Monday February 5 2018, Daily News Digest

Nav financing

News Comments Today’s main news: Banco BNI starts lending through Fellow Finance. eBay drops PayPal for Adyen. Aviva exec backs robos. OneConnect secures $650M funding. Stripe sets up engineering hub in Dublin. EBANX gets $30M in funding from FTV Capital. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ Alternative Lending Market Analysis for January, and an interview with Nav CEO. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

Nav financing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

MENA

Latin America

News Summary

United States

eBay ditches PayPal for Adyen (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

What the good fintech can giveth, it can taketh away. eBay has given PayPal the boot and turned to Dutch firm Adyen as its primary processing partner.

Looking to sweeten this bitter pill, eBay says PayPal, a “long-time” partner, will be an option at the checkout for its buyers.

PayPal powers BofA Merrill digital payments (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s (BofA Merrill) US-based commercial clients can now make payments in local currencies to payees who hold PayPal accounts.

Strong Job Gains, Marcus Acquihires, MLA Testimony (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Janet Yellen chaired her last Fed meeting as the committee kept interest rates on hold in January. Futures are pricing in a 93% probability of a rate hike in March and 3 rate hikes for 2018. The recent sell off on the long end of the curve has seen 10-year treasury yields edge past 2.85%, providing respite to banks who were seeing their loan margins compress as the curve flattened.

In securitization news, Marlette completed its largest securitization to date, with MFT 2018-1 coming in at $464 Mn. The deal was significantly over subscribed and eventually upsized continuing the trend of larger deal size that we pointed out in ourQ4 securitization trackerThe senior tranches were rated AA by Kroll. The collateral pool has 40,303 loans with an average loan balance of $12k, weighted average coupon of 14.3% and a FICO score of 703. All the loans were originated by Cross River Bank.

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

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Levi King, Co-founder and CEO of Nav, which is a data aggregation platform and marketplace that bridges the gap between small businesses and financial institutions. In the interview, Levi discusses the motivation behind founding Nav and how the company solves the challenges small businesses face managing their credit and securing financing solutions, among other topics.

Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

Open banking’s early adopters bet on ‘tremendous gains in value’ (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Only a few banks have embraced open banking and offer APIs to almost anyone. But they are betting on having a head start on competitors, as trends in the industry, such as increased bank-fintech partnership and evolving regulation, will push the banking-as-a-platform movement toward reality.

Operating as BBVA Compass in the U.S. in Birmingham, Ala., in 2016 it named a head of open APIs, and has engaged in several data-sharing agreements with fintechs. It is one of a handful of U.S. banks engaged in open banking — Capital One, Silicon Valley Bank, Citi and CBW Bank in Weir, Kan., also have such programs.

Last May, BBVA opened up its API Marketplace and made commercially available eight APIs so companies, startups and developers would be able to build new products and services by accessing and integrating customer’s banking data — with their permission — into their applications.

Source: American Banker

Fiserv Has Largest U.S. Marketshare of Top Bank Core Processors (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

According to data gathered by FedFis.com, the top processor is Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv. With more than 37% of the market share, Fiserv is well ahead of its competitors. The second, Monett, Mo.-based Jack Henry & Associates, has just half Fiserv’s market share with 17.6%. Close behind JHA is Fidelity National Information Services Inc., better known as FIS.

Enova Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Results (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Enova International (NYSE: ENVA), a financial technology company offering consumer and small business loans and financing, today announced financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2017.

Fourth Quarter 2017 Summary

  • Total revenue of $243.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 20.4% from $202.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Gross profit margin was 47.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to 51.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016, driven by growth in the installment loan and receivables purchase agreement segment as well as a higher mix of new customers, which requires higher loan loss provisions.
  • Net income was $6.9 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to net income of $8.7 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Fourth quarter 2017 adjusted EBITDA of $38.1 million, a non-GAAP measure, increased from $35.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • Adjusted net income of $8.9 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, a non-GAAP measure, in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased from adjusted net income of $8.5 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Full Year 2017 Summary

  • Total revenue of $843.7 million in 2017 increased 13.2% from $745.6 million in 2016.
  • Gross profit margin was 53.0% in 2017 compared to 56.0% in 2016.
  • Net income was $29.2 million, or $0.86 per diluted share, in 2017 compared to net income of $34.6 million, or $1.03per diluted share, in 2016.
  • Full year 2017 adjusted EBITDA of $157.8 million, a non-GAAP measure, increased from $142.3 million in 2016.
  • Adjusted net income of $46.9 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, a non-GAAP measure, in 2017 increased from adjusted net income of $37.5 million, or $1.12 per diluted share in 2016.

No Credit? No Problem! Microlender for Women Uses Novel Approach (WSJ), Rated: A

Daniela Morales’s lender is demanding. Every Friday morning, at 9:45 sharp, she has to visit a small apartment in Woodside, Queens, to make her weekly payment—currently $293 plus $17 interest on a $6,900 balance.

Ms. Morales’s lender is Grameen America, a nonprofit microlender for women entrepreneurs. To get a Grameen loan, you don’t need any collateral or credit history, just the support of a small group of Grameen loan recipients who can vouch for you. It is, essentially, a reputation-based loan.

There are other nonprofit microlenders operating in the city, including Accion and BOC Capital Corp. But Grameen America, modeled on a Bangladeshi microlender, is unique in its peer support and loan-approval model.

The loans, which start at $500 and command an interest rate of 18% on a declining balance, must be repaid in six months. The interest rate falls as the loan is repaid. Members who establish a good track record qualify for larger sums.

How This Founder Is Using Fintech To Give Women More Financial Control (Benzinga), Rated: A

Morty is an online mortgage broker. Our mission is to empower homebuyers to make smarter home financing decisions. With a modern tech stack and a marketplace of lenders, we offer customers the most options, great rates, and a transparent process.

What surprised you the most in the fintech industry in 2017?

That there wasn’t more innovation in the mortgage space. It’s the only lending vertical that hasn’t moved online- credit cards, student loans, small business loans, personal loans- all have a big online presence. There is still so much to be done in mortgage, it’s exciting.

Hackers Targeting Payroll Direct Deposit (PYMNTS), Rated: A

In an article penned for JD Supra by law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., experts warned of a type of payroll scam that sees fraudsters diverting direct deposits from employee accounts to criminal accounts.

According to the firm, fraudsters use a phishing scam by sending an email from an address similar to a legitimate company account.

Ogletree Deakins warned that not only does this scam result in lost funds, but it is ultimately a data breach, with scammers gaining access to corporate systems and data. The report also noted that scammers are targeting all types of businesses using all types of payroll providers.

Will Markets Ever Live Up to Our Expectations (Guru Focus), Rated: A

The fintech industry is the powerhouse behind the meteoric rise of the peer-to-peer lending market. After several platforms launched online payments, it was only a matter of time before new ones emerged offering lending services that are offered by and to registered members.

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) has been one of the most notable players in this space and its popularity pushed it public in 2014. However, since then, the company has struggled to live up to expectations, reflecting the actual picture of the status of the peer-to-peer lending.

According to critics, while peer-to-peer lending is an attractive option for borrowers looking for alternative financing solutions, it appears to have growth limitations due to lack of funding for new products. Peer-to-peer lending platforms do not take deposits and this is a limiting factor, but analysts suggest that if they are to grow to the point of rivaling the mainstream lending market, then they may have to start taking customer deposits.

How to Win Man vs. Machine Advice Game (ThinkAdvisor), Rated: A

TD Ameritrade put the competitive pressures tied to robo-advisors and other technology left, right and center at its LINC 2018 RIA conference this week in Orlando. Industry leaders highlighted the power and threat of technology and how to address these trends in the advice business.

The dealmakers financing top adviser technology (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

It’s impossible to look at the landscape of modern adviser technology without seeing Steve Lockshin’s footprints.

As an early investor in Betterment, Mr. Lockshin, 41, was instrumental in encouraging the robo-adviser to pivot from competing against advisers to partnering with them.

Brad Bernstein could see the role of advisers was changing.

What was once an industry of investment managers and salespeople was shifting to financial planning. Driving the change was technology — automating and commoditizing many of the ways advisers traditionally added value for clients. Mr. Bernstein, 51, managing partner at growth equity firm FTV Capital, believed there was a demand for products that helped advisers better articulate their value to clients.

That’s what attracted Brooks Gibbins, 45, to the industry when he founded FinTech Collective with his partner, Gareth Jones, in 2012. The venture capital firm has been one of the most active early-stage fintech investors over the past five years, seeding some of the biggest names on the adviser fintech scene.

Seeing the opportunity for adviser fintech startups to get acquired by, or partner with, financial institutions, Ian Sheridan decided to draw on his more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry — working in wealth, retirement and investing in startups — to identify which technology would be part of the next wave of innovation.

Fidelity rocked the adviser fintech world in 2015 when it acquired eMoney, one of the most popular financial planning and client portal tools among independent advisers. The reported $250 million price tag proved there was money to be made in adviser fintech.

“Prior to that, there was good technology out there, but there wasn’t this stream of new business models, this new equity flowing in,” said Mike Durbin, 50, the president of Fidelity Institutional who spearheaded the deal. “The pace has clearly quickened.”

After a career that took him from E.F. Hutton to founding the Lockwood family of companies, Len Reinhart turned toward private investing in retirement.

American Association of Private Lenders Opposes Florida Mortgage Licensing Bills (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The Florida legislature kicked off its legislative session by introducing Florida Senate Bill 894 and House Bill 935, legislation that could cover private mortgage lenders. The bills, introduced by Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Miami) and Rep. Jeanette Nunes (R-Miami), would eliminate a longstanding business purpose exemption for loans secured by a Dwelling.

On January 18, the bill passed the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee with a 13-1 vote. On January 24, the House Commerce Committee passed the bill on a unanimous vote. The Senate similarly passed the bill on a unanimous vote in the Senate Banking and Insurance committee on January 23.

American Association of Private Lenders’ (AAPL) position is that the proposed regulation would harm Florida residents, business and the state’s economic growth by consolidating power to a few licensed parties. Private lenders provide much needed capital to a marketplace which is underserved by large financial institutions. Professional business parties need to be able to work with each other without significant regulatory intervention. The proposed regulation would result in less market competition, translating to higher interest rates, a higher cost of credit and would force business out of Florida and into neighboring states including Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, all of which exempt business purpose loans from licensing requirements.

Amy Johnson Named as Chief Operating Officer at dv01 (PR Newswire), Rated: B

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that provides institutional investors insight into lending markets, today announced the appointment of Amy Johnson as Chief Operating Officer. Johnson will report to dv01 founder and CEO, Perry Rahbar.

As COO, Johnson will be responsible for dv01’s finance, legal, and sales efforts, including helping execute the company’s vision and scale its operations.

The 10 D.C. Area Startups That Raised Capital in January (DC Inno), Rated: B

Reston, Va.-based online lender StreetShares closed $23 million in equity funding on Jan. 24. The lender focuses on veteran-owned small businesses and relies on a peer-to-peer lending model. About $20 million of the new round is from Bethesda, Md.-based firm Rotunda Capital Partners. Previously, StreetShares had raised $8.3 million between three rounds.

United Kingdom

Aviva executive backs robo-advisers in call for financial advice shake-up (New World News), Rated: AAA

An Aviva executive has backed the rise of robo-advisers and called for a shake-up of financial advice to help open up the industry to the mass market.

Andy Briggs, chief executive of Aviva UK Insurance, said the current regime is freezing out large swathes of the population because only the upper echelons can afford the hefty fees.

Mr Briggs said robo-advisers could also be more powerful and beneficial to customers if the artificial intelligence did not have to carry out full financial assessments.

Treasury begins SME finance inquiry (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The Treasury committee has launched an inquiry into SME finance to look at the state of the market and the lessons to be learned from RBS’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG).
The Treasury’s inquiry will look at the extent of competition in the market, the various sources of funding available to SMEs – including P2P lending and crowdfunding – and whether the current regulatory framework provides enough protection to SMEs when they borrow money.

The committee will also consider the regulation of SME lending and whether banks should be bound by a broader set of duties when dealing with SMEs.

The pros and cons of each of the six types of ISA on the market (Your Money), Rated: A

6) Innovative Finance ISA

An Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) is a peer-to-peer lending or crowdfunding product. In some instances, you can generate returns of around 8 – 9% by lending to private borrowers or by taking stakes in ‘crowdfunded’ investments. The IFISA is also subject to the same £20,000 annual ISA allowance so you can split your money between this ISA, as well as cash and stocks and shares.

While this is regulated by the FCA, peer-to-peer lending is not covered by the FSCS meaning your capital is at risk.

Things can only get better, says Christie & Co (The Caterer), Rated: B

Easily available debt from banks, financial institutions, peer-to-peer lending and even crowdfunding, together with forecasts of revpar growth of 2.4% in London and 2.3% in the regions, will help drive investments. Strong leisure business enjoyed by hotels last year – up 20% – is expected to continue to grow, depending on a continued weak pound.

Sainsbury’s and British Land chairmen join late payments start-up (Financial Times), Rated: B

A UK start-up that is aiming to end the culture of late payment that plagues British business has recruited two FTSE 100 chairmen as investors and advisers.

David Tyler, chairman of supermarket chain J Sainsbury, and John Gildersleeve, chairman of property group British Land, have joined the advisory board of Previse.

The London-based business pays supplier invoices instantly and collects the money from customers later. By analysing years of payment data it uses artificial intelligence to calculate the likelihood it can collect from the big customer. It has pilots running with two large corporations and is in talks with dozens more, Mr Gildersleeve told the Financial Times.

China

Ping An OneConnect fintech subsidiary raises $ 650 million in financing (Finextra), Rated: A

OneConnect is the only one-stop FinTech-empowered solutions provider in China. Financing of the three subsidiaries received positive responses, particularly from international institutional investors, including the SoftBank Vision Fund (which invested in Ping An Good Doctor and Ping An Healthcare Technology), International Digital Group (IDG) and SBI Group etc., proving that the capital market fully recognizes Ping An’s technological innovation, the business model for its technology as well as the growth potential and business value of the Group.

European Union

Banco BNI Europe Starts to Lend on Multiple P2P Lending Platforms (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Today Banco BNI Europe announced it will start lending on Fellow Finance.

‘Investing via Fellow Finance in consumer and SME loans offers us a great opportunity to easily expand our operations and we are very satisfied with the analytical and professional approach of Fellow Finance in credit intermediation’ echoes Pedro Pinto Coelho, Executive Chairman of Banco BNI Europa.

U.S. Fintech Stripe Picks Dublin for New Engineering Hub (U.S. News), Rated: AAA

U.S. payments firm Stripe said on Monday it would place its first engineering center outside its home market in the Irish capital Dublin, attracted by the city’s growing technology workforce and global outlook.

Robo Advisers Start to Take Hold in Europe (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Estimates differ, but according to TechFluence, a technology research firm with offices in Frankfurt and London, the European market had assets under management of about $3.5 billion at the end of 2017. That compares with an estimated $200 billion to $250 billion in the U.S., according to Burnmark, a fintech research firm. Estimates of the number of services range from 98 to 126 in Europe, compared with about 200 in the U.S.

The cost of entry is also much lower: generally €5,000 to €10,000 (about $6,200 to $12,400), versus hundreds of thousands at least for a discretionary service through a bank, says Timo Pfeiffer, head of research and business development at Solactive AG, an index provider that has researched the growth of robo advisers in Europe.

Popular with banks

This has led to a number of banking groups preparing robo-adviser offerings, Mr. Mellinghoff says. One example is Comdirect, a subsidiary of Commerzbank , CRZBY -3.17% which launched a robo-advisory platform in May. This service, called Cominvest, had gained assets of more than €200 million as of end of December and is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, says Sabine Schoon, head of corporate strategy and consulting at Comdirect.

The European market has also attracted interest from major U.S. providers; BlackRock Inc. BLK -2.98% announced in June 2017 that it was taking a minority stake in Scalable Capital, a robo-adviser specialist that operates mainly in the German and British markets.

BBVA’s digital push helps drive 20% profit rise (Financial Times), Rated: A

Spanish bank BBVA’s dash to get customers to buy products digitally rather than in branches helped it report a 20 per cent rise in underlying full-year profits, with results boosted by lower costs as well as higher revenues.

Top P2P Cryptocurrency Token Etherecash Gets Listed on QRYPTOS, Following Successful Crowdsale (The Daily Telescope), Rated: A

Top P2P cryptocurrency startup Etherecash has announced that its ECH token will be listed on popular cryptocurrency exchange QRYPTOS on 6th of February 2018, following a successful crowdsale in which the company raised over 40 million USD. This news comes as The Estonian-based lending startup saw a very successful Q4 to 2017 as it gears up for its token distribution in early 2018.

Crypto-lending ICO Etherecash recorded contributions of over 40 million USD and over 46000 new registrations.

GN Compass Creating More Liquidity for its Token, GNCT (PR Web), Rated: B

GN Compass is the first peer-to- peer lending platform for Cryptocurrency-Backed Loans.

All transactions are verified and distributed on the Ethereum Blockchain. GN Compass is joining an expanding group of pioneering projects integrating the Bancor Protocol to maximize the trading liquidity of GN Compass tokens.

Mifid tips balance against active funds in favour of ETFs (Financial Times), Rated: B

New business inflows almost doubled for Europe’s exchange traded fund industry in 2017, in the run-up to the EU’s introduction of rules designed to improve market transparency and strengthen investor protection.

Net inflows into European-listed ETFs reached a record $108bn last year, up from $55.7bn in 2016, according to ETFGI, a London-based consultancy.

International

Disruptive innovation in equity crowdfunding (Deloitte), Rated: AAA

A 2017 report from Deloitte and the World Economic Forum, “Beyond Fintech: A pragmatic assessment of disruptive potential in financial services,” studies the disruptive forces shaping the future of equity crowdfunding.

View the infographic here.

Disruptive innovation in digital banking (Deloitte), Rated: AAA

A 2017 report from Deloitte and the World Economic Forum, “Beyond Fintech: A pragmatic assessment of disruptive potential in financial services,” examines disruptive innovation in digital banking.

View the infographic here.

IdentityMind Global Introduces KYC and Anti-Money Laundering Plug-in for ICOs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

IdentityMind Global, Digital Identities You Can Trust, an SaaS platform that builds, maintains and analyzes digital identities worldwide, allowing companies to perform identity proofing, risk-based authentication, regulatory identification, and to detect and prevent identity fraud, announced the immediate availability of its KYC Plug-in for ICOs which provides a turnkey solution for customer onboarding functionality and user experience to walk ICO participants through the know your customer (KYC) process to meet regulations worldwide.

BFB partners with US real estate fintech start-up (Trade Arabia), Rate: A

Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB) and the Fintech Consortium (FTC) have announced a strategic partnership with OffrBox, a New York City-based Fintech start-up that has developed an end-to-end real estate transaction platform on which one can buy and sell residential properties online.

India

How early-stage startups raise money (Times of India), Rated: A

The first ’round of funding’ Abhishek Latthe got when he was setting up his wearable device startup SenseGiz in 2013 was from his family and friends. The next year, he set up a crowdfunding page on Kickstarter and raised $47,000. Late in 2014, he took out a bank loan. It was only two years later in 2015, that he could convince Karnataka Semiconductor Venture Capital Fund to back him with Rs 3 crore.

Banks do not back companies without collateral and since the business model is unproven, other investors too hesitate. So, funding options include getting help from friends and family, crowdfunding, or dipping into one’s savings, but how do founders decide on the path to take?

Gadkari says peer-to-peer lending and bridge funding, which fulfil a company’s short-term working capital needs, have also become popular. Choosing the best funding option depends on the company’s need. The next step for an entrepreneur is to negotiate the company’s valuation.

FinTech will revolutionise lending in India, says Faircent CEO (money control), Rated: A

Lending is one of the oldest professions in the world and is one of the pivotal reasons for the banking system to take shape.

There is evidence of lending activities dating back to 2,000 BC between merchants, farmers and traders.

However, up till now, lending as an activity has been largely limited to financial institutes such as banks and Non-banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).

For instance, lenders on Faircent.com usually avail average gross returns of 18% to 26% per annum. This makes online P2P loans a lucrative alternative investment avenue for them.

What makes online P2P lending even more lucrative as an asset class for potential investors is the fact that it offers lenders the opportunity to diversify their investments across multiple risk buckets and loan requirements.

Source: money control

Everything you need to know as pressure mounts on cryptocurrencies (GK Men), Rated: B

Sapan Gupta a Practice-Head at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas said, “capitalising on the blockchain technology could open new ways of securing peer-to-peer lending transactions, boosting trade finance, fintech and information repository sectors”.

APAC

After a Successful Crowdsale Campaign, Karma (KRM) Begins Trading With Blockchain (Coin Idol), Rated: AAA

Decentralized p2p lending platform Karma has just announced trading as well as access to its platform and blockchain solutions. The project has now been backed by Danish fintech startup OpenLedger. Karma’s p2p lending platform can be used on the OpenLedger DEX platform and the Korean exchange CoinLink.

Why Blockchain’s Growing Pains Could Benefit Underbanked SMBs (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

According to a report released earlier this month by EY, 21 percent of people in the world — about 1.6 billion people — are underbanked. More than 200 million micro and SMBs fall into the underbanked category, too, with access to finance the largest hurdle for many of these firms.

EY pinpointed the APAC region as a particularly wide opportunity for financial services players to address this gap: Bank revenue in this market, researchers said, could reach $88 billion by 2020. If traditional banks don’t step in, alternative financial services firms will.

“A lot of smaller, private small businesses are under-funded,” Tran noted. “It’s not like here [in the U.S.], where we have an established financial and banking system. If you implement something like a decentralized blockchain, a P2P lending system, that would enable [SMBs] to get funded a lot easier than going through the normal banking system. With blockchain technology, you can put a platform together that is smart contract-based, allowing individual investors to participate in a growing economy. On the other hand, you allow [SMBs] to get funded very quickly.”

MENA

Top 20 Fintech Startups In The Middle East (Forbes), Rated: AAA

1 PayTabs
Online payment processing solutions

2 Souqalmal.com
Financial products comparison site

4 Beehive
SME focused peer2peer lending platform

5 Yallacompare
Financial products comparison site

8 liwwa
Peer-to-peer lending platform

StartAD launches on February 18 for fintech startups (Arabian Business), Rated: A

Innovation platform startAD will host a ten-day entrepreneurship programme, Venture Launchpad, at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), from February 18-27.

It will see ten fintech startups pitch their business ideas to investors. UAE-based early-stage startups are encouraged to apply by February 12, 2018, the application deadline.

The programme will equip them with the tools and knowledge to develop a scalable and capital efficient scheme. These include insights into crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, blockchain, algorithmic trading, credit scoring, cryptocurrency, payments, insurance tech and money transferrals.

Latin America

Brazilian Fintech EBANX Secures $ 30 Million Investment From FTV Capital (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Brazilian fintech EBANX announced on Wednesday it has secured a $30 million investment from FTV Capital.

EBANX also processes payments for major merchants from 50 different countries, including the U.S. and China. The company reported that just last year it processed $1.2 billion in cross-border transactions and achieved the milestone of helping more than 30 million users from the region gain full access to major international e-commerce merchants.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 3 2018, Daily News Digest

ETFs Europe

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky raises $4.5B in equity, becomes most valuable online lender. Funding Circle has eye on IPO at 2B GBP valuation. P2P lenders in India blame lending limit on rising costs. GN Compass wants to disrupt lending liquidity in Canada. Today’s main analysis: Can Mifid II spur growth in European ETF market? Today’s thought-provoking […]

ETFs Europe

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Who’s the Most Valuable Online Lender? After This Deal, It’s GreenSky (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC raised new equity from Pacific Investment Management Co. in a deal that valued the digital lender at nearly $4.5 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.

It vaults GreenSky over Social Finance Inc. to become the most highly-valued online lender in the U.S. It also makes the Atlanta company the second most valuable privately held U.S. fintech company behind Stripe Inc., which processes payments for Internet businesses.

Pimco, the Newport Beach, Calif., money manager, invested at a valuation roughly 25% above the $3.6 billion GreenSky fetched in 2016.

What 2018 Will Mean For Marketplace Lenders (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

2017 was a tough year for some of the biggest names in alternative financial services in the U.S. – Prosper, OnDeck and LendingClub, in particular.

Breslow is hyping OnDeck’s future of partnerships with mainstream baking players – in particular, calling out a renewed partnership with JPMorgan Chase in August to expand the banks’ SMB lending reach.

Prosper, perhaps unsurprisingly, is focused on remaining prosperous, as measured by profitability and further developing its new securitization platform.

LendingClub finally got investors to show them some love – and after its record low following its analyst day earnings accounting, stock jumped 15 percent in mid-December and has managed to hold relatively stable.

Marketplace Lending Predictions for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

First, let’s review my predictions I made exactly one year ago.

  1. 2017 will be the year of the bank partnership
    I would say I was partially right on this one.
  2. The OCC Fintech Charter will receive a positive reception
    So, while many of the fintech platforms supported the charter there was no real positive movement this year.
  3. Lending platforms will offer banking products
    While we had a couple of platforms offering credit cards for the most part this prediction failed to materialize.
  4. One large platform will be acquired
    Student lender Earnest was acquired by Navient in a deal announced in early October.
  5. There will be no new IPOs this year
    I was almost right on this one but one US lending platform did have an IPO in 2017.
  6. China will become an important source of capital outside the USA
    I got this one right.
  7. Artificial intelligence will take center stage
    I think I read more articles about AI this year than in the previous five years combined.

My 2018 Marketplace Lending Predictions

  1. Five top 25 banks will launch their own online lending platforms
    Banks have realized that if you want to provide successful loan products today you need to have an online presence.
  2. Two new pieces of legislation will be passed that will benefit the industry
  3. One of the top five (non-bank) online lending platforms will be acquired
  4. A major lending platform will get hit with a cyber attack
    Here is the one prediction where I really hope I am wrong.
  5. The tech giants consolidate their positions in online lending
    Amazon, PayPal and Square have all started to roll out various online lending offerings to their huge customer bases.
  6. 2018 is the year of product line expansion
  7. Messaging apps start to get integrated into online lending

The Top 10 Most Important Marketplace Lending Stories of 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Mike Cagney is Gone as CEO of SoFi Effective Immediately
  2. The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending”
  3. Prosper Finally Closes Their Big $5 Billion Deal
  4. Renaud Laplanche is Back with a New Consumer Lending Platform Called Upgrade 
  5. The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square
  6. The Fastest Consumer Lenders to $1 Billion in Originations
  7. CFPB Announces No-Action Letter to Upstart
  8. The OCC Publishes Details on the Fintech Charter
  9. Bills Being Introduced to “Fix” Decision in Madden v. Midland
  10. Takeaways From LendingClub’s First Ever Investor Day

Ex-Netflix Exec Thinks This Fintech Company Has Netflix-Like Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Netflix has completely disrupted the entertainment industry, sending large incumbents scrambling to compete with its vast global scale.

How did Netflix pull this off? Several reasons, but one is certainly Netflix’s unique culture, outlined in its now-famous Culture Deck.

That deck was constructed by Patty McCord, who spent 14 years as Netflix’s chief talent officer.

The company McCord joined is Lending Club (NYSE:LC).

In the press release, McCord stated:

I see a lot of parallels between where Netflix was as a company 10 years ago, where LendingClub is today, and where it can go in the next 10 years. I’m attracted to LendingClub for the stellar people and the way it exemplifies the concepts of freedom and responsibility. Culture can help drive innovation in companies that are paving new ground and transforming legacy industries, like Netflix did and like LendingClub is doing today. … In our innovative world, I see marketplaces like LendingClub as the future.

Ousted SoFi CEO is back with a new startup (Axios), Rated: A

Why it matters: If 2017 was the year in which VCs began to fire controversial execs, 2018 may be the year in which they’re forced to decide on quick-turn second acts.

Affirm’s big business for 2018 is marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Affirm isn’t just a payment method or a personal loan anymore — it’s a marketing lever for merchants

  • Affirm sees every transaction at the point of sale — who is buying, what they’re buying and where; it’s a departure from the way credit is underwritten today, where lenders have no idea why borrowers need the money or how they’ll use it

Where Does Alternative Lending Go in 2018? (Hackernoon), Rated: A

When most people think of alternative lending, they immediately think of payday loans and other abusive loan products. In the tech world, the first thing that comes to mind are online lenders: those who take loans traditionally originated in person and move them online. That was the first wave of alternative lenders — think LendingClub, Prosper, OnDeck, to name a few.

Alt investments on the rise among RIAs (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Based on the success of the RIA industry, the trend of breakaway advisers interested in exploring the independent channel continues to gain momentum.

Propagated by wirehouse branch management to keep their top producers in their seats, this false campaign is now being revealed as its exact opposite; there are more customizable solutions for RIAs to access and deploy alternative investments for their high net worth clients than ever before.

For example, to access alternatives on their own, RIAs in the past typically would be looking at $25 million AUM minimums just to reach cost-effective scale, and many alternative managers have $10 million individual minimums themselves.

5 fintech charts that surprised us this year (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Loyalty and rewards incentives may not be enough to make consumers like mobile payments, and it could be on retailers to find what would keep people coming back to their mobile wallets. Mobile payment adoption among Apple, Android and Samsung Pay today is low. Paying with cash or card works just fine for them, customers say.

Transparency is the big sticking point when it comes to why small businesses still prefer banks to online lenders.

What Silicon Valley Misunderstands About Banking & Fintech (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

There are some relevant lessons learned about behavioral finance and digital adoption discussed in the book “FinTech Innovation.” One of the most important lessons is the distinction between digital banking winners and laggards over time.

  • Disruptive innovation is ultimately less important than sustaining innovation.
  • Digital is a ‘pull’ technology, while much of financial serves are ‘push’ market places.
  • Platforms win on digital: bundling is more important than unbundling.

The Distinction Between ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ Marketplaces

Digital brings many benefits to streamline the processes in financial services, but front office disintermediation could easily create financial exclusion in the Western world because many households operate in a ‘push’ modality. Only the few self-directed consumers are comfortable enough to ‘pull’ financial products.

This is the reason why the growth of first mover Robo-Advisor solutions were initially very promising but then faltered, while firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab can still grow fast on digital.

Being a ‘pull’ marketplace means using digital with a purpose, like looking for a specific product on Amazon. However, very few households would google for the next investment fund or business loan. Instead, the majority would ask a friend, a banking organization or an advisor about their recommendations.

Will tomorrow’s core banking systems run on open-source software? (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks, long committed to keeping customer data private and their own code proprietary, are now opening up to fintechs and third-party developers in new ways.

Open-source projects are underway at Deutsche Bank, which made code from its Autobahn commercial banking software publicly available this fall, and at JPMorgan Chase, whose Quorum blockchain software is available in the open-source software repository GitHub.

For fintech owned by a CUSO, will banks buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Morales, CEO of QCash Financial, a credit union service organization (CUSO) owned by WSECU (formerly Washington State Employee Credit Union), says that constraint may be lessening based on the final ruling on payday lending issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October.

Credit unions, however, are interested in the QCash small-dollar lending platform. Morales says that nine credit unions have signed up for the product and five are currently live with it.

Fintech Predictions For 2018 (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Identity verification will be a priority in 2018, with 60 percent of online marketplaces and other websites adopting technologies and techniques for verifying new users’ identities, the company predicts.

Bankers anxious as Trump mulls credit union regulator for CFPB (American Banker), Rated: B

The Trump administration’s consideration of J. Mark McWatters to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stoking fears among bankers that he will show favor to credit unions once in office.

United Kingdom

UK’s Largest P2P Lender Funding Circle Said to be Planning IPO at £2 Billion Valuation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, a UK based peer to peer lender, is reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) for 2018. The news of the new listing is courtesy of SkyNews that reports Funding Circle will begin meeting with investment banks during Q1 of 2018 as they sign up underwriters for the deal. Shares are expected to list at some point in late 2018. If Funding Circle trades on an exchange it will become the first UK P2P lender to do so thus representing a seminal event in the online lending industry.

Urban Jungle Raises £1M in Seed Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Urban Jungle, a London, UK-based insurtech startup, completed a £1m seed funding round.

Moneywise reveals top 2018 financial resolutions for UK adults (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Research from financial advice website Moneywise has revealed the top financial goals of its users for 2018.

Moneywise found that cutting down on unnecessary spending was the top financial resolution for 2018, with 18 per cent citing this as their main priority.

Starting or boosting cash savings was voted the second most popular financial resolution for 2018, with this goal being set by 11 per cent of Moneywise users, whilst 10 per cent plan to start investing for the first time or boosting investments in a Stocks and Shares Isa.

When IFAs fight back against digital investment management (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

More robo-advice platforms are on the market than ever before, and the number will grow rapidly during 2018. A joint report from the FCA and the Treasury, published last June, found that 100 robo firms are either on the market already or in active development.

IFAs may well find this frustrating – even with professional credentials and years of experience, they are subject to more distrust and scrutiny than a number of untested algorithms. Worse, these algorithms may come to represent their primary competition: they offer lower prices, they open up access to financial advice, and there is a range of options available for customers minded to use them, with more to come.

Proplend Looks Back on 2017 P2P Successes & Announces 2018 Plans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Tuesday, online platform Proplend gave its 2017 peer-to-peer lending year in review.

  • The majority of platforms gained full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorization
  • Many platforms sought ISA Manager Status to launch Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – with Proplend being among the early adopters.
  • LendInvest withdrew FCA approval application and stepped down from the Peer to Peer Finance Association as it moved from all P2P activity
  • RateSetter’s wholesale lending practices notably proved costly. The lender eventually withdrew from the P2PFA after breathing the association’s operating principles

The lender went on to note its plans for 2018:

  • The redesign of Lender Dashboards, Proplend.com website and the launch of our Auto-Invest product
  • Initially Proplend Auto-Invest will be a low-risk (Tranche A), three-year, Innovative Finance ISA product targeting returns of c.5% each year
  • The lender has built a “healthy” loan pipeline which will be available on the platform from early 2018, subject to due diligence, valuations, and legals.

5 alternative investments to the stock market (BM Magazine), Rated: B

  1. Real Estate
  2. Gold and other Precious Metals
  3. Backing and Staking in Poker
  4. Peer-to-Peer Lending
  5. Equity Crowdfunding

Could 2018 be a bumper year for tech IPOs? (Computer Business Review), Rated: B

After a couple of quiet years on the IPO front, the market could be ready to bounce back with Funding Circle said to be the first targeting flotation.

In January 2017 the P2P site surpassed a £1bn valuation thanks to an £82m funding round, led by the likes of Accel.

With distribution deals with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, Funding Circle lent more than £1.7bn in 2017.

The London Stock Exchange revealed that 106 companies floated on its markets in 2017, raising £15bn, up 63% by number and 164% by value on 2016. These numbers mean that the LSE surpassed all European exchanges in the year by both IPO number and by money raised.

European Union

ETF providers hope Mifid II will spur European growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

ETF trading has since spread to 25 exchanges across Europe, but no accurate record of activity has been required by regulators. About 70 per cent of ETF trading in Europe goes unreported because it occurs via private bilateral over-the-counter transactions.

This should begin to end from Wednesday with the introduction of sweeping European rules designed to strengthen protection for investors and improve transparency across the continent’s financial markets. The package of regulations, known as Mifid II, requires comprehensive, detailed reporting of ETF trades.

Source: Financial Times

The passive investment industry, which is dominated by BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, are betting Mifid II will set their European businesses on a growth path akin to the US, where usage has spread far more widely and deeply. Assets held in US-listed ETFs stood at $3.5tn at the end of November, compared with just $790bn across all European-listed ETFs, according to ETFGI.

Source: Financial Times
International

The FinTech outlook for 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

There are four big things for 2018 from a FinTech viewpoint that are obvious to me however, which are:

  1. Getting down to business with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  2. Rationalising and cleansing core data structures
  3. Continuing the digital drive
  4. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to rise

Therefore, rather than me making predictions, I thought it interesting to review the views of other commentators.

Jim also wrote another piece that nicely summarises Forrester’s predictions for 2018 which include:

  1. Banks not embracing Open Banking, but increasing partnerships with start-ups;
  2. Faster moves to embrace Digital Banking whilst losing focus on face-to-face communications; and
  3. Focus on back office transformation.

 

Saxo Bank’s Payments business sent me a press release with their top three predictions, which are:

  • The demise of traditional, slow, expensive cross border payments
  • Payment Service Providers (PSPs) will help merchants to expand internationally
  • Tech giants move into banking

Top 10 Companies of the Blockchain Industry in 2017 (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

The total market capitalization of all the cryptocurrencies hit the $600 bln mark in December.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Coinbase is one of the top digital currency wallet and platform for exchange. Market capitalization: $2 bln (GDAX)

Ripple is a real-time gross settlement and currency exchange. Its main goal is to make an entire system devoted to money transferring. Market capitalization: $30 bln

India

P2P players blame lending limit for rising costs (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms have seen a rise in traffic as well as investor interest after registering themselves with the  But they argue the Rs 1-million limit placed on across all platforms is restrictive.

“With time, these limits are going to be relaxed by the  These have been imposed in order to avoid rapid growth that could lead to systemic risk,” said Ekmeet Singh, CEO, Lendbox.

Industry players want the to raise the limit for individual borrowers and remove the limit for institutional 

P2P lender AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr, tech firm Imanis raise funds (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

While Spice Digital is investing up to $3.9 million in AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr has raised $3.8 million from JLL and others. Also, Wipro has put in an additional $2 million in US-based tech firm Imanis.

Asia

Crowdo Recaps 2017 Milestones: 3,500+ Projects Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding, posted an infographic citing its 2017 milestones.

Canada

Meet GN Compass: The ICO Attempting to Disrupt Liquidity In The Lending Market (Equities.com), Rated: AAA

Collins: I left the railway, cashed out my pension and started my own lending company; Great North Capital Inc. We have successfully funded approximately 100 loans; primarily focusing on high risk clients. Based on my accumulative knowledge and experience in both banking and running Great North Capital, I started to develop the idea for a peer-to-peer lending solution where there is very limited risk to the investors (lenders) while making loans liquid. Also by having our own credit system for borrowers, they have the opportunity to improve their credit rating on the platform by making timely payments and having no delinquencies. At the same time, I was learning more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. I quickly realized the huge potential of the blockchain and how it can solve the liquidity problem as well as securing an investor’s principal capital; which are the main issues of current peer-to-peer lending platforms. I got in touch with Jean Pierre Rukebesha who immediately liked the idea and decided to come on board as co-founder and CFO. Hence GN Compass (Great North Compass) was born.

Older Canadians still leery of fintech despite flood of services, RateHub finds (IT Business), Rated: A

Between last year’s official release of Android Pay, the increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered support platforms such as Sun Life’s Ella, and the ongoing digital transformation of Canada’s banks, Canadians have more opportunities than ever to integrate fintech into their lives – but according to financial comparison platform developer Ratehub.ca, the eldest among us aren’t taking advantage.

According to the company’s 2017 Digital Money Trends Report, released last month, fewer than half of baby boomers reported trusting robo-advisors, mobile payments, marketplace and peer-to-peer lenders, and rate comparison website, while in many cases millennials and generation X-ers were nearly twice as likely to do so.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Nearly twice as many millennials (44 per cent) and generation X-ers (42 per cent) reported trusting robo-advisors compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • Nearly twice as many millennials (71 per cent) said they trust mobile payments compared to boomers (38 per cent). (62 per cent of generation X-ers said they trust mobile payments.)
  • Twice as many millennials (47 per cent) and generation X-ers (48 per cent) trust marketplace lenders compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • 58 per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of generation X-ers trust peer-to-peer lenders, versus only 32 per cent of boomers.
  • 63 per cent of millennials and 60 per cent of generation X-ers trust rate comparison websites, versus 42 per cent of boomers.
Africa

Internet firm Opera bets on Kenyan to steer Africa Fintech (Business Daily), Rated: A

Internet browser company Opera has picked Eddie Ndichu to drive its Fintech strategy in Africa even as it prepares to set up an office in Nairobi.

Opera has said that it is investing Sh10.3 billion ($100 million) in Africa’s digital economy over the next two years and OPay is part of those investments.

In a statement Tuesday, Opera said that it had appointed Mr Ndichu as the managing director and vice president for Fintech in Africa.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 3 2018, Daily News Digest

ETFs Europe

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky raises $4.5B in equity, becomes most valuable online lender. Funding Circle has eye on IPO at 2B GBP valuation. P2P lenders in India blame lending limit on rising costs. GN Compass wants to disrupt lending liquidity in Canada. Today’s main analysis: Can Mifid II spur growth in European ETF market? Today’s thought-provoking […]

ETFs Europe

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Who’s the Most Valuable Online Lender? After This Deal, It’s GreenSky (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC raised new equity from Pacific Investment Management Co. in a deal that valued the digital lender at nearly $4.5 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.

It vaults GreenSky over Social Finance Inc. to become the most highly-valued online lender in the U.S. It also makes the Atlanta company the second most valuable privately held U.S. fintech company behind Stripe Inc., which processes payments for Internet businesses.

Pimco, the Newport Beach, Calif., money manager, invested at a valuation roughly 25% above the $3.6 billion GreenSky fetched in 2016.

What 2018 Will Mean For Marketplace Lenders (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

2017 was a tough year for some of the biggest names in alternative financial services in the U.S. – Prosper, OnDeck and LendingClub, in particular.

Breslow is hyping OnDeck’s future of partnerships with mainstream baking players – in particular, calling out a renewed partnership with JPMorgan Chase in August to expand the banks’ SMB lending reach.

Prosper, perhaps unsurprisingly, is focused on remaining prosperous, as measured by profitability and further developing its new securitization platform.

LendingClub finally got investors to show them some love – and after its record low following its analyst day earnings accounting, stock jumped 15 percent in mid-December and has managed to hold relatively stable.

Marketplace Lending Predictions for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

First, let’s review my predictions I made exactly one year ago.

  1. 2017 will be the year of the bank partnership
    I would say I was partially right on this one.
  2. The OCC Fintech Charter will receive a positive reception
    So, while many of the fintech platforms supported the charter there was no real positive movement this year.
  3. Lending platforms will offer banking products
    While we had a couple of platforms offering credit cards for the most part this prediction failed to materialize.
  4. One large platform will be acquired
    Student lender Earnest was acquired by Navient in a deal announced in early October.
  5. There will be no new IPOs this year
    I was almost right on this one but one US lending platform did have an IPO in 2017.
  6. China will become an important source of capital outside the USA
    I got this one right.
  7. Artificial intelligence will take center stage
    I think I read more articles about AI this year than in the previous five years combined.

My 2018 Marketplace Lending Predictions

  1. Five top 25 banks will launch their own online lending platforms
    Banks have realized that if you want to provide successful loan products today you need to have an online presence.
  2. Two new pieces of legislation will be passed that will benefit the industry
  3. One of the top five (non-bank) online lending platforms will be acquired
  4. A major lending platform will get hit with a cyber attack
    Here is the one prediction where I really hope I am wrong.
  5. The tech giants consolidate their positions in online lending
    Amazon, PayPal and Square have all started to roll out various online lending offerings to their huge customer bases.
  6. 2018 is the year of product line expansion
  7. Messaging apps start to get integrated into online lending

The Top 10 Most Important Marketplace Lending Stories of 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Mike Cagney is Gone as CEO of SoFi Effective Immediately
  2. The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending”
  3. Prosper Finally Closes Their Big $5 Billion Deal
  4. Renaud Laplanche is Back with a New Consumer Lending Platform Called Upgrade 
  5. The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square
  6. The Fastest Consumer Lenders to $1 Billion in Originations
  7. CFPB Announces No-Action Letter to Upstart
  8. The OCC Publishes Details on the Fintech Charter
  9. Bills Being Introduced to “Fix” Decision in Madden v. Midland
  10. Takeaways From LendingClub’s First Ever Investor Day

Ex-Netflix Exec Thinks This Fintech Company Has Netflix-Like Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Netflix has completely disrupted the entertainment industry, sending large incumbents scrambling to compete with its vast global scale.

How did Netflix pull this off? Several reasons, but one is certainly Netflix’s unique culture, outlined in its now-famous Culture Deck.

That deck was constructed by Patty McCord, who spent 14 years as Netflix’s chief talent officer.

The company McCord joined is Lending Club (NYSE:LC).

In the press release, McCord stated:

I see a lot of parallels between where Netflix was as a company 10 years ago, where LendingClub is today, and where it can go in the next 10 years. I’m attracted to LendingClub for the stellar people and the way it exemplifies the concepts of freedom and responsibility. Culture can help drive innovation in companies that are paving new ground and transforming legacy industries, like Netflix did and like LendingClub is doing today. … In our innovative world, I see marketplaces like LendingClub as the future.

Ousted SoFi CEO is back with a new startup (Axios), Rated: A

Why it matters: If 2017 was the year in which VCs began to fire controversial execs, 2018 may be the year in which they’re forced to decide on quick-turn second acts.

Affirm’s big business for 2018 is marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Affirm isn’t just a payment method or a personal loan anymore — it’s a marketing lever for merchants

  • Affirm sees every transaction at the point of sale — who is buying, what they’re buying and where; it’s a departure from the way credit is underwritten today, where lenders have no idea why borrowers need the money or how they’ll use it

Where Does Alternative Lending Go in 2018? (Hackernoon), Rated: A

When most people think of alternative lending, they immediately think of payday loans and other abusive loan products. In the tech world, the first thing that comes to mind are online lenders: those who take loans traditionally originated in person and move them online. That was the first wave of alternative lenders — think LendingClub, Prosper, OnDeck, to name a few.

Alt investments on the rise among RIAs (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Based on the success of the RIA industry, the trend of breakaway advisers interested in exploring the independent channel continues to gain momentum.

Propagated by wirehouse branch management to keep their top producers in their seats, this false campaign is now being revealed as its exact opposite; there are more customizable solutions for RIAs to access and deploy alternative investments for their high net worth clients than ever before.

For example, to access alternatives on their own, RIAs in the past typically would be looking at $25 million AUM minimums just to reach cost-effective scale, and many alternative managers have $10 million individual minimums themselves.

5 fintech charts that surprised us this year (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Loyalty and rewards incentives may not be enough to make consumers like mobile payments, and it could be on retailers to find what would keep people coming back to their mobile wallets. Mobile payment adoption among Apple, Android and Samsung Pay today is low. Paying with cash or card works just fine for them, customers say.

Transparency is the big sticking point when it comes to why small businesses still prefer banks to online lenders.

What Silicon Valley Misunderstands About Banking & Fintech (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

There are some relevant lessons learned about behavioral finance and digital adoption discussed in the book “FinTech Innovation.” One of the most important lessons is the distinction between digital banking winners and laggards over time.

  • Disruptive innovation is ultimately less important than sustaining innovation.
  • Digital is a ‘pull’ technology, while much of financial serves are ‘push’ market places.
  • Platforms win on digital: bundling is more important than unbundling.

The Distinction Between ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ Marketplaces

Digital brings many benefits to streamline the processes in financial services, but front office disintermediation could easily create financial exclusion in the Western world because many households operate in a ‘push’ modality. Only the few self-directed consumers are comfortable enough to ‘pull’ financial products.

This is the reason why the growth of first mover Robo-Advisor solutions were initially very promising but then faltered, while firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab can still grow fast on digital.

Being a ‘pull’ marketplace means using digital with a purpose, like looking for a specific product on Amazon. However, very few households would google for the next investment fund or business loan. Instead, the majority would ask a friend, a banking organization or an advisor about their recommendations.

Will tomorrow’s core banking systems run on open-source software? (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks, long committed to keeping customer data private and their own code proprietary, are now opening up to fintechs and third-party developers in new ways.

Open-source projects are underway at Deutsche Bank, which made code from its Autobahn commercial banking software publicly available this fall, and at JPMorgan Chase, whose Quorum blockchain software is available in the open-source software repository GitHub.

For fintech owned by a CUSO, will banks buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Morales, CEO of QCash Financial, a credit union service organization (CUSO) owned by WSECU (formerly Washington State Employee Credit Union), says that constraint may be lessening based on the final ruling on payday lending issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October.

Credit unions, however, are interested in the QCash small-dollar lending platform. Morales says that nine credit unions have signed up for the product and five are currently live with it.

Fintech Predictions For 2018 (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Identity verification will be a priority in 2018, with 60 percent of online marketplaces and other websites adopting technologies and techniques for verifying new users’ identities, the company predicts.

Bankers anxious as Trump mulls credit union regulator for CFPB (American Banker), Rated: B

The Trump administration’s consideration of J. Mark McWatters to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stoking fears among bankers that he will show favor to credit unions once in office.

United Kingdom

UK’s Largest P2P Lender Funding Circle Said to be Planning IPO at £2 Billion Valuation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, a UK based peer to peer lender, is reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) for 2018. The news of the new listing is courtesy of SkyNews that reports Funding Circle will begin meeting with investment banks during Q1 of 2018 as they sign up underwriters for the deal. Shares are expected to list at some point in late 2018. If Funding Circle trades on an exchange it will become the first UK P2P lender to do so thus representing a seminal event in the online lending industry.

Urban Jungle Raises £1M in Seed Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Urban Jungle, a London, UK-based insurtech startup, completed a £1m seed funding round.

Moneywise reveals top 2018 financial resolutions for UK adults (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Research from financial advice website Moneywise has revealed the top financial goals of its users for 2018.

Moneywise found that cutting down on unnecessary spending was the top financial resolution for 2018, with 18 per cent citing this as their main priority.

Starting or boosting cash savings was voted the second most popular financial resolution for 2018, with this goal being set by 11 per cent of Moneywise users, whilst 10 per cent plan to start investing for the first time or boosting investments in a Stocks and Shares Isa.

When IFAs fight back against digital investment management (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

More robo-advice platforms are on the market than ever before, and the number will grow rapidly during 2018. A joint report from the FCA and the Treasury, published last June, found that 100 robo firms are either on the market already or in active development.

IFAs may well find this frustrating – even with professional credentials and years of experience, they are subject to more distrust and scrutiny than a number of untested algorithms. Worse, these algorithms may come to represent their primary competition: they offer lower prices, they open up access to financial advice, and there is a range of options available for customers minded to use them, with more to come.

Proplend Looks Back on 2017 P2P Successes & Announces 2018 Plans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Tuesday, online platform Proplend gave its 2017 peer-to-peer lending year in review.

  • The majority of platforms gained full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorization
  • Many platforms sought ISA Manager Status to launch Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – with Proplend being among the early adopters.
  • LendInvest withdrew FCA approval application and stepped down from the Peer to Peer Finance Association as it moved from all P2P activity
  • RateSetter’s wholesale lending practices notably proved costly. The lender eventually withdrew from the P2PFA after breathing the association’s operating principles

The lender went on to note its plans for 2018:

  • The redesign of Lender Dashboards, Proplend.com website and the launch of our Auto-Invest product
  • Initially Proplend Auto-Invest will be a low-risk (Tranche A), three-year, Innovative Finance ISA product targeting returns of c.5% each year
  • The lender has built a “healthy” loan pipeline which will be available on the platform from early 2018, subject to due diligence, valuations, and legals.

5 alternative investments to the stock market (BM Magazine), Rated: B

  1. Real Estate
  2. Gold and other Precious Metals
  3. Backing and Staking in Poker
  4. Peer-to-Peer Lending
  5. Equity Crowdfunding

Could 2018 be a bumper year for tech IPOs? (Computer Business Review), Rated: B

After a couple of quiet years on the IPO front, the market could be ready to bounce back with Funding Circle said to be the first targeting flotation.

In January 2017 the P2P site surpassed a £1bn valuation thanks to an £82m funding round, led by the likes of Accel.

With distribution deals with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, Funding Circle lent more than £1.7bn in 2017.

The London Stock Exchange revealed that 106 companies floated on its markets in 2017, raising £15bn, up 63% by number and 164% by value on 2016. These numbers mean that the LSE surpassed all European exchanges in the year by both IPO number and by money raised.

European Union

ETF providers hope Mifid II will spur European growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

ETF trading has since spread to 25 exchanges across Europe, but no accurate record of activity has been required by regulators. About 70 per cent of ETF trading in Europe goes unreported because it occurs via private bilateral over-the-counter transactions.

This should begin to end from Wednesday with the introduction of sweeping European rules designed to strengthen protection for investors and improve transparency across the continent’s financial markets. The package of regulations, known as Mifid II, requires comprehensive, detailed reporting of ETF trades.

Source: Financial Times

The passive investment industry, which is dominated by BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, are betting Mifid II will set their European businesses on a growth path akin to the US, where usage has spread far more widely and deeply. Assets held in US-listed ETFs stood at $3.5tn at the end of November, compared with just $790bn across all European-listed ETFs, according to ETFGI.

Source: Financial Times
International

The FinTech outlook for 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

There are four big things for 2018 from a FinTech viewpoint that are obvious to me however, which are:

  1. Getting down to business with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  2. Rationalising and cleansing core data structures
  3. Continuing the digital drive
  4. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to rise

Therefore, rather than me making predictions, I thought it interesting to review the views of other commentators.

Jim also wrote another piece that nicely summarises Forrester’s predictions for 2018 which include:

  1. Banks not embracing Open Banking, but increasing partnerships with start-ups;
  2. Faster moves to embrace Digital Banking whilst losing focus on face-to-face communications; and
  3. Focus on back office transformation.

 

Saxo Bank’s Payments business sent me a press release with their top three predictions, which are:

  • The demise of traditional, slow, expensive cross border payments
  • Payment Service Providers (PSPs) will help merchants to expand internationally
  • Tech giants move into banking

Top 10 Companies of the Blockchain Industry in 2017 (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

The total market capitalization of all the cryptocurrencies hit the $600 bln mark in December.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Coinbase is one of the top digital currency wallet and platform for exchange. Market capitalization: $2 bln (GDAX)

Ripple is a real-time gross settlement and currency exchange. Its main goal is to make an entire system devoted to money transferring. Market capitalization: $30 bln

India

P2P players blame lending limit for rising costs (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms have seen a rise in traffic as well as investor interest after registering themselves with the  But they argue the Rs 1-million limit placed on across all platforms is restrictive.

“With time, these limits are going to be relaxed by the  These have been imposed in order to avoid rapid growth that could lead to systemic risk,” said Ekmeet Singh, CEO, Lendbox.

Industry players want the to raise the limit for individual borrowers and remove the limit for institutional 

P2P lender AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr, tech firm Imanis raise funds (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

While Spice Digital is investing up to $3.9 million in AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr has raised $3.8 million from JLL and others. Also, Wipro has put in an additional $2 million in US-based tech firm Imanis.

Asia

Crowdo Recaps 2017 Milestones: 3,500+ Projects Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding, posted an infographic citing its 2017 milestones.

Canada

Meet GN Compass: The ICO Attempting to Disrupt Liquidity In The Lending Market (Equities.com), Rated: AAA

Collins: I left the railway, cashed out my pension and started my own lending company; Great North Capital Inc. We have successfully funded approximately 100 loans; primarily focusing on high risk clients. Based on my accumulative knowledge and experience in both banking and running Great North Capital, I started to develop the idea for a peer-to-peer lending solution where there is very limited risk to the investors (lenders) while making loans liquid. Also by having our own credit system for borrowers, they have the opportunity to improve their credit rating on the platform by making timely payments and having no delinquencies. At the same time, I was learning more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. I quickly realized the huge potential of the blockchain and how it can solve the liquidity problem as well as securing an investor’s principal capital; which are the main issues of current peer-to-peer lending platforms. I got in touch with Jean Pierre Rukebesha who immediately liked the idea and decided to come on board as co-founder and CFO. Hence GN Compass (Great North Compass) was born.

Older Canadians still leery of fintech despite flood of services, RateHub finds (IT Business), Rated: A

Between last year’s official release of Android Pay, the increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered support platforms such as Sun Life’s Ella, and the ongoing digital transformation of Canada’s banks, Canadians have more opportunities than ever to integrate fintech into their lives – but according to financial comparison platform developer Ratehub.ca, the eldest among us aren’t taking advantage.

According to the company’s 2017 Digital Money Trends Report, released last month, fewer than half of baby boomers reported trusting robo-advisors, mobile payments, marketplace and peer-to-peer lenders, and rate comparison website, while in many cases millennials and generation X-ers were nearly twice as likely to do so.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Nearly twice as many millennials (44 per cent) and generation X-ers (42 per cent) reported trusting robo-advisors compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • Nearly twice as many millennials (71 per cent) said they trust mobile payments compared to boomers (38 per cent). (62 per cent of generation X-ers said they trust mobile payments.)
  • Twice as many millennials (47 per cent) and generation X-ers (48 per cent) trust marketplace lenders compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • 58 per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of generation X-ers trust peer-to-peer lenders, versus only 32 per cent of boomers.
  • 63 per cent of millennials and 60 per cent of generation X-ers trust rate comparison websites, versus 42 per cent of boomers.
Africa

Internet firm Opera bets on Kenyan to steer Africa Fintech (Business Daily), Rated: A

Internet browser company Opera has picked Eddie Ndichu to drive its Fintech strategy in Africa even as it prepares to set up an office in Nairobi.

Opera has said that it is investing Sh10.3 billion ($100 million) in Africa’s digital economy over the next two years and OPay is part of those investments.

In a statement Tuesday, Opera said that it had appointed Mr Ndichu as the managing director and vice president for Fintech in Africa.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor