Monday July 31 2017, Daily News Digest

credit card issuers

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

credit card issuers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

News Summary

United States

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

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

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

Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg

Outlook for Consumer Lending 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the paper here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bot is now in the beta testing phase.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also in payments land, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kinds of opportunities are you focused on?

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: AltFi Data

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

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

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

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

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

Q3 2016

Q4 2016

Q1 2017

Q2 2017

Folk2Folk

£139,344,302

£161,408,804

Funding Circle

£1,524,427,000

£1,830,397,245

£2,158,457,107

£2,455,740,443

Landbay

£42,948,000

£43,142,119

£43,975,419

£46,515,723

LendInvest

£776,112,000

£855,354,293

£971,875,952

Lending Works

£33,636,000

£39,368,050

£48,864,686

£58,441,220

MarketInvoice

£754,325,000

£837,793,900

£918,450,994

£1,018,021,696

RateSetter

£1,442,743,000

£1,604,406,564

£1,815,320,079

£1,995,142,453

ThinCats

£196,907,000

£211,446,000

£226,981,000

£242,540,000

Zopa

£1,731,685,000

£1,926,038,724

£2,172,561,894

£2,409,257,844

Total

£6,502,783,000

£7,347,946,895

£8,495,831,433

£8,387,068,183

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

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

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

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

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

He explains:

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

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

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

Manchester fintech company DueCourse has called in administrators.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

European Union

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Millennials are likely to fall into three categories:

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

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

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

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

India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asia

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

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

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

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

Middle East

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

Africa

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

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

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 1 2017, Daily News Digest

Zopa loan originations

News Comments Today’s main news: Betterment to offer human advice. Dubai to open to crowdfunding. Today’s main analysis: Zopa provides insight into borrowers. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why Yirendai is not a good investment. i-lend expands across India. United States Betterment to offer human advice. AT: “If there was ever evidence that robots won’t kill human financial advisors, […]

Zopa loan originations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

  • Investors should be leery of Yirendai. AT: “This is a very long, detailed analysis of Yirendai from an investment standpoint, however, there are some great insights into the Chinese P2P lending market from a business standoint, as well. Could the Chinese be headed toward an LC-style crisis?”

India

Middle East

United States

Betterment now offering human advice with its robo (InvestmentNews), Rated: AAA

The New York-based firm has hired about a dozen financial advisers, half of them certified financial planners, whom Betterment’s retail clients can now reach out to for help via phone or email for an additional cost, the firm said Tuesday. It’s offering two tiers of service, with the initial digital-plus-adviser service requiring clients have a $100,000 minimum.

The Betterment Plus service will give clients with at least $100,000 in assets an annual planning call with an adviser and unlimited advice via email for 40 basis points, while Betterment Premium will provide unlimited calls and emails for clients with $250,000 in assets for 50 basis points.

For its core digital-only clients, Betterment recently changed its pricing from a tiered system based on assets to a 25 basis point annual fee no matter the account size. As a result, clients who have less than $10,000 in their accounts will see their fee decline from 35 basis points, and clients with $100,000 or more will see it increase from 15 basis points.

Former CIO of the CFPB and FinTech Entrepreneur Joins FinMkt’s Advisory Board (deBanked), Rated: A

New York City-based FinMkt, a leading provider of marketplace technology solutions for the financial services industry, today announced the addition of Tim Duncan, a seasoned financial technology entrepreneur and innovative leader, to its Advisory Board. Tim brings an impressive roster of experience, including serving on the executive launch team for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as its Head of Technology and CIO. Tim will advise FinMkt’s management team on strategy and product development.

Tim was recruited by Elizabeth Warren, then Special Assistant to the President of the United States, to join the executive team tasked with launching the CFPB on time and on budget. As Head of Technology and CIO, Tim led technology strategy, planning, and implementation for this inaugural federal agency in the digital age with a budget of $500 million. Under his leadership, the agency implemented an agile, lean process to document, budget, approve, and prioritize technology projects and also became the first federal agency to utilize scalable commercial cloud services while increasing staff from 50 to 500 in an 18-month period.

PeerIQ Announces Agreement with Freedom Financial Network (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

PeerIQ, a leading provider of data and analytics for the online lending sector, today announced that Freedom Financial Asset Management, a subsidiary of Freedom Financial Network and one of the fastest growing marketplace lending platforms offering unsecured consumer debt, has adopted the PeerIQ Analytics Platform for enhanced loan data management, reporting, and portfolio analysis—for use by both Freedom’s capital markets team and institutional buyers of Freedom loans.

By adopting PeerIQ’s platform, Freedom Financial will leverage PeerIQ’s full suite of tools: investor dashboards, loan surveillance, portfolio benchmarking, automated reporting, credit facility monitoring, ca­­­­­sh flow analytics, and loan performance modeling.   Moreover, PeerIQ will offer the same tools for institutional investors to streamline diligence of Freedom’s loan data and monitor existing loan portfolios.

Finally, Freedom has tapped PeerIQ to serve as the independent “fair value” valuation provider for its asset management arm.  Drawing upon its deep experience in credit and lending, including its strategic data partnership with TransUnion, PeerIQ launched its valuation service last year.

Braintree hires former Lending Club exec as chief technology officer (Chicago Tribune), Rated: A

Braintree, the Chicago-based mobile payments company, has hired Lending Club’s former chief technology officer.

In his role at Braintree, John MacIlwaine will lead all aspects of product development, the company’s general manager, Juan Benitez, wrote in a blog post announcing the move Tuesday.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly FinTech Market (FT Partners), Rated: A

FinTech M&A
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Industries Where FinTech Is Changing The Game (NASDAQ), Rated: B

The first area where FinTech has made a serious impact is lending.

Loans are happening faster than ever before and the use of technology has improved both business efficiencies and is making headway on lowering risk, thereby also lowering rates for borrowers while still maintaining healthy profit margins.

RedFin has taken a stand against inefficient real estate transactions and the traditional 6% fees. They understand that most of the home search process now takes place online and by streamlining the transaction process with technology, they can lower costs.

Taking changes a step further, startups like RealtyShares are taking the marketplace lending model to real estate investors. Now real estate developers and project managers can look to the marketplace for lending instead of banks.

The payments industry is another area where startups are disrupting the norm.

Due is working to make business payments and digital wallets easier and cheaper for freelancers and other business owners around the world.

SoFi Ranks Fordham Law Graduates No. 15 In Average Salary (The Fordham Ram), Rated: B

Fordham University claimed a spot on SoFi.com’s released 2017 rankings of highest average graduate salary rates. At No. 15 with an average graduate salary of $160,590, Fordham comfortably ranks in the top 20 law schools for graduate salaries. Average debt of Fordham Law graduates is $151,406, giving Fordham a 1.1 salary to debt ratio, according to SoFi.

United Kingdom

Zopa gives insight into its borrowers (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The numbers point to a solid borrower base. The press release indicated that the top three types of loans on Zopa’s platform are car loans at 34% of the total origination volume; debt consolidation at 31%; and home improvement at 20%. This indicates that debt consolidation loans, the

Lewis: Peer-to-Peer Lenders Expect Higher UK Rates (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The Bank of England would want to get ahead of spiking inflation, says Rhydian Lewis, CEO of peer-to-peer lender RateSetter. He told Daybreak Europe’s Markus Karlsson that customers on his platform expect interest rates to rise.

Listen to the podcast.

Anthony Hilton: Let’s be positive as peer-to-peer pain looms (EveningStandard), Rated: A

However, even in these benign conditions and despite Zopa’s obvious progress, some peer-to-peer firms are showing signs of strain. And most of those that appear successful have moved a long way from the original concept, under which people with surplus funds met via a platform on the internet people looking to borrow. Superficially, the industry still strives to be swanlike in its grace and stability, but under the water the paddling is in some cases increasingly frenzied.

Even big firms such as RateSetter have had pause for thought. From the beginning, it has used a small levy on borrowers’ interest payments to endow a compensation fund to be used to reimburse any lenders whose loans go sour. The problem that emerged last year was that RateSetter’s bad-debt experience was significantly worse than expected even in these good times. This briefly threatened to overwhelm the fund and, although some neat juggling meant disaster did not materialise, it did prompt a rethink about the scheme.

What all this means is that the honeymoon is over, the shake-out is beginning and what survives may bear little relationship to what set out on this journey. The bigger firms are gaining market share at the expense of the smaller, the venture capitalists are becoming much more choosy about whom they back, and a lot of the smaller poorly branded businesses will wither away.

This is inevitable and part of the usual cycle. Rather than be negative about it, it is worth remembering that — even if peer-to-peer lending is less innovative than originally hoped — it has still changed ideas about what is possible and how customers can be served.

So would you invest in Folk-2-Folk for 6.5% interest? (This is Money), Rated: A

Almost every other peer-to-peer firm is online only, but Folk2Folk is slightly unusual in that it has high street branches. Currently these are just in the West Country, but the firm is set to open a branch in Harrogate in February 2017, with others planned around the country.

Folk2Folk is also authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. This is a good sign as it means that they have met a strict set of lending criteria and will be allowed to provide an innovative finance Isa in the future, meaning investors can earn interest tax-free on up to £15,240 in the tax year 2016/17.

Some peer-to-peer lenders let you invest with as little as £10 but Folk2Folk currently has a minimum investment level of £25,000 – this means the type of investors it would be suitable for are more likely to be reasonably wealthy.

All of its loans are backed by property, which can be repossessed and sold by Folk2Folk if a borrower were to default, helping creditors to recover at least part of the loan.

European Union

Belgian P2P lending startup Mozzeno launches (Finextra), Rated: A

The Belgian fintech startup mozzeno is launching the first digital platform to enable private individuals to participate indirectly in financing loans to other private individuals.

For investors, an accessible investment with returns of up to 5.79% gross and 3.91% net.

Investment Protection: mozzeno works with the loan insurer Atradius ICP which insures loans granted via mozzeno. Depending on the class of risk, this insurance covers from 60% to 100% of the payment of three late instalments and of the remaining amount of the loan.

China

Yirendai: Leaked Internal Emails Raise Much Deeper Concerns (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

The P2P lending space in China is something akin to a Ponzi scheme which is rife with fraud. This is NOT an overstatement.

During 2016, YRD continued to report loan growth which was downright explosive. (But so did every other P2P player in China’s rapidly booming P2P space). Accordingly, the headline metrics for YRD looked temptingly good. YRD appeared to present a low P/E ratio, strong revenue growth, huge return on equity, etc. This began to attract a number of US quant funds (shown below) to take numerous small positions based on their “factor models”.

Ahead of the Ppdai IPO, the SCMP article quite clearly comes across as a warning to US investors who might be tempted to invest in a Chinese P2P. The SCMP makes clear what Chinese investors have known all along. Here are a few quotes from SCMP, which again came out just last week:

  • In China, “P2P lending… has been mired in a slew of scandals amid runaway investment and fraud since late 2015.”
  • “Beijing will heighten requirements for P2P players… The intention of the heightened regulation is partly to shut down some firms that purport to be P2P lenders.”
  • “dozens of unscrupulous players raised funds from depositors and then channeled the loans to corporate clients such as property developers.”
  • “In 2015, Beijing-based Ezubao was found to have defrauded more than 1 million investors of about 100 billion yuan.”

A large number of small Chinese retail investors (in this case, it was around 13,000 investors) log on with their smartphones and opt to make small investments in some sort of P2P loan product. There is no research and no due diligence. They just click on their smartphone and then “poof” they have invested in something which is supposed to provide some attractive level of returns. Their money is transferred out of their bank account immediately and automatically.

The reality as I see it is that YRD has largely been set up as a dumping ground for terrible subprime paper, foisting the future losses on oblivious US investors who are relying on superficial factor models.

India

P2P platform i-lend eyes pan-India expansion, fresh capital (India Times), Rated: AAA

Online peer-to-peer lending platform i-lend is preparing itself for a pan-India expansion and looks to raise Rs 4-5 crore from investors to finance it, founder director Shankar Vaddadi told ET.

Vaddadi said that the company is waiting for Reserve Bank of India to announce the final peer-to-peer lending norms before it takes steps towards building presence across the country.
India has about 30 online P2P marketplaces including Faircent, i2iFunding and LenDenClub.
Vaddadi said i-lend has processed 380 loans so far for Rs 3 crore.
Middle East

Dubai To Open Up To Crowdfunding Platforms, As Part Of Fintech Push (Forbes), Rated: AAA

The regulator of offshore financial hub the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is preparing to license loan-based crowdfunding platforms for the first time.

The consultation, which was launched on January 31, is the first in what is promised to be a series of initiatives covering crowdfunding and the financial technology (fintech) industry more broadly.

According to the local Khalifa Fund, around 70% of SMEs in the UAE have had their applications for funding from conventional banks rejected and loans to SMEs account for just 4% of outstanding bank credit in the country.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor