Friday August 4 2017, Daily News Digest

immediate payments

News Comments Today’s main news: SoftBank invests $250M in Kabbage. SoFi begins search for IPO-focused CFO. MarketInvoice has record trading day. George Banco acquired by Non-Standard Finance. Yirendai made $40M net profits in Q2. ID Finance partners with Da Vinci Capital on $200M fintech fund launch. Lendingkart Group raises $10M in debt funding. Today’s main analysis: Square Q2 shareholder letter. Immediate payments […]

immediate payments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Israel

News Summary

United States

SoftBank invests in US online lender to small business (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

SoftBank is investing $250m in Kabbage, one of the biggest US online lenders to small businesses, in a deal that could provide the firepower for a potential takeover of OnDeck Capital, a rival digital lender.

Kathryn Petralia, co-founder of Kabbage, told the Financial Times that the deal would finance growth in the company’s direct lending operation, which has provided nearly $3.5bn of funding to more than 100,000 small businesses in the US.

There has been speculation that Kabbage is planning to make a bid for OnDeck, a rival online lender that went public in 2014 and has since suffered an 80 per cent fall in its share price, hit by growing losses, rising defaults and higher funding costs.

SoFi Hints at IPO, Reports Record Results (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. posted record earnings and loan volume in the second quarter, as the privately held company’s chief executive hinted that it is moving closer to an initial public offering.

In a letter to investors reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, SoFi Chief Executive Mike Cagney sounded more optimistic about a potential public offering, as opposed to previous forums in which he said no deal would be coming in the foreseeable future.

(LT Editor: Here’s the letter again–in case you missed it yesterday).

Source: SoFi

Goldman Sachs is Going Big on Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The firm created GS Select to reach clients of nearly 4,000 independent investment advisors from Fidelity Investments. Clients will be able to borrow from $75,000 to $25 million backed by their investment portfolios.

What’s interesting about this move is that it could be expanded to other RIAs and financial advisors not just through Fidelity. We’ve seen this type of model before with self described “Lending as a Service” fintech companies, but this time it’s a big bank that has built this technology.

Source: Lend Academy

Square  Q2 2017 Shareholder Letter (LendIt), Rated: AAA

In the second quarter, our top-line results reflect our continued ability to attract larger sellers and increase product usage through cross-selling. Total GPV grew 32% year over year, and GPV from larger sellers grew 45% year over year. Transaction-based revenue increased 32% year over year—the same rate as GPV, which is a result of our ability to maintain transaction revenue margin. Subscription and services-based revenue nearly doubled year over year. Strong top-line growth, lower risk loss rates, and ongoing operating expense leverage drove another quarter of significant EBITDA and margin improvement.

We grew Square Capital loan volume 68% year over year and further diversified our investor base.

 

Source: Square Q2 2017 Shareholder Letter

Read the full report here.

An Australian Entrepreneur And Ron Suber Want To Fix America’s Student Debt Crisis With A Fintech Solution (Benzinga), Rated: A

A trillion-dollar black cloud of student debt hangs over multiple generations of Americans. Student debt is delaying marriages, major purchases, home ownership and general enjoyment of life for millions of people. There’s more student debt than even credit card debt.

Enter Credible CEO Stephen Dash. The Australian entrepreneur is taking inspiration from his home country’s approach to offer student borrowers a marketplace of easier options to get and refinance loans. Australia has an income-based debt repayment system, and Credible’s tech helps borrowers refinance to make affordable payments.

loanDepot’s Groundbreaking Tech Spurs Demand for New Innovation Lab (PR Newswire), Rated: A

loanDepot, America’s lender, today announced details of its new standalone tech campus, the mello ™ Innovation Lab. At this unique facility, the LD tech team will continue to innovate and expand mello, the company’s proprietary digital-lending technology.

With loanDepot’s goal to transform the lending industry, its mello ecosystem is shaping lending’s future as it expands its online and offline consumer relationship model. mello’s technology includes an intuitive web-based consumer portal, a state-of-the-art, mobile point-of-sale system, and a fully-digital mortgage loan application experience. The company has invested $80 million to date on its digital-first technology strategy.

loanDepot’s mello exists within a larger next-gen lending ecosystem that is boosted with the integration of digital-marketing tools and by third-party data enrichment that ensure greater accuracy, speed and certainty throughout the origination experience. On a massive scale, mello is changing the loan origination process into a digital consumer experience, making it faster, easier, and more accurate.

USAA lets members bare their financial souls to Alexa (American Banker), Rated: A

USAA went live Wednesday morning with a virtual assistant that works with Amazon’s Alexa voice interaction device and its corresponding shopping app. Now, USAA members — at least the first 400 that sign up at USAA Labs — can ask Alexa a range of questions about their accounts, balances, spending and transactions, and the bot will answer with specific details from the member’s USAA card and bank accounts.

In so doing, USAA is joining a small group of financial institutions — including Capital One, American Express and several credit unions — that have created Alexa Skills, as the chatbots that work with Alexa are called.

US CFTC Launches Initiatives to Promote Fintech in the Futures and Swaps Markets (Lexology), Rated: A

First, the CFTC announced Project KISS—“Keep It Simple, Stupid”—as a forum to examine how its existing rules might be applied in less costly and burdensome ways. Second, the CFTC launched LabCFTC as a way to promote responsible fintech and regulatory technology (“regtech”) innovation. Together, these initiatives appear to be a significant part of the CFTC’s response to calls for streamlined regulation from the industry, the White House and some members of Congress.

Project KISS

The CFTC website specifically invites public input on the following five “KISS Initiatives”:5

  1. Registration—the process of becoming regulated by the CFTC as any of the several entity types that the agency regulates
  2. Reporting—all reporting obligations, including swap data and recordkeeping
  3. Clearing—clearing services in connection with various contracts and transactions
  4. Executing—the execution of futures and swaps transactions
  5. Miscellaneous—any topics not specifically enumerated above

LabCFTC

This initiative is intended to enhance the agency’s involvement in fintech and regtech7 solutions and to support the goals of (1) providing regulatory certainty for fintech innovators and (2) enabling more efficient regulation through the use of emerging technologies. LabCFTC contemplates a variety of means to accomplish these objectives, including:

  1. Proactive outreach to and collaboration with the fintech industry to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the CFTC’s current regulatory framework as applied to new technologies
  2. Participation in research and engagement with academia and professionals to harness and promote the advantages of fintech/regtech for the CFTC and the markets it regulates
  3. Collaboration with other financial regulators at home and abroad and the sharing of information about promising fintech applications and their potential risks
  4. The tracking of fintech developments to ensure that CFTC regulation supports rather than impedes innovation

Money360’s just getting started (Bankless Times), Rated: A

The company closed $143 million in loans in Q2, bringing its total to more than $350 million. It is on pace to top the $500 million mark before the end of 2017.

Many D.C.-area homeowners are guilty of this financial no-no — financing renovations on credit cards (The Washington Post), Rated: A

A May study by Hearth, a financial technology start-up that provides support for homeowners making renovation decisions, found that 12 percent of Americans planned to finance their renovation with a credit card, which is one of the most expensive ways to finance the cost.

The Hearth Home Renovation Survey, which asked 2,000 homeowners about their remodeling plans for the coming year, found the number of people planning to use a credit card to pay for their renovation is even higher in the Washington region at 16 percent.

In this region, 52 percent of homeowners prefer to pay with savings or cash, compared with 62 percent nationally. D.C.-area residents are also more likely to finance their project with a loan — 32 percent — compared with 26 percent nationally.

Computer says no: robo-advice is growing but we still don’t trust it (The Conversation), Rated: B

People are open to receiving financial advice from robots, our studiesshow, but there might be a way to go to in convincing people to trust them over a human.

We surveyed 138 people about their attitudes to, and preferences for, superannuation advice from a human or a computer. Unsurprisingly, most stated they would prefer to deal with a human across a broad range of financial decisions.

Some did prefer the computer – these tended to be younger people, and those on higher incomes.

Ideas to Help Cash-Strapped or Underbanked Consumers (Southeast Missourian), Rated: B

With the inception of new types of loans, cash-strapped customers can borrow a certain amount from alternative lenders. These loans entail borrowing money against your next paycheck. Unlike traditional payday loans, these lenders allow their customers a fair grace period to make their repayment, making it easier for borrowers to repay and meet their other financial needs. The traditional lenders, on the other hand, require borrowers to repay their full loan amount with their next paycheck.

Peer-to-peer funding is an alternative to acquiring financial aid. This entails letting other businesses invest in your business venture. Finding willing investors is not a hard process itself as you can acquire them by applying online. Small businesses can source one to five-year loans. The loans are available from widely known businesses like Lending Club.

Private Lenders to Gain Insight from Industry Experts (Benzinga), Rated: B

American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL) will hold its eighth annual conference Sunday, November 12 through Tuesday, November 14 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The keynote speaker will be Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice President of Communications at ATTOM Data Solutions, formerly RealtyTrac, curator of the nation’s largest fused property database. The AAPL annual conference is one of the largest national events for private lenders and will include a full slate of speakers, resources, education and networking. More information can be found at .

First Associates Loan Servicing Opens a New 1000-Seat Operations Center in Baja California (Benzinga), Rated: B

First Associates Loan Servicing announced today the opening of their new 1000-seat capacity operations center in Baja California, Mexico. This state-of-the-art center will support the continued global expansion of First Associates and enable the company to continue delivering first-class service and security for their clients.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Milestone: Investors Fund £2 Billion of Loans & Have Earned More Than £76 Million in Interest (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

RateSetter recently announced its lenders have now delivered more than £2 billion in loans to people and businesses across the UK and in doing so have earned over £76 million in interest. According to the online lender, 94% of its lenders are individuals looking for a decent return on their money by investing, and accepting some degree of risk, rather than settling for the pitiful interest rates offered on bank deposits.

P2P business platform MarketInvoice marks record trading day (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The company had more invoice advances on 1 August than any other day.

The trading platform saw £4.1m  in invoice advances to UK businesses on Monday, a record setting day for the firm.

Usually £3.2m is the average amount that is advanced in a day. The increase in trading is largely do to MarketInvoice Pro, an invoice discounting facility.

RateSetter-backed lender acquired by Non-Standard Finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER investors are likely to get repaid early by George Banco following the acquisition of the guarantor loans provider by Non-Standard Finance.

Approximately £30m of RateSetter lending is currently outstanding to George Banco and many lenders will be repaid early as a result of the refinancing.

Blend Network launches with vow to be the “Goldman Sachs of P2P” (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Blend Network will offer asset-backed property loans to retail and high-net-worth individuals, as well as hedge funds and other institutional investors. P2P specialist F&P will act as introducer for all of its loans, although Blend Network’s chief executive Yann Murciano said that he would be open to further partnerships in the future, as the business scales up.

P2P lending looks less than attractive on a forward-looking basis (AltFi), Rated: A

But, and yes, there is an important caveat, I am beginning to sense an important tipping point. Returns of between 4 and 6% pa from the big platforms – with an emphasis on the lower range of that spectrum – haven’t changed too much (in fact they’ve slightly fallen back). But I’m increasingly thinking that these returns are now inadequate for the potential of increased risk.

If one comes from a lending POV (point of view) then I would argue that the current returns are woefully inadequate, given where we are in the lending cycle.

  • The big banks are starting to increase their provisioning for bad debts
  • Here in the UK we’ve probably reached Peak Unsecured Lending with the BoE bearing down on all lenders about risk, worried senseless about a downturn in consumer spending as Brexit grinds on
  • The car lending market is quite clearly close to a systemic meltdown
  • ‘challenges’ are already appearing within the P2P space, most recently at Ratesetter where its wholesale lending capacity is being wound down
  • The housing market looks more vulnerable than ever before, with the very real possibility that we’ll see a steady drip feed of small price declines
China

Yirendai Made $ 40M Net Profits in Q2 and Dividend for the First Time (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Yirendai, the first US-listed Chinese internet finance company, has recently issued its financial report for the Q2, 2017. In the second quarter of 2017, Yirendai has reached the loans volume of $1.22bn, increasing by 18 percent from the last quarter, especially increased 80 percent from the same period in 2016. By the end of second quarter, the accumulated loans transaction of Yirendai was up to $7.1bn.

Yirendai’s main revenue was charged for service fee from borrowers and lenders. As a result, its income scale is increasing rapidly with the fast growth of loans volume. In the period, Yirendai has made net income of $176 million, increasing by 16 percent from the last quarter and 61 percent from the same period of last year.

Tencent and national development banks to practice the national “Internet +” strategy (163.com), Rated: A

(Hereinafter referred to as “National Bank”) and Tencent (hereinafter referred to as “Tencent”) in Shenzhen Tencent headquarters signed the “Internet +” development of financial strategic cooperation agreement. “.. In the future, the two sides will be in the Internet + precision poverty alleviation, Internet financial innovation, domestic and international credit financing, Kechuang enterprise cultivation, information technology applications and many other areas of long-term, stable, in-depth and sustainable strategic cooperation. Chairman of the State Development Bank Party Committee, Vice President Zhang Xuguang, Director of the China Development Bank Shenzhen Branch Wu Liangdong, Vice President of Tencent Xie Qinghua, Tencent Internet + Strategic Cooperation General Manager Zhang Wei attended the signing ceremony of strategic cooperation.

European Union

ID Finance Teams Up With Da Vinci Capital to Launch $ 200 Million Fintech Fund (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Marketing fintech firm ID Finance announced on Wednesday it has joined forces with former Elbrus Capital fund manager, Yuri Popov, and asset management Da Vinci Capital to launch FinTech Credit Fund, which is described as a $200 million debt finance fund aimed towards fintech companies with a focus in alternative lending.

ID Finance also reported that the Fund will initially focus on projects within the CIS and European markets. Funding will be provided to companies involved in consumer/SME lending, with balance sheet and marketplace lenders being eligible.  Projects offering analytical solutions for credit scoring based on Big Data, AI and machine learning, as well as SaaS and PaaS solutions and payment services are of particular interest to the Fund and align with the investors’ areas of expertise.

International

GIC to invest in US talent agency (Straits Times), Rated: A

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, along with Canada’s largest pension fund manager, will invest US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in American talent management agency WME-IMG.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, in a separate statement, said it would invest about US$400 million for an 8 per cent stake in WME-IMG, which owns brands like Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Miss Universe Organisation.

The US firm also counts the SoftBank Group, Silver Lake Partners and Fidelity Investments among its investors. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney’s loss is really a gain (AltFi), Rated: AAA

New Zealand peer-to-peer lender Harmoney’s revenue climbed 63 percent this year, edging the company closer to profitability.  While still loss-making, Harmoney has halved its losses from $NZ14 million last year to $7 million this year.

As well as climbing revenue, its financials were helped by a 15 percent drop in marketing costs, suggesting the company has grown out its brand recognition to a point where it feels comfortable paying less for advertising.

To date, Harmoney has lent more money than any other Kiwi P2P platform.

A new whitepaper by CoreData and HUB24 titled ‘The modern face of advice’, argues that while technological tools were reshaping the wealth management industry, the role of advisers remained critical and the relationship they built with their clients remained more relevant than ever.

The paper, which is based on interviews with advisers, said technology used in advice practices continued to mature and costs, including platform fees and management expense ratios were decreasing to boost bottom line results of firms.

Robo-advice could play a role in tapping into the estimated $2 trillion worth of unadvised savings in Australia but awareness was still in its infancy. However, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) ‘RG255: Providing digital financial product advice to retail clients’suggested robo-advice was here to stay.

India

Lendingkart Group raises $ 10 million in debt funding (Medianama), Rated: AAA

Lendingkart Finance Limited has raised $10 million in debt funding from Kotak Mahindra Bank, Aditya Birla Financial Services, and other financial institutions. The funds will be used to expand its operations to 700 cities and restock its loan book.

Retail banking may lose 55% of business to fintech (livemint), Rated: AAA

The retail banking sector could lose up to 55% of its business to fintech firms if it does not up the ante in terms of investment in digital transformation, according to a new study titled ‘Enterprise Digital Transformation: Evaluating Indian Enterprises’, brought out jointly by research firm Frost & Sullivan and software lobby body, Nasscom.

 

Havas Media bags integrated media mandate of Faircent.com (Exchange 4 Media), Rated: A

Havas Media Group, India has bagged the integrated media duties of Faircent.com, India’s largest peer to peer lending platform. The account will be handled out of the agency’s Gurgaon office.

Digital Disruption: Lending Trends Turn the Next Leaf! (DQ India), Rated: A

Lending in India is hard as only a fraction of people have access to organized credit. Less than 50% of SMEs get access to bank  finance. The lack of access to credit is forcing people to depend on money lenders at high rates of interest. In India, of the over 1.3 bn population, 600 mn is working class, out of which 150 million has access to credit and 20 million have scores acceptable  to banks.

P2P lending provides investors higher returns than investing in mutual funds/ stock markets, which are linked to the stock market and come with a risk of losing money due to their inherent volatile nature. With the lower interest rates, traditional investment tools like FDs and RDs look less attractive to customers.

Peer-to-Peer loans give regular monthly income to the investors in the form of EMIs.

Now own a piece of prime real estate investing a few thousands (India Times), Rated: A

RealX, a pune-based fintech start-up, has completed India’s “first fractional ownership” deal in real estate sector. The platform has bought a commercial property in Karad (Maharashtra) by pooling in investments from about 19 investors, RealX officials claimed.

RealX is an ecommerce platform which will allow property sellers and agents post their saleable property. Registered buyers, on the other side of the platform, could invest in these projects. The minimum investment threshold, currently, is Rs 5 lakh per investor.

Asia

Immediate payments key driver of banking revenue (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Sixty-six percent of banks with live IP systems in place see it as a revenue driver for their institution, which compares to less than 50% for companies without IP systems in place. Moreover, for all banks 53% say that IP will drive revenue growth for their organization, 61% believe that IP will enhance their level of customer service and 60% expect IP to reduce costs.

While 65% of surveyed institutions stated that open APIs would benefit their customer-facing proposition banks differed in their implementation strategy. The majority (55%) of banks opted for immediately creating open APIs and interfaces for developers, while a minority (45%) took a ‘wait and see’ approach.

Source: The Asset

Mastercard and PayPal expand Partnership in Asia (The Asset), Rated: A

The deal will expand PayPal’s presence at the point of sale and enable Masterpass for Braintree merchants in the region. Additionally, both companies will collaborate to create opportunities to leverage Mastercard’s new payment flow technologies, providing increased value to Mastercard cardholders, financial institutions, and PayPal customers. PayPal will also have the opportunity to give consumers and small businesses across Asia-Pacific the ability to cash out funds held in their PayPal accounts to a Mastercard debit card.

Israel

All of Israel’s FinTech innovation geniuses have left the country and taken their brilliant ideas with them (Finance Feeds), Rated: AAA

Israel was never a center of actual trading, but was always synonymous with the brilliant minds that invented every ancillary service from digital marketing and conversion funnels that have brought tremendous efficiency to retail brokerages, Plus500 being a case in point, to social trading networks that have prospered on a gigantic scale across China – read eToro’s efforts with PingAn as very much an example where other social trading ventures wilted and disappeared.

Mr Mandelzis secured $40 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and sold the company to ICAP in 2007 for $250 million which became the subject of a Kellog Business School case study.

Where is Mr Mandelzis now? New York.

Optimove consolidates, mines and models customer data, dynamically grouping customers into micro-segments, and forecasting their future behavior and value.

Optimove is headquartered in New York, and is a completely American company.

Social trading has died a death. There is very little evidence of the large firms that used to dominate, and most of that technology came from Israel.

The only one in existence is eToro, which is a social investment platform.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 16 2017, Daily News Digest

Indonesia fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi wants to steal banks’ most coveted customers. Biggest online lenders don’t always check key borrower data. Fed issues FOMC statement. RateSetter puts aside George Banco partnership. Alibaba’s first fintech investment in Hong Kong. Investree enters Vietnam. Today’s main analysis: How fintech startups are transforming banking in Indonesia (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Real estate […]

Indonesia fintech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi Wants to Steal Your Most Coveted Customers (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Don’t look now, but the ‘in your face’ fintech firm, SoFi, is moving from offering just student and personal loans to providing wealth management and opening checking accounts. And their target market is one of the most coveted by banking … the educated, affluent, digital-first Millennial.

In an interview with Mike Cagney, “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer said, “If Bank of America or Citi had the Internet when they were forming, this (the SoFi model) is what they would have started.” Cagney responded saying, “Absolutely. I think what’s going to happen is the banks are going to move toward our model over time. And we certainly don’t have the hubris to expect that we’re going to change all of banking, but we are going to drag them into a different kind of service model. One that’s a lot more aligned to the customer.”

The company is also developing financial planning services, which it expects to launch this summer. These include joint financial planning for couples and first-time home buying.

“If you look at SoFi, we run over 65 percent contribution margin across our three lending businesses. We’re the most profitable fintech company in the marketplace. And there’s huge opportunity to expand from that, and it comes down to cost of acquisition. If you build really strong brand, really strong evangelism, really strong what I call ‘cross-buy,’ you can drop that cost of acquisition significantly and that drives margins,” Cagney said.

When fintech meets CRA: SoFi bank bid draws activists’ ire (American Banker), Rated: A

In its early days, Social Finance made loans only to borrowers who had attended name-brand universities. Graduates of elite colleges were paying relatively high interest rates on federal student loans even though they represented a low risk, and the Silicon Valley startup saw in that mispricing a chance to make money.

SoFi CEO Mike Cagney noted in a 2013 interview that traditional banks were aware of this opportunity but were unwilling to pursue it.

Real Estate Lending: The Investment Bankers are Coming (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Back in 2012, I borrowed money to purchase a house I planned to fix-and-flip. I contributed 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. For the privilege of borrowing the other 80%, I paid a local “hard money lender” a 3.5% origination fee plus interest only payments at a 13% APR.

I started doing some more research into the market that was originating a majority of these types of fix-and-flip loans, which is called “hard money lending”. There were a few things that became quickly apparent to me.

  1. The market was highly-fragmented. There wasn’t a single lender that controlled any significant amount of the national market.
  2. The use of technology was virtually non-existent. The ability to apply online for a hard money loan didn’t exist. The lender I borrowed from didn’t even have a website.
  3. Capital formation was very analog. This put them in a perpetual cycle of originating new loans to keep their funds working while also raising additional capital to meet the demands of their borrower base.
  4. Hard Money Lenders, generally speaking, had a very negative reputation among the borrower community. This was in part due to the high interest rates. However, upon further digging, the real cause of dissatisfaction among borrowers was the lack of service and transparency.

Much like the early days of peer-to-peer lending, the new online real estate originators won business by providing a better borrower experience. Online applications with instant feedback on pricing and terms provided better transparency to borrowers. Quick funding decisions that are augmented by large data sets, rather than relying 100% on appraisals, allows these new lenders to provide more certainty around closing. Online dashboards where borrowers can order construction draws and make interest payments make the loan servicing experience easier for the borrower. Regardless of the financial innovation that is to follow, these technology platforms have improved the level of service provided to borrowers.

That said, the five largest online originators still only write between 5-8% of the total loan volume in the fix-and-flip market. We are still in the very early days of what is likely to be a massive consolidation of a previously fragmented market.

Biggest Online Lenders Don’t Always Check Key Borrower Data (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Inc. doesn’t verify key information like income and employment for around a quarter of the loans it makes, according to documents tied to bonds that Prosper sold last month. LendingClub Corp. said it only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, according to company data seen by Bloomberg. If either lender finds mistakes in a borrower’s application, such as overstated income, they may still go ahead with the loan, according to disclosures linked to bond sales from the companies, including documents for securities that LendingClub is offering now.

Online loans usually don’t have collateral, so when they go bad, investors can lose out. Traditional consumer finance companies and banks tend to check incomes and employment on closer to 100 percent of new customers before making these kinds of loans, according to industry executives. Online lending competitor Social Finance Inc. checks income on 100 percent of its borrowers, according to a report from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

Investors in LendingClub loans earn average annual returns of around 4.3 percent, about three percentage points higher than the yield for two-year U.S. Treasuries. Those kinds of returns helped nonbank startups arrange more than $36 billion of loans in 2015, mainly for consumers, according to a report from KPMG.

LendingClub verified income on 35.6 percent of one of its most popular types of loans in 2016, according to company data obtained by Bloomberg. That figure has bounced around over time: it was 16 percent in 2008, and 47 percent in 2013.

LendingClub has had to write off a growing percentage of its loans — 8.5 percent, annualized, in the first three months, compared with 5 percent the same quarter a year ago.

Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement (Federal Reserve), Rated: AAA

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising moderately so far this year. Job gains have moderated but have been solid, on average, since the beginning of the year, and the unemployment rate has declined. Household spending has picked up in recent months, and business fixed investment has continued to expand. On a 12-month basis, inflation has declined recently and, like the measure excluding food and energy prices, is running somewhat below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1 to 1-1/4 percent.

SEC: RIAs Are Worse Than BDs at Cybersecurity (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The SEC says many financial advice firms are falling short when it comes to cybersecurity, with investment advice firms being less prepared than broker-dealers, Reuters writes.

As part of its second stage of cybersecurity exams initiated in 2014, the SEC analyzed 75 firms and found that 26% of the companies don’t conduct risk assessments on a continuous basis and 57% of the firms fail to carry out vulnerability and penetration tests with simulated attacks on critical systems, according to the newswire.

The SEC has concluded that investment advice firms have had more issues with cybersecurity than broker-dealers, according to the newswire. On the other hand, the SEC learned that almost all investment advisors practiced regular system maintenance as part of their cybersecurity process, namely by consistently installing security patches, Reuters writes.

Only 4% of the companies examined were missing essential patches or updates, according to the newswire.

Marlette Funding Depositor Trust (SEC), Rated: A

On June 2, 2017, representatives of the Company provided us with a computer-generated unsecured consumer loan data file containing data, as represented to us by the Company, as of May 24, 2017, with respect to 29,806 unsecured consumer loans (the “Statistical Loan File”).  At your instruction, we randomly selected 125 unsecured consumer loans (the “Initial Sample Loans”) from the Initial Statistical Loan File using the following criteria provided to us by the Company:
(i)
3 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #1” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(ii)
21 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #2” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(iii)
1 unsecured consumer loan with a seller identified “Seller #3” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(iv)
23 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #4” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(v)
15 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #5” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(vi)
62 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #6” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
In addition, on June 13, 2017, representatives of the Company provided us with a computer-generated unsecured consumer loan data file containing data, as represented to us by the Company, as of May 24, 2017, with respect to an additional 4,203 unsecured consumer loans (the “Subsequent Statistical Loan File”).  At your instruction, we randomly selected 8 unsecured consumer loans from the Subsequent Statistical Loan File with an origination date (as set forth on the Subsequent Statistical Loan File) on or before March 31, 2015 (the “Subsequent Sample Loans”).  The Initial Sample Loans and the Subsequent Sample Loans are collectively and hereinafter referred to as the “Sample Loans”

Fintech Ingo Money raising $ 12M in venture capital, plans to add up to 100 jobs (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Ingo provides risk-management services to financial institutions, such as banks and payment networks. Investors include Baltimore-based Camden Partners, Philadelphia-based MissionOG, and Bethesda, Md-based CNF Investments.

Notice of Class Action Settlement (Google AdWords Email), Rated: A

In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369-EJD
U.S. District Court Northern District of California
A $22,500,000 class action settlement has been preliminarily approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in the case In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369-EJD.  Your rights may be affected and you may be entitled to a portion of this settlement if you are an eligible Class Member.
Who Is Included in the Settlement?
You may be a Class Member if during the period of July 11, 2004 and March 31, 2008, you: 1) were a U.S. resident; 2) had a Google AdWords Account; and, 3) were charged for clicks on advertisements appearing on parked domains or error pages.
What Is This Case About?
This case alleges that Google failed to disclose to its AdWords customers that it placed ads on websites known as parked domains and error pages.  The lawsuit alleges this conduct violates California laws against unfair competition and false advertising.  Google denies these claims.
How Do I Ask for Payment?
To receive payment, you must submit a claim form no later than June 21, 2017 and have spent at least $1.00 on AdWords served on parked domains or error pages between July 11, 2004 and March 31, 2008.  You may complete the claim form online at June 21, 2017. If you do not want to stay in the Class, you must submit a request for exclusion by June 21, 2017. If you exclude yourself, you cannot get a payment from this settlement, but you will keep any rights to sue Google for the same claims in a different lawsuit. The detailed notice explains how to exclude yourself, object, and request to appear.
The Court’s Fairness Hearing.
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing on July 27, 2017 at 9:00 am PST at the following location: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Courthouse, Courtroom 4 – 5th Floor, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether: 1) the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate; 2) to approve the service awards to the class representatives; and 3) to approve the award of attorneys’ fees and expenses to the attorneys for the class.
Where Can I get More Information?

SEC heightens exam focus on robo advisers (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Under newly confirmed Chairman Jay Clayton, the SEC is setting its sights on expanded protections for retail investors, planning a series of RIA sweep exams exploring areas like robo advisers and money market funds.

Slated to launch this year is an exam sweep looking at how firms are deploying robo advisers, or using automated services to augment the provision of investment advice.

Levine said that the sweep will likely run along the lines of the guidance on digital advice platforms that the SEC issued in February, when it affirmed that robo advisory services still have a fiduciary duty, and warned of potential issues around disclosure and client communications.

Also this year, the SEC is planning to launch a sweep looking at how firms that traffic in money market funds are incorporating the rules the SEC adopted to shore up that sector following the destabilizing run in 2008.

As part of a broader focus on retail investors saving for retirement, the commission is also planning to launch a sweep exam looking at how firms are adhering to the schedules laid out in the disclosures of target-date funds, and another probing the controls advisers have in place on fixed-income cross trading relating to retirement accounts.

Initiative invests $ 5M to help more educators access Landed (Landed Blog), Rated: A

Today, we’re excited to announce that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), has invested $5,000,000 to create a Landed down payment support fund that will make it easier for educators in the Redwood City, Ravenswood City, and Sequoia Union High School districts in California — districts which face some of the highest housing costs in the country — to buy homes.

  • Eligibility: Any district or public school employee within the boundaries of Sequoia Union High School District, Redwood City School District and Ravenswood City School District.
  • Support: Up to half of a down payment (max $120,000), for the purchase of a primary residence.
  • Terms: Participants share up to 25% of the appreciation (or loss) in the price of the home upon sale, or after 30 years, whichever is sooner. There are no monthly payments.
  • Other: Participants can choose to end their relationship with Landed at any time. Financial coaching support will also be made available to participants.

Fletcher Jones Auto Group Partners With AutoGravity To Bring Financing Of Real Time Inventory To The Smartphone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, has announced the launch of real-time inventory on the Fletcher Jones Drive (FJ Drive) smartphone app powered by AutoGravity. Car shoppers now have access to the largest selection of Mercedes-Benz inventory in the nation, a seamless auto financing application and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services offer presentment – all in the palm of their hand through the AutoGravity powered FJ Drive app for iOS and Android.

AutoGravity joined forces with the Fletcher Jones Auto Group to launch FJ Drive, the nation’s first and only mobile app that allows customers to secure financing for any new Mercedes-Benz right on their smartphone. Real time inventory extends the partnership by empowering users to shop for specific vehicles sitting on the dealership lot. Guests can choose any Mercedes-Benz model and browse all available cars for their store of choice. Easy to use filters, including model year, body type and color, make finding cars simple and intuitive. Guests apply for financing and review their lease or loan offer in the app before picking up their car at the Fletcher Jones showroom.

Venture fund seeks fintech ‘workhorses’ (American Banker), Rated: A

Since its beginnings in 2015, Centana has invested in four companies, including the insurance technology company One and digital identity management firm Jumio. The New York-based limited partnership says it is hunting for other investment candidates and that it expects to put $5 million to $30 million into as many as 15 investments.

Centana is hoping to differentiate itself from other venture capital firms by pursuing “workhorses” — essentially, companies that will help incumbent companies improve on existing business models, Cukier said.

FinTech Marketplace Wealth Migrate Announces Luxury Condo Give-a-way (Benzinga), Rated: A

Wealth Migrate, an online real estate investment marketplace, announces the global opening of its #LikeAMillionaire luxury condo give-a-way. The competition, which is open to all new users who sign up on the WealthMigrate.com platform, is another example of how Wealth Migrate is putting quality real estate within reach of middle class investors throughout the globe, who typically do not have access to these types of deals.

The Zero-2-One Tower, standing 42 stories tall, is set to be the tallest building in Cape Town upon completion in 2020.

FinTech and InsurTech company IATAI Enterprises and payment solutions enabler BPP create Handy U (Crossroads Today), Rated: A

The FinTech and InsurTech company IATAI Enterprises (IATAI), which specializes in making mobile transactions, communications and other interactions quicker and easier across platforms, has joined forces with the payment solutions enabler BPP to develop Handy U, a universal and customizable payment, rewards and insurance solution for consumers, businesses and merchants.

Handy U is a reloadable Visa virtual/digital account that enables IATAI’s travel and insurance clients to instantly make and receive payments, access benefits and redeem rewards generated by their loyalty programs. Handy U is hosted on IATAI’s digital wallet, onepocket, which lets users combine several payment methods in a single transaction, both online and in-store.

First Foundation to acquire Community 1st Bank for about $ 50 mln (Reuters), Rated: B

* First Foundation – deal is valued at approximately $50.4 million in aggregate

* First Foundation – at closing, transaction is expected to be about 2.5% dilutive to co’s tangible book value per share with an estimated tangible book value earn-back period of 3.6 years

“Investing in Real Estate through Equity Crowdfunding Websites” Now On Demand (Benzinga), Rated: B

This Financial Poise webinar series explores the purchase of ownership shares in private companies via crowdfunding websites.

Episodes in the series address

  • the modes of angel investing in a company during its early stages,
  • the opportunities and perils of crowdfunding real estate investments,
  • the money-raising entity’s perspective and
  • a close look at crowdfunding options under federal and state law.

The 3rd episode of the “Equity Crowfunding” series is available now on demand! “Investing in Real Estate through Equity Crowdfunding Websites” (Register Here) features Moderator Chris Cahill of Lowis & Gellen. Chris is joined by Jordan Fishfeld of CFX Markets, Marty Coyne of Connected Investors Inc. and Lynda Davey of Avalon Net Worth.

Boston’s FinMason Announces New Fintech Accelerator Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinMason, a Boston-based fintech and investment analytics firm, announced on Thursday the launch of its new fintech accelerating program, FinSpring, which is described as an initiative that will provide free access to FinRiver, a set of flexible and lightning-fast investment analytics APIs.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Update: Decides to Not Go Ahead With George Banco Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last month, RateSetter announced it was entering a partnership with George Banco and acquiring an equity stake in the personal loan provider company. Unfortunately, RateSetter revealed earlier this month that it has decided to pull out of the partnership after all.

“We have subsequently decided not to go ahead with this new arrangement with George Banco. After further examination of the infrastructure required to do this, we concluded there were better uses of our development resources which may be deployed more effectively to source other borrowers. Therefore, we will not facilitate lending directly to George Banco’s customers, and accordingly we have updated our Principles of Lending document which sets out our lending criteria. The existing wholesale loans to George Banco will continue to be repaid in accordance with the schedule of the existing loan contracts. The total of these existing loans currently stands at £31.5 million.”

To see the updated Principles of Lending document, click here.

BTL index: Nothing to choose between Tory and Labour-voting regions (Letting Agent Today), Rated: AAA

The top ten buy-to-let postcodes in England and Wales are evenly split between locations that voted for the Conservatives or Labour.

Luton has been identified as the best buy-to-let investment location across England and Wales, with an average yield of 4.54% and rental price growth of 7.37%.

According to LendInvest, which analyses data from Zoopla and the Land Registry to compile its Buy-to-Let Index, Stevenage is the best performing buy-to-let postcode out of areas that voted Conservative last week.

The Hertfordshire town has recorded capital gains of 11.64% and rental price growth of 7.5% over the last quarter.

Luton is the top performing Labour-voting postcode.

Top 10 buy-to-let postcodes

Yield Capital gains Rental price growth Transaction volume growth
Luton 4.54% 12.83% 7.37% -10.40%
Stevenage 4.05% 11.64% 7.47% -9.40%
Rochester 4.55% 12.34% 5.45% -9.40%
Colchester 4.29% 14.14% 4.14% -11.16%
Dartford 4.37% 13.61% 3.92% -10.94%
Peterborough 4.71% 9.04% 6.98% -10.67%
Southend-on-Sea 4.30% 12.37% 3.89% -10.26%
Manchester 6.11% 7.58% 7.53% -12.41%
Canterbury 4.36% 9.34% 6.62% -11.49%
Romford 4.81% 14.42% 1.28% -11.67%

MoneyThing posts record month ahead of 2017 IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

MONEYTHING is on track to boost its loan origination ahead of an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) launch later this year, after delivering its highest new loan monthly level to date in May.

The peer-to-peer lending platform launched £7.7m of new loan opportunities last month, which marks its strongest result since it launched in February 2015, and £3.7m more than its previous record.

It now aims to roll out the tax-free wrapper by the end of the year, although the launch will not be imminent, a company representative told Peer2Peer Finance News.

Irish fintech firm Assure Hedge receives UK regulatory boost (Irish Times), Rated: A

Assure Hedge, a provider of foreign exchange technology to protect businesses from currency fluctuations, has received a boost from the UK Financial Conduct Authority under a programme aimed at drawing financial technology (fintech) under its regulatory oversight.

China

Meet Alibaba’s first fintech investment in Hong Kong (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Aiming to fix cash flow issues for companies operating in Hong Kong, Andy Chan along with his partner Winston Wong, set out on a mission to craft Hong Kong’s first invoice trading platform, Qupital.

Since its inception less than a year ago, the company has started to gain attention from companies including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

In terms of generating revenue, Chan shares that when an invoice is purchased, Qupital would take between 25-75 basis points of the total invoice value. Moreover, the company would take 20% of net gains made by funders.

With fresh capital from high-profile backers, Chan has his sights on deepening his business in Hong Kong with an eye on expansion to other markets in 2018 such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Baidu, With a Move Into Fintech, Gets Wary Credit-Ratings Look (WSJ), Rated: A

Baidu Inc. is among China’s tech giants looking to get a leg up in the competitive financial-services market. Credit-rating companies aren’t so sure it’s a good idea.

Fitch recently placed Baidu on negative watch, citing “significantly higher” business risks as it moves into making unsecured consumer loans and selling uninsured investments known as wealth-management products, which Fitch said are “part of the shadow banking system in China.”

Moody’s decided last month to place Baidu’s bond ratings on review for a downgrade, citing concerns over the firm’s short history in the financial-services business.

Baidu’s financial services, which also include its mobile payment platform, now account for about 12% of its assets, or 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion)—representing rapid growth for a firm that formed its financial-services group only about a year ago. That has significantly changed Baidu’s credit profile, said Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer Lina Choi.

International

Transforming banking with fintech (HSBC), Rated: A

HSBC has its own tech teams designing new platforms and products, and they are absolutely brilliant. But we need to be humble and recognise that we don’t have all the answers. We invest in and work with fintech start-ups where we think they can help.

Our partnership with Tradeshift is making it easier for business customers to manage their accounts and their relationships with suppliers online, saving time and cutting down paperwork.

Retail customers in the UK can now download an HSBC SmartSave app, developed in partnership with a start-up called Pariti. It helps them save money without even having to think about it.

We have invested in a start-up which is developing technology that can sift through large amounts of financial transactions to pinpoint suspicious patterns. This will help us tackle financial crime more effectively, and, ultimately, keep our customers safer.

Australia

ZipMoney eyes profitability, partners with NAB (AltFi), Rated: A

ASX-listed fintech zipMoney has put the finishing touches on its A$260 million debt warehouse with big four bank NAB and could become one of the few all-Australian fintechs to make a profit.

The money raised will go to the “immediate refinance of $70 million of existing receivables”, ZipMoney told the ASX, resulting in lower interest rates across the board. It will also allow the company to increase volumes and hire more staff.

ZipMoney provides a ‘buy now, pay later’ service, offering shoppers loans between $1000 and $10,000 for up to eight months.

ASIC permanently bans Perth financial adviser (Professional Planner), Rated: B

An ASIC investigation found that between January 2011 and November 2012 Mr Hutchison dishonestly:

  1. banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account, when he knew he was obliged to remit or report them to RI Advice. Mr Hutchison then deducted additional fees from his clients’ investment platform or financial product for payment to RI Advice; and
  2. banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account and failed to record the receipt of the cheques on RI Advice’s payment system.

Mr Hutchison misled or deceived his clients by failing to disclose to them that they had been double charged advice fees and failed to comply with the proper process for remitting and reporting the fees. He also misled or deceived RI Advice by failing to disclose that he had deposited the advice fees into his own account and did not comply with RI Advice’s relevant fees policies and procedures.

India

SMC Capital, REPL launch Rs 1,000-crore real estate fund (India Times), Rated: A

SMC Capital and EPC developer REPL group have come together to launch a Rs 1,000-crore real estate fund, SMC IM Capital. The fund has already got commitments from global investors based in the US and Middle East and will look at a first close by end of this month.

The fund will invest between Rs 50 crore and Rs 80 crore in the middle segment affordable housing projects in tier I and II cities.

In India, real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture, and is slated to grow at 30% over the next decade. The real estate sector comprises four sub sectors — housing, retail, hospitality, and commercial.
Asia

Indonesian P2P lending site Investree to enter Vietnam, launches sharia-based service (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Investree announced on Thursday that it is set to begin expansion to Vietnam in 2018, DailySocial reported.

The Jakarta-based startup said it is currently undergoing the process of setting up a joint venture with an undisclosed local financial institution.

Investree also announced that it is going to launch a sharia-based lending service in July; the startup is currently on the process of applying for certification from the National Sharia Board (DSN).

Gunadi cited strong demand from both borrowers and lenders to set up a lending practice based on the Islamic law, and by far three small businesses from Jakarta and Surabaya have agreed to join in the pilot project.

How FinTech Startups Are Transforming The Way Banks Function In Indonesia (inc42), Rated: AAA

India, November 2016. PM Modi launched a demonetisation drive to eradicate black money, fostering a new wave of digitisation in India. Consequently, there was a tremendous rise in the adoption of e-wallets, launch of new fintech startups, and the average Indian became familiar with a new financial entity, bitcoin.

From local grocery shops to petrol pumps to movie theatres, digital wallets have captured each and every day-to-day business which requires payments. Not only this, digital wallets have even seen a massive adoption for payment chores like booking air tickets or buying movie tickets or paying bills (DTH, Water, Electricity).

Be it digital payments, online lending, or remote banking, Indonesia has seen a surge of startups that have developed products to solve the current needs of the population.

At the same time, the country remains a challenging market for fintech industry to grow with only 40% of adults in the country having access to banks. 49 Mn SMEs unit are still not bankable, because of low credit score and little or no financial history.

It is estimated that only 40% of Indonesia’s 250 Mn populationcurrently have access to services provided by banks.

Secondly, Indonesia is a country of SMBs. These enterprises account for 99% of the total amount of enterprises that are operating in Indonesia and they create a total of 107.6 Mn jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest emerging economy, as per a Deloitte report. Moreover, Indonesia’s micro, small, and medium-sized companies contribute 60.6 % to Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Thirdly, due to Indonesia’s peculiar geography, its traditional banking system suffers. The number of bank branches, which is estimated at 10 banks (branches)  per 1,000 square kilometersis far too low to serve Indonesia’s vast geography.

The major areas that startups are capturing and disrupting are payments, insurance, stock markets, investments, PoS, comparison, and online lending. Major startups in the payments sector include Mandiri, T-Cash, PayPro, IPayMu, Xenditi among others.

Digital payments have become so big in the archipelago that the total transaction value in the “Digital Payments” segment amounts to $18 Mn in 2017. Additionally, the total transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 18.4 %, resulting in the total amount of $36 Mn in 2021. Popular fintech categories in Indonesia are lending platforms, capturing 17% and marketplaces for financial products that have occupied 13%.

Deposits, Lending, And Capital Raising

The online lending space is dominated by players included Modalku, Taralite, and Investree. The online lending segment has a huge market demand in the country, owing to the fact that a major population of the country has a low credit score and SMEs can benefit from these alternative services.

Taralite: Launched in 2016, the startup sanctions financial loans with relatively low interest, starting from 1%, for education, marriage, childbirth, house renovation, vehicle purchase, property & housing. It also provides loans without collateral. It recently secured $6.3 Mn from Japanese financial services provider, SBI Group.

MODALKU: Founded in 2016, it is an online lending platform, that provides loans up to IDR. 2 Bn, with relatively affordable interest. Its focus areas are SMEs looking for working capital, with minimum one year of operations.

Market Provisioning

Cekaja.com: Launched in 2013, the platform allows users to compare various financial products at one place.

Investment & Risk Management

JOJONOMIC: JOJONOMIC digitises the entire employee reimbursement process for an employee.

RajaPremi:  Founded in 2014, RajaPremi is an online insurance marketplace.

Bareksa: Founded in 2016, it is an online and integrated marketplace for mutual funds.

Digital Payments

Kudo: Launched in 2014, the startup has a website and a mobile application that enables anyone to be an online entrepreneur without having to personally stock the items.

DOKU:  A 2007 founded startup, Doku is the biggest player in the Indonesian payments scene. Functioning as an online and offline payment gateway for businesses and individuals, DOKU is an e-wallet equipped with links to credit card and electronic money.

t-cash: Founded in 2011, it is an electronic money service provided by Telkomsel (a telecom giant). Users are required to install the T-Wallet app on their mobiles and equip their mobiles with the t-cash stickers.

Ayopop: Launched in 2016, Ayopop is an app that specialises in bill payments.

POS (Point-Of-Sales Startups)

Pawoon: Launched in 2013, Pawoon is a cloud-based Point of Sales (POS) application for SMEs.

DealPOS: DealPOS is a cloud-based point-of-sale ( POS ), inventory and accounting software for business which was also launched in 2013.

A Year Ago… (LinkedIn), Rated: A

A year ago, I found myself on stage in Hong Kong, China speaking on “How Fintech Companies Can Differentiate Themselves and Build Special Competitive Advantage“.

Wondering in the halls of an incredible conference in Shanghai a few days later at LendIt Conference China, I was consumed with anxiety. Every platform I saw in China easily had 30 million plus active users. Whether it was credit, payment, insurance or investments, the conference in China was filled with eager entrepreneurs, seasoned executives and hunger investors.

Out of necessity, with a series of coincidences and a ton of luck I founded a company called MaxDecisions, Inc. with an old colleague and friend Henry Wang. We didn’t think too much of it and we didn’t really know where we will end up with it.

In the same month, I founded another company called Kuber Financial, LLC. and later Kuber Inc. with two other co-founders. Both of them left in the middle of the project, one early on and one late later year.

Fluid App came to me because I wanted to build something that’s truly different from all other platforms. A fun, mobile only, credit building product that could truly change lives of millions of young Americans. A FinTech, AdTech mesh up, that a lot of people are now starting to understand and appreciate my vision for this product.

With our 10th employee coming onboard at www.maxdecision.com next week, we’ve officially broke our first million dollars in sales.

Shenzhen – Singapore – Hong Kong Financial Technology Alliance was formally established (01Caijing), Rated: B

June 14, Shenzhen Internet Finance Association, THE FINLAB PTE LTD and the Hong Kong Internet Professional Association in the World Youth Entrepreneurship Forum officially signed a tripartite cooperation memorandum, at the same time announced at the forum, Shenzhen – Singapore – Hong Kong Financial Technology Alliance was formally established.

Africa

Payment Startups Lead Way In Africa’s Booming FinTech Scene (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Payments and remittances startups account for the majority of Africa’s over 300 fintech startups, though blockchain companies are the more likely to secure funding.

Payments and remittances is the most populated of nine sub-sectors addressed in the report, with 125 startups across the continent focused on making the process of sending and receiving money easier. Lending and financing – with 65 startups – is the next most popular category; indeed, over 60 per cent of all Africa’s fintech startups are focused on these two crucial spaces.

African blockchain startups are the most successful in percentage terms, with almost 40 per cent of the blockchain-focused startups on the continent securing funding.

The continent’s fintech startups have secured over US$92.5 million in investment since 2015, the report finds, while the data shows fintech startups are spread across the African continent. Southern Africa and West Africa are fintech leaders – with 34.2 per cent and 34 per cent respectively based in those regions respectively. South Africa has the most fintech startups (94), followed by Nigeria (74) and Kenya (56).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 5 2017, Daily News Digest

ratesetter alfi

In the June 1 issue of Lending-Times, we highlighted a TransUnion report on how to identify and fight online fraud. A typo suggested we didn’t recommend report, however, we highly recommend it and you can download it here. News Comments Today’s main news: After buying George Banco RateSetter will not lend to its customers. Amartha receives regulatory […]

ratesetter alfi

In the June 1 issue of Lending-Times, we highlighted a TransUnion report on how to identify and fight online fraud. A typo suggested we didn’t recommend report, however, we highly recommend it and you can download it here.

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Latest PeerIQ Loan Performance Monitor (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The US economy generated a seasonally adjusted 138 K jobs last month (vs. expectation of 185K) bringing the jobless rate to 4.2% and another step closer to full employment. As inflation risks emerge, the Fed is widely expected to increase rates another 25 bps at the upcoming FOMC meeting on June 14th.

On the regulatory front, the US House will vote on a bill sponsored by Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to reform and repeal portions of the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.

On the securitization front, student lending originator CommonBond priced its $232 Mn private student loan ABS. Goldman Sachs was the structuring lead, and co-leads include Barclays and Citi. Also, AB Alert reports that Lending Club is preparing a multi-seller deal which includes collateral from multiple originators including potentially loans from Lending Club’s own balance sheet. As PeerIQ noted in the summer of last year, we believe marketplace lenders that can offer whole loan investors a reliable path to liquidity and low-cost permanent financing can generate a competitive advantage.

PeerIQ is pleased to present the PeerIQ Loan Performance Monitor. The monitor tracks interest rates, delinquency, and charge-off rates for both platforms across vintages and grades.

Source: PeerIQ MPL Loan Performance Monitor June 2017

Global Debt Registry Appoints Charlie Moore as President (PR.com), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company known for its loan validation expertise, today announced Charlie Moore, the firm’s Chief Commercial Officer, has been named President as former Chairman and CEO Mark Parsells returns to his FinTech consultancy practice.

As President, Moore will be focused on the continued delivery of loan level diligence services to the investment community, leading the daily operations of the company. Moore previously led the firm’s commercial operations including business development, partnerships and marketing and has over 20 years of experience building financial services technology businesses in the U.S. and Europe.

Investing in Real Estate: Single Family Homes or Multi-Family? (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

“Institutional multifamily” typically means dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct units within a single property, managed by a seasoned professional management firm. These properties have many different tenants, with a diversity of employment situations and lease structures. If one tenant leaves abruptly, many others will remain in place, and overall rental income will suffer only marginally. Multifamily managers can further mitigate vacancy risk by structuring leases to end on a rolling basis. Single family investments don’t carry the same benefit – a tenant living in a single-family home constitutes 100% economic loss for as long as the property remains vacant.

Investing through online crowdfunding platforms gives individual investors the opportunity to invest in a small piece of large multifamily projects that are institutional grade and have passed the underwriting of well-established lenders and co-investors who often have decades and billions of dollars of investing under their belt. The same can’t be said of most single-family investments.

While these benefits are most apparent for direct owners of (investors in) property, this benefit of multifamily investing should be passed along to individuals who co-invest via an online (crowdfunding) platform.

GTCR Announces Acquisition of Sage Payment Solutions (Guru Focus), Rated: A

GTCR, a leading private equity firm, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sage Payment Solutions, Inc. (“SPS” or the “Company”) for $260 million. SPS, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is a leading provider of payment processing and merchant acquiring solutions in North America. GTCR is acquiring SPS from The Sage Group plc (LSE: SGE) (“Sage”), a global provider of integrated accounting, payroll and payment solutions headquartered in the UK. GTCR is partnering with SPS management to pursue organic growth initiatives and fund future acquisitions in the payment processing industry. To support this strategy, GTCR has committed up to $350 million of equity capital to the platform. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter following receipt of regulatory approvals and other consents.

SPS provides credit card, ACH, check, gift and loyalty card processing services to small and medium-sized businesses (“SMBs”) in the United States and Canada.

Where Incumbents Are Making Investments In Wealth Tech (CB Insights), Rated: A

Deals to wealth tech startups hit a record of 30 investments in Q1’17 amid a number of new early-stage entrants globally. In particular, robo-advisors have been gaining prominence and taking on incumbents in nearly 20 countries around the world.

Key takeaways:

  • Since 2012, several banks and wealth management firms have made co-invests in wealth tech. For instance, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase are co-investors in Motif, Northwestern Mutual and Citi Ventures are co-invested in Betterment, and UBS and Santander InnoVentures are co-investors in SigFig.
  • Incumbents have made the most investments to companies that fall into our robo-advisors category, including BettermentMotifPersonal CapitalWealthNaviFolioForwardLane, and SigFig
  • Blackrock invested in Personal Capital, the second most well-funded wealth tech company with approximately $207M in funding.
  • LearnVest is the only featured company on our map to have exited.

AUTOGRAVITY CAR FINANCING APP NOW AVAILABLE ACROSS NEW JERSEY (AutoGravity), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer revolutionizing car shopping and financing with the power of the smartphone, has unveiled an innovative mobile application to help car buyers in the Garden State finance any new or used car in minutes in just four easy steps.

With its unique platform, the AutoGravity app guides car buyers through an intuitive four-step process:

  1. Choose a car – Select any make, model and trim of any new or used car.
  2. Find a dealer – Choose from AutoGravity’s proprietary national dealership database; geolocation helps quickly identify nearby dealers that sell the car the selected.
  3. Search for financing – Car buyers can scan their driver’s license and connect to social media to quickly pre-fill the finance application.
  4. Select a lender – Receive up to four binding finance offers in minutes, then select a loan or lease offer and head to the dealership to complete the purchase.

FRB Governor: Data Aggregators Impact Bank Safety, Soundness as Part of the “Fintech Stack” (JD Supra), Rated: A

In a recent speech at the Northwestern Kellogg Public-Private Interface Conference, Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard indicated that the relationships between banks and data aggregators within the “fintech stack” may present safety and soundness concerns that warrant oversight by the FRB (and perhaps other prudential regulators).

Governor Brainard indicated that banks will need to apply significant resources to update their data infrastructure to allow access to real-time data for third-party developers.

Governor Brainard explained that because banks are more tightly regulated than the average fintech company, consumer protection and safety and soundness considerations should supersede experimental innovation.

While some banks may elect to give access to data aggregators, Governor Brainard observed that other banks may be unwilling or unable to provide permissioned access to third parties due to fears about compliance with laws and regulations and the ability to monitor and control the use and access to data. She then noted that the Fed’s supervisory role should focus on ensuring that financial institutions subject to its supervision operate safely and follow applicable law. At the same time, she stated that the Fed has “a strong interest in permitting socially beneficial innovations to flourish, while ensuring the risks that they may present are appropriately managed, consistent with the legal requirements.”

PeerStreet’s Jessica Murray Named One of HousingWire’s 2017 Rising Stars (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that its VP of Strategy, Jessica Murray, has been named to HousingWire’s 2017 Rising Stars list of young leaders to watch in the housing industry. HousingWire’s 2017 Rising Stars list recognizes talent that demonstrate leadership and innovation, inspiring not only those within their company, but also their communities and the industry at large.

In her time at PeerStreet, Murray established the company voice through social media, content marketing, customer communications and placed media while serving as the Head of Communications. In her current role, Murray maintains many strategic and operational responsibilities, which also include managing PeerStreet’s capital markets and hiring.

Roostify Names Sandeep Aji as Vice President of Products (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced it has named Sandeep Aji as Vice President of Products. Aji will be responsible for overseeing the continued development of Roostify’s mortgage technology platform – from enabling more API-driven capabilities to improving user experience for lenders and consumers.

Prior to Roostify, Aji was Co-Founder and CEO of Impartus, a cloud-based, SaaS platform for higher education.

How To Get A Second Chance With Your Bank (NASDAQ), Rated: B

Despite a higher cost of capital, an online loan may be necessary for a small business. The reason: There has been a continued downtrend in lending from banks to small businesses. “Together, 10 of the largest banks issuing small loans to business lent $44.7 billion in 2014, down 38% from a peak of $72.5 billion in 2006,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, nonbank lenders have seized the opportunity and captured 26% market share up from 10%.

United Kingdom

RateSetter decides not to lend to George Banco’s customers (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER has announced that it has decided not to lend directly to George Banco’s customers as there are “better uses of our development resources”.

The ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender bought a stake in the guarantor loan provider, which was a former wholesale lending partner, last month. It had also agreed to lend directly to its 10,000 customers, with George Banco acting as introducer.

The business and consumer lender will keep its equity stake in the firm and its co-founder Peter Behrens will remain as a non-executive director on George Banco’s board.

P2P platforms facing hybrid dilemma (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER finance industry could be on its way to becoming a polarised market, where the biggest firms stick to their core P2P lending activities and the rest are forced to evolve into hybrid models.

A wide range of industry onlookers have told Peer2Peer Finance News that it will be impossible for smaller firms to achieve profitability without either expanding into balance sheet lending, merging with direct lenders or morphing into a business model closer to that of a collective investment scheme.

“It’s incredibly difficult to build a straightforward P2P business to the size where it becomes profitable,” said Andy Davis, author of a report that pointed to hybrid models as an inevitable evolution in the sector.

“It’s intrinsically more profitable to arrange and lend rather than only arrange. We’re going to start seeing hybrid loans emerge.”

P2P is ultimately just a subset of direct non-bank lending, he argued, but with different technology in place and different market access. When a direct lender sets up a P2P platform, its return on capital goes up exponentially and it can immediately recycle those returns to originate more lending.

“Hybrid lending from some providers will increasingly be the chosen solution. This is not an issue or a problem for investors in and of itself, ” added 4th Way analyst Neil Faulkner.

Safety in banking (SilverSeek), Rated: A

It was probably with sound money and sound banking in mind that Goldmoney recently announced a tie-up with a British-based and regulated peer-to-peer lender, which enables owners of gold and silver bullion to use it as collateral to raise funds.ii The purpose of this article is to explain how honest banking worked before fractional reserve banking was devised. This is the logic behind the recently announced collaboration between Goldmoney and Lend & Borrow Trust Company Ltd.

On 23rd May, Goldmoney announced an investment and collaboration in and with the UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Lend & Borrow Trust Company Ltd. LBT is unique, being the only peer-to-peer facility in Western financial markets that allows businesses and individuals to use their investment-grade physical bullion as collateral against loans, without the loan obligations and collateral being comingled with other customer business.

At no time is LBT a principal in the transaction, so lenders and borrowers can agree an interest rate without having to take LBT’s creditworthiness into account, based solely on physical gold or silver as collateral.

The logic of a collaboration between Goldmoney and LBT is obvious, in that it enables customers to raise finance using bullion. But there is an underlying sound-money logic as well. Between them, Goldmoney and LBT are the template for sound-money banking as it existed before fractional reserve banking became the standard banking model, after Britain’s Bank Charter Act of 1844.

Peer-to-peer lending promised 6%, but I’ve been left red-faced and in the red (The Guardian), Rated: A

When James Patterson invested £1,000 in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Funding Circle back in 2015, his hope was that his money would grow a bit faster than the pitiful rates of interest offered by his bank. At the time, the relatively new lender was promising returns of 5-6% a year – 10 times more than his bank.

However, almost a year and a half on, his investment is now worth just £988 – a loss of £12. It’s because one of the firms that 10% of his money was lent to defaulted, leaving his account £128 in the red – a sum that his other investments at the platform have struggled to make up.

It has delivered some impressive returns to savers in recent years but, Patterson says, after his experience, he will not be investing anymore.

James Meekings, co-founder and managing director of Funding Circle, says Patterson will be back in the black in the next couple of months as the firm expects to recover some of his losses which, in turn, will be passed on to him.

Assetz Capital Review – 30 Days Access Account with 4.75% Target Rate (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Recently I opened an account at p2p lending marketplace Assetz Capital to gain some first hand experiences. Assetz Capital offers secured business loans to small and medium British SMEs. I decided to start with the 30 days access account as it is mostly hands off and deposited a tiny amount, which was credited within an hour.

Assetz Capital has a minimum investment amount of 1 GBP. Assetz is open to international investors, but a UK bank account is required.

Assetz also offers a quick access account with 3.75% target rate, designed to provide immediate access to cash, in normal market conditions, for investors. Currently 19 million GBP are invested in this account. Further account types are the ‘Great British Business Account’ (GBBA) with 7% target rate, the ‘Green Energy Income Account’ (GEIA) with 7% target rate and the ‘Manual Loan Investment Account’ (MLIA) with 5.5% to 18% gross rate. See comparison of Assetz accounts. Assetz also features a secondary market without fees providing liquidity.

Assetz Capital adds ex-bank specialist to regional director team (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

ASSETZ CAPITAL has hired former bank finance specialist Samantha Williamson to boost its team of regional relationship directors.

Williamson will supervise the peer-to-peer lending platform’s activities in the South Manchester region.

She previously worked as business development manager at financial independent broker Positive Commercial Finance, helping firms grow through non-traditional finance avenues.

Prior to that, she served as senior real estate manager at Barclays and commercial lending manager at Santander, both posts located in the Manchester area.

From beach to boardroom: Iced coffee king surfing to success (London Loves Business), Rated: B

Who’s bankrolling you? 

We are. And so is Funding Circle. The banks have been completely useless.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?

It depends on how much you’re looking for and how long you’ve been trading, but if you need money, I’d go crowd funding, 100 per cent. If you are well under the table with trading, I’d take a look at funding circle.

China

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Search engine giant Baidu Inc. is to quit crowdfunding market and pay more attention on artificial intelligence”]. Users will not see the “Baidu Crowdfunding” channel when they log in their Baidu Finance account, but will still be able to check the crowdfunding history.

On May 25, China Rapid Finance Limited, a leading online consumer lending marketplace in China, reported its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.

2017

2016

Growth rate

Transaction and service fees

USD16.8 million

USD14.8 million

13.1%

Consumption loans

USD6.7 million

USD1.5 million

336.8%

Maintenance loans

USD10.1 million

USD13.3 million

24.4%

Operating aspect:

  1. Number of new borrowers added in the first quarter of 2017 was approximately 545,000. As of March 31, 2017, the Company had reached approximately 2 million unique borrowers on its marketplace since inception, and the total number of loans facilitated on the Company’s platform grew to approximately 15 million.
  2. Total loan volume facilitated on the Company’s marketplace in the first quarter of 2017 increased to USD485 million, primarily driven by the rapid expansion of consumption loans, which accounted for USD405 million of the total loan volume.
  3. Total number of consumption loans facilitated in the first quarter of 2017 was 4 million, while total number of maintenance loans facilitated was 6,000.

Ant Financial, the financial arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, became the latest player in Hong Kong’s competitive mobile payments market after it announced the launch of its mobile wallet for Hong Kong users on May 24.

On May 25, Ant Financial announced to launch the car insurance rating mechanism for the insurance industry to improve the risk management capability.

Three primary reasons for the boosting Cash Loan in China (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: AAA

By Dr. Yang Li

From 2017, the number of cash loan companies have increased tremendously in China. Various kinds of cash loan firms have mushroomed, including CashBus, MagicCash, GoldBar of JingDong, Ants Borrow of Alibaba, WeiliDai of Tencent, etc. So far, there are already thousands of small cash loan platforms exists in China, and many of them have received fund financing from top VC investors such as Sequoia Capital, Innovation Works, and ZhenFund.

Why cash loan growth explosively in a short period? The following three reasons may explain.

Reason 1: The lower threshold of credit system by Big data method.
In the past, credit system was mainly referred to Central bank credit system, however, it could not cover most people. The information of vast majority of low-income, unregistered social groups have not been collected in the credit system, but they have extensive borrowing needs.

As big data technology developing fast these years, many data companies are growing rapidly, and they acquired data for business use. Owing to the big data credit system, cash loan platforms are able to evaluate the borrower’s credit situation from multi-dimensions: traits of character, consumption habits, loan demand, repayment willingness, etc. In this way, the problem of information asymmetry between the investors and borrowers is eliminated, making the cash loan business prosper in the broadest social group.

Reason 2: Vertical specialization of cash loan industry provides more business opportunities
The division of the cash loan industry is now divided into receipt, audit, lending and collection, each process are served by independent and professional companies or teams. With the booming of cash loans, an ecological chain around the industry has been derived, including data processing companies, business consulting companies, law office specialized in collection, etc.

The vertical specialization of the industry made cash loan platforms extremely convenient in obtaining customers, audit management and collection, so that the platforms can save more costs and gain more business opportunities.

Reason 3: Changing of the public consumption concept stimulated loan demands
With the improvement of people’s living standards and the popularization of deficit spending concept, the public consumption concept has been changing a lot.

Consumer demand is beginning to diversify. There are not only the need for food and clothing, but also spiritual needs of learning, fitness and travel, etc. And the consumers’ attitudes are gradually transforming from rational consumption to perceptual advanced consumption. Spending “future money” at “the present” is becoming a common social spending habit, for example, more and more people choose to purchase cars, houses and 3C electronic products on installment. The growing advanced consumption has stimulated the loan demand across society.

European Union

Fintech is King of Lithuania’s Tech Revolution (Red Herring), Rated: A

Under Soviet rule Lithuania became known as a center for laser technology and bioscience, the latter of which now accounts for 1% of GDP and is growing at almost 25% annually. Last year businessmen, scientists and the government signed an agreement to make Lithuania the European hub for health and biotech innovation by 2020.

But it is fintech that has taken the strongest grip on the country’s tech scene. TransferGo, WoraPay, Blender, Simplex and IBS are just a few of a small but growing clique of firms taking advantage of strong local talent, low wages and public pledges.

Lithuania is the only jurisdiction in the EU to have a special-purpose banking license, allowing the foundation of a bank with registered capital of just €1m ($1.1m).

Vaidas Adomauskas first imagined WoraPay, a payment platform, while waiting to pay for food at a restaurant. Now it is backed with almost $1m in funding and is headquartered in London–which many believe to be Europe’s fintech capital.

Capitalizing on the Lithuanian fintech craze, Rise, the Barclays-backed Rise coworking franchise, opened a location in capital city Vilnius last year. It has 50 working spaces, an auditorium and conferencing facilities for entrepreneurs trying to get a foothold in financial tech.

International

Marketplace Lending News Roundup – June 3 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Behind the Scenes at Orchard Platform, a Struggle to Innovate from The New York Times – The long and winding road of Orchard’s plans for a secondary loan market.

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter raises £13m, Woodford and Artemis lead from AltFi – In the UK RateSetter has closed another £13M equity round as they get closer to full FCA approval.

SoFi and JetBlue Help Customers Managing Student Loans Earn Reward Travel from PR Newswire – This week SoFi announced that you can earn up to 50,000 JetBlue reward points by refinancing a student loan.

Did someone cancel the fintech revolution? from Finextra – The promise of fintech has not yet been released says Accenture in a new report.

Kind of Blue from FinTech Junkie – The latest from Frank Rotman comparing startups to jazz and what to do when you hit a wrong note.

Are Small Business Borrowers Bank-Loyal to a Fault? from deBanked – Despite low approval rates banks are still the top choice for entrepreneurs looking for a loan.

The impact of the latest adjustments in peer-to-peer/marketplace lending from AltFi – Good summary of the latest developments at the big four marketplace lenders in the UK.

The impact of the latest adjustments in peer-to-peer/marketplace lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle ditches property

Leading small business loans marketplace Funding Circle announced that it would be winding up its property-secured lending in April, with a view to stopping entirely by mid-2018.

AltFi Data’s analytics engine shows that only one quarterly cohort of Funding Circle’s property-backed lending resulted in any bad debt. This came in the third quarter of 2015. Bad debts for this cohort have reached 4.67 per cent – but it’s important to note that recoveries may still be made, and that this is just one of 17 quarterly cohorts. The size of this cohort is about £34m.

RateSetter stops wholesale lending

AltFi Data told us in March that RateSetter had originated £273m loans to lending businesses, equating to 15.6 per cent of its £1.748bn cumulative lending total at the time.

The firm has now lent a little over £1.9bn in loans, of which 15.4 per cent are wholesale. As can be seen in the chart below, the overall trend is down.

More capacity at MarketInvoice?

MarketInvoice announced the launch of a new longer-term product (MarketInvoice Pro) in February. This allows businesses to draw an open funding line, secured against their outstanding invoices.

Well, since unveiling the new product in February, MarketInvoice has posted back-to-back monthly origination records (versus all previous months in its existence), with £42m in March and £35m in April.

But this isn’t yet feeding through in terms of outstanding principal per month, which is hovering at around £25m per month, versus an all-time high of £35m.

Investors are falling over themselves for Zopa loans, but should they be?

The net returns delivered to Zopa investors has been fairly consistent at between 4.5 and 5.0 per cent for the past two and a half years. But the rate being paid by its borrowers is climbing.

Zopa’s average gross interest rate has steadily increased from 5.3 per cent at the outset of 2015 to 8.4 per cent in April 2017. The reason for this is simply that a higher proportion of Zopa’s loans are now being made to “riskier” borrowers. But the returns being offered by the platform haven’t yet adjusted to reflect this.

Crowdfunding, millennial buyers and higher mortgage rule real estate in 2017 (International Business Times), Rated: A

Interestingly, real estate crowdfunding is not limited to the US market. It is actually one of the hottest trends in the overall global realty market today. Realty crowdfunding platforms are continuously being launched in the UAE, Asia and even Egypt. In fact, a leading Singapore-based realty crowdfunding platform recently raised around S$1 million (AU$0.98 million) in the first funding round for a company.

If crowdfunding is the signature trend of real estate in 2017, the rise of millennial home buyers is a close second. The oldest millennials are now in their mid-30s and are planning to have their own houses. Marriage is on the cards for most of them, further creating the urgency for a new home. Most jobs have been designed for the 25 to 34 age bracket, with wages happily rising. Overall, it is a highly favourable situation for millennials to think of a new house this year.

On the other hand, the recent Brexit fallout has had a major impact in the contemporary real estate scene. With UK realty currently going through an uncertain phase, the US real estate scene is fast hogging the limelight in the global property market. The Chinese market, too, is currently moving along a slow tide, which presents an advantage for US developers. The American commercial real estate is to benefit in particular, and speculations are on the rise about steady foreign investments in the country.

Crowdsurfer adds Zopa data (Finextra), Rated: A

Zopa, the world’s first and one of the largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders, has lent in excess of £2.3 billion to customers in the UK, and the addition of its data set will deepen Crowdsurfer’s insight into the global alternative finance market.

Cambridge-based Crowdsurfer analyses data from more than 900 different alternative finance platforms, including equity, bonds, SME debt, P2P and more, and has mapped more than ten million transactions to provide the most in-depth take on global trends and patterns in alternative finance.

How robo advice fees compare to multi-asset funds (AltFi), Rated: A

Will robo advice spark a price war? We crunched the numbers looking at how much platforms charge compared to a typical multi asset fund.

Vanguard, a U.S. based passive fund manager, is planning to sell its index funds directly to UK consumers, charging just 0.23 per cent annually. Previously, individuals had to invest in funds through an intermediary or, more recently, via robo advisor to get access to the company’s funds.

Taking a look at the top UK robo advice platforms, we found that an investment of £10,000 would cost an average of £6.79 a month in both management, platform, and fund fees.

A £10,000 investment in 2015 held in the average fund in the IA’s 20-60% Shares sector would have cost an average £9.83 per month for a mixed fund, while the average fund in the IA’s 40-85% Shares sector would cost £10.25, according to data on the average ongoing charges figure from the Investment Association.

Putting this all together, for the average robo advice platform a £10,000 portfolio amounts to approximately 0.81 per cent fees, or £81 over a year. In comparison, the average multi-asset fund charges between 1.18 per cent and 1.23 per cent over the course of the year, with IA’s 40-85% Shares sector the higher of the two. This amounts to £118-£123 on £10,000, or approximately £40 more than the average robo advice portfolio.

Pre-RDR fees would have cost £15.42 and £14.92 on a £10,000 investment.

Moneyfarm, a robo advisor based in the UK and Italy, stands out because it doesn’t charge a management fee for any investments under £10,000, just the fund fee. Investments over £10,000 are charged 0.6 per cent.

Insurtech App Trov Connects with AXA Insurance & Celebrates UK Launch (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Trov has launched its on­-demand insurance platform in the UK, in partnership with AXA Insurance. Users are provided with a personalized quote and can quickly turn insurance on (or off) for an item without the need for any interaction with a traditional insurance agent.

Australia

FinTech Australia Announces New Board of Directors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FinTech Australia has announced the election of its new Board of Directors. The new Board is said to align with constitutional changes regarding gender diversity and representation from a broad number of states.

The new board members are:

  • David Ball – CEO and co-founder of HyperBank (Queensland representative)
  • Natalie Dinsdale – Director of Marketing at Tyro (NSW representative)
  • Luke Howes – Co-founder and CEO of Proviso (South Australian representative)
  • Lucy Liu – Chief Operating Officer of Airwallex (Victorian representative)
  • Alan Tsen – CEO of The Week in Bitcoin (Victorian representative)
  • Emma Weston – Co-founder and CEO of AgriDigital (NSW representative)

India

Monexo: Trying to fill the void (Free Press Journal), Rated: A

Our business structure focuses on P2P lending to three segments of borrowers – salaried individuals, practising professionals, and small and medium enterprise (SME). Right now, however, we focus only on the salaried individual segment.

Our typical borrower profile is salaried, aged 25-30 years, with an average salary of Rs 25, 000 for which the average borrowing works out upto Rs 1.50 lakh. Such a working population today is much more independent and amenable to migration. This in turn brings a lot of minor expenses and there such loans are very useful. Such borrowers are often under the under the banks’ lending radar who offer them Rs 8-10 lakh loans to start with but we create options for them (based on the amount requirement). The borrowers that we target are usually digitally savvy and appreciates the benefits that we bring to the table.

What are the benefits offered to borrowers?

First and foremost is time-saving. The borrower is made known in a minute if the loan is available or not.

Another benefit of Monexo is that it is active in the entire activity chain of P2P lending – origination, screening, profile-grading, pricing of each application, disbursement, client servicing and lastly debt collection. This is right now a key differentiator among our contemporaries.

Describe the business structure and how it would attract lenders?

Our fees are taken out of repayments made to lender (2.5 per cent) based on their actual EMI receipts.

Borrowers are graded in categories from M1 down to M8. They get an automatic upgrade when they create a repayment track record. One key criteria is that debt should not be more than 60 per cent of the borrowers’ income.

Our typical business process is approval of only 25 per cent of the applications submitted. This is because most of the 75 per cent are already defaulters somewhere.

Fintech Firm Pinjam Gears Up for Growth Spurt This Year (Jakarta Globe), Rated: A

Fintech company Gadai Pinjam Indonesia is gearing up for a growth spurt this year in a mission to expand the reach of financial services to unbanked small and medium enterprises.

The company, which provides pawnshop services and micro-loans through its online platform Pinjam.co.id, eyes to disburse between Rp 100 billion ($7.52 million) and Rp 200 billion this year, increasing up to 10 times its loan outstanding.

Pinjam will cooperate with state-owned post Pos Indonesia as well as some gold shops, to increase the number of outlets where their customers can pawn their goods. It plans to have more than 100 points in Jakarta by the end of this year.

Asia

P2P Lender Amartha Receives Regulatory Approval from Indonesian Financial Services Authority (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Jakarta based Amartha (PT Amartha Micro Fintek) a peer to peer lending platform launched in 2010, is now officially registered with the Directorate of Institutional and Product IKNB (Financial Industry Non Bank) Financial Services Authority ( FSA).

Amartha said the approval by the financial regulators will boost public confidence in the platform and investing. Currently Amartha claims to have successfully financed over 34,000 micro businesses in parts of Indonesia to more than 10,000 registered investors, with total funds distributed to 87 billion rupiah (USD $6.5M).

Why Your Financial Planner Should Be a Robot (Knowledge.insead.edu), Rated: A

In 2015 the Singapore-based bank, DBS, surveyed 600 local mothers in their 30s about retirement. The results were revealing. Three-quarters had not started planning for their retirement. Only 25 percent thought they would have sufficient funds to retire on. The average Singaporean household, headed by a 45-year-old, spends US$3,800 per month. However, 69 per cent believe they would be able to retire on less than US$2,200 a month, while 38 per cent believe it would be less than US$1,500.

According to a 2015 Nielsen survey, six out of 10 Singaporeans only start saving for their retirement once they reach 45. They believe they will just need to double their current savings to retire comfortably with peace of mind.

In China, the social pension is the primary source of retirement income. However, 43 percent of respondents in a survey conducted by the Society of Actuaries in 2016 believe the government or their company will cut their benefits in the future. With an estimated 329 million Chinese turning 65 by 2050, it is projected there will be a US$118 trillion pension deficit.

At 55, the average male has US$98,000 and female has US$85,000, bringing the total household retirement assets at around US$183,000. However the couple now has only 12 years until retirement.

In Singapore, fintech boom is missing the ‘tech’ (Southeast Asia Globe), Rated: B

Big banks are putting a lot of effort in to improve their customer experience. WeChat Pay might not be big right now, but Alibaba bought Lazada, so Alipay’s coming. That’s going to change a lot of things. Banks are trying hard to capture their customers’ attention and build strong ties. Small-to-medium enterprise lending and security is big, particularly in Singapore. How do you protect your data? Singapore is a very strong private banking hub: a lot of money is parked here from very strange people. You don’t want to have this information leaked, so the regulation techspace is being upgraded.

Africa

Some options if you want advice from a robot (IOL), Rated: A

Jaco van Tonder, the director of advisory services at Investec Asset Management, says robo-advisers are useful to clients who cannot afford to pay for face-to-face professional financial advice.

Personal Finance looks at three offerings in the South African market:

1. Sygnia RoboAdvisor. The service was launched last year by listed asset manager Sygnia. Depending on your investment requirement and risk appetite, RoboAdvisor will expose you to unit trusts, exchange traded funds (ETFs), money market funds or cash.

• Minimum investment amounts: lump sum of R10 000 or a monthly debit order of R500.

• Management fees: 0.5% a year including VAT.

2. iTransactGo. This service is operated by Johannesburg-based exchange traded product investment platform iTransact. The company was established in 2010, and it launched its robo-adviser service last month.

• Minimum investment: lump sum of R5 000 or a minimum monthly contribution of R300.

• Investment term: there is a minimum term of one year.

• Management fees: not more than 1.14% a year including VAT, depending on the size of the investment.

3. Bizank. The company is independently owned and has appointed Anchor Capital as the asset manager of its robo-adviser. The robo-adviser, which was launched last year, creates a portfolio to meet your investment goal (for example, retirement or buying a house) based on your responses to its questions.

• Minimum investment: a lump sum of R10 000 or a monthly debit order of R1 000.

• Management fees: between 1% and 1.5% excluding VAT.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor