Thursday August 31 2017, Daily News Digest

European fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: SeedInvest to host live crowdfunding at LendIt Europe. Funding Circle says ‘good-bye’ to smaller brokers. DBRS upgrades SoFi Professional Loan Program Transactions. Credibly to manage BizFi’s portfolio. Fundrise re-opens Income eREIT. Laplanche to keynote at LendIt Europe. Today’s main analysis: France, Sweden scooping up bigger share of Europe’s fintech deals since Brexit. Today’s thought-provoking articles: France, […]

European fintech

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News Summary

United States

DBRS Upgrades and Confirms SoFi Professional Loan Program Transactions (DBRS), Rated: AAA

Of the 36 outstanding publicly rated classes reviewed, 24 were confirmed and 12 were upgraded.

Issuer Debt Rated Rating Action Rating Trend Notes Published Issued
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2013-A LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes Upgraded AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2014-A LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Upgraded AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2014-A LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2 Upgraded AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2014-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Upgraded AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2014-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2 Upgraded AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-A LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Upgraded AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-A LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2 Upgraded AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-D LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-D LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-A LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-A LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2A Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2B Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2A Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2B Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-D LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-D LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2A Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-D LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2B Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-E LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-1 Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-E LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2A Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-E LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class A-2B Confirmed AAA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Upgraded AA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Confirmed AA (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-D LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Confirmed AA (low) (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-E LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Confirmed AA (low) (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-B LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Upgraded A (low) (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-C LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Upgraded A (low) (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2015-D LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Upgraded A (low) (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-A LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class B Upgraded A (low) (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US
SoFi Professional Loan Program 2016-E LLC Post-Graduate Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Class C Confirmed A (low) (sf) Aug 30, 2017 US

CREDIBLY SELECTED TO SERVICE BIZFI’S $ 250M PORTFOLIO (Credibly Email), Rated: AAA

Credibly, a leading findata small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending platform, announced today that the company is now servicing BizFi’s $250 million portfolio and 5,200 merchants.  Since 2005, BizFi had been a leading capital provider to SMBs and in 2016 was one of nation’s top three largest originators of merchant cash advances.  Numerous SMB direct lenders vied for the BizFi portfolio. Credibly was chosen due to their proprietary data science driven portfolio management strategy.

Credibly also announced that it has crossed the $500 million milestone in capital deployed to tens of thousands of SMBs across the U.S.  This is separate from the $250M portfolio the company is now servicing from BizFi.

In addition to servicing the BizFi portfolio, Credibly is working with both sales partners and merchants to provide additional working capital to the businesses in BizFi’s portfolio. Credibly’s data science team has the ability to analyze BizFi’s twelve years of data and remittance history, which will allow Credibly to better service both the BizFi and Credibly portfolios. Further, BizFi’s data enhances Credibly’s risk management, scoring models, and portfolio management tools.

The Small Business Association (SBA) estimates that traditional banks still reject approximately 90 percent of SMB loan applications. Since 2010, Credibly has emerged as a proven platform that leverages data science and analytics to provide SMBs with a simple and intuitive way to access critical working capital.  The company addresses the fundamental capital needs of SMB owners across a broad credit spectrum and through every stage of a business’s life cycle.

Main Street SMBs across a wide variety of industries that include restaurants, retail stores, salons, spas, dry cleaners, auto body shops, and doctors’ offices, all rely on Credibly to secure the necessary capital they need to grow.

Fundrise Re-Opens Income eREIT (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Fundrise, the very first real estate crowdfunding platform in the US, has re-opened its Income eREIT to investors.

According to Fundrise, the Income eREIT has performed quite well, so far. The Income eREIT has generated 10% or higher in annualized dividends since Q2 of 2016. As of Q3 2017, the fund has posted a 10.5% annualized dividend which compares favorably to the FTSE NARET Composite REIT Index at 4.2%.

Bills Being Introduced to “Fix” Decision in Madden v. Midland (Lend Academy), Rated: A

For a historical perspective you can read our coverage of the case at the below links:

An article in American Banker this week from Adam Levitin, professor of law at Georgetown University, provides his perspective on what the bills mean for the case.

Nat Hoopes, Executive Director of the Marketplace Lending Associationdisagreed with Levitin’s assessment. Here is what he had to say:

These bills are strongly pro-consumer. They will help ensure that consumers can continue to refinance their higher interest rate debts, saving consumers significant amounts of money through lower interest costs.  Furthermore, these bills clearly cannot facilitate predatory lending because they do not change the rate or terms on which any entity in this country (regulated at the state or federal level) can lawfully lend money.  The language of the bills simply reaffirms one of the fundamental principles of contract law — that valid loan contracts can be sold on the secondary market.

We have a situation created by the Second Circuit decision where responsible lending has been reduced in three states (NY, CT, VT). Demand has not been reduced in these states.

Trizic Drags Banks Into The Fintech Age With Automated Wealth Management (Benzinga), Rated: A

Trizic, the fintech company behind a B2B wealth management platform, has signed on as the technology provider to Fidelity National Information Servcs Inc FIS 0.21%, connecting the Bay Area startup with the banking sector.

Trizic Digital Advisor — an open-API platform for registered investment advisers, enterprise clients, banks and credit unions — is a product built from the ground-up, CEO Drew Sievers told Benzinga.

The platform’s features include trading, portfolio management, cash management, billing and compliance reporting

The 8 hottest housing markets in America (Business Insider), Rated: A

Sharestates, an online real-estate investing platform, has released its fall report on the hottest housing markets in the US.

Places on the list are ranked by three metrics:

  • Return on Investment (ROI): The rate of return to Sharestates loan investors.
  • ARV: The ratio of the total loan amount, including acquisition and rehab financing, compared with the After Repair Value.
  • Increase in demand from 2016 to 2017: Percent of 2017 Sharestates loans in the listed areas compared with 2016.

The top 3:

3. Sparrows Point, Maryland

ROI: 11.8%

ARV: 50%

2. Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York

ARV: 28%

Increase in demand: 400%

1. Fishtown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

ROI: 11.8%

ARV: 14%

Increase in demand: 650%

LendingTree, Inc. Announces Changes to its Executive Team (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, has announced two key promotions within its leadership team. J.D. Moriarty, who joined LendingTree earlier this year as SVP of Corporate Development, has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer, and Gabe Dalporto, who previously served as the company’s Chief Financial Officer since 2015 and as LendingTree’s Chief Marketing Officer from March 2011 to June 2015, has been elected to the company’s board of directors.

DOL Rule Delay Highlights Industry Battle Lines (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Word that full implementation of the Department of Labor’s contentious fiduciary rule has been delayed for two years — until July 2019 — may not have shocked many observers but it’s still deeply significant, say industry experts on both sides of a debate that’s raged across two very different presidential administrations.

That’s if it ever even happens, grumbles Rostad, whose organization wants all financial advisors to be client-first fiduciaries as a matter of public service. He says the Trump administration and the brokerage industry despise two provisions of the DOL rule — the right for investors to sue advisors and firms for breaches of the rule, and the best interest contract exemption, which lets advisors continue receiving commissions if they agree in writing to continue acting in the client’s best interests and make a full disclosure of options other than commission-based business available. And the administration and brokerage industry will be working overtime between now and mid-2019 to get the provisions watered down or eliminated altogether, says Rostad.

Meanwhile, the Financial Services Institute, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group for “a healthier, more business-friendly regulatory environment for our members” — mainly broker-dealers and their advisors — sees the delay as an opportunity for needed refinements.

Banks aren’t giving up on personal finance apps (American Banker), Rated: A

Don’t consign personal financial management apps to the ash heap of technology just yet.

Granted, on Thursday Prosper Marketplace is discontinuing Prosper Daily, an app formerly known as BillGuard that helped users monitor their finances and credit scores. And the next day Capital One Financial is set to close the money management app Level Money.

Will Blockchain Change The Way We Invest? (Forbes), Rated: A

Currently, the value of all the Bitcoin in the world is around $90 billion, much less than individual companies such as Amazon ($474.41 billion market cap), Google ($649.49 billion) and Apple ($815.39 billion). However, with the current trend, some investors predict cryptocurrencies to be worth $5 Trillion by 2022.

As cryptocurrencies are becoming more common, new blockchain powered platforms are emerging to change the way we invest. The success of these companies may create a scenario in which fintech companies like RobinhoodFundriseQuantopian and others – currently considered the most disruptive companies in the world – will become outdated in a few years.

Real.markets – Disrupting real estate crowdfunding

REAL is an Ethereum Smart-Contracts governed ecosystem that focuses on creating the best conditions for Real Estate investment eliminating costs due to unnecessary intermediaries, providing transparency and liquidity, alleviating tax inefficiencies and easing cross-border transactions under a unified crowdfunding platform.

NASDAQ LINQ – Trade private companies

Almost two years ago NASDAQ launched LINQ, a digital ledger technology that leverages a blockchain to facilitate the issuance, cataloging and recording of transfers of shares of privately-held companies on The NASDAQ Private Market in collaboration with Chain.

enigma – machine-based investing platform and infrastructure for crypto-assets

From 2009 to 2015 alone, the amount of assets under management (AUM) by quantitative hedge funds grew at a rate of 14% year-over-year, nearly double the 8% year-over-year growth of assets managed by traditional hedge funds.

Following the rising demand for crypto-currencies, enigmabelieves an interesting opportunity arises: algorithmic trading on crypto-assets. Many exchanges already offer the ability to place orders through RESTful APIs, permitting users to run their trading algorithms locally.

FinTech Can Help Increase Financial Literacy (Huffington Post), Rated: A

From mobile payments, app based investing platforms, to online banking solutions, financial technology (FinTech) has revolutionized not only how consumers receive financial services but also how they expect to receive such services.

recent studyshowed that 59 percent of senior financial services executives believe that we will see an increase in the use of digital solutions to improve operations, with 56 percent of executives citing technological disruption as a component of their business strategy. From an operational perspective, findings have shown that core financial institution activities including Deposits and Lending and Investment Management are expected to be radically reconfigured as a result of technological innovation. Consumers have also begun to shift their preferences towards FinTech, with statistics indicating that in 2016 a third of consumers reported regular use of financial technology services, with such use doubling from two years prior. Furthermore, more than 52 percent of consumers are expected to use FinTech services in “the near future.”

A recent study found that two-thirds of Americans cannot pass a basic financial literacy test, with the number of those who can pass such a test decreasing annually. Globally, the figures reflect similar trends; in 2015, only 35 percent of men and 30 percent of women were classified as financially literate.

Greenlight’s flagship product is a debit card for children that utilizes mobile app technology to provide parents with a customizable and monitorable solution to facilitate purchases.

TS: Greenlight is free for 30 days and then just $4.99/mo. for the whole family to use (all parents and up to 5 kids). Each child receives their own Greenlight Card with their name on it and a unique PIN. Parents use our app on either their iOS or Android smartphone, and can easily manage all of their kids’ cards from one place.

Parents can load and transfer money onto their kids cards instantly from anywhere with no additional fees. That money can be limited to specific stores or websites, or be spent anywhere depending on what parents decide. Greenlight provides real-time mobile alerts to tell parents where and when their kids are making a purchase and can even automate allowances.

Kids can also use the Greenlight app on their smartphone. They can visually see their balances, request money, and communicate what they’re purchasing with their parents. When a parent receives a funding request from one of their children, they can easily approve or decline the request in the app.

Bitcoin Exchange Sees Complaints Soar (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has received at least 293 complaints about Coinbase Inc., according to data reviewed by Bloomberg.

More than a third of the grievances came from individuals who said they were unable to access their money when promised. Many people also complained about other transaction or service problems. Accusations of fraud represented less than 15 percent of the complaints.

LendingCalc Appoints Former Chief of Risk at Dianrong, Terry Tse as Adviser (Newson6.com), Rated: B

LendingCalc, Inc., a direct investment platform providing global access to digital specialty finance for institutional investors, announced the appointment of Terry Tse, the former Chief Risk Officer of the leading Chinese P2P platform, Dianrong, as strategic adviser for the firm. In his role, Terry will help build LendingCalc’s global investment gateway and platform due diligence framework.

United Kingdom

Marketplace lending platform Funding Circle cuts off smaller brokers (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle will be refocusing its energies on its most highly engaged business finance brokers.

More changes in the ever-changing marketplace lending sector. A few weeks on from announcing sweeping changes to its investment process, leading business-focused platform Funding Circle is changing its approach to working with corporate finance brokers.

One such broker, who wished to remain anonymous, told AltFi that Funding Circle is cutting off 300 brokers. The platform works with approximately 1,000 active brokers at present.

P2P lender LendingCrowd extends cashback offering (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The Edinburgh-based platform is extending its cashback offering, giving clients £150 for investing £2,500 or more on the platform by 30 September.

REDWOOD BANK LAUNCHES FOUR MONTHS AFTER SECURING ITS INITIAL BANKING LICENCE (Global Banking and Finance), Rated: A

Redwood Bank, Britain’s newest business bank for SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises), has announced that just over four months after securing its initial banking licence, it has completed its “Mobilisation” phase and has now opened for business, offering secured SME mortgages for business owners, as well as for experienced commercial and residential property investors. It has also launched a competitive business deposit account.

Its speed to market is the result of a combination of factors, including having a very experienced and proven management team, and the fact that it’s the first business bank with 100% cloud- based infrastructure, which improves efficiency as well as security.

Trends among investment advisors mirror developments in P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: A

New research from Equifax Touchstone, an intermediary database provider, illustrates an enhanced focus among investment advisors on delivering consistent investment outcomes to customers.

Of 141 surveyed investment advisors, 82 per cent were found to have a centralised investment process, meaning that a consistent approach to allocation and monitoring exists for all clients.

However, 76 per cent use model portfolios, which are bespoke to a customer’s risk-reward preferences, and which are automatically rebalanced regularly to bring returns in line with expectation – even if the broader approach to investment management is the same for all clients. These model portfolios are comprised of a diversified pool of mutual funds that invest in a variety of assets, ranging from large and small stocks to REITs.

But in its shift to passive strategies, P2P is perhaps less closely aligned with investment advisors. Equifax Touchstone’s survey shows that advisors still very much value active investment vehicles. While passive investing plays a part for 82 per cent of advisors, the majority invest 25 per cent or less in passives, with11 per cent of advisors investing more than 50 per cent in them.

Crowdfunding your start-up: Learn the basics from Crowdcube (Startups.co.uk), Rated: A

If you’re looking to raise finance for your business, there are a few options you can explore including secured or unsecured debt, private equity, venture capital investment, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and crowdfunding.

Some of the more popular crowdfunding models include reward-based, donation-based, micro-lending, P2P, peer-to-business and equity.

Equity crowdfunding as an industry, over its six-year lifetime, has raised about £600m in the UK, with close to half of that having been raised by Crowdcube. Equity crowdfunding facilitates investment into start-ups, early stage businesses and growth companies in return for a pro-rata equity stake in the business.

Investments can be made from as little as £10 with no maximum in place, which typically culminates in pro-rata ownership of the company via ordinary or B investment shares.

You may have also seen the likes of BrewDog, River Cottage and Grind raise money through bonds on Crowdcube. This is where a company launches a funding round starting from at least £250,000.

BrewDog raised £10m through a bond in December 2016, offering 8% interest to the investors. Over 2,700 people backed BrewDog in three weeks and should see interest payments for the next four years; the length of the bond term.

“Property Crowd Funding” – The Magic of Modern Day Investing (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Real estate has been booming around the world, particularly in the UK, with new housing, apartment and condo complexes being built at a phenomenal pace.

Abdullah Iqbal, Co-Founder of the Knightsbridge based start-up PropTech Crowd.

While there existed property crowdfunding companies already, Abdullah and his dad saw an obvious vacuum in the market. “None of the property crowdfunding platforms were Shariah compliant at the time, due to them being involved with interest. Our motivation was to take the banks out of the equation, enabling investors to have shares and democratising the property market for everyone, while conforming to the Islamic prohibition of interest”, emphasises Abdullah.

The company’s core mission is to revolutionise property investment through innovative crowdfunding technology, allowing everyday investors to access high-ROI opportunities that they may have been priced out of in the past.

I learned that Mufti Abdul Kader, a renowned Islamic scholar and expert in Islamic finance, is a Shariah Compliance Advisor at PropTech Crowd. His duties entail making sure that all elements of the business are Shariah compliant, visibly and consistently.

Giving developers direction on safety (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

At LendInvest we have been clear that the housing market will look a lot healthier when there is less emphasis on the major developers, when we instead have a market which encourages small- and medium-sized (SME) developers to build homes too. Our studies have found that SME developers are excluded from much of the government support that exists for SMEs from other industries, something which has to change.

Bumpy Brexit risk does not justify record low rates (Reuters), Rated: A

The Bank of England should not keep interest rates at their record low as an insurance policy against the risk of a “bumpy Brexit” and it needs to start raising borrowing costs now, BoE policymaker Michael Saunders said.

But at the same time the Brexit hit to sterling has pushed up inflation above the BoE’s 2 percent target, leading to the split among the central bank’s rate-setters.

Earlier this month, they voted 6-2 to keep rates at 0.25 percent and the BoE warned that Brexit was weighing on the economy.

China

What are the Implications of the Rapid Growth of Fintech in China? (Brink), Rated: A

We see five major key success factors for the future China fintech market:

  1. Data abundance and application – Business models in financial services will be increasingly data-driven, and data will be at the core of the value chain.
  2. Large customer base
  3. Availability of proprietary and comprehensive products
  4. Strong knowledge of financial services and risk management – A strong combined core of financial services expertise and risk management capabilities remains a prerequisite for success, allowing for more efficient identification of useful data and building of effective risk models.
  5. “Fin plus tech” organization and culture

Niche Fintech Players should expand and perhaps transform their business models. The first and most intuitive way is to grow organically beyond a niche. Qudian, for example, has expanded beyond its legacy focus on university borrowers to develop an e-commerce ecosystem driven by a consumer finance model.

European Union

SeedInvest to Host Live Crowdfunding at LendIt Europe in London (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

SeedInvest and LendIt, the roving Fintech conference, have partnered on live crowdfunding for the upcoming LendIt Europe event scheduled for this coming October. The live event is being billed as a European first. LendIt Europe participants will be able to invest directly in companies participating in the PitchIt portion of the event taking place in London.

SeedInvest previously powered several live investment crowdfunding events in Europe with noted success. SeedInvest’s partnership with Jason Calacanis, and his LAUNCH Festival, reportedly raised $7.5 million from 3900 individual investors. This will be the platform’s first foray beyond the US borders though and may be a sign of a strategic push for the company.

France and Sweden are scooping up a bigger share of Europe’s fintech deals since Brexit (Quartz), Rated: AAA

France and Sweden’s share of financial technology deals in Europe has grown since Britons voted to leave the EU in June last year, according to research firm CB Insights.

France’s share of venture capital transactions has increased by five percentage points since 2014, to 11% so far this year. Sweden’s take has risen three percentage points over that time, to 12%.

Download the CB Insights report on European fintech trends here.

LendIt Europe Announces Upgrade Co-founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche as Keynote Speaker (Fintech Finance), Rated: AAA

LendIt announced that Renaud Laplanche, the CEO of Upgrade and former CEO of Lending Club, will join the keynote speaker roster for LendIt Europe 2017.

He will be giving the opening keynote speech on the second day of LendIt Europe where he will be giving an update on Online Lending 2.0 and discussing the US fintech market, where the online lending industry is today and how it fits into the broader fintech sector trends going forward.

Peter Thiel is backing Berlin ‘InsurTech’ startup Coya in a million round (Business Insider), Rated: A

Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel has led a $10 million seed funding round into Berlin-based “InsurTech” startup Coya.

Thiel’s fund Valar Ventures led the round, which also included funding from e.ventures, and La Famiglia, a European venture capital fund backed by entrepreneurs.

The investment is one of the biggest “seed funding” rounds in Germany.

International

Banking landscape shifts as Chinese groups globalise (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Global cross-border capital flows have declined 65 per cent since 2007, and half of that is explained by a drop in cross-border lending flows. The largest global European banks, and some US ones too, are in retreat from foreign markets. But financial globalisation is far from finished — rather it is broadening and becoming more inclusive as developing economies, most notably China, step into the breach.

The eurozone has been at the forefront of the retreat from foreign markets among banks in advanced economies. The foreign claims of eurozone banks have fallen by $7.2tn, or 45 per cent, since 2007, and nearly half of that has been claims on other borrowers in the eurozone — particularly other banks, new MGI research finds. UK and Swiss banks have sharply reduced foreign assets since the crisis as well. US banks, which have always been less global than their European counterparts, have re-focused on growth at home.

In contrast, China’s four largest commercial banks have seen their foreign assets grow 12-fold since 2007 to more than $1tn. And that’s still only 9 per cent of their total assets. Foreign assets make up 20 per cent or more of the total assets in the largest banks in all advanced economies; if China’s largest banks follow that path, they could see tremendous growth in foreign lending ahead.

How Banks And Fintech Startups Redefine Finance (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

But as financial technologies continue to expand, legacy players have come to accept the disruptive role of fintech startups and the need to work together. In recent years, the relation between banks and fintech startups has evolved from marginal investments to closely knit collaboration and integration.

Banks are now getting involved at different levels to help fintech companies get off the ground. This includes an increasing number of buyouts, mergers and partnerships.

An example is Goldman Sachs, a banking firm that has invested more than $570 mln in fintech companies since 2012. Last year, the banking giant acquired Honest Dollar, a digital retirement savings platform, in order to expand the startup’s brilliant solution to millions of its customers. Along with Standard Charter, Goldman also helped Momo, a Vietnam-based mobile wallet and payment app, raise $34 mln in two rounds of funding. Goldman also launched its own online lending service Marcus last year, a move that is inspired by the fintech culture. The service has so far doled out more than $1 bln in loans and expects to cross $2 bln by the end of this year.

On the other end, fintech startups are helping banks adopt new technology. Ezbob, for example, is a UK-based startup that provided online lending services to SMEs before white-labeling its technology and changing its business model to a Lending as a Service (LaaS) platform. The Royal Bank of Scotland has leveraged Ezbob’s technology to launch Esme, its automated lending platform which allows small and medium-sized businesses to obtain loans quickly, even outside working hours.

The future of robo-advice is human (Robo Advice News), Rated: A

When Betterment decided to offer its clients access to a human financial advisor, it marked a growing trend of robo-advice platforms adding a human touch element.

Automated wealth platforms or robo-advice is not likely to find its success by just digitalising its services, says Thomas Davenport, a professor of information technology and management at Babson College. The future lies in a hybrid model that uses the efficiency of big data with the softness of personalised human advice.

Around 60 per cent of consumers would rather have a live person in charge of their finances instead of relying on automated technology, according to a survey from Legg Mason Asset Management.

Reducing Investment Funds to SMEs from Financial Institutions to Drive Global Market for Peer-to-peer Lending (OpenPR), Rated: B

A recent report added to the portfolio of MarketResearchReports.biz presents a detailed analytical account of the global market for peer to peer lending. The report, titled “Global Peer-to-peer Lending Market Size, Status and Forecast 2022,” states that the market will exhibit growth at an exponential pace over the period between 2017 and 2022.

This report presents detailed insights into the market and its expansion across the globe from 2017 to 2022.

Get Sample Copy Of This Report @
www.marketresearchreports.biz/sample/sample/970169

Australia

Fintech’s feeding frenzy: why it’s time to stop, collaborate and listen (Finfeed), Rated: AAA

In 2016, KPMG suggested US$24.7 billion was invested in fintech companies globally. Data accumulated by Financial Technology Partners, an investment bank focused on fintech, cites $36 billion across over 1500 funding deals from over 1700 unique investors (not taking into account M&A deals) as a more accurate figure.

As it has done throughout history, the banking and lending industry is dominating the fintech landscape, with payments and e-commerce a formidable rival.

The financial services and technology sectors are set for changes as the budget proposed a series of measures to encourage innovation in the fintech industry. This includes new legislation which, if implemented, is likely to allow crowd-sourced equity funding, tax concessions for start-ups and angel investors and fewer barriers to licensing of finance firms. The traditional banking sector could see more digital disruption arising from these changes which could subsequently create demand for top finance and technology talent.

Credit insurance provider Atradius recently launched its new digital platform ‘Atrium’, which provides customers and distribution partners with real-time data to better understand buyers, credit limits and risk. The platform is designed to drastically improve the user experience, including time efficiency – operations that used to take 15 minutes now only take three.

Then there is Lenddo, an Asia-based fintech platform that uses non-traditional data to provide credit scoring and verification to economically empower the emerging middle class around the world.

Secure payments data platform, EFTsure, recently announced a new collaboration agreement with PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia. Under the agreement, PwC can advise certain clients of EFTsure’s innovative real-time payment verification technology and best practice payee management solution to help those clients to mitigate the risk of fraudulent or erroneous electronic business payments.

Other companies making inroads include UBank, one of Australia’s leading digital-only banks, which recently unveiled RoboChat, Australia’s first virtual assistant to help potential home buyers and refinancers complete their online home loan applications.

Source: Finfeed
India

Fintech Startups And Why They Need To Get An NBFC License (TechStory), Rated: A

FinTech, the abbreviated form of financial technology, is that segment of the start-up culture that deals with good old finance and banking business but through the more novel methods of crowdfunding, peer-to-peer models, mobile payments, loans and even asset management. They squarely fall under the definition of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), and considered against the Indian banking scenario they do not meet the legal definition of a bank as is outlined in the Companies Act 2013 or even the Companies Act, 1956.

If a recent Accenture report is anything to go by, fintech that was in a near-nascent state back in 2008 globally shot up in value from $930 million to about $12 billion by the start of 2015.

The other advantages are:

  • Cheaper business setup and expansion costs;
  • Quick rolling of funding rather than the drawn out method of first talking to investors;
  • Cheaper cross-border transfer of money (a fine example is that of UK-based TransferWise);
  • Simple registration process backed by minimal documentation, sometimes not requiring any Net Worth or collateral information (as is the case with LendingKart);
  • Make alternative credit scoring possible for ineligible borrowers for various types of loans; and
  • Even foster efficient fraud and anti-money laundering management in real time across products, channels and customers (as IndusInd has been successfully pioneering since quite some time now).

Why FinTechs need NBFC licenses to operate?

Since NBFCs are principally in the business of providing loans and advances, insurance, acquisition of shares, debentures and stocks, leasing, hire-purchase and even receiving deposits under a set arrangement or scheme, they fulfil the popular 50-50 test and are required to obtain the ‘Commencement of Business’ certificate from RBI (as per section 45 l (a) of the RBI Act).

The 50-50 test that is the basis of the principal business conducted by an NBFC finds application when a company’s financial assets constitute more than 50 percent of the total assets and income from financial assets constitute more than 50 percent of the gross income.

Democratising real estate via blockchain (New Straits Times), Rated: A

At the same time, our commitment to offer alternative investment channels was reinforced when we saw how the global flow of funds and individual investors continued to cause disruptions in house prices in many major cities.

Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending have been touted as among potential alternative platforms that can give small developers access to funding. We saw a number of such platforms used in many countries and they helped solve some of the funding needs.

On June 18 2015, we were deeply encouraged by news that Wanda Group (one of the largest commercial developers in China or the world by now) announced that it had raised five billion yuan (RM3.4 billion) from investors online in just three days to fund the construction of three malls. Investors were able to take part in the projects by investing as little as 1,000 yuan. This is truly opening up access to real estate.

Firstly, digital tokens created on blockchains are technically very difficult to hack and all transactions and documents are transparent. Secondly, in transaction using digital tokens, especially those involving completed properties, a lot of middleman fees can be reduced. More importantly, such digital tokens can be traded much like shares are traded on stock exchanges. This makes real estate a liquid instrument.

A Loan to Fund Every Need (Outlook India), Rated: B

“Data analytics offer efficient ways of analysing credit history and behaviour of a prospective borrower to make lending fast and easy on the digital platform,” says Rishi Mehra, CEO, Wishfin.com. Smartphones have made digital transactions seamless and by including a lending option, the ‘right now’ generation has it going for them like never before.

A P2P lending portal works in a way wherein lenders can make offers to fund borrower’s requirements which are accepted on first come, first served basis. Borrowers can seek to raise money from multiple lenders. A formal contract is signed by the lender and the borrower once they reach an agreement. The good news is that RBI has finalised P2P lending norms, which means there is nothing illegal or fishy about these loans. This format of lending is fast catching up, especially among the youth because many of them don’t have a credit score that will make them eligible for borrowing as soon as they start earning.

Asia

Financial authority to regulate peer-to-peer lending (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The Financial Service Authority (OJK) will soon regulate peer-to-peer (P2P) lending to minimize the risk of bad debt in the virtual financing business.

“The procedures for borrowing will be regulated in detail, such as how contract agreements anticipate the risk of bad debt,” Hendrikus said as reported by kompas.com on Wednesday.

He said his institution would also regulate the mechanism of “know your costumer” (KYC) through the existing technology.

Geisha loan application: Accepted (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: A

Some new loan-makers are dabbling in tech to help them gauge a potential borrower’s creditworthiness.

For potential borrowers it finds here, the lender will set artificial intelligence loose on the trove of data that the booking website serves up, like how busy the applicants’ inns are.

Japan Net Bank, an online lender, also uses technology to sift through big data when screening potential borrowers. Partnering with freee, a Tokyo-based online accounting software provider, the bank recently began using AI to quickly pick up and analyze data concerning potential borrowers’ financial situations as well as how well their businesses are doing.

Middle East

Bahrain: The latest nation to lay claim to “fintech hub” status (AltFi), Rated: A

Where isn’t a global fintech hub these days? Count Bahrain among the multitude of claimants. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has announced the first members of its new regulatory sandbox: NOW Money and Tramonex.

Dubai-based NOW Money claims to be the first company in the Gulf region to offer a mobile banking solution to users, including accounts and a range of low-cost global money transfer options for low-income workers.

Tramonex is a business-facing solution, helping companies to process and transfer funds online. Its focus is on facilitating conversion and settlement services to automate cross-border transactions.

Micropayments FinTech Innovation in Dubai (Simmons&Simmons), Rated: B

International law firm Simmons & Simmons continues to advise on cutting edge payment platform projects and the emerging regulation of payments. The Middle East TMT team, led by partner Raza Rizvi and senior associate Neil Westwood, advised Mercury Payments Services LLC (Mercury) on the phased roll out of an innovative payment service through cards issued by the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA).

Africa

SA fintech adoption beats global average, expected to surge (Moneyweb), Rated: AAA

South Africa ranks among the highest in fintech users globally and reports one of the highest incidences of intended use, a new study finds.

At 35%, fintech adoption in South Africa beats the global average of 33% and is mostly in line with its emerging market peers, who boast large tech savvy but financially underserved populations. Domestically, 6% of fintech users use five or more services and are classified as super users.

At 41%, adoption among consumers aged 25 to 34 is highest, closely followed by those aged 35 to 44 at 40%. The largely digital native 18 to 24 year-old category lags behind at 36%, mostly due to them having less sophisticated financial needs. Adoption gradually declines from age 45 upwards.

EY found that fintech adoption is highest among South Africans who earn $50 000 to $80 000 per annum at 51%, with usage at 50% among those who earn more than $150 000 annually. Adoption of all five services – money transfer and payments, financial planning, savings and investments, borrowing and insurance – is highest among the former income bracket. Surprisingly, those that earn more than $150 000 are the highest users of borrowing services, possibly due to their ability to leverage off their earnings.

Source: Moneyweb
South America

Brazil proposes new rules for fintechs, peer-to-peer lending (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Brazil’s central bank has proposed allowing financial technology companies to lend money, without taking deposits as commercial banks do, as part of new rules for the fast-growing fintech industry in Latin America’s largest economy.

The rules,which will be assessed in public hearings over the next 2-1/2 months, should not require congressional approval, central bank director Otávio Damaso said on Wednesday. Commercial banks will be allowed to create their own fintechs once the rules are in place, he said.

CARICOM

Global Domination Capital (Newsday), Rated: A

Global Domination Capital is set to be the region’s first fintech startup company, offering equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending solutions to the OECS countries and the CARICOM member states.

This includes Barbados, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and The Turks and Caicos Islands.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday August 9 2017, Daily News Digest

SoFi mortgages

News Comments Today’s main news: U.S. credit-card debt hits new record. LendingClub raises its outlook. OnDeck shares rise 17%. Zopa’s disappearing capital from IFISA. Ping An to invest in AI. Blackstone assumes majority stake in Banco Popular’s real estate portfolio. Securities and Exchange Board of India to study impact of fintech on financial markets. Today’s main analysis: SoFi bank charter could […]

SoFi mortgages

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

CARICOM

News Summary

United States

U.S. Credit-Card Debt Surpasses Record Set at Brink of Crisis (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

U.S. consumer credit-card debt just passed an ominous milestone, beating a record set just before the global financial system almost collapsed in 2008.

Outstanding card loans reached $1.02 trillion in June, data from the Federal Reserve show, as lenders including Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. compete to sign up cardholders who may carry balances — a relatively lucrative business in a prolonged period of low interest rates.

 

The tide may be turning for LendingClub (LC) (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub on Monday posted its second highest quarterly revenues in its history. And Wall Street has responded.

Net revenue spiked 35% to $139.6 million in the second quarter, beating Wall Street’s average estimate of $136.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Loan originations were up 10%.

Credit Suisse sent out a note to clients Tuesday morning outlining its case for a 25% boost in LendingClub’s stock price.

Lending Club Beats The Street And Raises Its Outlook (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

By the numbers, the performance was also in line with what investors wanted to see — revenue was up 35 percent to $139.6 million during Q2, a solid beat on the analysts’ consensus estimate of $136.4 million. Originations returned to growth in the second quarter, up 10 percent to $2.15 billion. Meanwhile, operating expenses fell by 12.5 percent to $165.1 million in the quarter.

Revenue for the year — on the strength of that big performance — got an upward revision to the range of $585 million to $600 million, a reasonable pick-up on the previous forecast of $575 million to $595 million.

Has Lending Club Reached A Turning Point? (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

Following a beat-and-raise quarter from LendingClub Corp LC, analysts surmised the company may have reached an inflection point.

Credit Suisse analysts Stephen Ju and Christopher Ford noted this is the first quarter in about a year in which the company reported year-over-year growth in loan originations. The analysts expect ongoing acceleration throughout the next four quarters, as the company continues to recover.

Canaccord Genuity expects originations to grow sequentially in the third quarter or fourth quarter, aiding revenue growth acceleration in the second half of 2017 and notable sequential margin expansion.

The firm maintains its 2017 earnings per share estimate at 3 cents but nudged up its 2018 earnings per share estimate from 19 cents to 20 cents.

OnDeck shares rise on sunny outlook for loan growth, profitability (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Shares of OnDeck Capital Inc (ONDK.N) rose as much as 17 percent on Monday after the online lender said it had made progress on a plan to cut costs and improve the credit profile of its borrowers, and expects to reach double-digit loan growth again by next year.

SoFi Bank charter could test CRA status quo (Market Intelligence), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc., or SoFi, on June 6 applied for a bank charter with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

S&P Global Market Intelligence research shows SoFi originated 1,160 mortgages in 2016, with only two of those mortgages, or 0.2%, made in distressed or underserved tracts, a CRA measure. Across the U.S., 2.0% of all mortgages were in underserved areas that year.

Of the $8 billion in total loans that SoFi said it originated in 2016, about $810 million were property loans, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. None of the mortgages issued by the parent company were in SoFi Bank’s proposed CRA assessment area of Salt Lake City and nearby areas.

Fewer than 1.00% of SoFi’s consumer loans are made to borrowers in Utah, according to reports for the company’s asset-backed securities issued in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The securitization documents cover $4.6 billion in principal loan balances.

SoFi’s CRA strategy will revolve around financial literacy, education and scholarships, according to its application. SoFi stated it will measure the success of its CRA plan in terms of employee hours devoted to community service, the number of scholarships awarded and the percent of its investment pool that goes into Utah Housing Bonds.

The 10 Biggest Fintech Companies In America (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Financial technology companies in the U.S. raised $3.5 billion in the first half of 2017, according to KPMG, as investors rushed to place bets in buzzy sectors like insurance and digital currencies.

The U.S. is now home to 13 fintech unicorns who have scored valuations of at least $1 billion.

  1. Stripe – Value: $9.2 billion
  2. SoFi – Value: $4.3 billion
  3. GreenSky  Value: $3.6 billion
  4. Credit Karma  Value: $3.5 billion
  5. Oscar  Value: $2.7 billion
  6. Avant  Value: $2 billion
  7. Zenefits Value: $2 billion
  8. Prosper  Value: $1.9 billion
  9. AvidXchange  Value: $1.4 billion
  10. Robinhood  Value: $1.3 billion

Betterment Introduces New Features And Pricing Plans (Forbes), Rated: A

Betterment’s three new features went live in late July. The features are:

  • Financial Advice Via App: Through Betterment’s mobile app, clients can now message a licensed financial expert. Experts can answer questions like how to set goals, which tax features to use, and how much risk to take in investing.
  • Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Portfolio Options: These options give customers a way to invest in a globally diversified portfolio of companies considered socially responsible.
  • Combining Plus and Premium Plans: Betterment is now combining its Plus and Premium plans, which allow customers to now make unlimited phone calls to certified financial professionals. The new, combined plan charges a .4% annual fee.

The first feature, the ability to get financial advice through an app, attempts to address a big issue with robo advisors. Many investors want a human touch. They want to talk to an advisor from time to time. This will no doubt be true during the next bear market. Betterment’s new feature attempts to address this need.

The new pricing plan will benefit investors who were already using the higher-level Betterment plans. Those who were Plus customers can now get more personalized advice for the same fee and those who were Premium customers are paying less for the same service–always a good thing.

The Premium plan now gives customers access to more holistic investing advice. This advice can run the full scope of your investments, from your 401(k) to real estate to individual stocks to your Betterment portfolio.

Fed study finds expanded credit access resulting from fintech lending (Ballard Spahr), Rated: A

The study’s key findings include:

  • The fintech lender’s consumer lending activities penetrated into areas that could benefit from additional credit supply, such as areas that have lost a disproportionate number of bank branches and highly concentrated banking markets.
  • Consumers presenting the same credit risk could obtain credit at lower rates through the fintech lender than through traditional credit cards offered by banks.
  • The lender’s use of alternative credit data allowed consumers with few or inaccurate credit records (based on FICO scores) to access credit at lower prices, thereby resulting in enhanced financial inclusion.

SMARTPHONES MAY BECOME SMART ATM’S WITH NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION (Fintech Today), Rated: A

You may no longer need to worry about carrying your ATM card with you everywhere as long as your bank’s ATM and smartphone are equipped with near field communication technology (NFC). NFC, a method of wireless data transfer that detects and enables technology to communicate, is reportedly being rolled out at banks across the country. Financial institutions believe that cardless or “Smart ATM’s” are the wave of the future and they are enabled as long as ATM’s and customers have a smartphone or mobile device equipped with NFC.

It’s been estimated that 2.2 billion smartphones will be equipped with NFC by 2020.

Robos, digital platforms and human financial advice: What investors really want (Investment News), Rated: A

The emergence of robo-advice and robo-investing platforms in recent years has led many traditional advisory firms to place a greater emphasis on their digital footprints. A growing number, in fact, are moving to offer digital versions of their “human” services. The 2017 InvestmentNews Adviser Technology Study, for example, showed that 7% of independent advisory firms offered a robo-advice option at the end of 2016, compared with just 3% two years earlier. At the same time, 19% of the firms that do not offer a robo-advice option intend to introduce one in 2017—nearly double the number that indicated that intention in 2015.

Only about 4% of the mass affluent and high-net-worth individuals in our survey reported that they use an automated investing or robo-advice tool.

Source: Investment News

For context, some 49% of individuals in our study currently use a financial adviser; the balance are self-directed investors.

Online Lender Better Mortgage Now Available in 13 States as it Expands into Florida (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Better Mortgage is now available in 13 different states as it has received a license to lend to house hunters in Florida.  The Sunshine state is an important addition to the online lenders services as Florida is a popular vacation home state.

Better Mortgage says it is continuing to expand its footprint in the US. The lender is now available and improving access to homeownership in 13 markets including; Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. Better Mortgage says that it is seeing particularly strong uptake in Seattle, Washington, San Francisco, California, and Washington, D.C.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms: What to Look For (Equities.com), Rated: A

While each offers a unique focus and value proposition to investors, platforms have now consolidated into several main categories of business model:

  • eREITs: Fundrise and RealtyMogul, two of the original players the real estate crowdfunding space, have pivoted to offering semi-blind funds that aggregate properties throughout the country.
  • Commercial equity investing: probably the closest to the original ideal of real estate crowdfunding, these platforms offer CRE equity opportunities to accredited investors, allowing them to participate in high-upside, larger commercial projects. While the return potential is often great, these tend to be the longer term and riskier than other RECF investments.
  • Debt investing: Some platforms take some or all of an existing real estate loan, secured by a deed on the underlying property, and syndicate it out to a network of individual investors at a fixed rate of return.

Some platforms (like EquityMultiple, see below) perform their own diligence on investments, which should give you some comfort as an investor. Even so, you’ll want to understand some key components of any deal you consider, and be sure it aligns with your investing objectives before pulling the trigger. Here are some of the main things to consider:

  • Risk Factors – Examples of risk factors are tight construction timelines, a precarious labor market in the area, an unsubstantial track record or aggressive leverage on the part of the Sponsor who originated the deal.
  • Payout Structure – Be sure to understand where your investments fits in the capital stack, and what order you will be repaid principal and profits relative to the Sponsor and other LP investors.
  • Cash Flow and Liquidity – Simply looking at how many dollars you’re expected to receive over the lifetime of a deal (the simple return) or even a time-weighted return (IRR – internal rate of return), won’t give a complete picture of the timing and magnitude of returns.

Developer of Vacant Lots in New Orleans Has Crowdfunding Success (Next City), Rated: A

Small Change, a real estate crowdfunding portal, recently completed the sale of its first-ever offering open to all investors — and raised $95,000. Thirty-nine investors put in an average of $2,435. The minimum investment was $500. The money will help OJT (Office of Jonathan Tate), a New Orleans-based developer, finance the construction of two affordable single-family homes, on vacant lots.

The homes will be in New Orleans’ Milan neighborhood, which is two-thirds black and one-third white, and has a median income around $33,000.

Mixing technology and old fashioned salesmanship, Voya expands (Financial-Planning.com), Rated: A

So it has to move beyond the perception that it is a singular service provider, says Voya Financial Advisors’s Tom Halloran, president of its broker-dealer. One way the firm is doing that is by tying together its institutional businesses with retail, mixing technological innovation with old fashioned salesmanship, even considering the deployment of a robo advice platform.

A former Microsoft and Yahoo exec explains how treating your job like a report card can help you get a raise (Business Insider), Rated: B

In fact, it’s up to you to track your performance and ensure that your compensation reflects it, said Joanne Bradford, chief marketing officer of online lender SoFi, on a recent episode of the “So Money” podcast.

Clark County Common Pleas Court cases (Springfield News-Sun), Rated: B

Velocity Investments, LLC, assignee of Lending Club Corp., v. Joshua R. Hawk, judgment for $17,947.

United Kingdom

Investors remark on “disappearing capital” from Zopa IFISA due to IT glitch (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

SEVERAL lenders who invested through Zopa’s Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) have complained that small amounts of money were disappearing from their account.

The issue occurred when funds were invested in the ISA Plus product and appeared to be missing capital rather than negative interest, investors on the P2P Independent Forum said.

Zopa is understood to be rectifying the technical issue.

Report proposes new ways to get people investing (AltFi), Rated: AAA

A new report on savings and investment suggests that savers are missing out on billions of pounds by spurning investment opportunities, including peer-to-peer lending. The report is supported by RateSetter, one of the UK’s largest P2P operators, and was produced by the Social Market Foundation think tank.

The report found that savers are holding more than £200bn in cash above and beyond what is referred to as the “rainy day” level. “Rainy day” funds – which are held in cash in case of emergency – are defined by the report as three months’ worth of income. The Social Market Foundation says that this idle pot of £200bn could have generated returns of £94bn over the past five years, had it been invested in the FTSE 100, or £40bn, if invested via P2P lending.

Ranger Direct Lending fund’s woes continue (AltFi), Rated: A

The £240m Ranger Direct Lending fund was announced its latest dividend of 24.26 pence per ordinary share for the 3-month period to 30 June 2017, its lowest in more than a year.

Its latest numbers show returns were again comparable to the last few months. This was due to a combination of expenses such as legal fees and higher than expected cash levels. In 2017, excluding the estimated dividend mentioned above, a total of 55.44 pence per share has been paid in dividends to ordinary shareholders. In 2016, a total of 89.61 pence per share was paid in dividends to ordinary shareholders.

 

Octopus the latest firm to offer the peer-to-peer Innovative Finance Isa, promises investors interest before Octopus (City A.M.), Rated: A

Investment firm Octopus seems to have its tentacles in all the pies, as it has today become the latest business to offer an Innovative Finance Isa.

Octopus is also aiming to dismiss the risks associated with peer-to-peer lending by contributing five per cent of every loan from its own pocket. Any losses suffered will come out of this sum first, meaning investors can get their initial investment back plus any interest due to them before Octopus earns anything.

Investors will be able to put as little as £10 in the tax-free product, and up to their annual Isa allowance which currently stands at £20,000.

ThinCats Receives Full Authorization By the Financial Conduct Authority (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ThinCats, an alternative lending industry leader, announced on Tuesday it has received full authorization by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). According to the online lender, the approval highlights its commitment to protecting consumers and also developing the alternative finance industry as a vital source of capital for businesses and income for investors.

China

With $ 1b war chest, Ping An set to become AI innovation giant (China Daily), Rated: AAA

Chinese financial giant Ping An Insurance (Group) Co will spend more than 7.77 billion yuan ($1.16 billion) on technology research and development this year, and artificial intelligence will be the focus of that R&D, according to a senior executive of the company.

Established in 2008, Ping An Technology has about 4,000 technology workers and has paid attention to R&D in cognition, robot advisory and cloud businesses. Their applications are mainly used in finance and healthcare industries; up to now, there have been more than 200 application scenarios.

Micro-bank micro-credit balance of over 100 billion, has launched the enterprise loan products “micro-credit” (01Caijing), Rated: A

On the evening of August 7, the public bankers issued a friend said that the balance of micro-loan loans over 100 billion. According to the public bank in 2016 annual report, the balance of micro-loan loans 7 months increase of nearly 300%.

In addition, July 16, the public bank retail credit director Fang Zhenyu Lundi summit speech revealed that the balance of microfinance loans 76 billion yuan, which means that the balance of 72 days of microfluice increased by 24 billion yuan. At the same time, he also revealed that the daily loan loans to 150,000 pen, up to 20 to 300,000 pen, the daily repayment of the number of 200,000 pen, a single loan approval time is 0.3 seconds, almost real-time approval. In the allocation of talent, the public bank IT department staff accounted for 57%, background managers accounted for 6%, business and support staff accounted for 37%.

LangDi FinTech Conference in Shanghai. The Biggest Fintech Meetup In The World! (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Last year, the conference had a massive showing of over 1,300 attendees. This year, the conference nearly doubled to 2,400 attendees. There was hardly any place to stand when Soul Htite of DianRong and Renaud Laplache of Upgrade took the main stage to talk about Fintech entrepreneurship.

Gopher Asset Management had investment associates in just about every session at the conference looking for the next investment opportunity. Gopher is a subsidiary of Noah Holding Limited (NOAH:NYSE), one of the biggest wealth management companies in China with a current market cap of USD $1.7 billion.

Galaxy Internet, another Chinese venture capital firm is actively seeking investment opportunities in the area of finance, ecommerce, payments and big data. 

Borrowell is owning the Canadian market in a big way. They just raised a $12 million round. Borrowell is helping Canadian’s to build credit starting with affordable loans. In a short amount of time, Borrowell has amassed over 300,000 borrowers and is looking to expand into other markets.

Jack Quigley, Founder and CEO of CrowdFundUp. He’s probably the hardest working man in Fintech. He’s constantly making deals and connecting dots. He’s 100% committed to China and recently moved to Shanghai and I think he’s not leaving until he brings home the trophy. I visited his office in Shanghai, overlooking a bustling city. CrowdFundUp will be China’s gateway into commercial real estate in Australia.

European Union

Blackstone to take majority stake in Banco Popular’s real estate portfolio (PE Hub Network), Rated: AAA

Banco Popular S.A. (‘Popular’) has today approved the sale of a majority stake in its real estate portfolio to Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe V (‘Blackstone’). The agreement has been reached following a competitive process in which three international companies with long track records in the management of real estate assets presented offers. Blackstone was selected as the successful bidder after submitting the best offer in terms of both its value and management plan.

The agreement was confirmed after the European Union Directorate General for Competition today approved the acquisition of Popular by Banco Santander S.A. (‘Santander’) with no restrictions.

The transaction will involve the creation of a company to which Banco Popular will transfer assets with an aggregate gross book value of approximately €30 billion, as well as 100% of the share capital of Banco Popular’s real estate management company, Aliseda.

The valuation attributed to the Spanish assets of the business (e.g. properties, loans and tax assets, not including Aliseda) is approximately €10 billion. This is consistent with the valuation and provisions made by Santander during the acquisition of Popular and does not, therefore, result in any material capital gain or loss for Santander or Popular. The final valuation is subject to change depending on the assets remaining within the business at closure and following the integration of Aliseda.

Blackstone will own a majority 51% stake in the new company while also assuming management responsibilities, while Banco Popular will own the remaining 49% stake. As a result, the aforementioned assets will no longer be consolidated on Banco Popular’s balance sheet.

VC’s behind Zopa, Revolut, Transferwise & Clear Score confirmed for judging panel for PitchIt event (London Loves Business), Rated: A

Representatives from Venture Capitalists: Seedcamp, Blenheim Chalcot, CommerzVentures, and Balderton Capital will form the judging panel of experienced VCs from and around Europe.

Collectively, these four firms are some of the most active investors in the European fintech category and have played key roles in the success of several of the largest fintech successes in Europe.

Lithuania Seeks to Become Fintech Center as Bank of Lithuania Looks to Launch Regulatory Sandbox (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Lithuania is the latest country joining the Fintech revolution by recognizing the importance of fostering a regulatory environment that is conducive to change and challenges established norms. The Bank of Lithuania is out with a statement regarding the launch of a sponsored Fintech Sandbox.

The following measures are will apply:

  • Relatively easy and low-cost authorization process: following submission of all necessary documents, it takes only 3 months for the Bank of Lithuania to take a decision on the issuance of an electronic money or payment institution license. In other EU countries, the process may take 12 months and more.
  • Access to the Bank of Lithuania payment infrastructure for non-banking sector companies planning to provide payment services, thus avoiding a middleman.
  • Newcomer program. The Bank of Lithuania applies a one-stop shop principle for meetings and consultations with potential financial market participants.
  • Specialized banking license. In order to establish a bank in Lithuania that would provide usual banking services, the lowest initial capital requirement in the entire euro area – EUR 1 million – is applied. This is five times less than the requirement applied to banks that provide the full range of services, including investment ones.
International

The Russian Connection (To Alt Lending Globally) (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

ID Finance Co-Founders Boris Batine and Alexander Dunaev were far from newcomers to the world of finance when they started up their business in 2012. Long before founding a data science, credit scoring and digital finance company, the Russian-born and U.K.-educated entrepreneurs met while working abroad at Renaissance Capital and Deutsche Bank.

And so, in 2012, with only a few hundred thousand of their own dollars to get up and running, ID Finance launched in one of those underserved markets — their home market of Russia.

By 2015, the firm was profitable, and in 2016, it officially relocated it headquarters to Barcelona, Spain, one of three nations outside Russia ID Finance has expanded its efforts into — Belarus and Brazil being the other two.

These days, the firm originates 50,000 new loans a month — loans that it mostly finances off its own balance sheet, as opposed to selling them off on a marketplace. As of February of this year, the firm raised $50 million in debt from a consortium of banks to fund further expansion in South America.

A New $200 Million Fund

As ID Finance has expanded around the world — and partnered with various FIs — its founders realized that there are a host of small businesses that are simply being underdeveloped because they are almost invisible to investors.

Working with Elbrus Capital Fund Manager Yury Popov and asset management company Da Vinci Capital, the FinTech Credit Fund is being jointly offered as a $200 million debt finance fund aimed at FinTech companies focused on alt lending innovation. The funding from the credit fund, according to Batine, is aimed at helping up-and-coming FinTech lenders fund their own loans — and finance their loan portfolios.

“The alternative lending market is worth a potential $2 trillion, and we see a huge opportunity to back the billion dollar companies of tomorrow focused on digital lending,” Dunaev said.

How this social entrepreneur is bringing banks to the fingertips of the unbanked (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Humaniq was launched in 2016 with a vision to build a world where the unbanked and underbanked around the world also have access to the banking and financial transactions. An estimated 2 billion people can be brought under the umbrella of financial inclusion with Humaniq’s services.

Tell us more about Humaniq and the problem you solve?

Humaniq is on a mission to bring new mobile digital services and financial inclusion solutions to the 3.5 billion unbanked / under banked globally who have no access to the digital economy.

How does Humaniq work, especially with respect to privacy and security?

Humaniq offers a biometric blockchain app that can be used in any simple smartphone device.

The Humaniq LITE app is part of a broader humanitarian capitalism venture. Humaniq has a digital currency tied to it, known as HMQ.

Who’s your target audience and how exactly do you help?

We are working with emergent economies – where people live on USD$2.50 a day. Many of them do not have documentation and have had little or no education.

Our first big pilot will be in Ghana with local and international organisations, targeting 18 to 40-year-old low-income smartphone users and merchants in suburban areas including the capital city of Accra.

How did you acquire your first customer and how long did that take?

We did various test in India and Africa with previous test versions of our app. We are also working with Brazilian organizations.

With regards to funding, how did you fund your business? How hard was it and how much time did it take to acquire those funds?

Our business model has thrived on the P2P innovation and blockchain driven crypto economics. We built our model on the back of a crypto, Ethereum driven smart contract Initial Coin Offering(ICO).

Australia/New Zealand

New Zealand advice industry to be overhauled (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

The New Zealand government is looking to remove the distinction between class and personal advice, as well as allow the provision of digital advice as it seeks to overhaul the country’s regulatory regime for financial advisers.

Unlike the FA Act, the new Bill enables the provision of more types of advice by being technology-neutral, lifting the existing restrictions around advice needing to be provided by a human adviser.

In turn, this allows for the provision of robo-advice and works to future-proof the legislation for technological developments. It also serves to increase the New Zealand population’s access to quality financial advice.

‘Non-bank’ status drives IOOF results (IFA.com.au), Rated: A

IOOF has credited the structure of its “non-bank-aligned” dealer groups and “open architecture” culture with a dramatic increase in revenue inflows from its financial advice business.

The results reflect a 131 per cent year-on-year increase in advice net inflows, according to a statement from IOOF, with $3.0 billion in total advice net inflows for the 2017 year.

India

SEBI Constitutes CFRT Committee To Study Impact Of Fintech On Financial Markets (Inc42), Rated: AAA

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has formed a Committee on Financial and Regulatory Technologies (CFRT) to examine ongoing and medium-term trends related to fintech in the securities and financial markets worldwide.

Thus, regulators are faced with the challenges as well as opportunities to evolve their functioning more effectively through the adoption of new technology solutions. It is in this context that the CFRT committee will help the SEBI deal with relevant risks and challenges.

The Committee would examine, deliberate and advise the SEBI on an ongoing basis on the following issues:

  • Recent and medium term trends (within next 5 years) in fintech developments in securities market worldwide.
  • Opportunities and challenges from new fintech solutions and its impact on Indian Securities Market.
  • Fintech solutions for further widening and deepening of Indian securities market.
  • Approach and framework for the regulatory sandbox in Indian market conditions to facilitate the adoption of fintech and promote financial innovations.
  • Preparing the Indian securities market and regulatory framework to adapt to new fintech solutions while promoting market integrity, market development, consumer protection and managing change, business models and market disruptions.
  • Assessing technological solutions for SEBI regulatory functions viz. information management and data mining, risk management including cyber security, intermediary supervision, consumer protection, etc., through the application of new technological solutions like applying distributed ledger technology, Big Data, data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning etc.
  • Technology capacity building by Indian securities market in general and SEBI in particular.

Start-up funding may come under SEBI lens (The Hindu), Rated: A

The Committee on Financial and Regulatory Technologies will, among other things, deliberate on financial technology solutions for “further widening and deepening of the Indian securities market” through traditional and alternative platforms, including peer to peer lending and equity crowd-funding.

While questioning the manner in which these entities help start-ups raise funds, the regulator has said that any violation would be “construed as organising an unrecognised stock exchange” and that SEBI would be “constrained to initiate action.”

Under the current legal framework, issue of shares to more than 200 persons constitutes a public issue and needs SEBI approval.

Rubique Appoints Vodafone Ex- M-Pesa CEO Suresh Sethi & Alexia Yannopoulos of Apis Partners as Directors (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Rubique, the one-stop online marketplace providing technology-enabled end-to-end solutions to financing needs of individuals & SMEs has announced the appointment of two directors- Suresh Sethi, EX-CEO & Managing Director of Vodafone M-Pesa and Alexia Yannopoulos Director at Apis Partners LLP.

Asia

CFTE is Helping MAS Assist ASEAN Finance Professionals Gain FinTech Skills (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

The Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) has revealed that it is setting up an international hub in Singapore designed to aid finance professionals gain the necessary skills in FinTech.

Working closely with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), CFTE has been formalizing plans to expand its education platform to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to a report from FinTech Finance.

CFTE is to deliver courses that cover a range of areas in the finance industry. These include artificial intelligence, application programming interfaces (APIs), coding, blockchain, and RegTech. They will either be delivered online or via in-class training.

P2P lending growth slows in July (Yonhap News), Rated: AAA

South Korea’s peer-to-peer lending growth slowed in July after financial regulators asked lenders to tighten guidelines for individual investors, industry data showed Tuesday.

According to data compiled by the Korea P2P Financial Association, lending between peers grew by 104.7 billion won (US$93.1 million) in July to a cumulative 1.2 trillion won.

In comparison, P2P lending grew by 172.8 billion won in June.

P2P financing industry to absorb investors’ demands (Korea Herald), Rated: A

It is especially likely to absorb the investor cluster who, under the government’s new restrictive measures on real estate transactions, are swiftly turning away from banks and seeking for an alternative source of investment income, according to industry watchers.

In late May, the association enforced a set of guidelines, setting a 10 million won ceiling on the investment per business unit, responding to the government’s gesture to protect investors from potential dangers of the new investment platform.

INDONESIAN peer-to-peer (P2P) lending marketplace PT Amartha Mikro Fintek (Amartha) encourages and targets “millenials” to invest in micro-businesses and SMEs through the Amartha Short Movie Festival.

The Amartha Short Movie Festival is a competition divided into two categories which are short documentaries with the theme empowering micro-businesses and short fiction movies with online peer-to-peer lending as the theme. Applications are open from August 8 to October 9, 2017.

CARICOM

Vincentian Set to Launch the Region’s First Equity Crowdfuning Startup Company (St. Lucia Times), Rated: AAA

Global Domination Capital is set to be the regions’ first fintech startup company, offering equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending solutions to the OECS countries and  the CARICOM member states. This includes Barbados, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and The Turks and Caicos Islands.

Global Domination Capital is expected go live and accept both new investors and borrowers to the platform by late September.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor