Thursday November 21 2019, Weekly News Digest

LexinFintech Vintage Curve

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi helps Pro.com make home improvement loans. BlueVine raises $102.5M. OCC, FDIC propose Madden fixes. Zopa gets banking license. Twino CEO stands down, platform hits 1B euro in loans issued. Today’s main analysis: LexinFintech lending business analysis (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Fed rate inversion. 10 cities that cost money […]

The post Thursday November 21 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

LexinFintech Vintage Curve

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Pro.Com Partners with SoFi to Make Home Improvements Even Easier (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Pro.com, the premier digital platform focused exclusively on building custom homes and major remodels from start to finish, announced a new partnership Tuesday with online personal finance company SoFi, aimed at revolutionizing how homeowners finance and complete their remodels, renovations and upgrades.

BlueVine raises $ 102.5M more for banking services that target small businesses (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The startup, which offers financing and other banking services to SMBs, today is announcing that it has raised $102.5 million, a Series F round of equity funding that is coming from a mix of financial and notable strategic investors.

Led by ION Crossover Partners, the round also includes existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, 83North, SVB Capital, Nationwide (a major financial services player in the UK), Citi Ventures, Microsoft’s venture fund M12, and private investors; as well as new investors MUFG Innovation Partners Co., Ltd, O.G. Tech (the VC connected to Israeli billionaire and property magnate Eyal Ofer), Vintage Investment Partners, ION Group, Maor Investments and additional private investors.

FT Partners Advises BlueVine on its $ 102,500,000 Series F Financing (FT Partners), Rated: B

FT Partners served as exclusive financial advisor to BlueVine and its board of directors on its $102.5 million Series F financing

The OCC and FDIC Both Propose a Madden Fix (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

There is finally some real light at the end of the tunnel. In the last two days we have heard from both the OCC and the FDIC on the Madden issue, something they called unfathomable in a joint amicus brief in Colorado a couple of months ago. They have each given notice of their proposal that would clarify the “valid when made” doctrine once and for all.

At the core of the issue is the ambiguity created by the Madden decision. A loan can be valid when it is made but if it is sold or transferred can suddenly become invalid in the Second Circuit states of NY, CT and VT. This has led to reduced consumer lending to these states and also concern that, given no regulatory clarity, this could expand to other states.

Here are links to the OCC and FDIC proposals. There will be a 60-day comment period where interested parties can weigh in.

Big Tech Race to Own Digital Wallet; GS Robo-advisor on Launchpad (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Refinance demand increased by 13% from the previous week and was 188% higher than a year ago, when rates were 114 basis points higher.

First-time inversion driven by the long-end…

Source: PeerIQ, Blackstone, St. Louis Federal Reserve

In regulatory news, lawmakers are taking aim at payday loan rates. Congress members plan to introduce federal legislation that would cap interest rates at 36%.

The next move for Facebook would be to offer lending products most likely indirectly (e.g., via POS partnerships or via co-brand products such as Amazon Chase Visa, etc.).

Insurance startup Vouch tacks on growth funding to serve startups (Pitchbook), Rated: A

Just two months ago, the ink was barely dry on a more than $24 million Series A that Sam Hodges raised for his startup Vouch Insurance. Now he is back with an even larger funding, led by Y Combinator‘s Continuity Fund, as the company seeks to join a crop of startups that cater to the needs of other startups.

Fireblocks Is Now Securing The Biggest Crypto Lending Company In The US (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Fireblocks (www.fireblocks.com), an enterprise platform for securing digital assets in transit, announced today, Celsius Network, the largest provider of interest income and digital asset loans in over 150 jurisdictions worldwide is enlisting Fireblocks to help protect over $400 million assets and 53,000 active wallets, securing both retail and institutional divisions.

5 Ways to Invest in Real Estate Online (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

The primary difference between using a crowdfunding site versus flying solo on your investment journey is that your investment is managed by a team of real estate professionals. Of course, that is also the biggest risk as you are completely dependent on the project developer to deliver what they promised.

If you are not an accredited investor but want to be involved in real estate crowdfunding, companies such as Fundrise, stREITwise, and RealtyMogul are a great place to start.

ArborCrowd Investors Receive Strong Returns on the Sale of Quarry Station Apartments (BusinessWire), Rated: A

ArborCrowd (the “Company”), the first crowdfunding platform launched by a real estate institution, announced today that its Quarry Station Apartments investment (“Quarry Station”) has been realized in under two years, providing investors with returns quicker and higher than initial projections. The property’s $49.35 million sale price generated an internal rate of return (IRR) of 20.31%, surpassing the original return target of 16% to 19%.

How Crowdfunding Has Changed the Game for Real Estate Investing (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Through real estate crowdfunding, the developer can utilize an online platform that enables a large group of people to invest small dollar amounts in the project. If the development company chooses to follow the crowdfunding option, here’s how that could work:

  • First, the developer identifies an online platform that is suited to the company or mixed-use development. Each platform is different and most real estate crowdfunding sites receive significantly more project applications than they select.
  • If the investment passes all the legal, physical, and financial due diligence requirements the platform requires, that platform will then allow the developer to solicit funds using their site.
  • An investor can then use that platform to contribute financially to the development.
  • The funds are then tied up until the investor delivers on the project.

The 10 worst US cities for commutes that cost you time and money (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Online loan marketplace Lending Tree published a report on the most expensive commutes in the 100 largest cities in the US in October.

Consider a resident in New York, which Lending Tree ranked as the city with the fifth most expensive commute. Using Lending Tree’s findings via 2017 Census Bureau data, the median annual earnings for a full-time employee in New York is $51,573; their hourly wage is $26. Now, consider the mean time of commuting one way, 41.8 minutes. If you make $26 per hour at your job, and you spend 83.6 minutes daily on your round-trip commute, then your time wasted commuting is worth $37 of time you would have been working.

Five cities in California – Oakland, San Jose, Irvine, San Francisco, and Fremont – took top 10 spots in the ranking, with four of those cities being in the increasingly expensive San Francisco Bay Area.

Read the full report here.

Fintech: The Fourth Platform – Part One (Forbes), Rated: A

While the first generation of fintech companies created billions of dollars of value, because of new enablers like Plaid, Cross River Bank, Finix and Wisetack, we’re now moving past that phase to one where fintech moves from being a business model unto itself, to being the fourth layer in the stack or the “fourth platform,” wherein financial functions like payments, lending and insurance join connectivity, intelligence and ubiquity as layers of the stack upon which new companies can be built.

Source: Forbes

Balboa Survey: Small Business Owners Anticipate Robust Black Friday (Monitor Daily), Rated: A

Online lender Balboa Capital released the results of its 2019 Black Friday Survey, which was conducted to examine how small business owners are preparing for this historically busy shopping day, and to find out what their Black Friday sales expectations are.

The survey reveals that 70% of small business owners are preparing for Black Friday early, and 83% anticipate meeting or exceeding their Black Friday sales goals. Balboa Capital’s survey was sent to a sample of small business owners in a wide variety of industries during the first week of November 2019.

American Financial Exchange, LLC (AFX) Announces AMERIBOR on the Blockchain (Mondovisione), Rated: A

American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic exchange for direct lending and borrowing for American banks and financial institutions, announced today the launch of its AMERIBOR on the blockchain. AFX now mints two ERC-721 non-fungible tokens for each AMERIBOR transaction on the AFX platform (for each counterparty to the transaction).  The pair of tokens is automatically minted when the transaction is repaid by the borrowing counterparty to the lending counterparty. Each token contains encrypted transaction data and encrypted counterparty data. The counterparty data is normalized prior to encryption to further preserve counterparty anonymity.

5 Best Alternatives to Traditional Savings Accounts (Nerdwallet), Rated: B

The pros. Peer-to-peer lending tends to be a win-win: Investors get a higher rate of return on their money than a lot of banking products offer, and borrowers get an interest rate on their loan that’s usually less than bank-offered loans and credit cards.

The cons. Peer-to-peer lending won’t give you quick access to your cash if you need liquidity.

Alchemy Partners with Plaid to Enhance Loan Decisioning and Fraud Detection Capabilities (PRWeb), Rated: B

Alchemy, one of the SaaS fintech lending infrastructure companies, has partnered with Plaid to support businesses in account and asset verification for improved lending decisioning.

