Thursday September 12 2019, Weekly News Digest

bank technology

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4 Trust. Stripe debuts corporate credit cards. College Ave completes $300M securitization of private student loans. Yirendai issues earnings results. Today’s main analysis: Deregulating Fannie and Freddie (A MUST-READ REPORT FROM THE U.S. TREASURY). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Average FICO scores hit […]

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United States

United Kingdom

China

International

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News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4 Trust (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4 Trust (“SCLP 2019-4”). This is a $465 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2019-4

Class

Preliminary Rating

Class Principal

A

AAA (sf)

$360,000,000

B

AA+ (sf)

$29,500,000

C

A+ (sf)

$47,500,000

D

BBB+ (sf)

$28,000,000

OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow to Deliver Keynote Address at 2019 LEND360 Conference (GuruFocus), Rated: A

OnDeck today announced that Chairman and CEO Noah Breslow will be a keynote speaker at the LEND360 Conference in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, September 26, 2019. Mr. Breslow will discuss industry trends in alternative data and how they are improving many aspects of online lending to small businesses.

Case activity for On Deck Capital, Inc. vs Beautyshea, LLC on Sept. 9 (Pennsylvania Record), Rated: B

‘Judgment Entered For $6,593.50 On 09-09-2019 236 Notice Of Judgment Sent 09-09-2019’

Payments giant Stripe debuts a credit card in its latest step into the financing fray (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Last week, when the popular payments startup Stripe made some waves with its first move into money lending through the launch of Stripe Capital, we reported that the company was also soon going to be launching a credit card. Now, that news is official. Today, the company is doubling down on financing with the launch of corporate cards for business customers.

College Ave Student Loans Completes $ 300 Million Securitization of Private Student Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Student loan marketplace, College Ave Student Loans, announced on Tuesday it has completed a $300 million securitization of private student loans, its third securitization and largest to date. According to College Ave, the transaction was oversubscribed attracting a broad and diverse group of repeat investors and new participants. Barclays and Goldman Sachs were joint lead underwriters on the transaction with Barclays serving as structuring agent and sole bookrunner.

The Deregulation of Fannie and Freddie; Rate Cuts; “Full Stack” Banks (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, the Trump administration released their long awaited housing finance plan that will privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The plan would require a significant recapitalization – up to $180 Bn.

Read the full report here.

Source: Federal Reserve, PeerIQ

Average FICO score hits all-time high (CNBC), Rated: AAA

For the first time, the average national credit score has reached 706, according to FICO, the developer of one of the most commonly used scores by lenders.

Source: CNBC

U.S. Consumer Debt Surges on Jump in Credit-Card Balances (Bloomberg), Rated: A

U.S. consumer borrowing swelled in July by the most since late 2017 as Americans carried larger credit-card balances to fund both everyday and online purchases.

Total credit rose by $23.3 billion from the prior month, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists, Federal Reserve figures showed Monday. Revolving debt outstanding increased by $10 billion, also the most since November 2017, while the growth of non-revolving credit was little changed from a month earlier.

Kabbage Launches New Small Business Revenue Index (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Global financial service platform Kabbage announced this week the launch of its new Small Business Revenue Index. According to Kabbage, the index has two million live data connections the platform maintains across its customer base of more than 200,000 small businesses.

The Current State of the Small Business Lending Sector (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The companies that I view as pioneers in this space are Kabbage and OnDeck.

Although Kabbage and OnDeck were early to small business lending there are many other names in this space with varying models and scale including Funding CircleStreetsharesFundboxBlueVineBiz2CreditFundation and Credibly to name a few. LendingClub also has a small business lending operation but they primarily work with partners Funding Circle and Opportunity Fund today to originate these loans.

The Challengers of Small Business Lending

Probably the most recognizable name is PayPal and the Working Capital product which, according to deBanked, has surpassed OnDeck in small business lending volume.

Patriot Financial leads $ 15 million round for Numerated (American Banker), Rated: A

Numerated, the loan technology company that incubated inside Eastern Bank and spun off on its own in May 2017, has raised $15 million from bank investment fund Patriot Financial Partners. Existing investors Venrock, Fintop Capital and Hyperplane also joined the round.

TBF Financial Buys $ 60 Million in Commercial Debt from Major Online Lender (PR Newswire), Rated: A

TBF Financial purchased nearly $60 million in non-performing loans from a major online small business lender in recent transactions, CEO Brett Boehm announced today.

TBF bought the pools of post-charge-off loans as the highest bidder in transactions arranged through multiple brokers. In most cases, the company purchases directly from alternative lenders, equipment leasing companies and banks.

LendingTree Ranks the 50 Most Expensive Towns in America (NewKerala), Rated: A

No. 1 Vineyard Haven, Mass.

Total population 17,321
Median individual income $39,045
Median home value $674,600
Affordable housing costs for a median income earner $911
Calculated mortgage payment for a median priced home $2,767
Median rent payment $1,441
Home affordability deficit -$1,856
Rent affordability deficit -$530

The DeFi trend is accelerating and gaining acceptance, with Coinbase joining the fray. The leading brokerage has created the Coinbase Bootstrap Fund, to boost DeFi projects. Coinbase will invest in two projects, the Compound crypto lending scheme, and the dy/dx crypto derivative exchange.

The 30-somethings guide to creating passive income (Ladders), Rated: A

You might not have $30,000 saved up to buy a rental property right now, but do you have $500? The beauty of REITs like DiversyFund is you can start investing for the amount of money you might drop on a new pair of shoes.

There are public and private REITS as well as funds classified as real estate crowdfunding. Compare your options and find the best one that works for you.

PeerStreet Named CRETech 2019 Real Estate Tech Award Winner (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Real estate investment platform PeerStreet announced on Tuesday it won first place in CRETech’s 2019 Real Estate Tech Awards (RETAs for the Information & Intelligence – Crowdfunding category.

Zillow chooses Impac Mortgage COO Rian Furey to lead mortgage expansion (Housingwire), Rated: B

Zillow announced Monday that it is naming Rian Furey president of Zillow Home Loans.

Balboa Capital Continues Accelerated Growth, Adds 125 New Employees in First Half of 2019 (Yahoo! Finance), Raated: A

Balboa Capital, an online lender that specializes in equipment financing and small business loans, hired 125 new employees during the first six months of 2019 to accommodate the company’s rapid increase in new business and acquisition of several new strategic partners.

United Kingdom

Why crowdfunding may not be the great democratising force in investment after all (The Conversation), Rated: AAA

The digital revolution has had a huge impact on the way new and small companies are financed – and crowdfunding has been at the forefront.

Initially, crowdfunding brought great optimism that it would have a “democratising effect” on finance. On the one hand it would enable entrepreneurs excluded from traditional sources of finance to attract funding. And, on the other, it would provide new opportunities for people with even relatively modest amounts of money to invest. For example, private investors looking for higher returns than those available with high street banks have been attracted to various lending platforms – also known as peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms.

Sonovate raises £110m to drive invoice finance (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Finance tech provider Sonovate is looking to expand internationally and deploy more working capital to SMEs and mid-market businesses after raising £110 million, reports Jane Connolly.

Spotcap find 77% of SME brokers are upbeat about Brexit (AltFi), Rated: A

Over three-quarters of commercial finance intermediaries in the UK expect the number of loans they broker to increase after Brexit, with more than half saying the number will rise “by a lot”.

In July Berlin-based online lender Spotcap asked 132 UK brokers, accountants and advisers about the future of SME finance in the UK, the results of which it published today as part of a report entitled The State of Commercial Finance in the UK.

FCA urges firms to prepare for no-deal Brexit and launches helpline (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FIRMS should prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, says the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as it launches a dedicated helpline for businesses.

The City watchdog, which oversees the peer-to-peer lending market as well as the rest of the financial servcies sector, says firms who have not prepared appropriately for the UK leaving the EU without a deal may see an impact on their business.

Foreign firms eyeing P2P market entry (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

REGULATORY consultancy Bovill has reported a steady stream of interest from new entrants to the peer-to-peer lending market, particularly from overseas firms.

Brown attributed the slowdown to the fact that P2P is a more mature market, meaning there was “less of a gold rush” for new players.

H&M extends Klarna ‘buy now, pay later’ service to the UK (Fashion United), Rated: B

Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M has extended its partnership with payment provider Klarna to the UK market, offering Brit shoppers the option to ‘buy now, pay later’.

New SME services added to Starling Bank’s marketplace (AltFi), Rated: B

Digital Risks is an insurance provider for small and medium-sized digital businesses, including cover for specific threats like commercial legal protection, cyber security, management liability, employers liability, public liability and professional indemnity.

While CyberSmart is a platform for SMEs to identify digital weaknesses and achieve their Cyber Essentials Certification, the government-backed accreditation for companies looking to protect against cyber threats.

China

Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) Issues Earnings Results (Mayfield Recorder), Rated: AAA

Yirendai posted its earnings results on Tuesday, September 3rd. The technology company reported $0.24 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.48 by ($0.24), Morningstar.com reports. Yirendai had a return on equity of 32.93% and a net margin of 15.30%. The firm had revenue of $322.89 million for the quarter.

LexinFintech Secures $ 300 Million Private Placement of Convertible Notes with PAG (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Chinese consumer financing platform LexinFintech announced on Wednesday it has entered into a convertible note purchase agreement with PAG issue and sell convertible notes in an aggregate principal amount of $300 million through a private placement. 

IceKredit Raises $ 47M in Pre-Series C Funding (FINSMES), Rated: A

IceKredit, Inc., a Los Angeles, CA and China-based credit risk and credit management company, raised $47m in pre-Series C funding.

These Chinese Online Lenders Are Not For the Weak at Heart (GuruFocus), Rated: A

Beijing-based online lender Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) and Shanghai-based Paipaidai, or PPDAI Group (NYSE:PPDF), shares have been pummeled down to their lowest levels in the past year. Yet aside from receiving credit lines from large Chinese institutions amid China’s crackdown on fraud lending in their industry, both lenders appear to remain in a healthy state.

PPDAI — the older and bigger of the two lenders — came out strong in its recent quarter, beating earnings expectations. The $1.2 billion online lender reported it had 29% year-over-year growth in loan origination volume to $3 billion, compared to just 1.6% growth a year earlier.

Hexindai Announces Support For Regulators’ Decision to Include P2P Platforms in Central Bank’s Credit System (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform Hexindai (NASDAQ: HX) announced on Tuesday its support for the decision by industry regulators to include the country’s P2P platforms in the central bank’s credit system. The online lender reported that it believes this as a positive move for the P2P industry.

Sequoia-Backed P2P Lender Huobank Collapses As Beijing Mops Up Online Finance Risks (China Money Network), Rated: A

European Union

Banks raise concerns ahead of ECB meeting (Irish Examiner), Rated: A

The president of Germany’s powerful savings banks association, community lenders that dominate the country’s shopping streets, joined Dutch bank ING yesterday in criticising the ECB’s loose monetary policy.

Its 50 million customers have increased their savings by almost 5% since last year to €965bn which is roughly the size of the Dutch economy. With lending amounting to about €860bn, the banks are left with a chunky unused surplus.

Fintech Europe Selects Eight Startups for its Fourth Batch (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Fintech Europe, Plug and Play’s fintech-focused innovation platform based out of Frankfurt, Germany, announced today the eight startups selected for its fourth batch. The platform has grown its partner base to 11 Financial Institutions since its inception in May 2018. Together with Deutsche Bank, TechQuartier, BNP Paribas, Nets Group, UniCredit, Aareal Bank, Abanca, Danske Bank, DZ Bank, Elo, and Finablr, it runs two 12-week innovation programs a year.

CashDirector 

CashDirector SA is a technology company providing SMEs and banks with a Digital CFO integrated with on-line banking, helping with SMEs manage cash flow and accessing financing.

Credit Kudos

Credit Kudos is a credit bureau that uses financial behaviour to measure creditworthiness.

International

Technology Is Banks’ New Battleground (WSJ), Rated: AAA

European banks are spending vast sums on technology—but it may not be enough to defend against the incursions of bigger, richer American rivals.

U.S. lenders already dominate investment banking in Europe. The big risk for the continent’s banks is that slicker tech could give their American rivals a platform to make gains in lending to companies—the Europeans’ traditional stronghold.

This year, Europe’s banks plan to make technology investments worth in aggregate $77 billion, according to consulting firm Celent. That compares with $105 billion for their U.S. rivals. Faster, more seamless trading systems have long been a priority, but tech spending has shifted across business lines and from back office to front office. It can cover everything from maintaining decades-old systems to cutting-edge artificial intelligence.

Source: Celent

Wirecard Teams Up With Credibly to Digitalize Funding Disbursements (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Germany-based global provider of digital payments and commerce solutions Wirecard announced on Wednesday it is partnering with U.S. business funding fintech Credibly to digitalize funding disbursement. Wirecard claims to be one of the largest issuers of payout cards in the U.S. and is now offering fully digitalize solutions.

PwC to AM industry: disrupt yourself or face extinction (City Wire Selector), Rated: A

The European financial services industry is facing an ‘Amazonisation’ moment, in which those offering consumer-first solutions underpinned by sustainable finance will survive and the others will cease to compete.

That is the headline finding of 52-page report co-authored by PwC Luxembourg and Luxembourg for Finance, which investigated underlying industry trends and indicated that the European market is losing ground on its US and Asian peers when it comes to innovation and assets.

State of the Chain: Five Winning Use Cases for Blockchain in 2019 (U.today), Rated: A

Predictably it was Binance that stole the limelight, with the surprise launch of its eponymous lending platform, which was unveiled on Monday, August 26, and then proceeded to fill its initial lending quota of 200,000 BNB and 10 million USDT in a matter of seconds two days later.

Dharma and Compound have announced new products, while Coinbase has hinted that this will be the next vertical it expands into.

Lenders can enjoy annualized interest of up to 15%, which is significantly better than the negative rates they are currently offered on fiat savings and on negatively yielding government bonds.

Australia

Hopes fintech inquiry will ‘validate’ bank competitors (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

On Wednesday New South Wales senator Andrew Bragg successfully moved to secure a senate committee inquiry into the fintech and regulatory technology spaces, paving the way for a year-long review into how competitive Australia is in these sectors.

Chief executive of small business lender Lumi, Yanir Yakutiel, said the inquiry should focus on expanding the regulatory sandbox program, which is designed to help early stage fintechs test their ideas.

India

Five Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Instigating Paradigm Shift In Online Lending Space (Via.news), Rated: AAA

Currently, digital lending accounts for around 15% to 20% of the total lending market and could surpass 50% in coming years.

Asia

Chinese P2P Lending Companies Ventures to Vietnam (LearnBonds), Rated: AAA

This business model boomed in China, but following a regulatory clampdown by authorities on risky financial practices, the number of fintech and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in the country dropped from about 1,900 a year ago to just 900 in May.

It now appears that some of these Chinese P2P lending companies have not necessarily disappeared. They simple ventured into new markets and in particular Vietnam.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), there were 40 peer-to-peer lending companies operating in Vietnam as of March. Of these, 10 companies are from China.

MENA

The opportunity of peer-to-peer lending in Lebanon (Executive Magazine), Rated: AAA

Through conversations with Lebanese entrepreneurs, business owners, bankers, and politicians, I have had a number of eye-opening discussions into the challenges and opportunities faced by Lebanon’s SME ecosystem. Given the country’s long-standing tradition in financial services and its large banking sector, I believe fintech—with solutions such as peer-to-peer lending, machine learning to personalize insurance solutions, and the use of artificial intelligence for wealth management—stands as a serious contender to unlock the funding challenges faced by Lebanon’s SMEs.

Latin America

SoftBank in talks to invest in Latam venture capital funds (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) is in talks with venture capital firms in Latin America to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in their funds, a move likely to speed up spending of a $5 billion regional venture capital fund, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

So far, SoftBank has only announced direct investments using the fund’s resources, injecting capital into Colombian delivery app Rappi, Brazilian lender Creditas, gym membership app Gympass and Mexican payments firm Clip, for instance.

Proptech Flat raises US$ 4.5 million pre-seed round led by ALLVP (Contxto), Rated: A

Contxto – Not only is the Mexican real estate industry huge but also outdated with many inefficient processes. Counteracting this, a new Mexican startup, Flat, recently raised US$4.5 million in one of Mexico’s largest pre-seed rounds ever.

Africa

Nigerian online-only bank startup Kuda raises $ 1.6M (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Nigerian fintech startup Kuda — a digital-only retail bank — has raised $1.6 million in pre-seed funding.

Canada

Peer to Peer Lender Lending Loop Tops $ 50 Million in Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Canada’s first peer to peer lending platform for SMEs, Lending Loop, has topped CDN $50 million in loans, according to a post by Brendon Vlaar, co-founder and CTO of the company. Lending Loop provides investment opportunities in debt-based securities to both accredited and non-accredited investors.

PayBright Raises $ 34M in Growth Equity Financing (FINSMES), Rated: A

PayBright, a Toronto, Canada-based fintech company, received a $34m equity investment from goeasy.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 12 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday August 15 2019, Weekly News Digest

Germany yield curve

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper reports Q2 results. Figure to raise $1B. Funding Circle shares rise. RateSetter to stress test provision fund. LendInvest raises 200M GBP. Two more Chinese P2P firms shut down. N26 eyes IPO. Today’s main analysis: Gen Z’s credit market activity. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Radius Bank’s rebranding to banking as a […]

The post Thursday August 15 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Germany yield curve

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Prosper Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending platform connecting borrowers and investors, today reported financial results for the second quarter of 2019. Personal loan originations increased 27% compared to the first quarter of 2019, and the company has now generated positive adjusted EBITDA in eight out of the last nine quarters.

Financial summary:

  • Total Net Revenue, which includes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, increased to $42.9 million in Q2 2019 compared to $31.7 million in Q2 2018.
  • Core Revenue(1), which excludes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, decreased to $50.7 million in Q2 2019 compared to $52.3 million in Q2 2018.
  • Net Loss decreased to ($0.6) million in Q2 2019 compared to a Net Loss of ($12.6) million in Q2 2018.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) decreased to $5.3 million in Q2 2019 compared to $8.8 million in Q2 2018.

Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited) (in thousands)

SoFi Co-Founder’s New Startup Aims to Raise Funds at $ 1 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Mike Cagney, the former embattled chief executive officer of Social Finance Inc., is raising more than $100 million for his new startup Figure Technologies Inc. at a $1 billion valuation just less than two years after its founding, according to people familiar with the matter.

San Francisco-based Figure uses blockchain technology to provide home equity loans online in just a few days, with approval happening in minutes. The company made its first loan in 2018, and is on pace to provide more than $80 million in loans this month alone, according to one of these people, who asked not to be named because the details are private.

As Gen Z Comes of Age, Credit Market Activity Shows Significant Growth (TransUnion), Rated: AAA

Gen Z, those individuals born in 1995 or after, increasingly took part in the consumer credit market during the first half of 2019. The newly released Q2 2019 Industry Insights Report from TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) found that growth is coming from the entire Gen Z demographic who are 18 years or older – not just those who became credit eligible for the first time.

Approximately 14 million Gen Z consumers (44% of this group) were carrying a balance as of Q2 2019, up from 11 million in Q2 2018, according to the report. The number of Gen Z consumers who were credit eligible (18 years or older) increased by 4.5 million in the last year, rising to 31.5 million in Q2 2019. Over the next three years, it is anticipated that another 13 million Gen Z consumers will become credit eligible.

Gen Z Consumers Carrying a Balance Rising at High Rates

Credit Product Q2 2019 Q2 2018 YOY Growth %
Auto 4,376,000 3,072,000 42%
Credit Card 7,746,000 5,483,000 41%
Mortgage 319,000 150,000 112%
Personal Loan 746,000 534,000 45%

Credit cards are the most popular product among Gen Z consumers, with 55% carrying a balance—though they still only constitute 5% of the U.S. population carrying card debt. Mortgages had the largest year-over-year growth rate spike with Gen Z consumers (112%), but from a low base. Mortgages are still the credit product Gen Z consumers are least likely to have, with only 0.5% of mortgages held by members of this generation.

The Percentage of Gen Z Consumers Carrying a Credit Balance is Growing (Data as of Q2 2019)

Credit Product Gen Z
(carrying a balance)
All Generations
(carrying a balance)
Gen Z
Percentage
Auto 4,376,000 86,064,000 5.1%
Credit Card 7,746,000 148,141,000 5.2%
Mortgage 319,000 68,368,000 0.5%
Personal Loan 746,000 19,556,000 3.8%

Q2 2019 Credit Card Trends

 Credit Card Lending Metric Q2 2019 Q2 2018 Q2 2017 Q2 2016
 Number of Credit Cards 437.1 million 420.0 million 409.8 million 391.0 million
Borrower-Level Delinquency Rate (90+ DPD) 1.71% 1.53% 1.46% 1.29%
Average Debt Per Borrower $5,645 $5,543 $5,422 $5,247
Prior Quarter Originations* 15.3 million 14.5 million 15.0 million 15.3 million
Average New Account Credit Lines* $5,773 $5,649 $5,817 $5,466

See TransUnions infographic here.

Atlanta-Based LendingPoint #17 on Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in the USA (The Daily Times), Rated: A

Inc. Magazine today ranked commerce platform LendingPoint No. 17 on its 37th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. LendingPoint joins companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names who gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000. LendingPoint has hit successive funding records year-over-year and is on pace to reach $100 million per month in loan originations by the end of 2019.

Fintech Firm OppLoans Named to Inc. 500 for Fourth Consecutive Year (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

OppLoans has been named to Inc. magazine’s prestigious 2019 Inc. 500 list for the fourth year in a row. Only four companies on this year’s list, including OppLoans, have placed on the Inc. 500 at least four or more times. With a three-year annual revenue growth of 1,435%, OppLoans placed #321 on the annual ranking of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., 19 spots higher than the firm placed in 2018. OppLoans has achieved rankings of #340 (2018), #219 (2017) and #445 (2016).

FINICITY TO POWER DIGITAL SOLUTIONS FOR EMPLOYER STUDENT LOAN CONTRIBUTIONS (Finicity), Rated: A

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, announced today the rollout of its Student Loan Account Verification product, which will simplify employer benefit repayment programs, where employers are looking to contribute to or help repay employee’s student loans.

Fannie, Freddie to Consider Alternatives to FICO Scores (WSJ), Rated: A

One firm’s dominance over the credit scores used to vet many U.S. mortgages is getting a shake-up.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two mortgage-finance firms that back nearly half of U.S. mortgages, will have to consider credit-score alternatives to Fair Isaac Corp.’s FICO score when determining a mortgage applicant’s creditworthiness, under a new rule issued on Tuesday by the mortgage-finance giants’ federal overseer.

Zoca Loans Review: Installment Loans for Bad Credit Borrowers (Moneycheck), Rated: A

By going through a simple online application process, you have the chance to obtain between $300 and $1,000 – all of which can be funded the very same day.

HSBC launched a digital lending platform for online personal loans (Business Insider), Rated: A

HSBC USA partnered with Amount, a tech provider for financial institutions, to launch a digital lending platform that streamlines online personal loan applications. Consumers can evaluate loan options, submit applications online, and receive a credit decision within minutes.

HSBC will initially lend up to $30,000 with terms ranging from two to five years and it says funds will be available as quickly as the next day. The bank will charge fixed monthly payments starting 50 days after customers receive the loan. Amount’s platform — which has cumulatively originated $6 billion in loans to 800,000 customers — has been customized to HSBC’s preferences, including its proprietary risk models.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

Virtual Bank Aims to be Primary Account Engine Behind Fintech Brands (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

It’s Time For Regulators To Expand Opportunities For Smaller Investors (Forbes), Rated: A

In the past decade we’ve seen a new financial movement take shape: a focus on giving more investors a seat at the table. More and more people and organizations are realizing that investors of all income levels and backgrounds could (and should) have the opportunity to access more asset classes. In this technology-enabled age of access, data and transparency in investing, there is an opportunity to update our laws to ensure that smaller investors are not excluded from the opportunity to create wealth — opportunities that have emerged under the financial ethos of fintech: crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, financial literacy and inclusion.

Former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan Joins DeFi Blockchain Project Findora (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Balaji Srinivasan, the former CTO of Coinbase, has just joined decentralized finance blockchain project Findora.

Tricolor Launches New, Affordable Auto Insurance for Low Income, Credit Invisible Consumers (Globe Newswire), Rated: B

Tricolor, the used vehicle retailer focusing on the sale and financing of vehicles to the Hispanic consumer, today unveiled a groundbreaking new affordable auto insurance option for low-income and credit invisible customers through its affiliate company Tricolor Insurance. After testing the product earlier this year, Tricolor will begin rolling out the new insurance offering throughout all of its markets in Texas and California.

Artivest Achieves Critical Platform Momentum, Announces Executive Leadership Appointment (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

To date in 2019, Artivest, a multi-billion-dollar alternative investment platform, has achieved exponential organic growth across nearly every aspect of the business, greater than any previous full calendar year in the company’s history. The firm has attracted more new investors, allocations, investment managers, and—most importantly, in regard to how the wealth management industry gauges the success of digital platforms—has surpassed $1 billion in new investments transacted online by high-net-worth investors into private funds, at low minimums.

Netflix alum Steve Swasey to lead communications at Healthline Media (MMM-Online), Rated: B

Healthline Media has hired Steve Swasey as VP of communications, a newly created role at the health-focused publishing company.

In the first half of 2016, he worked at online lending marketplace Lending Club as SVP of corporate communications.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Shares Rise on Positive Report (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, online lender Funding Circle (LSE:FCH) released its 6-month report and the shares have responded positively to the numbers. Six-month Revenue was reported at £81.4 million versus H1 2018 at £63.0 million – up 29%. Loans under management rose 37% to £3.54 billion and originations jumped 14% to £1.19 billion.

Funding Circle went public in 2018 priced at 440 pence per share. Funding Circle raised a gross amount of £300 million garnering a market cap of around £1.5 billion.

RateSetter to introduce stress testing to provision fund (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is planning to introduce stress testing to its provision fund over the next financial year.

The ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender’s provision fund is a buffer that protects investors against losses should any of its loans default. Borrowers pay cash into the provision fund in accordance with RateSetter’s assessment of their creditworthiness.

LendInvest Secures £200 Million Investment from the National Australia Bank to Expand Reach in Buy-to-Let Market (The Fintech Times), Rated: AAA

LendInvest has now raised over £1.8 billion of debt and equity from investors, making LendInvest one of the largest non-bank mortgage lenders in the country.

This new funding expands LendInvest’s capacity to lend in the UK Buy-to-Let market. LendInvest launched its first Buy-to-Let mortgage product in late 2017 after agreeing a substantial funding line with Citigroup. LendInvest has already lent more than £370 million in Buy-to-Let loans and is taking market share in the bank dominated market. In June this year, LendInvest also become the UK’s first Fintech business to securitise its own portfolio of assets worth £259 million, which received a AAA rating from Moody’s and Fitch.

SME online fashion retailers face barriers to innovation, Klarna (Retail Tech Innovation Hub), Rated: A

Small online fashion retailers in the UK are open to embracing innovative technologies, but various challenges are preventing widespread adoption, according to research by Klarna.

In terms of challenges, 53% said the cost of introducing flexible payment options was the biggest barrier to adoption.

Source: Klarna

SME online retailers look to overcome barriers to realise innovation ambitions (Retail Times), Rated: A

The research  conducted across 100 UK SME decision makers at online retailers in 2019 — shows the UK’s SMEs understand the need to embrace flexibility and innovation. Over the next 12 months they plan to prioritise investing in flexible payment options (49%) and e-commerce capabilities (48%) to meet consumer demand for a frictionless shopping experience.

Tandem Bank leverages Open Banking to offer competitive mortgages (Finextra), Rated: A

Ex-RateSetter business finance head launches new P2P platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

RATESETTER alumni Brian Cartwright has launched new alternative property lender Nexa Finance, with a focus on the East Midlands.

Cartwright (pictured), managing director at Nexa, previously worked as head of business finance at ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender RateSetter.

His new venture, which bills itself as a regionally-focused business lender, aims to connect East Midlands-based small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) property developers and house builders with funders.

Personal Finance Society publishes P2P guide following uptick in queries (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

MEMBERS of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) have been showing an increased interest in peer-to-peer lending, leading the PFS to produce its own ‘good practice’ guide to P2P.

The financial planning trade body has partnered with Octopus Investments to create the guide, which tells advisers that recommending P2P products could help them to increase their own assets under management, adding that “for suitable clients, it could prove a useful vehicle for excess cash holdings which may currently fall outside of the adviser’s view.”

Atom Bank, iwoca, Modulr Finance, & Currencycloud, All Benefit from BCR Grant (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The BCR has awarded £10 million each to the following platforms:

I Never Got Paid From Winning Wonga Fantasy League in 2010 (TechRound), Rated: A

I worked for Wonga.com in 2010, back when you couldn’t even go to the bathroom without hearing their jingle on the radio. Like most offices today, everyone put in £10 to play in the office fantasy league and with Van Persie and Rooney in their prime, this was my year.

After doing some calculations, my £160 owed to me in 2010 would now be worth £2,752. (based on £24 per month for 9 years)

Without the price cap, you have 4 of those years at £30 per month. Making the total figure £3,040.

But again, I am being kind. This does not include default charges of £25 per month for every missed payment.

China

Shanghai-based Zendai closes two P2P units worth US$ 1.4 billion as Beijing intensifies crackdown (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Zendai Group, a closely held private investment company in Shanghai, abruptly shut down two peer-to-peer lending units valued at 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion), as Chinese financial regulators ratchet up measures to clean an industry fraught with frauds and defaults.

Another Peer-to-Peer Lending Platform Stumbles (Caixin Global), Rated: A

Laocaibao, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform ultimately owned by private conglomerate Zendai Group, is the latest casualty of the troubles that have engulfed the scandal-hit industry over the past three years.

Laocaibao has stopped providing loans and Zendai’s investment and consulting arm, which directed clients to the platform, has fired employees, according to statements from the companies and investigations by Caixin.

Peer to Peer Lender Fincera Targeted by Local Chinese Government in Demand to Cease Lending Operations (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fincera Inc. (OTCQB: YUANF), a China-based peer to peer lending platform providing access to capital for SMEs, has become the target of a local government attempt to shut down P2P lenders.

According to a note from Fincera, the Hebei provincial government, where Fincera is based, has requested that Fincera “cease P2P business operations.”

Fincera Announces Intention to Sell Kaiyuan Finance Center (Benzinga), Rated: A

To protect the interests of all its stakeholders-investors, borrowers, brokers, and employees, Fincera has announced its intent to sell the Kaiyuan Finance Center, which has an estimated valued of over RMB4.0 billion.

Fincera is the largest Hebei-based company operating in the peer-to-peer lending industry, comprising over 90% of the province’s market with approximately RMB9.0 billion in unpaid principal balance.

Fincera Inc. (“Fincera” or the “Company”) (OTCQB:YUANF), a provider of internet-based financing and ecommerce services for small and medium-sized businesses (“SMBs”) and individuals in China, today announced that businesses operating within the P2P (peer-to-peer) lending industry in Hebei province, including the Company, have received requests by the Hebei provincial government to cease P2P business operations. The Company vehemently disagrees with the request and is taking steps to protect its many stakeholders, including initiating the process of moving its business registration to Beijing where local regulators are supportive of the P2P industry.

Senmiao Technology Announces Unaudited Financial Results for First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2020 (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Senmiao Technology Limited  (AIHS) (“Senmiao”), a provider of automobile transaction and related services and an operator of an online lending marketplace connecting Chinese investors with individual and small-to-medium-sized enterprise borrowers in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2019.

First Quarter of Fiscal 2020 Highlights

  • Total revenues increased by 3,975% year-over-year to $5,094,440 from $125,026
  • Gross profit increased by 758% year-over-year to $1,072,128 from $125,026
  • Loss per share decreased by 50% year-over -year to $0.02 from $0.04
European Union

German mobile bank N26 eyes eventual IPO, CEO tells newspaper (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Berlin-based digital bank N26 is planning an eventual stock exchange listing, its chief executive has told a German newspaper.

Google exec joins N26 as chief banking officer (Finextra), Rated: B

N26 today announced the appointment of Thomas Grosse as Chief Banking Officer. The newly introduced role is yet another step towards realizing N26’s ambition to become the first truly global and fully digital retail bank. As Chief Banking Officer, Thomas will oversee the set-up of regulated N26 banks and bank partnerships within the N26 Group, thus ensuring the highest standards in product, processes and customer experience across all markets.

Thomas will begin his new role at N26 this October, reporting directly to N26’s co-founder and CFO, Maximilian Tayenthal.

European Fintechs Escape Troubles Afflicting Established Banks (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Its latest fundraising gave Klarna, which facilitates online installment payments, a $5.5 billion valuation. European fintech companies raised $3.3 billion in venture capital in the first half of 2019, up from $1.9 billion in the same period last year, according to data compiled by CB Insights. In contrast, an index of European Union banks has dropped 39% the past 18 months.

FlixMobility and Klarna raise a lot of money (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Tech.eu Podcast hosted by Natalie Novick and Andrii Degeler is a show in which we discuss some of the most interesting stories from the European technology scene and interview leading entrepreneurs and investors from across the region.

EstateGuru Seeks to Carve Out €5 Billion of European Real Estate Financing Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

EstateGuru, a crowdfunding platform based in Estonia, is out with a release predicting it will claim €3-5 billion of the European real estate financing by 2025

EstateGuru adds that approximately 70% of SMEs lack access to credit and this is a major constraint to their growth. The company claims that 12% of all loans are set to be financed by alternative providers, including crowdfunding platforms, by 2025 as it appears to be interested in expanding into other financing verticals.

Barclays releases £100,000 for unsecured SME lending through app and online banking (Finextra), Rated: A

New research released by Barclays has revealed that over half of the UK’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have woken up at night with a new business idea (57 per cent), while the most popular time for an idea to be dreamt up is between 2-3 am (28 per cent).

Analysis revealed that almost half (48 per cent) of SMEs said that they are more creative at night, with over two fifths saying they are more productive outside of 9 – 5 working hours and keep a note pad and pen by their bed so they can jot down ideas. Half attributed this to having extra time to think away from daytime pressures.

In a High Street banking first, Barclays has launched £100,000 unsecured lending for SMEs on its award winning app and online banking platform, with thousands of SMEs set to benefit from access to faster finance.

German Fintech Finleap Announces New Business Unit “Finleap Connect” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinLeap, the fintech start-up platform behind Germany’s SolarisBank, announced on Wednesday the launch of its new business unit, FinLeap Connect. According to FinLeap, the fintech platforms finreach solutions and infinitec solutions will become part of this business unit.

International

Global Yields Crash, GSKY for sale, LC earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Today, more than $15 Tn in sovereign debt trades at a negative yield. In Germany, for instance, bond investors have moved from charging 75 bps last year to a willingness to pay for the privilege of providing < 0% money for 10 years.

Source: PeerIQ

GreenSky shares sank ~37% after a strong earnings report was paired with news that the marketplace was exploring a potential sale or merger.

Alternative Data: The Great Equalizer To Lending Inequalities? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Alternative data has come into the spotlight in financial services, and it presages a significant shift in credit availability for unbanked and underbanked consumers. There are about 

Celsius Network Announces Increased Accessibility To Crypto-Backed Loans with Updated Terms for Borrowers (Business Wire), Rated: A

Celsius Network (work/), the industry-leading cryptocurrency platform, announces updated terms for borrowers aiming to provide millions of users with increased accessibility to low-interest crypto-backed loans. In addition, Celsius has reduced its minimum requirement for loan requests to $1,500. Recently Celsius announced it will expand its lending operations throughout Europe.

The latest updates to Celsius Networks lending service include:

  • Lowered minimum requirement for loan requests from $3,000 to $1,500
  • Up to 30% discount for CEL token holders paying loan interest in CEL with yearly rates as low as 3.47%
  • Borrowers can request a loan in USD or supported stablecoins
  • Loans are issued the same day
  • Members can apply through the Celsius mobile app or on the Celsius Network website

ONTOLOGY BLOCKCHAIN HIGH FIVES WITH DEFI (ICO Examiner), Rated: B

Ontology (ONT), a project offering linking and bridging solutions for multiple blockchains, has announced five new partnerships with companies operating in various geographical locations within the decentralised finance (DeFi) arena.

The latest handful of businesses to be attracted to Ontology’s framework of compatibility are Hong Kong registered Babel Finance, USA-focused crypto loan specialists SALT Lending, cryptocurrency services provider LendChain, Hong Kong-based Fountain Financial, and Chinese trading platform HOX.

Australia

CBA FY19 results a mixed bag, digital metrics positive and Klarna will be a hit (Verdict), Rated: AAA

CBA FY19 underlying net profit for the year to end June falls by 5% to A$8.49bn ($5.75bn). The bank’s overall results do not quite match analyst forecasts.  But there is a strong argument that in all the circumstances the results represent a resilient full fiscal.

Release of the CBA FY19 earnings also serve to highlight the bank’s success in upping its digital strategy.

Operating income is 2% lower on margin pressure.

Net interest income is down by 1.2% on lower retail mortgages margins and higher funding costs.

Business lending increases by 4% while retail mortgage growth is also strong delivering 4% volume growth for the year.

India

Faircent raises fresh funding from investors led by Das Capital & Gunosy Capital (India Times), Rated: AAA

Faircent.com, a P2P lending company, has recently raised capital in a funding round. The latest funding, led by Singapore-based Das Capital and Gunosy Capital, also saw participation by existing investors Starharbor Asia Pte Ltd, and M&S Partners Pte Ltd (Sin Growth Partner Pte Ltd).

Keep retail indulgence in check (livemint), Rated: A

Overspending is a big problem for many. “They buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like. Not passing a judgement here, but money does buy some kind of happiness for many,” said Rachit Chawla, chief executive officer, Finway, a registered non-banking financial company (NBFC). 

Payday loans, digital lending platforms, and P2P lending have evolved, so has the penetration of credit card, personal loans, and the like. At a behavioural level, de-linking debt with shame has also made it easy for people to borrow.

Asia

Hexindai-backed Musketeer Completes Registration for Its P2P Platform in Indonesia (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. (HX) (“Hexindai” or the “Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace in China, today announced that its invested Indonesian online lending platform, Musketeer Group Inc. (“Musketeer”), has completed registration for its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform with the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Musketeer’s P2P platform, PT Technology Indonesia Sentosa, is among the early batch of lending companies in Indonesia that have registered with OJK.

Philippines to Relaunch OF Bank to Create Digital-only Bank (Regulation Asia), Rated: A

The Overseas Filipino Bank was launched in January to cater to overseas Filipino workers, who will more easily be able to access digital-only services.

Latin America

Fintech Debt Investors Follow Equity Dollars Into Latin America (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Venture capital investments in LatAm startups quadrupled to a record $2 billion in 2018 from $500 million in 2016, according to an annual review by the 

Financial report for the second quarter and six months period 2019 (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

  • VEF made a follow-on investment in FinanZero, a Brazilian online consumer loan marketplace, who closed a Series B investment round of SEK 100 mln (USD 10.5 mln).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 15 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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

Money 20/20

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

Money 20/20

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

Themes included :

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

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

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

Day One

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

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

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

Day Two

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

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

Day Three

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

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

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

Day Four

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

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

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

Focus on Alternative Lending and Credit Cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Noteworthy Announcements

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

The Payments Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author:

Written by Paul Keenan.

Tuesday October 23 2018, Daily News Digest

FREED Upgrade bond characteristics

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck to add PNC to ODX platform. FICO to add alternative data to credit score. PeerStreet named to CB Insights Fintech 250 list of fastest-growing fintech startups. Lendy asks for help. Pintec Technology shoots for $41M IPO. Today’s main analysis: Zelle sees record earnings, FREED 2018-2 and UPGR 2018-1 compared. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Funding […]

FREED Upgrade bond characteristics

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

India

Other

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Announces PNC Will Be The Second Bank On The ODX Platform (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

It was back in December of 2015 that we first learned about OnDeck’s partnership with JPMorgan Chase. This was the first significant partnership between a large American bank and an online lending platform and it caused a lot of excitement in the industry back then.

A couple of times this year we have heard OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow hint that a second major bank was coming on as a partner soon. Today, we learned who that partner will be: PNC Bank. They are the ninth largest bank in the country, so this gives OnDeck two of the top ten largest banks as clients.

I caught up with Noah and Brian Geary, who heads up OnDeck’s new ODX division (we covered the story of ODX just last week) to talk about this new deal.

FICO Plans Big Shift in Credit-Score Calculations, Potentially Boosting Millions of Borrowers (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Credit scores for decades have been based mostly on borrowers’ payment histories. That is about to change.

Fair Isaac Corp., creator of the widely used FICO credit score, plans to roll out a new scoring system in early 2019 that factors in how consumers manage the cash in their checking, savings and money-market accounts. It is among the biggest shifts for credit reporting and the FICO scoring system, the bedrock of most consumer-lending decisions in the U.S. since the 1990s.

PeerStreet Named to the 2018 CB Insights Fintech 250 List of Fastest-Growing Fintech Startups (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that it has been named to the second annual CB Insights Fintech 250 list, a prestigious group of emerging private companies working on groundbreaking financial technology. This comes on the eve of PeerStreet’s third anniversary of opening to the public. PeerStreet opened to all accredited investors on October 30th, 2016 at Money 20/20, an annual conference which is happening this week in Las Vegas. Both PeerStreet founders Brew Johnson and Brett Crosby are in attendance.

PeerStreet is being recognized as a leader in real estate investing for the platform’s innovative approach to making real estate debt an accessible asset class for retail investors. The loans offered for investment are vetted by private lenders who know their communities well, and then again by PeerStreet’s own team using big data and market research.

Marcus Slows Lending Growth, Zelle vs Venmo, Freedom & Upgrade Deals (Peer IQ) Rated: AAA

Bank of America – Record Earnings and Results for Zelle

BofA’s earnings were boosted by the highest Net Interest Income since 2011 delivered by its Lending business.

BofA also saw P2P payments rise on its Zelle platform increase 138%. Venmo, over the last year, has been on the defense due to increased consumer fees and leadership changes. SnapChat’s payment service was discontinued. Tech firms such as Google, Facebook, Tencent, and Ant Financial continue to test payments in overseas markets like India (where it is easier for FinTechs to utilize payments rails).

MS remains laser-focused on growing asset management and lending (secured and warehouse lending) and delivered the best stock price performance post earnings. The stock gained 5.7% post-earnings.

Source: Bank Earnings, PeerIQ

Freedom (FREED 2018-2) vs Upgrade (UPGR 2018-1)

Below we compare these deals on their collateral composition, bond characteristics and triggers. We note that each lender has substantially different lending programs, credit risk profiles, and history – and that shows in terms of deal structure and execution.

Collateral Composition

FREED 2018-2’s collateral pool consists of 2 types of loans – 45.5% Freedom Plus (F+) and 54.5% Consolidation Plus (C+).

F+ Loans: F+ loans are unsecured consumer loans to near prime and prime borrowers. F+ collateral has a WA age of 3 months and WA remaining term of 46 months. The WA current FICO score of the pool is 713 and the WA interest rate is 16.2%.

C+ Loans: C+ loans are offered to select qualified debt settlement clients as an option to shorten the duration of their debt settlement program by making funds available immediately to fund settlements reached by Freedom Debt Relief. C+ collateral has a WA age of 8 months and WA remaining term of 45 months. The WA current FICO score of the pool is 562 and the WA interest rate is 22.9%.

UPGR 2018-1’s collateral pool consists of unsecured consumer loans. The collateral has a WA age of 2 months and WA remaining term of 41 months. The WA current FICO score of the pool is 691 and the WA interest rate is 15.9%.

Freedom’s C+ loans have the highest weighted average coupons and original loan terms among all the pools, and Freedom’s F+ borrowers have the highest weighted average credit scores. The higher weighted average coupon on C+ loans helps the deal generate significant excess spread.

Source: Ratings Agencies, PeerIQ
Source: Ratings agencies and Peer IQ

Identity Risk Scoring from Socure Helps Radius Bank Reduce Online Fraud (Finovate) Rated: A

partnership between AI-powered identity risk scoring innovator Socure and workflow management specialist Alloy has enabled Radius Bank to decrease online fraud by 50%, increase new account conversions by 30%, and make manual review nearly a process of the past – reducing it by 95%.

The joint solution marries Socure’s predictive analytics with Alloy’s decisioning engine, and adds a variety of on- and offline data sources, predictive fraud tools, and a flexible rules engine to enable real-time decisioning and onboarding for new account openings.

Plaid is seeking funding at a $ 2 billion valuation (Business Insider) Rated: A

Plaid, a fintech company whose software is used by Silicon Valley heavyweights like Betterment, Coinbase, and Robinhood, is holding talks with potential investors about raising money that could value the firm at more than $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The fundraise is still in the early stages, the people said, and a formal deal with investors has yet to be finalized.

In April, Forbes reported that the company’s private valuation was $1 billion — meaning that Plaid, which counts 10,000 banks among its customers, could see its valuation double in less than six months.

Klarna Pairs up With Rancourt to let Shoppers pay Over Time (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Today at Money20/20 in Las Vegas, Klarna, a leading global payments provider, introduced their Slice it in 4 payment option, which allows consumers to pay for purchases in installments using their own debit or credit card. In conjunction with the launch, Klarna has signed its first U.S. merchant, Rancourt & Co., premium leather shoe crafters, to use the offering.

In today’s market, 67% of U.S. millenials do not own a credit card. With Klarna’s Slice it in 4, shoppers can increase their purchasing power without the hassle of a credit agreement or long-term commitment. Four equal payments are automatically collected from the consumer’s chosen method of payment – one installment at purchase and three further payments every two weeks. The plan features no upfront costs or interest and is offered online within the merchant’s existing checkout – ensuring the purchase journey is frictionless with no redirects to other sites.

The cost of fraud rises 8.1 percent, year over year, for U.S. lenders, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions study (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Today, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a part of RELX Group (NYSE: RELX), released its 2018 True Cost of Fraud study on lending. The 2018 study, which surveyed 186 risk and fraud executives at various lending institutions, including mortgage companies, auto lenders, non-bank personal loan issuers, non-bank credit card issuers and finance companies, highlights the continued rise of fraud costs for U.S. lenders. According to the LexisNexis Fraud Multiplier℠, for every dollar of fraud, lenders incur $3.05 in costs, compared to $2.82 in 2017, an 8.1 percent increase. Larger digital lenders, with at least $50 million in annual revenue, are hit hardest by fraud, incurring $3.37 in costs, which is up from $3.07 in 2017.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • 54 percent of risk and fraud executives at large digital lenders state that verification of customer identity is their largest challenge. This is especially true of verification through the online channel.
  • Lending firms that use a multi-layered solution approach experience a lower cost of fraud. Those who layer core + advanced identity authentication + advanced transaction / identity verification solutions have lower fraud costs than others, per fraud event ($2.63 for every $1 of fraud versus up to $3.47) and as a percent of annual revenues. They also tend to have a lower volume of false positives.
  • Large digital lenders with international transactions attribute nearly 40 percent of their fraud losses to their non-domestic business. Fraud that originates in Asia represents 57 percent of the total international fraud expenses for these lenders.
  • Large digital lenders are more likely to represent “best-in-class” thinking about the adoption of fraud mitigation solutions, as they face attacks that are more significant.

Small Businesses Need Their Bankers More Than They Realize (Nasdaq) Rated: A

It’s easy to see why entrepreneurs are bonding with alternative lenders. What’s not so easy to see is why they’re leaving bankers out of the loop. However, with renewed trust in each other, both institutions are finding mutual benefits. What’s more — the B and B called “Business and Bankers” is finding a renewed comeback.

Say you’re a small business owner feeling the squeeze. You could turn to a traditional bank that requires loan applicants to go through a rigorous review process for a 20 percent chance of approval. Or you could apply online with a peer-to-peer firm that approves more than 60 percent of applications and receive a decision in minutes.

MoneyLion Announces America’s Most Powerful and Rewarding Financial Membership (Business Wire) Rated: A

MoneyLion, the innovative financial platform offering consumers a better way to borrow, save, earn and invest, today officially launched America’s most powerful and rewarding financial membership to help people take control of their finances and achieve their dreams.

In support of the most powerful financial membership, MoneyLion will be launching the Financial Heartbeat as well as a comprehensive suite of premium banking products to help everyday Americans better understand and engage with their finances.

Study Shows Student Debt Can Kill 75% of Millennials’ Average Net Worth (Magnify Money) Rated: A

As of 2018, outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. surpassed $1.48 trillion, almost one-and-a-half times what Americans owe on credit cards.

According to a MagnifyMoney analysis of Federal Reserve data, all this debt is hampering millennials’ chances for long-term financial success.

In fact, this study revealed that the average net worth of a millennial with student loans is only 25% of the net worth for a fellow millennial without them. What’s more, the data suggest student loan debt is preventing some millennials from saving for retirement or buying homes.

Key facts

Millennial households with student loan debt have…

  • An average net worth of $29,087, compared with $114,376 for student loan-free households.
  • 46% less in their savings and checking accounts (median balance of $5,500 vs $10,180 for those without student loans).
  • $21,160 in retirement savings versus an average of $39,905 for those with no student loan debt.

HSBC gets back into US consumer lending (Financial Times) Rated: A

HSBC is getting back into US consumer lending almost a decade after it was forced to write off $10.6bn for its last foray into that market.

The UK banking giant said on Monday that it is launching a digital lending platform for US customers in the first half of 2019. The platform will be powered by online lender Avant, which has already processed almost $5bn of loans for more than 600,000 customers.

Transparency, career development and — a puppy button? Here’s how OppLoans shapes its culture (Built in Chicago) Rated: A

OppLoans CEO Jared Kaplan likes to stress that a company can’t responsibly serve its customers without creating an inclusive atmosphere for its employees first.

That’s why OppLoans promotes from within and supports career development with ongoing education initiatives. We spoke with Kaplan and two other leaders at the company to learn more about what they do to ensure their team feels truly valued.

How would you describe your leadership style?

My leadership style follows a few key principles: rule by motivation, not fear; drive a high-performing culture and reward the top performers; and enable ultimate transparency. If employees are excited to come to work, see clear development paths when they perform and understand the good and bad of the business, I’ve created a great place to work.

We also ensure a workplace where everyone is encouraged to speak their minds when they see opportunities to improve the business.

Hundy Launches Mobile App Turning High Cost Payday Loans Into Low Cost Friends & Family Loans (Hundy Email) Rated: A

Hundy, a peer-to-peer micro-lender that empowers the creditworthy to benefit from their good character, announced today at Money 20/20 that it has released the latest update to its lending platform enabling friend-to-friend lending for a low 1% fee. Now, even borrowers who don’t pass a credit check, will be able to request a loan from a friend or family member utilizing all the tools of the platform including signed loan documents, SMS and email reminders, and automated payment scheduling. Hundy was designed to foster community around a marketplace of borrowers and lenders whose participants benefit from transparent terms, wide availability and low prices.

Gary Beasley of Roofstock (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Investing in real estate has been around for centuries but it is only in the past few years that it has become possible to do this remotely and at scale. While institutional investors have had lots of options individual investors have been limited, for the most part, to buying homes in their local area.

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Gary Beasley, the CEO and co-founder of Roofstock. Gary and his team have created the first online platform for investing in single family homes across the US. They help investors select the homes, obtain financing as well as find tenants and property managers.

OCC still ready to grant special fintech charters despite state lawsuits (Lexology) Rated: B

The OCC is still moving forward with plans to grant Special Purpose National Bank charters to qualifying non-depository financial technology firms, notwithstanding a lawsuit challenging the move from New York state regulators and the threat of additional litigation. In response to a question following her speech at the October 9 Online Lending Policy Institute conference, Grovetta Gardineer, OCC’s senior deputy comptroller for compliance and community affairs, said the OCC will accept applications from fintech companies seeking the SPNB charter and intends to grant charters to applicants meeting the criteria. As reported in the October 8 edition of Bank Regulatory News and Trends, the New York State Department of Financial Services filed suit against the OCC, challenging the federal agency’s authority to grant the charters. The Conference of State Bank Supervisors also signaled its intention to file suit against OCC over the charters.

Princeton Alternative Income Fund’s Independent Restructuring Officer Rejected by Ranger Direct Lending (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Princeton Alternative Income Fund’s (PAIF) latest attempt to resolve its bankruptcy dispute by appointing an independent restructuring officer was rejected by Ranger Direct Lending (RDL.L)(RDLZ:LN) last week.

The fund proposed hiring respected former United States Bankruptcy Judge Donald H. Steckroth as an independent officer to oversee the fund’s restructuring to protect all its investors. The executives at Ranger had demanded the appointment of an independent officer earlier in the bankruptcy process only to reject it this week.

CrowdOut Capital Continues Expansion With New Hires (Business Wire) Rated: B

CrowdOut Capital LLC, a pioneer in non-bank private lending for growing middle market companies, today announced two new additions to its management team, Christina Gustavson and Darlene Esquivel.

Gustavson will be CrowdOut’s first controller. She brings a strong accounting background having worked as a senior accountant at C3 Entertainment and at RGM Advisors, an Austin-based quantitative trading firm. A licensed CPA, Gustavson earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Texas State University.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Q3 2018 Update (Proactive Investors) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle Holdings plc (“Funding Circle” or the “Company”), the leading small and medium enterprise (“SME”) loans platform in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, today announces updates to its statistics pages for the three months ending 30 September 2018 (the “Quarter”) and selected highlights from the quarter.

The data by country included in this announcement is also available on the Company’s website at corporate.fundingcircle.com/investors/loan-performance-statistics.

Source: Proactive Investors

UK peer-to-peer lender asks regulator for help (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

A British peer-to-peer property lender has taken the unusual step of appealing to its regulator for help after one of its biggest borrowers threatened to sue the company and many of its investors.

Retail investors in Lendy are already facing tens of millions of pounds in potential losses after almost two-thirds of borrowers failed to repay their loans on time, according to a Financial Times analysis of its loanbook.

The developments threaten to trigger the first big crisis in Europe’s rapidly expanding peer-to-peer industry, at a time when the sector is fighting to convince regulators it does not need stricter regulation.

Peer-to-peer lending growing in popularity (Computer Weekly) Rated: A

P2P lending is becoming a significant alternative source of financing for SMEs in the UK. According to Entrenching Innovation – The 4th UK alternative Finance Industry Report, published in December 2017, P2P business lending grew from £21m in 2011 to £1.23bn in 2016, generating £3.14bn over the six years. The report noted that the annual growth rate in volume from 2015 to 2016 was 40%.

The report cited data from the British Banking Association that revealed P2P business lending equated to 15% of new small businesses loans. More than a fifth of borrowers had a turnover of less than £500,000 and 23% were in the £500,000 to £1m turnover bracket. It also found that lenders were biased towards localised funding. This diversity of lending across the UK suggested that P2P business lending could become “a suitable solution to systemic geographic biases that exist in traditional and bank SME lending”.

The UK extends its lead as Europe’s established tech unicorn capital (City AM) Rated: A

London has cemented its standing as the capital of Europe’s billion-dollar technology startups, as surrounding cities help to push the UK forward while its companies expand internationally.

New figures released today show the UK has now created 60 so-called unicorn startups – companies with a valuation of $1bn (£769.6m) or more – since 1990, according to research prepared for Tech Nation and the government’s Digital Economy Council by Dealroom.

London houses 36 of those UK startups, representing more than a fifth of all unicorns in Europe at a total valuation of $132bn. In comparison, Berlin holds the second biggest city spot with just eight unicorn startups, worth $32bn.

New partnership aims to encourage growth in P2P lending market (Introducer Today) Rated: A

Landbay has chosen Oracle NetSuite to create a more accessible buy-to-let mortgage marketplace for investors, borrowers and brokers.

Through NetSuite, Landbay will be able to process loan applications ten times faster than other lenders and enable its staff to make swifter decisions around mortgage applications and investor sign ups.

Founded in 2014, Landbay offers individual investors direct access to the lucrative mortgage lending market and offers landlords competitively priced buy-to-let mortgages, with plans to lend £1 billion to UK landlords by 2020.

ACORN machine rebrands to OakNorth Analytical Intelligence (Fintech Finance) Rated: B

OakNorth Holdings Ltd today announces the launch of a new corporate brand identity, logo and website. Its fintech platform, ACORN machine, will now be known as OakNorth Analytical Intelligence (ON AI) and we have a new domain (www.oaknorth.ai).

Rishi Khosla, co-founder of OakNorth Holdings said: “Since our founding, our mission has been to enable small and medium-sized businesses obtain the debt finance they need to grow. Our fintech platform, which we developed to address this problem, is being used by a number of leading banks globally, and by us in the UK.”

China

Pintec Technology Aims For $ 41 Million IPO (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Pintec Technology Holdings (PT) intends to raise $41 million in an IPO from the sale of ADSs representing underlying Class A shares, according to an amended registration statement.

The company provides a range of point-of-sale and related financial services and solutions to retailers and their customers.

PT appears to be transitioning its business to more diversified revenue streams, and it faces significant regulatory uncertainties and potentially harmful trade war effects that may not be transitory.

Peer-to-Peer Lending in China May Be Going Extinct (Barrons) Rated: A

China’s peer-to-peer lending system may effectively vanish in the next year.

European Union

Lithuanian P2P Lender NEO Finance Now Seeking €200,000 Through Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

NEO Finance, a Lithuania-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is now seeking €200,000 through UK’s equity crowdfunding platform, Seedrs.

NEO Finance also reported it is the first P2P platform in Lithuania to have reached constant €1 million monthly issues.

The lender also revealed its current stats are:

  • 5400 active lenders
  • 47,000  registered borrowers
  • €21.7 million in loans financed
  • 2017 revenue grew by 395% to €479,000
Australia

MBIE strongly opposed to the introduction of a comprehensive creditor licensing regime as part of government’s loan shark crackdown (Interest) Rated: AAA

A Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment assessment that introducing a comprehensive creditor licensing regime as part of the Government’s crackdown on loan sharks would be worse than the status quo doesn’t appear to be based on much evidence.

The recent announcement from Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi included plans to introduce a “fit and proper person” test for lenders.

This means the fit and proper person test was chosen over two other options floated in June’s Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) discussion paper aimed at increasing lender registration requirements. The other two options were expanded powers to deregister lenders and ban directors from future involvement in the credit industry, and introducing a comprehensive creditor licensing system.

India

Fintech non-performing loans under control, financial authority says (The Jakarta Post) Rated: AAA

The Financial Services Authority (OJK) said the non-performing loans (NPL) rate among financial technology (fintech) firms that use peer-to-peer lending (P2P) hovered around 1 percent monthly, safely below the 2 percent maximal set by the OJK.

“The NPL rate can go as low as 0.9, then rise as high as 1.3 then go down again,” said OJK fintech licensing and supervision director Hendrikus Passagi on Sunday as reported by kompas.com.

Serial entrepreneur Satyen Kothari’s Cube Wealth raises $ 2M in Series A funding (Your Story) Rated: A

Wealth management startup Cube Wealth announced on Monday that it has raised Rs 14 crore (about $2 million) in equity funding from Singapore-based venture fund Beenext, Japan-based Asuka Holding and 500 Startups.

The company said that it will use these funds for additional asset partners, and to develop a network of premium sales and marketing partners across different countries including Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune.

Cube Wealth also plans to expand its presence across Europe and Japan, as it is looking to target non-resident Indians from these markets.

Pay for surgery via a cheaper P2P loan (Times of India) Rated: A

If you need a loan for a medical emergency like a surgery, it might help to turn to your peers rather than institution rather than institutions. Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms say they have seen lenders willing to offer interest rates between 8% and 12% for medical emergencies on their platforms. On the contrary, if you try to raise funds as a personal loan from banks, the interest rate is likely to be between 13% and 17%. P2P technology platforms bring borrowers and lenders together, and most offer a variety of  of loans, including personal loans, vehicle loans, education loans and — in some cases — even home loans. Most lenders tend to be individuals too.

P2P players like Faircent, LenDenClub, i2iFunding and LoanTap say they also process medical loans faster.

Asia

Online alternative lending goes mainstream (Opalesque) Rated: AAA

While alternative lending is currently gaining traction among borrowers, it’s also becoming a formidable asset class in its own right, with the U.S. market now accounting for an estimated $50 billion of annual origination.

Born out of peer-to-peer lending, online alternative lending has gone mainstream, presenting new opportunities for small businesses, consumers and investors.

According to Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s study, what began as “peer-to-peer” marketplaces bringing together borrowers and lenders has evolved considerably in recent years.

Alternative-lending platforms now span many categories, including unsecured consumer, small-business and other forms of specialty financing, it said.

Africa

Local fintech start-ups bag R16m in funding (IT Web) Rated: AAA

Prospa, a mobile savings  for low-income earners, and Nisa Finance, an invoice financing platform, are among the eight local fintech start-ups awarded a total of R16 million in funding by AlphaCode.

AlphaCode is an incubation, acceleration and investment vehicle for early-stage financial  businesses, powered by Rand Merchant Investment (RMI).

The AlphaCode Incubate initiative, in partnership with Merrill Lynch SA and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, identifies South African financial services entrepreneurs with extraordinary ideas and businesses that could impact the financial services industry.

More than 200 start-ups applied to participate; of these, 16 made it to the final pitch evening and eight recipients were selected.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Funding Merchant Cash Advances in Only Two Hours

Lendr specialty finance

Lendr is a platform that is looking to revolutionize the loan origination and loan management process by considering all parameters like past performance and future potential, and it is not dependent exclusively on credit score. The team at Lendr aims to provide a fast, transparent, and simple solution for businesses and fill the gap for […]

Lendr specialty finance

Lendr is a platform that is looking to revolutionize the loan origination and loan management process by considering all parameters like past performance and future potential, and it is not dependent exclusively on credit score. The team at Lendr aims to provide a fast, transparent, and simple solution for businesses and fill the gap for specialty finance on the broker’s side of the business.

About Lendr

Lendr was established as a joint venture with four partners by founder Tim Roach in New York in 2011. Its core business was feeding leads to lending companies.

George Greco was the co-founder of the company, but he left in 2016. Roach served as CFO from 2011 -2013 and, in 2016, was appointed CEO.

The company also left its legacy system in 2016 and invested in a new lending platform to provide a seamless experience to customers. The company was initially incorporated as Viking Funding Group but, in 2016, was rebranded to Lendr and subsequently moved its headquarters to Chicago.

Lendr has over 40 employees and has achieved double-digit growth since inception. The company has gone on to raise $5 million in equity from a set of five investors.

The Lendr Business Model

Lendr’s core offering is in specialty financing called merchant cash advance (MCA). This is not a traditional loan, and disbursement depends on the company’s everyday credit/debit transactions.

Unlike underwriting models such as FICO that focus on current/past cash funds and transactions, Lendr is based on a forward-facing model, which primarily focuses on the future ability of a borrower to repay funds. For instance, repayment of funds is carried out by taking a percentage of daily bank deposits until the loan is repaid. Lendr offers a broad variety of loan-related products. These include business financing, startup business funding, working capital, small business funding, and equipment financing.

The company leverages Wizard, its proprietary underwriting credit model, for capturing information and searching databases to find the right loan for the borrower. The Lendr platform is based on cutting edge technology capable of providing a lender score (0-100) based on customer responses within two hours. Based on this score, a rate card, interest rate, and advance rate can be calculated. The score is not dependent on FICO for loan eligibility. Once an application is approved, funds will be remitted in less than two business days. A daily or weekly amount will then be automatically debited from borrower account.

The company leverages artificial intelligence to capture borrower data and identify patterns. It is using AI to predict what will happen in the future.

AI also helped Lendr increase its speed in underwriting. Roach said the underwriting process once took three days. In 2017, that was reduced to eight hours. Now, the algorithm can complete a case in just two hours.

In April 2018, Lendr launched a business debit card for SMEs that allows a borrower to get access to funds instantaneously through a virtual master card. It followed this up by also launching a traditional plastic card. It will have the facility to auto renew without waiting for approval, which earlier used to take up to two hours. Also, consumers are not required to wait for disbursement of funds (1-2 days) and will get direct access to funds without any paperwork. Repayment will be weekly or daily based on consumer preference. By the end of Q3 2018, the company is looking to offer a line of credit to borrowers.

Lendr APIs and Competitive Advantage

Lendr has association with many third-party vendors to facilitate the loan process. It has built robust API rules to interact with external vendors and also makes sure to comply with data privacy rules and regulations.

The integration process costs have been reduced by 90% due to the APIs, which are able to interact with multiple vendors and can extract data related to collections, sales, and customer relationship management. This data can be used to perform predictive analysis and run different algorithms to extract results. Results obtained from these algorithms can be used to understand client risk profile, comparing different clients with same kind of risk profile, and provide automated tax analysis with a scoring matrix.

As of now, Lendr processes are around 40%-50% automated loans, and the company can achieve disbursement of funds in 1-2 days. By the end of this year, the startup’s goal is to approve a loan within 90 minutes and fund clients within the same day.

Kabbage is one of the largest of the five or six serious competitors. These competitors can be an expensive proposition for a borrower as they levy higher-than-expected interest rates. Some small businesses are being charged over 180% interest for merchant cash advances. Lendr, on the other hand, charges 15%-25% APR, which is extremely reasonable as compared to other competitors.

Lendr has also recently partnered with MidCap Financial Trust to close a $25 million senior credit facility. This partnership solidifies Lendr’s position in the specialty finance niche.

Future Goals

Lendr is able to achieve MCA originations of $8-$10 million per month and is committed to increasing this number to $12-$15 million by year end. Since inception, the customer base has surged to over 10,000. The company has also been successful in retaining its clients and is providing approximately 2.8 loans per customer. The company aims to increase this to four loans per customer. Lendr is also looking to increase the overall average loan tenure to 14 months.

Features like flexible payment plans, no priority to credit history, short term loans, disbursement of the amount in 1-2 days are key differentiating factors, which makes Lendr a fine choice for small and medium businesses.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Buying and Selling Cars Through a Mobile App

car selling

The first-ever mobile application making automobile transactions possible at the touch of a screen, Blinker eliminates the role of the middleman in the car buying, selling and financing process. How Blinker Works Blinker‘s focus is on facilitating a hassle-free experience for all stakeholders involved in an auto purchasing transaction. Blinker uses a lot of dealer […]

car selling

The first-ever mobile application making automobile transactions possible at the touch of a screen, Blinker eliminates the role of the middleman in the car buying, selling and financing process.

How Blinker Works

Blinker‘s focus is on facilitating a hassle-free experience for all stakeholders involved in an auto purchasing transaction. Blinker uses a lot of dealer tools used to execute trades, but it has leveraged technology to enhance the experience and create a solution that is executable online without any middlemen driving fees. This allows users to buy and sell cars for free on the platform.

The downloadable app simplifies the process of getting approved for credit, and all the user has to do is upload a picture of his driver’s license. Documents are signed with Docusign. The user posts a picture of the car she is selling and the fund transfer is done online, which eliminates the need for any physical interaction as the entire transaction takes place on users’ smartphones.

All transactions start with one picture of the car and, in less than three seconds, the company can find out all the details about the car from the year to the make, model, approximate value, and the number of miles it has been driven. The company has partnered with Carfax and Blackbook for these reports.

Blinker has its own patented technology. Out of 17 patents filed with the U.S. Patent Office, 13 have been issued.

The Blinker Team and Platform

The Blinker platform has the same credit requirements for auto finance as any other bank. It gives instant pre-approvals with a picture of a driver’s license and, upon authorization, for a soft credit pull. The idea is to have the customer approved first followed by the car. Customers have access to unique offers on each vehicle based on credit score, income, and their ability to pay. The platform does not see the seller, the buyer, or the car.

Currently operating in four states, Blinker’s model is able to generate great auto finance deals for its users. Blinker took its own equity to create a loan portfolio to prove the viability of the model. The business caters to a full spectrum of borrowers having FICO scores between 560 and 800. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is usually 20% less than the average dealer offer. The portfolio has faced no delinquencies, highlighting the success of the company’s lending algorithms.

The company has raised a total of $51 million in funding and onboarded 65 professionals in its Denver office, out of which 30 are engineers on the lending side. The company’s president was in senior management at Americredit, a giant in auto finance solutions. All of the above has given birth to a company that is rapidly capturing market share and mind share in the auto industry.

Blinker is now entering into a relationship with Allied Bank and talks are going on with other customers and member groups to expand its reach. Its foundation is to be a fee-based company. It wants to follow an asset light model with no inventory or loans on its books.

Blinker’s Selling Process

The car prices and terms of sale are displayed in the mobile app for full transparency. Car shoppers can set a filter for distance/location, and more, as they search for the perfect vehicle. The average price of cars available on the app is $14,000, but it is not restricted to any particular segment and has even sold a $105,000 Ferrari. Blinker has also partnered with Manheim Auctions, the largest car auctions company in the world, to sell its inventory directly to individuals. The company is extending into selling rental cars and partnering with OEMs to sell cars not picked by dealers.

On average, a Blinker seller gets $2,500 more on a trade than they do through a dealership. Buyers save an average of $2,000 as compared to buying from a dealer. Refinancing from Blinker helps the average customer save $130/ month.

The app has been able to garner a lot of support in a short time since launch. There have been over 175,000 downloads, and Blinker has been successful in generating $44 million in sales. That includes about 3,500 vehicles, 8,000 listings, and the funding of about 650 to 700 loans.

The Changing Auto Industry

Although there are a lot of companies in the market like Shift, Carmax, and Carvana, they are hampered by a model that charges 8%-10% of the sale price, serves only metros and/or focuses only on one part of the trade. There are no players in the market, like Blinker, that facilitate the entire transaction from listing and pricing to car finance. Blinker is able to execute transactions anywhere and anytime. All that is required is access to an internet connection and Blinker will be able to complete a car trade.

Currently, the company is completely operational in Colorado, Texas, Florida, and California. Six more states are ramping up for service. It is looking to expand across the U.S. soon and, by the end of 2018, Blinker hopes to be in all 50 states. The platform will ensure that it is free for buyer and seller. Its model is to generate fees via loans originated.

Target Customers and the Blinker Roadmap

When Blinker entered the marketplace, it had expected that the majority of its clients would be millennials. However, it realized that clients are of all ages and are buying and selling all types of cars. But to ensure optimum portfolio for its loan partners, Blinker does not finance cars below $8,000 in value or over 10 years old.

Blinker is on a mission to empower dealers and customers to transact through their smartphones. It is getting a lot of attention from national strategic partners that love the technology. Its main focus is on acquiring customers as its technology is completely built out. It will tie up with strategic partners to provide complete end-to-end transactions for members and provide revenue share opportunities to make it a win-win proposition. The aim is to become the pre-eminent platform for buying and selling used cars in the U.S.

Blinker’s Founder

Rod Buscher founded the company in 2013. He was into the brick-and-mortar auto space, operating in the industry since 1973. As cofounder of the John Elway dealership, partnering the legendary quarterback until selling the dealership in 2013 to launch Blinker, he has inside knowledge of how dealerships operate and cars are sold.

With deep domain expertise in the space, Buscher realized that people usually do not like what they get for their car trades through the dealer and are not satisfied with the financing experience. Using Craigslist for selling cars is not secure, and selling cars with liens is another headache. Blinker was born to solve this gap in service and provide an app which would “put people in control of buying, selling and financing cars.”

Buscher is out to revolutionize the car selling industry. He’s off to a good start.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Small Dollar Lenders Are More Beneficial Than You Realize

Small Dollar Lenders Are More Beneficial Than You Realize

Sam has a side business repairing fences and one of his bids was just approved to begin work immediately. Now he needs to come up with the money to buy supplies a few weeks before he receives payment from the customer. Because of unpaid medical bills from several years ago, he has a low credit […]

Small Dollar Lenders Are More Beneficial Than You Realize

Sam has a side business repairing fences and one of his bids was just approved to begin work immediately. Now he needs to come up with the money to buy supplies a few weeks before he receives payment from the customer. Because of unpaid medical bills from several years ago, he has a low credit rating, and applications for small business loans have been denied.

Joan is an artist with a promising jewelry line. She’s invited to sell her products at a popular bridal show that will result in big sales and future business opportunities at local boutiques. However, Joan must come up with money upfront to pay for booth space, displays, and material to make the jewelry. Since Joan has high credit card debt, she can’t access traditional financing.

The FDIC says nearly a quarter of U.S. households used alternative financial services in the past 12 months. One major factor is that two out of five Americans experience income swings of more than 30 percent month to month. In fact, 15 percent of U.S. consumers — approximately 37 million adults— do not have a bank account, according to a 2016 Pew Charitable Trust Study.

These statistics underscore the need for alternative financial services to assist unbanked, underbanked, and sub-prime consumers who have credit scores under 600.

It’s clear that consumers need to be fully educated on responsible borrowing, managing finances, and budgeting. There’s a reason why the CFPB established new regulations on certain lenders, including payday loans, auto title loans, deposit advance products, and longer term loans with balloon payments.

In general, regulations seek to provide consumer protection and ensure that lenders are acting in an ethical and professional manner. The concern is regulation that impacts and limits consumers’ access to credit. In an ideal market, regulated lenders provide financial services that meet a market need. As lenders compete for business (providing credit), it becomes the consumer’s responsibility to review the options and make the best choices for themselves.

An open market will foster competition and ensure that the appropriate lenders survive. Competition fosters innovation and drives new choices for consumers without the need for externally imposed limits.

Consumers Need Access to Emergency Cash

A major consideration that can’t be overlooked is that certain customers with poor credit scores many times need access to emergency cash. If their credit scores are too low, they are not able to borrow from banks or may not be able to obtain help from friends and family.

By definition, a subprime consumer (550-620 FICO) is likely to default on a loan 50 percent of the time. That’s a costly business decision for any lender.

If the market steps in and imposes more regulations on alternative financial service providers, the likely result is that loan requirements will become more conservative. Banks and traditional financing options will remain unavailable for borrowers with the lowest credit scores, and the increased cost of doing business could push some small-dollar alternative lenders out of the market.

Now, before you jump for joy and say that this is exactly what needs to happen, consider the potential consequences.

With many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, getting laid off, medical bills, an unexpected car repair, or emergency trip to a sick relative may require quick cash. Where will the consumers with low credit ratings turn in difficult circumstances and emergency situations?

One possibility, in the absence of small-dollar lenders, is that borrowers will get loans from less desirable lenders that operate under the radar, off the grid. Consumers who are desperate to pay bills, rent and car repairs, or buy medicine and other necessities of life may turn to loan sharks and other nefarious entities.

Does this seem like an unlikely scenario? Probably not.

Another possibility is that these consumers who tried to take care of themselves by borrowing emergency cash simply give up. With fewer options to fix their temporary liquidity problems, the need for government assistance will rise. If these consumers can’t pay for car repairs, can’t get to work, and lose their jobs, the result may be increased unemployment claims. Even more troublesome, the snowball effect could increase welfare programs and housing subsidies.

The reality is that underbanked consumers and borrowers with imperfect credit need alternative financial services. There are responsible alternative financial services and lenders who can provide small-scale, short-term funding.

If underbanked consumers and borrowers with poor credit ratings aren’t permitted to access credit, social welfare programs will be required to offset the consumers’ inability to meet short-term cash needs. This catastrophic situation will increase the cost and number of citizens on social assistance. Ultimately, all taxpayers will be burdened with increases in social welfare.

The question is rather than over-regulating this sector of the credit market, doesn’t a free market on certain alternative financing options seem to be a better alternative?

Author:

Guy Dilger is vice president of marketing at Plain Green, LLC. With more than 12 years of experience designing groundbreaking marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies and financial technology brands, Dilger is known for generating engaging content and compelling concepts that resonate with targeted consumers. Prior to Plain Green, Dilger held senior positions within fintech and retail spaces where he managed national marketing campaigns and customer-centric loyalty initiatives for Sears and Kmart. Previously, he was part of the management team at Limited Brands where his marketing work in support of Express brand included CRM, email, web-based programs and the redesign and relaunch of a private label credit card. Dilger has an MBA, as well as a bachelor of science in economics, from Southern Methodist University.

FICO For Microcredit Lending

Scorista

Established in Russia in 2014, Scorista was born out of the need for a reliable risk-scoring model for Russian lenders. Leveraging the skills of famed Russian programmers, Scorista has created the go-to risk management solution for lenders operating in the sub-prime short-term lending segment. How Scorista Began Maria Veikhman, a business management, IT, and risk […]

Scorista

Established in Russia in 2014, Scorista was born out of the need for a reliable risk-scoring model for Russian lenders. Leveraging the skills of famed Russian programmers, Scorista has created the go-to risk management solution for lenders operating in the sub-prime short-term lending segment.

How Scorista Began

Maria Veikhman, a business management, IT, and risk management specialist is the founder and CEO of Scorista. It took off when a few lenders in Russia realized the dearth of reliable risk managers in the market and asked Veikhman to create a risk-scoring model for their lending businesses. Scorista was born as a disruptive innovation to automate the area of credit assessment and provide clients with an instant credit decision. They believe they can help lenders achieve the desired KPIs in a very short span of time with a guarantee of results.

What gave impetus to the company was the dearth of risk management solutions for short-term lenders and payday lenders. They only have access to the FICO score, which is not a very bankable option for payday lenders.

More On Scorista

Scorista offers a broad variety of products ranging from credit assessment to underwriting plans, verification plans, individual scoring, and variable kits, which facilitate scoring and dossiers that legally provide access to complete information about the borrowers. Its prime spot is borrowers looking for less than $5k for less than 12 months. According to Veikhman, Scorista has a 93% forecast accuracy rate. This is much higher than anything available for the segment currently.

This performance has led to profitable growth with offices in China and clients in Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Spain, and Latvia. It has just launched its services in the United States. More than 142 lenders are currently using the Scorista platform, and it is processing over 500,000 applications every month. According to its website, Scorista has helped its partners earn an additional $145 million.

The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Life.SREDA.

Scorista’s Business Model

Scorista’s business model is transactional-based. In Russia, Scorista charges an estimated $1K for every credit decision depending on the volume of applications. Credit lenders are provided with credit decisions instantly so that they can further approve or deny a loan. When the borrower files a loan application with the lender, the lender communicates the borrower file through an API or web interface. Its system receives the application, evaluates the same with its scoring algorithm, and provides a credit decision for approval or denial of the loan. In cases where the scoring algorithm depicts that the borrower can’t repay the loan, Scorista works out different models to predict the amount that the borrower can pay. So if a borrower is rejected for a $2,000 loan for a 3-month period, Scorista will additionally provide that he is a good bet for $1,000 for a 1-month period.

Scorista has developed artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered proprietary algorithms for its scoring systems. It keeps fine tuning its algorithms to ensure optimum performance. It is focusing only on its specialization of short-term micro-borrowers to ensure highest efficiency rates in the segment.

Competitive Advantage

The money-back guarantee is Scorista’s USP. Scorista is ready to refund the fees to its clients if they are not satisfied with its services. Others in the industry are generic players looking to cover the entire market rather than specializing in any one segment. In the name of alternative data, many peers focus exclusively on the social media footprint. However, research shows that decision-making based on social networking is not very reliable as the quality and quantity of information available on borrowers is circumspect. Moreover, about 40% of borrowers do not have extractable social media information available.

Scorista has also introduced Mindscore, a psychometric scoring method that uses a social networking profile and psychometrics to score borrowers. It helps in predicting repayment ability, and the default rate of the applicant.

According to Veikhman, using alternative data in the credit model is dependent on the country. Credit bureaus across Russia have a lot of data on borrowers, and, as such, alternative data is not able to add a lot of weight. But there are no reliable credit bureaus in China so a lot of e-commerce data from Alipay, Wechat, and other social media is put to use. The company is also using mobile data in some cases and incorporates details like the workplace of the borrower to make a credit decision.

The Russian and Chinese branches of Scorista have launched a white label product for mobile applications for lenders. It facilitates fast issuance requiring the borrower to download the application and then submit information to the lender. Scorista performs the function of scoring and the lender can directly issue money through the application, credit card, debit card, or bank account.

Integration

Scorista mainly integrates with short-term lenders and specializes in facilitating short-term loans. Although banks have a broad line of products, Scorista can work with banks that deal in short-term loans apart from full-term loans.

The sub-prime segment that Scorista specializes in is growing across the world. The global economy is not getting better, and many economists agree that it is in the last legs of the growth phase. The last recession was in 2008-09, so considering a cycle of 10 years, we are looking at a recession sooner rather than later. Also exacerbating the trend is the fact that the number of people drawing a lower than average income is increasing in every nation across the world.

Borrowers with low credit scores can improve their credit ratings by following a regular, structured repayment schedule. This will enable them to have access to better loans and banking products with lower rates of interest. Scorista,, with its credit models, helps borrowers gain that access to credit at the right time for the right amount.

Scorista’s Future Goals

Scorista is looking to expand across global markets. It is looking for partners in multiple countries to expand its offering. It is also looking to onboard well-connected financial investors who can help introduce them to their lending networks.

Scorista wants to establish itself as the FICO score for the sub-prime borrower segment. Its key differentiator is its specialization in only short-term microlending and its money back guarantee. The company has been able to build a solid business and is on the precipice of breaking into the big leagues.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 in San Francisco, was a huge success. One of the more interesting panels was on how the non-banking sector is taking over point-of-sale (POS) lending. Kim Gerhardt, director at the San Francisco office of Edgar, Dunn and Company, moderated the panel. Other panelists included Peter Kalen, Michael Garrity, Mark […]

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 in San Francisco, was a huge success. One of the more interesting panels was on how the non-banking sector is taking over point-of-sale (POS) lending. Kim Gerhardt, director at the San Francisco office of Edgar, Dunn and Company, moderated the panel. Other panelists included Peter Kalen, Michael Garrity, Mark Lorimer, and Camilo Concha.

Kalen is founder and CEO of Flexiti Financial, a Canadian company founded in 2013 that specializes in providing easy, instant POS financing through its award-winning mobile application process.

Garrity is co-founder, CEO, and president of a platform that has enabled merchants to facilitate consumer lending since November 2010. Financeit has processed over $2.5 billion in loan applications from thousands of merchants.

Lorimer represents LendingPoint, a lending company founded in 2014 that focuses on personal loans and debt consolidation. He is chief marketing officer. LendingPoint recently acquired LoanHero, which is in the POS lending business.

Finally, Concha is founder and CEO of LendingUSA, a company that provides innovative financing solutions with a specialization in POS lending. LendingUSA was launched in 2013 and caters to consumer finance in a variety of sectors from medical, pet care, consumer goods and services, etc.

Over the years, the POS lending industry has gained scale and seen a radical change. A convergence can be witnessed in the way payments are made and fintech lending is facilitated. The opportunity in POS financing is massive, and banks seemed to have missed the ball. Traditional banks strive to serve everyone, but when it comes to POS lending, merchants have to filter their prospective customers through a narrow funnel extending loans to a comparatively small customer base.

Flexiti Financial’s Entry in POS Lending

When Peter Kalen was asked about what brought Flexiti Financial into the business, the product that it is offering, and the level of traction it has been able to create in the market among other merchants, he articulated that Flexiti’s product is somewhat similar to what Synchrony or Alliance Data System is offering. Flexiti differs in the way transactions take place and aims to reduce the time consumed in the loan application process.

Many organizations issue private label credit cards, but application processes are long and approval rates low. With its experience and vision, Flexiti Financial has successfully introduced a 100% paperless process to offer instant POS financing. Its virtual credit card application can be downloaded from the Google Play store and the Apple store.

These private label cards speed up the loan application process, bringing the process down to three minutes. This is a win-win for retailers and customers. The platform improves the online retailer’s UX by removing the friction at the front-end.

Financeit and Point of Sale Lending

Garrity also shared his views on point of sale lending. He put emphasis on the fact that personal lending is more about new transactions and focuses less on lending. Everything in POS lending, from the technology to APIs is obsessed with enabling easy sales for merchants, improving their experience, and supporting them as they try to close more business. Merchants and customers want financing options, but they do not want to indulge in complicated programs.

Another area that Financeit targets is debt consolidation. The company has delivered a platform that makes it easy for businesses to offer powerful financing options to their customers from any device.

When asked about how they excel at delivering services to customers, Garrity said they have acquired Centah Inc, a company operating in home improvement work-flow and lead management software with joint partner and investor Goldman Sachs. The company redesigned its website to create a platform that manages the process, helps businesses connect with customers, provide dispatch scheduling systems, and represent financing options to customers throughout the process. He warnes other players that if they only focus on financing and not on the transaction, they will be missing out on an important aspect of dominating this space.

LendingUSA’s Role in POS Lending

Gerhardt asked Concha about his journey into this industry. Concha shared that LendingUSA focuses on point-of-need financing, which sits at the intersection of point of sale and fintech. He believes that businesses in today’s era are not required to be good but great if they want to be successful, and they are required to be great in all aspects, namely, marketing, technology, underwriting, and risk mitigation.

Concha started with a company called 1800mysurgeon that matched cosmetic surgeons with consumers. After starting the company, he realized the need for financing as an important part of the business. He decided to create a platform to interact with both surgery and finance to enhance the merchant’s experience.

LendingPoint’s Emergence In POS Lending

LendingPoint started as a direct consumer online lender specializing in 600-700 FICO score customers. Lorimer emphasized that the company understood very early that customer experience is crucial to POS transactions. Although the players in the market now are very good at generating products that banks like to own, they do not necessarily focus on the merchandise. LendingPoint simplifies the lending process by sharing risk and administering payment plans. LendingPoint also offers merchants risk programs to extend in-house, end-to-end services.

Marketing With Established Merchants

All the banks playing in the market are working to deliver better services to customers in different ways. The biggest players historically are Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Synchrony Financial. They all have significant relationships.

The question is whether these big banks can be a part of this game. Concha believes that banks are an important part of the ecosystem. These banks are good for purchasing loans but are constrained by reputational risks, marketing, and other issues. Lorimer added that LendingPoint also works with some established banks. Talking of the role of hard pull and soft pull in availing credit, he shared that because a hard pull impacts the credit report of the customer, it is a cause for low approval rates. Soft pulls, on the other hand, do not affect the credit score of the credit seeker leading to a higher approval rate for loans.

Garrity shared his point of view on the tie-ups with established banks and financial institutions that become balance sheet lenders. He said they are participants in securitization, originations, and selling. He believes there is clearly an opportunity for all the stakeholder businesses to grow. Online POS lending usually operates separately considering the fact that it is complicated and technology-driven. Banks are, therefore, slow followers of fintech companies.

The Technology Edge Leads to Domination

The next important aspect analyzed was whether it is the technology that enables online POS lending businesses to dominate the lending space.

Kalen believes technology is the most important element of this space. Concha believes this space is all about keeping merchants and customers happy and building long-lasting relationships with them in the process. Lorimer questions the integration of technology among banks and whether banks will be able to adapt to complex technologies. He believes banks aren’t set up to do that, but to deliver a mass homogenous customer service. Garrity, on the other hand, believes the less you see the technology, the more attractive it is; he also thinks it is better for the merchant to focus on increasing the business close rates.

Talking about data management, Lorimer believes technology definitely provides an edge to the business on the back end. The data is the source for everything and it is analyzed and configured to improve the experience. As technology enables automation and brings security, users can access everything at one place and find it already stored in the system.

Kalen agrees that technology is a boon for backend data management. He added to the discussion saying that the more established players have an edge as they have been in business for many years. They have been able to hone their skills over a period of time.

Concha also believes that technology will work for the POS lending as it is different from other businesses. There is a major role of risk, debt, and strong relationships in POS lending, and none of these can be managed properly without technology.

The Challenges of POS Lending

Technology, scale, and partnerships:
Kalen from Flexiti views POS lending as a very different business than retail lending. Getting customers and coping with technology are major challenges. Other challenges that non-bank businesses face are focusing on the scale. It is important for the business to look at the credit cycle and beware of fraudulent practices as it increases the scale of operations.

Credit cycle:
Being on the right side of the credit cycle is crucial to every lending business. The access to credit in the credit cycle determines the risk and therefore the value of the business. Businesses must prepare their strategies, keeping the future in mind.

Regulation:
Lorimer believes this space requires more regulation since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is not very active. Poor regulation and lack of control pose a major risk to the players in the market.

Availability of capital and credit risk:
Another challenge is the availability of capital to extend lending facilities. The fear of credit facilities drying up in a day also bothers businesses.

The Takeaway

Kalen has realized that success does not come easy. The companies in this space need to understand that a lot of lending capital is required along with an understanding of the tricks of the trade.

Concha believes it is a 3-step learning process where the business is required to go through a testing phase, an education phase, and an adoption phase.

With LendingPoint’s recent acquisition of LoanHero, it is comparatively a new entrant in the market.

The crux of the entire discussion is that POS lenders must be specialized to survive in the market. The business has to endeavor to offer value added merchant services instead of being a one-stop shop to be successful. There is a lot of room for growth provided one understands the complexities of the trade.

Author:

Stephanie Vaughan is vice president at  Allen TaylorPosted on Categories Alliance Data System, alternative lending, Analysis, balance sheet lending, Banks, CFPB, Citigroup, consumer lending, Credit, credit risk, Featured, FICO, Financeit, Flexiti Financial, instant financing, LendingPoint, LendingUSA, LendIt 2018, Online Lending, point of sale financing, point of sale lending, POS financing, POS lending, Regulation, Synchrony Financial, Wells Fargo

How Digital Lending is Changing With New Technologies

How Digital Lending is Changing With New Technologies

The evolving landscape of digital lending is turning traditional bank loans and credit analysis into a distant memory. The rise of big data and technological progress have led to alternatives or augmentations to Fair Isaac Corp.’s proprietary FICO score, the dominant credit score used to vet consumers’ creditworthiness. Now, a bill is making its way […]

How Digital Lending is Changing With New Technologies

The evolving landscape of digital lending is turning traditional bank loans and credit analysis into a distant memory. The rise of big data and technological progress have led to alternatives or augmentations to Fair Isaac Corp.’s proprietary FICO score, the dominant credit score used to vet consumers’ creditworthiness. Now, a bill is making its way through the U.S. legislative process that would require Ginnie Mae and Fannie Mae to consider credit scores beyond FICO. Although these proposals are focused on mortgages, one can infer that alternatives to FICO are welcome across the board, including consumer loans. And we now have the technical means to deliver.

When it comes to consumer lending, lenders have traditionally relied upon a loan applicant’s FICO credit score obtained through a credit bureau such as Experian or Equifax to help determine an applicant’s creditworthiness. These three-digit scores are derived using a proprietary formula that uses data like payment history, credit history length, and credit line amounts. The lower the score, the less likely an applicant is to secure a loan. The exact formula is a trade secret, known only to Fair Isaac Corp. Hence, we are already relying on a proprietary “black box” to make a credit decision. We’ll get back to that point later when we discuss machine learning algorithms. Enter digital lending.

Digital Lending Creates a New Way to Vet Applicants

New credit models are based on the proposition that the old ways of approving applicants based on FICO credit score alone do not paint a complete picture of an applicant’s creditworthiness. The proliferation of new data points about consumers provides a wealth of raw data ready for analysis.

With the use of machine learning algorithms, and more broadly artificial intelligence, new models are looking at hundreds, and thousands of other data points, and not all are related to traditional financial risk. Enhanced use of personal information may include educational history, employment history, and even seemingly non-financial information such as bedtime, website browsing patterns, spelling on loan applications, social media data, and even messaging patterns.

While using big data could muddy the waters by creating more confusion than clarity, artificial intelligence could have a big impact on how alternative lenders perform.

Artificial Intelligence Streamlines Sales and Strategy

Savvy digital lending startups are testing the waters with machine learning to make underwriting decisions and enhance their loans. Machine learning algorithms can help to determine if applicants are telling the truth about income by looking at past employment history and comparing it to similar applicants. However, this technology can also favor the applicant by finding hidden patterns.

This data collection is advantageous for people with insufficient credit history, low incomes, and young borrowers who are typically charged with higher interest rates if they obtain credit at all. These methods may also appeal to mortgage companies looking to automate less risky applicants through a similar process.

Yet several challenges exist with these new credit models:

  • First is what we’ll call a slow rinse and repeat the cycle. Machine learning algorithms, like humans, learn by doing and repeating while making correctional adjustments along the way. Economic credit cycles can last 5-7 years. Even if we back test a model using historical data, how do we know it will work in the future? A cliche in finance is that “past performance is not indicative of future returns.” It may take a long time to prove that a model is right or wrong because the model itself, like an inexperienced loan officer, hasn’t seen enough credit cycles.
  • Second, models need to explain their black box to gain trust. FICO gets away with being a “black box,” but artificial intelligence cannot. Even if a model works, humans need to have some kind of explanation to feel comfortable with the output.
  • Bank regulators need to know what’s going on. Fair credit regulators require that lenders keep records for the reason that credit was denied. The applicant has a right to inquire about why they were rejected. Disclosing the reason for a rejection is easy to do with an old-fashioned credit scorecard, based on a transparent point system. But what would regulators or auditors do with machine learning model outputs? For now, the practical answer is to run a traditional model as a backup whenever a machine learning model rejects an applicant, and hope that they both give the same answer! If so, record the traditional model’s output as the reason for credit denial.

For now, the most beneficial result of machine learning is the ability to detect consumer fraud by analyzing customer behavior with baseline data of ordinary customers and singling out outliers, such as how much time people spend considering application questions, reading contracts, or looking at pricing options. This filter alone leads to more accurate underwriting decisions, which, in turn, reduces defaults for lenders and lowers interest rates for consumers.

Blockchain Changes the Future of Funding

Peer-to-peer lending platforms originated out of one simplistic idea, one peer borrower asks for a loan, and another peer lender will decide to fund the loan. Both parties benefited by “cutting out the middleman” – the borrow paid a rate lower than that of a traditional loan, and the lender received a rate higher than that of a traditional savings account. But the peer-to-peer, or “people helping people” model, changed as large lending companies and institutional investors entered the space to become lenders, and, in institutional parlance, “buy loans” in bulk. Moreover, peers lack the expertise or ability to perform proper credit risk on other peers. Peer-to-peer became institutional-to-peer.

However, what if blockchain or distributed ledger technology could return us to the original concept of peer-to-peer lending? Blockchain-based solutions are currently developing identity and reputation models. With blockchain, an entire loan process can live online. Many parties share a record of transactions and supporting documents eliminating the need for intermediaries and third parties. Once I transfer the ownership to you, it’s done. I no longer have it. Currently, we can transfer ownership, but we need someone to record the transfer.

Eliminating the Need for Third-Party Risk Managers

With distributed ledgers, you can create a smart contract on a public utility blockchain without the need for a third party to execute the contract.  This allows you to build a low-cost, high-trust platform that didn’t exist before. A handful of startups are designing platforms offering secured loans on a blockchain for those that are holding digital assets for the long term. Cryptocurrency investors will be able to earn interest on their holdings while the digital lender uses them as collateral for consumer loans.

Others are testing mechanisms for collateralized lending based on the value being stored in a smart contract on a blockchain. Collateral could be a security, a bond, a property, a title, data, or gold. The asset must have been digitized and recorded on a blockchain. For instance, the Perth Mint, Australia’s official bullion mint, announced plans to issue cryptocurrency backed by gold.

Author:
Mehul Agarwal is a Customer Success, Business Development and Marketing expert working with both users and creators of technologies to achieve their Engineering & Technology goals.

Mehul has worked with several startups, mid-size and large companies from the Valley and outside especially in the FinTech, Medical Devices, Connected Devices amongst others. He has generated over $45 Mil in revenue in the last couple years building one of the largest customer accounts for one of the companies he has worked with.

He mentors startups from around the world around Sales, Strategy, Growth & Marketing both as part of accelerator programs and independent companies.

On the education front, he has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Economics from Pune University and also a Master’s in Customer Relationship Management from Symbiosis University.