The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 in San Francisco, was a huge success. One of the more interesting panels was on how the non-banking sector is taking over point-of-sale (POS) lending. Kim Gerhardt, director at the San Francisco office of Edgar, Dunn and Company, moderated the panel. Other panelists included Peter Kalen, Michael Garrity, Mark […]

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 in San Francisco, was a huge success. One of the more interesting panels was on how the non-banking sector is taking over point-of-sale (POS) lending. Kim Gerhardt, director at the San Francisco office of Edgar, Dunn and Company, moderated the panel. Other panelists included Peter Kalen, Michael Garrity, Mark Lorimer, and Camilo Concha.

Kalen is founder and CEO of Flexiti Financial, a Canadian company founded in 2013 that specializes in providing easy, instant POS financing through its award-winning mobile application process.

Garrity is co-founder, CEO, and president of a platform that has enabled merchants to facilitate consumer lending since November 2010. Financeit has processed over $2.5 billion in loan applications from thousands of merchants.

Lorimer represents LendingPoint, a lending company founded in 2014 that focuses on personal loans and debt consolidation. He is chief marketing officer. LendingPoint recently acquired LoanHero, which is in the POS lending business.

Finally, Concha is founder and CEO of LendingUSA, a company that provides innovative financing solutions with a specialization in POS lending. LendingUSA was launched in 2013 and caters to consumer finance in a variety of sectors from medical, pet care, consumer goods and services, etc.

Over the years, the POS lending industry has gained scale and seen a radical change. A convergence can be witnessed in the way payments are made and fintech lending is facilitated. The opportunity in POS financing is massive, and banks seemed to have missed the ball. Traditional banks strive to serve everyone, but when it comes to POS lending, merchants have to filter their prospective customers through a narrow funnel extending loans to a comparatively small customer base.

Flexiti Financial’s Entry in POS Lending

When Peter Kalen was asked about what brought Flexiti Financial into the business, the product that it is offering, and the level of traction it has been able to create in the market among other merchants, he articulated that Flexiti’s product is somewhat similar to what Synchrony or Alliance Data System is offering. Flexiti differs in the way transactions take place and aims to reduce the time consumed in the loan application process.

Many organizations issue private label credit cards, but application processes are long and approval rates low. With its experience and vision, Flexiti Financial has successfully introduced a 100% paperless process to offer instant POS financing. Its virtual credit card application can be downloaded from the Google Play store and the Apple store.

These private label cards speed up the loan application process, bringing the process down to three minutes. This is a win-win for retailers and customers. The platform improves the online retailer’s UX by removing the friction at the front-end.

Financeit and Point of Sale Lending

Garrity also shared his views on point of sale lending. He put emphasis on the fact that personal lending is more about new transactions and focuses less on lending. Everything in POS lending, from the technology to APIs is obsessed with enabling easy sales for merchants, improving their experience, and supporting them as they try to close more business. Merchants and customers want financing options, but they do not want to indulge in complicated programs.

Another area that Financeit targets is debt consolidation. The company has delivered a platform that makes it easy for businesses to offer powerful financing options to their customers from any device.

When asked about how they excel at delivering services to customers, Garrity said they have acquired Centah Inc, a company operating in home improvement work-flow and lead management software with joint partner and investor Goldman Sachs. The company redesigned its website to create a platform that manages the process, helps businesses connect with customers, provide dispatch scheduling systems, and represent financing options to customers throughout the process. He warnes other players that if they only focus on financing and not on the transaction, they will be missing out on an important aspect of dominating this space.

LendingUSA’s Role in POS Lending

Gerhardt asked Concha about his journey into this industry. Concha shared that LendingUSA focuses on point-of-need financing, which sits at the intersection of point of sale and fintech. He believes that businesses in today’s era are not required to be good but great if they want to be successful, and they are required to be great in all aspects, namely, marketing, technology, underwriting, and risk mitigation.

Concha started with a company called 1800mysurgeon that matched cosmetic surgeons with consumers. After starting the company, he realized the need for financing as an important part of the business. He decided to create a platform to interact with both surgery and finance to enhance the merchant’s experience.

LendingPoint’s Emergence In POS Lending

LendingPoint started as a direct consumer online lender specializing in 600-700 FICO score customers. Lorimer emphasized that the company understood very early that customer experience is crucial to POS transactions. Although the players in the market now are very good at generating products that banks like to own, they do not necessarily focus on the merchandise. LendingPoint simplifies the lending process by sharing risk and administering payment plans. LendingPoint also offers merchants risk programs to extend in-house, end-to-end services.

Marketing With Established Merchants

All the banks playing in the market are working to deliver better services to customers in different ways. The biggest players historically are Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Synchrony Financial. They all have significant relationships.

The question is whether these big banks can be a part of this game. Concha believes that banks are an important part of the ecosystem. These banks are good for purchasing loans but are constrained by reputational risks, marketing, and other issues. Lorimer added that LendingPoint also works with some established banks. Talking of the role of hard pull and soft pull in availing credit, he shared that because a hard pull impacts the credit report of the customer, it is a cause for low approval rates. Soft pulls, on the other hand, do not affect the credit score of the credit seeker leading to a higher approval rate for loans.

Garrity shared his point of view on the tie-ups with established banks and financial institutions that become balance sheet lenders. He said they are participants in securitization, originations, and selling. He believes there is clearly an opportunity for all the stakeholder businesses to grow. Online POS lending usually operates separately considering the fact that it is complicated and technology-driven. Banks are, therefore, slow followers of fintech companies.

The Technology Edge Leads to Domination

The next important aspect analyzed was whether it is the technology that enables online POS lending businesses to dominate the lending space.

Kalen believes technology is the most important element of this space. Concha believes this space is all about keeping merchants and customers happy and building long-lasting relationships with them in the process. Lorimer questions the integration of technology among banks and whether banks will be able to adapt to complex technologies. He believes banks aren’t set up to do that, but to deliver a mass homogenous customer service. Garrity, on the other hand, believes the less you see the technology, the more attractive it is; he also thinks it is better for the merchant to focus on increasing the business close rates.

Talking about data management, Lorimer believes technology definitely provides an edge to the business on the back end. The data is the source for everything and it is analyzed and configured to improve the experience. As technology enables automation and brings security, users can access everything at one place and find it already stored in the system.

Kalen agrees that technology is a boon for backend data management. He added to the discussion saying that the more established players have an edge as they have been in business for many years. They have been able to hone their skills over a period of time.

Concha also believes that technology will work for the POS lending as it is different from other businesses. There is a major role of risk, debt, and strong relationships in POS lending, and none of these can be managed properly without technology.

The Challenges of POS Lending

Technology, scale, and partnerships:
Kalen from Flexiti views POS lending as a very different business than retail lending. Getting customers and coping with technology are major challenges. Other challenges that non-bank businesses face are focusing on the scale. It is important for the business to look at the credit cycle and beware of fraudulent practices as it increases the scale of operations.

Credit cycle:
Being on the right side of the credit cycle is crucial to every lending business. The access to credit in the credit cycle determines the risk and therefore the value of the business. Businesses must prepare their strategies, keeping the future in mind.

Regulation:
Lorimer believes this space requires more regulation since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is not very active. Poor regulation and lack of control pose a major risk to the players in the market.

Availability of capital and credit risk:
Another challenge is the availability of capital to extend lending facilities. The fear of credit facilities drying up in a day also bothers businesses.

The Takeaway

Kalen has realized that success does not come easy. The companies in this space need to understand that a lot of lending capital is required along with an understanding of the tricks of the trade.

Concha believes it is a 3-step learning process where the business is required to go through a testing phase, an education phase, and an adoption phase.

With LendingPoint’s recent acquisition of LoanHero, it is comparatively a new entrant in the market.

The crux of the entire discussion is that POS lenders must be specialized to survive in the market. The business has to endeavor to offer value added merchant services instead of being a one-stop shop to be successful. There is a lot of room for growth provided one understands the complexities of the trade.

Author:

Stephanie Vaughan is vice president at  Allen TaylorPosted on Categories Alliance Data System, alternative lending, Analysis, balance sheet lending, Banks, CFPB, Citigroup, consumer lending, Credit, credit risk, Featured, FICO, Financeit, Flexiti Financial, instant financing, LendingPoint, LendingUSA, LendIt 2018, Online Lending, point of sale financing, point of sale lending, POS financing, POS lending, Regulation, Synchrony Financial, Wells Fargo

Tuesday December 12 2017, Daily News Digest

P2P investors

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm raises $200M at almost $2B valuation. Elastic Line of Credit surpasses $1B in funding. Klarna signs 500 online retailers in U.S. Zopa makes changes to Isa. Mintos adds first Russian loan originator. Flexiti offers online financing for e-tailers in Canada. Today’s main analysis: UK alternative finance is still healthy. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cross River […]

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United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Asia

Russia

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $ 200 million at a nearly $ 2 billion valuation (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based company confirmed that it’s raising $200 million, led by GIC, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. Existing investors Khosla Ventures and Spark Capital are also participating.

Affirm’s valuation is estimated to be between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Investors are betting on Max Levchin, the PayPal co-founder who runs Affirm.

Elastic Line of Credit Surpasses $ 1 Billion in Total Funding (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the Elastic product has originated more than $1 billion, and has served over 200,000 customers since 2013.

Elastic, a bank-issued line of credit offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), currently has more than $260 million in total principal outstandings across over 150,000 open accounts.

Klarna North America Sees Surge In U.S. Merchant And Consumer Adoption Of Its ‘Smoooth’ Financing Solution (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Since Klarna introduced its financing solution in the U.S. in October 2016, 500 online retailers have already enrolled in the simple and ‘smoooth’ credit solution that is fully integrated into the online checkout process. Available in 10 countries via a single API, retailers include powerhouse global brands like Microsoft, TaylorMade, Overstock and Lenovo.

Why Cross River Bank and Mastercard are collaborating on cardless ATM access (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Cross River Bank, the bank of fintech startups, is working with Mastercard to give consumers cardless access to ATMs through an offering called Mastercard Cash Pick-Up. It allows businesses or individuals to send cash payments by logging in to the Cash Pick-Up platform via their bank’s website or mobile app and entering the necessary transaction and recipient. When they’ve done that, recipients receive a text message with the order number, PIN and a link that helps them locate a participating ATM nearby.

The offering highlights the role of mobile phones in banking’s new normal — mobile is more than just a channel, it’s the thing that’s guiding both financial incumbents and consumers alike through  the shift from physical to digital banking, which still hasn’t been fully realized.

For now, Mastercard Cash Pick-Up is only available at enabled ATMs in the U.S., where the postal service plays far too big a role in payments, particularly low dollar disbursements, Isaacson said.

 

Once Shunned, Regulated Industries Now a Lure for Some Investors (Xconomy), Rated: AAA

Niehenke theorized that consumers whose trust in traditional banks had eroded might become a willing customer base for financial technology startups. But it was a bumpy time for tech companies entering the highly regulated financial sector.

Among those startups was Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending startup that had been temporarily shut down in 2008 by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC maintained that the company was, in effect, selling securities rather than merely functioning as a marketplace connecting lenders and borrowers, TechCrunch reported.

CAN Capital Makes Three Strategic Hires to Strengthen Sales and Technology Teams (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CAN Capital, a small business specialty finance company, today announced three strategic hires as the company continues to invest in its technology and growth strategies. Mike Dodson, Vice President, Technology, Michael O’Brien, Director, Business Development, and Liping Deng, Director, Modeling & Analytics, have joined CAN Capital to focus on accelerating the company’s expansion.

China’s JD partners with accelerator program Plug and Play to reach US startups (TechCrunch), Rated: A

E-commerce giant JD.com, the closest rival to Alibaba in China, is broadening its presence in Silicon Valley after it announced a collaboration with accelerator firm Plug and Play to seek out and work with promising U.S. startups.

Robo-advisors hit lull in everything but VC backing as reality fragments their identity (RIABiz), Rated: A

Last summer, Sallie Krawcheck took a seat before 18 venture capitalists to raise capital for Ellevest Inc., her New York-based robo-advisor for women. See: Sallie Krawcheck astonishes industry observers by raising another $32.5 million for her robo-advisor — perhaps on strength of ‘unit economics’.

The role reversal reflects broader changes occurring across automated advice. BlackRock Inc. originally bought San Francisco-based FutureAdvisor as a retail product, then made it into a B-to-B offering. See: Why FutureAdvisor orphaned its B2C book of business, how post-Invesco Jemstep is doing and other learnings at CFA Society’s robo-panel in San Francisco

News out of Betterment has slowed to a crawl.

Wealthfront Inc.‘s Andy Rachleff leaned into the irony of robo-advisors moving away from digital-only in a September blog post.

Yet, in an autumn largely devoid of news from robo-advisors, Acorns had a blistering announcement of a much deeper integration with one of its VC backers, PayPal, which has 218 million users. See: As Acorns grapples with monetizing 1.1 million micro-accounts, the laid-back LA robo-advisor brings Wealthfront’s former chief exec onto its board.

In the case of Irvine, Calif.-based Acorns, the nudging took the form of A/B-style testing of giving investors choices of how much to invest.

Robo-adviser launches using chatbot technology (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Nuvo has launched what it describes as an “artificially intelligent digital broker powered by chatbot technology”.

The launch of the robo-adviser, which uses AI to learn about customers to pick prices for mortgages and protection products tailored to them in less than a minute, comes just days after a US company claimed to be the first in the world offering financial advice with artificial intelligence.

US Banks Look to Silicon Valley as Fintech Booms (PaymentsJournal), Rated: A

More than eight out of ten (82%) US commercial banks have pledged to increase fintech investment over the next three years as the sector continues to expand, with 86% of senior managers planning an imminent rise in investment.

The in-depth research commissioned by global Fintech provider Fraedom, polled decision-makers in commercial banks including shareholders, middle managers and senior managers.

The study also found that more than seven out of ten (71%) respondents believe that the rise of technology within commercial banking threatens traditional one to one bank and customer relationships. This disruptive impact was felt greatest by shareholders (95%) as opposed to 67% of middle managers.

Need a Shot of Capital for Business Growth? Here’s How to Find a Working Capital Loan This Year (AllBusiness.com), Rated: A

Startup founders know to look for grants, crowdfunding, and angel investors, and established small business owners understand the ins and outs of bank loans. However, another form of financing for established small businesses—working capital loans—is a little less familiar to many owners, yet working capital loans can be the ideal financial tool to handle opportunities (or problems) that present themselves in the shorter term.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • You don’t need to lay out a detailed plan of what you want to do with the money. Paperwork is minimal.
  • If your credit score is at least 500, you’ll need to show an annual profit of $50,000; if your credit score is at least 600, that gets cut in half to $25,000. If you’ve been denied a bank loan, your chances may still be good for a working capital loan.
  • You have the flexibility of choosing the type of working capital loan that best meets your needs: a term loan, cash advance, invoice factoring, revolving line of credit, or purchase order advance.

Today In Data: Consumer Spend, Venture Capital And Bitcoin Reach Record Highs (PYMNTS), Rated: A

$682 billion | Amount that consumers are expected to spend on presents and other holiday preparations this holiday shoppingseason, with retailers going the extra mile to meet them where they are in a simpler and faster way. That means upping mobile and online shopping experiences, offering a buy online pick up in-store model and launching services like curbside pickup and better shipping options.

Broker-Dealer Firms Raise Alarms That SEC’s CAT Database Isn’t Secure (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

Broker-dealer firms aren’t confident the SEC’s consolidated audit trail (CAT) – a single, comprehensive database expected to store an unprecedented amount of sensitive trade data and personal identifiable information (PII) – is secure, according to testimony delivered before the U.S. House of Representatives.

National securities exchanges, Finra, alternative trading systems and broker-dealer firms have been required to submit information on trading activities – including customer information and prices – to the CAT daily since November 15 of this year. Large broker-dealers will be required to start submitting information to the CAT by November 15, 2018, while small broker-dealers are expected to do so by November 15, 2019.

The CAT is expected to take in 58 billion records daily – including orders, cancellations, modifications, executions and quotes for the equities and options markets – and maintain data for more than 100 million customer accounts and their unique customer information, according to parties involved in the CAT.

.46 Billion in Extra Credit Card Charges Due to Upcoming Fed Rate Hike (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

Forecasts call for a 99%+ chance of a Federal Reserve rate hike on Wednesday, which would make three for 2017. The move couldn’t come at a worse time for consumers, according to WalletHub’s 

Use your 2017 budget before you lose it (LendIt), Rated: B

Having an exhibitor booth or sponsoring this event is your best chance to do business with companies shaping the fintech industry. 100+ companies have picked their spot. Download the sponsorship brochure today now and our team will help you seal the deal before your budget runs out.

Take advantage of the current ticket price and save $1,200 vs. the standard ticket.

Angie Herbers Launches Online FA Education Platform (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Financial advisor consultancy founder Angie Herbers has launched an online training platform aimed at helping advisors grow their firms.

Beyond U offers advisor education via videos, online seminars and assessments, covering such topics as operations, management, sales and marketing, client services, compensation and more, according to a press release from the firm.

United Kingdom

Zopa announces changes to its Isa (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa investors can now redirect their repayments into an Isa, allowing investors to gradually transfer their funds into an Isa without having to sell loans or pay fees throughout the process.

The UK alternative finance market is still healthy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK’s alternative finance market — including marketplace lending, crowdfunding, and invoice trading — grew 43% year-over-year (YoY) in 2016, from £3.2 billion ($4.3 billion) to £4.58 billion ($6.17 billion), according to a recently released study from the 

Source: Business Insider

UK positioned to win in fintech, despite Brexit uncertainty (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Just this week the 

Small Businesses Drive 43 Percent Growth In UK Alternative Finance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Researchers said about 72 percent of market volume in 2016 can be traced back to demand for lending options among startups and small businesses, up from 50 percent the year before. That amounts to more than $4.4 billion driven by startups and SMBs in 2016.

Peer-to-peer businesses lending was 2016’s largest alternative finance market segment, which saw 36 percent year-over-year growth.

Squirrel Extends Crowdcube Campaign After Achieving £400,000 Funding Target (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, has successfully secured its initial £400,000 funding target from 450 investors through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube.

Downing enters property development space with Funding Circle hires (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

DOWNING has hired two real estate experts from Funding Circle’s property division as it enters the property development space through its crowd bonds platform.

Investors on Downing’s crowd bonds platform are being offered returns of five per cent for one year or six per cent for two years by investing in Downing Development Finance (DDF) through the DDF Property Bond.

 

Investors put trust in Scotland’s canniness (The Scotsman), Rated: B

Edinburgh Worldwide is another Baillie Gifford managed trust, though rather obscured by the group’s better known trusts. Notable performers (not a Scottish name among them) were Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a gene silencing company, LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, and IPG Photonics, a manufacturer of fibre-lasers used in metal processing.

China

 

How asset managers like FinEx Asia are using AI to disrupt traditional bank lending (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Banking disintermediation – essentially, taking out the middle man – has taken a new twist. While in recent years peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has become the poster-child for threatening banks’ lending business, a new type of hybrid disrupter is apparently starting to emerge: asset managers backed by financial technology.

One such firm attempting to cut banks out of the consumer-lending equation is FinEx Asia. The newly-licensed asset manager connects Asian investors with American consumer-credit assets, using artificial intelligence to select the loans based on risk appetite.

Founder and chief executive Maggie Ng said the company’s three funds now have US$100 million under management. They are backed by a portfolio of more than 10,000 US-based borrowers who have obtained loans from multiple online lending platforms, she said without specifying which ones.

Thomson Reuters platform to help further develop Hong Kong’s fintech offerings (SCMP), Rated: A

Thomson Reuters, the news and market data giant, is partnering with a Hong Kong government-backed body to help the city’s banks and fintech firms develop new technology, cut costs and create new products.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary in Hong Kong next year, the new arrangement will see Thomson Reuters offer its platform to financial firms to distribute their products as well as use its technology, tools and data to create products, for free.

International

Growth of Investor Numbers on P2P Lending Platforms (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Today I take a look at how investor numbers are developing at several platforms.

Source: P2P-Banking

FinTech Startup Nanopay Is For Banks, Not Against Them (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Whether bank customers are consumers or businesses, chances are good that they do at least some of their banking online. This month, startup nanopay is announcing a partnership with Canadian nonprofit interbank network Interac to help businesses manage the complexity of working across borders.

The partnership creates access for any bank account holder in the country to send funds to or receive funds from any other bank account served by nanopay. So far, that’s a short list including just India. But, according to nanopay CEO Laurence Cooke, coverage will be supported in the U.S. and China as well in Q1 of 2018.

The First Social P2P Cryptobank Datarius to Launch a Pre-Sale on December 12 (Coinspeaker), Rated: B

The Datarius main characteristics are the use of blockchain, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency operations and a special designer of the customer-adapted tariffs.

P2P lending is another characteristic of Datarius. It provides millions of people around the world with the possibility to receive and make loans using a Personal Account in the browser or through a smartphone application. It is a fast, reliable and easy way to get a loan wherever a person is. This is an opportunity to earn without involving brokers.

The pre-ITO round starts on December 12 on the official website of the Datarius Cryptobank and will last till December 31. 1 DTRC token = $ 1, but during the Pre-sale every buyer receives a 35% bonus. Soft Cap: $ 125,000.

Asia

ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF THE iFX EXPO ASIA 2018 (NewsBTC), Rated: B

CONVERSION PROS, a marketing agency within the retail finance sector and founding company behind the iFX EXPO series of financial B2B events, has announced their next event, the iFX EXPO Asia 2018, which will take place in Hong Kong from the 23rd to the 25th January 2018 at the HKCEC (Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre).

This event holds special significance, according to Gal Ron, CEO of CONVERSION PROS:

“This will be our 12th show to date and we expect to showcase this steady growth as we present an expanded floor plan with more exhibitor and sponsor areas tailored to the needs of our attendees. We are also placing special focus on Crypto as well as Peer to Peer lending as we are sure that this is part of the future of the online trading industry.”

Russia

Mintos, an Online Marketplace for Loans, Adds First Russian Loan Originator to Platform. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Mintos marketplace for loans has added its first Russia based loan originator: EcoFinance. The online lender offers investments in unsecured personal loans issued in Russia under its CreditPlus brand. Mintos reports that EcoFinance loans on its marketplace will initially be listed in Euros with investors able to earn up to 11% annually.

Africa

Kiakia — get real-time capital as a business owner or working class (Techpoint), Rated: AAA

It’s no longer news that many individuals and SMEs in Nigeria have limited access to finance, especially from commercial banks.

Kiakia, an AI and machine learning powered alternative credit scoring, customer service, direct and a P2P lending platform has launched a virtual agent called “Mr K” to help working adults and SMEs access credit.

According to the Co-founder, Olajide Abiola (who also doubles as the Chief Data Scientist), millions of naira in loans have been successfully granted to and repaid by hundreds of borrowers across 22 States in Nigeria. This comes with a loss/default/NPL ratio of below 2.3%, which is consistently maintained over a 12-month period, all thanks to Kiakia’s algorithm.

Canada

FLEXITI FINANCIAL ANNOUNCES ONLINE FINANCING TO GROW E-COMMERCE SALES FOR CANADIAN RETAILERS (Flexiti Financial), Rated: AAA

Flexiti Financial, a provider of Point-Of-Sale (POS) financing and payment technology, announced today that its award-winning POS consumer lending platform is now available for online transactions. Retailers across Canada now have access to a powerful, online financing platform that easily integrates into any e-commerce engine, offering a low-cost solution. This is a critical new offering for Canadian retailers as it overcomes two key hurdles – speed of implementation and cost – as e-commerce continues to grow as a critical sales channel.

Flexiti Financial’s POS lending platform offers low rates for retailers who want to offer their customers flexible payment options, such as 0% interest financing. Customers do not require an existing credit card to apply.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday August 2 2017, Daily News Digest

Bank branch proximity

News Comments Today’s main news: PeerIQ wraps up $12M Series A financing, expands into traditional lending. LendInvest 5.25% bond offer closes Friday. Confirmed: LendInvest pulls out of P2P Finance Association. RateSetter enter hire purchase market with new partner. Yirendai’s Q2 results. Dianrong raises $220M from Asian investors. Lending Loop launches auto-invest, raises $2M. Today’s main analysis: Consumers prefer digital banking capabilities […]

Bank branch proximity

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

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India

Asia

Middle East

Canada

Philippines

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United States

PeerIQ Secures $ 12M in Series A Financing to Expand Leading Data and Analytics Platform for Lending Markets (Globe Newswire), Rated: AAA

PeerIQ, a provider of data and analytics for the lending sector, today announced that it has closed a $12 million Series A funding round, co-led by TransUnion, Hearst’s Financial Venture Fund and Macquarie Group, along with existing investors Uprising and former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack. With the new capital, PeerIQ will expand its core platform to unlock more value for its clients, extend beyond online into traditional lending markets, and collaborate on new product initiatives with its strategic partners.

Already a core data partner to PeerIQ, TransUnion is deepening its relationship, with Steve Chaouki, executive vice president and head of TransUnion’s financial services business unit, joining the PeerIQ board. Shea Wallon, managing director of Hearst’s Financial Venture Fund, which invests in early-stage financial information, service and technology companies, is joining the board as well.

Consumers Prefer Digital Banking Capabilities Over Branch Proximity (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

The 2017 Omni-Channel Shopper Study, published by Novantas, found three major shifts in consumer behavior that will impact bank distribution and sales strategies in the future.

  1. A significant shift from branch dependence to digital preference
  2. A redefinition of the drivers of bank consideration and purchase
  3. An increase in demand for digital account opening

A Shift in Dependence on Branches

The research found that segments that placed the highest importance on branches for their checking relationship shrunk significantly in the past year, at the same time that those segments with the lowest branch attachment grew. The same was true for segments that were the most dependent on branches for ongoing transactions. These segments also shrunk significantly over the past year.

A New Definition of Convenience

The biggest news is that the drivers of ‘perceived convenience’ start with an organization’s digital capabilities. In fact, the importance of branch-centric factors have dropped in each of the past three years of the study. This is especially true for consumers aged 18-54.

Another significant trend of note is the increasing importance of being able to access cash without a fee, irrespective of primary bank proximity.

The Novantas shopping survey found that 79% of consumers are doing at least some of their shopping for new checking accounts digitally, with 54% using only digital channels. These digital-only shoppers are both older and wealthier, with the size of the digital-only shopper category increasing in size.

Juvo Raises $ 40M In Series B Funding Led By NEA And Wing Venture Capital (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Juvo, a pioneer in mobile Identity Scoring, today announced a $40 million USD Series B funding round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Wing Venture Capital. Also included in the round are investments from SignalFire as well as add-on investments from existing investors. Juvo will leverage these new funds to drive global growth and scale, with a particular emphasis on Asia,  Latin America and Europe, and broaden its suite of financial service offerings targeting the financially excluded. The company also announced the appointment of Peter Wagner, founding partner of Wing, to Juvo’s board of directors.

Juvo, who came out of stealth mode 10 months ago, was founded with an overarching mission: to establish financial identities for the billions of people worldwide who are creditworthy, yet financially excluded. By partnering with mobile operators and financial institutions around the world, Juvo uses sophisticated, data science-based credit algorithms to identify previously anonymous prepaid subscribers, enabling them to build financial identities and gain access to basic financial services.

Juvo currently partners with seven mobile operators around the world, with a reach of over 500 million subscribers across 25 countries and four continents. Juvo’s operator partners have reduced churn by 50 percent or greater, while lifting average revenue per user (ARPU) numbers by as much as 15 percent. Most importantly, operators across the board are seeing an average increase in subscriber lifetime value of 65 percent.

Reverse Mortgage Funding Named One of LendingTree’s Top Reverse Mortgage Lenders (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC (RMF), a leading national reverse mortgage lender dedicated to helping older Americans achieve financial peace of mind, today announced that it has been named one of the nation’s top reverse mortgage lenders by LendingTree, a leading online lending exchange that connects consumers with multiple lenders, banks, and credit partners. Based on loan volume from the top reverse mortgage lenders for the third quarter of 2016 analyzed by LendingTree, RMF was chosen for consistently scoring high approval ratings and reviews among consumers.

Microsoft rolls out Surface Plus financing, support programs (ZDNet), Rated: A

Called Surface Plus and Surface Plus for Business, the two programs are available in the US only as of noon ET on August 1. The plans can be purchased in the US Microsoft brick-and-mortar stores or online at Microsoft.com.

Students seem to be one of the primary, if not the main, target of the new Surface Plus program.

Microsoft’s Surface Plus page is now live. It notes that new Surface Pros will go for $34 per month for 24 months; Surface Laptops for $42 per month for 24 months and Surface Books for $63 per month for 24 months under the plan. Payment plans are arranged with Klarna Inc.

Marketplace Lender Blackmoon to Launch Ethereum Token Management Platform (Coindesk), Rated: A

Released by Blackmoon Financial Group today, Blackmoon Crypto is designed to enable verified asset managers to create and manage tokenized funds in a legally compliant manner. Operating in nine countries, Blackmoon has attracted $2.5 million to date in investment from firms including Target Global and Flint Capital.

Even Financial launches tool to semi-automate financial compliance for online ads (Martech Today), Rated: A

For the financial industry, which has long dealt with compliance requirements, New York City-based Even Financial is out with a Programmatic Compliance Tool that helps to semi-automate the process of staying within boundaries.

In real time and via an API, the tool looks at the blog, web or app page where a client’s ad for a financial product will appear. Image recognition analyzes daily screen grabs to assess ad placement. The tool also parses the surrounding text on the page to detect any issues that could pose problems with US federal or state regulations, as well as any nearby content that could be embarrassing for the advertising financial service.

CEO and co-founder Phillip Rosen told me that Even’s clients are financial companies — including Lending Club and Discover Loans — which run ads and offer affiliate links for loans, credit cards or other products on about 200 sites, blogs and apps.

How Legacy Financial Institutions Are Deepening Financial Inclusion Through Fintech Partnerships (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and the Institute of International Finance (IIF), with the support of MetLife Foundation, today released a new report examining how partnerships between mainstream financial institutions and fintechs are expanding access to the formal financial economy to the unserved and underserved, particularly in emerging markets.

The report, “How Financial Institutions and Fintechs Are Partnering for Inclusion: Lessons from the Frontlines” is based on 24 in-depth interviews with firms and experts from around the world, and highlights 14 partnerships in as many countries. The report identifies four key financial inclusion challenges in emerging markets that mainstream financial institutions address through fintech partnerships:

  • gaining access to new market segments
  • creating new offerings for existing customers
  • data collection, use, and management
  • deepening customer engagement and product usage

15 Biggest Mid-Day Losers For Tuesday (Benzinga), Rated: B

  • Yirendai Ltd – ADR YRD shares dropped 10.7 percent to $34.18. Yirendai posted Q2 earnings of $0.66 per share on revenue of $174.5 million.

Get the full scoop on Yirendai under the China heading today.

United Kingdom

LendInvest 5.25% bond offer closes on Friday (Citywire), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending group LendInvest is offering investors exposure to the property market and a 5.25% return from through a retail bond.

The LendInvest bond is offering a return of 5.25% with a maturity date of 2022, the first time a bond has been listed on Orb paying over 5% since April 2016. Neither has there been a retail bond listed on Orb that has a maturity of five years since Orb opened in 2010.

The bond can be held in ISAs and self-invested personal pensions (Sipps) and the minimum investment is £2,000. It can be purchased through a number of investment platforms including, Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell Securities, Alliance Trust Savings, Barclays Bank, Equiniti Financial Services, Interactive Investor, Redmayne Bentley, and Syndicate Room.

LendInvest leaves the P2PFA (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has confirmed that LendInvest has withdrawn its membership of the self-regulatory body.

The P2PFA said communication of LendInvest’s intention to withdraw from the P2PFA with immediate effect had been received and the lender is no longer a member of the association.

“As we continue to scale the business, we’re increasingly looking to diversify our funding model and expand our capacity to lend to underserved borrowers, as well as to create new entry points to an attractive asset class that suits a broader range of investors seeking competitive risk-adjusted returns,” said Christian Faes, co-founder and CEO of LendInvest.

RateSetter unveils partner as it enters hire purchase market (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has named leasing and asset finance specialist Corporate Asset Solutions (CAS) as its partner in the launch of new hire purchase loans on the peer-to-peer platform.

Businesses will be able to access hire purchase agreements for up to £750,000, processed by CAS.

British fintech start-up Neyber secures £21m in funding (Financial Times), Rated: A

What do several thousand police officers, two former Goldman Sachs executives and an Indian investment company have in common?

They all are central players in a £21m fundraising set to be announced this week by a British fintech start-up, which provides loans that are repaid out of people’s salaries.

Neyber is a kind of digital credit union.

The police officers — more than 5,000 of them — make up the majority of borrowers on Neyber’s platform, which has lent more than £65m over two-and-a-half years.

FCA answers your questions on robo-advice (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Set up in May 2016, the advice unit offers regulatory feedback to firms developing automated models providing low-cost advice.

So far 17 firms have worked with the unit, which was launched following the Financial Advice Market Review, a joint initiative by the Treasury and the FCA to look at ways to bridge the gap between people who could benefit from financial advice and those who can afford it.

Oxford University is getting into fintech (Business Insider), Rated: A

The university’s Saïd Business School announced on Wednesday that it will launch an online short course in fintech — financial technology for the uninitiated — that is designed to help prepare business executives for a future where more and more financial services functions are based around tech.

Oxford has launched the programme in conjunction with educational technology firm GetSmarter, which was recently acquired by fellow ed-tech business 2U for $103 million (£78 million).

Banking jobs ‘will completely change’ (Business Insider), Rated: A

Business Insider chatted with Axel Lehmann, chief operating officer of Swiss bank UBS, to ask how the organisation is coming to terms with fast-changing world of fintech.

Axel Lehmann: True change is really coming from outside the industry.

It’s less the technology, as such, providing a transformative element in the banking industry. It’s really alternative business models that have the potential to shake up everything and eat into our cake.

AL: I truly believe that whole question of robotics and artificial intelligence over a time horizon of four to eight years will fundamentally change the banking business. As banks, we understand that our business is all about data. These technologies have the potential to really fundamentally change the way we operate in terms of getting smarter with the customer, understanding what kind of products we should offer and so on.

AL: Dealing with fintechs is a cultural shift that needs to take place and you want to have the local people to innovate. At UBS we have a systematic process on how we expose ourselves to fintech companies.

L: We have to be mindful going forward. Regulation shouldn’t stifle innovation. The banks should welcome when regulators like the PRA in the UK or the MAS in Singapore open up to fin tech and allow companies to better explore potential changes in the business model. The one request we would have is a level playing field.

Increasingly regulation will have to shift to a more functional regulatory approach. At the moment, if I’m a bank I’m regulated like a bank. If I’m an insurance company, I’m regulated like an insurance company. However some of these lending platforms are partially unregulated although to the customer it looks the same as a regulated offering. To avoid regulatory arbitrage regulators will have to move to a more functional perspective.

Evolving For Symbiosis: Rethinking The Bank-Fintech Puzzle (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

While a few traditional financial institutions continue to view fintechs as pure competition, there is a broad realization that the way customers and businesses consume financial services is changing faster than banks are able to adapt—especially while maintaining focus on a premier experience for full-service banking customers.

Failure to adjust to changing expectations and preferences will result in falling behind the market while more nimble, non-traditional players poach current customers and dominate the attention of the next generation of account holders.

Collapsed engineer Morgan Tucker owed creditors £3m (Construction News), Rated: B

Failed engineer Morgan Tucker collapsed owing an estimated £3m, according to the administrators’ latest report.

The Newark-based company was estimated by administrator FRP Advisory to owe a total of £3,038,952 to creditors when it entered administration on 30 May.

The biggest unsecured creditor was the Funding Circle, one of the country’s biggest peer-to-peer funding firms, which was owed a total of £218,911.

China

Yirendai Reports Second Quarter 2017 Financial Results (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

In the second quarter of 2017, Yirendai facilitated RMB 8,189.6 million (US$1,208.0 million) of loans to 138,529 qualified individual borrowers on its online marketplace, representing a year-over-year growth of 80%; 70.9% of the borrowers were acquired from online channels; 51.2% of the loan volume was originated from online channels and nearly 100% of the online volume was facilitated through mobile.

In the second quarter of 2017, Yirendai facilitated 199,591 investors with total investment amount of RMB 11,446.7 million (US$1,688.5 million), 100% of which was facilitated through its online platform and 90% of which was facilitated through its mobile application.

For the second quarter of 2017, total net revenue was RMB 1,183.1 million (US$174.5 million), an increase of 61% year over year; net income was RMB 269.1 million (US$39.7 million), an increase of 3% year over year.

Here’s Why Yirendai Stock Is Crashing Today (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Shares of Yirendai (NYSE:YRD) are plunging today, down by 16% as of 12:25 p.m. EDT, after the peer-to-peer lender reported second-quarter earnings.

The company’s loan volume grew 80% year over year, and is up by 18% from the first quarter, continuing an amazing streak of growth. Revenue grew by 61% year over year (16% from last quarter), and both loans and revenue handily surpassed the company’s own expectations.

Loans and revenue increased by 18% and 16%, respectively, during the quarter, but total expenses shot up by 29%, including a 32% rise in sales and marketing expenses. This is the main reason net income fell 23% from last quarter, and grew by just 3% from last year, despite the 61% revenue growth.

European Union

European fintechs are ‘valued too highly’ and consolidation is coming (Business Insider), Rated: A

Victor Basta, cofounder and CEO of London-based Magister Advisors, wrote in a blog post shared with Business Insider ahead of publication: “Many fintech companies are valued too highly in financing rounds, and need years of performance for their ‘cash value’ to catch up to the financing round valuations.

TransferWise was reportedly valued at $1.1 billion in its funding round last year. It said earlier this year that it is on track for revenues of £100 million in 2017 and should make its first ever operating profit.Revolut was reportedly valued at £300 million in a recent $66 million funding round. Its first year of full accounts show it lost £7.1 million on £2.3 million of revenue.

International

JPMorgan to Unveil Robot to Execute Stock Trades (Newsmax), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan reportedly plans to develop a robot to execute stock trades, essentially replacing the human touch in the process.

Daniel Ciment, JPMorgan’s head of global equities electronic trading, told the Financial Times that the AI — known as LOXM — has been used in the bank’s European equities algorithms business since the first quarter and will be launched across Asia and the U.S. by year’s end.

India

Anshu Jain-backed InCred on the hunt for buyout deals to grow lending biz (VC Circle), Rated: A

InCred Finance, a non-banking financial company backed by private equity firms and former Deutsche Bank co-CEO Anshu Jain, is looking to make acquisitions to start microfinance and vehicle loan businesses as part of efforts to expand its loan book.

Asia

Singapore’s GIC Leads $ 220 Million Funding Round for Chinese P2P Firm Dianrong (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong said on Wednesday it raised $220 million from a group of investors led by Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd, looking to step up research of new technology as it expands across China and explores ventures in other countries in the region.

Other investors in the funding round included CMIG Leasing, a unit of China’s biggest private investment conglomerate China Minsheng Investment Group (CMIG), and South Korean fund manager Simone Investment Managers, Dianrong said.

The Shanghai-based firm would use the funds to automate some of its new branches across China, for research and development and potential acquisitions, Soul Htite, co-chief executive of Dianrong, told Reuters.

Middle East

Dubai Regulations for Crowdfunding: Issuers May Raise Up To Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Dubai Financial Services Authority(DFSA) announced the enactment of a regulatory regime designed to engender a robust crowdfunding ecosystem for the country.

At a high level, crowdfunding offers are capped at $5 million. This is in line with the UK but far higher than Reg CF in the US.

As for the specifics of the rules you may view them here.

Fintech in Iran: An Overview (Fintech News), Rated: A

Fintech is gaining steam in Iran as the country’s central bank, financial institutions and government agencies are taking steps to make Tehran a regional hub for financial innovation.

Several fintech events have been organized in Iran in recent months, including the Fintech Festival sponsored by Bank Pasargad Iran earlier this year. The bank also held the Second Fintech Trig-Up during the festival wherein 45 experts help startups develop their ideas.

The CBI is planning to launch a new regulatory body specifically for fintech firms. The authority has also been working on a regulatory framework for fintech companies since 2015.

In March, a group of Iranian fintech companies joined hands to form an association representing the industry. Called Fintech A, the organization is set to bring industry players under one roof, mainly to find a solution to their problems and boost innovators’ relations with regulatory bodies.

Online payment services provider ZarinPal, peer-to-peer payment app Bahamta, online invoicing service Hesabit, money transfer service PayPing and crowdfunding platform Mehrabane are among founding members of the association.

Canada

LENDING LOOP RAISES $ 2 MILLION, LAUNCHES AUTOMATED INVESTMENT PLATFORM (Betakit), Rated: AAA

Toronto-based Lending Loop, a peer-to-peer lending platform, has raised $2 million in funding from the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. The round also saw participation from a group of finance and technology investors.

Lending Loop said the funding will help the company roll out its latest product Auto-Lend, which allows lenders to automatically invest in loans through Lending Loop’s marketplace. The company also plans to invest in machine learning capabilities to assess the risk of borrowers applying for loans.

Flexiti Financial Announces Closing of $ 6.25M Convertible Unsecured Debentures Offering (Newswire), Rated: A

Flexiti Financial, a provider of point-of-sale (POS) financing and payment technology for retailers, is pleased to announce the closing of an oversubscribed $5M convertible debentures offering. Oversubscription amounts totaled an additional $1.25M of aggregate principal, for a total investment of $6.25M. These funds will allow Flexiti Financial to accelerate its rapid growth and further develop the company’s award-winning POS lending platform technology, which is currently adopted in over 1,500 merchant locations and used by over 10,000 customers across Canada.

Philippines

Oriente-Express joint venture to address financial inclusion through fintech (Inquirer.net), Rated: AAA

Greater China-based Oriente and Express Holdings, Inc. (a subsidiary of JG Summit Holdings, Inc.), through an exclusive partnership, will address the financial exclusion problem of underbanked consumers and MSMEs in the Philippines.

This joint venture is setting up a digital financial services marketplace that will enable Filipinos to tap into credit facilities to bridge their ever-growing needs, whether to pay for tuition, unexpected medical expenses or even finance a small business.

According to the World Bank, close to 90 percent of adult Filipinos are not covered by a credit bureau and many people resort to informal means to borrow money. In addition, according to the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, of the 43 percent of the population who save money, only 14 percent of households maintain a deposit account and 68 percent keep their savings in unsecured places.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 30 2017, Daily News Digest

global developing markets sme credit demand

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber steps down as Prosper president. Pave stops originations and considers strategic options. Square to start lending money. LendInvest cancels P2P authorization application. LendInvest receives highest rating from European agency. Reserve Bank of India finalizes P2P rules. Alipay to enter African market. Today’s main analysis: Alternative data transforming SME finance. Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi to offer […]

global developing markets sme credit demand

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Ron Suber, Prosper President and Industry Legend, Stepping Down (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

After nearly 5 years, Ron has decided it is time to move on from Prosper. He’s been part of two turnaround stories at the company – one in 2013, and more recently as we’ve seen Prosper grow its business following the challenging environment in 2016. It is great to see them back on track, and Ron told me that he is leaving Prosper in the hands of a great CEO and management team.

When Ron recently shared his plans with me he made it clear that he will still be involved with Prosper as a company advisor and “President Emeritus” but he will not be involved in the day-to-day activities.

Over the last several years, Ron has made 21 investments in various fintech companies and he is an advisor to several of these companies.

Personal note from Ron Suber:

This isn’t just another, “I changed jobs” announcement, it’s a next phase of life with eyes wide open called “rewirement” not retirement.

Rewirement will include doing even more of the things I have enjoyed in the past – travel, teaching, learning, coaching/cultivating young entrepreneurs, being the investor/advisor that I enjoyed working with as an entrepreneur, exploring and spending time with you.

Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc. May Soon Loan You Money (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Square Inc., the technology company best known for processing payments for small merchants across the U.S., is now angling to lend to consumers, too.

The initiative, which follows the launch of a consumer-oriented Square prepaid debit card, is part of a broader push from the company to branch out beyond its original products—small, white credit-card readers that merchants plug into a mobile phone or tablet.

Offering consumers financing options for their purchases brings Square into competition with financial-technology companies such as PayPal Holdings Inc., Affirm Inc. and GreenSky LLC, as well as consumer lenders like Synchrony Financial that offer credit cards tied to specific retailers.

It also means Square will be on the hook for consumer defaults, which have recently ticked up at some online lenders and credit-card companies.

Square plans to hold the consumer loans on its balance sheet, but as volume grows it could look to sell loans to outside money managers, as it does with its small-business credits unit.

This Company Is Offering A Month’s Worth of Avocado Toast to Millennials Who Buy a House (Money), Rated: AAA

Inspired by the controversial comments made by an Australian millionaire last month, SoFi, an online personal finance company that targets millennial consumers, will give new home buyers a month’s supply of avocado toast if they purchase a home with SoFi mortgage in July.

For those who qualify, the avocado toast incentive program will be delivered in three shipments right to the recent homebuyers’s doorsteps. There is also an option between regular and gluten-free bread. (Of course, they will still have to toast the bread once it arrives.)

The marketing decision was ultimately in response to a now-viral interview in May that caused global uproar, in which Australian millionaire and property mogul Tim Gurner said millennials should refrain from buying the popular brunch dish if they didn’t want to quash their hopes of owning a home.

Can You Make Payments on Plane Tickets? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Did you know there are a few ways to make payments on plane tickets if you can’t afford the full price today?

A new startup that offers payment plans for plane tickets is Airfordable.

Airfordable charges a one-time fee of 10%-20% of the ticket price and a down deposit is required. Your credit score isn’t checked, which is a definite plus for several reasons. After that, you make bi-weekly payments. Once the ticket is paid for, your e-ticket and itinerary are released.

CheapAir.com offers monthly payment plans for flights that cost more than $100 by partnering with Affirm. After selecting the flight you want to buy on CheapAir, you will be taken to Affirm’s website to complete the financing request.

Affirm will offer you a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month payment plan for the plane ticket(s). Your interest rate will range from 10% to 30% depending on your creditworthiness.

Expedia has also teamed up with Affirm to offer payments on plane tickets.

Flightlayaway.com allows you to make payments on plane tickets and cruise tickets.

Flights can only be on layaway from two weeks to twenty weeks. At the end of 20 weeks, all financed flight expenses must be paid to receive your e-ticket and itinerary.

There is a one-time service fee of 15% on domestic flights and 18% on international flights when the flight is booked. And, there is an interest rate of 15% on all flights.

British Airways allows weekly payments on flight + hotel and flight + car packages only.

In America, it’s pretty common to take out a loan to buy a car, or a house, or college tuition. It’s less likely to take out a loan to buy gas for that car, paint for the house, or beer for the college tuition. But what about everything in between? What about $500 drones?

That’s where Affirm, a startup by one of the founders of PayPal, comes in. CEO Max Levchin thinks there’s a financial niche to fill for young people who want expensive things, but don’t have multiple Gs in the bank or on credit to drop on a luxury purchase. Affirm offers small, short-term loans that let customers spread out a big purchase, like a drone or $1,500 couch, over a short period of time. Affirm fronts customers the cash, then collects regular payments in more manageable chunks.

Right now, Affirm is slightly limited to an (albeit wide) selection of online retailers. The stuff you can buy is typical pricey-but-not-luxury products — Casper mattresses, Pottery Barn furniture, Newegg computer parts, clothes from online retailers, as well as drones, phones, and tech you would find in a Sharper Image catalog. In April, the company issued its one millionth loan, meaning that with at least a couple bucks in interest on even the smallest of loans, it’s probably bringing in quite a bit of cash.

Urban Housing Development eFunds (Fundrise), Rated: A

Now, you can invest directly into building new homesfor the next generation of American homeowners.

Funding Circle Strengthens U.S. Leadership Team with Head of Capital Markets & CCO Appointments (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Funding Circle, the world’s leading lending platform focused exclusively on small business, today announced two additions to its U.S. leadership team: Joanna Karger as U.S. Head of Capital Markets, and Richard Stephenson as U.S. Chief Compliance Officer.

Prior to Funding Circle, Stephenson served as chief compliance officer of Silicon Valley Bank. He has more than thirty years’ experience in various senior roles at U.S. financial institutions and law firms, serving as general counsel, chief compliance officer, chief risk officer, head of internal audit and interim chief executive officer at institutions such as Bank of America, Union Bank, Washington Mutual Bank and Mechanics Bank.

Online lender Pave closes to new customers, explores strategic options (American Banker), Rated: A

Pave, an online consumer lender based in New York, has stopped making new loans — a retrenchment that reflects challenges facing the broader sector, according to the company’s CEO.

CEO Oren Bass said in an interview Wednesday that Pave stopped making new loans about two weeks ago.

I’m sick of fintech taking credit union business (CUInsight), Rated: A

Credit unions have been playing a game of catch-up with banks for many years, and now the new kid on the block— Fintechs —are here to present even more of a headache. On December 31, 2016, Prosper Funding had approximately $22.3 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and $32.8 million available for sale investments at fair value.  Their marketplace facilitated $2.2 billion in Borrower Loan originations during 2016, and as of December 31, 2016, $8.3 billion in Borrower Loan originations since it first launched in 2006.

Lending Club ended the year with a servicing portfolio of $11.1 billion, up 24 percent from the same period last year, and delivered $1.8 billion of principal and interest payments to investors throughout the 4th quarter of 2016 with cash, cash equivalents, and securities available for sale totaling $803 million, with no outstanding debt. What’s even more worrisome is that Lending Club’s venture into auto lending is still young and has a lot of potential if it gains serious traction.

Both companies sell consumer lending and deposit products to exactly the same prime-rated consumer credit segment that banks and credit unions do.

Credit unions need to up their game by:

  1. Allowing members to send money and receive money like popular online Venmo.
  2. Stay updated across all devices with real-time push-notifications and transactions.
  3. Credit unions will need to offer various software to their members to help them make better decisions and save massive amounts of time through analytics, accounting, budgeting, prediction, and decision- making software.

How Banks Can Attract More Millennials (ValueWalk), Rated: A

When trying to appeal to this younger generation, it is important to keep in mind that millennials have two main financial priorities; paying off their student loans, and saving for the future. On average, they spend 43 percent of their income to pay down their debts and put away 38 percent of their income as savings for the future. Three out of five millennials would like their bank to be a financial partner as opposed to just another business profiting off of their work. At the same time, only 32 percent of this generation feel their bank understands them. This is largely due to the fact that banks and other financial providers still offer solutions to meet the needs of baby boomers. This means tailoring products to meet millennial needs will create a more mutually beneficial relationship and help to attract younger customers.

New OCC Bulletin on Third-Party Oversight Highlights Fintech Relationships (Lexology), Rated: A

FAQ 7: Is a fintech company arrangement considered a critical activity?

In its response to FAQ 7, the OCC clarified that a relationship between a national bank and a fintech may or may not involve a critical activity, depending on the nature of the specific services the bank or the fintech has agreed to perform. In giving this response, the OCC recognized that third-party relationships are not automatically “high risk” merely because a fintech is involved.

FAQ 10: What should a bank consider when entering a marketplace lending arrangement with nonbank entities?

Although some may read the OCC’s response to FAQ 10 as an endorsement of “bank partnership model” lending relationships between national banks and marketplace lenders, the response includes no explicit mention of these relationships. The response references “marketplace lending or servicing arrangements,” and states that “banks should not originate or support marketplace lenders that have inadequate compliance management processes . . .,” but does not speak to the respective obligations of the parties to these arrangements. Thus, it is conceivable that the bulletin only addresses other types of relationships, such as warehouse lines of credit or loan servicing arrangements. At a minimum, however, the response confirms that national banks should not hesitate to enter into relationships with marketplace lenders as long as appropriate oversight mechanisms are in place.

FAQ 11: Does OCC Bulletin 2013-29 apply when a bank engages a third party to provide bank customers the ability to make mobile payments using their bank accounts, including debit and credit cards?

Until now, a national bank could have taken the position that a third party that merely enabled mobile card payments was not subject to OCC Bulletin 2013-29. To this end, the presence of a third party’s mobile payments application has no effect on the underlying card transaction, and the bank’s involvement is likely confined to deciding whether to promote the availability of the application to its customers. In its response to FAQ 11, however, the OCC clarified that these relationships need to be managed “in a manner consistent with OCC Bulletin 2013-29,” and directed banks to “work with mobile payment providers to establish processes for authenticating enrollment of customers’ account information.”

Pantera Capital to Raise $ 100 Million in Investment for ICO Hedge Fund (Coindesk), Rated: A

Announced today, investment firm Pantera Capital is launching a new hedge fund focused on investments solely in tokens that power public blockchain protocols.

Called Pantera ICO Fund LP, the fund intends to raise $100m, with $35m already raised in support from the firm’s existing investor base, undisclosed new investors, and according to the company, unnamed venture capital firms.

Kabbage headquarters building to get major renovation (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Crestlight paid $35.3 million, or about $167 a foot, according to Fulton County records. It announced the acquisition last week, but had not released the price. Lincoln Property Company Southeast won the leasing and management assignments.

Prologis, Inc. (NYSE: PLD) today announced a strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a global startup ecosystem and venture fund specializing in the development of early-to-growth stage technology startups in the Supply Chain and Logistics vertical.Prologis will provide mentorship and space in its logistics real estate properties to a select group of startups in the Plug and Play accelerator program to pilot new technologies. Prologis joins DHL, Maersk, Panasonic, Hitachi, Mann+Hummel, CMA CGA, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Swiss Post, BASF, Union Pacific Railroad and Ericsson as partners with Plug and Play.

Funding Circle’s U.S. head talks about growth and hiring secrets (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Sam Hodges, the U.S. managing director of Funding Circle, spoke to the Business Times about hiring techniques, missed opportunities, and what book had a profound influence on him, among other things.

RealtyShares Names Kristina Wallender SVP of Marketing (BusinessWire), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, today announced Kristina Wallender has joined the pioneering startup as senior vice president of marketing, focused on helping the company reach more investors and sponsors.

Wallender joins RealtyShares with marketplace and marketing leadership experience spanning large enterprise businesses like Amazon and early stage companies like Ticketfly, where she was the head of marketing for the past four years. Over her tenure, Ticketfly grew from a small startup to a leading live entertainment brand serving over 1,800 venues and promoters across North America. Wallender also played a key role in Pandora’s acquisition of Ticketfly in 2015, earning her a spot on Billboard’s 40 Under 40: Top Young Power Players in music. As part of the RealtyShares team, she will be responsible for growing both sides of the marketplace.

Google and SoFi Alum Named Okta Security Chief (Fortune), Rated: B

Okta, the Silicon Valley firm behind one of the year’s top tech IPOs, has named a new chief security officer.

The maker of identity management software has appointed Yassir Abousselham, a former executive at Google (GOOG, -2.53%) and chief information security officer at financial tech startup SoFi, as head of security. Abousselham began in the role on June 5th.

Vela Boosted Its Fintech Offerings With OptionsCity Acquisition (Benzinga), Rated: B

Vela Trading Technologies LLC, a fintech company specializing in market data technology, recently announced its acquisition of OptionsCity Software, which offers futures and options trading with analytics solutions.

The deal is expected to close at the end of the second quarter.

dv01 is hiring (DV01 email), Rated: B

We believe smart people can succeed at almost anything, so we encourage on-the-job learning (e.g. trying a new programming language) and real ownership over your work. Our fast paced environment necessitates a desire and willingness to grow both personally and professionally. We see value in effort and output, which is why we encourage all of our team members to take measured risks and never back away from a challenge.

United Kingdom

LendInvest cancels application for P2P authorisation (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

LENDINVEST has confirmed that it has cancelled its application with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate a peer-to-peer lending platform.

The online mortgage lender revealed in its annual report, released this week, that it had shelved several applications with the City watchdog, for permission to operate a P2P platform and for credit broking and consumer credit licences.

Social P2P lender rolls out IFISA offering (AltFi), Rated: A

Flender, a Dublin-based, “friendly” peer-to-peer lending platform, is bringing its newly launched Innovative Finance ISA to the UK. The firm was fully authorised by the FCA in May.

RateSetter’s Paul Marston comments on Brexit (RateSetter email), Rated: A

Given the economic uncertainty created by Brexit, it is easy to understand why some small business owners have postponed important business decisions. However, SMEs have some important advantages which position them well to navigate through this period successfully. They can more easily adapt business models, diversify into new activities and implement new ideas.  It will be the business owners who are forward-thinking and act positively and decisively who are most likely to use uncertainty to their advantage.

For SME businesses that see opportunities to invest for future growth, the good news is that there are now real alternatives to the banks in terms of access to finance that can be provided in a simple and straightforward manner. We stand ready to help these businesses realise their plans.

The door is open for business leaders to redefine Brexit so that it is seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat.

China

China leads as fintech adoption doubles in two years, and here’s why (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Financial technology (fintech) adoption has doubled in the past two years, with China leading fintech adoption globally.

The average percentage of digitally active consumers using fintech services is around 33% across 20 key markets – this represents a doubling over the past two years when fintech penetration was recorded to be around 16%. The findings are noted in the EY Fintech Adoption Index, which surveyed 22,000 people online in 20 countries.

The report further shows that China leads the world with 69% of consumers using some form of fintech service, which is unsurprising given the ubiquitous adoption of payment platforms WeChat Pay and Alipay in China. Alipay and TenPay (WeChat Pay) together make up for 92% of the mobile payment market, and mobile payment transactions increased 381% in 2016 to 58.8 trillion yuan, according to iResearch.

An O2O Education System Provider Closed A Round of financing (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Nobo Education announced they have closed a new round of financing $6.4M. This round was led by National SME Development Fund (THG Ventures), with participation from The Chinese Education Industrial Fund, which is jointly managed by DT Capital and ChineseAll. Previously, Nobo Education was known to have raised pre-A round of $1.79M in June 2016.

Founded in March 2013, Nobo Education is a Beijing-based international preschool education institution as well as new high-tech enterprise. Their core product—— Nobo Education System, an O2O system solution efficiently in kindergarten management, is the only system of education that has independent intellectual property right in China.

According to Nobo Education, among the total raised funds, ¥10M will continue to be used in pre-school education software R&D and service.

CreditEase Wealth Management Toumi RA Achieved Top Performance in First Year (Cision), Rated: A

Toumi RA, China‘s leading Robo-advisory platform built on 11-year expertise of CreditEase Wealth Management, has achieved outstanding performance since its launch on May 28, 2016, generating 2.55%-11.48% of cumulative return through May 31 2017, successfully bucking global capital market fluctuation, geopolitical risks and black swans.

In the past year, Toumi RA’s platinum/diamond members enjoyed an average cumulative return of nearly 7% for different portfolios, among which the risk-level-eight option produced the highest return of 11.48%. For gold members, Toumi RA boosted the level-eight portfolio’s cumulative return by 9.4% and the lowest-risk option by 4.23%.

An overwhelming majority of investors (99.6%) made profits during the first year, according to Toumi RA’s performance report, while only 0.4% of investors experienced lost either because of unfortunate investment timing during market highs or short-term investment during highly-volatile periods.

China’s nude loans fill female students’ pockets but suck them dry (ASEAN Today), Rated: B

In April this year, Xiong took her own life in a hotel far from her hometown in Xiamen. Incapable of repaying a debt of 570,000 yuan (US$82,722), Xiong’s circumstances worsened as online loan sharks threatened to make her nude photos public. She took her own life a few days after her mother received her nude photos.

“Nude loans” involves offering one’s nude photos to secure credit. Nude loans first gained nationwide attention in December 2016. The China Youth Daily discovered 167 women’s nude photos and obscene videos online. These women, many of them in their early 20s and receiving college education, handed over their nude photos and videos as collateral for loans from peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms.

Online lenders’ choice to use nude selfies to enforce repayment reflects the country’s paternal society. Nude selfies are risky enough to prevent female student clients from defaulting because Chinese women are still valued for their chastity.

European Union

LendInvest receives highest rating from European ratings agency (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: AAA

Specialist mortgage lender LendInvest has received the highest possible rating for the quality of its loan servicing from European ratings agency ARC Ratings.

For the third time in as many years the agency has awarded a SQ1 Servicer Quality Rating for LendInvest following a comprehensive annual review of the company, its performance, processes and infrastructure.

Swiss Fintech Loses Big Hitter (Finews), Rated: A

Swiss digital insurance broker Knip has agreed to merge with Komparu, a Dutch technology firm. Together they will operate as Digital Insurance Group (DIG), according to a joint statement.

The founder and CEO of Knip, Dennis Just(pictured below), won’t stay at the company.

Roeland Werring, co-founder of Komparu, will be the Group chief technical officer, while Ruben Troostwijkwill stay on as CEO of Komparu. Ingo Weberwas appointed as CEO of DIG.

Tikehau Capital buys Credit.fr (PE Hub), Rated: A

Tikehau Capital (Paris:TKO) today announced it has completed the acquisition of Credit.fr, the French specialist in crowdlending for small businesses financing, for an amount of €12 million. Incubated since March 2015 by Truffle Capital and under the leadership of Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, its chairman since November 2015, Credit.fr has rapidly established itself as an essential player in the small and mid-sized companies (SMEs) alternative financing market.

This acquisition enables Tikehau Capital, a leading company active in the corporate lending and private debt market in France, to consolidate and expand its lending platform by bringing its corporate financing solutions to smaller businesses and SMEs. Through Credit.fr, Tikehau Capital will enable its wide network of investors and partners to broaden their investment policy, currently focused on medium-sized and larger companies, to include smaller businesses rigorously selected by Credit.fr teams.

International

Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance (SME Finance Forum), Rated: AAA

The report titled “Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance” looked at 800+ innovative digital SME lenders and digital commerce, payments and service providers in more than 60 countries. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Banks have valuable data, but are often not using it: Banks have a highly valuable repository of SME data, including SME owners’ customers’ daily transaction data that provides reliable real-time visibility into SME cash flows and credit capacity. However, most banks lack the ability to create innovative SME lending models from it.
  • Digital SME lenders are developing new relationships with SME customers and their data: In some cases, non-bank digital SME lenders insert themselves between banks and their SME customers, and forge fundamental changes in SME customer expectations.
  • New SME digital data streams are becoming more readily available and accessible: Digital SME lenders leverage vast and expanding stores of data, including from electronically verifiable, real-time sales, bank account money flows and balances, payments, social media, trading, logistics, business accounting, and credit reporting service providers, as well as a wide range of other private and public data sources used in the SME credit assessment process.
  • There are a wide range of digital SME originator lending business models: The new digital SME lending originator business models that take advantage of the expanding universe of SME digital data vary widely. This report highlights these business models, selected players, and the digital SME data they use. It includes marketplace lenders, tech, e-commerce, and payment giants which are extending SME lending into their non-banking digital ecosystems where they are already dominant. It also includes supply chain financing firms, mobile micro-lenders graduating to SME lending, and innovative banks.
  • Digital SME lending is becoming more of a global trend: 
  • Digital SME lender-bank collaboration is also a growing part of the future of SME finance: Banks may have been blind to digital SME lenders at first, and digital SME lenders may have said they would replace banks. However, both parties now have come to a simple conclusion: there are limits to what each player can do on their own and there is strength in collaborating.
  • Access to data is no longer the problem in SME lending: The digital economy has also given rise to an ever-evolving set of value-added cloud-based services to help SMEs with their finances, business planning, productivity, legal issues, data backup and security, file sharing, web conferencing, website builds, online marketing, business training, e-commerce, payments, loyalty programs, business intelligence, and more.
  • However, access to data for SME lending brings new challenges: With the abundance of alternative data, there are new issues of what to use, how to use it, and how to do this responsibly — while also respecting privacy and other important rights of SMEs.

Download the report here.

Singapore and Denmark Regulators Sign Fintech Cooperation agreement (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

Regulators in Singapore and Denmark are building bridges to assist Fintech companies expand abroad. The Singapore’s Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (Danish FSA) yesterday have entered a cooperation agreement to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets.

The agreement aims to help FinTech companies in both countries to expand into each other’s markets and also provides facilitated introductions when a fintech firm operating in one jurisdiction wants to better understand the rules in the other.

Advances in digital platforms (The Asset), Rated: A

Midway through the month, on June 14, Misys and D+H merged to form a new company called Finastra.

Shortly after the merger, several institutions announced they were working with the newly formed fintech giant. Rabobank selected Finastra to centralize their cross-border payments; SIA, a European provider of payment infrastructure and services, partnered with Finastra to provide real-time instant payments capabilities; and Mexico’s central bank, Banco de Mexico, also selected Finastra to transform its legacy risk management platform.

Investment Roundup: Visa Buys Stake in Klarna; Revolut, Tango Land Financing (PAYbefore), Rated: A

London-based travel card specialist Revolut is close to landing a £50 million (US$65 million) funding round that will value the company at £300 million (US$390 million), according to a report from Sky News. The round will be led by Index Ventures, which acquired an interest in Revolut last year, the report said. Silicon Valley investor Ribbit Capital is also said to be taking part in the round.

Finally, Seattle-based Tango Card, a provider of digital rewards and incentives to 2,000 corporate enterprise customers, has secured a $10 million investment facility from Silicon Valley’s Western Technology Investment.

Australia

Zagga pitches alternative asset class (Financial Standard), Rated: A

A new marketplace lender is hoping to turn traditional investing on its head with a pitch to wholesale and sophisticated investors.

Backed by an Australian Financial Services Licence and an Australian Credit Licence, Zagga hopes to differentiate itself from other marketplace lenders by providing a lending platform where all loans will be secured by a registered mortgage against real property.

To date, Zagga has helped facilitate a number of loans including a $7.15 million loan which was fully-funded within 17 days by 26 investors, and a $1.15 million loan to a husband and wife investor who wanted to top up their super fund before 30 June, funded in a few hours by six investors.

India

RBI finalises peer-to-peer lending norms (The Hindu), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has finalised norms for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms and is expected to release final guidelines in 2-3 weeks, a top finance ministry official said.

According to the official, the P2P lending interface will come under the purview of RBI’s regulation by defining these platforms as NBFCs under the RBI Act by issuing a notification in consultation with the government.

Lendingkart to add marketplace, P2P loans and offer SaaS product: Harshvardhan Lunia (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

You had also mentioned about raising Rs 500 crore in debt.

Apart from the first Rs 500-crore debt fundraising exercise, we will also look to raise another Rs 500 crore in debt. We have initiated talks for this, but the process will take some time.

So, eventually will you be looking to raise more funds from banks and less from NBFCs?
Banks offer us lower-cost loans, but the process is more time consuming. They also operate within certain limitations. NBFCs are quicker with their disbursals.

Do you have plans to increase the ticket size of your loans, which is capped at Rs 10 lakh?
About 93% of our loans are less than Rs 10 lakh, and the Rs 50,000-10 lakh range remains our sweet spot. But, sometimes we do disburse loans of Rs15-20 lakh if there is a strong reference or recommendation. Our USP will be to remain a sub-Rs 10-lakh lender.

Tech is a major component of your business operations. How much of your budget allocation goes towards it?
Almost 25-30% of our budget goes towards technology. The tech team accounts for around 35% of our total manpower while two-thirds of our resources work on the lending business.

Most players tend to be asset-light. What was the business logic and strategy behind going asset-heavy?

That experience led to the decision of Lendingkart having an NBFC of its own, which would allow us to design our own products.

Will you continue to operate the same business model?
Two years down, we will diversify as a marketplace model, and may even get into the peer-to-peer lending space.

In fact, we will start a pilot with one or two players within the next six months. However, this year, the lending will predominantly be from our books. These plans will take a larger form in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

When will you start making profits?
The lending arm of our business will turn profitable by March 2018.

Which are your top performing markets?
Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Surat have been our top five performing markets.When will you start making profits?
The lending arm of our business will turn profitable by March 2018.

Asia

InVent takes stake in fintech Digio (Bangkok Post), Rated: A

InVent, a venture capital arm of SET-listed Intouch Holdings, has invested in a fintech startup, Digio, to boost the fast-growing e-payment market.

Digio is the first fintech company in InVent’s portfolio, which will strengthen Intouch’s offerings in the mobile payment business.

InVent has taken a 10% in stake in Digio but declined to say what it was worth.

Canada

A Canadian venture capital firm is funding entrepreneurs to relocate and become citizens (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Sharma is the CEO and cofounder of Extreme Venture Partners, a Canadian VC firm that recently assembled a fundfor paying startup founders and their families to relocate to Toronto.

Upon arrival, they’ll receive seed funding, guidance on beginning their new Canadian life, and the opportunity to get on the fast-track for citizenship. Sharma says EVP is prepared to welcome 30 companies over the next three years.

Upon arrival, they’ll receive seed funding, guidance on beginning their new Canadian life, and the opportunity to get on the fast-track for citizenship. Sharma says EVP is prepared to welcome 30 companies over the next three years.

Issues in Bringing Canadian Fintech to the International Stage (CIGI Online), Rated: A

The aim of this policy brief is to provide a general description of the fintech industry in Canada, and to describe and draw attention to two complementary aspects of developing a fintech strategy for Canada: first, encouraging domestic fintech innovation — through open data and payment systems — and second, encouraging international expansion — through international agreements among regulators and comprehensive intellectual property strategies.

Get the report here.

FLEXITI FINANCIAL WINS BID TO OFFER POINT-OF-SALE FINANCING TO OVER 800 DEALERS ACROSS CANADA (Flexiti Financial), Rated: A

Flexiti Financial, a provider of point-of-sale (POS) financing and payment technology for retailers, today announced that it has won a competitive bid to be the preferred POS financing partner in Canada for the dealers of outdoor maintenance and equipment manufacturers including Husqvarna, Briggs & Stratton, Ariens, Big Dog Mowers, Hustler, ECHO Power Equipment and ECHO Bear Cat. Flexiti Financial now has access to over 800 dealers that sell lawn and garden tools and outdoor power equipment.

Dealers will now have access to Flexiti Financial’s award-winning POS financing platform, which will allow them to provide instant financing on any device, anywhere, and instant credit approval in three minutes.

Africa

Alipay for the first time to enter the African globalization version of the addition of a piece (01Caijing), Rated: AAA

June 26 evening, Alipay announced that it will launch Alipay in Africa to provide services to Chinese tourists. Since then, from the Alipay global strategy has taken a step further.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 10 2017, Daily News Digest

DealVector

News Comments Today’s main news: GDR partners with Equifax. OnDeck shares down 3.5%. iBan raises 110K GBP on Seedrs. Hexindai implements FICO. Bitbond receives 5M Euro debt commitment. KPMG acquires Matchi. RateSetter welcomes Aussie banking reforms. Today’s main analysis: KBRA assigned prelim ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Consumer privacy and fintech. CreditEase CEO discusses the future of […]

DealVector

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

  • KPMG acquires Matchi. AT: “Matchi should be on any bank’s list of platforms to check if looking for a partnership with a fintech innovator.”
  • 7 ways fintech is changing the job market. AT: “Interesting read. Takeaway for alt lenders: If you want to hire great talent, look for people with excellent skills in other industries and ready to make a career change. Look at industries that are dying, diminishing in importance, or where great talent is being replaced by automation. Fintech skill sets are often developed in other places.”

Australia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Global Debt Registry Partners with Equifax (FINalternatives), Rated: AAA

Loan data specialist Global Debt Registry has partnered with global information solutions giant Equifax that will incorporate the company’s income data into its eValidation suite of verification tools for investors and warehouse lenders in the online lending space.

The new partnership will utilize Equifax’s anonymous income data to incorporate additional loan verification data and enable benchmarking and monitoring of income inflation over time, the company said in a statement.

“It’s critical for investors to have the assurance that when they invest in online lending, the loan data is independently, externally validated,” said Charlie Moore, president of GDR.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to one class of notes issued by SoFi Consumer Loan Program 2017-3 LLC (“SCLP 2017-3”). This is a $530 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is closing on May 18, 2017.

This transaction represents SoFi Lending Corp.’s (“SoFi” or “the Company”) ninth rated securitization collateralized by a portfolio of unsecured consumer loans.

KBRA analyzed the transaction using the U.S. Consumer Loan ABS Rating Methodology published on March 28, 2017. KBRA’s consumer loan methodology incorporates an analysis of: (1) the underlying collateral pool, (2) the originator’s historical static pool data, segmented by characteristics including credit quality and product type, (3) the proposed capital structure for the transaction, (4) KBRA’s operational assessment of the originator and servicer and (5) the legal structure, transaction documents, and legal opinions.

OnDeck downgraded at Stifel; shares down 3.5% (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

OnDeck Capital (ONDK -3.6%) managed to reverse big early losses and close flat yesterday despite a sizable earnings miss.

It’s moved back into the red today as Stifel’s John Davis downgrades to Hold from Buy, and cuts his price target to a Street-low $4.50 from $6.

Consumer Privacy Should Be Top-of-Mind for FinTech Firms to Avoid Scrutiny (BNA), Rated: AAA

With many people underserved by traditional lending institutions, including the close to 45 million adults in the U.S. who the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates are “credit invisible” or have had past credit challenges, emerging FinTech lenders and online lending platforms (FinTech firms) have established themselves as valuable lending resources for both investors and consumers.

Undoubtedly, the digital footprints (both active and passive) left by consumers online offer valuable insights about those consumers’ preferences and behaviors, which can be useful to FinTech firms in assessing whether to extend credit. But the use of the Internet, which provides unprecedented access to an extraordinary amount of consumer information (some of which might be obtained without a consumer’s consent or knowledge), has raised significant privacy questions that FinTech firms might have to confront in order to overcome inevitable regulatory scrutiny.

In the context of marketplace lending, for example, which can include peer-to-peer lending as well as funding through institutional investors, hedge funds, and other financial institutions, market analysts estimate significant growth in loan origination volumes as well as an expansion in the types of products being offered. The California Department of Business Oversight conducted a survey of marketplace lenders and found that marketplace lenders provided over $13 billion in financing to consumers in 2014, having only provided less than $2 billion in 2010.

FinTech firms should be aware of potential risks about the types of alternative data they collect and the means through which they obtain that data. As the National Consumer Law Center has warned, “the devil is in the details” as the use of alternative data can potentially raise a number of significant legal issues, most notably fair lending and privacy concerns.

Gathering information from social networking systems, in particular, can provide significant information about a consumer’s interests and preferences, as well as the consumer’s location and travel history. While Internet users can furnish actively some of this information through entry of data into a system, a significant amount of information also can be gathered passively through cookies and the tracking of user IP addresses.

With the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the use of alternative data (caveating that regulatory priorities may shift under the current administration of President Trump), FinTech firms should consider carefully assessing what data they are collecting and maintaining to ensure that they are complying with current consumer privacy regulations.

Lending Club and MPL – One Year On from Renaud Laplanche’s Ouster (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, I thought it would be useful to take a step back and reflect on what we have learned in the past year.

  1. The industry is bigger than one person – the industry did not fall apart because of his departure.
  2. Investors still need yield and borrowers still like installment loans – The main premise for the rise of marketplace lending is still very much in play today. It is no secret that the growth of the industry over the past five years has been driven by institutional investors seeking yield. Lending Club shared in their quarterly earnings report last week that not only are the banks back investing in loans but they are doing so at record levels.On the borrower side there has been no slowdown in demand.
  3. Banks and marketplace lenders are important partners
  4. Compliance can be a selling tool – The sense I had is that compliance was viewed as a necessary burden and not something that could be a sales tool. That changed a year ago and now an investment in compliance has been viewed as essential.
  5. Finance is just as (perhaps more) important as technology when it comes to fintech – The narrative of marketplace lending has often been about the cost savings and customer experience improvements that can be made through advanced technology. I have seen many presentations that talked about how the legacy technology of banks are causing such inefficiencies and that fintech companies can solve this with better technology. All that may well be true but the bottom line we have learned is that in the lending business we should be focused on finance first. If you get that wrong the greatest technology in the world will not matter.

How technology mitigated a crisis in student loan ABS (American Banker), Rated: A

These programs slow the rate of repayment on Federal Family Education Loans, putting the bonds they back at risk of technical default if the securities fail to pay off at maturity. When Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings raised the alarm early in 2015, eventually putting some $100 billion of bonds under review for downgrade, the market sold off heavily. New issuance ground to a halt.

Yet Navient and Nelnet, the two largest student loan servicers, avoided downgrades on some $18 billion of FFELP bonds. They did so using a strategy that, at first, did not seem promising: extending the maturities of the bonds.

Their efforts were aided by DealVector, an online registry of asset ownership and messaging platform, which helped the two servicers identify holders and collect votes. Over the past year, the two servicers have sent about 165 tranches out for consent; some 60% of those were successful, and about 10% are still in process. The total original face value of tranches passed to date exceeds $18 billion.

Like other kinds of financial assets, FFELP bonds are held “in street name” by a brokerage firm, bank, or dealer on behalf of a purchaser, obscuring their true ownership. This isn’t just a problem for consent solicitations; it also imposes large costs on determining an appropriate price for a security, forming creditor classes, and many other events requiring communication among deal participants.

Real Estate Lender Zeus CrowdFunding Offers Industry’s First Loyalty Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Zeus CrowdFunding, the fastest real estate crowdfunding site in America, will offer borrowers a new incentive unmatched in the rapidly growing financial sector: the real estate crowdfunding industry’s first loyalty program. Repeat borrowers with the company can borrow up to 80 percent of a property’s after-repair value (ARV).

The program is called LoyaltyZ, and its mechanics are simple. On a borrower’s first loan with Zeus CrowdFunding, they’re eligible to receive up to 75 percent loan-to-value (LTV) of his or her approved project’s ARV. With each loan that they finish paying back to Zeus CrowdFunding, the borrower will receive one more point on their LTV on their next loan—up to 80 percent of the ARV. On a borrower’s second loan from Zeus CrowdFunding, for example, he or she is eligible to borrow up to 76 percent of the ARV; on his or her third loan, up to 77 percent, and so on. Beginning with his or her sixth loan, a repeat borrower can borrow up to 80 percent of the ARV on every loan.

Zeus CrowdFunding Founder and Chief Acceleration Officer Steven Kaufman says that LoyaltyZ was designed for real estate borrowers interested in completing multiple projects as quickly as possible. No additional sign-up or commitment is required of them.

Fintech Firms Primary Targets for Cybercrime Attacks (Think Advisor), Rated: A

Fintech firms are prime targets for cyberattacks, according to research revealing 130 million fraud attacks detected in just a 90-day period with the growth in attacks outpacing transaction growth by 50%.

Data revealed 50% more cybercrime attacks originating from all of Europe than U.S., the single most attacked nation, and increasing cyberattacks from South America.

The Q1 2017 Cybercrime Report also revealed that attack vectors and patterns are more evolved and malicious, including:

  • Remote access Trojans, which contain a strong footprint in the financial services industry.
  • Identity-spoofing attacks target fintech firms through peer-to-peer loans, global remittance and potential loopholes in new and emerging platforms. ThreatMetrix research showed an 80% increase in digital wallet transactions year-on-year as well as a 180% increase in associated bot attacks, typically used to mass test identity credentials.

According to ThreatMetrix, fraudsters use bots to mass test identity credentials and infiltrate trusted user accounts. New attack trends disclose fraudsters targeting emerging and fintech industries, which they view as more vulnerable to attack.

Read the report on cybercrime here.

Auto Loan Portfolio Marketplace with Automated Decisioning (BusinessWire), Rated: A

defi SOLUTIONS announces the launch of defi EXCHANGE, a secure, online portfolio marketplace where sellers of auto loan portfolios can access multiple buyers and manage the entire sales process. defi EXCHANGE improves efficiencies and profitability by automating and enhancing processes, revolutionizing the way auto loan portfolios are bought and sold.

With defi EXCHANGE, buyers no longer need to build their bulk deal evaluation outside their lending platform in spreadsheets and with manual processes that require extra data scrutiny and attention. Sellers no longer need to provide sensitive consumer data to many potential buyers and then follow up manually. defi EXCHANGE eliminates processing inefficiencies and allows for the complete evaluation and pricing provided by a Loan Origination System.

defi EXCHANGE resulted from the purchase of SellYourBulk.com, the first-ever auto loan marketplace that began operations in 2015.

IBM’s Watson ‘is a joke,’ says Social Capital CEO Palihapitiya (CNBC), Rated: A

IBM isn’t at the forefront of artificial intelligence, Social Capital CEO and founder Chamath Palihapitiya told CNBC on Monday, and he certainly isn’t a fan of IBM’s Watson.

“The companies that are advancing machine learning and AI don’t brand it with some nominally specious name that’s named after a Sherlock Holmes character.”

Digital Banking Inspiration from FinTech Disruptors (Silvercloud), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer payment systems like Venmo gained traction amongst the millennial generation and are beginning to make their way to the broader consumer population as banks consider the appeal in this convenient, paper-free payment approach.

Startups like Branch.co, ZestFinance and MyBucks are using AI and machine learning to offer low-rate payday lending loans. By relying on data and algorithms, these startups believe they offer a faster, more accurate and unbiased way to determine a consumer’s credit worthiness and their corresponding interest rate. Similarly, by removing the loan officer from the equation, these FinTechs can save on costs and ensure a profit from their low rate loans.

The importance of embracing mobile technology is not new in the banking sector. But what is new is how certain FinTech startups like Moven are using the mobile platform to offer services that help consumers better manage their money. Moven, which is an online bank of sorts that works alongside traditional banks, is giving consumers insight into their spending habits — offering them tools to see where their money is going and how they can better prepare for the future. It’s all about transparency and putting the consumer in control of their financial health.

While the technology to create automated investment advice is not new, access to it (by those who are not wealth managers) is. It’s simpler, more accessible and cheaper for the consumer.

Witnessing the success of FinTech robo-advisory startups, and the unmet need they are filling within the market, banks have begun jumping into this market.

If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Join ’Em. Why Banks are Starting to Partner with FinTechs.

Today there are more than 2,000 FinTech start-ups as compared to 2015 when there were only 800. This is why many banks and credit unions have changed their approach; instead of competing with the FinTechs, they are trying to partner with them.

At SilverCloud, we are helping banks and credit unions do just that — give their customers and members the ability to access all the information they need through digital banking channels without ever having to pick up the phone. We are helping banks and credit unions evolve with the demands of customers by providing an engaging digital experience that lowers support costs and drives more revenue through a better experience for the customer and member.

FIN Opposes Elements of CHOICE Act (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Last week Financial Innovation Now (FIN), an alliance of companies which includes Fintech behemoths innovator Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit and PayPal, spoke out against language used in the Financial CHOICE Act that would repeal debit swipe fee reform. In a letter penned by FIN Executive Director Brian Peters and addressed to US House of Representatives Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, FIN identifies debt reform’s promotion of payment innovation and tech advancement, identifying that “lower debit fees and improved routing choice have meaningfully spurred competition and technological development. Payment innovators are building on this opportunity to deliver real solutions to the marketplace, and more is on the way. This innovation should not be foreclosed.”

A Quick Guide to P2P Lending (IT Business Net), Rated: B

No system is perfect, and like any form of lending, P2P is not without its challenges. Many people are worried about the regulation of the P2P system, since it is fairly new, and laws have not come into effect to control the industry. Additionally, many Americans are worried about financial cyber security with all-online platforms, since data breaches are a frequent occurrence around the globe. Some of the biggest challenges, however, are on a smaller scale. Though P2P lending platforms don’t have the same requirements for borrowers that banks do, credit score can be an issue for some borrowers. It’s currently not possible to use a business credit score, meaning that poor personal credit could affect potential borrowers’ ability to get a loan at a decent interest rate.

Kingdom Trust Completes ‘Consider The Alternatives’ eBook Series (PR Web), Rated: B

Kingdom Trust, a leader in Self-Directed IRA, alternative asset and institutional custody solutions, recently completed its Consider the Alternatives eBook series. The collection of eBooks illustrates the investment potential of the four main alternative asset classes held on the firm’s platform: real estate, precious metals, private lending and private equity.

United Kingdom

iBAN Completes Seedrs Funding Round With More Than £110,000 in Funds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, iBAN completed its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs with over £110,00 in funds.  The online lender was founded last year and launched the initiative in early January with a mission to raise £100,000 for its new crowdlending app, iBAN Wallet.

Interview with Managing Director of LandlordInvest (P2P Banking), Rated: A

LandlordInvest is a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform for residential and commercial mortgages.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  1. Security – I personally would not invest in unsecured loans given the risks and the potentially very lengthy enforcement process to reclaim part of the capital, if any at all.
  2. Returns – We offer returns of up to 12%, although we recently funded a loan with a rate of 19% to investors.
  3. Diversification

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

  1. Manual underwriting – For us, the most important part of our assessment is that the borrower has a verifiable track-record and that the security is enforceable in the event of the default.
  2. Speed – we recently assessed a loan, had it fully funded and completed in two days.
  3. Online application with a simple online control panel

You recently launched an IFISA product. How has the investor uptake been so far and was it a big advantage to be in the forefront of approved providers?

The demand for our IFISA has been good. IFISA account holders, although only around 20% of the total registered investors, account for 50% of all funds on the platform. As such, IFISA account holders usually deposit more than non-IFISA account holders and also invest more.

What was the biggest challenge in launching LandlordInvest and what have been challenges since?

The biggest challenge has been operating under a “real” P2P model, i.e. no pre-funding of loans.

Which marketing channels do you use to attract investors and borrowers?

We use a multichannel approach including, establishing good relations with the press, having an interactive presence on various forums and blogs, affiliate marketing programs and social media presence.

I hear you are planning a secondary market? Will that work with premium and discounts or at par? What other features do you plan to roll out this year?

We are indeed developing a secondary market and expect to launch it in the beginning of May this year. Investors will only be able to sell loan or loan parts at par. Investors will also be able to sell parts of loans.

£266 bln of SME Turnover Delayed by Late Supplier Payments (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The growth prospects of SMEs are being potentially stalled due to late payments, according to new research of over 1,000 SMEs commissioned by Crossflow Payments, the Fintech platform delivering supply chain finance solutions.

Keypoints from the research:

  • £266 billion is held up as 15% of SME annual turnover is subject to late payment
  • Over half (55%) of SMEs who receive payment late for invoices admit payment is regularly late by ten days or more, as a quarter (23%) of SMEs cite late payment problem
  • 3.4 million jobs could be created by solving the late payment problem, as two in three (63%)
  • SMEs would hire up to five new members of staff if their working capital improved
  • Businesses experiencing Brexit payment crunch, as one in ten (10%) SMEs have also witnessed worsening in payment terms since 2016 EU Referendum
China

CEO Of Chinese Fintech Firm Creditease On The Future Of P2P Lending In China (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Sara Hsu: Do you think that P2P [peer to peer lending] firms like yours are helping to make China’s financial system more market-based?

Ning Tang: The bigger picture is that P2P and fintech help the financial system to become more comprehensive. Fintech helps make the financial system more comprehensive, and helps make bank services more efficient.

Hsu: Many P2P companies have failed. What are some of the risks that P2P companies face?

Tang: There are three major risks. One is the platform itself. Is it legit? Is it legal? In many cases, you see fraud. The second risk is on the borrower, the credit quality side. Even if it’s a legit market place, if it cannot assess risk, it will not be sustainable. The third risk is on the lending side—is the source of capital sustainable?

Hsu: What is the impact of regulations on the industry?

Tang: Our experience is that it will make the industry more stable, healthier, and in the coming 10-20 years, it will be a much better industry.

Hsu: Do you advise other P2P firms in terms of credit risk?

Tang: In terms of pooling data together, we are partners. We made it possible for other market place lenders and new finance companies to access our data.

Hexindai Implements FICO’s Decision Engine (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. (“Hexindai” or “the Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace in China, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Fair Isaac Corporation’s (FICO) to implement its decision rules management solution, BLAZE ADVISOR.  Implementation of this decision engine will allow the Company to automate the loan origination approval process, greatly shorten the decision-making time, and lower operational risks, all of which should help drive the Company’s risk management to a higher level. The Company expects to launch the system in the fourth quarter of this year.

European Union

Bitcoin lending platform Bitbond gets €5M debt commitment to boost loans (Crypto Ninjas), Rated: AAA

Bitcoin SME marketplace loan platform Bitbond today announced that it received a commitment from Obotritia Capital to fund loans worth €5 million. Additionally, Obotritia invested an undisclosed amount of equity in acquiring a stake in Bitbond.

With the debt commitment, SME loans from European prime borrowers will be funded instantaneously on Bitbond. This will reduce the time it takes for business owners to apply and receive a loan to 30 minutes.

Over 1,700 loans worth €1.4 million were originated through Bitbond since its launch in 2013. 90,000 users from 120 countries registered with the service to date.

International

KPMG acquires Matchi, global fintech innovation and matchmaking platform (Crossroads Today), Rated: AAA

KPMG International has announced the acquisition of Matchi, a leading global fintech innovation and matchmaking platform that connects financial institutions, including banks and insurance companies, with leading-edge financial services technology solutions and companies worldwide.

The Matchi platform includes more than 700 curated fintech solutions and a database of more than 2,500 fintech companies that financial institutions can work with to apply innovative fintech capabilities to solving their business problems and pursuing new market opportunities.

Fintech companies and solutions are reviewed and undergo a curation process in order to qualify to appear on KPMG’s innovative Matchi platform. Financial institutions are able to search for a specific company or solution, or they can use the platform’s proprietary “Innovation Challenge” capability to present specific problem statements to the global fintech market and receive recommendations on solutions from Fintech innovators.  In this way, financial institutions are able to access and unlock the leading edge technology and deep customer insight of the world’s best fintech firms for their own operations.

Since its inception in 2013, Matchi has connected more than 100 leading banks and insurance companies with fintech innovations, including solutions in next generation payments, regtech, blockchain and P2P insurance.

7 Ways Fintech Is Changing The Job Market (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Fintech grew 11 percent in 2016 making it a $17.4 billion industry.

The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in Europe takes effect in 2018. PSD2 enables users to allow third parties access to bank accounts.

  1. Remote work becoming more viable – Due to the perks of working remotely, many professionals have also opted to become independent contractors over regular employment.
  2. More payment options for employees – There are now even a variety of ways to get paid due to the rise of payment services and digital currencies. Some companies now offer wages in Bitcoin as an alternative to traditional currencies. Some freelancers based in countries where cross-border payments are difficult even take gift cards as payment.
  3. Fintech-empowered rewards and benefits – Aside from digital currencies, the growth of brand loyalty cards also now gives employers options to reward staff.
  4. New technical skills required
  5. Soft skills are increasingly important
  6. More job cuts in traditional institutions likely – Last year, Bank of America laid off 8,400 jobs as the bank invests more in digital initiatives. Brick-and-mortar banks branches even face closure as online and mobile banking grow. In addition, major developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning now allow for the automation of tasks across business functions. Chatbots are now being used to function as front liners in sales and support. Robo-advisors also challenge the competence of human financial advisers. Job cuts are inevitable as these technologies mature.
  7. More opportunities with startups – Those who are displaced from traditional institutions may look into retooling and transitioning to fintech ventures instead. Fintech is a growth industry and there are a variety of segments to venture into. Currently, most fintech ventures are in payments, investments, lending, and personal finance though others are already working on insurance and foreign exchange.
Australia

RateSetter welcomes Australian banking reforms (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S Australian division has welcomed the country’s banking reforms unveiled in the Federal Budget on Tuesday.

Changes imposed in the major fiscal event include a bumper levy on the country’s biggest banks, an “open banking” scheme to give customers greater access to their banking data and measures to boost competition and accountability in the sector.

The Productivity Commission, an independent review and advisory body created by the Australian government, published its recommendations for banking reforms on Monday ahead of the Federal Budget. The organisation suggested that banks build APIs to enable data sharing with customers.

Canada

Flexiti Financial Appoints COO, CRO to Growing Executive Team (Sys-Con Media), Rated: A

Flexiti Financial, a leading provider of point-of-sale (POS) financing and payment technology for retailers, today announced the appointment of Jerome Peeters as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Colin Franks as Chief Risk Officer (CRO) to its senior executive team. Both positions are newly created and come at a critical time for Flexiti Financial as the company continues to experience rapid growth in the consumer financing space.

Mr. Peeters joins Flexiti Financial from B2B Bank, where he served as Vice-President, Operations and Client Services. Prior to this, he spent four years at Sears Canada in a series of progressive senior marketing and operational roles within Sears Financial Services and the broader company. Before joining Sears, Mr. Peeters was Senior Director, Marketing and Change Management at CIBC, supporting the President’s Choice Financial business.

Mr. Franks was most recently Chief Risk Officer, Canadian Credit Cards at JP Morgan Chase where he managed Risk across several retail partners including Sears, Amazon and Best Buy. Before joining JP Morgan Chase, he spent over nine years at MBNA managing all aspects of the Risk lifecycle and eventually becoming Director of Strategic and Risk Planning.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor