Friday September 29 2017, Daily News Digest

C-PACE financing

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub completes 2nd self-sponsored loan securitization with $323M deal. Funding Circle restates IPO ambitions. Robo.cash tops 2M Euro, 1000th investor. AutoGravity surpasses $1B USD in finance amount requested. Singapore banks closing cryptocurrency, payments accounts. Today’s main analysis: Risk evaluation of commercial PACE securitizations differs from residential deals. Goldman Sachs’ aggressive push into consumer banking. Today’s […]

C-PACE financing

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News Summary

United States

LendingClub Completes 2nd Self Sponsored Loan Securitization with $ 323 Million Deal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC) has sponsored and contributed to its second securitization deal following the the last successful self sponsored deal this past June. The “Consumer Loan Underlying Bond” (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P1 (CLUB 2017-P1) issued $323.1 million in prime notes backed by consumer loan assets originated via the LendingClub platform. This is the sixth securitization supported or sponsored by LendingClub, and the fourth rated securitization of LendingClub facilitated loans overall. LendingClub described the deal as further expanding investor access.

LendingClub reported the transaction was backed by approximately $350 million of collateral and includes $217.3 million of Class A notes rated “A-(sf)”, $51.0 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $54.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)”.

Orchard’s Online Lending Ecosystem Update: “Lendscape” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orchard Platform, the nexus of loan originators and institutional investing, has updated their ongoing graphical view of the online lending  world or “Lendscape”.  As the online lending universe has moved from peer to peer lending, to marketplace lending to all forms of online lending, the Lendscape has changed and grown. New lending platforms have been launched, new verticals targeted, and a growing number of ancillary services have joined the space.  Orchard points to the addition of lenders like LendingPointLiberty LendingLendmartAllegro CreditUpLiftArtMoneyAscendOppLoans, and Lendistry.

Perhaps the most important shift in online lending is the growing participation by traditional finance firms.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Risk Evaluation of Commercial PACE Securitizations Differs From Residential Deals (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC believes the next iteration of property assessed clean energy securitizations will be in the commercial sector. While securitization of residential PACE assessments tops $3 billion, there have been no public transactions consisting primarily of commercial liens.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts In analyzing the credit risk of transactions backed by commercial assessments, Morningstar considers the debt service coverage ratio, because PACE lending is tied to the property rather than the owner’s creditworthiness.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts

Morningstar evaluates a property’s net operating income in relation to its annual debt-service payments. Among securitized commercial mortgages, the average DSCR is approximately 2.14x, according to Morningstar. C-PACE lenders and aggregators typically require a minimum total DSCR in the 1.00x to 1.15x range. Although, in some cases, the DSCR has dipped below 1.00x, especially if total debtto-value is low when operating expenses are higher than revenue. Factors possibly mitigating a lower DSCR, which include county support, property ownership affiliations within a network, liquidity account and equity position require case-by-case analysis. In addition, DSCR of the lien is more important than the DSCR of the overall debt.

Evaluating Divergent Leverage Metrics

The lien-to-value ratio is another leverage metric that Morningstar analyzes. Although a PACE assessment raises a property’s lien-to-value ratio, the increased risk to the underlying mortgage is likely minimal, as the obligation is usually small in comparison to the mortgage.

It can be more challenging to calculate the lien-to-value ratio for C-PACE levies, because the properties can run the gamut from hotels, farmlands, nursing homes, and gas stations to nonprofit buildings such as churches. Across residential PACE deals, we have seen lien-to-value ratios around 6.7% and combined PACE-lien-plus-mortgage-tovalue ratios at around 62.7%. In C-PACE, lien-to-value ratios hover around 25.0%, not including mortgage debt.

While we scrutinize total debt-to-value, the distribution of leverage offers insight into the financial health of the property. For example, we view a property with a 90% debt-to-value ratio that is composed of an 89% mortgage loan and a 1% PACE assessment more favorably than a property whose debt is composed of an 89% PACE obligation and a 1% mortgage because of higher subordination levels.

Growing Market Size

C-PACE financing has grown to about $482 million as of Sept. 1, encompassing 1,097 commercial projects, according to PACENation. More than 2,500 municipalities have C-PACE programs.

Compared with residential programs, C-PACE is in its infancy, as R-PACE financing totaled about $3.67 billion and R-PACE securitizations totaled around $3.40 billion. A sliver of
commercial assets was included in one of those securitizations, GoodGreen 2016-1, with commercial PACE levies representing approximately 4.8% of the pool’s assets.

Source: Morningstar

Get the full report here.

The Top Sources Of Small Business Financing Based On Approval Rates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. Loan approval percentages of institutional investors have continuously reached new heights this year in terms of approval rates. In August Institutional lenders’ loan approval rates in August reached 63.9%.

Alternative lenders’ approval percentages continue to decline; in August the rate dipped to 57.1%. Approval percentages have dropped every month for more than a year.

Approval percentages at small banks rose one-tenth of a percent in August to 49.0% from July’s 48.9% figure. It is conceivable that the number may cross the 50% benchmark.

Big banks improved one-tenth of a percent to 24.6% in August, setting a new high for the Biz2Credit Index, which has tracked loan approvals since January 2011. The number is creeping up to one-in-four. It’s a good time for bank lending.

Loan approval rates at credit unions dipped to 40.3% in August, falling to a new low for this category of lenders on Biz2Credit’s index.

AutoGravity Surpasses $ 1 Billion USD In Finance Amount Requested, Launches Real-Time Dealership Inventory Nationwide (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, today announced that it has reached $1 billion USD in finance amount requested on the AutoGravity platform. Additionally, AutoGravity has announced the launch of real-time inventory for new and used cars from partner dealership groups across the nation. Car shoppers can browse real vehicle inventory on dealership lots, find the specific car that’s right for them and secure up to four finance offers in minutes on the AutoGravity smartphone app.

More over 750,000 car shoppers have downloaded AutoGravity, collectively requesting over $1 billion USD in financing. These users can now search inventory by car brand and model year – as well as characteristics such as body type, drivetrain and color. Car shoppers can find their desired car waiting for them on the showroom lot for the payment they want. With car selected and offers in hand, users can pick up their car and drive off the lot with the confidence of knowing they have secured a fair deal.

AutoGravity partnered closely with the largest dealer groups in the country to design a seamless process by which dealers can easily load inventory feeds, including vehicle details and pictures, to AutoGravity’s secure platform. Inventory is updated and shown to users in real time.

ID-verification firms seize on Equifax moment (American Banker), Rated: A

The Equifax hack, combined with the rise of online lending, may have turned 2017 into a golden age for companies with new ideas for ID.

The software company Mitek plans to roll out a product in the coming year called Mobile Verify for Lending, which offers lenders a five-step process to quickly verify customer identities. Borrowers first share their online bank account information with lenders. They then submit four pictures taken from their smartphones: the front and back of their driver’s licenses, a selfie and a pay stub.

Other players are offering digital lending solutions to make it easier for banks to keep pace with speedy fintech competitors. Upstart, for example, is marketing software, called Powered by Upstart, to banks wanting to get into digital lending.

DFS to Court: OCC Fintech Charter ‘Undermines’ Its Authority (New York Law Journal), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s plan to offer a special-purpose bank charter for financial technology companies “undermines” the Department of Financial Services’ regulatory authority in New York, the state agency argued in court documents.

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 nondepository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.

Stockpile Raises $ 30 Million to Make Stock Investing Easy for Everyone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Stockpile, a brokerage popular with millennials that is pioneering fractional share stock investing, announced today that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Fidelity backed Eight Roads Ventures, with participation by Mayfield, Arbor Ventures, Hanna Ventures, Wang Ventures, and others.

This latest investment brings the total raised by Stockpile to more than $45 million.  Mayfield led Stockpile’s $15 millionSeries A in October 2015, with participation by Arbor Ventures, Stanford University, and actor Ashton Kutcher.  Stockpile will use the new funds to bring stock investing to more millennial customers and expand its unique features, Lele said.

Chime raises $ 18 million for mobile banking without the fees (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Chime is raising $18 million in Series B financing for its mobile-first approach to banking. Cathay Innovation led the round with participation from Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Homebrew and others.

It’s a bank account and debit card built for the digital age.

Without monthly fees or overdraft charges, Chime tries to appeal to the millennial generation, touting its affordability and easy-to-use app. Since launching in 2014, Chime has signed up 500,000 customers, who are typically in their late 20s and making between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.

Shinola’s new pitch: the installment plan (Crain’s Detroit Business), Rated: A

Shinola/Detroit LLC is targeting millennials by adding an option to pay for its watches and other luxury goods in an old-fashioned way: the installment plan.

The average order value for Affirm customers is 70 percent higher than the sitewide average, Kopitz said. And about half of those using the service with Shinola are 18-34 years old, the release said.

Around 1,000 retailers now accept payment through Affirm.

Is marketplace lending maturing? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

As new as fintech and marketplace lending—once known as “peer to peer lending”—may still seem, Noreika suggested that the online lending fraternity may be moving toward maturity.

Noreika said the sweat that went into those ideas has hit $40 billion in consumer and small business credit, with volumes doubling every year since 2010. He noted that some project that at that rate, marketplace lending will hit $1 trillion by 2025—versus the $3.7 trillion in unsecured consumer lending as of yearend 2016.

Noreika pointed out that marketplace lenders have been seeing cracks in their credit since the fourth quarter of 2015.

‘Fintechs tend to march to their own rules’: former SEC chair Levitt (American Banker), Rated: A

“Hardly a day goes by where there isn’t a recording of some scandal or another,” Levitt said. “I think that’s generally true of emerging cultures and emerging standards and cultures. That makes the odds of winning much less than in well established companies with better established cultures.”

His fellow fintech panelists, Sarah Friar, chief financial officer at Square, and Scott Sanborn, CEO of Lending Club, both pointed out that established companies have had their own share of scandals.

Levitt said it’s difficult for startups to attract the kind of quality board members that larger, more mature companies are able to attract.

“Regulators are always playing catch up,” he said. “Regulation today trails the fintech world and often presents impediments and costs that are unnecessary. Regulators are constantly protecting their space so they don’t get caught up in a scandal they’re held accountable for, so there’s a tendency to over-regulate.”

McHenry and Booker Introduce Fintech Bill to Automate Income Verification (House.gov), Rated: B

Today, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10), the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill will require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to automate the Income Verification Express Services process by creating an Application Programming Interface (API) allowing small businesses and consumers to access accurate credit assessments more efficiently. Joining McHenry as an original cosponsor of H.R. 3860 is Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03), a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Plug and Play Selects Their Winter 2017 Batches (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Plug and Play formally announces the startups accepted into their Winter 2017 batches. Plug and Play will run five programs this quarter focused on Health & Wellness, Insurtech, Internet of Things, Mobility, and Travel & Hospitality.

Wunder Brings on Rich Mauro as Director of Capital Markets (Wunder Capital), Rated: B

We’re incredibly excited to welcome the newest member of Wunder Capital’s team, Rich Mauro. As Director of Capital Markets, Rich will lead Wunder’s institutional fundraising activities, bolstering our capital stack and helping us scale Wunder’s platform to the next level.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Accounts for 2016 filed with Companies House this week show:

  • Revenue rose 59% to £50.9 million;
  • Operating expenses rose by 43% to £103.1 million;
  • Losses dipped by 3% to £35.7 million thanks partly to a foreign exchange boost;
  • £1 billion lent last year;
  • Loans outstanding rose by 61% to £1.37 billion;

‘It goes without saying that international is really hard’

While Desai is bullish on international expansion, the accounts show Funding Circle stopped operations in Spain at the start of the year, a market it entered through the acquisition of Zencap in 2015.

International revenues grew slower than UK revenues last year and Funding Circle parted ways with the head of its continental Europe operations in the middle of last year.

In the UK, economic growth is slowing and consumer debt is ballooning, leading to fears of a possible economic slowdown that could hit lenders.

Funding Circle remains a loss-making business (accumulated losses stand at £116.6 million to date) but Desai says it is on a long-term path to profitability.

Funding Circle is onto a winning strategy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, however, has remained a firm market leader, and its annual results for 2016 show it continues to do well.

Its losses narrowed 3% from £37 million ($50 million) in 2015 to £36 million ($48 million) in 2016, as revenue grew 59% year-over-year (YoY) from £32 million ($43 million) to £51 million ($68 million), and originations saw a 61% boost from £846 million ($1.1 billion) to £1.4 billion ($1.9 billion).

Source: Business Insider

Funding Circle posts 59% revenue rise (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Post year-end highlights:

Ranger Direct Lending fund expecting substantial dividend cut (AltFi), Rated: A

The £220m Ranger Direct Lending fund could see its dividend pay-out for the second half of 2017 fall to nearly half of that in the first six months of the year, according to a statement by Ranger.

It is expecting NAV returns in H2 2017 to average 0.4 per cent-0.5 per cent per month (c.5-6 per cent pa), and then recover to 0.6 per cent-0.7 per cent per month (c.7 per cent-9 per cent pa) in 2018, assuming the resolution of Princeton this year.

As a result aggregate dividends of c.25p are expected for H2 2017, compared to 46p in H1.

Source: AltFi

‘Oscars of the start-up world’ has an exciting new winner looking to disrupt property finance (CNBC), Rated: A

LendInvest, an online marketplace platform for property lending and investing, was named the most valuable tech company at the prestigious Investor Allstars event in London on Wednesday evening.

These 20-something Oxford grads just raised $ 30 million for their fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

A “RegTech” — regulation technology — company founded by three Oxford grads all under 30 has raised $30 million (£22.4 million) from investors including Microsoft’s venture capital arm.

Onfido, an identity verification startup, has raised the “Series C” fundraising from Crane Venture Partners, Microsoft Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors. It takes the total raised by the London startup to over $60 million.

Onfido’s latest $30 million funding injection follows a $25 million investment last April. Kassai says the latest funding will go towards technology investment and global expansion.

Payday lender Wonga records £65m loss amid overhaul (BBC), Rated: A

Wonga – Britain’s biggest payday lender – posted pre-tax losses of nearly £65m in 2016, but claims its business has been “transformed”.

The lender, which operates in the UK, South Africa, Poland and Spain, saw its losses shrink from £80m in 2015 to £65m in 2016.

How Fintech Is Disrupting Traditional Banking Models (Minute Hack), Rated: A

One of the biggest changes in the financial sector in the UK has been the introduction of challenger banks.

Crucially, these banks have not been mired by the many recent scandals and still rely on customer deposits to build their balance sheets. That’s why fledgling banks such as Metro Bank, Aldermore, Tesco Bank and United Bank UK and currently dominating the best buy tables.

Retail banking is the area that has seen the biggest change as a result of the FinTech sector, but that’s not to say there hasn’t also been a significant impact in the commercial banking sector.

A perfect example is Barclay’s mobile payments service Pingit, designed to compete with Apple Pay, while other banks have launched new mobile banking businesses away from their legacy businesses in an attempt to compete in a digital age.

Bringing financial services to small businesses

One example is peer-to-peer lending, a sector that has sprung up from nothing ten years ago to lend a total of £2.9bn in 2016. This is now filling the capital void for many growing businesses and lending at lower rates than many firms would be able to access elsewhere.

New trustees join Finance Innovation Lab’s board (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

SIX new trustees have been appointed to the board of the Finance Innovation Lab.

The new trustees include Caroline Ellis, a social and organisational change consultant who is taking on the role of chair of the board, and Kate Ormiston Smith, director of finance and operations at The B Team, who is taking up the post of treasurer.

The other new members of the board are: Hanna McCloskey, founder and chief executive officer of Fearless Futures; Toyin Ogundana – investment manager at CAF Venturesome; Paul Riseborough – chief commercial officer at Metro Bank and Julian Thompson, social innovation and fundraising strategist.

How and where to get Crowdlending to fund your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

When considering your initial application for funding, crowdlending platforms will review your business plan, financial information and other details about your company. In other words, the platforms will review your company’s financial information as well as your personal information in much the same way as banks will do before offering you a loan. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your business plan is engaging, comprehensive and well thought out.

Investors will usually seek to get more information about you and your business from social networks like FacebookTwitterand LinkedIn. It will serve you well to ensure that you have an online presence before you seek for funds through crowdlending.

Going by the FundingKnightresearch, most UK investors have a love for the community and would want to give back to some UK SME to ensure its prosperity.

China

More Chinese fintech firms to eye Hong Kong IPOs, says JP Morgan (SCMP), Rated: AAA

More Chinese fintech firms vying to go public could choose Hong Kong as their listing venue, after the city’s first fintech IPO received a hot response from investors, and that Hong Kong has unique advantages compared with other global financial hubs, said JP Morgan’s head of global investment banking in China.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, closed nine per cent up from its IPO price on Thursday in its Hong Kong debut. With an oversubscription of nearly 400 times from retail investors, the company had priced its IPO at the top end of the expected range, raising US$1.5 billion in the city’s biggest ever fintech offering.

“The next Zhong An could show up in online payment, P2P lending, [financial] product distribution, or online insurance.”

In particular, revenue from online payment is estimated to increase to 202 billion yuan by 2020. Revenue from online distribution of financial products could grow to 52 billion yuan by then, while that for online lending and online insurance may reach 142 billion yuan and 60 billion yuan respectively.

ZhongAn Insurance Starts Trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn’s IPO will likely make the company the 4th most valuable fintech company in the world with a market cap of about US$10.4 billion, following the top three fintechs, which are Paypal ($78bn), Ant Financial ($68bn) and Lufax ($18bn).

Peter Renton interviewed the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance, Jeffrey Chen, on the Lend Academy Podcast over the summer. Jeffrey said in the interview that ZhongAn has 492 million insurance customers as of December 31, 2016. That is more than four times that of insurance giant AXA’s customer base (107 million, as of December 31, 2016). By this measure, ZhongAn truly is the world’s largest insurance company. And this is just a four-year old company!

Why ZhongAn is So Succesful

For the technology part, ZhongAn has been using artificial intelligence and big data analytics in each step of the insurance value chain, from marketing, underwriting, pricing to claims processing.

Another example is that ZhongAn has partnered with a Chinese automaker to develop internet of things (IoTs) and telematics solutions. Telematics devices can capture drivers’ behavioral data, which can be fed to algorithms using big data techniques to tailor product pricing to observed risk levels.

In ZhongAn’s early days, the revenue generated by shipping return policies accounted for almost 90% of the total revenue. This product would not have been such a success were it not for its partnership with Alibaba. Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, is also the single biggest shareholder (16.04%) of ZhongAn.

Source: :Lend Academy

KKR Invests in Shenzhen Suishou Technology (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Shenzhen Suishou Technology Co. (“Suishou” or the “Company”), a leading personal finance management platform in China, and global investment firm KKR today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which KKR will invest in Suishou’s Series C funding round to support the Company’s expansion across China.

European Union

Robo.Cash Tops €2 million with 1000th Investor (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Emerging peer to peer lender Robo.Cashhas topped €2 million in loans with the advent of the 1000th investor.  According to Robo.Cash, investors are spread across most of Europe with lenders now coming from 28 different countries. The short term loans are coming from Spain and Kazakhstan.

The total sum of earned interests has amounted to more than €50,000 since the start of the platform’s work.

The End of Fintech Is Nigh (FiNews), Rated: AAA

Switzerland is one of the major global fintech centers and the industry is booming: Swisscom counted fewer than a hundred fintech startups in 2015, today there are 208 companies active in wealth management, comparative consulting, crypto finance, data management, payment services and lending (see illustration below).

Blurred Dividing Line

And this may also spell the end of fintech as we know it, in Switzerland, and abroad. That’s at least what Armands Broks (pictured below) believes. The founder and CEO of Twino, a peer-to-peer lending platform, thinks that the fine line between finance industry and fintech is about to be blurred and that fintech eventually will disappear.

The only way forward for fintech is through cooperation agreements and in doing so, «the fintech industry is signing its own death sentence,» Broks said.

PWC consultants said that about 60 percent of Swiss banks have links to fintechs. Four out of five banks are eyeing partnerships in the near future or are planning to expand existing ones.

International

Goldman Sachs’ foray into consumer banking is getting aggressive (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The same year it launched GS Bank, it began building a digital-only consumer loan product, Marcus, that was fully developed and on the market 12 months later. Without having the legacy infrastructure under previously existing consumer products and services, the overhaul other major banks have been experiencing don’t exist for Goldman.

“[The] platform approach has not been an obvious approach on Wall Street. Our competitors are generally structured in deep vertical silos and we have a different architecture: these shallower silos built on top of many layers of software, tech infrastructure, cybersecurity, enterprise platforms and increasingly, client platforms,” Marty Chavez, an engineer and Goldman Sachs CIO-turned-CFO this year, said in a keynote at Harvard University earlier this year.

46 percent of Goldman jobs are in technology 
CB Insights analyzed more than 2,000 open Goldman Sachs job listings by division and business unit to confirm it’s focused on building its technology and digital finance units.

Many of the jobs are in digital finance. Earlier this month it reportedly poached 20 employees from New York-based online lending startup Bond Street — engineers, product developers, and risk and marketing specialists — presumably to build out a lending product.

According to the research, published Tuesday, 46 percent of all of the firm’s jobs as of Sept. 14 are in technology, with the highest amount for core platform roles, followed by operations engineering and then equities technology.

Source: Tearsheet

Marcus is expanding in the U.K.

Marcus, the online lending startup built inside the investment bank, has been growing tremendously in the eight months since it launched in October 2016. It has one product: a customizable personal loan for Prime borrowers, with at least a 660 credit score, of up to $30,000. It promises no fees and straightforward repayment terms. It recently passed $1 billion in loan originations with expectations to originate $2 billion by the end of this year. By comparison: SoFi, which launched in 2011, reached its first billion after 14 months; Avant, founded in 2012, took 28 months; 10-year-old Lending Club took 65 months; and Prosper, launched in 2006, passed $1 billion in 98 months.

Goldmoney Inc. Adds Bitcoin and Ethereum to the Goldmoney Holding (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Goldmoney Inc. (TSX:XAU) (“Goldmoney”) (the “Company”), a precious metal financial service and technology company, today unveiled the addition of vaulted Bitcoin and Ethereum as secure and fully-reserved offline investable assets within the Goldmoney® Holding, a major enhancement that allows qualified clients to buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies with nine global currencies as well as gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion. With today’s launch, Goldmoney becomes the world’s first publicly traded and regulated financial service to offer insurable, auditable, and Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) compliant exposure to cryptocurrencies.

  • Buying and selling of digital assets that are safely secured in vaulted cold storage. Cryptocurrency offerings currently include Bitcoin and Ethereum; additional leading digital assets will be added over time.
  • Funding of Goldmoney Holdings with 50 types of cryptocurrency, enabling wallet holders to sell a variety of cryptocurrencies and fund their Goldmoney Holding with fiat currency to access precious metals and other Goldmoney service offerings.
  • Will seek the establishment of peer-to-peer (“P2P”) lending capabilities on digital assets in partnership with Lend and Borrow Trust, allowing owners of Bitcoin and other assets to safely borrow against their positions.

HNWs Would Use Amazon for Wealth Management (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The majority of high net investors would turn to GoogleAppleFacebook and Amazon for wealth management, Bloomberg writes.

If one of the four tech giants were to enter the advice space, 56.2% of wealthy individuals would entrust them with their money, according to a Capgemini survey of 2,500 individuals with a net worth of $1 million or more in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific cited by the news service. And among people under 40, more than 81% would use one of the four tech firms, according to the survey.

Australia

New fintech “Study Loans” aims to help cash-strapped students (Mozo), Rated: AAA

It’s called Study Loans and is said to be the first online platform dedicated to providing loans to students for both vocational and higher education.

Working closely with education providers, the fintech will track student performance and provide funds as you study through ‘tranches’ – which are based on the number of units you do and when they are completed.

Think of tranches as a ‘pay as you go’ kind of deal. So whether you pass one unit or four, Study Loans will release the funds according to your course progression.

Study Loans has raised $5 million debt equity so far, which is ready to be distributed as the first tranche to Aussie students who have already applied through the platform.

Financing options for students: 

  • Student loans – Student personal loans are designed to help fund your education. They often have a more lenient application criteria and have lower interest rates than standard personal loans. But you are expected to make monthly repayments – so you’ll need to make sure your budget can handle the amount.
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • HECS-HELP – This is a Government funded scheme for students enrolled in Commonwealth supported institutions with no real interest charged on the loan. You won’t have to pay your student fees upfront, however, you are expected to make repayments once you start earning a salary of $54,869.

MONEFLY LAUNCHES FREE FINTECH PLATFORM WITH ENVESTNET | YODLEE FINANCIAL DATA (Yodlee), Rated: A

Monefly is an innovative new Fintech platform in Australia, focused on providing tools and resources that empower its members to grow income, reduce expenses, build assets, eliminate debt and protect themselves from risk. Some of these exciting tools include free property valuations, automated budgeting, credit scores, bank account consolidation and much more.

Monefly has partnered with Envestnet | Yodlee to help its members access comprehensive financial data available across banking and wealth management from over 15,500 data sources globally.

The data being integrated into Monefly includes superannuation, cash, credit cards, personal debts, mortgages, assets, shares, real estate, credit scores and other investment data.

India

MyAdvo Ties Up with Online Loan Advisor Square Capital for Loan Services (newKerala), Rated: AAA

MyAdvo, India’s leading Legal Tech Startup has entered into an agreement with Square Capital, the digital lending arm of India’s largest real estate transaction platform Square Yards to enable loan facilitation for lawyers on its panel.

Square Capital currently facilitates USD 30- 40Mn(INR 200cr – INR 260cr) of loan disbursals every month, contributed majorly by secured mortgages spread across 50+ banking partners for their different products in home loan, loan against property and business loan.

This exclusive tie-up will benefit MyAdvo registered lawyers in receiving immediate loan solutions without any hassle.

Indians are warming up to robo-advisers (livemint), Rated: A

Robo-advisers, or automated services based on computer algorithms, are catching on in the Indian market due to the relatively lower penetration of financial products in India compared to developed markets.

According to a Business Insider Intelligence forecast, robo-advisers (with some element of automation) will manage investment products worth $1 trillion by 2020, which will go up to $4.6 trillion by as early as 2022.

Scepticism notwithstanding, financial institutions in the country are realising the benefits of robo-advisory services by either building the product in-house or partnering with fintech companies to develop robo-advisers. Take the case of FundsIndia.com, which has a robo-advisory service for which it is forging partnerships with financial biggies. “We have a partnership with Axis Securities and one more company. There is a growing acceptance from the industry, and we are trying to enable better product design,” said Srikant Meenakshi, co-founder, FundsIndia.com. According to him, 15% of his company’s overall portfolio comprises robo-advisory services. Similarly, 5nance has an agreement with HDFC Mutual Fund for its robo-advisor.

Robo-advisory start-up ArthaYantra uses a patented methodology called the Personal Financial Lifecycle Management on its online platform, Arthos. Since its launch in 2008, the site claims to have helped 120,000 customers across more 650 cities and 30 countries.

Asia

Singapore Cryptocurrency Firms Facing Bank Account Closures (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Singapore banks have closed accounts of several companies which specialize in providing cryptocurrency and payments services, according to two local bodies which represent financial-technology firms.

Chia Hock Lai, president of the Singapore Fintech Association, which has broader membership than Access, said some of his organization’s members also experienced account closures, though he didn’t provide figures.

Access has 106 members and the Fintech Association has 185, though the two organizations said some companies belong to both groups.

How technology drives a new Taiwanese banking landscape (The Asset), Rated: A

According to Joseph Huang, president of E.Sun Bank, speaking in an interview with The Asset, payments is one area that every bank is looking to explore, although it does not generate huge profits for most banks.

Banks are also more frequently working with technology companies. E.Sun Bank partnered with IBM Taiwan in building its digital branch, which opened in February 2017, making it the first digital branch in Taiwan. Similarly, CTBC partnered with LINE Pay to help merge its banking services with communication apps and social media.

Taishin Bank’s e-banking application, Richart, which attracted over 120,000 subscribers, is targeting young Taiwanese users, while Cathay United Bank is also providing its products to retail customers through its platform My MobiBank.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 29 2017, Daily News Digest

C-PACE financing

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub completes 2nd self-sponsored loan securitization with $323M deal. Funding Circle restates IPO ambitions. Robo.cash tops 2M Euro, 1000th investor. AutoGravity surpasses $1B USD in finance amount requested. Singapore banks closing cryptocurrency, payments accounts. Today’s main analysis: Risk evaluation of commercial PACE securitizations differs from residential deals. Goldman Sachs’ aggressive push into consumer banking. Today’s […]

C-PACE financing

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United States

LendingClub Completes 2nd Self Sponsored Loan Securitization with $ 323 Million Deal (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE: LC) has sponsored and contributed to its second securitization deal following the the last successful self sponsored deal this past June. The “Consumer Loan Underlying Bond” (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P1 (CLUB 2017-P1) issued $323.1 million in prime notes backed by consumer loan assets originated via the LendingClub platform. This is the sixth securitization supported or sponsored by LendingClub, and the fourth rated securitization of LendingClub facilitated loans overall. LendingClub described the deal as further expanding investor access.

LendingClub reported the transaction was backed by approximately $350 million of collateral and includes $217.3 million of Class A notes rated “A-(sf)”, $51.0 million of Class B notes rated “BBB (sf)” and $54.7 million of Class C notes rated “BB (sf)”.

Orchard’s Online Lending Ecosystem Update: “Lendscape” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orchard Platform, the nexus of loan originators and institutional investing, has updated their ongoing graphical view of the online lending  world or “Lendscape”.  As the online lending universe has moved from peer to peer lending, to marketplace lending to all forms of online lending, the Lendscape has changed and grown. New lending platforms have been launched, new verticals targeted, and a growing number of ancillary services have joined the space.  Orchard points to the addition of lenders like LendingPointLiberty LendingLendmartAllegro CreditUpLiftArtMoneyAscendOppLoans, and Lendistry.

Perhaps the most important shift in online lending is the growing participation by traditional finance firms.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Risk Evaluation of Commercial PACE Securitizations Differs From Residential Deals (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC believes the next iteration of property assessed clean energy securitizations will be in the commercial sector. While securitization of residential PACE assessments tops $3 billion, there have been no public transactions consisting primarily of commercial liens.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts In analyzing the credit risk of transactions backed by commercial assessments, Morningstar considers the debt service coverage ratio, because PACE lending is tied to the property rather than the owner’s creditworthiness.

Evaluating Property Income Generated to Pay Debts

Morningstar evaluates a property’s net operating income in relation to its annual debt-service payments. Among securitized commercial mortgages, the average DSCR is approximately 2.14x, according to Morningstar. C-PACE lenders and aggregators typically require a minimum total DSCR in the 1.00x to 1.15x range. Although, in some cases, the DSCR has dipped below 1.00x, especially if total debtto-value is low when operating expenses are higher than revenue. Factors possibly mitigating a lower DSCR, which include county support, property ownership affiliations within a network, liquidity account and equity position require case-by-case analysis. In addition, DSCR of the lien is more important than the DSCR of the overall debt.

Evaluating Divergent Leverage Metrics

The lien-to-value ratio is another leverage metric that Morningstar analyzes. Although a PACE assessment raises a property’s lien-to-value ratio, the increased risk to the underlying mortgage is likely minimal, as the obligation is usually small in comparison to the mortgage.

It can be more challenging to calculate the lien-to-value ratio for C-PACE levies, because the properties can run the gamut from hotels, farmlands, nursing homes, and gas stations to nonprofit buildings such as churches. Across residential PACE deals, we have seen lien-to-value ratios around 6.7% and combined PACE-lien-plus-mortgage-tovalue ratios at around 62.7%. In C-PACE, lien-to-value ratios hover around 25.0%, not including mortgage debt.

While we scrutinize total debt-to-value, the distribution of leverage offers insight into the financial health of the property. For example, we view a property with a 90% debt-to-value ratio that is composed of an 89% mortgage loan and a 1% PACE assessment more favorably than a property whose debt is composed of an 89% PACE obligation and a 1% mortgage because of higher subordination levels.

Growing Market Size

C-PACE financing has grown to about $482 million as of Sept. 1, encompassing 1,097 commercial projects, according to PACENation. More than 2,500 municipalities have C-PACE programs.

Compared with residential programs, C-PACE is in its infancy, as R-PACE financing totaled about $3.67 billion and R-PACE securitizations totaled around $3.40 billion. A sliver of
commercial assets was included in one of those securitizations, GoodGreen 2016-1, with commercial PACE levies representing approximately 4.8% of the pool’s assets.

Source: Morningstar

Get the full report here.

The Top Sources Of Small Business Financing Based On Approval Rates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. Loan approval percentages of institutional investors have continuously reached new heights this year in terms of approval rates. In August Institutional lenders’ loan approval rates in August reached 63.9%.

Alternative lenders’ approval percentages continue to decline; in August the rate dipped to 57.1%. Approval percentages have dropped every month for more than a year.

Approval percentages at small banks rose one-tenth of a percent in August to 49.0% from July’s 48.9% figure. It is conceivable that the number may cross the 50% benchmark.

Big banks improved one-tenth of a percent to 24.6% in August, setting a new high for the Biz2Credit Index, which has tracked loan approvals since January 2011. The number is creeping up to one-in-four. It’s a good time for bank lending.

Loan approval rates at credit unions dipped to 40.3% in August, falling to a new low for this category of lenders on Biz2Credit’s index.

AutoGravity Surpasses $ 1 Billion USD In Finance Amount Requested, Launches Real-Time Dealership Inventory Nationwide (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, today announced that it has reached $1 billion USD in finance amount requested on the AutoGravity platform. Additionally, AutoGravity has announced the launch of real-time inventory for new and used cars from partner dealership groups across the nation. Car shoppers can browse real vehicle inventory on dealership lots, find the specific car that’s right for them and secure up to four finance offers in minutes on the AutoGravity smartphone app.

More over 750,000 car shoppers have downloaded AutoGravity, collectively requesting over $1 billion USD in financing. These users can now search inventory by car brand and model year – as well as characteristics such as body type, drivetrain and color. Car shoppers can find their desired car waiting for them on the showroom lot for the payment they want. With car selected and offers in hand, users can pick up their car and drive off the lot with the confidence of knowing they have secured a fair deal.

AutoGravity partnered closely with the largest dealer groups in the country to design a seamless process by which dealers can easily load inventory feeds, including vehicle details and pictures, to AutoGravity’s secure platform. Inventory is updated and shown to users in real time.

ID-verification firms seize on Equifax moment (American Banker), Rated: A

The Equifax hack, combined with the rise of online lending, may have turned 2017 into a golden age for companies with new ideas for ID.

The software company Mitek plans to roll out a product in the coming year called Mobile Verify for Lending, which offers lenders a five-step process to quickly verify customer identities. Borrowers first share their online bank account information with lenders. They then submit four pictures taken from their smartphones: the front and back of their driver’s licenses, a selfie and a pay stub.

Other players are offering digital lending solutions to make it easier for banks to keep pace with speedy fintech competitors. Upstart, for example, is marketing software, called Powered by Upstart, to banks wanting to get into digital lending.

DFS to Court: OCC Fintech Charter ‘Undermines’ Its Authority (New York Law Journal), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s plan to offer a special-purpose bank charter for financial technology companies “undermines” the Department of Financial Services’ regulatory authority in New York, the state agency argued in court documents.

“The Fintech Charter Decision is an unlawful assertion of power that usurps New York consumer protection laws and would preempt plaintiff’s ability to regulate any number of the over 600 nondepository institutions she currently regulates,” wrote Matthew Levine, the executive deputy superintendent for enforcement at the department.

Stockpile Raises $ 30 Million to Make Stock Investing Easy for Everyone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Stockpile, a brokerage popular with millennials that is pioneering fractional share stock investing, announced today that it has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Fidelity backed Eight Roads Ventures, with participation by Mayfield, Arbor Ventures, Hanna Ventures, Wang Ventures, and others.

This latest investment brings the total raised by Stockpile to more than $45 million.  Mayfield led Stockpile’s $15 millionSeries A in October 2015, with participation by Arbor Ventures, Stanford University, and actor Ashton Kutcher.  Stockpile will use the new funds to bring stock investing to more millennial customers and expand its unique features, Lele said.

Chime raises $ 18 million for mobile banking without the fees (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Chime is raising $18 million in Series B financing for its mobile-first approach to banking. Cathay Innovation led the round with participation from Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Homebrew and others.

It’s a bank account and debit card built for the digital age.

Without monthly fees or overdraft charges, Chime tries to appeal to the millennial generation, touting its affordability and easy-to-use app. Since launching in 2014, Chime has signed up 500,000 customers, who are typically in their late 20s and making between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.

Shinola’s new pitch: the installment plan (Crain’s Detroit Business), Rated: A

Shinola/Detroit LLC is targeting millennials by adding an option to pay for its watches and other luxury goods in an old-fashioned way: the installment plan.

The average order value for Affirm customers is 70 percent higher than the sitewide average, Kopitz said. And about half of those using the service with Shinola are 18-34 years old, the release said.

Around 1,000 retailers now accept payment through Affirm.

Is marketplace lending maturing? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

As new as fintech and marketplace lending—once known as “peer to peer lending”—may still seem, Noreika suggested that the online lending fraternity may be moving toward maturity.

Noreika said the sweat that went into those ideas has hit $40 billion in consumer and small business credit, with volumes doubling every year since 2010. He noted that some project that at that rate, marketplace lending will hit $1 trillion by 2025—versus the $3.7 trillion in unsecured consumer lending as of yearend 2016.

Noreika pointed out that marketplace lenders have been seeing cracks in their credit since the fourth quarter of 2015.

‘Fintechs tend to march to their own rules’: former SEC chair Levitt (American Banker), Rated: A

“Hardly a day goes by where there isn’t a recording of some scandal or another,” Levitt said. “I think that’s generally true of emerging cultures and emerging standards and cultures. That makes the odds of winning much less than in well established companies with better established cultures.”

His fellow fintech panelists, Sarah Friar, chief financial officer at Square, and Scott Sanborn, CEO of Lending Club, both pointed out that established companies have had their own share of scandals.

Levitt said it’s difficult for startups to attract the kind of quality board members that larger, more mature companies are able to attract.

“Regulators are always playing catch up,” he said. “Regulation today trails the fintech world and often presents impediments and costs that are unnecessary. Regulators are constantly protecting their space so they don’t get caught up in a scandal they’re held accountable for, so there’s a tendency to over-regulate.”

McHenry and Booker Introduce Fintech Bill to Automate Income Verification (House.gov), Rated: B

Today, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10), the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill will require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to automate the Income Verification Express Services process by creating an Application Programming Interface (API) allowing small businesses and consumers to access accurate credit assessments more efficiently. Joining McHenry as an original cosponsor of H.R. 3860 is Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03), a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Plug and Play Selects Their Winter 2017 Batches (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Plug and Play formally announces the startups accepted into their Winter 2017 batches. Plug and Play will run five programs this quarter focused on Health & Wellness, Insurtech, Internet of Things, Mobility, and Travel & Hospitality.

Wunder Brings on Rich Mauro as Director of Capital Markets (Wunder Capital), Rated: B

We’re incredibly excited to welcome the newest member of Wunder Capital’s team, Rich Mauro. As Director of Capital Markets, Rich will lead Wunder’s institutional fundraising activities, bolstering our capital stack and helping us scale Wunder’s platform to the next level.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Accounts for 2016 filed with Companies House this week show:

  • Revenue rose 59% to £50.9 million;
  • Operating expenses rose by 43% to £103.1 million;
  • Losses dipped by 3% to £35.7 million thanks partly to a foreign exchange boost;
  • £1 billion lent last year;
  • Loans outstanding rose by 61% to £1.37 billion;

‘It goes without saying that international is really hard’

While Desai is bullish on international expansion, the accounts show Funding Circle stopped operations in Spain at the start of the year, a market it entered through the acquisition of Zencap in 2015.

International revenues grew slower than UK revenues last year and Funding Circle parted ways with the head of its continental Europe operations in the middle of last year.

In the UK, economic growth is slowing and consumer debt is ballooning, leading to fears of a possible economic slowdown that could hit lenders.

Funding Circle remains a loss-making business (accumulated losses stand at £116.6 million to date) but Desai says it is on a long-term path to profitability.

Funding Circle is onto a winning strategy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, however, has remained a firm market leader, and its annual results for 2016 show it continues to do well.

Its losses narrowed 3% from £37 million ($50 million) in 2015 to £36 million ($48 million) in 2016, as revenue grew 59% year-over-year (YoY) from £32 million ($43 million) to £51 million ($68 million), and originations saw a 61% boost from £846 million ($1.1 billion) to £1.4 billion ($1.9 billion).

Source: Business Insider

Funding Circle posts 59% revenue rise (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Post year-end highlights:

Ranger Direct Lending fund expecting substantial dividend cut (AltFi), Rated: A

The £220m Ranger Direct Lending fund could see its dividend pay-out for the second half of 2017 fall to nearly half of that in the first six months of the year, according to a statement by Ranger.

It is expecting NAV returns in H2 2017 to average 0.4 per cent-0.5 per cent per month (c.5-6 per cent pa), and then recover to 0.6 per cent-0.7 per cent per month (c.7 per cent-9 per cent pa) in 2018, assuming the resolution of Princeton this year.

As a result aggregate dividends of c.25p are expected for H2 2017, compared to 46p in H1.

Source: AltFi

‘Oscars of the start-up world’ has an exciting new winner looking to disrupt property finance (CNBC), Rated: A

LendInvest, an online marketplace platform for property lending and investing, was named the most valuable tech company at the prestigious Investor Allstars event in London on Wednesday evening.

These 20-something Oxford grads just raised $ 30 million for their fintech startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

A “RegTech” — regulation technology — company founded by three Oxford grads all under 30 has raised $30 million (£22.4 million) from investors including Microsoft’s venture capital arm.

Onfido, an identity verification startup, has raised the “Series C” fundraising from Crane Venture Partners, Microsoft Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors. It takes the total raised by the London startup to over $60 million.

Onfido’s latest $30 million funding injection follows a $25 million investment last April. Kassai says the latest funding will go towards technology investment and global expansion.

Payday lender Wonga records £65m loss amid overhaul (BBC), Rated: A

Wonga – Britain’s biggest payday lender – posted pre-tax losses of nearly £65m in 2016, but claims its business has been “transformed”.

The lender, which operates in the UK, South Africa, Poland and Spain, saw its losses shrink from £80m in 2015 to £65m in 2016.

How Fintech Is Disrupting Traditional Banking Models (Minute Hack), Rated: A

One of the biggest changes in the financial sector in the UK has been the introduction of challenger banks.

Crucially, these banks have not been mired by the many recent scandals and still rely on customer deposits to build their balance sheets. That’s why fledgling banks such as Metro Bank, Aldermore, Tesco Bank and United Bank UK and currently dominating the best buy tables.

Retail banking is the area that has seen the biggest change as a result of the FinTech sector, but that’s not to say there hasn’t also been a significant impact in the commercial banking sector.

A perfect example is Barclay’s mobile payments service Pingit, designed to compete with Apple Pay, while other banks have launched new mobile banking businesses away from their legacy businesses in an attempt to compete in a digital age.

Bringing financial services to small businesses

One example is peer-to-peer lending, a sector that has sprung up from nothing ten years ago to lend a total of £2.9bn in 2016. This is now filling the capital void for many growing businesses and lending at lower rates than many firms would be able to access elsewhere.

New trustees join Finance Innovation Lab’s board (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

SIX new trustees have been appointed to the board of the Finance Innovation Lab.

The new trustees include Caroline Ellis, a social and organisational change consultant who is taking on the role of chair of the board, and Kate Ormiston Smith, director of finance and operations at The B Team, who is taking up the post of treasurer.

The other new members of the board are: Hanna McCloskey, founder and chief executive officer of Fearless Futures; Toyin Ogundana – investment manager at CAF Venturesome; Paul Riseborough – chief commercial officer at Metro Bank and Julian Thompson, social innovation and fundraising strategist.

How and where to get Crowdlending to fund your Business (TechBullion), Rated: B

When considering your initial application for funding, crowdlending platforms will review your business plan, financial information and other details about your company. In other words, the platforms will review your company’s financial information as well as your personal information in much the same way as banks will do before offering you a loan. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your business plan is engaging, comprehensive and well thought out.

Investors will usually seek to get more information about you and your business from social networks like FacebookTwitterand LinkedIn. It will serve you well to ensure that you have an online presence before you seek for funds through crowdlending.

Going by the FundingKnightresearch, most UK investors have a love for the community and would want to give back to some UK SME to ensure its prosperity.

China

More Chinese fintech firms to eye Hong Kong IPOs, says JP Morgan (SCMP), Rated: AAA

More Chinese fintech firms vying to go public could choose Hong Kong as their listing venue, after the city’s first fintech IPO received a hot response from investors, and that Hong Kong has unique advantages compared with other global financial hubs, said JP Morgan’s head of global investment banking in China.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, closed nine per cent up from its IPO price on Thursday in its Hong Kong debut. With an oversubscription of nearly 400 times from retail investors, the company had priced its IPO at the top end of the expected range, raising US$1.5 billion in the city’s biggest ever fintech offering.

“The next Zhong An could show up in online payment, P2P lending, [financial] product distribution, or online insurance.”

In particular, revenue from online payment is estimated to increase to 202 billion yuan by 2020. Revenue from online distribution of financial products could grow to 52 billion yuan by then, while that for online lending and online insurance may reach 142 billion yuan and 60 billion yuan respectively.

ZhongAn Insurance Starts Trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

ZhongAn’s IPO will likely make the company the 4th most valuable fintech company in the world with a market cap of about US$10.4 billion, following the top three fintechs, which are Paypal ($78bn), Ant Financial ($68bn) and Lufax ($18bn).

Peter Renton interviewed the CEO of ZhongAn Insurance, Jeffrey Chen, on the Lend Academy Podcast over the summer. Jeffrey said in the interview that ZhongAn has 492 million insurance customers as of December 31, 2016. That is more than four times that of insurance giant AXA’s customer base (107 million, as of December 31, 2016). By this measure, ZhongAn truly is the world’s largest insurance company. And this is just a four-year old company!

Why ZhongAn is So Succesful

For the technology part, ZhongAn has been using artificial intelligence and big data analytics in each step of the insurance value chain, from marketing, underwriting, pricing to claims processing.

Another example is that ZhongAn has partnered with a Chinese automaker to develop internet of things (IoTs) and telematics solutions. Telematics devices can capture drivers’ behavioral data, which can be fed to algorithms using big data techniques to tailor product pricing to observed risk levels.

In ZhongAn’s early days, the revenue generated by shipping return policies accounted for almost 90% of the total revenue. This product would not have been such a success were it not for its partnership with Alibaba. Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba, is also the single biggest shareholder (16.04%) of ZhongAn.

Source: :Lend Academy

KKR Invests in Shenzhen Suishou Technology (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Shenzhen Suishou Technology Co. (“Suishou” or the “Company”), a leading personal finance management platform in China, and global investment firm KKR today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which KKR will invest in Suishou’s Series C funding round to support the Company’s expansion across China.

European Union

Robo.Cash Tops €2 million with 1000th Investor (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Emerging peer to peer lender Robo.Cashhas topped €2 million in loans with the advent of the 1000th investor.  According to Robo.Cash, investors are spread across most of Europe with lenders now coming from 28 different countries. The short term loans are coming from Spain and Kazakhstan.

The total sum of earned interests has amounted to more than €50,000 since the start of the platform’s work.

The End of Fintech Is Nigh (FiNews), Rated: AAA

Switzerland is one of the major global fintech centers and the industry is booming: Swisscom counted fewer than a hundred fintech startups in 2015, today there are 208 companies active in wealth management, comparative consulting, crypto finance, data management, payment services and lending (see illustration below).

Blurred Dividing Line

And this may also spell the end of fintech as we know it, in Switzerland, and abroad. That’s at least what Armands Broks (pictured below) believes. The founder and CEO of Twino, a peer-to-peer lending platform, thinks that the fine line between finance industry and fintech is about to be blurred and that fintech eventually will disappear.

The only way forward for fintech is through cooperation agreements and in doing so, «the fintech industry is signing its own death sentence,» Broks said.

PWC consultants said that about 60 percent of Swiss banks have links to fintechs. Four out of five banks are eyeing partnerships in the near future or are planning to expand existing ones.

International

Goldman Sachs’ foray into consumer banking is getting aggressive (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

The same year it launched GS Bank, it began building a digital-only consumer loan product, Marcus, that was fully developed and on the market 12 months later. Without having the legacy infrastructure under previously existing consumer products and services, the overhaul other major banks have been experiencing don’t exist for Goldman.

“[The] platform approach has not been an obvious approach on Wall Street. Our competitors are generally structured in deep vertical silos and we have a different architecture: these shallower silos built on top of many layers of software, tech infrastructure, cybersecurity, enterprise platforms and increasingly, client platforms,” Marty Chavez, an engineer and Goldman Sachs CIO-turned-CFO this year, said in a keynote at Harvard University earlier this year.

46 percent of Goldman jobs are in technology 
CB Insights analyzed more than 2,000 open Goldman Sachs job listings by division and business unit to confirm it’s focused on building its technology and digital finance units.

Many of the jobs are in digital finance. Earlier this month it reportedly poached 20 employees from New York-based online lending startup Bond Street — engineers, product developers, and risk and marketing specialists — presumably to build out a lending product.

According to the research, published Tuesday, 46 percent of all of the firm’s jobs as of Sept. 14 are in technology, with the highest amount for core platform roles, followed by operations engineering and then equities technology.

Source: Tearsheet

Marcus is expanding in the U.K.

Marcus, the online lending startup built inside the investment bank, has been growing tremendously in the eight months since it launched in October 2016. It has one product: a customizable personal loan for Prime borrowers, with at least a 660 credit score, of up to $30,000. It promises no fees and straightforward repayment terms. It recently passed $1 billion in loan originations with expectations to originate $2 billion by the end of this year. By comparison: SoFi, which launched in 2011, reached its first billion after 14 months; Avant, founded in 2012, took 28 months; 10-year-old Lending Club took 65 months; and Prosper, launched in 2006, passed $1 billion in 98 months.

Goldmoney Inc. Adds Bitcoin and Ethereum to the Goldmoney Holding (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Goldmoney Inc. (TSX:XAU) (“Goldmoney”) (the “Company”), a precious metal financial service and technology company, today unveiled the addition of vaulted Bitcoin and Ethereum as secure and fully-reserved offline investable assets within the Goldmoney® Holding, a major enhancement that allows qualified clients to buy, sell, and exchange cryptocurrencies with nine global currencies as well as gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion. With today’s launch, Goldmoney becomes the world’s first publicly traded and regulated financial service to offer insurable, auditable, and Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) compliant exposure to cryptocurrencies.

  • Buying and selling of digital assets that are safely secured in vaulted cold storage. Cryptocurrency offerings currently include Bitcoin and Ethereum; additional leading digital assets will be added over time.
  • Funding of Goldmoney Holdings with 50 types of cryptocurrency, enabling wallet holders to sell a variety of cryptocurrencies and fund their Goldmoney Holding with fiat currency to access precious metals and other Goldmoney service offerings.
  • Will seek the establishment of peer-to-peer (“P2P”) lending capabilities on digital assets in partnership with Lend and Borrow Trust, allowing owners of Bitcoin and other assets to safely borrow against their positions.

HNWs Would Use Amazon for Wealth Management (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The majority of high net investors would turn to GoogleAppleFacebook and Amazon for wealth management, Bloomberg writes.

If one of the four tech giants were to enter the advice space, 56.2% of wealthy individuals would entrust them with their money, according to a Capgemini survey of 2,500 individuals with a net worth of $1 million or more in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific cited by the news service. And among people under 40, more than 81% would use one of the four tech firms, according to the survey.

Australia

New fintech “Study Loans” aims to help cash-strapped students (Mozo), Rated: AAA

It’s called Study Loans and is said to be the first online platform dedicated to providing loans to students for both vocational and higher education.

Working closely with education providers, the fintech will track student performance and provide funds as you study through ‘tranches’ – which are based on the number of units you do and when they are completed.

Think of tranches as a ‘pay as you go’ kind of deal. So whether you pass one unit or four, Study Loans will release the funds according to your course progression.

Study Loans has raised $5 million debt equity so far, which is ready to be distributed as the first tranche to Aussie students who have already applied through the platform.

Financing options for students: 

  • Student loans – Student personal loans are designed to help fund your education. They often have a more lenient application criteria and have lower interest rates than standard personal loans. But you are expected to make monthly repayments – so you’ll need to make sure your budget can handle the amount.
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • HECS-HELP – This is a Government funded scheme for students enrolled in Commonwealth supported institutions with no real interest charged on the loan. You won’t have to pay your student fees upfront, however, you are expected to make repayments once you start earning a salary of $54,869.

MONEFLY LAUNCHES FREE FINTECH PLATFORM WITH ENVESTNET | YODLEE FINANCIAL DATA (Yodlee), Rated: A

Monefly is an innovative new Fintech platform in Australia, focused on providing tools and resources that empower its members to grow income, reduce expenses, build assets, eliminate debt and protect themselves from risk. Some of these exciting tools include free property valuations, automated budgeting, credit scores, bank account consolidation and much more.

Monefly has partnered with Envestnet | Yodlee to help its members access comprehensive financial data available across banking and wealth management from over 15,500 data sources globally.

The data being integrated into Monefly includes superannuation, cash, credit cards, personal debts, mortgages, assets, shares, real estate, credit scores and other investment data.

India

MyAdvo Ties Up with Online Loan Advisor Square Capital for Loan Services (newKerala), Rated: AAA

MyAdvo, India’s leading Legal Tech Startup has entered into an agreement with Square Capital, the digital lending arm of India’s largest real estate transaction platform Square Yards to enable loan facilitation for lawyers on its panel.

Square Capital currently facilitates USD 30- 40Mn(INR 200cr – INR 260cr) of loan disbursals every month, contributed majorly by secured mortgages spread across 50+ banking partners for their different products in home loan, loan against property and business loan.

This exclusive tie-up will benefit MyAdvo registered lawyers in receiving immediate loan solutions without any hassle.

Indians are warming up to robo-advisers (livemint), Rated: A

Robo-advisers, or automated services based on computer algorithms, are catching on in the Indian market due to the relatively lower penetration of financial products in India compared to developed markets.

According to a Business Insider Intelligence forecast, robo-advisers (with some element of automation) will manage investment products worth $1 trillion by 2020, which will go up to $4.6 trillion by as early as 2022.

Scepticism notwithstanding, financial institutions in the country are realising the benefits of robo-advisory services by either building the product in-house or partnering with fintech companies to develop robo-advisers. Take the case of FundsIndia.com, which has a robo-advisory service for which it is forging partnerships with financial biggies. “We have a partnership with Axis Securities and one more company. There is a growing acceptance from the industry, and we are trying to enable better product design,” said Srikant Meenakshi, co-founder, FundsIndia.com. According to him, 15% of his company’s overall portfolio comprises robo-advisory services. Similarly, 5nance has an agreement with HDFC Mutual Fund for its robo-advisor.

Robo-advisory start-up ArthaYantra uses a patented methodology called the Personal Financial Lifecycle Management on its online platform, Arthos. Since its launch in 2008, the site claims to have helped 120,000 customers across more 650 cities and 30 countries.

Asia

Singapore Cryptocurrency Firms Facing Bank Account Closures (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Singapore banks have closed accounts of several companies which specialize in providing cryptocurrency and payments services, according to two local bodies which represent financial-technology firms.

Chia Hock Lai, president of the Singapore Fintech Association, which has broader membership than Access, said some of his organization’s members also experienced account closures, though he didn’t provide figures.

Access has 106 members and the Fintech Association has 185, though the two organizations said some companies belong to both groups.

How technology drives a new Taiwanese banking landscape (The Asset), Rated: A

According to Joseph Huang, president of E.Sun Bank, speaking in an interview with The Asset, payments is one area that every bank is looking to explore, although it does not generate huge profits for most banks.

Banks are also more frequently working with technology companies. E.Sun Bank partnered with IBM Taiwan in building its digital branch, which opened in February 2017, making it the first digital branch in Taiwan. Similarly, CTBC partnered with LINE Pay to help merge its banking services with communication apps and social media.

Taishin Bank’s e-banking application, Richart, which attracted over 120,000 subscribers, is targeting young Taiwanese users, while Cathay United Bank is also providing its products to retail customers through its platform My MobiBank.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday August 15 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper reports strong Q2, closes $500M securitization. Zopa to refund investors affected by IT glitch. RateSetter in final stages of FCA authorization. Funding Societies joins international association of credit portfolio managers. Goldmoney reports Q1 profits, plans to open physical branch. Today’s main analysis: Third largest corporate note offering easily digested by bond market. Today’s thought-provoking […]

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Prosper Progress: Online Lender Reports Strong Q2 Growth, Closes $ 500 Million Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Summary of Key Financial Highlights for Prosper during the quarter:

  • Prosper facilitated $775 million in loan originations through its platform, up 32% quarter-over-quarter and 74% year-over-year driven by strong demand for its personal loan product.
  • Transaction fee revenue rose to $35.4 million, up 32% quarter-over-quarter and 84% year-over-year.
  • The company reported a Net Loss of $41.4 million in the second quarter of 2017, which included $39.3 million in non-cash charges related to warrants to purchase preferred stock that were issued to a consortium of investors, and a third party in connection with a settlement agreement.
  • Prosper generated $8.6 million of Net Cash from Operating Activities and Adjusted EBITDA of $6.7 million in the second quarter of 2017, driven by an increase in origination volume, improved marketing efficiencies and lower general and administrative expenses.

Third-largest corporate note offering easily digested by bond market (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

From a microeconomic perspective, second-quarter earnings reports have generally been in line, with the usual amount of hits and misses. Thus far, our corporate credit analysts have not discerned any significant change to their sector outlooks. From a macroeconomic perspective, second-quarter real GDP was reported to have expanded an annualized 2.6%, and as widely expected by the market, the Federal Reserve did not make any change to monetary policy.

In the corporate bond market, the average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) continued its tightening trend but declined only 1 basis point to end the week at +106. In the high-yield market, the BofA Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 5 bps to +359. In equities, the S&P 500 was unchanged and volatility sank to new lows.

Fund flows in the high-yield market came to a near standstill last week, as the amount of redemptions from high-yield exchange-traded funds more than offset inflows into open-end funds, resulting in a net outflow of $0.1 billion.

Chatter Increases that Earnest is Up for Sale. Again. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Back in May, Crowdfund Insider reported that Earnest, an online lender providing personal loans, was up for sale. Referencing a report in Bloomberg, the rumor was quickly squashed by Earnest representatives who told this publication they were absolutely not for sale.

But now the chatter is increasing that Earnest is, in fact, on the auction block.  Apparently management is attempting to sell itself for $200 million. Alternatively, Earnest needs a quick equity injection of $50 million. Otherwise, things don’t look so good.

Millennials are financing everything from bed sheets to concert tickets (MarketWatch), Rated: A

In recent years, payment companies including PayPal PYPL, +1.76% Affirm and Bread have created installment plans for retailers that give consumers the option to finance the weirdest purchases over time.

These payment methods have taken hold at a time when millennials have been more reluctant than their parents to use credit cards. Millennials had about two credit cards each on average last year, according to the credit reporting company Experian. That’s compared with about three for boomers and an average of 2.5 for members of Generation X.

Brooklinen partnered with the payment company Affirm in June to offer a payment plan spread over three, six or 12 months. Financing doesn’t come cheap: Rates range from 0% to 30% APR, after Affirm checks the buyers’ credit and approves them. That compares to an average APR of almost 17% for credit cards — or zero if you’re paying with cash.

If the consumer does not pay within 120 days, Affirm no longer lends to that person, and writes off the debt. Affirm then sends the remaining balance to a third-party debt collector, which Affirm supervises, but Affirm does not package and sell the balances, Metcalf said. Affirm makes its money from simple interest consumers pay, Metcalf said.

PayPal offers two types of credit, both as part of a program called PayPal Credit. One option is to wait six months without paying anything, and no interest on purchases over $99 from select retailers. The other option is an installment payment plan called Easy Payments: Consumers pay interest at an APR of 19.99% if they don’t first pay off their balance within the term they select.

DiversyFund Announces First Ever ‘No Fee’ Real Estate Income Fund (Digital Journal), Rated: A

DiversyFund, Inc., a fast growing, online real estate investment platform, announced the first ever “no fee” real estate debt fund to investors today. With the Fund, investors gain the ability to invest in a diversified portfolio of real estate debt investments that target risk-adjusted returns and generate passive income.

The Fund already has an impressive four-year track record since its launch in March 2013, posting an average annualized net return of 11.4% since inception through Q1 2017, a track record that few Wall Street funds have been able to match. The Fund targets passive income by making real estate-backed debt investments in assets featured on DiversyFund’s platform. The Fund makes quarterly distributions of interest income to its investors and has never lost any investor principal.  The minimum investment amount is $10,000.

How Some Savvy FAs are Overtaking ‘Basic’ Robos (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Robo advice for mass-affluent investors keeps evolving. But brick-and-mortar advisors aren’t standing still. In fact, some traditional FAs are taking into their own hands ways to automate more sophisticated types of holistic planning – from philanthropy to tax strategies and healthcare issues.

For instance, Heron Financial uses a mobile app, Mobile Assistant, that helps Edwards turn client meetings into easy-to-disseminate notes in Redtail, the firm’s CRM system.

Savant Capital says it’s licensing new off-the-shelf software suites to create their own robo-like experience for clients.

By year’s end, Savant expects to start beta testing its own robo-style package that automatically plucks key data from a family’s tax returns.

Savant is also working on a similar tool to automate estate planning. It’s designed to automatically sort through internal client reporting software, CRM data and core financial planning databases to identify an appropriate estate planning strategy from 120 different scenarios, according to Brodeski.

Advisor Jonathan Swanburg in Houston isn’t writing special algorithms. But his employer, Tri-Star Advisors, finds it can achieve similar results automating more areas of clients’ comprehensive plans by taking advantage of new algorithms being embedded in core prepackaged financial planning suites.

Behalf Inc. Partners with FinWise Bank to Offer Small Business Loans (LendIt), Rated: A

Behalf, a rapidly growing on-demand commercial credit platform, today announced its partnership with FinWise Bank.

Operating since 2013, Behalf is an alternative financing provider that facilitates commerce between business buyers and sellers. Driven by data and technology, Behalf allows merchant partners to offer business customers instant credit and flexible payment terms at the point of sale. Once approved, Behalf customers can use their credit line to fund purchases with virtually any vendor, including MasterCard accepting businesses.

LendingTree Announces Finalists for $ 25,000 Startup Innovation Spotlight (Markets Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced the five finalists for its new initiative to showcase the top startup companies in financial technology (fintech) lead generation at LeadsCon this summer.

  • Traaqr
    Brian Handrigan, Co-Founder & Co-CEO

This SaaS disruptor is bringing click level analytics to companies of all sizes while providing automated data capture at a precision never believed possible before.

ForeverCar works with consumers to find and compare quotes for the right vehicle protection plan, and offers concierge support when a vehicle needs service or repairs, keeping you up-to-speed throughout the repair process.

  • Outleads
    Dorin Rosenshine, Founder and CEO

Outleads integrates with leading contact center software, including Genesys, Five9, and more, and onboards CRM data directly into Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics™ & AdWords™ for conversion attribution and real-time retargeting.

LeadCrunch solves the problem of finding optimal B2B targets by analyzing a company’s best customers to identify “Smart Personas”, and then engages look-alike personas with relevant content to generate permission-based leads.

Starbutter AI is a voice and chat app development company focusing on chatbots and AI agents, giving consumers high quality information so that they can pick the best financial products and helps financial companies match the right products to their customers.

The age of e-mortgages finally arrives (Scotsman Guide), Rated: A

The Michigan-based lender United Wholesale Mortgage recently received much media attention for rolling out what it claimed to be the first-ever truly digital mortgage after a Chicago couple in late July completed the entire process of refinancing their mortgage from a computer.

What was supposedly newsworthy about this event — worthy to be featured in an Aug. 9 article in the Wall Street Journal — was that a notary was remotely patched in for the e-signing, and didn’t have to be present in the couple’s home.

A male employee claims he was fired after reporting sexual harassment at a $ 4 billion startup (Business Insider), Rated: A

But a lawsuit filed on Friday against hot fintech startup Social Finance, better known as SoFi, is strikingly different.

This suit has been filed by a male employee who claims that he saw sexual harassment of his female coworkers and was fired after he reported it, according to a report by The New York Times’ Nathaniel Popper.

SoFi Harassment Suit (Fortune), Rated: A

Charles’ lawyer says he will file another lawsuit this week claiming broader employee mistreatment and seeking class-action status.

Fintech Startup SoFi Faces Wage, Retaliation Suits (Law360), Rated: A

Social Finance Inc. was hit with a wage-and-hour putative class action in California court Monday, just days after a former worker sued the financial startup, alleging it fired him for reporting the harassment of a female coworker and for reporting managers who fraudulently canceled loan applications to reap bonuses.

Five employees — Sean Pullen, Christina Cane, Michael Carrera, Matthew Taylor and Yulia Zamaora — allege that San Francisco-based SoFi failed to provide them with meal and rest breaks, failed to pay them for overtime and all….

Income& Selected for Highly Competitive Plug and Play Fintech Accelerator (LendIt), Rated: A

Income&, a real estate investment platform based in San Francisco, announced today that it was one of 24 startups selected for the sixth class of the Plug and Play Fintech Accelerator. The company will participate in a 12-week accelerator program geared toward financial technology startups, during which time it will gain access to Plug and Play’s extensive network of leading banks and financial institutions. Income& was among 3% of startup company applicants selected from a highly competitive pool for the fall 2017 Plug and Play Fintech Accelerator class.

How One Lawyer is Making Real Estate Investing Safer (Markets Insider), Rated: A

Last year, attorney Amy Wan, received a call from a real estate developer client who was trying to raise $300,000 from investors to acquire an investment property. When he asked how much the legal services would be, she gave him a flat fee of $10,000.

While working as a Partner in Crowdfunding Lawyers, a boutique real estate securities law firm, Wan says she began to come face-to-face with the reality that clients doing small raises could not afford her services.

She was named one of “Ten Women to Watch in LegalTech” by the American Bar Association Journal, and pivoted to a career in securities law when she became General Counsel of Patch of Land, a real estate crowdfunding startup. At Patch of Land, Wan works to help democratize investment opportunity. Now, she hopes to democratize access to counsel for small businesses.

Bootstrap Legal is a legaltech/fintech startup based in Los Angeles.

E-Signatures & Digital Lending: How to Move 99% of Customers off Paper (Bright Talk), Rated: A

In the sub-prime lending market, speed-to-close determines market share. Join us to learn how an end-to-end digital process with e-signatures transformed OneMain’s lending business – positioning the lender as the largest personal loan company in the U.S. Today,99% of OneMain’s loans are e-signed, enabling them to be closed and funded significantly faster than on paper.

In this 60-minute presentation, you’ll learn how the company took a phased approach and implemented e-signatures in the call center and online channels, then expanded to the branch network. This year, OneMain will complete its e-signature roll-out to 1,700 branches, where the majority of its loans are transacted.

Presenters

David Smith, Vice President, Application Systems, OneMain
Philip Hannah, Director of IT, OneMain
Mary Ellen Power, VP Marketing, eSignLive by VASCO

Live online Aug 31 11:00 am United States – Los Angeles  or after on demand

SEC Suspends OTC-Traded Emerging Markets Investor Over ICO Concerns (Coindesk), Rated: A

Issued August 9, the order was made against a firm called CIAO Group (now rebranded as NuMelo Technology), which trades on markets operated by OTC Markets Group. NuMelo first announced plans for an ICO on July 6, at the time indicating a desire to bring a “digital financial products marketplace” based on blockchain tech to the African market.

ETHLend announces date of LEND token presale and ICO (CryptoNinjas), Rated: B

ETHLend token pre-sale details:

Starting: 25.09.2017 at 12.00 GMT

Ending: 25.10.2017 at 23.59 GMT or when the cap is reached

AMOUNT TO RAISE: 2,000 ETH

TOKENS FOR SALE: 60,000,000,LEND (6% of total sold tokens)

LEND TOKEN PRICE: 30,000 LEND = 1 ETH

(price includes 20% bonus tokens for all pre-sale participants)

Minimum amount to participate: 1 ETH

ETHLend token pre-sale details:

Starting: 25.09.2017 at 12.00 GMT

Ending: 25.10.2017 at 23.59 GMT or when the cap is reached

AMOUNT TO RAISE: 2,000 ETH

TOKENS FOR SALE: 60,000,000,LEND (6% of total sold tokens)

LEND TOKEN PRICE: 30,000 LEND = 1 ETH

(price includes 20% bonus tokens for all pre-sale participants)

Minimum amount to participate: 1 ETH

3 Stocks That Doubled So Far in 2017 (Madison), Rated: B

LendingTree’s efforts have proven immensely successful. In its most recent quarter, the online loan marketplace reported record results both from mortgages and other types of loans, and the number of loan requests jumped by nearly half to 5.4 million. In particular, efforts to expand beyond the mortgage realm have been extremely lucrative, as non-mortgage product revenue more than doubled in just the past 12 months.

United Kingdom

Zopa to refund investors affected by technical glitch (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

The technical issue has now been fixed and Zopa will be refunding impacted investors the difference between the amount paid and the true value of the loans purchased.

RateSetter in “final stages” of FCA authorisation process (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER believes it is in the “final stages” of reaching full authorisation after becoming the last of the main peer-to-peer lenders to be trading on interim permissions.

The platform is the last of the Peer2Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) members still awaiting full permission after ThinCats announced it had received Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorisation last week.

Invesco sells £9.6m Ranger Direct Lending fund stake (AltFi), Rated: A

Invesco Perpetual, the asset management giant, has been trimming its exposure to the £243m Ranger Direct Lending fund amid a testing period for the alternative credit investment trust.

The firm is one of Ranger’s largest investors with, until this week, just under a third of total shares in the fund.  This, however, has been trimmed in the past seven days, according to regulatory documents, with Invesco Perpetual’s current holding now down at 27.9 per cent.

Invesco Perpetual, who owns the fund as an income play within their fleet of top equity income portfolios, sold £9.6m worth of Ranger’s stock last week.

London fintech Tail is a cashback platform built on the promise of Open Banking (TechCrunch), Rated: A

London-based Tail is a new fintech startup that offers a glimpse into the promise of Open Banking. This is seeing upcoming legislation in the EU and U.K. force banks to offer third-party developer access to your bank account data — with your permission, of course.

The app, initially available for iOS and serving London only, offers heavy discounts at local places to eat and drink, all linked to the card you pay with and delivered each week in the form of cashback. However, the draw is how seamlessly it all takes place, by being built on top of digital-only challenger bank Starling‘s API, with Monzo integration also in the works.

Hargreaves Lansdown cashes in on (not too much) excitement (FT Alphaville), Rated: A

Back on August 4, the Financial Conduct Authority said it needed to “reassess” the broker’s capital requirements, because of its plans to do things a little more interesting than selling investment funds – such as offering an online cash deposit service, and lifetime individual savings accounts.

That meant Hargreaves had to retain another £50m, scrap its planned special dividend, and reassure the market of its profitability ahead of schedule.

Hence, this morning’s results contain no real surprises. Its 21 per cent rise in pre-tax profit, to to £265m, for the year ending June 30 had been rushed out with the capital announcement 11 days ago, “to allow investors to assess its strong financial and trading performance”.

P2P lenders offering rates up to five times better than mainstream best buys (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE MAIN peer-to-peer lenders are currently offering rates five times higher than the best offerings on the mainstream savings market.

It comes as a new challenger bank launched last week called PCF, offering a fixed savings rate of 2.6 per cent.

This may come with Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection, but seven years is a long time to lock up your money for and savers could do better by taking a bit more risk with a P2P platform.

P2P investors can earn up to 6.1 per cent a year for backing consumer loans, even while using an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA).

End of Line for iFunding? Real Estate Crowdfunding Site May Be Done (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The chatter on Bigger Pockets regarding iFunding has taken a new twist. In a series of public posts investors are referencing a possible bankruptcy for the real estate crowdfunding platform.

According to the posts, a company named Jazco has offered to take over the remaining deals that have funded on the iFunding site.

Fewer Advisors View Robos as a Threat (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

Sixty-six percent of advisors are undecided about whether robos are a positive or negative force for their practice, according to a survey of 102 advisors by U.K.-based Panacea Adviser cited by FT Adviser. Just last year, when Panacea Adviser last conducted the survey, a whopping 89% of respondents said robo-advisors were a threat, according to the paper. The rate of incorporating robos into traditional advice practices is also picking up. While only 2% of advice firms surveyed this year currently offer a robo platform, 8% are in the process of integrating one and 12% are considering doing so, FT Adviser reports.

Buy to Let mortgages and peer to peer lending explored (AXA), Rated: A

Zoopla research from May 2017 discovered that it’s now cheaper to rent than to buy in 54% of UK cities.

Those with good credit ratings could be offered interest rates as low as 3%. If your credit rating is not so great, however, rates can rise to as high as 30%.

Is this the end of fintech as we know it? (Banking Technology), Rated: A

In the age of the internet, fintech dominates finance. In the UK, the sector is currently worth £7 billion, employing around 60,000 people with figures set to increase.

With unseen levels of growth in fintech, it’s important for companies to make sure that they don’t fall prey to the same mistakes their predecessors did. The easiest way to do so is by sticking to regulation standards.

As online banking slowly becomes the norm for managing money, it’s only natural that online banks emerge. Usage of online banking has more than doubled since 2007, kindling a banking revolution through which the UK has lost 40% of its banks and building societies since 1989. Online banks offer two key services: better banking deals and superior user experience.

Challenger banks like MonzoAtom and Starling have been making a lot of noise in this new banking arena. In 2016, Monzo raised £1 million in just 96 seconds in the fastest crowdfunding campaign ever. Atom Bank established its base outside of London, and Starling is now expanding outside the UK.

LendInvest signs up former Interbay BDM (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

Specialist lender LendInvest has appointed Andy Virgo (pictured) as its first BDM for the South of England.

Virgo will be responsible for sourcing deals across the South of England and joins LendInvest from Interbay Commercial, the commercial mortgage lending arm of OneSavings Bank, where he was a senior BDM.

ONLINE LENDER QUIDIE UNVEILS NEW MARKETING PUSH (ResponseSource), Rated: B

Croydon based online lending company, Quidie has launched a new digital marketing campaign to support sales of its new low rate short term loan products (of up to £1,000 with a fixed interest rate of 180%*) which are available to qualifying UK consumers exclusively online via the website.

The new campaign includes a 40 second video ad starring up and coming rapper and actor Craige Middleburgh.

London-based Integrated Marketing Agency Brandnation was responsible for all campaign creative and production. Brandnation is also handling all supporting PR and Social Media activity for the campaign.

China

The Score On Tencent’s Credit Scoring (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Stock Exchange to Launch Blockchain-Powered Market in 2018 (Coindesk), Rated: A

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is planning to launch a blockchain-powered private market aimed at helping smaller firms obtain financing.

HKEX chief executive Charles Li detailed the plan, which would play out through a separate venture dubbed HKEX Private Market, in an August 1 note.

China’s biggest unicorns are a different breed (NASDAQ), Rated: A

China boasts 695 million mobile web users and shops more online than anywhere else in the world, with e-commerce sales likely to top $1.1 trillion this year, according to eMarketer, or more than twice the outlay in the United States.

China’s startups confront a particular set of regulatory risks. A crackdown on peer-to-peer lending and online “wealth management products” has probably delayed flotations by both Ant and Lufax, for example.

And Didi, which now has no serious local rivals, recently took in more than $5 billion from Japan’s SoftBank and others.

Overall, VC and private equity funds ploughed 384 billion yuan ($57.5 billion) into startups in the first half, according to Zero2IPO, not much changed from the previous year’s frantic pace. Local giants Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have deep pockets and want to keep emerging threats under control. They boast stakes in or ties to more than half of the top ten. SoftBank is also eyeing China as it invests a $93 billion mega-fund.

European Union

Fintech CEO says tech giants like IBM may go on M&A ‘shopping spree’ for start-ups in 2018 (CNBC), Rated: A

Tech giants like IBM and Capgemini could go on a mergers and acquisitions “shopping spree” for financial technology (fintech) start-ups next year, the chief of one such start-up has told CNBC.

new European directive, which becomes effective in January 2018, would enable third party businesses to monopolize on banks’ software and customer data to build new products – something referred to in the fintech world as “open banking”.

Döderlein, whose company helps develop mobile payments products for 17 banks, said that this would result in big, mainstream tech companies snapping up smaller fintechs to harness the newer technologies they have on offer.

International

Visa’s Latest Big Bets in Fintech (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

When extolling the virtues of long term, buy-and-hold investing, it’s hard to think of a better example than Visa Inc. (NYSE:V). Since going public in March 2008, Visa’s shares have returned well over 600%, crushing the market in the process.

Broadening its partnership with a Pal

Was it really just a little over a year ago when, after a frosty and testy co-existence as business frenemies, that Visa and PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) first struck a deal covering their North American business?

For starters, in Europe, Visa Checkout will automatically be enabled at any merchant utilizing PayPal’s Braintree payment processing. More impressively, however, is that, since PayPal holds a banking license in Europe, Visa will be issuing PayPal debit cards in Europe.

Kleaning up with Klarna

Visa also recently announced a strategic investment in and a new partnership with Klarna, a European online payments company that offers credit and flexible payments during the checkout process at online merchants.

Going to the market with Marqeta

Finally, in its most recent fintech deal, Visa announced a multiyear partnership and strategic investment in Marqeta, an open API (application programming interface) card issuer platform. Marqeta offers a number of payment solutions for issuers for on-demand delivery, alternative lending, the disbursement of earnings and rewards to card holders, advance cost controls, and on-demand virtual and tokenized cards.

Foolish takeaway

The payments industry is changing rapidly, with fintech start-ups and larger financial institutions all wanting a bigger piece of the pie. That is why Visa shareholders should take heart that the company is making constant investments to ensure it gives its clients and card holders the best payment experience possible.

The 10 largest P2P and marketplace lending deals of Q2 2017 (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The three months of this year, from April to the end of June, was a particularly active period for fundraising in the space. The top ten deals to marketplace lending companies received a combined investment total of $658m in the second quarter of the year, which represents 84 per cent of the total capital committed to deals in the sector, according to data provider Fintech Global.

The largest deal in Q2 went to Chinese P2P lender Tuandaiwang which raised a whopping $262.6m of private equity funding in May. This was the only marketplace lending company in Asia to feature in the top ten deals.

Fintech: Why It Matters So Much to Your Investment (FX Daily Report), Rated: A

In their latest report, Accenture established that international investment in fintech blast through the roof in just a couple of years. From $ 800 million in 2008, the figure has moved up to $ 12 billion by the onset of 2015. In Europe, the growth rate rose by 215% to $1.48 billion between 2008 and 2014. This figure is expected to continue going up and having a huge impact on individual businesses and institutions.

Transferring cash within and outside the country had made the traditional methods complicated, expensive, and unrealistic. However, latest technologies have made international cash transfer easy, transparent, reliable, and highly secure. Using online wallets such as Skrill, GOOG, and others, money is transferred within seconds and accounts maintained in top conditions.

India

Fin-tech startup DigiLend raises funds from InCred, Fullerton (VC Circle), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based fin-tech firm DigiLend Analytics & Technology Pvt Ltd has raised nearly Rs 2 crore ($311,939) from two non-banking financial services companies, filings with the Registrar of Companies show.

Mumbai-based InCred Finance and Temasek-owned Fullerton India Credit Company Ltd have made the investment, the filings indicate.

DigiLend will use the funds to pilot its product in the personal loan segment, Dattani said.

Asia

Funding Societies Joins Prestigious IACPM and Welcomes Risk Expert Terry Tse to Board of Directors (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Societies has become the first and the only peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company to attain membership at the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers (IACPM), a prestigious forum for credit risk management. In addition, risk expert Terry Tse joins Funding Societies’ Board of Directors. Mr. Tse is the former Chief Risk Officer of Dianrong — one of China’s leading P2P lending platforms.

Together with sister platform Modalku, Funding Societies is currently the biggest SME loan crowdfunding platform in Southeast Asia, with operations in SingaporeIndonesia, and Malaysia. Recently, Funding Societies has also become the only Southeast Asian digital lender to be selected by CB Insights to the Fintech 250, a list of 250 top private companies changing the face of financial services around the world.

Canada

GOLDMONEY REPORTS FIRST QUARTERLY PROFIT OF $ 3.3 MILLION, PLANS TO OPEN PHYSICAL BRANCH IN TORONTO (Betakit), Rated: AAA

Toronto-based Goldmoney, a gold-based payments and savings platform that allows users to acquire, store, and spend gold that is stored in a secure vault, has released the financial results for its first quarter of 2018, which ended on June 30, 2017.

Goldmoney reported an adjusted profit of $3.3 million and an IFRS profit of $2 million. The company said this is the first time it’s reported a quarterly profit in Goldmoney history.

Goldmoney also reported a quarterly revenue of $125 million, suggesting improvement from $112 million year-over-year (YoY).

Canadian Small Business Growth Continues (Lessors), Rated: A

PayNet, the premier provider of credit assessments on private companies reports that the PayNet Canadian Small Business Lending Index (CSBLI) increased 1% to 123.8 in June 2017 from 122 in May, the third month in a row of year-over-year increases. Compared to May 2016 the CSBLI is up 5%.

The Construction sector investment increased 4% which continues to reflect improvements in housing starts and prices throughout much of the country. Accommodation and Food fell 5% while all other segments were within 3% of May 2017. Growth geographically remains broad based as well with British Columbia and Quebec showed the largest increases from May, both up 3%, while Atlantic Canada exhibited the largest decrease (3%).

The financial health of Canadian companies continues to maintain stability with relatively few signs of deterioration of financial health. The PayNet Canadian Small Business Delinquency Index (CSBDI) 31-180 days past due held steady at 1.09% in June from May 2017. Compared to June 2016, delinquency decreased (10 bps).

Agriculture delinquency decreased by (11 bps), the largest monthly decrease amongst all industries in June.

Africa

Nigeria’s Fintech industry has grown by over 90 % in 4 years (Business Day Online), Rated: AAA

In 2009, we began to look at how digital  is affecting the economies and consumers. The economy has changed, the world has changed. We now live in global, digital economy and because of that, one of the key things that makes money gets to businesses is through payment.

Fintech in Nigeria has come to stay, but what is your assessment of the industry in Nigeria today?

We are coming a bit late but the nation is doing so well compared to other nations. In the last 3-4 years the industry has grown by over 90 percent. It is said that there is over 400 Fintech organisations working with Africa Fintech organisation. These are all entrepreneurs and different groups providing solutions.

Are you saying that  Fintech has impacted  hugely on the economy, assist to solve clients’ challenges and provide job opportunities?

Imagine the 400 Fintech firms working with Africa Fintech Organisation and many of them are at infancy.  And each of them has its own niche of providing  solution to a particular sector. This is the new economy. Before now we had an economy that is based on crude oil, manufacturing and others, but the new economy is digital.

Are there examples of countries that employed Fintech to drive their economy?

Fintech  manifests in different forms and that is why speakers at the forum said that they do not see Nigeria being a follower in Fintech market. They see Nigerian being a leader because it is leading its own form of Fintech which is different from countries like S/Africa.  Though South Africa is doing so well in Fintech with its peculiar needs and penetration of banks to customers.

Nigeria is now growing from a combination of these models. But there are some models, where Nigeria is yet to get to which have been done so well in other markets. For instance, Econet which has worked very well in Zimbabwe where the number of people who are insured through the mobile platform are higher than the number of people insured in Nigeria. Under Fintech, people can borrow money like in Kenya without going to the bank because the whole system can read all your transactions as the system knows how money comes in and how it goes out. So when you ask for loan, they know that you are trustworthy and then they can lend you money easily.

Shivani Siroya of Tala (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Shivani Siroya, the CEO and founder of Tala. While Tala is headquartered in southern California its lending operations are focused on the developing world. They launched in Kenya back in 2014 and in three short years they have become the #5 most downloaded app in that country. How they have done this is a fascinating story.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday May 24 2017, Daily News Digest

Wednesday May 24 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Commercial & Industrial loans: Does it spell recession?  Funding Circle gets FCA approval. Santander checked income on 8% in Subprime ABS. Elevate Credit Q1 results. EstateGuru pays more than 1M Euro interest to real estate investors. Today’s main analysis: Lending Club publishes vintage performance data. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Elevate Credit Q1 results United States […]

Wednesday May 24 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • Commercial & Industrial loans: Does it spell recession? GP:”Everybody is looking for an early indicator of a recession. However markets go up and down for all kind of reasons and indicators nearly always give fake alerts as well. If there was a sure way for an indicator to show which way the market is moving everybody would be a billionnaire. Indicators also work great looking backwards or retrofitting. So while this data is indeed interesting and relevant I would wait for a few more data points and confirming information from other markets and sources and I would want to understand the mechanism underlying the trend before calling wolf.” AT: “I’m no expert on economics, but I have always been amazed at how small details can buck megatrends. The fact is, most economic predictions fail, even when there is good evidence the predictor know what he’s talking about. I’m always skeptical of such data, but I do think it’s interesting. A great read.”
  • Auto lender Santander checked income on just 8% in subprime ABS. AT: “There is always a strong play and some tension against the interests of lenders and borrowers, particularly subprime borrowers. If they want a loan and are afraid they’ll be rejected based on credit scores, there is motivational incentive to engage in financial sleight-of-hand to get that loan. Lender, however, can play their own sleight-of-hand if they want the borrowers. This makes me wonder if we’re headed toward a mortgage-like crisis with auto loans, and, if so, we can expect the same old finger pointing game.”
  • Lending Club publishes vintage performance data. GP:”The net cumulative lifetime charge off is looking really ugly. A must see. 2014 was the worst to date, 2015 is even worse, and 2016 is starting even worse. If I were Lending Club I would ring the alarm bell. Do note that in the same time their origination went from $2.7bil/quarter in Q1 2016 to $2bil in Q1 2017. I think this spells trouble for Lending Club.”
  • Elevate Credit Q1 results. GP”Key numbers: loan loss is about 50%. Ebitda 16% going to 20% . Why exactly isn’t their stock price going up?”AT: “Elevate Credit is looking good.”
  • Americans with financial advisors happier about retirement, economy. AT: “This doesn’t surprise me. People who can’t afford financial advisors typically understand less about how the economy works. They approach retirement savings like diagnosing their medical issues.”
  • MPL: Just because I’m disruptive doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.
  • 19 fintech startups in Austin. AT: “Austin is shaping up to be the fintech capital of the Southwest.”
  • Close loopholes for online lenders in New York. GP:”I don’t think online lenders are evading any regulation by working with banks. They are FDIC or OCC regulated. Why do state regulators out of sudden worry about banks doing loans accross state boarders? I don’t understand the root cause of this cruisade.”
  • Online Lending Association opposes California legislation to cap interest rates. GP:”Caping interest rates may look good for the consumer but in fact it forces consumers who wouldn’t qualify under the cap to either be denied or to end up with an illegal money-lender on the black market and pay even more.”
  • If banks wait for APIs to be mandated, it will be too late. GP:”APIs are the way in the future for data , finance, fintech and in general doing business. They offer tremendous scalability and they provide leverage. Most people are concerned about data control if you have an API or just pure control. However there are many ways to control who has access and what they do with the data. Banks have experience with this in capital markets, at least in currency trading as I know first hand. ” AT: “Yes, yes it will.”
  • Empowering fintech with in-memory computing.
  • Small Change focuses on community development.

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

C&I Loans: Are We Headed For a Recession? (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Over the past five decades, each time commercial and industrial loan balances at US banks shrank or stalled as companies cut back or as banks tightened their lending standards in reaction to the economy they found themselves in, a recession was either already in progress or would start soon. There has been no exception since the 1960s. Last time this happened was during the Financial Crisis.

Now it’s happening again – with a 1990/91 recession twist.

Commercial and industrial loans outstanding fell to $2.095 trillion on May 10, according to the Fed’s Board of Governors weekly report on Friday. That’s down 4.5% from the peak on November 16, 2016. It’s below the level of outstanding C&I loans on October 19. And it marks the 30th week in a row of no growth in C&I loans.

Based on the Fed’s monthly reports, C&I loans outstanding at the end of April, at $2.095 trillion, were down a smidgen from October’s $2.098 trillion and were down 4.3% from the peak in November. This marks the seventh month in a row of no growth in loans.

C&I loans are tightly connected to the real economy. They’re an indication of what businesses are up to, from a shop needing a loan to buy a piece of equipment to the multinational funding its receivables. C&I loans show whether companies in aggregate are expanding their needs and activities or whether they’re curtailing them.

More typical scenarios would be the prior two recessions. In 2001, C&I loans peaked in February 2001 and then declined. The official recession began in March 2001 and ended in November 2001. But C&I loans kept falling until May 2004.

Where does that leave us today? In the first quarter, GDP grew at a desperately anemic 0.7% annualized, meaning that at this rate, growth for the entire year would be 0.7%. But it’s not a decline. This type of stagnation would be far below the lamentably anemic 1.6% growth in 2016 and the standard issue projection by the Fed of around 2% growth in 2017.

Auto Lender Santander Checked Income on Just 8% in Subprime ABS (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc., one of the biggest subprime auto finance companies, verified income on just 8 percent of borrowers whose loans it recently bundled into $1 billion of bonds, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

The low level of due diligence on applicants compares with 64 percent for loans in a recent securitization sold by General Motors Financial Co.’s AmeriCredit unit. The lack of checks may be one factor in explaining higher loan lossesexperienced by Santander Consumer in bond deals that it has sold in recent years, Moody’s analysts Jody Shenn and Nick Monzillo wrote in a May 17 report, which reviewed data required of asset-backed bond issuers that’s recently been made available.

The higher losses in the loans backing the bonds have been visible to investors, Kang said. Investors have been protected because Santander Consumer included extra loans in the securities in case some went bad, for example, creating a buffer against losses, he said. The Moody’s analysts didn’t make any claim that noteholders were at risk as the bond-grader simply looked at the new data available in the deals to provide analysis on how lenders underwrite.

Moody’s findings shed light on risks related to the boom in auto loans, which has contributed to pushing U.S. household debt past $12.7 trillion. While the market for the debt is much smaller than the subprime-mortgage market that triggered the Great Recession, regulators have grown concerned that lenders are taking advantage of borrowers and putting them in cars that they can’t afford.

Loans with low or no credit scores, no co-signer and no income verification made up about 9 percent of the total pool balance of Santander’s bonds, compared with less than 1 percent of AmeriCredit bonds, according to Moody’s.

Fraud Concern

Market participants have become concerned with rising fraud levels, and signs that borrowers are getting smarter at gaming their credit scores to make them appear stronger than they really are. As many as one in five auto-loan borrowers admitted in a recent UBS Group AG survey that their applications for debt contained inaccuracies. Santander Consumer recently convened with a dozen of its competitors to discuss how to combat rising fraud, Bloomberg previously reported.

Around 42 percent of Santander Consumer’s subprime auto loans made between 2009 and 2014 by dealers identified as “high risk” in Massachusetts and Delaware have defaulted or will default, an amount that is substantially higher than the losses in the overall lending portfolio, Moody’s said in a separate report.

Around 42 percent of Santander Consumer’s subprime auto loans made between 2009 and 2014 by dealers identified as “high risk” in Massachusetts and Delaware have defaulted or will default, an amount that is substantially higher than the losses in the overall lending portfolio, Moody’s said in a separate report.

Lending Club Publishes Vintage Performance Data (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA\

Yesterday Lending Club filed a S-3ASR with the SEC which provides comprehensive and updated information on the business.

Below is a chart of interest rates over time for grades A-G. For many grades you can see a ‘V’ shape as interest rates decreased from around 2013 until 2015 when they started to increase.

If you invested across the platform in 2015 your performance remains in line with 2012 vintage although your charge-offs are still elevated from some of Lending Club’s best vintages. 2015 charge off rates at month 19 are 40 bps above 2014, 80 bps above 2013 and 130 bps above 2011 (the best performing vintage of 36 month loans).

While still early, 60 month loans originated in 2015 are performing in line with the 2011 vintage. 2015 charge-offs at month 19 are 100 bps higher than 2013 and 80 bps higher than 2014.

Investors in grades A-C fared much better than those who invested in grades D-G. For most loan grades it is hard to distinguish trends for the 2016 vintage with the exception of E grade loans where you can see charge-offs are trending higher than 2015.

Elevate Credit: Elevated Results (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

The first quarterly report after an IPO is always crucial to understand a company. Companies are typically in major growth modes and investors get the first opportunity to view results in comparison to market expectations. As well, investors will have to substantially modify future results for the additional 14 million shares from the IPO and the expected $14 million dip in annual interest expenses from paying off high cost funding with the IPO proceeds.

For Q1, Elevate Credit passed with flying colors. The fintech beat EPS estimates by $0.05 and exceeded revenue estimates easily.

The biggest issue remains the loan loss rates and cost of funding. For Q1, Elevate had a loan loss provision of 54%. At the same time, net interest expenses of $19.2 million virtually wiped out all of the impressive operating income of $21.6 million.

The company targets reaching adjusted EBITDA of $100 million this quarter. At a current market cap of $315 million, the stock only trades at 3x EBITDA targets.

Americans With Financial Advisors Feel More Prepared For Retirement, Optimistic about the Economy and Less Stressed (PR Newswire), Rated: A

New findings from Northwestern Mutual’s Planning & Progress Study revealed that Americans who receive guidance from financial advisors feel markedly more prepared for retirement. According to the data:

  • 7 in 10 (70%) Americans with advisors said their retirement plan is designed to withstand market cycles compared to 30% of those who do not use an advisor
  • Nearly all those with an advisor (92%) have discussed retirement with someone relative to just half (51%) of those without an advisor
  • People without financial advisors are twice as likely (53%) as those with advisors (27%) to view lack of savings as an obstacle to financial security in retirement
  • 49% of people without an advisor have taken no steps to address the possibility of outliving their savings – three times as many as those with an advisor (15%)

MARKETPLACE LENDING: JUST BECAUSE I’M DISRUPTIVE DOESN’T MEAN WE CAN’T BE FRIENDS! (All About Alpha), Rated: A

Mark Shore, chief research officer of Shore Capital Research, and an adjunct professor at DePaul University, has prepared an “overview” of marketplace lending for institutional investors and wealth managers.

The grey bars in the above graph represent recessions. The curve flattened out for a period in the early 1980s, carrying it through the two recessions of that period, then resumed its upward path. It flattened out again in the early 1990s, and again soon resumed that path., It was utterly unaffected by the dotcom bust and the resulting recession at the beginning of the new millennium. But it was thrown briefly into reverse by the global financial crisis less than a decade later. Still, here too, it has resumed its upward path.

What all this establishes, in Shore’s view, is that with total outstanding consumer credit at $3.7 trillion, MPL has room for further growth.

19 fintech startups in Austin that are shaking up finance (Built in Austin), Rated: A

Austin is emerging as a center for fintech innovation. Entrepreneurs are collaborating with the financial sector steeped in centuries-old traditions, and creating a new way to approach this age old industry. Here are some of the most prominent leaders in Austin fintech, along with a few startups worth keeping an eye on.

  1. Creditcards.com
  2. Founded in 2004, World First provides businesses with currency exchange and international payment solutions across the world.
  3. Buzz Points developed a loyalty and rewards program, rewarding customers for going local with businesses and financial institutions, instead of buying and banking from national chains.
  4. Self Lender launched in September 2014 to help consumers build good credit.
  5. Student Loan Genius offers a leg up with a 401k-style financial perk to help employees pay off their school debt faster.
  6. EasyPayDirect gives online merchants an easy way to accept payments, plain and simple.
  7. Banker’s Toolbox provides software-based solutions and consulting to small banks to help detect fraud, money laundering and other financial crimes.
  8. Able Lending
  9. Honest Dollar launched at SxSW and raised $3 million to offer alternative, streamlined retirement savings plans directly to workers.
  10. SimplyTapp launched its mobile payments platform for card issuers and developers in the summer of 2014 to ultimately allow consumers to make easy payments from their smartphones in lieu of physical cards or cash.

See the other 9 here.

Close loopholes for online lenders, N.Y. regulator urges Albany (American Banker), Rated: A

Online lenders are evading New York regulations by claiming their loans are “made” by federally chartered or out-of-state partner banks, the state’s top financial regulator told lawmakers in Albany Monday.

Online Lending Association Opposes California Legislation to Cap Interest Rates (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Online Lenders Alliance (OLA) has sent a letter to the California Assembly Apparitions Committee stating their “strong opposition” to AB 784.  This bill, if enacted into law, will set a rate cap for consumer loans between $300 and $5000.  OLA states this legislation has the potential to limit an important source of funds of underbanked consumers in California.

If banks wait for APIs to be mandated, it will be too late (American Banker), Rated: A

Many executives believe the U.S. will get a similar PSD2 mandate, and they fear that the U.S. version of the regulation will force them to give up unilateral ownership of a treasure trove of data and cause further erosion to their bank’s bottom line. To them, designing, building, securing and maintaining an API for consumers, fintechs and others to use is a scary, losing proposition. The reality, however, is that the data-sharing model is essential for customer retention. Instead of fearing potential regulation, banks should embrace the open banking model now.

First, with the flood of technological change hitting financial services, there are compelling reasons APIs will soon emerge as a truly transformational innovation that makes consumers want to stay with their bank. APIs will have the same effect on retention while improving the consumer’s experience to a larger degree; they make managing their financial lives easier. If a customer can get that convenience through his/her bank, it will be an even greater incentive to stay with that bank.

Empowering fintech with in-memory computing (Bob’s Guide), Rated: A

Empowering Fintech with In-Memory Computing, a new whitepaper by GridGain Systems, discusses how in-memory computing is one of the key technologies powering the Fintech revolution.

a) In-memory data grids are inserted between the application and database layers to cache disk-based data from RDBMS, NoSQL, and Hadoop databases in RAM. Data grids typically replicate and partition data caches automatically across multiple nodes and enable on-demand scalability simply by adding new nodes to the cluster. Some data grids offer ACID-compliance, as well as support for all popular RDBMS.

b) In-memory SQL grids supplement or replace a disk-based RDBMS, utilising ODBC and JDBC APIs to communicate with the SQL grid. An in-memory SQL grid typically requires no custom coding and is horizontally-scalable, fault-tolerant and ANSI SQL-99 compliant. It should also support all SQL and DML commands such as SELECT, UPDATE, INSERT, MERGE and DELETE queries. Some in-memory SQL grids also support geospatial data.

c) In-memory compute grids enable distributed parallel processing of resource-intensive compute tasks. They typically offer adaptive load balancing, automatic fault tolerance, linear scalability and custom scheduling. They may also be built around a pluggable service provider interface (SPI) design to offer a direct API for Fork-Join and MapReduce processing.

d) In-memory service grids provide control over services deployed on each cluster node and guarantee the continuous availability of all deployed services in case of node failures. Most in-memory service grids can automatically deploy services on node startup, deploy multiple instances of a service, and terminate any deployed service.

e) In-memory streaming and continuous event processing establish windows for processing and run either one-time or continuous queries against these windows. The event workflow is typically customizable and is often used for real-time analytics. Data can be indexed as it is being streamed to make it possible to run extremely fast distributed SQL queries against the streaming data.

f) In-memory Apache Hadoop acceleration provides easy-to-use extensions to the disk-based Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) and traditional MapReduce, delivering up to ten times faster performance. The in-memory computing platform can be layered on top of an existing HDFS and used as a caching layer offering read-through and write-through, while the compute grid can run in-memory MapReduce.

New real estate crowdfunding site focuses on community development (Curbed), Rated: B

That’s the promise behind Small Change, a new real estate fundraising platform Picker founded that’s designed to help communities play a bigger role in their own redevelopment. Often, smaller projects rely on a grab bag of funding, including community development block grants and scores of small investors, making the process of assembling capital time-consuming. By creating a platform that anybody with enough money can use—some projects take investments as small as $500—Small Change seeks to democratize and streamline the entire funding process and help buttress “transformational” developments.

Since starting last summer, the platform has raised more than half a million dollars, and Picker was named a Global Urban Innovator by the NewCities Foundation,

United Kingdom

Funding Circle gets FCA seal of approval (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the largest peer-to-peer company in the UK, has received authorisation from the City watchdog in a seal of approval for the burgeoning small business lending site.

Authorisation will enable Funding Circle to expand and launch its Innovative Finance ISA, which allows individuals to lend to borrowers in return for income within a tax-free wrapper.

Some robo-advisers are more equal than others (City A.M.), Rated: A

When people are deciding what to do with their hard-earned money, they have several options: seeking out the support of people they know; talking to their bank, paying an expert independent financial advisor (IFA), or – they can go online.

The report shows that even the wealthiest investors prioritise seeking financial advice online before doing anything else.

We hear a lot about the advice gap in this country, and rightly so. Traditionally this gap has been based on cost. But, as our aforementioned research attests, this is about more than money.

It’s also about time and access.

But the rise of robo-advisers has done little to help consumers access advice and close the knowledge gap.

‘My cash is going nowhere at the bank. Is peer-to-peer the answer?’ (i News), Rated: A

After the financial crisis, the Bank of England cut its base rate to just 0.5 per cent to reduce the cost of borrowing, get people and businesses spending, and boost the economy. Since then, the base rate has only moved once – down again, after the EU referendum, to 0.25 per cent.

But to play devil’s advocate, your comparison between depositing money with a bank and investing in a business is a little dubious – because of the disparity in risk.

That business could fail and you could lose your money, so the potential return has to be higher to persuade you to take that risk. With cash, the risk of losing money is negligible (assuming you don’t hold more than £85,000 – the limit of the FSCS cover – with any one institution), and you pay a price for that security.

When you lend, there is always a chance the borrower will default. However, P2P platforms mitigate the risks in two ways. First, by developing options that let you lend to dozens, or even hundreds, of borrowers at the same time, they enable you to spread your risk and still make money even if a small number default. Second, the platforms build up provision funds to compensate you in defaults.

Lendy produces range of educational videos (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer (P2P) platform Lendy has announced the launch of a new range of educational videos.

The series includes a new corporate video explaining the benefits of P2P lending and featuring genuine users from the site.

Other videos include a short programme on why investors like P2P lending and an animated guide showing new investors how to get the most from the platform.

European Union

EstateGuru Says More than €1 Million in Interest Paid to Real Estate Investors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer property lender EstateGuru has shared that investors on its platform have now earned in excess of €1 million. The Estonia-based company said that nearly 6900 investors from 39 different countries have earned, on average, 12.63% since platform launch in 2014. EstateGuru also reports there has been no loss of capital on the platform.

Transferwise Borderless Accounts Allows To Set Up Free UK Account and Free EUR Account (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Transferwise just announced that they offer a new Transferwise borderless account which will hold up to 15 currencies and offers local bank accounts in GBP, EUR and USD. The account is advertised as free (no setup fee) and without any monthly fees.

International

Goldmoney Invests in, Partners with U.K.-Based P2P Lending Platform (Geology for Investors), Rated: A

Goldmoney Inc. (TSX:XAU) (“Goldmoney”), a precious metal financial service and technology company, today announced an investment in and partnership with Isle of Man-based investment company LBT Holdings Ltd. (“LBTH”), parent company of Lend & Borrow Trust Company Ltd. (“LBT”), a U.K.-based online platform offering auction-rate peer-to-peer lending and borrowing collateralized by precious metals.

The private investment gives Goldmoney the right to nominate a board member and the right to provide precious metal dealing and storage solutions to LBT clients. Goldmoney may also elect to implement facilities with LBT whereby eligible clients with a Goldmoney Holding – U.K. residents and businesses initially, with other countries added over time – can access LBT auction rates and earn interest income from loans fully secured by precious metal collateral.

Change is part of fintech maturation process (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Marketplace lenders need to adjust if they are to mature into lasting, profitable businesses, John Zepecki believes.

In most sectors the larger players have the money to spend on the mobile and digital experience, while smaller competitors can struggle, Mr. Zepecki said. This is true for fintechs, which are taking on established entities. That’s a tough act, but technology makes it easier by allowing new entrants to skip a few steps.

Where many fintechs struggle is in developing a long-term relationship with the customer, Mr. Zepecki explained. Some serve specific niches such as franchisees or equipment finance. Because the product has a narrow focus, they have to continually work on customer acquisition as repeat business rates are lower. Even the biggest fintechs are struggling to generate repeat business and have to turn to additional rounds to maintain capital flow.

Lending Club and OnDeck are having rough starts so far this year as their problems have followed them from 2016, Mr. Zepecki said. If repeat customers fail to keep coming back the high cost of acquisition, coupled with the riskiness of some loans,  will make it challenging for them to achieve sufficient and lasting profitability.

Financial institutions are working to solve the friction problems alternative lenders have addressed, so if the upstarts do not have an effective long-term strategy their area of differentiation shrinks and they risk losing their spot in the marketplace.

Australia

How Pocketbook went from a Sydney spreadsheet to a fintech with 300,000 users (Financial Review), Rated: A

“Pocketbook started out as a spreadsheet,” Singh told Business Insider.

That spreadsheet was then developed into an app in Singh’s living room, and launched commercially on October 2012.

Fast forward almost five years and the software now has 300,000 users.

The app also lets users know how much they can “safely spend” in the coming period, after analysing the person’s income and expenditure history.

Canada

Canadian FinTech startup Mylo launches mobile app and raises $ 1.25M (Marketwired), Rated: A

Mylo Financial Technologies (Mylo), a Montreal-based FinTech startup that offers a mobile personal finance platform to help Canadians achieve their financial goals, has successfully raised $750K and completed its pre-seed financing round. This latest raise brings Mylo’s current financing to $1.25M, led by Ferst Capital Partners (FCP) with the participation of leading FinTech angel investors.

The company raised $500K at the ideation stage from Ferst Capital Partners in January 2016 as one of its Foundry startups. It has raised an additional $750K in May 2017, closing its pre-seed round of $1.25 million.

Africa

Fintech can unlock business potential of African banks (fin24), Rated: B

Fintech is turning traditional banking on its head and is disrupting the way ordinary Africans manage and use their money.

Speaking at a Fintech Innovation Business Forum hosted by the Cape IT Initiative and Innovation Norway, Arise CEO Deepak Malik highlighted the importance of financial service providers investing in this critical sector through collaboration with fintech innovators.

“In this connected digital era there is a need for smart financial solutions that add value to people’s lives. Fintech has the potential to reimagine traditional banking products and it is important that banks use this technology to unlock their full economic potential,” said Malik.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor