Wednesday June 13 2018, Daily News Digest

Financial Strain by category

News Comments Today’s main news: Money360 surpasses $750M in commercial real estate loans closed. Attorneys defend $16M LendingClub fee. Funding Circle lending unlocked 75K jobs in 2017. Westpac ends Prospa relationship. Today’s main analysis: Should financial advice be tailored along credit and gender lines? Today’s thought-provoking articles: GreenSky look fairly valued, but there are competitive risks. 4 companies driving […]

Financial Strain by category

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United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

Money360 Surpasses $ 750 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans Closed (Globe Newswire), Rated: AAA

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate loans, today announced it has surpassed $750 million in loans closed since inception. This includes $82.5 million in loans closed in May 2018.

Notable loans closed in 2018 include:

  • A $26 million bridge loan for a specialty retail center in Punta Gorda, FL, brought to Money360 by Mark Reichter at Q10 / Triad Capital Advisors, Inc.
  • A $15.6 million bridge loan for an office building in Houston, TX, brought to Money360 by Rich Perry at Churchill Commercial Capital
  • A $17.25 million bridge loan for a medical office in Newport Beach, CA, brought to Money360 by Scott Monroe at NorthMarq Capital, Inc.
  • A $7.9 million bridge loan for Raytheon’s industrial space in Albuquerque, NM, brought to Money360 by Jake Clopton at Clopton Capital
  • A $9.2 million bridge loan for a neighborhood center in Tulsa, OK, brought to Money360 by Mark Reichter at Q10 / Triad Capital Advisors, Inc.
  • A $5 million bridge loan for an office park property in South Bend, IN, brought to Money360 by Dean Giannakopoulos at Marcus & Millichap Capital Corp.
  • A $5 million bridge loan for a manufactured housing property and park in West Sacramento, CA, brought to Money360 by Jake Clopton at Clopton Capital
  • A $3 million bridge loan for a mid/high rise multifamily building in Detroit, MI, brought to Money360 by Robert Krupka at Gelt Financial
  • A $2.3 million bridge loan to a self-storage building in Panama City Beach, FL, brought to Money360 by Doug Brooks at Marcus & Millichap Capital Corporation
  • A $1.6 million bridge loan to a multifamily building in Macon, GA, brought to Money360 by Naveed Khan

Attys Defend $ 16M LendingClub Fee Bid That ‘Shocked’ Judge (Law360) Rated: AAA

Attorneys seeking $16 million for representing LendingClub Corp. investors in securities class actions against the peer-to-peer lending company defended their fee bid Monday to a California federal judge who previously said the amount “shocked” him, saying their work produced an “outstanding result under any measure.”

The 28-page motion filed by attorneys for Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, lead counsel for the lead plaintiff, argues that the requested 13.1 percent cut of the $125 million settlement is reasonable in light of the results achieved, the risks…

GreenSky Looks Fairly Valued, But Competitive Risks Remain (Forbes) Rated: AAA

GreenSky followed through with its plans to go public within weeks of confidentially filing with the SEC last month – making it the largest fintech IPO in the country since LendingClub and OnDeck went public nearly four years ago. The company offered 38 million shares at $23 per share to raise $874 million (with the actual proceeds being $830 million after underwriting fees). The company’s shares have largely traded around this level since then. This points to a valuation of $4.4 billion for GreenSky – around the figure .

GreenSky’s role as an intermediary between lenders and potential borrowers with strong credit histories makes its overall business model a risk-averse one, as it bears negligible credit risk. At the same time, the relationships it has built with banks, home improvement companies and healthcare providers promise to drive growth at a steady pace over the foreseeable future, even as the company explores other growth segments.

Four companies driving the bank tech discussion, with only one a FAANG (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google garner so much attention that they have their own collective shorthand, FAANG. But at American Banker’s Digital Banking conference this week, a mostly different set of companies were top of mind: Call them SASA, or Starbucks, Amazon, Sears and Acorns.

More than 40% of the 55 million U.S. smartphone users will have made an in-store mobile payment through Starbucks’s app, and that just over 23 million consumers over the age of 14 will use the Starbucks app to make a point-of-sale purchase at least once every six months, according to Gavin Michael, head of technology for Citigroup’s Global Consumer Bank, citing data from research firm eMarketer.

Should financial advice be tailored along credit and gender lines? (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Women with credit scores below 700, according to an analysis conducted by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class, an independent research arm of the online lender.

Source: American Banker/Elevate

Fifty-six percent of women with subprime scores say their finances cause them significant stress. About 45% of men with subprime credit scores say the same, as well as only 23% of women with prime ratings and 16% of men with prime ratings.

Seventy percent of women with subprime credit scores work full time, versus 62% of women with prime scores.

The woman with subprime credit is 41% more likely to have children in her home than a prime woman. She is also 79% more likely to have an elderly parent living with her.

Only 39% of Non-Prime Women Believe They Have the Skills to Manage Their Finances (SC Now) Rated: A

Most surprisingly, only 39% of this group believe they have the skills to manage their finances, despite the fact that ongoing research from myriad sources have found women to be the primary financial stewards of their households.

Key findings in the research include:

  • Two-thirds of non-prime women live paycheck to paycheck.
  • They are 3x more likely to have lost a job in the last year compared to prime women
  • Only 34% of non-prime women hold salaried jobs
  • They are 4x more likely to have trouble predicting next month’s income compared to prime women
  • More than 4 out of 5 non-prime women admit to running out of money at least once a year
  • More than one quarter admit to running out of money every month
  • They are 24% more likely to say their finances cause them stress compared to non-prime men
  • Only 13% of non-prime women would have money on-hand to cover an emergency of $1200
  • Non-prime women are 6x more likely to have used a payday loan

But another myth persists: Seasonal businesses suffer most of all. SBA’s data doesn’t bear this out, showing companies across varied industries tend to follow similar patterns in terms of failure. Manufacturing-based businesses, for example, are no more protected from failure than seasonally driven businesses like restaurants and retail stores, meaning other factors determine companies’ likelihood of long-term success.

An Ohio State University study indicated that  of restaurants don’t make it past the first year. Another 2005 study amended that, saying that the 60 percent figure applied to the first three years.

With CB Insights finding that  of small business failures can be attributed to cash flow problems, it’s imperative that seasonal business owners find ways to “spread the wealth.”

Kabbage, for example, ties its line of credit to a small business’s live data, allowing the company to adjust lines of credit in real time to match a business’s seasonal needs.

Why Digital Lenders Are Tightening Their Lending Criteria (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

In the early days of online lending, the big appeal was access to funds for potential borrowers with few, if any, options for securing capital.

According to recent reports, some of the largest marketplace lending players in the field — SoFi, LendingClub, AvantProsper — are being pushed by their investors to batten down their credit hatches and demand better credit scores from their borrowers, as well as shorter maturities so they can make more attractive offerings to investors as they look to repackage those loans into asset-backed securities.

According to KBRA, the weighted average of FICO credit scores of Prosper’s loans, packaged in ABS, increased to 717 in a March 2018 deal from 704 in a sale two years earlier. And they weren’t the only lender to see its average score go up — SoFi, increased the weighted average of its FICO credit scores to 744 in a sale earlier this year from 732 in a deal at the start of last year.

Overlooked Millionaires: Finding A Home In The Democratized Family Office Model Of Financial Advice (Forbes) Rated: A

Over the last 20 years, the number of American investors with between $2 million and $20 million in investible assets has grown remarkably. According to 

Optimal Blue, Finastra partner for pricing integration (Mortgage Professional America) Rated: B

Optimal Blue and Finastra have announced an expansion of their relationship under which Optimal Blue will be integrated Finastra’s Fusion MortgagebotPOS product.

The new integration enables banks and credit unions to provide mortgage applicants with Optimal Blue’s live pricing searches via any point-of-sale channel. Fusion MortgagebotPOS is a web-based platform that allows lenders to receive applications through every point-of-sale channel: consumer-direct via the internet, in the branch or call center, or through professional loan officers.

Direct 1031 Exchange Launches New Online Platform for Accredited Investors (Sys-Con Media) Rated: A

A new online platform is now available for accredited investors seeking direct access to Section 1031 exchange investment opportunities with the launch of real estate investment sponsor Direct 1031 Exchange. The company provides Section 1031 exchange offerings directly to investors using the Delaware statutory trust structure under SEC Rule 506(c).

Through Direct 1031 Exchange’s online investment portal, accredited investors can participate in 506(c) DST offerings sponsored by the firm with no upfront load or commission paid by the investor.

LendStreet and Its Unique Approach to the Debt Settlement Space (Lend Academy) Rated: A

LendStreet is a lender that works with consumers who are experiencing financial difficulties. These are people who have taken on too much debt and find themselves in a hole, unable to pay it all back. But rather than declaring bankruptcy, these people want to work things out and reduce their debt through a debt settlement.

This is the point when the debt settlement companies come in. LendStreet lends only to customers whose debt is being or will be negotiated by a debt settlement company. Most of LendStreet’s customers are already enrolled with debt settlement companies before getting to LendStreet. Those who come directly to LendStreet are paired with a debt settlement company to negotiate down their debt, which will be funded by a LendStreet loan.

Chris Sugden of Edison Partners (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Chris Sugden is the Managing Partner of Edison Partners, a growth equity firm based in Princeton, New Jersey. They provide growth capital for small business doing $5 million to $20 million in annual revenue, typically based on the east coast between DC and Boston. They have never invested in a Silicon Valley startup.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The history of Edison Partners and their unique New Jersey location.
  • The difference between East Coast and West Coast entrepreneurs.
  • The three different verticals they cover.
  • The impact that Marcus will have on the broader fintech space.
  • The shift Chris has seen with the banks as they embrace fintech.
  • The interesting fintech trends Chris is focused on right now.

Radius in Boston working with fintech firm on online business checking platform (American Banker) Rated: A

Radius Bank in Boston has lined up its next fintech project.

The $1.2 billion-asset online bank is working with a Treasury Prime, a San Francisco startup, to create a business checking account. The Tailored Checking Account will allow business owners around the country to quickly open accounts online.

SME smartphone lending set to take off (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Fintech platform Kabbage predicts that 20 per cent of US dollars lent to SMEs will be via smartphone apps by the end of 2018.

Kabbage analysed nearly 150,000 US small businesses and found an increasing trend towards lending organised via mobile devices, with the number of loans increasing more than 300 per cent.

Online Lender Accused Of Using Tribe To Shield Illegal Loans (Law 360) Rated: A

An internet lending company and others have engaged in a plot to charge illegally high interest rates on loans while attempting to use a Michigan tribe’s sovereign immunity as a shield from suit, a group of borrowers said in a proposed class action filed in California federal court Monday.

Four plaintiffs from various states claimed in their complaint that even though Big Picture Loans LLC said it was owned and operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, loans made in Big…

Nobel laureate Kahneman says human financial advisors are still crucial (CNBC) Rated: A

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, said Tuesday financial advisors still play a major role in the finance world — despite recent technological disruptions in the industry — as they act as therapists for investors.

Robo-advisors are growing at a very fast rate, surpassing $200 billion in assets under management last year, according to BackEnd Benchmarking, which releases quarterly data on robo-advisors.

Lending Express Opens Shop in Silicon Valley & Adds Moshe Kazimirsky to Team (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Lending Express, an AI-powered marketplace for business loans, has opened a new Silicon Valley office in San Mateo, as well as the appointment of Moshe Kazimirsky to VP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development to support the West Coast team. The announcement comes on the heels of Lending Express’ May $2.7 million seed funding round led by Entrée Capital, iAngels, and existing investors.

PeerStreet’s CEO Brew Johnson and Leadership Team Wins Comparably’s 2018 Culture Awards in Multiple Categories (Business Wire) Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that it has won Comparably’s 2018 Culture Awards in the following categories:

  • Best CEOs for Diversity
  • Best CEOs for Women
  • Best Managers
  • Best Leadership Team

Robots could replace as many as 10,000 jobs at Citi’s investment bank (Business Insider) Rated: A

Robots could replace as many as 10,000 human jobs at the banking giant Citi within five years, its president told the Financial Times.

Wells Fargo bans cryptocurrency purchases on its credit cards (Payments Source) Rated: B

Wells Fargo & Co. customers hoping to use their credit cards to buy Bitcoin will have to look elsewhere.

United Kingdom

Lending through Funding Circle unlocked 75,000 jobs in 2017 (Pr Newswire) Rated: AAA

A new report published today by Oxford Economics reveals that lending through Funding Circle, the global small business loans platform, unlocked 75,000 jobs in the United States and Europe in 2017.

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle to create 200 UK jobs (B Daily) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle is creating 200 jobs in the UK.

The London-headquartered firm has this morning (June 13) confirmed plans to take on 400 new employees in 2018, half of whom will be recruited in the UK.

LendInvest’s path from adversity to opportunity (City A.M.) Rated: A

Although the online marketplace model had been proven to work – Amazon and eBay had been established over a decade earlier – LendInvest was initially both “offline” and “pretty uninteresting”. It wasn’t until 2012, with £30m investors’ capital under management, that the founders became intrigued by the role tech could play.

The path to success is littered with unforeseen obstacles, good days can follow bad, tailwinds become headwinds. LendInvest is no exception. When the company was young, raising debt finance often felt like an uphill struggle. It took many air miles and international calls, but eventually an eastern European bank offered a £2m funding line, later increased to £6m.

Ranger Direct shares end higher after bowing to activist pressure to wind up (Financial Times) Rated: A

Ranger Direct Lending operates a £128 million investment company which has faced pressure from activist investors who own almost 30% of the company.

The board proposed yesterday of winding down the company as Ares Management withdrew itself from consideration to manage the trust. Ranger’s board also suggested shareholders vote against newly nominated directors by activist investors.

Ranger Direct Lending has struggled as defaults have crept up in the sector.

Monzo launches task automation with IFTTT (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Personal finance apps offer customers insights into their budgeting and spending habits, but U.K.-based digital bank Monzo is taking that a step further by letting its customers design their own rules on how they want to interact with their money.

Monzo’s tie-up with If This Then That, rolled out in early June, lets customers automate tasks using their financial data through personalized rules. IFTTT is a web and app-based platform to help customers get apps and devices to work together. It lets users set up “if, then” rules; for example, “if I post an Instagram, post it as a native photo on Twitter,” or “if I add a new task to an Amazon Alexa to-do list, add it to the iPhone reminders app,” and so on. IFTTT’s integration with consumer financial data lets them experiment with new use cases for financial data and lets the bank learn more about customer preferences and behavior.

Collateral investors may have to join queue of creditors (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

COLLATERAL investors may end up having to recoup any unpaid interest owed as a creditor of the company, the administrator of the closed peer-to-peer lending platform has revealed.

An update from BDO said its initial view was that due to section 26 of the Financial Services and Markets Act – which deems that agreements with unregulated parties are unenforceable – investors would be treated as creditors.

This means they would have to submit documentation to BDO on what they are owed and wait to see what funds can be recouped through the administration.

European Union

B2B FinTech Could Earn Index Ventures $ 2 Billion This Year (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Venture capitalist (VC) firm Index Ventures is on its way to earn $1.6 billion from its early investments in B2B FinTech, according to Forbesreports Monday (June 11). Index Ventures’ portfolio includes iZettle and Adyen, with unconfirmed reports of a Funding Circle initial public offering (IPO) that could push Index Ventures into the $2 billion mark.

LendInvest joins Luxembourg fintech hub (Finextra) Rated: B

LendInvest, the UK’s leading online marketplace platform for property finance, has become a fellow of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), the country’s leading FinTech innovation hub.

LendInvest has had a presence in Luxembourg since 2014 when it established its first Luxembourg-domiciled fund.

Fintech threatens to eclipse banks that do not adapt digitally (Financial Times) Rated: A

Writing an opinion piece for the FT BBVA Executive Chairman Francisco Gonzalez talks about the rise of fintech and big tech in banking. He explains that banks still have an advantage when it comes to security, privacy and compliance.

A new regulatory model is needed for the new era of digital banking and data. Banks need to build on what they do best and evolve to ensure they stay relevant. He believes there is a paradigm shift occurring in banking and that banks need to find a new way to support customers and build out their assets

Australia

Westpac Ends Prospa Collaboration After IPO Postponement (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Days after Australian alternative lending platform Prospa delayed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) indefinitely, one of its bank partners, Westpac, announced it was ending its relationship with the FinTech.

Reports in The Australian Financial Review (AFR) on Monday (June 11) said Westpac is ending its referral program that sees small business owners rejected for a bank loan linked to the Prospa platform.

Dover Financial Group calls in outstanding debts from financial planners (Australian Financial Review) Rated: A

Dover Financial Group lured financial advisers by offering to postpone payment of annual licence fees for a year or more, but the collapsed company is now calling for immediate payments of those debts, leaving planners, who are already worried about their future, furious.

India

With Rs 35 cr in disbursals, Lendbox is creating a new asset class for investors (Your Story) Rated: AAA

Basing only 20 percent of its risk assessment engine on the CIBIL score, the platform assesses a borrower’s credit-worthiness based on their social, professional, behavioural analysis, including their salary expenditure trends and limits on credit card. The founders claim that the platform takes close to 130 data points into consideration before deciding on a suitable interest rate.

The borrowers are then classified between A1 (A2 and A3) and B3, with the rate of interest ranging from 12 to 36 percent.

Ekmeet says that close to 85 percent of loan requests are denied by the platform, and only 20 percent of their total users are from Tier II towns and cities.

Asia

Kakao Bank’s chatbot will answer up to 80% of requests (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Kakao Bank, South Korea’s largest internet-only bank, is already showing the beta version of its customer support chatbot, which is scheduled to be launched sometime this month.

The bank says that the tech will help relieve the stress on its customer services department, which receives up to 80% of requests that could be automated.

Canada

Luge Capital goes huge with $ 75m fintech funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Initially, $50 million of the raised capital was announced in October 2017 by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Desjardins Group, two of the fund’s major investors.

Sun Life Financial, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ and La Capitale are also “significant” participants. Luge says it may expand the fund up to $100 million in the coming months.

Real estate crowdfunding in Canada: portal insights for 2017/18 (IT Business Blog) Rated: A

Real estate online investment or crowdfunding has been a sector that has attracted significant interest in the U.S. over the last several years, with more than 100 portals launched to serve rapidly growing developer and investor interest. In fact, industry research hub crowdsourcing.org estimates that the industry will be worth more than $300 billion USD by 2025.

Latin America

Defaults the largest driver of Brazil banking spreads -cenbank (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Credit defaults have been the main factor keeping Brazilian banks from cutting interest rates to households and companies, the central bank said on Tuesday, even as benchmark rates have fallen to all-time lows.

The average cost of credit fell 1.3 percentage points in 2017 to 21.3 percent, according to a central bank report, compared with a 6.75 percentage point decline in the benchmark Selic interest rate. Spreads fell 3.8 percentage points to 18.9 percentage points.

Defaults, which reached 3.2 percent at the end of 2017 according to a widely used metric, forced banks to keep interest rates high to account for potential losses, the central bank said.

Defaults were behind an average 37.4 percent of banking spreads in 2015-2017, the largest contributor to bumping up credit costs to consumers. Other reasons were administrative expenses, taxes and financial margins, a central bank report showed.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Elevate, Mastercard collaborate on credit card for the New Middle Class. Funding Circle opens IFISA to new investors. Ant Financial’s $150B valuation. Funding Societies raises $25M. Today’s main analysis: Marketplace lending securitization tracker Q1 2018 (A MUST-READ). Why PPDAI is a buy. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Interview with Kabbage’s CEO. Cities with highest share of cash-out […]

Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Elevate to Collaborate with Mastercard on Credit Card Product for the ‘New Middle Class’ (News Channel 10) Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced an agreement to collaborate with Mastercard on the development of a new credit product to expand financial opportunities for the approximately 160 million Americans with low or no credit scores.

Elevate is committed to advancing growth and economic opportunity for these households that it has dubbed the “New Middle Class.”

Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker Q1 2018 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Seven marketplace lending securitizations priced this quarter totaling $4.3 Bn, the 2nd highest level of quarterly issuance, representing 34% growth YoY. To date, cumulative issuance equals $33.4 Bn across 114 deals.

We observed an unprecedented 21 months of non-stop issuance. Markets remain in a “risk-on” mode and MPL investor appetite continues to grow.

Spreads tightened this quarter, amidst rising rates and increased
volatility, and we saw deals price at record tights. Average spreads at
issuance are tighter in the consumer and student spaces across credit tranches. New issue spreads in the Consumer MPL space on As were tighter by 27 bps and those on Cs were tighter by 107 bps on average. New issue spreads in the Student MPL space were also tighter across the stack, with the Cs seeing a nearly 100bp tightening on average.

SoFi issued the largest consumer and student deals ever seen in the MPL space. SoFi continues to increase deal sizes every quarter with a billion-dollar student deal in 1Q18.

View the full report here.

Inside a Kabbagehead (Banking Exchange) Rated: AAA

Frohwein noted that there are multiple ways that companies can fail when trying to expand their offerings.

1. Trying too long a stretch.

By way of example, Frohwein pointed out that Prosper Marketplace, which offers three- or five-year personal and business loans, tried an expansion in 2016 called Prosper Daily.

2. Cheaping out on brand promotion.

Another error is failing to spend money on the company’s brand. Interestingly, given that the fintech fraternity is a crowd attuned to social media, Frohwein urged listeners to invest real money in their brands. (@KabbageInc, the corporate Twitter handle, has 23,400 followers, while @KabbageRob, Frohwein’s own account, has fewer than 2,000 followers.)

3. Developing customer knowledge.

Frohwein said that all those data connections referred to earlier give Kabbage a strong idea of what its customers look like. Few online lenders have that depth of customer knowledge, he said.

 

How JPMorgan’s CIO decides which startups to partner with, invest in, to buy (Business Insider) Rated: A

Here’s Beer:

“In some cases, we saw in the fintech ecosystem that one of their challenges is the size, scale and complexity of a company like JPMorgan Chase. If you’re trying to build out something in the wholesale payment ecosystem, you’re talking about 200 regulators, $5 trillion dollars we process a day, over 120 currencies and countries. There are multiple layers of complexities considering anti-money laundering rules, fraud requirements and new sanctions. How do you understand that complexity if I’m a startup in the payment space in wholesale?”

These companies could later wind up with an investment from JPMorgan if all goes well.

Here’s why banks need to prioritize digital platforms (Business Insider) Rated: A

With bank earnings season upon us we have seen a continued growth among mobile users at some of the biggest banks; JPMorgan Chase saw active mobile customers jump 13 percent and Wells Fargo saw total active digital users jump 3 percent; mobile banking has become a priority for all banks as the focus has shifted from just offering mobile to increasing engagement on mobile.

99,000 Investors and $ 5.8B in Commercial Properties Now on CrowdStreet (PR Newswire) Rated: A

With a steady focus and at an accelerated pace, CrowdStreet is moving the fundraising component of the $15-trillion commercial and multifamily real estate business online, helping real estate developers and operators raise capital and acquire new investors online, and helping high-net-worth investors build wealth through online real estate investing.

With more than 99,000 investors now on its platform, CrowdStreet is one of the largest platforms for online real estate investing.

LendUp and Nonprofit EARN Launch Cross-Sector Partnership to Combat America’s Savings Crisis (Lendup) Rated: A

LendUp, a fast-growing financial services firm for the emerging middle class, and EARN, a national nonprofit empowering low-income Americans to take charge of their financial lives through savings, today announced a partnership to offer LendUp customers, who represent the nearly half of Americans with subprime credit scores, the opportunity to begin saving with EARN’s SaverLife program.

LendingTree Ranks Cities With the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

LendingTree analyzed mortgage requests and offers for refinance borrowers between March 1, 2017 and March 1, 2018, based on the location of the property to be mortgaged. The city rankings are generated from the percentage of total refinance mortgage funded that included a cash-out portion of the loan.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

#1 Albany, N.Y.

Share of refinance mortgages funded with cash-out portion: 73% Average loan amount: $166,504

#2 Portland, Ore.

Share of refinance mortgages funded with cash-out portion: 72% Average loan amount: $266,152

#3 Cape Coral, Fla.

Share of refinance mortgages funded with cash-out portion: 72% Average loan amount: $162,975

Source: Lending Tree

What You Need to Know About Peerform Peer Lending Loans (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

With Peerform, an affiliate company of Versara Lending, you can apply for personal loans via an online platform that connects you with individuals or businesses willing to loan you the money.

You can then use the cash to make home improvements, start a business, buy a new car, or consolidate your credit card debt.

The peer lending company offers unsecured, fixed-rate loans to people with a range of credit scores. Read on to learn the pros and cons of borrowing from Peerform.

 

This fintech partnership could serve as template for small banks (American Banker) Rated: A

New Resource Bank in San Francisco is working with a fintech firm to reach underserved small-business clients.

The $349 million-asset company has been offering asset-based loans to companies with at least $1 million in annual revenue through a partnership with P2Binvestor in Denver, known as P2Bi, since late 2017.

Family Offices: Beware of These Startup Investing Pitfalls (Wealth Mangement) Rated: A

According to PitchBook Data, family offices did $100.6 billion in deals in 2016, compared with $25.1 billion in 2011. These family offices are seeking opportunities that offer better returns than the public market and, therefore, investing in startup companies through longer-term private equity deals.

What Family Offices Get Wrong When They Try to Invest in Startups Alone

In emerging markets, family offices can face a number of challenges when they try to invest in startups.

Most family offices don’t possess specialized knowledge of startups, because the startup ecosystems in emerging markets are very different from the traditional business climate that family offices are used to. Because of limited experience and exposure, they may not always have a comprehensive list of questions or resources at their disposal that would aid them in the decision-making process or to evaluate a deal.

Best Oregon Mortgage Lenders of 2018 (Nerd Wallet) Rated: B

United Kingdom

Funding Circle opens IFISA to new investors (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has opened its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to new investors.

The peer-to-peer business lending platform opened its IFISA to existing users last November but has now said that the tax wrapper, offering projected returns of 7.2 per cent, is open to the wider public.

Mid-sized P2P platforms taking bigger market share (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer investor’s 2018 Direct Lending Report found direct lenders – which include P2P platforms – facilitated more than £4.5bn of lending in 2017, with the ‘big four’ – Zopa, Funding Circle, RateSetter and LendInvest – making up two thirds.

But loanbook growth at the biggest lenders was up just six per cent last year, while mid-sized lenders saw their lending grow 50 per cent to £1.6bn, according to the report.

The report also looked at the performance of P2P and alternative finance-focused investment trusts, finding that if you had invested the same amount in the main funds – P2P Global Investment, Ranger Direct Lending, VPC Specialty Lending, SQN Secured Income Fund and Honeycomb – last year, you would be down 1.69 per cent.

P2P Lender ArchOver Bridges Finance Gap with New Research & Development Advance (Crowdfud Insider) Rated: A

ArchOver, the UK P2P business lending platform, aims to bridge the funding gap to enable businesses to continue to grow while waiting for their R&D tax claim to be repaid. ArchOver’s Research & Development Advance (RDA) service is reportedly the first provided by a P2P lender funding advances upward of £100,000.

According to ArchOver, only 1.67 percent of national income is currently being spent on R&D compared to an average of over 2 percent across the EU. Government initiatives have been put in place to encourage further investment in innovation in the UK. Under the current system, UK businesses can claim cash repayments of up to 33 percent of their R&D expenditure, but it can take up to six months to receive payment from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). ArchOver aims to help qualifying companies to bridge this gap, and connect them with the money they need to invest in the products and services of the future.

 

Update: Landbay is Set to Close Latest Seedrs Funding Round After Securing More Than £1.6 Million (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

UK-based peer-to-peer lender Landbay is set to close its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs later this evening with more than £1.6 million from nearly 285 investors. The funding round was launched last month and quickly secured its initial £1.25 million funding target.

All funds from the latest funding round will be used for lender’s growth, which are:

  • Technology – 50%.
  • Marketing & Brand Development – 25%.
  • General Operating Expenses – 25%.

 

More awareness of Open Banking benefits needed (London School of Business and Finance) Rated: A

The study surveyed 2,000 UK consumers and identified some of the barriers that Open Banking will need to address in order for the initiative to be adopted on a wide scale.

Implications

Security was found to be one of the main issues for UK consumers, with 69% citing this as a top reason for being against the idea of Open Banking, whilst more than 45% cited security issues such as data breaches and identity theft as the main implications of the initiative.

Seedrs: £500 Million in Crowdfunding by 2021 (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Seedrs has raised more than £330 million for smaller firms so far but according to CEO Jeff Kelisky they expect growth to ramp up rapidly by 2021. While 2017 was their best year ever, Seedrs is just getting started.

He expects that before 2020 deals will get larger. In 2017, twenty four crowdfunding offerings were over £1 million. Some of these deals are starting to approach the € 5 million hurdle. In the UK, the European directive on doing a prospectus at € 5 million has become a regulatory speed bump of sorts for crowdfunding platforms. But raising that limit to € 10 million, or perhaps € 20 million, is currently under discussion.

Two tribes: fintech versus traditional banking (CLNews) Rated: A

Quietly though, another part of Britain’s finance sector is leading the world and it’s starting to disrupt the traditional financial companies in the UK.

Fintech describes the marriage of finance and technology within one company. The first big growth sector in fintech was the peer to peer marketplace originally launched by Zopa in the UK. Peer to peer finance allows those who have savings who want a better return than they’d get from their bank in interest the opportunity to lend money to those who need quick access to money.

 

China

Ant Financial’s $ 150bn valuation belies glaring risks for investors (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial’s $150bn valuation belies glaring risks for investors. Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his trusty advisers have pulled off a coup in gaining a $150bn valuation for Ant Financial ahead of a mooted listing next year. It is easy to see how the pitch to investors went.

Chinese P2P Players Yirendai And Hexindai On Making It In China’s Lending Industry (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Yihan Fang: The P2P lending industry is in a different stage now, it went from being very wild to heavy regulation, and after that it will be a more rational industry. Yirendai is in compliance with regulations, implementing minor modifications along the way. Compliance was always the highest priority, and from day one we had a very good business model and didn’t change it along the way. We have high quality customers. We have a good business platform and have used a bank as custodian since 2015, even before the regulations came out. Yirendai also strives for transparency. Regulations are good, because the industry has been quite chaotic since other companies don’t do the same things as we did.

Johnson Zhang: Hexindai has had no negative impact of regulation. The new regulations are focused on petty loans. We don’t touch the petty loans market so we have no impact. In this market, all of the borrowers lack the capacity to repay loans, they just borrow more money to repay existing loans. Unlike these other firms, we offer loans in the range of 20,000 to 200,000 RMB to middle class consumers with a stable income. These are borrowers who are upgrading their social class for a better life. The second part of the regulations restricts financial institutions like banks from providing funds to fintech companies, but we do not rely on any financial institutions. All of our fund sourcing is from individuals. Our company is part of the Beijing Internet Finance Association, which alerts us to upcoming regulations. The China Banking Regulatory Commission governs the P2P industry. Government registration for P2P companies is mandatory this year. Those that fail the process will be shut down. The number of competitors will become smaller.

China Looks to Implement Credit Scoring System Without Giving Top Players too Much Power (Financial Times) Rated: A

China has been looking to create a credit scoring system seen in many developed economies like the U.S. and the U.K.; initially asking 8 top companies to be involved, though they found it hard to form as companies were unwilling to share proprietary data with competitors; the PBoC is now tasked with having a industry wide system that does not favor giants like Alibaba and Tencent.

PPDAI Group: China’s ‘Lending Club’ Is In A Buy Range Now (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

  • Net loss was RMB 507.1 million (US$77.90 million) for the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with a profit of RMB 266.0 million in the same period of 2016. More specifically, the loss was due to:
    • Net interest income/(expense) and loan provision losses for the fourth quarter of 2017 was an expense of RMB 13.2 million (US$2.0 million), compared to an income of RMB 3.6 million in the same period of 2016. This was primarily due to a one-time provision of RMB 107.7 million (US$16.3 million) for expected discretionary payments to investors in investment programs protected by the investor reserve funds caused by the increase in delinquency rates.
    • Other income recorded a loss of RMB 694.8 million (US$106.8 million)for the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with income of RMB 124.7 million in the same period of 2016. The loss was caused mainly by an expense of RMB 271.9 million (US$41.8 million) related to the quality assurance fund and an expense of RMB 460.4 million (US$70.8 million) from a fair value change of financial guarantee derivatives due to increased credit risks across the industry which led to upward adjustments to the company’s expected default rate for loans protected by the quality assurance fund and underlying loans in investment programs protected by the investor reserve funds.
Source: Seeking Alpha

Indeed, when we look at the delinquency rate by balance at each quarter, there was a significant jump in every delinquency bucket at 2017 Q4:

As of 15-29 days 30-59 days 60-89 days 90-119 days 120-149 days 150-179 days
March 31, 2015 0.79% 1.75% 1.10% 1.01% 0.87% 0.67%
June 30, 2015 0.88% 1.06% 0.67% 0.54% 0.89% 0.67%
September 30, 2015 0.67% 0.89% 0.61% 0.54% 0.44% 0.35%
December 31, 2015 0.80% 0.93% 0.51% 0.49% 0.39% 0.32%
March 31, 2016 0.62% 0.93% 0.72% 0.61% 0.48% 0.32%
June 30, 2016 0.82% 1.01% 0.63% 0.43% 0.47% 0.44%
September 30, 2016 0.83% 1.11% 0.80% 0.63% 0.49% 0.39%
December 31, 2016 0.63% 0.91% 0.75% 0.79% 0.69% 0.57%
March 31, 2017 0.57% 0.95% 0.79% 0.59% 0.54% 0.51%
June 30, 2017 0.86% 1.11% 0.79% 0.51% 0.55% 0.52%
September 30, 2017 0.89% 1.40% 1.15% 1.02% 0.79% 0.60%
December 31, 2017 2.27% 2.21% 1.72% 1.63% 1.36% 1.20%
 Source: PPDF’s Q4 ER release
European Union

Homelend ICO (HMD Token): Blockchain Mortgage Crowdfunding? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

Homelend is a mortgage crowdfunding platform built on blockchain technology.

What is Homelend?

Yes, just like we have P2P lending platforms for smaller loans and offers, we now have lending platforms for larger loans – like home mortgages.

The goal of Homelend is to disrupt the $31 trillion global real estate lending market. As of April 2018, Homelend is still preparing to launch. They’ve published a whitepaper online and appear to be preparing for a token sale in the near future.

Spotcap Opens Fintech Fellowship Applications (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Spotcap, an SME focused online lender based in Berlin, announced on Tuesday it has opened applications for its Fintech Fellowship. According to the lending platform, this program offers a £8,000 award to a postgraduate student studying a fintech related course at a UK university. Applications will be open for four months and close on August 1st.

International

HOLD ICO: Cryptocurrency Lending & Investing For Instant Cash? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

HOLD provides members with unique P2P lending and borrowing capabilities. The platform allows users to leverage their existing cryptocurrency holdings for instant cash advances from other willing users. Through their mobile app and prepaid card, they enable online and offline purchases with over 45 million retailers worldwide and over 3 million ATMs.

BitcoinEthereum, and Litecoin can be used as collateral for cash advances at a competitive rate of 8%, not requiring a good credit history and without geographic restrictions.

HOLD cardholders earn HOLD tokens every time they use their card. On almost all purchases, the HOLD platform will provide a 1% cashback in HOLD tokens, directly into the user’s wallet. The platform will progressively match provided liquidity with cash advances, producing lucrative and low-risk returns of up to 7.5% p.a. for lenders, representing a lucrative money-making opportunity.

Australia

 

Mortgage trust sector has nearly doubled over the past year (Australian Financial Review) Rated: AAA

The size of the mortgage trust sector has nearly doubled over the past year but the quality of underlying loans are healthy with low arrears, research group SQM Research says.

Source: SQM Research

Australian millennials have taken to robo financial advice (Business Insider) Rated: B

In Australia, robo-advice has gained significant recognition among the Australian online share investor population, with 22% saying they are familiar with these services.

Only in the US, where the bulk of innovation in robo-advice is taking place, is familiarity with robo-advice significantly higher (39%).

India

Mumbai-based P2P Lending Platform PaisaDukan Raises $ 650K Through Angel Funding Route (Indian Web2) Rated: A

PaisaDukan.com a P2P Lending marketplace solely owned by Mumbai based FinTech start-up BigWin Infotech, today announced a secured seed funding of USD 650K through Angel funding rout. The fund will be used for marketplace platform and mobile app development.

 

Asia

Homegrown P2P lending platform Funding Societies raised US$ 25m (Singapore Business Review) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Funding Societies has raised US$25m in its oversubscribed Series B funding round, which was led by Softbank Ventures Korea, along with Sequoia India, Alpha JWC Ventures (Indonesia), and Golden Gate Ventures. Qualgro and LINE Ventures also participated.

Its Series B funding round was led by Softbank Ventures Korea and Sequoia India.

Ex-law firm boss fined $ 10,000 for failing to report suspicious deal (The Strait Times) Rated: A

The former director of a Singapore law firm decided to find out more about a “high net worth client” who was buying a house in Sentosa Cove – and discovered she was linked to one of China’s biggest Ponzi schemes involving $10.8 billion.

Kang Bee Leng, 56, failed to notify the authorities that a sum of almost $5.5 million involved in the purchase could have been benefits of criminal activities.

Kang, who was a managing director of Sterling Law Corporation during the offence but has since left the firm, was fined $10,000 on Tuesday (April 17) after pleading guilty to the offence last month.

MENA

Why unbanked Egypt is ripe for a FinTech revolution (ZDNet) Rated: A

World Bank data reveals that the Middle East has the lowest level of bank-account penetration in the world, averaging 14 percent of adults, in line with the in-country figure for Egypt.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday February 22 2018, Daily News Digest

Servicing portfolio recurring revenue

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub spared from sharing underwriting docs with investors. Wealthsimple raises $65M. Zopa warns investors of increased defaults. Raisin now operates in UK. RaboDirect to bow out of Ireland. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub’s Q4 2017 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub’s CIO issues an update on Q4 results. LendingTree ranks best places for fresh start. Faster payments mean […]

Servicing portfolio recurring revenue

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Fourth Quarter 2017 Results (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Source: LendingClub

View the reported Q4 2017 earnings results from LendingClub right here.

Q4 2017: An update from our CIO (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

A core strength of LendingClub’s marketplace model is the ability to incorporate data insights quickly in order to responsibly adapt for the benefit of borrowers and investors.

From 2009 to 2014, credit supply was tight, so consumer loans experienced better-than-average loss rates. Since then, credit supply has increased, and the industry has seen a return to long-term average delinquency rates and higher losses in higher risk populations.

As a result of cumulative actions taken, our loss forecast for newly originated loans remains unchanged in aggregate compared to last quarter.

Economic backdrop

U.S. economic growth remains slow but steady, with annual GDP growth rate increasing to 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017. A primary driver of GDP growth since the financial crisis has been a historically low unemployment rate, which is down to 4.1% from its peak of 10% in 2009.

Updated pricing and return forecast

We continuously refine our methodology and recalibrate interest rates based on shifts in risk across the portfolio. This quarter, interest rates are increasing for certain subgrades in grades D and E.

Loss forecasts are remaining stable in aggregate for the platform relative to last quarter.

Platform Summary and Projections as of February 20, 2018

Source: LendingClub

Judge Nixes LendingClub Investor Bid For Underwriter Docs (Law360), Rated: AAA

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and the other underwriters of LendingClub Corp.’s $1 billion initial public offering for now don’t have to produce roughly a thousand documents sought by a class of investors suing the peer-to-peer lending company for alleged stock fraud, a California federal judge ruled Tuesday.

 

 

LendingTree Ranks Best Places for a Fresh Start in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released the findings of its study on the best cities for those seeking a fresh start.

First, the study looked at eight elements to consider when going through a financial recovery, such as the local median income and rents, and if the state has laws to protect debtors from aggressive collections and penalties, in case methods like debt consolidation or refinancing to lower rates aren’t enough to manage liabilities.

Next, to determine what opportunities there might be for people seeking a solid job and income, the study looked at the percentage of people in these metros who are between the ages of 35 and 64, single, employed, have health insurance coverage and are currently enrolled in school.

Lastly, to get an idea of how well people in an area are recovering from financial calamity, LendingTree calculated how quickly credit scores are rising after a bankruptcy by using proprietary data on the average credit score, on a geographic basis, of LendingTree customers who declared bankruptcy between three to four years earlier.

1. Buffalo, N.Y. – 67.6
At $738Buffalo has the lowest median rent among the 50 cities reviewed, and 94 percent of adults over the age of 35 are insured (second highest). Residents who declare bankruptcy have an average credit score of 664 three years on, tied for the second highest score for the cities reviewed, suggesting that conditions are favorable for financial recovery. However, Buffalo ranks poorly in two metrics: at $52,303, median income is the seventh lowest, and only one other city has fewer students over the age the 35.

2. Minneapolis – 62.9
At just 3.7 percent, the exceedingly low unemployment rate for citizens in Minneapolis between the ages of 35 and 64 helps push the city to the No. 2 spot. Not only are most over-35s employed, but they also earn a median salary of $70,915, the eighth highest in the cities reviewed, 94 percent have health insurance and median rents are relatively low at $963.

3. Salt Lake City – 62.6
Only two other cities have more over-35s enrolled in school (Virginia Beach and Washington), and only five have more unmarried over-35s (New Orleans has the most). That could be due to the lowest unemployment rate for over-35s of any city reviewed (3.6%), and higher-than-average median income of $64,564 for that same group. That combines nicely with a moderate median rent of $967.

Source: LendingTree

The full report is available here: 

Why faster payments mean faster fraud (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Less than a month ago Early Warning Services, the network that powers peer-to-peer payments platform Zelle, touted $75 billion in funds moved through its bank-supported platform with plans to expand its member network. One member bank, however, also reported a fraud rate of 90 percent shortly after implementing Zelle last year, said someone familiar with the statistics who wished to remain anonymous.

Fraud detection in banks, however, is no longer just about building a wall to keep outsiders out; cybersecurity teams need to install a filter that can identify who can and should enter the system.

Bank of America will spend $600 million this year on cyber defense alone, its chief operations and technology officer Cathy Bessant recently told Tearsheet. In December Menlo Security, a company that provides malware isolation solutions, raised $40 million in Series C funding, bringing its total funding to $85 million. JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and American Express Ventures are among its investors.

Greenlight raises $ 16m for kids’ debit card (Finextra), Rated: A

Greenlight Financial Technology, the startup behind an app and debit card for kids and college students, has raised $16 million in a Series A funding round joined by SunTrust Bank, Ally Financial and the Amazon Alexa Fund.

 

7 COMPANIES REIMAGINING REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND FINANCE (Builder Online), Rated: A

Companies like Better Mortgage, Blend and LendingHome are reengineering the way mortgages are applied for and underwritten. While Cadre and Fundrise are moving real estate investments from Excel spreadsheets to the digital world.

GreenSky offers on-the-spot loans of up to $65,000 for home improvement projects with generous zero-interest promotional periods. Lemonade offers urban renters and homeowners insurance for as little as $5 and $25, respectively. LendingHome provides financing for house flippers, and more recently, homeowners.

Enodo delivers quantifiable insights for property investors (Realty Biz News), Rated: A

With the Enodo platform investors can cut to the chase with a platform that supports their decision-making through acquisition all the way to renovation, with features including rent price forecasting. In other words, Enodo is a real estate investing platform that provides quantifiable data, meaning investors no longer have to rely on hunches alone.

Enodo allows investors to carefully analyze any property in the country using basic physical and investment parameters. Users can also identify comparable properties, predict operating expenses and more. Parameters include things such as the year the home was built, number of units, amenities, market demographics and more.

Savings and Deposit Rates in a Rising Rate Environment (Lend Academy), Rated: A

This thread called Cash Parking on the Lend Academy Forum was created back in December 2016 and since then, forum members have discussed opportunities at banks and credit unions.

The discussion caught my eye when one user posted a 3% 5 year CD which happened to be offered by my local credit union.

Signing Up for a Savings Account at Marcus

Marcus by Goldman Sachs has been near the top of the list since I began checking. We last did a piece on savings account rates back in June 2017 when Goldman Sachs’ deposit accounts were still branded under GS Bank. Rates are now 30 basis points higher at 1.5% on Marcus accounts.

Their investment has paid off and it was recently reported that they had $17 billion of deposits. Since Goldman Sachs acquired GE Capital’s retail deposits, deposits have grown a whopping 90%.

 

Kabbage’s Kathryn Petralia Talks Small Business Loans (LendEDU), Rated: A

She’s been hailed by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world, and TechCrunch recognized her for “crushing it” last year. Both sources refer to her success as a leader at Kabbage, Inc. which has financed over $4 billion to more than 130,000 businesses to date.

Q: What sets Kabbage apart from other online small business lenders?

A: Our focus on real-time access to third-party data and our ability to stay connected to our customer’s data all the time. This technology allows us to provide an automated experience.

Q: So, user experience seems to be a big advantage for non-traditional lending sources. While that’s an advantage, what disadvantages does a lender like Kabbage have against a traditional lender?

A: There are lots of things. First, traditional lenders like banks have well-known brands; they have access to really cheap capital. They have a lot of customers already. They already have access to a framework which they operate with the ability to move funds. 

The only thing they don’t have is the ability to serve the market, because it’s too expensive for them to serve our customers with the type of product they need.

Q: Was there a typical small business customer that you would lend to? Do you lend to certain business more often than others today?

A: Well, we got our start making loans to eBay sellers which you may or may not know. The reason we started there was because that’s where the first API was available, so we could get information on a business’ performance. Then as more APIs became available, we were able to expand our business. So for a long time, all of our customers were eCommerce businesses.

But about three years ago, we began expanding to service brick & mortar businesses, and today, about 85% of our customers are brick & mortar businesses. 

Q: Over the last 5 years, fintech lending has grown to take up more of the small business lending market. Where do you see the market share in 5 years? Where’s Kabbage in this equation?

A: If you’re talking about businesses seeking less than half or a quarter million dollars, I think it’ll stay the way it is with largely non-traditional players, like Kabbage, filling that space. And I think banks could serve that market through partnerships, but overall, I think it’s going to look much the same as it is now.

The Expanded Military Lending Act Regulations (The National Law Review), Rated: A

The Military Lending Act’s (“MLA”) lending restrictions are expanded to apply to consumer credit card issuers and unsecured consumer lenders. Compliance in most areas was mandatory as of October 3, 2016, but as to credit cards the mandatory compliance date is October 3, 2017.

The MLA applies to active-duty military personnel, active Reserve and National Guard personnel serving on Title 10 orders, and their dependents with a valid military identification card.

How to Invest in Private Loans (The Student Loan Report), Rated: A

The $1.45 trillion student loan market is made up of public and private student loans.

We now live in a world where crowdfunding and P2P investment opportunities are everywhere. The student loan market is no different. Companies like Sofi are shaking up what it looks like for both students and investors alike.

Sofi (short for Social Finance) has funded over $25 billion in student loans, with over 437,000 members around the country.

As challenger banks seek to enter the US, the business model still faces hurdles  (Tearsheet), Rated: A

European digital banks N26 and Revolut will launch in the U.S. later this year, and there are reports that U.K. challenger bank Monzo is mulling a move into the U.S. market. Meanwhile, three U.S. banking startups — Varo Money, Square and Moven — recently announced plans to apply for or acquire U.S. banking licenses.

For N26, winning means customers loving N26 like in Europe. U.K.-based Revolut, which plans to launch in the U.S. later this year with a multi-currency bank account, said winning means acquiring millions of customers, particularly those who travel often; and to San Francisco-based Chime, a win is to bring large numbers of customers away from traditional institutions.

Why BankMobile has launched an online magazine (Tearsheet), Rated: B

BankMobile has launched a content marketing website called Paradigm Money to help customers navigate personal finance.

The site, which launched this month, includes news, opinion pieces, interviews and advice.

BankMobile, which was born as the mobile-only offshoot of Customers Bank which sold it last year, has 1.8 million customers to date and opens about 300,000 new accounts each year.

WHAT FAMILY OFFICES WANT FROM ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT MANAGERS (All About Alpha), Rated: A

Competition within the alternatives sector for family office investments is at an all-time high, as these investors get more comfortable with the range of assets available to them and their general understanding of alternatives rises. Fund managers want to win these wealthy investors over, but often find they are unsure of how best to pursue them. The family office client is increasingly demanding a more tailored approach to wooing them over. Managers who can adapt their prospecting tactics stand a better chance of winning a partnership with these prized investors.

A Q4 2017 research study, “Single-Family Offices and Alternative Investments,” by Institutional Capital Network, provides a framework for the changing dynamics in family office activity within the alternatives space. Some of the research findings that stand out in particular include:

First-generation founders have a “stay-rich” mentality, while second-generation are more likely to have a “get-richer” perspective.

About 40% of second generation single-family offices are investing 15% or more of their total portfolios into alternatives, compared to 20% of first generation single-family offices that are investing at similar levels. In 2017, 71% increased their direct allocations relative to 2016, and 82% intend to do so in the future.

33% of Americans do not have more savings than credit card debt (KHOU), Rated: A

In the latest survey by personal finance site Bankrate.com, 33% of Americans say they do not have more emergency savings than credit card debt. That includes 21% who say their credit card debt exceeds their emergency savings and 12% who indicate they have no savings or credit card debt.

While one in three Americans are financially ill-equipped for an emergency, that is down from 41% in 2017 and 43% in 2016 and is the lowest level in the eight years of the survey.

Fifty-eight percent say their emergency savings fund exceeds their credit card debt, which is up from 52% in the last two years and ties 2015 as the best seen in eight years.

US Mobile Payment Market to Reach $ 3 Trillion by 2020, Fintech Stocks Lead the Way (Investing News), Rated: A

A new Market Research Reports Search Engine report states the US mobile payments will grow from $550 billion in 2015 to reach $2.8 trillion by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.1 percent over the course of that period.

Marlette Funding Named a Finalist in Top Consumer Lending Platform in LendIt Fintech Industry Awards Competition (Business Wire), Rated: B

LendIt Fintech, the world’s leading event in financial services innovation, announced today that they have selected the Best Egg Personal Loan Platform provided by Marlette Funding, LLC, as a finalist in the Top Consumer Lending Platform category for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards. The Top Consumer Lending Platform finalists were selected from companies that demonstrate a combination of loan performance, volume, growth, product diversity and responsiveness to stakeholders.

Klarna North America to Highlight “Smoooth” Payment Products at eTail West 2018 (Klarna Email), Rated: B

Klarna, a global payments provider, is a sponsor of and will be exhibiting at next week’s eTail West 2018 in Palm Springs, Calif.

Carl Gish Joins Varo Money as Chief Marketing Officer (PRWeb), Rated: B

Mobile banking startup Varo Money, Inc. today announced the hire of Carl Gish as Chief Marketing Officer. Gish is a marketing and general management executive with more than 20 years of experience across well-known, high-growth consumer brands and e-commerce businesses, including Amazon, Unilever, Dyson, eBay and Affirm. He will lead all aspects of the company’s branding and marketing, and will work directly with CEO Colin Walsh to drive large growth in Varo’s customer base across multiple marketing channels and partnerships.

United Kingdom

Zopa warns over defaults as investor returns decline (Financial Times), Rated: AAA 

The UK’s oldest peer-to-peer service is warning investors that defaults on its recent loans will be running at a higher rate than during the financial crisis.

Fintech Raisin Crosses the Channel to Offer Services to UK Savers (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Savings marketplace Raisin has launched in the UK.

Revolut’s Nikolay Storonsky on long hours and high staff turnover (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Over the past three years, and with the backing of Balderton Capital and Index Ventures, two European venture capital firms, Mr Storonsky’s company has raised about £60m and had a valuation of £300m last year.

How Startups Can Gain Traction In The Financial Services Market (Forbes), Rated: A

The United Kingdom’s financial technology sector attracted a record £1.34bn in venture capital  investment in 2017, with 90% of that money going to startup and early stage businesses based in London.

Those raising cash last year included peer2peer lending platform Funding Circle (£81.9m); payments company, Transferwise (£211m) and challenger bank, Monzo (£71m).

Last week I spoke to two fintech entrepreneurs – Ollie Purdue of online bank account provider, Loot and Jared Jesner, CEO of currency exchange, WeSwap – about their reasons for entering the fintech arena and how they hope to carve out a niche in a crowded market.

Lloyds Bank Marks $ 4.1B for Digital Strategy (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

British bank Lloyds has put aside £3 billion ($4.1 billion) for digital development and growth, the bank announced today.

The  £3 billion is a 40% increase on the spend Lloyd marked for its previous three-year expansion plan.

P2P lending to form part of inquiry into SME finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

POLITICIANS are going to consider the availability and uptake of peer-to-peer lending as part of an inquiry into finance for small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

 

Ultimate guide to Innovative Finance ISAs: Part two (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has soared in recent years. Members of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association have cumulatively lent a total of £5bn to businesses versus £3bn to individuals, as of the end of 2017.

Loans to SMEs tend to produce a higher rate of return than loans to consumers, but they can also be riskier in some cases. The average size of loan is also much higher.

How Short Term Lender Wonga Went Worldwide (Silicon India), Rated: A

Today the brand eclipses its competition, with many of its 400 failing to survive in 2016 as fresh price caps on loan and repayment charges came into action.

With UK-domination taken care of, the lender has been expanding rapidly overseas, starting its journey by launching in Canada, South Africa and Poland, before going on to purchase and assimilate a number of foreign short term lenders as part of its global growth.

To launch Wonga Spain, the lender purchased Spanish credit agency Credito Pocket in 2013, going on to purchase German “pay later” payment firm BillPay (with two million users to its name) and a stake in Indian firm Nahar Credits Private in October of the same year.

China

China tries to bring order to sprawling online finance sector (Asian Review), Rated: A

China’s 1.2 trillion yuan ($189 billion) internet finance industry has reached a turning point as regulators tighten regulations after one too many cases of bankruptcy and fraud.

European Union

RaboDirect to quit Irish market in May (The Irish Times), Rated: AAA

RaboDirect Ireland, an online savings bank owned by the Dutch lender Rabobank, will quit the Irish market in May. The bank has up to 90,000 Irish customer accounts with a total of €3 billion on deposit.

The bank says it has decided to withdraw from the Irish market after 13 years following “moves by our parent, the Rabobank Group, to simplify its business model across the world and reduce costs”.

Bizarre Buybacks and Expensive Takeovers (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

In November, Swiss fintech company Temenos Group AG spent 150 million Swiss francs ($160 million) buying back its shares at an average price of 122 francs each. Weeks later, with the stock at 115 francs, it’s preparing to sell shares to fund a $1.9 billion takeover of British rival Fidessa Group Plc.

The return on invested capital looks set to be just over 6 percent in 2020, based on the stated cost synergies plus Fidessa’s forecast operating performance. That’s well below the target’s 9 percent cost of capital.

Anyfin raises €4.8 million to refinance loans with a statement selfie (Finextra), Rated: A

Anyfin, a Swedish startup that offers to refinance consumer loans and credit card debt using a combination of artificial intelligence and a photo of the current statement and repayment terms, has bagged €4.8 million in Series A funding led by Accel and Northzone.

BNI Europa and Code for All partner to train new generation of IT developers (Finextra), Rated: A

BNI Europa, through Puzzle, its online credit brand, created a partnership with <Code for All_> to provide financial aid to anyone who wants to learn to become a IT developer.

This partnership provides an intensive code training program of 14 weeks supported by an online credit solution that offers special payment conditions to the program’s students.

International

What Is the Ripio Credit Network? (The Merkle), Rated: A

The Ripio Credit Network wants to offer a real global credit ecosystem which is more suitable than traditional solutions and even than similar peer-to-peer lending services. While that sounds like a tall order, the RCN protocol will connect lenders and borrowers all over the world via the native RCN token.

As is the case with any blockchain ecosystem, the Ripio Credit Network has its own native RCN token. It is the network’s payment channel first and foremost. Although credit transactions can be settled in any local currency, one does need RCN tokens to access the network and facilitate transactions.

Etherty launches blockchain-based, real estate trading platform (Construction Business News), Rated: A

A new investment portal, Etherty, has launched offering a real estate linked-crypto currency that enables investors to seize property investment opportunities all over the world, primarily in key markets such as Dubai, Mexico, and Australia.

500 Startups, Huobi Labs to Incubate Blockchain Projects (CoinDesk), Rated: B

500 Startups, the Silicon Valley startup accelerator, announced Tuesday it is partnering with cryptocurrency exchange Huobi’s incubator wing, Huobi Labs.

The two companies will support startups in various areas, including developing business plans, focusing on elements such as white papers, marketing strategies, community engagement and fundraising efforts, the accelerator said in a press release.

Australia/New Zealand

FMA opens applications for personalised digital advice (Scoop), Rated: AAA

The FMA is now open for applications from providers seeking to offer personalised financial advice to consumers through digital tools and platforms (so-called robo-advice).

India

P2P lending, payments platform JaldiCash to merge with parent firm Weizmann Forex (Financial Express), Rated: A

Weizmann Forex Limited (WFL), a foreign exchange and inward remittances platform, has approved the acquisition of its unit Weizmann Impex Enterprises Ltd (WISE). The proposed deal is supposed to take place on April 1st and will be done through a Scheme of Amalgamation, the company said in a press release. WISE is authorized by the Reserve bank of India to issue and operate semi-closed prepaid payment systems in India. The company owns ‘JaldiCash’, a payments platform that claims to have a network of more than 18,000 channel partners across 29 Indian states and more than 520 districts through their B2B model. JaldiCash works on a P2P model lending model, enabling loans for retailers, hotels and other services

APAC

ALAMI is on a journey to popularise sharia-based finance in Indonesia. (e27), Rated: A

Islamic banking assets is only 5.03 per cent of the total banking sector’s assets in the country, with a market share of IDR356.5 trillion (US$26.7 billion).

According to ALAMI CEO Bembi Juniar, this is due to the lack of infrastructure, support from key opinion leaders, and education on the benefits of sharia-based financial services.

So ALAMI offers a platform that serves as an aggregator for sharia-based financing for SMEs.

Canada

Wealthsimple raises $ 65 million in funding from Power Financial group of companies (Cision), Rated: AAA

Canada’s digital investor has raised a $65 million investment from the Power Financial group of companies, bringing their total investment in Wealthsimple to $165 million. Wealthsimple manages approximately $1.9 billion for over 65,000 clients in Canadathe United States, and the United KingdomMore than 80 per cent of people who use digital investing in Canada use Wealthsimple.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Tayl

Taking Trade Finance to SMEs

trade finance SMEs

The financial crisis of 2008 led to many developments in fintech generally and alternative lending specifically. We’ve heard many of those stories before. One of the problems the crisis revealed is the restriction of capital, particularly among international small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Another problem was the massive proliferation of mobile coupled with the “digital […]

trade finance SMEs

The financial crisis of 2008 led to many developments in fintech generally and alternative lending specifically. We’ve heard many of those stories before. One of the problems the crisis revealed is the restriction of capital, particularly among international small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Another problem was the massive proliferation of mobile coupled with the “digital self” that allowed lenders to identify the types of businesses people engaged with. Digital data became a game changer for a lot of companies employing new technologies. One company got the bright idea to solve both of these problems with a single solution aimed at SMEs making their first entrance into the online ecoystem.

Who Are Kountable, And Why Do They Count?

Kountable saw its genesis in 2013 with CEO and Co-founder Chris Hale getting together with co-founders Craig Allen and Kathy Numera.

“We looked at trade finance in a different way,” Hale said, adding that one of his co-founders spent 30 years doing trade financing at the institutional level. Typically being an instrument extended by banks, Kountable puts the emphasis on the finance rather than the trade part of the equation. The financial crisis, Basel III, and other regulations that followed handcuffed banks in their ability to extend capital to SMEs. Kountable stepped in to fill the void.

By using a cloud-based platform for the import and export of goods, Kountable gives SMEs access to trade. By outsourcing third-party logistics and bringing curated transactions so deals get institutional level treatment, the company helps SMEs sidestep problems they would typically have accessing top tier products.

Currency management is one area that requires Kountable’s due diligence. As they buy in one currency and deal in another, there are commercial terms, such as paying suppliers, during negotiations.

The company is successful when it simplifies the translation between big and small. Hale said, in most trade finance deals, you have big-to-big (that is, enterprise-level business trading with enterprise-level business). For example, Cisco might sell a network bridge to a multinational corporation. But when you have a small business involved (Cisco selling to a bank in East Africa, for instance), Kountable ensures that everyone gets the same retail treatment. By bringing users together in a mobile app on a cloud-based system, the company makes it seem institutional to both parties.

“The asset is a trade receivable,” Hale said. For example, an alternative credit fund that extends a $150M line of credit. “We align ourselves with the success of the transaction by pricing our service like a margin-sharing arrangement.” The four-step process includes:

  1. Kountable collects directly from the end customer
  2. The bank buys new servers from Cisco
  3. The reseller negotiates the margin for the procurement process, importation, and installing services
  4. Kountable takes a portion of the margin for the trade services it provides.

The Three Components of the Technology

The technology includes three key components:

  1. Identity management—The small business reseller downloads a mobile app and shares his or her data with Kountable. That includes social media, business registration, and personal info about the owners and shareholders. Kountable builds a “robust profile” on the SME and runs Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes for validation. The company also looks at supply, and, if it’s a private business, customs. The company looks at trade as a network. The more transactions they do, the more the network effect creates a safe environment for more transactions.
  2. Cloud-Based Control Management System—This digitally manages assets on the operating side and the financial side of a trade transaction. Hale said it’s tricky because there’s not a lot of financial data inside the transaction. Most of the info is operational. That is, goods are paid for and shipped–in transit, through customs, etc. Traditional financial institutions aren’t set up for this. This system manages the operations and payment of this trade asset. The reason it’s important to have collaboration taking place between the reseller and the in-country partners (who help with the documentation of the banking relationships, clearing customs, and more) through the mobile app with the Kountable team in San Francisco is that they all plug in to make sure transactions go smoothly. These two elements combine to create a financial asset.
  3. Trade Accounting Service—The investor who extended the $150M line of credit (LOC) is consuming trade receivables as collateral. The trade accounting service will be able to report on the synthesis of the financial and operating information in order to report the portfolio value to the investor.

Not being a formal venture fund, Kountable is a “traditional single family office with a portfolio of private companies with double bottom lines.” The company has raised $15M, 85% of which came from the family office with capital added from other investors. These are for-profit companies, of course, but the business focus is on the “larger good.” The concessionary returns the company receives by leaving some of the money on the table to make a significant impact is a part of the reward.

Kountable Key Differentiator and KPIs

“Our committed focus is to the SME,” Hale said. This led the company to build a network of enterprise-level participants and a technology platform to cater to that user. “Most other trade platforms focus on digitization of a two-party trade,” but it’s all “enterprise to enterprise.” Kountable was created to help the global SME population. “That focus on the SME as the user has created an ecosystem unlike any other platform I’m aware of.”

Kountable has about 5,000 SMEs registered and moves $3 million per month in trade transactions. That’s in two countries–Kenya and Rwanda. Interest from 40 other countries has led to building a platform to address the market demand.

“We have a line of sight to profitability just by working within these two markets,” Hale said. “[We’re] building
global expansion to go outside of the family office this year.”

SMEs in Kountable’s two markets buy goods from the U.S. and work with U.S. supplies to sell to customers in East Africa products they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. In the year ahead, Kountable plans to work with U.S. SMEs on similar transactions.

Kountable’s Competition and the Future of Trade Finance

Kountable’s competition consists of large procurement companies, groups like Tradeshift, and financial relationship companies. On the other side, there are e-commerce platforms, like Amazon, that are more consumer focused.

“There really isn’t a competitor that fits together a solution targeting our market specifically,” Hale said. The competition is mostly peripheral.

Hale believes the future is going to see trade financing dramatically influenced by digitization across the board. “The players are focused on enterprise-level digitization, where invoicing becomes an Application Programming Interface (API) and customs brokerage becomes digitized. As that continues, the nature of trade financing will evolve toward a a focus on operations.” He sees this evolution ultimately leading to the incorporation of the blockchain. “The elements of smart contracts and the distributed ledger are very well suited to the network approach to trade facilitation.”

Kountable’s near-term plans are to continue demonstrating the universality of its solution. Hale said they have significant demands in many regions of the world, including the U.S., and the goal is to plant some flags in some specific markets. Along with the U.S., he mentioned Southeast Asia and Latin America as potential growth regions. “There are many elements of our transactions that are replicable across different verticals and different regions,” he said.

Conclusion

The company is looking to internalize its engineering team and build its other respective teams. They have a number of product launches in the next quarter and a half including a redesign of the mobile app. Beyond that, Kountable is focused on growth capital for market expansion, enterprise sales, and putting in place the legal and financial structures needed to move into Southeast Asia markets like Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.

By focusing on the double-bottom line, Kountable not only has a bright future in the spaces of trade and trade financing, but the company is also doing its part to improve the quality of life in areas of the world where goods, services, and technology would be otherwise less accessible. And while it isn’t evident if the company will ultimately succeed, it’s certainly evident that it should.

Authors:

Written with Paul Keenan.

Allen Taylor

Thursday June 1 2017, Daily News Digest

India fintech venture capital

News Comments Today’s main news: Fitch rates Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2017-1. Zopa raises 32M GBP to start a bank. Evolute raises 5.5M Euro. Capital Match hits S$40M originations. Today’s main analysis: Fintech startups hit purple patch, VCs make a beeline. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 80s generation team made a difference. Family offices eye real estate online. United States […]

India fintech venture capital

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Singapore

News Summary

United States

Fitch Rates Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2017-1 (FitchRatings), Rated: AAA

Fitch Ratings-New York-25 May 2017: Fitch Ratings has assigned the following ratings and Rating Outlooks to the notes issued by Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2017-1 (PMIT 2017-1):

–$311,300,000 class A ‘A-sf’; Outlook Stable;
–$70,670,000 class B ‘BBB-sf’; Outlook Stable.

Collateral Quality: PMIT 2017-1 has a weighted average (WA) FICO score of 706, including 28.1% of non-prime borrowers with FICO scores below 680. The introduction of PMI7, the latest generation of Prosper’s credit model, shifted the company’s risk appetite toward lower credit grades. Due to this, Fitch assigned cumulative gross default (CGD) assumptions for the 36- and 60-month loans in this pool of 13.75% and 20.75%, respectively, increased from previous transactions.

Form 8-K Elevate Credit, Inc. For: May 31 (Street Insider), Rated: A

On May 31, 2017, Elevate Credit, Inc. issued a press release announcing the Elastic line of credit product surpassed $200 million in outstanding loans. A copy of the press release is attached hereto as Exhibit 99.1.

Massachusetts AG Obtains Judgment Against Online Auto Title Lender for Illegal Loans (JD Supra), Rated: A

On May 25, 2017, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (“Massachusetts AG”) announced a final judgment and permanent injunction entered in Suffolk Superior Court against an unlicensed online auto title lender, permanently banning the company from operating in Massachusetts and voiding over 200 loans made by the company to Massachusetts borrowers. The judgment also prohibits the title lender from repossessing any of the vehicles connected to the loans, and orders the company to pay $1.135 million in civil penalties and nearly $200,000 in restitution.

Why traditional financial service firms are having difficulty competing with technology startups for talent (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Figuring out how best to approach fintech has many traditional financial institutions scratching their heads. According to a report earlier this year, almost 60 percent of them are developing fintech capabilities in house. Of these, only 2.8 percent say they’ve successfully embedded innovation into their company cultures. Even “moderately structured” fintech initiatives challenge these companies; less than a third (29.2%) have managed to implement such projects. Building a creative culture of innovation within a large, risk-averse institution is turning out to be a much more complicated problem than many of them expected.

It’s easy to dismiss big financial institutions as slow and sclerotic compared to startups. In reality, it’s not even fair to compare the two. Traditional banking and financial service firms operate under very different constraints and attract an entirely different type of employee. An engineer who is best suited for a startup likely won’t be a good fit at a traditional firm and vice versa.

Open source libraries, modern software design, the availability of cheap hardware, and the support of venture capital have provided the foundation for the current explosion of startups focused on developing financial technology. These attributes make them a big draw, attracting both top engineering graduates, battle-tested coders, and recent MBAs alike.

Lenders Optimistic that Policy Changes Could Benefit the Lending Environment (Altisource Email), Rated: A

A large majority of lenders surveyed (73 percent) believe the new administration’s policies will have a positive impact on the lending environment, according to the 2017 Lenders One® Mortgage Barometer, a survey of 200 mortgage lending professionals.

Lenders are also ready to make investments in their organizations’ business operations. In fact, 42 percent of lenders indicate their biggest investment is in operational changes (hiring new staff, compliance support and software support), and 25 percent of lenders surveyed say they are currently making the greatest investment in marketing. While these investments are necessary for the industry to keep pace with consumer demand, they may also be driving up the cost per loan, with 65 percent of respondents indicating that the cost per loan will continue to increase.

Regulations Don’t Weigh Quite as Heavy on Lenders in 2017
Lenders are ready for new regulatory requirements, such as updates to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), with two-thirds (65 percent) indicating they are very prepared for HMDA changes. Yet, the biggest HMDA compliance challenge for lenders is around additional resources needed to report transactional data, such as home equity lines of credit (HELOC) and dwelling secured loans for apartments. While lenders are investing in staff and technology, about one-third (32 percent) of them cite challenges with securing additional resources to report, connect and analyze transactional data.

E-closings See Broad Adoption a Decade after Their Inception
Though 39 percent of lenders report they are not using electronic closings (e-closings) on mortgage loans, a third of those respondents expect their organizations to implement e-closings in one to two years, on average. The majority (61 percent), however, say their organization has implemented e-closings while seasoned lenders — those in the business for 10 or more years — are the predominant category of lenders utilizing them (67 percent).

Banks’ emerging strategy for digital advice: All channel access (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

As banks wade into digital advice, they do so knowing they will need to appeal to every stripe of client, rather than a specific niche.

The strategy then calls for relying on an advantage banks still have over virtual competitors and even wealth management firms, says Mark Jordahl, president of U.S. Bank’s wealth management group: meeting clients in multiple channels, including bank branches.

U.S. Bank is one of several institutions that paired with BlackRock to launch a digital wealth platform, and Jordahl says that it is on track to be launched this year.

Fintech goes to Washington: Regulators, financial firms discuss wave of future (The Hill), Rated: A

As financial technology (fintech) startups enhance collaboration with traditional financial institutions to diversify and modernize financial services, a better understanding of how the regulatory environment impacts a company’s operations is becoming increasingly critical.

Two-way conversations: Regulators have set up new initiatives to allow them to engage directly with fintechs. Many of the regulators have designated a single entry point to make it easier for fintechs to open a dialogue.

Both the CFPB and OCC have begun holding office hours for fintechs in New York and elsewhere and have dedicated personnel to fostering engagement with fintechs.

Dissemination of information: The regulators are interested in learning about new technologies‎ to ensure that information about emerging technology is spread throughout and between agencies.

Clear expectations: Regulators are focused on potential operational risks associated with the use of novel technologies and expect financial institutions to meet high standards for the due diligence and monitoring of their third-party service providers, especially around cybersecurity and data security.

No silver bullet: The regulatory landscape in financial services is complex, and there is no silver bullet for the adoption of new technologies.

5 Startups Using Machine Learning And Behavioral Biometrics To Fight Fraud (CB Insights), Rated: A

Using CB Insights database we identified 5 cybersecurity startups to watch that are working on fighting fraud with a mix of behavioral biometrics and machine learning. We selected these private companies based primarily on CB Insights’ Mosaic scoring algorithm, which uses financial and non-financial signals to assess the health of private companies.

Ravelin offers a fraud detection and prevention platform that allows organizations that rely on online payments to automatically examine customer behavior in real-time and identify fraudsters before they do damage.

Simility offers a fraud prevention platform which combines machine learning and data visualization technology with a rules engine to help protect enterprises from fraud.

Shift Technology is a SaaS company designed to detect potential insurance fraud.

Socure’s social biometrics solution helps organizations detect fraudulent users on websites and in mobile applications using machine learning algorithms.

Sift Science provides machine learning software that automatically learns and detects fraudulent behavioral patterns, alerting businesses before they or their customers are defrauded.

How to identify and fight online fraud (TransUnion), Rated: A

Read Leveraging Collective Data to Combat Lending Fraud to uncover:

  • What types of online fraud to be wary of
  • How an integrated fraud solution helps eliminate gaps and weaknesses
  • How to leverage collective data across the industry

Key to acquire HelloWallet from MorningStar in latest fintech bid (Crain’s Cleveland Business), Rated: B

KeyCorp has announced plans to acquire software platform HelloWallet from Morningstar Inc.

Terms of the deal, which marks yet another fintech partnership for the Cleveland-based bank holding company, were not disclosed.

Fin-tech firms offer ways to diversify investments: Dusty Wunderlich (RGJ), Rated: B

In January, the Dow Jones surpassed 20,000 for the first time and the Case-Schiller Housing Index hit all time high at 185.56.

What then is causing the markets to continue to rise? Artificially low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve have allowed for cheap borrowing.

Thankfully there are many great financial technology companies giving individual investors new ways in which to diversify away from traditional markets.

  • Cryptocurrency
  • Precious Metals
  • Fine Art
  • Peer-To-Peer Lending: Lending Club and Prosper built the first platforms to directly invest in consumer loans. Low interest rates policy means low fixed income returns in the bond market. Peer-to-peer lending is one of the few fixed income investments left to obtain 8 percent plus in returns.

6 of the best crowdfunding sites for commercial real estate (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

There are numerous crowdfunding platforms available on the market, and Realty Biz News has identified six of the best for those interested in buying commercial real estate.

  1. PATCH OF LAND
  2. ACQUIRE REAL ESTATE
  3. FUNDRISE
  4. REALTY MOGUL
  5. CROWDSTREET
  6. REALTYSHARES

Family Office Networks Launches Los Angeles Family Office Association for Wealthy Families (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Family Office Networks announced today the launch of a new division in Los Angeles led by local resident James R. (Jim) Hedges, IV. Family offices, high net worth individuals and the top advisors who serve them are invited to join the Los Angeles Family Office Association, which will host events on a regular basis across Los Angeles. The group will celebrate its local kick off with an exclusive, invitation-only networking event this summer at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The Los Angeles Family Office Association (losangelesfoa.org) will serve one of the most intellectually astute family office regions in the country. The group is designed to serve the extremely accomplished single and multi-family office community by creating an environment in which to share intellectual capital, leverage their years of industry expertise, and bring unique industry-generated deal flow and opportunities.

United Kingdom

Zopa completes fundraising ahead of bank transition (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has closed a £32m investment round led by Indian financial conglomerate Wadhawan Global Capital (WGC) and European venture capital fund Northzone, following which WGC’s chairman will join the peer-to-peer platform’s board, the firm confirmed on Thursday.

Kapil Wadhawan will join the consumer lender’s management board to help lead its transition towards a double-operation model comprising new banking propositions such as credit, savings and insurance products.

Zopa’s plans to become a “next-generation bank”, which first emerged last November, will enable the firm to expand its product range to service UK consumers more thoroughly.

Victory Park Capital fund toughens fees, exits Funding Circle US loans (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The board of the £358m VPC Specialty Lending Investments fund is introducing a hurdle on its performance fees payable to its investment manager Victory Park Capital.

The new hurdle, which came into effect from 1 May 2017, means the payment of the performance fee to the investment manager will be conditional portfolio achieving at least a 5 per cent per annum total return for shareholders. This will be relative to a high water mark starting from 30 April 2017.

Woodford and Artemis ramp up RateSetter stakes (Citywire), Rated: AAA

Neil Woodford and fund group Artemis have added to their stakes in RateSetter, after the peer-to-peer lender conducted a funding round to finance the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA.

RateSetter has raised £13 million from existing shareholders, including Woodford and Artemis, in a fundraise that valued the unquoted business at over £200 million.

RateSetter has now raised more than £40 million from investors since its launch in 2010.

Growth Street sees strong demand from millennials (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ALMOST 40 per cent of Growth Street’s investors are under 35 years old, research from the peer-to-peer lending platform showed.

The firm, which channels funds to small- and medium-sized enterprises, said that 37.5 per cent of its retail lenders are 35 years old or younger, contradicting recent criticism that millennials lack savings and investment skills.

Major banks add crowdfunder to alternative lender panel (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Seedrs has been invited to join NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) select panel of alternative funding solutions.

The crowdfunder has become an equity funding partner in the banks’ Capital Connections programme.

The panel allows NatWest and RBS relationship managers to offer UK business and commercial customers an alternative solution if their standard finance offerings aren’t suitable.

A third of people put no money away last quarter (Rochdale Online), Rated: A

More than a third of UK adults (37 per cent) have not saved or invested a penny in the last three months, according to a quarterly tracker launched by RateSetter this month.

On average, people put away £211 each month in the last quarter.

Men saved significantly more than women over the period (£246 a month, compared to £175).

25-34 year olds put away the most over that period (averaging £245 a month), followed by those of retirement age (£228 a month – aged 65+). Younger adults, aged 18-24, put away the least (£141 per month).

One in five (19 per cent) say that they currently have no savings at all, and two in five (43 per cent) no investments.

Average total savings and investments stand at £17,811 and £20,138 respectively.

Fintech firm partners with broker for Mifid II solution (Citywire), Rated: B

Fintech firm Red Deer has partnered with brokerage firm Westminster Research Associates to provide what they describe as an end-to-end Mifid II solution for the asset management industry.

The two businesses will offer research valuation and payments solution that meet Mifid II regulatory requirements around research consumption and valuation—whilst at the same time improving operational efficiencies.

China

Standing in the Right Wind, the 80’s generation team made a difference. (Jade Value), Rated: AAA

Several years ago, the best-selling book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” convinced people that a person knowing how to invest would be the winner of his life. If we see this as a criteria, then Yang Li, the founder of Xeenho, would be a “winner” already in young age. At his time in 2012, Yang Li was still pursuing his PhD at Central South University. Due to his research in P2P projects, he became considered as the “master of investment” by his friends and family,and even started investing their money for them.

P2P finance started to grow in China around 2008, but did not become well known among the public until 2012. Suddenly, individual investors discovered that the internet also could serve as an instrument for financial investment, allowing them to lend their money to other people for a financial return. This became attractive, especially as P2P companies started to promise clients over 10% returns. However, due to the large increase in number of platforms and lack of good practice, many scandals and bad press arose, consequently bankrupting a lot of the P2P platforms or getting them shut down. In addition, most P2P platforms were run from tier-1 cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, far away from investors in sub-tier cities, i.e.borrowers and lenders on P2P platforms were located in areas with different capital needs and risk tolerance.

Although Yang Li researched P2P platforms from an academic perspective, he discovered a golden business opportunity, as there was an obvious demand from individual investors for professional investment advice. At the same time, the market for online investment advisory was just in its infant stage, with no players offering Robo-advisory services for investors, consequently a whole untapped market full of opportunities.

Yang Li founded Xeenho in 2014, a financial asset management platform, which evaluates P2P platforms risk profiles, and re-packs P2P assets into their own low-risk portfolio. He chose to headquarter Xeenho in Changsha, Hunan province, a second-tier Chinese city, with a clear purpose: “Since there are no financial institutions locating their headquarters in Changsha, many students cannot find a financial job in the city after graduation. They can only work in marketing or other areas.”

At that time, Yang Li only had one other partner, the co-founder Huang Zhenyu. The third co-founder Yang Xue, was still working with a large financial institution in Changsha, but realized that in order to advance in her professional development in her current company, she would have to re-locate to another province. Yang Xue and Yang Li studied their PhD together, and through her work experience she has developed a unique understanding of financial risk management. Yang Li finally managed to persuade her to join after many attempts, and as they already had known each other for many years, trust was already established between them.

Another key member of the team, Ding Yan, used to be a researcher in a listed company in Hengyang, Hunan province. She was not only a classmate to Yang Li before, but also his partner in several math contests. Consequently, she was an obvious choice when built the team.

Although Xeenho has strong theoretical know-how, the reality of building a company is tough with everyday ups and downs. Yang Li nicely told this with his anecdote of a special day. On the 2nd of May 2015, when his daughter was born, Xeenho also experienced a huge increase in number of fake users signing up to receive the registration reimbursement promoted through 10 RMB digital ‘Hongbao’s’, attracting thousands of new users daily. During normal days, this number was normally under 100. The fast increase offake users coupled with the inadequate marketing cost of acquiring them, forced Xeenho to start doing fraud assessment on each new registered manually by phone.

Xeenho’s business may look simple on the outside, but is actually complex looking under the hood. Through Xeenho’s platform, investors are introduced to and guided to the right P2P asset investment for their specific requirements. Compared to registering directly on a single P2P platform, Xeenho’s approach has several advantages. 1) Each asset package is composed of a range of P2P platform assets, which diversifies their portfolio and reduce risk. 2) Xeenho conducts in-depth research and risk management of each platform listed on their platform, in order to detect sudden changes and give investors first-hand information to lower their investment risk. In other words, Xeeno serves like an investor risk management assistant, which they are also earning commissions for.

This comes with a certain operational complexity, as Xeeno has to deal with more than a thousand different P2P platforms, on a real-time information basis. If investments has to be withdrawn from a platform, they need to monitor the original creditors’ rights and debts from the packaged assets. This is the core value of Xeenho, to have first-hand information before any retail investor in regards to debtors and P2P platforms.

Micro-loan network to share shares shares Yangquan Bank holding 9.76% (01 Caijing), Rated: A

According to WeChat public number “P2P intelligence agency” news that micro-loan network has been shares Yangquan City Commercial Bank Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Yangquan Bank).

European Union

Swiss fintech startup Evolute raises €5.5 million Series A (Tech.EU), Rated: AAA

Swiss fintech startup Evolute has raised €5.5 million in Series A financing. The investors were not disclosed. Evolute has also just been accepted into the Swiss Startup Factory’s Growth Accelerator Program.

The company says the new capital will be used for further development of its wealth management platform, and to develop more innovative technologies for personalized portfolio optimization.

Russian Banks Launch FinTech Lab Incubator (PYMNTS.com), Rated: A

Mastercard announced Monday (May 29) that Russian financial firms working within the collaborative FinTech acceleration program Fintech Lab has chosen 12 FinTech startups they plan to mentor and guide through the program.

International

TECH-SAVVY FAMILY OFFICES EYE REAL ESTATE ONLINE (CampdenFB), Rated: AAA

A new generation of tech-savvy investment officers are providing family offices with access to buoyant global property markets via new innovative online real estate portals, says Emmanuel Lumineau, chief executive at BrickVest, the London-based online real estate investment platform.

Maintaining wealth across generations has always been a complex task and the fallout from the financial crisis of 2008 resulted in many family offices focusing upon avoiding risk. Preventing the permanent loss of capital, counterparty and credit risk and a lack of liquidity have been an ongoing concern in the family office sector in recent years. There are about 3,000 single family offices globally, at least half of which were set up during the past two decades, according to a white paper published in 2014 by Credit Suisse. Administrative family offices are estimated to have assets of between $50 million and $100 million US dollars, according to the Zurich-based investment bank.

Family offices and high net-worth investors – with €8 billion of assets – make up the bulk of investors using the platform. These investors are poised to deploy €300 million on the platform over the next year, primarily in European and US real estate. The BrickVest platform has attracted about 200 real estate sponsors with €170 billion of assets under management.

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Releases Their Second Americas Report (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Here are some highlights of the report.

Market size and growth

  • The online alternative finance market in the America’s grew to $35.2 billion in 2016, up 23% from 2015.
  • The 2016 US market volume of $34.5 billion marked a 22 per cent year-on-year increase from 2015.
  • Canada’s alternative finance market grew to $334.5 million, a 62 per cent year-on-year increase from 2015.

Prevailing online alternative finance models

  • In the US, consumer marketplace lending continued to account for the largest share of market volume with $21 billion recorded in the US in 2016 (up 17 per cent).
  • Balance sheet business lending became the second largest model in the US in 2016 with $6 billion originated, surpassing balance sheet consumer lending which had $3 billion.
  • In Canada, donation-based crowdfunding remained the top alternative finance model with $105.9 million, but balance sheet business lending rose at a rate of 282 per cent to $103.3 million in 2016.

Businesses tapping alternative finance

  • An estimated 218,188 businesses raised funds across the Americas from online alternative finance channels in 2016, led by the US with 143,344.
  • A total of $9.2 billion in alternative business funding was raised in 2016, which is distributed largely to the US ($8.8 billion).
  • Equity-based Crowdfunding reached $569.5 million.
  • Over two-thirds (71 per cent) of Latin America/Caribbean online alternative business finance came from Chile ($97.1 million) and Mexico ($69.5 million).

An Interview with Grégoire de Lestapis, CEO of Lendix Spain (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Gregoire de Lestapis has left traditional banking, most recently the direction of BBVA France, for the world of fintech entrepreneurship. In 2016, he joined Lendix, the French SME lending group, as head its Spanish subsidiary and member of the executive team.

Spain is home to very large banks and has among the highest density of commercial bank branches in Europe, why did Lendix decide to enter this overbanked market?

Firstly, the rapid consolidation of the Spanish banks after the financial crisis of 2008 has fractured the relationship between SMEs and their bank.

The credit crunch that followed the crisis made many otherwise viable SMEs bankrupt. Scandals such as the abusive practice of the “floor lending rate clause” emerged. SMEs felt betrayed. The shock was all the greater as they were completely dependent on banks.

Secondly, regulatory requirements such as Basel II are making it less profitable for Spanish banks to serve SMEs. They would prefer to limit their exposure to 25% of the overall liabilities of a given SME.

The third point is that Spanish banks’ credit processes are still very inefficient.

Contrary to what the term “alternative lending” says, we don’t view Lendix as an alternative to banks. All our customers, lenders as well as borrowers, have one or several established banking relationships. Our strategy is to position our offering as complementary to banks’.

What about the competition from other SME lending marketplaces?

Since our first operation in February 2017, we have completed about 10 loan transactions of an average value of €350,000 and an average maturity of 47 months.

Isn’t the Spanish default rate of business loans quite high? 

Indeed, the default rate has steadily decreased from its peak of 13%, but it remains high at 8%. We are therefore very cautious. However, the main cause of defaults was the real estate sector. Outside of this sector, the default rate is much lower. Spain’s GDP growth rate is a solid 3% per year.

Olivier Goy, the founder and CEO of Lendix talks about the company’s international expansion as being multilocal, can you explain?

What mutilocal means is that, while sharing the European goal, vision and values, local teams are on the ground and fully immerse themselves in the local context. They make sure that the company respects local regulations. For example, a Spanish retail investor can lend a maximum of €3,000 per project and a total of €10,000 per year, whereas there is only a limit of €2,000 per project in France. As we enable French, Spanish and Italian investors to lend across borders, implementing these different thresholds is quite challenging.

India

Fin-tech startups hit purple patch as VCs make a beeline (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

A VCCircle analysis shows that since the beginning of the year, at least 24 fin-tech startups have raised venture funding. And the inflows have been well-distributed across the broader fin-tech space—while digital wallet firm Paytm may have got the biggest slice of the funding pie, raising a whopping $1.4 billion from SoftBank, online lending and payment gateway startups are also hot in terms of investor interest.

Wealth and expense management, financial advisory and investment platforms have also managed to raise capital over the last five months.

The most recent one was US-based Ebix Inc. acquiring an 80% stake in India’s ItzCash Card Ltd for $120 million (Rs 778 crore), a move aimed at gaining a foothold in India’s fast-expanding digital payments market.

Rahul Chandra, co-founder and managing director at Helion Venture Partners, is looking to raise $100 million for early-stage fund Unitary Helion. Rahul Chandra, co-founder and managing director at Helion Venture Partners, is looking to raise $100 million for early-stage fund Unitary Helion.

Banks now bank on fintech companies for more customers (India Times), Rated: A

Banks are no longer fighting financial-technology startups, instead they are gaining from them in terms of acquiring more customers and reducing operational costs leading to a flurry of partnerships in recent months.

RBL Bank, which has partnerships with more than 90 startups, has been able to acquire 30% of its total 2.8 million customers through these tieups, said Rajeev Ahuja, head of strategy retail and financial inclusion at RBL Bank.

MoneyTap, a startup that has tied up with RBL Bank to give lines of credit to customers, was able to bring 2,00,000 users to the bank through downloads of its app, chief executive Bala Parthasarathy said. The app targets the lower-middle income group and offers chatbot tech to be the “front end of the bank”, he said.

Another bank to have seen significant impact from such partnerships is Yes Bank, which acquires nearly 20% of its customers through digital channels, such as through its partnerships with PaisaBazaar and Niyo.

“Constructive Synergy”: Indian P2P Lender Faircent Introduces New Student Loan (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Indian online P2P lending platform Faircent.com announced a new semi-secure student loan product in collaboration with Bangalore-based micro-lending startups.  Lenders ay also opt for a partly-secured alternative-investment opportunity that delivers a higher return. Under the partnership, college students may fund purchase of items such as laptops, books and smart mobile, by registering their loan requirements on the platform at a “reasonable rate” with a flexible loan period ranging between 6 and 36 months.

Singapore

Singapore’s biggest marketplace lender hits S$ 40 million originations (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Singaporean marketplace lender Capital Match has hit S$40 million in loans funded and has started rolling out infrastructure to onboard European investors.

The company, the largest marketplace lender in Southeast Asia, is hoping Singapore’s strong fintech scene and the chance to diversify into Singaporean dollars will lure foreign investors.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor