Tuesday March 20, 2018, Daily News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm intros in-store capabilities. SoFi prices first student loan ABS with medical residency refis. Experian targets non-prime borrowers with new credit score. RateSetter CEO warns of collaboration risk. Today’s main analysis: Hui Ying Financial Holdings’ 2017 financial results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What the Senate Banking Committee bill means. Key Chinese technology players. What Europe’s investors […]

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United Kingdom

China

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United States

Affirm Introduces In-Store Capabilities (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Affirm will partner with merchants to make Affirm financing available in-store. Now shoppers can use Affirm InStore in brick-and-mortar locations, securing credit in just seconds before they even get to the cash register, and can pay for their purchase over time in simple, fixed monthly installments. Additionally, the company announced that consumers will have the ability to instantly add a newly issued Affirm virtual card to Apple Pay, the easy, secure and private way to pay, via the Affirm mobile app.

Affirm InStore brings the same easy experience shoppers and retailers have come to expect online to the point-of-sale in brick-and-mortar locations. Affirm gives merchants two flexible options: they can integrate the Affirm InStore API (application programming interface) with their Point Of Sale (POS) system or use Affirm’s expanded virtual card experience.

According to a survey conducted by Affirm, this can impact a retailer’s brand even if the financing product is offered by a third party. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they would think less favorably of a brand that offers a financial product that can be harmful to consumers.

Affirm’s platform makes it possible for shoppers to pay for purchases over multiple-month terms with simple interest loans that don’t charge compounding interest or late fees. And, unlike most credit lenders that base loan decisions on a consumer’s credit score and income alone, Affirm takes a more sophisticated approach, using data science in credit-scoring algorithms that combine credit history and other relevant factors to assess creditworthiness.

Affirm, a startup founded by PayPal co-founder, just launched Apple Pay Credit Card without the plastic (Tech Startups), Rated: A

Affirm now has more than 1,000 merchants using its service.

The company is going after the millennials with a new type of credit card, without plastic and only available online. The company announced today the launch of Affirm virtual card to Apple Pay Credit Card without the plastic. With Affirm Virtual Card, consumers will have the ability to instantly add a newly issued Affirm virtual card to Apple Pay, via the Affirm mobile app. With the virtual card, Affirm is reinventing credit with alternative to traditional credit cards and making its micro-lending program available through Apple Pay and letting customers use their iPhones to pay in brick-and-mortar stores.

SoFi prices 1st student loan ABS with medical residency refis (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Social Finance’s second private student loan securitization of the year, which priced Friday, is also its first to include loans refinancing the debt of medical residents.

Loans refinancing the debt of medical residents and fellows account for approximately 5% of the collateral for the original collateral for the transaction, SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-B Trust, according to rating agency presale reports. The collateral for the deal was upsized, to $900 million from $700 million originally, in response to strong demand, though investors demanded slightly higher spreads on the senior notes compared to SoFi’s previous student loan securitization, completed in January.

Experian Releases a New Credit Score Aimed at Non-Prime Borrowers (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The ranks of thin file consumers continues to grow in this country. According to Experian these consumers now number 25% of the total U.S. population. These are people with five or fewer items in their traditional credit history.

Since the acquisition they have worked with the Clarity Services team to build a new score specifically for the non-prime segment. They are calling it the Clear Early Risk Score. As the name implies this new score is designed to give lenders a clearer view of the risk of these thin file consumers, many of whom should not be categorized as subprime.

When I asked Alex how this new score will be used in conjunction with their traditional FICO score he said it will be used in two ways:
1. When the consumer has no traditional file and therefore no credit score it will be used as an independent score.
2. The consumer may be originally scored as subprime and this new score could provide new  information that may lead to a different conclusion regarding risk.

 

 

 

Here’s what the latest Senate bill means for US fintech (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

A bill that the Senate Banking Committee has been drafting for several years, designed to reduce the regulatory burden for small- and mid-sized US lenders, received bipartisan approval in the Senate on Wednesday with a 61-38 vote.

The bill’s proposals include raising the threshold for the Dodd-Frank definition of a “systemically important” lender from $50 billion in assets to $250 billion, thus absolving smaller banks from strictures like annual stress tests; absolving banks with under $10 billion in assets from the Volcker Rule; and allowing small banks and credit unions to report less of their mortgage loan data, among other things.

Source: Business Insider

U.S. Online Merchants Believe Instant Financing Will Drive Increased Sales (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Online merchants in the U.S. are increasingly recognizing the importance of offering instant financing to shoppers, according to a new online e-commerce survey. Nearly two-thirds of retailers polled (64 percent) believe providing online financing options through their store is important to driving new and increased sales. Forty-six percent indicate it would decrease cart abandonment – still one of the most critical challenges for online retailers today.

The merchant survey, which recognizes the importance of instant financing among online retailers, corresponds with consumer attitudes as revealed in a Klarna-sponsored survey last year that showed:

  • Three quarters of consumers (75 percent) indicate preference for online merchants offering instant financing
  • 39 percent said they would spend more money if given instant credit options when purchasing goods and services online
  • 28 percent would be very likely or completely likely to change merchants in order to use instant financing
  • Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) would like to be presented with an instant financing option while shopping online

THE QUANTS, THE ALGORITHMS, AND THE PERFORMANCE (All About Alpha), Rated: A

In the forthcoming paper he contends that with only “a tiny handful of exceptions” (read “Renaissance”) such trading doesn’t produce exceptional results. The problem goes far beyond what one addresses by saying that the field is new and still developing, that machine learning will get better, that Big Data will get even bigger, and so forth.

Heaton asks us to contemplate Citadel LLC. This huge hedge fund “returned only about 13 percent in 2017,” which was short of the S&P 500 gain. Yet the S&P gain would have been “available quite inexpensively to anyone with the money to open an account at Vanguard Group.”

Does Citadel compensate for underperformance in bull markets by preserving capital in bear markets? Heaton says that it does not, “Citadel fell nearly 60 percent in 2008, far more than the S&P 500 index.”

Composing Architecture for Growth (Lendit), Rated: A

The same technology that is influencing this change is also making it possible to deliver that experience at a fraction of the time and cost it would take with older technology.

This ‘right’ technology means embracing cloud-based services and an API-enabled composable architecture.  Today, building an architecture is quick and cost effective, particularly through the use of cloud technology.  Rather than having to buy, build, and maintain a collection of poorly-connected systems, an API-enabled composable architecture lets institutions leverage services built on a flexible yet secure infrastructure.

A composable API-driven architecture is necessary to tap into the full potential of cloud technology. The traditional approach is all or nothing, build an end-to-end solution which relies on a single vendor which would be responsible for the implementation.  But the composable approach embraces thinking that one company cannot focus on everything and be the best at it.  The architecture can be divided in small pieces and managed through life cycles separately and tested, removed or replaced without risk.

Everlasting Capital Grows from a Basement to Inc.’s 500 List (deBanked), Rated: A

“I was making $267 a week at the pawn shop and I was having to ask friends to help me pay my rent for a room,” Feinberg said. “So at that point, I realized that something needed to change.”

That question prompted Feinberg to present to his brother and Murphy the idea to start a finance company. Feinberg said he drew up a business plan in a day and a half and his brother and Murphy agreed to give him $3,000 to start the company. That was November of 2012.

And it did. After a year, Feinberg’s company, Everlasting Capital, made $110,000 in commissions and $3.5 million in volume. Within that first year, he also hired three people and moved from the basement of the pawn shop in Rochester, NH to a 600 square foot office in the same town.

This lightning fast trajectory is by no means common. That’s why Everlasting Capital made it onto 2017’s Inc. 500 list, the iconic list of America’s fastest growing private companies. By year two, Everlasting Capital earned $640,000 in commissions, generating $14 million in volume, and by year three it earned $1.6 million in commissions with $18 million in volume.

A Conversation with Lendup’s CEO Sasha Orloff and Vice President Jotaka Eaddy (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: A

We were happy to connect with LendUp’s co-founder and CEO Sasha Orloff and Jotaka Eaddy, the company’s vice president of policy, strategic engagement and impact. Orloff, Eaddy and the rest of the LendUp team are clearly mission-driven professionals who want to put borrowers on the pathway to better financial health.

The Financial Revolutionist: Sasha and Jotaka, it’s great to see you again. Sasha, I know you started the company in 2011 with your step brother, Jake. When did you start making loans?

Sasha Orloff:    Thanks Gregg. We recently hit our six-year anniversary of our first loan. Although Jake and I “started” the company in 2011, LendUp was really born after coming out of Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class.

FR:     Is access to credit a civil rights issue that needs more attention?

JE:    Absolutely. It’s just that some of the blatant racism that’s confronting our nation these days takes center stage on TV and social media. But historically, race has played a major role in accessing credit and how people are marginalized when trying to access it. Plus, when you look at the predatory products across this country, they are heavily marketed to poor communities. So yes, safe access to credit is an important issue for me — and should be for everyone — and LendUp is on the right side of it.

OCC once wanted payday lenders to ‘stay the hell away’ from banks. No longer (American Banker), Rated: A

More than a decade has passed since federal regulators cracked down on partnerships between payday lenders and banks that had been designed to circumvent state interest rate caps.

Now the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, operating under newly installed leadership, has taken a notable step in the opposite direction.

The agency said Friday that it has terminated a 2002 consent order with Ace Cash Express.

South Dakota is an example of a state that could be impacted. Sixteen months ago, the state’s voters approved a 36% interest rate cap. Critics of payday lending worry that federal banking regulators may effectively overturn such laws, and that last week’s decision by the OCC is a step down that path.

Goldman Sachs Adds LPL Financial to Its Securities-Lending Business (US News), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs Group Inc has signed LPL Financial Holdings, the largest U.S. independent broker-dealer by revenue, to its securities-based lending platform, the bank said on Tuesday.

Called GS Select, the platform was launched last year as a way for the Wall Street bank to target borrowers who have less than $10 million in investable assets. GS Select issues loans worth $75,000 to $25 million that are collateralized by the borrowers’ investment portfolios.

Goldman’s typical wealth clients have at least $50 million in assets.

Questions raised as robo advisers hire humans (FT Advisor), Rated: A

Robo-advice firms offering automated financial advice have begun incorporating human advisers into their service, raising questions about how this will impact their business models.

Schroders-backed Nutmeg is currently looking at introducing human advisers into its service, while rival Scalable Capital, in which Blackrock has a large minority stake, has recently done just that.

Cerberus completes Cyanco acquisition (PE Hub Network), Rated: B

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. today announced the completion of the previously announced acquisition of Cyanco Holding Corp. by a Cerberus affiliate from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. The transaction closed on March 16, 2018.

Cyanco will continue to be led by its current management team. As part of its investment, Cerberus will be putting in place a new board of directors for Cyanco. The new board will be chaired by Daniel Ajamian, an executive who has been Chairman of several other Cerberus portfolio companies.

Here Are 7 Atlanta Startups That Have Raised More Than $ 100 Million in Funding (Atlanta Inno), Rated: B

Kabbage, a FinTech company that connects small businesses with capital they need, is sitting pretty at $1.6 billion in total funding acquired since its debut on the Atlanta credit scene in 2009. Kabbage was recently in the news after the lending startup announced that, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, it would stop processing loans to assault-style weapons manufacturers.

Greensky, a consumer lending company which offers paperless solutions and financial services to businesses, secured a total of $350 million in funding in just two rounds.

 

United Kingdom

RateSetter CEO warns of ‘risk’ of collaboration over competition (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

At the Innovate Finance Global Summit at London’s Guildhall, Lewis warned that if the two cohorts solely collaborate, there would be little visible change from the viewpoint of the consumer.

“The technological advances being made are unstoppable; the question is who is going to take them to market,” he said on Monday.

There have been an increasing number of partnerships between fintech firms and the very incumbents that they are trying to disrupt. US investment bank Goldman Sachs has acquired a number of innovative start-ups through its online lending platform Marcus.

report released last month from consulting firm Capgemini and corporate networking website LinkedIn found that more than 75 per cent of fintech firms cite collaborating with incumbent firms as their primary business objective.

 

The state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is working on secret plans to create a standalone digital bank to compete with emerging British fintech champions including Monzo and Revolut.

Sky News has learnt that RBS has assigned one of its top executives to the project, which is so confidential that few people inside the company are aware of its existence.

RBS has already struck agreements with a number of leading fintech companies such as Funding Circle, with which it works to direct customers to peer-to-peer and other providers of alternative finance.

 

LendInvest launches second retail bond offer (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

The online platform for property finance has issued a five-and-a-half year 5.375% fixed rate retail bond due October 2023.

Payments under the bond will be guaranteed by LendInvest and the bond will be secured by way of a floating charge over the whole of the undertaking and all property, assets and rights, both present and future, of the issuer.

LendInvest’s first retail bond – which trades on the London Stock Exchange – raised £50m from a broad base of retail and institutional investors.

As of 31st December 2017, the bond was 99.6% utilised, with an interest coverage ratio of 192% and a weighted average LTV ratio of 57%.

Letter: Build a brighter future (Watford Observer), Rated: A

My suggestion was Funding Circle, which enables businesses to access finance independent of their banks and allows them to receive funds within a couple of weeks, compared to up to three months with a traditional bank loan.

It’s been a tried and tested investment since August 2010 and there are currently 18 councils investing through the Funding Circle platform, and the amounts invested vary from £1,000 to £2 million.

The Funding Circle minimum a council could lend to a business is £20, so Funding Circle suggests lending £2,000 would allow a council to lend to at least 100 businesses, lend no more than 1 per cent of the portfolio to each business.

What recent IPOs reveal about the state of fintech (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Over the last week or so we’ve seen not one but two fintech focused venture capital style listed funds list on the London market: Augmentum Fintech raised £94m while TruFin hit the market with a £70m valuation. Both of these funds have their own unique characteristics although perhaps the most interesting information from the listings is what they reveal about the likely worth of the alternative finance space in the UK.

The fund’s 15 per cent stake in Zopa, by contrast, seems a little more tangential though it’s also the single most valuable asset in the fund.

City of London and Innovate Finance Launch Fintech Strategy Group (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The City of London Corporation and Innovate Finance have jointly announced the launch of the Fintech Strategy Group (FSG) to help continue the success of the UK Fintech sector. According to Innovate Finance, the group will combine senior industry leaders across the sector including banks, regulators, and innovative Fintech startups.

The purpose of the FSG is to foster a collaborative dialogue on the future of UK Fintech – a vital issue as Brexit weighs on the financial services industry.

 

 

China

Chinese Tech Major Key Players – Tencent, Vipshop, Weibo, and Yirendai Market Analysis & Forecast 2017 to 2022 (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

China’s government is intent on upgrading its manufacturing sector and leading the world in a range of advanced technologies. Implicit in its “Made in China 2025” 10-year plan is the notion that China will displace the US as the world’s dominant technological power.

The US is likely to remain a leader in all major advanced technologies over the next decade, with Baidu the only Chinese player equipped to challenge the US’s lead in next generation technologies such as AI. There are signs though, that China is closing the overall gap faster than we expected.

This report researches the state and thrust of Chinese technology over the next two to five years and what it implies for global technology investors.

Hui Ying Financial Holdings Corp. Reports Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Results (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Revenues increased by 88.4% to $46.5 million and loans facilitated through platform increased 59.9% to over $1.3 Billion

Source: Markets insider
  • Total loans facilitated through our platform increased by 59.9% to $1,308.7 million for the year ended 2017 from $818.5 million in 2016, as China’s online peer-to-peer lending platform industry continued to grow significantly during 2017, coupled with an increased marketing campaign, promotion activities on our platform as well as increased brand awareness of our online marketplace. This led to accumulated value of loans facilitated through our platform in the aggregate amount of $2.87 billion since the launch of our marketplace in December 2013 through the end of 2017.
  • We had 8,047 borrowers and 69,232 investors participated in an aggregate of 23,263 loans during 2017, compared to 1,067 borrowers, 39,999 investors and 8,739 loans during 2016. As of the end of 2017, we had 367, 893 registered investors and 24 cooperative partners who frequently serve as guarantors of loans on our platform.
  • Total revenues increased by 88.4% to $46.50 million for the year ended 2017 from $24.68 million in 2016, as a result of an increase in loans facilitated through our platform and the contribution from the newly launched entrusted loan business. Revenues from loan origination service fees, loan repayment management fees and financing income from entrusted loans were $26.70 million$18.21 million and $1.58 million, respectively, for the year ended 2017 compared to $17.49 million$7.19 million and nil, respectively, in 2016.
  • Net income increased by 344.1% to $15.27 million for the year ended 2017 from $3.44 million in 2016. Diluted earnings per share was $0.21 for the year ended 2017, compared to $0.05 for 2016.

Blockchain startups are overvalued: Q&A with Anju Patwardhan, Managing Director at CreditEase China (Technode), Rated: B

Blockchain technology is in full swing. Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are all vigorously investing in blockchain technology and Chinese VCs are fishing for blockchain tech companies. What’s more, the Chinese government is also poised to educate Chinese people about this booming technology. However, that doesn’t mean that all blockchain projects are viable.

With a $500 million fund and another RMB fund with the same amount, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund is investing in fintech companies, mostly participating in B and C rounds.

European Union

Here’s what investors in France, Spain and Italy are up to (GooRuf), Rated: AAA

Lendix is one of the leading European players in the crowdlending sector for SMEs and although it is not yet active in the UK or outside of Europe, it sure is expanding fast.

So what are investors’ preferences?

– The French investor prefers grade A projects with a duration of 37 to 48 months.
– Spaniards are the most risk-averse and tend to invest more in projects with A and A + grades, but are not opposed to longer durations.
– Italian investors are the most risk-prone: they prefer B rated projects but with shorter durations (0-24 months).

This data shows that the Lendix community invests 11% more on A, A + and B + projects than on B or C ratings. Moreover, the duration seems to have a relative impact in terms of amounts invested, even if investors are more attentive to this parameter in the case of small projects (amounts up to 100,000 euros). In general, the community invests 32% more in long-term projects.

These 2 brothers just declared a mortgage price war – and Sweden is going nuts (Business Insider), Rated: A

Sweden’s mortgage industry is today worth around 3 trillion krona ($370 bn), according to Statistics Sweden, and most of the interest on these loans end up in the pockets of big banks.

A new fintech venture called enkla.com has today launched a potentially game-changing service. The Swedish online lender offers consumers a 0.95% fixed mortgage rate for three years, which is considerably less than the 1,6% average for similar loans among Sweden’s major banks, according to Di Digital.

Enkla’s self-stated goal is to borrow 100 billion SEK ($12,2 billion) worth of mortgages in the next 18 months by issuing mortgage bonds on the international markets, Di Digital writes. If the target is met, Enkla.com would be looking at a 3 percent share of the Swedish mortgage market.

The service enters a market where Sweden’s household debt has exploded from 66 percent to 87 percent of GDP in the past decade, driven by soaring housing prices. Consumers are evidently hungry for a cheaper deal than what banks can offer. Currently, Sweden’s four biggest banks – Swedbank, Nordea, Handelsbanken and SEB – have 75 percent of the country’s mortgage market, Breakit reports.

Enkla.com takes a 0,35% cut on the mortgages.

Beyond data sharing, open banking boosts omnichannel payments (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

In Europe the move to open banking has been driven by regulations such as the revised Payment Services Directive PSD2 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which compel banks to open their core systems to allow customers to control and release their data to third parties delivering added value services.

In other territories with no regulatory imperative, the drive towards open banking is led by the desire to provide the best customer experience, with added value services, new business models and connected marketplace products from third parties and vice versa. To do this, the application programming interfaces (APIs) of the bank will need to be open and connected to external providers. And cloud technologies will be fundamental in enabling this to become a reality.

International

Tech and Global Money Transfers: Why We Need Each Other (Canstar), Rated: AAA

Digital disruptors such as peer-to-peer lending services, mobile apps and blockchain have shifted the market, offering borderless accounts combined with speed and transparency.

Powering these disruptors are new technologies like artificial intelligence, big data and robotics, which are changing the customer experience; providing unprecedented insights into customer behaviour that help deliver a more seamless money transfer experience.

The World Bank predicts the value of global remittances will grow by 3.4% to USD$616 billion in 2018. In order for the industry to continue to thrive, businesses will be better served by coming together to redefine the future of money transfers.

A bitcoin trading firm just opened up a lending business — and it’s going gangbusters (Business Insider), Rated: A

Bitcoin might be in a bit of a slump, but one brand new bitcoin business is going gangbusters.

Genesis Capital, the recently launched subsidiary of market making firm Genesis Trading, has close to $100 million in loans outstanding, a person familiar with the company’s operations told Business Insider. That’s a striking milestone, considering the business was launched two weeks ago.

It gives out loans worth $100,000 or more in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash. BlockTower Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund, and DV Chain, a crypto trading firm, are some of Genesis’ clients, according to people familiar with the matter.

Autonomous NEXT estimates the number of crypto funds has increased to 226. That’s up from approximately 50 at the end of August 2017. In total, they manage approximately $3.5 to $5 billion, a tiny fraction of the $3.2 trillion managed by traditional hedge funds.

What are the technology trends to look out for in 2018? (Investment Week), Rated: A

One key trend at the forefront of the digital space is artificial intelligence (AI). Some estimates predict that the AI market could grow from $5bn to $120bn by 2025.

A report from digital consultancy Juniper Research, has found that annual cost savings derived from the adoption of ‘chatbots’ in healthcare will reach $3.6bn globally by 2022, up from an estimated $2.8m in 2017.

The UK is leading the way when it comes to peer-to-peer lending, and is one of Europe’s largest alternative finance markets at £4.9bn, according to the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School.

 

Fintech: partner, build, or buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

“Fintech” covers many things, but is often used to refer to nonbank firms that leverage cutting-edge technology to deliver financial services directly to consumers and businesses. In that sense, banks initially viewed fintechs as competition, as they compete for lending, personal finance, payments, and other consumer services.

1. What’s the problem to be solved?

Sounds like common sense, but a fintech partnership should necessitate an extensive evaluation of the underlying need, such as filling in product or service gaps, or, in this bank example, offering borrowers a digital channel for applying and getting to closing quicker on a commercial loan as their primary competitors offered. Clear objectives help the bank and fintech determine if the match is on solid ground from the start.

A fintech partnership should offer the bank an upside—quantitative and qualitative—that simply isn’t available at more favorable cost, risk, and performance measures under the build or buy options.

2. What’s the difference between buying vs. partnering with a fintech?

Is it a shared risk and shared reward? Does the reward justify the risk? Or is it just the innovation culture of the third party? The definition is critical as the process of evaluating a fintech’s performance, costs, and risks entails unique considerations from a typical vendor evaluation.

Many partnerships are really just vendor relationships. That’s okay. In many cases, banks with extremely low risk appetites prefer the typically lower risk of a vendor relationship. One fintech exec noted how impossible it is to run many banks’ risk gauntlets because they don’t understand what they are getting into.

Asia

Indonesia eyes banking boom (Asean Economist), Rating: A

Indonesian banks will enjoy “more than 12 per cent” loan growth this year due to a recovering global economy and rising commodity prices, according to Jakarta’s financial regulator.

Loan growth in Indonesia has fallen below 10 per cent since early 2016, compared with more than 20 per cent during the preceding commodity boom.

MENA

Interview with Ahmed Moor, CEO of Liwwa (P2P Banking), Rated: A

What is Liwwa about?

liwwa is a marketplace lending platform that provides funding to small and medium businesses in Jordan. Our mission is to support job and income growth in the region. To date we have underwritten about 10 million USD in loans. This has helped to create 475 jobs in Jordan, 1.77 million USD in income, and 13.05 million USD in economic output.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

The type of investors we target are financially-savvy professionals who already have a portfolio of investments. They are attracted to our service because it is a way for them to further diversify their existing portfolio. The other advantage is that there are no big barriers to testing out the platform – provided he meets certain basic criteria, anyone can register and there is no minimum amount required in order to start lending.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

There is a 240 billion USD capital access gap in the MENA region. For borrowers, we provide a much-needed alternative to bank financing.

Canada

BMO launches banking chatbot with Finn.ai (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

The chatbot – called BMO Bolt – is available via Facebook Messenger, which is Canada’s “top messaging platform”, according to Finn.ai.

84% of the country’s population uses a smartphone to access Facebook and 38% performs mobile banking tasks via mobile phones, the vendor adds.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday October 30 2017, Daily News Digest

third-party collections

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club closes 5 investment funds, rebrands LC Advisors. CommonBond closes $248M securitization, receives AA S&P rating. LendingTree Q3 results. LandlordInvest expects to double IFISA intake. Ant Financial puts off IPO. Renredai volume surpasses 37.8B RMB. New Zealand prepares for open banking. SMART Box to debut in Canada. Today’s main analysis: Don’t forget about loan recoveries. Today’s […]

third-party collections

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Lending Club Closes Five Investment Funds, Rebrands LC Advisors (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Yesterday, Lending Club announced the closure of several funds. The funds were part of what was previously known as LC Advisors, an investment management company dedicated to investing in notes originated by the platform.

Since each fund is a separate legal entity there were many different buyers that participated. While we don’t know the terms of the deals or who purchased these loans, Suri did share with us that there were over 40 bids for the assets and 5 of the 6 funds have been sold at fair value or a slight premium.

 

What happens next?

Lending Club is rebranding its asset management business. Now called LendingClub Asset Management or LCAM for short.

When we asked Suri about positioning the new offerings to investors he stated that their biggest flagship fund under LC Advisors had delivered slightly over 6% annualized since 2011.

CommonBond Closes $ 248 Million Securitization, Secures Inaugural S&P Rating of AA (CommonBond), Rated: AAA

CommonBond, a leading financial technology company that helps students and graduates pay for higher education, today announces the close of a $248 million securitization of refinanced student loans. The offering’s most senior notes achieved AA ratings from Moody’s, S&P, and DBRS – Aa2, AA, and AA (high), respectively – the company’s highest ratings to date.

The transaction was CommonBond’s fifth and largest to date. Investors submitted $1 billion in orders, making the deal more than four times oversubscribed. Goldman Sachs served as structuring agent, co-lead manager, book-runner, and co-sponsor. Barclays and Citi also served as co-lead managers and book-runners on the transaction, while Guggenheim Securities served as co-manager.

The transaction was the first of CommonBond’s to be rated by S&P, who assigned AA ratings to the transaction, alongside similar ratings from Moody’s and DBRS. Moody’s and DBRS also recently upgraded CommonBond’s ratings on previous deals in recognition of the company’s strong credit performance.

Don’t Forget about Loan Recoveries (Orchard Platform), Rated: AAA

To showcase the significance of the third-party debt collection industry in America, the New York Fed publishes in their Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit a ‘Third-Party Collections’ chart (below). As of 2017-Q1, between 12-13% of consumers with debt have debt being collected by third-party agencies (blue line). Of those, the average amount of debt in collections is ~$1,400 (red line).

Source: Orchard Platform

The 2015-2016 roll rate matrix is experiencing a higher percentage of loans going from non-performing (60-89 DPD & 90-119 DPD) to current when compared to the 2013-2014 roll rate matrix. This 100 bps difference for 60-89 DPD and 200 bps for 90-119 DPD can be attributed to the improvement of servicers’ collection and outreach programs for delinquent loans.

Source: Orchard Platform

Consumer loans have experienced a monthly recovery rate between 5% to 15% within different portfolios on our platform. Based on this table, a $100M pool of loans would have a $1M valuation difference between a 5% and 15% recovery rate input.

LendingTree Reports Record 3Q 2017 Results; Increasing Full-Year 2017 Guidance (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced results for the quarter ended September 30, 2017.

Third Quarter 2017 Business Highlights

  • Record revenue from mortgage products of $73.8 million represents an increase of 38% over third quarter 2016 driven by strong growth in both purchase and refinance revenues at 87% and 24%, respectively. According to Mortgage Bankers Association, originations industry-wide were down 16% in the comparable period.
  • Record revenue from non-mortgage products of $97.7 million in the third quarter represents an increase of 138% over the third quarter 2016 and increased to 57% of total revenue compared to 43% one year ago.
  • Home equity revenue growth accelerated, increasing $9.0 million, or 176% over third quarter 2016, and marked the eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth exceeding 100%.
  • Personal loans revenue of $25.4 million grew 44% over third quarter 2016 and grew 24% sequentially.
  • Revenue from our credit card offerings grew to $39.4 million in 3Q compared to just $6.6 million in 3Q 2016. On a proforma basis, giving effect to the CompareCards and MagnifyMoney acquisitions as if they had occurred on January 1, 2016, credit cards revenue grew 43%.
  • More than 6.5 million consumers have now signed up for free credit scores and savings alerts through My LendingTree, and the volume of new enrollments accelerated. Revenue contribution from MyLendingTree grew 96% in the third quarter compared to the prior year period as new features and smarter savings alerts are driving increased engagement.

Third Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Record consolidated revenue of $171.5 million represents an increase of $76.9 million, or 81%, over revenue in the third quarter 2016.
  • GAAP net income from continuing operations of $10.1 million, or $0.74per diluted share.
  • Record Variable Marketing Margin of $59.1 million represents an increase of $22.8 million, or 63%, over third quarter 2016.
  • Record Adjusted EBITDA of $34.7 million increased $16.2 million, or 88%, over third quarter 2016.
  • Adjusted Net Income per share of $1.17 represents growth of 65% over third quarter 2016.
  • During the quarter, the company repurchased 42 thousand shares of its stock at a weighted-average price per share of $237 for aggregate consideration of $10.0 million. As of September 30, 2017, the company has $38.7 million in repurchase authorization remaining.

Business Outlook – 2017

LendingTree is revising Revenue, Variable Marketing Margin and Adjusted EBITDA guidance for full-year 2017, as follows:

  • Revenue is anticipated to be in the range of $603 – $608 million, representing growth of 57% – 58% over full-year 2016 and an increase from prior guidance of $580 – $590 million.
  • Variable Marketing Margin is anticipated to be $202 – $205 millioncompared to prior guidance of $190 – $195 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated to be in the range of $111 – $113 million, up 59% – 62% over full-year 2016 and an increase from prior guidance of $103 – $106 million.

McKinsey Report on Financial Services Big Tech vs. The Big Banks (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

A recent report from McKinsey on the global banking industry addressed the threat banks face from technology firms. Amazon stock jumped 13% on earnings and reporting that Amazon is increasing its lending footprint. Tune into Bloomberg Radio archive to hear more about this topic as PeerIQ’s CEO discusses the threats and opportunities of big technology with Bloomberg’s Lisa Abramowicz and Pimm Fox.

Summary of Amazon’s Lending Business
Amazon finances small businesses that sell products through the Amazon marketplace on an invitation-only basis. Interest rates range from 6 to 15%, tenor ranges from 4 to 6 months, and loan size is up to $750K.

Although there is no segment-level P&L reporting for the lending unit, loss-rates according to Amazon’s Peeyush Nahar have been “very, very small.” Amazon’s lending makes up a small part of their business (e.g., $3 Bn in loans to date vs. Amazon’s $136 Bn annual revenue). Amazon is also not directly financing the consumers indicating substantial opportunity to grow.

Owning the Customer
The most compelling advantage big tech has outside of data and customer acquisition are the creation of entirely new channels that banks cannot easily replicate.

A few examples:

  • In-Home: Large consumer tech firms occupy the most intimate space of consumer through services such as Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home, or Apple’s Siri. These platforms represent a trojan horse for delivering new products and services in a highly personal and exclusive manner.
  • Personal assistants that are increasingly anticipatory and have access to the calendars, preferences, and daily lives of consumers.
  • Mobile and virtual wallets which shift the battleground from legacy “share of wallet” and “primary card” concepts to mobile platforms and virtual wallets
  • Virtual spaces created via social media including Facebook or services such as Lyft or Uber which enable unobstructed access to the consumer.

Anticipation For Amazon’s SMB Lending Disruption Grows (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Technology giants like Google and Amazon, which gained their market muscle from non-finance-related ventures, are slowly stepping into the space. Their next target could be small business lending, and according to some experts, it’s fast approaching the market.

Amazon in particular is positioned to dominate. The company has already lent more than $1 billion to merchants selling on its platform, and, just as alternative lenders put the pressure on traditional FIs with their quick surge into the market, the Amazons of the world will do the same, Mills predicted.

Chatter Picks Up Steam

Karen Mills’ statements have found new backing in the latest banking report released by McKinsey & Co. this week. New reports in Bloomberg on Wednesday (Oct. 25) said the report identifies Amazon as the newest, biggest threat to the small business lending status quo.

The report points to sagging return on equities for the banks, which have not been able to surpass 10 percent since the 2007/2008 global financial crisis. The FIs that collaborate with those FinTechs could boost their return on equities to 14 percent and even higher if they develop their own solutions in-house.

Amazon, Tech Companies, Are Challenging Big Banks (Bloomberg), Rated: A

GUEST: Ram Ahluwalia, CEO and co-founder of Peer IQ, on how Amazon and other big tech companies are challenging big banks.


Why Student Loan Companies Like SoFi Are Becoming Useless (Fortune), Rated: A

In fact, starting this year the entire business model of private student loan refinancing may prove to be less viable.

First, only a tiny percentage of all student loan borrowers can reap significant savings from private loan refinancing. And second, the private refinance boom was created by a historically large spread between federal and private rates. As today’s federal student loan rates fall and private loan rates rise, that gap is shrinking.

SoFi, for example, claims the average lifetime savings of borrowers who have refinanced with them is $22,359. I tried using SoFi’s own calculator to arrive at such a figure, and found that a borrower paying 8% on $100,000 in loans with 10 years remaining could refinance down to 4.5%, saving up to $177 a month or $21,285 over the life of the loan.

Consumer finance site NerdWallet indicates that the average approved borrower at SoFi has an annual income of $130,000 and an average credit score of 766. From this we can infer what kind of borrowers fit SoFi’s profile: lawyers, doctors, MBAs, and other professionals who are high earners.

It turns out that private lenders are targeting a very small slice of student loan borrowers. To put things in perspective, as of September 2017, only 6.9% of all working professionals make $130,000 or more per year.

Credit Sesame Raises $ 42 Million in Growth Funding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Credit Sesame, a fast-growing, personalized credit service and financial wellness company, announced today it has raised over $42 million in equity and venture debt. The funding comes from existing and new investors including Menlo Ventures, Inventus Capital, Globespan Capital, IA Capital, SF Capital, among others, along with a strategic investor. The funds will be used to accelerate the company’s growth, hiring, and member acquisition, and to advance its analytics, robo-advisor and machine learning technologies.

There’s something broken in small-business lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks often tout the strength of their small-business loan programs. So why are their small-business customers so hacked off?

It’s hardly an enigma, according to J.D. Power. The thing that sticks in the craw of most small-business owners is that their banks have not assigned account representatives to take care of their needs, the market research firm said in its latest Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study.

McDonald’s Owners Settle PA Payroll Card Class Action (PYMNTS), Rated: A

McDonald’s franchise owners in Pennsylvania have settled a lawsuit filed in 2015 over their use of payroll cards, news reports on Wednesday (Oct. 25) said.

Owners of 16 McDonald’s locations across the state have agreed to pay nearly $3 million to hourly employees that joined a class action lawsuit against the fast food restaurant owners’ use of payroll cards they said were riddled with unfair fees. Employees were forced to pay fees whenever they went to an ATM to withdraw funds from their payroll cards, as well as when they made online bill payments.

The class action named the McDonald’s franchisees as well as the card-issuing banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., as defendants.

BankMobile’s long road to profitability (American Banker), Rated: A

What will BankMobile’s future look like once it is spun off from Customers Bancorp?

Customers launched the digital-only bank, designed to target millennials and technophiles, in January 2015. Since then, BankMobile has adapted an app for Apple Watch, formed an innovation unit and created a financial literacy and self-help podcast series.

Overview of US real estate platforms (online lenders) (MonJa), Rated: A

Having said that, the real estate construction sector is showing no signs of slowing down and in 2015 it reached a size of $1.113 trillion as per the U.S. Census Bureau. There was an evident demand-supply mismatch in the market that led to the rise of alternative online lenders.

Source:
  • LendingHome () – It has raised over $166 million in various rounds of funding and has originated loans in excess of $1.75 billion.
  • Fundrise () – This incredibly efficient new model enables access to a diversified portfolio of private real estate assets with as little as $500. It has raised over $55 million and has invested $1.4 billion in real estate so far.
  • Sharestates (www.sharestates.com) – It has so far funded $656 million.
  • RealtyShares (www.realtyshares.com– It has raised over $100 million in various rounds of funding and over $500 million has been invested through its platform.
  • Patch of Land (patchofland.com– It has raised almost $25 million in different rounds of funding and has done over $366 million in loan origination.
  • RealtyMogul.com (www.realtymogul.com– It has raised over $46 million in funding and over $300 million has been invested through its platform.
  • GroundFloor () – In 2015, GroundFloor became the first issuer to be qualified by SEC for selling private real estate debt investments to non-accredited investors.
  • Allrise Financial Group Inc () – It has originated $ 162 million in loans so far and has a network of 169 borrowers in four different countries.
  • CrowdStreet (www.crowdstreet.com) – It has raised over $5.5 million so far and has done $155 million in equity loan funding.
  • Money360 (– The company’s total loan origination stood at $70 millionin 2015. It has raised almost $165 million in debt financing from multiple investors.
  • Wealth Migrate (www.wealthmigrate.com– It has raised $5.6 million so far and over $64 million has been invested through its platform.
  • Roofstock (www.roofstock.com– It has raised over $68 million in funding.
  • PeerStreet () – It has raised over $ 21 million in various rounds of funding.
  • AssetAvenue (www.assetavenue.com– It has raised over $19 million so far.
  • AlphaFlow (www.alphaflow.com) – It is the first and the fastest growing automated real estate investment service. It managed to raise $6.4 million as seed funding from various investors notably Y Combinator, FundersClub and Red Swan Ventures.
  • Acquire Real Estate (www.acquirerealestate.com– It has raised $6 million in various rounds of funding.
  • EarlyShares (www.earlyshares.com)  It has raised over $5.8 million in funding.
  • Fundthatflip (www.fundthatflip.com– It has raised over $2 million so far.
  • RealCrowd (www.realcrowd.com) – It has raised $1.6 million.
  • DiversyFund () – It has raised over $1.2 million so far.

PayNet Provides Expert Testimony to U.S. Congress on The State of Fintech (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PayNet, Inc., the nation’s provider of credit assessments on privately held commercial lending businesses, addressed The Congress of the United States, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Small Business to testify on online lending’s role in improving small business capital access.

New mobile application designed to reinvent personal credit (Muskogee Phoenix), Rated: A

A recent study conducted by Affirm, a company intent on reinventing personal credit, found that 67 percent of 1,600 U.S. adults surveyed expressed personal fears about debt. Almost a third — 32 percent — are fearful because they don’t know how long it would take to pay off that debt, and 72 percent of those who have carried a credit card balance worried about how much their purchases would end up costing after interest was included.

Findings like those and other factors prompted PayPal co-founder and serial entrepreneur Max Levchin to develop and roll out a new mobile application designed to reinvent personal credit. The Affirm app — rolled out this week and available for download from the App Store and Google Play — allows customers to split big online purchases into smaller, fixed payments with a virtual card.

Braviant Holdings Announces $ 40 Million Credit Facility with Redpoint Capital Group (PR Web), Rated: A

Braviant Holdings, a leading fintech startup that offers analytics and technology-driven credit solutions for underserved Americans, has entered into a $40 million Senior Secured Credit Facility with Redpoint Capital Groupfor its wholly-owned subsidiary, Balance Credit.

SBA Approves a Record $ 869 Million in Loans to NJ Small Business (Cap May County Herald), Rated: A

The U.S. Small Business Administration approved a record $869 million in loans to New Jersey small business owners during the agency’s fiscal year 2017(the period from Oct. 1, 2016 thru Sept. 30, 2017). Nationally SBA approved over 68,000 loans for over $30 billion, during the past year.

This past year, SBA has launched its online lender referral tool Lender Match. “The idea is to always be thinking of streamlining and simplifying whenever possible, when it comes to giving entrepreneurs access to capital,” said Titone. “In 2017, SBA loans have helped New Jersey companies to create 8,666 jobs and retain another 10,671 jobs. When you look at it that way, our programs are having significant impact on our local economy.”

Genesis Financial Solutions, Inc. agrees to service Signet Jewelers’ non-prime consumer accounts (Genesis Email), Rated: A

Online lenders can get needed credit to small businesses (The Hill), Rated: A

This challenge has resulted in a global small-business financing gap, estimated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to be between $2.1-$2.6 trillion in developing countries.

Four leading trades — Electronic Transactions Association, Innovative Lending Platform Association, the Marketplace Lending Association and the Small Business Finance Association — commissioned a comprehensive survey of U.S. small business owners from Edelman Intelligence.

The survey found that a large majority (70 percent) of small business owners believe there are more credit options today compared to five years ago, and 97 percent of those feel that the growing number of financing options is a good thing.

The Kauffman Foundation has found that even in the depths of the U.S. financial crisis, young and small firms (fewer than five years old and with less than 20 employees) 

State of Small Business Lending: 2017 Spotlight on Women Entrepreneurs (Fudera), Rated: A

After reading stats like women entrepreneurs receive only 16% of all traditional small business loans, we wanted to know: do these same stats also ring true in online business lending?

Our 2016 report, which can be revisited here, found that women entrepreneurs who applied for financing through Fundera were applying less, getting approved less often, receiving smaller loan amounts, and paying more for financing than their male counterparts.

In our 2017 report, you’ll find some things have remained lamentably the same as last year. But, we’re excited to say that in some of the most important areas, there have been positive and significant shifts since 2016.

  • Women are now being approved for larger loan amounts than their male counterparts in certain product categories.
  • Women are receiving offers with lower APR than men in certain product categories.
  • Women business owners still apply for business financing less frequently than male business owners do, and when they do apply for financing, women still ask for less than their male counterparts.

A startlingly low 28% of applicants at Fundera are women. However, since our last report, this number has gone up from 25%. Additionally, our last report showed that female entrepreneurs ask for roughly $35,000 less in business financing than men. Since then, the number has decreased only slightly to less than $33,000.

In The Battle For Low-Fee Financial Advice, DIY Beats The Robos (FA-Mag), Rated: A

When customers open an account at one of these automated investing firms, they’re put into funds from companies like Charles Schwab Corp. and Vanguard Group and charged a fee of anywhere from 25 to 50 basis points. In return, they get some extra benefits, like tax loss harvesting, which can result in a lower tax bill, and automatic re-balancing at no extra cost.

But there’s a catch, the funds that customers buy through these advisors are all available on free trading platforms such as Robinhood Financial, where there’s no added cost.

SelfScore rebrands as Deserve, raises $ 12m funding (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Consumer analytics company SelfScore has rebranded as Deserve, writes Julie Muhn at Finovate (Banking Technology‘s sister company).

The California-based company continues to be committed to providing underbanked Americans with access to credit, and to fuel that mission, Deserve has received $12 million in funding. The round was led by Accel, with participation from Aspect Ventures, Pelion Ventures, Mission Holdings, Alumni Venture Group, and GDP Venture, and brings Deserve’s total funding to $27 million.

Mortgage lenders: Here’s your blockchain primer (Housingwire), Rated: A

Blockchain is particularly relevant to the lending market. Lending is a contract-intensive process with an extensive lifecycle; it carries significant risk and limited trust across its value chain – from origination to funding through to the fulfillment and servicing of the loan.

Moreover, the integration of blockchain with digital lending ensures transactions are tracked in an open and transparent way. Banks and lenders get direct visibility into exactly what happened during the lending process – who was involved, who had control over the authoritative copy of the digital assets and ultimately, who owns the value of those assets, as required by law.

Jiko Raises $ 7.7m in Series A Funding (FINSMEs), Rated: A

Jiko, an Oakland, Calif.-based personal bank startup, raised $7.7m in Series A funding.

The round was led by Upfront Ventures and Radicle Impact with participation from Social Capital, 500 Fintech, Digital Currency Group, Core Innovation, Embark Ventures and Story Ventures.

Templum Raises $ 2.7M in Seed Funding (FINSMEs), Rated: A

Templum, LLC, a NYC-based fintech startup facilitating regulatory compliant ICOs as securities and secondary trading of digital assets, closed a $2.7m seed funding round.

The round was led by Raptor Group, Galaxy Investment Partners, Blockchain Capital and firstminute.capital.

Digital bank for teenagers raises $ 5m in Series A investment round (AltFi), Rated: A

Current, a new mobile-only banking platform for parents and teenagers, has raised $5m in a Series A funding round led by QED Investors.

 

10 Takeaways from the ULI Fall Conference 2017 (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: A

Touching on the recent boom in real estate crowdfunding firms, John McNellis, co-founder of Palo Alto, Calif.-based development firm McNellis Partners, divided the crowdfunding sector into two groups: firms that simply connect investors with developers and firms that invest in projects themselves. The first concept should work in the long term, he noted. But when it comes to crowdfunding firms underwriting real estate deals, McNellis pointed out that it takes at least a decade in the business to become a reliable underwriter. “To expect these 20-year-olds who are good at tech to be good at underwriting” is unrealistic, he said. McNellis added that established developers normally already have financial partners that they prefer to work with. The developers most in need of crowdfunding dollars would be either those just starting out in the business or developers with a spotty track record.

Appetite grows for riskier MPL collateral and deeper sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

The decline in underlying collateral quality — a theme across wider consumer ABS sectors — has been playing out in marketplace loan ABS, with recent deals from Prosper, Marlette Funding and Avant featuring a growing proportion of loans taken by borrowers with credit scores of less than 680.

Local veterans get help launching businesses through crowd lending (WFLA), Rated: A

There is now a way anyone can help veterans launch their new life through a concept called StreetShares.

You can invest just a few dollars or thousands to the fund. Investors can earn 5 percent on their money.

For Shane and Melissa Underwood, a $20,000 loan allowed them to purchase a piece of equipment that launched their small business Driveshaft Specialists.

3 Places Women-Owned Businesses Turn for Financing (NAV.com), Rated: A

Crowdfunding

A 2017 crowdfunding reportby the National Women’s Business Council, for example, found that 47% of successful campaigns on the popular crowdfunding platform Indiegogo were run by women.

Online Lenders

Keep in mind that online business loan shopping sites may operate in a variety of ways:

  • Lead generation sites will simply gather your information then sell it to various lenders, which may then call or email you with information or offers.
  • Online lenders may offer a specific set of loan products aimed at specific types of borrowers (for example, those with significant credit card sales). Remember: just because you can’t qualify with one lender doesn’t mean you can’t quality with others.
  • Online brokers may try to help get you funding with various lenders with whom they have a relationship. They may charge a significant fee for this service, so be sure to ask.
  • Online marketplaces will present you with options and allow you to choose which ones seem right for your needs. Ideally, you’ll also see which loans are best matched to your qualifications. (Disclosure: Nav’s small business loan marketplace operates this way.)

Zeus CrowdFunding Year-End Hard Money Offer Helps Real Estate Investors Finish 2017 Strong (PR.com), Rated: B

Zeus CrowdFunding once again offers borrowers what other lenders won’t – low rates designed specifically for the real estate investor and their year-end needs. For a limited time, qualified applicants will pay only six percent interest for the first six months of the loan term.

The company loans up to 100 percent of a project’s cost to qualified applicants in as little as four days.

On Deck Capital, Inc. (ONDK) Set to Announce Quarterly Earnings on Wednesday (Ledger Gazette), Rated: B

On Deck Capital, Inc. (NYSE:ONDK) is scheduled to be issuing its quarterly earnings data before the market opens on Wednesday, November 1st. Analysts expect the company to announce earnings of $0.03 per share for the quarter.

MākuSafe Raises $ 1.25m Convertible Funding Round (FINSMEs), Rated: B

MākuSafe, a West Des Moines, Iowa-based Insurtech startup, raised $1.25m convertible note round of funding.

Wells Fargo Adds Smart Beta to FA Platform (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: B

As banks rush to catch a wave of robo technologies, Wells Fargo Advisors is rolling out a factor-based approach designed for advisors and their clients.

The wirehouse has launched an expansion to its electronic model portfolio services platform, according to Patty Loepker, WFA’s head of research directed advisory programs. The new managed accounts program features allocations built around smart beta ETFs.

Newable Business Finance partners with Open Risk Exchange (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Litigation Finance Specialist Pravati Launches Third Fund (FINAlternatives), Rated: B

Litigation finance specialist Pravati Capital has launched its third fund vehicle to capitalize on opportunities in the burgeoning litigation finance sector.

The new fund, named Pravati Credit Fund III, will invest in mature stage, high-probability, high-value cases or case portfolios where there is established liability and precedent for settlement, according to a statement.

United Kingdom

LandlordInvest expects to double IFISA intake this tax year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

LANDLORDINVEST is expecting its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) intake to double this tax year.

The property peer-to-peer platform, which launched its IFISA in January, said it attracted £419,385 in the previous tax year and was hoping to see that double to nearer £1m.

Could this platform satiate investor appetite for manual lending? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDINGCROWD has been ranked as an alternative to Funding Circle for investors looking to continue with manual lending, as they both offer similar interest rates and borrower profiles.

Peer-to-peer analyst Orca said that before Funding Circle shifted to manual lending last month, 27 per cent of investors used the manual option, suggesting there is demand for this functionality.

UK Treasury: Cryptocurrencies Pose Low Terrorist Financing Risk (Coindesk), Rated: A

The U.K. government’s economic and finance ministry has released a new policy document stating that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin pose a “low risk” for terrorist financing.

The paper further cited the peer-to-peer lending industry, which it said has the potential to be used as a “terrorist financing tool,” though no incidences have been observed in the U.K. to date.

Regtech and financial inclusion: “For Millennials opening a bank account online is a no-brainer” (Bob’s Guide), Rated: A

How did you find your way to founding Onfido?

Initially, my co-founders and I had experience verifying identity documents meant for an offline world. The current way of verifying documentation for a standard current account requires hours and hours of face-to-face in-branch and still not getting approved; it’s no wonder there’s a 40% drop-off.

Of the 7 billion people in the world, Facebook has brought their social identity online, LinkedIn has brought their professional identity online and now we’re looking to bring their legal identity online.

How exactly are Onfido providing something that mainstream banks should take notice of?

Very simply, we help business verify the identity of the people they are onboarding digitally. That can be with a photo of their government issued ID that the user can send with a smartphone. We cover 600 IDs globally and use machine learning to verify whether the ID is genuine or not. There are three steps to our core technology. The first, we extract the details, see if the patterns are consistent and compare them to the millions of historically computed IDs. The second step is asking the user to take a photo or short video of their face, which we compare to the photo on their identity document for similarity. The third step is to check that their details – name, date of birth and address – are consistent with records on multiple databases. Altogether this verifies the person is who they claim to be and, end-to-end, takes two minutes.

We use a hybrid machine/human approach – the technology is able to automatically process the vast majority of documents, and the small number of outliers are passed to our expert human team for review. It means that human resource can be put to more effective use, and would heavily cut down on the 30,000 people employed by Citibank, for example, who just work on onboarding and compliance checks.

As a Millennial yourself, how much of a role do you think generations play on attitudes to banking?

Millennials are just so used to doing absolutely everything on their phone.

Fintechs have really monopolised the millennial market and they’re building the models to ensure they keep that market for the next 15-20 years. That’s where PSD2 becomes very relevant as a leveller of the playing field for the market – it’ll increase healthy competition.

Silicon Valley investors double funding for UK tech after Brexit (The Telegraph), Rated: A

Silicon Valley investors have more than doubled funding for UK technology companies this year, in a sign of strengthening links with the world’s biggest tech hub after the Brexit vote.

British start-ups received £884.8m from venture capital backers based in San Francisco and the Bay Area in the first nine months of this year, compared to £342m in the whole of 2016, according to London & Partners, the London mayor’s promotional agency.

London fintech firms set for record investment despite Brexit (Descrier), Rated: A

According to the latest figures from London & Partners (L&P), the Mayor of London’s official promotional firm, investors from around the world have backed London-based fintech firms to the tune of £825m so far this year. This is a positive sign for the industry after UK fintech investment plummeted by more than a third in 2016 as investors put off decisions in the wake of the Brexit vote.

One of the biggest London fintech success stories, currency exchange platform Transferwise, is reported to be in discussions with investors to raise a further £77m, which would value the company at more than £1.2bn.

What the peer-to-peer lending industry learnt from Lego (City A.M.), Rated: A

Strange as it may seem, using the analogy of Lego may be the best way to demonstrate why we believe the peer-to-peer (P2P) industry also isn’t – and can’t be – a one trick pony. While some see the industry as a fad that is set to become redundant, there are many reasons why this isn’t the case.

P2P platforms are exploring a range of new and old ways, and their aim is to create something which is more equitable, satisfactory and useful for everyone.

Homelyfe Raises £2.4M in Seed Funding (FINSMEs), Rated: B

Homelyfe, a London, UK-based insurtech startup, raised £2.4m in seed funding.

Uber appoints former Bank of England senior adviser as non-executive UK chair (Independent), Rated: B

Uber has appointed a former senior adviser to the Bank of England as non-executive chair in the UK, as it endeavours to clean up its image and “make things right” after Transport for London last month revoked the ride hailing company’s licence to operate in the city.

Laurel Powers-Freeling, who will take up the newly created position, is currently senior independent director at online lender Atom Bank.

Quantuma Joins UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Quantuma, a corporate recovery and business advisory firm that works with several peer-to-peer lending platforms, has joined the UK Peer to Peer Finance Association(P2PFA). Earlier this year, the P2PFA announced the creation of Associate Membersto broaden its membership beyond strict lending platforms.

China

Alibaba-Affiliate Ant Financial Isn’t Itching to Go Public (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Flush with cash, Chinese financial-technology giant Ant Financial Services Group is putting on hold plans for an initial public offering while it steps up investments in everything from startups to artificial intelligence, according to a senior company executive.

Investors and analysts have been expecting Ant to go public sometime in 2018. The Hangzhou-based company last raised $4.5 billion from private investors in April 2016 in a deal that gave it a $60 billion valuation—and its business has since expanded significantly.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

51 CreditCard (u51.com), an online platform for credit card bill management, is reported to be listed on Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) in 2018, aiming to raise at least 500 million dollars.

According to a report of China Daily, the credit database of PBOC has collected credit information of more than 840 million individuals as well as more than 19 million companies and organizations by the end of April. Among these agencies, only 255 licensed micro loan companies have been connected to the company credit information system and 156 to the individual credit information system.

From November 1st, customers will be able to pay their train tickets by using WeChat Pay through the official booking website 12306.com or in the train station (booking office/self-service ticket machine).

On October 26thBihubao.com reached cooperation with France’s No.1 mutual insurance provider VYV.

On October 18th, Trustdata released the long-awaited “Trustdata: China Consumer Finance Analysis Report (2017)”. The document presents a comprehensive review of consumer finance development in China, makes a deep analysis of payday loan, installment credit and consumer behaviors, and proposes a new concept called “Consumer Finance Development Index”.  Statistics from the research notes that, by the end of last month, the credit scale of consumer finance in China has reached more than 110 billion yuan with 3.7 million registered users.

Chinese fintech firms set for flurry of IPOs in US, HK (China Daily), Rated: A

The phenomenon of “Chinese companies lining up for an IPO in the United States or Hong Kong” has re-surfaced recently, Tiger Brokers, an online brokerage helping Chinese investors trade US- or HK-listed stocks, told chinadaily.com.cn Thursday.

Beijing-based Jianpu Technology Inc, which is 100 percent controlled by RONG360 Inc filed its preliminary prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, without the estimated IPO price range, on Oct 20.

Prior to Jianpu, Chinese online small consumer credit provider Qudian Inc made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct 18. Qudian priced its IPO of 37,500,000 American depositary shares (ADSs) at $24.00 per ADS for a total offering size of about $900 million, according to Xinhua News Agency. Qudian closed at $26.39 Wednesday after diving 7.24 percent, still above its IPO price.

Total Volume of Renrendai Surpass 37.8 Billion RMB (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Recently, Renrendai issued its performance report for the third quarter of 2017.According to the report, the cumulative turnover of the platform surpass 37.88 billion RMB, with 524 thousand transactions in total.

More details, Renrendai remained steady growth in the third quarter. The volume on the platform reached 6.51 billion RMB this quarter, a 109% increase over the same period last year, and the amount of money that investors earn is up 55% from the same period last year. In addition, the per capita borrowing amount on the platform is 80.8 thousand RMB, which represents the capital requirements of small business owners and self-employed people in the class, and always below the national regulations of loan balance ceiling of $200000.

Qudian Stock Fell Below its Offer Price (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 27th October, the shares of Qudian tumbled again, closing down $3.59 to $22.8, down 13.6% below the offering price of $24 a share.

The company has fall into constant questioning just after it landed in the SEC. Luo Min, the CEO of Qudian, responded several questions through an interview Qudian’s Luo Min Respond To All, but this move has raised more query. Many media and media outlets gathered to lambast Luo Min for “lying” in her response.

On 23th October, Luo Min avoided all the media interviews again. Since then, the shares of Qudian began to slump, which closed at $26.39 on 26th Oct, down nearly 20 percent from the opening price of $31.89 on Wednesday.

Chinese fintech Rong360 targets 0m US IPO for subsidiary Jianpu (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Jianpu Technology Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese fintech firm Rong360, has filed for a $200 million IPO in the US. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan are bookrunners for the deal, according to a stock exchange filing.

Read more at:

China to tighten regulation of fintech consumer loans (Financial Times), Rated: A

China is preparing to tighten regulation of online consumer lending as part of a campaign against financial risks, dealing a possible setback to Chinese fintech groups that hope to sell shares in the US.

Household debt in China remains low as a share of GDP, and authorities have encouraged growth of consumer credit as a way to rebalance the economy towards consumer spending, but now concerns are rising about irresponsible lending practices online.

Online consumer lending has replaced peer-to-peer lending as the trendy new area in Chinese fintech, as a regulatory crackdown on P2P reduced that sector’s profitability. Short-term consumer loans outstanding in China grew by Rmb1.49tn ($225bn) through the first nine months of this year, compared to an increase of Rmb830bn for all of 2016, according to PBoC data.

China a fast learner when it comes to artificial intelligence-powered fintech, experts say (SCMP), Rated: A

Chan also said the rapid growth of new fintech services, such as peer-to-peer lending marketplaces and online money market funds, was made possible by a lack of innovation by the country’s traditional banks in addressing the needs of not only the average consumer, but also many small and medium-sized enterprises.

High-flying start-up Ant Financial Services Group, which runs online payments service Alipay and money market fund Yu’ebao, has made AI a key driver for expanding its businesses and improving customer service.

China was the world’s second-biggest investor in AI enterprises last year, injecting US$2.6 billion into the sector, according to the state-run think tank, Wuzhen Institute. The United States topped the list with US$17.9 billion in investments.

Source: South China Morning Post

Sesame Credit, fintech and social credit scores in China (Technode), Rated: AAA

What would your reaction be if you wanted to get a loan and your bank asks to go through your Facebook profile? In China, this is already happening on a large scale, but it’s not banks that are doing the rating—it’s the country’s burgeoning fintech companies. And it’s not Facebook they are looking at—its social platform WeChat and shopping website Taobao.

Social credit scoring analyses data from non-traditional sources: social media, online shopping, payment apps, cell phone accounts, and more. This type of scoring is meant to fill a gap for people who want a loan but don’t have any way of proving they can repay one. In order to gauge whether you are creditworthy or not, the score can take into account a number of variables: who your friends are, what you buy, whether pay your bills on time or even how much time you spend reading the user agreement. It’s like FICO but decidedly more creepy.

Alibaba was once a kind of shadow lender too. The company first started building its own credit scoring model to provide loans to Taobao vendors. For this, it relied solely on the platform’s ability to gather big data—transactions, user ratings, market positioning, and others.

Sesame Score (screenshot above) tracks five areas: identity information, such as information on users’ education and work, ability to keep financial obligations, credit history, behavioral preferences like shopping, money transfers, and connections with other people. In return, it offers deposit-free bike and power bank rentals as well as other benefits.

Source: Technode

China’s Social Credit System And P2P Lending: An Opportunity For Yirendai (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Yirendai (YRD) is a Chinese fintec company focused on facilitating unsecured loans. Leveraging the experience of its parent company, CreditEase, Yirendai has facilitated more than RMB 47 billion (US$7 billion) of loans since commencing operations in March 2012.

Financials and performance

Yirendai’s core business has seen rapid growth, facilitating over RMB 20 billion(US$3 billion) in loans in 2016, up 112% from 2015. The most recent forecastfrom the company expects loan volume to continue to grow through 2017, with RMB 35-37 billion (US$5.3-5.6 billion) this year. Earnings have been strong and growing as well, with net income for the six months ending June 30, 2017, rising from RMB 392 million to 620 million (US$58.9 million to 93.2 million) over the same prior-year period, translating to diluted earnings per ADS of RMB 6.71 to 10.26 (US$1.01 to 1.54) for the same periods.

China’s upcoming Social Credit System

Presently, eight companies have been licensed to develop algorithmic SCS scoring systems, including China Rapid Finance, a partner of social network TenCent (OTCPK:TCEHY) and Sesame Credit, which is run by Ant Financial, an Alibaba (BABA) affiliate.

European Union

 

Italian peer-to-peer lender launches its own fund, targets €100m raise (AltFi), Rated: A

Italian P2P firm BorsadelCredito.it has followed in the footsteps of its UK antecedent Funding Circle by launching a closed-end fund. The unlisted fund, which is called Colombo, hopes to raise €100m to invest across a 5 year timespan, and is managed by BorsadelCredito.it (through a vehicle named ART SGR SpA). The fund’s custodian bank is Caceis Bank.

By investing in Italian SME loans, originated exclusively by BorsadelCredito.it, the fund will target a yield of 5 per cent (5.5 per cent pre-tax).

Europe’s fintech lenders don’t want to become banks (yet) (AltFi), Rated: A

To be or not to be a bank? That was the question asked by Funding Circle boss Samir Desai at the AltFi Europe Summit in London earlier this year (video below).

Desai left the audience in no doubt that Funding Circle has “no plans” to launch a bank. Later that same day, Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana delivered his keynote: “Why we’re launching a bank”.

José Rego, who runs Portuguese P2P firm Raize, sees the issue as black-and-white.

“By definition, if you become a bank, you stop being an alternative lender,” he said. “Becoming a bank is an extremely complex and very expensive strategic decision which typically takes into consideration other elements besides the equity value generated by the alternative lending. Only a select number of platforms are likely to have the opportunity to become banks (if they wish so). So, in reality, I don’t think it should be something we’re thinking about within the industry.”

CLP Initial Coin Offering Announcement (Cointelegraph), Rated: B

Crypto Lending Project (CLP) announces its crowdsale campaign.

Name: CLP coin

Start Date: 1st November, 2017

End Date: 30th November, 2017

International

Global Assets under Management set to rise to $ 145.4 trillion by 2025 (Finchannel), Rated: AAA

In a new report ‘Asset & Wealth Management Revolution: Embracing Exponential Change’, PwC anticipates that global Assets under Management (AuM) will almost double in size by 2025, from US$84.9 trillion in 2016 to US$111.2 trillion by 2020, and then again to US$145.4 trillion by 2025.

By 2025, AuM will have almost doubled – rising by 6.2% a year, from US$84.9 trillion in 2016 to US$145.4 trillion in 2025, with the fastest growth seen in the developing markets of Latin America and Asia Pacific.

While active management will continue to grow and play an important role, reaching $87.6 trillion by 2025 (60% of global AuM), PwC predicts growth in passive management to reach $36.6 trillion by 2025 (25% of global AuM).

If current growth is sustained, the industry’s penetration rate (managed assets, as a proportion of total assets) will expand from 39.6% in 2016 to 42.1% by 2025.

PwC anticipates assets growing at 5.7% a year in North America from 2016 to 2020, slowing to 4.0% per annum from 2020 to 2025, lifting assets from US$46.9 trillion to US$71.2 trillion over the nine years. Similarly, Europe is projected to grow at 8.4% and 3.4% per annum respectively over the two periods, with assets rising from US$21.9 trillion to US$35.7 trillion.

Banks need to fear Amazon’s finance ambitions: McKinsey report (American Banker), Rated: AAA

McKinsey said that the industry needs to continue its digital makeover to protect the up to 40 percent of revenues at risk by 2025 and prepare for competition from so-called platform companies like Bezos’s Amazon.com Inc.

As he extends Amazon’s reach, the Seattle-based company has had discussions with banking regulators about financial innovation, according to lobbying disclosures reviewed by American Banker. And it already has a small-business lending arm that has doled out more than $3 billion to more than 20,000 of the merchants on its e-commerce platform.

The global banking industry, which had an 8.6 percent return on equity last year, could offset the loss of profits from price competition by partnering with platform companies and generating more revenue from their data. Banks that go further by creating their own platforms could elevate their ROE to 14 percent, according to the report. ROE is a measure of profitability.

How Mobile Phones and the Internet are Changing Banking (The Merkle), Rated: A

Furthermore with smartphone prices of $30 to $50, Asian markets maintain a robust mobile market. 76% of Taiwan is connected to mobile, and 70% of Myanmar is connected.

Experts estimate Asia as the region to become the fastest growing Internet region by 2020. And while their internet industry is flourishing, only 27% of Southeast Asians have a bank account. In 2017, China has 731 million internet users. That is only 53.1% of the population. China represents internet development at a fast pace, but it still has 21% unbanked. Internet traffic growth in Myanmar is at 58%, yet Myanmar is one of the lowest banking rates in Asia with over 70% of adults (aged 15+ years) unbanked.

P2P Lending Will Change the Way Credit Is Dispensed Globally (Crytocoins News), Rated: A

As an example OECD research points out that financial sector works constitute 19% of the top 1% earners but the share of finance in the overall employment is only 4%.

In developed world, there are huge reserves of money lying in banks at sub zero, zero or miniscule interest rates. On the other hand in the developing world where there is a dearth of credit, loans can only be had at rates as high as 20-30%.

According to Eurostat, SMEs represent around 99% of all enterprises. In OECDcountries alone SMEs are responsible for job creation to the tune of 60-70%.

Source: Cryptocoins News

Karma plans to use the blockchain in such a way that individuals as well as legal entities can make the most of profitable relationships with each other. This will entail creating a community of participants, who will be able to lend money, borrow money, insure against default, Score loans and carry out assessments and even collections. All of this will be fuelled by the Karma token that will be at the centre of this new ecosystem.

The sale of Karma tokens is legal in all jurisdictions including the United States and China. Qualified US investors can participate. The basic price of Karma Token is US$ 0.01. Early investors can get discounts of 50% till US$ 1 mln is collected, thereafter 30% discount is available till US$3 mln is collected and 15% till US$ 8 mln is collected. There is a hard cap of US$ 10 mln on the token sale.

Click, pay, study – how fintech is impacting international education (The PIE News), Rated: AAA

Though fintech can take many forms, “I think the disruption is really in the payer experience,” says Sharon Butler, EVP, education at Flywire, a global payment solutions company. “Essentially we are leveraging banking infrastructure. I think really what fintech is, is sort of the blend of the old and the new.”

Preceding the growth in cross-border tuition fee payment services, which track the money and file it instantly with minimum costs involved, were more staff resources sifting through multiple transactions and matching them to the student, coupled with uncertainty from the student’s side about when or whether the money would actually have arrived.

Improvements in payment services is one of the biggest ways fintech has benefitted students, agrees Devie Mohan, founder of fintech research company, Burnmark.

Fertile ground in China
Financial technology as an industry has grown globally at an unprecedented scale. Last year, fintech reaped $17.4 billion of venture capital investment – a colossal increase on the $2.5 billion it received just four years ago.

And $7.7 billion of this investment went to China, seeing it overtake the US as the top investment market for fintech companies for the first time.

A platform targeting the Chinese market has recently struck a deal to partner with ChinaPay, the online payment subsidiary of China UnionPay, one of the world’s payment giants.

The mobile payment industry is one which has grown particularly quickly in China in comparison with other countries around the world, predominantly led by Alipay and WeChat Pay. These two platforms combined saw $2.9 trillion in transactions overall last year.

Modernising student loans

But it was Prodigy Finance that entered the loan market specifically to serve international students. Since its inception in 2007, the platform has lent over $310 million to international students all around the world to study overseas, and is expanding its services.

 

Ethercash Aims to Revolutionise Three Core Functions of Finance (Coinidol), Rated: B

Financial services startup Ethercash has proudly announced its Pre-ICO Campaign, which will raise funds to develop its blockchain-backed financial platform. The Ethercash platform aims to revolutionise three core functions of finance to bring greater transparency and security in the way we lend, send and spend. The Etherecash platform will allow its users to leverage their cryptocurrency holdings to acquire fiat currency loans without the need for credit history, through the application of lawyer-backed smart contracts. The Etherecash Pre-ICO campaign will run from October 25th, 2017 until November 7th, 2017 and ICO campaign will begin November 15th, 2017 and finish on  December 19th, 2017.

Australia/New Zealand

NZ prepares to join the ‘open banking’ revolution (Stuff), Rate: AAA

Andrew Sieprath is among the first people in the Europe to embrace “open banking” as a customer.

His chosen banking provider is Revolut, which isn’t even a bank.

Revolut is just one of three “open banking” services due to launch here in the next few months. They will lead New Zealand into something of a banking revolution which threatens to do to banks what Uber is doing to taxi firms, and ultimately put more pressure on them to cut staff or close branches.

There are many emerging open banking models, but as a starting point, think internet banking that’s slicker, more intuitive, and allows users to see and manage accounts from multiple banks in a single place.

Robo-advice raises alarm (Financial Standard), Rated: A

While the technology behind robo-advice is making it cheaper to invest, it doesn’t mean it is actually providing advice let alone the right advice, says the Association of Real Return Investment Advisers general manager Rebecca Jacques.

She told a recent Calastone forum that she put a few global and domestic robo-advisers to the test by giving each the same simplistic target: to pay her young children’s private school fees.

Every robo asked for a country of origin; only one asked for a tax bracket – but what was “scary” was that not one asked if the funds would be used for private school tuition, she notes.

COBA conference 2017: small banks need to work together on tech (The Courier Mail), Rated: A

IN the competitive fight against the big banks, smaller lenders such as credit unions find themselves hopelessly outgunned in terms of technology budgets.

But the chairwoman of the Customer Owned Banking Association said smaller lenders were taking opportunities to collaborate on budgets and spruce up their technological offering.

3 apps helping Australians buy real estate in ways that traditional banks can’t (Business Insider), Rated: A

But the report found property transactions made up a very small part of that alternative financing industry, making up just $49 million, or 8%, of the $609 million dealt out in 2016.

Australia lags behind the Asia-Pacific average (excluding China) of 17% of alternative financing going towards real estate. The popularity of peer-to-peer property financing in South Korea is a big contributor to the high average.

The $49 million alternative lending spent on real estate in Australia is made up of $36 million in peer-to-peer lending and $13 million in crowdfunding. In the US, peer-to-peer is worth $1 billion and crowdfunding $800 million.

  • CrowdfundUP –  The startup has so far allowed 2,000 people invest in 17 projects, with individual investments typically ranging from $5,000 to $2 million.
  • BrickX – BrickX, as previously reported by Business Insider, allows everyday folk to invest in fractions of a residential property through units called “bricks”, which can cost as little as $66.
  • CoVESTA – The real estate on offer includes residential, commercial and even agricultural properties, with investors requiring to contribute at least 5% of the purchase price if they wish to be a tenant in the property. For passive ownership, just 1% ownership is required.
India

RBI Regulations For P2P Lending Industry: A Win Win Situation For Both Platforms And Consumers (Inc42), Rated: AAA

It has been observed that, when the P2P lending industry or any other industry is prudently regulated, it attracts more participation. In terms of P2P, the regulation will increase entry of investors as well as borrowers. This is a reason why RBI regulating the NBFC-P2Ps is a long-term positive for the Indian P2P lendingindustry.

RBI regulating the sector means dead-end for players that are looking only to generate money without adding any value.

P2P regulations: A missed opportunity (Livemint), Rated: A

However, the potential social benefits of P2P lending are contingent on a facilitative and proportionate regulatory ecosystem. A review of the P2P regulations issued by the RBI leaves much to be desired in that sense. Saliently, the P2P regulations delegate potentially arbitrary discretion to RBI in gatekeeping, impose high market-access barriers that would inhibit innovation in a technology-intensive sector, and lack clarity around critical issues like leverage ratio.

A. Excessive regulatory discretion: One of the principal governance issues of a modern state is injecting accountability into regulatory discretion.

B. Disproportionate minimum capital requirements: The RBI has prescribed a mandate that would require a minimum net-owned fund (NOF) of Rs2 crore.

C. Lack of clarity around critical issues like leverage ratio: Leverage ratio is defined as “total outside liabilities divided by owned funds, of the non-banking financial corporation in P2P (NBFC-P2P)”. This leverage ratio has been capped at 2.

Online Lending Platforms Rewriting Traditional Lending Habits in SME and MSME Financing in India (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

The current marketplace for financial products in India is still highly inefficient, time-consuming & uncertain for customers – especially the SMEs and the MSMEs. When they require loans as working capital or for expenditures like purchase of raw materials, payment towards wages etc. to achieve scale and growth, approaching a bank directly or even visiting loan aggregator websites becomes challenging in terms of time & information. Also, due to varied risk appetite of traditional financial institutions, many SME and MSME entrepreneurs are often puzzled in terms of documentation requirements; different banks and lenders have their own set of risk parameters which they assess while sanctioning a lending facility. This results in high rejection rates within the loan ecosystem.

Why online lending is emerging as an enabler for India’s MSME industry

New-age fintech lending marketplaces endeavor to revolutionize the country’s financial lending patterns by changing the way it works. They are enabling easy access to loans by connecting these small businesses to financial institutions on a consolidated platform for quicker sanctions. Such neutral platforms, with customer-centric features offering a wide range of loan products and end-to-end loan fulfillment, enable MSMEs to concentrate on building their businesses rather than worrying about finances to fulfill the gap in their cash flows or fund their expansion and growth.

I2I Funding cofounder Neha Agarwal: Saw significant business growth post-demonetisation (Financial Express), Rated: A

While the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) guidelines for lenders and borrowers on peer to peer (P2P) lending platforms are important cautionary moves, caps on lending should ideally be linked to lenders’ incomes, Neha Agarwal, co-founder of i2ifunding, told Shritama Bose. The company has disbursed more than Rs 3 crore so far in FY18 and has a full-year target of Rs 10 crore, she added.

We have had more than 30,000 registrations on our platform so far, of which around 25,000 people are registered as borrowers and around 5,000 as lenders. Since launch, around 500 loans have been disbursed and we have around 2,000 active lenders.

The average loan size is about Rs 1.5 lakh.

Almost 90% of the lenders have invested more than once. Around 40% of lenders are lending regularly on our platform.

Five platforms which were a boon during demonetization (Business-Standard), Rated: A

  • Paytm
  • Faircent
  • Rubique
  • LoanTap
  • BankBazaar
Asia

P2P Gold Lending, Bullion, and Physical Crypto Storage (Palisade-Research), Rated: A

Gregor has a company in Singapore where individuals can securely store their gold and silver.

Using peer to peer lending you can withdraw up to half of your holdings in loans at low-interest rates. For example, if you have $100k worth of gold you can deposit and take out a loan for 50k at around 3.5% interest per year.

Here are some emerging bright spots in fintech innovation in Asia (e27), Rated: A

The fast growing Fintech industry is another feather in the cap of rising Asia. According to EY FinTech Adoption Index 2017, there is a palpable global shift of fintech activities from the UK and the US to Asia.

Source: e27

Another report provided by KPMG and CB Insights says in 2016, investments in Fintech companies in Asia hit $8.6 billion across 181 deals.

Source: e27

In light of this, fintech innovation labs and fintech accelerator/incubator spaces are rapidly growing throughout Asia, especially in Hong Kong. The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is collaboration between Accenture and leading financial institutions including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, and Standard Chartered, etc.

A bout of high-profile mega-rounds in the Chinese market has also played a vital role in uplifting Fintech investment. One such activity was a whopping US$4.5 billion funding round by Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba group. The other smaller but successful funding rounds in China during 2016 were: US$73 million to Quant Group, and US$30.4 million to China Rapid Finance.

According to a recent research conducted by Startupbootcamp FinTech Mumbai and PwC, it was found that more than 95% of financial service companies are seeking partnership with Fintech startups through collaboration rather than competing with them.

Another report regarding Indian Fintech ecosystem is more interesting. It says Indian Fintech market is expected to double from current US$1.2 billion to US$2.4 billion in 2020.

VCs call on startups to set sights on SE Asia (The Investor), Rated: A

Tan, who formerly partnered with Sequoia Capital Asia, said his Singapore-based fund is looking for ambitious, strong Korean tech startups to invest in what could become the next unicorn.

He believes Asian-based VCs have a competitive advantage over established VCs from Europe or the US in the region as they can effectively tackle the needs of startups.

Fintech and software as a service, especially targeting small and midsized businesses, are the buzzword in Southeast Asia, according to Yoo Jung-ho, investment manager at Korea Investment Partners.

“In many of these countries, payment, banking abd finance, are still in a nascent stage with only 10 percent of the population utilizing credit and banking services,” said Yoo. “There is a great demand for firms that provides peer-to-peer lending and payment services. “So companies that target small and medium enterprises that make up the majority in Southeast Asia, will have a fighting chance.

 

Africa

The Credit Crisis in Malawi (Maravipost), Rated: A

According to recent reports, only 12 percent of households in Malawi have access to credit. With 65 percent of the population living under the poverty line, the rural population is especially vulnerable to the limitations of credit.

In today’s modern age, a physical bank is no longer needed to conduct financial services. Virtual and automated banking is expected to replace 30 percent of bank roles in the next ten years. These virtual banks even the playing field for Malawians by allowing consolidated rates, 24/7 access to services, and a location for information about other services. Some of these alternative, virtual services include:

  • Personal Loans: To find a personal loan, Malawians can use search sites such as this example from Finland.
  • Peer to Peer Loans:Rather than receiving a loan from a financial institution, peer to peer loans allow people to receive a loan directly from an individual financer. In order to apply for a loan, you must visit a peer to peer lending platform such as Prosper or Perform, and the online marketplace will match borrowers and lenders. Although the site still uses credit scores, individuals may have more sympathy towards you and your situation as opposed to a national bank.
  • Crowdfunding:Another way to finance an opportunity is through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a fairly recent innovation that utilizes crowdsourcing as a way to raise funds for a project or business.

The change in financial technologies in the coming years will have a great impact in Malawi, and create more access to services for the entire population.

Canada

CANADIAN LENDERS ASSOCIATION & INNOVATIVE LENDING PLATFORM ASSOCIATION LAUNCH SMART BOX IN CANADA (Canadian Lenders Association), Rated: AAA

The Canadian Lenders Association (CLA) and the Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA) today announced the introduction of the SMART Box™ into Canada – a model pricing disclosure and comparison tool that will enable Canadian small businesses to better assess and compare their finance options. Top small business lenders in the country, including Company CapitalEvolocity Financial GroupIOU FinancialLendifiedMerchant Advance CapitalOnDeck and Thinking Capital, have committed to adopt the tool for use by their customers.

Canadian Small Business Lender Lendified Secures $ 60 Million Credit Facility From ClearFlow (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Lendified, a Canada-based lender who provides small business loans online has entered into an agreement with ClearFlow Commercial Finance to increase its lending capacity. According to the lending platform, through the agreement, ClearFlow is providing it with a $60 million credit facility to fund loans delivered through its website.

Finn.ai Raises $ 3 Million in Institutional Financing Round (Finn.ai), Rated: A

Finn.ai, the award-winning, AI-powered virtual assistant built for banking and personal finance, today announced it has raised $3 million in its recent institutional financing round.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor