Thursday September 21 2018, Daily News Digest

Chinese companies surge on debut after US IPOs

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub spent $6.4M to relocate two executives. Funding Circle to price IPO between 420-530 pence. Funding Circle to set valuation at $2.4B after IPO. Qatar fund to invest in Lufax. X Financial completes IPO. Today’s main analysis: Fintech investors like ‘stodgy’, not ‘sexy’. Prospa has written $750M in loans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How machine learning helps P2P […]

Chinese companies surge on debut after US IPOs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Some Companies Spend Plenty to Lure Executives Willing to Relocate (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Some businesses have gone so far as to shell out millions to move key players from miles away. LendingClub Corp. LC -2.63% spent nearly $6.4 million to bring two new top officers and their families to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017, according to an analysis of data from company proxies by research firm Equilar Inc. That sum largely reflects $3 million in relocation bonuses for Steve Allocca, the new president, and Thomas Casey, LendingClub’s chief financial officer. Both men moved from less-costly cities in Texas.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Fintech investors like ‘stodgy more than sexy’ (Financial Planning) Rated: AAA

A good chunk of the money being invested in wealth management and banking technology is going toward funding artificial intelligence-driven tools.

But forget the popular concept of conversational, British-voiced computers, chatbots or even cute robot assistants greeting customers at branches; the applications that investors want in on are focused on improving operational efficiency.

The industry’s current methods of handling compliance issues, back-office processing, clearing and settlements, he says, are ripe for reinvention.

Source: Financial Planning

How Does Machine Learning Help Peer to Peer Online Marketplaces Succeed? (Tech Pluto) Rated: AAA

Machine learning technology brings a real ROI to peer to peer marketplace owners. Airbnb, a company known for their personalized approach to each customer has seen a significant growth in the number of bookings after they started using machine learning. Other popular P2P marketplaces such as Etsy, Uber, Lending Club also apply intelligent algorithms to increase their conversion rates and acquire a competitive advantage.

Machine learning helps leading marketplaces and companies that provide AI consulting services develop features that bring tangible value to business and consumers. So how exactly do P2P marketplace companies use this cutting-edge technology? Let’s find out.

Predicting which products a user will like is a widely adopted use case for machine learning. A variety of digital products today have recommender systems powered by this technology. In the past product recommendation systems were based on hard-coded rules. Those rules determined what item to show to a user based on some predefined scenarios. For example, if a user buys a fancy red dress, she’s likely to also buy shoes that match this dress.

SoFi’s Former Head Of Venture Strikes Out On His Own (Benzinga) Rated: A

For this installment, Benzinga interviewed an intriguing fintech venture capitalist: Logan Allin, general partner at Fin Venture Capital and former head of venture at SoFi.

Allin’s career has been largely spent “in and around” financial services, he said, including stints at SoFi, City National Bank and Invesco Ltd. IVZ. He launched Fin Venture Capital in April with a focus on the global fintech sector, greenfield areas and B2B and B2B2C players in particular.

BZ: Fintech funding rounds are getting larger, some consolidation is occurring and the space in general is maturing — is there still room for small startups to have a major impact? What verticals are ripe for disruption?

According to Pitchbook’s data, the U.S. funding environment is skewed increasingly to growth and late stage startups and is on pace to surpass $100 billion in deal value for the first time since the dot-com era.

Indeed, there was $57.5 billion of VC invested in U.S. companies through the first half of the year, and the second quarter of 2018 is higher than six of the past 10 full-year totals. Despite the volume, the deal count has remained stable due to later-stage entry points and larger round sizes, and as a result, deployment is at a slower pace than seen in 2013-2015.

You’re seeing a move toward larger fund sizes with the same investment period as they’ve always had, five years, which leads to larger check requirements per deal and thus a move downstream to growth and late-stage rounds where the valuation math and round sizes align.

Goldman Sachs nears deal to sell its fintech app – WSJ (Reuters) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs is in advanced talks with several financial companies to spin off ‘Simon’, its three-year-old app that sells financial products to retail investors, the Wall Street Journal reported on.wsj.com/2OzaWmf on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, HSBC Holdings , Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo and insurer Prudential Financial have expressed interest for a stake in the business, the report said.

The deal, which would value the app at around $100 million, is likely to be finalised in the coming weeks.

Lendio Franchising Growth Soars, Doubling Amount of Loans Funded Quarter Over Quarter Since Inception (Lendio) Rated: A

LendingTree Announces Startup Innovators Program at LEND360 (PR Newswire) Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced it will sponsor a $10,000 award to be given at LEND360 to the fintech startup with the most cutting-edge solutions propelling the online lending ecosystem forward.

As the desire to enter the fintech space continues to heat up, LEND360’s Startup Innovators Program will highlight startup organizations’ crucial part of the fintech ecosystem, bringing new and innovative thinking to the industry.

LEND360 will be held October 8-10, 2018 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

iCapital Buys Bank of America Alt Feeder Fund Ops (Wealth Management) Rated: A

Alternative investing platform iCapital Network announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Bank of America to acquire the bank’s alternative investment feeder fund operations. iCapital expects the volume on its platform to more than quadruple as a result, growing from $6 billion in invested capital across 14,000 underlying accounts to $25 billion across nearly 70,000 accounts.

Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust account holders and advisors will continue to use their existing interfaces and their client relationships, but the inner workings of the system will be improved, said Lawrence Calcano, CEO of iCapital.

More Americans With Low Credit Scores Buying Homes (Laredo Morning Times) Rated: A

If you have a low credit score and want to buy a home, your odds of getting a loan have improved. A study by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) shows that credit scores for new mortgage originations have been dropping, suggesting that lenders are slowly relaxing the tight credit policies imposed after the housing crisis.

According to the study, new mortgage loans with credit scores less than 700 increased from 21.9% of all mortgage loans in 2009 to 29.7% in 2017. These include scores in the subprime market that can reach down into the 400s. (While the typical lower credit score limit is 620 for conforming loans and 500 for FHA loans, loans may be granted at even lower credit scores with extenuating circumstances.)

The shift in average credit scores is driven by FHA loans – as expected by the lower acceptance criteria for FHA loans. The latest Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae shows that only 16.7% of conventional mortgage loan originations in July 2018 were associated with FICO scores less than 700.For FHA loans, over 65% of FHA loans went to borrowers with scores below 700.

2Wheel Partners With Affirm to Offer 0% Financing (Motorcycle & Powersports News) Rated: A

Affirm Inc., a financial technology company, provides transparent alternatives to traditional credit. Customers can select the Affirm payment option at checkout and quickly and easily receive real-time approval of their loan amount. The payment terms are clearly stated with no hidden fees or compounding interest.

5 Surprising Traits of Digital Banking Winners (Financial Brand) Rated: A

Ever since JP Morgan declared itself a technology company that provides financial services — not the other way around — analysts and investors have been scrambling to discern which banking companies are doing tech well, and which are not. They know the institutions that harness the power of artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data, and more importantly, the applied business insights these technologies can generate, will be the banks that will be the winners in the long run.

“Long term I think this will determine the split between winners and losers,” one investor told the Financial Times in a story on AI and banking earlier this year.

New Research Indicates Non-Prime Hispanics Have a Leg up on Financial Health (Market Watch) Rated: A

When it comes to personal finances, Hispanics in the U.S. are more stable and optimistic than other groups studied. A newly released study from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (CNMC) found that non-prime Hispanics – or those with credit scores below 700 – experience higher levels of employment and less volatile monthly income. When compared to the broader non-prime community, non-prime Hispanics in the U.S. are:

  • 65% more likely to plan for major expenses
  • 86% more likely to feel financially stable
  • 38% more likely to save money each month
  • 20% less likely to have had a vacation expense in the last 12 months
  • 23% less likely to spend on routine medical expenses
  • 50% more likely to be able to cover a $1200 unexpected expense
  • 3x more likely to regularly pay using a smartphone
  • 20% less likely to have a credit card
  • 25% less likely to have a personal retirement account
  • 2x more likely to regularly give money to a child or grandchild
  • 40% more likely to be employed

Why those high-profile bank glitches just won’t stop (American Banker) Rated: A

The glitch that left SunTrust customers without access to mobile and online banking for two days is just the latest digital snafu to afflict the banking industry. Upgrades by banks or their vendors that went haywire have resulted in multiple outages this past year.

So it begs the question: If there’s such potential for an upgrade to go wrong, why aren’t banks more prepared for the eventuality, instead of scrambling to get service back up and running?

Industry experts bear some bad news about the state of technology in banking: Banks can’t really be proactive enough to prevent the problems.

Why do state regulators want to limit consumer choice? (American Banker) Rated: A

The decision by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to begin accepting applications for special purpose national bank charters from fintech companies promotes innovation, gives consumers and businesses greater choice and creates economic growth and opportunity.

It is also good for America’s dual banking system, which the president of Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services ignore in their recent articles and statements.

Fed will have the say on key parts of OCC’s fintech charter (American Banker) Rated: A

The Federal Reserve is under increasing pressure to provide clarity on whether nonbank fintech firms that receive a special federal charter will have direct access to central bank lending and to the U.S. payment systems.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency confirmed in July that it would accept applications from fintech firms for a “special-purpose” national bank charter, although the new license has been legally challenged by state regulators.

But many experts say the OCC’s charter would lose value if the Fed did not allow direct entry to fintech firms. Those firms now, for example, can access the payments system only through bank partners.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Refinances Texas SNFs for Granite Investment Group (Digital Journal) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $33.2 million senior credit facility for Granite Investment Group (“Granite”). The funds were used to refinance a portfolio of four skilled nursing facilities in Texas.

Granite Investment Group is a privately held, real estate investment firm focused on multi-family, senior housing, and post-acute care.

AlphaFlow Continues Expansion with Launch of New York Office, Hiring of Fintech Executives Stephan Leccese and John Woodruff (PR Newswire) Rated: B

AlphaFlow, the first automated alternative investment platform for real estate, announced today the opening of a new office in New York City. The office launch and expansion operations will be helmed by recently hired fintech executive Stephan Leccese, who joins the firm as Vice President of Partnerships & Servicing.  John Woodruff, a former credit fund senior analyst, will be joining Stephan in New York, serving as Vice President of Investments.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to price 71.4 mln IPO shares between 420-530 pence (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

British peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle plans to sell up to 71.4 million new shares in its initial public offering for between 420 pence and 530 pence per share.

Funding Circle, which expects to list in October with a valuation of more than 1.5 billion pounds ($1.92 billion), said it plans to raise gross proceeds of about 300 million pounds.

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle to be valued up to $ 2.4 billion after IPO (CNBC) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle announced the pricing range for its initial public offering (IPO) on Wednesday that could value the company up to around £1.8 billion ($2.4 billion).

The British fintech firm said the price range of the offer has been set at 420 pence to 530 pence per share. The flotation will comprise a maximum of 71.4 million new shares and a secondary component to be determined.

After the completion of the IPO, the issued share capital of the company is expected to comprise between 329.7 million and 345 million shares.

Is real estate crowdfunding the investment option for you? (Born2Invest) Rated: A

Equity crowdfunding has been a great alternative investment for many, but there are other principles that branched out from it. Some investors direct their funds not only on startups that offer unique products or services as others become virtual landlords through property crowdfunding.

Platforms like LendInvest, Landbay and Lendy have risen to make real estate investing more interesting because of higher returns. Some sources suggest that peer-to-peer lending (P2P) schemes like crowdfunding in real estate allow for returns in excess of 5-6 percent compared to traditional real estate investment trusts (REITs).

There are three ways to get into real estate crowdfunding: P2P, debt crowdfunding and virtual buy-to-let.

China

China’s Online Lender Lufax Attracts Potential Investment From Qatar Fund (Gooruf) Rated: AAA

China’s online lender Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co. (Lufax) has attracted a potential investment from sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

QIA has been negotiating the probable purchase of a minority stake in Lufax with an estimated price range of about US$500 million to US$1 billion, said Bloomberg citing the source.

The company has been aiming to file for an initial public offering in Hong Kong since 2017, but only to witness its flotation on ice because of Beijing’s probes into online lenders.

Fintech / Peer to Peer Lender X Financial Trades on NYSE (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Chinese peer to peer lending platform X Financial (NYSE: XYF) completed its initial public offering (IPO) today trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co. were joint book runners on the IPO.

The IPO saw the Class A ordinary shares priced at $9.50. The offering was for 11 million American Depository Shares (ADSs) thus representing a raise of about $104.5 million. Shares initially traded much higher jumping to over $20/share at one point but are now currently hovering around $13/share.

The underwriters have been granted an option to purchase up to 1,650,000 additional ADSs at the IPO price less the underwriting discount.

X Financial on IPO: We Have Built One of the Strongest Fintech Businesses in China (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Earlier today, China based X Financial (NYSE:FXE) traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in its initial public offering raising approximately $104.5 million as 11 million shares were floated at $9.50/share. The shares quickly jumped higher in early trading and eventually closed about 25% higher than the offer price. X Financial, a peer to peer lender and Fintech platform, is part of a growing group of Chinese firms deciding to list their shares on US exchanges. In fact, this was the 9th Chinese company to list on the NYSE this year.

X Financial reports experiencing dramatic growth in the past few years. Top line revenue was approximately USD $270 million for all of 2017. As of the first six months of 2018, the company had already topped this number (USD $279.3) as it appears to be on track to double the year prior total.

Investors Love Chinese Tech Stocks (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer online lender X Financial soared on its first day of New York trading, adding to a string of frenzied U.S. debuts by Chinese technology companies.

Source Bloomberg

Banks give China’s Web lenders a second life (The Business Times) Rated: A

China’s online lenders have found an unlikely lifeline. Investors are fleeing the country’s US$200 billion peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector as regulators crack down. The funding squeeze has pushed many companies to team up with traditional banks that they once sought to disrupt.

Beijing is reining in the country’s non-bank lending sector. Strict rules, such as caps on loan balances for sites matching small borrowers with individual investors, have shut down hundreds of unruly upstarts. Regulators delayed a June deadline for companies to apply for licences, putting larger groups in legal limbo. New York-listed Yirendai has seen its market value more than halve to US$1 billion since the start of the year.

The stakes are huge. Chinese consumer finance – which includes credit card loans, e-commerce credit, and unsecured personal loans – is on track to top 11 trillion yuan (S$2.2 trillion) by 2020, up from four trillion yuan in 2015, according to Oliver Wyman. But banks prefer to lend to customers with credit histories, which much of the population lacks. They often spurn private corporate borrowers for similar reasons. That has opened the door for P2P operators as well as Web giants like Ant Financial.

Lending hand (Breaking Views) Rated: A

China’s online lenders have found an unlikely lifeline. Investors are fleeing the country’s $200 billion peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector as regulators crack down. The funding squeeze has pushed many companies to team up with traditional banks that they once sought to disrupt.

Beijing is reining in the country’s non-bank lending sector. Strict rules, such as caps on loan balances for sites matching small borrowers with individual investors, have shut down hundreds of unruly upstarts. Regulators delayed a June deadline for companies to apply for licenses, putting larger groups in legal limbo. New York-listed Yirendai has seen its market value more than halve to $1 billion since the start of the year.

The stakes are huge. Chinese consumer finance – which includes credit card loans, e-commerce credit, and unsecured personal loans – is on track to top 11 trillion yuan ($1.6 trillion) by 2020, up from 4 trillion yuan in 2015, according to Oliver Wyman. But banks prefer to lend to customers with credit histories, which much of the population lacks. They often spurn private corporate borrowers for similar reasons. That has opened the door for P2P operators as well as web giants like Ant Financial.

China Rapid Finance to Participate in DBS Fintech Corporate Day (Acrofan) Rated: B

China Rapid Finance (NYSE: XRF), a leading online consumer finance platform in China, today announced that its Chief Executive Officer Zane Wang will participate in the DBS Fintech Corporate Day, to be held at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore on Thursday, September 27, 2018.

The Company will also host investor meetings throughout the day.  Attendance at the conference is by invitation only.  Interested investors should contact your DBS sales representative to secure a meeting time.

International

Growth of Investor Numbers on P2P Lending Marketplaces (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

The disadvantage of showing indexed numbers for growth is that it gives smaller, younger an advantage as their percentage increase of investor base is likely still higher because they come from smaller absolut numbers. An example for this effect is Peerberry where percentage growth of investors is rapid, but the absolute number as of Sep, 1st has reached only 2468 investors as it is a very young marketplace.

Source: P2P Banking

ETHLend Blockchain Crypto Lending Launches New Tech Firm Aave To Induce Innovation (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

Decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) financial marketplace, ETHLend has recently revealed the launch of a new tech firm dubbed, Aave. The reason for creating Aave is to induce consumers to come up with innovative ways to expand on “evolving and imaginative technology”. Simply put, the team is working towards bridging the gap centralized players like PayPal and Coinbase have left behind.

Aave will serve as the parent company for ETHLend and the team will remain the same. In other words, the CEO for Aave will be that of ETHLend, Stani Kulechov, Jordan Lazaro will serve as COO, Nolvia Serrano is the CMO, Mika Soyring is the CFO and Ville Valkonen is the CCO.

Australia

Fintech Prospa has now written $ 750 million in loans (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Fintech Prospa, a lender to small business which in June postponed an ASX-listing after being pinged about unfair loans terms, says it has now written $750 million in loans.

Loans for the year to June were $367 million, a 70% increase on the previous 12 months and 9% higher than prospectus forecasts with strong momentum in the fourth quarter.

For the six months to June 2018, loans hit $211 million, up 16% on prospectus forecasts and up 61% on the previous corresponding period.

MENA

OurCrowd Still on Track to Top USD $ 1 Billion in Investment Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

In many ways, OurCrowd epitomizes the aspirations of what investment crowdfunding has the potential to deliver for both issuers and investors. By providing access to quality deals to smaller (accredited) investors, OurCrowd has opened up an asset class previously closed off to all but the very fortunate. On OurCrowd, you can find yourself investing alongside some of the biggest names in venture capital – at the exact same terms – an important distinction. It is also important to note that OurCrowd has skin in the game for each offering it lists on the platform – thus interests are aligned: OurCrowd wants the company to succeed and it also very much wants to see a return on its own investment. These qualities make OurCrowd a compelling option for investors that are willing to shoulder an element of portfolio risk that can also drive some outsized returns.

OurCrowd is based in Israel – where many of its investments are made – but its vision is to empower investors globally and fund companies regardless of geographic borders. This is what you want to see in the digitized, internet fueled Fintech age.

Build a real estate portfolio starting with as little as $ 1000 (AME Info) Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding comes to Dubai in the form of Smart Crowd

In the US, investors are utilizing crowdfunding sites like Realty Mogul, CrowdStreet, and Fundrise to start and/or build their portfolios, Investopedia notes.

Smart Crowd, an innovative new digital real estate investment platform that supports crowd-funding endeavors in the real estate sector, is trying to fill in a similar role in the region.

Asia

P2P operations launched in Hyderabad (Telangana Today) Rated: AAA

LenDenClub, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, launched its operations in Hyderabad. It will also expand to other cities later.

LenDenClub chose Hyderabad as the city is a major hub of the IT industry and houses a large number of young professionals, who are among the largest users of digital lending services in the country. It expects 10 per cent of its loan requests originate from Telangana in the next six months.

It is aiming to disburse loans worth Rs 100 crore in 12 months.

European Union

INLOCK Signs MoU with Institutional Lending Provider – Partners with Major CEE Crypto ATM Manufacturer to Test Its Platform (Bitcoin News) Rated: B

INLOCK, a crypto lending platform where licensed lenders can compete for borrowers who want to use their cryptocurrency as collateral for loans, announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an institutional lending provider and entered a partnership with one of the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEE) region’s biggest crypto ATM manufacturers to test its Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The company launched the ICO for its ILK token on September 15, the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

The CEE region’s crypto ATM manufacturer plans to integrate INLOCK’s services into all of its machines, enabling users to directly take out loans and receive funding in cash within hours. The crypto ATM manufacturer will act as a matching service provider by forwarding customers to INLOCK.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday August 1, 2018 Daily News Digest

Global Banking Executives Biggest Challenges

News Comments Today’s main news: OCC approves fintech charter. Microsoft, Nationwide invest in BlueVine. UK overtakes US in fintech investment. P2PFA members take in over 300M GBP from IFISAs. Today’s main analysis: Trump Administration hugs fintech. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Online lenders, payment companies can act more like banks. How Revolut reduced fraud by 30%. Chinese P2P lending under severe challenges. Fintechs […]

Global Banking Executives Biggest Challenges

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

After years of debate, OCC to offer fintech charter (American Banker) Rated: AAA

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Tuesday that it would move ahead to consider special-purpose charter applications from fintech firms, ending the guessing game over whether the agency was serious about giving fintechs a federal option.

The decision, unveiled just hours after the Treasury Department released a report endorsing a national fintech charter, means fintech firms that opt for the charter could soon be regulated more like banks on a national scale.

Fintech Gets a Hug From the Trump Administration (Barron’s) Rated: AAA

The Treasury Department released a report today with more than 80 recommendations that are aimed at tailoring regulations for nonbank financial institutions and encouraging the development of financial technology.

Source: U.S. Treasury Department
Source: U.S. Treasury Department

Read the full report here.

Securitizations swell as marketplace lending matures (GlobalCapital) Rated: A

A report out of the Department of the Treasury on Tuesday notes that the growth of marketplace lending has fueled ABS deals in the sector.

Marketplace lenders have originated some $100bn in loans since 2014, with unsecured consumer debt accounting for 50% of total volume.

The strong pace of originations has fueled consumer securitization issuance, with the number of marketplace loan ABS deals ballooning every year since 2013.

Online Lenders and Payment Companies Get a Way to Act More Like Banks (The New York Times) Rated: AAA

Online lenders and other so-called fintech firms — including the payment processor Square, the online lender Lending Club and the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase — have pressed for regulatory routes that would let them cut through the thicket of state and federal laws that govern financial businesses.

Heeding those requests, the Treasury Department released a 222-page report laying out the Trump administration’s view on how nonbank financial companies should be regulated. Hours later, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a national bank regulator, announced a new kind of charter that would potentially free such companies from the state-by-state approvals they currently need to offer loans and other financial products.

Source: Treasury.gov

Read the complete report here.

CSBS Responds to Treasury, OCC Fintech Announcements (CSBS) Rated: A

We appreciate the Treasury’s recognition of the vital role performed by state regulators in overseeing nonbank financial service providers. And we are pleased that Treasury noted the substantial progress states have made towards harmonizing the multistate experience for industry.

At the same time, we disagree with certain Treasury recommendations. We do not support creation of new federal rules or unauthorized federal charters that would seek to compromise the ability of state officials to apply and enforce state laws. And so, we disagree with Treasury’s recommended changes to the valid-when-made doctrine and the true-lender doctrine, and the creation of an OCC special purpose bank charter for fintech companies.

An OCC fintech charter is a regulatory train wreck in the making.

Microsoft’s M12 joins $ 12 million funding extension for fintech startup BlueVine (Venture Beat) Rated: AAA

Fintech startup BlueVine has added $12 million to its recently announced series E round of funding, bringing Microsoft’s venture capital (VC) unit M12 onboard alongside the VC arm of finance giant Nationwide.

The additional funding brings BlueVine’s total series E round to $72 million, after the company announced an initial $60 million cash injection just two months ago.

BlueVine has now raised around $590 million in funding since its inception, though it’s worth noting that around three-quarters of that came in the past year via debt financing.

Small-Biz Talks: StreetShares on Small Business Lending (Value Penguin) Rated: A

On average, veterans are getting, through us, about 2% to 3%lower interest rates than nonveterans. That’s an internal discount that we give. Comparing us to an OnDeck or a Kabbage, we are probably half the average APR of OnDeck and probably a quarter of Kabbage. They may disagree with that, but that’s our numbers.

Online Lending Needs More Regulation: New York Regulator (BNA) Rated: A

Notably, a group of lenders that is currently not subject to licensing – those making loans between 7 and 16 percent – would have to become Licensed Lenders. As a result, those lenders would have to complete the licensing process, pay the associated fees, and would then be subject to supervision and examinations by the NYDFS.

Additionally, any nonbank that lends to a New York borrower, either directly or through a partnership, would have to comply with New York’s usury limit. This rule is already in effect for servicers that acquire loans originated by banks, due to the Second Circuit’s decision in Madden v. Midland Funding. However, the NYDFS recommendation would potentially expand that rule to loans originated by lending companies organized by Native American tribes, among other situations.

Gusto raises $ 140 million to go after small business payroll and benefits with more gusto (TechCrunch) Rated: A

Gusto, which sells payroll, benefits and human resources management and monitoring services to small businesses, has raised $140 million in its latest round of funding.

The company said it will use the money to add new services to increase payment flexibility for employees. The company launched a new service called Flexible Pay, which gives employees a way to get paid no matter when a company’s pay schedule dictates. It seems sort of like a payday loan, where a percentage of the salary is taken by Gusto  for providing money upfront.

Elevate Credit, Inc. (ELVT) CEO Kenneth Rees on Q2 2018 Results – Earnings Call Transcript (Seeking Alpha) Rated: A

Before I catch on the specific highlights for Q2, I’d like to restate, as I usually do, our commitment to use technology and advanced analytics to be the most responsible lender in our space and to make a positive impact in the lives of our customers. As Slide 3 shows, we’ve now extended more than $5.9 billion in credit to more than 2 million nonprime consumers. We’ve come to call the 170 million consumers in the U.S. and U.K. who are credit constrained, the new middle class. And we’re proud to announce on this call that Elevate products have now saved our customers more than $4 billion over what they would’ve paid for legacy products like payday loans.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Issues FY18 Earnings Guidance (Press Oracle) Rated: A

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) updated its FY18 earnings guidance on Monday. The company provided EPS guidance of $0.55-0.90 for the period, compared to the Thomson Reuters consensus EPS estimate of $0.72. The company issued revenue guidance of $790-810 million, compared to the consensus revenue estimate of $803.81 million.

Several brokerages have recently weighed in on ELVT. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Elevate Credit from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $11.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Tuesday, July 24th.

Nobody Says ‘Zelle Me’: Banks Struggle to Catch Up to Venmo (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

A year in, Zelle’s reviews are mixed. Usage is up, but most banks haven’t signed on, meaning many consumers can’t use it without downloading a separate app. It also fell short of its goal to have 33 banks on the network by its first anniversary, and behind the scenes, it runs on plumbing that’s more than 40 years old.

Zelle’s rocky debut shows the challenges of trying to make alterations to an industry often slow to change and still weighed down by old infrastructure.

Go Midwest, young fintechs (American Banker) Rated: A

For startups, they are not the obvious places to settle down. While fintech is flush with venture capital, three states — California, Massachusetts and New York — gobble up 75% of all VC funds. Yet if there is a good time to go against the odds, it might be now. These days, it has become fashionable for venture capitalists to say they are scouting for opportunities beyond the coasts.

Most visibly, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest seed fund, co-founded by AOL co-founder Steve Case, continues to make a splash by investing in all kinds of startups across America to promote growth and increase investment capital. As Case blogged, “People know that the future of America is tied to more than just three cities, and there is an eagerness, now more than ever, to address the investment gap.”

Bill to enhance poor credit scores will backfire, critics say (American Banker) Rated: A

Legislation to enhance credit scores by allowing consumers to include data about their monthly bills has broad bipartisan support, but some consumer advocates and others question whether the legislation may backfire on those it is meant to help.

The measure, which passed the House earlier this month and is authored by Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is intended to allow consumers to benefit from positive information about lease, telecommunications and utility payments in their credit reports. An identical version has been introduced by Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in the upper chamber.

A CEO used to think student loans were predatory, but he’s changed his mind (Business Insider) Rated: A

Last week, LendingTree acquired Student Loan Hero for $60 million. In an interview with Business Insider, Josuweit reflected on how his view of the student-loan industry had changed since launching his business.

Today, Student Loan Hero offers users financial-comparison tools and personalized advice for paying off student loans, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

Josuweit said he had also softened his stance on student loans in general. Where he once saw them as predatory, he now considers them a valuable tool when used wisely.

Kroger stops accepting Visa credit cards at some stores (Cincinnati Business Courier) Rated: A

Kroger Co. has quit accepting Visa credit cards at some of its stores in a battle against rising fees charged by the credit card giant.

Blockchain’s Spring Labs Appoints Peter Tapling Chief Commercial Officer (Block Tribune) Rated: B

Blockchain’s Spring Labs names Peter Tapling, an identity and payments expert, as chief commercial officer and head of industry relations. He will be responsible for overseeing Spring Lab’s network development, industry awareness, partnerships and commercialization. He will report directly to CEO and Founder of Spring Labs, Adam Jiwan, and will be based in Spring Labs’ Chicago office.
United Kingdom

UK overtakes US on Fintech investment for first half of 2018 (Business Matters) Rated: AAA

The UK has overtaken the US in terms of fintech investment for the first half of the year, and taken the top spot in Europe to attract $16.1bn (£12.3bn) out of the EUs $26bn total.

Four of Europe’s top 10 fintech deals happened in the UK, which included a $250m raise by Revolut, $100m by eToro, $60m by Flender and $54m by Moneyfarm. Data provided by KPMG’s pulse of fintech report has allayed fears that Brexit would hurt the UK’s startup scene, as venture capital firms have cemented the UK’s position as a funding hot spot.

Fintech investment across the world reached record levels over the last six months, taking in $57.9bn across 875 deals. This was an increase of 34.2 per cent compared to the whole of 2017, which recorded just $38.1bn overall.

P2PFA member platforms secure over £300m from IFIsa investments (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: AAA

Members of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) have seen 28,000 Innovate Finance Isas (IFIsas) opened, with more than £300m of funds already under management, according to the latest figures.

The six P2PFA member platforms which offer an IFIsa are: 

• Crowdstacker
• Folk2Folk
• Funding Circle
• Landbay
• Lending Works
• Zopa

UK neobank Revolut has reduced fraud by 30% – here’s how (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based neobank Revolut launched disposable virtual cards in March , and has now reported that they resulted in a 30% reduction in card fraud cases.

Disposable virtual cards provide users with card details that get destroyed right after making an online purchase, and new details are made seconds after the previous ones are scrapped. This way, a merchant can’t charge the customer again, as they don’t have the person’s actual card information.

This fraud reduction announcement comes at the right time for Revolut. Earlier in July, we reported that the neobank had discovered potential money laundering activity on its digital payments system a few months back. It informed the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), suggesting that the severity of the issue was high, as conventionally companies just inform the NCA.

Source: Business Insider

FCA regulation sees an increase in consumer confidence for loans (Financial News) Rated: A

It’s an industry that has often come under intense scrutiny, but the high cost short term loans sector has seen a significant increase in consumer confidence. This comes as a result of the FCA facilitating dramatic changes and the enforcement of new regulations. In fact, a recent review by the FCA has stated that the noticeable improvements in the payday loan industry means that it will now not be reviewing this sector again until 2020. We take a look at the reasons why the FCA has successfully increased consumer confidence in the high-cost short term loan industry.

UK Regulators Taking Very Close Look At P2P Lending (PYMNTS) Rated: A

According to the U.K. Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), a self-regulating P2P industry group that includes most of the biggest names in U.K. marketplace lending, the country’s P2P lending industry had hit £9 billion in loan originations from the group’s members as of Q1 2018.

The figures also reflected having provided finance for approximately 50,000 businesses and 221,000 individuals overall, with a total investor count of about 150,000. According to the The Times of London, those figures are even higher – though they agree on the 150,000 investor count, they think about £10 billion in total loans have been underwritten.

Will New P2P Rules Hit SME Funding? (Forbes) Rated: A

The Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s chief financial watchdog, has just spent months investigating the sector, where it has already intervened with new rules once to safeguard investors. Now the FCA says the sector has further problems that must be addressed, including poor standards of disclosure, opaque pricing structures, over-optimistic marketing claims and poor record-keeping. It is consulting on a series of potential reforms and has also warned individual businesses in the industry could be investigated for compliance failures.

Much of the regulator’s ire is reserved for the peer-to-peer lending sector, where online platforms facilitate loans from investors to consumers or small businesses. While defaults have been relatively rare – though the regulator points out most platforms have not been tested through a complete economic cycle – the FCA is worried that investors are sometimes being given false expectations about the returns they should expect.

QuickISA Launches Free Search Engine to Discover Profitable Savings and P2P Finance Schemes (Perfect Investor) Rated: A

Past economic turbulence, the recession, and the uncertainty over Brexit and its impact on future investments, has made it imperative for every investor to keep an eye on their investments.  Individual Saving Accounts (ISAs) are a great way to earn tax-free interest on your investment. But which ISA is the most profitable? This question can now be easily answered with the new online service offered by QuickISA.

Legal & General invests £3m in lendtech Smartr365 (FinTech Futures) Rated: A

Legal & General’s (LG) fintech business has made a £3 million investment in Smartr365, a Software-as-a-Service firm which supplies systems to the UK mortgage intermediary market.

Conor Murphy, director, Smartr365, says the new funding will be used for product development – such as its LendrConnect, a mortgage API service that allows brokers to submit mortgages.

China

The Chinese P2P Lending Sector Facing Severe Challenges Right Now (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Back then new platforms were launching pretty much every day as p2p lending became the hot new investment. The number of platforms grew to well over 3,000, a number that everyone agreed was not sustainable. But new platforms kept on launching, attracting both investors and borrowers with relative ease.

We all knew the party was going to end at some point and it looks like 2018 will be the year of reckoning. According to industry data provider, Wangdaizhijia (loosely translated as Online Lending House), platforms are failing at a rate of around five a day with 114 platforms shutting down between July 1 and July 24.

Xiaomi’s risky play with P2P lenders: another reason to be bearish (Kr-ASIA) Rated: A

But in the lead up to the company’s IPO earlier this month – which continues to be a rocky one – its founder LEI Jun went all in to deliver his bigger vision: Xiaomi isn’t a gadget maker, it’s an internet company. One that gathers data from a network of smartphones and other internet-enabled devices, and sells additional “online services” – things like utility apps and content, created by partners. In other words, a platform business built around the Xiaomi brand and gadgets ecosystem.

Well, large parts of China’s P2P sector were crumbling after a government crackdown. For some, it came too late – they had trusted sites with their savings in hopes of getting the promised returns.

Xiaomi had an explanation: It doesn’t have anything to do with those lenders. It only let them use its platform for advertising purposes.

European Union

Big Red Cloud becomes the latest SME to raise funds through Flender (Silicon Republic) Rated: AAA

Irish accountancy firm Big Red Cloud raises thousands in partnership with alternative-lending firm Flender.

Alternative-lending platform Flender has added another successful SME funding partnership to the pile, with Irish accountancy software company Big Red Cloud raising €31,500 in just 24 hours.

SMEs benefit from different lending models

O’Dwyer said it was encouraging to see the normalisation of alternative-lending models such as Flender as a credit option for SMEs and a novel opportunity for investors.

DGAP-News: Varengold Bank AG: Preliminary figures for first half of 2018 (Markets Insider) Rated: A

In the first half of 2018, the total assets increased significantly from EUR 445.2 million to nearly EUR 665.5 million. Customer deposits continue to be the dominant amount on the liabilities side with EUR 599.3 million and therefore 90%.

The company’s interest result increased due to the expanded lending volume from TEUR 2,047 in the first half of 2017 to TEUR 3,429 in the first half of 2018. The commission result remained almost constant at TEUR 8,108 in the first half of 2018 (30th June 2017: TEUR 5,818).

International

Fintech vendors keep reinventing themselves, and banks struggle to keep up (American Banker) Rated: AAA

There were 70 mergers and acquisitions among fintechs in the U.S., Canada and South America in the first quarter, and those deals were worth a combined $3.4 billion, according to a fintech investment report issued by KPMG on Tuesday.

The number of deals fell to 60 in the second quarter, but the total value rose to $5.8 billion. M&A activity in this field is expected to remain “very healthy [in] 2018 on the whole,” the report said.

The investment flow is also breeding new companies looking for bank clients. American fintechs, the report noted, attracted $14.2 billion in overall funding in the first half of 2018.

What that means for all banks is when it comes to tech, there’s plenty to ponder: more options for their front- and back-office operations; more retail and commercial service improvements to consider; more new vendors that will be seeking their business; and more fintech investment opportunities to pursue.

Source: American Banker

UK fintech scores the global top spot for investment in the first half of 2018 (City A.M.) Rated: A

China came in second place with $15.1bn, followed by the US with $14.2bn.

Four of Europe’s top 10 fintech deals happened in the UK, which included a $250m raise by Revolut, $100m by eToro, $60m by Flender and $54m by Moneyfarm. Data provided by KPMG’s pulse of fintech report has allayed fears that Brexit would hurt the UK’s startup scene, as venture capital firms have cemented the UK’s position as a funding hot spot.

Fintech investment across the world reached record levels over the last six months, taking in $57.9bn across 875 deals. This was an increase of 34.2 per cent compared to the whole of 2017, which recorded just $38.1bn overall.

Interval Funds: A New Approach To Alternative Investing (Seeking Alpha) Rated: A

The way I view it is that interval funds are a great blend of the traditional closed-end fund that Tortoise is used to managing, along with the traditional mutual fund that we also have managed in the past and still do. Compared to other registered fund structures, they’re obviously less liquid than a mutual fund and a traditional closed-end fund, but they’re great for more long-term investors that aren’t looking to need liquidity quite as often. From our fund’s perspective, you can subscribe daily. You only have the option to redeem at certain periods, and that’s typically between 5 and 25 percent on a quarterly basis. From a liquidity standpoint, obviously, this is nice for folks that aren’t qualified purchasers that aren’t getting exposure to traditional private funds in the limited partnership structure.

Crypto Lending Platform Launched By CoinLoan (Block Tribune) Rated: A

Estonia-based startup CoinLoan has officially launched its crypto-to-fiat lending platform that allow users to HODL crypto and borrow fiat money.

For borrowers, the platform allows them to create an application for receiving a loan in the amount that does not exceed 70 percent of the current market value of the crypto collateral. This limitation has been created for preserving the crypto assets of the borrower and reducing risk related to the high volatility of the crypto asset market.

The platform currently supports bitcoin, ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, ZCash, and Ripple. Users can borrow a loan in the following fiat currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, CNY, JPY, RUB, CHF, PLN and CZK.

A blockchain solution for global peer-to-peer lending (Global Banking and Finance Review) Rated: A

A blockchain solution for global peer-to-peer lending is on the horizon, adding an exciting layer to an already booming sector which is expected to reach the $1 trillion mark by 2025.

The problem is, some aren’t excited by blockchain’s arrival. Experiencing Déjà vu? It’s easy to be transported back to the 1990s when the Internet was dismissed as just a “wasteland of unfiltered data”.

FintruX Network welcomes Bob Rinaldi to its Board of Directors (Leap Rate) Rated: B

FintruX Network, the global P2P lending ecosystem, has just announced a new addition to its Board of Directors, Bob Rinaldi, a serial entrepreneur and business director. FintruX Network is an online ecosystem that facilitates the lending and borrowing of finances to small businesses in a peer-to-peer marketplace powered by blockchain and no-code development.

Australia/New Zealand

Fintech startup Tic:Toc raises $ 11.5 million to take hassle out of home loan approvals (Smart Company) Rated: AAA

Aussie fintech startup Tic:Toc has raised $11.5 million in Series B funding in its bid to improve the customer service around home-loan approvals.

The funding round was led by Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia and La Trobe Financial, and also included some existing shareholders.

Heartland Bank unveils restructure plans (Interest) Rated: A

Heartland Bank says it’s planning a corporate restructure that will remove business growth constraints stemming from Reserve Bank regulation, and see it list on the Australian sharemarket.

The proposal is for a restructure of the Heartland Bank Ltd group of companies via a court approved scheme of arrangement under Part 15 of the Companies Act. The purpose of the restructure is to more clearly define the separation between Heartland Bank Ltd’s New Zealand and Australian businesses, and to enable it to access the most efficient forms of equity and debt funding, according to an NZX filing.

India

How RBI Is Solving P2P Lending Issues And India’s Credit Woes (Inc42) Rated: AAA

Over the past couple of years, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India have undergone major transformations to keep up with the growing demand in the country’s credit market.

Subsequent to the ease in regulations, a number of new NBFCs were established to supply credit to consumers. However, access to financial services was only restricted to a small segment of consumers/ borrowers with existing credit histories and profiles.

On the other hand, the unbanked sections of the population, or those with limited exposure to institutional credit were not affected much with these developments, finding themselves in more or less the same situation as before.

Latin America

Uruguay: Peer To Peer Lending In Uruguay (Mondaq) Rated: AAA

As the peer to peer lending market is quite embryonic, processional expertise is recommended to make sure the transactions are compliant and in keeping with existing and developing regulations.

Any new lending schemes in this field must be registered with the Central Bank of Uruguay, and payments must be legitimate and in line with existing regulations for the Prevention of Money Laundering.

Asia

Indonesian P2P lender Investree raises Series B round led by SBI Holdings (Deal Street Asia) Rated: AAA

Indonesian P2P firm Investree has announced the closing of a Series B investment in a round led by SBI Holdings and joined by Mandiri Capital Indonesia, Persada Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, 9F Fintech Holdings Group and previous backer Kejora Ventures.

The financial details of the round were not disclosed.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday May 4 2018, Daily News Digest

Square Q1 2018 results

News Comments Today’s main news: Law firm files class action against Lending Club. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Marlette Funding Trust 2018-2. Funding Circle’s securitization priced at tighter spread than expected. Klarna intros new consumer app. Today’s main analysis: Square’s Q1 2018 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: More light shed on Lending Club’s hidden fees. Fintech funding at $127B. Financial inclusion […]

Square Q1 2018 results

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

New Securities Fraud Class Action Against Lending Club (LC) Has Been Filed (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

Block & Leviton LLP (www.blockesq.com), a securities litigation firm representing investors nationwide, announces that a new class action lawsuit has been filed against Lending Club Corp. (“Lending Club” or the “Company”) (NYSE: LC) and certain of its officers and directors alleging violations of the federal and securities laws. Class members interested in serving as lead plaintiff are reminded of the July 2, 2018 lead plaintiff deadline.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (No. 3:18-cv-02599), alleges that throughout the Class Period, defendants made false and/or misleading statements when they stated that Lending Club customers would receive a loan with “no hidden fees.” On April 25, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) filed a complaint alleging that Lending Club knowingly charged consumers hidden fees, contrary to their public disclosures.

The FTC Shines the Light on Hidden Fees and Hidden Disclosures: A Cautionary Tale for Advertisers (the National Law Review) Rated: AAA

Lending Club was fully aware that thousands of consumers applied for loans with no knowledge of the obscure origination fee. In fact, Lending Club received “[a]t least tens of thousands”12 of complaints directly from consumers about the hidden fees.  Indeed, Lending Club’s own training materials for customer service representatives listed “I didn’t receive the full loan amount” as one of the two most common complaints that representatives were trained to address.13 Consumers “frequently complained that they only discovered the fee after [Lending Club] disbursed their loan proceeds, when they noticed that the amounts disbursed were smaller than they were expecting.”14 Once consumers became aware of the fee, many elected to cancel their loans, often “preferring a loan from a competitor or no loan at all.”15

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Marlette Funding Trust 2018-2 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Marlette Funding Trust 2018-2 (MFT 2018-2). This is a $310.1 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Marlette Funding Trust 2018-2

Class Preliminary Rating Class Principal
A AA (sf) $216,125,000
B A (sf) $45,592,000
C BBB- (sf) $48,375,000

Square Announces First Quarter 2018 Results (SquareUp) Rated: AAA

Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) has posted its financial results for the first quarter of 2018 on the Financial Information section of its Investor Relations website at square.com/investors.

From the shareholder letter:

We continue to accelerate growth at scale, expanding our ecosystem for sellers and individuals. In the first quarter of 2018, total net revenue was $669 million, up 45% year over year, and Adjusted Revenue was $307 million, up 51% year over year. This is an increase from the fourth quarter of 2017, when total net revenue and Adjusted Revenue grew 36% and 47%, respectively, year over year. Gross Payment Volume (GPV) was $17.8 billion, up 31% year over year. Net loss in the first quarter was $24 million, which is an increase of $9 million from a net loss of $15 million in the first quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA was $36 million in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $27 million in the first quarter of 2017. We achieved an Adjusted EBITDA margin of 12%, which reflects our reinvestment in the business to drive long-term growth.

Source: SquareUp.com

Read the full shareholder letter here.

Goldman CEO pledges caution in consumer lending (Financial Times) Rated: A

Goldman’s Marcus has scaled extraordinarily fast having provided $2.4 billion in consumer loans; some analysts have expressed concerns on the credit quality of the loans Marcus has been making; Blankfein on Wednesday noted that a poor credit environment could bring new risks but he isn’t concerned with their timing into the market; the bank has a long-term view on their consumer focused business and believes they can manage it through the ups and downs.

Trusted Key Solutions Raises $ 3M in Seed Funding (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Trusted Key Solutions Inc., a Seattle, WA-based blockchain-based secure digital identity company, raised $3m as part of a seed funding round.

The round was led by Founders Co-Op, with participation from Pithia, Inc., the venture capital company of The RChain Cooperative.

 

Private Lenders Eye Graduate Loan Market (Inside Higher Ed) Rated: A

Private lenders hold just a fraction of the outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. — about 7.7 percent as of last year. But those companies have plans to grow their student loan holdings.

The PROSPER Act, House Republicans’ opening bid to update the Higher Education Act, would raise undergraduate lending limits and add new annual limits for graduate student borrowing. Those students would have their total annual borrowing capped at $28,500 annually. Currently, graduate students can borrow up to the cost of attendance.

Graduate loans also offer a higher loan volume for private lenders. As Quinlan noted to investors, grad students make up 16 percent of the borrower market but hold 40 percent of student loan debt. So the average borrower holds more debt, they’re older, and they’re better educated, too, making it more likely that they will pay off their loan.

Promise Financial No Longer Offers Personal Loans (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

The recent end of Promise Financial personal loans leaves brides- and grooms-to-be with one less borrowing option. The company, which focused solely on financing weddings through unsecured personal loans, stopped funding new loans in January 2017, reported Bloomberg.

Group aims to form first new bank in Mass. in decade (American Banker) Rated: A

A group in Springfield, Mass., has applied to form a new bank. The group hopes to raise $25 million to $30 million in initial capital. If it opens, Green Apple would become the first new bank in Massachusetts since 2008, according to the state’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

The application notes that Green Apple, which aims to open by the end of this year, would focus on small-business banking, commercial real estate lending, personal banking, renewable energy, local agriculture businesses and the food security sector.

Confessions of a former trader: Incentives at banks are misaligned (Tear Sheet) Rated: A

Banks like to call themselves technology companies. And most large ones are currently focused on fighting — and winning — the war for talent against Silicon Valley.

The problem is, they have issues when it comes to incentivizing their many tech employees to create great products.

Big tech firms have a plan…do you? (CU Insights) Rated: A

Credit unions aren’t paving the way.  Nor are they pioneering the ability to serve the underbanked.  Seriously.  Many are doing great things, that’s for sure, yet the fundamental change is originating from tech firms.  And they’re not doing it alone (more on that later).

4 Facts You Need to Know About Personal Loan APRs (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Although CreditCards.com lists the national average APR on a credit card at 16.38% as of January 2018, the rates on three-year unsecured loans are only 9.22% for credit unions and 10.09% for banks as of March 2018, according to the National Credit Union Association.

An online lender might provide an even lower personal loan APR, with FreedomPlus offering rates starting at 4.99% and SoFi at 5.37%.

Virginia sues, accusing major online lender of violating consumer protection laws (Daily Press) Rated: A

Virginia alleges one of the nation’s largest online lenders made more than $47 million of illegal, high-interest-rate loans that put Virginians on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in interest and fees.

The state is suing Net Credit, which sells personal loans for up to $10,000 and charges interest rates of as much as 155 percent, for violating the state’s consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit also alleges that Net Credit has lied to Virginians about the legality of its loan terms and that it has continued to automatically debit money from customers’ bank accounts after they’ve filed bankruptcy and won a court-ordered freeze on debt collections.

Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) And Benzinga Partner For The 2018 BZ Awards Gala in NYC (Benzinga) Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI) today announced that it will partner with Detroit-based financial media outlet Benzinga for the Benzinga Global Fintech Awards Gala (BZ Awards) in NYC on May 15, 2018.

United Kingdom

 

European Investment Fund and KfW back Funding Circle securitisation (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle’s latest securitisation has been priced at a tighter spread than its first with backers including the European Investment Fund (EIF) and German development bank KfW.

The £207m portfolio is issued by investment trust P2P Global Investments and has been priced at 75 basis points, compared with 220 basis points on the tranches issued in 2016.

NatWest outlines plans to grow digital lending offshoot Esme (Finextra) Rated: A

NatWest has outlined plans to scale and grow its digital lending platform Esme Loans following a successful pilot phase.

Esme Loans was developed by the bank at its innovation unit with fintech firm Ezbob as a direct response to the emergence of specialist direct and P2P lending platforms.

Overfunding: Real Estate Source Platform Infabode Secures £750,000 Funding Target on Seedrs (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Real estate source platform, Infabode, has successfully secured its initial £750,000 funding target on equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs from more than 150 investors. Founded in 2013, Infabode reported that it connects its community of users with industry information from the real estate sector on one customizable online platform. Infabode’s platform has more than 450 content providers and over 17,000 members.

Financial inclusion in the rich world (The Economist) Rated: AAA

The council identifies only 36% of the population as “white British”. Dalston Junction, a now-trendy part of the borough, buzzes with a down-at-heel sort of cosmopolitanism: a Caribbean bakery; the Halal Dixy Chicken shop; the Afro World wig-and-extensions parlour; dozens of outlets for Lycamobile (“call the world for less”) and for money-transfer firms.

Competing with this last group is a branch of Oakam, a British lender set up in 2006. It advertises itself as an “alternative to doorstep lenders”, the traditional financiers for those beneath the bar set by mainstream banks. Originally aimed at recent immigrants, it extended its reach to the rest of those “lacking access to basic financial services”—a group it puts at 12m across Britain. A report published in March 2017 by a House of Lords committee estimated that 1.7m adult British residents have no bank account; 40% of the working-age population have less than £100 ($140) in cash savings; and 31% show signs of financial distress.

Profits jump 86% at City broker Numis on M&A advice boom (Financial Times) Rated: A

Revenues jumped 41 per cent in the six months ending in March to £74.1m compared with £52.4m over the same period of the prior year. Pre-tax profits rose 86 per cent to £19.5m.

Corporate broking and advisory revenues were up 76 per cent year on year to £50.9m, boosted in part by a growth in fees from M&A advisory work, a growing sector for some City brokers. However this compared with a weak comparative period, and fell 10 per cent below a record performance in the second half of last year.

Majority of savers misunderstand benefits of IFISAs (Global Banking and Finance) Rated: A

61% of UK savers acknowledge possibility of higher returns and better interest rates with IFISAs, but majority still don’t understand the service 

Over a third (36%) of UK savers would place their money in an IFISA if they had the money available.

While a large proportion acknowledge the prospect of higher returns (61%) alongside the allure of the tax-free wrapper and greater diversification, the IFISA is still a hard sell, according to research undertaken by P2P lending service ArchOver. In truth, the majority of UK savers (57%) still don’t fully understand the service.

 

European Union

Klarna escalates its war on banks with a new consumer app – and upcoming payment card (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

  • The $2,5 billion e-invoicing company is today launching its first pure consumer app, which gives users an overview of their Klarna transactions in addition to a host of other features.
  • It’s essentially a remake of Klarna’s existing app and serves as a meeting place between merchants and their end customers.
  • The app is first rolled out across the Nordics and continental Europe, with UK and US launches planned for later this year.

Zopa’s Giles Andrews named Kreditech advisory board chairman (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

ZOPA co-founder Giles Andrews OBE has been named as chairman of German alternative consumer lender Kreditech’s advisory board.

The fintech firm provides loans and credit cards for the under-banked and those with poor or little credit history and operates in Mexico, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland and Russia.

International

Fintech funding hits $ 127bn (AltFiNews) Rated: AAA

More than $127bn has been invested in fintech companies globally since 2014, with funding topping $40bn last year, according to data gathered by Fintech Global.

Last year this number declined to just over 1800 but with an increased in the average deal size to $22.4m in 2017.

Source: AltFiNews; Fintech Global

 

RCN launches Ripio engine to bring blockchain and smart contracts to loans (Venture Beat) Rated: A

Ripio Credit Network (RCN) — a global credit network based on cosigned smart contracts — has released an entirely new version of its NanoLoanEngine, the driving mechanism behind its protocol. The upgrade, which is called Basalt, includes significant improvements that will offer lenders and borrowers more flexibility. The company also claims that the new engine lowers costs.

Basalt changes how interest is applied to the network’s loans and eliminates nearly all maintenance fees associated with those transactions.

 

HOLD Platform plans on surpassing SALT as a “Crypto as a Collateral for a Cash Advance” (Tech Newsletter) Rated: A

What HOLD (HOLD) allows you to do is simple, if you don’t want to sell your crypto or you want to “HODL” but at the same time you need cash, then HOLD is the platform for you. By creating an escrow that will lock up your funds as a collateral, HOLD will then send you a credit card of that amount in fiat, which means that you can have liquidity without selling your crypto assets.

How HOLD (HOLD) can have major advantages over SALT

What you might be thinking is that SALT already provides these types of services but the major advantage of HOLD platform is the almost instant credit card that will be issued for you to use in any store making adoption of crypto as payment a closer reality. This is a very important middle step towards businesses accepting crypto as payment.

Hellas Direct and Revolut Join Forces (Coverager) Rated: B

Athens-based digital-first insurer Hellas Direct  has teamed up with banking alternative Revolut  to build “microinsurance, by-the-day products.”

Also, according to the press release, “the partnership will allow Revolut and Hellas Direct to push their offering into new markets and enable them to leapfrog some of the traditional barriers of growth and expansion by using the core competencies of each partner.

Profile Software ports core banking platform to the cloud (Finextra) Rated: B

Profile Software, an international, award-winning banking solutions provider, announced today that FMS.next, its leading Core Digital Banking platform, is now available in the cloud.

 

Australia

Major Bank Loses 12 Million Customers’ Data in the Most Embarrassing Way Possible (Gizmodo) Rated: A

BuzzFeed reports that the Commonwealth Bank lost 12 million customers’ data after magnetic tape backups containing their personal financial history from 2004 to 2014 went missing. It just lost them. They may have literally fallen off a truck. And the bank didn’t even bother telling its customers about the incident.

While said losing-of-data was only publicly revealed this week, it took place back in 2016, when the Commonwealth Bank hired a subcontractor to destroy the backup tapes while decommissioning a data center. After it didn’t get a receipt of the tapes’ destruction, the bank investigated and discovered that the tapes were nowhere to be found.

Cryptocurrency for the rest of us (PHYS.ORG) Rated: B

Enter Bamboo, a West Australian startup whose mission is to make a cryptocurrency investment platform for the rest of us.

Bamboo brings together two new ideas. One complicated (cryptocurrency) and one a bit more simple (microinvesting). As platform Raiz (previously Acorns Australia) describes on their site, microinvesting works by transferring “spare change automatically from everyday purchases into a diversified portfolio”. For example, if you were to buy a coffee for $4.80, Raiz would round the sale up to $5.00 and then invest the $0.20 for you.

India

OYE! Loans Receives $ 2.25 Mn in Funding from UK’s GAIN Credit (Indian Web 2) Rated: AAA

Noida-based OYE Fintech, which operates a consumer-focused lending platform called OYE! Loans, has raised $2.25 million (about ₹15 crore) from GAIN Credit, Inc. OYE! Loans currently serves new-to-credit and new-to-workforce consumers with simple, timely and affordable One Year EMI loans (hence the brand OYE!), with ticket-sizes ranging between 10K and 1L INR.

The company leverages alternative data to assess risk on customers who have thin or non-existent footprints on the credit bureau. The loan application to disbursal process is largely online, enabling for quick turn-around times of less than 2 business days – an attribute that has strengthened its growing reputation as a lender-of-choice within its target markets.

Bigger Gains (Business Today) Rated: A

Interest rates on bank deposits are at a decade low, and those on small savings schemes are close to a 40-year low. This has forced people to look for alternatives, one of which is peer-to-peer, or P2P, lending.

 

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 27 2018, Daily News Digest

Canada investments

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage buys Orchard.Ascentium Capital issues $330M securitization.LendingTree reports record Q1 results.Funding Circle issues second MPL deal.Revolut raises $250M, achieves unicorn status.BBVA issues first blockchain loan from a global bank.IOU Financial releases 2017 results. Today’s main analysis: Canadian fintech funding declines 60 percent in Q1. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where the oldest […]

Canada investments

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United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Canada

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United States

It’s Official: Kabbage To Acquire Orchard (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

It was the worst kept secret in fintech. There were rumors flying around during LendIt Fintech earlier this month and then Bloomberg published this story a couple of weeks ago about the pending deal. Well, today it became official. In a press release this morning it was confirmed that Kabbage, the tech-focused small business lender, will acquire Orchard.

So, what will become of Matt Burton and his team? Some clues are provided in the press release:

Orchard’s CEO and co-founder, Matt Burton, as well as Chief Analytics Officer and co-founder, David Snitkof, will both join Kabbage in leadership roles upon the closing, helping oversee technology integrations and future innovations. In total, Kabbage will add more than twenty Orchard employees who are predominantly focused on advanced analytics, data science and engineering to its New York City office.

Kabbage plan in Orchard deal: Expand offerings to banks, small businesses (American Banker) Rated: A

Kathryn Petralia, president and co-founder of Kabbage, said the acquisition will help the company diversify its business and offer more data-driven services to small businesses and financial institutions. It currently works with ING, Santander and Scotia Bank. Kabbage’s U.S.-based loans are issued by Celtic Bank in Salt Lake City.

The Orchard name will not survive. “At closing we will be Kabbage,” Burton said.

Until now, Orchard has been providing loan and portfolio analysis to other online lenders. This business model will be discontinued and those relationships will most likely end. Orchard’s current clients are being told about its sale to Kabbage, Burton said.

Ascentium Capital Announces $ 330 Million Securitization (Ascentium) Rated: AAA

Ascentium Capital issued a $330 million small ticket equipment securitization of Ascentium Equipment Receivables 2018-1 Trust.

This represents the company’s ninth securitization since 2012 and the first time a non-investment grade, independent equipment finance company received triple AAA and Aaa ratings from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

LendingTree Reports Record 1Q 2018 Results (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com today announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.

First Quarter 2018 Business Highlights

  • Revenue from mortgage products of $73.5 million represents an increase of 17% over first quarter 2017 driven by strong growth in both purchase and refinance revenues at 13% and 18%, respectively.  According to Mortgage Bankers Association, originations industry-wide were projected down 4% in the comparable period.
  • Record revenue from non-mortgage products of $107.6 million in the first quarter represents an increase of 55% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Revenue from our credit card offerings continued its momentum, growing to $46.1 million in 1Q, up 36% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Personal loans revenue of $26.0 million grew 53% over first quarter 2017.
  • Home equity revenue continued to climb, growing 81% over first quarter 2017.
  • More than 8.0 million consumers have now signed up for free credit scores and savings alerts through My LendingTree.  Revenue contribution from MyLendingTree grew 76% in the first quarter compared to the prior year period as new features, such as Credit Analyzer and free credit monitoring, are driving increased engagement.

LendingTree Study Reveals Which Places Buy the Oldest Used Cars (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the places that buy the oldest used cars. LendingTree analyzed auto loan offers for borrowers in the top 50 U.S. metros (based on population) to find the average age of used cars financed in each metro, as well as which makes of used cars were most popular.

The national average age of a used car people sought to finance was six years old, but some parts of the country prefer older used cars more than others.

Source: Lending Tree

Mobile Banking One of Top Three Most Used Apps by Americans, 2018 Citi Mobile Banking Study Reveals (Citigroup) Rated: AAA

Apps for mobile banking have become some of the most widely used by Americans, according to Citi’s 2018 Mobile Banking Study, released today. The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that, measured by top two ranked responses, 31 percent of consumers use their mobile banking app the most, behind only apps for social media (55 percent) and the weather (33 percent).

“Over the past year we’ve witnessed this increase in engagement first-hand, with mobile usage in North America increasing by almost 25 percent, and we don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon.”

LendingClub was sued for the fees it charges — how you can avoid being overcharged (Market Watch) Rated: A

Pay attention to both the interest rate advertised, as well as the annual percentage rate (APR), Clements said. If they’re different, the lender is likely factoring additional fees into your annual percentage rate.

You may need to borrow more money than you expected if that’s the case, he said, because the total amount you would receive will be less than you asked for.

Research several lenders before choosing which one you want, he said. And if there are any unfamiliar terms, or any confusion about how much you’ll pay back monthly, ask.

Digital bank in a box: Fintech offers branding tool (American Banker) Rated: A

The core systems provider Nymbus is offering a new product for bank customers that want to get in on the burgeoning trend of having a stand-alone, digital brand.

Dubbed SmartLaunch, the offering enables financial institutions to create a digital brand under their existing charter in as little as 90 days, according to Nymbus. The product is built on Nymbus’ cloud-based SmartCore platform, and the company says it provides banks that use the service with all outsourced operational and technological requirements to run the digital bank. Also included are client support, digital marketing and website services.

Source: American Banker

RealtyMogul and Comunidad Realty Partners Close $ 30 Million in Texas Multifamily Properties (Citizen Tribune) Rated: A

RealtyMogul, a pioneer in providing private real estate to discerning investors, announced that MogulREIT II, its real estate investment trust or “REIT,” has completed investments in multifamily apartment complexes in Fort Worth, Texas and San Antonio, Texas, consisting of over 450 units.

The properties were acquired through a partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners, a dynamic real estate investment firm specializing in workforce housing communities in culturally diverse neighborhoods.

Scaling Real Estate Crowdfunding: PeerStreet Establishes a Culture of Excellence at the Top (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Loans on PeerStreet are sourced and curated from vetted private lenders throughout the United States. These lenders have real estate expertise and established borrower relationships. To date, PeerStreet has helped to finance over $900 million in loans by using this partnership approach. The properties they help finance are typically smaller in value – a segment of the industry that is usually overlooked by big institutional money. Loans range from 6 to 24 months and are first lien so investors have a good degree of security.  Most of the loans are below a loan to value of 75%. About a year ago, PeerStreet announced having funded $300 million in loans. In less than 12 months, PeerStreet has funded double that number.

PeerStreet is doing small loans commercial, some multi family and mixed used properties. The largest loan size is around $5 million but there can be exceptions. The rate of return for investors during 2017 stood, on average, at 8% net of fees. As for defaults, so far only five loans have gone into foreclosure but they have not experienced any loss of principle – a positive metric.

Citizens Bank Taps Finastra and Infosys for Trade Finance Solution (Citizens Bank) Rated: A

Citizens Bank, working with Infosys as its implementation partner, has selected Finastra to power the trade finance solution it offers to its corporate clients. This new capability will enable Citizens’ corporate clients to digitize traditionally paper-based trade processes, leading to increased efficiencies and reduced costs.

The new trade finance offering will allow the bank to meet increased client demand. Citizens picked Finastra’s Fusion Trade Innovation for its end-user experience, ability to support all trade products, capacity to integrate with downstream systems through open APIs and its high level of configurability.

Consumers in Columbus less likely to put fraud alerts on their credit reports (The Columbus Dispatch) Rated: A

However, a new study finds that consumers in the biggest Midwest cities, including Columbus, are much less likely to put alerts on their credit reports than those in other cities, such as Las Vegas, Houston, Miami and New York. The study by online lender Lending Tree was based on a random sample.

US banks to get more freedom to offer unsecured loans (Financial Times) Rated: B

Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency, said he believed standards should be relaxed to allow banks back into the small dollar loan market; loans would range from $500 to $5,000 and be paid back in 45 and 90 days; right now payday lenders dominate this space and typically take advantage of borrowers by charging high fees and rolling over the principal; allowing banks back into the market will help to bring more regulation and cut down on abuses.

Growth plans: Both big and small banks set to expand locally (Orlando Business Journal) Rated: B

David Stahl, senior vice president, SunTrust Bank: We acquired an online lender called LightStream two years ago, and that has been a huge opportunity for us. The days of people walking into a bank and applying for a loan are pretty much gone.

Free Research Reports on These Credit Services Stocks — MoneyGram, Navient, Oaktree Specialty Lending and On Deck Capital (PR Newswire) Rated: B

This morning, WallStEquities.com observes MoneyGram International Inc. (NASDAQ: MGI), Navient Corp. (NASDAQ: NAVI), Oaktree Specialty Lending Corp. (NASDAQ: OCSL), and On Deck Capital Inc. (NYSE: ONDK). Credit Services companies originate, acquire, and service loans to individuals and corporations. Their products include student loans, mortgages, lines of credit, private equity, and venture capital. All you have to do is sign up today for this free limited time offer by clicking www.wallstequities.com/registration

Covr Financial Technologies appoints Chris Growney to Board of Directors; Gregory Fleming and Robert Kerzner, join Covr’s Advisory Board (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, announced that Chris Growney, an advisor with venture capital and advisory firm Nyca Partners has joined Covr’s Board of Directors following Nyca’s role in Covr’s June, 2017 fundraising. Growney, a director, advisor and investor in a broad range of start-up and growth companies was most recently the founder of Clearwater Analytics, an investment analytics and accounting software company based in Boise, Idaho.

6th Avenue Capital Announces Promotion of Darren Schulman to President (deBanked) Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, LLC (“6th Avenue Capital”) announced today the promotion of Darren Schulman to President, effective immediately. In his new position, Schulman has oversight over originations, underwriting, operations, collections and strategic initiatives. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer, and will continue to report directly to Chief Executive Officer Christine Chang.

The company also announced today that Chang and Schulman have been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors.

Best Egg Teams with Junior Achievement of Delaware on Financial Education Initiatives (Business Wire) Rated: B

Best Egg, the consumer lending brand of Marlette Funding, LLC, is providing both classroom education and other inspiring financially-related activities for Junior Achievement of Delaware (JA of DE). This announcement coincides with National Financial Literacy Month, being celebrated throughout the month of April.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle brings second marketplace loan deal (Global Capital) Rated: AAA

Sole arranger and lead manager Deutsche Bank announced Thursday a £207m UK SME securitization from Funding Circle, Small Business Loan Origination Trust 2018-1, the second ABS offering from the online lender.

In addition to being just the second deal from Funding Circle, and the third European marketplace loan ABS overall, SBOLT 2018-1 marks the first time Kroll Bond Rating Agency has assigned a public rating for a European securitization deal.

KBRA Europe Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (Business Wire) Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited (KBRA) has assigned preliminary ratings to four classes of notes (“Rated Notes”) issued by Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (“SBOLT 2018-1”). This is a £206.6 million ABS transaction collateralised by unsecured loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”).

This transaction represents the second ABS securitisation collateralised by unsecured loans to SMEs originated through the online lending platform operated by Funding Circle Limited (“Funding Circle”), and the first European rated ABS securitisation for KBRA.

Source: Business Wire

Confirmation of that came on Thursday as Revolut became the first of Britain’s digital-only banks to achieve “unicorn” status – in other words, a privately held start-up company with a valuation of more than $1bn (£720m).

Revolut, which was only founded in July 2015, has been valued at $1.7bn (£1.22bn) in its latest funding round.

The bank, which started out as a currency exchange app but later moved into providing personal banking and cryptocurrency trading services, raised $250m (£180m) from backers including DST Global, an investment firm backed by the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, whose previous early-stage tech investments have included Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Spotify.

Ranger Direct Lending rejects investor call to wind up (City Wire) Rated: A

Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) has criticised shareholder Oaktree Capital Management for trying to force the struggling alternative income fund to wind up.

Oaktree, the second largest shareholder in the fund that invests in and through lending platforms, has made public its correspondence with Ranger, which it described as a ‘sub-scale platform’ with shares ‘too illiquid to attract large institutional investors, especially in light of its persistent trading discount to net asset value (NAV)’.

Goji passes £50m in assets (Goji) Rated: A

Goji has now got more than £50m of assets on its platform a little over a year after opening its doors to investors.  With over 5,000 customer accounts, our hard earned growth is testament to the work the whole industry has done in selling the asset class to the UK public.

After campaigning hard to change the tax laws to open up the ISA rules so that non-lending platforms could also offer an IFISA, Goji was the first firm to offer investors diversification across a number of platforms through a single Innovative Finance ISA.  Goji’s Diversified Lending Bonds target 5%, whilst it’s Renewables Lending Bond targets returns in excess of 8%.

A lending site where you can rent anything just scored millions in venture capital (Business Insider) Rated: A

Fat Lama, which announced $10 million in its Series A on Wednesday in a round led by Blossom Capital, says it will use its latest funding to further its reach within the US and to create a mobile-first offering (so far, the site’s mobile app is only available in the UK).

Fat Lama lets users borrow everything from drones to camera equipment to printers.

The site insures any item listed on its site for up to $30,000, and Englander said his company has plans to raise that amount to $50,000 in the near future.

 

 

Artificial intelligence backed to reduce P2P defaults (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) could provide peer-to-peer lenders with greater lending security and less chance of defaults, a technology consultancy claims.

Nick Parham, technical pre-sales consultant at NashTech, said there is much P2P platforms can learn about AI from traditional lenders.

“The traditional lending market offers us a powerful insight into the potential for AI in P2P lending,” he said.

TURNING TO YOUR PEERS (BQ Live) Rated: A

They created ArchOver, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform that allows firms that have been operating for more than two years to borrow money from lenders using its website. Companies borrow a minimum of £250,000, with interest rates starting at 7.7% a year.

Since it launched in the autumn of 2014, ArchOver has helped its lenders to inject more than £65m into British businesses, bringing in more than £2.5m in interest at an average return of 7.3%. In an age when bank savings accounts are paying less than 0.5%, it’s easy to see the attraction for investors who understand the risks as well as the rewards.

European Union

Klarna integrates with Magento for streamlined checkout (Payments Source) Rated: AAA

Commerce platform Magento is giving merchants the option to activate Klarna instant credit for online checkouts.

Sweden-based Klarna is built into the latest version of Magento Commerce, giving merchants a streamlined path to offer goods consumers may opt to pay for immediately, within 30 days, or longer via installments, Klarna said in a Thursday press release.

Taaleri increases its ownership in Fellow Finance by 7.3 per cent (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

Taaleri Plc has decided to exercise its option to acquire an additional 7.3% holding in Fellow Finance Oy, as outlined in the shareholders’ agreement signed in 2015. After the transaction Taaleri’s shareholding in Fellow Finance, which offers a crowdfunding platform for companies and for consumers, will increase to 45.7%. The transaction is scheduled to be realized in April-May.

International

BBVA and Indra deliver the world’s first blockchain-supported corporate loan (BBVA) Rated: AAA

BBVA has successfully completed the first global corporate loan transaction using blockchain technology from the negotiation of the deal to its signing, in line with their close collaboration to leverage cutting-edge technologies to streamline business processes.

The pilot enabled the closing of a €75 million loan using a solution developed by BBVA based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). This demonstrates how BBVA continues to incorporate innovative and disruptive technology into its customer solutions, including those products that up to now have seen limited digital innovation, as is the case with wholesale finance.

BANKS VS FINTECHS: THE WAR FOR TALENT (International Banker) Rated: A

Many of these start-ups, moreover, are equipped with enough cash to be able to compete with their banking counterparts on salaries. According to assessments by recruitment site Glassdoor, for example, a London-based software engineer at online lender Funding Circle will earn a base salary of £51,000 on average, which is equal to the salary paid at Goldman Sachs for a similar role. At UBS, that figure is £59,000, while at challenger Monzo Bank it is currently £64,000. Speaking recently to Bloomberg, co-founder and CEO of property lending platform LendInvest, Christian Faes, asserted that between 30 and 40 percent of the company’s hires are from major financial institutions, while banks also account for 100 percent of its small-risk and compliance team. Similar trends are also being reported by UK online lender MarketInvoice Ltd., where three-quarters of its 85 employees have come from either the financial-services or accountancy space.

Source: International Banker

Deserve Raises $ 50 Million in Debt Financing (Finovate) Rated: A

In rebranding his company from SelfScore to Deserve, CEO Kalpesh Kapadia explained “we believe that access is everything and everyone deserves a chance to build a positive credit history. So we are making our products available to all students, U.S., and international, and to all those who seek to build and/or maintain a good credit history.”

And now Deserve is $50 million closer to serving this broader population of potential customers. The Accel-backed fintech has just secured a $50 million debt facility from Keystone National Group to drive growth in account receivables and help “jumpstart” first-time credit owners’ financial journeys.

 

Fintech for the Financially Excluded? (Stanford Social Innovation Review) Rated: A

At Bamboo Capital Partners, we believe fintech can help low-income people reduce vulnerabilities, build assets, manage cash flow, and increase income, and we have invested as such: In the last couple of years, we have made four equity investments in fintech companies in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Tanzania, committing more than $16 million. Our investees are helping democratize access to finance through peer-to-peer lending platforms (KuboFinanciero), promoting access to insurance (ComparaOnline), enabling mobile payments and savings for low-income people through nano deposits (Movii), and providing a smart data platform for emerging market financial institutions (First Access).

APAC

Game-changing technologies at work in Asia Pacific’s real estate (JLL) Rated: AAA

Singapore-based mall operator Capitaland has a chatbot called Sparkle on its app that responds to shoppers’ queries and make reservations or hail a ride from its malls.  National Australia Bank is participating in a A$9 million investment round for real estate crowdfunding platform Brick X.

The rise of proptech, however, could be a cause for cybersecurity concerns, as highlighted in JLL’s report Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech.

Source: Jill Real Views

 

Coast Labor MP Calls For Ban On Loan Machines (TripleM Network) Rated: A

There are calls for the Berejiklian Government to outright ban payday loan machines cropping up on the Central Coast.

There’s a Cash N Go kiosk at Wyoming offering up to $1000 at a time with minimal checks, while the devices, which look like ATMs, have also been spotted in the Hunter and Illawarra.

Latin America

Brazil’s Central Bank authorizes peer-to-peer lending (Rueters) Rated: AAA

Brazil’s Central Bank on Thursday released rules for credit start-ups that include authorization for peer-to-peer lending, as a way to increase competition in loans in a country with notoriously high interest rates for consumers.

Credit fintechs will be allowed to operate with a minimum capital of 1 million reais ($288,000), according to the new regulation. Peer-to peer lending had not yet been formally authorized in the country. The practice involves lending between individuals through online services.

Canada

Funding for Canadian Fintech Companies Declines 60 Percent in Q1 (Investing News) Rated: AAA

Canadian fintech companies received $88 million in investment over the first quarter of 2018, representing a 60-percent decline, says a new report from PwC.

Total investment in Canada in the first quarter of 2018 was over $1 billion, which is a 52-percent increase over the last quarter. A total of 105 deals were signed as compared to 81 in the previous quarter, representing a 30-percent increase.

Source: PwC

Read the full report here.

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2017 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV:IOU) announced today its results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

  • Reached profitability during the year with positive adjusted net earnings of $0.1 millionin Q4.
  • Surpassed the half-billion loan origination mark with loan originations of $91.3 million(US) for the year.
  • Increased interest revenue of 8.1% to $14.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 vs 2016.
  • Reduced operating costs (excluding non-recurring costs) by 20.3% to $9.0 million for the year ended 2017.
  • Raised $3.5 million via a private placement.

BlackChain Solutions Signs LOI With DMG Blockchain Solutions to Bring P2P Lending to the Cryptocurrency Market (Investing News) Rated: B

Under the proposed license, BlackChain will retain exclusive rights for use of the technology for P2P Lending. DMG will be entitled to a royalty on commercial revenues generated by Blackchain using the technology. The parties intend to negotiate and finalize a definitive agreement by May 15th, 2018.

 

MENA

Global REIT’s crypto-powered real estate investment model will be first of it’s kind… (Global Cryptocurrency Press) Rated: AAA

Moving this structure onto the blockchain, and powering the investments with cryptocurrency now means the average cryptocurrency investor can easily access the real estate investment market. Global REIT will begin in their home of Dubai, a place where real estate is currently exploding, and acquire assets within the U.A.E, before branching out globally.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday April 25 2018, Daily News Digest

banking the nonbanks

News Comments Today’s main news: Wells Fargo still the largest bank to lend to nonbanks. Digit adds credit card payments to app. UK finance chief calls for regulatory crackdown on tech giants. Humaniq implements smart biometrics identification. Today’s main analysis: World Bank releases Global Findex Database. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit history, debt ratio are biggest constraints for would-be homeowners. Lending […]

banking the nonbanks

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United States

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United States

Wells Fargo Leaves a Potential Subprime Smudge on Its Way to Squeaky Clean (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Sloan provided some evidence for that argument last week when the bank paid a $1 billion fine to regulators to close an investigation into abusive practices in its auto lending and mortgage unit.

But a look at one of its lending businesses suggests that exposure to questionable practices isn’t so much an oversight as a business decision. Wells Fargo, according to reports over the past few years, is by far the largest lender among the big banks to payday loan companies and others that make high-interest loans to subprime borrowers, including some that regulators have accused of predatory practices.

Source: Bloomberg

Banks don’t have to report how much they lend to subprime lenders, which falls broadly into the category of nonbank lenders. Wells Fargo, at the end of last year, had by far lent the most to nonbank lenders, with $81 billion in outstanding loans. Citigroup was the bank with next largest exposure, with just $30 billion outstanding.

Source: Bloomberg

Credit History and Debt Ratio are Biggest Constraints for Would-Be Homeowners (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the cities with the highest rates of denied mortgage applications and why mortgage shoppers in those areas have been denied.

Since the financial crisis, mortgage lending standards have tightened as underwriting has become more stringent. There are numerous reasons why a lender could deny a loan, from poor credit score to prior bankruptcies, but other reasons can include a lender’s inability to verify a borrower’s employer.

Source: Lending Tree

LendingTree delved into data from more than 10 million mortgage applications using the most recent available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set to find out the main reasons would-be borrowers were rejected, and to see if location has any correlation for rejection.

Fintech firm Digit adds credit card debt payment to savings app (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Digit, maker of one of the first apps to help people save by automatically sweeping modest amounts of money from checking into savings, is turning its attention to credit card debt.

The app can now be set to automatically make an extra payment every month on a user’s credit card, the fintech announced Tuesday.

At the end of January, the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. consumers had $1.03 trillion in credit card debt.

Breaking Away From The Bi-Weekly Payroll Tradition (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Today, this payroll schedule means an estimated 70 percent of employees in the U.S. live paycheck-to-paycheck – and many struggle to make necessary purchases or payments in the days leading up to payday. It’s also linked to the rise in the payday loan industry, which has more U.S. storefronts today than McDonald’s, according to data from Pew. Lenders make a collective $7 billion in fees, according to analysts, and they stem from more than $46 billion worth of payday loans issued each year.

According to Steve Barha, CEO of Instant Financial, the rise of the payday loan industry and overdrafts certainly comes with its controversies, but it’s no mistake that the industry exists in the first place.

Unison Reports 1000% Growth Year over Year in Home Ownership Origination Volume (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Unison, a unique financing platform for home ownership investments, is reporting strong year-over-year growth. According to the company, following a solid 2017, the origination volume for the first quarter of 2018 has grown and increased 1000 percent over the comparable period last year. This is due in part to an expansion of the management team and the availability of their service in ten new states.

Unison says these new hires will help extend their company into more states. In April alone, Unison HomeOwner and HomeBuyer programs will be available in 10 additional states including Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Missouri and Delaware, bringing its total footprint to 22 states plus Washington D.C. Unison expects to broaden its reach over the course of 2018 to over 70 percent of U.S. single family residential housing units.

Mulvaney response to CFPB data security gaps baffles cyber experts (American Banker) Rated: A

Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney has repeatedly pointed to data security as a defect in the agency’s supervisory program, but security experts are scratching their heads over the bureau’s response to such problems.

Mulvaney has said hundreds of CFPB-related data breaches justified his announcement in December that the agency would halt collecting personally identifiable information from companies it supervises.

Elevate vs. LendUp Payday Loans: Everything You Need to Know (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Pros of a LendUp payday loan
Getting cash fast is the main reason you’d choose a company such as LendUp. But they have some other benefits, as well.

  • If you pay your installment loan on time, you could boost your credit score.
  • The lender has an incentive program called the LendUp Ladder. You’re awarded points as you take out LendUp loans and repay them on time. As you accumulate points, the lender will reward you by allowing you to borrow at progressively lower rates.

For the sake of a side-by-side comparison, we’ll focus on Rise. Here are some pros of a Rise loan.

  • You can apply for a seven-day payment extension if you can’t pay on time.
  • The company will provide you with free access to your TransUnion credit score.
  • If you borrow from the company more than once, your interests rates could decrease.
  • Rates are lower than those offered by payday loans.
Source: Student Loan Hero

Chase customers can now use their voices to unlock their accounts (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Chase card members’ voices will soon be their passwords when they call for help.

The bank is debuting a voice-authentication feature for credit card customers dialing the call center this spring to reduce the customer burden of having to remember multiple passwords and answer cumbersome security questions. The initial launch would only be for credit card customers, but the bank plans to expand the feature to all customers by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said.

 

Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen’s venture capital group is on a fintech tear (CNBC) Rated: B

On Tuesday, Point72 Ventures will announce it led a $3 million investment in a startup called Extend, which has built mobile technology business owners can use to share their corporate credit cards with employees and freelancers without handing over the actual cards.

Earlier this month, the venture capital arm was a co-lead in a $29.4 million round for a New Jersey startup, DriveWealth, that has developed a mobile site for investing in exchange traded funds and stocks, and it led an $18.5 million investment in Silicon Valley-based DeepScale, which is developing autonomous driving technology.

United Kingdom

UK finance chiefs call for regulatory crackdown on tech giants Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Two of the financial technology executives involved in the FT debate — Funding Circle chief executive Samir Desai and Rhydian Lewis, his opposite number at RateSetter — agreed that GDPR was a welcome protection for consumers.

UK Fintech Humaniq Implements Smart bioID System to Further Strengthen Outgoing Transaction Security (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based fintech Humaniq announced on Tuesday it has implemented additional bioID settings that will act as an extra safeguard be integrated into Humaniq app, which the company reports has already had more than 100,000 downloads in the Google Play store.

Humaniq also revealed that the total transaction volume has reached 400,000 HMQ in more than 250,000 transactions per month. The company noted with the introduction of an additional layer of biometric authentication, this means over 10,000 transactions will be totally secured from fraud, benefitting over 100,000 users of Humaniq App.

Regtech start-up ClauseMatch lands £3.6m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

ClauseMatch, a UK-based start-up in the regtech space, has raised £3.6 million ($5 million) in its Series A funding round.

ClauseMatch, specialises in smart document management. It is a graduate of Barclays’ accelerator programme, Techstars, and has Barclays and Intesa Sanpaolo on its customer list.

Could a credit card cap protect chronically broke Brits? (Guardian) Rated: B

A credit card cap is needed to protect “chronically broke” Britons struggling to make repayments on high interest loans, ministers have been told.

Labour’s Stella Creasy warned that credit card firms were pushing millions into debt in the same way payday lenders did before action was taken to prevent anyone having to pay back more than double what they borrowed.

The Walthamstow MP made the comments as she moved an amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill which would require the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take tougher action on credit card firms.

Ministers must extend cap on payday loans to other high credit that’s targeting poor, vulnerable Brits, MPs say (The Sun) Rated: B

MINISTERS should “learn the lessons” of the payday loan cap and extend it to cover other forms of high-cost credit such as credit cards and doorstep lending, MPs have demanded.

In a boost for The Sun’s campaign to stop millions of families falling prey to doorstep and legal high street loan sharks, MPs called on the Government to take tough action to stop the nation “drowning in debt” and protect “chronically broke” Brits.

China

Hong Kong Approves Dual-Class Shares, Paving Way for Tech Titans (Yahoo Finance) Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. approved the biggest change to its initial public offering rules in two decades, putting it in a position to battle New York for some of the world’s hottest companies.

Technology firms that have shares with different voting rights will now be allowed to go public in Hong Kong, overturning rules that barred the likes of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. from considering the former British colony. Businesses will be able to apply under the new regime starting April 30, HKEX said Tuesday.

 

European Union

Swedbank invests €3m in banking tech vendor Meniga (Fintech Future) Rated: AAA

Meniga, a white-label digital banking solutions provider, has received a €3 million equity investment from its customer, Swedbank.

The two firms partnered in 2017 to improve Swedbank’s digital customer experience through a personal finance activity feed and data aggregation platform. The new solution is intended to “give customers better control over their daily finances and a more personal, engaging experience than today”, according to Meniga.

The bank’s view of Open Banking (The Finanser), Rated: A

Another conversation about Open Banking, and an interesting point was raised by one bank. They said that they had been mapping financial moments – getting married, buying a house, having a baby, crashing your car, etc – and had started to reimagine the whole customer experience in those moments using APIs.

For example, I bring up my banking app 3-4 times a day. The bank probably thinks it’s love them as I bring up their app so often. Well I don’t love them at all. I’m just going into the app so regularly because, as a small business, I want to see if my customers have paid yet.

International

World Bank Releases the Latest Global Findex Database (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

The Global Findex Database and accompanying report give a clear indication of how fintech is impacting access to financial services globally.

Source: World Bank

Globally, about 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked—without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. Because account ownership is nearly universal in high-income economies, virtually all these unbanked adults live in the developing world. Indeed, nearly half live in just seven developing economies: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Fifty-six percent of all unbanked adults are women. Women are overrepresented among the unbanked in economies where only a small share of adults are unbanked, such as China and India, as well as in those where half or more are, such as Bangladesh and Colombia.

Read the full report here.

US fintech funding boomed at the start of 2018 — but early-stage funding is drying up in Europe (Business Insider) Rated: A

VC-backed fintech companies raised $5.4 billion across 323 deals globally in the first quarter, according to CB Insight’s latest fintech report, released on Monday.

The figures were supported by a big uptick in deal-making activity in the US. US fintechs raised $2.1 billion across 147 deals. Notable investments include a $165 million funding round for insurance startup Oscar in March and a $110 million capital injection for San Francisco’s Collective Health in February.

Source: CB Insights

While deal activity spiked in the US and Asia, it fell to a 5-quarter low in Europe with just 63 first quarter deals.

The slump was largely down to a decline in early-stage funding deals and came despite several $100 million-plus funding rounds for European challenger banks N26 and Atom. European fintechs raised $933 million in the first quarter.

 

Will Beijing Manage to Survive the US-Chinese Trade War? (Sputnik International) Rated: A

Beijing has kicked off a number of measures aimed at bolstering its economic growth, Chinese researcher Liu Dan told Sputnik. According to Liu, the country’s internal difficulties have not been triggered by the US tariff war unleashed by the Trump administration on China.

One should not overestimate the impact of Sino-American trade frictions on China’s economy, says Liu Dan, a researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies (RDCY) of Renmin University of China.

Australia

Lending continues to rise Down Under for RateSetter Australia (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER lending platform RateSetter continues to pass lending milestones in Australia as its loanbook reached A$250m (£136.5m).

The firm, which is the only Australian P2P lender open to retail investors, also announced that it now has more than 10,000 registered users on its site.

RateSetter has doubled its investor base in the country within a year, which it says is due to customer dissatisfaction with Australian banks.

P2P lender’s growth due to consumer ‘rebellion’ (Australian Broker) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has attributed its recent rapid growth to consumers actively rebelling against the big banks.

The amount invested by these investors has increased by 14% over the last 12 months, with average investment now sitting at close to $40,000.

Asia

House hunting? Soon you can crowdsource your downpayment via blockchain and smart contracts (E27) Rated: AAA

For millennials, this presents a major barrier to homeownership. While 70% of Chinese millennials have already managed to purchase their first real estate, only 35% of their Malaysian peers have followed suit according to HSBC data. For 64% of millennials around the world a combination of low income and soaring property prices make the prospects of owning a house rather gloomy. A lot of them also do not qualify for traditional loans and do not have the family support for making that downpayment.

Add to this new concept the technology of blockchain, and you have a method by which borrowers can access an alternative down payment funding source, and an immutable record of each borrower-lender agreement is permanently recorded. This serves four purposes:

  1. Blockchain eliminates the traditional borrowing method, with its middlemen and fees. The repayment details are worked out between the borrower and the individual lender.
  2. Blockchain democratises borrowing, because credit scores, history, etc., are not factors in obtaining the loans. If a borrower can show basic ability to repay, an individual lender will be willing to put up the money at an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.
  3. The borrower-lender arrangement is codified and recorded in a blockchain that is secure and permanent. Both borrower and lender have the security of knowing that their agreement cannot be changed except by mutual agreement.
  4. Re-payments are also recorded in the blockchain environment, so there is never a question about the amount or the ultimate meeting of a borrowing obligation to any individual lender.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday January 30 2018, Daily News Digest

France crowdfunding

News Comments Today’s main news: WeWork, SoFi partner on student debt. Marlette Funding closes largest securitization in company history. Kabbage targets larger businesses with expanded credit lines. LendInvest adds 200 brokers to buy-to-let panel. Signicat builds out identity assurance as a service with $2M fundraise. Today’s main analysis: France’s alternative finance sector grows by 50% while equity crowdfunding shrinks. […]

France crowdfunding

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

WeWork Joins Forces With SoFi to Help Employees & Members to Tackle Student Debit (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lending platform SoFi announced on Monday that it has joined forces with WeWork to help WeWork’s more than 3,000 employees and over 175,000 members take on their student loan debt. The lender revealed that this is its first SoFi At Work partnership to extend beyond a company’s employees to include customer base.

How Twitter’s Noto Found Room at SoFi (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

Twitter’s (TWTR) outgoing COO (chief operating officer), Anthony Noto, quietly worked out his exit from the company. When the Wall Street Journal broke the story that he was considering taking up the job of CEO (chief executive officer) at SoFi, both Twitter and SoFi were tight-lipped at the time.

But only a few days later, Twitter confirmed that Noto was departing, and SoFi confirmedthat Noto was joining its team. Who made room for Noto at SoFi, and what might follow after he leaves Twitter?

Given SoFi’s ambitions and the ambitions of Square (SQ), the company run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Noto and Dorsey appear to be on a competition course. SoFi and Square both have ambitions of becoming full-service banks. And Noto, a former Goldman Sachs (GS) banker, has made it clear that this is a course he would like to pursue once he joins SoFi.

Square, which supplied $303 million in loans to customers in 3Q17 and has supplied over $1.8 billion in loans overall, already faces competitive pressures from Amazon.com (AMZN) and PayPal (PYPL) in the alternative lending market.

Source: Market Realist

Marlette Funding Closes Largest Securitization Transaction in Company History (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Marlette Funding, LLC, the parent company of Best Egg, announced today it closed its fifth proprietary “MFT” securitization. Approximately $495 million of Best Egg loans were financed via $464.3 million of MFT 2018-1 Notes with four classes and one class of Certificates, with certain loan sellers retaining risk on a portion of the Notes and/or Certificates.

This is the first securitization of 2018 bringing the total program issuance to date to $1.7B, with capital provided by a broad set of investors. The transaction was significantly oversubscribed, upsized and successfully priced, reflecting Marlette’s differentiated product offering and superior credit performance. Underwriting the transaction were Goldman Sachs, who served as the structuring agent, Citi, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley. The Class A, B, C and D fixed-rate Notes were rated AA (sf), A (sf), BBB (sf) and BB (sf), respectively, by Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA).

Year over year, Best Egg has demonstrated impressive scalability – 66% year-over-year growth in originations with only 9% growth in year-over-year fixed operating expenses and 29% reduction in marketing cost per loan.

Why banks should rethink their fee models (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

If free checking accounts aren’t already a thing of the past, perhaps they should be, now that consumers are demonstrating that if something is valuable to them, they’ll pay for it.

About 77 percent of people have a “free checking account” at their bank, according to a studyfrom Cornerstone Advisors’ Ron Shevlin published last week. But nearly every free checking account holder paid at least one fee in the 12 months leading up to the survey. Out of 1,555 surveyed, 26 percent paid a third-party bank ATM fee and 25 percent paid an overdraft fee. They also paid fees to replace lost or misplaced ATM and debit cards, rush fees for those replacements, non-sufficient funds fees, wire transfer fees, international transaction fees, fees for overdraft protection and “extended overdrawn balances,” for stop payments and for statement copies, check copies and check image services.

But banks have been reporting flat fee income for the past six quarters. Service charges on deposit accounts have hardly moved in several years and banks are changing their overdraft programs to improve customer relationships, which eats into that fee income.

Bank of America has one of the most competitive mobile and digital banking offerings and no longer needs to give people an incentive to bank digitally instead of at branches (those were the terms of the account; those who wanted branch banking and paper statements paid an $8.95 monthly fee that was waived for customers who agreed to do all their banking digitally).

Almost 60 percent of people indicated they would consider switching accounts if their primary financial institution offered a hypothetical Amazon-like bundled checking account — which would include basic checking account services plus cell phone damage protection, ID theft protection, roadside assistance, travel insurance and product discounts — for a $5 to $10 monthly fee, Shevlin found.

Kabbage expands credit line, targeting larger businesses (AltFi), Rated: AAA

After previously securing a $200m asset-backed revolving credit facility from Credit Suisse in 2017, Kabbage has announced it will be offering lines of credit of up to $250k in an effort to attract larger businesses.

The expanded product will provide large businesses with greater purchasing power for longer-term investments, and is the largest credit line available from any online lender yet.

A recent survey of 800 small businesses conducted by the platform showed that more than 73 per cent of businesses expect to increase their revenue by more than 20 per cent in 2018.

The Tao of Rob Frohwein (LinkedIn), Rated: A

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rob Frohwein, the CEO and co-founder of Kabbage, for the 11:FS Connection Interrupted podcast.

“Getting easy access to your data allows you to see your data and know if someone has compromised it.”

“One of our goals is to make it more advantageous to be a small business than a large business.”

Or listen here.

Elevate Appoints Former PayPal, loanDepot Executive Brian Biglin as Chief Credit Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the appointment of Brian Biglin as Chief Credit Officer, effective immediately. Elevate also said it has granted inducement stock awards as part of Mr. Biglin’s employment.

He served as Chief Credit Officer at Bill Me Later when it was acquired in 2008 by PayPal, and he continued until 2014 as Chief Credit Officer at PayPal, where he helped grow the portfolio from $400 million to $6 billion and managed credit through the Great Recession. Mr. Biglin subsequently was Chief Risk Officer at loanDepot.com and at Intuit. At loanDepot he built a new consumer lending platform and helped create the first personal loan securitizations for the company; at Intuit he reduced fraud losses, improved customer experience, overhauled operations and increased efficiencies.

California judge issues stunning rebuke to CFPB (RESPA News), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) first enforcement action against an online lender has ended with a judicial rebuke nearly as stunning as its case against the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

Although a California district court ruled in favor of the CFPB in the case, it declined to confirm the CFPB’s request for restitution from the lender defendants, instead cutting the penalty award to a Tier One violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act.

Should you crowdsource to buy a home? (Bankrate), Rated: B

Only a small handful of companies currently offer mortgages through this method. One of most well-established, SoFi, offers mortgages in 29 states and the District of Columbia through its peer-to-peer lending platform, which is a type of crowdsourcing where individual investors contribute through a lending platform, and in return earn interest on their investment, paid for by the borrower.

Feather the Nest offers a crowdfunding registry, where friends and family can donate toward your real estate goals. Every donation to your registry is charged a percentage of the amount given as a transaction fee.

Best Investment Funds Options For 2018 (FX Daily Report), Rated: B

#8: Peer to Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending platforms such as the Lending Club allow you to loan small amounts of money to individuals and earn a decent return of 6 percent or more. As a peer-to-peer lending investor, you are helping other people reach their goals. The good thing about this is that you are not giving large amounts of money to people who you do not know at all. According to experts, the benefits of investing in peer-to-peer lending platforms include the following:

• Easy to sign up and started
• Five to Seven percent returns
• Starting investment can be as small as $1,000

House Financial Services Committee to hold Jan. 30 hearing on fintech marketplace (The National Law Review), Rated: B

On January 30, 2018 at 10 a.m., the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing, “Examining Opportunities and Challenges in the Financial Technology (“Fintech”) Marketplace.”

The Committee Memorandum states that the hearing “will examine the current regulatory landscape [for fintech], the need to amend or modernize the regulatory landscape or the necessity to amend existing financial laws or develop new legislative proposals that would allow financial services entities to use fintech to deliver new products and services to consumers.”

United Kingdom

Over 200 brokers join LendInvest BTL panel (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

LendInvest has formed a national panel made up of over 200 brokers, packagers and other introducers, following the launch of its buy-to-let product.

The lender launched the BTL product – which is only available via intermediaries – in late November.

LendInvest believes that assembling a panel of this size in just 10 weeks demonstrates the appetite brokers have to get behind the product.

Ranger Direct Lending Expects Princeton Arbitration Decision Soon (London South East), Rated: B

Ranger Direct Lending Fund PLC said on Monday it expects arbitration against Princeton Master Fund to conclude by mid-April.

European Union

Signicat Raises $ 2 Million to Build Out its Identity Assurance as a Service Technology (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Identity Assurance as a Service (IDAaaS) innovator Signicat has won phase two funding from Horizon 2020, the EU framework program for research and innovation. The $2 million grant (€1.6 million) will enable Signicat to continue development of its IDAaaS toolbox for use in Europe, and takes the company’s total funding to $3.9 million.

France’s Alternative Finance Grows by 50% – Equity Crowdfunding Shrinks (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The annual Alternative Finance & Crowdfunding Barometer compiled by KPMG for the French Crowdfunding Association (Financement Participatif France, FPF) shows that in 2017 the French Alternative Finance market grew by 50%, driven by SME lending growth, and came close to the billion euro mark, at €940 million. Crowdfunding, as a subcategory of alternative finance open to retail investors, grew slightly slower at 44%, and equity crowdfunding shrank.

  • Institutional SME lending grew by 157% to €215 million,
  • SME crowdlending and crowdinvesting in SME debt grew by 102% to €195 million.

The market is heavily concentrated, with the top 5 platforms, Lendix, Credit.fr, Lendosphère, Unilend and Lendopolis accounting for more than 80% of the loans originated. Credit.fr, which was recently acquired by investment firm Tikehau Capital is growing fastest. Funded for more than 80% by non-retail money, Lendix captures more than half of the market. Most recently, the platform raised €120 million of a new €200 million investment fund designed to finance SME loans from 2018 on.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Consumer Lending Decelerates

Alternative consumer lending grew only by 17%, from €197 million to €231 million, three times more slowly than in the previous year. The market is dominated by Younited Credit which originated €227 million worth of consumer loans in France, Italy and Spain in 2017. Younited’s growth remained high in terms of number of loans (nearly +50%) but the growth in euros was slower because the company introduced smaller €1,000 to €3,000 loans and stopped promotional campaigns that were waving fees on large loans.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Equity Crowdfunding Shrinks

French equity crowdfunding raised a mere €58 million, 15% less than in the past year. 

Read the full report here.

3 things that could drive fintech investment in Europe through the roof (again) (PitchBook), Rated: A

Last year, venture investment in European fintech companies more than doubled YoY to €2.8 billion, even though the deal count remained almost flat, per the PitchBook Platform.

The jump in money invested was boosted by some monster deals, including rounds of well over $200 million each into foreign exchange unicorn TransferWise and student loans startup Prodigy Finance.

Pan-European Marketplace Investly Now Seeking £500,000 on Seedrs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Investly, an Estonian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, is now seeking £500,000 through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs.

International

CB Insights is working with The New York Times to identify the best VC professionals. (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

We’re exploring additional rankings for other types of investors:

  • Top Corporate VCs
  • Top Seed-Stage VCs Brand
  • Top VCs by Region (Asia & Europe)

Ranking Algorithm Factors:

  • Performance Persistence
  • Network Centrality
  • Brand
  • Investment Discipline
  • Illiquid Portfolio Strength

The Top 20 Venture Capitalists Worldwide (The New York Times)

FinTech, RegTech and SupTech (Finextra), Rated: A

Two–thirds of consumers between the ages of 18 and 29 have a mobile phone and use mobile banking.

FinTech improves the lending process by reducing the cost of underwriting through automation of the credit application process. That process includes the review of the credit application, credit score monitoring, and the collection of financial documents.

Credit standards and trading limits are monitored more efficiently as Fintech applications can be created that employ customized credit standards per the bank’s risk-management policies

Just as FinTech helps institutions manage their internal credit and trading standards, RegTech enhances their ability to adhere to the government’s regulatory rules set out by various agencies and The Federal Reserve Bank.

Fewer fines and litigation costs are possible with RegTech applications.

Adapting to new regulations faster can be achieved with RegTech as financial institutions can monitor changes in regulations in real-time.

Regulatory reporting times improve with RegTech.

Australia

IFM Investors ups stake in digital provider Decimal (Private Banker International), Rated: A

IFM Investors, an Australian fund manager, has increased its stake in local digital advice provider Decimal to 15%.

IFM acquired the additional stake through the placement of 28,900,000 ordinary shares at $0.03 per share.

India

Why P2P should be empowered to fill the void in SME financing (ET Rise), Rated: AAA

The Economic Survey 2017-18 tabled in the Parliament on Monday delivered an unsurprising, but troubling figure. The amount of credit or loans disbursed by banks amounted to Rs 26,041 billion as on November 2017, but 82.6% of this was pocketed by large enterprises. For millions of SMEs in the country, banks only lent out 17.4 % of the total credit.

RBI data show that NBFCs have increased their lending to the SME sector by giving out about Rs 680 crore to the micro, small and medium enterprises compared to Rs. 480 crore in 2016. These figures do not include the loans extended to SMEs by the P2P industry, which has been recently classified as an NBFC.

In 2015-16 more than 10,000 businesses across UK benefitted and an estimated 30,000 new jobs were created due to UK government’s favorable policies for the P2P lending sector.

India’s flourishing fintech sector is craving the finance minister’s attention (Quartz), Rated: A

While the Narendra Modi government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have already laid down regulations for certain segments, such as peer-to-peer lending, others like cryptocurrencies and online lending startups are yet to be regulated. Such regulation may mean stricter compliance, but the management at these firms believe it will lend legitimacy to the industry, which is expected to be worth $2.4 billion by 2020. That, in turn, will help them grow faster.

Asia

Indonesia’s fintech lending boom exploits shortfall in bank loans (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Wimboh Santoso, head of Indonesia’s financial regulator (OJK), said while the trend was still a drop in the ocean of overall lending, more than 250,000 people had taken out loans through fintech. Around 30 P2P firms had extended 2.6 trillion rupiah ($193.8 million) in lending as of January 2018, compared with just 247 billion rupiah of lending in December 2016. Another 36 more firms were waiting to be approved, he added.

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday January 30 2018, Daily News Digest

France crowdfunding

News Comments Today’s main news: WeWork, SoFi partner on student debt. Marlette Funding closes largest securitization in company history. Kabbage targets larger businesses with expanded credit lines. LendInvest adds 200 brokers to buy-to-let panel. Signicat builds out identity assurance as a service with $2M fundraise. Today’s main analysis: France’s alternative finance sector grows by 50% while equity crowdfunding shrinks. […]

France crowdfunding

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

WeWork Joins Forces With SoFi to Help Employees & Members to Tackle Student Debit (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lending platform SoFi announced on Monday that it has joined forces with WeWork to help WeWork’s more than 3,000 employees and over 175,000 members take on their student loan debt. The lender revealed that this is its first SoFi At Work partnership to extend beyond a company’s employees to include customer base.

How Twitter’s Noto Found Room at SoFi (Market Realist), Rated: AAA

Twitter’s (TWTR) outgoing COO (chief operating officer), Anthony Noto, quietly worked out his exit from the company. When the Wall Street Journal broke the story that he was considering taking up the job of CEO (chief executive officer) at SoFi, both Twitter and SoFi were tight-lipped at the time.

But only a few days later, Twitter confirmed that Noto was departing, and SoFi confirmedthat Noto was joining its team. Who made room for Noto at SoFi, and what might follow after he leaves Twitter?

Given SoFi’s ambitions and the ambitions of Square (SQ), the company run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Noto and Dorsey appear to be on a competition course. SoFi and Square both have ambitions of becoming full-service banks. And Noto, a former Goldman Sachs (GS) banker, has made it clear that this is a course he would like to pursue once he joins SoFi.

Square, which supplied $303 million in loans to customers in 3Q17 and has supplied over $1.8 billion in loans overall, already faces competitive pressures from Amazon.com (AMZN) and PayPal (PYPL) in the alternative lending market.

Source: Market Realist

Marlette Funding Closes Largest Securitization Transaction in Company History (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Marlette Funding, LLC, the parent company of Best Egg, announced today it closed its fifth proprietary “MFT” securitization. Approximately $495 million of Best Egg loans were financed via $464.3 million of MFT 2018-1 Notes with four classes and one class of Certificates, with certain loan sellers retaining risk on a portion of the Notes and/or Certificates.

This is the first securitization of 2018 bringing the total program issuance to date to $1.7B, with capital provided by a broad set of investors. The transaction was significantly oversubscribed, upsized and successfully priced, reflecting Marlette’s differentiated product offering and superior credit performance. Underwriting the transaction were Goldman Sachs, who served as the structuring agent, Citi, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley. The Class A, B, C and D fixed-rate Notes were rated AA (sf), A (sf), BBB (sf) and BB (sf), respectively, by Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA).

Year over year, Best Egg has demonstrated impressive scalability – 66% year-over-year growth in originations with only 9% growth in year-over-year fixed operating expenses and 29% reduction in marketing cost per loan.

Why banks should rethink their fee models (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

If free checking accounts aren’t already a thing of the past, perhaps they should be, now that consumers are demonstrating that if something is valuable to them, they’ll pay for it.

About 77 percent of people have a “free checking account” at their bank, according to a studyfrom Cornerstone Advisors’ Ron Shevlin published last week. But nearly every free checking account holder paid at least one fee in the 12 months leading up to the survey. Out of 1,555 surveyed, 26 percent paid a third-party bank ATM fee and 25 percent paid an overdraft fee. They also paid fees to replace lost or misplaced ATM and debit cards, rush fees for those replacements, non-sufficient funds fees, wire transfer fees, international transaction fees, fees for overdraft protection and “extended overdrawn balances,” for stop payments and for statement copies, check copies and check image services.

But banks have been reporting flat fee income for the past six quarters. Service charges on deposit accounts have hardly moved in several years and banks are changing their overdraft programs to improve customer relationships, which eats into that fee income.

Bank of America has one of the most competitive mobile and digital banking offerings and no longer needs to give people an incentive to bank digitally instead of at branches (those were the terms of the account; those who wanted branch banking and paper statements paid an $8.95 monthly fee that was waived for customers who agreed to do all their banking digitally).

Almost 60 percent of people indicated they would consider switching accounts if their primary financial institution offered a hypothetical Amazon-like bundled checking account — which would include basic checking account services plus cell phone damage protection, ID theft protection, roadside assistance, travel insurance and product discounts — for a $5 to $10 monthly fee, Shevlin found.

Kabbage expands credit line, targeting larger businesses (AltFi), Rated: AAA

After previously securing a $200m asset-backed revolving credit facility from Credit Suisse in 2017, Kabbage has announced it will be offering lines of credit of up to $250k in an effort to attract larger businesses.

The expanded product will provide large businesses with greater purchasing power for longer-term investments, and is the largest credit line available from any online lender yet.

A recent survey of 800 small businesses conducted by the platform showed that more than 73 per cent of businesses expect to increase their revenue by more than 20 per cent in 2018.

The Tao of Rob Frohwein (LinkedIn), Rated: A

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rob Frohwein, the CEO and co-founder of Kabbage, for the 11:FS Connection Interrupted podcast.

“Getting easy access to your data allows you to see your data and know if someone has compromised it.”

“One of our goals is to make it more advantageous to be a small business than a large business.”

Or listen here.

Elevate Appoints Former PayPal, loanDepot Executive Brian Biglin as Chief Credit Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the appointment of Brian Biglin as Chief Credit Officer, effective immediately. Elevate also said it has granted inducement stock awards as part of Mr. Biglin’s employment.

He served as Chief Credit Officer at Bill Me Later when it was acquired in 2008 by PayPal, and he continued until 2014 as Chief Credit Officer at PayPal, where he helped grow the portfolio from $400 million to $6 billion and managed credit through the Great Recession. Mr. Biglin subsequently was Chief Risk Officer at loanDepot.com and at Intuit. At loanDepot he built a new consumer lending platform and helped create the first personal loan securitizations for the company; at Intuit he reduced fraud losses, improved customer experience, overhauled operations and increased efficiencies.

California judge issues stunning rebuke to CFPB (RESPA News), Rated: A

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) first enforcement action against an online lender has ended with a judicial rebuke nearly as stunning as its case against the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

Although a California district court ruled in favor of the CFPB in the case, it declined to confirm the CFPB’s request for restitution from the lender defendants, instead cutting the penalty award to a Tier One violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act.

Should you crowdsource to buy a home? (Bankrate), Rated: B

Only a small handful of companies currently offer mortgages through this method. One of most well-established, SoFi, offers mortgages in 29 states and the District of Columbia through its peer-to-peer lending platform, which is a type of crowdsourcing where individual investors contribute through a lending platform, and in return earn interest on their investment, paid for by the borrower.

Feather the Nest offers a crowdfunding registry, where friends and family can donate toward your real estate goals. Every donation to your registry is charged a percentage of the amount given as a transaction fee.

Best Investment Funds Options For 2018 (FX Daily Report), Rated: B

#8: Peer to Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending platforms such as the Lending Club allow you to loan small amounts of money to individuals and earn a decent return of 6 percent or more. As a peer-to-peer lending investor, you are helping other people reach their goals. The good thing about this is that you are not giving large amounts of money to people who you do not know at all. According to experts, the benefits of investing in peer-to-peer lending platforms include the following:

• Easy to sign up and started
• Five to Seven percent returns
• Starting investment can be as small as $1,000

House Financial Services Committee to hold Jan. 30 hearing on fintech marketplace (The National Law Review), Rated: B

On January 30, 2018 at 10 a.m., the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing, “Examining Opportunities and Challenges in the Financial Technology (“Fintech”) Marketplace.”

The Committee Memorandum states that the hearing “will examine the current regulatory landscape [for fintech], the need to amend or modernize the regulatory landscape or the necessity to amend existing financial laws or develop new legislative proposals that would allow financial services entities to use fintech to deliver new products and services to consumers.”

United Kingdom

Over 200 brokers join LendInvest BTL panel (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

LendInvest has formed a national panel made up of over 200 brokers, packagers and other introducers, following the launch of its buy-to-let product.

The lender launched the BTL product – which is only available via intermediaries – in late November.

LendInvest believes that assembling a panel of this size in just 10 weeks demonstrates the appetite brokers have to get behind the product.

Ranger Direct Lending Expects Princeton Arbitration Decision Soon (London South East), Rated: B

Ranger Direct Lending Fund PLC said on Monday it expects arbitration against Princeton Master Fund to conclude by mid-April.

European Union

Signicat Raises $ 2 Million to Build Out its Identity Assurance as a Service Technology (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Identity Assurance as a Service (IDAaaS) innovator Signicat has won phase two funding from Horizon 2020, the EU framework program for research and innovation. The $2 million grant (€1.6 million) will enable Signicat to continue development of its IDAaaS toolbox for use in Europe, and takes the company’s total funding to $3.9 million.

France’s Alternative Finance Grows by 50% – Equity Crowdfunding Shrinks (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The annual Alternative Finance & Crowdfunding Barometer compiled by KPMG for the French Crowdfunding Association (Financement Participatif France, FPF) shows that in 2017 the French Alternative Finance market grew by 50%, driven by SME lending growth, and came close to the billion euro mark, at €940 million. Crowdfunding, as a subcategory of alternative finance open to retail investors, grew slightly slower at 44%, and equity crowdfunding shrank.

  • Institutional SME lending grew by 157% to €215 million,
  • SME crowdlending and crowdinvesting in SME debt grew by 102% to €195 million.

The market is heavily concentrated, with the top 5 platforms, Lendix, Credit.fr, Lendosphère, Unilend and Lendopolis accounting for more than 80% of the loans originated. Credit.fr, which was recently acquired by investment firm Tikehau Capital is growing fastest. Funded for more than 80% by non-retail money, Lendix captures more than half of the market. Most recently, the platform raised €120 million of a new €200 million investment fund designed to finance SME loans from 2018 on.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Consumer Lending Decelerates

Alternative consumer lending grew only by 17%, from €197 million to €231 million, three times more slowly than in the previous year. The market is dominated by Younited Credit which originated €227 million worth of consumer loans in France, Italy and Spain in 2017. Younited’s growth remained high in terms of number of loans (nearly +50%) but the growth in euros was slower because the company introduced smaller €1,000 to €3,000 loans and stopped promotional campaigns that were waving fees on large loans.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Equity Crowdfunding Shrinks

French equity crowdfunding raised a mere €58 million, 15% less than in the past year. 

Read the full report here.

3 things that could drive fintech investment in Europe through the roof (again) (PitchBook), Rated: A

Last year, venture investment in European fintech companies more than doubled YoY to €2.8 billion, even though the deal count remained almost flat, per the PitchBook Platform.

The jump in money invested was boosted by some monster deals, including rounds of well over $200 million each into foreign exchange unicorn TransferWise and student loans startup Prodigy Finance.

Pan-European Marketplace Investly Now Seeking £500,000 on Seedrs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Investly, an Estonian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, is now seeking £500,000 through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs.

International

CB Insights is working with The New York Times to identify the best VC professionals. (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

We’re exploring additional rankings for other types of investors:

  • Top Corporate VCs
  • Top Seed-Stage VCs Brand
  • Top VCs by Region (Asia & Europe)

Ranking Algorithm Factors:

  • Performance Persistence
  • Network Centrality
  • Brand
  • Investment Discipline
  • Illiquid Portfolio Strength

The Top 20 Venture Capitalists Worldwide (The New York Times)

FinTech, RegTech and SupTech (Finextra), Rated: A

Two–thirds of consumers between the ages of 18 and 29 have a mobile phone and use mobile banking.

FinTech improves the lending process by reducing the cost of underwriting through automation of the credit application process. That process includes the review of the credit application, credit score monitoring, and the collection of financial documents.

Credit standards and trading limits are monitored more efficiently as Fintech applications can be created that employ customized credit standards per the bank’s risk-management policies

Just as FinTech helps institutions manage their internal credit and trading standards, RegTech enhances their ability to adhere to the government’s regulatory rules set out by various agencies and The Federal Reserve Bank.

Fewer fines and litigation costs are possible with RegTech applications.

Adapting to new regulations faster can be achieved with RegTech as financial institutions can monitor changes in regulations in real-time.

Regulatory reporting times improve with RegTech.

Australia

IFM Investors ups stake in digital provider Decimal (Private Banker International), Rated: A

IFM Investors, an Australian fund manager, has increased its stake in local digital advice provider Decimal to 15%.

IFM acquired the additional stake through the placement of 28,900,000 ordinary shares at $0.03 per share.

India

Why P2P should be empowered to fill the void in SME financing (ET Rise), Rated: AAA

The Economic Survey 2017-18 tabled in the Parliament on Monday delivered an unsurprising, but troubling figure. The amount of credit or loans disbursed by banks amounted to Rs 26,041 billion as on November 2017, but 82.6% of this was pocketed by large enterprises. For millions of SMEs in the country, banks only lent out 17.4 % of the total credit.

RBI data show that NBFCs have increased their lending to the SME sector by giving out about Rs 680 crore to the micro, small and medium enterprises compared to Rs. 480 crore in 2016. These figures do not include the loans extended to SMEs by the P2P industry, which has been recently classified as an NBFC.

In 2015-16 more than 10,000 businesses across UK benefitted and an estimated 30,000 new jobs were created due to UK government’s favorable policies for the P2P lending sector.

India’s flourishing fintech sector is craving the finance minister’s attention (Quartz), Rated: A

While the Narendra Modi government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have already laid down regulations for certain segments, such as peer-to-peer lending, others like cryptocurrencies and online lending startups are yet to be regulated. Such regulation may mean stricter compliance, but the management at these firms believe it will lend legitimacy to the industry, which is expected to be worth $2.4 billion by 2020. That, in turn, will help them grow faster.

Asia

Indonesia’s fintech lending boom exploits shortfall in bank loans (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Wimboh Santoso, head of Indonesia’s financial regulator (OJK), said while the trend was still a drop in the ocean of overall lending, more than 250,000 people had taken out loans through fintech. Around 30 P2P firms had extended 2.6 trillion rupiah ($193.8 million) in lending as of January 2018, compared with just 247 billion rupiah of lending in December 2016. Another 36 more firms were waiting to be approved, he added.

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 17 2018, Daily News Digest

European alt SME lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Wells Fargo is closing branches left and right. Repeal  of payday lending rule under consideration. Moody’s assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A-LLC. RateSetter leads in personal loans. Curve launches. Victory Park Capital looks overseas. Today’s main analysis: How Lendix blazes a trail in SME lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why regulation is crucial. Wells […]

European alt SME lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Wells Fargo is getting more aggressive with branch closures (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo is charging toward its goal to cut over 800 branches by the end of 2020, it said in a presentation of its fourth quarter earnings on Friday.

 

Wells, which has been struggling to cut costs while it continues getting hit with legal fees following its various scandals, expects to save $4 billion as a result of the plan.
Source: Tearsheet

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau considering repeal of payday lending rule (NBC News), Rated: AAA

The bureau, which came under control of the Trump administration late last year, said in a statement Tuesday that it plans to take a second look at the payday lending rules. While the bureau did not submit a proposal to repeal the rules outright, the statement opens the door for the bureau to start the process of revising or even repealing the regulations. The bureau also said it would grant waivers to companies as the first sets of regulations going into effect later this year.

Moody’s assigns provisional ratings to SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

Moody’s Investors Service has assigned provisional ratings of (P)Aaa (sf) to Class A-1 Notes, the Class A-2A Notes and the Class A-2B Notes to be issued by SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC (SoFi 2018-A). The collateral underlying the transaction consists of SoFi’s private student loans, which are loans the government does not guarantee. Our cumulative net loss expectation for SoFi 2018-A’s loan pool is approximately 2.0%.

Issuer: SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-A LLC

  • $55,000,000 Floating Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-1 Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)
  • $358,500,000 Fixed Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-2A Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)
  • $236,800,000 Fixed Rate Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Class A-2B Notes, Assigned (P)Aaa (sf)

Magilla Loans Platform Surpasses $ 4.5B Loan Origination Milestone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Magilla Loans, a search engine for loans that connects borrowers to banks without requesting personal information, announced it has surpassed $4.5 billion in aggregated loans from top banks across the U.S. The Magilla platform provides business owners with access to multiple financing options, including access to business, home and real estate loans.

UpLift Closes Financings of $ 90M (FINSMES), Rated: A

UpLift, a Sunnyvale, CA-based travel financing company, closed financings of $90m.

The company received:
– a $75m credit facility in partnership with funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, and
– a $15m equity round which includes participation from previous investors including PAR Capital with Draper Nexus, Highgate Ventures, and former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford.

NextCapital does $ 30-million VC round with a staggering objective that’s taking shape first with John Hancock (RIABiz), Rated: A

The shoot-the-moon robo strategy of NextCapital Advisers Inc. is looking up now that John Hancock Financial Services Inc. has come out of pilot and State Street Global Advisors became a partner in going after RIAs.

The Chicago-based digital advisor, founded in 2013, announced it more than doubled its backing with $30 million of venture round led this time led by Oak HC/FT of Greenwich, Conn. See: NextCapital raises $16 million as its founder goes where Financial Engines’ 401(k) robo strategy didn’t.

All told, the firm has raised $54 million: Six million dollars in August 2014, $18 million in 2015 and, just recently, this $30-million round.

Borrowers in the Lone Star State Can Now Get a Better Mortgage (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company focused on improving access to home financing for a new generation of homeowners, is now available to Texas homebuyers. Better will now be able to serve more than half of Americans who are looking to own or currently own a home. In 2017, Better expanded its footprint in major real estate markets around the country, with Texas being the latest licensed states.

Texas is Better’s 14th market. In 2018, they expect to continue their expansion, focusing on geographies that help first-time homebuyers invest in their communities by putting down roots.

Gary Lieberman of Laurel Road (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The history of Darien Rowayton Bank.
  • Why Gary decided to buy this small community bank in 2010.
  • How the bank has grown since Gary took it over.
  • How student loan refinancing first got on his radar decades ago.
  • When DRB originated their first student loan.
  • The advantages of being a bank and a fintech platform.
  • Some of the affiliate partnerships DRB has.
  • Other verticals where DRB has offerings today.
  • Why DRB rebranded to Laurel Road in 2017.
  • The scale they are at today with student loan refinancing.
  • Their approach to securitization.
  • How their loans have been performing to date.
  • The profile of their typical borrower.
  • How they market their offerings.
  • What the future holds for Laurel Road.

Refinancing Student Loans Gets Mixed Report (247WallSt), Rated: A

More than 45 million Americans have borrowed $1.45 trillion in student loans to help pay for their post-secondary educations. Repaying those loans can be tough, especially if the loan amount is high and pay for the first job after graduation is low.

Student loan marketplace and refinancing website LendEDU has just released its second annual report on the state of the student loan refinancing market. Here are several highlights from the report:

  • Average credit score of an approved refinance applicant is 764.
  • Just over 58% of 2017 applications are denied.
  • The average interest rate on a refinanced loan is 5.56%. The average rate rose 74 basis points year over year from 4.82% in 2016.
  • The average size of a refinance loan was $66,453. The 2017 average was more than 23% higher year over year.
  • Less than half of approved applicants actually end up refinancing their loans. In 2016, just over 33% of all applicants completed the loan process.

Reliamax’s Michael VanErdewyk: ‘We’re seeing a move towards more private student loans’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

With all the excitement around online lending, there are still some spaces that have a long growth runway. One of the most persuasive growth opportunities is private student lending. Macroeconomic and policy changes are contributing to the growth thesis but so too are the number of local lending institutions that want to move into this asset class.

Rising costs of higher education
The cost of education continues to increase and the number of kids in school isn’t declining. So, it’s a big opportunity. Really, we have to talk about the cost of education. The cost of higher education in the U.S. today costs over $400 billion a year. About 25 percent of that is free money (grants and scholarships). Another 25 percent is federal student loans. The remainder — about $200 billion a year — is really family contributions.

The focus on private student loans
If you look at the total outstanding student debt, there’s about $1.4 trillion in federal student loans and $100 billion in private student loans, comprising only about 7 percent of total outstanding student debt.

CreditVest starts crowdfunding advisory firm (BizJournals.com), Rated: B

Jon Mauro founded Realty Mentors with Andrea Humphrey, who is president and owner of CreditVest, to focus on individual investors who want to participate in commercial real estate crowdfunding.

Zelle is now running TV ads (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Zelle is spending “tens of millions” of dollars on a television ad campaign featuring spoken word artist Daveed Diggs.

Early Warning, the bank-owned consortium behind the peer-to-peer payments platform, aired the first ad Saturday during the National Football League’s divisional round of playoff games and will continue to run them alongside unifying cultural events like the Grammy Awards, the NBA All-Star Game and the Super Bowl pre-game show. They’ll also run during popular shows on Bravo, Comedy Central, The Discovery Channel, ESPN and MTV.

Zelle is trying to build some brand recognition for itself among its target audience, mobile users, in an effort to compete with Venmo.

An investing platform founded by a 25-year-old went free — and now it’s facing a backlash from its rivals (Business Insider), Rated: A

M1, which was founded by CEO Brian Barnes when he was 25, originally charged users 25 to 40 basis points to use its platform, which allows users to buy fractional stocks and invest in pre-built portfolios. In December, it decided to go free, and make money strictly on the backend, by selling flow to trading firms and lending out non-invested funds sitting in users’ accounts to banks. The company also plans to offer margin trading to its users.

Since going free in December, M1 has seen daily inflows hit as high as $1 million, and a 10-fold increase in the number of new accounts each day.

Still,  M1’s robo rivals aren’t convinced the strategy will work for the small company.

Tipalti Launches Payables Automation Partner Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Tipalti, the leading global payables automation platform, today announced the launch of its Partner Program, which will offer accounting firms, financial institutions, system integrators, ERP resellers/VARs, consultants, and partners who work with the office of the CFO, the ability for their clients to leverage Tipalti’s software to eliminate the friction, risk, and time spent on manual accounts payable operations.

Key Features of Tipalti’s Partner Program:

  • Training and support for partners as they assist their clients
  • Option to pass exclusive savings on to their clients
  • Option to receive income stream through revenue-sharing
  • Low-impact engagement with minimal investment by partner

STOCKHOLDER INSPECTION RIGHTS SURVIVE CHALLENGE IN DELAWARE (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

On December 29, 2017, the last business day of the expiring year, the Delaware Chancery Court, in a memorandum of opinion by Vice Chancellor Slights, upheld stockholders’ statutory books-and-records inspection rights against a defendant corporation that sought to invoke and considerably to widen the scope of the Delaware Supreme Court’s Corwin decision of 2015.

The significance of this is that Delaware, some impressions to the contrary, is not a corporate-management-always-wins state. It was not so before the Corwin decision, nor did that decision make it so.  That ought to be good news for activist investors and their counsel. There may be alpha, or at least leverage toward alpha, lurking in the right to inspect books and records.

United Kingdom

RateSetter leading the way for personal loans (RateCity), Rated: AAA

Interest rates for personal loans listed on RateCity range from as low as 3.57 per cent to as high as 48.00 per cent.

The average personal loan interest rate was 11.89 per cent at the end of December, according to an analysis of the dozens of lenders listed on RateCity.

RateSetter, a peer-to-peer lender, has a one-year unsecured personal loan with an advertised rate of 3.57 per cent and a comparison rate of 3.92 per cent.

Curve, the fintech that connects all your cards to a single card and app, gets full consumer launch (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Curve, the London fintech startup that offers a platform that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single Curve card and app to make it easier to manage your spending, is finally launching to U.K. consumers. Up until now, the service remained in beta and was only officially available to business users.

In a call with Curve founder and CEO Shachar Bialick, he described the consumer launch as a major milestone for the company, noting that 50,000 people have signed up to its waitlist, in addition to the 100,000 or so users who joined Curve in its beta phase. It’s free to join, although a premium version of the Curve card is also available for £50 that offers additional perks.

How P2P could be a financial lifeline for UK landowners (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

A recent study of 172 farms by the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme found that just 16% made a profit from their farming activities over the period assessed. The analysis found that instead many farms are now reliant on alternative income streams to turn a profit, such as tourism, renewable energy and selling their products directly to consumers.

But moving into alternative areas of business requires capital. And – with the average farm in the study making a loss of more than £20,000 from its farming activities – it may be capital that landowners require to invest in their business to prevent a loss.

Folk2Folk champions local lending because we believe in creating financially and socially sustainable communities by matching local businesses with local lenders.

Robo advice platform citing AI and machine learning raises £562k on Crowdcube (AltFi), Rated: A

Marketsflow, a new digital wealth management platform closed its fully funded investment round via equity crowdfunding.

Initially looking to raise £210k, the fundraise has seen more than £562k of commitments from nearly 800 investors giving Marketsflow a pre-money valuation of £2.4m.

What we learned about fintech from some of the biggest brains at Clifford Chance (Legal Cheek), Rated: A

What kind of financial technology has come across your desk at Clifford Chance, then? (Here comes the educational bit.) Chapman identified four technologies driving change:

Marketplace lending: crowdfunding or peer to peer lending, with the potential for “disintermediation” of the financial institution that used act as middleman for loans.
Big data and AI: you might just have seen it in the newspapers. But it’s closer than you think: if you’ve applied for a credit card, according to Chapman, chances are that a machine took part of the decision on whether or not to approve you.
Mobile payments: forget branches, even internet banking on a web browser is old hat. Some banks, indeed, exist only as apps (I instantly thought of my Revolut app, which started out offering as a slick currency exchange platform, but is now offering credit).
Blockchain and distributed ledger: different things, but often used in combination. These are “the pieces of technology that underpin the Bitcoin phenomenon”. It’s not just media hype, either: Clifford Chance is “seeing a lot of work in this space”.

5 Top Alternative Investments in the UK (What Investment), Rated: B

1. Crowdfunding

Rather than rely on venture capital trusts and angel investors, many new businesses are using crowdfunding to get off the ground. In fact, UK platforms such as CrowdCube and Angels Den have raised over £72 million from investors this year.

5. Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer lending allows you to loan money to people through online platforms, without a bank. These agreements are arranged through peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Zopa, Prosper and Lending Works. These peer-to-peer companies are typically FCA regulated and they organise credit and ID checks as well as set interest rates, collect payments and pay your returns.

After PSD2 and GDPR, what Wayfinding Signs will guide visitors through an Open Bank? (LinkedIn), Rated: A

When branch banking was the mainstream method of service distribution in financial services, both a bank’s customers and potential business partners could follow clear signs that directed them where to go and who to contact. The first sign that a bank sent its customers and potential business partners was the geographic location of a bank branch.

One in four very-low income households are struggling to pay bills or debt, with 10 per cent spending more than a quarter of their salary on credit card repayments, a report has found.

Data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) showed one-sixth of the poorest households in Britain were in arrears on repayments and bills.

A further 10 per cent were spending at least a quarter of their monthly income on unsecured debts, such as credit cards and payday loans.

China

‘Freedom at a Price’: Why Regulation Is Crucial to Fintech’s Future (Wharton), Rated: AAA

In recent years, financial technology, or fintech, has dramatically expanded financial inclusion in China and elsewhere in Asia. Small and midsized businesses that have been underserved by banks now have access to capital, as fintech enterprises use the internet and mobile technology to reach those borrowers; leverage data analytics to build credible and innovative risk profiles to gauge creditworthiness, and are able to scale their reach exponentially with 24/7 customer windows and without the baggage of fixed-cost overheads that typically shackle traditional banks. Not surprisingly, the unmet needs of the underserved have provided huge market potential for fintechs.

Credit China FinTech, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as Chong Sing Holdings FinTech Group Ltd., or CSF, provides third party payments, online investment, technology-enabled lending, and traditional loans and financing services. Today, it has more than 51 million users who generated transactions worth RMB 868 billion ($130 billion) in the first half of 2017.

At the same time, both have proved massively popular in China which accounts for roughly half of the world’s digital payments and three-quarters of global, online P2P lending volume, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

For one, default rates are higher than anticipated on peer-to-peer lending platforms. Also, instead of being disrupted by the fintechs, traditional banks have entered the peer-to-peer lending space to become the dominant players, he added.

China regulator says fintech must serve real economy (Finextra), Rated: A

Jiang Yang, vice chairman of China’s Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) was speaking at the Asian Financial Forum to an audience of fintech entrepreneurs. The development of fintechs should benefit the real economy and not “a small group of people”, he said in comments reported by the Nikkei Financial Review.

European Union

Lendix Raises €200 Million Institutional Financing to Trailblaze European Alternative SME Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The European Investment Bank Group (EIB), CNP Assurances, Eiffel IM, Groupama, Zencap AM, Matmut and Decaux Frères Investissements are among the first investors joining to finance Lendix’s latest investment vehicle to fund unsecured loans to SMEs in France, Spain and Italy. New institutional investors from banks and asset management firms in Spain and Italy are joining. As of now, €120 million of the planned €200 million are already committed and the first loans from this fund will start rolling out as soon as February.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

As of December 2017, Lendix originated a cumulated worth of €143 million of SME loans, a 90% increase from 2016.

Online Lender Robo.Cash Shares Insight into Investor Activity (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer lender Robo.cash has shared a “financial portrait of a Robo.cash investor.”

According to their results, investors from a younger age group, 18-24 years old, usually deposit circa €200 at a time and rarely withdrew  any funds. The maximum funding size is characteristic of the older age groups: the average deposit of investors of 35-44 years old is equal to €879 and for those who are older than 45 years old is €838.

Millennials of 25-34 years of age invest about €679 on average making frequent deposits in comparison to the younger age group.

Approaching energy crowdfunding with eyes wide open (YourIS.com), Rated: A

youris.com met Sissy Windisch, from the German company Green Crowding, who published a guide for new small investors, to allow them to make the best decisions. The document was released under the EU project CrowdFundRES.

This is a different kind of crowdfunding, unlike what platforms such as Kickstarter do?
With Kickstarter you donate money, so a comic book for example can be published, or you just want an artist to keep on creating art. Instead, the type of crowdfunding we are interested in is debt-based, which means that you get your money back plus interest. If you finance a solar roof on a school for five years, you get 3% every year and at the end of five years you get your money back.

Could you tell us more about debt-based crowdfunding?
Debt-based funding is already one of the largest types of crowdfunding. I would say one of the biggest areas in terms of funding volume at the moment is real estate. I think for 2016 alone the funding was estimated at around 3.5 billion dollars.

Why can’t the traditional financial institutions, such as banks or investment firms, offer these services?
What we’ve often seen, particularly for renewables, is that banks and other traditional financial institutions often look for large projects to invest in. They prefer investing in one 50-million wind park than in 500 small photovoltaic installations.

Swaper Offers One-Click Portfolio Investing (Benzinga), Rated: B

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

Swaper CEO Peteris Kisis: Swaper is a loan marketplace offering an easy investing in pre-funded consumer loans originated by its parent company Wandoo Finance Group in Poland, Georgia, Spain, Denmark and Russia. All investments offered on our marketplace start from 12 percent annual interest and are BuyBack guaranteed, meaning Swaper will compensate investors both for the invested principal and accrued interest in case the borrower is late with payments.

International

Top backer of US subprime lenders eyes overseas opportunities (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Victory Park Capital, a Chicago-based investment firm, has been a vital source of debt capital for a string of online lenders, including Avant, Elevate and LendUp, all of which focus on borrowers in the subprime segment. Total commitments and investments come to about $6.5bn from more than 90 deals, mostly in the US.

The firm, which was founded 10 years ago, is seeking to add to a portfolio including zip Money in Australia, Kreditech in Germany and Oakam in the UK.

(The Merkle), Rated: A

Vitalik Buterin, the creator of the Ethereum Network, recently proposed a new method for decentralized fundraising called the “DAICO”. Incorporating elements of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or DAOs, the new model is designed to minimize the complexity and risk associated with ICOs.

Buterin outlined the new model in a post on the Ethereum Research Forum entitled “Explanation of DAICOs”. In the exposition, the Russian-Canadian programmer outlines a new model that integrates characteristics of DAOs into ICOs to create a new model he refers to as the “DAICO”.

Source: The Merkle
Asia

New Crypto Exchange and 1000 Percent Revenue Growth Could Make KPAY The Crypto Stock To Own In 2018 (Baystreet), Rated: AAA

The little-known Indonesian digital payments company KinerjaPay (KPAY) reported another blowout quarter in December with sales that topped the previous 3 month period by a whopping 1,100%!

Revenue and User-Base Growing Parabolically? +1100% in Q3

KinerjaPay is a digital payments platform in Indonesia and South Asia, and the company ha been growing at an astronomical rate in the last year. In the third fiscal quarter of 2017 ended September 30, 2017, the company posted quarterly transactional revenue of $1.76 million, an 1,183% increase over $149K in the second quarter.

User growth is accelerating as the company brings on more partners for digital payments and bill pay capabilities in a region of the world where a fraction of people have a bank account or credit/debit card. The rate at which KinerjaPay is adding customers grew 58% in the 3rd quarter; the company reported 10,962 new users compared to 6,904 new users in the same quarter of last year, demonstrating just how fast they’re adding users for a small emerging company.

Asian stocks bounce back, with Hang Seng closing at a record (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Asian equity markets on Tuesday found their footing after some initial softness, leaving Hong Kong’s benchmark at a record closing high.

The Hang Seng rose 1.8% to 31,904.75, topping the previous high set on Oct. 30, 2007.

Japanese stocks rebounded from Monday’s selloff, with a weaker yen helping the country’s exporters. The dollar gained 0.2% to ¥110.7200, pushing the Nikkei to finish up 1% at a fresh 26-year high.

Africa

Fintech startups took nearly a third of all African venture funding in 2017 (Quartz), Rated: AAA

Almost a third of funding raised by African startups in 2017 was in the fintech sector as investors bet on consumers turning to more formal financial services in a region where just 17% of the population have banking accounts. Venture funding for African startups jumped by 51% to $195 million in 2017, according to a report from Disrupt Africa.

The success of mobile money technology like M-Pesa in Kenya and across East Africa has long shown the potential for other underserved markets. M-Pesa’s success is likely also behind for the increasing presence of mobile networks in the African financial sector and the convergence of the two sectors (pdf page 11).

Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya remained the countries with highest funding raised, consistent with their record from previous years.

Canada

Still a market for short-term loans (Edmonton Journal), Rated: A

Payday loan licences in Alberta have fallen by more than one-quarter, to 165 from 230, and industry officials predict even more payday loan stores will be shuttering their doors this year.

Before then, rules around payday loans in Alberta allowed for the second-highest interest rates in Canada, with lenders being allowed to charge up to $23 for every $100 borrowed, up to a maximum of $1,500. Now, the rate is $15 per $100 — touted to be the lowest in Canada — and borrowers are allowed to repay the the loans in instalments over two months. Lenders are also no longer allowed to penalize customers for paying back loans early and must restrict the number of times a lender can make preauthorized withdrawals.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday January 4 2018 Daily News Digest

most funded fintech segments

News Comments Today’s main news: U.S. blocks Ant Financial from buying MoneyGram. Victory Park exits Prosper. Money360 closes $500M in CRE loans. Prosper appoints new marketing chief. Indian startup funding at 3-month low. LaLa World Global to launch token sale. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for December 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub to turn around in 2018. Top hedge […]

most funded fintech segments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

The U.S. Is Blocking a Chinese Fintech Giant from Buying MoneyGram (Technology Review), Rated: AAA

American authorities have decided that Alibaba’s digital payment firm, Ant Financial, won’t be allowed to acquire the cash transfer company Moneygram.

Money360 Passes $ 500 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans Closed (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate (CRE) loans, today announced it has surpassed half a billion dollars in loans closed since inception. This includes $357 million in loans closed for the year 2017.  The milestone comes on the heels of other recent successes for Money360, including the initiation of a partnership with Ten-X, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace, in which Money360 works to accelerate commercial real estate transactions for buyers, sellers and brokers by offering pre-approved financing for qualified properties and buyers.

Money360 specializes in bridge and permanent loans of $1 million to $20 million. Recent loans closed during the period include:

  • A $7.8 million bridge loan for an office property in Evansville, Indiana, brought to Money360 by Benjamin Kadish at Maverick Capital
  • A $7.5 million bridge loan for a full-service hotel in Cromwell, Connecticut, brought to Money360 by Rushi Shah at Conlon Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a nationwide portfolio of Pier 1 retail properties, brought to Money360 by Al Dannatt at Commercial Resource Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a mixed-use center in Charleston, South Carolina, brought to Money360 by Dominick Scorzo at Ivenhoe Capital Advisors
  • A $4.4 million permanent loan for a retail center in Mount Olive, New Jersey, brought to Money360 through our partnership with Ten-X
  • A $4 million bridge loan for an office building in Amarillo, Texas, brought to Money360 by Steve States at States Mortgage
  • A $3.2 million bridge loan for a retail center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, brought to Money360 by Martin Chera at Express Mortgage

In addition to record loan generation activity and new partnerships, Money360 has taken a number of notable steps in 2017 to further position the company as a leader in commercial real estate and alternative investing, including:

  • Hired new top talent to support company growth.
  • Named a top five company in the real estate fintech industry by Deloitte based on total investment dollars received.
  • Gained backing and support from Ron Suber. Mr. Suber not only invested in Money360, but also joined the firm as a strategic advisor.

M360 Advisors surpasses $300M in Assets Under Management

Finally, Money360 announced that its affiliate, M360 Advisors (“M360”), surpassed $300 million in assets under management.

3 Turnaround Stocks to Consider in 2018 (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

One name that has been sold off very recently is Lending Club (NYSE:LC), the leader in the relatively new industry of FinTech personal lending.

Lending Club’s fee-based model depends on increasing volumes, so growth-oriented investors were likely scared off by the reduced targets.

However, I think the hate has gone too far. Lending Club is the largest and only publicly traded loan marketplace, which has made it the go-to for institutional investors looking for exposure to consumer loans. By tightening credit, Lending Club has demonstrated a long-term commitment to sound underwriting, which should deepen its relationships with these important investors.

And while Lending Club did reduce its near-term guidance, it still guided for roughly 20% revenue growth and increasing profitability next year, which isn’t too shabby. The market opportunity in U.S. credit card consolidation — Lending Club’s core business (though not its the only one) — is still large, at $300-$350 billion, which means Lending Club’s current $11.5 billion loans outstanding only amounts to about 3-4% of this market.

TOP HEDGE FUND INDUSTRY TRENDS FOR 2018 (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Despite the plethora of negative articles about the hedge fund industry, hedge fund assets have reached an all-time high 5 quarters in a row. Across the hedge fund investor landscape, we see a significant improvement in sentiment towards the industry. We forecast that industry assets will grow by 5.5% over the next 12 months.

Strategies that will gain assets include:

  • Quant
  • Asia long/short equity  – The IMF predicts that 2/3 of world growth will come from Asia over the next 5 years. Less than 5% of Hedge Fund industry assets are invested with Asia based managers.
  • Reinsurance
  • Higher turnover fixed income
  • Strategies that blur the lines between private equity and hedge funds – Most of these are private lending/specialty financing.

Strategies that will lose assets include:

  • Traditional long/short equity focusing on the developed markets.
  • High beta fixed income managers.

Arms race for Alpha

The industry is experiencing an information arms race with respect to how much information can be gathered and how quickly it can be processed.  Information advantages are often short-lived, and many managers are investing in a host of new technologies such as quantitative analytics, alternative data sources and Artificial Intelligence in an attempt to enhance their decision making and improve traditional investment processes. Information and technology are being used to increase efficiency and accuracy in sourcing information, researching ideas and executing investments.

Increase in hedge funds shutting down

The hedge fund industry remains over saturated with an estimated 15,000 funds. We believe approximately 90% of all hedge funds do not justify their fees, as evidenced by the mediocre returns of hedge fund indices. Fed-up with poor performance, investors are increasingly more likely to redeem from underperforming managers leading to an increase in fund closures.

Bullish on Cryptocurrency industry despite potentially one of the largest bubbles in capital markets history

Cryptocurrency is in its infancy stage and will continue to experience tremendous innovation, evolution and exponential growth over the next decade. There are already more than 120 hedge funds focused on cryptocurrencies and block chain technology. We expect this number to increase 2 to 3 times in 2018.

Prosper Marketplace Appoints Former Bank of America Executive Justine Metz Head of Marketing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace today announced it has appointed Justine Metz as Executive Vice President of Marketing.

Metz brings more than 25 years of marketing experience and joins Prosper from SRS Acquiom, a financial firm that specializes with M&A transactions. Prior to that, Justine served as Head of Global Wealth and Investment Management Marketing and Sales Support at Bank of America, where she was responsible for driving growth, profitability and loyalty for Bank of America’s Wealth Management business, Merrill Lynch and US Trust. She has also held senior positions at Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and GE Capital (GEFA).

MoneyLion Secures $ 42 Million Investment to Accelerate Growth (BusinessWire), Rated: A

MoneyLion, the digital personal finance platform for the financial middle class, announced today it has secured a $42 million Series B funding, led by Edison Partners. Existing investors FinTech Collective and Grupo SURA, as well as new investors Greenspring Associates and Danhua Capital also participated in the round. All told, MoneyLion has now raised $67 million in equity financing.

The latest investment follows rapid growth of the MoneyLion platform, which has surpassed 1.5 million users and has experienced 178% compounded growth in revenue since 2015. The company, which is cash flow positive, plans on using the growth capital to increase investment in technology and continue to expand its product line.

How Tech Sends Clients Running Back to Human FAs (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

While investors have been using digital tools as an entry into financial planning, they’re simply inundated by too much data and eventually turn to human advisors for help, Cerulli Associates says, according to the publication.

Nonetheless, investors’ appetite for digital advice isn’t subsiding: digital platforms were expected to reach $220 billion in client assets by the end 2017 and more than $600 billion by the end of 2022, according to the report cited by FA magazine.

 

Celsius to replace traditional future exchanges like CME and CBOT with crypto lenders (LeapRate), Rated: A

Celsius, a blockchain powered lending and borrowing platform, just announced that it aims to replace big banks and futures exchanges, like the CME and CBOT, with crypto coin holders who will earn returns through lending. Using its platform, which will launch in Q1 2018, Celsius members can easily borrow coins at significantly reduced rates compared to traditional financial institutions, while lenders can earn automatic interest by holding coins in the Celsius Wallet.

Dubbed as “The Wallet That Pays Back”, registrants who deposit coins into the Celsius Wallet will receive up to 7% per year on loaned coins.

Celsius plans to offer a variety of powerful financial tools for crypto asset holders, including:

  • Peer-to-Peer Lending 
  • Peer-to-Peer Borrowing 
  • Crypto Shorting: Network members will be able to short crypto assets by borrowing coins from lenders almost instantaneously.
  • Global Credit 
  • Capital Protection: Celsius will provide protection for all coins, by collecting a portion of the principal interest amount from borrowers.

Crypto P2P lender Celsius readies for launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CELSIUS, an Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is set to launch during this quarter.

Lenders will receive up to seven per cent year by depositing coins into the Celsius Wallet that are lent out to the platform’s network of members, according to LeapRate.com.

2018’s Best Credit Cards & $ 7.4B in Extra Interest Following Fed Hikes (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

With millions of people making a financially themed resolution for 2018 and recent Fed rate hikes expected to cost credit card users an extra  Best For… Card Name Travel Rewards

The Mastermind Behind Chase’s Industry-Changing Sapphire Reserve Card Sets Her Sights on Banking (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Pam Codispoti had a dilemma. She’d been brought on by JPMorgan Chase & Co.to develop a credit card for affluent millennials in 2014—a time when no one thought the group wanted credit cards.

Chase’s response was the Sapphire Reserve. The $450-a-year card came with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 reward points and allowed holders to use them at a wide variety of hotels, airlines, restaurants, and more. Holders were also rewarded extra for spending in those categories, and even given a $300 annual travel credit.

CFPB 2018 outlook: More deregulation, more upheaval (American Banker), Rated: A

The first 11 months alone under former CFPB Director Richard Cordray saw a steady stream of enforcement actions and regulatory policies that by itself would make the bureau’s year more eventful than that of other agencies. That span also saw the Trump administration’s challenges to Cordray’s leadership, and the congressional repeal of the CFPB arbitration rule.

Indiana lawmaker files bill to cap payday loan interest rates at 36 percent (rtv6), Rated: A

State Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) filed on Tuesday the first of its kind legislation that would cap small loan finance charges at 36 percent.

Currently, the cap for payday loans in Indiana is 391 percent, according to Walker.

Indiana ranks 44th, among the worst in the nation, when it comes to bankruptcy and Hoosiers and their communities lose about $70 million a year in payday loan fees, according to the Indiana Institute for Working Families.

If in case you have debt, keep away from this massive mistake many debtors make (Kaplan Herald), Rated: B

In June, cumulative U.S. household debt reached $12.84 trillion, a $114 billion increase from the first quarter.

Four 4 in 5 Americans are in the red, according to data from a provided exclusively to CNBC.

United Kingdom

Victory Park Capital fund exits Prosper loans (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £336.8m VPC Specialty Lending fund has sold its total holding in Prosper marketplace loans, representing 4.1 per cent of the Company’s net asset value [NAV].

Valuing Funding Circle (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Back in 2014, Lending Club and OnDeck were riding high. The American startups led a pack of online lending companies “disrupting” consumer and business loans respectively.

The hype reached fever-pitched as they floated within weeks of each other. Lending Club was valued at $5.4bn. OnDeck at $1.3bn.

So, hats off to Funding Circle, the British online lender that is preparing to follow in the footsteps of its struggling peers across the Atlantic.

Making the most of your money (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

AS INFLATION grows ahead of expectations, far too many savers are seeing the value of their hard-earned cash decline.

Recent research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that just under a third (30 per cent) of UK adults would not be able to cope if their mortgage repayments increased by £50 a month.

With the recent 0.25 per cent rate rise, it won’t be long before these households feel the squeeze.

The rise of P2P

UK savers and investors are also willing to back British businesses. Six in 10 (63 per cent) would be willing to lend to a business. Over a quarter (26 per cent) would lend to a business that could use their assets as security. A quarter (25 per cent) would lend to an established business that has been operating for a few years and 11 per cent would lend to a start-up business.

Click here for more information on ArchOver.

Folk2Folk Announces New CEO as Giles Cross Takes Over Leadership Role P2P Lending Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Folk2Folk, a unique peer to peer lending platform that combines physical locations with an online platform matching investors with small business loans, has announced the appointment of Giles Cross  Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Cross joined Folk2Folk as Chief Marketing Officer in June 2017.

 

Property Lender Financed Around 1,800 UK Homes in 2017 (Landlord News), Rated: A

LendInvest, a leading specialist property lender, lent £500m to help professional property investors, developers and landlords buy, build or renovate around 1,800 UK homes during 2017.

This marks a 33% increase on the previous year’s £375m lending record.

LendInvest has now lent a total of over £1.2 billion to property investors and developers.

High touch meets high tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FAIRNESS IS pivotal to Newable Lending’s ethos when it comes to lending – and it’s not afraid to nail its colours to the mast. The peer-to-peer business lender is a member of Responsible Finance, a trade body working to increase access to fair finance.

FCA financial advice director steps down (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

FCA director of life insurance and financial advice Linda Woodall has stepped down from the regulator.

The regulator understands she intends to retire. A replacement has yet to be appointed.

European Union

New EU financial market rules off to smooth start: Watchdog (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

The rollout of new European Union securities rules on Wednesday has been glitch-free so far, though disruptions in coming days and months cannot be ruled out, the bloc’s markets watchdog said.

But given the complexity and size of the reform, Esma could not rule out glitches in coming days or weeks, Maijoor said.

Rocky start for Europe’s financial market revamp (Handelsblatt Global), Rated: A

Even after a year-long delay, precious few experts fully understand the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, Europe’s biggest financial markets reform in almost a decade.

Among other key changes, and in a belated nod to technological progress, telephone-based trading will be replaced with electronic platforms in bonds and off-exchange derivatives. And consumers should immediately see financial advice standards rise.

Analysts estimate that MiFid II will cost $6 billion (€5 billion) to implement in the first five years.

Exclusive Interview with Fast Invest CEO Simona Vaitkune (ChipIn), Rated: A

We recently sat down with the CEO of Fast Invest, Simona Vaitkune to have a chat with her about the project as well as finding out her thoughts and insights.

Tell us about how you came up with the idea of Fast Invest. Did you face a problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Fast Invest to fill?

Everything started when I wanted not only to save money but to earn from my savings, to get passive income. I began to search for a platform which would fit me, but I could not find anything because I wanted to do it easily and safely without investing a lot of money.

What do you think is the biggest problem Fast Invest will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

Fast Invest is solving a problem that I mentioned before – complexity and large entry point of investment platforms. With Fast Invest, you can start investing from 1 Euro, Zloty or Pound. On top of that, you do not need to worry about your money, because we offer BuyBack and default guarantees.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes December 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintos finished a remarkable month fueled by the cashback promotion. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 582 million Euro.

This month I added PeerBerryLook&Fin and MyTripleA.

Source: P2P-Banking

Setting the Tone for 2018 in the Most Important Charts of 2017 (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

In 2017, lending startups around the world scored almost $4 billion in total funding, followed by $3.55 billion gathered by InsurTech startups, $3.24 billion invested in payments, and, of course, $850 million pocketed by startups building blockchain-based solutions.

Keep shoppers, the planet, and your profits happy by allowing in-store returns (Biz Report), Rated: A

Reverse-logistics firm Optoro found that nearly half (45%) of people will begin sending back unwanted items no sooner than the ripped up wrapping paper has been balled and binned. UPS recently forecast that returns would peak at 1.4 million packages on Wednesday 3 January, 2018, up 8% on last year and the fourth consecutive yearly increase. UPS said consumers returned more than 1 million packages a day to retailers last month.

According to Optoro’s report, the majority of returns (91%) will take place in-store. While total returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for U.S. retailers (Appriss Retail) the fact that most of those returns are happening in store is good news. More than half (57%) of shoppers who return items to a physical store make additional purchases during the process.

Could blockchains replace banks in real estate lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The startup Propy recently sold an apartment in the Ukraine through its blockchain, and in the last week of December it began letting Californians buy and sell properties on its blockchain using bitcoin. They will be able to use U.S. dollars next year.

ShelterZoom has built an Ethereum-based platform that went live Dec. 14. RealBlocks lets people invest in housing on its blockchain with fiat or digital currency (and starting in February 2018, its own tokens). It has completed seven deals so far.

RealBlocks lets people invest in rental properties like Section 8 housing over a blockchain.

It has also partnered with SALT Lending so that after February, participants will be able to take out a loan or line of credit using the tokens they buy from RealBlocks as collateral.

A blockchain could also facilitate crowdsourced mortgages. Instead of taking out a $200,000 loan from one lender, a borrower could get $2,000 each from 1,000 investors.

18 Blockchain Predictions for 2018 (Consensy), Rated: A

Bitcoin as a digital store of value is the least interesting use of blockchain … There, I said it.

A Loan

Source: Consensys

An Initial Public Offering or Crowdfunding

Source: Consensys

10. People will take control of their online identities

We will continue to see the growing trend wherein people, companies, and machines manage their identity self-sovereignly rather then by a third party service provider like a bank, Facebook, or another internet service provider.

Interestingly, governments will increasingly find themselves as attestors to these self-sovereign identities, similar to how Zug, Switzerland is attesting to citizens identity usage with uPort, Ethereum leading self-sovereign identity solution.

11. In 2018, governments and regulatory bodies will mandate the use of blockchain to track and trace high value assets.

Major Fortune 50 companies are already demanding public chain track and trace use cases for which they are using the Viant platform to build their solutions.

18. The total market cap of blockchain-based digital assets will exceed $2 trillion U.S. dollars by January 1, 2019.

The price of ether will exceed $2,000 in 2018. Ether will continue to outperform bitcoin, and the total market cap of ether will exceed that of bitcoin in 2018.

8 fintech trends on our radar for 2018 (O’Reilly Media), Rated: B

  1. AI will be implemented across the stack
  2. New products will make advanced analytics easier
  3. Blockchain technologies will be used in financial services products
  4. Data partnerships will increase
  5. We’ll see even greater regionalization and regulation in payments – This is an area where both startups and global companies are flourishing. The technologies, protocols, and players vary by region. I’m amazed by how widely used QR codes are in China (WeChat and Alipay) and the rest of the world (GoPay in Southeast Asia, Paytm in India). For companies operating in the EU, PSD2 is a new 2018 regulation aimed at fostering innovation and competition in the payments industry.
  6. Customer experience will be increasingly mobile
  7. There will be increased pressure around privacy and security
  8. More quants will be analyzing or trading cryptocurrencies
Australia

Can a fintech lending firm disrupt the big four? (Asiamoney), Rated: AAA

As CVs for Australian bankers go, Jason Yetton’s background doesn’t quite scream ‘disruptor’. High-flyer perhaps, certainly ambitious and across trends. But helming a startup?

Two years on from Westpac and now running SocietyOne, the Sydney-based loans fintech that is one of Australia’s more prominent financial startups, the mid-career Yetton seems to bite with near evangelistic fervour the very hand of establishment banking that once nourished him.

Australian banking is backward in many critical areas, Yetton tells Asiamoney. He wants to see a tech-led democratization that would revolutionize payments and settlement, as well as lending, data and information infrastructure, while allowing customers to switch banks without penalty.

The current system preserves the status quo, Yetton says, in which the formidable foursome control 80% to 85% of Australia’s banking market and from which they earned a collective A$32 billion ($24 billion) in the 2017 financial year.

India

Funds Raised By Indian Startups Hit Three-Month Low (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funds raised by Indian startups hit a three-month low, as four startups together managed to raise just around $10 million last week. That compares with $36 million raised by 10 startups the week before in angel, seed or venture capital funding.

Online lending firm Lendingkart Finance Ltd. raised around $3.7 million (Rs 25 crore) from the country’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India to grow its loan books, the company said in a statement.

Indian start-up ecosystem on a growth path in 2018 (Outlook), Rated: A

India’s start-up eco-system has been growing at a rapid pace and has all the right ingredients to support the fast paced economic growth of the country. With an addition of 1000 start-ups in the year 2017, the start-ups have played a big role in the growth of the Indian economy, making it a major source of employment, innovation and industrialisation.

i2ifunding, India’s second largest P2P lending platform plans to expand its business across the country, instead of focussing on metro cities.

Asia

LaLa World Global to Launch $ 10M Public Token Sale Jan. 5 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup LaLa World is pleased to announce the long anticipated launch of the Lala Token sale to commence on January 5, 2018 and to run through February 5, 2018. A total of 150 Million LALA Tokens will be released in an initial coin sale (ICO) starting this Friday.

LALA World Products from their Financial Ecosystem Include:

  1. LALA Transfer – A Peer-to-Peer local and global remittance backed by crypto as well as fiat.
  2. LALA Bill Pay – Local and International bill payments for you and your family.
  3. LALA Lends – Domestic and International peer-to-peer lending via crypto and fiat, individual and small businesses.
  4. LALA Card – Crypto and Fiat card synced to your Wallet and usable at millions of PoS globally.
  5. LALA Kit – Contains a mobile phone with pre-loaded LALA Wallet, LALA Insurance, LALA Card, partners’ products, etc.

LaLa World is a wholesome financial ecosystem for the unbanked, starting with migrants and their families back home. Investors can purchase LaLa Tokens here: 

8 promising Fintech Startups in Singapore to Watch in 2018 (Fintech News), Rated: A

  1. MyCash Online is an online marketplace designed for migrant workers in Malaysia and Singapore.
  2. Instarem is a remittance startup that aims to offer fast, safe and cost effective cross border money transfer services for individuals and businesses from countries including Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore to more than 25 countries.
  3. Singapore Life is a new life insurance firm which commenced its operations in 2017 by providing insurance solutions via its online platform.
  4. soCash has developed a solution that allows people to withdraw cash at small businesses part of its “Cashpoints” network. The solution plugs into the mobile apps of banks.
  5. Bluzelle Networks is a blockchain startup that’s building a decentralized, on-demand, scalable database for decentralized applications.
  6. TenX is a cryptocurrency payment platform that consists of a wallet, physical debit card, bank account, ATM access and more.
  7. AGDelta is a Singapore headquartered fintech software company specialized in digital wealth management.
  8. Flywire, formerly peerTransfer, is a provider of international payment solutions headquartered in Boston with operations in Singapore, China, Australia, Spain and the UK.
Canada

New payday loan rules still too soft, says group (CBC.ca), Rated: A

On Monday, New Brunswick became the eighth Canadian province to introduce regulations governing the payday loan industry.

Earlier this week, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission announced a new set of regulations, including mandatory licensing for payday lenders, requiring then to display posters showing their rates, and making insurance on loans optional.

Lenders are also prohibited from issuing more than one loan at a time to the same consumer, or lending more than 30 per cent of the consumer’s net pay.

Under the new rules, the commission is able to take action against unlicensed lenders and those that fail to comply with legislation.

Africa

Kenya most lucrative market for fintech top staff in Africa (Business Daily), Rated: AAA

Kenya is the most attractive market in Africa for workers in the fintech industry with new data showing that companies pay the highest salaries in comparison to their peers on the continent.

In a recent survey, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) found that executives and senior managers working for Kenyan fintech companies earn each a base monthly salary of Sh2 million (Sh24.6 million or $238,509 annually) and Sh1.2 million (Sh14.2 million or $137,303 annually), respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday January 4 2018 Daily News Digest

most funded fintech segments

News Comments Today’s main news: U.S. blocks Ant Financial from buying MoneyGram. Victory Park exits Prosper. Money360 closes $500M in CRE loans. Prosper appoints new marketing chief. Indian startup funding at 3-month low. LaLa World Global to launch token sale. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for December 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub to turn around in 2018. Top hedge […]

most funded fintech segments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

The U.S. Is Blocking a Chinese Fintech Giant from Buying MoneyGram (Technology Review), Rated: AAA

American authorities have decided that Alibaba’s digital payment firm, Ant Financial, won’t be allowed to acquire the cash transfer company Moneygram.

Money360 Passes $ 500 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans Closed (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate (CRE) loans, today announced it has surpassed half a billion dollars in loans closed since inception. This includes $357 million in loans closed for the year 2017.  The milestone comes on the heels of other recent successes for Money360, including the initiation of a partnership with Ten-X, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace, in which Money360 works to accelerate commercial real estate transactions for buyers, sellers and brokers by offering pre-approved financing for qualified properties and buyers.

Money360 specializes in bridge and permanent loans of $1 million to $20 million. Recent loans closed during the period include:

  • A $7.8 million bridge loan for an office property in Evansville, Indiana, brought to Money360 by Benjamin Kadish at Maverick Capital
  • A $7.5 million bridge loan for a full-service hotel in Cromwell, Connecticut, brought to Money360 by Rushi Shah at Conlon Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a nationwide portfolio of Pier 1 retail properties, brought to Money360 by Al Dannatt at Commercial Resource Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a mixed-use center in Charleston, South Carolina, brought to Money360 by Dominick Scorzo at Ivenhoe Capital Advisors
  • A $4.4 million permanent loan for a retail center in Mount Olive, New Jersey, brought to Money360 through our partnership with Ten-X
  • A $4 million bridge loan for an office building in Amarillo, Texas, brought to Money360 by Steve States at States Mortgage
  • A $3.2 million bridge loan for a retail center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, brought to Money360 by Martin Chera at Express Mortgage

In addition to record loan generation activity and new partnerships, Money360 has taken a number of notable steps in 2017 to further position the company as a leader in commercial real estate and alternative investing, including:

  • Hired new top talent to support company growth.
  • Named a top five company in the real estate fintech industry by Deloitte based on total investment dollars received.
  • Gained backing and support from Ron Suber. Mr. Suber not only invested in Money360, but also joined the firm as a strategic advisor.

M360 Advisors surpasses $300M in Assets Under Management

Finally, Money360 announced that its affiliate, M360 Advisors (“M360”), surpassed $300 million in assets under management.

3 Turnaround Stocks to Consider in 2018 (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

One name that has been sold off very recently is Lending Club (NYSE:LC), the leader in the relatively new industry of FinTech personal lending.

Lending Club’s fee-based model depends on increasing volumes, so growth-oriented investors were likely scared off by the reduced targets.

However, I think the hate has gone too far. Lending Club is the largest and only publicly traded loan marketplace, which has made it the go-to for institutional investors looking for exposure to consumer loans. By tightening credit, Lending Club has demonstrated a long-term commitment to sound underwriting, which should deepen its relationships with these important investors.

And while Lending Club did reduce its near-term guidance, it still guided for roughly 20% revenue growth and increasing profitability next year, which isn’t too shabby. The market opportunity in U.S. credit card consolidation — Lending Club’s core business (though not its the only one) — is still large, at $300-$350 billion, which means Lending Club’s current $11.5 billion loans outstanding only amounts to about 3-4% of this market.

TOP HEDGE FUND INDUSTRY TRENDS FOR 2018 (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Despite the plethora of negative articles about the hedge fund industry, hedge fund assets have reached an all-time high 5 quarters in a row. Across the hedge fund investor landscape, we see a significant improvement in sentiment towards the industry. We forecast that industry assets will grow by 5.5% over the next 12 months.

Strategies that will gain assets include:

  • Quant
  • Asia long/short equity  – The IMF predicts that 2/3 of world growth will come from Asia over the next 5 years. Less than 5% of Hedge Fund industry assets are invested with Asia based managers.
  • Reinsurance
  • Higher turnover fixed income
  • Strategies that blur the lines between private equity and hedge funds – Most of these are private lending/specialty financing.

Strategies that will lose assets include:

  • Traditional long/short equity focusing on the developed markets.
  • High beta fixed income managers.

Arms race for Alpha

The industry is experiencing an information arms race with respect to how much information can be gathered and how quickly it can be processed.  Information advantages are often short-lived, and many managers are investing in a host of new technologies such as quantitative analytics, alternative data sources and Artificial Intelligence in an attempt to enhance their decision making and improve traditional investment processes. Information and technology are being used to increase efficiency and accuracy in sourcing information, researching ideas and executing investments.

Increase in hedge funds shutting down

The hedge fund industry remains over saturated with an estimated 15,000 funds. We believe approximately 90% of all hedge funds do not justify their fees, as evidenced by the mediocre returns of hedge fund indices. Fed-up with poor performance, investors are increasingly more likely to redeem from underperforming managers leading to an increase in fund closures.

Bullish on Cryptocurrency industry despite potentially one of the largest bubbles in capital markets history

Cryptocurrency is in its infancy stage and will continue to experience tremendous innovation, evolution and exponential growth over the next decade. There are already more than 120 hedge funds focused on cryptocurrencies and block chain technology. We expect this number to increase 2 to 3 times in 2018.

Prosper Marketplace Appoints Former Bank of America Executive Justine Metz Head of Marketing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace today announced it has appointed Justine Metz as Executive Vice President of Marketing.

Metz brings more than 25 years of marketing experience and joins Prosper from SRS Acquiom, a financial firm that specializes with M&A transactions. Prior to that, Justine served as Head of Global Wealth and Investment Management Marketing and Sales Support at Bank of America, where she was responsible for driving growth, profitability and loyalty for Bank of America’s Wealth Management business, Merrill Lynch and US Trust. She has also held senior positions at Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and GE Capital (GEFA).

MoneyLion Secures $ 42 Million Investment to Accelerate Growth (BusinessWire), Rated: A

MoneyLion, the digital personal finance platform for the financial middle class, announced today it has secured a $42 million Series B funding, led by Edison Partners. Existing investors FinTech Collective and Grupo SURA, as well as new investors Greenspring Associates and Danhua Capital also participated in the round. All told, MoneyLion has now raised $67 million in equity financing.

The latest investment follows rapid growth of the MoneyLion platform, which has surpassed 1.5 million users and has experienced 178% compounded growth in revenue since 2015. The company, which is cash flow positive, plans on using the growth capital to increase investment in technology and continue to expand its product line.

How Tech Sends Clients Running Back to Human FAs (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

While investors have been using digital tools as an entry into financial planning, they’re simply inundated by too much data and eventually turn to human advisors for help, Cerulli Associates says, according to the publication.

Nonetheless, investors’ appetite for digital advice isn’t subsiding: digital platforms were expected to reach $220 billion in client assets by the end 2017 and more than $600 billion by the end of 2022, according to the report cited by FA magazine.

 

Celsius to replace traditional future exchanges like CME and CBOT with crypto lenders (LeapRate), Rated: A

Celsius, a blockchain powered lending and borrowing platform, just announced that it aims to replace big banks and futures exchanges, like the CME and CBOT, with crypto coin holders who will earn returns through lending. Using its platform, which will launch in Q1 2018, Celsius members can easily borrow coins at significantly reduced rates compared to traditional financial institutions, while lenders can earn automatic interest by holding coins in the Celsius Wallet.

Dubbed as “The Wallet That Pays Back”, registrants who deposit coins into the Celsius Wallet will receive up to 7% per year on loaned coins.

Celsius plans to offer a variety of powerful financial tools for crypto asset holders, including:

  • Peer-to-Peer Lending 
  • Peer-to-Peer Borrowing 
  • Crypto Shorting: Network members will be able to short crypto assets by borrowing coins from lenders almost instantaneously.
  • Global Credit 
  • Capital Protection: Celsius will provide protection for all coins, by collecting a portion of the principal interest amount from borrowers.

Crypto P2P lender Celsius readies for launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CELSIUS, an Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is set to launch during this quarter.

Lenders will receive up to seven per cent year by depositing coins into the Celsius Wallet that are lent out to the platform’s network of members, according to LeapRate.com.

2018’s Best Credit Cards & $ 7.4B in Extra Interest Following Fed Hikes (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

With millions of people making a financially themed resolution for 2018 and recent Fed rate hikes expected to cost credit card users an extra  Best For… Card Name Travel Rewards

The Mastermind Behind Chase’s Industry-Changing Sapphire Reserve Card Sets Her Sights on Banking (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Pam Codispoti had a dilemma. She’d been brought on by JPMorgan Chase & Co.to develop a credit card for affluent millennials in 2014—a time when no one thought the group wanted credit cards.

Chase’s response was the Sapphire Reserve. The $450-a-year card came with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 reward points and allowed holders to use them at a wide variety of hotels, airlines, restaurants, and more. Holders were also rewarded extra for spending in those categories, and even given a $300 annual travel credit.

CFPB 2018 outlook: More deregulation, more upheaval (American Banker), Rated: A

The first 11 months alone under former CFPB Director Richard Cordray saw a steady stream of enforcement actions and regulatory policies that by itself would make the bureau’s year more eventful than that of other agencies. That span also saw the Trump administration’s challenges to Cordray’s leadership, and the congressional repeal of the CFPB arbitration rule.

Indiana lawmaker files bill to cap payday loan interest rates at 36 percent (rtv6), Rated: A

State Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) filed on Tuesday the first of its kind legislation that would cap small loan finance charges at 36 percent.

Currently, the cap for payday loans in Indiana is 391 percent, according to Walker.

Indiana ranks 44th, among the worst in the nation, when it comes to bankruptcy and Hoosiers and their communities lose about $70 million a year in payday loan fees, according to the Indiana Institute for Working Families.

If in case you have debt, keep away from this massive mistake many debtors make (Kaplan Herald), Rated: B

In June, cumulative U.S. household debt reached $12.84 trillion, a $114 billion increase from the first quarter.

Four 4 in 5 Americans are in the red, according to data from a provided exclusively to CNBC.

United Kingdom

Victory Park Capital fund exits Prosper loans (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £336.8m VPC Specialty Lending fund has sold its total holding in Prosper marketplace loans, representing 4.1 per cent of the Company’s net asset value [NAV].

Valuing Funding Circle (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Back in 2014, Lending Club and OnDeck were riding high. The American startups led a pack of online lending companies “disrupting” consumer and business loans respectively.

The hype reached fever-pitched as they floated within weeks of each other. Lending Club was valued at $5.4bn. OnDeck at $1.3bn.

So, hats off to Funding Circle, the British online lender that is preparing to follow in the footsteps of its struggling peers across the Atlantic.

Making the most of your money (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

AS INFLATION grows ahead of expectations, far too many savers are seeing the value of their hard-earned cash decline.

Recent research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that just under a third (30 per cent) of UK adults would not be able to cope if their mortgage repayments increased by £50 a month.

With the recent 0.25 per cent rate rise, it won’t be long before these households feel the squeeze.

The rise of P2P

UK savers and investors are also willing to back British businesses. Six in 10 (63 per cent) would be willing to lend to a business. Over a quarter (26 per cent) would lend to a business that could use their assets as security. A quarter (25 per cent) would lend to an established business that has been operating for a few years and 11 per cent would lend to a start-up business.

Click here for more information on ArchOver.

Folk2Folk Announces New CEO as Giles Cross Takes Over Leadership Role P2P Lending Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Folk2Folk, a unique peer to peer lending platform that combines physical locations with an online platform matching investors with small business loans, has announced the appointment of Giles Cross  Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Cross joined Folk2Folk as Chief Marketing Officer in June 2017.

 

Property Lender Financed Around 1,800 UK Homes in 2017 (Landlord News), Rated: A

LendInvest, a leading specialist property lender, lent £500m to help professional property investors, developers and landlords buy, build or renovate around 1,800 UK homes during 2017.

This marks a 33% increase on the previous year’s £375m lending record.

LendInvest has now lent a total of over £1.2 billion to property investors and developers.

High touch meets high tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FAIRNESS IS pivotal to Newable Lending’s ethos when it comes to lending – and it’s not afraid to nail its colours to the mast. The peer-to-peer business lender is a member of Responsible Finance, a trade body working to increase access to fair finance.

FCA financial advice director steps down (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

FCA director of life insurance and financial advice Linda Woodall has stepped down from the regulator.

The regulator understands she intends to retire. A replacement has yet to be appointed.

European Union

New EU financial market rules off to smooth start: Watchdog (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

The rollout of new European Union securities rules on Wednesday has been glitch-free so far, though disruptions in coming days and months cannot be ruled out, the bloc’s markets watchdog said.

But given the complexity and size of the reform, Esma could not rule out glitches in coming days or weeks, Maijoor said.

Rocky start for Europe’s financial market revamp (Handelsblatt Global), Rated: A

Even after a year-long delay, precious few experts fully understand the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, Europe’s biggest financial markets reform in almost a decade.

Among other key changes, and in a belated nod to technological progress, telephone-based trading will be replaced with electronic platforms in bonds and off-exchange derivatives. And consumers should immediately see financial advice standards rise.

Analysts estimate that MiFid II will cost $6 billion (€5 billion) to implement in the first five years.

Exclusive Interview with Fast Invest CEO Simona Vaitkune (ChipIn), Rated: A

We recently sat down with the CEO of Fast Invest, Simona Vaitkune to have a chat with her about the project as well as finding out her thoughts and insights.

Tell us about how you came up with the idea of Fast Invest. Did you face a problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Fast Invest to fill?

Everything started when I wanted not only to save money but to earn from my savings, to get passive income. I began to search for a platform which would fit me, but I could not find anything because I wanted to do it easily and safely without investing a lot of money.

What do you think is the biggest problem Fast Invest will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

Fast Invest is solving a problem that I mentioned before – complexity and large entry point of investment platforms. With Fast Invest, you can start investing from 1 Euro, Zloty or Pound. On top of that, you do not need to worry about your money, because we offer BuyBack and default guarantees.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes December 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintos finished a remarkable month fueled by the cashback promotion. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 582 million Euro.

This month I added PeerBerryLook&Fin and MyTripleA.

Source: P2P-Banking

Setting the Tone for 2018 in the Most Important Charts of 2017 (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

In 2017, lending startups around the world scored almost $4 billion in total funding, followed by $3.55 billion gathered by InsurTech startups, $3.24 billion invested in payments, and, of course, $850 million pocketed by startups building blockchain-based solutions.

Keep shoppers, the planet, and your profits happy by allowing in-store returns (Biz Report), Rated: A

Reverse-logistics firm Optoro found that nearly half (45%) of people will begin sending back unwanted items no sooner than the ripped up wrapping paper has been balled and binned. UPS recently forecast that returns would peak at 1.4 million packages on Wednesday 3 January, 2018, up 8% on last year and the fourth consecutive yearly increase. UPS said consumers returned more than 1 million packages a day to retailers last month.

According to Optoro’s report, the majority of returns (91%) will take place in-store. While total returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for U.S. retailers (Appriss Retail) the fact that most of those returns are happening in store is good news. More than half (57%) of shoppers who return items to a physical store make additional purchases during the process.

Could blockchains replace banks in real estate lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The startup Propy recently sold an apartment in the Ukraine through its blockchain, and in the last week of December it began letting Californians buy and sell properties on its blockchain using bitcoin. They will be able to use U.S. dollars next year.

ShelterZoom has built an Ethereum-based platform that went live Dec. 14. RealBlocks lets people invest in housing on its blockchain with fiat or digital currency (and starting in February 2018, its own tokens). It has completed seven deals so far.

RealBlocks lets people invest in rental properties like Section 8 housing over a blockchain.

It has also partnered with SALT Lending so that after February, participants will be able to take out a loan or line of credit using the tokens they buy from RealBlocks as collateral.

A blockchain could also facilitate crowdsourced mortgages. Instead of taking out a $200,000 loan from one lender, a borrower could get $2,000 each from 1,000 investors.

18 Blockchain Predictions for 2018 (Consensy), Rated: A

Bitcoin as a digital store of value is the least interesting use of blockchain … There, I said it.

A Loan

Source: Consensys

An Initial Public Offering or Crowdfunding

Source: Consensys

10. People will take control of their online identities

We will continue to see the growing trend wherein people, companies, and machines manage their identity self-sovereignly rather then by a third party service provider like a bank, Facebook, or another internet service provider.

Interestingly, governments will increasingly find themselves as attestors to these self-sovereign identities, similar to how Zug, Switzerland is attesting to citizens identity usage with uPort, Ethereum leading self-sovereign identity solution.

11. In 2018, governments and regulatory bodies will mandate the use of blockchain to track and trace high value assets.

Major Fortune 50 companies are already demanding public chain track and trace use cases for which they are using the Viant platform to build their solutions.

18. The total market cap of blockchain-based digital assets will exceed $2 trillion U.S. dollars by January 1, 2019.

The price of ether will exceed $2,000 in 2018. Ether will continue to outperform bitcoin, and the total market cap of ether will exceed that of bitcoin in 2018.

8 fintech trends on our radar for 2018 (O’Reilly Media), Rated: B

  1. AI will be implemented across the stack
  2. New products will make advanced analytics easier
  3. Blockchain technologies will be used in financial services products
  4. Data partnerships will increase
  5. We’ll see even greater regionalization and regulation in payments – This is an area where both startups and global companies are flourishing. The technologies, protocols, and players vary by region. I’m amazed by how widely used QR codes are in China (WeChat and Alipay) and the rest of the world (GoPay in Southeast Asia, Paytm in India). For companies operating in the EU, PSD2 is a new 2018 regulation aimed at fostering innovation and competition in the payments industry.
  6. Customer experience will be increasingly mobile
  7. There will be increased pressure around privacy and security
  8. More quants will be analyzing or trading cryptocurrencies
Australia

Can a fintech lending firm disrupt the big four? (Asiamoney), Rated: AAA

As CVs for Australian bankers go, Jason Yetton’s background doesn’t quite scream ‘disruptor’. High-flyer perhaps, certainly ambitious and across trends. But helming a startup?

Two years on from Westpac and now running SocietyOne, the Sydney-based loans fintech that is one of Australia’s more prominent financial startups, the mid-career Yetton seems to bite with near evangelistic fervour the very hand of establishment banking that once nourished him.

Australian banking is backward in many critical areas, Yetton tells Asiamoney. He wants to see a tech-led democratization that would revolutionize payments and settlement, as well as lending, data and information infrastructure, while allowing customers to switch banks without penalty.

The current system preserves the status quo, Yetton says, in which the formidable foursome control 80% to 85% of Australia’s banking market and from which they earned a collective A$32 billion ($24 billion) in the 2017 financial year.

India

Funds Raised By Indian Startups Hit Three-Month Low (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funds raised by Indian startups hit a three-month low, as four startups together managed to raise just around $10 million last week. That compares with $36 million raised by 10 startups the week before in angel, seed or venture capital funding.

Online lending firm Lendingkart Finance Ltd. raised around $3.7 million (Rs 25 crore) from the country’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India to grow its loan books, the company said in a statement.

Indian start-up ecosystem on a growth path in 2018 (Outlook), Rated: A

India’s start-up eco-system has been growing at a rapid pace and has all the right ingredients to support the fast paced economic growth of the country. With an addition of 1000 start-ups in the year 2017, the start-ups have played a big role in the growth of the Indian economy, making it a major source of employment, innovation and industrialisation.

i2ifunding, India’s second largest P2P lending platform plans to expand its business across the country, instead of focussing on metro cities.

Asia

LaLa World Global to Launch $ 10M Public Token Sale Jan. 5 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup LaLa World is pleased to announce the long anticipated launch of the Lala Token sale to commence on January 5, 2018 and to run through February 5, 2018. A total of 150 Million LALA Tokens will be released in an initial coin sale (ICO) starting this Friday.

LALA World Products from their Financial Ecosystem Include:

  1. LALA Transfer – A Peer-to-Peer local and global remittance backed by crypto as well as fiat.
  2. LALA Bill Pay – Local and International bill payments for you and your family.
  3. LALA Lends – Domestic and International peer-to-peer lending via crypto and fiat, individual and small businesses.
  4. LALA Card – Crypto and Fiat card synced to your Wallet and usable at millions of PoS globally.
  5. LALA Kit – Contains a mobile phone with pre-loaded LALA Wallet, LALA Insurance, LALA Card, partners’ products, etc.

LaLa World is a wholesome financial ecosystem for the unbanked, starting with migrants and their families back home. Investors can purchase LaLa Tokens here: 

8 promising Fintech Startups in Singapore to Watch in 2018 (Fintech News), Rated: A

  1. MyCash Online is an online marketplace designed for migrant workers in Malaysia and Singapore.
  2. Instarem is a remittance startup that aims to offer fast, safe and cost effective cross border money transfer services for individuals and businesses from countries including Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore to more than 25 countries.
  3. Singapore Life is a new life insurance firm which commenced its operations in 2017 by providing insurance solutions via its online platform.
  4. soCash has developed a solution that allows people to withdraw cash at small businesses part of its “Cashpoints” network. The solution plugs into the mobile apps of banks.
  5. Bluzelle Networks is a blockchain startup that’s building a decentralized, on-demand, scalable database for decentralized applications.
  6. TenX is a cryptocurrency payment platform that consists of a wallet, physical debit card, bank account, ATM access and more.
  7. AGDelta is a Singapore headquartered fintech software company specialized in digital wealth management.
  8. Flywire, formerly peerTransfer, is a provider of international payment solutions headquartered in Boston with operations in Singapore, China, Australia, Spain and the UK.
Canada

New payday loan rules still too soft, says group (CBC.ca), Rated: A

On Monday, New Brunswick became the eighth Canadian province to introduce regulations governing the payday loan industry.

Earlier this week, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission announced a new set of regulations, including mandatory licensing for payday lenders, requiring then to display posters showing their rates, and making insurance on loans optional.

Lenders are also prohibited from issuing more than one loan at a time to the same consumer, or lending more than 30 per cent of the consumer’s net pay.

Under the new rules, the commission is able to take action against unlicensed lenders and those that fail to comply with legislation.

Africa

Kenya most lucrative market for fintech top staff in Africa (Business Daily), Rated: AAA

Kenya is the most attractive market in Africa for workers in the fintech industry with new data showing that companies pay the highest salaries in comparison to their peers on the continent.

In a recent survey, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) found that executives and senior managers working for Kenyan fintech companies earn each a base monthly salary of Sh2 million (Sh24.6 million or $238,509 annually) and Sh1.2 million (Sh14.2 million or $137,303 annually), respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor