Thursday October 4 2018, Daily News Digest

Wealthfront clients who engage with Path save 28% more

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle tumbles. SoFi partners with Kukun. Petal raises $34M on launch day. China is losing its grip on P2P lending risks. ID Finance Mexico profitable after 8 months. Today’s main analysis: Wealthfront: Clients who engage with automated financial advisors save more. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The difference between LendingClub’s, Funding Circle’s valuations. Venture capital investment […]

Wealthfront clients who engage with Path save 28% more

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United States

Lending Club weighs in on Funding Circle’s float (Altfi News) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle’s landmark float is done. Its shares are now trading on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

The stock closed at 364p yesterday, down almost 20 per cent. This was the result of trading during the period between its float last Friday and the stock’s official market debut yesterday.

Having first narrowed its share price to 440-460p per share, Funding Circle ultimately raised £300m at a valuation of around £1.5bn, approximately 15 times its 2017 revenues of £95m.

In an interview, Lending Club’s communications lead Anuj Nayar pointed to what he sees as an ‘incredible difference’ in the way that Funding Circle and Lending Club are currently valued.

SoFi Forms New Partnership With Kukun to Help Homeowners Understand the Remodeling Cost (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, online lending platform SoFi announced it has formed a new partnership with home improvement platform Kukun to offer advanced new tools to help homeowners gain a greater understanding of how much their home improvement project could cost and how it can affect the resale value of their home.

SoFi reported that the tools will help homeowners estimate costs and returns on investment for over 28 project types that range in price from $10,000 to $300,000, including renovations and expansions. These are notably the first tools SoFi is offering related to its home improvement loans. Financial calculators that are built by Kukun are notably based on highly normalized and granular property condition marketplace data, in addition to normalized construction permit data (fresh and historic), as well as customer intent from the Kukun marketplace

Petal Card Announces $ 34 Million Round on Launch Day (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Petal, a startup aims to deliver on what we’ve often called the real promise of fintech: financial inclusion. The company describes itself as “credit with a conscience” and announced a new fundraising round of $34 million on the same day that they officially launched their credit card product to the public. Backing the vision is Jefferies and Silicon Valley Bank.

The funding will aid the roll-out to a waitlist which includes 100,000 people. The card is aimed at the tens of millions of Americans who have no credit score at all or a short credit history.

Wealthfront Research Shows Clients Who Regularly Engage With Automated Financial Advice Save More (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

Today, Wealthfront released the 2018 Savings Report detailing the impact their automated advice engine, Path, has on their clients’ savings patterns. In the last year, the company has observed that consistent engagement with Path correlates with a 28% increase in a client’s savings rate. For a 32-year-old client with a $130,000 income and $100,000 in savings, this could mean an additional $1.25 million dollars at retirement.

Source: Wealthfront

Wealthfront’s goal is to fully automate financial decisions to what some people have called, “self-driving money.” Clients will be able to automatically deposit their paycheck into their Wealthfront account and the company will route their money appropriately based on the lifestyle and goals they’ve set. Bills will be automatically paid, emergency funds and 401(k)s will be topped off and Wealthfront will invest the rest in the most tax efficient way. To date the company offers a suite of automated financial planning, investment management and banking related services. To read the full report visit  to start saving and investing today download the app on iOS or Android.

Worldwide Business with kathy ireland Discusses Blockchain Empowered Real Estate Lending with Lending Coin (Digital Journal) Rated: A

Worldwide Business with kathy ireland is pleased to announce an exclusive interview with The Lending Coin’s CEO Sam Warren and CMO Mindy Ngo to discuss their new real estate blockchain program.

“We provide peer-to-peer lending around the world,” says Ngo. “By using the blockchain, we don’t have high overhead costs or errors like traditional financing. That’s why we are able to offer such low interest rates.”

Backed by Popular Bank, the platform is fully operational. With Highly experienced private banking professionals and dedicated office suites in each of its principal New York and Miami markets, the Popular private client program is well-positioned to cater to current and prospective clients.

U.S. Small Business Lending Keeps Rolling in August, According to PayNet (Business Wire) Rated: A

Small business lending continued its blistering pace in August, according to the latest Strategic Insights Report from PayNet, the leading provider of small business credit data and analysis. The Thomson Reuters / PayNet Small Business Lending Index (SBLI) seasonally adjusted originations increased 7% from 145.1 in July 2018 to 154.7 in August 2018, its second-highest reading ever. Year-over-year, the index is up 16%, marking its 11th consecutive increase over the prior year and the fourth double-digit year-over-year gain in the last five months. The rolling three-month index at 148.3 is relatively flat compared to July 2018 but is up 12% on the year.

The SBLI remained above 140 for the eighth consecutive month. The majority of industries experienced lending growth on an annual basis in August, led by Transportation & Warehousing (+20.4% Y/Y) and Mining (+9.7% Y/Y). Lending in Arts & Entertainment (+4.6% Y/Y) climbed to an all-time high in August, and more than half of industries achieved index readings in the top 25th percentile of all readings since 2005. Construction (+8.0% Y/Y) saw its strongest annual growth since November 2016 (despite weakening residential investment) due to strong investment in commercial and industrial structures. Regionally, lending increased across all ten of the largest states in August, continuing the widespread expansion seen in July. On an annual basis, regional growth was led by Texas (+15.3% Y/Y), Illinois (+12.3% Y/Y), North Carolina (+9.9% Y/Y) and Michigan (+9.4% Y/Y) — each of which saw lending reach record highs in August. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania (+7.9% Y/Y) and New York (+6.2% Y/Y) experienced their fastest year-over-year growth since mid-2015.

Making business analytics as easy to use as a smartphone (American Banker) Rated: A

A constant drumbeat in banking is that businesses require ever more data analytics to remain informed and competitive. Yet Envestnet|Yodlee acknowledged its data offerings were out of tune with customer expectations.

Its Envestnet Envision IQ platform, launched in May, offered up a variety of information concerning a bank’s customers and products, but it had no focus, according to a top executive at the data aggregator.

Branch managers will be able to create their own “playlist” of questions to be answered daily, he said, and the system will record and categorize questions asked into favorited questions and most-asked questions.

Source: American Banker

NetSuite angles for speed-to-market advantage over fintechs (American Banker) Rated: A

The biggest bank technology providers are revamping their most popular platforms to offer new features and reach more financial service sectors — all in the name of protecting market share from insurgent fintechs and pivoting peers.

Oracle joined the fray last week, announcing it was adding banking as a service to NetSuite, the venerable cloud-based enterprise resource planning platform it acquired for $9.3 billion in 2016.

San Jose, San Francisco and Boston are the Best Places for Boomer Entrepreneurs (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Key findings

  • San Jose – the seat of the Silicon Valley – is by far the best place for boomer entrepreneurs, with a final score of 93.6. In addition to representing high business income, San Jose boasts the largest share of boomer business founders.
  • San Francisco comes in second with a score of 86.5, thanks to remarkable earnings potential, relative to the other metros on the list, indicating that boomers are sharing in the general prosperity of self-employed entrepreneurs there.
  • Boston earned the third place on the list, with a score of 74.1.
  • New OrleansMiami and Orlando ranked last on the list, with scores of 16.4, 20.5 and 21.1, respectively.

See the full study here.

U.S. Bank Simple Loan 2018 Review (Nerdwallet) Rated: A

Cost: The Simple Loan costs $12 for every $100 borrowed, which translates into an annual percentage rate of 71%. That’s much cheaper than typical payday loans, where the average rate is 391%, and it’s due after three months, not the two-week cycle that is common of payday loans.

Auto-pay discount: U.S. Bank allows both auto-payments and manual payments. Manual payments cost extra, $15 per $100 borrowed, which is equal to 88% APR.

Payments are reported to the credit bureaus, so your score can increase if you make on-time payments.

RPA: the new tech transforming banking (Kyron Systems email) Rated: A

The number of U.S. banks has almost halved since 2007, from 8,400 to about 5,500 in 2017, and the reason is that it costs more. Rising AML and KYC compliance costs combined with regulatory fines are continuously putting banks out of business, especially small banks; U.S. Fed research indicates that adding just two new employees to a small bank’s compliance team would make a third of these banks unprofitable.

In response, banks are turning to a new field of virtual assistants: RPA, which stands for ‘robotic process automation’ but there are no actual, physical robots, rather virtual bots that run in the background on employee computers, learning what processes the bots can do instead, and then doing exactly that. Although RPA is being implemented in almost every industry, it dovetails particularly well with banking because there are so many repetitive processes that can be automated, everything from risk exposure calculations to compliance reports.

More information on RPA can be found here.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Closes Subsequent SNF Portfolio Financing for Granite Investment Group (Business Wire) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $28 million senior credit facility for Granite Investment Group (“Granite”). Secured by three skilled nursing facilities in Texas, the funds refinanced existing debt and provided a dividend for investors. White Oak recently announced it financed a separate portfolio of four skilled nursing facilities in Texas for Granite.

“We are happy to have had another opportunity to work with Granite. This transaction materialized as an opportunity to provide a bridge-to-HUD financing for an under-levered portfolio. As an active lender in the space, we can optimize our offerings to meet each company’s unique business needs,” said Isaac Soleimani, Managing Director and Partner at White Oak.

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

Volunteer Organization Tackling the Crippling Student Debt Facing Americans (Crazy Good Turns email) Rated: B

A new non-profit, Shared Harvest Fund has created an impactful way to pay down student debt.  Shared Harvest Fund has created a program that partners non-profit organizations in need of workers, with students looking to not only pay down their debt, but do something with purpose as well.  Once the connection is made, students volunteer a set amount of hours per month, and the non-profit organization in turn sends a check directly to the lender of the student’s choice.

The founders of Shared Harvest Fund; Dr. Briana DeCuir, Dr. Joanne Moreau and Dr. NanaEfua B.A.M,  will be featured on the October 17th Crazy Good Turns podcast, a non-profit podcast that shines a light on people and organizations making a positive impact in the world, to share the in’s and out’s of their platform and discuss in detail how students looking to pay down debt—or non-profits looking for volunteers—can be a part of the Shared Harvest Fund community.

Podcast Topics Include:

  • The founders discuss how and why they created the platform
  • The negative physical and mental consequences that carrying debt has on borrowers and the positive effects of volunteering to help others.
  • How unaware most students are about the length of time it takes to pay off student loans.
  • How corporations can increase their corporate responsibilities goals by supporting the Shared Harvest Fund.

Early-Stage Financial Technology Firms to Benefit from TransUnion and FinTech Sandbox Partnership (Business Wire) Rated: B

FinTech Sandbox today announced it has entered into a partnership with TransUnion to help early-stage financial technology firms launch in the marketplace. As part of the partnership, TransUnion’s Startup Credit Kit will enable startups to test business model concepts and refine their go-to-market strategies.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle rallies as it makes official market debut (The Telegraph) Rated: AAA

Shares in Funding Circle rallied as it made its official market debut on the London Stock Exchange today, in a move likely to quell fears over market uncertainty.

The peer-to-peer lender tumbled as much as 8pc in the company’s first official day of trading, falling well below the 440p per share it had floated at last week, before later jumping back up.

Around 20pc had been wiped off their value during conditional trading, which began last Friday and ran through to Tuesday evening. Shares dropped as low as 340p on Wednesday, before later rising to 390p.

Intrust Bank driving small business opportunities with Funding Circle partnership (Witchita Business Journal) Rated: A

The original partnership was announced in January. It expanded in June and Intrust increased its commitment to more than 500 loans.

Brian Heinrichs, CFO at Intrust, says the bank is now at around 400 of those commitments, though he declined to say what amount of lending that represented for the bank.

Heinrichs says Intrust is the only bank partnered in such a way with U.K.-based Funding Circle.

Funding Circle’s Desai makes top 10 of ‘Tech 100’ list (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

FUNDING Circle’s chief executive Samir Desai has been named as one of the top 10 most influential people in the British tech industry.

The peer-to-peer pioneer appears alongside fellow fintech leaders such as Starling Bank chief executive Anne Boden, and Tom Blomfield, chief executive of Monzo.

The Tech 100 list is compiled by Business Insider and aims to celebrate “the 100 coolest and most ground-breaking people in the UK tech industry over the past 12 months”.

British banks shudder at Goldman Marcus launch (financial Times) Rated: A

Marcus by Goldman Sachs recently launched in the UK and the biggest high street banks are only beginning to grapple with what the new competitor means for the market.  Marcus has seen significant success in the U.S. market and is hoping to bring that to the UK, they currently have a savings rate offer 3 times the traditional powers and have plans to launch more products soon.

The news is not all bad for high street powers as data has shown customers thus far have stayed loyal to their bank and regulations around use of deposits make it a bit trickier for Marcus to repeat their U.S. model.

Keith Horowitz, analyst at Citigroup, tells the FT where the biggest opportunity could exist, “The big key for Goldman ultimately is customer data, that’s the holy grail for banking, creating an open financial marketplace platform that can also utilise their huge balance sheet.”

Orca Money opening up the peer-to-peer lending market to investors (Proactive Investors) Rated: A

LendInvest announce new bridging rate cuts (Property Reporter) Rated: A

Online property finance platform, LendInvest, has announced that it has cut rates across its Bridging product range and introduced a new Bridge to Term transition service.

The lender has cut rates on its Residential and Commercial Bridging, Development Exit and Auction Finance products. Monthly interest rates now start from 0.55% for Residential Bridging, Auction and Development Exit and 0.79% for Commercial Bridging.

A new Bridge to Term service has also been introduced that offers borrowers looking to purchase residential property at auction, undertake refurbishment or carry out minor development the opportunity to then switch to one of LendInvest’s Buy-to-Let mortgages.

Property Fintech LendInvest Adds CFO to Board of Directors (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

LendInvest, an online lending platform for property finance, has announced the addition of Chief Financial Officer, Angelie Panteli, to the board of directors.

China

China doesn’t yet have a grip on P2P lending risks (East Asia Forum) Rated: AAA

China’s online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms have been falling like dominos. This has sparked investor panic, exposing deeper risks long hidden in China’s shadow finance sector. It is yet to be seen if Chinese regulators will be able to manage the risks and effectively regulate P2P in the same way they have done in other areas of shadow banking.

Shadow banking from institutions supervised by empowered central regulators is shrinking. One of the best ways to measure shadow credit funded by banks is through their lending to non-bank financial institutions. It rose 80 per cent year-on-year in February 2016, but over the last year has shrunk by 4 per cent.

The number of surviving P2P platforms has been on a gradual decline since November 2015, but regulators were caught off guard when failures suddenly accelerated in mid-June 2018. Investors began to panic and tried to pull their money out, sparking yet more failures. Many protested for government help when they found that their savings had been stolen or sunk into bad loans.

Outstanding loans then plummeted by 300 billion RMB (US$44 billion), from 1.3 trillion RMB (US$190 billion) to just under 1 trillion RMB (US$146 billion). They fell again in August, but the outflows and failures moderated. The storm may have passed, leaving most platforms intact for now.

European Union

German Challenger Bank Kontist Secures Series A Investment (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Kontist, a Berlin-based challenger bank, announced on Tuesday it secured a Series A investment to expand the financial services available to freelancers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. The round was led by Haufe Group, one of Germany’s providers of digital workplace solutions and services with participation from existing investor Danish company builder, Founders.

International

VC Investment in Blockchain Startups Is Up 280% So Far This Year (CoinDesk) Rated: AAA

As the crypto industry sees a decline in initial coin offerings (ICOs) amid regulatory concerns and major losses across token markets, traditional VC investment is once more on the rise.

In its latest report, blockchain research group Diar reports that blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused startups have raised nearly $3.9 billion through VC investments in the first three quarters of the year – that up 280 percent when compared to the whole of 2017, it says.

Based on data from Pitchbook, the report indicates that number of deals also nearly doubled this year.

Source: CoinDesk

Alongside the increase in VC deals, the average size of crypto and blockchain investments has increased by over $1 million in 2018. Ten of the largest blockchain and crypto investments in 2018 saw the recipient companies raise more than $1.3 billion in total venture capital. While one of the firms has a native token (DFINITY), the rest represent equity investment, says Diar.

Source: CoinDesk

Tencent-backed mobile bank N26 launches in the UK and plans US expansion by early 2019 (CNBC) Rated: A

German app-only bank N26 has launched in the U.K. and is eyeing another expansion to the U.S. in the first quarter of 2019.

The Berlin-based firm, which is backed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, German insurer Allianz and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, said on Thursday that its services are now available in Britain, on a limited basis.

Initially, a select number of “early adopters” will be given access to the app in the U.K. More than 50,000 people who have signed up to a waiting list for the U.K. launch will be on-boarded on a phased basis, and a broader launch is planned for next month.

India

Here is Why Flipkart is Keen to Enter the Financial Services Sector (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

Looks the Indian startup’s ecosystem is smitten by the opportunities fintech industry is benefiting of. No wonder, we have unicorn startup companies such as the Flipkart looking into tap the market.

Market buzz says that Flipkart is in the middle applying for an NBFC license to extend the line of credit to its sellers and customers. With time, it would expand its financial services offerings beyond its e-commerce platform.

The credit problem in India is beyond surreal. For example, the small and medium enterprises sector (SMEs), which contributes between 30-40 per cent in the country’s GDP, suffers majorly because of its unattended financing need and the gap is as big as around USD 650 billion.

Giving an example of the consumer lending space, Gaurav Chopra, Founder & CEO, IndiaLends says this segment is expected to be a USD 1.2 trillion opportunity for the organised lenders, implying a 22 per cent compound annual growth rate over the next three years.

Credit Card EMI vs P2P Loan: Which one should you opt for? (Economic Times) Rated: A

Credit cards can be extremely handy when it comes to making an impulsive high-ticket purchase. All you have to do is to flash the card and walk away with your purchase. Many credit card companies would immediately offer you an option to pay back the money in equated monthly instalments or EMIs.

Compared to credit cards, personal loans can be cheaper. “Credit cards can charge somewhere around 0.1% every day. Making the annual charges go up to 36% in some cases,” says Tanwir Alam, Founder & CEO, Fincart.

P2P loans, unlike the usual bank loans, offer short-term tenures starting 3-36 months and can be looked as an alternative to credit cards, depending on the requirement of the borrower. The interest rates are anywhere between 12 and 28%.

Aadhaar verdict sends fintech players back to the drawing board (The Week) Rated: A

The recent Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar may bring in tough times for the fintech companies who used to conduct eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) via Aadhaar. Not mandating Aadhaar for the verification process has sent some fintech players back to the drawing board to work out strategies for physical verification, which is usually a time-consuming and expensive process. Experts and industry representatives with whom THE WEEK spoke to feel that verification of customers will eventually move to a traditional mode of verifying individuals through physical ID proof.

Bhavin Patel, CEO and co-founder of LenDenClub, a P2P digital lending platform, says that a physical KYC check takes around 24 hours or more now in an ideal scenario and this change in processing will result in longer disbursal time and higher cost for the consumer.

Asia

VN Central Bank working on framework for P2P lending (Vietnam Net) Rated: AAA

Anh spoke at a recent workshop on international experiences in P2P lending held in Ha Noi with the participation of more than 100 representatives, including financial management authorities from China, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

With the rapid proliferation of mobile devices, artificial intelligence and big data, P2P lending—the practice of lending money to individuals or businesses through online services that match lenders with borrowers—has developed rapidly around the world in recent years.

Although P2P can create enormous socio-economic benefits, it also contains potential risks for the relevant parties, he said, adding that it is necessary to strictly monitor this field to mitigate the risks and improve awareness of the relevant parties.

Through this model, lenders can earn higher returns than they can get from banks while borrowers, especially individuals and micro businesses, can get money at lower rates. But the lending is also fertile ground for high-tech crimes. China had to eliminate some 160 online lending companies as they were in fact high-tech criminals working to cheat investors.

Latin America

ID Finance Mexico operations reaches profitability within eight months of launch (Finextra) Rated: AAA

The Mexico operations of ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, has reached profitability in just eight months since launching in the region.

The announcement represents a key milestone for the business as it continues its rapid expansion across Latin America. It currently operates in Mexico and Brazil.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday August 28 2017, Daily News Digest

artificial intelligence

News Comments Today’s main news: Blend lands $100M investment. Funding Circle achieves ISA manager status. Hive raises over $8M. Innovate UK invests 700K GBP in Paybase. China Life, Baidu launch $1B internet fund. Klarna’s profits increase 138 percent. Today’s main analysis: Bank of America Merrill Lynch to implement AI. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Congresswoman asks FDIC to hold public hearing on […]

artificial intelligence

News Comments

United StatesFlipkart, Amazon pose new competition for fintech lenders.

United Kingdom

China

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Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Canada

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United States

LendingClub Hit with Lawsuit (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC) has been hit with a lawsuit that names former CEO Renaud Laplanche alongside current and former board members and former CFO Carrie Dolan. The complaint, filed in the Court of Chancery in Delaware, states;

“Throughout the period December 11, 2014 and continuing through May 9, 2016 (the “Relevant Period”), the Individual Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to LendingClub by failing to institute adequate internal controls regarding financial disclosures, related party transactions, and data integrity and security, all while causing LendingClub to represent in the Registration Statement and a series of subsequent filings that such controls were sufficient.”

The suit has been filed by two shareholders; Kelvin Farley and Jay Fink.

Waters Calls on FDIC to Hold Public Hearing on SoFi’s Application for Bank Charter (House.gov), Rated: AAA

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Martin Gruenberg, calling for the FDIC to hold at least one public hearing on Social Financial, Inc.’s (SoFi) application to establish an Industrial Loan Company (ILC).

In the letter, Ranking Member Waters states that changes in the financial services industry and financial regulation necessitate a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (fintech) company like SoFi.

I am writing to request that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) hold at least one public hearing on Social Finance, Incorporated’s (“SoFi”) application to establish an industrial loan company (“ILC”) to provide FDIC-insured Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (“NOW”) accounts and credit card products. As you know, because de novo ILC formations have been affected by regulatory and statutory moratoria for several years, the FDIC has not approved a deposit insurance application for a new ILC charter for some time. Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”), changes in the financial regulatory regime and financial services industry justify a public hearing to examine the policy and legal implications of granting Federal deposit insurance to ILCs generally, as well as to obtain greater input on the unique risks posed by granting it to a financial technology (“fintech”) company like SoFi, a number of which I will discuss in more detail below.

Appropriate regulatory oversight of any ILC is an essential prerequisite to approving any application for deposit insurance backed by taxpayers. The FDIC has previously acknowledged the importance of strong oversight of any insured bank and its parent company when discussing oversight of ILCs.[1] In reaction to a number of concerns previously raised on the regulation of ILCs, the FDIC even went so far as imposing several moratoria on its ability to approve ILC applications for deposit insurance in 2006 and 2007 to, in the words of former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, “allow the FDIC to carefully weigh the safety and soundness concerns that have been raised regarding commercially-owned ILCs. At the same time… the moratorium provides an opportunity for Congress to consider the important public policy issues regarding the ownership of ILCs by commercial companies.”[2]

While some experts have touted the possibility that fintech firms can help promote financial inclusion, others have underscored the challenges posed for our current regulatory regime to oversee these types of companies and have underscored the need for policymakers to carefully evaluate the consequences of allowing them access to deposit insurance and the Federal Reserve discount window.[11] Thus, Federal regulators have taken a varying degree of actions focused on fintech companies and services. For example, while the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), under its “Responsible Innovation” initiative, has proposed a Special Purpose National Bank Charter for fintech companies (“fintech charter”)[12] questions have been raised about whether the benefits to consumers for this new charter will be widely and fairly shared, and whether there is adequate legal authority, let alone a clearly defined and modern regulatory framework, for such a fintech charter.[13] Indeed, a lawsuit has been filed by state banking regulators challenging the OCC’s authority.[14] As should be the case with the OCC and its proposal to use its authority to federally charter fintech companies, the FDIC should thoroughly consider the implications of offering access to the deposit insurance fund for ILCs that will result in expanding the type of institutions to it, like fintech firms. Fintech firms, whose operations cross state and international boundaries, and may exist entirely online, were undoubtedly beyond original congressional intent in permitting ILCs to access deposit insurance and it is appropriate for stakeholders to weigh in on whether it is appropriate for these firms to have this access without proper oversight of their parent companies.

The chartering of a fintech company as an ILC also raises a number of consumer protection concerns that the FDIC should consider. For example, the California Reinvestment Coalition (“CRC”) has opposed SoFi’s application on the basis of concerns with the institution’s Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) plan, as well as its intended approach to financial inclusion, fair lending, and consumer protection.[17] CRC notes that SoFi’s business model targets “students from elite universities that have strong earnings and wealth potential,” and offers products and services “designed to exclude working class households.” CRC also notes that SoFi’s CRA plan is grossly inadequate, considering that: (1) SoFi’s assessment area will be limited to areas in Utah, but the company will accept deposits and operate nationally; (2) SoFi’s current core products are not designed to serve the “convenience and needs” of low- and moderate-income (“LMI”) communities in which the bank would operate,[18] but rather are focused on serving SoFi’s members; and (3) SoFi’s CRA plan does not encompass measurable commitments to lending, investments, and services for LMI communities.

The full letter is here.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has become the latest bank to implement AI (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has 

Bo Brustkern and Emmanuel Marot (Lend Academy), Rated: A

On this episode of the Lend Academy Podcast I brought together both CEOs to talk about this merger; what it means for their respective customers as well as the industry as a whole.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The original idea that led to the founding of both companies.
  • The strengths of both companies and why they are a complementary fit.
  • Why they decided to come together and merge companies now.
  • The scale and profitability of the combined company.
  • The unique aspects of the LendingRobot Series investment offering.
  • The platforms that the LendingRobot Series invests on.
  • The different funds that make up the Lending Robot Series.
  • The choices for non-accredited investors on the combined platform.
  • Their value proposition today for investors.
  • Who the target customer is today for the combined company.
  • How the two brands will operate going forward.
  • What the combined company will look like in 12 months time.
  • Where marketplace lending is going in the future.

LendKey, Earnest Alter Student Loan Refinancing Rates (LendEDU), Rated: A

Two student loan refinancing companies, LendKey and Earnest, have changed their student loan refinancing interest rates in recent weeks, according to LendEDU.

Effective August 10th, LendKey’s variable interest rate range for their student loan refinance product was altered slightly. LendKey, a leading lending partner of both banks and credit unions, now offers a variable rate range between 2.67 and 6.31 percent for student loan refinancing.

This new variable rates for LendKey mark an increase on both the low and high ends of the range. Previously, the online lending partner offered a variable interest rate range between 2.52 and 6.16 percent since June.

Online Mortgage Lender Blend Lands $ 100 Million Investment Led by Greylock (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Blend has landed a significant funding round to the tune of $100 million. The funding was led by Greylock Partners with participation by Emergence Capital. Existing investors joined in the round as well.

Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp Turn to Startup to Speed Up Mortgage Applications (WSJ), Rated: A

Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp have signed deals with mortgage-software startup Blend Labs Inc. to move more of their loan applications online.

Ethereum-Based Invoice Finance Platform Hive Raises Over US$ 8 Million (Coin Journal), Rated: A

The Hive Project, which intends to build the world’s first cryptocurrency-based invoice financing platform, has raised 2,087 BTC, or over US$8.9 million, from 2,234 investors through its initial coin offering (ICO).

Using invoice finance, the business “sells” its outstanding invoices at a small discount to a financier. The business immediately receives up to 85% of the value of the invoice instead of having to wait the usual 30 to 90 days to get paid by customers.

Hive uses the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts to assign a unique fingerprint to every invoice issued. These invoices are then tokenized and published on a blockchain, and made available as a shared source of liquidity for factoring and invoice financing.

Debate on Regulatory Reform (PeerIQ), Rated: A

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon in his annual letter would agree that the banking system is safer and stronger today. Nevertheless, Mr. Dimon believes that economic growth and lending is below potential. For instance, JPM estimates $1 Tn in loans could have been generated in recent years generating an additional 50 bps in annual GDP growth thru regulatory reform.

The specific regulatory reform areas Mr. Dimon identified include:

  • Simplification of the annual stress-testing process
  • Release or enable banks to deploy excess capital towards small business loans, lower middle market, and near-prime mortgages
  • Rationalization of supplementary leverage ratios and operational risk capital
  • National servicing standards for the mortgage servicing market
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reform
  • Complete securitization standards to encourage private capital and reduce exposure to taxpayers

Role for 3rd party risk infrastructure to strengthen markets

Large banks are increasingly playing the role of financial intermediaries that connect non-banks to the capital markets. Banks are providing liquidity facilities (“lending to the lenders”) and capital-light securitization programs. Although Yellen is right that lending continues to grow, critically, the nexus of credit formation–including for a majority of personal loans, auto loans, student re-fi loans, and even mortgages–now takes place between a consumer and a non-bank.

Under this new landscape, the soft underbelly of the credit markets has shifted from bank wholesale funding to non-bank wholesale funding. And when investor confidence seizes, the transmission mechanism connecting policy to the real economy can break down. Spreads widen, funding costs increase, and markets freeze exactly when policymakers seek to ease financial conditions.

Q&A with Head of Alternative Lending at Fintech Marqeta (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Recently, Crowdfund Insider published an article about Marqeta signing a partnership with Visa on payments and loans. The marriage is designed boost innovations in commercial and consumer payments and online lending. Visa also made a strategic investment in Marqeta at that time to the tune of $25 million. Total investments in Marqeta now stand at over $70 million.

Isn’t this just all about borrowers getting a better interest rate [and investors earning more]?

Candace: Lenders are looking to increase renewals (repeat borrowers are easier to sell than new borrowers), beat out the stackers (top of wallet, top of mind) and decrease risk (new data on spending reduces risk for future loans). On the heels of 2016, these have become as important as the interest rate for the lender.

For the borrower, speed to funds has become increasingly important, and distributing loan funds to a  card allows a way to immediately spend the funds without waiting for the funds to be deposited into the borrower’s bank account.

If Credit Cards drop their rates then they can become competitive. For Visa to partner with Marqeta – isn’t it just how the debt is carried? For the consumer / business, they are indifferent?

Candace: The rates apply to the underlying loan per the agreement between the lender and the borrower, not to a prepaid card that is used to assist with making purchases. The prepaid card bears no interest charge. The terms for the loan (from which the loan proceeds are distributed to the card) continues as agreed upon between the lender and the borrower. That debt does not change.

How Riskalyze Won The Hearts Of Financial Advisors And Upgraded The Advice Industry (Benzinga), Rated: A

Ahead of Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein’s speaking engagement at the Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco, Benzinga caught up with him to learn more about how the company is upgrading financial advice.

BZ: How did you go about identifying this need for financial advisors? What kind of research did you do?

What’s interesting is that we invented a new space. There was no risk-alignment platform that helped advisors do that. There were questionnaire products that answered half the question, there were a few portfolio analysis tools that would answer the other half, but we invented the concept of the risk number. We can help advisors pinpoint the client’s risk number and then we score portfolios using that number.

Klein: I’ll talk about the two different sides of the coin. A lot of the innovation was figuring out those sides of the coin and bridging the two together. On the one hand, we took some concepts that had really never made it out of academia and into everyday use. They’re centered around the economic framework called prospect theory, which won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002. We took prospect theory and built a bunch of proprietary technology on top of it to understand how to move up and down a client’s personal financial spectrum to understand when they prefer risk and when they prefer certainty.

Once we do that, we built a mathematical formula behind the scenes that lets advisors turn that into the client’s risk number. That’s how the client-side works.

On the flip side, we need to match that up with a portfolio. So, the inputs for that piece of the technology are largely market data. We effectively take daily pricing data for nearly a quarter-million securities — every U.S. stock, ETF, mutual fund, variable-annuity sub accounts, SMA third-party money managers, proprietary non-traded strategies, all kinds of different products. We take all the data for those, we have new data streaming into our systems every night on those securities.

 

This Week In Retail: Funding, Finance And Tech (PYMNTS), Rated: A

This week in retail, we’ve seen news coming in from multiple sides, including that of Apple’s projected increase in smartwatch salesU.K. online lender Prodigy’s funding news for expansion into the U,S.,  Walmart’s two new partnership announcements, and the news that the CFPB is ordering American Express to pay out money to those hurt by unfair practices.

American Express is in the hot seat this week as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered the credit card company to pay out a very large amount to consumers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s being confirmed that over a 10-year period, American Express  provided inferior card offerings to people in those territories than what was being offered in the U.S.

Here are the numbers:

  • $240 million | Amount Prodigy Finance raised in its venture capital equity funding round
  • $96 million | Amount CFPB ordered American Express to pay out to affected Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands consumers
  • $200 | Starting point for potential Walmart installment loans

5 Trends That are Changing the Millennial Economy (Huffington Post), Rated: A

According to statistics from the U.S. census bureau, Millennials make up about 83 million of the nation’s current population. The unique experiences of the Millennials will shape the way we buy and sell, forcing companies and businesses to adjust their business strategy for decades to come.

For example, a growing number of Millennials are choosing to live with their parents. They have been reluctant to buy items such as cars, music, and luxury goods. Luxuries that used to be important for previous generations are not as important for Millennials. They are reshaping the real estate market and are responsible for the growth of the sharing economy.

A recent survey of Interns conducted by Goldman Sachs in 2013, found out that 30% of millennials do not intend to purchase a car in the future. 25% said they will only buy one if there is a need for it, otherwise they are indifferent. Another 25% said buying a car is important but not a big priority. 15% said purchasing a car is extremely important. And the last 5% do not feel strongly about it.

recent report shows that student loans have increased by 84% over ten years with an average student having a loan balance of $29,000.

How to choose and switch to a better bank for you (WPXI), Rated: B

Online banks are now offering much higher rates on savings accounts — significantly higher than the current rates at traditional, bigger banks. So with that in mind, why not just move your savings to take advantage of the bigger return?

To give you some context, online bank ally recently increased the rates on its savings accounts to 1.15% — while the rate on a regular savings account at Bank of America currently sits at only 0.01%.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle receives ISA manager status (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has received ISA manager status from the HMRC, Peer2Peer Finance News can reveal.

Approval was granted in July, less than two months after the platform won full FCA authorisation.

However, the platform has no immediate plans to launch its IFISA product, telling customers earlier this week that it intended to roll out the tax-free investment wrapper “before the end of the tax year.”

How Funding Circle is helping small businesses face the challenges of Brexit (Prospect Magazine), Rated: A

Fast forward to today, we’ve originated over £3.2 billion worth of loans through the platform. In the UK, that lending has helped create about 60 thousand jobs, and the £2.5 billion of loans has created about £5 billion of GDP or gross economic value added, according to an independent survey by the Centre for Economics Business Research.

In fact, we think we make up about 2 per cent of the total money that’s going to gross-lending small businesses. And if you actually look at the money going into the economy, we make up about a third of net new lending— which is the preferred Bank of England measure. We did about 300 million versus 600 million in the entire banking system in the first half of this year.

Say a small business decides to come to you: what is it they’re getting that they don’t get with a bank?

We turn around loan applications specifically within 24 hours. We are better in that we give better service; everyone can find an account manager.

We’re cheaper, in that our prices are very, very competitive, and often we’re often providing cheaper loans than businesses would be able to get at the bank. We also don’t have the overheads that banks have.

We all know that Brexit is going to shake up the financial sector. What can Funding Circle do to help businesses rise to the challenge?

Net lending by banks fell by 220 million in Q4 last year. Ours actually rose to 167 million.

On top of that, we’ve also had large insurance companies like Aegon, which is a big Dutch insurer, commit to fund £160 million in year one, but actually committed over a four-year period to purchase our loans. The fact a large foreign insurer would want to do that shows that actually, despite Brexit, there’s a vote of confidence in the UK economy, particularly in small business.

FinTech startup Paybase gets £700,000 from Innovate UK (UK Tech), Rated: AAA

London-based FinTech startup Paybase has received a grant of almost £700,000 from innovation agency Innovate UK.

Expected to launch later this year, Paybase has developed an ‘end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk’, which can be accessed through a unified API.

Why P2P is still the crowd despite passive lending (AltFi), Rated: A

There’s been much collective gnashing of teeth over the last few months at the evolution of peer to peer lending, as practised by ZopaRatesetter and most latterly Funding Circle. The big bone of contention has been a shift amongst all three – with FC falling into line just a matter of days ago – to a passive lending model. This means that lenders on said platforms now lend passively to a full slice of borrowers rather than picking their borrowers individually. To the critics this implies that the traditional peer to peer (P2P) model is slowly dying out. If you’re not lending to your peers, don’t you just sound like any other finance business such as a bank?

I’m not convinced by this criticism. Collectively a crowd – many peers – are still lending to another crowd, but just in a format that looks closer to a passive, collective fund basis rather than one on one. There is no bank balance sheet lurking around and the ‘crowd’ still sets the rate at which it’s happy to lend. Credit scoring has always been a feature of all the platforms, whether they be ‘pure’ P2P or passive P2P. Someone, somewhere at the centre of the online marketplace needs to set the lending criteria and make decisions about who to lend to.

What about peer to peer? (Library of Things), Rated: A

In this week’s bonus episode co-founder Emma looks at the sharing economy, peer to peer lending, and explains why Library of Things have chosen to operate from a physical space.

Listen to the podcast here.

How Risky Is Borrowing Money Online Through Peer-to-peer Lending (FX Daily Report), Rated: B

It is almost true that borrowing money from traditional financial institutions is a thing of the past.

It has been observed that P2P online lending platforms are not the source of the problem or the risk. However, it seems to be the ease with which loans are available that causes the problems.

Online P2P lenders also offer student loans. It is very important to realize that student loans these days are available everywhere. But what is ultimately the truth is that the loans are burdensome. Any student that avails of such a P2Ponline student loan emerges as a graduate burdened with a heavy debt.

If an individual wants to apply for a P2P online loan, it is best to start with checking credit reports. It is a good idea to fix any errors that may be found on these reports. Otherwise, the interest rates may be hiked up. It is also a good idea to do some research prior to applying for the loan. It is worthwhile to find out as to which lender offers a lower rate of interest even if they fall outside the ring of online P2P lenders. Never decide on which loan to pick up by looking at the monthly amount to be paid. The total amount that you are going to repay and the time period of the repayment are the more important factors to be considered. This gives the total cost of the loan.

China

Big banks strike partnerships with technology companies as part of fintech wave (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Bank of Communications, the nation’s fifth biggest lender, joined with Suning Holdings and its financial affiliate Suning Finance as strategic partners last week, the latest of the big five banks to ally with internet firms.

So far, all big-five banks, accounting for more than one-third of China’s banking assets, have allied with technology giants.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China allied with e-commerce major JD.com for cooperation in sectors including fintech, retail financing, corporate credit and asset management. Agricultural Bank of China agreed to work together with dominant search engine operator Baidu. Bank of China and Tencent Holdings jointly set up a fintech lab, focusing on cloud computing, big data, block chain and artificial intelligence.

Earlier this month, mid-sized Industrial Bank and JD.com’s financial affiliate JD Finance launched a debit card in Beijing and most cities in affluent Zhejiang province.

China Life and Baidu to launch $ 1 billion internet fund (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China Life Insurance Group Co and Baidu Inc will form a 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) private equity fund, targeting internet and other technology investments, China Life’s listed arm said on Thursday.

The Baidu Fund Partnership will be capitalized by China Life through a special partnership, which will contribute up to 5.6 billion yuan, China Life Insurance Co Ltd said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange statement.

Baidu, the Chinese language internet search provider, will contribute as much as 1.4 billion yuan.

Ant Financial’s “TechFin” vs JD Finance’s “FinTech” (ASEAN Today), Rated: A

Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services Group and JD Finance are at loggerheads in the Chinese, and increasingly, global e-commerce scene. In 2015, JD Finance recommended the use of “FinTech.” In December 2016, Ma Yun coined the ”TechFin” as a rebuttal, and as a show of thought leadership.

Ant Financial’s unveiling of “TechFin” shows the firm’s focus on building technology rather than financial products.

Critics believe there is not much difference between TechFin and FinTech. Critics believe Ant Financial coined TechFin to gain a foothold from the conceptual standpoint; a counteroffensive to JD Finance’s aggressive marketing of FinTech. This is inevitable considering “FinTech” as a term already achieved credibility within the finance and other related industries.

Ant Financial and JD Finance are more complementary than competitive

Onlookers see Ant Financial and JD Finance as longstanding rivals. JD.com’s recent sale of JD Finance for US$2.1 billion in cash was seen part of a deal to spin off its burgeoning finance arm and raise its game against Ant Financial.

Ant Financial focuses on the traditional model of the Internet while JD Finance focuses on product innovation, for a start. Each business model has its advantages.

Ant Financial also seeks to leverage on Ant Check Later (花呗), a virtual credit card, to open up a whole new road map for credit distribution in Internet finance. In contrast, JD Finance aims to boost user’s consumption through its products. Its Jingxiaodai (京小贷) appeals to merchants who need fuss-free and almost instant access to credit.

European Union

Klarna just posted some impressive half-year figures — profits soar by 138 percent (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Swedish e-invoicing giant posted 2,05 billion Swedish crowns ($254,2m) in revenue for the first two quarters of 2017. Meanwhile, operating profits jumped to 228 million ($28m) from last year’s 96 million ($11,9m), reports tech site Di Digital.

Yesterday, Breakit reported that the company is teaming up with Stripeto boost growth in the U.S.

Credit Suisse Eyes 2018 Launch for Blockchain Loans Platform (Coindesk), Rated: AAA

A group of banks led by Credit Suisse is eyeing the launch of a commercial platform for blockchain-based syndicated loans, according to reports.

The group involved finished the second phase of their testing in March.

Using smart contracts to reduce those turnaround times could increase the market’s appeal to potential lenders and investors, according to Aidoo.

Worldcore Payment Institution Announces ICO (Coin Idol), Rated: A

Worldcore announces an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), as part of their wider expansion plans.

The company envisions to become a worldwide reference for the financial tomorrow, by integrating its successful payment solution into the blockchain sector of economy.

Worldcore ICO starts on October 14 of 2017. In total, a maximum supply of one billion WRC tokens at $0.10 USD each, will be available for purchase.

Corlytics named by Allen & Overy in its regtech programme (Finextra), Rated: B

Magic Circle law firm, Allen & Overy, has named Corlytics as one of the eight companies selected to move into its Fuse programme. Fuse is a newly launched innovation space where its lawyers and technology firms team up to develop legal, regulatory and deal-related improvements.

International

Ten Fintech Conferences to Attend This Fall (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

FinovateFall

When: Sept 11-14, 2017
Where: New York City Hilton Midtown
Link:  /> Discount code: F17FALLLAT

LendIt Europe 2017

When: Oct 9-10, 2017
Where: London
Link:  /> Discount code: LENDACADEMYVIP

American Banker’s Digital Lending & Investing

When: November 2-3, 2017
Where: New York, NY
Link: 

AltFi Global Summit

When: November 7, 2017
Where: Amsterdam
Link: 

Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit 2017

When: December 3-5, 2017
Where: Dana Point, CA
Link: 

This event is put on by the Opal Group and is the only west coast event this fall. This is its second year and while I did not attend last year I heard it was a good event with a focus on the investor side of marketplace lending.

Digital Banking – Old Wine in New Bottle? (Fintech Weekly), Rated: A

There was a time when digital banking was perceived as synonymous with online banking and mobile banking. Financial services industry, along with other sectors, is experiencing an explosion of digitization thanks to smartphones, tablets and access to affordable high-speed internet. The number of smart phone users is expected to equal the number of bank accounts in near future as all mobile users link their bank accounts to their smart phone and get onboard with mobile-based digital wallets and savings platform.

Given this, it is imperative to take a fresh look at whether digital banking means the same as it did a decade ago – both for banks as well as customers – especially since there does not seem to be a consensus on the definition of ‘digital banking’.

Customers today do not have the patience to navigate through multiple screens. They do not want to fill the same KYC details over and over for each product. Presenting paperwork at the branch to support an online application is a big no-no. They expect to resume the application they started on Smart phone on their home computer and may want to talk to the customer care executive on phone while doing that. They do not want to be bothered with cold calls and random sales pitches; they prefer to see only personalized and contextual cross-sell offers with direct purchase links. In short, digital customer today wants one-touch, one-click, personalized and integrated user experience across channels.

On the flip side, while customers enjoy the convenience of digital banking for routine tasks, they also want to continue using the branch when they need some face time with a seamless switch between digital and personal interaction. They do not want to forego the privilege of walking into the local branch despite being able to do all their banking via the web or smartphone.

Australia/New Zealand

Fintech startup shares $ 7m of investment (NZ Adviser), Rated: AAA

Since its launch in June, fintech startup Ilumony has reported more than $7 million in financial investments. Of the $7 million, it has charged no fees for advice on $1 million worth of customer KiwiSaver money.

India

Fintech lenders have new competition: Flipkart and Amazon (The-Ken), Rated: AAA

Though Flipkart launched in 2007, it was only in 2013 that e-commerce really took off in India. That was the year Amazon entered India through a marketplace model, and Flipkart too launched its own marketplace model.

From selling smartphones, books, and apparel to customers, the two of them now started offering warehouses, packaging, and logistics to sellers.

No Flipkart or Amazon for EzCred; this startup wants to pursue offline shoppers (India Times), Rated: A

When ecommerce companies like Flipkart and Amazon wanted to expand to the nooks and corners of the country, they borrowed the idea and recently started offering “No cost EMI” option on selected products. Taking a step further, you now have many fintech companies that have lined up on ecommerce platforms to offer loans to consumers.

Launched in January 2017, EzCred is an alternate lending startup which offers loans to consumers who walk into shop at offline stores.

“Offline is a much larger play than online. A majority of transactions are still done offline,” says Maheshwari.

The startup now has plans to roll out an app for customers to enable them to apply for loans directly. The platform has a credit assessment system which enables the startup to assess the borrowers’ repayment capabilities. This involves various data sources like the borrowers’ CIBIL score, bank statements, information provided by customers, which are then matched with the credit policy of EzCred.

India’s draft data protection law to hinge on user consent; will be ready only next year (Factor Daily), Rated: A

A draft data protection law, which is at the core of the Indian government’s stance that Aadhaar does not violate citizen privacy, will have user consent as its mainstay with a few exceptions.

The draft legislation is expected to be ready in about a year.

This was revealed in interviews with a member of the committee set up by the government to come up with the draft framework — B N Srikrishna, a former Supreme Court judge who is heading it, and a second person with knowledge of the committee’s thinking.

P2P lenders may be allowed to operate offline (The Hindu BusinessLine), Rated: A

In a bid to impart vibrancy to the fledgling peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space and also further the cause of financial inclusion, the Reserve Bank of India is believed to be looking at allowing players in the sector to have an offline presence besides an online one.

On-the-ground presence may help the platforms reach out to those who are currently not being served by banks/non-banking finance companies and also help break the vice-like grip of money lenders on local lending, especially in rural areas and small towns.

Asia

Why e-commerce firms could replace banks as the region’s leading lenders (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: A

Peer to peer lending (P2P lending) first entered the wider public’s consciousness when it rose from the ashes of the global financial crisis in 2007. By cutting out traditional intermediaries, such as banks, the lending platforms, were able to offer borrowers lower interest rates and lenders higher returns. They were populist alternatives to the casino capitalism that had brought Wall Street to its knees.

According to a 2015 report by Deloitte, in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand there exists “a clear disparity between what SMEs want and expect from banks and what the banks can deliver”. In Indonesia, the report found as few as 6% of SMEs were able to access bank loans.

Recent statistics from the Asian Development Bank show that the situation is similar in Myanmar, which the bank says suffers from a $2 billion shortage in available credit, a shortfall that Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money, attributes to the country’s excessively cautious banking regulations.

According to data from Singapore-based venture capital fund Dymon Asia Ventures, less than 0.1% of loans in the region currently originate from P2P lending sources, compared with 10% in China and 2-3% in the UK and US. There is, therefore, sufficient growth potential for the Southeast Asian P2P lending market.

Peer-to-peer lending bears risk of bad debt (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Despite the rising trend of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Indonesia, an economist believes that online-based businesses have increased risk of bad debt if the lenders ignore the importance of supervision.

The credit application mechanism in P2P lending is risky. There is no integrated costumer blacklist data-base like in the banking industry, said Samuel Aset Manajemen economist Lana Soelistianingsih said in Jakarta on Friday.

Moreover, she said P2P lending offered annual interest rates of up to 18.5 percent to investors, adding that such aggressive offers could increase the risk of business failure.

Canada

FLINKS PARTNERS WITH MERCHANT ADVANCE CAPITAL (Betakit), Rated: B

Flinks, a financial API for banks and credit unions, announced a partnership with Merchant Advance Capital, an online lender for small and medium-sized businesses.

Merchant Advance Capital partnered with Flinks to reduce loan approval time for its customers. Flinks will allow Merchant Advance Capital to connect its app directly with customers’ banks, allowing the company to validate account ownership, account balances, and transaction histories.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 12 2017, Daily News Digest

Philippine banking

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa’s  6.1% return IFISA to launch June 15. CFPB’s Corday extends small biz lending RFI comment period. Zopa looking for 40 tech whizzes.  WeChat Pay available globally through Paymentwall. Today’s main analysis: Lending Club and the rise of securtization club deals. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China urges banks to devolve loan approval responsibility. How Thailand could […]

Philippine banking

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Asia

Philippines

News Summary

United States

Weekly Industry Update: Lending Club and The Rise of Club Deals (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA

A club deal program enables Lending Club to drive standardization – in offering docs, covenants, structure, servicing, collateral consistency, and offering cadence. As a sponsor, Lending Club is able control its brand in the public ABS markets and manage competing interests amongst issuers, placement agents, and investors. (See this week’s

Corday announces extension of comment period for small business lending RFI (Ballard Spahr), Rated: AAA

Last month, in conjunction with a field hearing, the CFPB issued the RFI, together with a white paper on small business lending.  In his remarks, Director Cordray revealed that, in response to requests for additional time to respond to the RFI (which currently has a July 14, 2017 comment deadline), the CFPB is extending the comment period by 60 days.

With regard to the CFPB’s debt collection rulemaking, Director Cordray discussed thedebt collection proposals under consideration by the CFPB which it released last July in anticipation of convening a SBREFA panel.

Elevate Launches Elevate Labs (News Channel 10), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the launch of Elevate Labs at its new San Diego-based Advanced Analytics center. The center of excellence underscores the company’s commitment to innovation in the non-prime credit market.

Elevate’s industry-leading technology and proprietary risk analytics are optimized to help non-prime consumers meet their immediate financial needs while improving their financial futures. The company annually invests $40 million in its technology and analytics capabilities, including substantial investments in its proprietary IQ and DORA risk technology and analytics platforms, to support rapid scaling and innovation, robust regulatory compliance and ongoing improvements in underwriting.

DORA, Elevate’s proprietary risk analytics platform, utilizes a terabyte-scale Hadoop database composed of thousands of elements, 1.5 million customer records and other wide-ranging data inputs including credit bureau data, web behavioral and performance data, bank account data and other non-traditional data, to accurately assign risk to customers.

Elevate’s cutting edge technology and analytics team, worldwide, consists of the most advanced thinkers in risk analytics with more than 35 data scientists in our Risk Management department including over 25 staff members with advanced degrees and eight with PhDs. While the San Diego location is the company’s most concentrated and fastest growing analytics center, the team is spread across offices in Texas and the United Kingdom.

Here Are All The Financial Reforms That Will Disappear With Dodd-Frank (Forbes), Rated: A

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Financial CHOICE Act.

The Act has seven principals:

1. Taxpayer bailouts of financial institutions must end and no company can remain too big to fail.

2. Both Wall St. & Washington must be accountable

3. Simplicity must replace complexity

4. Economic growth must be revitalized

5. Every American must be able to achieve financial independence

6. Consumers must be protected

7. Systemic risk must be managed via profit & loss

The Act proposes to restructure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency that monitors financial products from loans to high-fee investment products.

Stress tests for America’s big banks, another Dodd Frank invention, are also contentious. The CHOICE Act proposes major changes.

In mortgages, the CHOICE Act will aim to allow smaller banks to increase lending by minimizing a rule about qualified mortgages. The rule increases costs of lending to higher risk borrowers and often precludes banks from holding mortgages on their books. Modifying the rules may allow local banks to increase lending.

The Death of Basis Points? (ETF Trends), Rated: A

The Financial Services industry is in the middle innings of a multi-phased and disruptive process that began in 1993 with the first ETF, and jump-started in 2008 with the first “robo advisor.” These two disruptive events continue to put enormous downward pressure on the fees charged by mutual fund companies and individual Advisors.

I do not believe financial services is racing toward a flat-fee model. However, the pace of fee compression will accelerate as clients have more low-priced options from which to choose. The end-result is enormous pressure on traditional Advisors to justify their higher prices and deliver an asset management solution more sophisticated than buy-hold-rebalance.

There are six key steps to becoming a Quant Advisor:

1. Develop a small but powerful set of investment models that are both unique and compelling. As an example, we only work with a small number of Advisors in an area to create and keep a competitive edge.

2. Have discretion on client accounts. The real value of using models is the ability to affect many client accounts at the same time to create efficiency and scalability. Building scale is the only sustainable way to overcome fee compression.

3. Communicate. Most clients simply don’t need or want to meet with their Advisor four times a year, but they want regular access to bite-sized information about what their Advisor thinks. Creating valuable, but short-and-sweet communications keep a client happy and informed. Generic newsletters do not count (because no one reads them).

4. Create multiple channels for a client to engage. Most traditional Advisors have a simple fee grid based on assets. A Quant Advisor will have a service menu that provides options from super low-cost investment-only relationships all the way to complex financial planning solutions. Due to scale and efficiency, any of these service levels can be highly profitable. Maybe one of the options is aflat fee only service level?

5. Sell more than advice. A Quant Advisor sells financial advice/planning and asset management services. Traditional Advisors only sell advice/planning and pay someone else to provide asset management (such as managed accounts, SMA’s, mutual funds, etc.). By having a unique and compelling asset management capability in-house, Quant Advisors do not have to pay someone to do it for them. That creates a new revenue source and the ability to capture a higher percentage of the total fees paid by the client. As fee compression continues to eat away at advice/planning prices, having multiple services to sell a client creates a more stable revenue stream.

6. Be hyper-transparent. Clients are more afraid of what they do not know than what they do. By proactively talking about and disclosing fees (including the hidden ones), risk and performance the relationship can blossom based on a new level of trust and understanding.

Industry Power Players Join RealtyShares (RealtyShares Email), Rated: A

We recently had the honor of welcoming

U.S. business schools embrace ‘fintech’ as students clamor for courses (Reuters), Rated: A

Stanford University and Georgetown University business schools are planning to offer “fintech” courses for business school students for the first time this fall. New York University is planning a new course for undergraduates after launching a fintech specialization in its business school last year.

They join the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Columbia University’s business school and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management, which all launched similar programs in recent years.

A number of prominent startups have exploded onto the fintech scene in recent years, fostering interest in mobile payment apps like Venmo, digital loan platforms like SoFi and robotic wealth managers like Betterment.

Lending Club Shareholders Approve Election of Directors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Present at the Annual Meeting in person or by proxy were holders of 313,460,225 shares of common stock, representing 77.7% of the shares of common stock outstanding.

The vote tallies were as follows:

Nominees
 
For
 
Withheld
 
Broker Non-Votes
Scott Sanborn
231,733,112
2,464,510
79,262,603
Lawrence Summers
189,603,973
44,593,649
79,262,603
Simon Williams
192,466,148
41,731,474
79,262,603

Approach alternative investments with care (Business-Standard.com), Rated: A

Unlike the wealthy, retail (individual) investors have limited options to invest in high-risk, high-return alternative instruments. The ticket size of such products — private equity, exclusive wines and paintings — are too high for small investors. But, in recent times, more avenues have opened that allow retail investors to make risky bets in assets other than stocks. For example, bitcoins is one such asset that younger investors are looking at. The price of this virtual currency has gone up from $579.13 a year back to $2,825.03 — a return of 488 per cent.

Marketplace Lending News Roundup – June 10 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Fintech’s ultimate value: Making sense of the data explosion from American Banker – Interesting piece what the true role of fintech should be: making sense of the masses of data.

U.S. business schools embrace ‘fintech’ as students clamor for courses from Reuters – Today fintech is one of the hottest courses at MBA schools, driven by student demand.

Peer-to-peer lender calls hung parliament “the worst of all outcomes” from AltFi – Commentary on yesterday’s UK election from an online lending perspective.

Marketplace Lending: The Next 10 Years from deBanked – Interesting thoughts on where marketplace lending may be heading.

LendingTree, Inc. to Present at RBC Financial Technology Investor Day (PR Newswire), Rated: B

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that it will participate in RBC Financial Technology Investor Day at The Westin New York Grand Central in New York, NY.

Doug Lebda, LendingTree Founder and CEO, is scheduled to present on Wednesday, June 14 at 8:55am ET. The presentation will be webcast live and archived at

Additionally, the company’s latest investor presentation will be available on its investor relations site at investors.lendingtree.com.

The week in real estate industry deals: June 5-9, 2017 (Inman), Rated: B

RealtyeVest lowered its required minimum investment amount to $5,000 for all offerings on their real estate crowdfunding platform for accredited investors. Previous minimum investment amounts ranged from $15,000 to $50,000, depending on the real estate project. The new $5,000 threshold is intended to draw first-time investors to experience RealtyeVest’s high-caliber performance with a nominal financial commitment. “We are seeing significant activity on our platform, however we feel there is a corner of the market we are not appealing to,” said Daniel Summers, RealtyeVest CEO, in a statement. “So we are offering investors a taste of our service with a new lowered investment amount for all projects. Once they see the quick return on their investments, they will no doubt want to increase their contribution amounts.”

United Kingdom

Zopa hunts for 40 tech whizzes as it narrows focus on bank launch (The Telegraph), Rated: AAA

Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lender has heightened its focus on building a bank, firing the starting gun on a recruitment push that will see it hire at least 40 developers for the project.

However its tune changed late last year, when it emerged that the technology firm wanted to challenge high-street lenders by offering deposit accounts and overdrafts.

Having raised £32m from investors eager to support the project earlier this month, the group is now looking to bulk out its workforce by at least 16pc – bringing in tech experts able to build a digital bank from scratch.

The hires will come from London and Barcelona, where Zopa opened a technology hub last week.

Zopa clarifies coverage ratios ahead of Core account launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has clarified the expected implications of phasing out of its provision fund as it prepares to launch Zopa Core on Thursday, a new account which will not be backed by the fund.

On 15 June, the peer-to-peer platform’s target date for unveiling its Innovative Finance ISA, the new account will formally take over from the firms’ existing Access and Classic products, whose safeguard fund will be phased out by December this year.

Existing safeguarded loans and new loans purchased before that deadline will continue to be covered by the fund until they reach maturity.

Zopa’s innovative finance Isa, paying projected 6.1%, to launch on 15 June (Which), Rated: AAA

Zopa’s long-awaited innovative finance Isa (Ifisa) will be made available to existing customers on Thursday 15 June, but it won’t be protected by the company’s Safeguard scheme.

The Isa, offering projected returns of up to 6.1%, will initially be made available to existing Zopa customers wanting to invest new money. It will then be possible to move existing Zopa loans into an Isa wrapper from 1 July, and transfer funds from third-party Isas from 17 August.

It is expected that new customers will have to wait two months or longer before being invited to open a Zopa Ifisa, due to expected high demand.

Zopa’s Safeguard scheme is a central compensation fund that aims to pay out to lenders whenever a borrower defaults on a loan. This fund is limited, so it could run out if lots of borrowers fail to repay, but it has covered 100% of eligible loans to date.

However, this scheme won’t be offered to Isa customers, nor will it be available to any new investors after December 2017.

It will offer two savings products in an Isa wrapper.

  • Zopa Core, in which your money will only be lent to lower-risk borrowers, offers expected returns of 3.9%.
  • Zopa Plus lends your money to a wider range of borrowers, offering expected returns of 6.1%.

LandlordInvest reports high demand for secondary market loans (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ACTIVITY on LandlordInvest’s newly-launched secondary market has been better than expected, with investors shrugging off political uncertainty to snap up loan parts in record time.

The peer-to-peer lender, which specialises in buy-to-let finance, launched its secondary market in the middle of May.

Filip Karadaghi, the firm’s co-founder and chief executive, told Peer2Peer Finance News that uptake had been higher than expected, with no signs of a slowdown ahead of Thursday’s UK General Election.

Peer-to-peer comes of age as alternative asset class for investors (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than a decade after the first peer-to-peer sites launched in the UK, the sector that allows investors to lend directly to individuals and small businesses is coming of age. Two of the largest sites in the UK — Zopa and Funding Circle — were last month authorised by the City watchdog, marking a seal of approval for the lenders and providing a boost to the broader sector.

Institutional investors are already piling in. High-profile fund managers including Neil Woodford and Artemis invested more equity capital into RateSetter in recent weeks, valuing the company at more than £200m. Zopa completed a £32m funding round, led by Wadhawan Global Capital, an Indian financial services company.

The rise of peer-to-peer sites means that lending, which as an asset class has been a monopoly for the banks, is opening up to ordinary investors.

Othera and Credit Crowd strike a blockchain partnership (AltFi), Rated: A

Credit Crowd gets on Othera’s blockchain, citing transparency as the key issue.

Blockchain provider Othera has linked up with Australian fintech lender Credit Crowd, allowing the Sydney fintech to digitise its loans on blockchain.

The partnership will allow Credit Crowd’s loans to be tokenised and traded on digital asset token exchanges—in effect, a kind of securitisation.

Credit Crowd is a P2P marketplace that specialises in short-term loans, secured by first mortgage properties. The company claims to have facilitated more than A$100 million worth of loans since its founding in 2012 and managed over A$50 million in their retail fund.

P2P lenders stay away from apps (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

APPS may be seen by some as a vital tool for any fintech business but peer-to-peer lenders have largely avoided this area so far.

Of the biggest UK P2P players, only Funding Circle has an app for investors, while Zopa has one in development.

Instead, others such as RateSetter, MarketInvoice and Landbay have focused on the overall web, desktop and mobile user experience.

Julian Cork, chief operating officer at buy-to-let lender Landbay, said the platform had considered making an app but decided against it.

Will robo-advice mean checkmate for human financial advisers? (Lexology), Rated: A

To date, robo-advice offerings have tended to focus more on the less complex end of the financial advice spectrum. The FCA’s enthusiasm for robo-advisers stemmed largely from concerns about an ‘advice gap’, situations where consumers (particularly those with limited assets) are unable to get advice and guidance on a need they have at a price they are willing to pay. The FCA has therefore seen robo-advisers as a way of providing quick and inexpensive advice primarily in relation to lower value or less complex scenarios. Robo-advice is still in its infancy and is generally not yet at the stage where it can provide sophisticated advice in relation to complex circumstances. Certain external factors are also slowing the spread of robo-advice. For example, recent research sponsored by ING suggests that the majority of the public remains uncomfortable with the idea of automated advice and this attitude will take time to change. In addition, PI Insurers may feel, by necessity, that they need to take a relatively cautious view in relation to new and untested technology. Firms implementing robo-advice solutions may therefore face increased insurance premiums, which is a further potential brake on innovation.

For the foreseeable future then, it appears that human advisers have no need to be concerned. Robo-advice is in the process of automating only one part of the wider industry and even then at a relatively restricted pace. But what about the longer term? If we make the reasonable assumption that advances in robo-adviser technology are inevitable does that mean that robo-advisers will one day become so sophisticated and accepted as to render human input redundant?

Meet the next generation of fintech startups set to revolutionise the world of finance (Wired), Rated: A

Winner of the startup stage Curve, started out in 2015 to cut out the noise and disconnection in the banking landscape. The digital wallet platform is designed to connect all of a person’s financial services into a single go-to place online, which is accessed with a Mastercard.

Finimize has grown an online community of 100,000 people. Each day, members receive a newsletter that digests the biggest finance stories of the day and why they should matter to them.

AgentCASH is an enterprise grade omnichannel platform that enables SMEs to sell and manage their products on multiple channels in real time.

Crowdsurfer brings big-data engineering expertise to crowd and peer finance to help the world understand where funds are flowing to.

Reposit was developed by its CEO Curran McKay as a faster, more affordable alternative to the £3.5 billion tenancy deposit system.

Lendr uses artificial intelligence to act as a reverse auction platform for mortgages.

Co-founder of Capitalise Paul Surtees has built technology that enables SMEs and their advisors to find, compare and select the best lenders available to them – allowing them to access the funding available. The platform matches SMEs with lenders, who are ranked based on their past successes.

London-based Paybase rolls an end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk into one unified API. The platform is designed for marketplaces such as the sharing economy or crowdfunding sites, as well as fintech apps and products that have complex payment processes.

China

China urges banks to devolve loan approval responsibility to boost lending (BusinessLine), Rated: AAA

China’s banking regulator has urged lenders to devolve responsibility for loan approvals to boost credit to small and micro businesses, but also emphasised that risks need to be kept under control.

Guo’s comments were made at a forum on Friday, according to a statement on the website of China Banking Regulatory Commission.

P2P Industry News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

Internet Investment Fund has been Subscribed in Down Payment of ¥30bn

The Chinese Internet Investment Fund was founded jointly by the Cyberspace Administration of China and the Ministry of Finance. The total size of the fund is around $14.9billion. The initial subscription (almost $4.4 billion) has been finished with $300million was acquired by central government as guiding fund, and the rest was raised from strategic investors. Thus, the driven coefficient of the government funds reached to 1:14.

After a new round of share price increasing, Alibaba’s market value has reached to $360bn.

On 9th June, shares of Alibaba jumped by 13.29% and closed at $142.34 per share, the companies’ total market value reached to $362.3 billion. Exceeding Tencent for the second time and become Aisa’s most valuable company.

Previously, Alibaba issued its annual report of 2017 fiscal year, showing that Alibaba has surpassed Tencent on core metrics such as revenue, net earnings and cash flow.

According a report released by Deutsche Bank, Alibaba's estimated revenue for 2018 fiscal year will be far higher than expected, and the disclosed information will drive its stock price up further.

Ping An Launches Fintech Fund (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Sepaking at the recent WSJ D.Live Asia event in Hong Kong, Ping An CIO Jonathan Larsen said Ping An is launching a new fund to invest in early stage Fintech ranging from $10 million to $30 million, according to a report from Dow Jones (here).

NYSE-listed P2P firm confident on its business model (ShanghaiDaily), Rated: A

CHINA Rapid Finance will follow the strategy of “low and grow” to realize a stable and sustainable growth after its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on April 28,  Wang Zhengyu, founder and CEO of the Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender, said in Shanghai yesterday.

CreditEase’s CEO Tang Shares Insights on FinTech in China at The Asian Banker Summit (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CreditEase’s founder and CEO Ning Tang was invited to deliver a keynote speech today at The Asian Banker’s 18th flagship Summit “The Future of Finance” in Singapore. The Summit gathered leading industry, government and academic speakers such as Barney Frank, former US Congressman and a leading co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act, David Shrier, Managing Director, MIT Connection Science and Engineering, and representatives from: ANZ, Bank of the Philippine Islands, DBS Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Prosper Marketplace, Prudential, and Uber.

Future Life, Future Finance

The theme of this year’s Summit shares the same vision as CreditEase at its 11th anniversary – “Future Life, Future Finance”.

In his keynote speech, Tang shared his insights as a pioneer and thought leader in the FinTech industry, giving an overview of the current landscape, and anticipating where opportunities will be against the backdrop of potential or inevitable changes.

Going Global

After 10 years of successful domestic growth, at its 11th anniversary, CreditEase is ready to accelerate its global expansion. The opening of the new Singapore office and Tang’s delivery of the keynote speech at one of world’s renowned financial summits is just part of the global voyage.  In addition to Singapore, CreditEase Wealth Management operates overseas offices and affiliate offices in Hong Kong, New York, and Tel Aviv and its domestic mainland China network covers over 40 cities. Its resources are also spread across the US west coast, Germany, UK, and Australia.

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

On June 3, 2017 Tsinghua PBCSF Global Finance Forum, which was hosted by Tsinghua University, and organized jointly by the Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance (PBCSF) and Tsinghua University National Institute of Financial Research (NIFR), convened in Beijing.

The highlights of the forum include:

Digital Financial Inclusion: LI Dongrong, President of National Internet Finance Association of China, pointed out in his speech that China and the world had the potential to drive the growth of inclusive economies by promoting digital financial services. While tremendous gains in financial inclusion have already been achieved, digital financial services, together with effective supervision, are essential to close the remaining gaps in financial inclusion.

InsurTech Innovation: JIANG Bo, Director-General of the International Department of China Insurance Regulatory Commission and Member of the strategic Council of PBCSF, said that Insurance technology (InsurTech) is a burgeoning phenomenon that has the potential to help the insurance industry reconnect with its customers following a period of increasing alienation and disengagement.

Three Chinese Fintech Companies Join Slate of Overseas Listing in 2017

  • Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, has resumed a plan to raise $1 billion or more in a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of this year.
  • Rong360, an online platform for financial product search, comparison and recommendation, has announced to raise at least $400 million in an initial public offering in the U.S. as soon as 2017.
  • With its rapid expansion, Chinese online lending platform Neo Capital has revealed its IPO plan in the U.S. last year.

On June 5, Chinese company Xiaomi, perhaps best known for its smartphones, announced that its affiliate Xiaomi Loan would partner with CITIC Securities to list CNY600 million asset backed securities (ABS) under a shelf registration on Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The ABS product was split into three tranches: AAA, AA and the subprime:

Rating level

Volume

Interest rate

AAA

CNY426 million

5.7%

AA

CNY78 million

6.3%

The subprime

CNY96 million

8%

International

WeChat Pay is now available globally via Paymentwall (Payment Wall), Rated: AAA

Paymentwall has partnered with Tencent to bring WeChat Pay (Weixin Pay) to every online and retail store. The partnership allows every business owner around the world to get instant access to 600 million Chinese shoppers in China and abroad.

With over 600 million active users, WeChat Pay is now one of the most popular payment methods in the world. WeChat Pay processed over $1.5 trillion in Chinese digital payments, representing over 30% of all online transactions made in 2016.

Human-robo combo has greatest chance of success (International-Adviser.com), Rated: A

A combination of human and robo could be the answer for underserved Asian investors seeking low-cost technology-driven financial advice, a market that pure robo-advice providers have found hard to crack.

Inexpensive, automated robo-advisors could be a solution, but unlike in the large markets of US and Europe, in Asia they face difficulties stemming from regulatory fragmentation, lack of scale and investors’ preference for human contact.

The hybrid approach uses automated financial advice systems, but provides a layer of personal contact when dealing with the institution. Some call this approach “cyborg-advisor”, others “bionic advisor”.

Due to low profit margins of robo-advisory services and the necessity to achieve scale in order to be profitable, independent robo-advisors are not likely to succeed in the region under current regulations, according to Aldcroft.

Australia

NAB Ventures provides seed funding to Australian start-up Basiq (Banking Business Review), Rated: A

NAB Ventures, a venture capital arm of National Australia Bank, along with Reinventure have provided seed funding to Basiq, an Australian-based start-up that offers open banking API platform.

India

Lending startup Loanmeet raises seed funding (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Online peer-to-peer lending platform LoanMeet, which is run by Strivers Solutions Pvt. Ltd, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from a clutch of investors.

Chinese entrepreneur-turned-investors Cao Yibin and Huang Wei, along with KrazyBee.com co-founder and CEO Madhusudan E, participated in this round.

LoanMeet provides short-term working capital loans to retailers for inventory financing. The company claims to be growing at 50% month-on-month.

Flipkart to Add Online Loans to its Marketplace (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Flipkart, one of the largest e-commerce platforms in India sales topping $2 billion each year, is getting into Fintech. Flipkart states that with the creation of a new focused team for financial services and products, Flipkart will be providing the public the option of obtaining loans from e-lending firms.

Flipkart is also expected to start offering other financial services such as access to funds.

Lendingkart gets Rs 50 crore loan from Yes Bank (Medianama), Rated: A

Lendingkart, an online platform for lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs, has raised debt funding worth Rs 50 crore from Yes Bank Ltd. The company said that this is the first step towards eventually shifting from non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), who provide loans at a higher rate, to banks.

In June last year, Lendingkart had raised Rs 205 crore ($32 million) in a series B round of funding led by Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) and Darrin Capital Management, with participation from existing investors Mayfield India, Saama Capital and India Quotient. Of this, $20 million was raised through equity sale and remaining $12 million  through debt financing.

How the rise of P2P lending presents several opportunities to banks (India Times), Rated: A

Peer to peer lending is hardly new. But it has risen to commercial prominence in the past few years, thanks to technology. The emergence of marketplace lending platforms connecting individual borrowers and lenders is disrupting the business of lending.

Peer to peer lending is hardly new. But it has risen to commercial prominence in the past few years, thanks to technology. The emergence of marketplace lending platforms connecting individual borrowers and lenders is disrupting the business of lending.

A 2015 survey shows that 25% of U.S. millennials have used a P2P lending platform. According to recent research, the cumulative amount of loans that originated via marketplace lending platforms in China was over $150 billion in 2015. In US and UK, it was close to $30 billion and $10 billion respectively.

While the Indian P2P market is much smaller, the scene is heating up. Last year alone, 20 lending firms cropped up to take the total to about 30. What does this imply for our banking industry?

Asia

How Thailand Could Become Southeast Asia’s Next Fintech Hub (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Omise, a payment management platform founded by Jun Hasegawa and Ezra Don Harinsut, is Thai fintech’s greatest success story to date. In 2016, it raised a $17.5 million Series B round and currently operates in Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.

The Thai Fintech Association formed in 2016 as a networking club that would facilitate connections among fintech startups, big banks and investors, according to Disyadej. But the organization filed as an association with the Ministry of the Interior this year so it could take a more hands-on role in the industry’s development.

Although TechGrind operates in six countries in the region, it has relocated several of its startups to Bangkok so they can make use of TechGrind’s network and resources there. But TechGrind approaches opportunities in fintech — and in all startup sectors — from a cross-border perspective.

One such company is Pymlo, which creates accounting software for small businesses in Thailand and the broader region.

Hong Kong, Singapore rivalry hobbling Asia in $ 100 billion fintech race (Reuters), Rated: A

Governments across Asia – most notably Hong Kong and Singapore – have launched a raft of initiatives to grab a slice of the $100 billion invested in financial technology globally but the regulatory hotchpotch is making it tough for firms to scale up, the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA) said in a report on Friday.

Investors poured $19 billion worldwide into fintech – including P2P lenders, distributed ledger technology and crowdfunding platforms – in 2016 alone and thousands of fintech start-ups continue to proliferate, according to a February report by global regulatory body the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia have launched a range of special programs to attract and foster fintech ventures, from incubators and grants, to temporary license waiver schemes, with competition fiercest between Hong Kong and Singapore.

Philippines

Consolidated credit database likely to improve lending in the Philippines in 2018 (ASEAN Today), Rated: A

The Philippines will launch a credit consumer database in 2018 in a bid to bolster retail lending.

Bulk of lending in the Philippines have been corporate loan, forming more than 80% of loan books. Consumer lending business have been secondary to corporate lending – analysts explained that the lack of consumer level data can explain this.

The gap between corporate and retail lending is the lack of a credible database.

The government’s Credit Information Corporate collects data from banks in the Philippines. This will be extended to rural financial institutions to build a credible database by 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 2 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative lending mergers & acquisitions

News Comments Today’s main news: OCC policy on exam treatment of violations goes into effect July 1. Comparisons of Zopa’s IFISA to others. RateSetter hits highest valuation. Seedrs, NatWest partner to offer alternative funding options. Zhong An seeks Hong Kong IPO. Today’s main analysis: Alternative Lending Market Analysis. International P2P lending volumes. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Under the hood of asset-level […]

alternative lending mergers & acquisitions

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Nutter Bank Report, May 2017 (JD Supra), Rated: AAA

Supreme Court Rules That Cities Can Sue Lenders Under the Fair Housing Act

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a decision that reaffirms the standing of municipalities to sue lenders, including banks, for certain discriminatory mortgage lending practices that violate the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”). The Court’s decision stated that this provision of the FHA “reflects a congressional intent to confer standing broadly,” and held that the city’s claimed injuries are within the FHA’s zone of interests. Click here for a copy of the Court’s decision.

Nutter Notes: Despite the Court’s ruling in favor of the city on the issue of standing, the Court’s ruling on the issue of proximate cause may make it more difficult in the future for cities to sue lenders for FHA violations.

OCC Issues Updated Guidance on Exam Treatment of Violations of Laws and Regulations

The updated policies and procedures direct OCC examiners to communicate violations to supervised institutions using a consistent format consisting of legal citation and description, a summary of relevant statutory or regulatory requirements, facts supporting the violation and root causes, corrective actions required, and board and management’s commitments to corrective action. The updated policies and procedures also emphasize the importance of timely and thorough follow-up and tracking of management’s corrective actions and related milestones. This policy will become effective on July 1, 2017. Click here for a copy of the OCC Bulletin.

Nutter Notes: Specifically, the OCC’s updated policy requires that examiners communicate all substantive violations to the bank in a report of examination (“ROE”) or supervisory letter, including substantive self-identified violations in certain circumstances. Examiners will be required to communicate less substantive OCC-identified violations in a separate written document if the examiners decide not to include them in an ROE or supervisory letter. The updated policy gives examiners discretion to determine whether less substantive, self-identified violations may be communicated separately. The OCC stated that it expects the bank’s board and management to take timely and effective correction of all violations regardless of how they are communicated. According to the updated policy, if management fails to correct a violation previously communicated in a separate written document by the OCC, the examiner should include the violation in the next ROE or supervisory letter. The updated policy also requires examiners to identify violations as “New,” “Self-identified,” or “Repeat,” as applicable.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

FT Partners is pleased to present you with the latest installment of our “CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis.”

FT Partners served as the sole strategic and financial advisor to:

  • here.

    Source: FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis June 2017

    Looking under the hood of Asset-Level Disclosures: Income Verification is just the beginning (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

    Bloomberg published an article last week focusing on a recent auto loan securitization by Santander Consumer USA Holdings, where only 8% of loans in the ~$1Bn collateral pool had income verification on the borrower.

    At Aspire Financial Technologies, we’re already believers in the power of loan level data to give Investors better visibility, understanding, and decisioning around huge volumes of consumer loans, having created the Aspire Gateway platform for Alternative and Marketplace Lending participants. In this sector, loan-level data is paramount to understanding and decisioning for Investors, and Banks providing credit facilities. So, when we learned of the new securitization ALD data files being made available this year, and a requirement from Investors to be able to consume this data, we saw an opportunity for our data engineers to clean, vet and normalize the XML (text-based) data files and load them into our infrastructure API, which is well-suited to accommodating loan level data. The result of this, was our release of the ALD Explorer in April. (Free access to the ALD Explorer is available here.)

    Although our numbers differ from Moody’s as to the % of loans where income was verified (13% vs. 8%), we note a similar conclusion: the vast majority of ~90k loans had no income verification, and were given to low credit score borrowers (WAVG score = 559).

    This is borne out through looking at another ALD Explorer report on a prime auto securitization: Ford Credit Auto Owner Trust 2017-A. This deal has less than 2% of the loans with income verification, but had a WAVG credit score of 740 (note that we have excluded in this table Credit Score Types that were either Commercial (9,437 occurrences) and Unknown/None (2,276 occurrences)).

    To Deliver on its Promise, Crowdfunding Needs Better Language (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    In Part 1 of this series on How To Fix Crowdfunding Education, I made the case for beginning all crowdfunding education by teaching the core fundamental that cuts across all forms of crowdfunding: participation.

    To begin, we need to be more careful in our use of the word “crowdfunding.”

    Since the passing of the Title III equity crowdfunding rules in the U.S., many who write and speak about equity crowdfunding have stopped using the “equity” part of the phrase. Among other impacts, I’ve watched conversations on LinkedIn forums about rewards crowdfunding strike terror into the hearts of project creators as someone offhandedly introduces the terms “investor” and the “SEC” into the discussion of their campaigns. “Investor” is a particularly problematic word when it is used interchangeably to describe both the people who back rewards campaigns (often described as “investing in a creator’s ideas”) and investment in equity or debt offerings. Even the word “equity” itself is confusing since many securities are not actually equity, but debt. And “rewards” doesn’t come close to expressing the power of this kind of crowdfunding to galvanize communities around ideas.

    Then there is the issue of jargon.

    So if “online” is what distinguishes equity crowdfunding from an IPO (Initial Public Offering), does that mean online lending and online donation are crowdfunding, too? To add to our alphabet soup, there’s the DPO (Direct Public Offering) U.S. investment crowdfunding that predates the JOBS Act, and the CPO (Community Public Offering) the acronym used to describe intrastate crowdfunding offerings in Oregon. And then, there’s the “crowdfunding IPO” the term being floated about in publications the likes of The Wall Street Journal and Fortune to describe Spotify’s potential Direct Public Offering (DPO).

    We need consistency in our language to build trust. Looking around the industry, there is language already in use that we could adopt and use consistently. For example, a recent Forbes article by Devin Thorpe was titled “Investment Crowdfunding: What Works And What Needs Fixing” rather than “equity crowdfunding.” By using the word “investment” or “crowdinvesting” instead of “equity” we can make a clear distinction that participants in this type of crowdfunding are investors, but that not all of these investments result in an equity stake in a business.

    Goldman Sachs’ new online lending business is changing the bank’s culture (Business Insider), Rated: A

    Omer Ismail, the chief operating officer of Marcus by Goldman Sachs, described the online lending business as “more casual” in an interview on the Lend Academy Podcast.

    Ismail believes that some of that more relaxed, creative culture is beginning to find its way into other parts of Goldman Sachs.

    “I was with the chief technology officer of Goldman and I went down to his office a couple of days ago and I noticed that now he has white walls so it’s actually really cool to see how folks at Marcus are actually influencing other parts of Goldman.”

    Top 9 most active VC investors in fintech (Pitch Book), Rated: A

    Since the beginning of last year, 605 US venture investors have participated in at least one fintech transaction, spreading a total of

    NEW FINTECH LEADERS JOIN THE CONSUMER FINANCIAL DATA RIGHTS GROUP (Yodlee), Rated: B

    The Consumer Financial Data Rights (CFDR), an industry group formed by leading companies in the financial sector to support the consumer’s right to access their financial data, has expanded its membership to now include 27 companies. Recent additions include ActiveHours, Clarity, DataCoup, Draft, LifeLock, Morningstar, NextCapital, Onist, Oportun, Petal, Quovo, SnapCheck, Vested, and WorldRemit.

    Kushner-backed Cadre wants to raise $ 65M at $ 800M valuation (The Real Deal), Rated: B

    The Jared Kushner-backed real estate investment platform Cadre is looking to raise $65 million in venture funding.

    The funds, if raised, would give Cadre a valuation of more than $800 million, the Information reported.

    The Token Fund – Enter the Digital Mutual Fund (The Merkle), Rated: B

    The Token Fund is akin to a traditional market mutual, index, or hedge fund.

    So this is a digital fund management group that is aiming to bring non-crypto savvy traders and investors into the digital market, while also providing a service to the veterans users and traders of crypto.

    Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and does not necessarily reflect the views of any employees of The Merkle.

    United Kingdom

    Zopa Innovative Finance ISA: how it works, rates and how it compares (Love Money), Rated: AAA

    Zopa, one of the major peer-to-peer lenders in the UK, has announced it will roll out its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) from 15 June offering returns of up to 6.1%.

    The new Zopa Core deal will join Zopa Plus, while the Zopa Access (offering returns of up to 2.9%) and Zopa Classic (3.7%) deals will close by 1 December 2017.

    Product Risk Markets Target return Minimum Investment Amount*
    Zopa Core IFISA A*, A, B, C 3.9% £1,000
    Zopa Plus IFISA A*, A, B, C, D, E 6.1% £1,000

    The new Zopa Core product will lend in the same risk markets (A*-C) as Access and Classic did, but, crucially – like Zopa Plus which launched in March 2017 – it will not be covered by the Safeguard fund.

    Zopa says it’s scrapping Safeguard as tax laws have changed, allowing investors to claim tax relief from bad debts, so it’s no longer needed, plus it emphasises retiring Safeguard will provide greater expected returns and make products easier to understand.

    Lending Works is Zopa’s closest rival with an IFISA option. It also allows investors to lend to individuals, but it expects lower returns of 3.3% over three years and 4.4% over five years, after fees and bad debts.

    The Crowd for Angels IFISA for example offers returns of up to 9%. This crowdfunding platform raises cash for companies wanting to expand, diversify or develop their business through crowd bonds and shares.

    Rivals in this space include the Crowd2fund IFISA , which can earn you 8.7%, the Crowdstacker IFISA offering rates between 5-7% and LendingCrowd IFISA offering 6% returns.

    Peer-to-peer platforms in this market include Landlord Invest (offering rates of up to 12%), Relendex (10%) and Landbay (3.75%).

    If you’re happy to take on more risk you could try Abundance, an ethical peer-to-peer platform raises money from investors for green energy projects.

    RateSetter hits highest valuation at £200m after recent funding round (Growth Business), Rated: AAA

    RateSetter raised £13 million from existing shareholders, including Woodford Investment Management and Artemis on Tuesday. Since this round of funding, the London-based peer-to-peer lender announced that its valuation now exceeds £200 million. The investment formed its eighth fundraising round, and took RateSetter’s total amount raised in equity to £41.5 million.

    Seedrs teams up with NatWest to offer alternative funding options (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: AAA

    Through the programme, the crowdfunding platform will be joining a panel of funders to provide alternative finance solutions to business and commercial customers of NatWest and RBS in the UK who are unable to access the financial support they need through traditional funding routes.

    Seedrs is currently the only equity-based finance provider on the panel, which features other finance providers such as iwoca, Assetz Capital, Funding Circle, Royal Bank of Scotland Social & Community Capital and Together.

    LendInvest Capital Announces Montello Real Estate Opportunity Fund Milestone (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    LendInvest Capital, a UK-based specialist real estate lender and fund manager, has announced that its flagship private debt fund, the Montello Real Estate Opportunity Fund, is now managing over £100 million ($128m) on behalf of private and institutional clients.

    The Fund hit its three-year track record in January 2017 and surpassed the £100 million milestone at the end this past April, reported LendInvest, “the culmination of a very active year” during which the Fund more than doubled in size (up 113% from  £47m AUM at 30 April 2016 to c. £100M AUM at 30 April 2017). The Fund also had a record quarter for fundraising between January and March of this year, receiving £30 million of new investment.

    Basset & Gold unveils four-year marketplace lending bond (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

    BASSET & GOLD is launching a new four-year bond backed by marketplace lending deals, with regular reinvestment of the interest stream set to deliver higher yields.

    The new debt offering from the direct lending and alternative finance specialist will return a compounding fixed yield of 30.9 per cent at the end of the term, equivalent to an annual return of 7.72 per cent.

    Honeycomb raises £105m from oversubscribed share placing (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

    HONEYCOMB Investment Trust has raised £105m from an oversubscribed share placing, which it will use to capitalise on new business opportunities.

    The alternative finance-focused investment fund said on Wednesday that it had successfully completed its placing of 10 million shares, issued at £10.50 per share.

    Finimize allows you to create a free financial plan from your mobile (This is Money), Rated: A

    Quick, simple, jargon-free – the Finimize My Life plan seeks to sort your finances out, giving you sensible savings goals, investment options and easy plans to pay off debt.

    As many as two-thirds of those aged 18 to 34 wish they had received more money advice at a younger age, according to research from Santander.

    Do you think financial literacy remains a problem then?

    Max: I do. We’ve done some research with YouGov and the results speak for themselves: 59 per cent of millennials could not confidently explain what an Isa is, 84 per cent couldn’t tell you what the term ‘equity’ means and 90 per cent couldn’t confidently explain what ‘asset management’ is.

    Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 50 per cent were not confident explaining ANY of the financial terms listed in the survey.

    Why do you think managing our personal finances has been hard for millennials? 

    Max: It is unsurprising that financial literacy levels are so low amongst my generation. We were never taught these terms in school and it can be daunting to try and plan your financial life when you feel in the dark about how the industry works.

    Do millennials have money to save and invest? 

    Max: Yes. It comes down to confidence: of the millennials we surveyed, 52 per cent of those with between £10,000 and £24,999 of savings do not feel confident explaining what an Isa is.

    How does it work?

    Max: Once you’ve registered with Finimize you enter a few simple personal details.

    These include your country of residence, age, salary, savings, passive income, spare income, whether you own a house (this is a yes or no question), if you have income protection and whether you have any bad debt such as credit cards or personal loans.

    Once a user has provided the basic inputs, the platform generates a financial plan for someone like you.

    Would you take financial advice from a robot at your bank? (The Telegraph), Rated: A

    HSBC has become the latest of the major banks to announce a low-cost online investment service that will use algorithms to match customers to an investment portfolio.

    The service is aimed at those with less than £15,000 to invest, and the bank promised costs would be “far lower than industry standards”.

    The services typically take customers through a questionnaire online to get a picture of their finances and determine how much risk they are willing to take, before advising which investments to put their money in.

    NatWest launched its Invest service in February to its existing customers. The service offers five funds run by Coutts & Co, each with a different portion in stocks, bonds and cash. It charges investors 0.95pc on the first £500,000 they invest and then 0.7pc on any investments above that amount.

    Barclays users pay 0.2pc on money held in funds and 0.1pc on all other investments, with a minimum fee of £4 a month and maximum of £125 per month. Fund and other investment trading costs £3 and £6 respectively if completed online.

    P2P Lender Wellesley Retrenches After Departure of CFO Alasdair Lenman (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

    Wellesley has entered a period of retrenchment as CFO Alasdair Lenman has departed the company after less than a year on the job. The Wellesley Group consists of Wellesley & Co Ltd, Wellesley Finance Plc and Wellesley Group Investors Ltd.

    Stephen Bell, Wellesley’s Chief Risk Officer, updated on the performance of their loans including non-performing assets;

    “The Wellesley loan book continues to evolve and now stands at 65 loans with combined committed facilities of £271 million. During 2016 the drawn balanced increased by 10% to £163.6 million which was made up of new loans and additional drawdowns on existing loans of £118.6 million.”

    China

    China’s Zhong An aims to raise at least $ 1 billion in Hong Kong IPO – sources (Reuters), Rated: AAA

    Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, has resumed a plan to raise $1 billion or more in a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of this year, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

    Zhong An, whose major shareholders include Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) affiliate Ant Financial, plans to apply for listing in the coming weeks, said one of the people, who declined to be identified as the matter is confidential.

    The Shanghai-based insurer chose Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and UBS in October to lead the IPO, but later suspended the plan to explore a mainland listing.

    Research on Financial Inclusion and Poverty Reduction in China (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

    Case study 1: CFPA MicroFinance

    • As of Dec 2016, CFPA Microfinance currently has branches in 229 counties and 18 provinces throughout China, and 85% of the branches are located in areas designated by the Central or Local Governments as poverty stricken counties.
    • As of Nov 2016, CFPA Microfinance has disbursed loans valued at RMB CNY 18.4 billion ($2.7 billion) to 1.61 million clients, with average loan size of CNY 11,000 ($1,620). 62% of all loans have been deployed for the purpose of raising livestock, breeding fish and farming and etc.
    • Approximately 3 million low-income villagers have received microloans from CFPA Microfinance for improving their livelihood and raising local production.

    Social development:

    • 91% of all CFPA Microfinance clients are women
    • At least 80% of CFPA Microfinance clients would not have been able to borrow from anywhere else, according to a survey by the China Agriculture University and China Academy of Social Sciences
    • 49 out of the 53 CFPA Microfinance operating outlets are in China’s Nationally Designated Poverty Countries, the poorest areas in the country.

    Case study 2: Ant Financial

    When it comes to poverty alleviation, Ant Financial chose CFPA Microfinance to partner with.

    With the two parties cooperation in technology and channels, it is possible that when a farmer needs to borrow money, the lending decision would be made based on big data, rather than the information collected by loan officers.

    Research shows that, by the measure of “digital financial inclusion index” created by Prof. Huang Yiping, the condition of underdeveloped areas in China in 2015 are relatively better off compared with five years ago.

    Case study 3: CreditEase

    CreditEase’s efforts in financial inclusion to reduce poverty can be best illustrated by the example of Yinongdai.

    What Yinongdai does is that it helps to match “charitable lenders” with impoverished credible rural borrowers. To be more specific, “charitable lenders” can choose a farmer’s project and “donate” at least RMB 100 ($14.70), and lenders can get roughly 2% return annually.

    For over the seven years, Yinongdai has collected over 200 million RMB ($29 million) from 150,000 lenders, and helped about 20,000 needy farmers, Tang Ning said in an interview in Apr 2017.

    The shortage of financial services in China’s rural areas amounts to $ 447 billion. (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A

    According to data from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the market space of rural finance in China reached to $447 billion since 2014. With policy supports on rural finance and the maturing and saturation of the urban financial market, there comes up an attractive blue ocean market in rural finance.

    In recent years, many participants have flooded into rural market, including traditional financial institutions, agriculture service providers, as well as e-commerce platform and internet finance companies, but few of them succeed.

    Up to now, the traditional institutions such as rural credit cooperatives are still the main force to serve rural areas, however, it could not meet the capital needs of farmers’ production and livelihood.

    Source

    Blockchain Startup Wyre Acquires Remitsy for China Market Push (CoinDesk), Rated: B

    Blockchain payments startup Wyre has acquired industry startup Remitsy in a cash and equity deal of an undisclosed amount.

    According to CEO Michael Dunworth, it was Remitsy’s close proximity to China’s market that was the chief factor prompting the move. (Remitsy uses a combination of blockchain technology and banking relationships to convert user currencies for China-based users).

    European Union

    Robo-Advisor Ginmon receives asset management license (EXtra Magazin), Rated: A

    The Frankfurt-based Robo-Advisor Ginmon has now received the license from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin) for financial portfolio management pursuant to section 32 of the German Banking Act (KWG). Up to now, the digital asset management had only one permission for financial intermediaries according to §34f of the trade regulations.

    International

    International P2P Lending Volumes May 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

    Milestones reached this month are:

    • Assetz Capital crosses 250 million GBP lent sinch launch
    • Lendinvest reaches 1 billion GBP in origination since launch

    Australia

    Robo-advice for SMSFs: what accountants need to know (In the Black), Rated: A

    Accountants referring clients to robo-advice tools need to be wary of licensing constraints.

    We understand that a number of accountants who have chosen to operate without an AFS licence authorisation have entered into arrangements with digital financial advice providers (or “robo-advisers”) to allow their clients to access digital advice about SMSFs.

    Under these arrangements, accountants refer their clients who need financial product advice (for example, about whether or not to establish an SMSF), to a digital advice tool which can provide that advice.

    While digital advice providers might indicate that their tools can be used in such a way that unlicensed accountants who refer clients to the tools would not be providing financial services, this may not always be the case.

    India

    Flipkart will soon offer customers financial products and services (VC Circle), Rated: A

    Homegrown e-commerce major Flipkart is mulling over providing financial products and services online, a segment that has seen tremendous growth in India in the last few years.

    A dedicated team for financial services and products is already in place and lead product manager for fintech and consumer credit products at Flipkart, Monomita Roy Avasarala, has already initiated talks with online lending startups, the report said.

    Flipkart would offer mutual funds and insurance products besides credit and loans, the publication reported citing undisclosed sources.

    Google Launchpad picks 6 startups from India, shows love for AI (Tech in Asia), Rated: B

    This is the only fintech startup from India to make it to the latest Launchpad batch. IndiaLends – like the name suggests – is a lending product.

    It offers personal loans, free credit reports, home loans, and credit cards to consumers. You can check your loan eligibility using the IndiaLends app, which can also alert you when an EMI is due and help you manage and track all your credit accounts as well as monthly spending. IndiaLends uses artificial intelligence tech for credit rating, loan eligibility, and so on.

    Asia

    e-payments make advances in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong (The Asset), Rated: A

    Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank, on May 22 announced the merger of Malaysian Electronic Clearing Corporation (MyClear) and Malaysian Electronic Payment System (MEPS) to form Payments Network Malaysia or PayNet.

    On May 5 DBS introduced its Smart Nation Ambassador Programme (SNAP). The programme will see DBS recruiting up to 1,000 ambassadors that will encourage small, cash-based merchants to adopt DBS PayLah! QR codes as a payment method in Singapore.

    Bank of China Hong Kong and WeChat Pay Hong Kong announced a collaboration to promote mobile payments in Hong Kong, on May 19.

    Swift introduced a new cross-border payments tracker that enables international payments to be traced in real-time on May 23.

    Japan looks to double cashless payments in 10 years (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: A

    Cash-heavy Japan aims to double digital payments to 40% in the next decade by helping metropolitan-area businesses afford cashless services to better attract foreign visitors and open their wallets.

    The goal, set by the Financial Services Agency and the industry ministry, will be part of a plan to promote fintech, the intersection of finance and information technology, in a growth strategy to be compiled in June. The move is also a step toward better accommodating foreign tourists, with an eye toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    Japan’s current 19% rate of cashless payments is less than half the over-50% level seen in nations including South Korea and China, but the targeted 40% rate would put it roughly on par with the U.S.

    Broken down by industry, around 90% of Japan’s lodging facilities accept card payments, compared with roughly 70% of supermarkets and just half of taxis.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor