Friday July 21 2017, Daily News Digest

RateSetter

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi CEO: why Etherium is worth more than Bitcoin. Affirm has 1,000 retail partners. Wells Fargo joins digital mortgage revolution. AutoGravity has half a million users. LendInvest launches retail bond offering. N26, Lydia support Apple Pay in France. Borrowell raises $57M in Canada. Today’s main analysis: RateSetter moves to protect users. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Takeaways from […]

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United States

Why Ethereum Is Much More Valuable Than Bitcoin (Fortune), Rated: AAA

As lending startup SoFi expands from student loans to full-service banking, it is also venturing into one of the trendiest areas among big Wall Street banks at the moment: blockchain.

An upstart cryptocurrency, Ethereum’s price has surged so dramatically in recent months that it now commands nearly as much market share as Bitcoin itself. Driving that rise is excitement about the way Ethereum allows its blockchain technology to be used to develop myriad other projects, as Cagney described.

In particular, SoFi, which is valued at more than $4 billion, is exploring a way to use blockchain to revolutionize title insurance, a standard requirement for many home buyers.

How SoFi is developing its financial services offerings (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

SoFi has always been as much about culture and brand before product and tech. Now that it’s postponed its initial public offering in December (it raised $500 million in private funding shortly after) it has the luxury of time to develop its financial services offerings.

“While we run positive contribution margins around our credit products… it pales in comparison to what the lifetime value of that relationship is worth,” CEO Mike Cagney said at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado Wednesday morning. “Not having that deposit product means that the bank, if it has that deposit product, is going to constantly try to cross sell [customers] and pull them back to the bank. That introduced this vulnerability in the business.”

There are also no branches planned for the non-bank financial services company, he confirmed, citing that in the 40 SoFi events he’s hosted and attended almost all other attendees have said they haven’t walked into a branch in the last five years, he claims.

SoFi is also in the exploratory stages of how to use alternative data like cell phone data for credit scoring as well as distributed ledger technology for title insurance.

U.S. banks are valued at between $2,000 and $100,000 per customer. SoFi currently has 250,000 members today and anticipates 500,000 by end of year. Cagney said it’s not unrealistic to get two million customers at “$25,000 to $50,000 per customer, which gets us in the $50 to $100 billion valuation range.”

Affirm now has 1,000 retail partners (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today Affirm has announced it has more than 1,000 merchants signed up to offer its financing options at checkout, helping to reduce the friction around making large purchases and, by extension, increasing sales for its partners.

While promoting its most recent milestone, Affirm is also trying to get across the message of how it’s different — and frankly, better — than point-of-sale financing options of the past. As a result, the company is pushing a marketing campaign around “honest finance” to enumerate the ways in which Affirm helps consumers by providing more access and better terms for big-ticket items.

Affirm Challenges Retailers, FIs To Practice ’Honest Finance‘ (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

“Finance is pretty broken.”

So started Affirm’s Co-Founder and CEO Max Levchin’s remarks at his firm’s first-ever AFFIRMation conference for its retail partners in San Francisco yesterday.

He’s on a mission to fix a system that he believes doesn’t really serve anyone’s long-term interest nearly as well as it could or should. When it comes to the extension of credit, Levchin says that customers often lose out, retailers end up with angry customers who frequently feel ripped off and FI’s alienate their customer base.

Broken by the Numbers

“Sixty percent of Americans fear credit cards,” Levchin noted.

“[Most consumers] think getting involved with using a card will cost them a lot more than they bargain for. A third fear they will overspend. And they are right; that’s what happens, and the industry does very little to help them create necessary guardrails.”

Bad Faith

In fact, Levchin noted, the industry doesn’t want to create guardrails, because a lot of players have literally built products that bet against the consumer.

Deferred interest — the “dirty little secret” of consumer credit that bears a retailer’s logo and accompanies those too good to be true offers — means that even one day late on a payment 59 months into a 60-month loan, means interest gets calculated back to day one.

Bad Long-Term Thinking

Last quarter, on the occasion of its one millionth consumer installment loan, Affirm reported a 75 percent increase in purchase value on purchases made using Affirm, a 20 percent lift in POS conversion and a repeat rate of 25 percent of borrowers returning.

And Affirm’s net promotor score: It’s 82, slightly trailing Starbuck’s 85, but not by much.

Affirm is looking to retailers across the country to join in pledging to abandon “predatory consumer credit practices” and has also challenged the nation’s financial institutions to do the same.

Nation’s largest lender finally hops on digital-mortgage bandwagon (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said that the bank expects to launch a digital mortgage application tool by the end of next year, according to a report by the Charlotte Business Journal. Sloan made the announcement during an earnings call on Friday.

Sloan told investors that Wells Fargo doesn’t currently have as many online loan products as it would like, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. He said that employees are currently testing the online mortgage tool, and that the bank plans to run a test with customers this year before a full rollout in 2018.

AutoGravity Now Has Over 500,000 Users (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

AutoGravity says it has now surpassed 500,000 in just one year. AutoGravity is an App-based online lender targeting the auto financing space. Pick the car and request a loan all on your smartphone. It’s that simple.

Additionallly, AutoGravity shares that more than $500 million in financing has been requested through the AutoGravity platform.

Fundrise Officially Announces New eFunds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fundrise, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has officially announced the availability of their new eFunds.

The “featured” eFund starts with the Los Angeles market. The LA eFund aims to provide housing for the underserved millennial homebuyer.

Fundrise has also launched a DC eFund.

PayPal Completes Acquisition of TIO Networks (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL) and TIO Networks Corp. (TSXV:TNC) today announced that PayPal has completed its previously announced acquisition of TIO Networks. In accordance with the terms of the Arrangement announced on February 14, 2017, PayPal acquired all of the outstanding shares of TIO for $3.35 CDN ($2.64 USD) per share in cash or an approximate $302 million CDN ($238 million USD) equity value.

LendKey Announces Series C Funding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendKey, the leading lending-as-a-service solution for banks and credit unions, today announced $13 million in Series C funding, $8 million in equity and $5 million in debt financing. North Atlantic Capital, based in Portland, ME, led the round with participation from each of LendKey’s existing investors including DFJ, Updata Partners, Gotham Ventures, and TTV Capital.

The Series C funding will enable the company to expand its services and staffing. LendKey plans to grow its regional office in Cincinnati, Ohio and expand its account development and sales teams.

Mobile savings and investment service Acorns is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The company now boasts more than 2 million investment accounts (with 600,000 opened in 2017 alone) and is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 through the proprietary broker-dealer that it created.

Still, the numbers were impressive enough to attract Bain Capital Ventures to commit another $35 million to the company, bringing Acorns total Series D financing to $70 million. Previous investors PayPal, Greycroft Growth Fund, e.Ventures Growth Fund, NYCA, Capital Group, Rakuten, Point72 and Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures also participated in the round.

Unifund CEO Consumer Credit Caution: “Time To Stop Getting Lost In The Averages” (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Fifty years ago, when customers thought about using credit, it was in the context of buying something expensive that they really needed — a refrigerator, a washer/dryer, a car — with the intention to pay off that loan balance quickly.

Credit as a Currency

For super-prime customers — those for whom credit cards are basically payment cards because those consumers pay them in full monthly and never accrue any interest — Rosenberg said that card “borrowing” is an incentive-driven system. The customer gets cash back, rewards points, airline miles, hotel stays — and those incentives have very successfully attracted consumers to use them to buy things. Rosenberg noted that for a large segment of consumers, buying something without using a credit card is almost a foreign concept because the card offers them access to a more valuable form of currency.

But a more artificial intelligence-driven, machine learning system, Rosenberg said, will allow those customers who are locked out of the credit market today to be seen more clearly by creditors, and to be given incentives that are more explicitly tailored to their wants.

A Better Subprime Experience

The problem with the categorizations of “prime” and “sub-prime” borrower is that they are somewhat less hard and fast than people like to think they are. Rosenberg explained that there aren’t simply two classes of buyers — those who pay their bills and those who don’t.

But, Rosenberg said, the truth is most people pay bills in the order of absolute necessity, and when things get bad financially because a job was lost or an economic catastrophe has happened, that order gets very utilitarian. Car payments get paid, because car companies have no sense of humor and will repossess a car. But eviction from a house takes longer, which means a person with a more pressing need would rather skip their mortgage for a few months than not buy medication they need. And credit card bills? Those quickly fall to the bottom of a pile.

Bank of America Unveils New Mobile Capability to Apply for Business Advantage Term Loans and Credit Lines (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Bank of America today announced enhancements to its mobile app experience that add on-the-go convenience to small business banking and lending. With the suite of updates, Bank of America small business clients can now apply for a Business Advantage Term Loan or Business Advantage Credit Line from any Bank of America digital platform – including the Bank of America mobile banking app, and bankofamerica.com.

More than 1.3 million small business clients are active users of the Bank of America mobile banking app, an increase of 14 percent over the past year.

December 2016 Fed Rate Hike: Most Consumers Fared Well, But It’s a New Dynamic for Consumers and Lenders Alike (TransUnion), Rated: A

TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) released an analysis today showing that most borrowers were able to absorb their increased monthly payment obligations after the Federal Reserve Board rate hike last December.

TransUnion’s study identified these 63 million consumers because they carried debts for which the minimum monthly payment due was tied to the market interest rate, such that a rise in rates from the December rate hike could cause an increase in payments required. TransUnion used its CreditVision® aggregate excess payment (“AEP”) algorithm, which incorporates monthly payments from mortgages, credit cards and other debt obligations, to identify 10.6 million of these consumers who were at elevated risk of not having the capacity to absorb a rate increase of 0.25%.

Banks That Don’t Invest in Technology Risk Falling Behind Permanently (Forbes), Rated: A

Wack points to a new study of mortgage lending, Fintech, Regulatory Arbitrage, and the Rise of Shadow Banks, co-written by business school professors at the University of Chicago, Columbia Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The researchers found that some banks find themselves trying to play catch-up to competitors that long ago allowed borrowers to apply for mortgages online. The institutions that have been slow to adopt online applications for mortgage lending are losing market share to their competitors. Meanwhile, non-bank lenders have grabbed a substantial piece of the market; so-called “shadow banks” lend money but don’t use bank deposits to finance the transactions. They now write 38% of all home loans — almost triple their share in 2007. Further, the shadow banks now originate three-fourths of all loans to low-income borrowers insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

I’m a banker and I say let SoFi into the club (American Banker), Rated: A

As the president of a small community bank, I feel the need to respond to certain misleading comments that have been made by banking industry representatives and community activistsrecently in opposition to the Social Finance application to charter an industrial bank.

I feel the need in particular to respond to comments as reported in the press by a representative of the Independent Community Bankers of America, an industry trade association I support. In essence, this individual stated opposition to SoFi’s recent application based on his assertion that industrial banks don’t follow the same rules as other banks. This assertion is not accurate.

The banking industry is evolving. Doesn’t it make more sense to focus on how to evolve with it rather than how to reduce competition?

Ga. banks less stressed, but lending slowdown a worry (myAJC), Rated: A

Across the nation, bank lending has slowed for most types of loans since the presidential election. Business lending declined in the first quarter and is still crawling at close to its slowest pace since 2011, according to Federal Reserve data.

Overall loan growth is a bit better, but across the board, lending has slowed for debt ranging from auto loans to credit cards to financing for factories, office buildings and small businesses, according to the Fed.

That has made for stiff competition for bankers hunting for loan customers, and because interest rates are still low, banks’ profit margins on their total loan portfolios remain tight.

Last week, Columbus-based Synovus Corp., the second largest bank headquartered in the state, with $31 billion in assets, said its total loans grew by $314 million in the second quarter, up 5.2 percent compared to the first quarter. Synovus banked a $73 million profit during the quarter, 27 percent higher than a year ago.

Synovus’ consumer loans grew at a 16 percent annual pace during the recent quarter, accounting for $2 out of $3 of Synovus’ new loans.

Credit Risk Startup James Closes $ 2.7M Funding Round (Finsmes), Rated: A

James (formerly known as CrowdProcess), a New York-based credit risk startup, closed a $2.7M funding round.

The round was led by Gaël de Boissard with participation from Henry Richotte and BiG Start Ventures. As a result of this deal, Mr. de Boissard has joined James’s Board of Directors.

Investors Approach Investing Differently Across Generations (Plan Adviser), Rated: A

The Dreyfus study found that investors tend to take different approaches to investing based on age. Sixty-one percent of investors 55 years of age or older indicated they have not, or will not, reevaluate their investment approach in today’s existing investing environment. Meanwhile, 65% of Millennials, defined in the study as people between the ages of 21 and 34, had already evaluated their investment approach at the time of the survey. These actions are reflected among 51% of those between the ages of 35 and 54, as well as for 39% of those at least 55-years-old.

OCC FinTech Charter in Trump Administration Cards (JD Supra), Rated: A

In his remarks to the Exchequer Club in Washington, D.C., President Trump’s Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Keith Noreika, came strong to the mic, roundly stating the charter is a “good idea” and flatly saying “yes”, the OCC has the authority to grant the FinTech charter in the face of legal challenges by the New York Department of Financial Services and the  Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

Here are three other takeaways from the Acting Comptroller’s remarks:

  1. The FinTech charter promotes the dual banking system.
  2. The OCC is having informal meetings with interested FinTech companies.
  3. Existing OCC bank charters may be an option now.

Access Anytime, Anywhere Powers Better Consumer Lending (Blend), Rated: A

That’s why we’re harnessing the power of technology to bring consumers closer to their loan officers (LOs) and launching Blend Mobile, the first native mobile application allowing LOs to manage their businesses, including borrower requests and applications, anytime and anywhere.

Robos are offering SRI, so shouldn’t live advisers? (Investment News), Rated: A

“SRI has been one of the most consistent personalization requests we’ve had,” said Dan Egan, Betterment’s director of behavioral finance and investments. “It allows people who want to buy a better world to put their money where their mouth is.”

The nation’s largest robo adviser, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, which has $80 billion in assets, offers clients a proprietary fund on its digital platforms that tracks a benchmark that screens companies on social, human rights and environmental criteria. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which has $19.4 billion in AUM, does not offer an SRI option.

Mastercard Enhances Artificial Intelligence Capability with the Acquisition of Brighterion, Inc. (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Brighterion, Inc., a leading software company specializing in artificial intelligence. This acquisition will further expand its suite of capabilities that deliver an enhanced customer experience and security.

Commentary on the Reintroduction of the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act (H.R. 3299) (Factory Email), Rated: B

Passing the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act into law is critical for the consumer lending industry. We are pleased that forward looking legislators aim to remove the regulatory and capital markets uncertainty caused by court cases such as Madden vs. Midland.

Lead by the Second Circuit Court’s decision, other state regulators are attempting to erode a core tenet of our federal banking system. “Both the ‘valid when made’ doctrine and the exportation of usury rate have facilitated nationwide lending for over a century by allowing the rate of interest on certain loans to remain unchanged after transfer of the loan,” said Gilles Gade, President and CEO of Cross River, an FDIC insured New Jersey State chartered bank and leader in marketplace leading origination. “The ability for banks to sell loans to non-banks is vital to the capital markets ecosystem in general, and to consumers in particular who are getting hurt as access to credit is made more difficult and more expensive. The perenniality of this tenet hinges on a healthy secondary market, increased liquidity, and the securitization of debts ranging from mortgages to credit cards, all of which help facilitate emerging innovations and provide capital that makes credit more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans. We applaud the bipartisan reintroduction of this bill and look forward to its expeditious review and passage.”

Comment by William M. Bell of Factory.

LendingTree Announces Promotion of Sam Mischner to Chief Sales Officer and Head of Mortgage (PR Newswire), Rated: B

LendingTree® (NASDAQ: TREE), the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that Sam Mischner has been promoted to Chief Sales Officer and Head of Mortgage.  Previously, Mischner served as SVP, Sales and GM, Mortgage.

United Kingdom

Fintech lender LendInvest to launch retail bond offering (AltFi), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, a leading alternative lender in the property space, is launching a retail bond. The bond will offer investors a fixed rate of 5.25 per cent, due 2022.

It is expected to be listed on the London Stock Exchange once the subscription period closes. LendInvest is targeting an initial raise of £50m, and the company expects this to be the first of a number of bond issues over the coming years. The bond has a minimum investment amount of £2,000.

Interest from the bond will be paid semi-annually on 10 February and 10 August each year. The net proceeds will be used to fund the origination and/or purchase of loans which satisfy the company’s eligibility criteria.

RateSetter moves to protect its investors (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

UK marketplace lender RateSetter has given more details on a series of interventions it has made to protect the company’s 50,000 retail investors from adverse consequences related to its lending decisions in the last two years.

Here are the three measures RateSetter has now explained in greater detail:

  • Buying two subsidiaries in a motor finance company. 
  • Wholly buying Adpod, an advertising company. 
  • Ending its partnership with George Banco, a consumer lending platform. RateSetter is withdrawing from the partnership, remaining only as a passive investor, after reviewing the strategy more closely. RateSetter added that George Banco is still repaying its £32 million ($42 million) loan.

Monzo gently rolls out current account (Banking Tech), Rated: A

The bank, which received its full UK banking licence in April, says it’s been using the current account internally and today (17 July) is now inviting some of its customers to join and “help put it through its paces”.

Its aim is to offer a current account to all existing customers by the end of the year. Towards that goal, over the next three months it will roll out between 10,000 and 20,000 current accounts to existing customers. As you probably guessed, users can register their interest on its site. Investors get priority access.

TransferWise’s cofounders have swapped the CEO role between themselves again (Business Insider), Rated: A

Kristo Kaarmann is taking over from Taavet Hinrikus as the boss of the international money transfer business, according to a blog post on Medium that was written by Hinrikus and published on Tuesday.

Next-gen Credit Scorer Aire Raises $ 5m in Series A Funding from Deep-tech VCs (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Aire today announces the closing of a $5m Series A funding round, led by Sunstone Capital alongside White Star who previously led Aire’s Seed round in 2016.

Aire today announces the closing of a $5m Series A funding round, led by Sunstone Capital alongside White Star who previously led Aire’s Seed round in 2016.

The Lines Are Blurring Between Alternative, Traditional SME Finance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Alternative lending has shifted from a competitor of traditional FIs to a collaborator, often lending a digital hand to banks in need of upgrading their systems to provide faster, more agile financing to SMEs. A new report from the state-backed British Business Bank (BBB), however, suggests alternative lenders are becoming an increasingly important part of its operations in a different way, highlighting how the lines between alternative finance (AltFin) and traditional finance continue to blur.

The annual report said the BBB facilitated more than $930 million in SME loans last year, and, according to the data, every year more of that money is landing at small businesses thanks to collaboration with alternative lenders like RateSetter and Funding Circle. According to reports, in 2014 the percentage of BBB funds that went through a P2P platform was 79 percent; in 2015, it was 90 percent.

Permira Joins Payments Rush by Buying Into Sweden’s Klarna (U.S. News), Rated: A

Private equity group Permira has bought a stake of at least 10 percent in payments firm Klarna, one of Europe’s most highly valued tech startups, the companies said on Friday.

Permira will acquire the Klarna stake from existing shareholders General Atlantic and DST Global, and the Sweden-based firm’s co-founder Niklas Adalberth.

General Atlantic and DST Global will cease to be shareholders in Klarna after the deal, they added in a statement.

Bank of England opens up payments systems to spur fintech (Tribune), Rated: A

The Bank of England has widened access to Britain’s interbank payments system to increase competition from new fintech firms in the financial system, where the “Big Four” high street banks have long dominated.

The changes, which in practice will come into effect in 2018 once legislative changes have been completed, will enable such non-bank payments services providers (PSPs) to compete better with banks, the BoE said.

There is no ‘existential crisis’ challenge for banks from fintech, HSBC’s digital chief says (CNBC), Rated: A

The idea that big banks are facing an “existential crisis” from financial technology (fintech) challengers is “overblown”, the digital chief of HSBC told CNBC.

Crowdfunding: the stable option in 2017? (The C Suite), Rated: A

Research conducted by Beauhurst on 2016 UK funding deals for non-listed high-growth businesses concluded that crowdfunding outperformed private equity and venture capital. Whilst 2016 saw a decline in the total number of deals financed by equity investors, activity on the leading crowdfunding platforms increased. Crowdcube (launched in 2011) and Seedrs (launched in 2012) accounted for 21% of such equity investment in the UK last year.

According to Beauhurst’s research, Q1 of 2017 has seen a small increase of 2.7% in equity funding in non-listed, high-growth companies. However deal numbers are still 6.72% lower than the same quarter in 2016. The growth has primarily been driven by crowdfunding platforms, with an 11% growth in deal numbers.

Boost for UK fintech as Receipt Bank secures huge $ 50 million in funding (Business Insider), Rated: A

Accountancy software startup Receipt Bank has raised $50 million (£38.4 million) in a Series B funding round led by a New York venture capital firm.

Perfect storm for Scots property borrowers (Scotsman), Rated: A

By 2018, loans from alternative finance schemes such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and private debt, will be as cost competitive as the retail banks, blowing the finance market wide open for loans in the £500,000 to £10 million range.

Naturally, because alternative lenders such as Funding Circle, The Route and Folk to Folk are settling loans for higher loan-to-value (LTV) ranges (between 60 and 75 per cent), they absorb the risk by charging higher interest on both short- and medium-term loans – currently between 6 and 12 per cent a year.

LTVs in retail banking property loans are settled at around 55 to 60 per cent, but they offer lower loan costs of between 2.5 and 5 per cent. This is all set to change in 2018 – with increased availability of finance for lenders, such as innovative finance ISAs (IFIsa), the cost of capital is set to fall and this will encourage alternative lenders to reduce their interest rates.

Zopa’s Home Improvement Index Reveals: A New Kitchen Can Deliver Over 50% ROI (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Wednesday, peer-to-peer lender Zopa released its latest Home Improvement Index that indicated a quart of British homeowners looking to improve their homes this summer are choosing to renovate their kitchens and are seeing a 51% return on investment as a result. According to research, 25% of British homeowners undertaking a home improvement are opting for a new kitchen, with the renovation boosting the value of a home by an average of 10%.

Zopa noted that the research found that the average home improvement would increase the value of a home by 9% or nearly £24,000 (£23,837) – based on homeowner’s estimates. The average return on investment was 50%, based on the total amount spent by homeowners.

Opinion split on best P2P marketing techniques (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

Property P2P platform Lendy has recently announced sponsorship of the Cowes Week sailing regatta, while business lender Ablrate has been announced as a sponsor of the PGA EuroPro Tour’s £100,000 Shoot-Out competition.

Other firms such as RateSetter have used adverts on the London Underground and Crowdstacker has run adverts in print publications, while Zopa and Funding Circle have used TV campaigns.

But Frazer Fernhead, founder and chief executive of The House Crowd, prefers to invest in digital marketing.

China

Yirendai Limited: A Growth Play At Deeply Discounted Valuations (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

The ADR has returned a solid 250%+ in a year and a half since then. In comparison, Alibaba stock is up by 83% while NetEase is up by 16% and JD.com has risen just 27.5%. In other words, Yirendai has been the best performing Chinese stock/ADR ever since the company was listed in the US.

Yirendai reported quarterly revenue of $148.42 million for Q1 2017, which grew 75% year-on-year. On the earnings front, the company reported earnings per ADR (EPADR) of 84 cents, a 147% improvement over 34 cents EPADR in Q1 2016. On a trailing twelve month (NYSE:TTM) timeframe, the revenue has grown from $265.2 million in Q1 2016 to $544.6 million in Q1 2017, a 105% year-on-year growth.

We believe that, based on Yirendai’s earnings history and the historical valuation multiples, the stock should easily trade in the $43.4 – $57.7 range, which represents a 65% upside at the higher end.

European Union

N26 and Lydia announce Apple Pay support in France, but major banks are still missing (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Apple Pay hasn’t really been a major success in France so far. France’s biggest banks still don’t plan to support Apple’s payment service. But two companies announced today that they were going to add Apple Pay support before the end of the year — Lydia and N26Crédit Mutuel Arkea’s banks also recently announced that they were working on that feature as well.

Crowdfunding and Crowdlending (Soundcloud), Rated: A

Get a unique insight into what crowdfunding and crowdlending are and find out how you can participate in it – either as an entrepreneur or as an investor. Responsible for crowdfunding in DNB, Lars Marthinsen, and CEO of Kameo, Sebastian Martens, are guests at #pengepodden .

International

Finstar commits $ 150m to fintech investment (Finextra), Rated: A

Private equity outfit Finstar Financial Group is planning to pump $150 million into fintech startups over the next five years.

The money will be used to buy stakes in promising fintech startups in Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and South Asia, as well as on research and development within portfolio companies.

Baloise invests in insurtech company Trov (Baloise), Rated: A

Baloise is investing in the Californian insurtech company Trov. The start-up offers on-demand insurance for personal items and has already launched in the UK and Australia, and will roll out in the U.S. later this year. For Baloise, this is the first investment arising from its partnership with Anthemis.

Baloise’s investment is part of the Series D financing secured by Trov in April 2017.

Australia

Factor in the robo-advice (The Australian), Rated: A

The disruption is well under way in the US, where two giant companies – Betterment and Wealthfront – have emerged, each with a valuation of more than $5 billion. In recent months Betterment has seemed to outpace Wealthfront in terms of size and growth. Betterment, which has cheaper services, now boasts a client list of 188,000 while Wealthfront has 90,000.

ANZ has put its $4.5 billion wealth advice unit on the block, in a move that followed UBS’s decision to sell its wealth management arm in Australia a year ago. And Platinum Asset Management, the one-time king of specialist overseas fund managers in the local market, has announced a dramatic cut in its fee charges.

In Australia, the SMSF Industry Association tacked a robo-advice questionnaire onto one of its recent surveys and found that 18 per cent of its members – higher than in the general population (13 per cent) – would be willing to try robo services.

Online Lender Prospa is NSW State Winner in 2017 Telstra Business Awards (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Prospa, an online lender to Australian small business, has been awarded the 2017 Telstra New South Wales Medium Business Award in the 2017 Telstra Business Awards.

Prospa said it was the first Fintech company to be awarded the accolade.

India

How Fintech Revolution Is Making Way For A Potential $ 5 Bn Online P2P Lending Empire In India (Inc42), Rated: A

Currently, at a nascent stage, the P2P lending landscape in India is also poised to grow into a $4 Bn-$5 Bn industry by 2023. The domain’s origin actually dates back to 2012, when the first peer-to-peer lending company i-Lend was launched. At present, the P2P lending space is populated by more than 30 players including Faircent, LendBox, LenDenClub, IndiaMoneyMart, Monexo, Rupaiya Exchange, LoanBaba, CapZest, i2iFunding and many more.

One factor that has played an integral role in the rise of an alternative fintech industry is demonetisationinstated on November 8, 2016. Post the ban on INR 500 and INR 1,000 notes, bank deposits underwent a discernible slowdown. Loans to SMEs and MSMEs reached an abrupt halt, forcing many businesses to seek other methods of financing. Last year, for instance, around 34% of P2P borrowers were actually business owners looking to expand without having to rely on banks.

Singapore Based Bridge Data Centres Looks To Pour $ 500 Mn Into India (Inc42), Rated: B

Bridge Data Centres is looking to invest $500 Mn in India over the next two years. As per reports, the investment will enable the Singapore-based data centre outsourcing (DCO) company to gain a stronghold of the country’s fast-growing market for data centres.

In June 2017, Alibaba revealed plans to set up two new cloud data centres in India and Indonesia, in an attempt to strengthen the company’s computing resources in Asia. Earlier in January 2017, US-based data storage and management firm NetApp launched its Global Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru, as part of a $155 Mn (INR 1,000 Cr) investment. In December last year, Amaravati-headquartered Pi DATACENTERS raised $23 Mn from Epsilon Venture Partners. It was reported that the funds would be used to roll out state-of-the-art data centres across India.

Multinational alternative investment firm Bain Capital recently infused $10 Mn in Bengaluru-based consumer leasing startup RentoMojo has raised $10 Mn in Series B funding round led by Renaud Laplanche. Existing investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures also participated in the round.

Because the construction and maintenance of data centres is a capital-intensive activity, an increasing number of businesses in India are  enlisting the help of data centre service providers.

Canada

Borrowell raises $ 57M in New Funding to Expand Credit Education and Lending (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Financial technology company Borrowell announced today it has secured $12 million (CAD) in equity funding and $45 million in new credit facilities. The Series A equity round is being led by Portag3 Ventures LP, Equitable Bank and White Star Capital, with participation by FirstOntario Credit Union and other new and existing investors, and brings the company’s total equity financing to $16.7 million. The credit facilities are being provided by Concentra and FirstOntario Credit Union for the purpose of funding ‘one click’ loans to prime consumers. This latest round of funding will allow Borrowell to provide free credit information and loans to more people.

More than 300,000 Canadians have a Borrowell account, with thousands more signing up each week.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday December 1 2016, Daily News Digest

ratesetter

News Comments Today’s main news: CAN Capital replaces CEO and other execs. Croudify: LC’s secondary market. Funding Circle sets new monthly UK record. Today’s main analysis : Online credit card fraud jumps 20%. Ratesetter’s provision fund. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China emerges as world’s largest FinTech and P2P market. Online lenders get majority of Chinese C-round funding. United States CAN Capital […]

ratesetter

News Comments

United States

  • CAN Capital replaces CEO and other execs. AT: “When a company lets more than one top leader go at the same time, that’s usually an indication that something is wrong with the internal workings of the company. Judging by the comment from the company, I’d say it has to do with investor value. If collection processes impacted this turnover and the company isn’t satisfied with the performance of some of its assets, that spells unsatisfactory profits. According to Bloomberg, CAN’s biggest competitor OnDeck, has seen a decrease in value in its shares by 55%. While CAN Capital is still private, its backers–Wells Fargo Capital Finance, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, and other large banks–will definitely want to see the company’s profits go up, not down, in this critical time when big banks are investing in FinTech.”
  • Croudify startup launches as LC secondary market. AT: “Earlier this year, Prosper shut down its secondary market Foliofn because few investors were using it. This makes me wonder if there is a marketing for Lending Club loans in the secondary sector. We’ll have to wait and see.” GP:” I strongly believe that a secondary market is needed and there is a big demand. I hope the user interface and the process is simply and smooth. I also hope pricing works similarly or better as on Lending Club’s FolioFN. The other interesting part here is how Orchard is still working on theirs…”
  • Online retail credit card fraud increases 20% during holiday shopping. AT: “We’ve been hearing more and more about online credit card fraud and CNP fraud. This is a natural outflow of the rise of e-commerce, but it does need to be addressed. Online retailers need to address this security issue, as do online lenders and alt finance companies that offer consumer loans.”
  • New LC ABS to test market. GP:”This is supposed to be the 1st rated LC securitization.”
  • OnDeck creates new chief risk officer position.GP:”De facto somebody already has or should have this role in each lender. It’s perhaps just a matter of title and holding 1 person accountable.” AT: “If Nick Brown succeeds in this role, I think you’ll see more online lenders appoint risk management officers, and if they can get a handle on the growing problem of loan defaults by improving the borrower approval process, it will be good for the industry as a whole.”
  • Finstar invests in Rocket10.
  • Mara Poling enters crowd investing niche. AT: “Mara Poling’s focus is on multi-family properties, a great niche to develop.”
  • RealtyShares names Bill Lanting VP of commercial debt originations.

United Kingdom

European Union

China

India

News Summary

United States

Shakeup at CAN Capital – CEO and 2 other Execs Put on Leave of Absence (deBanked), Rated: AAA

CAN Capital has confirmed that CEO Dan DeMeo has gone on a leave of absence. The company’s chief financial officer Aman Verjee and chief risk officer Kenneth Gang have also reportedly stepped down. Parris Sanz, the company’s Chief Legal Officer, has been made acting head of the company, while Ritesh Gupta has been promoted to COO.

Some of CAN Capital’s referral partners have reported to us that the funding of new deals has been put on hold until January 2017. This could not be confirmed, however.

A statement from CAN Capital is below:
As the board and our leadership team conducted our business reviews and looked at how we can best position the firm for future growth, we self-identified that some assets were not performing as expected and that there was a need for process improvements in collections. It became clear that our business has grown and evolved faster than some of our internal processes.

Croudify Launches Platform for Lending Club Secondary Market (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

A new company called Croudify recently announced that their secondary market platform for Lending Club was launching in beta. The company describes itself as a secondary trading platform that allows you to find the best listed notes based on analytical models that they have built.

What made Croudify’s platform possible was the creation of Lending Club’s secondary market API last year. In fact, Croudify was the company that worked closely with Lending Club as they were developing the secondary market. Abhishek stated that after beginning work on their product in 2015 they eventually compelled Lending Club to build the API which was eventually made public.

Logging into Croudify you are presented with a portfolio summary which includes a snapshot of your loan portfolios, holdings by states (pictured below) and the percentage of your loans that are performing.

Clicking on a note shares further information.

Online Retail Credit Card Fraud Jumps 20% During Holiday Shopping Weekend (Marketwired), Rated: AAA

iovation, the leading provider of device intelligence for authentication and fraud prevention, today released new data that shows card-not-present fraud — fraudulent transactions where a credit card is not physically presented to a merchant — increased significantly from Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2016 when compared to the same period in past years.

iovation research shows a 20 percent increase in online retail credit card fraud during the 2016 holiday shopping weekend when compared to the same period in 2015, and a 34 percent increase in online credit card fraud from Black Friday to Cyber Monday 2014 to 2016. In addition, iovation disclosed:

  • The percent of all online retail fraudulent transactions from Black Friday to Cyber Monday that involved credit card fraud
    • 2016: 59 percent
    • 2015: 49 percent
    • 2014: 44 percent
  • The percent of all online retail fraudulent transactions in 2014, 2015 and 2016 that involved credit card fraud
    • 2016: 59 percent
    • 2015: 42 percent
    • 2014: 50 percent
  • The percent of online retail transactions from Black Friday to Cyber Monday that were fraudulent
    • 2016: 0.38 percent
    • 2015: 1.16 percent
    • 2014: 2.34 percent
  • The percent of online retail transactions in 2014, 2015 and 2016 that were fraudulent
    • 2016: 1.13 percent
    • 2015: 2.89 percent
    • 2014: 2.53 percent

iovation attributes the rise in online credit card fraud to the recent shift from consumers using traditional credit and debit cards with magnetic strips to EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) chipped cards. While the new chip cards have proven to do a great job of stopping card-present fraud, it is now clear that fraudsters are turning online.

iovation also found that consumers conducted 55 percent of their retail online transactions from this Black Friday to Cyber Monday using mobile phones and tablets compared to 49 percent the rest of 2016. This continues an ongoing mobile retail transaction increase over the holidays and year-to-year. Last year during that same period that percentage was 47 percent compared to 44 percent the rest of the year, in 2014 that was 37 percent compared to 32 percent the rest of the year and in 2013 that was 31 percent compared to 20 percent the rest of the year.

For the holiday shopping weekend, mobile retail transactions compared to all retail online transactions were:

  • 56 percent on Black Friday, Nov. 25
  • 59 percent on Saturday, Nov. 26
  • 59 percent on Sunday, Nov. 27
  • 48 percent on Cyber Monday, Nov. 28

New Lending Club ABS to test market (GlobalCapital), Rated: A

Sources speaking with GlobalCapital on Wednesday said that the deal could potentially reflect whether investors have been put off by recent reports of several outstanding marketplace loan securitizations breaching their loss triggers earlier than expected.

OnDeck names Nick Brown to newly created position of chief risk officer (MarketWatch), Rated: A

OnDeck Capital Inc. ONDK, -0.22% said Wednesday it has named Nick Brown to the newly created role of chief risk officer. Brown comes to the company from Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where he was general manager of the group decision sciences team. Brown has a PhD in organizational behavior and statistics from Cornell University.

Finstar Announces Investment in Mobile Marketing Tech Company Rocket10 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Finstar Financial Group, a fintech-focused international private equity group founded by Oleg Boyko, announces that it has invested USD 3 million in Rocket10, a rapidly growing mobile marketing agency. This investment forms part of Finstar’s strategy to use mobile technology to grow its fintech businesses.

As part of the venture investment, Finstar will utilise Rocket10’s mobile marketing technology across the Group’s portfolio of companies. This will offer cost efficiency and unlock new development opportunities for both companies. Finstar has also secured the right to further increase its equity stake in Rocket10.

Financial services is a key focus area for Finstar and its portfolio companies. It is estimated that the number of mobile phone users will hit 4.77 billion in 2017. So mobile is becoming increasingly important, especially in the financial services sector.

Mara Poling Enters Crowd Investing (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Both Mara Poling and FundingTree.com will be sponsoring the Crowd Invest Summit in Los Angeles, California on December 7-8, 2017. Pat Poling, Founder & CEO of Mara Poling will be speaking at CIS as a panelist. Rayaan Arif, Founder & CEO of FundingTree.com will also be moderating a panel at the Summit. Mara Poling has partnered with FundingTree.com to bring Accredited Investors to properties before opening them to the public.

Mara Poling marketing partner, FundingTree.com is a new total commercial real estate marketing solution in the crowd investing and funding marketplace. The principals have decades of experience in Marketing, Social Media, Technology and Fundraising with a strong emphasis on Commercial Real Estate.

Bill Lanting Joins RealtyShares to Expand Commercial Real Estate Debt Program (BusinessWire), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate crowdfunding, today announced the hiring of Bill Lanting as Vice President of Commercial Debt Originations.

Lanting brings rich financial experience in the real estate syndication and hospitality industries to the online marketplace. A former executive with Radisson Hotels and Wyndham Hotels, he has recently been responsible for bridge loan originations, underwriting, and raising large, multi-million dollar investment funds from institutional investors for Thorofare Capital and Partners Capital. At RealtyShares, he will head the expansion of the platform’s commercial debt product.

United Kingdom

Defaults gather, and now our Ratesetter watch begins (FT Alphaville), Rated: AAA

As we’ve discussed in detail before, Ratesetter now reserves the right to take interest payments and capital away from investors and put it into the provision fund, in order to make sure there are enough funds to account for loans going bad. The upshot is that investors in Ratesetter need to pay attention to the entire book of loans, rather than their individual investments. (Whisper it softly, it’s sort of like a bank.)

So how’s the provision fund doing? Well, here’s one set of data the company shows to investors on its provision fund page, as it was on Tuesday, with the relevant numbers highlighted:

But there’s another set of data provided by Ratesetter, which tells a slightly different story. It’s on their statistics page, which provides “data on annual performance of loans and returns, updated automatically in real time.” Again, the relevant numbers are highlighted below:

The second thing to note is that it’s possible to calculate the total value of expected bad debt using the numbers on the statistics page. It’s a simple matter of applying the “actual lifetime bad debt rate to date” figures to the total amount lent, and then comparing that to the value implied by the “projected lifetime bad debt rate”. The difference is the total amount of defaults that are yet to happen.

It comes to £24.3m, according to our calculations, which is about £2m higher than the amount of current and expected money in the provision fund. However, according to a Ratesetter spokesperson, that’s not the whole story. They said “around £3m” of those losses are on loans not covered by the provision fund, which means they are held by institutional rather than retail investors.

Funding Circle tops £100m in a month (alt fi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, a leading marketplace lender for small businesses, has recorded a UK industry first by topping £100m in loan originations in a single month. As of yesterday, the platform was sitting on £107m in loan originations for the month.

In addition to the monthly mark, Funding Circle also notched a daily lending record yesterday, with over £9.3m disbursed.

After a temporary slowdown in volumes post-Brexit, the UK marketplace lenders hit their stride again in September, with Funding Circle, RateSetter and Zopa each posting monthly origination records. Funding Circle led the pack with what was then a UK industry-wide record at £75.2m. Funding Circle then smashed its own monthly record in October, with £95m lent.

European Union

Global Companies Enlist DirectID for Real-Time Bank Data Ahead of PSD2 (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

DirectID today announced Fleetcor, Marlette Funding and Shawbrook Bank as examples of 8 new companies using its platform for trusted online verifications and live financial data. With DirectID, these companies can reduce application fraud, enable instant customer on-boarding, and scale services internationally.

These new customers build on earlier DirectID integrations with Prosper Marketplace, Amigo Loans, Bigstone Capital, and other banking, lending, payments, insurance, property and legal businesses. Forward thinking fintech disruptors can use DirectID to unlock the power of live bank data far ahead of the expected European Union Payment Services Directive (PSD2) activation in 2018.

DirectID combines identity verification, real-time financial data, compliance checks, affordability insights and ACH payment confirmation into a single platform. This improved process automates new customer on-boarding and actively reduces risk to support growth and scalability. Businesses using DirectID reduce fraud attempts by 75%, decrease on-boarding time from days to seconds, increase back office efficiencies, and can expand product offerings to over 32 countries.

In addition, DirectID announced that U.S.-based marketplace lending accelerator LendFoundry has integrated the service to offer real-time financial data and insights, such as verification income, to its participating companies for faster and more accurate credit risk underwriting capabilities.

Comrade-to-Comrade Lending? A Marketplace Lender Opens to Russia (The Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Twino, a Latvian company that facilitates peer-to-peer lending, will begin listing Russian subprime loans on its website on Thursday, a first for a European marketplace lender. Investors get scant information on the people they are lending to, but they’re offered double-digit interest payments.

Twino operates a model more akin to a payday-loan operator than a classic peer-to-peer lender. Rather than matching borrowers and lenders, Twino makes loans and then uses its website to resell them to investors. It makes money by taking a cut of the interest payments.

The cut is considerable: The Russian loans will pay around 14% annual interest to investors. The company’s portion depends on the interest charged on the loan. Meanwhile, the borrowers in Russia will pay over 100% in interest, Mr. Kazanins says. Twino says that large margin is enough for it to pledge to repurchase any defaulted loans.

Russia getting slapped with international sanctions in 2014 after annexing Crimea “was a break for us,” says Mr. Kazanins. Russian banks curtailed lending and customers were forced into the nonbank market to get loans.

TRANSFER PRICING Italian ABS hindered by NPL valuation issues (LinkedIn Pulse), Rated: A

The securitisation of non-performing loans (NPLs) has been deemed a credible solution for Italian banks seeking to offload the assets from their balance sheets. Just one deal has launched to date, however. Getting a plausible valuation for the NPL portfolio being transferred to the SPV may be one of the main obstacles.

Following a set of initiatives set out by the Italian government over the past 18 months, many Italian banks are anticipating sales of large NPL portfolios into SPVs for securitisation purposes. The Italian government has agreed to guarantee the senior NPL ABS notes under its Garanzia Cartolarizzazione Sofferenze (GACs) scheme, while the fund Atlante II will invest in mezzanine notes (SCI passim).

Several factors drive the transfer price of an NPL portfolio to an SPV: the quality of the loans, the geographical location and whether the loans are secured or unsecured. However, the lengthy Italian legal process and the availability of loan data are two additional factors that may also be weighing on the NPL valuation process.

Banking Platform Mambu Receives AWS Financial Services Competency Certification (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Mambu, a software as a service (SaaS) banking platform, has received the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Financial Services Competency certification.

The AWS Financial Services Competency is focusing on the AWS Partner Network (APN) members in three categories: Risk Management, Core Systems, and Data Management. Mambu had to achieve specific requirements in order for them to be a recognized partner.

China

China Emerges As The Biggest Advanced Fintech Market In The World (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

China is the world’s largest financial technology market, with a market size greater than US$1.8 trillion in 2015.

Out of 27 Fintech unicorns globally, China’s eight Fintech unicorns have raised US$9.4 billion in funding and have a combined valuation of US$96.4 billion, according to a report released by entrepreneur Gaurav Sharma.

The four biggest Fintech unicorns in the world are Chinese: Ant Financial (US$60 billion), Lufax (US$18.5 billion), JD Finance (US$7 billion), and Qufenqi (US$5.9 billion).

Mobile payments are also at an all-time high. China has 380 million people shopping online via their phones, as well as nearly 200 million people using their phones as a wallet for in-store payments.

On the other hand, domestic incumbent banks continue to struggle with their relatively undeveloped systems. The biggest Fintech startups are in payments and lending, which account for nearly 80% of the combined value of all unicorns.

China is also the world’s biggest P2P (peer-to-peer) lender. In 2015, registered P2P lenders originated around US$60 billion consumer and US$40 billion business loans.

Lufax is the largest P2P lender, with a valuation of US$18.5 billion. There is also Jiedaibao, which is backed by JD Capital.

Around Jan 2016, there were 4,500 P2P platforms in China with 50% of them facing frauds, high delinquency, or liquidity issues.

China is also planning to develop a far-reaching social credit system by collecting information online and providing all its citizens a score.

Hyperledger Project Hits 100 Members With Addition of China’s SinoLending, Gingkoo, ZhongChao (Bitcoin Magazine), Rated: A

Hyperledger Project, an open source blockchain initiative hosted by the Linux Foundation, has hit a major milestone of 100 active members. Several new members from China have joined the project, including Dianrong (formerly SinoLending), Shanghai Gingkoo Financial Technology and ZhongChao Credit Card Industry Development Company.

Dianrong now ranks among the top three peer-to-peer lending platforms in China, according to a report by Wdzj.com and Yingcan Consulting.

Htite has hinted numerous times at his company’s interest in blockchain technology, stating earlier this month that Dianrong has been developing blockchain applications for use in online lending. He said that that the company has committed to invest between U.S. $30-40 million in development over the next two years.

More than 80% of Internet Finance Companies Received C-round Funding are Online Lending Platforms (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Data from IT Juzi.com indicates there are now 30 Chinese internet finance companies having received C-round funding (25thNovember 2016).

India

Rupaiya Exchange raises $ 200,000 in funding (Business Standard), Rated: A

Rupaiya Exchange, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending aggregator, has raised USD 200,000 (about Rs 1.36 crore) in angel funding from a group of high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) and professionals.

The company, which began its operations in November last year, has developed proprietary technology to assess users registered on its platform and perform credit checks on the borrowers.

The information is then shared with lenders which includes banks, non-financial companies (NBFCs) and individuals.

i-lend.in signs pact with Cove Ventures (India Info Online), Rated: A

Hyderabad-based i-lend.in; one of the best performing company in the nascent Peer 2 Peer (P2P) / Alternate Finance and UK-based Cove Venture, a leading Big Data solutions provider entered into a strategic agreement.

Under this strategic agreement, both firms will apply Artificial Intelligence, Deep and Machine Learning algorithms in the Indian Alternate Finance & P2P Lending industry to ensure more people in urban and rural India get access to credit at moderate interest.

The models will help improve the predictability by analyzing online, social and financial behaviour thereby enabling I-lend with significant accuracy. This predictability will help in pricing loans, opening up new segments and deliver better financial performance.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 15 2016, Daily News Digest

Tuesday November 15 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper has new CEO. Today’s main analysis : 7 critical changes of the maturing FinTech sector. Today’s thought-provoking articles: UK’s FinTech sector is nervously waiting for the final Brexit outcome. Will EU regulate FinTech? Bank of Indonesia sets up a FinTech office. United States Prosper has new CEO GP:” This is a huge […]

Tuesday November 15 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Prosper Marketplace Names David Kimball Chief Executive Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace, a leading online marketplace for consumer credit, today announced that the company’s board of directors has named David Kimball Chief Executive Officer. Kimball succeeds Aaron Vermut and the appointment is effective December 1, 2016. Vermut has served as the CEO of Prosper Marketplace since March 2014 and will retain his seat on the company’s board of directors.

Bracing for seven critical changes as fintech matures (McKinsey&Company), Rated: AAA

For the past decade, fintech companies—technology firms that focus on financial products and services—have moved quickly, forcing incumbents to rethink their core business models and embrace digital innovations. But now, the fintech industry is itself maturing and entering a period of rapid change. Companies wondering how they will fit into this new era must first understand the forces that are pushing the changes.

While the industry will undoubtedly continue to expand as its customer base grows and investor appetite remains unsated, changes are imminent. Indeed, the very concept of what comprises fintech will shift. As the industry evolves, it will play a role well beyond financial products and services, individual companies will vie to become undisputed leaders by size and breadth, and ecosystems will develop that have a tight grip on customer loyalty.

This new fintech era is being shaped by changes in market conditions, new regulations, and shifts in consumer demands and behaviors.

Expanding scope

The scope of products and services offered by fintechs is expanding rapidly. The shift brings fintechs away from a focus on frontline activities to a broad engagement throughout the value chain.

 

Increasing diversity

The fintech industry is also becoming more diversified, with a wide variety of business models seen across geographies, segments, and technologies.

Improving collaboration

Collaborative partnerships will become increasingly important as fintechs seek scale and traditional financial institutions seek digital expertise.

Impending consolidation

As the industry continues to mature, fintechs will likely enter a period of consolidation, with larger players turning to mergers and acquisitions to satisfy their expansion goals.

Normalizing valuations

Valuations of fintechs are also normalizing as investors become more cautious and start favoring companies with proven track records.

Shifting regulations

Not surprising for a new industry, the regulatory regimes affecting fintechs are also evolving swiftly and will significantly influence how the industry develops. In many markets, regulators are playing a more proactive role in overseeing the industry, often encouraging its development, for instance by following a sandbox—or test and learn—approach that allows fintechs to experiment without impacting the entire financial system.

Emerging ecosystems

As digital offerings become more mature and interconnected, vast ecosystems will develop that span multiple industries. In many instances, fintechs will become submerged in these ecosystems, representing, like many others, a component of a much broader digital network.

StreetShares Foundation and JPMorgan Chase Partner to Give Veterans $ 10,000 in Monthly Business Awards (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

StreetShares, the lending and investing community for veterans and their supporters and creators of the Veteran Business Bond, recently announced the formation of the StreetShares Foundation. The goal of the StreetShares Foundation is to inspire, educate, and support veteran small business owners. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is partnering with the StreetShares Foundation to provide up to $10,000 each month in Veteran Small Business Awards.

The StreetShares Foundation plans to give three Veteran Small Business Awardseach month to eligible veteran and military-spouse small business owners:

  • First Place – $5,000
  • Second Place – $3,000
  • Third Place – $2,000

One unique feature of the new Veteran Small Business Award program is the focus on public participation. StreetShares Foundation encourages everyone who supports veterans and entrepreneurship to participate in voting for their favorite veteran business at StreetShares.com/Foundation. Finalists will be presented for public vote each month.

SEC Should Take Lead on Regulating Fintech, GOP Commissioner Says (Morning Consult), Rated: A

The Securities and Exchange Commission should play the leading role in regulating financial technology, said Commissioner Michael Piwowar, the lone Republican on the panel.

The statement, made at the agency’s fintech forum on Monday, could set the stage for a turf battle among agencies like the SEC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as they grapple with how to police the emerging industry. The OCC is weighing a national charter for fintech firms and said it will release a paper on the matter by the end of the year.

Real Estate Marketplace Roofstock Raises $ 20m Series B (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Roofstock (www.roofstock.com), the leading online marketplace and transaction platform in the $2 trillion single-family rental (SFR) sector, today announced $20 million in Series B financing led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with substantial participation from existing investors including Khosla Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Nyca Partners, QED Investors and SV Angel. Roofstock has raised a total of $33.25 million in equity since the company’s formation in May of 2015.

The company has developed a proprietary marketplace for investors to find, evaluate and invest in single-family rentals online with tools and transparency never before available to either retail or institutional investors. Since its public launch in March of this year, the company has expanded to serve 10 markets, engaged thousands of registered users, grown its transaction volume by 400% from Q2 to Q3, and significantly expanded its inventory and seller network.

Robo-advisers sound off to SEC about rule changes for automated advice (Investment News), Rated: A

The SEC hosted a forum of financial technology experts Monday to discuss the impact of innovations in investment advice and other financial services. SEC staff is considering whether further guidance or even new rules are needed to protect investors.

Automated-advice providers, often called robo-advisers, register with the Securities and Exchange Commission as investment advisers and are subject to the Investment Advisers Act, which requires clients’ interests to come first when providing recommendations, among other standards.

Regulators have questions about how that happens when recommendations are generated by algorithms, and in May the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. alerted investors to the risks associated with using a digital provider over a human.

iCapital Network Marks Two Year Anniversary of Platform Launch (Yahoo! Sports), Rated: B

iCapital Network today announced it has surpassed $2 billion in platform assets since the launch of its online alternative investment platform two years ago. The firm’s proprietary technology has helped to rapidly democratize private investments such as private equity and hedge funds by connecting individual investors and their advisors to asset managers through a streamlined and secure digital interface.

1031 Crowdfunding, LLC Ranked Among Top 10 Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites (PR Newswire), Rated: B

1031 Crowdfunding, LLC announced today that the Company moved up in the rankings for the 2016 Top 100+ Real Estate Crowdfunding Sites to #10 overall and maintained its position as #1 ranked Real Estate Crowdfunding site for 1031 Exchanges.

United Kingdom

THE U.K.’S FINTECH SECTOR IS WAITING NERVOUSLY FOR THE BREXIT OUTCOME (Newsweek), Rated: AAA

This week, one arm of the British government’s post-Brexit outreach strategy extends to Singapore. A mission organized by the Department for International Trade, one of two new bodies set up by Theresa May to handle the U.K.’s post-Brexit future, is heading to the Asian city-state, bringing in tow nine companies from Britain’s booming FinTech (financial technology) sector, as well as Simon Kirby, a Treasury minister.

The government is pitching it as a landmark event. But this is just the first round in a long fight.  Brexit could well mean an end to the free movement of people from Europe—something highly prized by talent-hungry technology businesses—and could threaten the “passporting” rights that allow British financial services businesses to ply their trade throughout the bloc. It has some work to do to keep the sector strong.

But now, like everybody else, FinTech businesses are waiting to find out what Brexit means for Britain. They do so with some trepidation: of 12 leading FinTech companies that Newsweek surveyed for this piece, all but one were concerned about the referendum vote’s impact on their business, and 10 rated the continuation of passporting rights as either vital or important for their future success.

Fintech Platform Revenues for Lending & Financing to Exceed $ 10bn by 2020 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Juniper Research has found that Fintech platform revenues to support lending and financing are set to reach $10.5 billion globally by 2020, doubling the $5.2 billionexpected this year. The analyst house claimed that growth would be driven by a combination of factors including:

  • an acceleration in P2P (peer to peer) lending;
  • crowdfunding becoming a viable alternative to traditional lending mechanisms;
  • the deployment of next generation analytics platforms.

The new study, Fintech Futures: Market Disruption, Leading Innovators & Emerging Opportunities 2016-2021, argued that, in the absence of credit checking bureaus in emerging markets, applicants’ social media activity will be a deciding factor for their loan applications, with suppliers developing equivalents to credit scores so that lenders can gauge their risk exposure.

OFF3R Relaunches Alternative Asset Investment App with Majority of UK Platforms (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

OFF3R has relaunched its updated site that allows investors to access peer to peer lending, property / equity crowdfunding and managed investment platforms in a single application. The multi-channel platform was said to have received a “total overhaul” for both its desktop and mobile version.

OFF3R was initially focussed on the equity crowdfunding sector. The new marketplace will allow investors to sign up for free and subsequently discover 100’s of investment opportunities from some of the leading alternative investment platforms in the UK and Europe.

Lossmaking online wealth manager Nutmeg raises £30m (Financial Times), Rated: A

Nutmeg, the lossmaking online wealth manager, has raised £30m from international investors in a deal that underscores the belief that low-cost “robo-advisers” will reshape financial advice even though firms have had limited success so far.

The London-based company, which posted pre-tax lossesof £9m this year, has attracted £24m from Convoy, Hong Kong’s largest listed financial advisory firm, as well as £6m from its existing backers. Nutmeg said it was considering using the funds to expand into Asia.

The funding round is the largest in a UK fintech company since the country voted to leave the EU. It doubles the total investment in Nutmeg, which offers low-cost automated online advice and was launched in 2011.

Alternative investment ops gaining pace, OFF3R (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Equity crowdfunding platforms raised £216.25 million and P2P facilitated a combined lending of £2.6 billion over the last year, according to OFF3R research. The marketplace for alternative investments has launched an index outlining month-on-month performances of equity crowdfunding and P2P lending platforms. It analysed the likes of Seedrs, Crowdcube, Syndicate Room, Angels Den, Envestors and The House Crowd. The P2P lending platforms examined were Zopa, Landbay, RateSetter, ArchOver, Marketinvoice, Lending Works, Funding Circle and Thin Cats.

Sharia-compliant P2P lenders could enter market, banker reveals (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

Speaking to Bridging & Commercial, Maisam Fazal, head of commercial finance at Al Rayan Bank, admitted that there may be a gap in the market for alternative finance such as P2P lending.

“I know I have a lot of contacts working on [Sharia-compliant P2P] right now, trying to get this on the market.

Despite welcoming more firms to the Islamic finance market, Maisam suggested that rates as low as Al Rayan’s could make it off-putting for potential new entrants.

Finstar appoints CEO to oversee new fintech investment unit (Finextra), Rated: B

Private equity outfit Finstar Financial has appointed Mark Ruddock from Wonga to oversee a new corporate venture group that will look for opportunities in the fintech space.

Ruddock has been appointed as CEO of FinstarLabs, a special-purpose investment vehicle aimed at expanding the PE firm’s fintech portfolio.

European Union

EU Commission Puts Fintech Review on Agenda for 2017 (Fortune), Rated: AAA

The European Commission aims to propose recommendations for financial technology firms early next year, taking a first step towards assessing the risks and rewards presented by a sector that is shaking up traditional banking.

Announcing an internal task force meant to propose recommendations for the sector in the first half of next year, EU financial services commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said technological innovation in finance was a development to be encouraged.

The Commission did not clarify whether fully-fledged regulation is on the cards, but some regulatory changes appear likely.

Vattenfall: Anna Borg Appointed Senior Vice President for Business Area Markets (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Anna Borg, currently Senior Vice President and head of Klarna’s commercial operations in the Nordics, has been appointed Senior Vice President of Vattenfall’s Business Area Markets. Anna Borg will be a member of Vattenfall’s Executive Group Management and report directly to President and CEO Magnus Hall. She will take up her new position 1 April, 2017.

During the past two years Anna Borg has headed Klarna’s, a leading European fin tech player, online buying and payment solutions business in the Nordics. Before that she spent 18 years at Vattenfall, holding numerous management positions, including heading the business development of the market and trading operations.

Manage your own property portfolio with Housers (The Olive Press), Rated: A

3. In what way is real estate crowdfunding and Housers different?
In regular real-estate investment, your money is invested in either one or a very few properties and you need large amounts to be able to participate in this market. Via Housers, everybody can participate in the real estate market for a minimum investment of just €50, and in up to as many properties as they like.

5. Why should people choose this way to invest?
It allows them to diversify their investment, thus reducing the risks. Because Housers manages the whole process, from purchase to lease to sale, the customer doesn’t have to worry about paperwork, tenants etc.

8. How do people make money?
Housers make money every month when dividends are paid, based on the rental income of each property; or, when the projected sales price is reached, they also share in the capital gains that the property has generated.

China

The Fintech Files: Will P2P Disrupt the Banks? (CFA Institute), Rated: A

Lu.com (陆金所) is one of the world’s largest players in the P2P market. Recently, I sat down with Gregory Gibb, CEO and chairman of Lu.com, in his office in Shanghai to discuss how the industry will evolve.

Is P2P a big enough market for financial institutions to enter?

They differ a lot by location. In the United States, the consumer market’s already been dominated by the banks. Lending Club and the like are eight or nine years into the business but still not very big.

If you go to places like India, Indonesia, or China, where . . . there’s a huge amount of consumer-borrowing need, there’s also a huge amount of retail investing need — and in the case of China, where the banks are 80%–90% non-retail because there are easier places to make money and it’s more socially rewarding to be a corporate banker than a retail banker — the market’s going to be big because the traditional players aren’t going to grab the consumer lending as fast. So the answer differs a lot in terms of scale in different countries.

Sounds like P2P can grow to be quite big in markets like China if it simply captures a slice of the pie.

The peer-to-peer market in China today is just north of USD$100 billion in loans outstanding. To say that the market will be a trillion US dollars within the next seven to 10 years is not a crazy number.

So why aren’t the banks going into P2P?

There is absolutely nothing stopping a bank from doing this. But why would a bank do P2P?

The funding cost is 1%, 2%, 3% on the deposit side and the credit card APR is 18%. Then they are making 15–16 points in gross margin. And if they went into a peer-to-peer model, they may have to give the investors 5% or 6%. So they’ve lost a couple hundred basis points of profit.

Fintech advances prompt lenders to become start up friendly (South China Morning Post), Rated: A

Finding the right partners with which to work and fostering an environment for fintech collaboration are posing challenges for lenders, as the relationship between big global banks and emerging financial technology companies shifts away from competition to more of collaboration.

Many large global banks in their current form are not easily compatible with agile and innovative financial technology start ups, due to their complex existing systems and legacy issues. Some managers responsible for working with fintech companies at financial institutions, speaking privately, bewailed their more senior colleagues’ inability to make the necessary changes to the way in which they operate.

“Most of the fintech companies are trying to sell their services to or partner with existing institutions,” said James Lloyd, fintech leader at EY. “But that does not mean that banks can forget the 5 per cent that are trying to compete with them,” he said.

It is for both this reason, and doubts about what their rivals might be doing, that banks are still concerned about fintech.

India

Here’s why India’s fintech sector could boom (Business Insider), Rated: A

The government made the surprise move in a bid to combat “black money,” or currency that is unaccounted for, and counterfeit currency. Consumers have until December 30 to exchange their R500 notes for new editions with enhanced security features, while limited numbers of new R2,000 ($39.70) notes have been issued. A replacement R1,000 note will be introduced in “due course,”

Asia

BI’s new ‘fintech office’ to ensure both innovation, security (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

Bank Indonesia (BI) on Monday officially launched a financial technology (fintech) office to monitor the services offered by the young and thriving industry so as to ensure innovation continues and consumers simultaneously enjoy security.

BI governor Agus Martowardojo described the new office as an advisory hub for all fintech companies operating in Indonesia and as a facilitator to help the industry expand further and ensure greater financial inclusion in a country where half the population does not have access to banks.

As part of its office, BI plans to monitor the development of fintech companies through its regulatory sandbox, a sort of laboratory where ideas on innovation are shared between regulators and fintech players so they can be tested and evaluated with the central bank’s supervision before they go commercial.

B2B FinTech Startup MC Payment Grabs Funding (PYMNTS), Rated: B

Singapore-based B2B FinTech firm MC Payment announced a new funding round, as well as global expansion, late last week.

Reports Friday (Nov. 11) said MC Payment raised $3.5 million from an investment firm in Thailand, as well as participation from Aura Funds Management, tryb Capital and Perle Ventures. The funds have also allowed the company to enter the Thailand market, reports said.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor