Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest

Annual fintech financing Singapore

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out crypto trading with Coinbase. Walmart now offers Affirm loans. Funding Circle fund ups the ante on buyback strategy. Orca launches IFISA. LendDenClub cross 1 million borrowers, lenders milestone. Today’s main analysis: 2019 securitization update. How marketplace lending is a growing and dynamic global market. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: The 2009 […]

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Annual fintech financing Singapore

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United States

Fintech Startup SoFi to Roll Out Crypto Trading Via Partnership With Coinbase (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup SoFi — known for its online lending services — is partnering with major United States-based crypto exchange Coinbase to roll out crypto trading support, according to a CNBC report Feb. 26.

Millennial online lender SoFi to offer zero-fee ETFs, an unexpected rival for index fund giants Vanguard, iShares (CNBC), Rated: A

The race to zero-fee exchange-traded funds has found an unlikely competitor: Online lending and personal finance platform SoFi, which has filed for two index ETFs that will waive management fees for the first year. In making the move to zero-fee ETFs, the online lender is crashing an ETF party dominated by Vanguard and BlackRock‘s iShares.

FTC orders SoFi to stop misleading consumers (MPA Mag), Rated: B

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered online lender SoFi to stop lying about how much borrowers can save by refinancing with the company.

Digital lender founded by ex-SoFi CEO raises $ 65M to fuel expansion (American Banker), Rated: A

The new company founded by Mike Cagney, the former embattled chief executive of Social Finance, plans to announce a $65 million funding round on Wednesday, bolstering firm’s expansion into other financial services, including wealth management.

With the new venture, Cagney is using some of the strategies from his tenure at SoFi — like diversification into areas typically only occupied by traditional banks. However, the new company, Figure, is focusing on different customers, and it’s taking steps to avoid scandals similar to the ones that saw Cagney step down from the SoFi helm.

Walmart teams with Affirm to offer point-of-sale loans (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Walmart will offer its customers point-of-sale loans for the first time — both on its website and in nearly 4,000 U.S. stores — under a partnership with the Silicon Valley lender Affirm.

Under the deal, Walmart shoppers will be able to get Affirm loans of three, six or 12 months to finance purchases ranging from $150 to $2,000. The loans are already being offered in Walmart stores, and they will be available to Walmart’s online shoppers in the coming weeks.

Affirm’s latest partnership brings its alternative financing to Walmart’s US stores and website (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The companies announced this morning that Affirm’s financing options would be made available in more than 4,000 Walmart Supercenters across the U.S., and will roll out to Walmart.com in the weeks ahead.

The offering will go live across Walmart Supercenters nationwide, except in Iowa, West Virginia and Puerto Rico, and will be soon available on Walmart.com.

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership (CNBC), Rated: A

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership from CNBC.

ABS Vegas – 2019 Securitization Update; Square Charter Status (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In regulatory news, Square’s ILC charter application has received opposition from 37 community groups. The groups are concerned about Square’s CRA activities and have asked the FDIC to bolster Square’s CRA requirements. Before this letter from community advocates, nearly all of the 15 letters the FDIC received were in favor of Square’s bid. Square is the furthest along the path to getting an ILC charter and its experience will determine whether other FinTechs follow its lead.

Structured Credit Investor magazine explores the challenges facing the maturing marketplace lending sector. Issuers need to distinguish between the borrower experience that they provide and manage liquidity. The article also makes the point that the sector is ripe for consolidation, although we haven’t seen any M&A yet.

2019 Securitization Update

The first two months of 2019 saw 5 securitization deals totaling $1.7 Bn in new issuance. The issuance volume represents a 23% drop over that seen in the first two months of 2018, as the market recovers from the volatility in equity and credit markets seen at the end of 2018. Total securitization issuance now stands at $46.2 Bn, with 147 deals issued to date.

Source: PeerIQ

The Housing Market’s 10 Year Challenge — Comparing The Housing Market of 2009 to Today (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

When the real estate bubble burst in late 2008, many Americans saw their home values fall drastically, but a lot has changed in the 10 years since — housing prices have rebounded from their lows during the Great Recession. And though prices are now starting to cool, in many cases, home values have even exceeded their 2006 highs.

On average, median home values have increased by nearly $50,000 across the 50 largest metros in the United States since 2009.

Metros where housing prices have recovered the most since 2009

San Jose, Calif.

Median home value 2009: $638,300
Median home value 2017: $957,700
Median home value change: $319,400
Median unemployment rate change: -6.4%
Median household income change: $32,991

San Francisco

Median home value 2009: $591,600
Median home value 2017: $849,500
Median home value change: $257,900
Median unemployment rate change: -5.4%
Median household income change: $27,889

Los Angeles

Median home value 2009: $463,600
Median home value 2017: $617,100
Median home value change: $153,500
Median unemployment rate change: -5.0%
Median household income change: $11,467

Source: LendingTree
Source: LendingTree

Gen Xers Carry the Biggest Auto Loan Burden; Study Finds (One World Herald), Rated: A

According to the loan comparison website, the median balance of Gen Xers who have auto loans is $18,741 is higher than other age groups. It is 9% more than baby boomers’ $17,185 median balance. This is higher than millennials’ $16,200 and 37 percent more than the lowest median balance of $13,666 held by Gen Z.

Personal Loan Interest Rates for February 2019 (Nerdwallet), Rated: AAA

Personal loan interest rates, whether you’re considering a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender, generally range from about 6% to 36%. The actual rate you receive depends on factors such as your credit score and history, annual income, existing debt and where you get the loan.

Online lenders offer the lowest starting interest rates on personal loans to borrowers with good to excellent credit.

Source: Nerdwallet

LightStream and Marcus both require a minimum credit score of 660. LightStream accepts joint applications, and one applicant can have a credit score lower than its minimum. SoFi has a slightly higher credit score requirement and requires at least $45,000 in annual income.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Posts Earnings Results, Meets Expectations (Fairfield Current), Rated: A

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 11th. The company reported $0.09 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.09, Bloomberg Earnings reports. The business had revenue of $207.29 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $212.42 million. Elevate Credit had a return on equity of 15.72% and a net margin of 1.59%. Elevate Credit updated its FY 2019 guidance to $0.55-0.65 EPS.

Source: Fairfield Current

Hunt Real Estate Capital buys RealtyMogul’s proprietary loan underwriting program (Housing Wire), Rated: A

Hunt Real Estate Capital, which offers financing for all types of commercial real estate, will soon have a new underwriting system to help it originate those loans, as the company is buying a proprietary loan underwriting system from RealtyMogul.

Elevate’s Joan Kuehl Named Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year (The Progress), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”) today announced that Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Joan Kuehl has been named the Large Enterprise CIO of the Year by the Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year Awards. The award honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership.

A Recession Coming? Small Business Lending Platform Kabbage Says It’s Prepared (Forbes), Rated: A

The world is bracing for a recession, with the latest data showing  in the U.S. expect it to occur by the end of 2021

If those predictions prove true, it will be the first major economic downturn for some of the nation’s leading fintechs. Born out of the ruins of the recession, these startups have enjoyed nearly a decade of success buoyed by strong economic growth, a bull run in the stock market and low unemployment.

Here’s more on the  AJC Top Workplaces midsize companies (AJC.com), Rated: B

Kabbage has been named to the list for five consecutive years and this is its first year in the top five. The private financial technology company, founded in 2009, has 489 global employes and 367 at its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta. Flexibility at work and perks, such as a daily catered lunch and snacks, are among reasons employees appreciate working for Kabbage. Wellness benefits include fitness classes, health equipment onsite, biweekly meditation classes, CPR training, an annual flu shot clinic and sponsoring sports clubs. It also fully pays health benefits for individuals and provides annual bonuses and a 401(k) match. Through its sabbatical program, employees of five years can receive six weeks of paid time off and an additional $6,000. In 2018, Kabbage participated in the Atlanta PRIDE parade and also took a stand against gun violence after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Workers in 2019 will build a Habitat for Humanity home as part of its Kabbage Kares program, which also has supported PAWS Atlanta, Easter Seals and the Epilepsy Foundation.

Diversifying a Self-Directed IRA Made Simple with New Offering from CrowdStreet (The Progress), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), today launched a streamlined, investor-friendly approach to investing qualified retirement account funds into commercial real estate offerings. This new option makes it easier than ever for individuals to access CRE investments with their self-directed IRAs (SDIRA), thus reducing their investment exposure to a volatile stock market and achieving more independence in managing their investments.

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar Announce Strategic Partnership (Liquid P2P), Rated: A

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar are pleased to announce that they have entered into a strategic partnership. The two third-party investing services for online peer-lending giant Lending Club will combine strengths under a single platform to deliver a more comprehensive automated tool with a patent-pending liquidity solution.

Direct Lending Investments Suspends Investor Withdrawals (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Earlier this month Brendan Ross, the CEO of Direct Lending Investments, Inc., sent a letter to investors notifying them that they have suspended withdrawals and redemptions effective February 8, 2019. Lend Academy was able to obtain a copy of this investor letter, dated February 11, that provides some color into what happened. The reason given was the delinquency of a large holding, VOIP Guardian, a telecom receivables factoring company.

Fintech deal will provide access to midsize businesses in U.S. (American Banker), Rated: A

Add HSBC to the list of banks partnering with commercial online lenders.

The bank on Tuesday announced a partnership with Neptune Financial, a San Francisco online lender that focuses on businesses with $10 million to $100 million in assets. The bank estimates that, with the access it will get to Neptune customers, the deal represents a $1.5 trillion opportunity.

Venmo debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored card (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venmo, the PayPal-owned peer-to-peer (P2P) giant, debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored version of its physical card product. The card will function the same as regular Venmo cards, allowing customers to pay wherever Mastercard is accepted, split costs and tips, withdraw funds from select ATMs, and manage their Venmo balance, but it will only be available for as long as supplies last, according to Venmo.

Source: Business Insider

Why digital identities will be so important in the next few years, according to Mastercard’s vice chairman (CNBC), Rated: A

The pace with which we are moving toward the internet of things is “very rapid” but we “can’t have the internet of everyone without the inclusion of everyone,” according to the vice chairman of payments giant Mastercard.

“You have to start focusing on how does the human get involved, and that’s going to be through having a digital identity,” Ann Cairns told CNBC’s Karen Tso on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Credit Karma’s Dana Marineau: ‘We want users to think of us as more than just free credit scores’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Today’s marketer on the hot seat is Dana Marineau, Credit Karma’s vice president of brand, creative and communications. People love Credit Karma for its free credit scores, but the company provides so many other free tools. Dana’s team is tasked with elevating the brand beyond just free credit scores, as a place to get help with financial decisions and achieve financial progress. She brings a 15 year experience at EA, working on many of the top sports games in the business.

Why this small bank created a separate, digital-first brand (American Banker), Rated: AAA

When Midwest BankCentre, a community bank in St. Louis, launched the digital-first Rising Bank in February, it joined the ranks of other financial companies —generally large players such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and MUFG Union Bank — that have created separate, digital-only brands. Unlike them, the $1.9 billion-asset Midwest hopes to keep a community bank feel at the internet-only unit.

The Future Is Plastic: Fintech Unicorn Brex Launches New Credit Card For E-Commerce Merchants (Forbes), Rated: A

Brex, a San Francisco credit card startup that reached a valuation of $1.1 billion late last year, 22 months after its founding, is launching its second product, a physical credit card for e-commerce companies. Its first card, targeted to venture-backed tech startups, has attracted more than 3,000 customers by providing higher spending limits and simplifying the application process.

YieldStreet raises $ 62M to democratise alternative investments in shipping, real estate and more (TechCrunch), Rated: A

YieldStreet — which provides a platform for making alternative investments in areas like real estate, marine/shipping, legal finance, commercial loans and other opportunities that in the past were only open to institutional investors — is today announcing that it has raised $62 million in a Series B round of funding.

Guaranteed Rate Leads Mortgage Executive Magazine’s List of Top Loan Originators in America (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

For the seventh consecutive year, Guaranteed Rate has the most loan originators of any lender on Mortgage Executive Magazine’s annual list of the “Top 200 Mortgage Originators in America,” including the number one originator.

Guaranteed Rate led the way with 36 originators ranking within Mortgage Executive Magazine’s Top 200, including three of the top five. Shant Banosian of Boston, Mass., was named the nation’s 2018 Top Originator by funding $536 Million in total loan volume.

Americans Focus On Debt Management But Lose Focus On Retirement Savings (Forbes), Rated: A

Our minds are wired to prioritize the near-term over the long-term. We shouldn’t be surprised that a new survey by 

U.S. banking regulator fights NY lawsuit over fintech charters (Reuters), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has asked a Manhattan federal court to dismiss a lawsuit by a New York financial regulator over its plan to issue banking charters to fintech companies, saying the lawsuit is premature.

Blockchain and data protection: the main concerns (JDSupra), Rated: A

Blockchain’s usage is no longer limited to digital crypto currencies, as blockchain databases may be deployed in innumerable circumstances and scenarios, including, for instance, within the financial services and insurance sectors for money transfer, peer-to-peer lending and transfer of securities, as well as automatic execution of contracts.

LoanStreet positions for growth with new hires (LoanStreet Email), Rated: B

After the launch of LoanStreet’s commercial lending product and the announcement of their $6.5 million funding round, LoanStreet – the first fully-integrated platform that streamlines the process of sharing, managing, and originating loans – has appointed three credit union industry veterans to support LoanStreet’s aggressive growth.

These new hires include Mike Doherty, Managing Director and Head of Credit Union Sales; Tony Harter, Business Development Director; and Joe Parvin, Business Development Director.

White Oak Business Capital Hires Carol Bader Apicella to Expand Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Markets (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

White Oak Business Capital, Inc. (“WOBC”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, has announced that Carol Apicella has joined the firm as Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer. Apicella will be responsible for expanding the firm’s markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle fund adds firepower for buyback strategy (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The portfolio, an investment trust, of loans originated by Funding Circle lowered its dividend expectations amid lower projected returns last year prompting a discount to its net asset value.

Following a move to a more than 10 per cent discount last year it started share buybacks in a bid to narrow its discount. It has now made additional capital available from its free cash flow to be deployed into share buybacks, the fund said yesterday.

Orca Innovative Finance ISA Launches, Enables Diversified P2P Investment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca Money is finally launching its long-anticipated Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). Orca’s spin on the savings vehicle allows investors to spread their money across multiple peer-to-peer lenders (P2P) thus providing a heightened degree of diversification. Additionally, Orca Money conducts due diligence on behalf of IFISA investors.

Currently, the Orca IFISA allows access to 5 P2P platforms: Lending Works, Assetz Capital, Landbay, Octopus Choice and Lending Crowd.

Experian, ClearScore scrap merger plans (Reuters), Rated: A

Experian Plc, the world’s biggest credit data firm, said on Wednesday that it had agreed with rival ClearScore to abandon their proposed merger, after Britain’s competition watchdog indicated that it may block the deal.

NatWest launches account aggregation as Open Banking takes hold (AltFi), Rated: A

It’s been a long time coming, but Open Banking is finally spreading through the traditional banking industry, this week with the launch of account aggregation for NatWest customers.

The RBS subsidiary becomes the UK’s 4th bank to let customers connect rival current accounts.

Will Open Banking boom in 2019? (AltFi), Rated: A

It has been over a year since the Open Banking UK initiative under the Competition and Markets Authority order and Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was launched and has become one of the industry’s biggest technology and regulatory shake ups in recent years. It is no surprise that the initiative’s first year has seen a relatively low consumer uptake. This has been coupled with reports that consumers’ knowledge of the scheme appears to be markedly low.

Aave Launches Platform to Pay Bills Using Crypto (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

In an attempt to bring crypto closer to the mainstream, the London-based fintech startup has announced the launch of Aave Pay.

The app will allow its users to pay their utility bills using digital coins by converting crypto into fiat in real-time using bank transfer facility. The company is claiming that the platform can be used to business expenses as well including employee salaries, income taxes, and other commercial or corporate expenses.

Investing in crowdfunded development projects – what you need to know (Property Investor Today), Rated: A

You can invest in peer to peer development loans for the short term or in an Innovative Finance ISA for a longer commitment period, but with the potential to earn tax free returns.

By comparison, a peer to peer lending platform with its own development company will have much more control over its projects and be able to give you more detailed and trustworthy updates.

Failed Lender Reaching ‘From Beyond The Grave,’ MPs Warn (Law360), Rated: A

Failed payday lender Wonga is damaging the finances of thousands of customers “from beyond the grave” because they cannot seek redress for allegedly missold loans as the company was not covered…

International

Some Bankers Are Doing Even Worse Than in 2009 (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

It may not feel like it, but some corners of banking are suffering as badly as they did during the depths of the financial crisis. Global volumes of initial public offerings and share placings in January and February have been nearly 60 percent lower than in the same period last year. The numbers are worse than the first two months of 2009. If activity doesn’t pick up soon, it would be worrying evidence of the fragility of investor sentiment.

The hope is that the lull is temporary, and technical. The government shutdown in Washington has gummed up U.S. IPOs. Uncertainty over the U.K.’s future relationship with Europe just drags on. And the December stock-market wobble probably killed off deals that were being planned for the window that traditionally opens between January and the start of the full-year earnings season in late February.

Marketplace Lending – A Growing and Dynamic Global Market (DBRS Email), Rated: AAA

I wanted to share with you a new joint report from our U.S. and European structured finance teams. The new report, attached to this email, analyzes the growth of the marketplace lending market around the globe.

The commentary includes the following topics:

— The evolution in finance, from traditional banking to FinTech.
— FinTech’s influence on marketplace lending around the globe.
— Growth hurdles.
— Securitization considerations.

Bank on it: How Enova’s software expands credit access worldwide (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

Not all credit histories are created equal.

That’s the case for a large part of the world’s population who can’t get access to a loan from a traditional credit provider — like a bank — creating a world in which the hardest working people don’t always get access to the credit they need. Enova, however, believes it has a solution. The fintech company draws on the power of machine learning and data to offer products that expand access to credit for consumers and small businesses.

Blossom Capital scores $ 85m from Robinhood and Funding Circle backers (AltFi), Rated: A

Blossom Capital, which has already backed five startups including rental marketplace Fat Lama, today raised $85m which it will use to lead Series A rounds of between $5m and $10m in Europe.

Eight Simple Ways to Earn Bitcoin Online Legally (The Crypto Updates), Rated: B

Earn Bitcoins as the interest payments: If you have earned some Bitcoins already, you can put the Bitcoins to earn for you. Lend them out at particular interest rate. You can lend the Bitcoins directly to someone known at a greed interest rate and repayment period. You need to assess trustworthiness of borrower. Peer to peer Bitcoin lending is another way to let the earned Bitcoins earn for you. There are many peer-to-peer lending websites where the borrowers post the borrowing requests. Over these websites, you can act as a lender. It is also possible to fund the small portion of numbers of loans to reduce the risk.

European Union

Grid Finance suspends taking investments below € 100,000 (Irish Times), Rated: AAA

One of the largest providers of peer-to-peer loans in the State has shut down a key part of its business aimed at smaller investors, blaming an absence of regulation in the crowdfunding space.

Grid Finance, which is backed by Enterprise Ireland, wrote to holders of its “Brick” accounts – that facilitate the investment of up to €100,000 – in recent days stating that it would withdraw the offering from the marketplace.

China

Dragon Victory International: Exposure To The Chinese Crowdfunding Market At A Regulatory-Driven Discount (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

In recent years as China winds down its industrial and manufacturing powerhouse growth, it’s looking to other developed nations to determine which platforms it should invest in and pave the way to sustained economic growth. As most other major developed nations have done over the past century, financial services and engineering have been a very profitable platform and companies in China are quick to launch their own services to capitalize on the triple-digit growth in online financial services exhibited since 2003.

Similar to Hexindai (HX), which I’ve previously covered as a leading online lender which is capitalizing on the middle class appetite for debt to finance their lives and vacations, Dragon Victory International Limited (LYL) is taking on the crowdfunding segment in the People’s Republic of China. Similar to countless other platforms around the world, the company’s services are around financing new companies and capitalizing entrepreneurs through public funding and they already have over 4.5M users who use their services, a number nearly doubling each year.

Source: Dragon Victory International F-1 filings

China Fintech Today: The P2P Boom Is Truly Over (SupChina), Rated: A

This year, the government has continued to lead a reorganization of the industry:

  • More companies will die: As of February 17, only 60 percent of online lending institutions had disclosed their operational information for January 2019, including five problematic platforms.
  • However, the current asset quality of the online lending industry has improved significantly according the data from firms that did report.
  • As of the end of January 2019, the accumulated amount of the online P2P online loan industry was about 7.78 trillion yuan ($1.16 trillion). The total loan amount in January was 91.4 billion yuan ($13.61 billion), down 55.1 percent year-on-year and down 1.3 percent from the previous month.
  • Further consolidation of industry players is certain. Some experts quoted in media reports predict that the scale of future online loans will continue to shrink because of regulation.
  • Some listed companies, such as Aoma Electric and Panda Financial Companies, have abandoned their P2P businesses.
  • Aoma Electric issued a letter of concern to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on February 14, attributing the decision to the broader economic slowdown, and a high number of overdue loans.
  • Panda Gold Control in 2018 was also dragged down by its P2P business, and expects a net loss of 41.16 million ($6.13 million) to 57.63 million yuan ($8.58  million) in 2018. Faced with the uncertainty of the P2P sector, Panda Gold Control chose to divest.

A Crypto Project That Raised $ 20 Million Is Caught Faking Its Founding Team (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Launched on Dec. 2, BHB claims to offer an ethereum-based solution for peer-to-peer lending, but by Jan. 18, local media reports were already accusing the project of operating an illegal pyramid scheme. Now, CoinDesk is able to reveal inconsistencies in the information provided about its founding team that further suggest something may be amiss at the China-based project.

However, the image of Bobby White used in BHB’s marketing materials is identical to that of an economics professor at China’s Tsinghua University named Alexander White. Meanwhile, the image of Gregory Moss is the same as one used by a philosophy professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, who is also named Gregory Moss.

Tencent-backed brokerage firm downsizes US IPO amid weak market demand (Technode), Rated: A

Tencent-backed online brokerage firm Futu Securities has set the terms for its US initial public offering (IPO) to raise up to $130 million, which will value the company at more than $1 billion. The company previously set its target at as high as $300 million when it filed for the US listing in December.

Chinese tech behemoth, Tencent, owns over 38% of the company, has shown interest in purchasing up to 25% of the new shares issued.

Australia

How should accountants talk to clients about fintechs? (In the Black), Rated: A

Like the ombudsman’s office, ASIC has also made information available to educate consumers and advisers, including on its MoneySmart Borrowing Basics and Peer-to-Peer Lending sites.

Is any flexibility possible, Shiel wonders, with a peer-to-peer lending model in which the borrower likely doesn’t know who is providing the funds?

India

LenDenClub crosses 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders milestone (News Barons), Rated: AAA

LenDenClub, one of India’s fastest growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, recently crossed an important landmark with more than 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders on its platform. The breakdown of borrowers to lenders is 83,300 and 16700, respectively. The company crossed this milestone by keeping up with latest market trends, and saw an increase in the use of its product InstaMoney, which was launched in June 2018.

Why Do Fintech Startups and Investors See a Huge Potential in Lending? (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

Today, thanks to the ongoing digitization, borrowing has become as easy as it can get in India. For contrast, all it takes now is the touch of a few buttons, answers to a few verification-related questions, and anyone can receive a loan in a matter of hours or days, if not minutes. And all of this is without any collateral and while enjoying the comfort of your home. Now, compare this with taking a day off to go to the bank, doing extensive paperwork, visiting frequently to check the progress of your loan application, and ultimately, getting your application rejected because of the loan officer’s misjudgement. All while wasting two months of time in the constant to and fro and taking multiple days off from your office.

It is beyond doubt that the advent of fintech startups has altered the game of lending in India. It has become both simpler and convenient to borrow using their revolutionary approaches driven by state-of-the-art technologies. Currently, more than 1,500 fintech startups (of all shapes and sizes) are catering to the Indian market, and more than half of these startups have been launched over the last 3 years. This gives us a clear picture of how lucrative the sector is becoming for our startup ecosystem. But what is essentially fuelling this trend? Let’s find out.

Banning of UDS to benefit P2P Lending Industry (Inventiva), Rated: A

The latest ordinance of the Banning of Unregulated Deposits (UDS) 2019, was passed by the government to provide a comprehensive mechanism to ban UDS as well as to protect the interest of depositors. This is in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines on the NBFC-P2P sector, issued in October 2017 to regulate the unorganized lending business in the country.

Asia

Singapore fintech investments rose two-fold to US$ 365m in 2018 (SBR.com.sg), Rated: AAA

US$102.2m of the total funds raised went to lending fintech companies such as the homegrown Funding Societies.

Fintech investments in Singapore more than doubled to US$365m in 2018 from US$180m in 2017, putting the country amongst the top five fintech markets by funds raised last year in Asia Pacific, behind China, India, Australia and Japan, according to Accenture’s analysis of CB Insights data. The number of deals in the country rose to 71 from 61 in 2017, making it the third busiest market in the region, behind only China and India.

Source:

Validus Capital raises $ 15m for SME financing (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Validus Capital, a Singapore-based SME financing platform, has raised SGD 20.5 million ($15.2 million) in a Series B funding round, led by FMO, a Dutch public-private development bank.

Latin America

PayPal expands its small business loans initiative to Mexico (Leaprate), Rated: AAA

Online payment giant PayPal launched its Working Capital initiative in 2013 as an alternative method for business to access working capital much faster than through traditional means. Many small and medium-sized business (SMB) clients embraced the program and since then the company has advanced more than $6 billion in loans to over 170,000 businesses in the UK, US, Germany and Australia.

PayPal also recently revealed that it has partnered with Konfio, a Mexican online lender that utilizes unconventional data sources to facilitate fast credit assessments, in a deal that will allow PayPal to extend its Business loan and working capital programs to Mexican businesses.

ID Finance eyes ‘pivotal moment’ for Latam fintech as revenue in region climbs 403% (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

ID Finance, the fintech company operating in Europe and Latin America, saw revenue of $49m in 2018. This represents growth of 236% for the business, which was formally separated from its operations in Russia and CIS region last year.

The company is enjoying particularly strong growth in Latam, one of the world’s fastest growing markets for fintech adoption thanks to high mobile penetration and a sizeable underbanked population – according to the World Bank 61% of Mexico’s population is excluded from the traditional banking system, while 40% of Brazil’s 207m population are blacklisted. The company now has 141 employees in Latam and saw revenue growth of 403% in the region last year.

Challenger bank N26 expands to Brazil (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Germany-based mobile challenger bank N26 is powering on yet again as it has revealed its plans to expand to Brazil.

Africa

How FinTech Companies Inspire Africa With Mobile Technology (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

With the potential for rapid growth and job creation, FinTech firms in Africa have caught the attention of global investors. According to the London Stock Exchange Group’s 2019 “Companies to Inspire Africa” report, which highlights these firms, the FinTech sector has the second highest growth rate representation of technology and telecoms as well as financial services. As it stands, companies in this space represent more than a quarter of 360 featured firms from 32 different countries. Pan-African payments firm Cellulant is among the companies that appeared in the first and second editions of the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Monday April 23 2018, Daily News Digest

Marcus lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Top customer-rated lenders by loan product. Kabbage, Ingo Money partner on SMB loan disbursements. RateSetter offers 100 GBP cash incentive to ISA investors. TransUnion to buy Callcredit in Europe for $1.4B. Today’s main analysis: Bank earnings. Today’s thought-provoking articles: P2P lending vs. stock markets. Using psychometry for loan disbursement. Don’t fear the robo-advisor. Bank earnings. Fintech leaders […]

Marcus lending

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

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United States

LendingTree Announces Top Customer-Rated Lenders by Loan Product for Q1 2018 (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its quarterly list of the top customer-rated lenders on its network based on actual customer reviews for the first quarter of 2018.

The top lenders for the first quarter by product are:

Mortgage Category

#1 Winner:
Howard Bank

Personal Loans Category

#1 Winner:
First Midwest Bank

Top 3 Badge:
Lending Club
Upgrade

Business Loans Category

#1 Winner:
OnDeck

Auto Loans Category

#1 Winner:
iLendingDIRECT

Kabbage and Ingo Money Partner to Get Small Businesses their Loan Funds Faster (Small Business Trends) Rated: AAA

Kabbage and Ingo Money have teamed up to expedite the payout of loans into the accounts of small and medium-sized businesses in real time. The move is important news for small businesses in need of a fast loan payout to capitalize on new opportunities or continue operations.

Thanks to the new partnership, when businesses get a loan from Kabbage, the Ingo  Money technology will be used to deliver the funds to the applicant’s account right away. The loans are going to be paid out using Ingo Money’s push platform with push-payments-in-a-box technology.

The partnership was announced on pymnts.com at which time Kabbage President Kathryn Petralia explained the importance of accelerating the delivery of funds.

Strong Bank Earnings, The Copernican Revolution in Banking (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs delivered its highest revenue in 3 years, also driven by a boost from its fixed income trading business. The bank continues to invest in Marcus and has originated $2.3 Bn in loans life-to-date and has $17 Bn in deposits. Marcus is only one part of GS’s broader lending strategy. We note in the slide below from GS’s earnings call that Goldman has substantially increased its loan book from $64 Bn at the end of 2016 to $81 Bn at the end of 2017 by expanding collateralized lending to high net-worth clients and securities-based lending.

Source: PeerIQ

Bank of America’s total revenue grew by 3.7% to $23.3 Bn driven by its Consumer business which saw profits grow by $0.8 Bn to $2.7 Bn, and 32 straight quarters of loan growth. Average loans increased by $22 Bn to $280 Bn driven by growth in mortgages and credit cards. Provision for credit losses increased by $97 Mn to $935 Mn, driven by credit card seasoning and loan growth. The net charge-off ratio increased slightly to 1.27%. Bank of America is the leader in mobile banking and active mobile banking users increased 12% YoY to 24.8 Mn.

 

DON’T FEAR THE ROBO! (All About Alpha) Rated: A

Technology advances have infiltrated every corner of finance, including the world of wealth management. While few can argue with the positives of automated, algorithm-based portfolio management platforms, the advent of the cost-efficient, dispassionate robo-advisor has struck fear into the heart of many a financial advisor and fund manager, who see these technology options as a threat to their business practice.

FIRST, WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS OF A ROBO?

Lower fees. Most of these robo advisors charge less than 1%, with some south of .20%, versus the standard investment advisor fee range of 1-3% on a client’s portfolio.

Elimination of emotional trading. With a robo advisor executing a passively managed program, there is no chance of active management decision-making being affected by human emotional reaction to markets.

Index-like performance with tax efficiencies and global access. Most robo platforms feature ETFs that aim to produce results like an index, but with lower expense ratios than their equivalent counterparts found in mutual funds. For individuals focused on low cost but benchmark performance in a portfolio, a mix of ETFs can be a desirable option long term.

How Barclays US is using AI (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Barclays — the bank behind popular co-branded cards including Uber, American Airlines, JetBlue and a host of other retail partners — is using customer data to suggest products and understand the root causes of customer complaints. It’s an approach large banks like Capital One and JPMorgan Chase as well as startups like Credit Karma and MoneyLion are using to push insights and recommendations that are most relevant to the customer’s spending behavior and product preferences.

With all this data gathering, how do you avoid creeping out the customer?
We do a lot of testing, we are very thoughtful about products we develop and ways we communicate with customers. We don’t want to be in a situation where the customer is “creeped out”. We try to be very sensitive to that. We do a lot of data analysis and co-create experiences and products with customers to get a sense whether something will resonate or not. It’s an interesting time. It becomes straddling between convenience and relevance for the customer and going too far, [the sense of which] is different for each customer.

 

Lead Bank CEO: Tech, innovations help better clients, which makes a better bank (Kansas City Business Journal) Rated: A

Lead Bank CEO Josh Rowland is leaving no stone unturned on the technology front to help consumers gain financial strength and in turn create loyal, lifelong customers.

6th Avenue Capital Tips Off First “Merchant Madness” Promotion (AltFi), Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, LLC (“6th Avenue Capital”) announced today the launch of its first “Merchant Madness” promotion. Throughout the month, and coinciding with the annual NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, 6th Avenue Capital will award points for all new ISOs, Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) submissions, approvals and funded deals.

In addition to the new Merchant Madness promotion, 6th Avenue Capital also recently announced competitive underwriting guidelines, buy rates and incentive programs for 2018.

United Kingdom

P2P lender RateSetter offers ISA investors £100 cash incentive (AltFi News) Rated: AAA

RateSetter is offering new investors up to £100 for opening a new Innovative Finance ISA with the p2p lending platform.

Lending Works set for further growth after passing £100m milestone (Financial & Business Insights) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender Lending Works has passed £100 million in terms of the amount of money lent, cementing its position as one of the biggest UK platforms of its type.

Some 20,000 customers – over 16,000 borrowers and nearly 4,000 lenders – have used the platform to date and every penny of capital and expected returns has been delivered to lenders on time.

Gone in 98 minutes! Blend Network sees surge in property loans (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

A PEER-TO-PEER lending platform aiming to be “Goldman Sachs of P2P” has reached £2m of lending in less than four months, with its latest development loan getting backed within 98 minutes.

The platform launched in January and currently offers average returns of 12.11 per cent on property-backed development loans outside London.

A new challenge for business banking (Money Week) Rated: A

There are a few providers already in business. CountingUp is a new service that integrates a business account with automated bookkeeping. Income and expenses are automatically categorised, and it can produce profit-and-loss accounts, raise invoices and file taxes. Sole traders will pay £9.95 a month; limited companies £19.95. Cash can be deposited via the Post Office for a £1 fee or via Paypoint for a 2.5% commission. Cash withdrawals cost £1.

Also in the works is CivilisedBank, which gained its banking licence in May last year, but released it earlier this month to give itself more time to develop its technology platform. CivilisedBank proposes a branch-free service for more established companies, and will focus on customer service by employing up to 80 “local bankers” for businesses with a turnover of more than £1m. It hopes to provide savings, loans, current accounts with overdrafts, and foreign exchange. It will also offer savings products to non-business customers.

Meet Andrea Linehan, commercial director with Grid Finance… (Business Irish) Rated: A

The recent warning that banks are no longer making the effort to get to know small- and medium-sized businesses when they apply for a loan, struck a chord with Andrea Linehan.

Linehan, the commercial director with Grid Finance, is keen to stress that Grid’s model is much more business friendly, with staff around the country eager to dig into the fine details of a business hungry for capital.

China

LexinFintech to Invest RMB1 Billion in Partner Cooperation over Next Three Years (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (“Lexin” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:LX) announced that it expects to invest RMB1 billion in cooperation with its partners over the next three years, to better serve its customers and to expand the use of credit services.

European Union

TransUnion expands into Europe with $ 1.4 billion Callcredit deal (Reuters) Rated: AAA

U.S. credit reporting agency TransUnion (TRU.N) on Friday said it will buy UK consumer data provider Callcredit for 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billion) from private equity firm GTCR, expanding its operations into Europe for the first time.

The deal comes at a time when credit-checking services are growing, in response to the proliferation of non-traditional lenders to consumers, such as payday loan providers and online lenders.

Fintech in Germany (Lexology) Rated: AAA

As the largest economy in the European Economic Area, the German market offers many opportunities for fintech innovation. Although some of the initial disruptive energy has been mitigated by regulatory challenges and a soft trend towards consolidation, a second phase of solid and mature business development is on the horizon.

Important players in the market include:

  • N26 – an app-based direct bank;
  • Kreditech – offers data-based bank lending;
  • Raisin – offers a pan-European marketplace for savings products;
  • Spotcap – offers loans for small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • Auxmoney – operates an online platform for peer-to-peer money lending services;
  • Smava – offers a loan comparison platform;
  • Liqid and Scalable – both offer online portfolio management to retail customers;
  • Exporo – offers an equity crowdfunding platform for real estate investment and bitbond, a bitcoin-based peer-to-peer lending platform; and
  • Finleap – while not a fintech company itself, it offers a fintech company builder ecosystem.
International

SPRING MEETINGS 2018 GLOBAL VOICES: INTERVIEW WITH IMAD MALHAS (World Bank Live) Rated: A

As part of our Spring Meetings 2018 Interview Series, we will be talking with Imad Malhas, ​CEO, IrisGuard, on how technology can help in the financial inclusion of displaced people.

Australia

“It was clear the loan products for small businesses were just not good enough,” says Moshal. He, and joint CEO Beau Bertoli, 34, set out to solve that problem in 2011 with Prospa, their Sydney-based online lender. Last year, Prospa provided over A$500m (£273m) in small-business loans, which are funded by bundling the loans together and selling them on to institutional investors. Interest rates start at around 12%, stretching into the mid-20s depending on risk.

Prospa’s draw is its speed in processing applications, with funding coming the same day. “We aren’t necessarily cheaper than a bank, but we offer speed, convenience and more access to credit,” says Bertoli. A A$25m funding round last year valued the business at A$235m, and the lender is now testing the waters for a stockmarket listing.

India

SoftBank-backed fintech firm True Balance raises $ 23m bridge round (Deal Street Asia) Rated: AAA

Gurgaon-based digital payments firm True Balance has reportedly raised $23 million in a bridge round from a clutch of foreign institutional investors.

According to a report in The Economic Times, Japan-based Line Ventures Corporation, Korean search engine Naver, Korean lender Shinhan Bank, TS Investment and other investors participated in this latest round.

P2P Lending Vs Stock Markets: The ideal Investment for you (Money Control) Rated: AAA

Investment in Financial Assets has been increasing in India. High return assets such as stocks and Peer to Peer (P2P) lending are increasingly sought after by investors.

It depends on the knowledge and risk profile of the person. While P2P lending is simple, stocks are pretty complex and require a lot of knowledge. However, both have the potential to provide good returns.

Indian households tend to have the highest savings in the world – at about 30 percent of income. Surprisingly, this does not translate into investments in the same proportion. Only about 3.2 crore people invest in the country’s stock markets – that is less than 3 percent of the population.

Africa

Using Psychometry In Its Loan Disbursement Process, Nigeria’s P2P Lender KiaKia Is Bringing Down The Loan Default Rate (Wee Tracker) Rated: AAA

Although news reports from the Q4 2017 show that banks are increasingly becoming open to lending more money even as lenders are expected to loosen credit scoring criteria in Q1 2018, they recorded an 8 percent increase in bad loans recorded in 2017.

Indeed the market is vast for Kiakia and other competing online loan services. Statistics from Nigeria interbank settlement system shows that there are over 31 million verified bank accounts in Nigerian banks.

For Kiakia about 75% of this number has never accessed any form of consumer or business credit from any financial institutions.

Asia

Robo-advisors offer low-cost growth opportunities, says GlobalData (Fintech Finance) Rated: A

Nomura Asset Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Nomura Holdings, has recently agreed to buy majority stake in Tokyo-based robo-advisory services provider 8 Securities Inc and a minority stake in Hong Kong headquartered parent company 8 Limited for JPY2.7bn ($25m). Expect major international asset managers to build similar distribution channels via the purchase of other established robo-advice FinTechs, says leading data and analytics company GlobalData.

Compared to most robo-advisers, 8 Securities has been in the market for a while. Chloe, its robo-advice platform, was the first in Asia to be offered via a mobile app and it currently has a presence in Hong Kong and Japan.

Latin America

Brazil Fintech Nubank Launches Facial Biometrics “AccessoBio” (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Brazilian fintech startup Nubank announced earlier this week the launch of its new facial biometrics feature, AccessoBio. According to various reports, the fintech firm will now use the AccessoBio tool to help prevent identity fraud in credit card transactions.

ZDNet noted that Nubank believes the introduction of biometrics to its technology is a positive for customers due to the fact it does improve the mobile-based experience around the credit card requests and reduces the possibility of false rejects while reducing identity fraud possibility.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday September 11 2017, Daily News Digest

Zopa trailing 12-month net return

News Comments Today’s main news: Equifax cybersecurity breach. Goldman to take on UK retail banks. China cracks down on online lenders, cryptocurrency dealers. Klarna is testing credit cards with employeees. Today’s main analysis: CECL overview. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Consumers who go to Equifax for help after data breach may not be able to sue. The data behind Zopa’s lowered return […]

Zopa trailing 12-month net return

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United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Equifax Cyber Incident (Equifax Email), Rated: AAA

At Equifax, we recognize that consumers and customers expect us to provide superior data security, and we work hard to do that every day. Unfortunately, on September 7th, 2017, we announced a cybersecurity incident involving consumer information.  This cybersecurity incident strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do.  Above all else, our first priority is to support consumers and you, our customers, by doing what we can to make this right.

What happened?

On July 29, 2017, Equifax identified a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Equifax discovered the unauthorized access and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. We promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm that has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. We also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continue to work with authorities.

What information may be impacted?

The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Criminals also accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers.

Additional Information:

We have found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.  In addition, we have found no evidence that this cybersecurity incident impacted Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases, including,  ACRO, Workforce Solutions, including The Work Number payroll data, NCTUE, IXI and  CFN.

Where can I learn more?

We have set up a dedicated website at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com:

  • To see if you are potentially impacted, you can click on the Potential Impact Tab
  • To enroll in complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services and how to find out if your personal information may have been impacted, you can click on the Enroll Tab.
  • To learn more about the complimentary offering, you can click on TrustedID Premier Tab. TrustedID Premier provides you with copies of your Equifax credit report; the ability to lock your Equifax credit report; 3-Bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; Internet scanning for your Social Security number; and identity theft insurance.

To speak to someone directly, we have also established a call center at 866-447-7559, available every day (including weekends) from 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. EST, for individuals to ask questions.

Consumers Who Go to Equifax for Help After Data Breach May Lose Their Right to Sue (Money), Rated: AAA

On Thursday credit bureau Equifax said a data breach put personal information of 143 million people at risk. Now its response is drawing more outrage, as lawmakers and others accuse it of encouraging consumers who come to it seeking answers to sign away their chance to seek recourse in the courts.

Following the breach, which compromised tens of millions of Social Security numbers and other valuable data, Equifax set up a website to help worried consumers determine whether or not their information was at risk. That website encouraged visitors to sign up for a program known as TrustedID Premier, the company’s credit monitoring service, which provides automated alerts to credit changes and up to $1 million in ID theft insurance. That’s where the trouble began.

TrustedID’s terms of service include an arbitration clause, insisting that customers agree “all claims, disputes, or controversies…shall be finally settled by arbitration” rather than a court of law. Such clauses aren’t unusual for credit monitoring services — or indeed many other consumer products. But in this circumstance, it created the impression that Equifax was asking consumers it had harmed to surrender their legal rights — including becoming part of a class-action law suit — before it would agree to help them.

One key legal avenue that arbitration clauses typically close off for consumers is the class-action lawsuit. That could be significant for Equifax — at least on one proposed class-action lawsuit was already filed against the company late Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

Equifax free credit monitoring service has some concerned (News Channel 6 Now), Rated: A

The 143 million Americans whose information was compromised by the Equifax data breach may still be on edge even with the free credit monitoring service being offered by the company.

Everything from names, addresses, social security numbers and credit card numbers were hacked in the Equifax data breach.

Kuehner said right now the company is sending out letters letting people know if they have been potentially affected. They can also check online at equifaxsecurity2017.com.

However, it is not only the breach that has consumers concerned, it is the company’s response.

“We’re taking unprecedent step of offering every U.S consumer in the country a comprehensive package of identity theft protection, ecredit file monitoring at no cost,” said Rick Smith, Equifax Chairman, and CEO, in a statement released online.

CECL Overview (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This past Wednesday, FASB released an update to the current expected credit losses methodology (CECL) for estimating credit loss allowances. This new accounting standard, which was initially published in June 2016 (in conjunction with regulators such as the FDIC, OCC, and NCUA), will apply to financial assets carried at amortized cost, including loans held for investment and held-to-maturity debt. Once in place, these assets must be held on the balance sheet net of an expected loss account. Changes are effective for fiscal years beginning after Dec 15, 2019, for all for-profit companies that file with the SEC.

Once firms adopt CECL, management will have increased discretion around forecasts and ultimately net asset carrying value. This represents a dichotomy for investors. Assets should be carried at more accurate levels and better reflect the organization’s financial position. However, management estimates will significantly affect the balance sheet and income statement.

The major change with the CECL methodology is that organizations are expected to include forward looking information when determining credit losses. Banks will need to calculate expected credit loss at the loan level for the entire life of the loan and then aggregate with similar instruments.

Since ECL is calculated for the life of the financial asset, rather than the annual rate, almost all held-to-maturity instruments that are not risk-free will have a credit loss allowance. These long-dated assets may appear more volatile than financial statement users are accustomed to because their impairment has large implications for the balance sheet and income statement. Under the new regulation it will be more important to have correct, auditable, and explainable expected credit losses.

Source: PeerIQ, FASB, FDIC

Overall, we applaud the coming changes to US GAAP and expect investors to respond favorably.

Square Becoming a Bank Is Brilliant. Here’s Why (Inc.), Rated: A

However, there is much more to this story. In fact, this strategic decision could be one of the best moves the company has made. Square’s decision could start a revolution and revamp the entire financial institution structure to address the changes in the transaction and lending environment.

Square essentially is proving how the traditional bank is no longer necessary. By becoming their own bank, they do not have to seek out a separate institution as a strategic partner. They don’t have to add specific business banking services to their portfolio.

Although the banking sector has tried, most banks still have too many fees and capital requirements to provide business accounts with their needs. Numerous freelancers or startups just can’t satisfy those requirements because banks are still designed with the larger business in mind.

More small businesses need smaller sized loans to tap into for their launches and expansion. Recognizing how peer-to-peer lending has grown together as an entire industry illustrates how ripe the financial industry is for more competition. Peer-to-peer lending is more personal, with a much needed boost to the financial sector in watching to find new ways to provide the much-needed financial support of smaller entities and businesses.

With these products, it makes sense that the company could become a one-stop shop for financial needs. To become a one-stop service requires obtaining a bank charter, which is what the company has now applied for under the moniker, Square Financial Services Inc.

King of fintech defined by optimism (San Francisco Business Times/Ron Suber Email), Rated: A

Source: San Francisco Business Times

PeerStreet – Real Estate Investing for Rich Millennials (Nanalyze), Rated: A

While your average American doesn’t have much in the way of savings, the younger “millennial generation” is actually saving at a higher rate than any other generation. More than 80% of those “investment professionals” will then go on to underperform the market and get paid anyway.

If all of this sounds too daunting already and you want the easy way out, use Betterment.

Founded in 2013, Los Angeles startup PeerStreet has taken in just over $21 million in funding from investors that include Andreessen Horowitz to build “a marketplace that provides unprecedented access to high quality real estate loan investments“. Before you start getting too excited, take note that you’re going to need some cash to bring to the table. PeerStreet shows you some dropdown boxes when you create your account and unless you choose the one that says you make $300,000 a year or the one that says you have $1 million in assets, you’re not going to be allowed in. Those of you who were smart enough to major in a STEM subject are more likely to be squared away here while those of you who majored in underwater basket weaving should probably just stop reading right now.

Right away we can see that this is a property that is out of reach for the majority of Americans with a hefty $3.78 million price tag.

This means that the amount of money we could get from selling our property falls to around $3 million which still makes it very easy to pay off a $2 million loan. In fact, the only point we would start to worry is if property prices fell more than -53% over an 18-month period. This would represent a “black swan” type of event which has a very low probability of occurring. Of course there’s always the risk of PeerStreet going under but then you still have the property as collateral for the loan and you are first in line to receive payback should their property portfolio be liquidated. For providing everyone with this great service, PeerStreet takes a reasonable .75% fee which is paid each month alongside the interest payments.

The first thing to note here is that the price of entry is an extremely attractive $1,000. You’d be joining the 295 other investors who have already plunked down an average amount of $6,169 which brings the loan up to 91% funded. If you then went out and found 9 other properties to invest in, you’d have a nice little diversified portfolio of 10 various property investments that are transparent and relatively simple to understand (provided you took the time to understand the risks as we have done with this example), all for just $10,000.

Source: Nanalyze

Lend360: Fintech is No longer a Boutique Financing Option, but a Key Component of Lending Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The early days of peer to peer lending have morphed into a far more complex and data driven credit service that is competing against not just innovative Fintech startups but traditional lenders seeking to maintain relevance. Crowdfund Insider recently asked Lend360 organizers a few questions on their perspective of the online lending industry and what has changed – and what they expect going forward.

What has changed in the lending environment in the past 12 months?

The biggest change is that Fintech is no longer just viewed as a boutique financing option, but a key component of today’s lending market. For proof of this change one only needs to look at the push for a national Fintech charter.

Where do you see current opportunities?

As long as there is a demand for credit, there will be an opportunity for Fintechs to step up and fill the void.

 

Unexpected expenses hit non-prime Boomers hard (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

New research, “The unGolden Years: Non-prime Baby Boomers,” from the Elevate Center for the New Middle Class indicates that non-prime Boomers are borrowing against their 401k accounts three times as frequently as prime Boomers do. The survey found that 4% of prime Boomers have 401k loans, while 13% of non-prime Boomers have borrowed against these retirement plans.

Less than half—43%—of the non-prime Boomers in the company’s research feel comfortable with their ability to manage their day-to-day finances, let alone prepare for retirement. Not that prime Boomers all feel confident, either, with 76% saying they can manage daily financial needs.

Elevate’s study, based on a survey of over 1,000 prime and nonprime consumers, found that non-prime Boomers are 14 times as likely as prime Boomers to have difficulty predicting monthly income—and 4 in 10 say they live paycheck to paycheck. They also tend to have difficulty predicting monthly expenses and are therefore more likely to experience unexpected expenses, the research says.

Among non-prime boomers, 7 in 10 run out of money at least once a year, in spite of generally decent employment levels—frequently, in fact, with more than one job apiece.

The study asked respondents how they would meet an emergency need for $1,200. Among the non-prime Boomer respondents, nearly half had difficulty coming up with a source of funds—1 in 8 could think of no solution at all.

  • 22% of non-prime Boomers could cover the $1,200 surprise through savings—about half of the portion of prime Boomers who could do so.
  • 22% said they could use a credit card to cover the surprise, but less than a third said they could pay off that borrowing before it began to accrue interest.
  • 11% said they could tap family or friends for the money. Interestingly, only 2% of prime Boomers would go that way.
  • A small portion—4.4%—of non-prime Boomers would use payday lenders, deposit advances, or overdraft programs. Interestingly, in a separate question, 13% of non-prime Boomers said they’d used a payday loan in the previous 12 months.

HedgeCoVest Rebrands, Pivots Toward a TAMP (Wealth Management), Rated: A

HedgeCoVest is pivoting away from being a platform to help investors access hedge funds in favor of being a turnkey asset management platform. To reflect the change, the company is rebranding as SmartX Advisory Solutions.

And as part of the change, SmartX is bringing on 27 new investment strategies from firms like Blackrock, Morningstar Investment Management and Nasdaq Dorsey Wright. The models will cover strategies including ETFs, income portfolios, international equities, global/macro investing and U.S. equity strategies.

RIA in a Box Introduces Trade Monitoring

The technology company has a new employee trade-monitoring tool for its MyRIACompliance software platform that RIA in a Box says will help firms comply with Rule 204A-11, which requires the submission of securities holdings and transaction reports. The new tool digitizes the process, provides an interface for employees to electronically link applicable personal brokerage accounts, and provides chief compliance officers with supervision, administration and reporting capabilities.

Cryptocurrency IRAs

CoinIRA, a subsidiary of Goldco focused on digital currencies, is launching Digital IRA Bundles, new investment products that come prepackaged with combinations of popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.

Commonwealth Selects Quovo for Aggregation 

Commonwealth Financial Network announced the completion of an upgrade to the account-aggregation features within Investor360 using Quovo.

Don’t Fall for Loan Sharks Just Because They Have Hip Branding  (Lifehacker), Rated: A

We all know payday lenders, loan sharks, and credit cards profit when you go into debt and, therefore, they can be dangerous. But many of these companies conceal their danger with clever marketing. Beware: a debt trap by any other branding is just as dangerous.

Over at the Outline, writer Gaby Del Valle discusses one such company, Affirm. v

The difference between this service and a typical subprime loan seems to mostly lie in the marketing. Unlike other loans, Affirm is a bit more upfront about the terms you’re getting into.

Everyone is picking on Affirm here, but the issue is not unique to them. This reminds me of the recent fiasco with Navient, the student loan servicer that was sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over shady business practices like misapplying student loan payments. In the lawsuit, Navient said they have no obligation to act in their customers’ best interest. But that’s not exactly the message that comes across on their “Financial Tips Blog.” These companies use financial literacy to hook you into making bad financial moves.

How to Use a Peer-to-Peer Loan to Pay off High-Interest Debt (Forbes), Rated: A

High-interest debt, such as credit cards, sometimes seems impossible to pay off.

Peer-to-peer loans are unsecured — you don’t have to tie any collateral to them. They’re attractive to borrowers with high-interest rate debt because they provide concrete payoff dates and an option for a fixed — and potentially lower — interest rate.

In fact, according to peer-to-peer platform Lending Club, its borrowers — on average — secure a 24% lower interest rate when using its peer-to-peer loans to consolidate debt.

SS&C Announces Major New Release of Precision LM Loan Management Solution (Business Insider), Rated: A

SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSNC), a global provider of financial services software and software-enabled services, today announced the availability of Precision LM™ 3.0, the latest version of the company’s loan origination, servicing, accounting and asset management solution. The new version marks the culmination of significant input and engagement from Precision LM clients as well as SS&C’s proven ability to execute on its comprehensive development roadmap.

Pefin, a fintech start-up, is using A.I. to offer financial advice. Just don’t call it a ‘robo advisor.’ (CNBC), Rated: A

Automated financial advice is becoming more commonplace in the hunt for bigger returns, yet Pefin bills itself as “the world’s first [artificial intelligence] financial advisor.” The company aims to use machine learning to deliver a range of financial planning and investment advice via a chat interface.

“I started Pefin mainly because when you think about less affluent people, there’s really no access to financial advice aside from robos,” Joseph told CNBC in an interview recently.

“Robos are trying to execute a transaction, while we are trying to manage your finances. Investing is optional with us, and we’ll help you if we think it’s the right move for you” rather than generating fees for the company, she told CNBC.

Pefin Welcomes Catherine Flax as Chief Executive Officer (Benzinga), Rated: A

Pefin, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) financial advisor, welcomed Catherine Flax as Chief Executive Officer today.

Flax has had a multi-decade, distinguished career on Wall Street, as the Managing Director and Head of Commodity Derivatives, Americas at BNP Paribas and as Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan. She was named the Most Influential Woman in European Investment Banking in 2012 and one of the 100 most influential women in European Financial Markets in 2010 and 2011. Flax has been a leader in the FinTech space, as a Board Member of leading blockchain company, Digital Asset Holdings, and for the last two years, as an Advisor to Pefin in matters of Marketing, Regulation, Business Development and International Growth.

CoverWallet, Benzinga Fintech Award Winner, Appoints OnDeck’s Paul Rosen As COO (Benzinga), Rated: B

CoverWallet, the winner of Best Insurtech Solution at the 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards, has hired Paul Rosen, formerly the chief sales officer at On Deck Capital Inc ONDK, as its chief operating officer.

Insurtech reminds Rosen of what fintech looked like five to six years ago, he told Benzinga.

Former OnDeck Director Joins Pearl Capital as Chief Revenue Officer (Monitor Daily), Rated: B

Pearl Capital Business Funding, a provider of direct financing to small and midsize businesses, announced Jared Kogan joined the company as chief revenue officer.

Kogan joined Pearl following a 10 year career in the fintech space, most recently serving as the director of OnDeck’s broker division where he funded 10,000 loans for over $650 million in volume and was able to grow production from $14 million to over $40 million per month. Prior to OnDeck, Kogan served as vice president at Newtek, the largest non-bank SBA lender in the country.

Bad Credit? Business Loan Options For Entrepreneurs (Business Computing World), Rated: B

Online Lending Platforms

Typically, these lenders operate only on the web and promise quick assessment and disbursal with less bureaucracy. Some specialist bad credit lenders are ready to structure loans according to your convenience. You can also look at peer-to-peer lending platforms that give you access to individuals who are looking to invest their money in different ventures. Again, these platforms can get cash relatively more quickly into the system.

United Kingdom

Goldman Sachs to take on UK retail banks (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is looking to expand its retail banking business to the UK, replicating its mass-market offering in the US, as it continues a steady march from Wall Street to Main Street.

The New York-based investment bank began to pivot in the US about 18 months ago, offering high-interest online savings accounts for a deposit of as little as $1. Last October it took a step further by launching Marcus by Goldman, a digital consumer-lending platform that seeks to rival the San Francisco trio of Lending Club, Prosper and SoFi.

Now Goldman is taking it international, aiming to launch an online deposit business in the UK about the middle of next year. According to Stephen Scherr, the bank’s head of strategy, the lender plans a greenfield start in the UK under the Marcus brand, but could look to buy a book of deposits — as it did in the US — if the opportunity came its way.

The data behind Zopa’s lowered return projections (AltFi Data Email), Rated: AAA

Zopa has an enviable track record of delivering net returns as evidenced by a more than 10 year track record of delivering 4-7% returns  (after losses and fees).

Source: AltFi Data
Source: AltFi Data

Investors value projected returns over track record (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INVESTORS rank the expected rate of return as the most important factor when choosing an investment provider, research shows.

Analysis by bond provider Minerva Lending, based on a poll of 1,000 adults with more than £50,000 to invest, found 61 per cent consider the rate of return as the most important factor when choosing who to trust their money with.

The research, released on Friday, does not refer to peer-to-peer lending but investors appear to be looking for many factors that P2P firms offer.

Zopa’s Andrews warns on post-Brexit skills shortage (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE UK is facing a technology skills shortage that may worsen because of Brexit, Zopa’s co-founder and chairman has warned.

Giles Andrews (pictured) said that the peer-to-peer consumer lender’s decision to open a hub in Barcelona was partly due to a concern that it would be harder to recruit top tech talent following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Assetz signs for Manchester Green office (North West Place), Rated: B

Assetz Capital, part of the Manchester-based Assetz Group, has relocated from Newby Road in Hazel Grove where it occupied 3,000 sq ft of a 6,000 building, to take the newly refurbished Building 3 on a 10-year lease.

China

Cryptocurrency dealers and online lenders feel heat in China (Nikkei), Rated: AAA

On Friday, Caixin, a Chinese business news outlet, reported that financial authorities have decided to shut down virtual currency exchanges.

Beijing appears eager to eliminate money laundering and choke off capital outflows by shutting down bitcoin exchanges and other virtual currency trading platforms. It is also tightening its grip on peer-to-peer lending, in which individuals privately contract to borrow and lend.

Some exchanges have temporarily halted trading in response to the report. Investors rushed to sell their digital currencies for cash, sending bitcoin about 20% lower versus the yuan at one point on Saturday, compared with the day before, to below 24,000 yuan ($3,703).

Report Casts Doubt on Future of China’s Bitcoin Exchanges (Coindesk), Rated: A

Regulators in China are said to be considering a move to close all domestic bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.

As of now, no official announcements from regulators have been seen. However, there are reasons to believe the report may be authentic.

The work group was first launched by China’s State Department in 2016 to tackle market risks in the country’s financial technology industry such as p2p lending.

Emerging Digital Payments are Crowding out the Banking Market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

According to report from the Central Bank, in the second quarter of 2017, banking financial institutions have handled 36.247 billion electronic payment services, amounting to 545.58 trillion RMB, which was down about 4.4% from the same period of last year.

Actually, non-bank payments including Alipay and wechat Pay are growing rapidly. The Central Bank’s data also shew that in the second quarter of 2017, the scale of non-bank payment market reached to 570.95 trillion RMB. Compared to the amount of 23.35 trillion in the same period last year, it has significantly increased 34.87 percent.

 

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On September 6th, Zhao Jianjun, deputy director of the Department of Finance at Ministry of Education, announced at a press conference that online marketplace lenders are banned from lending to college students in China.

On September 6th, Zhao Jianjun, deputy director of the Department of Finance at Ministry of Education, announced at a press conference that online marketplace lenders are banned from lending to college students in China. According to WeChat Pay, users of the new product will be able to make payments and transfer, send Hongbao, pay back credit card debt and be awarded with interest on their digital wallet balances.

As response to the latest regulation, NEO Council announced it would offer refunds for NEO purchased through its ICO.

On September 4th, China’s leading digital payment service Alipay announced to expand its operation to Norway.

Early this week, Proptech BBT announced that the platform had managed to secure RMB 60 million Pre-A funding from Hongdao Capital at the beginning of August.

European Union

Klarna is reportedly testing its own credit cards among employees (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Since Klarna received its full banking license this summer, there have been many questions as to how exactly it would be leveraged. One among many speculative scenarios includes launching the company’s very own credit- and bank cards.

Now there are some initial reports indicating that the credit card rumours are for real. Referring to internal documents it has been able to access, Breakit reports that the Swedish e-invoicing giant, valued at $2,5 bn, is testing credit cards in-house.

A memo sent through the company’s intranet has supposedly given Klarna’s Swedish employees the opportunity to test proprietary payment cards for a limited amount of time.

Knowledge is power in Grid Finance’s revolution (Independent.ie), Rated: A

SME lender Grid Finance is expanding its offering to include a digital pension product targeted at the owners of small businesses. The company has engaged Conexim to provide the back office infrastructure on the product – as well as the regulatory umbrella – while Grid will act as distributor.

It is the latest piece of innovation being undertaken by the company, which is looking to build what chief executive Derek F Butler calls “a small business bank in all but name”.

10 Swiss Fintech Startups to Watch (LinkedIn), Rated: A

The 10 selected entrepreneurs reflect the acceleration of the Swiss fintech scene in the recent years and the impressive quality of its startups. They will join the intense journey taking place from September 10 – 16 in New York.

  • Advanon, Phil Lojacono: Advanon in its basic version is an online platform that allows SMEs to pre-finance their open invoices directly through financial investors.
  • Algo Trader, Andy Flury: The startup provides an algorithmic trading software that allows automation of complex, quantitative trading strategies.
  • Creditgate24, Teddy Amberg: CreditGate24 is an independent Swiss company and a fully automated platform for lenders and borrowers which offers efficient, transparent and scalable credit processing at high quality.
  • KiWi (eBOP), Christian Sinobas: KiWi transforms merchant’s phone into a smart point of sale.
  • Monito (Global Impact Finance), François Briod: Sending money abroad? Monito is the Booking.com for money transfers, helping migrants and expatriates find, review and compare money transfer services.
  • OneVisage, Christophe Remillet: OneVisage is a leading cyber-security company developing biometric solutions to help financial services eliminating identity theft and increasing user’s digital experience.
  • SONECT, Sandipan Chakraborty: SONECT enables every shop in the neighborhood to act as a virtual ATM.

Should you let a ‘robot’ manage your retirement savings? (BBC.com), Rated: A

Consultancy firm Accenture found that 68% of global consumers would be happy to use robo-advice to plan for retirement, with many feeling it would be faster, cheaper, and more impartial than human advice.

Joe Ziemer, vice president of communications at Betterment, a US robo-adviser with more than $9bn under management, says: “The Betterment service takes your information and uses a series of algorithms to create an asset allocation plan, which might be, for example, 90% equities and 10% bonds for a retirement saver.”

Wealth Wizards, for example, typically charges £65 for investments up to £30,000, and 0.30%, or £300, on a £100,000 investment pot. Betterment charges 0.25% a year.

That’s peanuts compared to human advisers’ fees, which come in at about £580 for advice on a £200-a-month pension contribution, or £1,000-£2,000 for guidance on what to do with your £100,000 pot when your retire, according to UK adviser network Unbiased.

Robo.cash Reports Steady Growth in European P2P Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The young lender says the total amount of investments now exceed €1.8 million. Approximately €400,000 in loans were added in August. The average invested amount per investor gained 2.2% to the previous month at €3,270 in August. In regards to the number of investors using the platform, in August Robo.cash added 188 users. Currently, there are more than 900 investors in total who have joined the platform in the first six months of operation.

Source: Crowdfund Insider
International

Mitek Unveils Mobile Verify® for Lending (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

For the first time at FinovateFall, Mitek (NASDAQ:MITK) (www.miteksystems.com), a global leader in mobile capture and identity verification software solutions, will demonstrate Mobile Verify® for Lending. This new, five step digital lending experience enables lenders to verify identity and bank account information in real time for fast loan decisions with a simple process for borrowers.

When applying for a consumer loan from a desktop computer, the borrower will first log into their online bank account and agree to have their account information shared with the lender. A text message is then sent to the borrower’s smartphone directing them on how to take four photos: front and back of their driver’s license, a selfie and a photo of their pay stub or other trailing document, to complete the loan application process. This new digital experience is quick and easy for the borrower and provides the lender with real-time identity and bank account verification.

Moroku lands on the BNP Paribas Radar (Moroku Email), Rated: A

Dear friends

Last week Moroku was identified as one of the top 4 Fintech’s globally best positioned to take on the battle for Millennials 

Fintech has transformed payments but not savings, says BlackRock’s chief executive (SCMP), Rated: A

The financial technology boom has transformed the way over a billion people engage with financial services, particularly when it comes to making payments, but Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, said that no company has yet managed to use technology successfully to get people investing for the long term.

Both in China, and in Europe and North America, a plethora of investment platforms and robo advisory services are evolving, but none has yet reached critical mass.

Memorandum of Understanding Signed with GoldMint (LSE), Rated: B

Eurasia, the platinum, palladium, iridium, rhodium and gold production company, is pleased to announce it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with GoldMint PTE (“GoldMint”), a Singapore based Limited Company.

Australia/New Zealand

Broker numbers to swell in SME space (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

More brokers will diversify into the SME loan space due to increased competition in traditional markets and growing demand from clients, the lender’s head of sales Michael Burke said.

“Brokers are not only looking to move into online lending because of the speed and ease of doing business it offers, but because their time-poor customers are demanding a more convenient solution involving faster turnaround times.”

As well as providing a digital platform to facilitate the loan process, OnDeck’s underwriting policy also helps ease the broker’s burden, Burke told Australian Broker.

PledgeMe joins Equitise in eyeing Australian market (Scoop), Rated: A

PledgeMe, the equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform, has joined rival Equitise in signalling plans to enter the Australian market ahead of a law change coming into effect across the Tasman this month.

Co-founder Anna Guenther will relocate to Brisbane for six months to establish the Wellington-based company’s Australian arm, according to a PledgeMe blog post. PledgeMe will participate in the Queensland government’s HotDesQ programme, which provides networks, support, and funding for companies to relocate to the state.

India

SoftBank Vision Fund makes second bet in two months; fintech remains investors’ favourite baby (Yourstory), Rated: A

SoftBank Vision Fund, the world’s largest pool of private capital, placed its second major bet on an Indian startup in a span of two months with its investment in OYO Rooms. The $250-million funding has taken OYO’s valuation from $460 million in August last year to between $850 million and $900 million.

APAC

This Not-for-profit Fintech Hub Wants To Impact The Unbanked Population (BLLNR), Rated: A

Allow me to set the scene: in the wider region of Southeast Asia that surrounds Singapore, where Lattice80, our not-for-profit fintech hub that we launched last year is based, there is a huge unbanked population. KPMG estimates put the number at about 438 million. In poor countries like Cambodia, the population with a bank account falls to just 5 percent.

McKinsey did a similar study in 2010 on the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked. Asia’s emerging markets were identified as a hotbed of unbanked. The same study suggests that reaching the unbanked population in ASEAN could increase the economic contribution of the region from US$17 billion to US$52 billion by 2030.

Multi-asset funds offer ‘all-in-one solutions’ (Straits Times), Rated: A

Q WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION OF MULTI-ASSET INVESTING?

It is the ability to combine a range of asset classes with different and largely independent economic drivers in order to achieve consistent return and reduce downside risk.

Years of central bank intervention in markets have depressed interest rates and left investors hunting for reliable yield. More asset classes beyond traditional equities and bonds have become more accessible in the past decade.

Q WHAT IS THE COMPOSITION OF YOUR MULTI-ASSET PORTFOLIOS?

More recently, we added peer-to-peer lending, mortgage and corporate funds that offer excess return over corporate bonds for a similar level of risk, litigation financing and credit funds. The world’s largest institutional investors have already diversified into these assets. Now, smaller institutions and individual investors can too, through our multi-asset strategies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday September 6 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech bank investment map

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade appoints Western Union exec at general counsel. Assetz Capital now claims to be second largest P2P lender in the UK. Perseus has the solution for EU cyber threats. Amartha partners with Jamkrindo in Indonesia. Today’s main analysis: How banks are investing in fintech. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn interviews with […]

fintech bank investment map

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Upgrade, Inc. Appoints Western Union Executive as General Counsel (Upgrade Email), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), the new consumer credit platform launched by LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche earlier this year, today announced the appointment of John Dye as General Counsel. Prior to joining Upgrade, John was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Western Union Company. He was also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Western Union Foundation.

Before joining Western Union in November 2011, John was Senior Vice President, Interim General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Freddie Mac from July 2011. From 2007 to July 2011, John served as Senior Vice President, Principal Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Affairs of Freddie Mac, where he worked on corporate transactions and managed attorneys in the areas of corporate disclosure, securities, intellectual property, contracts and human resources.

Prior to joining Freddie Mac, John spent 13 years at Citigroup Inc. in New York City, where he held senior leadership positions, and served as Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel at Salomon Smith Barney.

Upgrade also hired Louis Shansky, a partner on the securitization team at the law firm of Mayer Brown, as Deputy General Counsel.

Back and Better Positioned than Ever—CEO Scott Sanborn Interviews with Bloomberg (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

  • The macroeconomic backdrop: While macro trends are generally positive—low unemployment, low interest rates, low inflation and low oil prices with an increase in consumer confidence—credit card debt levels are near all-time highs. Today, there is more than $1 trillion in outstanding credit card debt in the U.S.
  • Borrowers are not alone: LendingClub borrowers are not alone in seeking a lower interest rate solution: credit card debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high1 and credit cards tend to carry high interest rates. Sixty to 70% of our customers are currently taking advantage of our personal loans to pay off credit cards which helps them to get on the path to financial success.
  • LendingClub is enabling more new investors access to an old asset: Fifteen percent of our investor base still invests directly through the retail website, with the balance accessing the asset through other means.
  • Institutions want more: In Q2 2017, we had record high subscription from more than 100 institutional investors participating on the platform. Banks were 44% of our overall investor mix last quarter, attributed to LendingClub’s assets offering solid returns with a short duration.
  • Reaching new investors through securitization: More than 20 new investors engaged with LendingClub via the first deal, which demonstrated high demand for the asset.

The Top Fintech Trends Driving the Next Decade (ABA Banking Journal), Rated: AAA

Here is a glimpse at the technologies driving bank innovation today—as well as a look ahead to the technologies coming down the pipeline that will change the way banking is done over the next 10 years.

  1. Digital Lending (here and now) – Unsecured consumer lending is the first market where digital lending has made an impact and is by far the most mature. Today, the two leading consumer lending platforms (Lending Club and Prosper) originate roughly $2.5 billion in loans quarterly. Small business lending has quickly followed and is rapidly digitizing. ABA has endorsed the digital commercial lending solutions offered by Akouba, providing banks of all sizes the use of these platforms to enhance customer service and significantly reduce underwriting costs.
  2. Biometrics (1-2 years) – Passwords are only secure to the extent that they are kept private and cannot be guessed by a keen observer. The problem is that these passwords often rely on observable pieces of our life like our birth date, our children’s names, or our pets (my personal favorite), which are all readily available to criminals using social media and public databases. A 2015 study by TeleSign indicated that one in five people use passwords that are over 10 years old, with 73 percent of accounts being secured by the same password. Compounding this problem is the fact that we now have so many accounts that require a password, that it is impossible to keep them straight.
  3. Customer Data (1-3 years) – Today, customer data at banks is often unstructured—housed in systems that are inconsistent and may not talk to each other. A single customer may have multiple accounts with a bank that are all housed in different systems, with inconsistent identifiers. A number of banks, as well as core processors, are working to reconcile these systems. Some are working to build additional data warehouses that aggregate disparate customer data to create a unified view of customers.
  4. Regtech (3-5 years) – Regulatory reporting is one area that seems ripe for digital disruption. Today, filing call reports is a quarterly activity that requires significant time. It would not be hard to imagine a software solution that was tied into a bank’s back-end systems and prepopulated all of the key reporting fields. Moreover, it would be possible for regulators to receive a steady feed of data from a bank that would give them an ongoing view into the bank and may reduce the frequency with which exams are necessary.
  5. Artificial Intelligence (5-10 years) – One way this could help bankers is by improving fraud detection. Traditional fraud monitoring systems rely on specific non-personal rules (like geography) to detect fraudulent transactions. Machine learning could be applied to analyze the transactions of each customer, flagging transactions that are out of their normal habits.
  6. Internet of Things (8-10 years) – For example, banks may be able to use internet-connected devices to make better loans and monitor collateral. Inventory or livestock for a small business can be monitored in real time. This would allow a bank to monitor a customer’s balance sheet on an ongoing basis, giving it the tools to make better decisions about lending or adjusting credit lines in real time.

The biggest long-term impact that IoT is likely to have is in payments. Connected devices are already able to talk to each other, but will also require the ability to make payments back and forth. Today, this may be as simple as using your smart watch to settle a bill, but could evolve to the point at which your refrigerator pays for groceries that are running low. A number of auto makers are experimenting with enabling cars to make payments.

Scott Zoldi of FICO (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The Chief Analytics Officer at FICO talks about their use of artificial intelligence in credit models, fraud, alternative data, financial inclusion and more.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why his background in theoretical physics was perfect for studying fraud and credit risk.
  • What the company FICO actually does and how it interacts with the credit bureaus.
  • What his role as Chief Analytics Officer entails.
  • Some examples of the 130+ patents that FICO has been granted.
  • The importance of being able to explain how a credit model works.
  • How their advanced machine learning models can be explained to regulators.
  • How FICO has been using artificial intelligence for decades.
  • What Scott thinks about the sudden embrace of artificial intelligence in the last couple of years.
  • What he worries about with so many new companies coming into the AI fray.
  • How Scott views alternative data and using new data sources.
  • His thoughts on disparate impact and the use of alternative data.
  • How the FICO XD score helps expand access to credit.
  • How FICO’s fraud product called Falcon became the industry standard for banks.
  • Scott’s views on how a 700 FICO score today compares with the same score 10 years ago.
  • What Scott is most excited about today in his work at FICO.

Citizens Financial Starts Robo-Adviser With SigFig Partnership (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group Inc. is the latest bank to start a robo-advisory product as part of its larger push into wealth management.

Citizens, a regional bank based in Providence, Rhode Island, is providing the technology to customers beginning Wednesday through a previously announced partnership with SigFig Wealth Management LLC, which uses algorithms to provide financial advice at lower fees than traditional human advisers.

The minimum initial investment in the Citizens offering will be $5,000, according to the firm. The annual asset-management fee is 50 basis points, or about half the typical cost of a traditionally advised account.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Shows Signs of Maturation (Real Estate Tech News), Rated: A

Last month, crowdfunding giant RealtyShares bought smaller rival Acquire Real Estate. This news was a significant in the multibillion-dollar sector, which is not even five years old. It begged the question as to whether this deal was a product of synergies between two platforms or a case of a larger player protecting its turf by taking a smaller rival off the board?

Whatever the answer, one thing is clear: We are likely looking at the start of a push toward consolidation in real estate crowdfunding. While there are hundreds of platforms now vying for a capital pool that is almost halfway to 12 figures, some clear-cut market leaders have emerged, and a movement toward economies of scale would signal continued maturation. Over the next year or so, it would not be surprising to see companies like FundriseCrowdStreet and Patch of Land join the market for acquisitions, especially as the space continues to establish mainstream legitimacy.

MPL Market Shows Growing Origination Volume, With Tightening Credit Stance (dv01 Digest/LendIt), Rated: A

Looking at origination characteristics for the four largest MPL originators, we see origination volume continue to rise: 21% for 2Q17 over 1Q17, and up 52% over 2Q16. Loan coupons have risen from a 14.20% GWAC for the 2Q16 vintage to a 14.31% GWAC for the 2Q17 vintage, while the two year treasury has rallied approximately 50bps over the course of the year. PTI is relatively unchanged, coming in at 9.05% for 2Q17 versus 8.99% for the 2Q16 vintage.

Average FICO has increased significantly: 703 for the 2Q16 vintage to 711 in 2Q17.

Prosper closed its second $500MM Consortium securitization, PMIT 2017-2, on which dv01 was loan data agent. Data from PMIT 2017-2 is available for accredited investors through dv01’s Securitization Explorer, and is updated monthly.

Download and read the full report (with charts) here.

Debit cards, a trillion in debt, and millennials: What could go wrong? (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp is borrowing inspiration from the fintech world as part of its effort to woo millennial customers and compete with megabanks for consumer deposits.

The Cincinnati bank on Tuesday is scheduled to roll out a stand-alone app designed to help its customers pay student loan debt. The app, called Momentum, lets customers link Fifth Third debit cards to student loan accounts held by more than 30 servicers. Customers can have their debit card purchases rounded up to the next dollar, or have a dollar added to every purchase; the money is applied weekly to the balances on designated loans once a minimum of $5 is contributed.

“I see Momentum as being complementary” to apps such as Acorns and Digit, she said. “This [millennial] generation is sitting on $1.3 trillion of [student loan] debt. We wanted to take a relatively simple concept and offer something to help them in their day-to-day life.”

Op-Ed: Regulatory Sandboxes Can Help States Advance Fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

The U.S. captured 54% of the $127 billionin global venture capital invested in 2016. This access to capital has allowed some American fintech startups to succeed despite the regulatory burdens. Yet, the U.S. underperforms in fintech venture capital compared to our share of overall venture capital. In 2016, the U.S. obtained only 33% of the $13.6 billion in worldwide fintech venture capital investment.

I am working with Arizona policymakers to introduce a sandbox in Arizona that would reduce entrepreneurs’ barriers to entry without sacrificing core consumer safeguards. This would be the first state sandbox in the United States.

Op-Ed: Regulatory Sandboxes Can Help States Advance Fintech (Arizona Attorney General), Rated: B

Attorney General Mark Brnovich is calling for Arizona to become the first state in the country to adopt a “sandbox” like regulatory environment that would reduce fintech entrepreneurs’ barriers to entry into local markets in a new op-ed penned for American Banker magazine. Key to creating sandbox regulatory systems is ensuring core consumer safeguards are not sacrificed. Sandboxes have already been implemented in countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore, UAE, Malaysia, and Australia.

‘Fintech’ Loans: A Sometimes Costly Lifeline for Small Business (KQED News), Rated: A

Che Al-Barri remembers feeling like he was drowning in debt last year. He had taken out a $70,000 loan for his small cleaning company, but was struggling to repay it.

The lender, a financial technology — or fintech — company, automatically collected $331 from his bank account daily, Monday through Friday. The frequent hits depleted his income and took a toll on his business, he said.

For Al-Barri, taking a big loan seemed like a great opportunity at first. Large clients were taking months to pay him, he said, and he wanted to buy equipment and hire employees to expand. But he underestimated how much he would earn, making it very difficult to repay the loan plus the $30,000 in interest he owed.

Stanford study examining Airbnb users and data suggests that reputation can offset social bias (Stanford.edu), Rated: A

new Stanford study analyzing Airbnb users and data suggests measures that enhance a user’s reputation, like stars or reviews, can counteract these harmful prejudices. The results, the researchers said, indicate sites that use reputational tools create a fairer and more diverse online marketplace.

The share economy, also referred to as “collaborative consumption” and “peer-to-peer lending,” has allowed everyday citizens to turn into entrepreneurs, taking advantage of an industry that’s projected to grow to $335 billion by 2025, according to the Brookings Institution.

The researchers in this study focused on a certain type of bias called homophily, a natural tendency to develop trustful relationships with people similar to themselves, and how best to counteract it. The study is part of a broader research project analyzing trust and technology at Stanford.

The 36k-population neighborhood that’s hot for real estate investors (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: A

Data from real estate crowdfunding firm Sharestates says there has been a 650% increase in demand from investors wanting to put their cash into property in Fishtown.

That’s because of an attractive 11.8% return on investment and the ratio of the total loan amount compared with after repair value is 14%.

Cordray Remains Mum About Political Plans in Ohio Speech (Credit Union Times), Rated: B

Speaking at an AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati, Cordray did not address one of the most—if not the most—crucial issue facing the agency—whether Cordray will resign to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in the Buckeye State.

And when questioned afterward, he declined to comment on his intentions.

The CFPB is working on its most high profile set of rules—those governing the payday lending industry. The bureau is believed to be planning to release those final rules this month.

LendingTree Partners With Benzinga to Award $ 10,000 to Winner Of Fintech Innovation Challenge At The Benzinga Fintech Summit (Baystreet), Rated: B

Benzinga, a leading financial media and events company, announced Thursday that it will team up with the nation’s leading online loan marketplace LendingTree to award $10,000 to the winner of an on-site fintech demo competition at the inaugural Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco September 28.

The Fintech Innovation Challenge Presented by LendingTree will award $10,000 to the company whose product best demonstrates scalable, material innovation to the Summit’s audience.

United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Now Second Largest UK P2P Lender (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital, one of the largest peer-to-peer lending platforms in the UK, has announced it has received full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  Additionally, Assetz Capital has claimed second place in the ranking of UK’s largest P2P lenders as it reports lending in excess of £25 million per month on average to SMEs throughout the UK.

To date, Assetz Capital has lent over £316 million to businesses across the UK.

£17m invested into Innovative Finance Isas (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

HMRC has revealed that 2,000 Innovative Finance individual savings accounts (IFIsas) were opened during the last tax year.
The average investment into IFIsas during 2016/17 was £8,500 which meant £17m was invested collectively.

HMRC also reported that the amount invested in cash Isas had fallen from £58.7bn in 2015/16 to £39.2bn in 2016/17, while investment in stocks and shares Isas edged up from £21.1bn to £22.3bn.

Peer-to-peer Isas failed to gain much popularity in their first year, with just 2,000 Innovative Finance Isa (IF Isas) accounts opened in the tax year 2016/2017, according to the latest statistics from HMRC.

The biggest problem is that many peer-to-peer platforms have struggled to gain approval from regulators to become IF Isa providers. There are currently around 60 firms that have received approval from financial regulators, with most of these only starting to operate within the past few months.

Across the 2,000 IF Isa accounts opened, £17 million worth was subscribed. The average subscription per account was £8,500 – about the same as the average stocks and shares Isa account subscription.

Peer-to-peer platform Abundance claims it sold the majority of IF Isas in the last tax year. It says 1,436 Abundance IF Isas were opened, representing 72% of all IF Isa products opened last year.

Overall, the amount held in Isas in 2016/17 fell to £61.5 billion, compared with £80 billion the previous tax year. This decline was largely driven by a steep fall in the amount held in Cash Isas. In 2015/16, a total of £58.7 billion was held in Cash Isas; in the latest tax year this fell by a third to £39 billion.

Lucky Generals bangs out a new tune for Funding Circle (More About Advertising), Rated: A


The theme of the campaign seems to be “for those made to do more.” Here’s another in the campaign, not quite so striking.

If peer-to-peer lenders lack anything, it is not ambition (The Times), Rated: A

Samir Desai, co-founder and chief executive of Funding Circle, Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lender, says that his business, which has arranged $2.7 billion of loans to small companies, could be lending at least $100 billion within a decade.

Peter Behrens, co-founder of Ratesetter, one of Funding Circle’s main rivals, believes that his platform could double its annual loans within the next two years to £4 billion.

China

China’s fintech firms eye overseas IPOs to fund growth as regulations tighten at home (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

The A-share market, due to its profitability requirements, remains off-limits to most Chinese fintech firms, particularly peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms that were once regarded as an important part of the mainland’s reform of the banking system.

The increasing demand for financing has prompted a clutch of fintech firms to kick off their overseas IPO processes, most of which plan to complete fundraising in the next 12 months.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, is seeking to raise as much as US$1.5 billion via a Hong Kong IPO.

After five years in business, Zhong An has developed a customer base of about 500 million people.

Views on China’s coin fundraising ban: someone still have an illusion (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

The Chinese regulators’ ban on ICO has heightened, and the financing of various tokens of the virtual currency has been put to death. In a consequence, the ICO asset value has evaporated nearly $20 billion, and more than 100,000 investors may be affected.

However, some ICO initiators still don’t want to stop. ”I don’t think the central bank’s oversight of ICO is going to be that severe,” a charger of the Digital Currency Asset Exchange said, ”and we would wait and see the specific notice of the local financial office and then decide what to do with it.” But in some communities of the ICO, we can see initiators start to announce the withdrawal of investors’ assets.

European Union

Perseus start-up seeks to shield German SMEs from cyber threats (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

According to fintech incubator FinLeap, which is behind the venture, more than 70% of German companies were affected by cybercrime activities within the last two years, but only one out of ten SMEs holds an insurance policy that covers the resulting damages. Because Perseus offers a platform, it can connect services and offer “best-of-fit” tech solutions.

There is no specific date yet, but it also plans to add an industry-specific cyber insurance proposition to its portfolio of services.

Irish P2P lender GRID Finance rules out UK as part of growth plans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

IRISH peer-to-peer lending platform GRID Finance has ruled out the UK as part of its current expansion plans.

The business lender announced it had received €3m (£2.7m) of finance yesterday that will help to fund expansion into new markets, but chief executive Derek Butler says the UK market is already very competitive.

He said he was focusing on scaling the business in Ireland first and competing with the country’s two main banks, Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland.

Fintech Pushes EU to Explore Changes to Bank Software Rules (The New York Times), Rated: A

EU banking rules treat software as a cost rather than an investment, forcing lenders to cover expenditure on digital applications with an equal amount of capital.

If expenditure on software, which amounts to roughly half of banks’ total digital investment, were treated in the EU as it is in the U.S. it could free up more than 20 billion euros ($24 billion)in capital this year alone, one banking lobbyist said.

Many European banks have been slow to invest in adapting to rapid changes in the way consumers use technology for finance, with so-called fintech firms starting to steal market share in a variety of sectors from payments to lending.

Timing problem with Klarna and possibly other payment providers (Our Umbraco), Rated: A

There are cases when the authorization callback from Klarna doesn’t get processed until after the user arrives at the confirmation page. The reason is that the callback and the redirect are made almost simultaneously by Klarna, so it’s a bit random which wins.

Workaround: If currentOrder is null, sleep for 500 ms and try again (GetCurrentFinalizedOrder). Repeat for 10 seconds.

CrowdExplorer Wins Fintech Award at Digitale Innovations Competition (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

CrowdExplorer, a marketplace for “Crowd-investing”, has won the special prize for “Fintech” at this year’s “Digitale Innovations” competition.

CrowdExplorer is designed to provide investors with a platform to compare access to the international Crowd Investments. CrowdExplorer has launched with the following four categories: Equity, Real Estate, Loans and P2P lending.

Index Ventures is coming in force to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin this December (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Index Ventures started as a European firm in 1996, but 20 years on, it has a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic and has backed startups in 39 cities in 24 countries.

Among well-known Index-backed companies are Dropbox, Slack, Farfetch, Funding Circle, Adyen, Squarespace, Deliveroo, Just Eat, King and Supercell.

Australia

Spotcap launches $ 10,000 Fintech Scholarship program (Finder), Rated: AAA

Online lender Spotcap has this week announced the launch of a Fintech Scholarship program, with $10,000 being awarded to an Australian student attending university in a fintech-related field. The lender launched the program with the aim of supporting local fintech talent and ensuring the longevity of financial innovation in Australia.

Spotcap is also offering one paid internship placement at its offices in Sydney alongside the program.

Tech-tock, the tech clock is ticking (Bluenotes), Rated: AAA

The Bank for International Settlements – known as the ‘central banks’ central bank’ – says the rapid adoption of financial technology or ‘fintech’ and the emergence of new business models pose an increasing challenge to incumbent banks “in almost all the scenarios considered”.

According to the venture capital analysis group CB Insights non-technology companies now invest more in technology than tech companies.

In the firm’s recent report into fintech investments by major US banks, six – Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo — have made strategic investments in 30 fintech companies since 2009.

The key sectors banks are investing in – and this is true across the globe, to differing degrees – are payments, data analytics, personal technology, distributed ledgers and/or digital currencies and peer-to-peer lending.

India

Here’s why smart Investors in India should opt for P2P lending (Money Control), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer loans are the perfect alternative investment instrument for income-seeking investors. It enables you to offer personal loans to borrowers for an array of purposes while eliminating intermediaries such as banks, NBFCs, and unorganised lenders.

Furthermore, a good P2P lending platform can make available all the relevant information on borrowers to lenders, assisting them in assessing the credit profile of a borrower in an efficient manner. It can provide each lender with a customized dashboard with relevant informatics and data to help make an informed decision.

As per our research, lenders on our platform can earn gross returns to the tune of 18 to 24 percent p.a on an average by building a diversified borrower portfolio. These returns are not merely comparable, but often preferable to returns from other investment instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, real estate, bank deposits, and gold. Income-seeking investors who specifically want to diversify their investments get good returns at the end of the day. As a rule of thumb, at least 20 percent of total investments should be in alternative investments like art, commodity, P2P lending etc.

Asia

Peer to Peer Lender Amartha Partners with Largest State Owned Micro-credit Company in Indonesia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender Amartha has formed a partnership with the largest state-owned micro credit guarantee company in Indonesia, Perum Jamkrindo. This follows a similar partnership with Bank Mandiri. Amartha is an online lender designed to connect Micro Businesses and SMEs that seek affordable working capital with investors who want to fund their business based on credit risk and expected return. This is a significant agreement for Amartha. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and support of small business is vital to the economy.

Jamkrindo is a state-owned enterprise that has been given a special mandate by the Government to guarantee credit and financing, as well as financial transactions particularly in the SME and micro segments. Jamkrindo is the largest credit guarantee company in Indonesia with total guarantee value of more than Rp 270 Trillion and 8 Million credit.

Regulatory ‘Sandboxes’ in Asia Can Foster Fintech Innovation (Brink), Rated: AAA

Two years ago the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK launched the first formal global regulatory sandbox.

There are a few technologies in fintech that haven’t launched but are being tested around the world—these include using bitcoin as a remittance channel, using electronic health records for life insurance underwriting and a financial robo-adviser/wallet that has a holistic view of an individual’s finances.

Things are altogether different in Asia’s developing economies. First, in these countries, the infrastructure is developing. Apart from India, the concept of digital identity is only evolving in countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia. Moreover, in these countries, bureaucracy is generally a bottleneck since multiple government agencies work in silos with differing incentives.

Developing Asian countries need to prioritize different issues depending on their economies. For example, remittances are of utmost importance in the Philippines and Bangladesh.

For example, robo-advisers are a great way to enable the burgeoning middle class to put their savings into equities with a view toward investing and long-term retirement preparation; Thailand has none of those at the moment. There are international brokerages such as interactive brokers that enable robo-advisers to operate in other parts of the world and are licensed in Thailand. However, there are no traditional Thai banks/ brokerages that provide these new services to their consumers. Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is a great example of where the regulators have worked with new businesses to create regulations around peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

Source: Brink

Senturia Capital Announces Partnership With Funding Societies to Expand Alternative Financing Access to Malaysian Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Private equity fund manager Senturia Capital has reportedly announced a partnership with peer-to-peer financing platform Funding Societies to expand alternative financing access and capital solutions for Malaysian businesses.

MUFG plans ‘fintech’ unit to focus on cashless settlements, automation (Japan Times), Rated: A

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. will launch a financial technologies unit Oct. 1 in collaboration with 32 regional banks nationwide.

MUFG will put up ¥3 billion in capital to start Japan Digital Design Inc., which is expected to develop new services including those for cashless settlements using smartphones at small shops. It will also promote the automation of operations through artificial intelligence.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor