Monday March 19 2018, Daily News Digest

Monday March 19 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Robinhood valuation tops $5B. MarketInvoice reaches 2B GBP milestone. Lendy reaches 20K investors. Senmiao Technology prices IPO at low end. Merchant Advance Capital closes $30M debt facility. Today’s main analysis: CLUB 2018-NP1 Deep Dive. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Helena, Montana wants to be tech talent destination. More SMEs plan to apply for finance. The third age of credit. Australian […]

Monday March 19 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

Valuation for Robinhood, Maker of App That Offers Free Stock Trades, Tops $ 5 Billion (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Robinhood Markets Inc. is set to be valued at about $5.6 billion in a new funding round, according to people familiar with the matter, a fourfold increase in just one year that reflects the stock-trading app’s soaring popularity among millennials.

The Silicon Valley startup is in the final stages of securing around $350 million from a group of investors led by Russian firm DST Global, according to the people familiar with the fundraising.

Helena, Montana wants to be a new destination for engineers after landing a SoFi office (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

With a population of slightly more than 31,000, Helena is one of the country’s smallest state capitals. It’s not surprising, given that the entire state of Montana is home to only 1 million people. In addition to being tiny, Helena is also incredibly remote. The closest large metropolitan areas are Salt Lake City and Seattle, which are both nearly 500 miles away.

Those qualities shouldn’t make Helena a candidate to house a large engineering team for one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable unicorns. However, SoFi, the online personal finance company focusing on student loans, mortgages, and personal loans, has multiple locations in the city that together house roughly 140 employees — many of them programmers and engineers, as I learned on a trip last month to Helena.

Amazon’s footprint grows, CLUB 2018-NP1 Deep Dive (Peer IQ), Rated: AAA

Amazon continued its foray into the lending sector this week by offering a a robo advisor. Amazon is partnering with banks where they lack a clear regulatory swim lane.

CLUB 2018-NP1

Source: Peer IQ

This is the largest near-prime deal that has been issued so far. The deal has 8,237 loans more than the CLUB 2017-NP2 deal and the average loan balance is $422 lower. The weighted average FICO on LC’s near-prime deals is 639, lower than that on AVNT 2017-B.

Source: Peer IQ

Kushners’ Cadre Startup Benefited From Misleading Rent Filings (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Cadre owned about 60 percent of three rent-regulated buildings in Queens sold by Kushner Cos. in April 2017. The $59 million price tag was an 80 percent premium over what they paid in January 2015, property records in New York show. It was the first known deal that Cadre, then a fledgling company, took from purchase to sale, and the high rate of return in a short time was touted as a proof-of-concept for its web-based investing platform.

Kushner Cos., Cadre’s operating partner at the properties, told the city the buildings had no rent-regulated tenants when applying for construction permits to update the buildings in 2015 but tax records filed later showed almost 100 such residents, according to a report by the Associated Press. The number of tenants fell precipitously prior to the buildings’ sale, the wire service reported.

 

U.S. Appeals Court Voids Obama-Era ‘Fiduciary Rule’(Financial Advisor), Rated A

A federal appeals court on Thursday voided the U.S. Department of Labor’s “fiduciary rule,” an Obama administration measure adopted in 2016 meant to curb conflicts of interest among providers of financial advice to Americans planning for retirement.

Study Finds Link Between Payday Loans, Poor Health (LendEDU), Rated: A

A new study has disclosed that almost 40 percent of people seeking short-term, high-interest loans from lenders such as payday loan companies are likely to report their health as either fair or poor.

Short-term loans have grown from a $10 billion industry in 1998 to $48 billion in 2011, reported The Guardian. Interest is extremely high on these loans—up to 600 percent per year—and the funds, typically utilized by low-income borrowers, are used for necessities including car repairs, food, and rent, according to the study.

Short-term loans have grown from a $10 billion industry in 1998 to $48 billion in 2011, reported The Guardian.

How Citizens Bank is reaching millennials (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Citizens Bank is selling millennials a comfortable, enjoyable life of travel, adventure and everything short of avocado toast in an effort to grow its student loan refinancing business.

At the end of 2017, Citizens’ student loan book was valued at $8.1 billion, according to the company. It’s a space which startups have forged a path, with CommonBond funding $1.5 billion loans since it was founded in 2012, and the value of SoFi’s student loan originations at $14 billion. Still, banks have unique advantages when it comes to the student loan refinance market, like a strong resource base to invest in marketing, and a book of business based on deposit products that lowers their costs.

Goldman Sachs launches in-house incubator (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs has launched an in-house incubator to allow its employees to bring innovative ideas and solutions to life, and to Goldman.

GS Accelerate is accepting applications for “ideas that can deliver best-in-class solutions for our clients, take Goldman Sachs into new business areas, manage risk and tackle inefficiencies in our operations,” according to an executive memo sent to staff Thursday and shared with Tearsheet. Goldman declined to comment further.

Developing The Application of Anti-fraud Technology to Enhance Financial Risk Management (Lendit), Rated: A

With the maturity of the underlying technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, the manual driven anti-fraud method will be closely integrated with artificial intelligence driven anti-fraud method by incorporating the online and offline scenarios, constantly and quickly generating a surge in innovative strategies from the previous unidirectional and inefficient strategy.

The current application of anti-fraud technology is a rule engine driven approach, that is, it can detect the problems when the frauds are triggered but cannot predict and warn in the early stage. By accumulating and studying the data of fraudulent activities and developing the new cyber technology, the application of anti-fraud technology is expected to be turn from passive investigation into active pre-warning to build up the first firewall of anti-fraud. Adding intervention techniques out of the rule engine, such as neural network technology, will help to improve the pre-warning mechanism.

Bank Fintech Partnership More Than Just a Good Idea (Lendit), Rated: A

Bank customers demand highly functioning and seamless digital experiences.  They expect easy loan application processes that minimize data entry and turn around decision and funding in session-time.  They expect configurable communications, inbound and outbound, via the channel of their choosing and on the cadence of their choosing.  They expect to conduct every possible interaction, including account opening, without being require to walk into a branch.  They crave AI-driven advice and AI-fueled interaction channels.  With mobile payment processes, remote deposit capture, 24/7 access and service, and high degrees of security all to boot.

While it is possible to develop these capabilities in house, the best solutions already exist, developed by fintech providers who are ready to partner with the bank.

Blake Cohen of SALT Lending (Lending Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Blake first got involved with blockchain and bitcoin.
  • The conversation that led to the founding of SALT Lending.
  • The outcome of his conversations with banks around accepting bitcoin as collateral.
  • How they discovered there would be demand for their proposed lending service.
  • Why they decided to sell discounted memberships instead of doing an ICO.
  • Why anybody who is holding cryptocurrency instantly understands their value proposition.
  • How much membership tokens, known as SALT tokens, cost.
  • The total amount of loan demand they have received to date.
  • How the process works when taking out a loan.
  • The loan products they are offering today.
  • How their margin calls work.
  • Why they do no credit checks on their borrowers.
  • How loans are getting funded today and their plans for the future here.
  • How the volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies has impacted their business.
  • The vision for the future of SALT lending.

Best Online Checking Accounts (Benzinga), Rated: A

Online checking accounts are different from regular checking accounts at your bank/credit union and the number one reason they’re different is that they’re from banks that forgo a traditional branch structure. Ally Bank is a great example of this type of online-only option.

Best for no monthly fees: Capital One 360 Online Checking Account
Best for hIgh APY: Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking
Best for no deposit minimum: Ally Interest Checking
Best business online checking account: EverBank Business Checking

Lendio announces South Charlotte franchise (Bankless Times), Rated: B

Small business loan marketplace Lendio this week opened a franchise in Charlotte, North Carolina. Through the Lendio franchise program, Chris Cronk will help local businesses in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding.

OnDeck Names Diamond Janitorial Services as Small Business Of the Month (PR Newwire), Rated: B

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced that Diamond Janitorial Services has been selected as the OnDeck Small Business of the Month for March, 2018.

 

Government Lifts Prohibition on Payday Lending Chain’s Partnership With National Banks (WSJ), Rated: B

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has lifted a prohibition on partnerships between payday loan chain ACE Cash Express Inc. and national banks, as the agency’s Trump-appointed head, Joseph Otting, is encouraging financial institutions to offer more small-dollar consumer loans.

The OCC rescinded a 2002 consent order that restricted ACE’s ability to offer payday loans funded by nationally chartered banks.

Private equity firms buying real estate data and software provider EDR for $ 205 million (Housingwire), Rated: B

Two prominent private equity firms are buying EDR, a provider of real estate data and software-as-a-service, for $205 million, the companies announced earlier this week.

The buyers for EDR, which provides property due-diligence and risk management technology and information, are Silver Lake and Battery Ventures.

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice reaches £2b milestone (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Business finance company MarketInvoice has today reached the landmark milestone of having advanced £2b worth of invoice finance and business loans to UK companies.

The first £1b was achieved after 5 years of trading and the second £1b took just 14 months to reach. During this brief time, two new products were launched (confidential invoice discounting and business loans). These helped MarketInvoice provide funding worth £714.2m to business in 2017 up from £410.4m in 2016 (up 74%).

Lendy Announces 20,000 Investor Milestone & Repays Five Loans in February 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Lendy announced this week it has attracted its 20,000th investor to its peer-to-peer lending platform. This news comes just days after the online lender announced it repaid five loans in February 2018.

According to P2P Finance News, the lender reported that about 7,000 new investors have joined its platform during the past year, with growth in the under 40 age group. Lendy also revealed that investors have secured more than £37 million in interest since its platform’s launch in 2012, with over  £373 million in total has been lent through the platform.

More SMEs planning to apply for finance, research shows (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: AAA

A study from market research agency BDRC has shown that the number of SMEs planning to apply for finance increased in 2017, rising from 10% in the first quarter to 14% in the last three months of the year.  

The company’s SME Finance Monitor surveyed 132,000 businesses and also found that more SMEs are becoming aware of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, with more than 30% being aware of this type of finance in the final quarter of 2017.

The research showed an increase in awareness of P2P lending combined with crowdfunding, with 46% being aware of these types of finance, up from 36% at the start of last year.

Nearly half (48%) of larger businesses with 50-249 employees were found to be aware of P2P lending, compared to 32% of solo operations and 31% of smaller businesses with fewer than ten employees.

Get ready for UK fintech’s Big IPO Year (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Funding Circle, one of the most notable UK ‘unicorns’ (a tech firm with a valuation north of £1bn), is the latest firm to make headlines for a soon-expected IPO. It also recently enlisted Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help with the process, according to media reports. Many other notable digital lending platforms such as Zopa and LendInvest as well as banking challengers such as Monzo have also dropped hints that they aspire to move into public spheres eventually, if not soon.

Peer-to-peer lender offers rare secured retail bond paying 5.4pc (The Telegraph), Rated: A

peer-to-peer lender is launching a secured retail bond paying 5.375pc in interest annually, until it matures in 2023. The company, LendInvest, is a service that allows individuals to loan their money to finance property projects.

IF Isas: a bold way to build your capital (Money Week), Rated: A

This time last year, for example, none of the big three peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms – Zopa, RateSetter, and Funding Circle – had IF Isas available. But the situation has improved, and now more than 30 platforms offer them.

More than 75% of those surveyed by specialist researcher AltFi Data shortly before Christmas said they weren’t aware of the products.

If you want to lend to consumers, you could try RateSetter, which offers up to 4.9% a year over five years. A far riskier option is FundingSecure. This platform offers 12% or more on sub-prime asset-backed lending – P2P pawnbroking, effectively.

On the lending to business side, Funding Circle offers 7.2%, but is currently only open to existing customers. Assetz Capital offers from 3.75% to 15% over various terms. Crowdstacker offers up to 7%. The UK Bond Network allows you to invest from £5,000 in individual corporate bonds from listed and unlisted businesses, returning an average of 11.1%. And if you prefer to invest in renewable-energy projects, Abundance Investments offers up to 15%.

China

Micro-cap Chinese fintech Senmiao Technology prices $ 12 million IPO at $ 4 low end (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

Senmiao Technology, an early-stage Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, raised $12 million by offering 3.0 million shares at $4.00, the low end of the range of $4.00 to $4.50.

At $4.00, the company commands an IPO market cap of $102 million and an enterprise value of $90 million. During fiscal 2017, it booked $0.2 million in revenue and a net loss of $0.7 million.

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

Ant Financial Buys Shares in Telenor Microfinance Bank

On March 13, Pakistan’s Telenor Group announced a strategic partnership with China’s Ant Financial Services Group. According to the agreement, Ant Financial will acquire 45% of Telenor Microcredit Bank, at the value of US $184.5 million. According to the agreement, Ant Financial will acquire 45% of Telenor Microcredit Bank, at the value of US $184.5 million.  

JD Finance Starts a New 13 Billion-Yuan Fundraising

On March 13, JD Financial announced that the group has initiated a new 13 billion yuan fundraising round. The new funding raised will be mainly utilized for financial licenses acquisition, technology research and marketing. It is said that CICC and COFCO shall lead this investment with a share of 10-billion-yuan. The leading investors will sign the agreements with JD Finance by the end of March and close their investment by the end of April.

Statistics shows that the valuation of JD Finance has reached 120-billion-yuan before this planned investment and is expected to reach between 165 and 190-billion-yuan after that.

 

 

Weekly Review (Investors Business Daily), Rated: A

China-based online lender Qudian (QD) reported $229.2 million in revenue and diluted EPS of 26 cents. ADT posted a surprise adjusted loss of 6 cents a share on 6% sales growth to $1.11 billion. On a GAAP basis, the home security company earned 99 cents a share.

European Union

Real estate crowdfunding in Finland: the drivers of campaign success and the industry development (Theseus.fi), Rated: B

The objectives of the study were to examine the phenomenon of real estate crowdfunding in Finland, to explain the success or failure of RECF campaigns, to understand the drivers behind industry development and to assess its future potential. The data was collected from the two main sources: interviews with the experts and the information from the websites of the crowdfunding platforms.

International

The Third Age of credit (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today, buoyed by a plethora of technologies and a golden age for abundant data, creditis undergoing its most radical change yet. But it is being pulled in many directions by competing forces, each with their own vision for the future.

The last year has witnessed a Cambrian explosion in credit innovation, unveiling hundreds of possibilities for the future of credit. Unlike the last two ages, credit of the future will be personal, predictive, self-correcting and universal.

What does a new world of credit look like?

Thousands of startups are all finding new ways to apply this same concept of statistical modeling. WeLab in Hong Kong and Kreditech in Germany, for example, use up to 20,000 points of alternative data to process loans (WeLab has provided $28 billion in credit in four years). mPesa and Branch in Kenya provide developing-world credit using mobile data, Lendabledoes so using psychographic data and Koradoes this on blockchain. Young peer-to-peer lending startups like Funding CircleLending Club and Lufax have originated more than $100 billion in loans using algorithmic underwriting.

Victory Park Capital partners IFC on fintech fund for emerging markets (Finextra), Rated: A

Victory Park Capital (“VPC”), a leading investment firm focused on providing flexible debt and opportunistic equity solutions worldwide, announced today that it has launched a new fund together with the International Finance Corporation (“IFC”), a member of the World Bank Group.

The new fund will invest in financial technology companies in emerging markets. The partnership aims to improve access to debt capital for financial technology companies that lend to small businesses and consumers in emerging markets.

Accountants Look to Artificial Intelligence As Clients Get More Demanding (Sanvada), Rated: A

Accountancy firms to be particular are busy investing in AI and automation initiatives to help staffs with mundane tasks. The need is so open in some situations that businesses fail to deliver their mandate to customers.

In the research, close to 50 percent of the accountants said they would like to automate number crunching, diary management and the most time consuming of all: data entry. On the same note, three quarter showed great attraction to AI, to have it assist time-consuming responsibilities and automate involving tasks with recurring patterns.

Accounting firms have been in the front line of using cloud computing and Sage report stated that 67 percent of respondents now link their success to the use of cloud tech.

Finastra named provider of best payments solution by Global Finance (Vested for Finastra Email), Rated: B

Finastra has been named ‘best payment solutions provider’ by Global Finance, as part of the publication’s Best Treasury & Cash Management Banks and Providers for 2018, announced in the March issue of the magazine.

Finastra received the award based on its best-of-breed payments and financial messaging solutions that enable financial institutions and their business customers to manage cash, process payments, exchange information and transfer funds cost-effectively, securely and reliably within and across national boundaries.

Australia

SMEs shun banks, turn to fintechs (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

The proportion of SMEs planning to use banks dropped from 38% to 24% between 2014 and 2018, the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index shows. It is recalculated every six months.

About half (47.6%) of the 1253 small-to-medium business leaders who had not used non-banking lending options in the last 12 months said they are interested in using alternative financing in the future.

Of the SMEs that used alternative working capital options in 2017, the most popular was debtor finance (77%), followed by merchant cash advances (23%), peer-to-peer lending (10%), crowdfunding (9%) and other online lending (5%).

9 in 10 SMEs say cash flow problems prevented revenue growth (Finder), Rated: A

A new report released this week has revealed the changing state of cash flow, finance and growth for Australian small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The SME Growth Index, released by working capital provider Scottish Pacific, found that one in five (21.1%) SMEs were unable to take on new work because of cash flow restrictions, and 9 in 10 (92.7%) SMEs said that cash flow restrictions actually prevented them from generating more revenue.

Small business revenue is heavily influenced by the business’ cash flow. Of the 1,253 small business respondents to the Index, only 7.3% said that improved cash flow would not have led to more revenue. The restrictions on revenue due to cash flow has cost the Australian economy $229.8 billion.

FinTech Australia Points to Report that Highlights Growth in Fintech Lenders as Traditional Finance Declines (Crowdfind Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia, is highlighting a report this week that points to the decline in traditional fince options (IE Banks) and the ongoing rise in SMEs using Fintech platforms to address their capital needs.

The report is courtesy of the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index, released every six months, which is based on interviews with 1,253 SMEs across Australia with annual revenues of up to $5 million.

For SMEs with plans to invest in expansion over the next 6 months, 24% say they will fund growth by borrowing from their main relationship bank – continuing a downward trend, and well short of the high of 38% who nominated this option to fund growth in the first round of the Index in September 2014. More than one in five SMEs (22%) plan to use alternatives to their main bank to fund upcoming growth, with 91% relying on their own funds. Of the SMEs that used alternative working capital options in 2017, their funding choices were: debtor finance (used by 77%), merchant cash advances (23%), P2P lending (10%), crowdfunding (9%) and other online lending (5%).

Gen Y advisers shy away from the big banks (Financial Review), Rated: B

Data from consumer information company Adviser Ratings provided exclusively to The Australian Financial Review reveals in the last two years, the non-aligned sector – or what was previously termed the independent space – has seen it attract 70 per cent of all news advisers, compared with 40 per cent previously.

There has also been a 32 per cent increase in the number of Australian Financial Services Licenses (AFSLs) granted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. This equates to 400 new licenses in two years. Total adviser numbers have grown 10 per cent, up to 24,777 from 22,612 over that period.

India

Is RBI sleeping over Faircent’s P2P ad that promises huge returns? (MoneyLife), Rated: AAA

An overhyped, front page advertisements in a leading economic daily by Faircent.com, which claims it is India’s largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending website, is luring people promising returns that are safer than the risky ’Sensex’ — almost like a Ponzi scheme. Shockingly, the company’s business and its puffery does not seem to attract the attention or supervision of any regulator. Not even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), whose governor recently lamented that his organisation does not have adequate powers over banks — especially public sector banks. So what about finance companies that are regulated by it? The Faircent.com advertisement would give you a clue. The last line of the advertisement, in its fine print carries a disclaimer saying, the “Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should not be held responsible for these claims or promises”.

Movers And Shakers Of The Week [12–17 March 2018] (Inc 42), Rated: B

Online financial services marketplace BankBazaar has appointed Aparna Maheshas the Chief Marketing Officer.

P2P lending company Faircent has roped in Vikas Prasad and Mayank Bishnoi on board its leadership team.  Vikas has joined Faircent as Head – Planning, Processes, and Control, while Mayank has taken over as Head – Customer Experience.

Asia

Genie: the broadest Asian business loans exchange platform (Global Coin Report), Rated: A

The Genie ICO recently hit its soft cap of $5 million, with another $20 million in the pipeline. They had achieved about $2.5million through crowd sale; with the $3million underwritten amount, the current token purchase crosses the soft cap of $5million.

 

The ICO, which started a few weeks ago, finalized on March, 1st. Tokens were for sale at a rate of 0.0025 ETH, with a fundraising goal of 5,000,000 USD that was already met.

INTERVIEW-Indonesian banks will see “more than 12 pct” loan growth in 2018- regulator (Reuters), Rated: A

Indonesian banks will see “more than 12 percent” loan growth in 2018 thanks to a recovering global economy and a pickup in commodity prices, the country’s financial regulator said.

Loan growth in Indonesia has fallen below 10 percent since the start of 2016, compared with more than 20 percent during the commodity boom years before that.

Canada

Merchant Advance Capital Closes $ 30 Million Debt Facility (deBanked), Rated: AAA

Canadian Merchant Advance Capital closed a $30 million debt facility from Comvest Credit Partners today.

“This is giving us significant runway,” Merchant Advance Capital CEO David Gens told deBanked. “For the next 12 months in particular, we’ve got great visibility as far as where our incremental capital is going to come from. This will allow us to focus less on fundraising and more on just building the business.”

Founded in 2010, Merchant Advance Capital offers several small business financing products including fixed term loans and business lines of credit.

Royal Bank of Canada Explores Blockchain to Automate Credit Scores (CoinDesk), Rated: A

The Royal Bank of Canada may be interested in putting credit scores on a blockchain.

In a patent application released Thursday, the bank outlines a platform built on a blockchain that would automatically generate credit ratings using a borrower’s historical and predictive data. The application as described proposes a system that would utilize more data sources than existing credit rating systems, improving the loan process while creating an immutable record.

If a loan application is submitted, the system would automatically determine what sort of loan and creditor would be appropriate before generating a unique smart contract that contains the terms of the loan.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday March 12 2018, Daily News Digest

Funding Circle

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa competes with tech giants, not banks, for talent. Funding Circle to use 4 big banks to prepare for IPO. Japan tours Europe to pitch Open Banking. Lending Loop expands into corporate lending. Today’s main analysis: Preqin on the PE outlook. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Banking Amazon’s moment. How a commission-free robo-advisor plans to generate […]

Funding Circle

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United States

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United States

Banking’s Amazon Moment (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Co-branded partnerships are not new, and banks have long partnered with retail institutions to launch co-branded credit cards. In a co-branded partnership, the financial partner deals with deposit or credit management, account servicing, and regulatory compliance, while the retail partner deals with marketing and customer acquisition. We have recently seen Barclays launch a credit card with Uber and Goldman Sachs potentially partner with Apple to finance device purchases. What is novel about this partnership is that it extends the same business model to checking accounts.

Benefits of Partnership

In the current regulatory environment, Amazon needs a partner as there is no clear regulatory swim lane for Amazon to compete head-on with the banks today. The Bank Holding Company Act demarcates commerce and banking. Partnering with JPM makes sense as it avoids Amazon having to comply with onerous banking regulations, but also makes it possible to offer products like checking accounts to its customers.

These strategic partnerships are also incredibly valuable to banks. As we pointed out in a prior newsletter, banks that do not establish a digital banking presence do not have a seat at the table. For banks, this is a battle for long-term customer relevance. Banking products are increasingly commoditized, and new generation customers want to bank with technology firms. They like the customer experience, the self-service nature, control, and value. These customers shudder at the idea of walking into a bank branch.

The customer segment that Amazon is targeting – younger generation, unbanked – generate notoriously low checking account and debit card fee-income for banks. Amazon has no legacy bank branch network, low customer acquisition cost and can make the economics work where most banks cannot. Banks also get access to a new customer acquisition channel, like Alexa where Amazon controls access and can leverage the customer data that their partner has gathered to offer better products to existing and new customers.

Significance of this Partnership

The primary motivation in the short-term is economics. Amazon pays about $250 MM in interchange fees – about 2% per transaction. Customers with an Amazon checking account can pay directly out of their checking accounts and avoid the network transaction fees. If Amazon captures even 25% of this opportunity, and adds $50 Mn to its bottom line, it would be accretive to its market capitalization by ~$10 Bn.

Amazon’s banking footprint today consists of its Visa Signature Rewards credit card issued by Chase, and Amazon Lending, a small business lender that has made ~$3 Bn in loans. It is conceivable that once Amazon’s customers sign up for a checking account, Amazon could sell them a variety of financial products like insurance and investment advice. Bain estimates that Amazon could establish a retail financial relationship with 70 Mn US customers, similar to that of Wells-Fargo.

Who might follow Amazon?

Source: PeerIQ

Amazon hiring head of newly-formed mortgage lending division (Housing Wire), Rated: A

While limited in scope, Amazon’s plans are to start with offering checking programs first, then maybe move into the debt product space after.

Well, after reporting that, we’ve received information that Amazon is currently looking to hire someone to lead their newly-formed mortgage lending division.

Due to non-disclosure agreements, we probably shouldn’t reveal their identities. After all, with Amazon planning a move into mortgage lending, it’s best we work with them and not against them. Am I right?

We can say that if you look at the top 10 HMDA lenders and pick out the nonbanks, that’s where Amazon is recruiting their talent.

How a commission-free robo-adviser plans to generate revenue (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Digital investment startup M1 Finance is making a big bet that no fees are the future.

The Chicago-based company, which launched its platform two years ago, decided to drop its assets under management fees to zero in December.

Investment companies can make as much as 70 percent of revenue from services that don’t involve charging customers commission, like lending and transaction fees for third parties, according to its CEO, Brian Barnes.

Source: Tearsheet

Instead of subscriptions, Barnes added that revenue from other services is more than enough to sustain a profitable business: lending to banks based on the securities it holds, interest from loans to customers who borrow from M1 using their portfolio as collateral, and transaction fees paid to the company from exchanges. While it’s free to use the platform and execute trades, M1 charges customers other miscellaneous fees for services like paper statements, transferring an account to another brokerage, and wire transfers.

THE TIPPING POINT FOR ALTERNATIVE DATA (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The term “alternative data” as Deloitte uses it refers to any set or sets of data that may be useful for investors but that is outside their traditional/conventional frame of reference.  In this age of “big data” that frame is going to have to expand, and the use of (say) communications metadata or satellite imagery, which might still be innovative this week, might be quite common next week, and a bare necessity for survival the week after that.

The traditional model for data analytics by IM firms (however ‘alternative’ they may be in their assets or strategies) involves as the paper puts it “structured data sets acquired from various information providers” that are then “aggregated and loaded into proprietary quantitative models.”

But the sometimes unstructured data sets on which investment managers will hereafter be expected to draw are large, heterogeneous, and would have to be processed at an extremely fast rate to be of any use. This requires machine learning and cognitive computing for the analytics.

In 2016, big data analytics (BDA) solution vendors received $3.2 billion from securities and investment services (S&IS) firms. About 15% of that (close to half a billion) originated from technologies that at least potentially support the generation of alpha.

How banks are promoting Zelle (Tearsheet), Rated: A

How banks promote Zelle is about more than television ad campaigns.

This year Chase and Wells Fargo have launched 15- and 30-second commercials advertising Zelle, the peer-to-peer payments offering built right into banks’ mobile apps. Zelle itself has even launched a couple of spots, one featuring Hamilton star Daveed Diggs.

Smaller banks that can’t afford national commercials, however, will need to promote Zelle in their existing products, their mobile banking apps, and perhaps take a page from fintech startups’ marketing playbook and design their apps in such a way that the product does the selling for them. That’s according to a new report by Javelin Strategy on Zelle’s rollout; that it emphasizes within its own mobile banking experience that a product called Zelle exists and communicates the benefits of using it and the reasons its better than competitors like Venmo or Square Cash.

Only 25 percent convey that Zelle is free or that it only requires an email or cell phone number, and only 38 percent convey that users can send it to anyone with a U.S. bank account, even if they bank at a different institution than the sender.

However, within those mobile apps, banks are positioning Zelle a little more prominently. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and USAA are all examples of different banks that have chosen to show customers they can send money with Zelle. Bank of America more clearly shows users they also have the options to split or request money. Chase has chosen to rebrand its existing peer-to-peer payment service, Chase Quick Pay, by adding the Zelle name at the end of it and offering customers the option to “QuickPay with Zelle.” SunTrust has changed platforms entirely from PopMoney to Zelle.

LESS ACTIVE ROLE IN FINANCIAL LIVES LEAVES WOMEN MAKING LESS, SACRIFICING MORE (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

A recent study of college-educated Americans found that more than half (54%) of adults don’t think they will ever make enough money to reach their financial goals. Findings released today by national online lender Laurel Road reveal the factors fueling this pessimism, which is significantly higher in women than in men. Millennial women (64%) are significantly more stressed than their male peers (47%) about their finances, and they report starting salaries that fall more than $10,000 lower than millennial men’s, on average ($29,403 vs. $39,839).

Fiscally confident millennial male grads (94%) were significantly more likely than their female counterparts (79%) to prioritize their future earning potential over personal passions when picking a major. Of those without a degree in finance, 88% of male millennials report taking personal or business finance courses while in college, compared to only 54% of female millennials. Meanwhile, nearly one-fourth (24%) of women completed an unpaid internship, compared to just 12% of men.

Millennial women (35%) are more than three times as likely as their male peers (11%) to not have completely understood their financing options when applying to college. These stark differences have a clear trickle-down effect post-graduation. More than half of women (57%) have had to decrease nonessential spending to save money since graduation, compared to just 35% of their male peers.

76% of college-educated adults aren’t completely confident they thoroughly understood their financing options to pay for college. Accordingly, more than half (55%) of Americans with student loans report that it took them longer than expected to pay them off – and for millennials, that number rises to 66%.

However, readjusting interest rates through options like refinancing can ease the burden. But it seems Americans might not be fully aware of this option, as only about one-third (34%) of college-educated adults who have taken out student loans have refinanced their student loans. Despite having less student loan debt, millennial men (62%) are taking advantage of refinancing benefits to a far greater degree than women (39%).

Additional findings include:

Advice adverse: Just more than half (57%) of college graduates have asked for financial advice, and only 16% do so on a monthly basis.

Overlooking the basics: Surprisingly, many college-educated Americans still haven’t taken some of the most basic steps to ensuring a healthy, long-term financial plan, including:

  • 83% have not taken a personal finance course or seminar outside of college classes
  • 62% have not negotiated a higher salary at a job
  • 37% have not begun investing in a retirement account

Persisting pessimism: Nearly 2 in 3 (66%) grads are not fully confident they know the steps required to finance a home. While millennial men (42%) are more likely than their female peers (29%) to feel completely confident they know the steps required to finance a home, it seems a solid financial foundation early on is key to building a comfortable future later on down the road.

Are HNW Investors Ready for Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms? (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: A

Cecilio is founder and CEO of San Diego-based DiversyFund Inc., which bills itself as a “vertically-integrated real estate crowdfunding platform.” Rather than acting as a middleman, DiversyFund manages all of its real estate projects from start to finish.

Accredited investors put money directly into development of commercial and residential real estate projects in Southern California, such as a multifamily development in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood. Investors can place as little as $5,000 in one of DiversyFund’s deals. Today, DiversyFund claims over 30,000 investors and more than $100 million in assets under management.

For now, an accredited investor must either make at least $200,000 a month or have a net worth of at least $1 million. But DiversyFund plans to open up its online platform this spring to non-accredited investors who can put as little as $500 into a project, Cecilio says.

NY Wealth Manager to Issue Loans Against Bitcoin (CoinDesk), Rated: A

With all the ICOs that have taken place (not to mention the meteoric rise in the value of crypto assets late last year), there are a lot of entrepreneurs who fit this description, but few products that allow them to turn long-term HODLing into actionable capital.

That’s the idea behind a new subsidiary being started by Dominion Capital, a family office based in New York City. While the company has long invested in a variety of assets, Dominion’s known for helping to finance projects by backing loans.

For the entrepreneurs who are willing to bet on the strength of their holdings, there’s a strategic opportunity at play. Essentially, the service would allow individuals and projects to borrow against either their own crypto assets (or those invested by supporters) rather than converting them directly to cash.

Restaurants Outpace Other Industries Investing In Mobile Technologies in 2018 (Modern Restaurant Management), Rated: B

The new findings show an overwhelming focus on mobile technologies, with 63 percent planning to invest; a well-advised investment given nearly 85 percent of all mobile users searching for a restaurant go on to make a purchase. The total average across all industries is 51 percent. In fact, restuarants and bars are among the most bullish to invest in mobile, trumped only by accounting services (70 percent) and marketing agencies (67 percent).

What’s more, nearly in one in four (23 percent) plan to invest in real-time analytics or big data solutions, to help analyze and identify growth opportunities.  This is an emerging opportunity for all small businesses as insights, typically available only to large corporations, are becoming increasingly more available.

U.S. Treasury Official Previews Report on FinTech Regulation (The National Law Review), Rated: B

Craig Phillips, Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury), recently delivered remarks at a conference held by the Institute of International Bankers in which he previewed the upcoming Treasury report about possible reforms to the laws and regulations that apply to non-bank financial institutions and FinTech companies.

Mr. Phillips reportedly signaled that the report will include a review of the regulations governing mortgage originators and servicers, marketplace lenders, payment processors and other FinTech companies, and will also cover the “regulatory asymmetries” between such institutions and more regulated institutions.

Pennsylvania judge partially dismisses action against investors of an online lending scheme (Lexology), Rated: B

On January 26, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania partially dismissed an action brought by the Pennsylvania Attorney General against out-of-state investors of an online payday lender and the lender for violating Pennsylvania’s Corrupt Organizations Act (COA). The Attorney General alleged that an online payday lender and the investors “designed, implemented, and profited from a consumer lending scheme to circumvent the usury laws of states.” The alleged conduct, which the court referred to generally as “rent-a-bank” and “rent-a-tribe” schemes, involved the online lender partnering with an out-of-state bank and later with tribal nation to act as the nominal lenders of the loans.

Alabama Senate OKs bill to cap payday lending interest rates (Tuscaloosa News), Rated: B

Payday lending customers would have longer to repay their loan under a bill approved Thursday by the Alabama Senate, which marks the latest attempt to cap the interest rates charged with the short term loans.

The bill by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur would give borrowers 30 days to repay a loan instead of as little as 10 days. Orr said the change would give people a better opportunity to pay off the loan. Senators approved the bill on a 20-4 vote.

Square’s Cash app now supports direct deposits for your paycheck (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Case in point, the app just rolled out support for ACH direct deposits, meaning users can now get their paycheck or other deposits put directly into their Cash app balance.

Like other features in the peer-to-peer payments app setting up direct deposits is almost too simple. After accepting a disclosure you’re given an account number and routing number, which is all an employer needs to start making direct deposits. Users get a notification when deposits hit their account, and all funds get added to their normal Cash app balance – meaning it can be sent to a friend, spent using a debit card, used to buy bitcoin or withdrawn to another account.

This feature combined with the Cash app’s debit card now means that the app can essentially provide all the basic functions of a bank account, assuming you don’t need to deposit checks or do complex things like wire transfers.

United Kingdom

Zopa is competing with tech giants not banks for talent, says CEO (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is competing with Google and Facebook for talent, not the likes of HSBC, the peer-to-peer lenders’ chief executive Jaidev Janardana (pictured) has said.

Funding Circle Picks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley for IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle Ltd., the biggest online loan provider in Britain, named Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Numis Corp. Plc to help manage its initial public offering, according to a person familiar with the deal, in a milestone for U.K. fintech.

The offering in London, planned for the second or third quarter, will probably value the eight-year-old company at between 1.5 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) and 2 billion pounds, according to the person, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. That would make it the biggest IPO by a British financial-technology startup.

Funding Circle has arranged more than 4 billion pounds in loans for small and medium-sized companies in the U.K., the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands.

 

Source: Funding Circle and Bloomberg

 

Funding Circle co-founder joins crypto-lending platform as advisor (AltFi), Rated: A

Andrew Mullinger’s LinkedIn profile reads: “currently semi-retired until I get bored”. The Funding Circle co-founder stepped back from the firm in May 2016. He has now joined a very different kind of online lender.

Lendingblock, an open exchange for cryptocurrency loans, today announced that Mullinger has joined the company as an advisor.

Augmentum Fintech raises £94m in IPO (Fine Extra), Rated A

Fintech venture firm Augmentum has raised £94 million in an initial public offering ahead of a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Set up by venture group Augmentum Capital, Augmentum Fintech is raising the money for a new fund investing in early-stage financial technology companies in the UK and wider Europe.

The new company is acquiring Augmentum’s existing investments in a portfolio of five fintech firms, including Seedrs, Zopa, Interactive Investor, BullionVault and SRL Global.

In a rare meeting of the public and private markets, crowdfunding platform Seedrs was itself used to raise more than £500,000 towards the IPO. The management team and family members have provided £2 million in capital.

BBVA and Visa-backed banking platform solarisBank scores €56.6m in Series B raise (AltFiNews), Rated: B

solarisBank, the first banking platform to be fully regulated by the FCA with a banking license, has successfully completed a Series B investment round, gaining another €56.6m in funding. Current investors Arvato Financial Solutions and SBI Group renewed their stakes, with BBVA, Visa, Lakestar and ABN AMRO’s Digital Impact Fund (DIF) joining them.

 

China

Review: The flimsy finances behind China’s miracle (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

Since the financial crisis of 2008, China’s economic growth has depended less on exports than on rising levels of domestic investment. Capital spending is mostly directed at construction, which directly accounts for some 20 percent of China’s gross domestic product and indirectly for much more. The long construction boom has produced dozens of ghost cities – McMahon counts 50 in all – filled with empty apartment blocks. Mighty skyscrapers have sprouted up in unlikely provincial backwaters.

Increasing property supply has been accompanied by rising prices. Sky-high valuations have priced many Chinese workers out of the market, creating a nation of “mortgage slaves” and “ant tribes” – graduates forced to live in cheap properties in urban peripheries. In some super-hot markets like the southern city of Shenzhen, the price of land has exceeded the value of the properties built on it, giving rise to the expression “flour more expensive than bread.”

If China’s economy is fuelled by construction, it’s no secret what keeps the cranes swinging and the bulldozers revving. The country has been on a credit binge ever since Beijing announced the “Great Stimulus” late in 2008.

Last China P2P Company Delists Domestically, foreseeing New Tide of Listings Abroad (PRNewswire), Rated: A

China-based Jiayin Fintech, parent company to Niwodai, one of chinese largest P2P lending companies, applied delisting from National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) in China on 7 March.

Jiayin Fintech’s main business is offering micro-finance services solution, among which, the part accounting for the largest income is tying qualified individual borrowing needs with the investing demands through Niwodai platform. So this delisting may indicate some trends of P2P industry, according to media in China.

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Golden Bull decreases proposed US IPO deal size to million (Nasdaq), Rated: A

The Shanghai, China-based company now plans to raise $7 million by offering 1.6 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. The company had previously filed to offer 2 million shares at the same range. At the midpoint of the revised range, Golden Bull will raise -23% less in proceeds than previously anticipated.

 

International

PREQIN ON THE PE OUTLOOK (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Preqin has issued a report on the near term outlook for private equity based on a recent (November 2017) survey of more than 350 PE firms around the globe.

Although this isn’t new, the worries about high valuations for portfolio companies have been a factor for years now; such worries are getting more intense over time. In November 2016, 36% of respondents said pricing for portfolio companies had gotten higher over the preceding year. In November 2017, 58% said the same thing.

A majority (56%) of fund managers plan to make more exits in 2018 than they did in 2017, though only 8% said that will be “significantly” more.

Australia

Fintech Australia begins hunt for new CEO as Danielle Szetho steps down (IT Brief), Rated: A

Fintech Australia’s Danielle Szetho is stepping down from her position as CEO after nearly two years in the role.

The organisation has already begun the search for its new lead executive while appointing Sarah Worboys as interim CEO.

 

Asia

Open Banking Provides Perfect Environment for FinTech Integration in Japan (PRNewswire), Rated: AAA

With a rapidly changing, quality business environment, the Government of Japan has launched a series of events across Europe to inform and promote active discussions around the future opportunities in Japan’s lucrative and intelligent market.

On February 19, a Japan You Didnt Know roundtable event kicked off in London at the office of global management consulting firm, A.T. Kearney. Discussions at the event focused on the impact of the new wave of finance, technology, consumerization and personalization sweeping Japan, and how the country is adapting its policy and regulatory framework to welcome foreign investors to deliver predictable conditions for accelerated growth.

Japan boasts the world’s third largest economy and has seen eight straight quarters of stable macroeconomic growth. Driven by a transformation of the market by means of bedrock deregulation and international trade deals, Japan is designing an efficient and productive environment that welcomes foreign business for the coming opportunities in financial services.

Canada

 

P2P PLATFORM LENDING LOOP NOW OFFERING CORPORATE LENDING (Beta Kit), Rated: AAA

Toronto-based Lending Loop, which provides a peer-to-peer lending platform for small business loans, is now allowing corporations to invest in small business loans through its online platform.

The launch of corporate lending is expected to expand small business’ ability to access fast financing, while enabling more lenders to earn attractive returns. To date, Lending Loop says it has facilitated over $17.5 million in loans to businesses across Canada.

Som Seif’s Purpose Financial to acquire fintech lender Thinking Capital (BNN), Rated: A

Canadian ETF pioneer Som Seif’s Purpose Financial announced Friday it is acquiring Montreal-based Thinking Capital, an online lender to small businesses, for an undisclosed amount of cash and securities.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday January 25 2018, Daily News Digest

blockchain equity rounds

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out checking accounts. Zopa re-opens to new customers. Roostify integrates with LendingTree. China regulator says credit market should adopt blockchain. ETHLend hits 1M GBP in P2P crypto loans. Borrowell launches free Equifax credit report monitoring. Brazilian payments company sets post-Snap IPO record. Today’s main analysis: Blockchain equity funding vs. ICOs. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

blockchain equity rounds

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Egypt

Canada

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi will roll out checking accounts this spring (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

SoFi is rolling out checking accounts without a banking license, demonstrating the new reality that a company doesn’t have to be a bank in order to bank customers.

By partnering with the Wilmington, Delaware-based WSFS Financial, SoFi will roll out a fee-free checking account and debit card this spring in a bundle it’s calling SoFi Money, designed to address the pain points customers have with day-to-day banking products, like high fees and clunky digital interfaces, executives said at a media gathering in New York Tuesday morning. SoFi Money will include peer-to-peer transfers between SoFi customers, mobile check deposit and high yield interest rates on deposits (0.75 to 0.85 percent). It will be available first to current SoFi members before the broader rollout.

Five challenges facing SoFi’s new CEO (American Banker), Rated: A

Reforming SoFi’s culture.

Determining when to go public. SoFi has a number of key shareholders who might like to access wealth that is tied up in the company’s shares. That list includes the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, which led a $1 billion equity financing round in 2015, and the venture capital firm Silver Lake Partners, which led last year’s $500 million round. That round reportedly valued the privately held company at more than $4 billion.

Deciding how to grow. But while student loan refinancing proved to be an excellent way to find new customers during a period of low interest rates, that opportunity is now shrinking, as rising interest rates reduce the spread between what borrowers pay the federal government and what SoFi can offer.

Yes or no on a bank charter? 

Proving that he has the right background. Noto does not appear to have any experience in consumer financial services, which could be viewed as a weakness.

Roostify Announces Integration With LendingTree (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced that it has integrated its online mortgage platform with LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), the online loan marketplace. The new integration makes it easier than ever for consumers to locate and apply with the right lender.

Lenders can utilize the new integration to create a seamless path for consumers to search, select, apply for, and close a loan online. Consumers selecting an offer on LendingTree from a lender using Roostify will be able to authenticate into the lender’s Roostify-powered online experience, with all information securely pre-populated. The consumer can move from shopping around to getting their loan in just a few clicks, streamlining the experience and improving lead quality for lenders.

The integration will enter general availability in Q1 2018 for all joint clients of Roostify and LendingTree.

2018’s Best Online Checking Accounts (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

More than 6 in 10 people don’t realize that online-only banks offer better rates and lower fees than their counterparts with branch access, according to WalletHub’s 2018 Banking Survey. But it’s true. What online-only accounts lack in terms of face-to-face interaction, they make up for with superior terms. For example, the average online checking account costs 47% less than its branch-based counterpart, according to WalletHub’s latest Banking Landscape Report. And the average online savings account pays 457% more interest than the branch alternative.

Best Online Checking Accounts – Editors’ Picks

Best For… Online Checking Account Best Feature
Overall Aspiration Summit Account APY up to 1.00%
Highest APY Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking APY up to 4.59%
Debit-Card Rewards Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account 1 point per $2 spent
No Monthly Fee BofI X Checking


Capital One 360 Checking Account

No ATM fees


No ATM fees

International Travel Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking No foreign fee
Money Management Tools PNC Bank Virtual Wallet Spending analysis

RealtyMogul Boosts REIT Cred with Hire of Industry Veteran Aaron Halfacre as President (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RealtyMogul, a leading real estate crowdfunding platform offering Reg D (accredited) and Reg A+ (both accreds and non-accreds) investment opportunities in commercial and residential property, has hired a new President to help lead the firm. Aaron Halfacre, a 20 year real estate executive, has joined RealtyMogul bringing in institutional expertise including in the hot REIT sector.

Aaron Halfacre Becomes RealtyMogul’s First President (Bisnow), Rated: A

A former Campus Crest president and chief investment officer, Halfacre took a year and a half break after the publicly traded student housing REIT was acquired by Harrison Street Real Estate Capital in a $1.9B deal.

As president of RealtyMogul, Halfacre will be responsible for creating a strategy, growing assets and augmenting business growth. He will serve as a voting member of the firm’s investment committee, which has invested in more than $1.4B of real estate since 2013, the company reports.

Juvo Receives Investment from Samsung to Boost Smartphone Usage Among Underbanked (Finovate), Rated: A

Mobile identity company Juvo has received an investment from Samsung NEXT, an off-shoot of Samsung that launched in 2013 to create new software and foster a startup culture at Samsung. The amount of the investment was undisclosed and adds to the San Francisco-based company’s $54 million in equity funding.

The bigger story here is that the investment is a strategic one. Samsung will bring Juvo access to billions of underbanked prepaid users across the globe. This will help Juvo enable MNOs to increase smartphone adoption among prepaid mobile subscribers.

The challenger bank Chime says it has 750,000 millennial customers (American Banker), Rated: A

Chime, a mobile-only neobank for millennials, said Tuesday that it has opened 750,000 accounts to date and is signing up users at a brisk pace this month.

The growth is extraordinary. While there are many other mobile-only challenger banks in the U.S. — including Qapital, Digit and, more recently, Varo and Douugh — few have racked up large numbers yet. Chime touts a low-fee checking and savings account with a debit card and an app that provides automated savings and real-time notifications; there are no monthly or overdraft fees nor minimum-balance requirements. The Bancorp Bank holds the federally-insured accounts.

The reason why most people get rejected for a personal loan (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

LendEDU, a marketplace for loans and financial products, just released data showing that 76% of people who apply for a personal loan are declined. One of the main reasons for rejection? A low credit score. The average American has a credit score of 687. Meanwhile, the average FICO credit score of an approved applicant was 741.

Of those who do get approved, LendEDU predicts that just 35% went on to accept the personal loan.

Currently, 16 million consumers have an unsecured personal loan. According to a TransUnion, personal lending balances grew a steady 10.8% in the second quarter of 2017, totaling $108 billion.

Back in 2010, fintech only made up 3% of personal loan lenders. In 2015, Transunion says that number jumped to 30%.

Why fintech is still a way off disrupting lending (Financial News), Rated: A

But of the many things that banks do, lending to small and medium sized companies (‘SME’ lending) is one of the more complex areas to emulate. It is also politically charged. As such, there is some evidence that the disruption attempted in the area of lending is itself being disrupted by the practicalities of a complex area of finance.

Citi’s mobile app is lagging behind its peers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The fourth-largest bank by assets grew its total active mobile users 21 percent year over year to nine million, the bank reported last week in its fourth-quarter earnings.

By contrast, Chase reported 30.1 million users, Bank of America 24.2 million and Wells Fargo 21.2 million.

Citi’s growth rate for 2017 was stronger though, at 21 percent year over year, than its peers’. Chase reported 13 percent growth, Bank of America 12 percent and Wells Fargo 8 percent.

Mulvaney outlines new CFPB governing philosophy (The National Law Review), Rated: A

In a memorandum to CFPB staff and a Wall Street Journal article, Mr. Mulvaney described his governing philosophy for the CFPB’s exercise of its authority.

  • While observing that there will be times when “dramatic action” is needed to protect consumers and that, at such times, he expected the CFPB “to be vigorous in [its] enforcement of the law,” Mr. Mulvaney stated that “bringing the full weight of the federal government down on the necks of the people we serve should be something that we do only reluctantly, and only when all other attempts at resolution have failed.”
  • In using its enforcement authority, the CFPB will focus on “quantifiable and unavoidable harm to the consumer” and when such harm does not exist, the CFPB “won’t go looking for excuses to bring lawsuits.”  In addition, there will be “more formal rule making and less regulation by enforcement”  because “the people we regulate should have the right to know what the rules are before being charged with breaking them.”
  • CFPB priorities should be guided by data such as 2016 complaint data which showed that “almost a third of the complaints” received by the CFPB related to debt collection and “[o]nly 0.9% related to prepaid cards and 2% to payday lending.”
  • In light of the Dodd-Frank Act requirement for the CFPB to “consider the potential costs and benefits to consumers and covered persons,” CFPB decisions should be driven by quantitative analysis.  Although qualitative analysis can play a role, it should not be to the exclusion of measurable “costs and benefits.”

Read the memo for yourself here.

What you thought you knew about millennials is wrong (American Banker), Rated: A

Sixty-three percent say they are saving money. This is very close to the rate of Gen Xers (64%) and baby boomers (75%).

Fifty-four percent of millennials say they are on a budget, the same level as Gen X and only slightly below the rate of boomers (57%).

They are diligent about savings and budgeting: 67% of millennials who have a savings goal stick to it. And 73% of millennials on a budget adhere to it regularly.

And 59% say they feel financially secure, compared with 54% of Gen Xers and 63% of baby boomers.

Making it in GR: Lessons in crowdfunding (Rapid Growth), Rated: A

Last month’s “Making it in Grand Rapids” article focused on the ever-expanding alternative financing options for entrepreneurs, such as: impact investment funds, peer-to-peer lending solutions and crowdfunding platforms. Grand Rapids entrepreneur Don Rhoads is Owner/Inventor of At Last Industries (At Last), which created the BedBud Alarm. He is also Head of Development at Cut Through Creative. Rhoads shares his progression from having an idea through the development and launch of his Kickstarter campaign—and the insights he learned along the way.

RG: A recent Small Business Credit Survey reported that “70 percent of startup applicants are in need of funding to support [their growth]” and that “52 percent of startups [have] applied for financing.” Did you pursue any avenues before deciding on crowdfunding?

DR: Yes. I actually applied for and presented at a 5×5 Night. Unfortunately, I didn’t win that one, but as much as I was disheartened, I was still [determined to] fulfill the product. Also, through traditional bank loans, I applied through my current bank. It was a little bit difficult. In a startup, it is difficult to put a value on a business. [Banks] want capital behind it because most startups fail anyway, so they want some substance behind you so they can get their money back. I was told I would need to be a little bit further down the line to get additional funding.

Technology and the Future of Financial Advice (Janus Henderson), Rated: A

Technology arrives in waves and is embraced over an adoption curve. These waves are growing stronger – in large part because technology is becoming ever more powerful. Over time, we have seen these waves play out in financial planning, too.

It is worth looking at two of the challenges faced by the industry now. The first is demographics. Clients have grown older and wealthier, but they are not being replaced within the market for traditional advice services. This is creating an advice gap for firms who need to replenish their client bases.

The second big issue is that consumer engagement is challenging. Long-term thinking hurts. As Daniel Kahneman articulated in Thinking, Fast and Slow, human beings do not easily think about the future in an analytical way and there remains room for improvement in financial literacy among the public. Add to that the low levels of customer trust for the industry and many consumers are not switched on to the benefits of financial advice.

Source: National Financial Literacy Test Results.
United Kingdom

P2P platform Zopa re-opens to new customers (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the UK’s first peer-to-peer lender, has reopened its platform to new customers after having to close to new money last year amid high demand for its new Innovative finance Isa (Ifisa) product and a long-running imbalance between lenders and borrowers.

Fintechs impatient as British banks seek extra time to open up (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Financial technology firms were supposed to start breaking into mainstream banking this month when new rules forced Britain’s nine big banks to loosen their grip on the industry.

But many fintech companies are still waiting with frustration on the sidelines after the banks delayed making the changes.

Financial technology firms were supposed to start breaking into mainstream banking this month when new rules forced Britain’s nine big banks to loosen their grip on the industry.

But six of the nine banks have asked Britain’s regulator for an extension to the January 13 deadline for putting in place the ‘open banking’ regulation, which overlaps with a new European Union directive known as PSD2.

UK fintech takes the lead in the Forbes 30 under 30 (AltFi), Rated: A

The gender balance has been particularly notable in the finance sector this year, as Forbes named Starling Bank’s Chief Platform Officer, Megan Caywood, and Lendable co-founder Victoria van Lennep alongside her business partner Martin Kissinger, as ones to watch.

In the technology category, Monzo co-founder Jonas Huckestein and the co-founders of digital receipts startup Flux all found themselves highlighted by Forbes.

China

China’s Banking Regulator Pushes Blockchain Adoption for Credit Market (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Blockchain technology should be adopted as part of a plan to boost development of China’s secondary loan market, according to a paper by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

Published on Jan. 19, the paper, drafted by a special committee, covers a variety of topics around developing and regulating financial technologies. In a section on the future development of China’s credit market, it suggests the country should double down its adoption of blockchain technology.

Download and read the report yourself here (in Chinese).

Ant Financial and the Greening of Fintech (The Diplomat), Rated: A

Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba, is one clear example of a company using fintech to encourage a greener world.

Ant Forest is the world’s first largescale, bottom-up pilot in greening citizens’ consumption behavior through the use digital technology and social media. It is an app that Ant users can voluntarily engage with to reduce their carbon footprint and encourage their social networks to do the same. Users that perform carbon-reducing activities, such as paying bills online or walking to work, relative to a predetermined benchmark, are rewarded “green energy” points. As users accumulate enough points virtually, a real tree is planted. To date, Ant Forest has planted saxauls, willows, and Scots pine trees in Inner Mongolia and Gansu.

Ponzi scheme sparks protests (The Standard), Rated: B

Chinese authorities are struggling to quell protests after the collapse of an investment scheme that took about 30 billion yuan (HK$36.7 billion) from millions of depositors.

Hundreds of people marched on Monday in Nanjing, where Qianbao started in 2012, shouting for officials to act. But a video shows police grabbing investors as others yelled about being beaten up.

European Union

Ten User’s Pain Points Digital Banking and FinTech Should Care Of (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Studies have shown that users tend to quickly switch products and services. This also concerns banks as the competition and the number of Open Banking services increase due to the implementation of the European Directive PSD2.

1. Onboarding

Onboarding becomes particularly important in digital era. It can be a productive introduction to a new service or a challenging obstacle that deters customers. The banks of the future should provide a full digital onboarding.

2. Authentication

Log in difficulties or problems shouldn’t create obstacles for the customer. After all, no one would go to a restaurant with a locked door.

5. Transactions

Users should be able to fully control their banking. It is crucial for them to find a certain transaction and download a payment slip. View transaction history is among the TOP 3 customer scenarios. This function should be simple and understandable. Users want to filter their transactions to find specific items, view detailed information, report a violation, check payment status, export and save them, etc.

6. Payments

We are pleased to see that bank payment interfaces are becoming simpler each year. Digital technologies allow us to move complex banking procedures to the background. Challenger Banks ar a good example here.

The purpose of payment limits is to ensure the user’s security. The user should have online access to a flexible configuration of any financial transaction.

8. Notifications

There shouldn’t be too many notifications, only relevant ones.

Conclusion

Being in the users’ shoes and finding pain points in products and services will be a crucial competitive advantage. Companies recognising this issue will take a leading position in the future financial market.

International

ETHLend hits £1m crypto-P2P loans milestone (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has funded $2m (£1.4m) of loans in just over a month since launching.

The platform, which lets investors back business and personal loans worldwide n the Ethereum (ETH) digital currency, only went live in December but says it has already facilitated 438 loans.

Its biggest loan so far was for 83ETH, equivalent to £58,681.

Blockchain Startups Absorbed 5X More Capital Via ICOs Than Equity Financings In 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

In Q1’17, 19 ICOs closed for about $21M. Three quarters later, in Q4’17, over 500 ICOs closed for almost $3B. According to CB Insights, 2017 saw over 5x more capital deployed in ICOs than in equity financings to blockchain startups. Q4’17 alone saw that number jump to 7x.

In total, ICOs raised over $5B across nearly 800 deals in 2017. To put those numbers into context, equity investors deployed $1B in 215 deals to the sector.

GDS Link Acquires Fraudscreen, the UK’s Leading Provider of Analytics to Predict Payment Intent (GDS Link Email), Rated: A

GDS Link, a global provider of risk management solutions and consulting for multiple verticals within the financial services industry including marketplace lending, retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto, and business lending and leasing, today announced that it has finalized the acquisition of 

Finastra sees accelerating FusionFabric.cloud adoption (Finastra Email), Rated: A

At its regional flagship thought leadership event, Finastra Universe Paris,Finastra today welcomed new companies to the FusionFabric.cloud open architecture. Among the early adopter Fintechs, consultants, banks and academics using the platform to develop and deploy innovative apps are Efficiency MC, Conpend and BankBI. In addition, Thomson Reuters joins Finastra’s innovation ecosystem as a data provider.

Thomson Reuters is currently embedding its instrument reference data into FusionFabric.cloud.

Paris-based system integrator, Efficiency MC, is using the platform to develop an interest rate derivatives pricing model app.

European Fintech, Conpend, is using FusionFabric.cloud to develop apps for corporate banking.

Cloud focused Fintech, BankBI, has a Performance Management and Analytics application for FusionFabric.cloud to complement the Finastra retail banking solutions, including C-suite dashboards.

Australia

The everyday Aussie is increasingly choosing a peer to peer personal loan – here’s why (mozo), Rated: AAA

ASIC’s second marketplace lending survey revealed that $300 million worth of personal and business loans were written by peer to peer lenders during the last financial year – almost double the amount commissioned during the 2015/2016 financial year.

The snowballing popularity of these types of loans is measured by the fact that, as of June 2017, the industry had 7,768 investors and a further 18,746 borrowers – numbers that had doubled over the preceding 12 months and are only set to grow in the new year.
Comparatively, at the lowest peer to peer rate in the Mozo database of 6.99% (on offer from Harmoney), the average Aussie borrower would pay just $5,634 in interest on the same loan – saving more than $4,000 in the process.

Stuart Stoyan is FinTech Australia’s new chair (Business Insider), Rated: B

Stuart Stoyan, the founder and CEO of Melbourne-based fintech MoneyPlace, which in 2015 became Australia’s second fully licensed marketplace lending platform, has become FinTech Australia’s new chair.

India

RBI Directions On Peer To Peer Lending Platforms: Frequenly Asked Questions (Mondaq), Rated: AAA

2.2  Electronic platforms connecting banks and NBFCs to borrowers

The RBI has clarified that electronic platforms that assist only banks, non-banking financial  companies (“NBFCs”) and other regulated All India Financial Institutions (“AIFls”) to identify  borrowers will not be considered peer to peer lending platforms  (“P2P Lending  Platforms”).   However, in cases where,  apart from banks, NBFCs and AIFls, or other retail lenders use the  electronic platform for lending, the platform will have to register separately as a non-banking  financial platform –  peer to peer lending platform (an “NBFC-P2P”).

2.3  Leverage ratio and investible funds for an NBFC-P2P

The RBI has clarified that for an NBFC-P2P, customers’ funds lent or borrowed by using the platform  is not reckoned as an outside liability of the NBFC-P2P, for the purpose of determining the  leverage ratio of the NBFC-P2P.

(a)  Do the P2P Lending Platforms have to fulfil the 50-50 test issued by the RBI to fall  within the purview of the P2P Directions?

The RBI, with its clarification that an existing NBFC cannot operate as an NBFC-P2P, has clarified  that the 50-50 test set out by the RBI to qualify as a non-banking financial company is not  applicable to an NBFC-P2P.

VC Firm 3one4 Capital Announces Second Fund With An Initial Corpus Of $ 39 Mn (Inc42), Rated: A

With closed commitments for $39 Mn, the 3one4 Capital team will look to enhance its deep involvement model across its investment domains. The fund will invest early stage startups with ticket sizes of $250K to $2 Mn.

Asia

Tryb Group raises $ 30M to develop fintech platforms for Southeast Asia (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Tryb Group, a Singapore-based organization focused on fintech services in Southeast Asia, has landed a $30 million investmentfrom Makara Capital.

For a Western comparison, Tryb aspires to be like LendingClub with a focus on digitizing the predominantly analog systems of financial services and banking in Southeast Asia, a region of over 600 million consumers.

“There’s strong demand to start buying ASEAN credit, with Japanese, Chinese, American and other investors looking to buy up $50-100 million worth. But they don’t know where to start since it’s all on paper,” he said.

Currently, the Tryb business doesn’t make direct revenue. It holds stakes in a number of businesses — including MC Payment which is in the process of going public in Singapore — but Gnirck said it has two acquisitions that he expects to finalize in the coming months.

Genie ICO Adds Cryptocurrency Heavyweight David Drake and Other Experts to Its Advisory Board (CoinTelegraph), Rated: B

Joining the Crowd Genie advisory board is David Drake, Founder and Chairman of LDJ Capital, who is also a global pioneer in the cryptocurrency industry and has written for more than 100 publications on innovative investing. Also joining the board is serial entrepreneur Petter Sehlin, who is a Founding Partner of global angel fund True Global Ventures and founder of the Polarchain blockchain. The founders of one of the world’s most comprehensive online cryptocurrency databases and information resources, AllCoinWiki, Anders Larsson and Joakim Holmer have also joined the board.

MENA

Egypt’s fintech startups are growing in number, value, and specialization (wamda), Rated: AAA

Financial inclusion is critical in reducing poverty and achieving shared economic growth, as mentioned The Global Findex Database 2014: Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World’: When people can participate in the financial system, they are better able to start and expand businesses, invest in their children’s education, and absorb financial shocks.

According to figures shared with Wamda by the World Bank Global Findex database, only 14 percent of adults in Egypt have an account as of 2014, and eight percent use an account to make digital financial payments. The Findex said that about 86 percent of adults in the country do not have an account and are therefore considered unbanked.

The model of Fawry, has demonstrated the validity of such business models, and has driven several concepts to launch.” Fawry, which was launched in 2008, provides payment solutions through ATM machines, mobile wallets, and retail points.

Egypt-based fintech startup Moneyfellows raised $600,000 from a group of investors led by Dubai Angel Investors and 500 Startups. This web and mobile-based platform founded in December 2014, allows users to create, manage, and track money circles (group money lending) online with members of their social networks. The startup makes money by charging users a small fee when they withdraw their payout from their money circle. So far, the startup has around 2,600 paying users and about 240 active circles.

Vapulus, which launched in December 2017, partners so far with 400 retail and F&B merchants in the country, and aims to reach 16,000 within one year of operation. The startup is a mobile app and mobile POS service for both individuals and sellers.

Canada

Borrowell launches free Equifax credit report monitoring, a Canadian first (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Borrowell today announced that it is providing Canadians with free access to their Equifax credit reports. For the first time, Canadians will be able to monitor important information in their Equifax credit report on a monthly basis, including credit utilization, inquiries and credit account history, for free online.

To date, Borrowell has provided credit information to nearly half a million Canadians.

Canada Venture Capital 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: A

Annual funding to Canada hits high in 2017

  • Total annual funding reached $2.7B, distributed across 333 deals in full-year 2017.
  • Total funding increased 7%, while deal activity decreased by 12%.
Source: CB Insights
South America

NYSE’s Biggest IPO Since Snap Is $ 2.3 Billion for Brazil Fintech (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

PagSeguro Digital LTD, a payments company owned by Brazilian media group Universo Online SA, raised about $2.27 billion in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Bloomberg data.

The company, which has a similar model to Jack Dorsey’s Square, sold shares at $21.50 each, above the top of the price range of $17.50 to $20.50 in the offering prospectus, with demand higher than underwriters expected. The equity offering is the largest on the New York Stock Exchange since Snap Inc in March 2017. Investors warmed to the stock, which rose as much as 36 percent to $29.25 in early trading.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday August 25 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative investing

News Comments Today’s main news: Ellevest raises $32M to target women investors. eOriginal, Notarize close first digital mortgage closing. OFF3R launches SIPPS portal. Zopa reduces higher-risk lending. China issues draft rules on illegal fundraising. TWINO adds second Russian originator. African university to offer fintech degree. Today’s main analysis: Should P2P lending investors worry about default rates?Early-stage fintech investment in UK, Germany. Today’s […]

alternative investing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Wall Street alum Sallie Krawcheck just raised $ 32 million for her investing platform (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

But the uncertainty and risk that comes with the markets is very often a major deterrent, especially for women, who invest at a much lower rate than men in the US.

To combat this, former Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck launched Ellevest in 2016, a digital investing platform that puts female investors’ money in low-cost ETFs based on a pick-and-choose set of goals, like starting a business, buying a home, having children, and retiring comfortably.

This week, the startup raised $32.5 million in its latest round of funding, according to CNBC. Tennis superstar Venus Williams, who is a champion of equal pay and opportunity for women both on and off the court, was among Ellevest’s first investors.

Just 28% of women are willing to take on high risk to get a good return on their investment, compared to 45% of men, according to a 2015 report by BlackRock.

Man finds it can be hard to return $ 6,000 (WoodTV), Rated: AAA

When 53-year-old Wyoming resident Duane La Varier found $6,180 had mysteriously appeared in his bank account, he never dreamed how hard it could be just trying to give money away.

He said he and his wife never filled out any applications and never sought any kind of loan.

The deposit a week ago had come from a company called LendingClub.

“I said, ‘I did not apply for this loan. Just take it back, just take it all out of my account.’ They said no.”

LendingClub is not the actual lender — it represents lenders — but Dudum said the company will take the hit for the $6,000 loan and its fees.

eOriginal and Notarize Make Digital Mortgage the New Reality (Broadway World), Rated: AAA

With its launch of Notarize for Mortgage, the company’s proprietary signing and remote notarization platform, Notarize recently completed the first-ever online mortgage closing. By integrating directly with eOriginal’s electronic vault, they enable lenders to leverage a joint solution that takes only a few short days to set up and launch before borrowers can start closing loans online. Together, Notarize and eOriginal allow lenders to quickly provide a seamless digital experience spanning the entire closing process all the way through registration with MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc.) and sale into the secondary market.

Connecting lenders, title agents, borrowers and notaries online 24 x 7 to digitize the closing process, the Notarize for Mortgage platform is approved by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, underwritten by national title underwriters, and was launched with five lender customers and numerous warehouse lender and mortgage servicer partners. The platform is available to lenders online or via modern APIs that allow them to integrate an online closing process directly into their existing tools, automating their closing operations entirely.

eOriginal’s platform of integrated solutions delivers a fully digital mortgage and supports every type of digital closing strategy.

TRANSPARENCY IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTING (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

In February of this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 200 senior asset managers and institutional investor executives to learn what factors are most important in the way they make their decisions. Several different types of institution were involved, including hedge funds, private equity firms, insurance companies, and nonprofits.

New Business Models – and Transparency

The 2008 global financial crisis of course had a negative impact on the alternative investments industry.

New business models have arisen to supply demand across the spectrum of investors, including those investors eligible for and interested in alternatives. Publicly traded limited partners are one important example.

Who will win the robo advisor IPO race? (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

It’s been a decade since the launch of the industry’s leading independent digital advice platforms — Betterment, Wealthfront and Personal Capital.

The question that now remains for all three: who will cross the IPO finish line first?

In terms of assets, the trio has kept their positions in the market respectively, with Betterment leading all independents with over $10 billion in AUM, followed by Wealthfront’s $7.4 billion and Personal Capital’s $4.9 billion.

Collectively, the three count just over 420,000 clients and over 548,000 accounts, according to SEC filings and company statements.

Personal Capital, which always tailored its services for HNW clients before lowering its account minimums (and then raising them up again) claims its average client account size is roughly $380,000; users with more than $1 million in investable assets, the company says, comprise about 40% of its AUM.

Source: Financial-Planning.com

Online Lenders Featured in the Inc. 5000 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Every year Inc. pulls together a list of the top 5000 fastest growing private companies in the United States. This year there were around 250 companies that made it in the financial services category and there are several familiar names on the list.

Other lenders readers may recognize are Lighter Capital (634), FastPay (1653), National Funding (2030), and ZestFinance (2202).

How Debit Activity Can Benefit Lenders in a Cashless Society (Clarity Services), Rated: A

With nearly half the American population carrying a subprime credit score, rent-to-own companies, online installment, storefronts and others are embracing new tools to intelligently navigate a market that has been largely overlooked.

  • Cash is only 14 percent of the share of transactions by value of payments (The Federal Reserve System Cash Product Office).
  • While the average American spends roughly $100 per day – not counting the purchase of a home, motor vehicle or normal household bills (Gallop), half of us are walking around with less than $20 cash (Bankrate.com).
  • If given the choice between a cashless and cash-only shop, most consumers in the wealthiest countries prefer the cashless option (ING Group/eZonomics).
  • Nearly 40 percent of Americans said that they would be happy to go completely without cash. (ING Group/eZonomics).

The top 7 startups from Y Combinator S’17 Demo Day 2 (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Standard Cognition is using machine vision to build the checkout of the future. Called autonomous checkout, the technology will allow shoppers to grab what they want and walk out of a store without having to go to a cashier. Standard Cognition believes it tech will enable those companies to save money and reduce theft.

Dharma Labs is building what it calls the first “protocol for debt on blockchains.” Citing the popularity of ICOs, the startup believes there’s a “proven demand for cryptoassets that look and act much like equity.” So Dharma has built a mechanism for decentralized peer-to-peer lending. “Anyone in the world can borrow and anyone in the world can lend.”

Emailage Raises $ 10m in Growth Equity Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Emailage, a Chandler, AZ-based provider of global fraud prevention and identity verification using email address scoring, raised $10m in growth equity funding.

The round was led by Anthos Capital, with participation from Radian Capital, Wipro Ventures, Mucker Capital and Tallwave Capital.

The company intends to use the funds to expand existing partnerships, further advance its email address-based predictive scoring system, and accelerate growth in North America, EMEA, LATAM and other key markets.

How to Expand Your Business Online by Offering More Products or Services (Kabbage), Rated: A

Hopefully, increased revenues will help ease cash flow problems and in the end, improve profits. Other advantages of growing business may include the chance to bring in more qualified employees, acquiring more customers and improving credit scores.

Expand service areas

Companies that provide services to homes or other businesses may find that their hometown or neighborhood has a limited customer base.

Expanding to nearby locations is one of the most common ways that local businesses grow into regional businesses. This also allows the company to add some more geographic areas to a business website, directories, and social pages to show up in more local searches.

Expand services

Most small business owners have to work to manage cash flow, and this task is much tougher when revenues are only high for a few months but operational costs last all year.

These are some ways to expand services both offline and online:

  • One good way to promote this kind of service online could be through holding webinars with tax tips for small businesses or even individuals. Some tax preparers might also produce books or videos for sale to help startups and small businesses manage tax planning better.
  • Some of these plucky entrepreneurs have learned to keep business flowing by offering holiday specials for getaways. Others have opened their facilities up to host seminars or workshops for organizations.
  • He kept his local business website to attract repair customers, but he also added an online store to sell products to the DIY crowd all over the country. He promoted this online store by creating some how-to videos.

This credit card alternative could be bad for your wallet (WSBTV.com), Rated: B

The problem is that these instant loans encourage impulse spending — and it doesn’t have to be a pricey vacation! Affirm will spread payments over a period of 12 months for loans of $100 or more.

To put that in perspective, you could easily pay more than $15 in interest on just a $100 loan!

LENDINGCLUB INVESTOR REVIEW: THE BEST PEER TO PEER LENDING SOLUTION (The College Investor), Rated: B

Over the last 8 years, 150,000 investors have lent over $26 Billion in personal loans through the peer to peer LendingClub platfrom. On average, investors in the top grade loans earned 5-7% annualized with strong cash flow.

As an added bonus, LendingClub allows you to invest as little as $25 per note. That means it’s easy to spread your risk across dozens or even hundreds of loans.

First, you need to meet some strict investor requirements.

  •  Income requirements: Must earn $70,000 annually ($85,000 in California)
  • Net Worth Requirements: Must have a net worth (exclusive of your home value) of $70,000 ($85,000 in California). People with a $250,000 net worth do not have to abide by the income requirements ($200,000 in California).
  •  Kentucky residents must be accredited investors (earn $200,000 annually or have a net worth of $1 million)
  •  Residents of Alaska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania cannot invest in LendingClub
  •  No more than 10% of your net worth can be investing in lending club notes
  •  $1,000 minimum investment

LendingClub charges $100 per year for their self directed IRA accounts, but they waive that if you maintain $5,000 of investments in your first year or $10,000 in subsequent years.

Once you select your loans, LendingClub will help you evaluate the risk on your portfolio of loans. They will even provide a projected rate of returns based off of history.

Source: The College Investor

TD Auto Monitors Fintech Startups (Auto Finance News), Rated: B

TD Auto Finance is keeping a close eye on fintech startups as it evaluates “opportunities that might exist” for auto refinance and private-party transactions, President and Chief Executive Andrew Stuart told Auto Finance News.

TD Auto is already “in discussions” with several fintech players to evaluate “where that might go,” Stuart said.

5 Things To Know Before Taking A Loan Online (ValueWalk), Rated: B

If you’ve considered taking a personal loan online here’s what you need to know:

  1. More accessible – Smaller, newer financial firms have stepped in to fill the gaps left behind by traditional banks since the crisis.
  2. Tailored products – You can tailor the specifics of the loan, such as the timeline for payback and the purpose of the loan. Businesses can use everything from inventory to invoices without the need for a personal guarantee.
  3. Pricing Variety – Whether the payments are amortized monthly or weekly. Whether the effective annual rate is as attractive as you expected.
  4. Less Regulation – Alternative lenders and online loan providers are not regulated by the FDIC the same way as traditional banks.
  5. More awareness – The lack of regulation means alternative online lenders have more flexibility to provide custom lending solutions. They can be as innovative as they want with these financial products. However, you need to be more careful when dealing with an online lender. Look into their history, get assurances from the company, and do your best to educate yourself about their business.
United Kingdom

OFF3R launches new SIPPS portal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

OFF3R has launched a new channel dedicated to Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), the tax-free vehicle for pension savings.

The investment aggregator’s SIPPs portal launched on Tuesday 22 August with an initial list of three pension providers: Hargreaves Lansdown, IG, and True Potential Investor. It details the various fees and investment thresholds of each platform, as well as information on the different management styles.

Zopa reduces higher-risk lending (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa has revealed it is taking steps to attract more lower-risk customers as it continues its reduction in higher-risk lending.

Zopa has reduced the amount of lending in its higher return D-E markets, which are included in its Plus product.

The Plus product was designed for investors who were willing to accept more risk for higher returns, with rates of between 6-7%.

Zopa expects that the lower-risk approach will mean the targeted returns for new investments in the Plus product will be 4.5%.

“For example, the proportion of D and E loans in the Plus product would go from 30% until now, to 10-15% in the future.”

Peer-to-peer lending: should you worry about default rates? (Your Money), Rated: AAA

Neil Faulkner, managing director of peer-to-peer research and ratings agency 4thWay, explains that investors should pay close attention to published bad-debt figures (which cover loan write-offs as well as simple defaults) of the different platforms.

Zopa

When a loan is approved, Zopa makes an assumption about its likelihood of falling into default over the lifetime of the loan, and then revises this default expectation over the lifetime of the loan.

Source: YourMoney.com

Zopa divides up investor money between many borrowers matching the risk profile specified at the outset by the investor, to spread the risk. If a borrower misses four months of repayments, then a recovery process begins.

RateSetter

The headline rate to note is that over its lifetime, 98.31% of loans are up-to-date – in order words, around 1.7% are in some form of arrears.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is a little different in that you are lending to businesses rather than people. Over the lifetime of the site, it says that around 2% of loans have turned bad.

Lending Works

To date, Lending Works has an actual bad debt rate of 1.1%.

Assetz Capital Update: Investors Have Earned £25 Million to Date (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Assetz Capital has shared that investors in aggregate have earned gross returns of more than £25 million on their investments in approximately four years. Assetz Capital says lenders earned an average of 8% gross interest across all Assetz Capital loans since platform launch, before allowances for tax or any losses not covered by a provision fund.

Currently, Assetz Capital has about 20,000 registered and active investors. The returns since the launch of the platform were generated from over £309 million lent to UK businesses from a range of industries looking to raise funds, including SME, bridging and development sectors.

ThinCats plans staggered IFISA roll-out before end of 2017 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Earlier this month, ThinCats received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allowed the firm to apply for ISA manager status from the HMRC. While a launch date has not been officially set, Stewart Cazier, head of retail, told Peer2Peer Finance News: “I’m definitely thinking 2017. I’d be very disappointed if it didn’t happen this year.”

Innovate Finance CEO steps down (AltFi), Rated: B

After two and half years at the helm of the fintech member association, Innovate Finance, Lawrence Wintermeyer has stepped down.

Wintermeyer is leaving to pursue other opportunities, he said.

China

China issues draft rules in crackdown on illegal fundraising (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China issued draft rules targeting illegal fundraising on Thursday, as the authorities step up a campaign to crack down on risky and illicit behavior in the country’s financial sector.

The draft rules, issued by the law office of China’s State Council, call for participants engaged in illegal fundraising to cover the losses stemming from those activities.

Regulators will guide financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers on tightening up their supervision of suspicious fund flows, the draft rules said.

Financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers, if found to be negligent, will be subject to having their illegal income forfeited. They will also be subject to a fine of more than 1 time but less than five times of the illegal income, the draft rules said.

The executives responsible for the illegal activity will be removed and banned from entering the financial industry for a certain period of time and could be subject to fines of between 50,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan each ($7,507-$75,072), the rules said.

China Rapid Finance Posted a $ 13.5M Net Loss in Q2, but Very Close to Profitability (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, China Rapid Finance (NYSE:XRF) released an unaudited financial report for the second quarter of 2017. In the second quarter, the company reported a gross income of $24.5 million, up 59% from a year earlier, and their net income was $15.2 million, up 9 percent year on year. The company posted a net loss of $13.5 million in the second quarter, compared with $5.9 million in the same period last year, as the cost of including customer incentives increased.

However, the company still held the “Low and Grow” business strategy. Compared to the profitability, there are more concerned about gross income. Through analysis of the company’s financial and business data, we can find that some business data is changing and the potential for profit is increasing.

Better Buy: SINA vs. Weibo (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Chinese internet companies SINA (NASDAQ:SINA) and Weibo(NASDAQ:WB) are closely tied to each other. SINA holds a 46% stake in Weibo, deriving 72% of its top line from the Chinese Twitter clone (as Weibo is referred to by some).

Weibo’s greater gains have made it more expensive with a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 132 as compared to SINA’s 30.

SINA relies on Weibo for 70% of its revenue, which means that investors can still enjoy the latter’s rapid growth via a stock with a lower valuation. Additionally, SINA’s non-Weibo business has started gaining some traction of late, with the company witnessing 8% year-over-year growth from this segment in the latest quarter.

While there is no denying that Weibo’s growth is still impressive — as the 28% year-over-year jump in its monthly active users boosted its advertising revenue by 72% last quarter — at the same time, there will be a limit to the company’s growth given its negligible presence outside China and the competition from the likes of Tencent‘s (NASDAQOTH:TCEHY) WeChat.

Fluid Wins LendIt Choice Award – Aug 2017 (FluidFi), Rated: B

Fluid, a California based FinTech & AdTech startup announces today that it received LendIt LangDi Fintech Choice Award from LendIt Conference in Shanghai, China.

European Union

Latvian P2P Lender TWINO Adds Second Russian Originator (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Latvian peer-to-peer lending platform TWINO has reportedly added a second Russian originator to its platform since its December 2016 launch.

According to P2P Finance News, over 40% of TWINO’s investors have funded Russian loans.

Early-Stage Fintech Investment In The UK & Germany Goes To Insurtech, Banking (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Year-to-date, European fintech companies have raised close to $2.6B across 295 deals, meaning that at the current run rate 2017 could see 500 deals and $4.5B in total funding by year end. For perspective, funding to European fintech companies is already 30% higher in 2017 YTD than the 2016 total.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

UK early-stage fintech financing has remained above 15 deals quarterly since Q2’14. Total disclosed funding has been a bit choppier: at $27M, Q4’16 was the lowest quarter since Q2’14, while the following quarter (Q1’17) saw the third-highest total funding at $81M and the largest number of deals at 33. Most recently, Q2’17 figures fell to $41M across 16 deals.

For example, Monese, which provides banking services for immigrants and expats, raised a $10M Series A in Q1’17, while Wirex, which allows for the holding of fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies in a single account on its personal banking platform, raised a $3M Series A in the same quarter.

Insurance is trending up across Europe at large, with more than 20 early-stage deals closing for approximately $50M year-to-date.

GERMANY

Funding hit its peak in 2016 as well, at $135M, well above the previous high-water mark of $46M in 2013 and more than 4X the $31M total for 2015. 2017 is on pace to surpass 2016 early-stage fintech financing figures, with 22 deals and $83M year-to-date.

Germany has also seen an increase in early-stage deals to small business banking and API-focused mobile banking platforms. Financing rounds to this group have increased steadily since 2015, which saw 5 deals close for $17M and was followed by 7 deals in 2016 (for a much smaller $6M).

Klarna (Hortonworks), Rated: A

Klarna uses Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) and Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) to help drive its deep data mining and AI, and to thus mitigate risk for buyers and sellers.

International

San Francisco and Berlin have new competition for the capital of ‘fintech’ (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Dubai has seen a surge of interest from fintech startups and banking assets over the last three years, according to the emirate’s financial center’s management body.

It’s fast becoming a destination for financial technology startups because of its location, private investment and innovation.

He told CNBC that the financial services industry contributes about 12 percent to Dubai’s total gross domestic product and it is expected to increase to 18 percent by 2024.

Increased appetite for fintech investment in Dubai from CNBC.

AXIS Capital Partners with Plug and Play Tech Center (BusinessWire), Rated: A

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited and its operating subsidiaries (“AXIS Capital”) (NYSE:AXS) today announced it has partnered with Plug and Play, a global digital startup innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley. By joining Plug and Play’s InsurTech platform, AXIS will gain access to world-class digital insurance startups and will provide mentorship and technical support, along with underwriting and actuarial expertise, to help turn their ideas into products or services.

To help address the rapid and transformative changes underway within the (re)insurance industry, AXIS will work with property and casualty, life/health and general InsurTech startups that have been accepted to Plug and Play’s InsurTech program. This 12-week program attracts applications from hundreds of startups from around the world that utilize technology, data and analytics to develop innovative new business models, products and services.

AXIS will focus on the areas of Insurance, Reinsurance, Health, IoT (Internet of Things), FinTech and Mobility, with leaders from different business areas serving as program mentors and technical advisors.

Australia

Digital advice embraced by all ages (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

Superannuation fund member engagement via Decimal’s digital financial advice software increased 37% in the past year, latest quarterly statistics show.

Decimal’s digital insights report for the June quarter shows 2366 members in its superannuation client base decided to engage with super via the digital advice channel over a 12 month period, up from 1731 the year prior.

Total funds under advice increased to $8.4 billion, up 72% year-on-year, and Decimal Software chief executive Nick Pollock said compound growth is stimulating for the super sector.

“The insights show that 43% of all logins were by women, 28% of logins took place outside of business hours, with 31% of those logins happening between 10pm and 6am,” Pollock said.

Australian fintech launches industry census (AltFi), Rated: A

Australian fintech has launched an expanded industry census, which will seek to unpack key issues like how to expand overseas and gender diversity and help set lobbying and policy priorities.

Working on the census, consultancy firm EY, and industry group FinTech Australia, have asked Aussie fintechs to complete it by 3 September.

FinTech Australia Reveals Initial Speaker Line Up for Inaugural Fintech Fest (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinTech Australia and Next Money, along with the State Government of Victoria, a gearing up for their inaugural week long Fintech event –  Intersekt. The Fintech festival will be taking place in Melbourne, Australia from October 27 to November 3rd if you happen to be in Australia.

Confirmed speakers for Intersekt so far include:

  • Anthony Thomson, founder of the UK’s Metro and Atom Banks (and the current chairman of Atom Bank). Atom Bank is one of the leading UK Challenger banks.
  • Ron Suber, called the “godfather of Fintech” due to his globe-trotting reputation for promoting online lending and all things Fintech. Suber recently joined the leadership team at Credible, the multi-lender marketplace for student loans. Suber is also President Emeritus of Prosper Marketplace and holds a broad portfolio of Fintech investments.
  • Megan Caywood, chief platform officer for the UK’s mobile only Starling Bank, who has delivered a range of major customer experience improvements.
  • David Birch, an international thought leader in digital identity and digital money and author of “Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin”
  • Van Le, who is the co-founder of Xinja, which is on track to be Australia’s first independent, 100% digital bank made for mobile.
    Lucy Liu, co-founder and chief operating officer of Melbourne-based payments company Airwallex who was this year named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30
  • Emma Weston, CEO and co-founder of AgriDigital, which provides a blockchain-enabled, integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry
India

Over 40% Indians act on financial advice given by spouse, RBI report shows (Zeebiz), Rated: AAA

Key Highlights:

  • Over 50% Indians think that their children will take care of them financially after retirement
  • 44% Indians do not think they will ever retire from work 
  • An average of 66% of randomly selected adult household members have a bank account.
Source: Zeebiz

The report found that the average Indian household holds 84% of its wealth in real estate and other physical goods, 11% in gold and the residual 5% in financial assets.

Source: Zeebiz

The report said that 44% Indians have not thought of retirement as “people like me cannot retire from work,” they said.

Only 13% people surveyed were actively saving for their retirement while 33% had absolutely no planning for retirement.

Only around 5% people had money invested in financial assets for their retirement planning while gold formed nearly 10% of this fund.

India’s Domestic Workers Have A New Ally In This Innovative FinTech Startup (Forbes), Rated: A

The team at SERV’D has a simple but ambitious goal: to organize India’s unorganized domestic workforce. That means bringing financial inclusion to millions of unregistered workers via a mobile contract and payment app.

The lack of written contracts also makes it difficult for low-income domestic workers to build a financial history. Without that, they struggle to save money or obtain insurance, which all but guarantees they will remain in poverty. Exclusion from formal financial services bars people from accessing health insurance, bank accounts, and can even inhibit them from finding affordable housing.

SERV’D seeks to replace the verbal work agreements made between customers and their hired help. Instead of tenuous oral contracts, the fintech startup wants employers and employees to create digital agreements on the SERV’D app. The platform also allows them to make digital payment transfers so neither party has to worry about dealing with cash.

Most importantly, the online payment trail creates traceable income records for poor, unbanked workers. With enough proof of income built up, they will eventually be able to open bank accounts and access financial products that are currently beyond reach.

Ezetap’s fresh funds are the latest VC dollars flowing to Indian fintech (PitchBook), Rated: A

Mobile payments startup Ezetap is the latest Indian fintech company to pull in new equity financing. The company has raised $16 million from investors including JS Capital Management, Social Capital and Horizons Ventures.

Fintech NBFC “Prest Loans” Forays Its Operations In Rajasthan (BusinessWorld), Rated: B

Prest Loans the new age FinTech NBFC, providing online loans to small businesses and MSME segment has expanded its operations by opening new office in Rajasthan.

Asia

LATTICE80 & FINOLAB Sign MOU on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LATTICE80, a Singapore based non profit Fintech hub backed by Marvelstone Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FINOLAB in Japan to mutually boost their Fintech ecosystems and global networks. Marvelstone is a global VC group based in Singapore.

This Fintech bridge will seek to create a passporting system for Fintech’s in each country to expand into new markets.

PH startups urged: Aspire to be unicorns (Cebu Daily News), Rated: AAA

Aldo Carrascoso, founder and chief executive officer of GlycoProX Biosciences, Veem, and Jukin Media & Verego, said that focusing on becoming “unicorns” detracts the purpose of why people launch startups in the first place.

Lee argued that the first unicorns were founded in the 1990s, Google Inc. being the clear “super unicorn” of the group with a valuation of more than $100 billion. Many unicorns were also born in the 2000s, although Facebook Inc. is the decade’s only super unicorn.

Other prominent unicorns today include Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Spotify, Pinterest, and Lazada, to name a few.

Treading the path toward that level takes mindfulness of revenue, a good business model, addressable market, and a product-market fit, said Carrascoso.

Benjamin cited Xoom, a San Francisco-based digital money transfer or remittance provider, which traces its foundations to serving clients between the Philippines and the US.

Since then the company has expanded to India and Mexico, among others, and was bought by PayPal for $890 million. Today, they do $9.1 billion in money transmissions and are operating in 18 countries with a demand for money remittance services.

The search for a unicorn is on (Sunstar), Rated: A

THE Philippines may have its own “tech unicorns” or technology businesses valued at $1 billion in the future. But experts says more work and collaboration is needed to achieve this dream.

To date, no Philippine tech startup has managed to meet the goal of being a billion-dollar company.

Globally, the US and China lead in numbers, having produced the most number of unicorns like Facebook, Uber, Airbnb as well as Xiaomi and Alibaba. Meanwhile, Malaysia in Southeast Asia has produced two unicorns in Grab and the Lazada Group.

First, he said Philippine startups need to know how to be fundable. Instead of aiming to be a unicorn, he advised local startups to become a “cockroach” instead, one that characterizes strong survival skills, or a rhino, “big and realistic.”

Getting payments to pay off (The Edge Markets), Rated: A

“A key advantage of e-wallets is the low cost. You can make payments and transfer money at much cheaper rates than in conventional payment systems,” explains Gunther Zhen, the founder and CEO of iPayLinks Financial Information Service (Shanghai) Co Ltd.

For China, this is certainly the case. While incumbent payment systems that rely on Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay charge merchants an estimated 2.5% to 3% MDR (merchant discount rate), new rivals like Alipay charge between 0.7% and 1.2%.

In Malaysia, however, the landscape could be different as the current MDRs are already quite low. Bank Negara Malaysia’s Payment Card Reform Framework has slashed the MDR on debit and credit cards since July 2015 when it took effect.

Today, domestic debit cards have an MDR of only 0.56% while for international debit cards, it is 0.96%. Credit cards are still relatively expensive with an MDR of 1.35%, but that is expected to drop drastically by 2021 when Bank Negara will cap interchange fees (the largest component of MDR) at 0.48% — less than half the 1.1% ceiling imposed today.

Just look at Touch ’n Go Sdn Bhd, which booked RM15.3 million of interest income in 2015 on RM429.3 million worth of deposits in card balances. And this is merely from the relatively small balance in each card.

Alipay creation, Yu’E Bao, is one of China’s most popular internet-based funds. It had amassed RMB1.43 trillion as at end-June. By comparison, Bank of China, one of the four major commercial banks in the country, had total deposits of RMB1.6 trillion as at end-2016.

Pundi-Pundi Raises $ 4M in Pre-A Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Pundi-Pundi, a Jakarta, Indonesia-based mobile payments and micro-loan startup aiming to create a cashless environment in South East Asia, closed a $4M pre-A round of funding.

Africa

UCT to offer fintech-focused degree from 2018 (BusinessDay), Rated: AAA

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has become one of the first tertiary institutions in Africa to offer a degree specifically designed to equip students with the critical skills and knowledge to embrace the technological revolution in the financial services sector.

One of its key focus areas will be blockchain technology, or the distributed ledger system, that has given rise to new crypto-currencies such as bitcoin and ether.

The crypto-currency market is reportedly now worth more than $50bn and the use of virtual currencies is gaining traction in SA.

UCT has sought to tackle this problem by offering a new master’s degree in data science with a specialisation in financial technology, said Georg, who is also the course convener. The programme is due to commence in 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday August 7 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi Ventures to support financial services startups. Prosper’s valuation dives 70%. Fundrise drops minimum investment to $500 for New Starter Portfolio Offering. UK P2P lenders asked to reveal past defaults. Hargreaves Lansdown cancels special dividend. FinMason expands into Prague. PledgeMe close to profitability. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub is looking beleaguered. Australian fintech update. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Surge […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

Barbados

News Summary

United States

SoFi Ventures to support financial services startups (Pitchbook), Rated: AAA

SoFi, a provider of online lending and wealth management services, has launched a strategic VC arm led by 

Surge in FinTech Financings; PeerIQ Closes Series A (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This past week featured a slate of fintech venture financings. Kabbage (Series F: $250M), Dianrong (Series D: $220M), Bread (Series B: $126M), and Juvo (Series B: $40M) all announced major financings.

And last, but not least, , led by TransUnion, Hearst Financial Venture Fund, and Macquarie Group.

For PeerIQ, it means continuing to execute upon the vision we shared at our seed financing just over two years ago. This fall, we will be launching our first products uniting TransUnion’s dataset with the PeerIQ analytics platform.

Along with its investment, Hearst brings several major holding companies, including auto data provider, BlackBook, and Fitch Ratings, the global ratings provider, which opens up many new value propositions for our customers. Finally, we are working hand in hand with Macquarie, a major provider of capital to the fintech space, to improve tools for warehouse lenders and their borrowers alike.

Lending Club Is Looking Beleaguered Heading Into Q2’s Do-Or-Die Earnings (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Source: Thomson Reuters Eikon, image made by James Brumley

Fast forward to Monday. That’s when Lending Club is expected to log another progressive quarter, cranking revenue up to $136.2 million, and whittle the per-share loss back to only one cent; the company lost nine cents per share on $103.4 million in sales for the same quarter a year earlier. Not only is revenue expected to keep growing beyond that, Lending Club is expected to swing back to a profit in Q3, of two cents per share.

Fintech lender Prosper’s valuation dives 70% in latest funding round (Biz Journals), Rated: AAA

San Francisco fintech Prosper is about to close on $50 million in funding, in a round that slashes its value 70 percent to $550 million, The Information reports .

That a steep decrease from the $1.9 billion valuation the second-largest online lender saw just last year.

Fundrise Drops Minimum Investment to $ 500 in New Starter Portfolio Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio starts with a $500 minimum and includes a 9.25% annual dividend yield and zero advisory fees through the end of the year. If you want to try it out the Starter Portfolio comes with a 90 day guarantee. If you have a change of heart, Fundrise will purchase your investment back at the original investment amount. Not a bad deal to test the waters.

Online Lender Prosper in Talks on Deal That Would Slash Its Value (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Inc. is in talks to sell a roughly 10% stake to a Chinese conglomerate in a deal that could reduce the online lender’s valuation by more than two-thirds, according to people familiar with the matter.

Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Linca would invest $50 million in Prosper at a valuation of about $550 million. No deal has been finalized, however, and there was no guarantee the parties would come to an agreement, the people said.

David Kimball, who took over as Prosper’s CEO last December, has been focused on making the company profitable. In February, to ensure a funding source for the company’s loans, Mr. Kimball agreed to sell $5 billion worth of Prosper’s loans to a consortium of investors over the next two years along with warrants to purchase shares representing 35% of the company, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Small Change Completes First Real Estate Crowdfunding Offer Under Reg CF (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate investment crowdfunding site Small Change has closed its first real estate offering available to everyone – not just accredited investors.

Small Change reports that investors have funded projects via their platform in cities including Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Washington D.C. These projects are as diverse as the cities in which they’ve been built. They include Pittsburgh’s first tiny house, a historic main street mixed-use conversion, and affordable housing in Washington, D.C. with the largest residential solar install in the country.

Small Change has now completed its first offering open to all investors — a Starter Home Two project by architect Jonathan Tate.

WSFS Introduces Private Student Lending Solutions (WSFS), Rated: A

WSFS Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:WSFS), the parent company of WSFS Bank, today announced that it is now offering Private Student Lending Solutions, expanding its consumer lending product line to bridge the funding gap that exists between the actual cost of higher education and the federal aid, grants and scholarships available.

WSFS is partnering with LendKey.

SoFi to finally file for IPO? (Housingwire), Rated: A

Social Finance, better known as SoFi, first teased it would file for an initial public offering nearly three years ago.

SoFi CEO Mike Cagney appears to be interested in filing for an IPO again.

If SoFi did file for an IPO, it would mark the second major IPO for a housing-related company after a dry spell the last few years.

According to an article in Reuters by Lisa Lambert, “Last year IPOs in the United States fell by more than a third from 2015, and many of those 102 share offerings ended up trading below their debut price.”

Renters Insurance: PolicyGenius vs. Lemonade (Coverager), Rated: A

Yesterday, NYC-based digital broker PolicyGenius announced its expansion to renters insurance. The product is delivered in collaboration with Stillwater.

Another thing happened yesterday. Lemonade announced its renters and homeowner’s insurance is now available to folks in NJ, joining those residing in CA, IL and NY.

The result: Stillwater was 40% more expensive than Lemonade, all else equal.

Fluid Strikes Strategic Partnership with Nomad Credit (LendIt), Rated: B

Fintech and adtech startup Fluid announced a strategic partnership with Nomad Credit, a financial marketplace for international students in the US; the partnership looks to offer better credit options to this underserved market; together the companies will deliver better financial literacy, credit building tools and more cost effective financial products.

Here’s how start-ups get funded before they’re ready for venture capital (CNBC), Rated: B

Fledgling businesses rarely command seed or venture funding right out of the gate. But they still need cash to get started.

In reality, there’s a big difference between securing a loan for your business and winning over backers on a site like Kickstarter. Meanwhile, equity crowdfunding, enabled by sites like AngelList, CircleUp and SeedInvest, is generally for businesses that are further along.

Here are the real ways that most entrepreneurs get money at the very start.

  • Personal savings
  • Wages
  • Credit cards
  • Loans
  • Crowdfunding

Countering West Coast Pull, by Helping Finance Start-Ups Sell in New York (The New York Times), Rated: A

Nine of the 15 United States financial technology “unicorns” — companies worth $1 billion or more, as tracked by CB Insights — are in the San Francisco area. These Bay Area companies, which are not public, include the online payments processor Stripe, the online lender Social Finance and the finance website Credit Karma.

For the last seven years, a New York business-backed program — the FinTech Innovation Lab — has been working to stem that West Coast tide by helping financial services start-ups sell their services in New York in an industry where the city clearly dominates: big banks and other finance companies.

Make Delaware the financial technology capital (Delaware Online), Rated: A

One such “industry of the future” that Delaware should be working to attract is the financial technology sector, or what some affectionately call “FinTech. Empowered by mobile computing, these companies use technology to bring better, cheaper, more efficient financial services to citizens. Mobile apps that allow you to send money quickly to friends or family are examples of FinTech products.

For a number of reasons, Delaware is well-suited to become the nation’s FinTech capital. First, the financial services industry has served as a core portion of Delaware’s economy for over 40 years. Individuals with skills and expertise are ready and waiting.

Second, banks, of which many call Delaware home, are leading the way in partnering with startups large and small to develop new solutions and businesses in the space.

Third, Delaware’s nimble government and business community make it a flexible, attractive place for innovation.

Is an Online Business Loan Your Best Option? (Nav), Rated: B

There should be no surprise that with the growth of the internet and online banking that online lending would be close to follow. Over time, banks began to accept loan applications online and eventually began to offer full-service lending through the web.

While online loans may be tempting, it is important to consider every option when borrowing a large sum. Comparison shopping is your friend. There are more than 44 different kinds of business financing — that’s a large ocean to navigate before finding the lowest-cost option that fits your business profile and approval chances.

Nonbank lenders typically lend from their own funds or look to the financial markets to raise millions or billions of dollars to lend in smaller increments.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to get started:

  • How much money do you need to borrow?
  • Do you need an in-person experience or are you comfortable online?
  • What are the best interest rates available today?
  • What origination fees are you willing to pay?
United Kingdom

UK’s peer-to-peer lenders to be asked to reveal past defaults (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The FCA is expected to announce new measures later this year, including forcing P2P groups to give extra information on the past performance of loans and on how much due diligence they have done on the borrowers’ past performance.

P2P lenders — which had collectively facilitated loans of £7.3bn in the UK by the end of last year, according to research from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) — have had plenty of time to prepare for tighter regulation.

The FCA’s latest review is the second in two years, and any measures are unlikely to come in before mid-2018, since the industry will be given between three and six months to respond to the proposals the authority puts forward later this year.

Hargreaves Lansdown Cancels Special Dividend After Regulator Warns on Capital (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

Fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown cancelled a planned special dividend on Friday after Britain’s financial regulator said the company needed to shore up its capital base, sending its shares lower.

The company plans to launch its HL Savings product later in the year, a cash deposit service supported by marketplace lending, and this year also launched Lifetime ISAs, or individual savings accounts eligible for a government bonus.

Distribution still keeping the wheels of credit turning (Computer Weekly), Rated: A

A recent survey revealed a third of SMEs in the IT sector have missed out on business opportunities because of a lack of finance. Distributors have long been a major source of credit for SME resellers but with consolidation taking place in distribution through mergers and acquisitions, the sources of credit available to resellers are being reduced.

One distributor that has publicly taken the initiative on credit is Exertis. The company recently introduced a programme called Credit Xtra with the intention of doubling the credit limit for more than 1,650 of its SMB accounts. There is also the option to increase the limit further if resellers remain within the distributor’s credit terms.

Dow believes that it is especially important to offer extra credit at this time of year, when resellers are targeting the peak summertime buying period in education.

LendInvest closes retail bond offer early (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDINVEST has closed its bond offer early, due to strong demand from both retail and institutional investors.

The online mortgage lender launched the five-year notes on 19 July and the offer was scheduled to close at noon on Friday. However, it closed the offer at 11.30am on Thursday.

It said estimated net proceeds from the offer would be just under £49m and confirmed that the issue date will be 10 August.

Kantox raises £4.6 million from investors as it targets profitability (Business Insider), Rated: A

Foreign exchange fintech company Kantox has raised £4.6 million from its existing investors as it aims for profitability.

Filings with Companies House show Kantox raised the sum at the end of July.

Kantox, founded in 2011, made an operating loss of £258,538 on revenues of £2.3 million in 2015, the most recent year accounts are available for.

LendingCrowd offers cashback incentive (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDINGCROWD has launched a £150 cashback offer to investors when adding £2,500 or more amid surging demand from borrowers for business loans.

The offer, which runs until 31 August, is available to new and existing investors and can be used in its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA.)

Competition regulator confirms P2P business lenders exempt from APR rules (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

NEW pricing rules on business loans will not apply to peer-to-peer lenders, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed.

From today, all providers of unsecured loans and overdrafts worth up to £25,000 to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will have to publish and clearly display the annual percentage rates (APRs.)

It had previously been unclear if this would apply to P2P and alternative finance lenders but the CMA confirmed to Peer2Peer Finance News this morning that it would not.

Can P2P Lending Kill NBFCs? (TechBullion), Rated: A

NBFCs, on the other hand, are the Non-Banking Financial Companies.

Does P2P lending offer such a serious threatto NBFCs and can P2P lending kill NBFCs? We write an informative review to let you know!

While NBFCs mostly deal with the unbanked population, P2P concentrate on the businesses that are usually locked out by traditional lenders and also on the tech-savvy individuals.

While P2P platforms have embraced the use of modern technology, NBFCs have failed in the use of technology. This has really affected their growth as they cannot really compete efficiently in the modern world.

Should you go with the crowd? (MoneyWeek), Rated: B

The returns available to investors aren’t as high as they used to be, but they’re still much, much more than you’d get putting your money in a deposit account. But there’s a very good reason for that. It’s an awful lot riskier too. You’re not covered by the financial services compensation scheme – which safeguards up to £85,000 of your savings if your bank goes bust. That means you cold lose everything.

China

Hexindai Partners with China UnionPay to Launch a Mobile Payment Function to Its App (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. (“Hexindai” or “the Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace in China, today announced that it has partnered with China UnionPay to launch its “Quick Pass” app on Hexindai’s mobile platform. The app will allow investors on the Company’s platform to use surplus funds that have not been lent out to pay for goods and services provided by stores partnered with China UnionPay by scanning a QR code created by the app.

Huge Internet finance firms to be assessed (Shanghai Daily), Rated: A

CHINA will explore methods to include large Internet financial businesses of systemic importance in its macro prudential assessment, said a central bank report issued late Friday.

The first peer-to-peer lending platform opened in 2007, and exploded in popularity, with the number of such platforms increasing 18-fold between 2012 and 2015 and the combined transaction volume jumping about 40 times over the period, said the State Information Center.

Inclusive finance to lift fintech firms (China Daily), Rated: A

Financial technology or fintech companies, particularly those focused on credit analysis, will greatly reduce cost of lending and also reduce credit risks. So, they are likely to experience fast growth on market demand as commercial banks are joining the inclusive finance market.

That market is currently dominated by smaller, private financial institutions, such as peer-to-peer or P2P lending platforms and consumer finance platforms.

In China, only 30 percent of citizens are covered by existing credit reporting system, while in mature markets the percentage could be 70 percent or higher.

By the end of July, the five biggest banks in China-Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications and Bank of China-had launched inclusive finance arms, just two months after the authorities concerned called for better financial services for a wider group of people across China.

European Union

FinMason Announces International Expansion: Opens Operations in Prague (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Boston-based fintech and investment analytics firm, FinMason, announced its international expansion plans and the opening of a new operations center based in Prague. The company stated the initial expansion will include the hiring of twenty software engineers to keep pace with the rapid growth and development needs of the company.

The company shared that FinMason Europe, s.r.o., opened August 1st and the first employees have already started.

Vendorly Adds Three New Companies to Vendor Oversight Platform (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Vendorly, an innovative vendor oversight platform for financial institutions, today announced the continued expansion of its platform through the addition of three new third-party oversight integrations available on the Vendorly™ platform. These additions further enable our customers to enhance their compliance management framework and help them maintain the high oversight standards required in today’s marketplace.

Continuing this momentum, the new vendor oversight additions to the Vendorly platform include:

  • Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB)— Vendorly customers now have access to Dun & Bradstreet data to help make smarter decisions about their current and prospective vendor network.
  • The ID Co. — With DirectID, Vendorly customers now have the ability to conduct bank verification for current and prospective vendors in their network, to reduce fraud and misrepresentation prior to payment.
  • TINCheck — Vendorly customers now have the ability to validate the tax ID of all organizations in their current and prospective vendor network.

iFunded Tackles Large Project With Bond Issue (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

A new entrant in German online real estate lending, iFunded wants to address the market of larger property development projects that lie beyond the scope of real estate crowdfunding. Partnering with umbrella investment bank NFS Netfonds Financial Service, the platform is launching its first €10 million real estate bond issue, to be listed on the open market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. With this, iFunded leads, for the real estate online funding segment, the Fintech startup trend that consists in moving from exemption/sandbox status to a fully regulated financial environment.

According to Crowdfunding.de, in the first half of 2017, German online real estate crowdlending platforms raised €58 million, 45% more than in the entire year of 2016.

In July 2017, iFunded launched its first public bond offering, what motivated you as a company to add the classical fundraising channel to your online real estate platform?

Real estate crowdfunding in Germany has grown very significantly recently and will reach between €100 and €120 million by the end of 2017. However, it still is small.

Our first project Eisenzahnstrasse Berlin is a €10 million bond issue (ISIN: DE000A2E4FQ5) with a 3.5-year maturity and 5.5% interest rate. It is destined to transform an exi property into 281 flats, including a penthouse, and 2,400 sqm commercial space. The total estimated budget is €49.6 million and the expected income €67 million.

Robo-adviser Moneyfarm expects profitability by 2019 (Citywire), Rated: A

European robo-adviser Moneyfarm expects to become profitable by 2019 as it looks to bring to market new products in the coming months.

The Italian firm filed its 2016 financial statements this morning, announcing expansion to 10,000 customers in the UK and £260 million in global assets under management (AUM), which renders it the second largest robo-adviser in Europe.

The firm has reported total losses of £6.4 million in 2016, but claims this was in line with its agreed targets.

Kildare businesses raise over €1m through Linked Finance (Leinster Leader), Rated: B

Linked Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company has raised over €1m for Kildare-based businesses.

36 Kildare businesses including well-known businesses Kelly’s Mountain Brew, Celbridge Playzone, and The Academy Barber, have used the Linked Finance platform to raise funds and facilitate business growth.

International

Analog Regulations Built for the Traditional Banking Space are not Conducive to Fostering Innovation in Financial Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Mueller notes that Singapore and the UK were the early leaders in Fintech innovation as the respective governments determined it was of strategic importance. With government backing, Fintech flourished.

But there are many challenges for this transformation that is occurring at a breakneck speed. And as Mueller says;

“analog regulations built for the traditional banking space are not conducive to fostering innovation in a financial services industry turned digital.”

Mueller bullets out intrinsic challenges to the existing regulatory ecosystem:

  • Fear of failure has resulted in some regulators taking a go slow approach instead of being proactive. When things go wrong – who gets the blame?
  • Complexity in Fintech requires new skills. Regulatory agencies are typically populated with people entrenched in well defined processes. There is a lack of proper skills and staffing.
  • Internal culture may not be willing to adapt. Changing processes is always a challenge. A cohesive policy strategy is missing.
  • Fintech innovators may struggle to engage and communicate with a regulator. Fear of engagement harms us all

Yes, some countries are blazing trails in Fintech and the list of countries pursuing a Fintech Hub status is growing. Without acknowledging the elephant in the room that the US is not at the top of this list (even though it is the leading global financial center) is telling about the regulatory morass elected officials have allowed to persist.

Read the full report here.

FinTech and the world of investment banking (Brave New Coin), Rated: A

Global banks and investment banks are far more complex creatures than their high street counterparts, which is why we’ve seen far less disruption in corporate, commercial and wholesale banking that we are seeing in retail, but don’t be complacent or closed here. There are things happening in the more complex areas too.

While fintech covers a diverse array of companies, business models, and technologies, companies generally fall into several key verticals, including:

Lending tech: Lending companies on the list include primarily peer-to-peer lending platforms as well as underwriter and lending platforms using machine learning technologies and algorithms to assess creditworthiness.

Payments/billing tech: Payments and billing tech companies span from solutions to facilitate payments processing to payment card developers to subscription billing software tools.

Personal finance/wealth management: Tech companies that help individuals manage their personal bills, accounts and/or credit, as well as manage their personal assets and investments.

Money transfer/remittance: Money transfer companies include primarily peer-to-peer platforms to transfer money between individuals across countries.

Blockchain/bitcoin: Companies here span key software or technology firms in the distributed ledger space, ranging from bitcoin wallets to security providers to sidechains.

Institutional/capital markets tech: Companies either providing tools to financial institutions such as banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, or other institutional investors. These range from alternative trading systems to financial modelling and analysis software.

Equity crowdfunding: Platforms that allow a collection of individuals to provide monetary contributions for projects or companies provisioned in the form of equity.

Insurance tech: Companies creating new underwriting, claims, distribution and brokerage platforms, enhanced customer experience offerings, and software-as-a-service to help insurers deal with legacy IT issues

Source: Brave New Coin

Meantime, rather than ignoring these changes, the biggest banks are investing in them. Since 2012, the ten largest US banks by assets participated in 72 rounds of investment totalling $3.6 billion in 56 FinTech companies whilst, in Europe, Banco Santander leads with the most number of unique investments to FinTech startups. The firm has made 13 investments to 12 unique fintech startups. The largest investment was a $135 million in Q3 2015 to small business lender Kabbage, that also included participation from ING among other investors.

Alt-Lending Enjoys Sudden Investment Revival (PYMNTS), Rated: A

This week alone saw two examples of those concerns in action: One U.S. lawmaker, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) sent a letter to five alternative small business lenders operating in the country, inquiring about their business practices.

This week also saw one alternative lender in the U.K., DueCourse, fall into administration.

All of this makes it even more surprising that alternative lending startups, by far, secured the greatest amount of investment this week – pushing half a billion dollars, in fact.

PYMNTS breaks down the major AltFin investment rounds, plus covers the other B2B FinTechs that were able to secure new funding.

Australia/New Zealand

PledgeMe closes in on profitability in 2017, weighs up new product development (NZ Herald), Rated: AAA

PledgeMe came within cooee of turning a profit in the 2017 financial year, boosting revenue from fees to use its equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform while also clamping down on costs, and is considering adding another string to its bow which that could need another capital injection.

The Wellington-based company narrowed its annual loss to $11,228 in the 12 months ended March 31 from $398,611 a year earlier as revenue climbed 55 per cent to $268,473 and operating costs were slashed 48 per cent to $288,502.

Fintech Australia Shares 2017 Australian Fintech Update (Infographic) (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Saturday, Fintech Australia released a new infographic that revealed more details about the Australian fintech industry’s successes so far this year.

 

Non-bank loans gain momentum in tough lending regime (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

We have seen demand for construction loans between $10 million and $30 million spike 20 per cent per cent over the last six months as Tier 1 banks are quickly tightening both pre-sales thresholds and loan-to-valuation ratios on new developments.

One area of the greatest demand for non-bank finance is coming from Chinese property developers, who do not have the track record or Australian assets to provide comfort to the major lenders.

Peer-to-peer lending models, like that of Chifley Securities, allow us to access investor funds to progress these developments, as we are applying different, more nuanced assessment of the risks associated with these loans.

Will property crowdfunding take off in Australia? (Your Investment Property), Rated: A

A new study conducted by the University of South Australia (UniSA) in partnership with DomaCom, suggests that crowdfunding could become a viable new vehicle for investors trying to make headway into the country’s increasingly challenging property market.

Braam Lowies, the study’s lead researcher, noted that while the concept was relatively new in Australia, it had been successful in the United States and United Kingdom for approximately seven years.

India

Wadhawan Global takes second UK bet, invests Rs 175 crore (India Times), Rated: A

Wadhawan Global Capital (WGC), which owns 38% of Dewan Housing FinanceBSE 0.07 %, has invested Rs 175 crore in London-based mortgage financer Neyber, marking it’s second investment through the newly set up UK arm as it seeks to expand its global footprint.

Why PPF is like a safety jacket for investors of P2P lending (India Times), Rated: A

Those who do not back the idea of PPF believe investors should carry the risk of loss as the principal idea of P2P Lending is to offer investors an “alternative investment route”. The P2P Lending platform, at best, can try to strengthen the risk-assessment processes by making the optimal use of technological innovations.

While the other camp which is in favour of PPF opines that it is not a luxury but a necessity at the moment as it will only instill confidence among the investors. And, it’s not about disbelieving one’s capabilities.

Asia

Consultation by MAS on the provision of robo-advisory services in Singapore (Lexology), Rated: AAA

A summary of the proposals put forward by MAS in the Consultation Paper is set out below.

  1. Expansion of licensing exemptions

    (a) Expansion of licensing exemption for dealings in securities other than CIS

    (b) Expansion of licensing exemption for provision of fund management services incidental to advisory activities

  2. Dispensation with prior client approval for each and every rebalancing transaction
  3. Case-by-case exemption from collecting full information on the financial circumstances of clients
  4. Relaxation of criteria for CMS licences in fund management for digital advisers
  5. Development, monitoring and testing of client-facing tools
  6. Provision of information on algorithms and conflicts of interest
  7. Responsibility of the board and senior management

MAS Establishes Payments Council (LATTICE80 Email), Rated: A

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on 2 August that it will establish a Payments Council, comprising 20 leaders from banks, payment service providers, businesses,and trade  associations. Members are appointed for a two-year term and chaired by Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS. The Payment Council marks the vision of an e-payments society, fostering collaboration between providers and users of payment services in Singapore.

Green Packet an emerging fintech play (The Star), Rated: A

Communication and technology services company Green Packet Bhd is eyeing an expansion into a new growth area – the mobile payment solutions segment, an area poised for disruptions through technology.

According to the 2016 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes survey, 74% of Malaysians prefer to make electronic payments instead of cash, an increase of 8% compared with 2015. In fact, Visa indicated in a separate study that seven in ten Malaysians are willing to use mobile wallets.

Hyperintelligent banking in the fickle era of social media (Inquirer.net), Rated: A

Such is the case of American banking giant Citi, which sees itself as a technology company with a banking license, having introduced video banking recently in India.

Video banking is seen suitable especially in wealth management, which is part of the regional consumer business led by Selva. This is a segment where customers need trust and constant advice.

Citi receives 70 million calls a year, almost half of which are answered by a phone agent. The bank usually spends about 30 to 45 seconds validating the call, asking the client his or her mother’s maiden name, date of birth and details about the last transaction.

In the Philippines, Citi now implements voice-enabled biometrics for easier client verification. Citi is likewise moving toward facial recognition.

Fintech Buys Stake in Exchange (finews), Rated: B

GSX, which owns and operates the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, said on Friday that Cyberhub Fintech Holdings Limited is a new strategic shareholder. Cyberhub is a unit of Broctagon, a derivatives trading technology provider.

The stock exchange also wants to become the world’s first to fully integrate blockchain technology.

Africa

The role of financial advisers in raising national savings levels (Biz Community), Rated: A

According to the 2017 Old Mutual Savings & Investment Monitor, working South Africans allocate only 15% of their incometowards savings.

Naidoo explained that these statistics emphasise the extent of the national savings deficit and the large gap that exists between targeted economic growth of 5.4% per year, as per the NDP, and the ability of the South African economy to fund that growth.

Naidoo believes that financial services providers and advisers have a vital responsibility to promote a savings culture via collaborative advice and financial literacy efforts.

Barbados

Carilend seeing ‘phenomenal’ growth (Loop News Barbados), Rated: AAA

Just three months in and Barbados’ sole peer-to-peer lending company, Carilend, is seeing tremendous success with 100 percent of its loans.

With over 900 registered users on the site to date, the team at Carilend has been amazed at the response they have received.

Carilend reported their “average” Borrower is borrowing $8,617 for 43 months at an average interest rate of 11.34%. Whilst all applications receive an answer in one working day, Carilend recently approved a brand new Borrower in 2 hours; 22 minutes from receipt of their initial application.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 3 2017, Daily News Digest

funding circle

 News Comments Today’s main news: China Rapid Finance goes public at $350M valuation, down from C round valuation of $1bil. VPC Specialty Lending Investments annual results continues to disappoint Morty launches fully-automated mortgage marketplace. Barclay’s opens Europe’s largest fintech site in London. Airwallex wins $17M funding. India to see fintech regulations soon. Today’s main analysis: National survey shows instant […]

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United Kingdom

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International

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Australia

India

News Summary

United States

Elevate Announces Expanded Elastic Funding Capacity (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”) announced today that Elastic SPV, which purchases loan participations in the Elastic line of credit product originated by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), increased its debt facility with Victory Park Capital from $150 million to $250 million. This is the first step in a two-step process to further increase and diversify the funding capacity for the Elastic line of credit product.

During the second quarter of 2017, an additional SPV will be created as another funding source for the Elastic line of credit product. This additional SPV for Elastic would provide additional funding, diversified funding sources and further lower the cost of funds.

SoFi’s first PR campaign answers the question, ‘How do I ask for a raise?’ (PRWeek), Rated: AAA

Starting May 15, SoFi staffers will participate in an online series that will offer users tips on communicating their value in the workplace and tell inspirational stories. The company will hold workshops in eight U.S. cities including New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, on negotiating pay raises, non-monetary benefits, and other topics. Career expert Nicole Lapin will appear at the New York event.

The average SoFi student loan customer is about 33 years old and has a student loan balance of about $75,000, more than twice the national average. A SoFi survey also found 50% of young, college-educated professionals had not negotiated their own salaries, and 54% said they don’t know their “market value.”

PayPal launches a small biz toolset, ‘Business in a Box,’ with WooCommerce & Xero (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

PayPal today launched a new service, called Business in Box, aimed at bringing more U.S. small business owners to its payments platform. The service, which was developed in partnership with WooCommerce and Xero, offers merchants a suite of tools for running their online businesses, including an online storefront, accounting tools, the ability to apply for working capital from PayPal and, of course, support for taking payments either online or offline, via PayPal.

Business in a Box is largely aimed at first-time business owners who already know what they want to sell and have a roadmap in mind, as well as at established offline businesses that want to make the move online.

Often, these business owners would otherwise turn to an e-commerce platform, like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce or WooCommerce, to establish their online presence and take advantage of other add-ons that can help them with other aspects of their business, like running promotions, marketing, order management, shipping, social media and more.

The company also noted today that PayPal Working Capital has now helped more than 115,000 businesses worldwide access more than $3 billion in loans and cash advances since the service launched in 2013.

National Survey Shows Instant Financing Will Drive Business to Online Retailers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

American consumers appear to be warming up to instant financing options when purchasing goods and services online. According to a new national survey, three quarters (75 percent) of consumers indicate they would be likely to select an online retailer that offered instant financing compared to another that did not; 28 percent would be very likely to change merchants in order to use instant financing.

Instant financing is an easy-to-use, revolving line of credit that consumers apply for within a merchant’s online checkout. It allows consumers to spread purchases over time with low APR financing offers, and provides an alternative to credit and debit cards when paying for an online purchase.

The online study was fielded between April 10 and 13, 2017 by Researchscape International on behalf of Klarna North America (www.klarna.com). The survey of 2,024 consumers, ages 18 and older, was designed to better understand the behaviors and attitudes of consumers towards instant financing. Consumers were quota-sampled using 32 different cells (gender by age by region) to closely match the overall national population.

In terms of how instant financing might impact their spending while shopping online, 39 percent of consumers indicated they would spend more money on a purchase if they had the option of instant financing compared to 42 percent who would not and 19 percent who did not know if they would spend more money.

Smartphone owners, 88 percent of consumers who responded, were asked about the ease and willingness to enter certain types of personal information when applying for instant financing. Among the information seen to be “too much trouble” to enter were Social Security number and bank account numbers (51 percent each), and credit card numbers (40 percent). On the other hand, just over a tenth of consumers found it to be too much trouble to enter an email address (11 percent), birthday (12 percent) or spouse’s name (12 percent).

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) would like to be presented with an instant financing option while shopping online
  • Just over a quarter of consumers surveyed (28 percent) have used instant financing while 68 percent have not and 4 percent were not sure if they had

Beyond probing consumers’ thoughts regarding availability, the survey also asked about the convenience and ease-of-use factors of instant financing. For instance, a majority of consumers (52 percent) expect to wait three or more minutes to be approved for instant financing. Twenty-eight percent would expect to wait two minutes and just 20 percent would expect to wait under a minute. Klarna’s approval process typically provides an approval in under a minute with only simple, top-of-mind information required.

This infographic illustrates the impact of instant financing on consumers’ purchasing decisions as revealed in a survey conducted by Klarna in April 2017. (PRNewsfoto/Klarna)

Morty launches fully-automated mortgage marketplace (PRNewswire), Rated: A

Focused on empowering homeowners to make smarter decisions about their mortgages, today Morty (www.himorty.com) launches its fully-automated mortgage marketplace, where homebuyers can shop, compare — and close — any loan option from among its network of lenders. Morty is initially rolling out with 10 major lenders across 10 markets in the United States, with plans to expand nationally by the end of 2017.

Leveraging the founding team’s diverse experience and learning first-hand from homebuyers during its initial pilot, Morty was able to identify pain points from start to finish and prove the benefits of a marketplace model. In the over one thousand real-life loan scenarios it has run for homebuyers, Morty has observed rate and fee variances across lenders that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in fees and monthly payments.

Morty is creating an entirely new model: access to any lender or mortgage product within a single, unified mortgage process from first click to closing day.

Here’s how it works:

  • Homebuyers create a simple financial profile by linking their income, assets, employment, and property information and describing their homeownership goals.
  • Morty’s pricing engine algorithmically matches the homebuyer’s profile with each lender’s eligibility and pricing guidelines to show accurate, customized quotes, inclusive of all lender fees and closing costs.
  • Borrowers see their loan options in full transparency and compare across lenders and products.
  • Never once leaving the Morty platform, the homebuyer chooses a loan and Morty automates the process all the way to the closing table.

In addition to its launch, Morty also announces that it has raised $3 million in funding led by Thrive Capital with participation from SV Angel, FJ Labs, Corigin Ventures, MetaProp, Techstars and several angel investors.

RealtyeVest Is the One-Stop Platform for Real Estate Investing and Project Financing (PR Newswire), Rated: A

RealtyeVest, Formerly IHT Realty Group, officially unveiled their new brand and optimized website. Destined to become one of the largest real estate crowdfunding platforms in the US, the new RealtyeVest website () provides a simple, secure and transparent platform for accredited investors, real estate developers and owner-operators.

“Our decision to rebrand from IHT Realty Group to RealtyeVest was a result of listening to feedback from our strategic partners and observing best practices in the industry,” said Daniel Summers, CEO. “We believe our new name better represents the essence of our business, and we are excited about the innovative technology that powers our new online marketplace. We spared no expense in the new build, providing a win-win to our investors and Sponsors.”

RealtyeVest is an online marketplace that connects investors and Sponsors (real estate owner-operators) to crowdfund exclusive real estate investments. Their platform allows its members to browse, research and make informed investment decisions on these exclusive properties.

Lending IPOs Find Cautious Investors Amid Consumer Credit Fears (Bloomberg), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Ltd. on Friday became just the second consumer lender this year to list in the U.S., following Elevate Credit Inc. earlier in April. Although they do business on opposite sides of the world, the duo has much in common: Both face investor questions about the reliability of their borrowers, both begin trading amid a particularly iffy time in the credit cycle and — perhaps consequently — both slashed their IPO price days before going public.

When LendingClub Corp. went public in 2014, some hailed the event as the dawn of a new era for finance. Shares have since fallen 60 percent from the IPO price.

“China Rapid Finance is coming to the market during a turbulent time in the China peer-to-peer industry as regulators roll out more controls to clean up what has so far been chaotic growth in the past few years,” MCM Partners analyst Ryan Roberts wrote in a note on the stock’s first initiation, a buy rating. “The company reduced the pricing range by about 40 percent, which we suspect reflected tepid demand from backers,” the note said.

Both recent IPOs are now trading up from their reduced offering prices by nearly 25 percent. MCM says the IPO valued China Rapid Finance at 4.7 times its book ratio. William Blair on Monday said that Elevate Credit is trading at 7.5 times its 2018 estimated earnings per share.

This Startup Wants to Be the Amazon of Real Estate (Inc), Rated: A

Even so, the 29-year-old Williams is a force, as is his company. Since launching, Cadre has generated nearly $1 billion worth of deals, raising close to $70 million in funding from high-profile investors such as Peter Thiel, Goldman Sachs, and Jack Ma.

So Williams set up a website where he could analyze these homes using a tax parcel ID–which tracks the value of a property over time–and measured this against what they were selling for. Using the data, and bolstered by the cash of wealthy Harvard alums including the Kushners, he started buying dozens of properties and flipping them for three times their original price. “By the time I graduated, I was at a crossroads: Do I scale this business nationally, or do I do tech banking at Goldman Sachs?” he recalls thinking.

Williams decided to do both. He pulled 18-hour days as an investment banker–and then would quietly work on his startup from the comfort of a supply-closet-size room by night. Real estate, he figured, was a valuable asset that ought to be made available to more (and more average) investors.

Cadre is an e-commerce site for investing in real estate. It connects customers–primarily wealthy individuals, referred to as “qualified purchasers”–to property deals across the U.S. (Cadre requires a minimum investment of a few hundred thousand dollars; that’s somewhat less than what a traditional fund requires, but likely more than what you’d pay to buy into a real estate investment trust, or REIT, which trades like common stock.) Williams declined to comment on what exactly the company charges its investors–it asks for an upfront fee and a recurring subscription rate–though notes that it’s in the range of a “couple hundred basis points.” A fund, by contrast, will typically take 2 percent of the investment, and then 20 percent of profits over time.

Although Cadre faces competition mainly from the traditional brokers, a growing number of startups have emerged in the real estate leasing space, such as 42Floors, a San Francisco website that lists commercial real estate and office rentals, and Rofo, an online marketplace for property listings and potential tenants that can facilitate lease deals without broker intervention.

NCAP Notice to Clients regarding Public Record Standards (Experian Email), Rated: A

In 2015, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion announced the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP), a set of initiatives designed to improve the accuracy of credit report information, as well as to provide consumers with a better experience interacting with the nationwide Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs).

In June 2016, the CRAs announced enhanced public record data standards for the collection and timely updating of public record data reported on consumer credit reports.  The enhanced standards require: (i) minimum consumer identifying information (name, address, social security number and/or date of birth) (“PII”) and (ii) minimum collection frequency for public records (at least every 90 days).  These enhanced standards will apply to new and existing public record data on the CRAs’ respective consumer credit reporting databases. As previously announced, these enhanced standards are effective July 1, 2017.

Based on information provided by our public record vendor about the data available from courts and recorders’ offices, we expect bankruptcy public record data will continue to meet the enhanced collection and reporting standards. However, civil judgments and approximately half of tax lien data are not expected to meet the enhanced standards.

During the week of July 10, 2017, the CRAs will remove from their databases previously collected public record data that does not meet the enhanced PII standards. This includes the removal of all judgment public records and the portion of tax liens not meeting the enhanced standard. Public record data will also be monitored for adherence to the enhanced PII and collection frequency standards after July 1, 2017.

Despite the anticipated loss of significant volume of public record data from credit files, impact analysis conducted by the CRAs, as well as leading scoring model companies using CRA data, show a modest risk scoring impact and minimal loss in predictive performance as a result of these changes.

Please contact any member of your Account teams with questions you may have or forward questions to:

Robo Advice: Better Than No Advice? (Forbes), Rated: A

The proliferation of Robo-Advisors bringing low priced financial services out into the market has received significant buzz over the past few years.

When it comes to managing your money, minimal human intervention can be good or bad. The good comes when the algorithms and mathematical rules produce an asset allocation that is sensible for the purpose for which it is intended. The good also comes when the “human advisor” interjects personal preferences and judgments that are in the clients’ best interest.

Now, let’s analyze the downside, which can be a very deep and chasm. How we consider money, how we use money, how we value money, and what we believe about money is very human, indeed, and cannot be solved by mathematical equations.

For those who are looking for an asset allocation and a low-cost entry into investing, Robo advice can be a great place to start.

Helping Clients Determine Risks in Alternative Investments (Wealth Management), Rated: A

Alternative investments constitute a growing $7 trillion industry and more than 10,000 hedge funds have money in alternative platforms. Yet, most retail investors are just learning about these lucrative asset classes.

To illustrate the difference for clients who may not be familiar with alternative investments, ask them to imagine this scenario. A successful real estate flipper has bought and sold 25 properties in five years. After finding a great deal on a house in foreclosure, he applies for a bank loan to purchase it. The bank declines, spooked by four open mortgages he holds on current projects.

He’s never defaulted, but the bank still judges him as overleveraged because his loan-to-value ratio is 50 percent. It doesn’t fit into the bank’s rigid evaluation box, which has become even more stringent after the 2008 financial crisis. The perceived risk is much higher than the actual risk.

Then, he approaches an alternative lender who sees he’s willing to put his own money into a property in a desirable neighborhood and to offer a personal guarantee. The decision comes down to actual risk. Can this property fall in value by 50 percent in nine months? Will the borrower flip it in nine months for a handsome profit? By understanding the data and the flipper’s borrowing track record, the lender concludes that he will flip the house and fronts the capital.

FLEETCOR to Acquire “Cambridge Global Payments,” a B2B International Payments Provider (BusinessWire), Rated: A

FLEETCOR Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: FLT), a global provider of fuel cards and workforce payment products to businesses, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cambridge Global Payments (“Cambridge”), a B2B international payments provider.

Lantern Credit Appoints Ricardo Gomez-Acebo to Board of Managers (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Lantern Credit, a financial technology company working to solve systematic inefficiencies in the consumer credit industry, adds Ricardo Gomez-Acebo to its Board of Managers. He joins Chairman John Mack, Vice Chairman John Sculley, James Held, Seth Johnson, Kevin Knight and Chad Swensen on the Lantern Board.

Gomez-Acebo has more than 30 years of experience in the Spanish and International Retail Banking sector, holding various executive roles at Spanish banks Banesto and Banco Santander including General Manager of Europe for Banesto. Gomez-Acebo led business development with strategic financial partners at Banco Santander and most recently is heading risk management for the bank.

Incumbent financial services’ millennial strategy (The New Yorker via CB Insights Email), Rated: B

Attorney Jonathan Frutkin Featured Speaker at Washington D.C Crowdfunding Conference (Benzinga), Rated: B

Radix Law’s principal attorney, Jonathan Frutkin, will be a featured speaker at the “Fourth Annual Conference and Workshop for Crowdfunding USA” scheduled for May 4 to 5 at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Frutkin is the author of the book Equity Crowdfunding: Transforming Customers into Loyal Owners.

United Kingdom

RateSetter upgraded transparency to “top-tier” level, says 4th Way (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S upgraded data disclosure on its loan book and expected losses has brought its transparency to a top-tier level, according to peer-to-peer lending research firm 4th Way.

Based on the amended methodology, expected cumulative losses now stand at £18.06m, which paired with the current £22.44m provision fund buffer result in a 124 per cent coverage ratio – six per cent higher than last reported.

RateSetter’s data table now provides a clear estimate of the losses expected over the lifetime of its loan book, spelling out the losses that have already materialised and future expected losses for each year of origination, as well as a detailed breakdown of different types of arrears, provision fund adequacy levels, and investors’ expected returns.

Sharing the voice of British small businesses (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

What we discovered is that small businesses are going for growth, unfazed by the uncertainty caused by last year’s referendum result and the snap election. Nearly 70% of UK small businesses expect their turnover to increase within the next 12 months – half of whom expect a steady increase of between 6 and 20%, and only 6% expect turnover to decrease.

Small businesses, who already account for 60% of private sector employment, will continue to drive much needed job creation this year. More than half of the businesses we spoke to are planning to hire at least one new full-time member of staff over the next year. With more than 5 million small businesses across the country – this could mean the creation of millions of new jobs in the next 12 months!

When asked what their one policy priority is in the run up to the election, tax was by far the most important issue. With business rates mentioned specifically nearly 300 times, 40% said that they want the new Government to focus on this area after the election. The second most important policy area, according to a quarter of businesses, was of course Brexit.

To date investors have lent £2.2 billion to more than 23,000 UK small businesses.

 

UK SMEs set to back Tory leadership (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A vast majority of the 2,300 firms interviewed by the country’s third largest small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) lender are poised to throw their weight behind Theresa May’s party as the best positioned to deliver Brexit, despite half of them opposing the separation from the 28-nation bloc in the referendum last year.

The research also confirmed that UK SMEs have quickly shrugged off Brexit-induced economic worries, as seven in 10 firms expect to deliver stronger profits in the next 12 months and only six per cent forecast a drop in turnover over the same period.

Flender is granted its P2P credit license (AltFi), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer friends and family lender, Flender announced it has now received its full authorisation from the FCA and has also launched operations in Ireland.

The platform says it has funded loans of over €900,000 since its soft-launch, without any marketing or advertising. It has seen demand from companies in a wide range of industry sectors including construction, F&B, energy companies, retailers and more. It reports that it has attracted over 750 registered users, 138 campaigns submitted with 11 currently live on the platform.

RateSetter Partners with George Banco, Acquires Two Motor Finance Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RateSetter previously provided financing to George Banco. RateSetter will now lend directly to George Banco’s growing customer base with George Banco generating the leads.der George Banco. RateSetter has also acquired an equity stake in the George Banco company.

Additionally, RateSetter has acquired specialist motor finance providers Vehicle Stocking Limited and Vehicle Credit Limited out of their parent company’s administration. RateSetter will rebrand both businesses and invest in them to build on its current motor finance capabilities. RateSetter previously provided wholesale finance to these businesses.

UK P2P Lender Growth Street Celebrates Marketplace Rate Drop, Signals Increased Momentum (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Growth Street’s marketplace rate dropped on Monday from 6.5% AER to 6.4% AER, rewarding borrowers with a 10bps drop in their costs of funds. The UK P2P lender attributes the drop to the momentum it has built on its platform, welcoming over 700 investors to date since the launch of its investment offering in November.

FUNDING CIRCLE REVIEW (Orca Money), Rated: A

Loans are split into a minimum of £20 chunks or loan parts allowing investors to achieve a high level of diversification when investing relatively low amounts. Funding Circle suggests lending to a minimum of 100 businesses to achieve a 1% exposure to any one business. When investing a minimum of £2,000, Funding Circle’s auto-bid function will achieve this level of diversification automatically.

Borrowers across Funding Circle are all small to medium sized businesses (SMEs), borrowing between £5,000- £1million for loan terms of 6 months to 5 years.

Funding Circle is the only peer-to-peer lending platform of scale which operates across multiple geographies. The P2P platform has expanded from the UK to the USA, Germany and Spain. 74% of Funding Circle’s group (Funding Circle Holding Limited) revenue in the period ending the 31st December 2015 came from its UK business (Funding Circle UK Limited).

VPC Specialty Lending Investments Annual Results Continues to Disappoint (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC (LSE:VSL.L) released 2016 annual results last week and according to Chairman Andrew Adcock, results continue to disappoint. Shares in the fund that invests in various online lending assets continue to trade at a significant discount to the net asset value per share. As of December 31, 2016, VPC had deployed 87% of its NAV (with its cash holding of 13% temporarily elevated due to the recent sale of the Funding Circle U.K. portfolio). During 2016, VPC generated an NAV return of 0.85% for the Ordinary Shares and distributed dividends of 6.00 pence per Ordinary Share relating to the income earned during the year.

Going round in circles (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

The recent news that peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle plans to stop all property development lending by mid-2018 came as something of a surprise.

Risk is always a factor in construction, but it is how that risk is managed that is important. Funding Circle’s withdrawal could allow other lenders to enter this space, and increased competition will be no bad thing in giving developers greater choice.

While we appreciate that there are always certain areas of the market that give cause for concern, many of our clients have a clear appetite for further growth. While demand is strong, and developers continue to be starved of funds by traditional lenders, the market for alternative finance – and peer-to-peer lending particularly – will come to the fore.

China

Former Unicorn China Rapid Finance Goes Public at a $ 350M Valuation (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The IPO price was set at $6.00 and the company raised $60 million which was adjusted down from their anticipated raise of $105 million. Back in 2015, it was reported that the company had a pre-money valuation of $1 billion after closing a $35 million Series C. The company is now valued at $350 million.

At time of writing shares were trading around $7.10 per share.

The fact that China Rapid Finance and Yirendai before them chose to go public in the US is significant. In a recent Lend Academy podcast with Yirendai CEO Yihan Fang, she stated that they felt the US was more educated on marketplace lending. This coupled with the fact that Ning Tang (Founder of parent company CreditEase) and other management members had experience in the US and were more comfortable with the US capital markets led to their decision to list in the US.

Another company that could seek a US IPO is Ppdai.com who last year said it could go public in the first half of 2017.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

Financial Company of XIAOMI Raised A Round of 100 Million RMB

Today, FuMi Tech, MI’s related eco-chain company, announced it has finished A round of financing and raised 100 million RMB. This round of financing led by Buddhism Capital, with MoBai Capital and the previous investor ShunWei Capital participated. The fund will be continuously used to improve users’ experience.

WeBull, one of the products of FuMi Tech, providing trading services of US and HK stocks, and supporting real-time quotes of global stock, foreign exchange, funds and derivatives markets of over 20 countries. In fact, FuMi Tech has previously raised a joint investment of 50 million RMB from MI and ShunWei Capital.

China’s State-owned Commercial Bank Breaking the Ice between P2P platforms

Recently, China Construction Bank(Guangdong Branch) has launched its P2P funding depository product “Dragon depository”, and currently the bank has reached agreements with several P2P lending platforms.

According to an insider of CCB, the two critical measurements for their P2P cooperators are: bad debts and overall strength of the platform.The participation of CCB will promote the compliance process and bring a sustainable development of P2P lending industry.

NDRC(National Development and Reform Commission): Promote the Construction of Asia Credit System

The first Asia Credit Rating Agencies CEO Fair & Systemic Risk International Seminar was held in Beijing recently. Hongwan Chen, the deputy director of the financial department of National Development and Reform Commission, said that the regional cooperation across Asia is important for it could accelerate the Construction of Credit System in the area. He also advise to build credit record for local companies incorporated overseas and foreign investors, and set up a “blacklist” about those seriously illegal enterprises.

China Rapid Finance a consumer lending force in China (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Dr. Wang completed his Ph.D in statistics at the University of Chicago in 1995 before moving on to Sears Credit where as head of analytics he developed models employing credit bureau data while also overseeing the creation of a credit data warehouse. He returned to China, where in 2001 he founded  China Rapid Finance which began by developing credit scoring and decisioning models that helped companies issue more than 100 million credit cards.

In 2010 they made the move into marketplace lending, where they teamed up with more than 100 Chinese internet companies to analyze and score data that allowed them to preselect customers.

Seven years later China Rapid Finance has become China’s leading online consumer credit marketplace after facilitating 15 million loans to two million borrowers, beginning with small amounts for short durations and growing into longer-term loans for larger amounts.

EMMAs total 500 million and have been underserved by traditional credit providers, who focus on the 300 million super prime people who work for government or large institutions, Dr. Wang explained. He estimates China’s consumer credit coverage at roughly one-fourth that of the United States. While roughly 60 per cent of Americans have credit coverage, that rate is 16 per cent in China.

EMMAs are prime and near-prime consumers who are educated and have stable employment in the services and with startups and SMEs, but they have little credit history and cannot obtain bank credit.  They also largely stayed away from the notorious shadow banks, a large (no one knows precisely how large) opaque industry which helped fuel both real estate and small consumer loans.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes April 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle leads ahead of Zopa and Lendinvest. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 445 million Euro.

Milestones reached this month are:

  • Younited Credit crossed 500 million Euro loan volume since launch

European Union

Barclays Opens Europe’s Largest FinTech Site in London (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Barclays has today opened its flagship open innovation site, Rise London, in Shoreditch. It is Europe’s largest co-working space dedicated to financial technologies (FinTech).

Rise, created by Barclays, brings together from across the world a carefully curated community of FinTech startups, along with our corporate clients and other experts, to work on Barclays’ customer and business opportunities and together help to create the future of financial services.

Rise London will house more than 40 FinTech companies, along with Banking and Technology teams from Barclays, and will serve as a gathering place for leaders in the FinTech and venture capital communities. Rise London will play host to more than 200 hours of learning, workshops, hackathons and networking on a monthly basis.

Australia

Melbourne fintech Airwallex just won $ 17 million funding from Mastercard, Sequoia and Tencent (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Australian cross-border payment startup Airwallex has secured US$13 million ($17.4 million) in a funding round to continue its expansion overseas.

For Sequoia — the 45-year-old firm famous for investing in famous tech brands such as Apple, Google and AirBnB – the deal represents its Chinese arm’s first investment in an Australian startup.

Airwallex founder and chief executive Jack Zhang told Business Insider that the company, which already can make payments to 100 countries, will use the cash injection to expand its physical presence in locations such as London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan.

FinTech Australia Reflects on First Year (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia, the advocacy group promoting all things fintech related in Australia, celebrated its one year anniversary by sharing its “Year of Review.”

India

India to see regulations for fintech space soon: KPMG report  (Outlook), Rated: AAA

The government is expected to come out with regulations for fintech (financial technology) space as the industry is likely to witness increased payments and lending activities, a study said today.

Over the next quarter, insurtech may come into its own in India, according to the report.

Citing Paytm attracting Asia’s largest funding round of USD 200 million in March quarter, it said AI and blockchain may be big bets for investors apart from payments, open data and data analytics.

Over the quarter, investment into Asia’s fintech space hit USD 492 million across 33 deals, as per the report.

SoftBank Said in Talks to Invest $ 1.4 Billion in India’s Paytm (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks to invest about $1.4 billion in India’s One97 Communications Ltd. in a deal that would value the owner of the country’s largest digital-payments provider at about $7 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal is not yet finalized and the terms may yet change, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. One97 Communications, whose Paytm unit has seen business surge as India took most of its paper bills from circulation, has also had discussions with two other investors, one of the people said. The company was last valued at $4.2 billion, according to research firm CB Insights.

3 Alternative Lending Trends That Have Made Fintech Startups Popular (Inc42), Rated: A

Traditional banks have left quite a few gaping holes when it comes to unsecured loans, especially for salaried people who are not employed in companies that they classify as A/A+ category.

Quick Personal Loans

Customers, it appears, are warming up to online alternative lending portals, and it is predominantly due to the speed with which the loan application is processed, verified and approved. Tedious documentation, in addition to ambiguous rules and non-transparency in the whole process that a customer faces with banks, has made entrepreneurs reinvent lending for salaried employees. The ease and convenience of digital (and painless) transactions are considered priceless. There are lenders such as Qbera, which disburses personal loans up to INR 5 Lakhs in 24 hours.

Alternative Fixed Income Products Become More Popular

2016 saw RBI releasing a set of directives regarding P2P loans in India. The paper recommends NBFCs status for P2P lenders, which is almost consistent with what the P2P sector has been demanding. This liberal approach helps to protect the interest of all stakeholders without choking innovative ideas. P2P lenders are hoping for these recommendations to become regulations after the budget announcement, which will give the arena a facelift.

Short-Term Payday Loans

You don’t get instant cash from banks and online payday loan providers often save the day. As they are offered for shorter tenures compared to online personal loans, it gets repaid more quickly, which is a definite plus. You can even opt for monthly, fortnightly, weekly or daily loans.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor