Tuesday October 2 2018, Daily News Digest

delinquencies by vintage

News Comments Today’s main news: Renaud Laplache banned from securities industry for 3 years. Varo Money pulls bank charter application. Funding Circle completes IPO. Marcus enters the UK. OnDeck Australia expands equipment finance. Today’s main analysis: Delinquency/Loss Trends, yield curve. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans prefer humans over robo-advisors. Global P2P lending market expected to reach $898B by 2024. AltFin’s path to […]

delinquencies by vintage

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Lending Club founder settles; banks fear weak third quarter (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Renaud Laplanche, the co-founder and former CEO of online lender LendingClub, agreed to pay $200,000 and be banned from the securities industry for three years to settle Securities and Exchange Commission fraud charges. In addition, LendingClub Asset Management (LCAM), an investment management unit of LendingClub, will pay a $4 million fine while Carrie Dolan, the company’s former chief financial officer, will pay $65,000.

LendingClub Responds to DOJ and SEC Settlements (PR Newswire), Rated: A

“We are pleased to have resolution and closure,” said LendingClub Chairman Hans Morris. “Following an internal review in 2016, LendingClub’s Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Renaud Laplanche as Chairman and CEO of the Company. The Board’s decision was not made lightly but the violation of the Company’s business practices, along with a lack of full disclosure by Mr. Laplanche during the review, was unacceptable. The allegations made by the DOJ and the findings of the SEC further support the Board’s decision to take swift and decisive action. We have full confidence in our new management team and we are a better company today.”

Why this fintech pulled its FDIC charter application (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Varo Money is inching closer to having a bank — the next step will require a major leap.

The fintech, which aims to offer consumer banking services with no fees, applied for a national bank charter over a year ago. While it recently received preliminary and conditional approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Varo has been unable to secure the blessing of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Delinquency/Loss Trends; Yield Curve One Hike from Inversion (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The range of Fed Funds Rate is now between 2% – 2.25%. A super-majority of committee members indicated that they would like to hike rates by another 25 bps in DecemberUS GDP growth of 4.2% in the 2nd quarter was the fastest since 2014 Q2, and US consumer confidence reached an 18-year high in September.

 

Source: Federal Reserve, Bloomberg, PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ, Bloomberg

Delinquencies by Vintage

Source: PeerIQ

Bank of America is luring top talent from Apple and Disney to fuel its billion digital ambition (Business Insider), Rated: A

Like its competitors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is spending a colossal amount of money to stay competitive in the financial tech race: Its $10 billion annual tech budget sits just behind JPMorgan’s $10.8 billion and ahead ofCitigroup’s $8 billion.

A large chunk of that spending goes to the firm’s profit-driving consumer-banking operation, which accounts for $34.5 billion in revenue and $8.2 billion in net income, which is 38% of the firm’s total.

SoftBank Invests $ 400M in Home-Selling Startup Opendoor (Coverager), Rated: A

Online real estate marketplace Opendoor  has announced a $400M investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund, bringing its total funding to date to over $1b. The company also announced it has secured access to more than $2b in debt financing from top banks.

Governor Brown Signs Bill That Expands Access to Capital for the Underbanked (BusinessWire), Rated: A

INSIKT, a CDFI-certified fintech company disrupting the predatory lending industry, today celebrated a major step forward for working families and small businesses in California with the signing of Assembly Bill 237 (AB237), following unanimous approval by the CA Legislature. Sponsored by Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), this new law significantly expands access to lower cost loans for Californians who are part of the 66 million underbanked in America ensnared in endless cycles of predatory debt.

AB237 builds on the success of California’s Pilot Program, established in California in 2010 to provide affordable credit for loans below $2,500. The Pilot Program has many consumer protections, including rate caps, mandated underwriting, credit education and reporting of payback information to credit bureaus so that consumers can build their credit score.

The Pilot Program has been working, with the volume of payday lending declining in California by almost 7% from last year, the third consecutive annual decline. AB237 extends all of the Pilot Program’s consumer protections to larger loans of up to $7,500. It also adds new protections, including a 36% maximum debt-to-income ratio, minimum loan terms of one year, and mandatory rate reductions on second and third loans for borrowers in good standing.

Compass Raises $ 400M in Series F Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Compass, a NYC-based real estate technology company, raised $400m in Series F financing round.

The round – which will bring the total capital raised to nearly $1.2 billion – was led by the Softbank Vision Fund and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), with participation from Wellington, IVP and Fidelity.

Americans Prefer Humans over Robos for Financial Advice (Wealth Management), Rated: AAA

Americans are relatively comfortable with automating financial advice but the majority still want a human to consult, according to Charles Schwab’s latest Consumer Digital Demands report.

The report, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults this summer, including 391 current robo advisor users, showed Americans are more open to technology performing some tasks than others. For example, 75 percent of respondents said they’re comfortable with more human assistance than automation when it came to performing surgery. They also are overwhelmingly more comfortable with humans over technology when it comes to driving a car (74 percent), diagnosing a major health issue (73 percent) and flying an airplane (66 percent).

Source: Charles Schwab

Read the full report here.

46 percent of millennials think it takes $ 1,000 to start investing—here’s how much you actually need (CNBC), Rated: A

recent survey from financial services app Twine found that 46 percent of millennials believe they need at least $1,000 to start investing. Another 17 percent believe they need at least $10,000 before they’re able to invest.

Overall, 56 percent assume they don’t have enough money to become investors themselves.

It’s simply not true. There are plenty of ways to get into the market with as little as $1, including contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, opening a Roth IRA or using a robo-advisor such as Betterment, Wealthsimple or Ellevest, which offer $0 account minimums.

CREDIT WITH A CONSCIENCE (Petal Email), Rated: B

We’re thrilled to announce today that the Petal credit card is now publicly
available on our website at www.petalcard.com.

Meet Klarna (Missy Farren & Associates, Ltd. Email), Rated: B

We’re excited to let you know we are now working with 

Real Estate Mogul And Owner of Flipnerd.com, Mike Hambright, Has Been Published In Forbes (MENAFN), Rated: B

Flipnerd.com continues to grow and make its mark in the real estate world due to the versatility and expertise of its owner, Mike Hambright. In recognition of his expertise, business acumen and dedication to succeeding in his carved niche, the founder of this real estate company has been published on one of the greatest platforms in the world, Forbes.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Goes Public on the London Stock Exchange (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

It was a landmark day for fintech in London as Funding Circle became the first UK marketplace lender to complete an IPO.  The company raised £300 million at a valuation of around £1.5 billion. They began trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: FCH) this morning with an initial price of 440 pence (at the lower end of the forecasted price range of 420p to 530p). While rising early in the day to 460p it closed the exactly flat at 440p.

Funding Circle valuation ‘reflects brand and growth opportunity’ (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer business lender, which listed on the London Stock Exchangeon Friday, was originally targeting a market value of £1.8bn. But after narrowing its IPO price range, it subsequently priced at 440p, implying a market capitalisation of £1.5bn.

Some market commentators argue the company is overvalued as it is still loss-making, although revenues surged from £51m in 2016 to £94.5m last year.

Goldman Sachs Enters U.K. Savings Market, Continuing Consumer Push (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. entered Britain’s £700 billion ($922 billion) cash savings account market Thursday with the U.K. launch of its consumer bank Marcus, adding a fresh source of funding for the U.S. investment bank.

Online-only Marcus offers savings accounts paying interest of 1.5%, the highest rate for instant-access savings products, according to price-comparison websites.

Zopa customers vote Bond’s Aston Martin as most iconic screen car (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE ASTON Martin DB10 driven by Daniel Craig in the James Bond films has been voted the most iconic car in film and television.

The car won 35 per cent of votes in a poll conducted by peer-to-peer platform Zopa.

Inspector Morse’s maroon MK II Jaguar followed in second place with 14 per cent, while Dominic Toretto’s Dodge Charger from The Fast and The Furious came third.

Relendex increases max loan size to £5m (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

Relendex has announced that it has increased its maximum loan size from £3m to £5m.

Loans will also be available on commercial and industrial assets, where circumstances allow, as Relendex plans to reach a lending target of £100m in 2019.

UK in debt: how it looks in figures (London Loves Business), Rated: A

The research briefings provided by the UK Parliament itself show that student debt stands at £105 billion by the end of March 2018.

The Guardian reports that only 5% of the graduates remain unemployed six months after graduating. In addition to that, 74% of professionals who enter the workforce are full-time first degree graduates. In terms of the pay that they get, males more than females tend to benefit from getting a degree. The men’s average pay rise to £24000.

The Guardian reports that by the end of July 2017, unsecured credit had risen to a level not seen since September 2010. Specifically, unsecured debt has reached £201.5 billion.

70% believe low credit scores or zero hour contracts would prevent borrowing (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

Just 31.6% of the 2,400 respondents recognised that none of the reasons listed automatically prevent someone from getting a mortgage.

A massive 47.5% believed a low credit score could stop someone getting a mortgage, 33.4% thought a zero hour contract would be a barrier and 15.6% said a payday loan would stop an application from being accepted.

Fintech iwoca responds to £775m RBS competition package briefing (iwoca Email), Rated: B

The CEO of one of Europe’s fastest growing business lenders has a cautiously optimistic outlook for the £775 million RBS Alternative Remedies Package following a briefing by Banking Competition Remedies this morning.

“Funds from Pools C and D of the package’s Capability and Innovation Fund, would enable iwoca to bring innovative new technology to the market, making it easier for small businesses to secure finance on their terms, whenever and wherever they need it. What’s more, we would be that much closer to achieving our target of funding 100,000 small and micro businesses in the next five years.”

China

China Rapid Finance Announces Submission of Regulatory Report and Board Change (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (the “Company” or “XRF”) (NYSE: XRF), operator of one of China’s largest consumer lending marketplaces, today announced that it submitted its P2P Compliance Self-Inspection Report (the “Report”) to its local P2P regulatory office. The Report is the first of three steps mandated in the inspection process, a key element in demonstrating compliance with industry reforms being promulgated by the National P2P Rectification Office.

Golden Bull Reports 75% Revenue Rise for First Half; Up 6% on Wall Street (Capital Watch), Rated: A

The stock of Golden Bull Ltd. (Nasdaq: DNJR) rose more than 6 percent by Monday afternoon after the Chinese P2P lending company posted a 75 percent increase in revenue for the first half of 2018.

Revenue jumped to $4.9 million compared with $2.8 million during the first six months of 2017, the Shanghai-based company said, thanks to an increase in borrowers. According to its statement, Golden Bull has facilitated 3,000 loans with total volume of $77.8 million during the first half compared with 2,200 loans in the amount of $53.7 million processed a year ago.

Chinese Household-Debt Levels Reach Record High (The Epoch Times), Rated: A

While its overall household wealth has increased, China’s household debt-to-GDP ratio reached a record high of 49.1 percent in 2017, according to a new report on global wealth by German insurance giant Allianz. Since the beginning of 2008 to the end of last year, Chinese household debt jumped an average of 27 percent annually, according to separate but corroborating data from the Bank of International Settlements.

Samoyed Holding Files For $ 80 Million U.S. IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Samoyed Holding (SMY) intends to raise gross proceeds of $80 million from a U.S. IPO, according to an F-1 registration statement.

The firm provides technology-driven credit services to credit-proven millennials in China.

SMY is growing revenues and weighted-average APR but is also seeing sharply increased charge-off rates for its credit card balance transfer marketplace.

European Union

Younited Credit expands to Portugal (AltFi), Rated: A

The Paris-based consumer lending platform Younited Credit has increased its potential customer base by launching in Portugal, its sixth European market. Already distributing loans in Germany and Austria, it has 35 per cent of its loans in Italy and Spain.

Telia Sweden overhauls organisational structure, brings in Klarna customer service head on 01 January (Telecompaper), Rated: B

Johan Andersson will lead the strategy division, Fredrik Sidmar will be in charge of professional services, Piero Trivellato will be responsible for digital and analytics, and Sandra Alenius will lead customer service delivery. Alenius will join Telia from Swedish payments specialist Klarna.

International

Global peer-to-peer lending market set to reach $ 898bn by 2024 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE GLOBAL peer-to-peer lending market will grow to $898bn (£688bn) by 2024, according to new research.

The report predicted that this will allow the P2P market to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 48.2 per cent over the next eight years.

AltFin’s Inconsistent Path To SMB Adoption (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

In the U.K., $248.9 million was lent to SMBs via alternative lending platforms in Q2, according to the U.K. Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA). The P2PFA highlighted that the statistic means net lending to SMBs, via member alternative lending players, surpassed that of high-street banks, which lent about $169.4 million to SMBs during the year’s second quarter. New lending to small firms, among member marketplace lending portals, increased by nearly $130.3 million, the association noted.

In the U.K., 30 percent of small firms need external financing simply to survive, according to new Liberis data.

In the U.S., 63 percent of SMBs sought a loan for working capital needs last year, including payroll, inventory and supplies, according to new data from S&B Global Market Intelligence.

In Mexico, 44 percent of small businesses that have been in operation for five years haven’t seen their incomes rise, according to Moody‘s Senior Credit Officer Felipe Carvallo in an interview with Euromoney. According to Moody’s data, small businesses accounted for just 9.1 percent of all loans in Mexico as of last March — equivalent to only 2 percent of total GDP, reports said.

Skynet Controversy: Similarly Named Tezos dApp Promises Enhanced Peer-to-Peer Lending (BTC Manager), Rated: A

Skynet Open Network seems to promise all things to all people – fastest blockchain implementation, AI on Blockchain, Healthcare on Blockchain and more. Some of the 17,000 people on the SkynetOpen telegram channel were understandably furious about the similarities in the name when Skynet World announced their project on September 26, 2018.

According to the Skynet World whitepaper, they are the first DAPP on the Tezosblockchain.

Skynet World aims to disrupt the bank lending space by offering peer to peer lending through their app. According to Skynet World:

“Banks are the major source of debt finance for both households and businesses, accounting for about three-quarters and two-thirds respectively of all debt finance provided to those sectors… Banks charge most of the interest up front, a practice known as amortization. Through amortization, 70% of the total interest is paid by the halfway point of the mortgage period.”

Australia

SME lender expands equipment finance (AustralianBroker), Rated: AAA

An online lender has expanded its offering of equipment finance, saying it is providing a solution for the “underserved” market of small business owners.

OnDeck Capital Australia said it had received feedback from small businesses and brokers about the length of the loans.

India

MODI OPERANDI (All About Alpha), Rated: A

What’s your liquidity M.O.? If you are less than certain, it is time to look east toward the country of India and the land of Modi. After all, when 1.3 billion people cough there is a decent chance the rest of the world just might get sick, or maybe just sick of being gated, PIK-ed, or having their holdings marked down 10% or more in a single trading session.

In September an unlisted India company that relied on debt funding for various infrastructure projects defaulted and the spillover into the listed equity markets was contagious and quick. The poster child this time around was Dewan Housing Finance Corp. Their commercial paper, which was issued to fund their longer term capital needs, ticked up 50 basis points when a mutual fund went to liquidate some of that holding, and the stock ended up dropping by more than half in a single trading session. Despite management claims of good health and solid liquidity, many investors could not process or hear it as they ran from the fire. Some other names in this sector suffered similar fates, and the damages (or buying opportunities) are still being sorted out. In India, the publicly traded mutual funds are estimated to own 60% of the commercial paper issued by these non-bank finance companies.

Uttam Prakash Agarwal joins PaisaDukan as independent director (Business Standard), Rated: B

Former Uttam Prakash Agarwal has joined NBFC-lending major as 

APAC

Belt Road Capital invests $ 3m in Vietnamese P2P lending startup Tima (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Mekong-focused venture capital firm Belt Road Capital Management (BRCM) has injected $3 million in a Series B funding round of Tima, a Vietnamese P2P lending platform incepted in 2015.

The latest investment values the company at $20 million. Tima raised a series A round in 2016 from Dunearn Singapore Fund and G Capital.

First Circle, a Philippine-based Fintech, Preps to Launch New SME Targeted Credit Facility with Support of Government (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

First Circle, a Philippine Fintech, is expected to announce a new credit facility for SMEs nationwide. This new facility has gained the support of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

First Circle is an online lender that provides supply chain financing to SMEs.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 21 2018, Daily News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: Mike Cagney’s Figure is out of stealth. CommonBond raises $50M. Airbnb features RealtyShares as multifamily financing solution. Monzo hits 500K current accounts. LexinFintech falls short on Q4 earnings. N26 raises $160M. Today’s main analysis: Mortgage Rate Competition Index widens. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The death of cash could be overstated. The most popular cities for millennial homebuyers. The […]

fintechs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Ex-SoFi CEO Mike Cagney’s new startup, Figure, is out of stealth (Fast Company), Rated: AAA

SoFi cofounder Mike Cagney, who resigned as CEO last year, has been quietly working on a new project involving home improvement financing and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) for the last several months. Now, that project is out of stealth, with a live website: Figure.com.

According to Cagney’s LinkedIn profile, the startup plans to leverage blockchain-based technology and AI “to unlock new access points for consumer credit products that can transform the financial lives of our customers.”

The death of cash might be overstated (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The decline of cash in the US might be exaggerated, according to Cardtronics and PYMNTS’ Global Cash Index (GCI).

Cash still sees healthy usage in the US: The share of cash in 2016 accounted for 12.6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the study forecasts that it will account for 11.2% of the US GDP by 2021.

Here are three factors that might contribute to the endurance of cash in the US:

Source Business Insider

Cash persists for low-value transactions. Nearly two-thirds of US consumers said they prefer to rely on cash for purchases of $10 or less. That could be partly because it’s expensive for merchants to accept card payments, which leads to card transaction minimums that encourage cash usage for these purchases. This could help keep cash alive in consumers’ day-to-day lives.

Des Moines, Pittsburgh and Buffalo Among Most Popular Cities for Millennial Homebuyers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree has released the findings of its study on the most popular cities for millennial homebuyers.

Young homebuyers are at the forefront of an increasing number of buyers returning to the housing market. The largest single-age population in the U.S. is 27-year-olds at almost 4.8 million, suggesting that millennials’ influence on the housing market has years to run before it peaks.

Millennial homebuyers make up one-third of mortgage requests. 32.5 percent of all mortgage requests through LendingTree between Feb. 1, 2017 and Feb. 1, 2018 came from consumers 35 years and younger. The average loan amount requested from this age group is $166,863.

Where millennials aren’t vying for homeownership. At the other end of the scale, Sarasota, Fla.Fort Myers Fla. and Honolulu had lowest shares of millennial buyers at 17.9 percent, 19.8 percent and 21.8 percent respectively.

Source: Lending Tree

CommonBond Secures $ 50M Series D Equity Round, Led by Fifth Third Bancorp (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

CommonBond, a leading financial technology company that empowers students and graduates to pay for higher education, today announced a $50M Series D financing round.

Fifth Third Capital Holdings, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fifth Third BancorpFITB, -0.69% led the round, with First Republic Bank FRC, -0.49% and Columbia Seligman Investments also participating, in addition to existing investors including Neuberger Berman, August Capital, and Nyca Partners. Individual investors in CommonBond include Vikram Pandit, former CEO of Citigroup, and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters. This latest round brings CommonBond’s total funding raised to over $130M. CommonBond will use this new funding to accelerate its growth and invest further in technology.

Airbnb Features RealtyShares as First Multifamily Financing Solution (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced it is featured by Airbnb as a financing resource in its Multifamily Properties Toolkit, a website that gives owners, operators and developers of multifamily buildings resources to support long-term tenants who wish to share their space with travelers. RealtyShares provides experienced multifamily building owners and operators financing to buy, refinance, and renovate their buildings.

Landlords can now manage Airbnb activity in their buildings and share in the additional rental income with the Airbnb Friendly Buildings Program. As a result, multifamily property owners have become increasingly interested in helping their tenants improve and share their space on Airbnb.

OnDeck Appoints Kenneth Brause As New Chief Financial Officer (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lending platform for small businesses OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK) announced it has appointed Kenneth Brause as its new Chief Financial Officer, effective March 26th, as part of a mutually agreed upon transition process. The lender reported that current Chief Financial Officer, Howard Katzenberg. Katzenberg will serve as an advisor to OnDeck until April 13th, working closely with Brause to facilitate a smooth transition.

According to OnDeck, Brause brings more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry to the lender’s team.

 

 

Average Cost of College Statistics for 2018 (Lend EDU), Rated: AAA

No matter whether you attend a public or private school, or whether you attend a 2-year or 4-year college, you can expect to pay more than those who attended before you.

By checking out the graph to the right (which does​ not account for inflation) you can see that in the past 20 years, tuition at all types of colleges has more than doubled, and in some cases has more than tripled.

Source: Lend EDU

Though the graph does not account for inflation, the rate of tuition increase has greatly outpaced the inflation rate – by at least 3 times for most school types.

The following is the average cost-of-attendance for the 2017-18 school year by school type including tuition & fees, room & board, books & supplies, transportation, and any other expenses.

  • Private 4-Year Not-for-Profit: $50,900   
  • Public 4-Year Out-of-State: $40,940  
  • Public 4-Year In-State: $25,290  
  • Public 2-Year In-District:​ $17,580   
  • Private For-Profit: $16,000 (tuition only)
Source: Lend EDU
Source: Lend EDU

 

Mortgage Rate Competition Index Widens (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

  • Homebuyers could have seen median savings of $27,980 by comparison shopping for the best mortgage rates last week, up 4.5% from the prior week.
  • This week’s Mortgage Rate Competition Index was 0.60 for purchase mortgages, up 0.15 from a year ago, and up 0.02 from last week. The Index measures the median spread between the highest and lowest APR available on the LendingTree platform.

Purchase loans

  • Across all purchase loan applications on LendingTree for the week ending March 18, 2018, the index was 0.60, up 0.02 from the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to nab a mortgage rate that’s 0.60% lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $27,980 in savings on a $300,000 loan
Source: Lending Tree

Mortgage fintech company completes capital raise (National Mortage News), Rated: B

Home Captain, a fintech company that looks to increase mortgage-lead conversion rates, completed a Series A financing round led by Spring Mountain Capital.

Spring Mountain joined Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the National Association of Realtors, as an institutional investor in Home Captain, which pairs prequalified homebuyers with real estate agents.

Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate, to Speak at LendIt Fintech Conference (Business Wire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced today that their Chief Executive Officer, Ken Rees, will address the audience at LendIt Fintech 2018 along with CNBC’s Ari Levy.

Rees will be joined by Levy, senior technology reporter at CNBC, who will lead the discussion through a variety of themes, including:

  • How banks and fintech companies can partner to take advantage of the opportunity in non-prime lending
  • What it takes to build winning products for non-prime consumers
  • Predictions for the biggest areas of innovation in non-prime lending in 2018 and beyond

Covr Financial Technologies announces Michael Kalen as Chief Executive Officer (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Michael Kalen has joined Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, as its chief executive officer, Covr Board Chairman Brian Finn announced.

U.S. Online Merchants Believe Instant Financing Will Drive Increased Sales (PNY), Rated: A

Online merchants in the U.S. are increasingly recognizing the importance of offering instant financing to shoppers, according to a new online e-commerce survey. Nearly two-thirds of retailers polled (64 percent) believe providing online financing options through their store is important to driving new and increased sales. Forty-six percent indicate it would decrease cart abandonment still one of the most critical challenges for online retailers today.

The survey was released here by Klarna, a leading global payments provider, at Shoptalk in Las Vegas.

Franklin Resources to Acquihire Random Forest Capital (Street Insider), Rated: B

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE: BEN), which operates as Franklin Templeton Investments, today announced the acquisition of Random Forest Capital, LLC (“Random Forest”), an investment firm with expertise in data science and non-bank marketplace lending. Following the acquisition, the Random Forest team will join the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group investment team. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

New Florida law will loosen small-dollar lending rules (American Banker), Rated: B

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Monday that will loosen the state’s rules for small-dollar consumer lending.

The law, which sailed through both houses of the Florida Legislature, authorizes 60- to 90-day loans of up to $1,000, while continuing to allow 30-day payday loans.

United Kingdom

Monzo Milestone: Challenger Bank Hits Half A Million Current Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Monday, UK-based challenger bank Monzo announced it has achieved half a million current accounts. The company launched its current accounts in October last year and since then, thousands of users have upgraded their accounts or signed up to start using Monzo’s banking products.

Monzo also reported that it will close the prepaid Beta on April 4th, so if users have not upgraded, their card will stop working and they won’t be able to use your Monzo app to make or receive payments.

Welendus goes live with interest-free loan offer (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER payday lender Welendus has launched its first product, offering borrowers an interest-free loan if the debt is repaid in one day.

Individuals can borrow up to £500 using the new facility, which is aimed at those faced with unexpected or emergency bills, Welendus said. The borrower does not have to pay any interest if they pay the loan back within 24 hours.

There are no early repayment fees and borrowers can get a decision within five minutes.

Investors will receive returns ranging between five and 15 per cent to fund the loans.

Fintech referral platform bags series A fundraise (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Funding Xchange, one of a handful of platforms designated by HM Treasury to refer businesses declined credit by the banks to other sources of funding, has closed a £1.5m series A round.

The round was led by Calibrate Management Ltd and Kimera. The money will be used to continue the development of Funding Xchange’s automated decisioning technology, as well as for the incorporation of live transactional data sources.

Inflation finally falls but still beats savings returns (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

INFLATION hit a seven-month low last month but there is little sign of respite for interest-starved savers as ISA season approaches, figures show.

Official for National Statistics (ONS) data shows consumer price inflation (CPI) grew by 2.7 per cent in February, finally falling from its five-year high of three per cent but still above the Bank of England’s two per cent target.

 

“But still, with inflation sitting at 2.7 per cent, savers’ cash is being eroded in real terms. In comparison to last year, savers would have found it difficult to get one per cent on an easy access ISA.”

Senior RBS fintech investment banker re-emerges at startup (Financial News), Rated: B

A former Royal Bank of Scotland investment banker, who led its coverage of fintech deals, has quit his private equity job after just five months to join a peer-to-peer lending startup staffed by former Goldman Sachs and HSBC analysts.

Rory McHugh, a former managing director at RBS, has joined Lendable, a UK-focused personal loans platform. Set up in 2014, the firm offers loans of up to £20,000 and raised £300m to lend to new customers in November.

Be a venture capitalist with an Innovative Finance Isa (The Times), Rated: A

Compared with cash Isas, Ifisas are as much a high-risk option as any loan that is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that lenders cannot seek money from P2P borrowers that are unwilling or unable to pay money owed, whereas the scheme protects savings and investments offered by FSCS-authorised banks and other companies.

Source: The Times

There are more than 30 providers jostling for space and support from subscribers, with typical rates of return of between 3 and 7 per cent, as well as some offering up to 16 per cent. The interest rates on offer comfortably outstrip the 2 to 3 per cent attached to cash Isas. See our table, below, for a range of Ifisas presently available to new customers.

FCA calls for global effort to speed up fintech growth (NAI500), Rated: B

The Financial Conduct Authority has called for the creation of a global alliance of regulators that would encourage growth in fintech by allowing companies to test new products without going through a full approval process.

Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London, Mr Woolard said expanding such a programme internationally would be “an immense undertaking”, but said “we’re up for the challenge”, having already seen “lots of interest” from other regulators.

China

Hot Chinese IPO LexinFintech Falls Short On Q4 Earnings, Revenue (Investors Business Daily), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech (LX) reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue as the Chinese online lender issued its first quarterly report since its December IPO.

LexinFintech earned 4 cents per U.S. share diluted on revenue of $244.95 million. Analysts had expected EPS of 13 cents on revenue of $279.7 million, according to Yahoo Finance.

Shares tumbled 12.4% to close at 15.98 on the stock market today after rallying 5.3% on Monday to 18.25.

Loan originations rose 115% vs. a year, customer balances swelled 95% and registered users 99%. Acquisition costs per customer fell 22%.

Dow Jones Leads Morning Rally, But This FANG Stock Falls Further (Investors Business Daily), Rated: A

IPO Leader LexinFintech (LX) fell over 8% after the Chinese online lender reported weaker-than-expected Q4 earnings and sales results. The new issue has been volatile after a short-lived breakout above an 18.39 IPO-base entry on March 9. Just days later, the stock would trigger the 7%-8% sell signal before rebounding.

Golden Bull Limited Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Golden Bull Limited (“Golden Bull” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: DNJR), an online finance marketplace that connects individual lenders with individual and small business borrowers, today announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 1,550,000 ordinary shares at a public offering price of $4.00 per share, for total gross proceeds of approximately $6.2 million before underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses. In addition, Golden Bull has granted the underwriters a 45-day option to purchase up to an additional 232,500 common shares at the public offering price, less underwriting discount and commissions.

 

European Union

The challenger bank N26 raises $ 160M ahead of U.S. launch (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The mobile-first bank N26 in Berlin has raised $160 million in preparation for its launch of a challenger bank in the United States.

All told, N26 has raised $215 million. Previous investors have included Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Earlybird Venture Capital and Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures.

Part of the $160 million will be used on product development for the existing offering in Europe, according to U.S. CEO Nicolas Kopp. The rest — and he would not say how much this is — will be used for international expansion, most immediately into the U.K. and U.S. markets.

Swedish banks risk losing tens of billions of euros to fintech startups – here are the ones leading the charge (Business Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, the startup Enkla launched, causing a stir in the market. Their interest rate of 0,95 percent is well below the banks’ average interest rates and according to their CEO, Alexander Widegren, Enkla received about 2 billion euros (SEK 20 billion) in applications their first day, Di Digital reported.

Enklas goal is set to lend out 10 billion euros within 18 months.

The four largest Swedish banks, SEB, Nordea, Handelsbanken and Swedbank – which have a combined 75 percent share of the country’s mortgage market – all had a rough day on the stock market on Monday, which may have been caused in part by the emerging threat.

Australia

Australian SMEs favor alternate lending to fund business (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: AAA

Australian small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are turning to non-banks to secure funding for their business. The latest issue of the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index revealed that, between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of SMEs intending to use banks for funding has dropped from 38% to 24%. It also found that non-bank funding is now the first option for 22% of SMEs, up from 11% in 2014.

Moreover the report noted that 47.6% of SMEs, who have not used any non-banking lending options in the last 12 months, would be interested in using these options in the future.

There is an estimate 2.1 million SME businesses in Australia employing more than 7.3 million people or about 68% of Australia’s overall workforce.

Source: Enterprise Innovation

FinTechs To Surpass Banks As Aussie SMBs’ Top Finance Choice (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The “Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index,” released twice a year, found the portion of small businesses that said they would use banks for funding declined from 38 percent in 2014 to 24 percent in 2018.

Nearly half (47.6 percent) of SMBs that said they never used a non-bank to access financing said they would be interested in doing so in the future.

Asia

PT INVESTREE Radhika Jaya (Investree), a pioneer peer-to-peer lending (P2P) marketplace in Indonesia, is eyeing to close its Series B funding by the first half quarter of this year.

The company received an undisclosed amount of funding from Kejora Ventures in June 2016.

Investree has facilitated 600 billion rupiah (US$45 million) in loans to 330 SMEs, with 16,000 registered lenders, 5,000 active lenders between 21 to 40 years of age and has a return rate of 16.6% with no defaults.

In terms of business growth, Investree has seen 14% to 15% growth in revenue since 2016.

 

Latin America

Alipay breaks ground in Mexico (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Alipay, the world’s leading digital payments platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group, today announced that it is further expanding its footprint in the Americas through a partnership with Openpay in Mexico.

Now, Alipay’s more than 600 million active users in China will be able to use Alipay to make purchases from Openpay’s affiliated businesses in Mexico. Alipay is China’s leading payment provider and the primary means of online and mobile payment for Chinese consumers.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday March 12 2018, Daily News Digest

Funding Circle

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa competes with tech giants, not banks, for talent. Funding Circle to use 4 big banks to prepare for IPO. Japan tours Europe to pitch Open Banking. Lending Loop expands into corporate lending. Today’s main analysis: Preqin on the PE outlook. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Banking Amazon’s moment. How a commission-free robo-advisor plans to generate […]

Funding Circle

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United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Banking’s Amazon Moment (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Co-branded partnerships are not new, and banks have long partnered with retail institutions to launch co-branded credit cards. In a co-branded partnership, the financial partner deals with deposit or credit management, account servicing, and regulatory compliance, while the retail partner deals with marketing and customer acquisition. We have recently seen Barclays launch a credit card with Uber and Goldman Sachs potentially partner with Apple to finance device purchases. What is novel about this partnership is that it extends the same business model to checking accounts.

Benefits of Partnership

In the current regulatory environment, Amazon needs a partner as there is no clear regulatory swim lane for Amazon to compete head-on with the banks today. The Bank Holding Company Act demarcates commerce and banking. Partnering with JPM makes sense as it avoids Amazon having to comply with onerous banking regulations, but also makes it possible to offer products like checking accounts to its customers.

These strategic partnerships are also incredibly valuable to banks. As we pointed out in a prior newsletter, banks that do not establish a digital banking presence do not have a seat at the table. For banks, this is a battle for long-term customer relevance. Banking products are increasingly commoditized, and new generation customers want to bank with technology firms. They like the customer experience, the self-service nature, control, and value. These customers shudder at the idea of walking into a bank branch.

The customer segment that Amazon is targeting – younger generation, unbanked – generate notoriously low checking account and debit card fee-income for banks. Amazon has no legacy bank branch network, low customer acquisition cost and can make the economics work where most banks cannot. Banks also get access to a new customer acquisition channel, like Alexa where Amazon controls access and can leverage the customer data that their partner has gathered to offer better products to existing and new customers.

Significance of this Partnership

The primary motivation in the short-term is economics. Amazon pays about $250 MM in interchange fees – about 2% per transaction. Customers with an Amazon checking account can pay directly out of their checking accounts and avoid the network transaction fees. If Amazon captures even 25% of this opportunity, and adds $50 Mn to its bottom line, it would be accretive to its market capitalization by ~$10 Bn.

Amazon’s banking footprint today consists of its Visa Signature Rewards credit card issued by Chase, and Amazon Lending, a small business lender that has made ~$3 Bn in loans. It is conceivable that once Amazon’s customers sign up for a checking account, Amazon could sell them a variety of financial products like insurance and investment advice. Bain estimates that Amazon could establish a retail financial relationship with 70 Mn US customers, similar to that of Wells-Fargo.

Who might follow Amazon?

Source: PeerIQ

Amazon hiring head of newly-formed mortgage lending division (Housing Wire), Rated: A

While limited in scope, Amazon’s plans are to start with offering checking programs first, then maybe move into the debt product space after.

Well, after reporting that, we’ve received information that Amazon is currently looking to hire someone to lead their newly-formed mortgage lending division.

Due to non-disclosure agreements, we probably shouldn’t reveal their identities. After all, with Amazon planning a move into mortgage lending, it’s best we work with them and not against them. Am I right?

We can say that if you look at the top 10 HMDA lenders and pick out the nonbanks, that’s where Amazon is recruiting their talent.

How a commission-free robo-adviser plans to generate revenue (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Digital investment startup M1 Finance is making a big bet that no fees are the future.

The Chicago-based company, which launched its platform two years ago, decided to drop its assets under management fees to zero in December.

Investment companies can make as much as 70 percent of revenue from services that don’t involve charging customers commission, like lending and transaction fees for third parties, according to its CEO, Brian Barnes.

Source: Tearsheet

Instead of subscriptions, Barnes added that revenue from other services is more than enough to sustain a profitable business: lending to banks based on the securities it holds, interest from loans to customers who borrow from M1 using their portfolio as collateral, and transaction fees paid to the company from exchanges. While it’s free to use the platform and execute trades, M1 charges customers other miscellaneous fees for services like paper statements, transferring an account to another brokerage, and wire transfers.

THE TIPPING POINT FOR ALTERNATIVE DATA (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The term “alternative data” as Deloitte uses it refers to any set or sets of data that may be useful for investors but that is outside their traditional/conventional frame of reference.  In this age of “big data” that frame is going to have to expand, and the use of (say) communications metadata or satellite imagery, which might still be innovative this week, might be quite common next week, and a bare necessity for survival the week after that.

The traditional model for data analytics by IM firms (however ‘alternative’ they may be in their assets or strategies) involves as the paper puts it “structured data sets acquired from various information providers” that are then “aggregated and loaded into proprietary quantitative models.”

But the sometimes unstructured data sets on which investment managers will hereafter be expected to draw are large, heterogeneous, and would have to be processed at an extremely fast rate to be of any use. This requires machine learning and cognitive computing for the analytics.

In 2016, big data analytics (BDA) solution vendors received $3.2 billion from securities and investment services (S&IS) firms. About 15% of that (close to half a billion) originated from technologies that at least potentially support the generation of alpha.

How banks are promoting Zelle (Tearsheet), Rated: A

How banks promote Zelle is about more than television ad campaigns.

This year Chase and Wells Fargo have launched 15- and 30-second commercials advertising Zelle, the peer-to-peer payments offering built right into banks’ mobile apps. Zelle itself has even launched a couple of spots, one featuring Hamilton star Daveed Diggs.

Smaller banks that can’t afford national commercials, however, will need to promote Zelle in their existing products, their mobile banking apps, and perhaps take a page from fintech startups’ marketing playbook and design their apps in such a way that the product does the selling for them. That’s according to a new report by Javelin Strategy on Zelle’s rollout; that it emphasizes within its own mobile banking experience that a product called Zelle exists and communicates the benefits of using it and the reasons its better than competitors like Venmo or Square Cash.

Only 25 percent convey that Zelle is free or that it only requires an email or cell phone number, and only 38 percent convey that users can send it to anyone with a U.S. bank account, even if they bank at a different institution than the sender.

However, within those mobile apps, banks are positioning Zelle a little more prominently. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and USAA are all examples of different banks that have chosen to show customers they can send money with Zelle. Bank of America more clearly shows users they also have the options to split or request money. Chase has chosen to rebrand its existing peer-to-peer payment service, Chase Quick Pay, by adding the Zelle name at the end of it and offering customers the option to “QuickPay with Zelle.” SunTrust has changed platforms entirely from PopMoney to Zelle.

LESS ACTIVE ROLE IN FINANCIAL LIVES LEAVES WOMEN MAKING LESS, SACRIFICING MORE (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

A recent study of college-educated Americans found that more than half (54%) of adults don’t think they will ever make enough money to reach their financial goals. Findings released today by national online lender Laurel Road reveal the factors fueling this pessimism, which is significantly higher in women than in men. Millennial women (64%) are significantly more stressed than their male peers (47%) about their finances, and they report starting salaries that fall more than $10,000 lower than millennial men’s, on average ($29,403 vs. $39,839).

Fiscally confident millennial male grads (94%) were significantly more likely than their female counterparts (79%) to prioritize their future earning potential over personal passions when picking a major. Of those without a degree in finance, 88% of male millennials report taking personal or business finance courses while in college, compared to only 54% of female millennials. Meanwhile, nearly one-fourth (24%) of women completed an unpaid internship, compared to just 12% of men.

Millennial women (35%) are more than three times as likely as their male peers (11%) to not have completely understood their financing options when applying to college. These stark differences have a clear trickle-down effect post-graduation. More than half of women (57%) have had to decrease nonessential spending to save money since graduation, compared to just 35% of their male peers.

76% of college-educated adults aren’t completely confident they thoroughly understood their financing options to pay for college. Accordingly, more than half (55%) of Americans with student loans report that it took them longer than expected to pay them off – and for millennials, that number rises to 66%.

However, readjusting interest rates through options like refinancing can ease the burden. But it seems Americans might not be fully aware of this option, as only about one-third (34%) of college-educated adults who have taken out student loans have refinanced their student loans. Despite having less student loan debt, millennial men (62%) are taking advantage of refinancing benefits to a far greater degree than women (39%).

Additional findings include:

Advice adverse: Just more than half (57%) of college graduates have asked for financial advice, and only 16% do so on a monthly basis.

Overlooking the basics: Surprisingly, many college-educated Americans still haven’t taken some of the most basic steps to ensuring a healthy, long-term financial plan, including:

  • 83% have not taken a personal finance course or seminar outside of college classes
  • 62% have not negotiated a higher salary at a job
  • 37% have not begun investing in a retirement account

Persisting pessimism: Nearly 2 in 3 (66%) grads are not fully confident they know the steps required to finance a home. While millennial men (42%) are more likely than their female peers (29%) to feel completely confident they know the steps required to finance a home, it seems a solid financial foundation early on is key to building a comfortable future later on down the road.

Are HNW Investors Ready for Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms? (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: A

Cecilio is founder and CEO of San Diego-based DiversyFund Inc., which bills itself as a “vertically-integrated real estate crowdfunding platform.” Rather than acting as a middleman, DiversyFund manages all of its real estate projects from start to finish.

Accredited investors put money directly into development of commercial and residential real estate projects in Southern California, such as a multifamily development in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood. Investors can place as little as $5,000 in one of DiversyFund’s deals. Today, DiversyFund claims over 30,000 investors and more than $100 million in assets under management.

For now, an accredited investor must either make at least $200,000 a month or have a net worth of at least $1 million. But DiversyFund plans to open up its online platform this spring to non-accredited investors who can put as little as $500 into a project, Cecilio says.

NY Wealth Manager to Issue Loans Against Bitcoin (CoinDesk), Rated: A

With all the ICOs that have taken place (not to mention the meteoric rise in the value of crypto assets late last year), there are a lot of entrepreneurs who fit this description, but few products that allow them to turn long-term HODLing into actionable capital.

That’s the idea behind a new subsidiary being started by Dominion Capital, a family office based in New York City. While the company has long invested in a variety of assets, Dominion’s known for helping to finance projects by backing loans.

For the entrepreneurs who are willing to bet on the strength of their holdings, there’s a strategic opportunity at play. Essentially, the service would allow individuals and projects to borrow against either their own crypto assets (or those invested by supporters) rather than converting them directly to cash.

Restaurants Outpace Other Industries Investing In Mobile Technologies in 2018 (Modern Restaurant Management), Rated: B

The new findings show an overwhelming focus on mobile technologies, with 63 percent planning to invest; a well-advised investment given nearly 85 percent of all mobile users searching for a restaurant go on to make a purchase. The total average across all industries is 51 percent. In fact, restuarants and bars are among the most bullish to invest in mobile, trumped only by accounting services (70 percent) and marketing agencies (67 percent).

What’s more, nearly in one in four (23 percent) plan to invest in real-time analytics or big data solutions, to help analyze and identify growth opportunities.  This is an emerging opportunity for all small businesses as insights, typically available only to large corporations, are becoming increasingly more available.

U.S. Treasury Official Previews Report on FinTech Regulation (The National Law Review), Rated: B

Craig Phillips, Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury), recently delivered remarks at a conference held by the Institute of International Bankers in which he previewed the upcoming Treasury report about possible reforms to the laws and regulations that apply to non-bank financial institutions and FinTech companies.

Mr. Phillips reportedly signaled that the report will include a review of the regulations governing mortgage originators and servicers, marketplace lenders, payment processors and other FinTech companies, and will also cover the “regulatory asymmetries” between such institutions and more regulated institutions.

Pennsylvania judge partially dismisses action against investors of an online lending scheme (Lexology), Rated: B

On January 26, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania partially dismissed an action brought by the Pennsylvania Attorney General against out-of-state investors of an online payday lender and the lender for violating Pennsylvania’s Corrupt Organizations Act (COA). The Attorney General alleged that an online payday lender and the investors “designed, implemented, and profited from a consumer lending scheme to circumvent the usury laws of states.” The alleged conduct, which the court referred to generally as “rent-a-bank” and “rent-a-tribe” schemes, involved the online lender partnering with an out-of-state bank and later with tribal nation to act as the nominal lenders of the loans.

Alabama Senate OKs bill to cap payday lending interest rates (Tuscaloosa News), Rated: B

Payday lending customers would have longer to repay their loan under a bill approved Thursday by the Alabama Senate, which marks the latest attempt to cap the interest rates charged with the short term loans.

The bill by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur would give borrowers 30 days to repay a loan instead of as little as 10 days. Orr said the change would give people a better opportunity to pay off the loan. Senators approved the bill on a 20-4 vote.

Square’s Cash app now supports direct deposits for your paycheck (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Case in point, the app just rolled out support for ACH direct deposits, meaning users can now get their paycheck or other deposits put directly into their Cash app balance.

Like other features in the peer-to-peer payments app setting up direct deposits is almost too simple. After accepting a disclosure you’re given an account number and routing number, which is all an employer needs to start making direct deposits. Users get a notification when deposits hit their account, and all funds get added to their normal Cash app balance – meaning it can be sent to a friend, spent using a debit card, used to buy bitcoin or withdrawn to another account.

This feature combined with the Cash app’s debit card now means that the app can essentially provide all the basic functions of a bank account, assuming you don’t need to deposit checks or do complex things like wire transfers.

United Kingdom

Zopa is competing with tech giants not banks for talent, says CEO (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is competing with Google and Facebook for talent, not the likes of HSBC, the peer-to-peer lenders’ chief executive Jaidev Janardana (pictured) has said.

Funding Circle Picks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley for IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle Ltd., the biggest online loan provider in Britain, named Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Numis Corp. Plc to help manage its initial public offering, according to a person familiar with the deal, in a milestone for U.K. fintech.

The offering in London, planned for the second or third quarter, will probably value the eight-year-old company at between 1.5 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) and 2 billion pounds, according to the person, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. That would make it the biggest IPO by a British financial-technology startup.

Funding Circle has arranged more than 4 billion pounds in loans for small and medium-sized companies in the U.K., the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands.

 

Source: Funding Circle and Bloomberg

 

Funding Circle co-founder joins crypto-lending platform as advisor (AltFi), Rated: A

Andrew Mullinger’s LinkedIn profile reads: “currently semi-retired until I get bored”. The Funding Circle co-founder stepped back from the firm in May 2016. He has now joined a very different kind of online lender.

Lendingblock, an open exchange for cryptocurrency loans, today announced that Mullinger has joined the company as an advisor.

Augmentum Fintech raises £94m in IPO (Fine Extra), Rated A

Fintech venture firm Augmentum has raised £94 million in an initial public offering ahead of a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Set up by venture group Augmentum Capital, Augmentum Fintech is raising the money for a new fund investing in early-stage financial technology companies in the UK and wider Europe.

The new company is acquiring Augmentum’s existing investments in a portfolio of five fintech firms, including Seedrs, Zopa, Interactive Investor, BullionVault and SRL Global.

In a rare meeting of the public and private markets, crowdfunding platform Seedrs was itself used to raise more than £500,000 towards the IPO. The management team and family members have provided £2 million in capital.

BBVA and Visa-backed banking platform solarisBank scores €56.6m in Series B raise (AltFiNews), Rated: B

solarisBank, the first banking platform to be fully regulated by the FCA with a banking license, has successfully completed a Series B investment round, gaining another €56.6m in funding. Current investors Arvato Financial Solutions and SBI Group renewed their stakes, with BBVA, Visa, Lakestar and ABN AMRO’s Digital Impact Fund (DIF) joining them.

 

China

Review: The flimsy finances behind China’s miracle (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

Since the financial crisis of 2008, China’s economic growth has depended less on exports than on rising levels of domestic investment. Capital spending is mostly directed at construction, which directly accounts for some 20 percent of China’s gross domestic product and indirectly for much more. The long construction boom has produced dozens of ghost cities – McMahon counts 50 in all – filled with empty apartment blocks. Mighty skyscrapers have sprouted up in unlikely provincial backwaters.

Increasing property supply has been accompanied by rising prices. Sky-high valuations have priced many Chinese workers out of the market, creating a nation of “mortgage slaves” and “ant tribes” – graduates forced to live in cheap properties in urban peripheries. In some super-hot markets like the southern city of Shenzhen, the price of land has exceeded the value of the properties built on it, giving rise to the expression “flour more expensive than bread.”

If China’s economy is fuelled by construction, it’s no secret what keeps the cranes swinging and the bulldozers revving. The country has been on a credit binge ever since Beijing announced the “Great Stimulus” late in 2008.

Last China P2P Company Delists Domestically, foreseeing New Tide of Listings Abroad (PRNewswire), Rated: A

China-based Jiayin Fintech, parent company to Niwodai, one of chinese largest P2P lending companies, applied delisting from National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) in China on 7 March.

Jiayin Fintech’s main business is offering micro-finance services solution, among which, the part accounting for the largest income is tying qualified individual borrowing needs with the investing demands through Niwodai platform. So this delisting may indicate some trends of P2P industry, according to media in China.

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Golden Bull decreases proposed US IPO deal size to million (Nasdaq), Rated: A

The Shanghai, China-based company now plans to raise $7 million by offering 1.6 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. The company had previously filed to offer 2 million shares at the same range. At the midpoint of the revised range, Golden Bull will raise -23% less in proceeds than previously anticipated.

 

International

PREQIN ON THE PE OUTLOOK (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Preqin has issued a report on the near term outlook for private equity based on a recent (November 2017) survey of more than 350 PE firms around the globe.

Although this isn’t new, the worries about high valuations for portfolio companies have been a factor for years now; such worries are getting more intense over time. In November 2016, 36% of respondents said pricing for portfolio companies had gotten higher over the preceding year. In November 2017, 58% said the same thing.

A majority (56%) of fund managers plan to make more exits in 2018 than they did in 2017, though only 8% said that will be “significantly” more.

Australia

Fintech Australia begins hunt for new CEO as Danielle Szetho steps down (IT Brief), Rated: A

Fintech Australia’s Danielle Szetho is stepping down from her position as CEO after nearly two years in the role.

The organisation has already begun the search for its new lead executive while appointing Sarah Worboys as interim CEO.

 

Asia

Open Banking Provides Perfect Environment for FinTech Integration in Japan (PRNewswire), Rated: AAA

With a rapidly changing, quality business environment, the Government of Japan has launched a series of events across Europe to inform and promote active discussions around the future opportunities in Japan’s lucrative and intelligent market.

On February 19, a Japan You Didnt Know roundtable event kicked off in London at the office of global management consulting firm, A.T. Kearney. Discussions at the event focused on the impact of the new wave of finance, technology, consumerization and personalization sweeping Japan, and how the country is adapting its policy and regulatory framework to welcome foreign investors to deliver predictable conditions for accelerated growth.

Japan boasts the world’s third largest economy and has seen eight straight quarters of stable macroeconomic growth. Driven by a transformation of the market by means of bedrock deregulation and international trade deals, Japan is designing an efficient and productive environment that welcomes foreign business for the coming opportunities in financial services.

Canada

 

P2P PLATFORM LENDING LOOP NOW OFFERING CORPORATE LENDING (Beta Kit), Rated: AAA

Toronto-based Lending Loop, which provides a peer-to-peer lending platform for small business loans, is now allowing corporations to invest in small business loans through its online platform.

The launch of corporate lending is expected to expand small business’ ability to access fast financing, while enabling more lenders to earn attractive returns. To date, Lending Loop says it has facilitated over $17.5 million in loans to businesses across Canada.

Som Seif’s Purpose Financial to acquire fintech lender Thinking Capital (BNN), Rated: A

Canadian ETF pioneer Som Seif’s Purpose Financial announced Friday it is acquiring Montreal-based Thinking Capital, an online lender to small businesses, for an undisclosed amount of cash and securities.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 21 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub originations by funding source

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club losses extend to Q4 2017. LendingClub to settle lawsuit for $125M. Groundfloor launches online public offering. Even Financial gets backing from American Express. LendInvest launches buy-to-let calculator online. Today’s main analysis: Lend Academy reviews LendingClub’s Q4 2017 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Equity sharing and home ownership. How millennials move emerging markets. Why Australia needs […]

LendingClub originations by funding source

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

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News Summary

United States

Lending Club extends losses for fourth straight year (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club lost money for a fourth year in a row last year, as it wrote a big cheque to settle class-action lawsuits connected to its governance glitches of 2016.

The San Francisco-based company, the biggest listed online lender in America, said on Tuesday that net losses for the fourth quarter almost tripled from a year earlier, to $92m, as it agreed a $125m settlement to resolve civil suits stemming from the loan-mis-selling scandal that blew up almost two years ago. About $48m of the sum would be covered by insurance, the company said, with the remainder to be paid from liquid assets of about $650m.

The loss for the full year came to $154m, wider than the previous year’s $146m.

LendingClub agrees to settle shareholder litigation for 5M (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Under the agreement, which was announced Tuesday, the San Francisco-based online lender expects to pay $77.25 million. An additional $47.75 million is expected to be covered by LendingClub’s insurance, bringing the total payout to $125 million. The deal is subject to court approval.

LendingClub Corp (LC) Shares Sink on Q4 Earnings Miss (InvestorPlace), Rated: A

Lending Club also underwhelmed in its revenue as the company raked in $156.5 million during its fourth quarter, below Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $157.6 million, according to FactSet. The figure did increase 20% compared to the year-ago quarter.

On an adjusted basis, the company posted earnings of a penny per share, compared to a loss of 2 cents in the year-ago quarter.

The company also experienced a 23% annual growth in originations, which reached over $2.4 billion.

LendingClub Q4 2017 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub delivered another record quarter of $156.5 million in revenue up slightly from their previous quarter. Originations were slightly down from the third quarter at $2.436 billion. They reported a GAAP net loss of $92.1 million in the fourth quarter which was affected by the class action litigation settlement expense.

Source: Lend Academy
Source: Lend Academy

LendingClub provided the below guidance for Q1 2018 and reaffirmed their guidance for 2018:

First Quarter 2018

  • Total Net Revenue in the range of $145 million to $155 million
  • Net Income (Loss) in the range of $(25) million to $(20) million
  • Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $5 million to $10 million
  • Reconciling Items between net loss and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA consisting of stock-based compensation of approximately $19 million, and depreciation and amortization and other net adjustments of approximately $11 million

Full Year 2018

  • Total Net Revenue in the range of $680 million to $705 million
  • Net Income (Loss) in the range of $(53) million to $(38) million
  • Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $75 million to $90 million
  • Reconciling Items between net loss and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA consisting of stock-based compensation of approximately $77 million, and depreciation and amortization and other net adjustments of approximately $51 million

Stocks making the biggest moves after hours (CNBC), Rated: B

LendingClub stock plunged 10 percent after the bell. The peer-to-peer lending company reported earnings and revenues that missed Wall Street estimates.

Groundfloor Launches Online Public Offering Amidst Increased Stock Market Volatility (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Groundfloor, the first issuer qualified by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission to offer real estate based payment dependent notes that are available to non-accredited investors, today announced that it has raised a total of $4.3 million from 687 participating investors in a combination of two recent financings, a private online bridge note closed late last year and an initial closing of its online public offering of equity. In each case, the company kicked off the invitation-only raises to customers and friends of the company with a $1M target, surpassing that in under 48 hours. Due to increased growth opportunities and strong demand, the company has today expanded the equity raise to the public.

Groundfloor is offering a total of up to 530,000 shares of Common Stock at $10 per share in its online public offering. Investor benefits include: no investor fees for life2; access to regular shareholder-only loan offerings; and invitations to attend annual Groundfloor shareholder events.

Recently increased expectations that the Fed may raise interest rates in the future has investors rebalancing their portfolios, with a shift out of equity into debt, as bond yields are expected to increase. Twelve-month bond yields have recently inched up to 1.97 percent.

By comparison, Groundfloor investors have earned an average of 13.6 percent per year over the past three years, which represents over 6x the yield of a current one year Treasury note, and over 1,000 percent more than they would have made if their money had been in a CD or savings account over this period.1 Groundfloor’s retail investors create their own portfolios of real estate debt investments in the fix and flip residential housing market, and the loans on which the investments are based are secured by a first lien position against the underlying real asset.

Real Estate Equity Crowdfunding: A New Investment Opportunity for the Investors (EIN News), Rated: A

Talking in context of real estate, there are 3 ways to invest in a crowdfunded real-estate property:

• Equity crowdfunding
• Syndicated debt crowdfunding
• Platform-issued (‘pre-filled’) debt crowdfunding

Following are the pros and cons of going for equity crowdfunding in real estate:

Pros

• High yield potential
• Lower barrier to entry: Even if you have a very less amount of money, you can still invest even in large commercial real estate projects through equity crowdfunding and enjoy the benefits of the real estate i.e., strong returns and lower volatility.
• No self-employment taxes
• Higher returns

Cons

• The risks. An investor should know how to evaluate the risk factors like local economy volatility and chances of higher than expected construction costs. Due diligence is what is required.
• Liquidity constraint: These investments need to be held up for a period of five years or so, and hence one should go for this option if this much bandwidth is available, lack of liquidity is not there, and an investor is comfortable with the invested amount to be tied up for several years.
• It’s still an early option: It is still an early option to be considered as the performance track record and validation is still not complete and individual investors are still trying to figure it out.
• Lack of control: Since it is a passive investment, the investors are not involved in the day to day activities and therefore have limited ability and control over the operations required.

RealyInvest App Empowers Beginners to Invest in Commercial Real Estate (PR Newswire), Rated: A

In a rising tide of fintech apps, RealyInvest is emerging as a new way for beginning investors to access the high-priced world of premier commercial real estate right from their smartphones.

RealyInvestors can purchase fractional shares of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) for as little as $5. Investors can also own shares of commercial real estate NNN Assets, such as a building long-term leased to Starbucks, for as little as $20.

All investments, rental income and dividend earnings can be managed right on your smartphone. Fees range from $1 to $3 per month, depending on investment options.

Silicon Valley Explores a New Investment: Your Home (WSJ), Rated: AAA

A handful of companies, including those backed by marquee Silicon Valley names such as Andreessen Horowitz and Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization, are experimenting with a product that essentially lets them take an ownership position in a house along with the homeowner. The agreements, called shared-equity contracts, provide a new way for investors to get exposure to rising home prices across the U.S.

Shared-equity products are aimed at new buyers who need help with a down payment, or current homeowners looking for an alternative to a cash-out mortgage refinancing or a home-equity loan. The first use has caught the attention of mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac ,which recently agreed to buy loans on properties where one firm,Unison Agreement Corp. , contributes to the down payment.

Landed Inc. offers these down-payment contracts to teachers and other educators. Last year, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative , a philanthropy co-founded by Facebook Inc.’s chief executive, gave Landed $5 million to start a new fund.

The length of the contracts can vary from a few years to 30. Homeowners can repay early, including if they sell their house before the term ends. How much they end up owing depends on how the value of their home changes. Because the funds are equity, not a borrowing, they don’t require monthly payments.

Even Financial inks $ 3 mln (PE Hub Network), Rated: AAA

Even Financial, the technology platform powering financial services online, has secured a strategic investment round totaling $3 million. The round includes an investment from American Express Ventures, the strategic investment unit of American Express, as well as Plug & Play and Arab Angels.

With this investment, Even Financial will expand its team and advance its proprietary technology, which allows financial institutions and other partners to scale customer acquisition and remain competitive in the growing online financial services industry.

Fundrise Reports 2017 Performance. Total Return for the Year Stands at 11.44% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In brief, this is what Fundrise reported;

“In 2017, Fundrise investments earned an 11.44%* total return on investment, including over $16 million in dividends paid out to investors. Delivering attractive, consistent cash flow is a core part of our mission to offer you a better way to invest.”

Online SMB lending platform Yalber closes $ 20M senior credit facility (Bankless Times), Rated: A

SMB lending platform Yalber closed a $20 million senior credit facility this week, the company announced today.

Blinker Joins With Ally To Enhance The Auto Industry’s Only Peer-To-Peer E-Commerce Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

South by Southwest Interactive Innovation Award winner and 2018 LendIt Fintech Industry Award finalist Blinker, the only peer-to-peer e-commerce platform that provides an end-to-end solution for anyone buying, selling or financing cars, announced two major milestones for its business today:

  • Blinker is now available in the largest car markets in the US – Beginning today, Blinker is expanding its proprietary e-commerce and loan origination platform from Texas and Colorado to California and Florida, allowing millions of customers to buy, sell and finance vehicles easier, quicker and safer with other people. Thirty percent of vehicle sales across the US every year are between people, yet private-party marketplaces including Craigslist, Letgo, Autotrader, Cars.com and Facebook Marketplace don’t have services such as integrated financing or lien payoff support. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, Blinker customers get guidance and tools to complete the entire purchase process themselves, from instant vehicle valuation to real-time auto loan approval to e-signing documents to secure funds transfer, all for free within Blinker’s mobile app.
  • Blinker joins with Ally to offer best-in-class auto protection products – Blinker will now give customers the option to add Ally’s vehicle protection coverage, including Ally Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) and Ally Premier Protection vehicle service contracts, for their vehicle purchases in the app. GAP covers the difference between the cash value of a vehicle and what Blinker customers still owe on their loan if the vehicle is totaled or stolen. Ally vehicle service contracts cover the repair cost for over 7,400 mechanical, electrical, safety or digital components, as well as some related expenses like trip interruption, rental car coverage, towing and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Zelle users are finding out the hard way there’s no fraud protection (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Scammers have taken to Zelle, the Venmo alternative backed by U.S. banks, to defraud consumers who believe the service includes the same protections they’ve come to expect from PayPal. A number of customers report having lost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, over Zelle, when they used it for transactions with people they didn’t know – like tickets bought off a Craigslist posting, for example.

Cyberattacks took $ 56B from U.S. economy in ’16 (American Banker), Rated: A

Malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, the White House said Friday.

The estimate comes in a Council of Economic Advisers report on the impact of cyberattacks on U.S. government and industry. The report details the range of threats that U.S. entities face from actors including corporations and countries such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

The council’s estimate represents between 0.31% and 0.58% of the 2016 U.S. gross domestic product. For comparison, the report cites a Center for Strategic and International Studies report that estimated the cost of malicious cyber activities against U.S. entities at $107 billion in 2013, 0.64% of GDP that year.

BlockFi Raises 1.55M in Seed Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

BlockFi, a New York-based fintech company whose first product is a loan for cryptoasset owners, raised $1.55m in seed funding.

Backers included ConsenSys Ventures, Kenetic Capital, PJC, SoFi, Purple Arch Ventures and Lumenary.

The 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies (Fast Company), Rated: A

03 Square

For extending the benefits of banking

19 Social Capital

For putting values into its ventures

26 Kakao Bank

For marrying social messaging with banking

31 Paytm

For pioneering the cashless economy

42 Stripe

For writing the new startup manual

47 CommonBond

For offering payback

‘Pinterest will get even bigger for us’ says fintech lender Elevate Credit (The Drum), Rated: A

Speaking to The Drum in the final instalment of a four-part video series with Falcon.io exploring social media strategies, she admitted that while it can be a challenge, using data to understand her audience’s wants and needs has helped her shape content which is likely to resonate.

Fox says she has been finding success on the unlikeliest of social media platforms – Pinterest.

“All our content is more lifestyle focused than finance focused,” she explained.

OpenClose Bolsters Software Integration and Support Teams (Send2Press), Rated: B

OpenClose, an industry-leading multi-channel loan origination system (LOS) and mortgage fintech provider, announced that it has added staff to its integration and customer support departments. The new hires will help enhance OpenClose’s existing software products, facilitate digital mortgage processes, produce fintech-level innovation and provide excellence in customer support. The company also recently added three senior software engineers to its development team.

3 Loans for Students You Should Avoid Like the Plague (Student Loan Hero), Rated: B

1. Payday loans

You usually have only a couple of weeks to repay the loan, and the typical APR is almost 400.00%, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you can’t pay it back and have to take out a new payday loan to pay off the first, you could end up stuck in a vicious cycle of predatory debt.

What you should try instead: payday alternative loan (PAL).

2. Auto title loans

The reality is these short-term loans also have three-digit APRs, and you typically have between 15 and 30 days to repay the loan.

What you should try instead: A short-term campus loan.

$20 / $2,000 = 1%
1% x 365 days = 3.65
3.65 / 60 = 6.08% APR

3. Cash advances

This type of loan isn’t as costly as a payday loan or an auto title loan, but it’s not ideal for two reasons:

  1. Credit cards charge a fee, typically 5% of the advance amount. So, if you withdraw $500, you’ll have to pay $25 upfront.
  2. There’s no grace period with cash advances, so interest starts accruing immediately.

What you should try instead: A 0% APR promotion. Some credit cards offer a 0% APR promotion on new purchases for a period.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to launch two new mobile apps this year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The business lender, which currently only has an iPhone app for investors to access, monitor and manage their accounts, is now advertising for a global mobile apps product manager and for an Android developer.

Both positions are based in the UK.

“We have an ambitious roadmap for this year and want to launch two new apps (Android and iOS) for our investors,” the job advert on the Funding Circle website said.

LendInvest Announces Launch of Buy-to-Let Online Calculator for Intermediaries (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, LendInvest announced the launch of its new buy-to-let (BTL) online calculator for intermediaries.

 

P2P business lending up 51% (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The value of P2P business lending grew by 51% during 2017, according to new research from the British Business Bank (BBB).

The report also found that the value of SME asset finance deals was up 12%.

Although net bank lending volumes remained positive (£700m in 2017), it was weaker than in both 2016 (£3bn) and 2015 (£2bn).

The BBB found that there had been a significant increase in both the value and number of SME equity deals, up 79% and 12% respectively.

Online lenders and banks may operate as ‘joint ventures’ (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ONLINE lending platforms may partner with banks to fund and market credit products in the future, even sharing the approval process and compliance, in one scenario outlined by global banking regulators.

A number of peer-to-peer lenders have already partnered with banks on a smaller scale. For example, Metro Bank has lent through Zopa’s platform and Santander has referred borrowers to Funding Circle. However, these tie-ups have not gone as far as the report’s scenario suggests in terms of becoming a joint venture.

Crowdfund sites ‘are not explaining the dangers’ (The Times), Rated: A

Square Pie, which started life as a stall in London’s Old Spitalfields Market, expanded with the help of a “pie bond” that promised 8% annual interest over four years. The bond was offered through one of Britain’s biggest crowdfunding platforms, Crowdcube.

A total of 324 investors signed up, lending more than £650,000 to fund Square Pie restaurants and its efforts to improve supermarket sales. Square Pie has gone into administration — the first failure of a business that issued a mini bond on a crowdfunding site.…

Crypto lending platform nears launch (AltFi), Rated: A

Lendingblock is one such business. The soon-to-launch platform is, in its founder Steve Swain’s words, “an open exchange for cryptocurrency loans”.

Lendingblock is in the middle of a three-stage Initial Coin Offering that will conclude in March. The first phase has already been completed, raising the equivalent of $500,000. The offering has a hard cap of $10m.

Number of farming building conversions falls 20 percent in a year (FarmingUK), Rated: B

The number of conversions of farm buildings into new homes dropped 20% in the last year, denting hopes that these conversions could help solve the rural housing crisis.

According to Lendy, one of Europe’s largest peer-to-peer lending platforms, only 1,511 agricultural-to-residential conversion applications were approved in 2016/17.

China

The New Year to Bring a New Flood of IPOs (CapitalWatch), Rated: A

Golden Bull Ltd., an online peer-to-peer lending platform in China, plans to offer up to $9 million in shares on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “DNJR.” The Shanghai-based company, which was founded in 2015, provides borrowers access to short-term loans.
European Union

Finnest Expands Online Financing to Larger Corporations, Adds Institutional Investors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Finnest is an interesting online lender operating in the DACH countries. The peer to peer platform was launched to provide SME funding supported by individual investors but the company is now expanding by providing loans of €10 million and higher. Institutional investors such as insurance companies, funds, family offices and banks will now be able to invest in large SMEs on “FinnestPro.”

Why it’s OK that the majority of consumers don’t know about Open Banking – for now (AltFi), Rated: A

The new EU legislation on payment services – PSD2 – and the introduction of Open Banking in the UK seem to have passed the vast majority of people in the country by, according to an AltFi News article last month.

This referred to a report by Which saying that 92 per cent of consumers hadn’t even heard of Open Banking.

International

How Millennials are Moving Emerging Markets (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Millennials in advanced economies have come under pressure in recent years, thanks to stagnating wages, rising house prices and escalating student debt. But an altogether different trend is taking place in many emerging markets where millennials are seeing their prospects rapidly improve. This in turn is creating an investment opportunity, as millennials in these countries are becoming hugely influential on the prospects for emerging market equities.

Millennials will account for half of the global workforce by 2020, meaning they will be one of the most influential groups in shaping the economy and society, including consumption habits, policy and how companies may want to market and brand themselves. They are disrupting traditional industries and companies are having to adapt. This presents investment opportunities, but it also presents new investment risks.

Latest ICO Updates on VLR Token – Valorem Foundation ICO is LIVE! (TechBullion), Rated: A

Based on ERC-20, the multilayered cryptocurrency platform will host a marketplace that allows developmental phases. The first phase focuses on micro loans (small loans), rent payments, student loans and peer-to-peer payment processing.

As trust grows on the platform, phase 2 will be implemented to cater to sales distribution, global small business investing and global commercial and residential real estate crowdfunding while the third stage will serve charity and insurance. The final phase will be dedicated to maintenance and future developments that may include additional currency adoption, feature adding etc.

Valorem (VLR) is the token offered. The exchange rate stands at 1 ETH= 1000 VLR. There is a total supply of 200 million tokens of which 150 million are available during the ICO and 50 million will be kept in reserve. Valorem will not be mined.

Wealth managers must go digital (Raconteur), Rated: B

People born between roughly 1982 and 2002 are set to receive the biggest inheritance boom of any post-war generation. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) estimated the figure will be around $4 trillion in the UK, Canada and United States.

An Interview with Kirill Suslov – The CEO at Finom and TabTrader Founder (NewsBTC), Rated: B

NewsBTC: Now it seems that you have no experience with banking services yet. How do you plan to cover this area?

Now I can say we understand confidently how banking works and how it should work in the crypto industry. By 2020, we’re going to have a licensed bank and transform it into a crypto one with a network of crypto terminals.

A bit sooner, in 2018, we plan to release crypto e-wallets with linked debit cards. Miners will be able to use recently mined coins right away, transferring them to their wallets immediately. We’re also designing a platform for peer-to-peer lending.

Australia

Peer To Peer Lending Increasingly Popular In Australia (compare dinkum), Rated: AAA

Australian investors and borrowers are increasingly adopting peer to peer lending platforms according to the results of survey undertaken by ASIC. The results of the survey suggest that as much as $300 million of personal and business loans were underwritten by peer to peer lenders over the course of the last fiscal year. That represents a doubling in the amount that was lent on such platforms during the 2015/2016 financial year.

Why Australia needs a better system for credit scores (The Converstion), Rated: AAA

Australia’s credit rating system is failing both borrowers and lenders. Many borrowers are unaware of their own credit scores and our research shows they have trouble applying for suitable loans. Lenders are also struggling with too little information, causing them to extend loans to those they shouldn’t and restrict loans to worthy borrowers.

Upcoming changes to Australia’s credit reporting system could remedy these issues.

Under the new credit reporting regime, both lenders and borrowers will have access to more data, such as monthly payment histories on loans and credit cards.

More innovation ahead in mortgage lending

For higher-risk borrowers, novel techniques to assess credit risk (such as analysis of social media accounts) may be the answer to distinguish good borrowers from bad.

But prior experience from an over-reliance on credit scores in the United States shows that careful assessment of borrowers remains vital.

India

Refer to these fintech startups for range of medical loans (Business Standard), Rated: A

Among all the personal the medical loan is the most crucial one which is often required on an urgent basis by the applicants.

Recently a host of Financial technology(Fintech) and Non-financing related start-ups have been launched in providing a variety of medical to the clients.

Canada

They couldn’t get loans from their banks so turned to a legitimate-looking lender online (The Star), Rated: AAA

Unable to qualify for a loan from her bank, Johnston searched online for private lenders and found a website for what appeared to be a legitimate company calling itself North Clear Credit.

Everything about it — the variety of loans offered, the glowing testimonials, the company description — seemed professional. In fact, a customer who later reported North Clear Credit to police says an officer told her the website looked legitimate.

For Johnston and Mood, the terms were appealing. The money could be paid back monthly over five years at an interest rate substantially lower than what they would be charged elsewhere.

Johnston completed an online application and was approved for a $20,000 loan.

Within a few days, Johnston and Mood had lost $3,500, and two North Clear Credit “representatives” with whom Johnston had been corresponding had disappeared.

Blackchain Announces Private Placement (Stockhouse), Rated: A

Blackchain Solutions Inc. (the “Company” or “Blackchain”) (CSE: BIS), announces a private placement of up to 3,400,000 units at a price of $0.18 per unit, for gross proceeds of $612,000.  Each unit consists of one common share and one share purchase warrant.  Each warrant is exercisable at a price of $0.22 per share for a term of two years.

Proceeds generated from this financing will be used to initiate and support the filing of multiple patents and trademarks related to the Blackchain Crypto Credit Rating API and P2P Lending Platform.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday December 26 2017, Daily News Digest

cumulative loss

News Comments Today’s main news: 3 Reg CF portals no longer FINRA-approved. Zopa launching a bank. LexinFintech completes $108M IPO. European banks prep for PSD2. Australia releases second MPL survey. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ’s MPL Loan Performance Monitor. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 2017 was a wild ride for alternative lending. Is Congress expanding credit for the poor or enabling high-interest rates? Megatrends […]

cumulative loss

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

The Wild Ride In Alternative Financing In 2017 (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

But as 2017 pulled into the station, it became clear that a decade-long era in financial services was officially drawing to a close, other than this transitional year between what was and what’s next.

It became clear that Act I of digital era financial services was drawing to a close – and that Act II is getting warmed up backstage.

The CFPB

The CFPB has spent a year generating surprising questions – with even more surprising answers.

Moreover, there was some thought that the federal courts might render much of the discussion moot, by ruling the CFPB’s independent structure rendered it unconstitutional in the CFPB v. PHH case.

That ruling was thrown out by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit court of appeals, and a final ruling is still awaited.

The Congressional Review Act (And The Fate Of The Old Rules)

The 20-year-old law, which had only been used once before 2017, has been used 15 times since January of last year to undo Obama-era rules.

The law was effectively used to bounce the CFPB’s arbitration rule from going into effect. That rule would have made it illegal for financial services companies to insert mandatory arbitration clauses into consumer contracts, thus forcing consumers to surrender their right to form class-action lawsuits.

A similar maneuver was attempted to block controversial rules the CFPB passed regarding the regulation of prepaid cards. The House approved the CRA resolution, but the bill was unable to garner majority support in the Senate. That means going forward, prepaid cards that offer overdraft protection will be regulated as though they are credit cards, as opposed to debit cards.

The Future Of Innovation Instead Of Regulation

Affirm, founded by PayPal’s Max Levchin, built a POS financing product dedicated to offering consumers an honest, transparent way to pay for items on installment.

Affirm’s mission to expand consumer access to honest financing will rev into high gear next year, on the heels of a $200 million capital raise on an estimated $1.6 billion valuation, and now with the ability for any consumer to take advantage of its credit option at any merchant.

LendUp wants to calibrate financial services to what it calls “the new average consumer” or the “emerging middle class.”

EVEN’s new partnership with Walmart is a new tool to help smooth the income volatility for its workers by allowing them to be paid in real time for the hours they have already worked, instead of having to wait for the traditional payday.

“This isn’t that people just don’t have the money to pay their bills in general, but that they are forced to make bad decisions because the money they have already earned by working is not available to them at the right time,” EVEN CEO Jon Schlossberg told Karen Webster. “That adds up to a $100 billion industry a year in payday loans and late fees. That’s crazy; we can fix that and we should fix that.”

So EVEN – now with Walmart as a partner – is fixing it, both by giving customers access to their funds early, but also by providing access to financial management software so they can better control their money.

What’s Next

Perhaps in 2018, they will even find ways to write studies that use terms properly and do not directly contradict the research of other regulators.

Millennials, she noted, tend to enter the credit system with a bang once they start having families.

MPL Loan Performance Monitor (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This week, we introduce our redesigned MPL Loan Performance Monitor where we track the delinquency rates, cumulative losses, and transition matrices on public marketplace lending data that is comprised of loans originated by LendingClub and Prosper.

Source: PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ

Is Congress expanding credit for the poor or enabling payday lenders? (Salon), Rated: AAA

Ken Rees has made a fortune selling loans with triple-digit interest rates to borrowers with poor credit history or no credit history.

But in 2008, federal regulators ordered First Delaware to stop working with payday lenders — including ThinkCash — so Rees changed his company’s name to Think Finance and started striking deals with Native American tribes, which, as sovereign entities, are also exempt from state usury laws. Think Finance filed a still-pending lawsuit claiming Think Finance used the tribes as a front to make deceptive loans. Think Finance denies the charges and Rees started a new company, Elevate Credit, which operates from the same building in Fort Worth, Texas. Elevate deals in online installment loans, a cousin to payday loans, and partners with a Kentucky-based bank to offer lines of credit with effective annual interest rates much higher than would otherwise be allowed in some states.

Sponsors say the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act facilitates bank partnerships by ensuring third parties like debt buyers and rapidly growing financial technology firms can buy, and collect on, loans originated by federally regulated banks regardless of state laws governing interest rates. These partnerships can help make credit available to those left out of the traditional banking system, primarily low-income individuals, backers say.

“The bill covers every flavor of online lending,” said Adam Levitin, a consumer law professor at Georgetown University. “Some members of Congress have gotten snookered that they are fostering innovation, but a loan is just a loan whether you do it online or not.”

But now more payday-style lenders are moving online and donning the friendly face of a tech startup. Some, like LendUp, a lender charging more than 200 percent on some loans and counting Google Ventures among its investors, have attracted mainstream support. Like many high-interest online lenders, LendUp says it is “a better alternative to payday loans” because they use alternative data sources to determine interest rates but consumer advocates say the product, a high-interest loan that can quickly lead to a cycle of debt, is essentially the same thing.

Elevate said in an email it is committed to lowering rates further, and said its loan terms are more transparent and it doesn’t charge expensive fees associated with payday lenders.

Elevate’s installment loan called RISE is licensed in 17 states that don’t impose interest-rate caps and charges annual interest rates as high as 299 percent. Elevate says repeat borrowers can eventually qualify for interest rates as low as 36 percent on subsequent loans.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia impose interest-rate caps, most around 36 percent, to protect consumers from high-interest loans.

This article originally appeared on publicintegrity.org.

Three Reg CF Crowdfunding Portals are No Longer FINRA Approved (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ufunding was the first to depart FINRAs list of approved platforms. In hindsight it is a wonder the platform was ever approved. The action by FINRA took place a little over a year ago as “potential for fraud” was evident on Ufunding as was “an almost complete failure to follow disclosure and filing requirements.”

DreamFunded Marketplace has hit the exit. We are not certain exactly why DreamFunded left but, if one speculates, it is most likely due to the fact real estate investing is better suited for Reg A+ and Reg D crowdfunding rules which allow issuers to raise more money.

The other former CF platform is Crowdboarders out of Texas. Crowdboarders appears to have pivoted to more of a promotional platform.

After the tech wake-up call… (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Not long ago, Indiana’s Peoples Bank SB had a business prospect come in who had a loan with Kabbage, the online lender, at 20%. “We reviewed their credit, and we got them into the bank at close to 5%,” says Benjamin Bochnowski, president and CEO at the $914.2 million-assets bank.

With credit that was worthy of a rate like that, the bank asked the customer why it had gone to Kabbage in the first place—and been willing to pay nearly 15 percentage points more for credit. Simple, the new customer responded. Kabbage was easy to use and delivered the proceeds of the loan quickly.

Camilo Concha of LendingUSA (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The founding story of LendingUSA.
  • The different verticals they operate in today.
  • How their point of sale lending process works.
  • The typical terms on these loans.
  • A profile of the typical borrower who uses LendingUSA.
  • How they do marketing outreach to the merchants offering their loans.
  • The different revenue streams they have.
  • The scale that LendingUSA is at today.
  • How their loan performance has been to date.
  • Why LendingUSA is not competing as much on price as other consumer lenders.
  • Their overall approval rate for loan applications.
  • How they approach fraud prevention.
  • Who is providing the capital for these loans.
  • Where they are on the path to profitability.
  • Why the marketplace lending challenges of 2016 did not impact LendingUSA that much.
  • Why their cost of customer acquisition is going down.
  • Their biggest challenge in getting their business to where it is today.
  • Camilo’s long term vision for LendingUSA.

P2Binvestor CEO Krista Morgan on Marketplace Lending: What to Expect in 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

P2Binvestor CEO Krista Morgan founded P2Binvestor in 2012 with a mission to help growing businesses succeed. Morgan is not only CEO of a fast growing Fintech, she is also the cohost of the podcast “Women Who Startup Radio”, an ardent mentor to other women entrepreneurs who speaks regularly on business finance, fundraising, and scaling a startup.

I recently connected with Morgan via email to learn her 2018 predictions for the Marketplace Lending sector and more specifically, her predictions for P2Binvestor. Her observations follow:

  • More focus will be placed on business models and profitability
  • Platform mergers and shut downs will occur as equity investors remain on the sidelines
  • Capital will start to look for shorter duration assets
  • The conversation about diversity will continue

When asked what PB2i has in store for 2018, Morgan targeted the platform’s growth in four areas:

  • More bank partnerships
  • Tech focused on portfolio monitoring
  • Tighter credit standards

Modo Creates A Payments Data Highway Between The World’s Largest Financial Institutions (Benzinga), Rated: A

Bruce Parker, Modo CEO: Modo creates interoperability in the payments industry by conducting the exchange of data between systems via our translation utility service. Modo allows clients to bring together capabilities from around the payments and commerce industry by directly solving for interoperability between different payment systems.

We’re doing this for some of the biggest names in the payments game: Bank of America Corp BACVeriFone Systems Inc PAY, FIS, Klarna, and Alliance Data Systems CorporationADS, and are proud to say that list is growing.

Who are your customers?

Banks, networks, payments providers and their partners.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman talks Fintech on Capitol Hill with Georgetown’s Chris Brummer (MENAFN), Rated: A

Other topics touched on during the interview with Mr. Brummer included how fintech can and should improve financial inclusion—and the continued need to eradicate banking deserts—as well as the necessity to better coordinate and launch public-private partnerships. Despite PayPal’s notable profile and 210 million users, it operates in a $100 trillion industry with approximately 1% market share—and there are still nearly 2 billion people around the world who live outside financial mainstream.

Getting Smart About Thin File Student Grads and Their Credit Card Worth (PaymentsJournal), Rated: A

The CARD Act of 2009 disrupted student credit card marketing with a means test and parental approval for certain types of accounts.  The market, which used capture about 12% of total card consumer spend now only contributes a fraction.

The American Banker covered an interesting story about how BankMobile, a digitial only bank with 800 university partners, is attempting to build a model based on academic history and how they maintained their student bank accounts.

3 Real Estate Investing Trends That Gained Steam in 2017 (Realty Biz), Rated: A

In 2016, the real estate crowdfunding industry produced 3.5 billion dollars in a market that has largely gone unnoticed. It’s anticipated by 2025 that the industry is going to be valued at more than 300 billion. Three trends emerged in 2017 that can help the informed investor understand the best approach to this dynamic and explosive industry.

  1. Investors Move Toward Institutional Capital
  2. Non-Accredited Investors Gain Steam
  3. Consolidation allows for the emergence of new players

Can real estate crowdfunding help the homelessness crisis? (Curbed), Rated: A

In addition to commercial space and two market-rate residential lofts, the two-story Jolene’s complex will also contain an 11-room SRO, or single-room occupancy, a dorm-like living arrangement where each resident gets their own 100-square-foot bedroom and access to shared common space. Six of the room will be given to working homeless Portlanders, as part of a partnership with the Street Roots non-profit, while the other five will be rented out to the general population for $425 a month.

After seeing that 90 percent of the participants in Fair-Haired Dumbbell were from Portland, they experimented with a slightly different form of crowdfunding that allowed anybody in Oregon making $70,000 a year or more to invest $3,000 or more in the project (technically, it’s taking advantage of Rule 504 of Regulation D, qualified by the SEC and the Oregon Secretary of State).

EquityStat Brings Portfolio Management To The Cloud (Benzinga), Rated: A

What does your company do? What unique problem does it solve?

Karl Swierenga, founder: EquityStat is an online investment portfolio manager. It allows investors to track and manage their stocks, mutual funds and ETFs, online in the cloud. Many investors own a combination of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs.

Who are your customers?

Our customers are individual investors who own mutual funds, stocks, bonds and ETFs.

FindBob Closes $ 1.26M USD Seed Round (Business Insider), Rated: A

FindBob () announced today that its seed round is closed at over $1.25 million USD. Grinnell Mutual led the investment.

The capital will allow FindBob to grow its sales and marketing teams, expand into additional U.S. markets and execute on its multi-generational product roadmap.

FindBob champions better transition behavior among financial professionals and their firms in order to perpetuate and protect their most precious asset: their book of business. By allowing company principals to take control of their futures on a secure digital channel, FindBob helps them safely discover opportunities to buy, sell, merge, partner or address succession and to be confident in their plan for the business they worked so hard for.

Fintechs that flamed out or faded in 2017 (American Banker), Rated: A

Source: American Banker
Source: American Banker

Fintech Outlook For 2018: US Banks Look To AI (The National Law Review), Rated: B

With 2017 at a close, US banks have set out their 2018 FinTech new year resolutions. According to American Banker, US banks are likely to focus their FinTech investment in 4 major areas in 2018:

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Open banking
  • Cybersecurity and biometrics
  • Commercial banking innovation

Anyone invest in p2p lending? (blind), Rated: B

Just found out that I can earn annual returns of 6-12% by investing in p2p lending platforms like lendingclub and prosper. Way more than the measly 1.3% I get from my savings account.

Lendio Announces New Franchise in Rochester, New York (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Lendio, an online lending marketplace for small business loans, announced on Thursday the opening of a new Lendio franchise in the Rochester area.

LendingTree,Inc. (NASDAQ:TREE) Files An 8-K Departure of Directors or Certain Officers (Market Exclusive), Rated: B

On December 19, 2017, our Board of Directors and Nikul Patel mutually agreed to change Mr. Patel’s position to Chief Strategy Officer, effective January 1, 2018. He currently serves as Chief Product and Strategy Officer, a position he held since November 2016.

United Kingdom

Zopa to launch a bank (Monzo), Rated: AAA

It’s why we’re applying to launch our own next-generation bank. We’ve listened, and we’re confident that we can deliver the bank that will be the best place for your money.  

Leading comparison websites have removed potentially misleading information from their sites after a Moneywise investigation found peer-to-peer (P2P) investment products included in the same best buy tables as high street savings products.

Moneywise looked at the UK’s leading product comparison websites and found issues with the four sites which offer P2P comparisons – Go Compare, Love Money, Money.co.uk and MoneySuperMarket.

A helping hand for small businesses (Money Week), Rated: A

A decade after the credit crunch, too many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK still feel their potential is being hampered by a lack of access to appropriate financing. The government’s Industrial Strategy report, published at the end of November, identified financing issues as a clear problem for SMEs that are looking to grow; surveys of sentiment continue to reveal frustration.

Research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance shows that two-thirds of SMEs with growth plans for the year ahead fear that their expansion plans could be derailed if they cannot secure appropriate finance. A third of SMEs applying for finance aren’t securing enough funding to underpin their investment plans, according to similar research from Close Brothers Group; a quarter of SMEs think funding is still too dear.

New rules clarify P2P business borrowers are not deposit takers (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

In an announcement titled ‘protecting the future of P2P lending’, the Treasury said that no P2P business borrower needs to be regulated as a ‘deposit taker’ – often referred to as a ‘banking licence’ – unless that is their core business.

This clarification will be added to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Carrying on Regulated Activities by Way of Business) Order 2001.

10 business trends to look out for in the coming year (inside.co.uk), Rated: B

“I think we will see a strong increase in the number of Scottish businesses sourcing peer to peer lending, which matches borrowers directly with lenders, in 2018,” Hardie said. “Companies such as the Lending Crowd are currently the business world’s best kept secret, but their ability to deliver speedy transactions with attractive terms are firmly establishing them as strong alternatives to the banks.”

“A European directive being implemented in January 2018 will ban businesses from charging customers extra for making payments using a debit or credit card in the EU,” said Lynne Walker, head of business advisory at Johnston Carmichael.

China

China’s LexinFintech Completes $ 108M Listing As Sixth Chinese Fintech IPO In US (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ:LX), a Chinese online lender previously known as Fenqile backed by investors including Matrix Partners and JD.com Inc., has completed a listing on the NASDAQ to raise US$108 million.

Chinese online lender LexinFintech surges in US market debut (China Economic Review), Rated: A

Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s shares surged in their US market debut on Thursday, as investors brushed aside worries about Beijing’s recent crackdown on China’s booming microlending industry.

LexinFintech’s shares jumped 53% from its IPO price, which valued the Shenzhen-based company at $4.5 billion, to reach a high of $14.88.

China IPOs In New York Rebound To 16 In 2017, Online Lender Lexin Aces Nasdaq (Forbes), Rated: A

The 16 Chinese companies in 2017 raised $3.7 billion or about 8 percent of the total $35.6 billion raised by 160 IPOs.

Chinese tech titans Tencent and Alibaba are behind some of this pick-up, as they backed recent new listers including Chinese search engine Sogou, e-book company China Literature, microlender Qudian and logistics company Best.

Squeezing in its IPO before the year, Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings listed on Nasdaq on Dec. 21, raising $120 million and trading upward on its opening day by 19.4 percent.

Fintech Pioneer Sees Money in the Masses (Caixin), Rated: A

China’s booming fintech sector will see growth come from small business loans, wealth management tools for the “affluent masses,” and technology that helps you sift through thousands of insurance products in minutes, according to Tang Ning, founder and CEO of financial conglomerate CreditEase.

As of September, the company’s wealth management business oversaw assets worth $20 billion for nearly 50,000 high net-worth customers in China. It also manages $1 billion through a venture fund, which is among the ten most active venture capital investors in global fintech companies, according to data provider CB Insights.

Caixin: What are the most promising fintech trends over the next decade?

Tang Ning: We see small business lending being a key area of growth. In the past 10 years, creative lending models have done a good job at serving individuals, but there is much more to be done for small businesses.

We also see the emergence of insurance tech.

How are Chinese investors’ needs changing?

We are seeing the Chinese wealth management industry go through profound changes. It is moving from fixed-income investments to equity investment, from short-term speculation to long-term investment, from China-focused investment to global opportunities, from investing into single products, single opportunity to comprehensive risk management and comprehensive asset allocation, from managing this generation’s wealth to thinking about succession planning and inheritance.

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Golden Bull sets terms for $ 9 million US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: A

The Shanghai, China-based company plans to raise $9 million by offering 2 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Golden Bull would command a market value of $64 million.

European Union

Europe’s banks brace for a huge overhaul that throws open the doors to their data (CNBC), Rated: AAA

On January 8, banks operating in the European Union will be forced to open up their customer data to third party firms — that is, when customers give consent.

Banks will be required to build application programming interfaces (APIs) — sets of code that give third parties secure access to their back-end data.

Spain’s BBVA, Denmark’s Saxo Bank, Nordic lender Nordea and Ireland’s Ulster Bank have already published open developer portals ahead of the EU legislation.

HSBC has also made early moves toward meeting the incoming rules. In October, the bank launched a beta version of an app that lets customers see all of their bank accounts — including those from competitors — on one screen.

Several small lenders set up with the aim of competing with larger institutions are hoping to take advantage of the move toward a more open data infrastructure. U.K. firms Starling and Monzo, for instance, are want to make banking more like a “marketplace,” by connecting consumers with a number of products and services — including those from other providers — within their apps.

How PSD2 will make personal lending more competitive (IT ProPortal), Rated: A

Today, banks sell few unsecured personal loans to new customers – of seven of the UKs tier one banks only two offer personal loans to new customers – instead focusing on the needs and data of their own clients. The establishing credit risk and difficulties of pricing accurately has simply made it too complex to be competitive.

Also, although many peer-to-peer lending sites now have better protection for consumers as the industry became regulated by the FCA in April 2014, it can be argued this protection is greater for savers and lenders than it is for those borrowing and that the industry is still high-risk when compared with traditional routes.

This could all be about to change with the introduction of the intertwined The Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and open banking regulation.

First, XS2A will significantly improve the customer experience for loan applicants.

Hive Project buzzing after ICO (Bankless Times), Rated: A

After securing $8.95 million (BTC 2,087) from 2,234 participants through an ICO in August, Hive Project has released a demo version of their platform and completed an eight-market deal.

Hive Project uses distributed ledger technology to grant every issued invoice a unique fingerprint.

“In the Russian market alone there are  5.67 million SMEs with a combined turnover of €700 billion,” Mr. Soklic said.

Australia

ASIC releases second marketplace lending survey (Lexology), Rated: AAA

ASIC has released its second survey on the marketplace lending industry, which indicates steady growth in both borrowing and lending activity in the market since the last report.

Key findings from the report are outlined below:

  • there are three new marketplace lending platforms in the industry;
  • with $300 million in loans written to consumers and SMEs, there was a doubling of activity in relation to the number of borrowers and total amount borrowed since 2015-16;
  • the average reported default rate across the respondents was 2.2%;
  • there are an additional 4,187 retail investors since 2016, representing $12 million of extra investment in the industry; and
  • loan origination fees remained the primary source of revenue for marketplace lending providers.

The True Threat to Aussie Banks (Money Morning), Rated: A

The updated code of practice brings a number of changes. Most are simple consumer protections. Making it easier to cancel credit cards online, for example, and preventing banks from soliciting customers for credit limit increases.

India

Digital payments, P2P lending among key mega-trends of the year gone by (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

It was a great year for digitalisation and digital payments in the country.

Besides reducing the merchant discount rate for debit card transactions, the Centre announced a subsidy on transactions up to ₹2,000 via debit cards to expand the digital payment ecosystem.

P2P lending boost

Also, 2017 was a milestone year for the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry, as the RBI issued some guidelines in October.

Other defining changes

In April 2017, five associate banks of State Bank of India and Bharatiya Mahila Bank were merged into SBI, catapulting the latter into the league of top 50 global banks.

In May, the much talked about NPA ordinance giving greater power to the RBI to handle the bad loan crisis came about.

The other key decision of the RBI this year to improve transparency in the system was the move to make it mandatory for the banks to disclose in their balance sheets the extent of divergences between the gross NPAs in their book and those determined in RBI inspection. Private sector lenders such as Axis Bank, YES Bank and ICICI Bank were found to have under-reported their bad loan assets in recent years, prompting the central bank to take this decision.

How retail lending is set to scale up in 2018 (Financial Express), Rated: A

Major factors like steady decline in lending rates, strong focus and performance on growth and credit metrics in retail lending, investor interest in the segment, P2P regulation formalising the new category, increased focus on digitisation and path-breaking initiatives towards affordable housing are helping set a strong base for retail lending. Some of the big trends I see in the New Year are:

Consumer lending

Contrary to the slowdown in credit offtake by the corporate sector, retail credit segment has registered a strong growth of around 20% this calendar year.

Mobile: India today has more than 300 million smartphone users, removing geographical constraints of access to financial products. New venture investments will drive experiments in alternate lending.

Growth in MSME lending

With around 55 million MSME units employing over 80 million people, this sector contributes about 8% to the national GDP. Around 90% of these units are classified as micro businesses.

Growth in affordable housing segment

With home loan to GDP ratio of just 9%, the Indian housing finance sector remains relatively under-penetrated when compared to its Asian peers like China (20%), Thailand (17%), and Malaysia (34%).

The P2P Lending Segment will Drive the Next Phase of Growth of the Indian Fintech industry (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

With the much-awaited legitimacy, the sector is only at growth radar and trust in the segment is developing at a much faster pace. With more and more people moving towards online payments and transactions, the P2P lending space will witness a remarkable rise in the number of borrowers as well as investors. The growth will not only arrive from the urban India but also from Tier II and Tier III cities, leading the country towards the national goal of financial inclusion.

As predicted by NASSCOM, the Indian fintech space is expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2020, 2018 will act as a major contributor towards this direction.

How can P2P lending disrupt MSME sector in India? (MENAFN), Rated: A

There are more than 5 crore MSMEs in India and their contribution to the Indian economy is quite significant. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are creating massive employability i.e. up to 12 crore people which is close to 33% of Indias manufacturing output. But still MSMEs suffer from an incredible capital shortage that amounts to Rs. 32 trillion as per the International Finance Corporation.

Fintech start-ups tap small-town users (Business Standard), Rated: A

Paynear, a start-up, has more users in small towns than in the metros. The Hyderabad-based firm, which provides a platform to traders for accepting digital payments, has seen a surge in growth from small towns. Of its 50,000 merchants, two-thirds are in small towns.

Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week [18-23 Dec] (Inc42), Rated: B

This week 19 Indian startups raised about $41 Mn in funding altogether in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Peel-Works: The consumer focussed SaaS and big data analytics startup raised an undisclosed amount in Series B funding led by Mumbai-based Unilever Ventures and Amazon Internet Services.

Faircent: Gurugram-based P2P lending startup Faircent raised $3.9 Mn (INR 25 Cr) in a Series B round of funding.

Asia

Financial inclusion is in your hands (National Multimedia), Rated: AAA

Aside from offering new innovative financial services to their existing customers, the use of Fintech also allows banks to serve potential |customers – those considered “underbanked” and “unbanked” – who in the past did not have access to financial services due to costs, lack of credit or access. The ability for the banks to serve everyone is known as “financial inclusion.” According to the World Bank, around 2 billion people don’t use |formal financial services and over 50 per cent of adults in the poorest households are unbanked.

A report from Thailand’s Ministry of Finance in 2016 shows that 56 per cent of Thais received micro finance from special financial institutions and less than 9 per cent from commercial banks. Clearly, most Thais often turn to non-bank providers for small sums of money.

The K Plus Shop is an example of fintech for financial inclusion from KBank. It is a mobile application designed to be a one-stop solution for micro businesses such as small shops and street vendors. The app is a point of sale, sales tracking, sales reports and PR tool combined into one app that anyone can download and use free of charge on any smartphone – iOS or Android. With K Plus Shop, the vendor can receive QR payment from any customer using K Plus, other mobile banking or e-Wallet applications via the standard QR for PromptPay, as well as from WeChat Pay and Alipay.

FintruX partners with blockchain data exchange DataWallet (Cryptoninjas), Rated: A

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor