out of debt within a manageable period and at a reasonable cost, and lenders can earn a profit. This differs dramatically from the payday and auto title loan markets, in which lender profitability hinges on unaffordable payments that drive frequent reborrowing. However, to realize this potential, states would need to address substantial weaknesses in laws that lead to problems in installment loan markets.
  • State laws allow two harmful practices in the installment lending market: the sale of ancillary products, particularly credit insurance but also some club memberships (see Key Terms below), and the charging of origination or acquisition fees. Some costs, such as nonrefundable origination fees, are paid every time consumers refinance loans, raising the cost of credit for customers who repay early or refinance.
    Source: PEW

Read the full report here.

Bank Of America’s Zelle Boosts P2P Transactions 138 Pct In Q3 (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Bank of America cut expenses and reduced its provision for credit losses as the financial institution also beat analysts’ revenue and earnings expectations. Bank of America, in reporting its latest financials on Monday, also said that Zelle P2P payment transactions increased 138 percent year over year.

Revenue increased about 4 percent year over year, hitting $22.8 billion, higher than analyst expectations of $22.67 billion. The financial institution reported earnings per share of 66 cents, which represents a 43 percent year-over-year increase and is above analyst expectationsof 62 cents. Net income grew 32 percent to $7.2 billion.

Bank of America said its provision for credit losses decreased $118 million during the third quarter of 2018, to $716 million. “The net reserve release was $216 million, driven by continued improvement in consumer real estate and energy portfolios,” the bank said in its Q3 financial report.

As digital banks proliferate, so do risks (American Banker) Rated: A

Facing intense deposit competition from online-only banks such as Ally Financial and Goldman Sachs’ Marcus, many traditional banks are looking to turbocharge their deposit gathering by launching — or considering launching — digital banks of their own.

PNC Financial Services Group is the latest big bank to join the fray, recently rolling out a digital-only bank in markets where it lacks a brick-and-mortar presence. Like JPMorgan Chase, Citizens Financial Group and a number of other regional and community banks, PNC is counting on its digital bank to attract low-cost deposits to fuel loan growth while also helping it reach new demographic groups.

Early results have been promising — PNC CEO William Demchak said Friday that he’s been “pleasantly surprised” by the response in the Kansas City, Mo., market — but with the space becoming so crowded, industry watchers are beginning to question if the U.S. marketplace can reasonably support so many new digital banks.

Source: American Banker

Outside Financial Launches to Help Consumers Save up to $ 3,000 on Auto Loan Packages (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Outside Financial, an independent auto loan marketplace, launched its consumer-first platform today to bring transparency to auto finance. The company is the first to offer full auto loan packages outside of the dealership, which can save customers $1,000 to $3,000, along with time and hassle. Outside Financial also arranges refinances for existing borrowers.

In 2017, Americans racked up $568.6 billion in auto loans1, yet 60 percent of buyers don’t know they can bring their own financing to the dealership. The company’s new Outside Financial (OF) Markup Index* reveals that, on average, new car buyers are charged $1,717 in hidden markups when arranging their loans through a dealer.

Individual Investors Can Now One-Click Invest in Commercial Real Estate with CrowdStreet’s “Blended Portfolio” Offering (Benzinga) Rated: A

CrowdStreet, which operates the largest and most diversified online marketplace for direct equity investment in U.S. commercial real estate, is now raising $25 million for the company’s first CrowdStreet Blended Portfolio investment offering. To provide individual investors and registered investment advisors another way to diversify their investments with commercial real estate, the company plans a series of diversified and specialty portfolio investment options that will collectively raise and invest up to $170 million.

The first CrowdStreet Blended Portfolio’s proceeds will be deployed across 30-50 pre-vetted projects on the CrowdStreet marketplace, representing a broad range of commercial and multifamily asset types, risk profiles and geographies.

Credible.com Unveils First Truly Consumer-Centric Mortgage Marketplace (Business Wire) Rated: A

Credible.com, the leading online loan marketplace, announces the launch of its first-of-its-kind mortgage marketplace. Credible.com is the only mortgage marketplace that provides actual rates from top lenders in 3 minutes (without affecting a borrower’s credit score), and a streamlined digital origination process. The platform is designed to save borrowers frustration, time and money.

The Credible.com mortgage marketplace builds on the success of the company’s marketplaces for student loans, student loan refinancing, and personal loans, which have facilitated more than $1.6 billion in loans to date. The first product offered through the mortgage marketplace is mortgage refinancing, which went live today in 20 states that collectively represent 65 percent of mortgage originations.

Talking Regulation at the Online Lending Policy Summit (Lend Academy) Rated: A

The big topic of the day was the OCC’s Special Purpose National Bank Charter also known as the Fintech Charter. The topic was laid out for the audience by the first keynote speaker, Grovetta Gardineer, the Senior Deputy Comptroller for Compliance and Community Affairs at the OCC. She talked about the history of the OCC going back to 1863, with the National Banking Act, when the dollar supplanted state currencies as the sole currency of the United States, a revolutionary idea back then. Ms. Gardineer reaffirmed the authority of the OCC to introduce a national fintech charter and talked about how companies should proceed if they are interested. While she would not comment on specifics she did say that the OCC is currently having preliminary conversations with fintech companies but no formal application has been received yet.

The new head of the CFPB’s Office of Innovation, Paul Watkins, talked about the importance of the regulatory sandbox concept. He was one of the architects of the Arizona fintech sandbox and he is bringing that knowledge with him to Washington. He talked about the two main tools to help facilitate innovation at the CFPB: their trial disclosure program and the no action letter.

How Dealstruck Arrived, “Disrupted,” and Died – A Cautionary Online Lending Tale (deBanked) Rated: A

A self-described member of the “lucky sperm club,” a not-even 30-years-old Senturia went on to successfully raise $30 million of investor capital to fund his business, enough to fuel his rise and price-shame his competitors for years. But it wouldn’t last, as he detailed in book, Unwound, about the behind-the-scenes chaos that ravaged Dealstruck until the company closed for good in late 2016.

AFR Wholesale announces partnership with Floify (Housingwire) Rated: B

AFR Wholesale and Floify shook hands on a partnership, and AFR will now use Floify’s point-of-sale technology.

AFR’s goal in partnering with Floify, a 2018 HW Tech100 winner, is to reduce origination time and increase broker productivity. According to the release, Floify’s POS platform can save up to 15 hours of processing time per loan.

This is only one of an ever-increasing number of companies partnering with software companies or developing their own tech solutions in hopes of increasing productivity and getting some breathing room in the margin department in this tough mortgage market.

iintoo Launches Principal-Protection Product for Retail Investors Supported by Insurance Provided by Everest (iintoo Email) Rated: B

Online Real Estate Investment Management Company iintoo Investments Ltd. (“iintoo”) launched Epiic (Equity Protection Investment Community), the first-of-its-kind real estate investment product that provides principal protection for private accredited investors. Supported by insurance provided by an affiliate of Everest Re Group, Ltd. (NYSE:RE), a leading international reinsurance and insurance organization with operations that span the globe, and a social community pool, Epiic offers two layers of protection for investors’ principal.

iintoo opens up access to real estate investments that were once exclusive to professional funders and high-net-worth individuals. Starting at $25,000, accredited investors can invest in ownership shares in projected high yield, premium real estate projects.  Each project undergoes a rigorous due-diligence and approval process provided by iintoo.  In order to assess the risk factors in real estate investing, iintoo also conducted a thorough analysis of the real estate market in the United States, taking into consideration all sectors in all 50 states over the past 30 years.

TRANSACT Tech San Francisco to Examine the Impact of Software Providers on the Payments Industry (PR Newswire) Rated: B

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) will bring together executives from leading banking, payments and FinTech companies on November 1, 2018 for TRANSACT Tech San Francisco at the Wells Fargo Connections Center. The event will explore how software services are changing the way key ecosystems players – processors, banks and hardware manufactures – serve merchants and channel partners.

The day-long conference will kick-off with a fireside chat with Secil Watson, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital Solutions for Business at Wells Fargo. “Customer expectations are changing rapidly, and pace of change in technology is accelerating.” said Watson. “Yet we still have cash and checks. What can we learn from today’s customer experiences to build a better payments ecosystem for tomorrow?

Finicity Partners with Freddie Mac to Provide Industry-Leading Automated Income and Asset Assessment Solution (Finicity Corp) Rated: B

Finicity, a leading provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, announced today it has been selected as a third-party service provider for the new Freddie MacLoan AdvisorSM automated income and asset assessment capabilities, which provide a faster, easier way for lenders to verify loan application data upfront. Finicity’s digital verification reports greatly improve efficiency and accuracy, while also providing a simpler, more pleasant borrower experience.

Freddie Mac announced its new income and asset assessment capabilities at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Convention & Expo earlier today. Finicity’s verification reports are integrated within Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor®, the cornerstone of Loan Advisor Suite.  When the capability goes live later this quarter, asset verification will be generally available and income verification will be available as a limited release.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle launches ‘free iPad’ incentive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

LISTED peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle is enticing new investors by offering a free iPads. But there’s a catch – they have to add at least £30,000 to their Funding Circle accounts before 16 November.

The P2P platform is also offering a number of other cashback and ‘giftback’ incentives to lenders who invest lower amounts of money.

Investors who add £20,000 to their Funding Circle accounts will receive £200 in John Lewis vouchers, while those adding £15,000 will get an Amazon Echo.

LendInvest Update: Accelerates BTL Production Application Volume Thanks to Rate Reductions (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

UK-based online lender LendInvest announced last week it has reduced rates and product fees across its Buy-to-Let product range. According to LendInvest, the pay rate for its five year fixed rate product has dropped to 3.60%, with the ICR calculation at a pay rate of 3.60%. Meanwhile, product fees for all BTL mortgages on standard property and HMO cases have been reduced to 1%, with borrowers who prioritize leverage in mind.

The lending platform also reported that for a limited time, valuation fees have been reduced to £100 for all standard property cases. LendInvest will now cover the borrower’s legal fee scale costs for standard property, standard conveyance cases, where dual representation is selected.

You think it’s going to be easy challenging the big banks? Think again (The Times) Rated: A

here has never been a more opportune moment for the pack of digital upstarts looking to topple the institutions that dominate the financial industry. Rarely does a week go by when a big bank does not suffer an IT meltdown, spewing sensitive data into the ether or freezing customers out of their accounts.

A decade after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, public distaste for the high street banks remains at elevated levels. Two thirds of Britons do not trust big banks to act in the best interests of society, according to a recent YouGov poll. The advent of smartphones, meanwhile, has fundamentally altered consumers’ expectations of their relationship with service providers.

Amex brings SME financing to UK with ezbob (Banking Tech) Rated: A

American Express (Amex) has partnered with online financing platform ezbob to offer UK SMEs competitive access to finance.

Through this partnership, eligible Amex business clients will receive a referral to apply for up to £300,000 in finance from ezbob at a fixed annual interest rate from 3%.

Carlos Carriedo, senior vice-president of global commercial services at Amex, says: “We know agility is crucial for smaller businesses to help retain a competitive advantage but accessing the finance needed to react swiftly to changing customer demands, or seize an opportunity, can be a challenge.”

Amex customers taking out a loan with ezbob will also benefit from a 40,000 Membership Reward points offer, the company adds.

Connect for Intermediaries announces new panel (Mortage Strategy) Rated: A

Connect for Intermediaries has announced the launch of a new unsecured lending panel.

Comprising Funding Circle, iwoca, Whitoak and Fleximise, the panel will be open to all of Connect’s AR members, and Connect will be able to obtain terms on behalf of other brokers as referrals.

Loans from £5,000 to £250,000 for up to five years will be available from 1.5 per cent.

Connect sales director Kevin Thomson says: “We have seen an increased demand for unsecured loans for trading businesses, as increasingly, brokers are coming to us with business clients who are looking to ease cashflow or expand their businesses.

P2P Lending Investment Returns Outstrip Many Market Competitors (CL News) Rated: A

P2P lending arrived in the UK back in 2010 with the launch of Funding Circle. The idea was simple. In the wake of the financial crisis, banks were – and still are – paying abysmally low rates of interest to savers. P2P platforms allowed savers to collectively lend money to businesses and individuals, usually over relatively short periods of time. By cutting out the middleman (or to be more precise, banks and other traditional lenders), P2P lenders were able to offer competitive rates to borrowers and superior returns to investors.

The market has evolved over the years. AltFi – which provides specialist news for the alternative investment industry along with a range of analytics services – says the market is growing rapidly. For instance, in 2015, P2P lending platforms brokered around £1.1bn in loans. In the first half of 2018 alone, the figure was £3bn. Separate figures from the Peer to Peer Finance Association reveal that its members have, to date, originated loans to a value of £9bn.

11:FS Foundry’s launch brings digital to banks (Banking Tech) Rated: A

Consultancy firm 11:FS has launched 11:FS Foundry, an approach to delivering digital banking services through a modular core banking architecture. It kicks off with the partnership with DNB, Norway’s financial services group, which has also become an investment partner.

DNB has invested £3 million for a 5% stake in 11:FS Foundry. This investment represents the long-term commitment between 11:FS and DNB to change how banks deliver digital banking services, the two companies say.

Watchdog warns payday lenders over customer complaints (Financial Times) Rated: A

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority encouraged payday lenders to proactively compensate past customers; the industry has come under a lot of heat in recent months after a surge of complaints; companies say a lot of these complaints are bogus and a pushed by professional claims management companies (CMCs)

Wonga was forced to shut down a few months ago after they saw a significant rise in complaints, complaints now cost companies more than $725 per complaint after the first 25 complaints; the rise in complaints has come after new rules were put in place in 2015 where high cost lenders we ordered to drop fees and adhere to stricter standards; a new survey by Kantar TNS showed that 60 percent of payday loan customers still pay more than anticipated.

Fintech offers fresh ways to finance an MBA (Financial Times) Rated: A

According to David Simpson, admissions director at London Business School, MBA students spend just as much time trying to find funding as they do trying to find the right program; while struggling to find his own financing Prodigy Finance CEO Cameron Stevens though there had to be a better way so he started Prodigy with two former classmates.

The company is now growing fast by offering a service few others do, while also collecting credit records from across the globe; “You have talented people who have proved their potential in receiving offers to business school,” says Mr Stevens to the FT. “The only barrier for them is funding, because the banks are still incredibly localised, as they were in the 1500s.”

Arbuthnot Banking Group PLC Third Quarter Trading Update (Arbuthnot Group) Rated: A

Customer Lending balances are 28% higher than at the same time in the prior year and originations of new loans are 18% higher. However, as previously stated, the Group remains committed to maintaining its discipline in both credit underwriting decisions and return on capital when extending credit.

The newly launched Asset Based Lending division continues to develop ahead of the original business plan and has a strong pipeline of new opportunities. The Specialist Finance division has now completed the hiring of its core team of six employees and is currently setting up its operations based in Manchester. It is expected that it will write its first deals toward the end of the fourth quarter or early 2019.

OakNorth appoints form PRA director to board (Finextra) Rated: B

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – today announces the appointment of Martin Stewart, the former Director of Banks, Building Societies & Credit Unions at the Bank of England, as an Independent Adviser on its advisory board.

Stewart joined the Bank of England in April 2013 and spent five and a half years there. In addition to supervising UK banks, building societies, credit unions and new entrants into UK banking, he was a Member of the PRA’s Executive Team responsible for PRA regulatory policy. His regulatory experience also includes spending three years at the FSA between 2010-2013, where he was a member of the leadership team that defined and implemented the UK’s post financial crisis prudential regulatory regime that now underpins the work of the Prudential Regulation Authority. In addition to this, he has almost two decades’ board-level experience having been Managing Director of a group of European subsidiary companies of the IFG Group PLC for almost four years, and as Chairman of the International Credit Union Regulators’ Network for the last six years.
China

China’s P2P Lending Sector Is in Serious Trouble (Money Makers) Rated: AAA

P2P lending has been lucrative in China with little constraining regulation. The industry is worth as much as $120 billion and has been high-risk, but high return.

Chinese regulators have been clamping down on debt and financial risk, the number of loan defaults is rising, capital investments are running out of the sector, and Chinese citizens are losing money. And getting pretty angry about it.

In July 2018, 114 P2P lending platforms in China were shut down or had funds suspended, without warning, by China’s regulators over liquidity concerns. Since June 2018, 243 online P2P lending platforms have gone bust.

Several Chinese Peer-to-Peer Lending Companies Have Submitted Self-Inspection Reports (Capital Watch) Rated: A

With hundreds of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms having collapsed at the beginning of this year, different district-level financial bureaus recently rolled out a tougher reform on all P2P platforms’ risk compliance to ease a growing panic among investors.

This industry reform involves three major steps. First, all platforms have to complete a P2P Compliance Self-Inspection Report and submit it to the bureau by the end of October. Then, companies will be inspected by its local Internet Finance Industry Association, a non-state association. This will be followed by verification of inspection results by district-level Municipal Bureau of Financial Work with field inspection and a possible final check by higher-level government organizations.

New York-listed Hexindai Inc. (Nasdaq: HX) and PPDAI Group Inc. (NYSE: PPDF) both announced that they have completed and submitted the report.

European Union

A risky investment (Euro Weekly News) Rated: AAA

MANY UK nationals living part of the year in Spain, or visiting often, might spend months here but still retain tax residency in their home country.

This means those looking for investment opportunities can still take advantage of UK tax efficient products such as Finance ISAs – ones which use peer-to-peer lending to offer high rates of return. They may be nothing new but one legal justice firm has upped the ante offering returns of up to 8 per cent a year.

International

Advantages of P2B platforms in lending to SMEs (Lendit Conference Blog) Rated: AAA

In the EU and Australia, SMEs comprise 99.8% of all the firms and employ about 67% of the workforce. To tell the truth, SMEs might be rightfully called the economy, not just the backbone of it. A few other facts that follow are paradoxical. 2 years ago, International Finance Corporation (under World Bank) presented statistics that the gap for underfinanced SMEs around the world stood at 2.6 trillion $. One might expect, the situation got better in recent years with the global economy picking up and showing better and better numbers. On the contrary, most recent statistics from the same institution shows that the gap has widened to 5.2 trillion $.

P2P platforms make lending process global

P2B platforms can connect a business on one side of the world with an investor from another side of the world, and with a third party providing a service from yet another part of the world. All applications for loans can be made online, processed, assessed and the decision made within a matter of a few hours. Compare it to a similar process with the banks and the difference, that of speed and efficiency becomes clear. As an asset (loan) is put on the platform, investors can start investing within a matter of seconds. In such a way, a local business, somewhere in Eastern Europe can get funds from someone (or institutional investors) in UK or Germany and be able to use the collected amount for business operations within a couple of days.

4 developments that will shape the future of fintech (Business Matters) Rated: A

Within the past decade, we’ve seen the landscape of fintech move from a few disruptive start-ups to an industry that’s changing the landscape of business altogether. Consumers are becoming more and more accepting of technology as part of their day-to-day finance, a factor that has stretched the services sector and levelled the playing field with traditional institutions.

For instance, there has been a monumental shift in the way that consumers are managing their money. PwC’s Global Fintech Survey 2017 found that 84% of incumbent financial services providers believed their customers were already making payments with fintech companies, 68% thought customers were conducting fund transfers, and 60% said their clients were using fintech for their personal finances.

Quona Capital leads $ 5 million round for Brazilian small business lender BizCapital (Impact Alpha) Rated: A

Brazilian fintech firm BizCapital launched operations in January to help Brazil’s small business owners secure capital necessary for the day-to-day and growth needs of their businesses. Quona Capital, a financial tech investment firm that spun out of Accion, has led the company’s R$20 million ($5 million) investment round. Two existing investors, Monashees and Chromo Invest, both based in Brazil, also participated.

Roughly 70% of Brazil’s micro and small business owners are shut out of mainstream bank lending and instead resort to taking personal loans, which can carry interest rates as high as 200%. BizCapital offers short-term loans for up to R$150,000 ($40,000) at annual rates in the mid-double digits. The company hasn’t disclosed the size of its loan book but says it’s received more than 100,000 credit requests and serves customers in all 26 Brazilian states.

Australia

Global corporate lending platform, Trade Ledger has warned the Federal Government of substantial weaknesses in its proposed Open Banking implementation plan, when compared to the global best-practice model.

These primarily include the lack of an independent implementation and governance organisation, and limited consumer and small to medium-sized enterprise representation in the development of industry standards.

According to Trade Ledger, these omissions “risk a scaremongering campaign around data security that could stall progress and reduce the scope of the changes, leaving the door open for overseas financial markets to take over our local markets in the new era of Open Banking”.

India

UIDAI Asks Non-Banking Fintech Companies To Stop Aadhaar-Based Services (Inc 42) Rated: AAA

After getting telecom companies to submit their exit plans from Aadhaar-based services, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Aadhaar regulatory body, has now asked digital payment companies to stop offering any sort of Aadhaar-based service on their platforms.

In a letter, the UIDAI also directed digital payment companies to submit confirmation of closure of Aadhaar-related authentication and their alternative plans to exit from the Aadhaar-based ecosystem.

According to reports, the UIDAI has sent the letter only to non-banking companies such as PayPoint, Eko India Financial Services, and Oxigen Services, among others.

Citing unnamed sources, an ET report stated that banks and payment companies such as Paytm, which have obtained banking licences, have not received the notice.

Africa

Kenya built a reputation as a pioneer of financial inclusion through its early adoption of a mobile money system that enables people to transfer cash and make payments on cellphones without a bank account.

Now, a proliferation of lenders are using the same technology to extend credit to the banked and unbanked alike, saddling borrowers with high interest rates and leaving regulators scrambling to keep up.

This week, the finance ministry published a draft bill on financial regulation which covers digital lenders for the first time. A key aim is to ensure that providers treat retail customers fairly, it said.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 31 2018, Daily News Digest

eloans

News Comments Today’s main news: Spreads narrow on SoFi’s SCLP 2018-1 consumer loan ABS. DiversyFund raises $1M. Ranger Direct Lending sees arbitration delay. Klarna partners with Maplin. BNI Europa partners with Funding Circle on German SME lending. Western Union opens tech center in India. Today’s main analysis: Banco Popular reboots Eloan. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Marketplace Lending Association executive director’s testimony […]

eloans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

APAC

News Summary

United States

Spreads narrow on SoFi’s 1st consumer loan ABS of 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Strong demand and higher credit enhancement allowed Social Finance to offer lower spreads on its first consumer loan securitization of the year, even after upsizing the deal to $850 million from $650 million originally.

Four tranches of rated were issued, resulting in an advance rate of 91%, according to a person familiar with the transaction. The amount of overcollateralization in the deal will gradually build from 9% to 16%.

Two senior tranches of notes rated AA + by KBRA were issued. The Class A-1 tranche, which has a shorter expected life, pays 50 basis points over the Eurodollar synthetic forward curve, in from 57 basis points on the comparable tranche of the previous transaction. The Class A-2 tranche pays 75 basis points over the interpolated swaps curve, in from 90 basis points on the previous deal.

 

Ranger Direct hit by arbitration delay and manager uncertainty (Citywire), Rated: AAA

The New Year rally in Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) shares has come to an abrupt halt after the listed loan fund, which is backed by fund manager Mark Barnett, said arbitration to settle the legal dispute between it and Princeton Alternative Finance had been extended by around two months.

The £119 million investment trust has been locked in an argument with Princeton, a New Jersey-based investment fund in which it is the leading investor, over its exposure to Argon Credit, a US peer-to-peer lending platform that collapsed in December 2016.

Uncertainty over the exposure to Argon – which represents 14% of its £217 million net assets – and doubts over the due diligence by its adviser Ranger Alternative Management (RAM) have hobbled the shares. They fell over 23% last year but had rallied since the end of December when they hit a record low discount of 32% below net asset value. From 704p at the start of the year they recovered to 767p last week but have dropped 4% or 31p today after yesterday’s announcement. Although still wide, the discount has narrowed to just under 13%.

Relx pays £580m for digital identity company (Financial Times), Rated: A

Relx, the UK-listed information and analytics group formerly known as Reed Elsevier, has struck its biggest deal in a decade with the £580m purchase of ThreatMetrix, an online identify verification business.

ThreatMetrix has one of “largest repositories of online digital identities”, according to UBS analysts, and has built a database containing 1.4bn unique online digital identities from 4.5bn devices in 185 countries.

GLI Finance scores £50m funding line from HoneyComb fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The funding line has a term of 3 years and comprises a £50m revolving credit facility, of which £20m will be drawn and deployed immediately.

Ezbob Raises £15M in Expansion Capital (Finsmes), Rated: A

Ezbob, a London, UK-based E-lending company, raised £15M in funding.

Da Vinci Capital Management Ltd. reportedly made the investment at a post money valuation of £100m.

Meet The Lenders That Need Your SME’s Money More Than You Need Theirs (Forbes), Rated: A

in particular, the UK’s peer-to-peer lending platforms are now crying out for new customers.

Today, however, more than 30 lending platforms, including all the large small business lenders, offer their own IFISA or are on the verge of launching a product. For investors, moreover, the returns available from these schemes looks very attractive: annual yields of 10 per cent or more in some cases look phenomenal when set against the backdrop of bank and building society accounts typically paying less than 0.5 per cent a year, even if there is a risk of losses on IFISAs if borrowers default.

Augmentum Capital to seek public listing to back fintech start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: B

Augmentum Capital, the venture group backed by Lord Rothschild, is planning to list a financial technology investment fund in what would be one of the sector’s biggest initial public offerings in a decade.

It is understood to be applying for admission to London’s main market in March and will seek to raise up to £125m with the sale of new shares.

China

China’s financial risk worse than in US before financial crisis, says former finance minister (Today Online), Rated: AAA

The level of risk facing China’s financial system could be higher than was seen in the United States before the global crash, according to a former Chinese finance minister.

“China’s ratio of M2 [a broad measure of money supply] to gross domestic product has surpassed 200 per cent, which is more than twice that of the United States, yet the average Shanghai interbank offered rate is 4.09 per cent, far higher than the 1.1 per cent in the US.”

According to official figures, the M2 money supply at the end of December was 167.68 trillion yuan (S$34.75 trillion), or 203 per cent of China’s nominal GDP in 2017.

Chinese P2P lending platform Senmiao Technology sets terms for $ 14 million US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Senmiao Technology, an early-stage Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, announced terms for its IPO on Tuesday.

The Chengdu, China-based company plans to raise $14 million by offering 3.3 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Senmiao Technology would command a market value of $109 million.

European Union

Klarna signs Maplin for online pay-later (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Today, leading payments provider Klarna has announced a partnership with Maplin – the UK’s number one specialist technology retailer. Maplin customers will now be able to use Klarna’s Pay later and Slice It services, allowing them to order online and receive the very latest Smart Home tech, security/CCTV products, top quality drones and so on, and then pay for them either at a later date or spread the cost over time.

Pay later enables online and mobile Maplin customers making purchases of £200 or less to receive their products and pay for them 30 days later, with no interest or fees.

BNI Europa to fund German SME loans via Funding Circle (Finextra), Rated: AAA

The Portuguese online bank Banco BNI Europa and Funding Circle have entered into a strategic partnership to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Germany.

Investment will support the funding needs of c. 600 companies and thereby help to create c. 1,500 new jobs

Banco Popular reboots Eloan for new era in online lending (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Banco Popular is relaunching E-loan (it dropped the hyphen from the name) to serve as its “fintech arm,” a stand-alone brand offering solely digital products.

Launched in 1997, Eloan re-enters a market where fintechs now account for over 30% of personal loan originations, according to TransUnion. The brand will compete for clients alongside well-financed upstarts like LendingClub as well as new offerings from banks such as Marcus from Goldman Sachs.

 

Spendesk Raises €8 Million to Expand Its Platform for All Company Purchases (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Spendesk, a fintech solution that helps businesses manage their spending, has raised an €8 million Series A round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investors. The funds will be used to accelerate product development and expand across Europe.

ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank hit by cyberattacks (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Three Dutch banks, ABN AmroING and Rabobank, suffered a series of DDoS attacks last weekend (27 and 28 January).

During the attack, internet banking, mobile banking, its website and Ideal were unavailable or extremely slow on 27 January from around 8pm to 12.15am CET and on 28 January from 12pm to 2pm CET and after 7pm CET.

International

 

CHECQIT, the P2P Lending Platform Aiming to Empower the Unbanked (The Merkle), Rated: A

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex report, nearly 2 billion adults and 160 million small businesses from all over the world do not have bank accounts. Efforts to approach them to traditional financial institutions have not been enough, limiting their economic growth potential.

Only 14% of adults living in the Middle East hold a bank account, opposed to the 94% of citizens from first world western countries that do. Developing regions with underserved communities such as India and sub-Saharan Africa comprise, when combined, nearly 32% of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population.

As a response to this issue, Nassim Benzekri and his team developed CHECQIT, an Ethereum-based, decentralized, peer-to-peer lending platform that allows users to grow their collaterals against a fast-guaranteed loan.

Finastra acquires Olfa Soft SA (Realwire), Rated: B

Finastra has acquired Olfa Soft SA and its cutting edge FX e-trading platform for banks and financial institutions. The move enables Finastra to deliver a unique end-to-end real-time eFX trading solution for banks’ treasury departments, covering distribution, position-keeping, post-trade and payments.

India

Western Union Opens Tech Center In India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Cross-border payments company Western Union is opening a technology center in India, which will focus on biometrics, machine learning, and robotics, the company announced yesterday.

The center, located in Pune, Maharashtra, will have over 1,000 employees all focused on building these “innovative digital and retail customer experiences globally,” the company said in a press release.

Rubique announces strategic partnership with Optacredit (Outlook), Rated: AAA

Rubique, a marketplace lending platform for individuals and SMBs, entered into a strategic partnership with OptaCredit, an Artificial Intelligence-powered, data-driven online lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to salaried professionals across India.

With its Online PLUS technology led model and proprietary matchmaking algorithm, Rubique will enlist the company on its online marketplace for applicants to avail viable loan products from OptaCredit’s offerings.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

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. The NBFC-P2Ps will act as an intermediary to provide an online platform to lenders and borrowers to transact on mutually agreeable terms. RBI has defined P2P lending as a form of crowdfunding that entails issuing unsecured loans to borrowers via an online portal in its 2016, ‘Consultation Paper on Peer to Peer Lending’. However, P2P lending is different from other crowdfunding activities in being a purely debt product, in which multiple lenders fund borrowers as personal loans or small business loans. Most of the P2P platforms in India such as IndiaMoneyMart curate their borrowers after conducting KYC checks, credit assessment, and due diligence before listing them on their loan exchanges.

On the positives, the regulation has made P2P lending platforms accountable to furnish credit repayment/non-repayment information to all 4 credit bureaus, thereby increasing transparency in the credit rating system. The credit rating agencies have records on about 150 million population but P2P lending platforms are also going to bring customers hitherto relying on private money lenders. This presents a huge opportunity to close the credit information gap. It will also reward sub-prime borrowers with a better credit score for showing improvement in loan repayment behaviour.

As many first time or retail borrowers take loans from money lenders or payday companies which charge interest as high as 5% to 20% per month, P2P platforms like IndiaMoneyMart are bridging the gap by making credit not only accessible but affordable. Bangalore-based IT consultant, Tanmay Thorat* (name changed) was paying over 300% interest to payday loan companies and approached IndiaMoneyMart for a small ticket size loan of INR 1 Lakh secured at rate of 13% annualized interest in March 2016required to settle his credit card debt and pay rent deposit.

The expectation from the Union Budget 2018 is immense in the BFSI segment, especially after RBI regulation. Experts hope that essential financial services will have GST rates revised from 18% to 5% or nil.

Budget 2018: how can we enhance the growth of startups in India? (YourStory), Rated: A

Most importantly, the fund of funds for startups (FFS) has begun to take shape with as much as Rs 1,100 crore being disbursed to SIDBI for allocation to venture funds. As of September 15, 2017, 17 venture funds have raised Rs 605 crore from SIDBI and as many as 72 startups have received about Rs 318 crore funds. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has also recently announced that this number will be increased to Rs 2,400 crore by the end of the next fiscal.

For instance, the startup space has reportedly seen a decline of 53 percent in seed funding and 25 percent in venture funds in 2017.

Listed below are four suggestions for Budget 2018.

  1. Abolish angel tax
  2. Encourage Indians to fund India
  3. Extend tax holiday
  4. Standardise and simplify   

10 things FM Arun Jaitley can do to boost access to capital via digital lenders (Financial Express), Rated: A

  1. Allow a lower MHP for servicing short-term needs of MSMEs
  2. Raise rate caps under MUDRA scheme: The RBI currently has capped the final rate that can be charged above the refinance rate offered by MUDRA at 3% for banks, 6% for NBFCs and 10%-12% for MFIs, depending on portfolio size. Since most of the new lenders incur high opex, this cap should be increased in the Budget 2018 to 10-12% in line with MFIs, for loans up to Rs 5 lakhs, and 8-10% for loans from Rs 5-25 lakh value.
  3. Extend the SIDBI net
  4. Make P2P platforms more attractive: A cap of 5% of net worth for lenders and a maximum individual loan amount of Rs 25 lakh for the borrowers would make these platforms attractive for both lender and borrower.
  5. Expand access to MSMEs
  6. Introduce PSU Banks turndown program
  7. Raise eKYC-based lending limit: The cap for lending through OTP based eKYC should be increased from Rs 60,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
  8. Promote eSign
  9. Mandate eMandate
  10. Increase the flow of data for lending
APAC

Lancers raises $ 9.2m venture round (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Tokyo-based Lancers, which operates a crowdsourcing platform under the same name, has closed a JPY 1 billion ($9.2 million) round from Tokyo-listed enterprises Persol Holdings and Shinsei Bank.

The investment sees Lancers concluding business partnership contracts with both companies concurrently and will also see it commence its new financing business targeting freelance workers, which the company claims comprise 17 per cent, or 11.22 million workers of Japan’s entire working population.

The addition of Shinsei Bank as an investor will see Lancers, Persol and Shinsei collaborate to develop and provide a new loan service to individual workers who need equipment investment or education/training upon starting a new business.

Crowd Realty closes $ 5.2m Series A (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Tokyo-based property crowdfunding portal Crowd Realty has closed its Series A round at JPY 580 million ($5.2 million) from Tokyo-listed Mitsubishi Estate, Shinsei Corporate Investment, Shinsei Bank, and Mizuho Capital, based on an account from The Bridge.

The Series A round saw two tranches: a follow-on investment of JPY 230 million subsequent to a JPY 350 million investment from Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Kabu.com Securities.

SSC warns against investing in cryptocurrencies (Viet Nam News), Rated: B

In a notice issued on its website on Monday, SSC said that the market now had companies operating in fintech, including cryptocurrency, initial coin offering, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and blockchain. These were new products that had not been regulated, SSC said, thus posing high risks.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor