Wednesday July 26 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club loans

News Comments Today’s main news: Seedinvest cancels Sharestates’ Series A Offering. LendInvest bond issue. How Samoyed Financial is outsmarting Tencent, Alipay. Faircent launches auto-invest. MoneyMatch to replace 5-6 scheme in Philippines. Today’s main analysis: The state of business lending. Fintech lending: Financial inclusion, risk pricing, and alternative information. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How Goldman Sachs is disrupting consumer lending. How FCA consultations will […]

Lending Club loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Canada

Philippines

News Summary

United States

Seedinvest cancels Sharestates Series A Equities (Anonymous Email), Rated: AAA

Seedinvest gave the investors this explanation, according to our anonymous source:

The closing was held up and we subsequently discovered new material information. Sharestates’ offering (i.e. the ability to make new investments) came to a close during Q1 of this year. As we were working through closing operations, we requested a final set of offering documents from Sharestates’ counsel. This request in and of itself took months to be satisfied. While reviewing the red-line version of these updated documents, our counsel discovered that Sharestates had begun distributing quarterly management bonuses using cash they were generating through normal course of operations. As a result, we do not recommend proceeding with an investment. We are also withdrawing our fund’s commitment. 

How Goldman Sachs Is Disrupting This Trillion Industry (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

It’s been just over nine months since Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)launched Marcus, its newly created consumer lending venture, and the platform has been rather successful so far. In fact, the company recently announced that it has surpassed $1 billion in loans already, and it could have much more room to grow.

It’s been just over nine months since Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS)launched Marcus, its newly created consumer lending venture, and the platform has been rather successful so far. In fact, the company recently announced that it has surpassed $1 billion in loans already, and it could have much more room to grow.

In addition, there’s no legacy credit card business to worry about, unlike most banks that also make personal loans.

According to Talwar, Marcus customers enjoy rates that are 300 to 500 basis points lower than credit card interest rates, and Marcus’ loans come with no origination, prepayment, or late fees — a rarity in consumer lending.

The State of Business Lending in 2017, According to Small Business Owners (Fundera), Rated: AAA

The biggest factor that’s presently clouding small business lending is the post-financial crisis surge of alternative small business lenders. Fundera’s VP of Strategy, Brayden McCarthy (along with Karen Mills, former head of the Small Business Administration) identifies in his working paper on small business lending that tighter restrictions on lending were imposed on banks after the 2008 financial crisis. Because of these tighter restrictions, banks had their hands tied when it came to providing loans to small businesses—providing a space within the small business lending market.

Main Takeaways

  • Small businesses are mainly applying for offensive financing rather than defensive financing.
  • Small businesses are still overwhelmingly going to brick-and-mortar banks to apply for financing.
  • A disconnect exists between small businesses owners and educational resources made specifically for them.

When you look at the business owners we surveyed, they are, by-and-large, successful. 56% of the businesses surveyed had a revenue of greater than $100,000 a year, and 60% of those surveyed ran businesses that had been in business for five years or more.

Furthermore, 80.6% of the small business owners reported having a personal credit score of 650 or above, one of the most important parts of the business loan application, and 68% reported having a business credit score of 80 or above.

One of the more shocking results was that a mere 5.94% of the respondents sought business financing in order to refinance a loan.

Meanwhile, only 10.89% of respondents said they applied for small business financing with an online lender. 

That being said, our respondents demonstrated a preference for the experience of applying online. 57.23% applied for a business credit card online directly while another 16% applied online through an affiliate like Creditcards.com, Nerdwallet, or The Points Guy.

Our poll found that 89.73% of those polled checked their personal credit at least once a year. Meanwhile, within the same sample of small business owners, 58.19% don’t check their business credit score at all.

Even more, when we asked respondents if they would be interested in a free business credit check, 34.23% said that they were “not at all interested.”

FINTECH LENDING: FINANCIAL INCLUSION, RISK PRICING, AND ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION (Philadelphia Fed), Rated: AAA

In this paper, we explore the advantages/disadvantages of loans made by a large fintech lender and similar loans that were originated through traditional banking channels. Specifically, we use account-level data from the Lending Club and Y-14M bank stress test data. We find that Lending Club’s consumer lending activities have penetrated areas that could benefit from additional credit supply, such as areas that lose bank branches and those in highly concentrated banking markets. We also find a high correlation with interest rate spreads, Lending Club rating grades, and loan performance. However, the rating grades have a decreasing correlation with FICO scores and debt-to income ratios, indicating that alternative data is being used and performing well so far. Lending Club borrowers are, on average, more risky than traditional borrowers given the same FICO scores. The use of alternative information sources has allowed some borrowers who would be classified as subprime by traditional criteria to be slotted into “better” loan grades and therefore get lower priced credit. Also, for the same risk of default, consumers pay smaller spreads on loans from the Lending Club than from traditional lending channels.

Download the white paper here.

LendingTree Announces Top Customer-Rated Lenders by Loan Product for Q2 2017 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendingTree today released its quarterly list of the top customer-rated lenders on its network based on actual customer reviews for the second quarter of 2017. The list features the top lenders in multiple loan product categories, including Mortgages, Personal Loans, Business Loans and Auto Loans, all of which are included in LendingTree’s online loan marketplace.

Lender rankings are based on a weighted average of overall rating and the total volume of customer reviews for mortgage, personal, business and auto loans. Lenders were rated on offered rates, fees and closing costs, responsiveness, customer service and overall customer experience.

Mortgage Category

#1 Winner: Busey Bank

Personal Loans Category

#1 Winner: Avant

Business Loans Category

#1 Winner: RapidAdvance

Auto Loans Category

#1 Winner: RefiJet

Mobile banking startup Varo Money has applied for a bank charter (TechCrunch), Rated: A

But Varo Money, which provides a mobile-first banking product to consumers, is up to that challenge. In an effort to offer similar — but better — checking, savings and lending products to consumers, the company has applied for a national bank charter with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

To get the company off the ground, Walsh raised $27 million from Warburg Pincus and spent the last two years creating a mobile-first competitor to existing checking accounts.

Meet the World’s First Robo-Lawyer for Real Estate Investing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Bootstrap Legal, a legaltech and fintech startup, today launched software that automates the drafting of complex legal paperwork for those raising capital for real estate projects of $2 Millionand under. For the first time, real estate investors can draft their own legal offering documents using artificial intelligence. The new online service was launched in recognition of the changing marketplace of real estate investing. More and more smaller investors are able to access investment opportunities online. For platforms and issuers originating these offers, a streamlined and low cost service to provide necessary legal documents is vital.

This first-of-its-kind legaltech product both undercuts the legal fees associated with real estate capital raises and expedites the process. Real estate investors typically have limited time to raise capital for their project, and Bootstrap Legal’s new software allows users to control the legal process, so that they can have extra time to raise capital. Users who require additional assistance are connected to a real estate securities attorney to get questions answered.

These Bay Area FinTech Companies Are Revolutionizing The Lending Space (Benzinga), Rated: A

BeSmartee: BeSmartee is an artificial intelligence-powered lending and mortgage platform that originates documents, credit checks, and other financial information in just minutes.

Capsilon: Capsilon builds technology solutions for the mortgage industry’s most imperative challenges.

Credit Sesame: Credit Sesame is a fintech company that operates in the fields of education, credit, and personal finance.

Home Captain: Home Captain is a lending company that pairs clients with a pre-screened realtor in their area with the help of a real estate concierge throughout the way.

SuperMoney: SuperMoney compares financial products and services to give people the information they need to make better financial decisions.

CoinList Attempting to Standardize & Self-Regulate ICOs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

CoinList, founded as a partnership between Angel List and Protocol Labs, is quietly trying to standardize initial coin offerings (ICOs) by self-imposing similar restrictions as the SEC imposes on companies that conduct certain private offerings under Regulation D.

CoinList, which was founded in part by AngelList, appears ready to launch token offerings on its site that are similar to the offerings available on AngelList’s site; that is, offerings regulated by the SEC under Regulation D. In order to invest in the offerings on CoinList, investors have to be “accredited” which is the same requirement that investors on Angel List have to meet as imposed by Rule 506(c) of Regulation D. However, since the SEC hasn’t come out with any guidance on ICOs and token sales yet, the requirement that investors be accredited on CoinList is one that is self-imposed by CoinList.

Why This Co-Founder Keeps His Calendars Public to His Employees (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

From client meetings to doctor appointments to family time, most things Sam Hodges does is public knowledge to his employees. All they have to do is check out his online calendar, which is set to “public” for employees. So why is this co-founder and managing director OK with letting others in on even his private life? Because at Funding Circle, Hodges says he fosters a culture of openness and transparency — in every respect.

“The first really crucial trait is around vision. As a leader your job is to understand the market, understand the business’ capabilities and then come back to the organization with a view on what you need to do in order to become successful.

“A second really vital skill is communication — being able to communicate in the right way with many different types of stakeholders.

“A third really important skill is problem-solving. In a leadership position, oftentimes what you face day to day are the things that are not going well and the opportunities that exist — so comfort with ambiguity, the ability to put structure around problems and the ability to be calm in the face of things blowing up.”

The Emotional Robo-Counselor For Your 401(k) (NASDAQ), Rated: A

So he co-founded Dream Forward, a 401(k) supplier that offers, as its website says, “Emotional Advisor A.I. technology.”

Easterbrook: The super high level of what we do is we’re selling 401(k) plans, fix all the obvious problems, lower the cost, make it easier to use, cause less headaches, no conflicts of interest, and then add conversational AI that employees can talk to about whatever they don’t understand, whatever the issues are.

Easterbrook: It looks like an online chat. It’s a chatbot. It’s designed to basically have 24/7 chat available to employees on whatever they don’t understand, whatever their issues are, whatever concerns they have. It talks to them in plain English in a way that we call it almost an emotional advisor instead of a robo-advisor.

AI 100: The Artificial Intelligence Startups Redefining Industries (CB Insights), Rated: A

Google can take on Amazon’s cloud dominance: PayPal co-founder (Fox Business), Rated: A

Tech companies are increasingly becoming more mobile and cloud based. According to Affirm and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Google’s (GOOGL) best bet to rival Amazon (AMZN) is through the cloud services business.

In his opinion, Google should diversify and focus on its cloud storage services as a means of competing and catching up to Amazon’s AmazonDrive.

A quick guide to what’s at stake in the SoFi charter controversy (American Banker), Rated: A

Social Finance’s application for an industrial loan charter has not only drawn opposition from a coalition of incumbent banks and community activists. It also serves as a microcosm of several perennial debates in financial services policy.

From complaints about an unlevel playing field to warnings about systemic risk, from giving back to the community to fostering innovation, here’s a rundown of the issues.

Why I Am Joining Affirm (LinkedIn), Rated: B

I’m excited to share that I recently joined Affirm as Head of Product to help build honest financial products that improve lives.

Affirm presents a new and unique opportunity for me at the intersection of technology, user experience, and financial services. If we’re successful, Affirm has the potential to be the most innovative and globally loved financial institution in the world.

4 Fintech Companies That Might Replace Your Bank One Day (Benzinga), Rated: B

Based in San Francisco, SoFi has changed the lending and wealth management space of fintech.

Wealthfront has introduced to the automated financial advisor to the world. Based in Redwood City, the company has deployed high tech software to follow market trends and create analysis for good investments. The automated financial investor manages risk, lowers taxes, and minimizes fees. Wealthfront’s trademark product, PassivePlus, combines high-level research experts with high-level technology to create a speedy and precise automated financial advisor.

Nerdwallet is the hub for free information on credit cards, banking, investing, mortgages, loans, credit scores, and more.

LendingClub Corp LC, based in San Francisco, allows people to invest and borrow money. The company offers personal loans, small business loans, auto refinancing, and now loans for medical treatments. Investors make monthly payments in order for investors to make a monthly return. Scott Sanborn is the CEO of the company, which has lent $26 billion and has over 1.5 billion customers.

United Kingdom

LendInvest Bond Issue (SyndicateRoom), Rated: AAA

Property investment platform LendInvest is launching a five year retail bond, offering investors a fixed rate of 5.25 per cent. The Bond is due to reach maturity in August 2022.

The bonds will bear interest at a fixed annual rate of 5.25 per cent, payable semi-annually on 10th February and 10th August. The minimum initial subscription is £2,000, each Bond has a face value of £100. Once launched, investors will be able to sell their bonds on the open market at any time during market hours. The offer period is now open and is expected to close at 12 noon (London time) on 4 August 2017.

Upcoming FCA consultations will shape future of UK P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending will continue to go from strength to strength, with low interest rates still squeezing bank margins, a trend towards fintech and a requirement for rapid decision making. P2P lending is establishing its position in the market even with an uncertain economic and political climate. As a result, myriad of opportunities and challenges must be considered across the sector.

The regulator has also expressed concern that P2P firms’ wind-down plans may not be adequate and is planning to strengthen the rules around this. Firms should therefore expect to see an increase in capital requirements.

Another cause of concern, which requires further exploration, is around potential conflicts of interest. There’s a risk that large investors will have greater access to preferential deals, over small investors, which creates problems for effective competition within the sector. Given the regulator’s mandate to promote competition more generally across financial services, it will be interesting to see how this gets applied to the new rules.

Is new retail bond from LendInvest a buy? (AltFi), Rated: A

That looks a smart move because it’s now planning to return to the retail market but this time via bond – Funding Circle, by contrast, chose to use an investment trust to raise money from the stock market, with a target annual yield of around 6.5%.

Compared with the rates on offer from rival P2P platforms such as Zopa and Ratesetter, the yield of 5.25% is not bad and unlike its nearest rivals the investor also get secured assets to work against. That’s important when comparing the Lendinvest yield of 5.25% against the Funding Circle SME Loan income fund yield of around 6.5%. The latter is not secured and is mostly invested in risky SME loans.

Also, Lendinvest has a sensible average LTV ratio at 63% which should give private investors some comfort although I would observe that if house prices fell more than 15% across the board, the bond might be in danger of breaching its covenant. I don’t think that is likely but it is always possible.

The damaged reputation of asset-backed securities is on the road to recovery (City A.M.), Rated: A

It’s been a decade since the collapse of two hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns. The funds were backed by subprime mortgages, and they failed when hoards of borrowers defaulted on their loans. This sparked a chain reaction which culminated in the global financial crisis of 2008.

“ABS could therefore represent the future of crowdfunding more generally, but real estate crowdfunding in particular. This long-suffering acronym could very well make a comeback to help revolutionise the market for real estate investment as we know it.”

Growth Street bolsters team with new sales and relationship management hires (LendIt), Rated: B

SME lender Growth Street has brought on board a new Director of Sales, Head of Relationship Management and Business Development Manager as the firm’s expansion continues.

The new appointments bring a wealth of sector experience to Growth Street. Chan Purewal, formerly of Boost Capital and Bibby Financial Services, has joined the business as Director of Sales.

Nicola Weedall, previously of GE Capital and latterly Head of Risk and Compliance at invoice financing specialist DueCourse, has joined Growth Street as Head of Relationship Management. Her role will be split between London and Manchester.

Meanwhile, Nick Owers, formerly Head of Banking Relationships at iwoca, becomes a Business Development Manager. Nick has also worked for Lombard and Royal Bank of Scotland in the past.

VC investment into UK FinTech ‘fell by 40% in Q2 2017’ (Tech City News), Rated: A

According to CB Insights’ ‘The Global FinTech Report: Q2’17′, venture capital-backed deals in UK FinTech fell by 40% during the second quarter of this year.

The report says funding plummeted by 52% after a temporary surge in the first quarter of the year following Atom Bank’s and Funding Circle’s $100m deals.

How to boost your retirement income with Peer-to-Peer? (Radio Times), Rated: B

Over the past ten years, peer-to-peer lending has taken the UK by storm and has become a viable option for many people looking for a potential retirement income. To date, more than £10 billion has been invested through UK peer-to-peer lenders, returning on average 7.17% total gross interest. (source: AltFi Data)

With the right peer-to-peer loans that are backed by tangible assets like property, such as ones offered by Assetz Capital, the risk of loss can be reduced as those assets may be sufficient to recover lent funds should the loan default.

Creditors set to miss out in Morgan Tucker administration (The Business Desk), Rated: B

Morgan Tucker, the Nottinghamshire-based consulting engineering firm, went into administration at the end of May owing over £3m to creditors, according to papers seen by TheBusinessDesk.com.

The business’s expansion into the Middle East caused significant losses, it emerged in June.

Among some of the firm’s biggest creditors were Funding Circle which was owed £218,513 and Vendor Loans which was owed £112,000. The firm also owed HMRC £286,513.

China

This Chinese Credit Card Company Plans On Outsmarting Tencent And Alipay With A More Secure Product (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Startup firms like Samoyed Financial, a Chinese online credit card issuer, are on the cutting edge of consumer lending.

Samoyed Financial offers prime consumers credit cards online at below-market interest rates. While so many consumers require loans to make larger purchases, online lending firms in China (particularly peer to peer lending firms) have in the past struggled to control risk.

Credit card use in China has risen from five million in 2002 to 300 million at present.

Because China lacks a complete credit risk credit rating system like FICO, firms have been forced to rely on their own credit risk assessments in the burgeoning consumer lending market. Lin’s firm uses data taken from the consumers’ phone records and online behavior, with consumers’ authorization. The data is then used to build a credit risk model.

Samoyed Financial also incorporates artificial intelligence in the form of the Alpha S robot to review information and determine whether an applicant looks suspicious.

China declares war on get-rich schemes, citing risk of social unrest (SCMP), Rated: A

Chinese police will strike hard against shady financial schemes because of the risk of social unrest from such fundraising ploys, according to the Public Security Ministry.

Guo said at a nationwide meeting with local police authorities on Sunday that law enforcers must use “big data” technology to uncover and stop such crimes as early as possible.

Chinese Fintechs Use Big Data To Give Credit Scores To The ‘Unscorable’ (Forbes), Rated: A

Last November 11, China’s so-called Singles’ Day, sales across Alibaba platforms reached new heights: RMB 120 billion, or $17.9 billion.

Offline borrowing, however, is still largely absent. Hua Bei is basically a virtual credit card, but 60% of the users have never owned a physical credit card. Traditional banks are not lending money to individuals because they lack a reliable credit score. In fact, most Chinese people, by Western standards, are simply “unscorable”–only 25% of the population have a credit history.

With spending increasing, credit card use per capita actually declined from 0.34 in 2014 to 0.29 at the end of 2015, according to People’s Bank of China. In that same year, however, mobile payment users grew 65%. For the whole year, $5.5 trillion third-party mobile payments were completed in China.

Chinese P2P Neo Online Helps Children Realize Football Dream with International Champions Cup (Markets Insider), Rated: B

Neo Online, a leading Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform under Neo Capital Management Group Co., Ltd. (“Neo Group”), joined with the 2017 International Champions Cup China to hold a public interest meeting under the theme “Big big kids in a big big world”.

In January 2017Neo Online launched the public welfare program “Kids Are Awesome”, which supports adolescent development and growth in such areas as culture, sports, arts, and health.

European Union

P2P lending platforms poised to join Nutmeg and Seedrs on Fidor marketplace (AltFi), Rated: AAA

One of the most interesting and recent of these partnerships is between challenger bank Fidor and host of other players such as digital wealth manager Nutmeg.  Fidor’s UK commercial customers can now access a whole suite of investment opportunities through the digital marketplace, including access to alternative investment opportunities via a number of the most respected fintech companies in the UK.

Fidor Bank is a digital bank with over 100,000 users across Germany and UK.

Interview with Loit Linnupõld, CEO of Crowdestate (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Pre-vetted real estate investment opportunities – Our experienced real estate and finance team evaluates thoroughly each aspect of every project and picks the best investment opportunities to be published for crowdfunding.
Low minimum investment amount – the minimum investment on our platform is just 100 euros, meaning basically anyone can afford to invest into real estate with Crowdestate.
Everyone can invest – Crowdestate is open to all investors all around the world, provided that they have a way to make an international bank transfer to their virtual investment account previously created on our platform.

There are many different types of investment opportunities on Crowdestate. Debt, equity, secured, unsecured… Why did you decide to use so many different types for the offers?

What ROI can investors expect?

The historical money-weighted average internal rate of return on our exited investment currently at 29.59%. However, as the fast-increasing money supply is driving the expected returns down, the investors’ annual returns are probably going to remain between 10-20%.

Stock loan falls short for buy side as liquidity source (Securities Lending Times), Rated: A

In a joint survey by InvestOps and SimCorp, 14 percent of 100 respondents highlighted securities lending as their most popular source of liquidity.

The survey did not detail respondents’ reasons for neglecting securities lending as a liquidity source or expand on whether heads of operations simply considered the practice as a back-up option.

International

ID Finance’s chatbot cuts client services workload by a third (ID Finance Email), Rated: AAA

ID Finance, the digital finance, credit scoring and emerging markets company has developed and introduced a self-learning chatbot for MoneyMan, its online lending platform serving customers in Spain, Georgia, Russia, Poland, Kazakhstan and most recently Brazil.  Since launch at the beginning of July, over a third of customer requests are already being processed automatically.

The chatbot interacts with new customers at the loan application stage and with registered users when they log in to their personal account. The chatbot helps to locate the information required to determine loan eligibility, and provides recommendations of relevant products tailored to the individual’s requirements and financial prudence. General advice on personal budget planning and financial literacy is also offered.

The chatbot works within the NLP (Natural Language Processing) and NLU (Natural Language Understanding) AI frameworks. Information is processed based on statistical matches covering a wide range of frequently asked questions. And the NLU platform enables analysis of messaging flow so the meaning of the information can be sought out in context.

Additional capabilities include finding non-trivial links in dialogue with users and providing relevant answers to questions unrelated to credit and finance. Thanks to the machine learning technology, the number of questions the chatbot is able to answer increases by 20 per cent daily. The average response time is around ten seconds and if a question cannot be answered the message is automatically forwarded to an available client support operator.

Australia

Former big bank CIO joins fintech board (Broker News), Rated: B

Online loan marketplace and fintech HashChing has welcomed two new financial services heavyweights to its advisory board.

Paul Rickard, managing director of CommSec and former executive at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Marty Switzer, chief operating officer of the Switzer Financial Group both joined the board in June earlier this year.

India

Faircent.com launches fully-automated ‘Auto Invest’ feature (DNA India), Rated: AAA

In a pioneering development for the country?s fintech sector, Faircent.com, India?s largest peer-to-peer lending platform has launched a new Auto Invest feature for registered lenders.

It eliminates the need for lenders to browse through several borrower profiles by automating the entire process.

As per its latest Data and Analytics report, 90 percent of the lenders on the platform are earning 18 percent to 26 percent gross returns.

Softbank to pick up 20% stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications (Money Control), Rated: A

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday approved Softbank’s acquisition of 20 percent stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Tuesday approved Softbank’s acquisition of 20 percent stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.

The target launch is August 15, 2017.

Why India’s Hike messaging app adding payment services matters (Kapron Asia), Rated: A

Hike messenger, a popular phone messaging service app in India, has recently decided to introduce payment services on its platform.

The payment service includes both peer to peer payments that do not require bank accounts and use in-app wallets, and bank to bank payments using the UPI platform introduced by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Hike has been able to beat Whatsapp to providing in-app payment services.

Asia

‘Flexible’ Regulations Give Indonesia’s Peer-to-Peer Lending Startups Room To Grow (Forbes), Rated: AAA

It’s been seven months since the Indonesian government issued regulations for the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry, and the mood in the sector is optimistic.

Suleiman said the market is dominated by local companies that engaged with regulators as the guidelines were being created and were primed to grow once the legal structure was in place.

Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK)stipulated that startups must have $200,000 in capital before they can be approved for an operating licenses as lenders, and capped loan values at $150,000. For now, that amount suits most P2P lenders just fine, Suleiman said.

Suleiman said that most SMEs fail to secure traditional bank funding because they don’t have enough collateral, which he said is especially problematic in creative industries.

One company meeting the demand for SME financing is Investree, a P2P marketplace startup that launched in 2016.

Ant gold service together Malaysia’s second largest bank to build local version of Alipay (Tech.Sina.com.cn), Rated: A

The ant gold service today announced an agreement with Touch’n Go (TNG), a subsidiary of CIMB, to form a joint venture to provide electronic wallet solutions for local users.

At present, millions of Malaysians use the Touch’n Go card for electronic payments every day in retail stores, car parks and public transport systems. In the future, new e-wallet will help TNG’s new and old customers to get more services on their mobile phones, including electricity providers.

Indonesian FinTech Launches App For Individual SME Investors (PYMNTS), Rated: B

Reports Friday (July 21) said Mitrausahua Indonesia Group, which operates a peer-to-peer lending platform, has launched a mobile app for individual investors of small businesses.

The app joins Mitrausahua’s flagship offering Modalku. For small businesses, interest rates range from 12 to 26 percent. For investors, Modalku promises returns higher than those of commercial bank deposit and fixed investment products.

The app offers a feature, Automatic Funding, which automates the process by which investors can find SME borrowers suitable to lenders’ preferences. Investors can start investing at $75 but must have $750 deposited into their accounts.

Middle East

Middle East women seed crowdfunding campaigns attract more backers (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

A total of 97 campaigns were successfully funded in the region in 2015 and 2016, 24 of which were female-led and 73 male-led. And while the number of campaigns funded in the region is still relatively low vis-a-vis more established territories, however, seed crowdfunding is still relatively new to the region. Average pledge amounts to female-led campaigns are 29 per cent higher than male-led campaigns, compared with a difference of only 5 per cent globally, said PwC and The Crowdfunding Centre report – Women Unbound: Unleashing female entrepreneurial potential.

Seed crowdfunding generated a total financing of $ 3.25 million (with $527,300 going to female led campaigns) in the Middle East for 2015 and 2016, with female-led campaigns in the Middle East generating an estimated 5,320 backers, compared with 4,240 for those that were male-led, it added.

Canada

Despite recent gains, Canada lags in fintech adoption (The Globe and Mail), Rated: A

Although the percentage of Canadians using new financial technology has doubled over the past 18 months, Canada lags much of the rest of the world in adopting services offered by online providers.

In Canada, only 18 per cent of digitally active Canadians have used two or more fintech services in the past six months, compared with 33 per cent globally, according to Ernst & Young LLP’s FinTech Adoption index. And while the Canadian rate has almost doubled from 8 per cent in 2015, Canada remains in the bottom of world rankings along with Japan and Belgium.

China has the highest adoption rate at 69 per cent, while India and Britain are close behind with 52 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.

Philippines

New lending platform to replace ‘5-6’ scheme (The Standard), Rated: AAA

MoneyMatch, an online peer-to-peer lending platform developed by local company FinTech Global Inc., aims to provide Filipinos an alternative to “5-6” scheme, or moneylenders charging exorbitant interest rates on loans.

Bautista said a borrower could apply for loan from P10,000 to P2 million which could be used to start to a small business, get a housing loan, or a new car, and pay for their loan at terms that they could afford.

The interest rate for the loans will range from 15 percent to 36 percent depending on creditworthiness of the borrower.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 25th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States A good summary by PeerIQ of the latest securitizations of SoFi and Marlette with good comparisons to previous securitizations done by the same firms and other firms. Article describing as has been the trend lately, how a German fintech bank partners with Telefonica which has more accounts than CommerzBank and Postbank, […]

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Taiwan

Korea

Singapore

India

China

 

News Summary

 

United States

Weekly securitization update (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Last week saw a substantial uptick in issuance news in MPL ABS securitization space. Four deals, totaling more than $1 billion of bonds, were either priced or announced last week.
SoFi and Marlette priced a student and consumer loan deal respectively. Both deals executed at meaningfully tighter levels.
SoFi
SoFi strengthens its lead as the largest MPL ABS issuer by volume and is enjoying a virtuous cycle of lower funding costs, improved liquidity, and expansion of the ABS base. At the current pace, PeerIQ predicts SoFi may issue 8 to 10 deals this year and is on pace to be one of the largest issuers globally in certain markets.
   sofi securitization comparison
sofi securitization details and comparison
Marlette
Marlette is a balance sheet lender that originates unsecured consumer loans via the Marlette BestEgg Platform. Loans issued through the Marlette platform are originated by Cross River Bank (CRB). CRB and Marlette retain a share of loans issued through their online platform addressing potential “skin in the game” and true lender concerns.
 marlette securitization comparison
marlette securitization details and comparison
MFT 2016-1 is the second deal from Marlette this year and is backed by a $205 million loan pool. The pricing of MFT 2016-1 is about 200 basis points tighter across capital structure as compared to CHAI 2016-MF1 (Chart 1).
The consequence of better execution on IRR for equity tranche holders is significant. We find that the excess spread on MFT 2016-1 increases IRR by a whopping ~20% as compared to CHAI 2016-MF1.
Market Outlook
In our view, ABS issuance growth trends remain robust this quarter. We predict Q3 will lead to record issuance exceeding historical quarterly deal volumes including prior quarter ($1.7 billion), and last year’s quarter Q3 ($1.1 billion).
Dynamics remain favorable–a global low yield environment, the short duration of MPL ABS assets, and improved IRRs for junior tranche holders–will lead to growth in MPL ABS securitization as we have suggested in our 2Q 2016 Securitization Tracker.
Platforms that generate strong credit performance, build investor trust, and can improve the distribution of their products (via ABS or otherwise) are well positioned to grow.

Counting Down to the Bank of Facebook, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

The latest move in upstart finance will soon arrive in Germany, where a new mobile banking service from phone carrier Telefonica will offer checking accounts, a free MasterCard and small instant loans. Telefonica’s partnering with digital bank Fidor, effectively using its license as a springboard for financial services.

It’s a deal that makes sense on both sides. Telefonica wants to assure customer loyalty while maybe gaining a bit of revenue. Fidor needs scale: its customer base of around 100,000 in Germany is hardly the stuff of nightmares for, say, Commerzbank and its 16 million individual customers. But Telefonica’s 43 million customers is a different ballgame.

fidora n26 customers source Bloomberg

That’s not to say it’s a recipe for success — telecoms’ past forays into finance have been mixed. Vodafone’s early experiments with mobile payments in Africa were a big success. U.S. carrier T-Mobile started offering pre-paid debit cards and money transfers to customers in 2014, and ended the service this month because it faced too many competitors.

Tech Threat
A survey of bankers shows non-banks are seen as the biggest threat, ahead of start-ups or incumbents

tech threat sources

For now, the tech giants have barely scratched the surface. Apple and Google have mobile payment tools, Facebook users can send money to friends through Messenger and Amazon is pitching student loans in partnership with Wells Fargo, but they’re not exactly setting the financial world on fire. Their Asian cousins are more advanced: WeChat and Tencent can now be used to pay for everything from rent to a taxi, and Alibaba runs mutual funds.

They’re set to be the main competitors for the payments business in Europe, according to 96 percent of respondents to a Finextra/FIS survey of finance companies last year.

This doesn’t have to be just a nightmare for incumbents. It could be an opportunity. European banks could lift pre-tax profits by 40 percent in five years if they find the right way to limit the impact of disintermediation and capitalize on new tech, according to BCG Partners.

With more ventures like Telefonica’s on the way, expect the pressure to rise.

Marketplace Lending Is ‘Likely Here To Stay,’ But Needs Clearer Regulation, (S&P Global), Rated: A

Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, acknowledged the significant growth of the marketplace lending industry during a June 9 forum hosted by the FTC, the first in a series of events focused on fintech. She mentioned the “rocky spring” for marketplace lending and noted reports that show flagging investor interest in the space. Still, Ramirez said that the potential benefits of the services provided by this new breed of financial institution mean that marketplace lending is “likely here to stay.”

“It’s not a good idea to look at the bank model and just port that over and drop it on,” Knight added. “They are different models and they generate different risks and the regulation should reflect that.”

Conor French pointed out that the regulatory environment in the U.K. is easier to navigate for online lenders who are overseen directly by the country’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Lauren Saunders, associate director at the National Consumer Law Center, pointed to the need to “flush out the bad actors” from the marketplace lending industry.

French of Funding Circle pointed out that the traditional lending choices in the financial services industry are not working. They are leaving many consumers “underserved and underbanked,” he said.

Jessica Rich, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC, said that it is “encouraging to learn that marketplace lenders are taking proactive steps to self-regulate.” Still, she pointed out that self-regulation is “not enough.”

Lending Club’s Savior Is Patrick Dunne, (Seeking Alpha), Rated:A

Lending Club hired Patrick Dunne as its Chief Capital Officer.

Patrick Dunne brings a global network of contacts to Lending Club and has experience in dealing with failed products.

Patrick led the growth of BlackRock’s iShares business, whose products often got shut down.

Patrick has worked as a strategist, whose job is to convince clients that a certain trade is attractive.

Adventurous investors may want to pick up shares on the revival of Lending Club’s growth.

SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2016-2 LLC (“SCLP 2016-2”) ( Press Release Kroll Bond Rating Agency), Rated: A

This is a $480.55 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on August 1, 2016.

This transaction represents SoFi Lending Corp.’s (“SoFi”) second rated securitization collateralized by a portfolio of unsecured consumer loans. SoFi currently originates personal loans through its 21 state licenses or complies with certain requirements where a state lending license is not required. There was one prior unrated securitization, in which SoFi or SoFi’s institutional investors were the sponsors and the collateral was unsecured consumer loans.

Please click on the link below to access the full report: SCLP 2016-2

Collaborators Outnumber Would-Be Disruptors at Fintech Demo Event, (American Banker), Rated: A

“Fintech is destroying legacy systems and legacy attitudes,” declared Jesse Podell, the emcee and managing director of startupbootcamp FinTech New York, bounding on and off the stage in high spirits.

Five of the 10 graduates from the startupbootcamp accelerator program pitched technology designed to be used by traditional banks.

AlphaPack‘s product, Sandbox, gives banks a safe place to try out new technologies from fintech partners.

Fluent, a startup that began in Kentucky and is migrating east, has a blockchain-based platform for the $6 trillion trade finance space.

RepreZen set out to solve a longstanding problem for banks: data integration.

VendorMach provides what it calls an “early warning system” for vendor risk management. The software is designed to monitor banks’ vendors for signs of liquidity risk, data breaches and other potential issues.

Visualize Wealth has created white-label software for banks to embed in their mobile apps, to give their customers a view of their investments and an objective sense of how those investments are performing.

The Disruptors

CFX has built an online trading platform for private real estate investment trusts, a market the startup pegs at $84 billion, with 1.2 million retail shareholders.

Factury has a blockchain-based lending platform. “The lending industry is filled with fraud and inefficiency at every level,” said Arturs Ivanovs, Factury’s chief marketing officer. “It’s mostly driven by paper-based processes and human labor. Only 7% of this industry is digitized.” Distributed ledger technology will be the fundamental infrastructure for the lending industry, he said.

Consumer-Facing Plays

Seal has built mobile payments into its app providing professional agreements.

token says it’s working to make credit card fraud a thing of the past. “Our credit cards get stolen every day when we shop online,” said Yana Zaidiner, token’s chief operating officer. The firm’s mobile app lets people use a pseudo credit card and payment identity while keeping their real payment information hidden, similar to another startup called Privacy.com.

Lawnmower.io made a pitch that’s even more meta and of-the-moment than AlphaBox’s: a mobile app for investing in blockchain assets.

United Kingdom

Growth in UK marketplace lending stagnates, (Financial News), Rated: AAA

Alternative finance data provider AltFi Data estimates that UK P2P platforms will have originated between £260 million and £290 million in loans July, in line with the amount lent monthly since April.

Origination had grown rapidly up to March, when lending spiked to reach £345 million.

He said: “It’s too early to tell what the impact of Brexit has been on origination volumes in the marketplace lending industry. We do know that volume growth has been tepid for the last nine months – long before Brexit was dominating the headlines. Brexit, however, may be added to the potential headwinds facing the industry.” According to AltFi Data, the sector has been experiencing a decline in its monthly net lending growth, which measures the change in outstanding principal. Net lending at the UK’s top four platforms was £44 million in June, down 37% from the previous month.

Rhydian Lewis, the chief executive and co-founder at RateSetter, said: “In recent months there’s been a levelling-off in general borrower demand as people defer large purchases, perhaps reflecting economic uncertainty. A more longstanding thing in our sector specifically is that platforms’ focus has been on sustainability rather than growth, with, for example, the involved process of gaining full regulatory authorisation.”

Landbay: From Prelaunch to Established Platform, How Crowdfunding Fueled Business Growth, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

John Goodall and Gray Stern launched their company, Landbay, with the help of Seedrs.  Before their website was even live, Goodall and Stern were raising seed capital on the crowdfunding platform for their vision of mortgage finance.  Their first funding round was for only £50,000 in SEIS eligible seed funding. The round closed in December of 2013 at £71,590 with a pre-money valuation of £616,667.

Jump forward three years and several crowdfunding rounds later, and Landbay, a peer to peer lending platform for secured property loans, has now financed over £42 million for hundreds of mortgages. Landbay has joined the highly respected UK P2PFA, received an investment from Zoopla and reported a  £250 million wholesale funding line provided by a European asset management firm and a major bank. Landbay is now moving forward with a strategy of balancing retail investors and institutional money and ultimately securitization. These are a step stones to furthering growth as Landbay has captured traction as a niche player in the vibrant peer to peer lending market in the UK.

We chose crowdfunding as we have found it to be an effective marketing channel to increase brand awareness and to build a network of users from day one, whilst of course raising capital!

Things are going really well at Landbay. It’s now been two years since our first loan completed, and we’ve lent a total of £42.78 million – in fact, we were 2015’s fastest growing peer-to-peer lending platform in the UK.

This startup helps people get student loans funded by grads of Harvard, Cambridge, and other top unis, (Business Insider), Rated: A

Prodigy Finance has so far lent $200 million (£152.7 million) over its platform since launch in 2008, but CEO and cofounder Cameron Stevens believes loans will total $500 million by the end of the year thanks to several big institutional clients who are set to partner with the platform.

Stevens says: “If you’re coming from India and you’ve been accepted to Harvard or London Business School or wherever it may be — all of the domestic students can access finance but if you’re coming and you’re crossing a border, none of your credit history is following you and you’re excluded from all of that.

Prodigy Finance has so far provided student loans to 4,500 people, with an average loan size of $40,000. Most of the funding goes towards post-graduate students who are looking to do an MBA or similar. Stevens says it has a 99% repayment rate on its loans.

Lending Club Scandal Provokes Major UK ‘Peer-To-Peer’ Investigation,(Forbes), Rated: A

Comment: This article brings no new point of view or additional information but summarises well the last few weeks of press in the UK on p2p.

Campaign for Fair Finance (CFF) founder Dr Roger Gewolb has welcomed the intervention of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) new chief executive Andrew Bailey as an investigation gets underway into peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, a relatively new internet-based way of obtaining a loan. It comes amid concerns in the US and UK about how safe the sector is and protections afforded to consumers.

The P2P lending market in the UK grew to over £2.3bn in 2015 from £1.2bn of new lending in 2014 according to data sourced directly from P2P platform loan books and proprietary BondMason research. It has been predicted that while the rate of growth will slow, a further £1bn to £1.5bn will be added in 2016.

“We want crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending to succeed,” states Gewolb, a British American financier and consumer protection advocate. “We need an alternative to the tired old banks, but they need better oversight without regulating or legislating them out of business.”

Turning to Andrew Bailey’s first grilling before the Treasury Select Committee earlier this week on Wednesday 20 July, the new CEO of the FCA, a main UK financial regulatory body that operates independently of the government, said that he was actually concerned about the way peer-to-peer lending is sold to consumers. And, he believes lenders get very close to promising investors they will get their money back, plus the interest they have been promised.

However, this cannot in fact always be guaranteed in all instances as P2P lenders are not protected by the UK’s government-backed Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Any funds lent through a P2P website are not covered by the FSCS, which by contrasts with safeguards traditional bank savers have for up to £75,000 (c.$100,000).

Mr Bailey also even warned that he felt there were similarities in the way UK’s P2P lenders operate to those of Northern Rock, a British savings bank that crashed mightily and had to be bailed out by taxpayers’ money during the financial crash of 2008. One wonders if it could all happen again.

Recently, other questions have been raised about how safe P2P lending actually is. Highlighting matters, Funding Knight, a UK P2P website platform that promised investors returns as high as 12% for lending money to small businesses, was rescued by investment firm GLI Finance earlier this July after falling into administration (a British form of ‘Chapter 11’). Hundreds of people had feared that they would lose all of their money when the company simply ran out of cash.

Gewolb stresses vigorously too that: “The P2P platforms are clearly competing for bank deposits from the public, and yet they are running without anything near the strict supervision, transparency, independent oversight and protection that banks in the UK are subjected to as a matter of course.” “As things stand, the P2P loans market is relatively untried, untested and not vigorously regulated. Who is looking out for the consumer if it all goes wrong?,” asks Gewolb. He has a point.

“We are here to help,” explains Gewolb. “Whilst we want the industry to survive and thrive, we fear that to date there is not the requisite amount of transparency and independent oversight needed.”

“At the same time we are concerned that there could be over reaction by the regulators and the industry could be regulated out of sight,” argues the campaigner. As the Chinese proverb goes ‘Be careful what you wish for – You just might get it’.

Taiwan

Regulatory Development of Peer-to-Peer Lending in Taiwan, (p2p Banking), Rated: A

Comment: the language in the article seems translated from Chinese. 

In order to encourage and accelerate the development of fintech industry in Taiwan, the financial authority, Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) of Taiwan, has published Fintech Development Strategy White Paper on May 2016[i]. One of main goals is evaluating the possibility of introducing the mechanism of P2P lending into Taiwan’s capital market and providing a regime for regulating this industry.

Some business models of P2P lending are forbidden due to conflict with The Banking Act[ii] in Taiwan. Recently, it is considered to be introduced in Taiwan and evaluated by the recently established project team of the financial authority in Taiwan, Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC)[iii]. Despite the fact that the attitude toward P2P lending industry of financial authority in Taiwan is still vague, as of July 2016 there are three P2P lending platforms already providing their services in Taiwan, including Lend & Borrow[iv], Wow88[v], XiangMinDai[vi]. They have tried to design their business model to avoid potential legal risks. For better understanding of the P2P lending industry, this article tries to provide a brief regulatory overview of Taiwan in following part.

Currently, there is no any specific regulation toward this industry in Taiwan. Although there is no financial regulation of P2P lending in Taiwan, Banking Bureau of FSC has issued a statement[ix] on April 14, 2016, pointing out some legal compliance issues for P2P lending platforms, including (1) platforms should not involve in issuing any securities, (2) ensure privacy of customers, (3) activities of deposit and store-value business without licenses are forbidden, (4) illegal ways of debt-collection is forbidden.

Korea

Online Lending Takes Root in Korea, Spurring Rush for Regulation, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

South Korean investors beset by Asia’s third-lowest benchmark yields are embracing peer-to-peer loans that offer average rates of about 9 percent and not a lot of information about where the money winds up.

The nascent online P2P lending market more than doubled to 72.4 billion won ($63.7 million) in the first three months of 2016, Korea’s Financial Services Commission reported on July 12. Cumulatively, P2P loans made since 8Percent became the first platform in December 2014 totaled 153 billion won as of June, the Korea P2P Finance Association of 22 companies estimates.

The expansion is being stoked by South Koreans’ desperation for returns, with the yield for 10-year government bonds slumping to 1.42 percent last week. That’s lower than every Asian nation apart from Taiwan and Japan. The rapid growth has added to urgency for Korea’s government to protect investors from potential fraud, and the Financial Services Commission held a meeting Friday to start drafting industry guidelines. China cracked down last year after a site called ­Ezubao was alleged to have cheated 900,000 investors.

“You must watch out because many P2P businesses don’t clearly disclose where the investment money goes,” said Park Tae-woo, a credit analyst at Samsung Securities.

P2P lenders such as 8Percent, Funda and Midrate directly match lenders with individuals or businesses in need of money. The industry generally offers average rates of about 9 percent to 10 percent, according to the firm 8Percent. The Bank of Korea on July 14 held its benchmark interest rate at a record low 1.25 percent.

Singapore

Singapore: Crowdo gets MAS licence for P2P lending, equity crowdfunding, (Deal Street Asia) ,Rated: A

Singapore-based crowdfunding platform Crowdo has received its full Capital Market Services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for securities crowdfunding (SCF) to deliver both peer-to-peer (P2P lending) and equity crowdfunding.

The Securities Commission Malaysia is currently in the midst of operationalising P2P financing for small and medium businesses by 2017. It has called for submissions from those interested in launching P2P financing platforms and had reportedly received about 100 submissions.

Crowdo’s platforms in Malaysia and Indonesia were started just a few months of each other. Since then, the ECF platform in Malaysia has gone on to help facilitate both the largest ECF offer in the region and the first ECF offer lead by a venture capital firm Gobi Partners. On the Indonesian lending platform, it has processed more than 600 loans with zero defaults.

“The license granted to us by MAS effectively makes us the first and only operator in Southeast Asia that can undertake P2P lending under a full license. We are here to stay and to play our part in making Singapore a truly exciting global fintech hub,” it said.

India

Should you look at alternative loans?, (LiveMint), Rated: A

There is a high rate of technology adoption in the SME segment and most of the applications get completed online, he said. Capital Float lends Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 crore, for tenors of 60 days to 4 years, with interest rates in the range of 16-19% per annum, Rishyasringa added.

w_money-lead-kBAG--414x621@LiveMint

China

The regulated evolution of P2P lending in China, (Fintech Innovation), Rated: AAA

The latest regional report on Alternative Financing published by the University of Cambridge, Tsinghua University and University of Sydney in partnership with KPMG titled “Harnessing Potential: The Asia Pacific Alternative Financing Benchmarketing Report” positions China as the world’s largest alternative finance market with transaction volume in excess of US$101.7 billion in 2015 – almost 99% of the total volume of Asia Pacific.

The online alternative finance market in China grew from US$5.56 billion in 2013 to reach US$101.7 billion in 2015 averaging 328% growth rate over two years. Peer-to-peer lending, both consumer and business together, account for about 91% of all alternative financing in the mainland.

alternative_financing_in_china_2015-600x349

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending remains the popular option for consumers and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in China that otherwise would have difficulty getting funding from banks. The lack of regular oversight during the early days of P2P lending in China has led to a mushrooming of online lending platforms with some estimates of as many as 2,595 P2P platforms in 2015. The closure of over 896 such platforms in 2015, in addition to high profile scandals such as the eZubao Ponzi scheme, has prompted the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) to released new rules.

growth_of_alternative_financing_in_china_2015

China’s CreditEase to Raise $ 200 Million for Private Equity Fund, (Bloomberg Tech), Rated: AAA

CreditEase Group, which runs a wealth manager and peer-to-peer lender Yirendai Ltd., is seeking to raise $200 million for a global private equity fund as Chinese individuals step up investing abroad.

The fund, which CreditEase started in May, invests in companies directly as well as private equity funds. Representatives from KKR and Blackstone declined to comment.

A separate $80 million pool has invested $50 million in consumer loans from U.S. Internet lenders Prosper Marketplace Inc. and Avant Inc., according to Williamson. The firm has also set up funds focusing on areas such as financial technology and real estate both overseas and in China.

CreditEase distributes products through its 3,200 wealth advisers from about 150 offices in China. The wealth business had more than $6 billion of assets under management at the end of last year. The firm is the majority shareholder of Yirendai, the first Chinese online-loan platform to obtain an overseas listing. Shares of Yirendai have more than doubled in New York trading this year.

Default Pain Turns Into Gain for China’s Debt Rating Companies, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

China Bond Rating Co. started selling “The Riskiest Chinese Bond Issuer List” this year and has offered more training sessions to financial institutions than in the whole of 2015. Golden Credit Rating International Co. said it had set up a new department to address investors’ inquiries and provide seminars. S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service also reported a spike in interest from fund managers.

Chinese regulators have stepped up controls on rating firms after investors expressed dissatisfaction. The China Securities Regulatory Commission said in March it had issued warning letters to six of them on violations.

Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Shanghai Brilliance Credit Rating & Investors Service Co., China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co. and China Lianhe Credit Rating Co. cut a record 88 bond issuer ratings in the first half of this year, compared with 57 downgrades in the same period of 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Corporate bond defaults dropped to zero in July, from one in June and five in May, amid signs that local governments are helping companies in financial trouble.

china downgrades vs upgrades chart

China Bond Rating’s Yang said there has been an “obvious” increase in foreign investor subscriptions to the firm’s list of the riskiest bonds. It provides risk appraisal on debt portfolios for investment firms, and started issuing a daily report evaluating newly sold notes from February. The firm has trained almost 1,000 people nationwide on credit risk management through 10 workshops it has held this year, up from 7 in 2015.

“The surging defaults are giving space for rating agencies to develop risk management businesses,” said Fullgoal’s Ye. “But Chinese regulators should make sure there are firewalls between a ranking company’s rating and investment advisory services.”

Luo Guang, chairman of Golden Credit, sees more defaults in the second half than the first.

China has a boom in ‘get rich quick’ schemes, instead of the economic reform it needs, (South China Morning Post), Rated: A

The Chinese government has been promoting the slogan “All People Innovate, Tens of Thousands Start Business”.  This movement is becoming a bubble with tragic consequences down the road. Starting a business is hard. Innovation is harder.

The start-up mania won’t solve China’s economic difficulties. The economy has been in the doldrums for four years because the government is not addressing the structural problems. The truth is that the investment and export-led model has run into a brick wall; the world is just not big enough for China to develop like Japan or the Asian tigers.

China’s needed reforms are not coming because they conflict with the political doctrine of concentrating economic power in the state sector. Hence one bubble after another has been stoked in the hope that a miracle would happen to the economy without the need to shrink the government.

P2P is the latest, but by no means the biggest, example of the true nature of China’s bubbles. They are about robbing the masses to enrich the few, all in the name of innovation or boosting the economy.

“Get rich quick” is the reigning ideology today, especially for the young. Nothing fits the description better than the internet bubble.

China should stop chasing pipe dreams and get back to basics. Its economy has great potential. Its per capita income could be doubled just by carrying out proper reforms: first, household disposable income should be lifted from 40 to 60 per cent of GDP; second, investment should decrease to 30 per cent from half of the economy; and third, the market, not the National Development and Reform Commission, should decide where and how much to invest.

The hard part is that all these necessary reforms depend on shrinking the state sector and limiting government power. China’s future depends on it.

Author:

George Popescu
George Popescu