United Kingdom

UK peer-to-peer lender Zopa gets banking license as it looks to compete with industry giants (Stock Daily Dish), Rated: AAA

British peer-to-peer lender Zopa has obtained a U.K. banking license, clearing a key hurdle in its bid to launch a digital bank and compete with industry giants.

Business Loans Marketplace Funding Xchange Raises $ 10.4 Million via Round Led By Downing Ventures, Gresham House Ventures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Funding Xchange (FXE), a company that helps people and organizations find suitable business loans and funding options from its marketplace of more than 45 established lenders, has raised £8 million (appr. $10.4 million) through an investment round.

London-based mobile credit card company Tymit secures £4m in funding (AltFi), Rated: A

Tymit, the London-based mobile-enabled credit card company, has secured £4m in a funding round, which it will use to develop its customer service offering.

Arbuthnot Commercial ABL supports EA-RS Fire Engineering’s acquisition of Circum with £2m facility (Business-Money), Rated: A

Arbuthnot Commercial ABL, the specialist asset based lending arm of Arbuthnot Latham, has completed a £2m asset based lending (ABL) transaction in support of the strategic acquisition of Circum Ltd, a fire protection services specialist, by EA-RS Fire Engineering Ltd. (“EA-RS”). The facility comprises a flexible confidential invoice discounting line and a term loan.

Crowd2Fund’s first EIS-approved funding round goes live (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

CROWD2FUND has launched its first funding round since being granted Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) approval from HMRC.

The platform has already raised 19 per cent of its target from current shareholders and has now opened the £1.2m fundraise to private investors.

Buzzy finance startup Starling Bank has lost another senior employee amid an exodus of executives (Business Insider), Rated: A

Starling’s head of banking compliance Rachel Coote has quit to join startup Paybase. Coote is the sixth senior employee to leave the buzzy finance company in 2019.The company’s chief financial officer Tony Ellingham has confirmed he will also depart within the next year.

Trading giant Robinhood makes its UK debut in Revolut challenge (City A.M.), Rated: A

US fintech Robinhood, a commission-free trading startup valued at $7.6bn (£5.9bn), has today arrived in the UK.

Users will be able to invest in more than 3,500 US-denominated stocks, including Apple, Amazon and Tesla. They will also be able to access foreign stocks that are available to trade in dollars through depository receipts, such as Barclays and Burberry.

OakNorth Bank completes GBP3.54m loan to fund aparthotel development in London (Property Funds World), Rated: B

The finance will be used to fund the acquisition of a mixed-use property at 68‐86 Clapham Road in Oval, and in its place, develop an aparthotel with between 120-175 units, subject to receiving planning permission. The site is located within walking distance of several Zone 1 underground stations – Oval, Stockwell and Vauxhall – as well as the South Western railway line, providing services to Clapham, Waterloo, Guildford, etc.

Crypto Lending Platform Nexo Joins FIO, As Usability Remains Top Priority (Chipin), Rated: B

Nexo, the dominant player in the crypto lending space, is joining the Foundation for Wallet Interoperability (FIO), the industry consortia bringing together leading companies in the blockchain ecosystem to solve the biggest problem faced by the industry — usability.

China

LexinFintech: A Rare Quality (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech (LX) reported a solid set of Q3 results with loan origination growing 170% y/y that resulted in a beat on both revenue and EPS. More importantly, loan origination guidance was increased to RMB115-125b vs. the prior forecast of RMB115b.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Overall, asset quality remains stable at the end of Q3 with delinquency rate declining 9bps to 1.4% and the 6-month charge-off rate maintained at just above 2%.

Source: LexinFintech

Institutional funding has reached 75% of the total loan balance. In terms of origination, institutional accounts for 94% of the total loans originated, meaning that LX’s own P2P platform Juzi Licai is becoming less relevant going forward.

Source: LexinFintech
European Union

Twino CEO stands down, as Latvian lender swings into black (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Twino founder Armands Broks is to standing down as CEO and will now focus on new business opportunities and bringing talent on board.

The management change comes as Twino, which offers European investors investment opportunities in unsecured European consumer loans, reports pre-tax profits of €13m  (£11m) for 2018, compared to a €7.2m (£6.2m) loss the year previous.

Twino has also disclosed that it has also issued loans to the value of €1bn (£860m), since it was set up 10 years ago, half of the value of which have been issued in the past three years.

The Best Crowdlending Platforms (The African Exponent), Rated: A

Smart Lenders AM Launches New Investment Fund Specialized in Marketplace Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Smart Lenders AM announces the upcoming launch of a new fund dedicated to financing loans to European SMEs issued through marketplace lending platforms (crowdlending).

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform EstateGuru Partners with Ober-Haus on Market Research (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding platform EstateGuru and OberHaus, real estate agency operating across the Baltic region, have joined together to produce shared real estate market research and analysis with a specialized focus on the needs of the crowdfunding platform.

International

Profits and Losses of P2P Lending Marketplaces 2017 and 2018 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Source: P2P-Banking
Australia

What does a competitive mortgage rate look like in November 2019? (finder), Rated: A

The lowest fixed rate in Finder’s database right now is 2.68%, a single basis point lower than the lowest variable. This is unusual (the lowest three year fixed rate this time last year was 3.74%).

Another online lender I spoke to was fine with apartments in the same suburb but didn’t offer pre-approval. This meant I would have to start a full application with them even before I had found a place to buy. For some borrowers, this can be a significant turn-off.

Asia

Ant Financial eyeing S’pore digital bank licence (The Straits Times), Rated: AAA

Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Financial Services Group said it may apply for a virtual banking licence in Singapore, a move that would add a heavyweight contender to the race.

OneConnect leads Southeast Asia’s sustainable financing with two smart lending platforms (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

OneConnect Financial Technology Co. Ltd. (OneConnect), today announced it is leading Southeast Asia’s sustainable financing with the launch of two smart lending platforms – SeekCap, the Philippines’ first lending platform that helps the underserved micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) manage cashflow and grow their business, as well as a multi-finance platform that will empower millions of unbanked and underbanked Indonesians with easy access to loans to finance their purchase of vehicles essential for their daily transportation so as to improve mobility and their lives.

MSMEs form the backbone of any economy. In the Philippines, more than 99% of all businesses are MSMEs and they contribute to almost 63% of total employment. Yet, at present, only 9% of loans and financing from the country’s major banks go to MSMEs.

Latin America

Brazilian Digital Bank Neon Raises $ 95 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Brazilian Digital bank Neon has reportedly raised $95.27 million in a funding round led by Banco Votorantim and the General Atlantic fund. This is according to a write up in Estado.

Neon claims a customer base of 2 million users. The additional funding will help the digital bank grow with expectations to triple that number by 2020.

How Brazil is leading Latin America’s fintech revolution (Business Insider), Rated: A

There were 380 fintechs operating in the country in May 2019, per Finnovista, and around two-thirds (64%) of Brazilian consumers are defined as fintech adopters by EY — a rate that’s level with the global average and higher than the majority of G7 countries’.

  • Smartphone and internet penetration: Three-quarters of Brazilians used smartphones in 2017, which is expected to tick up to 86% by 2025 — and both figures are the highest across the region.
  • High fees charged by incumbentsBrazil’s four largest banks control almost 80% of the country’s deposits, with similar concentrations in credit and assets.
  • A large underserved population: Around 45 million people in the country don’t have access to or have not used a bank account in the past six months.

Why Mexico’s Fintech Sector Will Be One to Watch in 2020 (Next Billion), Rated: A

The economy in Mexico remains largely informal and cash dependent. An estimated 44% of the adult population in Mexico owns no financial products. This largely unbanked population, coupled with the new fintech legislation, has created immense opportunities for Mexico’s fintech sector to grow. In fact, roughly 100 new Mexican fintechs were established in 2018 alone, representing 52% growth for the industry. Mexico has become a regional leader with more than 273 fintech ventures operating in the country. When combined with Brazil’s 380 fintech ventures, the two countries make up 56% of the region’s total fintech activity.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday November 21 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday May 30 2018, Daily News Digest

refinancing

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky sets shares at $23 each, sold 38M. Elevate Credit doubles floor space. Tandem hits 100K clients. Lidya raises $6.9M in Africa. Today’s main analysis: PeerIQ recounts TransUnion Summit 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: An orthodontist racks up over $1M in student loans. CompareCards releases credit card fee report. The worst is over for Chinese microlenders. […]

refinancing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech GreenSky raises more than US$ 800mln in its IPO (Proactive Investors) Rated: AAA

The online lender priced its shares at US$23 each, raising a total of US$874mln in its first day of trading. The company sold 38 million shares, surpassing its expectation of 34 million shares.

Elevate Credit doubles space with ‘super floor’ in Addison office building (Dallas Business Journal) Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit Inc. will expand at Spectrum Center in Addison, doubling both the size of its footprint and the capacity for employees who can work in the office.

The fast-growing company is growing from 26,000 to 52,000 square feet in the 614,000-square-foot office complex.

VantageScore win, TransUnion Summit 2018 (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The House passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act which reforms the Dodd-Frank Act and provides significant oversight relief to small banks. Below are some of the main provisions of this bill:

  1. One of the most notable shifts lost in the headlines is that the legislation requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to evaluate and consider alternative credit scores to FICO. The change introduces competition to the credit scoring market and is a big win for VantageScore.
  2. Regulatory Capital relief:
  3. The threshold for a Systematically Important Financial Institution has been raised to $250 Bn in assets from $50 Bn, which will exempt a number of regional banks. These banks will no longer be subject to onerous CCAR tests and reduce their compliance burdens. Banks with less than $10 Bn in assets are also exempt from the Volcker Rule – a win for Jeb Hensarling’s (R-TX) campaign to provide relief for community banks.
  4. Banks with less than $3 Bn in assets will have a lower frequency of regulatory exams, banks with less than $5 Bn in assets will have fewer reporting and compliance requirements, and all banks with less than $10 Bn in assets will have the same capital ratio.
  5. Lenders can now charge subprime borrowers higher rates for auto loans.

TransUnion Financial Services Summit 2018

Delinquencies in auto loans have picked up recently to 4.3%, with subprime auto doing worse. (The drop in auto performance can be attributed to longer auto loan terms, higher LTVs, lower used car re-sale prices, and the “Lyft effect”).

Source: TransUnion

If a loan is prepaid before the 12-months mark the originator loses money as the net interest margin is not enough to compensate for the origination and servicing expenses. Only 23% of prepaid loans are refinanced, and most consumers go for a longer tenor loan with a higher balance.

Source: TransUnion

Mike Meru Has $ 1 Million in Student Loans. How Did That Happen? (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Due to escalating tuition and easy credit, the U.S. has 101 people who owe at least $1 million in federal student loans, according to the Education Department. Five years ago, 14 people owed that much.

Silver Hill Funding’s Leslie Smith is Targeting the Underserved in the SBL Space (Commercial Observer) Rated: A

In March, Smith oversaw the formal launch of Commercial Direct, an online small-balance loan customization platform that’s a division of multibillion dollar real estate investment firm Silver Hill Funding, a subsidiary of Bayview Loan Servicing.

Commercial Direct’s lending strategy targets small business owners, entrepreneurs and investors who are relatively new to the commercial real estate arena or are looking to expand or diversify their portfolios. The platform finances commercial and residential condominiums, among many other asset classes, and closes loans in 30 days or fewer, according to Commercial Direct’s website.

With the backing of Silver Hill—which has funded more than 20,000 transactions since its founding—and Bayview Loan Servicing, the platform is off to a strong start.

Fintech adds another S.F. office (San Fransciso Business Journal) Rated: A

After snapping up a new headquarters last year, fintech company Affirm leased up 46,000 square feet in 550 Kearny St. in San Francisco with landlord Brickman.

The new space is around the corner from the company’s headquarters in 650 California St., where it leased 86,225 square feet.

Does Your Business Need More Space? A Lender Weighs In On Why And How To Expand (Forbes) Rated: A

In this post, I speak with Victoria Treyger of 

For Your Money, Which is Better: The Algorithm or the Adviser? (Kiplinger) Rated: A

The reality is, the rapid growth and early-stage adoption of financial technology (FinTech) indicates an industry disruption is underway. Algorithm-based, digital advisory technology has brought us the increasingly popular “robo-advisers,” which replace human advisers with software programmed to understand and advise on clients’ needs. Robo-adviser firms have witnessed triple-digit growth since 2013. Research firm Cerulli Associates reported they had about $60 billion in assets under management (AUM) at the end of 2016, and could amass an estimated $385 billion by 2021.

Are we in the Golden Age of Fintech? (Fintech TV), Rated: A

Dubbed the ‘Mayor of Fintech’, Ron Suber discusses the current fintech landscape, and what technology has him excited about the future.

Watch this video interview with Ron Suber.

Can your side gig fund retirement? (CU Insight) Rated: A

Almost 40% of respondents in a recent Betterment survey said they feel unprepared to save enough to maintain their lifestyle during retirement. As a result, they have become members of the growing gig economy by either supplementing their full-time job or relying solely on their independent work/temporary contracts.

According to “The Gig Economy and Future of Retirement” survey, 76% of those 55 and older were using earnings from a second job to save for retirement, as were 65% of people 35 to 54. In addition, 42% of gig workers under 35 say they’re moonlighting to help save for retirement.

Online lender Earnest gathered data from tens of thousands of loan applicants to learn just how much people are actually earning from their gig. They found 85% of people take home an average of $500 per month from their side hustles.

CompareCards Releases 2018 Credit Card Fee Report (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

CompareCards by LendingTree today released the findings of its studyon credit card fees that compared the fees of a representative sample of 200 credit cards that are in Americans’ wallets.

Source: Lending Tree

Highlights from CompareCards 2018 Credit Card Fee Report:

  • Two cards — both no-frills credit cards from credit unions — had only a single fee. One card in the survey had as many as nine fees.
  • Credit union-issued credit cards have 2.73 fees per card, lower than 4.48 fees for cards issued by banks.
  • The most common fee levied by issuers is the late payment fee: 99.5 percent of cards impose this fee, averaging $36.02.
  • The average balance transfer fee, among cards that allow them, is 3.46 percent.
  • The average cash advance fee is 3.99 percent.
  • Foreign transaction fees, overall, average 1.48 percent, including cards that have no fee. But if cards assess the fee, most of the time the fee is 3 percent of the purchase price.
  • When compared with smaller credit card issuers, larger credit card issuers assess higher cash advance fees (4.11 percent, versus 3.86 percent) and balance transfers fees (3.49 percent versus 3.42 percent), on average.
  • However, average foreign transaction fees are lower at larger credit card issuers (1.22 percent, versus 1.76 percent at smaller issuers).

RBC Wealth Management – U.S. launches new digital alternative investments platform (PR Newswire) Rated: B

RBC Wealth Management-U.S., one of the nation’s largest full-service wealth management firms, is taking some of the mystery and difficulty out of alternative investing with a new digital alternative investment platform for high-net worth clients.

Developed in partnership with Artivest, an award-winning alternative investment management and technology solutions provider, RBC Wealth Management’s cloud-based investment platform gives financial advisors and their clients access to leading private equity and hedge funds across sectors, stages and styles.

Five Firms Hit by ‘Crypto-Sweep’ in Alabama as Regulators Step up Operation (Bitcoin News) Rated: B

Cease and desist letters have been sent to three Los Angeles based companies. The second firm form California, Leverage, has advertised itself as a crypto lending platform offering to investors a variable, daily interest. This case is again about an unlicensed security, the ASC said.

5 Ways to Get ‘Free’ Money From Your Employer Without a Raise (Student Loan Hero) Rated: B

2. Use your company’s 401(k) matching program

Saving for the long term can be a challenge: 69% of millennials surveyed are not saving for retirement, according to online lender Earnest. Although it can be hard to think about setting aside money when you have to manage student loan payments, it can help with future financial goals — especially if your employer offers a match on retirement plans.

United Kingdom

Tandem reaches 100,000 clients, signs for Form3 paytech (Banking Tech), Rated: AAA

SMEs: a neglected opportunity for UK big banks (SME Magazine) Rated: AAA

Big banks are neglecting the SME market opportunity due to a variety of factors. One of the main problems is the onboarding process, where in many cases the ownership structure can be unclear, leading to difficulties around initiating relationships with SME businesses.

Second, the nature of the SME growth model makes it difficult for banks to determine the value of the business opportunity. This poses problems when it comes to granting credit facilities to SMEs, as they are seen as higher risk for conducting business with.

Third, banks follow bigger sources of revenue and SME profitability is lower than larger organisations.

Finally, existing legacy software systems prevent large banks from servicing SME customer demands which go beyond traditional offerings. For example, the desire to integrate P2P lending, blockchain, mobile wallets, and accounting and legal functionality all as one end-to-end service.

Why scaleups still shy away from debt and equity growth funding (Real Business) Rated: A

Some £2.9 billion was claimed in R&D tax credits during 2015-16, according to HMRC, with the average amount of relief claimed via the SME scheme increasing from £56,223 to £61,514.

Despite a dip in deal numbers in 2016, the crowdfunding boom returned. Beauhurst data claimed £8.27 billion was invested in 2017 – more than double the previous year.

Department store numbers fall by quarter (Drapers) Rated: B

A report by peer-to-peer lending platform Lendy found that the number of large department stores fell from 240 in 2009 to 180 in 2016. The total number of shops fell from 407,000 to 403,000 during the same period.

Lendy said department stores had been more negatively affected than the rest of the high street by online shopping, as the heavy debt burdens carried by their owners had hampered their own investment in ecommerce and store refurbishment.

China

Worst Is Past for Microlenders — Analysts (Caixin Global) Rated: AAA

Effects of a late-year regulatory crackdown on Chinese online lenders has most likely run its course by now, analysts said, even as shares of U.S.-listed companies continue to feel some lingering fallout.

Shares of online lenders Qudian Inc. and LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. have tumbled by 24% and 17% respectively since the firms released their first-quarter results a week ago, wiping out over $1.4 billion in combined market value. Yirendai Ltd., the first Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lender to list in the U.S., saw its shares fall by 4% a day after releasing its earnings results after trading on Thursday.

To curb excess in the 1 trillion yuan ($156 billion) unsecured short-term loan industry, regulators issued rules in early December that capped annual interest rates on loans at 36%, barred lenders from offering loans to borrowers with no source of income, and tightened scrutiny over funding sources.

Australia

Credible Lab CEO Stephen Dash likens ASX to ‘junior Nasdaq’ (Australian Financial Review) Rated: A

Credible Labs Inc founder and chief executive Stephen Dash said he had chosen an ASX listing for the company, which allows users to sort through US student loans, because a large number of the company’s early investors were based in Australia and Asia.

India

How the Fintech Industry is Drawing Young Talent in the Country (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

The fintech industry is creating new and exciting opportunities for the country’s workforce in such areas as payments, retail baking, peer-to-peer debt financing, personal finance, asset management, institutional investments, remittances, and financial research. However, the primary enabler for all these segments is data. The volume of data that is being generated and leveraged by the digital banking and financial services industry is massive and unprecedented. As a result, the demand for technically trained data scientists is growing rapidly among fintech companies. With an increasing number of people in the country consuming fintech products, data scientists are required to manage large, complex sets of data and organise them to facilitate faster and enhanced delivery of various services to consumers.

Acko Gets $ 12 mn funding from Amazon, others (Elets Online) Rate: A

Online insurance startup Acko General Insurance Co. has raised $12 million (around Rs 80 crore) in a new round of funding led by e-commerce giant Amazon, an official statement revealed.

The latest funding infusion that saw participation from Ashish Dhawan, angel investor and founder of private equity fund ChrysCapital and existing investor Catamaran Ventures, the family office of Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, takes Acko’s total external funding to nearly $42 million.

In recent times the online lender that has joined hands with cab aggregator Ola to offer in-ride insurance to riders is said to be exploring venturing into travel insurance and healthcare space.

Asia

Singapore Has Fintech Dreams, But It’s Short on Tech Talent (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Singapore’s goal of becoming a high-tech financial hub is running into real-world problems of labor supply and demand.

Technology startups in many countries are fighting to attract skilled workers like software engineers. Yet in the tiny city-state of Singapore, with a population of 5.6 million, the dearth of talent is particularly acute. The nation’s universities and polytechnic schools churn out what the government estimates are 400 graduates a year with the right qualifications, well short of plans to add 1,000 financial tech jobs annually, according to the Singapore Fintech Association.

Africa

Lidya Scores $ 6.9 Million in Series A Investment (Finovate), Rated: AAA

Nigeria-based digital bank Lidya landed a fresh round of funding this week. The bank pulled in a Series A round totaling $6.9 million, an amount that marks the round as one of Nigeria’s largest tech investments. Combined with the $1.25 million Lidya received last March, today’s round brings the bank’s total funding to $8.2 million.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor