Friday May 25 2018, Daily News Digest

The likelihood that business would choose fintech over banks

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper qualifies borrowers up to $40K. GreenSky completes largest fintech IPO of the year. RateSetter hits $2.5B in lending. Lebashe increases RainFin stakes to 75%. Today’s main analysis: Peter Renton’s quarterly MPL results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Alternative loan customers may perform well on traditional credit products. Banks, credit unions, and alternative lenders. How Ashton Kutcher […]

The likelihood that business would choose fintech over banks

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United States

United Kingdom

China

International

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News Summary

United States

Prosper Introduces Loans Up To $ 40,000 For Borrowers (Prosper Blog) Rated: AAA

Today we’re pleased to announce that Prosper now offers qualified borrowers access to loans up to $40,000.

GreenSky Completes Largest Fintech IPO of the Year (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

There is a lot that sets GreenSky apart from many of the fintech companies that exist today. The biggest differentiator is that the company is profitable and runs a high margin business. In fact, the company has been profitable for the last five years. They reported $139 million in net income on revenues of $326 million last year. They also have a highly differentiated, boots on the ground model to originating loans, empowering contractors to offer financing to homeowners at the point of sale. They also partner with other types of merchants to offer financing. GreenSky only holds a small portion of loans on their own balance sheet with most loans being funded through around 15 bank partners.

Segment of Population Using Alternative Loans May Perform Well on Traditional Credit Products (Globe Newswire) Rated: AAA

Two-thirds of consumers active in the alternative loan market fall in the subprime risk category, the riskiest of all credit tiers. Yet, a new TransUnion (NYSE:TRUstudy found that many of these consumers perform well when opening traditional credit products such as credit cards, auto and personal loans.

TransUnion studied over five million consumers who originated a traditional credit product between Q2 2015 and Q1 2016 and measured their performance 12 months after originating the loan. Of the over five million consumers, approximately 450,000 (or 8%) were present in TransUnion’s alternative lending database. TransUnion then compared the performance of the alternative loan population to those consumers who were not seeking or did not possess an alternative loan product.

The study corroborated that many alternative loan borrowers do present greater risks on traditional loans. However, there is a material subset of this population that would present reasonable risks on an auto loan or credit card, among other traditional products.

For instance, in the near prime risk tier (consumers with a VantageScore 3.0 credit score of 601-660):

  • Approximately 14% of those borrowers who possessed only one short-term loan went 90 or more days past due on a traditional account 12 months later.
  • The delinquency level declined to less than 12% when a consumer possessed two alternative loans.
  • The delinquency figure dropped even further to around 9% when a consumer had eight or more alternative loans over the course of seven years.

Near Prime Consumers with Strong Alternative Loan Payment History Perform Better on Traditional Loans

Number of
Satisfactory
Alternative
Loan
Accounts
0 1 2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9-10 11+
Ever 90+
Days Past
Due in 12
Months on
Traditional
Loans
18 % 11 % 11 % 11 % 10 % 9 % 8 % 8 %

Comparing Origination Activity of Alternative Loan Borrowers to the Rest of the Population

Approximately 26% of alternative loan borrowers who originated a traditional loan product in the study opened an auto loan and 50% took out either a personal loan or auto loan. This latter statistic compares favorably to the 37% origination rate for the rest of the population in the study.

From a supply perspective, traditional finance companies are providing by far the most loans to alternative lending consumers, with a market share of 59%. However, credit unions (9%) and FinTechs (3%) supply about 12% of such loans to this credit population.

Five Banks and Credit Unions Rocking The Small Business Market (The Financial Brand) Rated: AAA

FIS found that more than one-quarter (27%) of small businesses in the U.S. are using alternative lenders like these. Among Millennial business owners, that percentage is double (48%). And yet only 7% say they are using these platforms for lower interest rates; in most cases, banks and credit unions offer better rates. FIS also found that small businesses have been turning to non-bank financial apps to make B2B payments.

In research conducted by ath Power Consulting, two-thirds of small business owners said they would consider switching to a competing banking provider if it offered products and services to help them better manage and grow their business, and over half (54%) would consider switching to a non-bank alternative for the same reasons.

Source: The Financial Times

Digital Federal Credit Union and offers a service to small businesses to raise capital and give its members an opportunity to invest in community business. The credit union has partnered with GrowthFountain, a funding portal of crowdfunding solutions. Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union has also done the same thing.

San Francisco startup Seed is a free mobile-only banking service for small businesses, who can get a checking account and a debit card through Seed’s partnership with The Bancorp and have access to bill payment, mobile check deposit and ACH and wire transfers. Seed is sort of like Mint and QuickBooks except that Seed directly partners with a FDIC-insured bank (like how Simple started out). There’s not a physical checkbook in sight.

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q1 2018 (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

My preliminary return of 4.70% is close to where it was last quarter but still down. I don’t expect my final Lend Academy P2P Fund return to increase this number so I am still stuck in the downward trend of returns.

My six original accounts at Lending Club and Prosper have all been open for at least six years so they are very mature accounts that have experienced several turns of capital as I have kept reinvesting over the years. The returns for the past year are still bad at 2.34% as I continue to pay for poor underwriting performance in 2015 and 2016 at both companies. When you see today that you can get 3% on a 10-year Treasury Note a sub 3% return is just not acceptable for an unsecured consumer loan.

Source: Lend Academy

SoFi finds new downtown San Francisco office a talent magnet as it expands services (San Francisco Business Times) Rated: A

San Francisco-based SoFi said a downtown San Francisco office it picked up this year through an acquisition is paying an unexpected dividend: greater interest from engineers that the fintech wants to hire.

SoFi has 44 engineers at the company’s downtown San Francisco office at 222 Sutter St, consisting of almost 15,000 square feet on one floor. Another 40 or so employees float between SoFi’s downtown office and Presidio headquarters.

How [and why] I invest in startups (TechCrunch) Rated: AAA

A lot of venture funds try to optimize for returns. They run complex ratio economic models to determine what their diluted value will be at the end of the life cycle of the optimal and non-optimal case of every given company.

What I look for in founders

I don’t have a magic formula, but there are four important factors that must all check out for me to invest in a founder.

  1. Domain Expertise
  2. Grit
  3. Purpose
  4. Charisma

Amazon’s Finance Ambitions Are Drawing Attention From the Fed (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Fed Vice Chairman Randal Quarles, the U.S.’s most influential banking watchdog, is monitoring the potential for disruption to the industry and has expressed concern about how tech companies could provide financial services outside of regulators’ oversight, according to people who’ve spoken with him privately. Quarles hasn’t yet made any moves to intervene and the Fed’s influence would be limited.
Should the Fed get involved in the debate, it could be welcome news for traditional banks, who view Amazon and other technology companies as potential threats that enjoy fewer regulatory constraints. The companies are increasingly encroaching on lenders’ business, as evidenced by Amazon’s recent interest in offering a product akin to checking accounts.

Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book Team with LendingTree to Empower Shoppers with Auto Lending Options (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Securing vehicle financing in advance can save car buyers both time and money on their car-shopping journey. With this in mind, Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, both Cox Automotive companies, have teamed with LendingTree. LendingTree’s auto finance marketplace provides each site’s visitors simple and easy online financing that can be used for new and used cars and trucks, anywhere in the United States.

Plenty of payday loan customers have good credit: TransUnion (American Banker) Rated: A

When Liz Pagel and Matt Komos began analyzing a slew of alternative credit data gathered by FactorTrust, an alternative credit bureau TransUnion acquired last year, they sought to understand the behavior of consumers who use payday loans, pawnshop loans, auto title loans, rent-to-own arrangements and “buy here, pay here” credit.

But 12% turned out to be prime and super prime. Only 3% were unscored.

The researchers then looked at what other credit these short-term borrowers have and found 75% have traditional credit, too.

Developers could make bank from Dodd-Frank rollback (The Real Deal) Rated: B

New legislation passed by the House of Representatives would relax restrictions on thousands of smaller lenders, potentially opening up the spigot for developers seeking commercial loans. The bill, which is awaiting President Trump’s signature, would remove provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that many community and regional banks had deemed too costly and unfairly burdensome.

14 Chicago tech companies made Inc.’s 2018 Best Workplaces list (Built In Chicago) Rated: B

OppLoans is an online lender that uses a data-driven credit-scoring algorithm to provide loans to consumers who can’t access credit from traditional institutions. OppLoans is one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Chicago and has been named to the Inc. 500 two years in a row.

 

 

Fundbox Named “Best Overall Business Lending Company” In 2018 FinTech Breakthrough Annual Awards Program (PR Newswire) Rated: B

 Today Fundbox,  a leader in credit and payments for small businesses serving other businesses (SMB2B), announced that it has been selected as winner of the “Best Overall Business Lending Company” award by FinTech Breakthrough, an independent organization that recognizes the top companies, technologies and products in the global FinTech market today.

“We are delighted to recognize Fundbox for one of our program’s marquee awards, the Best Overall Business Lending Company award, an uber-competitive award category for our program with many compelling companies nominated,” said James Johnson, Managing Director, FinTech Breakthrough. “Fundbox stood out from the competition with its artificial intelligence-based underwriting platform. By fully automating the underwriting process with a data-driven risk model, Fundbox promises to underwrite faster, more cost-effectively and with greater accuracy than many other lenders – opening up lending possibilities for more customers. Congratulations to the entire Fundbox team for their industry recognition with our 2018 FinTech Breakthrough Award distinction.”

United Kingdom

RateSetter hits £2.5bn of lending (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer lender, which launched in 2010, said 65,000 people have RateSetter investment accounts, financing more than 460,000 borrowers.

Investors have lent more than £1.55bn to individuals and almost £950m to businesses and have earned an average annual return of 4.4 per cent.

ArchOver launches Innovative Finance ISA to UK investors (Global Banking & Finance) Rated: A

ArchOver, the peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending platform, is helping British investors make the most of their annual tax-free allowance with the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). ArchOver’s IFISA service offers investors premium credit control and security, proven by ArchOver’s no-loss rate. It allows investors to invest directly in successful businesses, earning tax-free interest of up to 10% p.a. – far more than the average return on a cash ISA.

OakNorth: Brexit creates opportunity to reform banking regulation (AltFi News) Rated: A

OakNorth has called on the Treasury to use Brexit as an opportunity for regulatory reform in banking.

Responding to the Treasury Select Committee’s inquiry on SME finance, the bank said that there should be more proportionality between challenger banks and incumbents.

Mayo-based Doherty Menswear successfully raises €45,000 in peer-to-peer loans (Mayo Advertiser) Rated: B

To date, €1,012,000 has been raised through Linked Finance’s online lending platform (www.linkedfinance.com ) to facilitate business growth in Mayo, for 29 businesses.

Two more hires for ThinCats amid company growth (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: B

PEER-TO-PEER lending platform ThinCats has appointed two new sales and marketing executives, as its hiring spree continues.

The alternative finance specialist has named Tony Smedley (pictured) as head of sales operations, and Richard Wilson as head of marketing, as part of a new push to “ramp up the provision of vital funding for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”

China

China Rapid Finance Announces Preliminary First Quarter 2018 Results (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE:XRF), operator of one of China’s largest consumer lending marketplaces, today disclosed preliminary financial results for the first quarter of 2018.

The Company expects to report a net loss in the range of $25 to $30 million, the majority of which consists of approximately $16 million of one-time expenses: 1) non-recurring expenses associated with preparing for registration; 2) write-offs related to receivables and amortizations; 3) non-cash accounting charges related to adoption of the new GAAP standard for revenue recognition (ASC 606); and 4) one-time costs associated with a pilot funding program that was discontinued due to regulatory changes.

Yirendai Reports First Quarter 2018 Financial Results (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

In the first quarter of 2018, Yirendai facilitated RMB11,956.7 million (US$1,906.2 million) of loans to 174,128 qualified individual borrowers through its online marketplace, representing a year-over-year growth of 65%; 23.1% of loan volume were generated by repeat borrowers who have successfully borrowed on Yirendai’s platform before; 72.5% of the borrowers were acquired from online channels;  100% of the loan volume originated from online channels was facilitated through mobile.

In the first quarter of 2018, Yirendai facilitated 214,231 investors with total investment amount of RMB11,427.6 million(US$1,821.8 million), 100% of which was facilitated through its online platform and 95% of which was facilitated through its mobile application.

In the first quarter of 2018, total net revenue was RMB1,592.7 million (US$253.9 million), an increase of 56% from prior year; net income was RMB278.9 million (US$44.5 million), a decrease of 21% from prior year and adjusted net income in the first quarter of 2018 was RMB668.5 million (US$106.6 million), an increase of 91% from prior year.

The fuse that could light China’s debt bomb (Financial Review) Rated: A

A financial planning manager in a major Shanghai bank branch points to a flickering computer screen displaying a list of wealth management products for customers wanting a higher yield to normal deposits.

For a deposit of 100,000 yuan ($20,600), he recommends a “low risk” product with an interest rate of 4.25 per cent over one year. Alternatively, the customer can opt for a riskier 4.75 per cent yield but there is no guarantee they will get any of their money bank. The customer is advised to act fast as yields are falling rapidly following closer government scrutiny of China’s savings products since March.

European Union

New Robo.cash P2P Lending & Millennials Research & 4M€ Milestone (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Robo.cash’s research shows that Millennials are steadily taking over the leading position from the older generation of investors. Six months ago, the average age of investors of the platform was 38 years, and the age groups were distributed as follows: Silent generation (73-90) — 0.8%; Baby boomers (54-72) — 9.5%; Generation X (38-53) — 38.6%; Millennials (22-37) — 50.3% and Generation Z (18-21) — 0.8%. Today, the typical investor has grown younger to 37 years old due to the increased share of Millennials — 53.9% and Generation Z — 1.8%.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Dublin-founded Future Finance agrees £100m debt facility (Irish Times) Rated: A

Future Finance, a Dublin-founded student loan specialist that recently secured €40 million in funding, has signed a £100 million (€114 million) debt facility.

The deal with alternative asset management firm, Waterfall Asset Management, which includes an option to participate in a further £150 million (€171 million) extension, will enable the company to grow its student lending business further.

International

What the Blockchain Means for the Future of Small Business Funding (Business.com) Rated: AAA

Business financing has always been a thorny issue for many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and is often cited as one of the reasons behind the morbid failure rates for new businesses. One report found that about 29 percent of failed businesses identified the lack of working capital as a major reason for failure, second only to the lack of market demand for their products or services.

Here are a few specific ways the blockchain can be used to bolster funding for SMBs.

1. P2P lending

The blossoming crypto market is also helping fan the flames of disruption for P2P business lending. Earlier this month, Ripple, the company behind the third-largest cryptocurrency, XRP, announced plans to push the use of XRP into other industry segments outside of P2P payments and banking, including the P2P lending industry.

2. Using blockchain and big data to improve existing systems

Wish Finance, a blockchain-based lending platform for SMBs, is using the blockchain to help improve traditional risk scoring systems while providing a simple platform for repayments.

3. ICOs and SMB funding

But as investors become wiser and as trust becomes a permanent feature of the blockchain, there’s a growing opportunity for SMBs with solid business models to cash in.

Africa

Budding SA bank buys peer-to-peer lending firm RainFin (Business Tech) Rated: AAA

Johannesburg-based Lebashe will boost its holdings in RainFin by 24% to 75% for an undisclosed sum, the company said in an emailed statement on Thursday. RainFin, the largest peer-to-peer lender in South Africa, bought back the 49% held by Barclays’s South African unit, with Lebashe acquiring its 51% stake in February last year.

Asia

Singapore’s GIC emerges as most active Asian PE investor in Q1 (Deal Street Asia) Rated: AAA

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC completed at least 11 private equity deals in the first quarter of this year, making the $344-billion fund the most active Asian PE investor during the period.

GIC joined other investors in sealing two of the biggest investments of the quarter, according to a PitchBook report. It participated in the $5.5-billion buyout of Denmark’s Nets A/S by partnering with private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, and in the $2.5-billion investment in FirstEnergy in January.

Canada

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Three-Month Period Ended March 31, 2018 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announced today its results for the three-month period ended March 31, 2018.

  • Net earnings on an IFRS basis and adjusted net earnings amounted to $0.8 million in Q1 2018, the second consecutive quarter with positive earnings for the Company.
  • Loan originations increased 11.2% to $24.5 million compared to the same period in 2017.
  • Provision for loan losses decreased 50.6% to $0.9 million in Q1 2018 driven by measures taken to reduce defaults.
  • Opex decreased 23.1% to $1.9 million for the first quarter of 2018

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 14 2018, Daily News Digest

equity factor returns

News Comments Today’s main news: H&R Block, LendingTree partner on credit score access. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to LendingClub’s CLUB Credit Trust 2018-NP1. Ant Financial consumer lending hits $95B. Non-Standard Finance buys guarantor loans business. EU rolls out new crowdfunding rules. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s mortgage savings tracker, mortgage rate competition index. Does strong economic growth equate to high factor […]

equity factor returns

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

H&R Block, LendingTree partner to empower clients to improve their financial well-being (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

As part of continued efforts to help clients better understand their financial situation, H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) is partnering with LendingTree (NASDAQ:TREE) to provide clients convenient access to their credit score, LendingTree Academy and more. H&R Block clients can now seamlessly enter LendingTree via their MyBlockaccount, which is a private, secure, online portal clients can use year-round to access and add tax documents and personal information.

LendingTree Introduces New Mortgage Savings Tracker and Mortgage Rate Competition Index (PRNewswire), Rated AAA

LendingTree today announced the release of its Mortgage Savings Tracker and Mortgage Rate Competition Index. The LendingTree Mortgage Rate Competition Index is a new measure of the dispersion in mortgage pricing and will be released weekly. Built on top of the Mortgage Rate Competition Index, the Mortgage Savings Tracker will bring a new transparency to mortgage shopping by highlighting the significant savings that are available to potential borrowers for both purchase mortgages and refinancing.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

 

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

Findings from the inaugural report:

  • Across all purchase loan requests on LendingTree (we looked at refinance loan requests separately) in 2017, we found an average Mortgage Rate Competition Index of 0.46 — this was the average spread between the lowest and highest APR offered by lenders.
  • It may not sound like much, but over 30 years translates to $21,000 in additional costs on a $300,000 loan.
  • The index was wider in the refinance market, averaging 0.55. Potential borrowers there could have saved an average of $26,000 had they shopped around to find the lowest rate.
  • Ringing in the new year, the index widened to 0.59 for potential purchase borrowers, translating to a potential savings of just over $27,000.
  • For potential refinance borrowers, again, the index was even higher at 0.63. That could result in a savings of almost $30,000. The savings increased because lenders are reacting differently to the overall uptick in rates.
  • The most recent data for the week ending 3/11/2018 showed potential savings of $26,780 for purchase and $27,616for refinancing.

See LendingTree white paper on the Mortgage Rate Competition Index here.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 (Business Wire), Rated AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 (“CLUB 2018-NP1”). This is a $301.727 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close March 21, 2018.

Source Business Wire

LendingClub trims CE on next near-prime consumer loan ABS (Asset Securitization Report) Rated: AAA

As in the past, LendingClub itself contributed only a small portion (7.55%) of the collateral for the Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-NP1 transaction from loans it held on balance sheet, but this time only three unaffiliated parties were invited to contribute the remainder of the collateral.

source American Banker

CLUB 2018-NP1 will issue three classes of notes totaling $301.727 million. Credit enhancement for the senior $180.7 million tranche of Class A notes is 49.5%, down 30 basis points from the senior tranche of the previous transaction, which carried the same A-rating. However, enhancement for the BBB-rated Class B tranche has risen by 5 basis points to 37.4% and enhancement for the BB-rated Class C tranche has risen by 35 basis points to 15.35%, per Kroll.

DOES STRONG ECONOMIC GROWTH EQUATE TO HIGH FACTOR RETURNS? (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

In this research report we initially focus on the Value, Size and Momentum factors from Fama-French, which are constructed as dollar-neutral long-short portfolios based on the top and bottom 10% of the US stock market. The data includes companies with small market capitalisations, excludes transaction costs and is available since 1926. We expand the factor set by the Low Volatility, Quality, Growth and Dividend Yield factors based on our own data, which is available since 2000. These are created via long-short beta-neutral portfolios and only include stocks with a market capitalisation of larger than $1 billion. Portfolios are rebalanced monthly and each transaction occurs costs of 10 basis points.

EQUITY FACTORS & REAL GDP GROWTH: 1947 – 2017

The chart below shows the returns of the S&P 500 and three factors (long-short) since 1947 sorted by positive and negative quarters of real GDP growth.

It’s worth highlighting that there were only 7 quarters of negative real GDP growth since 2000, so the results have to be taken with caution.

DIVERSIFICATION FOR AN EQUITY-CENTRIC PORTFOLIO

New Media Announces Strategic Alliance with Kabbage (BusinessWire), Rated: B

New Media Investment Group Inc. (“New Media” or the “Company”, NYSE: NEWM), one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by number of publications, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Kabbage, a pioneering financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses. This alliance is intended to bring awareness of simple access to working capital through Kabbage’s fully automated online lending platform to more than five million small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) that do business in New Media’s markets.

AI as new tool in banks’ crime-fighting bag? (American Banker), Rated: A

But a funny thing has happened on the way to what should be an AI-led revolution — banks have been worrying what their regulators would say if they filed fewer suspicious activity reports, especially if their rivals continue to submit far more.

source: American Banker

“All the banks are worried that if they use machine learning, the number of SAR filings will go way down and the regulators will say, what happened?” Saleh said. “How come your SAR filings fell by 50%? Maybe there’s money laundering you’re not catching.”

Should Banks Become the New ‘Payday’ Lenders? (LendEDU), Rated: A

In early March, the Florida state legislature approved revamping regulations for payday loans, voting to allow payday lenders to make larger loans for a longer period of time.

The bill aims to allow alternative lenders to make installment-type loans up to $1,000, with a 60- to 90-day repayment period. The current law caps loans at $500 for a period of seven to 31 days.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ proposal suggested that small banks could instead provide loans with payments capped at 5 percent of a borrower’s paycheck.

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts’ research, the average payday loan customer borrows $375 over five months and pays $520 in fees, while banks and credit unions could profitably offer the same amount over the same period for less than $100.

Bank regulators vow more flexibility in vetting fintech partnerships (American Banker), Rated: B

Senior leaders at the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who all spoke at a banking conference in Orlando, Fla., said they have been working with examiners to be more understanding of the budding partnerships forming between banks and fintech firms — and how to examine those relationships going forward.

Clinc wants to solve financial institutions’ AI problems (Business Insider), Rated A

Clinc, a US-based provider of conversational AI technology for financial institutions (FIs),announced the launch of a new self-service platform, Spotlight, that enables FIs to train and deploy sophisticated conversational AI software in-house, independently of vendors.

source: Business Insider

Spotlight is available in over 80 languages, and can be integrated into any digital channel, including contact centers, mobile apps, and Alexa, Google, and Facebook Messenger, allowing FIs to create a consistent user experience. Spotlight is already being used by USAA and Isbank, one of Turkey’s largest banks.

MoneyLion Plus Takes An Innovative Approach to Encourage New Investors to Save (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As a nation we are chronically bad at saving and while the savings rate went up for a time after the financial crisis it is back down near 2005 levels now which was the all time low.

MoneyLion is trying to do something about this.

I interviewed CEO Dee Choubey on the Lend Academy Podcast just over a year ago but they have made some great strides since then. I caught up with him again recently to get an update. Today, over 2.2 million people have downloaded the MoneyLion app and 1.3 million people have connected their bank account.

Behavioral biometrics company BioCatch closes $ 30M round (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Behavioral biometrics provider BioCatch today announced it has closed a $30 million financing round led by Maverick Ventures with additional participation from American Express Ventures, NexStar Partners, Kreos Capital, CreditEase, OurCrowd, JANVEST Capital and other existing investors.

What Makes Warren Buffett Such an Influential Leader? (Industry Leaders), Rated: A

A data scientist at Orchard Platform, Michael Toth, who has also worked with BlackRock as portfolio analyst has evaluated Buffett’s shareholder letters annually at Berkshire Hathaway for personal growth as a sole investor. Using statistical computing, Toth quantified and highlighted Buffett’s positivity penchant for many years according to CBNC.
And results from the analysis revealed that Buffett has the ability to balance both realism and optimism. The dataset also taught Toth about the reasons why Buffett is a legendary investor and as well as an influential leader.
Only five of the forty shareholder letters analyzed showed a negative score of sentiment, and most interestingly, they all correspond perfectly to five periods of downturn in the economy.

What’s next for neobank Chime (Bankrate), Rated: B

Since its 2014 launch, the San Francisco-based startup has emerged as one of the leaders in the so-called neobank space. Earlier this year, it announced it has 750,000 accounts opened to date, and is now adding new accounts at a rate of 100,000 a month.

How Fintech Advances Are Creating New Opportunities for Micro-Businesses (NewsTimes), Rated: B

Those solutions benefit business owners, ranging from freelancers, to founders of startups, to leaders of burgeoning small businesses and other enterprises.

Lending is one of the most critical areas where fintech has filled a gap for small businesses. As smaller businesses often don’t need a considerable amount of money when they seek loans, they’ve struggled to get any financial assistance. That’s because banks and other lending institutions often don’t see any profit in providing loans of less than $100,000.

United Kingdom

 

Former RateSetter-backed lender ‘transforms’ new owner’s guarantor loans business (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

Non-Standard Finance bought the guarantor loan provider last August for £53.5m, which included a minority stake owned by RateSetter.

The London-listed firm said on Tuesday that the acquisition has “transformed” its guarantor loans business, helping that division’s loan book to grow by 35 per cent. It said the acquisition contributed to the group’s overall operating profit rising 497 per cent to £2.7m in its latest annual results.

Tandem Bank to buy Pariti in UK fintech tie-up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Digital bank Tandem has agreed to buy fellow British fintech group Pariti, as it looks to head off rising competition from established lenders taking advantage of new legislation that gives them greater access to customer data.

New rules that came into force in January allow companies such as Tandem and Pariti to access customer data from other lenders if the individuals give consent.

AltFi London Summit Preps for Event this Month as UK Alternative Finance Continues to Grow (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The 5th Annual London Summit is scheduled to take place on March 26th during a time of significant change in the UK. Brexit jitters along with dramatic regulatory changes such as Open Banking and PSD2 has created a varied and dynamic environment. Yet alternative finance continues to grow with AltFi estimating that UK loan origination volumes increased by 41.9% to £14.1 billion in 2017. During 2018, this number is predicted to jump by £7 billion.

Speakers already confirmed include Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle, Ricky Knox, CEO and co-founder of Tandem and Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank.

 

Eight luxurious Holywood homes get £3m in funding from peer-to-peer lending firm (Belfast Telegraph), Rated: B

Eight luxury homes being built in the hills of Holywood have received £3m in peer-to-peer (P2P) funding.

Cobain Group, which is behind The Twisel Brae development, received the funding from lender Assetz Capital.

The eight detached properties, styled by designer Kris Turnbull, will range from 2,200 to 4,000 sq ft in size, and cost between £575,000 and £800,000.

China

Ant Financial Consumer Lending Reaches $ 95 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

From the start of 2017 until this month, Ant’s consumer lending has doubled via its Huabei and Jiebei units even as the government reduces quotas for new asset-backed securities that can underpin such loans, one of the people said, asking not to be named as the matter is private. The loans can incur annual interest rates as high as 15 percent, although they are normally less than that, another person said.

Controlled by Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Ant has become a financial giant that was said to be valued at $60 billion and currently has more outstanding consumer loans than China’s second-biggest bank.

China’s Financial Disintermediation And M2 (Trade Captain), Rated: A

The past few weeks have been deluged with important events in Asia, but we don’t want the data to be washed away in the flood. In particular, note that China’s liquidity conditions continue to tighten, pointing to a further slowdown in nominal GDP growth over the next two years. Granted, M2 growth bounced back in February, and should edge higher in coming months, due to favourable base effects. But it remains historically low. Moreover, growth in our broader gauge of liquidity likely will continue to slow.

WeChat: the real Beast from the East (The Finanser), Rated: A

 

Mobile payments is another area where Tencent is thriving. WeChat Pay, a mobile payment system integrated into the app, holds 40% of China’s whopping US$12.77 trillion mobile payment market. Kickstarted by China’s virtual red packets exchange that supplanted the tradition of giving monetary gifts during Chinese New Year, WeChat Pay has seen impressive growth since its launch in 2013. Its monthly offline commercial transactions jumped 280% year over year in 2017 while social payment transactions grew 23%. Along with Alibaba’s Alipay, the service is making cash and plastic obsolete in China.

European Union

New rules put forward to help crowdfunding platforms grow across EU (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: AAA

These proposals – which are part of the European Commission’s fintech action plan – will enable crowdfunding platforms to offer their services EU-wide and improve access to this form of finance for start-ups and SMEs.

At present, it is difficult for many crowdfunding platforms to expand into other EU countries, but once these proposals have been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the proposed regulation will allow platforms to apply for an EU label based on a single set of rules.

Future Finance Closes €40 million Investment Round (PR Newswire), Rated: A

  • Future Finance completed €40 million Series C round with existing investors.
  • Investors remain excited about Future Finance’s ability to disrupt the UK student lending market.
  • Equity injected will be used to fund loans and hire top talent in LondonDublin and Chicago.

Start-up to stardom, Bondora turns 10 years old (Bondora) Rated: B

In the height of the global financial crisis, Bondora was officially founded on 11.03.2008. While it may have seemed counter-intuitive to most to create a new financial platform at this time, there was a clear need to serve customers who had been failed by the banks and disrupt the wider financial ecosystem.

International

Higher yields driving marketplace lending uptake among institutions, finds study (AltFiNews), Rated: AAA

According to a new study, marketplace lending is here to stay. That’s among the major findings of the Greenwich Marketplace Lending research study, conducted August to October 2017. It is based on the fact that 52 per cent of institutions currently investing in the asset class believe that marketplace lending will be a significant part of the financial system in the next 10 years.

Greenwich Associates interviewed 74 investors from pension planners to asset managers to compile its results. These investors control more than $3.5 trillion in assets between them. When the research was conducted, 21 of the firms were investors in marketplace loans, while 53 were not.

Of those investing in the asset class, 67 per cent cited higher yield as their primary reason for investing. Diversification and low correlation (48 per cent), access to consumer or small business credit (43 per cent) and low volatility (33 per cent) were also cited as important drivers.

Australia

 

Why Smart Aussies Are Dumping Banks for Online Loans (Mozo), Rated: B

Everything is online these days – including some of the best value home loans around. In fact, Mozo has taken a look at our database, and found that 1 in 2 home loans with a rate under 4% are offered by online lenders.

And when we crunched the numbers, we found that by switching from the average big four bank variable rate to the best deal around from an online lender, a typical borrower with a $300,000 home loan could save as much as $2,596** every year!

Square Peg In $ 200m Round Hole (Channel News), Rated: A

Paul Bassat’s venture capital outfit Square Peg Capital is said to be looking to raise more than $200 million as it seeks to add more investments to its portfolio interests in graphic design group Canva and online lender Prospa. Melbourne-based Square Peg, which was backed in its early days by billionaire James Packer, invests across Australia, Israel and South-East Asia.

India

Faircent.com bolsters its leadership ranks with two key appointments (India Times), Rated: AAA

P2P lending major, Faircent.com on Wednesday said it is strengthening its leadership team with industry veterans Vikas Prasad and Mayank Bishnoi coming on board. Prasad has joined the company as Head – Planning, Processes & Control, while Bishnoi has taken over as Head – Customer Experience.

“As the largest player in the rapidly-growing P2P lending industry, Faircent.com is currently at a critical juncture of its growth journey. More and more Indians from across multiple geographies are associating with our platform, both as lenders and as borrowers,” said Rajat Gandhi, Founder & CEO – Faicent.com in a statement.

Regulations for fintech companies in India: A dire need (Qrius) Rated: A

FinTech small business lending is currently developing with promising potential to complement and emerge as a healthy alternative to brick and mortar banking. The number of small businesses turning to FinTechs or non-traditional lenders has exploded over the past couple of years with many economies reporting a sharp increase in the number of small businesses turning to marketplace lenders in 2017. Marketplace lending accounts for 0.08% of the $96 trillion global corporate and household outstanding debt. Growing at an average 123% a year since 2010, Morgan Stanley forecasts that it will reach $290 billion by 2020.

FinTech lenders are forced to pay a commission to introducers or brokers which goes up to 4% of the loan amount which is normally passed on to clients.

Asia

Grab to offer loans, insurance with new fintech platform Grab Financial (The Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Grab will now offer loans and insurance with its new fintech platform – Grab Financial – the ride-hailing company announced on Tuesday (March 13).

This new platform will encompass all of Grab’s fintech offerings, including payment services, rewards and loyalty services, and financial services, among others.

To provide loans to consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businessess across South-east Asia, Grab has embarked on a joint venture (JV) agreement with Credit Saison Co, one of Japan’s largest consumer financing companies.

Initial offerings include accident, hospitalisation and other critical insurance coverage to Grab’s 2.6 million drivers, accessible through the Grab driver app.

FintruX advisor Yash Mody explains the platform’s future plans (Finder), Rated: A

Basically, FintruX is building a truly global peer-to-peer lending platform, and it’s secure, it’s fast, it’s easy. Lenders and borrowers don’t have to worry because the platform does all the work for them. They basically set their criteria and then they don’t have to think about it. They don’t have to auction and they don’t, you know, it’s not a cumbersome process. So that’s why we think it’s a new way of doing business.

And obviously, there’s a lot of regulation in this area. So how scalable is it? Are you going to run into lots of different regulatory issues with, issues lending loans between countries?

Yeah, so we’ve taken great care to make sure that we’re within regulation. We have four lawyers on board and advisers and all that, and we’re very cognisant of what’s required. As a first stage, we’re not going to be doing cross-border lending. So let’s say, for example, we’re going to launch in Singapore and Canada, so it would be a loan that’s in Canada from a lender and a borrower in Canada.

Indonesia eyes fintech regulation to avoid ‘loan shark-like’ practices (Reuters), Rated: A

Indonesia’s financial regulator said it was considering setting a cap on interest rates and the size of loans offered by fintech firms, in a move aimed at minimizing the risk of defaults.

The emergence of these peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, offering loans ranging from as little as a few hundred dollars to several thousands, has so far been welcomed by Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy where tens of millions of people have little or no access to bank credit.

More than 300,000 people have borrowed from these firms, with total loan distribution reaching 3 trillion rupiah ($218 million) as of January, versus 247 billion in December 2016, according to data from the Financial Services Authority (OJK).

Venture financing investments in the software segment receiving highest attention in Japanese enterprise market (Global Data) Rated : A

In 2017, venture financing (VF) investments in the software segment constituted 46% of the total deal value in the Japanese enterprise market, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. On the other hand, 38% of the total number of VF deals in the country was in the software segment.

source Global Data

VF investments in the IT service segment constitute 38% of the total deal value in 2017. The IT service segment investments are primarily focused on consumer facing enterprises, such as online lending, social networking, online media publishing, e-commerce, and online dating, among others. As Japanese technological advancements are on the forefront of global market, VF companies are investing in Japanese technology enterprises in order to expand their operations and achieve business growth.

New Business Models, Emerging Tech Enabling FinTech Companies to Improve Financial Inclusion (PRNewswire), Rated: A

FinTech companies are making significant progress in promoting financial inclusion through innovative business models, products and increased use of emerging technologies such as digital identity, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, says a new report co-authored by CreditEase, IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, and Stanford Graduate School of Business. The report, “Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age,” was launched today during Money20/20 Asia in Singapore.

Over two billion unbanked adults in the world, representing 38 percent of all adults globally, do not have access to basic financial services and another 57 percent have basic accounts but do not have access to a full range of services that include diversified savings and investments, low-cost payments systems, insurance, or credit.

Peer to Peer lending increasingly popular in Vietnam (VietNamNet), Rated: A

In 2012, P2P outstanding loans worldwide totalled $1.2 billion, while the figure rose to $64 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025.

A big advantage of the P2P model is the high information security level based on BigData technology which encrypts, stores and controls customers’ information.

Analysts said with the advantages of the model, plus current conditions in Vietnam, P2P could replace black credit, or lending at very high interest rates, which is illegal in Vietnam.

According to the World Bank, 79 percent of the population in Vietnam cannot access official financial services.

Vietnamese P2P lending startup Tima seeks to close Series B round by June (Deal Street Asia), Rated: B

Tima claims to be the first P2P lending startup in Vietnam. Launched in 2015, the platform has seen cumulative money from its lender partners reach over $900 million. In 2016, Tima closed a seven-digit US dollar Series A funding from an undisclosed Singapore fund to accelerate its growth in the local market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor