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.

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

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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.

Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub restructures SME lending. Funding Circle lowers return projections. RateSetter receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise. SoFi could get $500M funding from Qatar. Today’s main analysis: How personal loans impact credit scores a year into repayment. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Employer payday loans and continuous billing using today’s technology. Interview with Deserve’s […]

The post Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

fintechs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingClub shuts down SME lending arm (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

US peer-to-peer lending pioneer Lending Club has closed the doors on its in-house small business lending operation, reports Julie Muhn at Finovate.

Opportunity Fund, a non-profit small business lender; Funding Circle, one of the largest alternative small business lending platforms in the US; and Lending Club have teamed up to offer Lending Club’s small business clients’ access to credit. Businesses can now borrow up to $300,000 for rates as low as 5%.

How Personal Loans Impact Debt and Credit Scores a Year Into Repayment (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Key findings

  • One year after taking on a personal loan, 52% of borrowers owed less overall on credit cards and personal loans. These borrowers’ balances — the sum credit card and personal loan balances — fell $811 on average.
  • Among baby boomers who took out personal loans, 56% lowered their overall balances after their first year of repayment, compared with 52% of Generation X and 48% of millennials.
  • Boomers also lowered their balances by much larger amounts, owing an average $2,048 less after a year. Balance reductions of younger borrowers were more modest: Generation X lowered their overall balance by $338, and millennials reduced their overall balance $250.
  • A year into repaying a personal loan, credit scores declined slightly for all age groups. Boomers’ credit scores declined the least, with the median falling just 1 point from 669 to 668. The median score of Generation X personal loan borrowers fell 7 points, from 659 to 652. Millennial credit scores fell 10 points, dropping from 661 to 651.
  • Credit utilization rates — the ratio of the sum of credit card balances to the sum of credit card limits — show a similar trajectory. One month after taking a personal loan, the median utilization rate fell from 35% to 26%. But after the first month, utilization increased. The median utilization rate one year after taking a loan increases to 44%.

How To Get Your Paycheck Early (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Speaking of Walmart, the retailer has partnerships with two fintech startups–Even Responsible Finance and PayActiv–that enable its US workers get part of their salary paid before payday.

Employees can get up to eight drawdowns (called Instapays) on their salary ahead of scheduled payouts. The first eight drawdowns are free to the employees, and then in subsequent use, fees are levied across a personal finance app available through Even.

Continuous Billing

There’s no reason why billers can’t provide continuous information about what a customer owes, in real time, online or through mobile apps.

Deserve’s Kalpesh Kapadia: ‘We promise the best credit card for our customer’s profile and life stage’ (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The financial system has always struggled with young people. Because the system uses credit history, young people were frequently excluded from credit products because they’re new to the system. If you’re an immigrant or foreign student studying in the US, it’s way worse. Kalpesh Kapadia set out to change a system that was skewed against young people. He’s the co- founder and CEO of Deserve, which offers credit cards to college students at 2500 universities in the US.

To do this, he’s created an analytics-based lending platform that’s also branching out into powering credit cards as a service. We talk about how Deserve is able to underwrite credit-thin files and why he thinks his firm is at an advantage when it comes to competing against Marcus’s credit products and Apple’s new credit card.

Resolve Accelerates Shift to B2B eCommerce with Automated Net Payment Terms (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

According to Forrester Research, business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce is poised to reach over $1.8 trillion by 2023. To help power this explosive growth, Resolve today announced that it has formally spun out of Affirm to launch an automated payments platform offering extended net terms. Early customers using Resolve’s payment automation technology have realized significant increases in B2B sales, growth in order size, and faster sales cycles.

Online Auto Loans: The Pros and Cons (U.S. News), Rated: A

Things are different now. Almost every financial institution has an online presence, and most offer information about car loans on their site. Most also provide an opportunity to apply for financing online, with a growing number able to take car buyers through the entire auto loan process without ever having to visit a bank or credit union branch.

It’s Not Easy Solving For $ 1.5 Trillion In Student Debt (PYMNTS), Rated: A

There is $1.5 trillion worth of student loan debt outstanding in the U.S. and it is creating problems.

Admittedly the plan is quite a bit more complex than that, as detailed by Sen. Warren in a Medium post that went live yesterday (April 22). In broad strokes, for students from families with less than $100,000 a year in annual income, $50,000 in student loan forgiveness would be available. The post also calls for “substantial debt cancellation for every person with household income between $100,000 and $250,000.” The Warren plan also calls for the elimination of tuition at all two-year and four-year public institutions of higher learning, and would create a fund of at least $50 billion specifically for historically black colleges and universities. Federals subsidies for for-profit colleges would be banned.

Would You Take a Job Just for the Fertility Insurance? (Glamour), Rated: AAA

The cost, however, put it out of reach. A single round of IVF rings in at about 

dv01 Launches Credit Risk Transfer Market Surveillance Offering (dv01 Email), Rated: A

dv01 today announces the launch of its Credit Risk Transfer (CRT) Market Surveillance offering, which will be showcased on April 25 at the 4th Annual Credit Risk Transfer Symposium in New York.

dv01’s latest offering adds $1.8 trillion of Freddie Mac (STACR) and Fannie Mae (CAS) CRT securitizations to dv01’s modern web-based data analytics platform, furthering their goal of bringing greater transparency to capital markets. Building on the success of dv01’s Market Surveillance offering for consumer loans (launched in 2017), the CRT offering will allow investors to analyze historical performance of CRT deals both individually or as combined deals, perform whole market analysis, and run cash flow scenarios.

Let’s give post offices another job (The Student Life), Rated: A

As of 2017, approximately 6.5% of households in the U.S., totaling more than eight million, don’t have an account open at an insured bank, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. An additional 24.2 million households utilize non-traditional financial services that often make them vulnerable to usurious lending rates.

Americans utilizing alternative forms of credit spend nearly 10% of their salaries on fees alone. For a family making the average salary of $25,500 in 2012, those fees average out to $2,412.

The USPS has 59% of its locations in zip codes that have one or fewer banks, according to a 2011 government report. This could help people to overcome a geographic boundary.

Equifax acquires PayNet to help expand access to capital for small and mid-sized businesses (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Equifax Inc., a global data, analytics and technology company has acquired PayNet, a company that provides commercial credit risk underwriting and management solutions to online and alternative finance lenders, and commercial finance and leasing companies in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Marketplace Lending Update #5: The Very Long Arm of Colorado Law (The National Law Review), Rated: A

Recently a state court in Colorado ruled that securitization trusts that acquire marketplace lender loans originated to Colorado consumers are subject to Colorado jurisdiction. The court’s ruling derailed the attempt by the securitization trusts to escape the ongoing battle between the State of Colorado and marketplace lenders over rates and fees that can be charged to Colorado residents.

Berman Tabacco Announces Major Win for Victims of Plain Green Online Lending Scheme (BusinessWire), Rated: A

In a long-awaited opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today ruled that borrowers who took out loans from the Native American-affiliated online lender Plain Green can proceed with their nationwide RICO class action in Vermont federal court. The Second Circuit affirmed a May 2016 ruling by District Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford and comes nearly two years after oral argument on Defendants’ appeals. Berman Tabacco and Gravel & Shea PC are Lead Counsel in the case, Gingras, et al. v. Rosette, et al., No. 5:15-cv-00101-gwc (D. Vt.).

2nd Circ. Says Tribal Officers Not Immune In Payday Loan Suit (Law360), Rated: B

The Second Circuit on Wednesday rejected a bid by officers of tribe-owned lending company Plain Green LLC to escape a suit claiming they charged exorbitant interest rates on so-called payday loans,…

White Oak Global Advisors Completes $ 30M Loan for Danimer Scientific Holdings (AP News), Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (“White Oak”) today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent to provide a $30 million senior credit facility to Danimer Scientific Holdings, LLC (“Danimer”), a manufacturer of specialty compostable and biodegradable plastics. This transaction expands on White Oak’s ESG-lending platform, which aims to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) that are developing solutions to help address environmental and social issues around the world.

Online Lender Upgrade Recognized as Top Place to Work in San Francisco (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Online Lender Upgrade, a Fintech serving the consumer credit market, has been named a “Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’”by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal. Upgrade is the creation of  CEO Renaud Laplanche, the founder of publicly traded marketplace lending platform LendingClub. This is the second time Upgrade has been recognized as a nice place to work in the notoriously work focused bay area.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle lowers return projections (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has revised down its annual return projections in the face of a weaker environment for consumer credit.

The peer-to-peer business lender now predicts investors in its Balanced portfolio will achieve a return of 4.5 to 6.5 per cent a year.

Investors in its Conservative portfolio, meanwhile, could achieve 4.3 to 4.7 per cent a year.

Peer to Peer Lender RateSetter Receives Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer investment platform RateSetter has been recognized with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for excellence in innovation.

Challenger bank Tandem to double headcount as CEO warns of Brexit brain drain (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Tandem Bank said on Tuesday it had moved into a new 16,000 square foot office in London as part of plans to double headcount this year to 230 and grow to 300 people by the end of 2020.

“Last year we hit 500,000 customers when we had an expectation for 150,000,” Knox told Yahoo Finance UK.

Consumer P2P loans weigh on P2PGI fund returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) has warned that its legacy peer-to-peer lending portfolio continues to be more volatile than expected despite posting an improved net asset value (NAV) return for 2018.

P2PGI – the world’s first P2P-focused investment trust – revealed in its annual report that its NAV for 2018 was 5.2 per cent, up from three per cent in 2017.

China

How Leverage Turns Market Corrections into Crashes (Yale Insights), Rated: AAA

Q: Is shadow borrowing unique to China?

It’s difficult to study the phenomenon very precisely. We do observe shadow lending in various forms growing throughout the world, including in the U.S., and, if left unregulated, this type of lending could mean that household and financial institution leverage keeps rising in a way that is both unregulated and undocumented.

Because the Chinese government believed that the shadow sector was partly responsible for the crash, it seized the data from some shadow lending platforms and allowed us to analyze it.

Q: Who’s providing the financing in these situations?

The exact sources of financing are not well known. Some of it could be other stock investors that have put up their own holdings as collateral and borrowed against it and then lend out the proceeds on the shadow market. It could also be peer-to-peer lending platforms. It’s also believed that some of the financial institutions and brokerage firms within China may have also lent out within the shadow sector.

Trade war with US could lead to economic ‘cold war’ for China, Beijing researchers say (SCMP), Rated: A

The tit-for-tat tariff war with the US and the broad hostility is seen as a major risk endangering China’s “economic security”, along with a property bubble, local debt, unemployment and online financing including peer-to-peer lending, according to the latest edition of China’s Economic Security Outlook.

European Union

French Lender Societe Generale Issues $ 112 Million Bond on Ethereum (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

French financial services giant Societe Generale Group has issued about $112 million worth of bonds in the form of a security token on the public ethereum blockchain.

Announced today, a subsidiary called Societe Generale SFH used the OFH token (obligations de financement de l’habitat, or home financing obligations) to represent 100 million euros of covered bonds, a type of security that is backed by specific assets but remains on the issuer’s balance sheet.

The bond has a five-year maturity with a 12-month extension period, Moody’s said.

N26 opens tech hub in Vienna with a focus on security (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Fintech startup N26 is opening an office, its fourth, in Vienna. Eventually, the company plans to hire 300 software engineers, product managers and IT specialists.

API card platform Marqeta signs up three customers in Europe (Verdict), Rated: B

The platform has been signed up by French digital bank Morning, Swiss digital bank Yapeal, and Spanish POS lender Aplazame.

CoinLoan Plans IEO and Seeks Partners (Digital Journal), Rated: B

CoinLoan crypto-backed lending platform declares its intention to launch an Initial Exchange Offering and invites discussion with major crypto exchanges interested in the listing.

International

SoFi Is in Talks With Qatar for $ 500 Million Funding Round (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup Social Finance Inc. is in the final stages of closing a funding round from the Qatar Investment Authority and others, according to four people familiar with the matter.

The new round, which could close as soon as this week, is said to value the startup at an amount similar to the $4.3 billion valuation of its 2017 funding round, led by Silver Lake. Two of the people said that in order to achieve the same valuation, investors were asking for more protections should the company raise money or sell itself for a lower price tag in the future. The terms of the deal have not been finalized and could still change, the people said. All of the people asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

These are the top 10 hottest fintech startups and companies in the world (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Fintech industry funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.

Brex

What it does: Brex is a US-based corporate credit card provider, which initially focused on serving startups.

Raisin

Why it’s hot in 2019: Raisin became a fintech unicorn after raising $114 million in January, and has since then formed partnerships with Commerzbank and ClearScore. Additionally, the startup partnered with Starling Bank in 2018 to launch bank accounts in the UK

SoFi

Why it’s hot in 2019: While the company previously focused on loans, including student loans, in 2019 it has made some significant moves into the wealth management space, and launched both free ETFs and an investment product, dubbed SoFi Invest. As it becomes a more rounded financial product, SoFi will be worth watching in the next few years.

Lending Express

What it does: Lending Express is a US-based lending platform, which focuses on SMBs, and helps them gain access to more funding by providing them with advice.

Volt Bank

Why it’s hot in 2019: In January, Volt became Australia’s first fully licensed neobank. The challenger bank will first offer a suite of retail banking products, as well as budgeting and account aggregation tools, and plans to enter the SMB banking sector in 2020.

U.K. fintech now has war chest to push stateside (American Banker), Rated: A

Fresh off a $100 million funding round last year, the British startup OakNorth is preparing to license its business lending technology to U.S. banks and beyond.

The 3-year-old small-business lender is entering the U.S. at a time when fintechs and banks have stepped up their digital business lending efforts. Though OakNorth has not announced any official partnerships in the U.S., CEO Rishi Khosla said there’s appetite for what the firm is offering.

BlockFi Is Now Paying Interest on $ 53 Million of Crypto Deposits (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Crypto lending startup BlockFi has gathered another $18 million of bitcoin and ether deposits since last month, bringing its total interest-earning accounts to $53 million.

The company also lowered its minimum balance to earn interest on bitcoin from 1 BTC to 0.5 BTC and expanded its operations to India, meaning its service is now available globally, except for territories sanctioned by the U.S., U.K. and E.U.

No crypto winter for BlockFi as client base reaches 50% (CoinGeek), Rated: B

Crypto lending startup BlockFi has been growing, and now claimed that it has grown its client base by 50% in just one month.

Funds at your disposal: Digital lending making inroads into traditional lending (Finextra), Rated: A

The penetration of the internet of things and devices such as smartphones has brought in many advancements. This has made economic activities available at the touch of a button. Among the various sectors, the digital world has evolved the way traditional banking processes are being carried out. A growing number of businesses and individuals are filling applications online for taking loans rather than getting into the lengthy lending process.

Microsoft Will Pay You To Develop… Ethereum? (CryptoBriefing), Rated: B

“[ConsenSys Labs] has put up a few bounties in the vein of rethinking the lending market, and thinking about a peer-to-peer lending and a decentralized credit score system,” explains ConsenSys’ Operations Lead Vivek Singh. Instead of relying on centralized credit agencies, such a system—if successful—could allow borrowers to leverage their social connections into a sort of decentralized credit score.

India

Indian lendtech ZestMoney raises $ 20m (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

ZestMoney, a start-up that helps consumers with no credit history get loans to buy online, has raised a $20 million Series B.

‘Money Loji’ launches App that offers loans to salaried professionals within 5 Minutes (Business Standard), Rated: A

Money Loji, a modern money ending platform, has launched its App, which offers quickest and the most secure loans to salaried professionals for an immediate requirement with flexible repayment options starting from 7 days to a maximum of 90 days. They follow a unique three-step process – application, approval, disbursement which is carried out within 3-4 minutes. The eligibility criterion is a minimum in-hand of Rs 20,000/month and a minimum age of 23 years. The application requires the users to upload an identity proof, an address proof, last 3 alongside the slips.

Blockfi Launches High-Interest Crypto Lending Program in India (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

New Jersey-based crypto startup Blockfi announced Tuesday that it has expanded service to users in India. Its flagship Blockfi Interest Account (BIA) for BTC and ETH is now available in 65 countries.

Asia

Nuo Network Crypto Lending Platform Becomes Asia’s Biggest with $ 2 Million in Reserves (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: AAA

ConsenSys ventures backed Nuo.Network, which is a non-custodial lending platform recently made it to the top 5, dollar Defi (Decentralized Finance) projects and it presently the largest lending platform based in Asia. In the past month, the value of loans given has doubled, this is partly due to the growth of DAI reserves, which is now about 500,000 USD and the surge in Maker stability fees.

Why China’s Ping An OneConnect picks Indonesia for expansion (The Asset), Rated: A

The archipelago is viewed as an ideal market to benefit from the services offered by the enterprise. According to the Ping An Group, Indonesia, at around US$27 billion in 2018, is the largest and fastest-growing internet economy in Southeast Asia.

MENA

Banks use fintech to make up for lost time on financial inclusion (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

It fell to a mobile phone company more than a decade ago to financially empower tens of millions of Africans who found themselves passed over by the traditional banking sector. Now, some 12 years after Vodafone co-founded M-Pesa, the mobile payments venture that took east Africa by storm, banks are upping their game to improve financial inclusion rates across Africa and the Middle East, as technology widens their ability to deliver banking services at lower costs.

Source: Financial Times

In east Africa, the Catalyst Fund has backed Sokowatch, a three-year-old Kenya-based fintech that enables small retailers to order goods from suppliers registered on the mobile-focused platform and receive same-day deliveries. It also offers access to credit. The platform has already expanded into Tanzania and Rwanda.

In the Middle East, Citigroup has given $5m to a microloans fund in Jordan that helps give women access to credit. The financial support will help provide loans to around 10,000 additional women.

Iraq’s financial inclusion drive boosted by homegrown fintech (Financial Times), Rated: A

Around 7m Iraqis are now receiving welfare benefits or public sector salaries electronically, as the government replaces cumbersome cash dispersals with biometric debit cards that can be used at ATMs and in shops.

Only 23 per cent of Iraqis aged 15 and over held an account with a financial institution in 2017, according to the World Bank — although that figure has doubled since 2011.

Source: Financial Times

YouHodler Cryptocurrency Lending Platform Adds Dash (Dash News), Rated: A

Users will now be able to borrow in EUR, USD, or Stablecoin against their Dash as well as use the site to covert Dash to any crypto or fiat on the platform and withdraw to their crypto or fiat wallet. If a user enters their credit/debit card on the platform then they can “convert DASH to fiat and instantly withdraw that amount onto their personal cards, adding a unique “real world” utility for crypto”.

Canada

7 ways emerging fintech hubs are taking on the giants (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

Toronto is another significant fintech force in North America, and the leading fintech zone in Canada, because of the high concentration of financial organizations and technology development in Ontario. Last year Toronto accounted for CA$221 million (US$165 million) in total fintech investments across 25 deals, according to a recent report from Toronto Financial International (TFI).

Toronto ranks ninth out of the top 15 global fintech hubs, according to TFI. Currently the region has more than 190 fintech companies and 20 incubator/accelerators in operation. Payments represent the single leading category of fintech investment in the Toronto area, and combined with lending and digital currencies/FX firms it accounts for half of all local fintech activity, according to TFI.
Source: PaymentsSource
Latin America

Brazilian Credit Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 11 Million in Series B Round (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

FinanZero, a Brazilian fintech that operates as a consumer loan broker, received a new round of investment, raising USD 11 millionfrom Atlant Fonder, Dunross & Co and Vostok Emerging Finance, among other investors.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 25 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor