Monday January 8 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace banking

News Comments Today’s main news: Texas regulator sends cease & desist order to BitConnect. UK wins race for tech investment. Tencent licensed to sell mutual funds to WeChat users. Wishfin to raise $50M. FINTQ goes beyond lending. Today’s main analysis: Strategies banks, credit unions must implement this year (a must-read). Today’s thought-provoking articles: How the tech giants are going […]

marketplace banking

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Securities Regulator Issues C&D to UK Based Cryptocurrency Marketplace BitConnect & Planned ICO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Texas State Securities Boardhas issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order targeting BiConnect, a UK based cryptocurrency platform. BitConnect is planning a new initial coin offering (ICO) later this month and Texas is stating the tokens are unregistered securities.

The Texas regulators say BitConnecthas placed 9.4 million of the coins into the online cryptocurrency marketplace, representing a market value of $4.1 billion as of Jan. 3 and expects to issue a maximum of 28 million coins.

The tech giants are coming for your customers (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Lost in all this was an inescapable fact: Big tech firms like Amazon don’t need a charter to disrupt the banking industry. Indeed, they are already changing it.

Amazon has done more than $1 billion in small-business lending since it first started offering loans. In 2017, it launched Amazon Cash, which effectively allows it to take cash deposits from customers via ubiquitous convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Sheetz. Other tech firms, including Apple and Samsung, offer their own payment apps.

If banks effectively end up as utilities to larger tech firms, they will lose out. McKinsey forecasts manufacturing will produce only 35% of profits in finance, a return on equity of 4.4%. Distribution, meanwhile, will produce 65% of profits, with a return on equity of 20%.

It’s not clear what tech giants have in store next, but they will likely push the limits of traditional finance. It’s not hard to imagine the Bank of Alexa, enabling customers to move money and pay bills just by shouting at the Amazon Echo in their living rooms.

The year of digital is upon us (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

With that, these are our top 10 market structure trends to watch in 2018:

MiFID II soft launches

You’re probably thinking, “It’s not a soft launch—MiFID II is the law of the land now!” That is technically true, of course. And for better or worse, even though the SEC has provided U.S. firms with “no-action relief” from some European rules, Europe’s regulators don’t have the no-action relief lever that U.S. regulators became so fond of using as they implemented Dodd-Frank. However, MiFID II is so wide-reaching and impactful, it is unreasonable to think European regulators can or will crack down on imperfect compliance as the year gets underway.

Active investing is still huge, but passive keeps growing

However, Greenwich Associates research in 2017 found that most portfolio managers see 40% of assets in passive as the limit, compared to today’s 22%—that is a huge opportunity for growth.

Alternative data becomes less alternative

Ninety percent of investors using alternative data today tell Greenwich Associates they’ve see a positive return on their investment.

And while the alpha to be captured via alternative data is set to grow, the sheer quantity of data available to drive investment decisions is growing exponentially faster.

Data matters more than trading

But even in these and other cases where some data is made public, individual market participants can only find real value when also examining trades that failed, RFQs that were lost and orders that never left the blotter. Even equity exchanges will need to up their game, as the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) reporting requirements finally become a reality and MiFID II makes the market more transparent than ever before. Selling data is great, but helping clients to understand what it really means to them is even better. Inject the growing focus on indices (following several notable acquisitions in 2017) as passive investing grows, and things really start to get interesting.

Wealth management comes out of retirement

Robo-advisors are an opportunity, not a threat.

The move to fee-based accounts couldn’t have come at a better time, with this never-ending bull market generating wealth for investors that, in turn, generate fees for their managers. However, if the market decides to correct, as baby boomers pull out more money than millennials put in, this party might not last forever.

Podcast 133: Rosemary Kelley of Kroll Bond Rating Agency (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How KBRA got started and how their focus has evolved.
  • When marketplace lending first got on Rosemary’s radar.
  • What made KBRA comfortable enough to be able to provide their first rating in the space.
  • How KBRA has become the leader in rating unsecured consumer lending deals.
  • What has been driving the growth of securitization in marketplace lending.
  • What does the tightening of spreads tell us about investor appetite.
  • How platforms creating their own shelf has changed how these deals get done.
  • Why the deals that have breached their triggers have not tempered investor demand.
  • Some best practices for a platform doing their first securitization.
  • What leads to KBRA deciding to upgrade a deal.
  • Rosemary’s thoughts on the macro environment and how it will impact consumer credit.
  • What platforms can do to mitigate a slow down in securitization markets.
  • What Rosemary thinks about the competitive environment in marketplace lending.

Roostify’s Rajesh Bhat: ‘We’re still in the first quarter of the online mortgage game’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Why did you enter the digital mortgage space?
That first year, we spent the entire year looking for a home to buy and it was an entirely painful and traumatic experience. Born out of that was the idea behind Roostify. That’s where we began building out the solution we have today.

Why are mortgages so hard to digitize?
The eligibility aspect is complex. Once eligibility is determined, the fulfillment process is equally complex — if not more. Those two things coupled with the fact that on a normal year over half the mortgages issued have a real estate transaction integrally tied to the mortgage transaction make it very complex.

Where are we in the evolution of the digital mortgage?
If this is a four quarter game, we’re still in the first quarter. The evolution has been, and will continue to be, driven by the consumer. Banks recognize that consumers are willing to do certain tasks themselves to drive this process. Companies are launching now that really understand the consumer pain points and they’re delivering to that as opposed to banks’ pain points.

YieldStreet brings new opportunities to smaller investors (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Rather than cut a $20,000 check to access one opportunity, what if you could use that amount to diversify across 30 deals? Mr. Mehere asked himself that question back in 2014 when consumer P2Ps, small business financing platforms and real estate companies were gaining footholds online.

YieldStreet launched in April 2015 with 80 investments across various asset classes. The idea has proven attractive to retail investors, from whom they have raised $240 million.

They have returned more than 100,000 individual payments and in excess of $80 million in principal and interest to investors. 15 of the original 80 investments have fully matured without a loss.

Wells Fargo’s 2017 Silver Lining Is Drop in CFPB Complaints (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Complaints lodged against the lender with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau through Dec. 15 dropped 18 percent from the same period of 2016, the steepest decline among major banks, federal figures show. Still, it remained first among that group in total complaints.

Source: Bloomberg

Seven of the 10 biggest banks by U.S. deposits experienced a drop in CFPB complaints compared with the 2016 period, including Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Bank of America Corp.

10 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loans (Quicken Loans), Rated: A

You might have a million questions running through your head. Luckily, we reached out to the experts at RocketLoans to answer these 10 frequently asked questions about personal loans.

What Is a Personal Loan?

Also known as an “unsecured loan,” a personal loan isn’t backed by collateral like a mortgage or car loan.

What Is a Personal Loan with Collateral?

If you don’t have a credit score that’s between the 600 and 700+ range that most personal lenders look for, some lenders might offer you a secured personal loan, also known as a collateral loan.

How Much Can I Borrow and How Long Can I Borrow?

Depending on the lender and your personal financial situation, personal loans can average between $5,000 and $15,000, with a maximum of $35,000 and terms between 24 and 60 months.

What Is an Origination Fee, and How Much Is It?

An origination fee can range from 1% to 6% depending on the lender and, like your interest rate, is based on your credit and length of the loan. Like the interest rate, the higher the credit score, the lower the origination fee.

Chord of Confidence: Making Real Estate Agents Look Like Rock Stars (RISMedia), Rated: A

Quicken Loans is the largest online mortgage lender and the second-largest retail mortgage lender in the United States, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

Putting Agents at the Center of the Transaction
To make the mortgage process better for consumers, Quicken Loans executives turned their attention to working hand-in-hand with real estate agents, their most powerful ally, says Tom Dempsey, divisional vice president of Business Development with Quicken Loans.

The centerpiece of this effort: MyQL Agent Insight, a custom back-end platform that increases loan visibility by letting agents see exactly where their client stands in the loan approval process.

Service, Technology Part of a Broader Culture
What exactly makes Quicken Loans different from its competitors? It starts with the company’s culture of service and the many “ISMs,” or ideals, the company strives to work and live by, Dempsey says.

Some of the standout ISMs include “Do the right thing,” “Every second counts,” and “Simplicity is genius.”

Q-text
A texting service that allows agents to receive text updates on the status of their clients’ loans, keeping agents up-to-date on each step in the process while they’re on-the-go.

Elevating the Consumer Experience
Quicken Loans has evolved in its 33-year history as a direct lender.

In its first full year of operation, Rocket Mortgage funded more than $7 billion of the record $96 billion in total closed loan volume in 2016 for Quicken Loans.

Rocket Mortgage clients have gone from application to closing in as little as eight days on refinance loans, and 16 days on the purchase side, according to internal data. In contrast, the industry’s average closing time on new purchase loans is about 45 days.

President of the Jason Mitchell Group at My Home Group Real Estate in Scottsdale, Ariz., Mitchell has closed more than 900 transactions and over $215 million in sales volume since 2012. More than 65 percent of that business came from clients who used Quicken Loans, Mitchell says.

Source: RISMedia

FormFree’s AccountChek Asset Report Meets Underwriting Guidelines for VA Loans (PR Newswire), Rated: A

FormFree today announced that asset reports generated by its AccountChek® automated asset verification service meet all underwriting guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for loans guaranteed by its Loan Guaranty Service. The announcement follows the VA’s December 29, 2017 release of Circular 26-17-43, which was issued in response to increasing lender interest in automated verification of borrower assets for VA loans.

AccountChek eliminates the burden of gathering asset documents for loans by letting consumers easily and securely transmit their online banking, retirement and investment account data for automated analysis. In just minutes, AccountChek delivers asset data to lenders in a standardized report along with a ReIssueKey that enables secure and streamlined sharing with the secondary market. The result is an easier, safer and more accurate process that closes loans up to 20 days faster, provides a better borrower experience and circumvents a host of common “hiccups” that plague manual asset verification.

4 Best Investments To Make In 2018 (Forbes), Rated: A

#1: The Stock Market

One company I always suggest is Betterment. With Betterment, your money can be invested in ETFs and they don’t charge a fee for managing these for you. Plus, they actually pick the ETFs you invest in based on your appetite for risk, investing goals, and other factors.

Plus, there are a multitude of other “robo-advisors” to choose from.

#2: Peer-to-Peer Lending

A second place to stash some of your excess cash this year is in peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club and Prosper. With these companies, you’re able to loan money to individuals in small increments as if you were the bank. The best part is, you get to earn a pretty decent rate of return – usually upward of 6% or more.

#3: Real Estate

One option I’m really excited about is a company called Fundrise. Fundriseoffers an investing scenario similar to the one above. They buy commercial properties and allow investors to invest small sums of money. Obviously, this is yet another hands-off investment. You may own part of a commercial real estate project, but you don’t even see or deal with the property itself.

Like Lending Club, Fundrise requires an upfront sum of around $1,000 to get started.

Fundrise claims its returns have averaged between 8.76% up to 12.42% over the last five years.

Payday Loan Mogul Trades Ferrari-Racing Life for Prison Term (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Scott Tucker says he’s a pioneering self-made man who, without a college degree, founded successful businesses in a variety of fields and contributed billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. A judge says he’s an unrepentant fraud and sentenced him to almost 17 years in prison.

Jurors found the men guilty of collecting unlawful debts, using misleading contracts and falsely stating that the businesses were owned and operated by Native American tribes. That bogus claim helped them get around state laws that prohibited the business practices, the U.S. said. The scam ran from 1997 to 2013, Castel said.

From 2008 to 2012 alone, Tucker victimized 4.65 million people, according to prosecutors, collecting $1.3 billion in illegal interest payments as some people paid a total of almost $1,000 to settle a $300 loan.

Ad Valorem! The Future of Niche Reserve Based Value Investing and Lending is Here (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Valorem Foundation, the community peer-to-peer platform for multi-party transactions, is launching soon. It is a new blockchain-based platform that allows users to exchange value via smart contracts. Once on the platform, users can borrow, lend, invest, transfer, and exchange money between each other, creating a trust-based platform that removes the need for 3rd-party services or external vendors.

One of Valorem’s products, the Microloan, has been quite successful because of the platform’s risk distribution system and foundation on smart contract-based functionality. Its feature of spreading loan default risk over multiple people forces people in the Valorem community to make smarter choices about buying products like cars, student loans, and insurance.

Marine Corps Vet Earns OnDeck Small Business Spotlight (Guru Focus), Rated: B

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced that digital agency Majestyk Apps, led by Marine Corps veteran Donald Coolidge, has been selected as the OnDeck Small Business of the Month for January 2018.

United Kingdom

UK shrugs off Brexit worries by winning race for technology investment (Express.co.uk), Rated: AAA

Venture capital funding in UK technology firms was nearly £3billion, more than double the amount invested in Germany and France combined.

London technology drew the most. Its £2.45billion was more than the other top 10 cities put together, according to funding database Pitchbook for London & Partners figures.

Fintech, or financial technology, attracted £1.34billion in venture capital funding, with TransferWise and Funding Circle investment, while artificial intelligence companies raised a record £488million, more than double 2016.

Brexit cynics were wrong about London’s fintech companies (Quartz), Rated: A

Below the surface there are reasons to be concerned, but the data so far looks positive. UK companies raised $7.7 billion last year, more than double that of 2016, according to Dealroom. Fintech companies raked in $2.9 billion, the biggest share. TransferWise raised £211 million ($286 million) while Funding Circle took in £81.9 million, according to lobby group London & Partners.

Source: Quartz

Attitudes across Europe are diverging. While the UK is the No. 1 destination for investment, entrepreneurs in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg (Benelux) are substantially more positive about the future of Europe’s tech scene than their peers in Britain: 70% of the former are more optimistic than they were 12 months ago, compared with 42% in the UK and Ireland, according to a survey by venture capital firm Atomico.

Olivier Goy, founder of crowd-lending platform Lendix, says he’s even more positive about France’s potential than he was after the poll.

A risky P2P opportunity for 2018 (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

Returns from investing directly in the biggest platforms, including Zopa, Ratesetter and Funding Circle, averaged 5.4% including losses from defaults, according to analytics firm AltFi Data.

For example, P2PGI moved from a premium of 15% to a discount of 15% – ie, the share price now trades at 15% below the net asset value (NAV) of the fund’s investments.

Funding Circle’s SME Income fund trades at a small premium (around 2%) to NAV, and has delivered returns equivalent to a 5.6% yield on the current share price.

As for bonds, Lendinvest – a property lending platform – issued the first listed retail bond from a P2P platform, raising £50m at a yield of 5.25%. This was well received and is now trading at a small premium of 2%.

China

Tencent gets a licence to sell mutual funds to WeChat’s 1 billion users in China (SCMP), Rated: AAA

The Shenzhen Bureau of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the nation’s top securities watchdog, has given Tencent subsidiary Tengan Funds Sales (Shenzhen) the licence to sell funds directly.

Before gaining the licence, the tech giant was only able to act as a platform for fund houses and third-party fund sales companies to sell their products through qian.qq.com, its online wealth managing platform and its popular instant messaging tool, WeChat. Qian.qq.com is for users to access the service on PC, while a similar service on WeChat is for mobile users.

Also on Thursday, the tech giant launched the promotion of a new service that will allow users to pay their credit card bills via using the money-market funds available on Licaitong, or WeChat’s wealth management app.

Users will avoid having to pay a 0.1 per cent charge on a credit card payment of more than 5,000 yuan (US$770) monthly. Tencent is also offering users cash incentives, capped at 88.88 yuan, for those who use the promotal service until February.

Chinese social network’s stock jumps 47% after it says it’s raising money through cryptocurrency (CNBC), Rated: A

The share price of Chinese social network Renren has almost doubled after the company said it was raising money through a digital currency sale.

The company, headquartered in China and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, saw its stock climb 47.39 percent to $18.32 a share by the close of the U.S. trading session Wednesday.

Renren is looking to raise funds through an initial coin offering (ICO), according to a white paper released Tuesday.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On January 2, 2018, the Shenzhen Securities Regulatory Bureau issued this year’s first fund sales license to internet giant Tencent Holdings, or more specifically Teng An Information Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.

The Nansha District Government Affairs Service Center in Guangzhou introduced “WeChat Police Certified” face recognition technology and issued China’s first WeChat ID card on December 26, 2017.

According to Bloomberg News, insiders said some loans on HNA’s P2P platform Jbh.com have been faced with deferred payment since last November. Jbh.com offers products like fixed income, P2P lending, insurance and funds on its app.

European Union

20 of Europe’s hottest fintech start-ups to watch in 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

Advanon is an online platform for invoice-financing SMEs. The platform enables SMEs to better manage their cash flows and focus on their core business. Founded in 2015 by Philip Kornmann, Phil Lojacono and Stijn Pieper, Advanon has raised $3.9m in funding so far, including a $3.5m Series A round from Btov Partners, VI Partners and Swisscom Ventures.


Circle is a P2P payments platform founded by Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire. Using the technology – available as an app on iOS and Android devices or even through a Circle app for iMessage – users can send and receive P2P payments with native euro support. Circle also claims to be the first and only cross-border payments platform in the world to make it possible to beam cash from an app into a US bank account at no cost.

Founded by Marc Murphy, Fenergo offers solutions for client life-cycle management, anti-money laundering, regulatory compliance and client data management.

A fast-growing fintech company, ID Finance specialises in online lending in emerging and growing markets.

Regarded as one of Europe’s most valuable fintech firms, Klarnaprovides online payment services for e-commerce sites in order to eliminate the risk for buyer and seller.

Monzo has more than 20,000 current-account holders and the start-up bank has amassed something of a cult-like following in the UK, with almost 500,000 people using its distinctive hot coral cards and thousands more on the waiting list. It was founded in 2015 by Gary Dolman, Tom Blomfield, Jason Bates, Jonas Huckestein and Paul Rippon. Stripe, the payments company founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison in San Francisco, joined Goodwater Capital and investor Michael Moritz (through his charitable investment vehicles) in a recent £71m investment round, joining existing investors Eileen Burbidge’s Passion Capital as well as Orange Digital Ventures and Joshua Kushner’s Thrive Capital in the round.

Founded in 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, Revolut is an app-based banking alternative with a multi-currency card.

TransferMate was founded in 2010 to reduce international payments costs for business customers and has since developed a wide regulatory footprint in Europe. So far, more than $10bn has been sent to more than 100 countries over the TransferMate platform.

TransferWise was founded in 2011 by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, and provides international money transfer.

Wefox, also known as FinanceFox, is a next-generation insurance app built entirely on the Salesforce platform.

Younited Credit wants to build the biggest crowd-lending platform in continental Europe. Currently live in Spain, France and Italy, consumers can borrow between $1,200 and $48,000 without the need to talk to a bank. So far, it has managed more than $600m in loans. Founded by Charles Egly, Geoffroy Guigou and Thomas Beylot, Younited recently raised $47.8m in a Series F funding round led by Zencap Asset Management.

International

33 Strategies Banks and Credit Unions Must Implement in 2018 (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Below are the top 10 trends identified in the Digital Banking Report entitled, “2018 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions,” sponsored by Kony, Inc.. The comprehensive 106-page report is now available here.

1. Improve the Consumer Experience

2. Expand Use of Data and Analytics

Immediate Strategies:

  1. Break down the barriers within your organization that perpetuate data silos. Only after silos are eliminated can advanced analytics be the most effective.
  2. Establish a data analytics function or partner with an outside organization to provide help in improving the actionability of your data.
  3. Replace timed marketing ‘programs’ with ongoing marketing ‘processes,’ leveraging real-time data to take advantage of immediate opportunities.
  4. Test the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) beyond risk and fraud analysis, including offer generation and bundling of services.

4. Embrace Open Banking

Immediate Strategies:

  1. Review existing data privacy mandates and potential changes, determining the risk/benefit appetite for new marketplace opportunities.
  2. Explore data-sharing possibility with fintech and non-financial services firms to be prepared for imminent changes.
  3. Build an API strategy for both third-party data access and potential service offerings outside traditional banking ecosystem.

5. Build Fintech Partnerships

Immediate Strategies:

  1. Foster a top-down culture of innovation, testing and understanding the digital consumer.
  2. Investigate partnerships and/or collaboration with fintech firms for products and processes not currently possible within the banking organization.
  3. Replace all or a portion of legacy systems, integrating new technologies while embracing an agile IT culture. This action step has been put on the back burner for years which is hurting many organizations.
  4. Consider having an online lender power the organization’s online loan application, to using an online lender’s credit model to better underwrite and service bank loan applications.

Marketplace Lending News Roundup – January 6 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Funding Circle poised for £1bn float from Peer2Peer Finance News – We begin the year with news that Funding Circle is preparing to go public, possibly in Q3.

The Tech Majors are coming? Really? from AltFi – Interesting take from David Stevenson on why Amazon and Google may not come to dominate finance.

How Blockchain Will Revolutionize Invoice-Backed Financing from Let’s Talk Payments – We’re going to hear a lot about blockchain disrupting industries in 2018, here is a take on invoice finance.

Can blockchain technology revive peer-to-peer lending? from American Banker – Blockchain has given rise to a new breed of online lending platforms. Penny Crosman delves into this phenomenon.

VPC continues shift away from P2P with sale of Prosper loans from P2P Finance News – The publicly traded Victory Park fund in the UK has divested its portfolio of Prosper loans.

Finastra bolsters global capital markets team (Asset Servicing Times), Rated: B

Finastra has appointed Pedro Porfirio as global head of capital markets.

Pedro will be responsible for driving the growth of Finastra’s capital markets business line, focusing on treasury, capital markets, and investment management.

Australia/New Zealand

Would you take money advice from a computer? (NZ Herald), Rated: A

Kiwis are set to start getting financial “robo-advice” this year — a move tipped to help those on lower incomes but which some are warning comes with risks.

Investment watchdog the Financial Markets Authority is expected to open applications for exemptions to provide digital advice around KiwiSaver, insurance and mortgages early this year.

Research by the FMA has found most of those who get financial advice in New Zealand have assets of more than $200,000, raising concerns that people with lower incomes and assets are missing out.

India

Consumer loans marketplace Wishfin looks to raise up to $ 50m (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Online marketplace for consumer loans and other financial products Wishfin will raise up to $50 million in its next round of funding as it looks to make acquisitions in niche segments, a top company official said.

The company claims to have 9 million customers and $3 billion worth of disbursals to date.

Plan to save in 2018? Refer to these new age investment options (siasat.com), Rated: B

The quick returns that one gets through investments in cryptocurrencies have caught everyone’s attention.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in India currently gives a net return of 18-22 percent to lenders.

People are becoming investors and expanding investment portfolio by investing small ticket size in different startups. Venture Catalysts, India’s first integrated incubator, emerging as largest investor of the year with closing 33 investment in this year.

APAC

PLDT’s fintech unit going beyond lending (Inquirer.net), Rated: AAA

FINTQ, the financial technology (fintech) arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations, disbursed more than P12 billion in new loans through its digital lending platform, Lendr, last year or nearly a third higher than the year-ago level.

With more than the P12 billion disbursed last year, total disbursement has reached about P27 billion since Lendr came to market in 2015, Villanueva said.

With Fintech, Pakistan set to dismantle barriers to branchless banking (Tribune), Rated: A

In an effort to promote fintech, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) – the telecom regulator – has decided to award Third Party Service Providers’ licences by June or July 2018, which will pave way for inter-operability between cellular mobile operators and ramp up financial inclusion all over the country.

At present, Telenor’s Easypaisa, Jazz’s Mobicash and United Bank Limited’s Omni are providing mobile-based branchless banking services. However, their customers cannot transfer money from one service to another.

The new platform will help dismantle existing barriers that prevent digital wallets (branchless bank account-holders) from sending money to different bank accounts. Users will be able to make transactions from wallet to wallet or wallet to the bank account.

Fintech firm Avaloq’s chairman streamlines his role to focus on China expansion and possible listing (SCMP), Rated: B

The chairman of Switzerland-based financial technology company Avaloq will focus on expanding business in China and Asia as well as preparing for a possible stock exchange listing, after handing over his chief executive duties.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday July 31 2017, Daily News Digest

credit card issuers

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter tops 2B GBP in lending. P2P Global Investments holds steady. P2P Finance Association reports new lending growth. One of China’s largest P2P lenders quits. BNI Europa invests 15M Euro in Creditshelf. Marqeta, Visa partner on global payments. Prospa secures $20M debt facility. Today’s main analysis: Bank and credit card issuer charge-off trends. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

credit card issuers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

News Summary

United States

Earnings Season Continues—Bank and Card Issuer Charge-Off Trends (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

As PeerIQ observed last quarter, we continue to see a “tale of two cities”–a divergence in charge-off rates of card issuers and large money center banks.

Discover reported a 55% increase in loan loss reserves citing re-normalization of credit performance, an increased supply of consumer credit, and an increase in consumer leverage. We also see observe increases in loan loss reserves from Synchrony Financial (30%), American Express (26%), and Capital One (13%).

Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg

Outlook for Consumer Lending 

The backdrop for consumer lending businesses is strong. Although delinquencies have picked up, originators remain compensated for taking on credit risk. The ROE for Discover and American Express are both over 20% as compared to C, JPM, WFC, and BAC where ROE remains stubbornly low in the 6 to 11% range. Also, consumer loan demand continues to grow (total loan requests on Lending Tree increased 48% year-over-year to 5.4 Mn).

The biggest challenge to the above state-of-play is the latest scale entrant to the retail banking business–Goldman Sachs. GS’s new lending business, Marcus, is on pace to originate $2 Bn in loans this year–the fastest growth rate of any lender that PeerIQ tracks.

Inside seven plans for a faster U.S. payments system (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A task force convened by the Federal Reserve has released its evaluations of 16 proposals to build a faster U.S. payment system. The plans were judged by the task force’s consulting firm, McKinsey & Co., based on how well they satisfied 36 criteria related to speed, security and other attributes.

EastWest ties up with PLDT unit (Inquirer.net), Rated: A

Gotianun-led EastWest Banking Corp. has teamed up with FINTQ, the technology arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations, to offer consumer loans through digital lending platform Lendr.

With this partnership, consumer-focused lender EastWest will make available personal loans and auto loans through Lendr by the fourth quarter of this year. Eventually, the offering will also include EastWest home loans, small and medium enterprise (SME) loans and credit cards.

Providing well-rounded financial advice and servicing through automated technologies (CGI.com), Rated: A

While robo-advice may account for only a fraction of the total assets under management today, it is a technology that is here to stay—but not in the way that has dominated news stories. Rather than supplanting the financial advisor with technology, firms need to leverage new multi-channel automation to empower their advisors to focus on value-added, relationship-building activities. In this paper, we look at how wealth management players can focus on getting to the right combination of human advisors and automated investment advisory solutions in a hybrid model that seamlessly integrates the two.

Read the paper here.

Overstock’s TØ Has Already Built a Platform for Trading Regulated ICOs (Coindesk), Rated: A

US retail giant Overstock.com has been waiting for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to tell the world exactly when a crypto token is a security.

Then, earlier this week, tØ got the news it had been waiting for when the SEC finally published the results of a landmark report in which it clearly laid out its rationale for why some tokens are still securities.

Long a detractor of a practice called “naked short selling” – where traders methodically bid down the price of stock by selling shares they haven’t first procured, Byrne set about using blockchain to cut out everyone who stood in the way of buyers and sellers.

BLOCKCHAIN AND INITIAL COIN OFFERINGS: SEC PROVIDES FIRST U.S. SECURITIES LAW GUIDANCE (Pepper Hamilton LLP), Rated: A

For those who hoped that the SEC would allow cryptocurrency and ICO markets to evolve unregulated, their hopes were dashed by the report and the bulletin. The SEC did not outlaw ICOs by any stretch of the imagination, but it did indicate that, depending on the facts and circumstances, an ICO may indeed involve an offering of securities. In that case, organizations that proceed without registering with the SEC or that structure the offering in such a manner so as to qualify for an exemption from registration will violate federal securities laws. The remedies for such a violation include rescission of the offering, cease-and-desist orders, fines and penalties, bans from participating in the securities industry, bans on serving as an officer or director of a public company, and, in the most egregious cases, referral to the local U.S. Attorney for possible criminal prosecution. So, whether an offering involves a “security” is a very important initial determination.

Inside the development of Erica, Bank of America’s AI-powered bot (Tearsheet), Rated: A

However, when Bank of America got a sense of the vision for its AI-enabled “digital assistant,” called erica, it didn’t take the bank long to gather the resources necessary to make her real.However, when Bank of America got a sense of the vision for its AI-enabled “digital assistant,” called erica, it didn’t take the bank long to gather the resources necessary to make her real.

The bot is now in the beta testing phase.

Fintech Apps and Banking Mobile App Development for Startups (Upwork), Rated: A

Paypal is the world leader in processing payment apps today. The app for Android and iOS devices provides the same functionality as the online Paypal.com service.

A good choice for small businesses Due.com lets users benefit from a convenient digital wallet, invoicing service and fast operations handled at low transaction rates.

iZettle also efficiently serves small businesses. What this fintech app does perfectly is that it allows small business owners accept cash and credit card payments from a smartphone or tablet. With additional cash drawers and receipt printers from iZettle one can also provide customers with printed or online receipts.

Another interesting example of a successful fintech app is Mobikwik. Now with the base of 50 million users Mobikwik offers a user-friendly digital wallet, which has become a real substitute of a physical purse for its users worldwide.

In regards to the ways of making personal loans an easier experience for users, LendUp offers just one of them. It’s a web application (also available for mobile) that lets users from selected US states apply for a short-term loan 24/7.

Citi Mobile is one of the leading mobile apps for iOS and Android mobile devices introduced by Citibank. According to Business Insider, the app has significantly grown in popularity mainly due to addition of FICO scorefeature.

Rating the Robo-Advisors (Barrons), Rated: A

By tech start-up standards, robo-advisors are already approaching middle age. Betterment, the pioneering robo-advisor and still the largest of the independent firms, turned seven in May. It now has $9.1 billion in assets under management.

Lawmaker Queries Alt-Lenders With Concerns Over ‘Trapped’ Small Biz Borrowers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) has reportedly sent letters to five alternative SMB lending companies with questions regarding borrower protections, anti-discrimination efforts, transparency and other factors.

Cleaver is reportedly seeking details of the companies’ business models and products offered to small businesses, how those products are originated, information on fees and rates and whether these businesses offer borrowers a repayment plan based on future credit card receivables, reports said.

The lawmaker is also seeking information on how these lenders handle transparency and whether they make disclosures to SMBs the same way they do to consumers as required under the Truth in Lending Act. He is also asking about whether these firms pull a consumer credit report for small business lending.

The SEC’s ICO crackdown will help in the long-run. (The Financial Revolutionist Email), Rated: A

But unless your plan was to make a quick billion in ICOs in time to ring in 2018 with Payments deal activity is en fuego.

Also in payments land, 

What is “working capital”? And how can it help my small business? (OnDeck), Rated: A

For many business owners, it makes sense to borrow funds to create a liquid cash cushion to operate their business to the best of their ability. Before you decide to borrow, you need to understand what your working capital needs are and to make sure numbers make sense for you and your business.

3 Reasons Why the Finance Industry Needs VR (UploadVR), Rated: A

The finance industry is one of the most data-driven trades, and by visualizing and analyzing data in VR, early adopters can get a leg up on the competition. Not only can VR improve the way data is viewed, but it can also improve the level of communication through the use of a shared virtual office (SVO). This is immensely important because, in the high stakes world of finance, a mistake or lapse in communication could cost millions of dollars.

The Biggest Trends in Home Mortgage Loans We’ve Seen This Year (Huffington Post), Rated: B

Typical of hot real estate markets, there’s a cycle. Home prices rise, people catch on and want in, and then they decide to sell. Soon, even more people jump in the market and serious sellers make their sale, causing inventory to thin. Buyers get wise to the overheated marketplace and decide to wait until the prices come down. The sellers who are eager to make a buck overprice their houses and when they don’t sell, they become income properties. As a result, the rental markets fill up with income properties, and the inventory continues to thin out.

We are at historic lows for mortgage rates, and they are not going to spike that drastically in the next year that it would preclude you from getting a solid thirty-year fixed rate loan.  The important thing is that you do NOT overpay for a home.

GE Alum Brings Discipline to High-Growth Financial Firm (CFO), Rated: B

After 16 years at General Electric, Chris Capozzi was still a young man. That was because he’d joined the company upon graduating from Boston College, where he earned a degree in finance and management information systems.

Eventually, one of the alumni introduced Capozzi to Stone Point Capital, which had just become a major investor in Freedom Financial Network, a privately held financial services firm. Everything clicked with the company’s co-founders and co-CEOs, Bradford Stroh and Andrew Housser, so Capozzi moved across the country to start work as Freedom’s CFO at the beginning of this year.

What kinds of opportunities are you focused on?

Secondly, we’re in the process of developing a securitization platform to complement our existing sources of capital and further expand our investor base, which will enable the growth on the marketplace lending side. Initially the plan is to securitize unsecured consumer loans, very similar to what other marketplace lenders, like SoFi and Avant, have done.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter passes £2 billion lending milestone (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter announced on Monday that it has passed £2 billion in loans over its platform, with more than £1 billion of the total made since the beginning of 2016.

About £1.3 billion of the total lent has gone to individuals, with £700 million going to businesses. The company now has 423,000 customers, the majority of whom are borrowers, more than any other UK peer-to-peer lender.

P2P fund holds steady on dividend (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Onerous banking regulations will continue to hamper growth in regulatory capital‐intensive lending asset classes, according to the investment managers of the £821m P2P Global Investments trust.

The fund is moving away from a pure P2P play, instead transitioning more into direct lending and other Alternative Credit niches. Its manager MW Eaglewood is also merging with Pollen Street Capital, which while still on-going, is expected to close later this year subject to regulatory approval. Pollen Street is also the manager of £359m Honeycomb investment trust which invests in direct lending assets.

Source: AltFi Data

P2PFA reports growth in new lending as LendInvest departs (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

CUMULATIVE lending among the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) members in the second quarter of 2017 fell slightly to £8.39bn, due to LendInvest’s departure from the trade body.

However, new lending among the members has still grown significantly year on year, the P2PFA said on Friday.

The number of investors in P2PFA member-platforms has now hit 185,652, the trade body said, while the number of current borrowers has risen to 435,267.

UK P2PFA: Peer to Peer Lending Rises in Q2 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Q3 2016

Q4 2016

Q1 2017

Q2 2017

Folk2Folk

£139,344,302

£161,408,804

Funding Circle

£1,524,427,000

£1,830,397,245

£2,158,457,107

£2,455,740,443

Landbay

£42,948,000

£43,142,119

£43,975,419

£46,515,723

LendInvest

£776,112,000

£855,354,293

£971,875,952

Lending Works

£33,636,000

£39,368,050

£48,864,686

£58,441,220

MarketInvoice

£754,325,000

£837,793,900

£918,450,994

£1,018,021,696

RateSetter

£1,442,743,000

£1,604,406,564

£1,815,320,079

£1,995,142,453

ThinCats

£196,907,000

£211,446,000

£226,981,000

£242,540,000

Zopa

£1,731,685,000

£1,926,038,724

£2,172,561,894

£2,409,257,844

Total

£6,502,783,000

£7,347,946,895

£8,495,831,433

£8,387,068,183

The LendInvest bond promises to pay investors 5.25% with two payments a year until 2022 (This is Money), Rated: A

Alternative property lender and investment platform LendInvest has launched a five-year bond paying 5.25 per cent a year for investors with a minimum of £2,000.

In an era of one per cent savings rates and where yields ranging beyond 5 per cent are hard to come by in the equity markets, this deal is sure to whet the appetite of many investors – particularly as it comes with twice-yearly payouts.

LendInvest’s Christian Faes On Why Property Investing Is Still Going Strong (Forbes), Rated: A

According to Christian Faes, CEO and co-founder of LendInvest, the retail bond serves a number of purposes – it allows the business to diversify its funding and expand its capacity to lend to property professionals, but also creates a new entry point into property for investors.

He explains:

[The retail bond] is launching at a critical time when demand in the UK’s residential property market continues to outstrip supply. There’s a serious lack of capital available to professional property investors who buy, build, refurbish and renovate homes for UK streets. Our model allows us – and by extension our investors – to support these people and small businesses.

Faes says that it is difficult to pin down what a typical LendInvest investor looks like; the investor base ranges from those looking to build a portfolio of property loans on the firm’s online investment platform all the way up to pension funds, infrastructure funds and banks.

Fintech company DueCourse goes into administration (Manchester Evening News), Rated: A

Manchester fintech company DueCourse has called in administrators.

This comes less than a year after the cloud-based invoice financing service for SMEs was boosted by a £6.25m investment, the largest seen outside of London for a fintech firm.

Bosses said the money will be used to expand and grow its software with plans to raise a further £10-15m to grow its services worldwide.

Abundance Tops £50 Million in P2P Invesment into Renewable Energy Projects (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Abundance Investment, a UK based peer to peer lending platform in the renewable energy sector, has just topped £50 million in investment, according to a company report. Management said the “huge” popularity of its IFISA and three highly popular renewable projects from tidal, geothermal and energy efficiency technologies helped to fuel the recent growth. Abundance says three projects have attracted more than £10 million of new investment in less than 2 months.

  • Atlantis tidal energy debenture has sold out raising £4.3 million,
  • Green Deal bond will close in 4 days’ time and has raised £3.95 million to date
  • United Downs Geothermal project has raised 60% of its £3.8 million target (£2.7m) in less than a week.

New products and milestones for ethical P2P platforms (AltFi), Rated: A

Investors looking for ethical options now have more choices when it comes to peer-to-peer lending.

Lending platform Downing Crowd has launched two regular access crowd bonds, with one for a renewable energy generation and storage company.

Cash management and peer-to-peer lending could boost your balance sheet (Director), Rated: A

With inflation on the rise but interest rates at an all-time low in the UK – and some high-street banks even raising the prospect of charging commercial customers to keep deposits – companies’ savings may actually be losing value in real terms.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

Over the past few years a new way to potentially beat the banks has emerged – one that plays them at their own game. Called property-backed peer-to-peer lending, it gives companies the opportunity to be the lending bank themselves.

One of the fastest-growing products of this type is Choice, offered by Octopus Investments, an experienced investment company that manages more than £6bn of assets.

Working with a growing roster of challenger banks, Octopus can offer a savings product that currently provides an interest rate of more than one per cent.

This week in MoneyWeek: banks are back (MoneyWeek), Rated: A

Banks have been out of favour for the last ten years after they almost brought the global financial system to its knees.

So why would anybody invest in them? Oddly, one reason is “the failure by politicians to enforce a key promise” – that no bank would ever become “too big to fail” again. “In every developed country”, says Jonathan, the big banks have just got bigger. The “never again” promises have been replaced with “complex rules to strengthen bank capital, thus reducing the chances of collapse”. Another reason is that “banking has changed for the better” – governance has improved and customer satisfaction has shot up.

Why Banks Can’t Help But Help Fintechs (Fintech Weekly), Rated: B

It remains to be seen if any bank can ever do what the music industry is in the process of doing – taking back “their” industry by becoming the pre-eminent innovators. Such a thought might be laughable right now. But a word of caution on laughing too soon – if they do realise how to leverage their enormous power, accept that legacy systems must be overhauled and replaced wth the truly innovate, and execute such a strategy well, would you bet against them retaining and entrenching their dominance?

For now and the foreseeable future, most banks prefer to sit back and avoid risk. Really the risk lies in doing nothing and inviting a slow death by a thousand cuts. OK, yes, you can talk about record bank investment in fintech, cooperation between banks and fintechs – again, this is only helping fintechs move in on bank stomping ground.

China

One of China’s biggest P2P lenders quits ahead of clampdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China’s pending regulatory crackdown on the $120bn peer-to-peer lending industry has claimed its first scalp before it has even begun, with one of the biggest players saying it will wind up its business in an industry full of bad loans and no profits.

P2P lending, in which borrowers are matched with investors via online platforms, has mushroomed in the past five years, with China boasting more than 2,100 such platforms, but so too have scandals. Last year was marked by multibillion-dollar scams in China and a governance scandal that rocked New York-listed LendingClub.

Please use the sharing tools found via the email icon at the top of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here.

Beijing this month said it would delay regulations that will bar online lenders from guaranteeing principal or interest on loans they facilitate, cap the size of loans at Rmb1m for individuals and Rmb5m for companies, and force lenders to use custodian banks — a requirement only a fraction of the industry has met so far.

Three more Chinese banks join Swift’s global payments innovation (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Three local Chinese commercial banks have joined Swift’s global payments innovation initiative (gpi), bringing the number of Chinese banks involved to 16, the most in the world, according to Xinhua.

The new trio are Yinzhou Bank and Bank of Ningbo in eastern China’s Zhejiang province; and the Bank of Jiangsu, in the eastern Jiangsu province (and just south of Zhejiang).

Embrace the cardless era, CUP launched the electronic account cloud flash, or its Jedi fight back (TMT Post), Rated: A

A few days ago, UnionPay cloud flash together with Apple Pay launched promotional activities; early June, CUP also joined nearly 10 million businesses to create “62 CUP cloud flash to the whole people Sheng Hui.” Looks, CUP is imitating Alipay, WeChat to pay the subsidy routine.

Can you imagine using your Jingdong or US group (the new US big) account, you can pay through the UnionPay POS machine? Do not scan, do not have to swipe, do not open the APP, just need to close the POS machine and verify the fingerprint can be completed to pay.

The point is that you do not need to use the bank card account directly, but through the Jingdong or US group to pay the account, you can use the phone in the UnionPay POS machine to complete the payment.

European Union

BNI Europa invests EUR15 million in Creditshelf (Finextra), Rated: AAA

In Banco BNI Europa (“BNI Europa”), Creditshelf has succeeded in acquiring another strategic partner to help it provide financing to small and medium-sized undertakings (SMEs).

The online marketplace that specialises in SME financing, and the Bank, which operates throughout Europe, have agreed that Banco BNI Europa will invest up to 15 million Euro in the credit platform over the coming months.

Your Banker Is Always In: Sweden Rolls Out the Robots (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Aida is the perfect employee: always courteous, always learning and, as she says, “always at work, 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Aida, of course, is not a person but a virtual customer-service representative that SEB AB, one of Sweden’s biggest banks, is rolling out. The goal is to give the actual humans more time to engage in more complex tasks.

Besides Aida at SEB, there’s Nova, which is a chatbot Nordea Bank AB is introducing at its life and pensions unit in Norway. Swedbank AB is adding to the skills of its virtual assistant, Nina. All three are designed to sound like women, based on research suggesting customers feel more comfortable with female voices.

International

Marqeta & Visa Ink Global Partnership to Power Payments & Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Visa (NYSE: V) and Marqeta, a payment card issuing platform that can provide consumers with immediate loans, has announced a global partnership to propel innovations in commercial and consumer payments in lending. Visa has also made a strategic investment in Marqeta and led a $25 million funding round that included the participation of previous Marqeta investors including Commerce Ventures, 83 North, Granite Ventures, IA Capital, and CommerzVentures GmbH, as well as new investor CreditEase in China, one of the world’s largest alternative lender.

15 ‘RegTech’ Investors Every Fintech Startup Needs to Know (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

  1. Octopus Ventures
  2. SeventySix Capital
  3. Summer Capital
  4. Carrick Capital Partners
  5. EQT Ventures
  6. Insight Venture Partners
  7. JMI Equity
  8. Aquiline Capital Partners LLC
  9. Sageview Capital
  10. Accel Partners
  11. Warburg Pincus
  12. HarbourVest
  13. Digital Currency Group
  14. TTV Capital
  15. Balderton Capital
Australia

Online lender secures $ 20m debt facility (Australian Broker), Rated: AAA

Digital online lender Prospa has secured a $20m debt facility from the Australian arm of a US-based commercial finance provider, Partners for Growth (PFG).

Fintechs target millennials with online financial services (The Australian), Rated: A

Millennials are likely to fall into three categories:

• Inheritors: With wealthy parents, they are major consumers while they wait to inherit.

• Strivers: Coming from a more modest background, they are studying, saving and working hard with ambitions for promotion. They will borrow to support their lifestyle, not unlike inheritors.

• Given-ups: They are more likely earning a low salary but continue to consume as much as the other two categories. Buying a house is not on the agenda, so they do not see the point in saving.

And 71 per cent of millennials, according to Viacom’s Millennial Disruption Index, would rather go to the dentist than to the bank.

India

i2ifunding looks to break even by second half of FY20 (DNA India), Rated: AAA

i2ifunding.com, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, today said it aims to break even by the second half of 2019-20, given its robust growth in the last two years and promising outlook in the next two years.

It has a vision to scale up this disbursement up to Rs 200 crore over the next two years, i2ifunding.com said in a statement.

Fin-tech startup Finomena shuts down after failing to raise funding (The Indian Wire), Rated: A

Finomena, a startup which provided small ticket loans to students and young professionals, has shut down after failing to raise pre-Series A funding round.

The company is now no longer accepting new users on its website.

FinMomenta to introduce new products; targets SMEs (Deccan Herald), Rated: A

After working in a bank for many years, Brahma Mahesh and his friend decided to do something in the burgeoning FinTech space. They zeroed in on lending, as only 5-6% of the population is covered by banks and NBFCs. Mahesh, along with four other co-founders, started FinMomenta last year, and launched its first product ‘Tachyloans’, a peer-to-peer lending platform in May this year.

FreeCharge’s acquisition is proof that the Axis of Indian banking is changing (Quartz), Rated: A

In the next five years, almost 50% of the world’s financial services are planning to acquire fintech startups, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Collaborations, too, are expected to increase, with eight out of 10 companies waiting to partner with these new players, the report added.

Some 67% of senior Indian financial sector executives believe their business is at risk following the rise of fintech firms, and 95% of them were willing to explore partnership with them, a separate report by PwC released this April revealed.

On July 27, Axis Bank, the country’s third-largest private sector lender, acquired FreeCharge, a payments application and mobile-wallet company, for Rs385 crore ($60 million). This is the first such deal in the sector, potentially setting off more such transactions in the future, believe experts.

These serial entrepreneurs are offering bank products through an Ola-Uber model (YourStory), Rated: A

Five-month-old fintech startup Cashcow, which provides banking services and products to a customer at his doorstep, has expanded its operations to seven cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai. 

Joining fintech company Rubique as a chief product officer in 2016 introduced him to Manish Aggarwal, his future co-founder, who was leaving the startup at that point.

According to the founders, Cashcow is a platform providing banking services and products to a customer at his doorstep.

Can Regulatory Sandbox Nurture India’s FinTech Innovation? (CXO Today), Rated: A

The Indian financial services sector is undergoing major changes today. With more than 600 startups in the space of lending, payments, insurance and trading space, Fintech startups are not only spearheading innovation, but are also prompting traditional banks and financial institutions to explore new technologies and investing heavily in digital service delivery channels.

However, fintech startups unlike others face additional challenges of operating in a heavily regulated industry and have stiff competition as their key competitors are well established banking players. To overcome this challenge, experts believe, adopting a “Regulatory Sandbox” based approach where the regulator works closely with emerging Fintech firms make better sense.

Asia

Finca launches Pakistan’s first ever digital wallet (Daily Pakistan), Rated: AAA

FINCA Microfinance Bank, one of the fastest growing microfinance banks in Pakistan, has announced a movement to make digital commerce and payments free in the country.

SimSim, a mobile payment platform, was introduced in partnership with Finja – an internationally funded FinTech startup – at a launch event Thursday night at Mohatta Palace, Karachi. The event was attended by major industry stakeholders, government officials, artists, tech enthusiasts and media figures.

SimSim will give people access to frictionless payment options directed towards a diverse pool of merchants.

Middle East

Bahrain’s FinTech Sector Loses Ground to Dubai (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

Africa

FINTECH Association of Nigeria debuts to support development of the financial technology industry (PR Share), Rated: AAA

Over 25 FinTech companies attended the recent inaugural meeting of FTAN – FinTech Association of Nigeria – which principal objective is to serves as a platform for the development of the financial technology industry in Nigeria and to be a forum for the exchange of ideas and dissemination of information by and between various stakeholders in the industry. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor