Thursday November 30 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club rolls out its next-generation small business credit policy. Elevate’s RISE surpasses $300M in outstanding loans. Upgrade, Corridor collaborate on big data, credit analytics. Assetz Capital completes Seedrs funding round with 1.6M GBP. Alibaba seeks majority stake in SenseTime. Revolut banks on cryptocurrency. Comunitae suspends activities due to fraud. Today’s main analysis: The hidden relationship between […]

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

MENA

News Summary

United States

Next Generation Small Business Credit Policy (Lending Club), Rated: AAA

We are excited to announce the next generation small business credit policy on our platform which allows us to power the vision of even more small business owners.

Minimum qualifications have been reduced from 24 months in business to 12 months in business and from $75,000 to $50,000 in annual sales.

Since 2014 we’ve facilitated over $500 million in loans to thousands of small businesses across the nation.

Elevate’s RISE Product Surpasses $ 300 Million in Outstanding Loans (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced its RISE product has surpassed $300 million in total outstandings, with more than 130,000 open accounts.

Will Lending Club Turn a Corner? (GuruFocus), Rated: AAA

Lending Club arguably pioneered peer-to-peer lending, which has been one of the most vibrant segments of the credit market. Some analysts, however, have questioned the company’s ability to continue growing without adopting some traditional banking practices, like taking deposits.

Lending Club has failed to manage costs well over the past two years, leading to its inability to net profits. As illustrated in the chart below, the company’s trailing 12-month revenue now stands at about $551 million, but it has managed to reduce the net loss from about $175 million in the first quarter to about $94 million in the third quarter.

Source: GuruFocus

Lending Club’s first-half 2017 loan originations figure, however, declined from the prior-year period, dropping to approximately $4.1 billion versus $4.7 billion last year.

Would You Take Out a Loan for a Pair of Jeans? (Racked), Rated: AAA

Jocelyn Vera Zorn is not eager to talk about the loan she took out to buy the pants. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” she grimaces.

For merchants, Affirm provides exceptional benefits, increasing average order values across the board; perhaps not surprisingly, people will shop more, and more often, when they don’t immediately feel the costs. And for many customers, including Jocelyn, the predictable, convenient payments are worth the higher interest rates.

Affirm claims to be a more transparent and honest, if not cheaper, line of credit for the underserved. Using internal, proprietary data science and artificial intelligence, the company says it approves 126 percent more borrowers than traditional lenders, based on soft credit pullsand an opaque mosaic of consumer information.

Source: Racked

While more than two-thirds of Americans own at least one credit card, 20 percent are considered subprime, with a FICO score of 600 or below. Another 10 percent are on the bubble.

Source: Racked

Upgrade and Corridor Collaborate on Big Data and Credit Analytics (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, today announced a strategic partnership with Corridor Funds (), a new credit analytics and portfolio management platform founded by Manish Gupta. Mr. Gupta was recently EVP, Global Head of Information Management and Advanced Decisioning at American Express and prior to that spent many years as Chief Credit Officer of the Amex US consumer lending business. Under the terms of the partnership, Corridor will provide independent analytical review and validation to investors in Upgrade’s personal loan products, and will collaborate with Upgrade on new product design.

TechCrunch Founder Arrington Raising 0 Million XRP Fund (Coindesk), Rated: A

Announced today at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Invest in New York, TechCrunch founder Michael Arringtonrevealed he’s raising $100 million for a hedge fund that will buy and hold crypto assets while making investments in token sales and (some) equities and debt.

Launched under a new entity called Arrington XRP Capital, the fund claims to be the first that will require all limited partners (LPs) to make investments in XRP, the cryptocurrency that powers San Francisco startup Ripple’s RippleNet software.

Why Social Impact Matters in Tech: How LendUp Saved our Customers More Than $ 150 Million Dollars (Huffington Post), Rated: A

Five years later, LendUp customers are improving their credit scores, and now I’m proud to say that LendUp Loan customers have saved $150 million versus what they would have spent with traditional small dollar lenders, all while improving their credit score to open up more financial options in the future.

Two-thirds of LendUp Loan customers report having income swings of $100 or more a month. And since our newest customers lack short-term savings — 83% aren’t confident they can cover a $400 emergency — 77% report that they often miss bill payments.

Fintech Can Help Fast-Track Puerto Rico’s Recovery (Forbes), Rated: A

Agile, customer-experience-focused financial technology businesses continue to drive innovation, modernization and access to credit in America’s financial services marketplace when banks and other traditional providers can’t meet consumers’ needs. For example, fintech lenders help consumers and small businesses alike find financial products and services that meet their credit needs, whether it’s a short-term loan for an emergency expense or capital to help grow a small business — even when these applicants have been denied by their banks.

OnDeck monthly series highlights successful small businesses (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Online small business lender OnDeck today launched a new monthly series spotlighting the achievements of its small business customers and how they are thriving as a result of receiving capital from OnDeck.

For December, the customer success spotlight is on Dana Donofree, the owner of AnaOno, a lingerie and loungewear company for women with a unique mission.

“Applying for a loan can be incredibly stressful but fortunately, OnDeck had quick questions and quick responses.  Right away, I could see how much financing I was approved for and what that meant regarding payback. I had the opportunity to review everything before I took the loan.”

New Survey Finds Relationship Tension and Anxiety are Hidden Costs of Debt (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The old saying goes, ‘money can’t buy happiness.’ It should also say ‘and debt can make you anxious, keep you up at night and cause problems in relationships.’ That’s according to a new telephone survey of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The survey found nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) are living with debt driven by factors such as everyday expenses, a lack of income, mortgage costs and student loans, reflecting the far-reaching potential impact of debt upon society.

Recent data shows outstanding household debt reached a record high of $12.84 trillion, making this survey timely. With U.S. consumer spending growing at its fastest pace since 2009, it appears the frugal habits many Americans adopted directly after the Great Recession are a thing of the past.

More than half of Americans with debt (56 percent) say it has negatively impacted their life.

Of those, one-in-five (21 percent) say debt is causing relationship tension with a spouse or partner and one-in-ten (11 percent) have misled family or friends about their financial situation. Debt is not just impacting life at home, it has found ways to creep into all aspects of the day. Nearly a third (31 percent) admit to worrying about their debt in general while nearly one-in-five (18 percent) say they worry while at work and one-in-four (25 percent) worry at bedtime.

Living with debt has become a financial and mental burden for nearly three-in-ten Americans with debt (28 percent) who stress about everyday financial decisions because of their debt. Nearly one-fifth of Americans with debt (19 percent) have received letters and calls from collection agencies. While the low interest rate environment has the potential to keep payments lower, one-in-four (25 percent) say that they’re worried a rate hike could change that.

Nearly seven-in-ten Millennials with debt (68 percent) admit it has had a negative impact on their everyday life compared with roughly half of Baby Boomers (48 percent) and three-fifths of GenXers (59 percent) with debt. Most concerning, the survey found that of those with debt, Millennials are twice as likely to worry about debt compared to Baby Boomers (M: 43 percent, BB: 19 percent) and more than a third (37 percent) admit that their debt causes them to stress about everyday financial decisions.

Source: BusinessWire

World’s largest bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer, enters the US (CNBC), Rated: A

The world’s largest bitcoin exchange by trading volume is launching in the U.S.

BitFlyer, based in Tokyo, announced Tuesday it became the fourth digital currency exchange to receive a “BitLicense” to operate in New York. The exchange said it also has licenses to operate in 40 other states.

Former U.S. Comptroller Thomas Curry, Now At Boston Firm, Is Still Fintech Advocate (The National Law Journal), Rated: A

Curry, who was integral in leading the federal banking regulator’s efforts in advancing financial technology, including through the proposal of a special purpose national bank charter for fintechs, joined Nutter McClennen & Fish this week. He is a partner and will co-lead Nutter’s Banking and Financial Services practice group.

How involved with fintech do you plan to be?

That will be a key area and something I’m excited about working with the other members of the firm on. Fintech is interesting, especially if you’re talking about online lending and marketplace lending.

Do you expect the fintech charter will, in fact, move forward?

From my standpoint, I would not have pursued the charter without being very comfortable with the legal foundation for it.

How will you advise clients in the meantime until any special purpose charter is finalized?

Today institutions, banks as well, need to be making strategic decisions about which direction they’re going in. Well before you decide whether to apply to a fintech charter, you should be thinking through the process, so I think the time is now.

Here’s How Andreessen Horowitz & Union Square Ventures Are Betting On Blockchain (CB Insights), Rated: A

This year’s blockchain craze has pushed a huge amount of new money into cryptocurrencies, private blockchain projects, and companies holding initial coin offerings (ICOs). As of now, the total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies stands at more than $340B — a huge leap from where it started the year at $18B.

Source: CB Insights

Blockchain startup AlphaPoint names Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde CEO (Finextra), Rated: B

As it gears up for the launch of a public blockchain network promising to democratise asset digitisation, AlphaPoint has poached Nasdaq EVP Salil Donde and installed him as CEO.

Should I Refinance My Student Loans? (Credible), Rated: B

But you shouldn’t make the decision to refinance your loans lightly. Refinancing can help some borrowers save money, but what refinancing can do for you depends on a number of factors, including the repayment term and repayment options that you choose for your new loan.

Source: Credible
United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Completes Latest Seedrs Round With More Than £1.6 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital completed its latest equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs. The online lender launched the funding round last month and raised a total of £1,665,892.

Thistle and lender rescue developer (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

LendInvest has teamed up with specialist packager Thistle Finance to provide a developer with a £1.3m development exit finance loan.

The developer was set to move from his standard development finance rate on to a more punitive default rate on 1st December, which could have added 0.75% to his monthly interest payments.

However, the development exit finance loan provided by LendInvest – at around 70% LTV – will save the borrower 0.5% on the standard rate he had been paying.

Finance a vital resource as billing delays hit building industry (Asset Finance International), Rated: A

Businesses in the UK construction sector have been hit by a leap in payment delays, with invoices taking an average of 69 days to be settled.

Analysis of more than 13,000 companies by Funding Options, the online business finance supermarket, shows that delays have risen 8% in the past two years.

Yours Clothing in payments tie-up with Klarna (Retail-Systems), Rated: A

Yours Clothing, a UK independent retailer of plus size ladies clothing, has announced a partnership with Klarna which will allow its customers to use the Pay later and Slice it payment options.

Klarna’s Pay later allows customers to try goods first. When checking out online or on mobile, Yours Clothing customers who use Klarna’s Pay later will receive their products and then have 14 days to pay Klarna back interest-free.

Klarna’s second payment option – Slice it – gives shoppers the ability to spread the cost of any purchases over £60 into equal monthly instalments.

Proplend Joins the NACFB (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

On Wednesday, Proplend, a UK based peer to peer lender in the property space, announced it has joined the NACFB.

3 smart New Year’s resolutions for business owners (Funding Circle), Rated: B

  • Manage your stress level
  • Make smart money decisions – 
    • Improve your personal credit. Yes, this has everything to do with money. You see, the higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll be able to score lower interest rates on the money you borrow. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, so it’s definitely a resolution worth making.
    • Compare financing offers. Some options just aren’t good for your business. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know the APR you’ll be paying, and compare multiple loans to pick the best deal.
  • Continue to learn
China

China fintech lending boom fuels risks of data theft (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The rise of online consumer loans in China has spawned a thriving black market in stolen user data.

Virtually non-existent in the country five years ago, consumer lending through websites and mobile apps has expanded rapidly over the past 18 months amid a proliferation of fintech start-ups that use big data to assess credit risk.

In a chatroom devoted to consumer lending on Tencent’s QQ social-media platform, the Financial Times contacted a person claiming to be an employee of an online lender who was offering user data for sale.

For Rmb4 ($0.61) per user, he offered to provide the full name, national ID number, phone number and loan limit. He added that for some borrowers, the data would also include a credit score from Sesame Credit, the unit of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial that sells credit scores to banks and consumer lenders with users’ consent.

Alibaba Seeking Biggest Stake in AI Startup SenseTime (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is in discussions to invest about 1.5 billion yuan ($227 million) and become the largest backer of Chinese facial recognition startup SenseTime, according to a person familiar with the matter.

SenseTime, which says it’s valued at more than $2 billion, is backed by Qualcomm Inc. and considered one of the more advanced players in machine vision technology.

Uncertainties of overseas markets may transmit P2P risks back to China (Global Times), Rated: A

A number of Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies went public in the US this year. Those P2P firms have been growing quickly, with some venturing into high-risk segments such as campus loans and cash advances. As they go public overseas, it creates potential risks that may eventually affect China’s financial stability. Supervision is needed to bring the P2P lending sector in order.

That these companies listed in the US reflects several factors. One main reason is the companies are expanding. Most are underperforming, and some are in the red. US stock exchanges do not have strict requirements for indicators such as net profit and cash flow. Also, the US market attracts investors from all over the world, easily raising more funds.

China’s Lending Crackdown Is Notable for Three Reasons (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Policy makers from the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission convened in Beijing on Nov. 23 to discuss new measures to crackdown on online consumer loan platforms, including those for payday loans and peer-to-peer lending. On the same day, Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial said it will enforce a cap of 24 percent on interest rates charged by lenders on its website, or 12 percentage points lower than current rates.

Although the measures haven’t been made public, our industry checks suggest three notable changes. First, the issuance of new licenses to online micro-loan platforms is being suspended, suggesting that regulators are scrutinizing online lending practices. Second, banks and bank-holding companies are being told not to buy loans underwritten by online platforms because such assets are deemed too risky. Third, turning the loans into securities will be forbidden because regulators believe securitization amplifies risks and gives investors less of an incentive to perform due diligence on the underlying assets.

So-called P2P online lending platforms have mushroomed from fewer than 10 to more than 2,000 in just over seven years, but only a few hundred operate with government-issued permits.

European Union

Digital Bank Revolut Prepares to Launch Cryptocurrency Features (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Digital only challenger bank Revolut is preparing to enter the cryptocurrency world with new features on their bank app to allow users to exchange and use Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

While no official announcement has been made yet, Edward Cooper, Head of Mobile at Revolut, recently tweeted out Revolut’s intent to offer digital currency solutions.

Spanish Peer to Peer Lender Comunitae Suspends Activity Due to Fraud (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to a report in El Español, peer to peer lender Comunitae has ceased all operations indefinitely due to fraud detected on the platform this past October. The Comunitae web site is still live but certain portions are not functional.

Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017 to Klarna and Daloc (Sweden Abroad), Rated: B

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the Netherlands, The Embassy of Sweden and Business Sweden are very proud to announce the winner of the Swedish Chamber Export Prize 2017; Klarna.The prize aims to strengthen the Swedish-Dutch business relations and has been awarded since 2012 to Swedish related companies in the Netherlands.

International

Alibaba-Backed Paytm Aims to Become World’s Largest Digital Bank (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Paytm Payments Bank aims to create the world’s largest digital bank with 500 million accounts, envisioning an online financial services provider of everything from wealth management to credit cards and stock market trading.

The bank, backed by the country’s largest digital wallet of the same name, launched formally Tuesday and is targeting people who don’t have access to professional financial services. That aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to broaden access for the under-banked in the nation of 1.3 billion people.

Paytm was one of fewer than a dozen entities that secured permits to start payments banks, which can accept deposits and remittances but cannot lend.

It said it will operate a mobile-first bank with zero fees on online transactions and no minimum balance.

Cryptocurrencies and the ‘crowd’ are small businesses’ bank alternative (PaymentsSource), Rated: AAA

A major trend shaping the small-business landscape is the rise in cryptocurrency, which can provide alternative means for a variety of cross-border financial transactions.

Cryptocurrency is ideal for cross-border transactions in several ways. In addition to being secure and permanent, cryptocurrency transactions allow borrowers and lenders to sidestep time spent working through a bank, as well as converting from one currency to another. For many investors, the speed and convenience of cryptocurrency-based transactions presents an opportunity to magnify gains.

Along with crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrency can improve access to both payments and credit for SMEs.

International Fintech companies with > 5M funding (Crunchbase), Rated: A

TransferWise is an money transfer service allowing private individuals and businesses to send money abroad without hidden charges.
Funding Circle is a lending platform focused exclusively on small businesses operating in in the U.S., the U.K. and Continental Europe.
Blockchain is a web-based bitcoin platform that makes using bitcoin safe, easy, and secure for all consumers and businesses worldwide.
Building a bank as smart as your phone. Intelligent notifications, instant balance updates and financial management.
WeLab analyzes unstructured mobile big data within seconds to make credit decisions for individual borrowers.

Independent Asset Managers need to become polygamous (Finextra), Rated: A

Independent asset managers shall maintain relationships not only to custodians. Due to disintermediation and distributed ledger technology they will be able to profit from a much broader range of financial assets.

Source: Finextra

SWIFT warns banks on cyber heists as hack sophistication grows (Reuters), Rated: A

Brussels-based SWIFT has been urging banks to bolster security of computers used to transfer money since Bangladesh Bank lost $81 million in a February 2016 cyber heist that targeted central bank computers used to move funds.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency last month reported that Far Eastern International Bank (2845.TW) lost $500,000 in a cyber heist. BAE later said that attack was launched by a North Korean hacking group known as Lazarus, which many cyber-security firms believe was behind the Bangladesh case.

Nepal’s NIC Asia Bank lost $580,000 in a cyber heist, two Nepali officials told Reuters earlier this month.

Australia

FACEBOOK LIVE: Treasurer Scott Morrison on fintech and the banking royal commission (Business Insider), Rated: A

He’s now in Sydney at fintech business Prospa, the nation’s leading online lender to small business, where’s he talking to Business Insider about the sector as well as the 12-month investigation into misconduct by the banks.

See the video interview here.

India

Want a loan? Make sure you’re tweeting the right things (Quartz), Rated: AAA

The article that someone tweeted about, posts that they liked on Facebook, and a new phone just bought on an e-commerce site—all these events now play a crucial role in determining if an individual is eligible for a loan or not.

Online lending firms have seen rapid growth in the last two years, despite the presence of a wide network of banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India. That’s because, till 2015, about 70% of Indians remained under-served by banks and other financial institutions, an opportunity that these firms are trying to cash in on. Now, even banks and NBFCs are tying up with online lending firms to reach out to more customers.

The 166 million households that make up middle-income India—with annual earnings of between Rs2.2 lakh ($3,414) to Rs3.59 lakh ($5,572)—typically apply for personal loans to buy consumer durables, for weddings, to meet medical expenses, set up a new business, and the likes.

“We have about 80-90 parameters that are used to check a consumer’s credit worthiness. And that’s where technology comes into play to ensure that it can be done swiftly and efficiently,” said Satyam Kumar, co-founder, LoanTap, an online fintech platform that provides retail loans to salaried individuals.

Delhi start-up wins GIST pitch (The Hindu), Rated: B

GyanDhan, a Delhi-based start-up working in the space of education loans, emerged winner of a GIST pitch competition for enterprises in the Fintech and Digital Economy, one of the four focus sectors at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, here on Wednesday.

Lupiya Circle, an online market place created by women in Zambia to financially empower women in the African nation through a branchless banking model was declared the runners-up.

MENA

Saudi Arabia puts buzz back into Mideast startup scene (Arab News), Rated: A

Since 2005, the top 200 funded startups in the MENA region have attracted more than $2 billion in capital, according to a report issued by MAGNiTT, which tracks the development of startups across the region.

To date, the majority of top funded startups in the region were established in the UAE, and the primary financial backers have also tended to be UAE-based.

But a recent uptick in funding from Saudi investment firms points to a developing ecosystem for startups in the Kingdom, according to MAGNiTT founder Philip Bahoshy.

Bahoshy said that startups providing solutions for broader regional challenges such as sticky logistics and cross-border banking frictions stand the best chance of attracting meaningful investment.

2018 will be the year African fintech takes off (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Next year will be a good year for Sub-Saharan Africa. After a challenging 2017 for many of its nations, 2018 will see economic growth return across the continent, gas activity boom and fintech innovation pick up in speed.

So says Ecobank Research as it recently launched the newest version of its yearly Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Guidebook, which provides analysis on African markets for investors and businesses.

The research department of the Pan-African bank forecasts three key trends that will take hold across Africa during the next 12 months. GTR takes a closer look at them.

3. Africa’s evolving role in fintech leadership

But 2018, he emphasises, will see African fintech firms increasingly driving this innovation. “There will still be international investors, but the actual leadership of fintech development is going to start coming increasingly from the Africans. It’s not going to be the Europeans and Americans going in, saying, ‘you should do this’.”

Ecobank’s research highlights South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire as tech hubs that will nurture the next wave of African startups and help connect them with investors.

One fintech that has caught Ecobank’s attention in particular is IroFit, a firm that uses the mobile network to enable real-time financial payments without the need for an internet connection.

Other emerging innovations in Africa include digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’ or using blockchain technology for digital identity and KYC solutions.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday June 6 2017, Daily News Digest

u.s. FICO scores

News Comments Today’s main news: Proposed U.S. REIT credit rating methodology. Tisa group pushes for P2P lending in Sipps. Dumiao issues first digital lending ABS on Shanghai exchange. Today’s main analysis: Borrowers accelerating paydowns on six-figure student loan debt. Top 10 P2P lending platforms by volume and loan balance in China. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Millions of Americans just got […]

u.s. FICO scores

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

  • Dumiao issues first digital lender ABS in Shanghai. GP:”ABS offering on Shanghai Stock Exchange. In general investors see the Shanghai Stock Exchange as being particularly prone to insider trading and not many international investors participate in the market. Despite this there is a need for Chinese ABS and there will be, with or without international investors, a Chinese ABS bond market due to the needs of local insurance, private equity, banks and other participants.”
  • Top 10 P2P lending platforms. GP:”A very useful list.”AT: “Interesting, Yirendai, #2 by loan balance, isn’t on the volume list.”
  • Renaud Laplanche to keynote at LendIt’s Lang Di Fintech conference. GP:”I think his return to the public speaking circuit in our industry in China will not receive as much visibility as expected. Renaud should speak in the US again.”

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Proposed U.S. Real Estate Investment Trust Credit Rating Methodology (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

The four key components that drive MCR’s credit rating methodology for REITs are:

  1. Our Business Risk encompasses various measures of a REIT’s business risk.
  2. Our Cash Flow Cushion ScoreTM is an evaluation of a REIT’s ability to cover debt maturities, interest, and other debt-like obligations.
  3. Our Solvency ScoreTM is a predictor of default based on four key metrics.
  4. Our Distance to Default Score is based on a REIT’s likelihood of financial distress using market-based inputs.

Two separate component scores converge to form our final Business Risk assessment: Country Risk and Company Risk. Once we assign these two component scores, we weight them as follows to determine the overall Business Risk assessment for each REIT:

  • Country Risk: 10%
  • Company Risk: 90%

We believe EBITDA is the best measure of size for REITs and assign points for size according to the following scale:

Source: Morningstar

The distance to default metric is a market-based measure of financial health. Both inputs, equity volatility, and the ratio of enterprise value to market capitalization, are calculated using daily updated market data. This allows us to incorporate new information faster through the distance to default calculation compared with accounting-based measures of financial health. As a result, our credit ratings can be more responsive to early signs of financial distress.

  • Step 1: Calculate annualized trailing 300-day equity total return volatility (EQVOL).
  • Step 2: Calculate current enterprise value/market cap ratio (EVMV).
  • Step 3: Transform EQVOL into a percentile [0, 1] by ranking it relative to all other stocks in the calculable universe (EQVOLP). 1 represents high equity volatility, 0 represents low equity volatility.
  • Step 4: Transform EVMV into a percentile [0, 1] by ranking it relative to all other stocks in the calculable universe (EVMVP). 1 represents high leverage companies, 0 represents low leverage companies.
  • Step 5: Calculate new raw DTD = 1-(EQVOLP + EVMVP + EQVOLP*EVMVP)/3
  • Step 6: Transform new raw DTD into a decile [1, 10] by ranking it relative to all calculable U.S.-domiciled stocks. 10 represents poor financial health while 1 represents strong financial health.

Request for Comment (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC (MCR) will accept comments on this Request for Comment until 5 p.m. Eastern Time on July 5, 2017.

Comments should be submitted by the deadline date and time via email to NRSROconsultations@morningstar.com. Comments should contain your name, your title (if writing on behalf of an organization), your organization (if applicable), address, phone number, and email address.

Millions Of Americans Just Got An Artificial Boost To Their Credit Score (Zero Hedge), Rated: AAA

Stated simply, the definition of the all important FICO score, the most important number at the base of every mortgage application, was set for a series of “adjustments” which would push it higher for millions of Americans.

Now, as the Wall Street Journal points out today, efforts to rig the FICO scoring process seems to be bearing some fruit.  The average credit score nationwide hit 700 in April, according to new data from Fair Isaac Corp., which is the highest since at least 2005.

Meanwhile, the share of consumers deemed to be riskiest, with a score below 600, hit a new low of roughly 40 million, or 20% of U.S. adults who have FICO scores, according to Fair Isaac. That is down from 20.5% in October and a peak of 25.5% in 2010.

Extreme refinancing: Borrowers accelerating paydowns on six-figure student loan debt (Credible), Rated: AAA

A growing number of Americans who have student loan debt are enrolling in repayment plans that ease the burden of their monthly payments by stretching them out over a longer time period. Some borrowers pursuing this strategy may qualify to have their remaining debt forgiven after 10, 20, or 25 years of payments. Others will rack up thousands of dollars in additional interest rate charges without qualifying for loan forgiveness.

Credible’s analysis found most borrowers who have refinanced more than $100,000 in educational debt are taking the opposite approach. Most are on track to dispatch their loans in 10 years or less — saving tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments in the process. Many who have refinanced six-figure educational debt at lower rates will pay it off in just 5 years, Credible found.

Read the full report here.

June Legislative Update (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights include:

  • On May 19 Experian submitted comments in response to the CFPB’s Request for Information (RFI) on the use of alternative credit data and alternative credit scoring models. The CFPB sought comments on the types of information that should be considered alternative data and how it could be used to improve financial inclusion.
  • On May 18, Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Balancing the Rights of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly (BROWSER) Act of 2017 (H.R. 2520). Blackburn is joined by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Bill Flores (R-TX) as original co-sponsors of the bill. The legislation seeks to bring internet service providers and edge service providers under the same privacy regime, by designating the FTC as the nation’s sole online privacy enforcement agency.
  • On May 8, Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) introduced H.R. 2359, the FCRA Liability Harmonization Act. The bill seeks to bring consistency to national consumer financial protection laws by capping class action damages and eliminating punitive damages to align the Fair Credit Reporting Act with other consumer financial protection laws.
  • In New York, S.B. 5601 amends the state’s breach law by adding biometric data to the definition of personal information and permitting email notification unless the breach includes access credentials for an email account. Notification would instead be provided in real time by providing clear and conspicuous notice when the consumer is accessing the account from their usual location.

Read the update here.

Marketplace ABS evolving (Structured Credit Investor), Rated: A

At the upcoming SCI Marketplace Lending Securitisation Seminar in New York on 22 June, panellists will discuss the structuring and evolution of marketplace loan ABS. The fact that deals are increasingly incorporating features to reduce risk is one area that is expected to be covered.

This trend is supported by the recent US$495m Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust Series 2017-1 – the first ABS launched by Prosper via its own branded shelf, when previous deals had been issued by Citi on the CHAI shelf. Rated by KBRA and Fitch, the deal comprises US$311m A/A- class A notes and US$70.67m BBB/BBB- class B notes. KBRA rated the US$113m class C notes single B-plus, but these are unrated by Fitch.

Plaid Is Powering the Future of Banking and Finance (Inc.), Rated: A

Plaid co-founders William Hockey and Zachary Perret noticed the need for something simpler, a system that would do the heavy lifting for other companies aiming to work with real financial data. The pair developed APIs that can ingest the mass volumes of financial data on the backend, transform it into a useable format, and then build a service on top – in other words, a platform.

As developers themselves, they focused on building a platform that was developer-friendly and for building integrations. Due to this focus, they quickly saw growing demand from developers and the emerging fintech industry to help build new applications for financial services.

Hockey and Perret’s goal is to drive innovation in financial services. Instead of attempting to serve consumers directly, the pair believed it was a smarter move to build a business- and developer-facing platform, one that would power the entire fintech ecosystem for consumers indirectly.

Moving forward, Plaid will focus on scaling this year. Its main goal is to continue to grow the platform that is seeing a lot of demand — which also means recruiting more people to join the team. Although the team currently numbers around 90, the leadership hopes to grow the team to somewhere around 120 by the end of the year, hiring across all departments.

How this Ohio mutual is getting an edge in tech (American Banker), Rated: A

Recently, First Federal was one of the founders of an Ohio-based fintech accelerator. It’s also invested in Numerated Growth Technologies — a commercial lending technology that lets banks make lending decisions in as little as five minutes.

“Why can’t a group of 10 community banks figure out how to make investments in an innovative platform down the road?” he said. “Or a group of banks being part of a development fund to steer a variety of tech initiatives?”

With the accelerator, First Federal is teaming up with larger banks. Its partners in the accelerator include Fifth Third Bancorp, Huntington Bancshares, KeyCorp and the insurer Progressive. JPMorgan Chase and Silicon Valley Bank are also part of the initiative.

Sweden’s Klarna looks to fuel US growth with e-commerce financing products (451 Research), Rated: A

The vendor has grown from a niche Nordic payments specialist to a global player with operations in 18 markets in little more than a decade. Recently launching in the US, Klarna has chosen to orient its primary go-to-market efforts around an alternative financing offering for e-commerce purchases.

Sequoia raises $ 2 bln for global growth fund, additional capital for China, India funds (PE Hub), Rated: A

Sequoia Capital said it has raised more than $4 billion for venture and growth funds in the United States, China, India and elsewhere in the world, according to filings with the SEC.

The Silicon Valley-based firm said it raised nearly $2 billion ($1.9995 billion) for its Sequoia Capital Global Growth Fund II, according to the filings. The firm had unveiled the fund in 2015 but without a target. Commitments came from 104 LPs.

What is Nevada’s Pro-blockchain Bill? (The Merkle), Rated: A

The state of Nevada has proven to be quite open-minded when it comes to blockchains and cryptocurrencies these days. In fact, the State Legislature approved a bill preventing local governmental entities from taxing any blockchain transaction.

Senate Bill 398 was first introduced in March of this year and is now presented by Governor Brian Sandoval to be signed. Governmental entities can’t impose any tax or fee on the use blockchains by both individuals and entities alike. Moreover, they can’t require these users obtain a license or permission to use blockchain technology either.

Is Marketplace Lending a Safer Investment Than the Stock Market? (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: B

While equities are often thought to yield high returns with fairly low risk, it takes time for them to fully develop and come to fruition. Alternative investment vehicles are coming into the market that are becoming particularly attractive when investing with a low appetite for risk.

With consistency and diligence, the stock market can make for a profitable long-term strategy. According to Credit Suisse, as of February 2017, the U.S. averaged 6.4 percent in inflation-adjusted equity return.

Marketplace lending, on the other hand, has consistent returns with lower volatility. Investopedia names marketplace lending as one of the best investments for high return rates.

Essentially, the main risk associated with marketplace lending is that you are loaning to people who may not have been able to get approved through traditional outlets.

United Kingdom

Tisa group pushes for P2P lending in Sipps (Citywire), Rated: AAA

A working group run by the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (Tisa) is gathering advisers’ views on the use of alternative finance products such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Sipps.

The group, which consists of the heads of several P2P and crowdfunding firms along with consultants and Tisa technical policy director Jeffrey Mushens, first met on 19 January.

It has highlighted tax regulation as a key barrier, as well as wider concerns about non-standard assets being held in Sipps.

Despite the industry body helping to push P2P into the mainstream, advisers may take some convincing, with many hesitant until the market has ‘matured’.

The survey is available here.

Most investors not expecting to beat cash, says peer-to-peer lender (AltFi), Rated: A

Major peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has unveiled the findings of a new survey of 2,000 people, of whom more than 500 invest their money via products like equities, bonds or peer-to-peer loans. The findings suggest that most of these investors expect their portfolios to be outperformed by cash over the next 12 months.

The average return on cash currently stands at a meagre 0.15 per cent, according to Bank of England data.

LendInvest launches new three-year bridge (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

LendInvest has launched a new three-year bridge product with 110% ICR as a funding alternative to a conventional buy-to-let loan.

The product is available on loans between £100,000 and £2 million with a maxmimum LTV of 70% on day 1, rising to 75% as interest on the loan is deferred and rolled up.

China

PINTEC Subsidiary Dumiao is First Digital Lending Tech Provider to Issue ABS on Shanghai Exchange (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

PINTEC Group, China’s leading financial technology provider, announced that its wholly owned digital lending technology subsidiary Dumiao successfully issued RMB245 million worth of asset-backed securities (ABS) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, in the first such issue by a digital lending technology provider.

The underlying assets of the ABS are receivables facilitated by Dumiao on Qunar’s “Naquhua” installment payment service. Qunar, a leading online travel agency in China, is supporting the ABS program, ensuring the asset formation and stable service operation. Dumiao, a leading digital consumer lending technology provider, supplies Qunar with a digital lending technology solution and offers consumers flexible and efficient financial service.

The Dumiao offering represents the first internet consumer finance ABS sponsored by a third-party digital lending technology provider. Prior to the listing of Dumiao’s ABS on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, ABS offerings from the internet finance sector had been dominated by e-commerce companies.

Top 10 P2P Lending Platforms (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: AAA

By the end of May 2017, the total loan balance of P2P lending platforms in China reached to $1146.30 billion, and the total volume reached to $366.05 billion. According to the ranking list issued by Online Lending House, we picked out the top 10 P2P lenders per Loan Balance and Volume.

Top10 P2P Lending Platform per Loan Balance in May 2017
Rank Lending Platform Location Loan Balance

(Billion dollars)

Growth of loan balance (%) Overall yield Rate(%) Loan term (Month)
1 Lufax Shanghai 19.48 4.34 7.9 31.01
2 Yirendai Beijing 4.90 5.12 11.56 30.68
3 JBH Beijing 4.18 1.37 7.45 5.39
4 Eloancn Beijing 4.10 -5.12 9.1 10.32
5 PPDAI Shanghai 3.28 12.49 17.22 11.24
6 Xiaoying.com Guangdong 3.06 21.35 7.34 8.4
7 IQianJin Beijing 2.82 13.31 10.96 30.17
8 Hongling Capital Guangdong 2.56 1.68 7.67 2.66
9 Niwodai Shanghai 2.49 -0.02 10.73 16.98
10 Renrendai Beijing 2.35 5.08 10.19 35.07

 

Top10 P2P Lending Platform per Volume in May 2017
Rank Lending Platform Location Volume

(Billion dollars)

Growth of loan balance (%) Overall yield Rate(%) Loan term (Month)
1 Lufax Shanghai 1.65 -0.68 7.9 31.01
2 Xinhehui.com Zhejiang 1.60 8.34 7.13 0.75
3 Hongling Capital Guangdong 1.30 2.22 7.67 2.66
4 Wei Dai Network Zhejiang 1.09 -7.70 7.62 2.81
5 Xiaoying.com Guangdong 1.02 52.99 7.34 8.40
6 Tuandai Network Guangdong 0.73 24.64 9.05 3.59
7 IQianJin Beijing 0.68 42.77 10.96 30.17
8 PPDAI Shanghai 0.61 -7.52 17.22 11.24
9 Yidai.com Sichuan 0.57 53.67 11.70 7.57
10 PPmoney Guangdong 0.52 185.77 9.50 6.35

Renaud Laplanche Joins LendIt’s Lang Di Fintech as Keynote Speaker (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Now Laplanche is returning to the public stage as a keynote speaker roster for Lang Di Fintech 2017, LendIt’s Chinese conference. Lang Di Fintech, said to be the largest Fintech conference in China, marks Laplanche’s first public speaking role since founding Upgrade. His presentation is said to focus on the concept of online lending 2.0, including how new technologies such as Blockchain are increasingly incorporated into a Fintech company’s technology architecture.

International

Singapore fintech hub LATTICE80 launches initiative to connect Asia and Nordic fintech ecosystems (e27), Rated: AAA

Singapore-based fintech hub LATTICE80 has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Nordic Finance Innovation (NFI), an independent Nordic executive network for the finance industry.

The partnership will raise awareness of fintech’s potential between Asia and the Nordics; office space sharing; events collaboration; in-country exclusivity; exchange programs for members; and the leveraging of mutual contacts and networks.

Meanwhile, 42 per cent of Nordic financial institutions surveyed want to expand their existing partnerships with fintech firms. 42 per cent of Nordic banks surveyed also intend to set up fintech incubators.

Tommaso Zanobini to Lead Fintech at Deutsche Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Deutsche Bank has hired Tommaso Zanobini as Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Technology (Fintech), a joint venture between Deutsche Bank’s FIG and TMT banking team.

SAIL Capital Awarded Most Innovative Sustainable Investment Firm, Recognised Leader in Global Resource Investing (PRWeb), Rated: B

Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2017 Alternative Investment Awards. SAIL Capital of Newport Beach, CA has been awarded Most Innovative Sustainable Investment Firm 2017 (Energy & Water) & Recognised Leader in Global Resource Investing 2017.

SAIL Capital has been a pioneer and thought leader in impact/alternative investing since the early 2000’s under the leadership of Founder and CEO Walter Schindler.

Now in its fourth year, the 2017 Alternative Investment Awards casts a light on the individuals, firms and departments from across all sectors that have played a part in shaping this dynamic and imitable industry.

Australia

How peer-to-peer lending could hit big bank profits (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

For example ANZ pays 2.4% annual interest on its one-year term deposit, and charges 13.95% annual interest on its personal loan.

Direct banks usually offer slightly higher interest rates on deposit accounts, lower loan costs, and reduced fees because they do away with the costs and inefficiencies (and arguably some of the service) of the traditional banks.

For example, the direct bank ME pays 2.85% annual interest on its term deposit, and charges 12.49% annual interest on its personal loan, making for a spread of 9.64%. Compare this to ANZ’s spread of 11.55% and you’ll note that ME’s more bare bones set up allows it to better cater to the more cost-conscious customers.

For example, the P2P lender DirectMoney Ltd (ASX: DM1) pays the investor around a 7.50% annual return for their personal loan fund, and charges the borrower around 9.50% annual interest on their personal loan. The spread is just 2.0% – a fraction of the banks with ANZ at 11.55% and ME at 9.64%.

Big BankANZ Direct BankME P2P LenderDirectMoney
Lender (Personal Loan) 13.95% 12.49% 9.5%
Borrower (Term Deposit) 2.4% 2.85% 7.5%
Net interest spread 11.55% 9.64% 2.0%

* All rate as of 2/6/17

Australia’s ASIC Proposes Next Steps on RegTech (The National Law Review), Rated: A

On Friday 26 May 2017, ASIC released its Report 523 titled “ASIC’s Innovation Hub and our approach to regulatory technology”. This report gives an update on the work of ASIC’s Innovation Hub and outlines ASIC’s current and proposed future approach to RegTech.

The report proposes that ASIC increase its focus on supporting RegTech developers, including by:

  • establishing a new RegTech liaison group comprising industry, technology firms, academics, consultancies, regulators and consumer bodies to enable networking, discussion of RegTech developments and collaboration opportunities that promote positive applications of RegTech;

  • continuing to hold RegTech trials and sharing knowledge about those trials with the market to promote wider use of technologies that promote good consumer and market integrity outcomes; and

  • hosting a problem-solving event (“hackathon”) later in 2017 to stimulate thinking and approaches to deal with problems of regulation commonly faced by the financial services sector.

India

Sundaram Finance backs online education loans marketplace GyanDhan (VC Circle), Rated: A

GyanDhan, an online marketplace for education loans operated by Delhi-based Senbonzakura Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, has secured an undisclosed amount from Sundaram Finance Holdings, a subsidiary of Chennai-based Sundaram Finance Ltd, it said in a statement.

The platform had raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs and Harvard Angels in July last year .

It had earlier received angel funding from Satyen Kothari, founder of Cube and Citrus Pay.

Fintech platform MaxMyWealth raises funds from two UK firms (VC Circle), Rated: A

London- and India-based Heathwalk Advisors Pvt. Ltd, which runs financial technology platform MaxMyWealth, has raised an undisclosed amount from two UK-based firms, it said in a statement.

The firm will use the funds to build the team, enhance its offering and grow its customer base.

Asia

Top 10 Fintech Companies South Korea (TechBullion), Rated: A

According to Statista, the Transaction Value in the fintech market amounts to US$43,032m in 2017.

Developed by Samsung electronics, Samsung Pay allows users to make payments using compatible phones and other Samsung-produced devices.

Founded in 2013, Viva Republica is a fintech company that offers innovative peer-to-peer money transfer services via a mobile app called “Toss”.

8percent is a leading start-up that brings together savvy investors and creditworthy borrowers together so that both can benefit financially.

Founded in 2012, Rainist offers financial products recommendation based on individual’s life patterns and purchase behaviour.

DAYLI Financial Group is a leading financial technology platform consisting of innovative technologies such as machine learning, payment solutions, big data analytics, bitcoin exchange, and blockchain solutions.

‘Stocks Plus for Kakao’  enables users to check their stock quotes in real-time via Kakaotalk, a multi-platform messaging app.

Founded in 2011, Newsystock is a Robo-Portfolio platform that provides accurate analysis and equity purchase recommendations in the stock market.

Infosonic is the start-up that produces Sonic Pass as mobile authentication and payment app.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 12th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 12th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States LendingClub’s charge off grows from 4.58% to 6.31%. Some people claim it is due to the company verifying only 26.8% of borrower’s income vs 49% in 2013. However, there was a higher proportion of bad loans among those verified than those that weren’t verified, roughly 12% vs 7% respectively. The real […]

July 12th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

European Union

United Kingdom

Korea

India

New Zealand

News Summary

 

Country

LendingClub’s Newest Problem: Its Borrowers, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

From loans made in 2013 through the first quarter of 2015, gross charge-offs of LendingClub’s lower-graded loans a year after issuance jumped to 6.31% from 4.58%, an increase of 38% or 1.73 percentage points. Charge-off rates on top-graded loans—which go to borrowers with stronger credit histories—rose less dramatically, to 1.51% from 1.46%, according to a presentation by the firm in May. Note: Do not mix charge-off rate and non-performing rate. Charge-off is a usually small subset of non-performing.

Charge-offs are ticking up at some other lenders. As of May, about 4.2% of the principal amount lent by Prosper Marketplace Inc. in the first quarter of 2015 had been charged off, according to MyCRO, a data tracker from online lending and securitization platform Insikt. Loans made a year or two earlier had seen charge-offs of 3.0% and 3.8%, respectively, after a similar amount of time had passed. A Prosper spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

Meanwhile, the percentage of loans written off by banks on their credit-card books last year hit the lowest level since the 1980s, according to Federal Reserve data. The rate was 3.16% in the first quarter versus 3.78% at the beginning of 2013, according to the regulator’s data.

As part of their loan-approval process, most lenders have automated the processes of checking borrowers’ credit metrics and looking up their histories while in many cases avoiding more labor-intensive practices of collecting and reviewing pay stubs or tax returns. For instance, this year, through the first quarter of 2016, LendingClub had verified actual income for 26.8% of loans, down from a peak of 49% in 2013. The company also has argued that verifying every applicant’s income is unnecessary. For loans made in 2012, for example, there was a higher portion of bad loans among those verified than those that weren’t verified—roughly 12% and 7%, respectively.

While about one-third of borrowers said they were paying down credit cards with their online loans, 46% actually started carrying at least 10% more in credit-card debt after getting the loan—well above the 30% rate for unsecured personal loans made by all lenders, Experian said.

LendingClub borrowers are among those who have become more indebted as the firm expanded. Debt-to-income ratios—a common credit measure—for LendingClub borrowers rose to 19.2 in 2015 from 13.8 in 2011, according to an analysis of loan data by research firm MonJa.

Legislation Proposed to Counteract Court Ruling on State Usury Caps, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

A Republican lawmaker late Monday introduced a bill aimed at helping debt buyers bypass state interest-rate caps, mounting a direct response to a case the Supreme Court recently declined to hear. The move comes after the Supreme Court declined to hear a case in which the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York determined debt buyer Midland Funding LLC couldn’t charge an interest rate higher than New York’s usury cap after purchasing the debt from a Bank of America Corp. unit.

“This ruling will restrict the expansion of credit and restrict innovation” and “poses a risk to the secondary credit markets. It also undermines peer-to-peer lending platforms in the current business model,” Mr. McHenry, a top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “The consequences of the court ruling is what we’re seeking to fix.”

The proposal is likely to generate as much opposition as the case, with debt buyers wanting to keep federal pre-emption and consumer groups pushing hard for states’ rights to protect consumers from being charged high interest rates. Analysts have already predicted any legislation in this area would be difficult to pass.

“It will have trouble passing because the Democrats are going to look at it as a means of circumventing consumers and Republicans will look at it as an unnecessary overlay of states’ rights,” said Isaac Boltansky, an analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading LLC.

The proposal is among a series of bills that Mr. McHenry has been rolling out as part of a package to promote financial innovation called the Innovation Initiative.

As a part of the initiative, Mr. McHenry introduced another bill Monday to the House Ways and Means Committee that would require the Internal Revenue Service to use “website-based, real time responses” when a lender requests a document from the IRS to verify a person’s income and other data points to approve a loan.

Amazon Looks Set to Deliver in Structured Credit After Hire, (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Online retailer Amazon has been quietly building a business lending to its customers and now looks set to open this asset book up to investors by securitizing some of these loans.

Nick Clemente, a former director with BNP Paribas’ structured credit team responsible for origination and execution of structured credit and credit derivatives, has joined the tech giant to run capital markets for its Amazon Lending business.

A recent investor newsletter from the firm referred to the group as having provided financing of over $1.5 billion to small and medium-sized businesses across the US, UK and Japan. Amazon Lending specialises in short-term lending and is said to be sitting on $400 million of loans.

The newsletter adds that Amazon Lending is looking to partner with a bank so that these dealers can manage the “bulk of the credit risk”.

How New York Beat Silicon Valley in Fintech Funding in Q1, (Datamation), Rated: AAA

In the first quarter (Q1) of 2016, and for the first time ever, New York City beat Silicon Valley in terms of fintech (financial technology) financing, $690 million versus $511 million, states Fintech’s Golden Age, a new report from Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City. In all of 2015, investments in New York totaled $2.3 billion, triple the amount raised by the area’s fintech startups the previous year.

It’s easy to attribute New York City’s rise in fintech scene to the proximity local startups enjoy to Wall Street banks and financial firms. But there are other forces at play, said Maria Gotsch, president and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City and co-founder of the FinTech Innovation Lab.

With ready access to funding, established customer relationships and their own considerable experience in maintaining large and complex IT ecosystems, New York City’s banks and other big financial institutions became natural allies for fledgling fintech companies. Funding aside, the area’s deep-pocketed firms are also looking to cut deals with startups that can help them bolster their services offerings.

“Financial institutions have made some major acquisitions,” said Gotsch. “Exits are always good.”

Fed’s Williams Prefers MBS Buying to ECB Tactics in Next Crisis, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

When the next crisis comes, don’t expect Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco chief John Williams to try persuading his colleagues to pull a Mario Draghi.

The European Central Bank president has gotten creative with monetary policy as euro-area growth and inflation have remained sluggish despite rock-bottom interest rates. He’s tried charging banks for overnight deposits to encourage them to lend the cash instead, doling out long-term loans at ultra-low costs to credit institutions, and adding corporate bonds to his quantitative-easing program. He’s also employed measures that the Fed has also used, like signaling policy stance through forward guidance.

Draghi’s innovations would either come in second to tried-and-proven quantitative easing in the U.S. or would be purely off the table, in Williams’ view.

Regulator sounds new alert on banks’ property lending, (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

A top US regulator has sounded a new alert over banks’ commercial real estate lending, adding to concerns that bubbles may be forming in parts of the country’s property market.

CRE loans originated by banks in the first quarter leapt by 44 per cent from the same period in 2015, according to Morgan Stanley. Banks’ share of CRE originations has risen from just over a third in 2014 to more than half in the first quarter of 2016 — a record.

Thomas Curry, comptroller of the currency, used the watchdog’s twice-yearly report on financial risks published on Monday to warn about looser underwriting standards and concentrations in banks’ CRE portfolios. “Our exams found looser underwriting standards with less-restrictive covenants, extended maturities, longer interest-only periods, limited guarantor requirements, and deficient-stress testing practices.”

Several bank executives signalled during the last results season that they weretightening up CRE lending standards, and a survey of loan officers by regulators in the first quarter suggested many were indeed doing so.

Morgan Stanley identified 25 institutions that “may face pressure from regulators given rapid growth and high concentrations”. This “could lead smaller banks to pull back on CRE lending, raise equity and/or drive M&A”, said its report.

U.S. bank regulator toughens commercial real estate oversight, (KFGO), Rated: AAA

Credit risks have risen in U.S. commercial real estate as lenders compete more fiercely in a low rate environment, a federal banking regulator said on Monday, adding that it was stepping up its scrutiny of the sector.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said in its semiannual risk report that while the financial performance of lenders improved in 2015 compared to a year earlier, credit risks were higher across the industry. The agency has escalated its oversight of commercial real estate risk from ordinary monitoring to “additional emphasis.”

Curry also mentioned financial technology and marketplace lending as areas the OCC is keeping a close eye on.

Small U.S. banks are delivering healthier profits than their bigger peers, the report noted. Banks with less than $1 billion in total assets delivered return on equity above 10 percent last year while larger banks only delivered single-digit returns.

Tech coalition targets financial startups’ regulatory hurdles, (The Hill), Rated: A

Financial Innovation Now released a report Monday evening detailing how new financial technology (“FinTech”) companies struggle with a patchwork system of state laws and federal laws geared toward traditional institutions.

The report explains how two theoretical FinTech companies–a lending company and a payments processing company–could struggle to comply with decades of regulations geared toward traditional banks.  “Our hope is that this report helps policymakers understand the regulatory landscape for financial technology,” said Peters.

Congress on Tuesday will take a crack at understanding the landscape for marketplace lending companies with a House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing.

The report also tries to tamp down on cybersecurity concerns by boasting financial technology companies’ knowledge and capability with modern tech security features. The report argues FinTech companies are better equipped and more experienced to handle threats than traditional institutions. “Anecdotal breaches will always occur at technology companies just as at other businesses,” the report reads. But “they pale into insignificance compared to the breaches at banks and major retailers.”

Surprise: Auto Loan Durations Decrease Despite Popularity of Extended 72 and 84 Month Loan Terms, (TransUnion), Rated: A

The TransUnion AutoLoan study can be found here.

The study found that the average term for new auto loans rose from 62 months in 2010 to 67 months in 2015. In the third quarter of 2015, seven in 10 new auto loans had terms longer than 60 months. Five years prior, only half of all loans had terms longer than 60 months.

While the length of typical auto loans (with prices averaging ~$21K) have extended to as long as 84 months, the risk factors for these consumers extending to lower their monthly payments, did not change. In fact, many of these loans are not coming to term as the durations of the loans have actually decreased by one month. Cars are either sold before payoff or the loans can often be re-financed. Most surprisingly, the longer auto loan terms actually resulted in increased serious delinquencies (beyond 60 days) for consumers who are cash squeezed.

 

European Union

Europe’s Asset-Backed Bond Market Is Growing More Mysterious, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Europe’s asset-backed securities market (ABS) is going underground. Private bilateral sales of the bonds, which are typically backed by collateral such as car loans or mortgages, now outstrip public sales to investors, according to Bank of America Corp. analysts led by Alexander Batchvarov.

So-called retained transactions, which are kept on banks’  balance sheets, rose to 78 billion euros ($87 billion) in the first six months of the year, which is more than double the 30 billion euros sold in the same period of 2015, according to Bank of America data. For investors in the public market, new-issue supply totalled just 41 billion euros, or roughly half the volume recorded a year earlier.

Synthetic securitizations, in which credit derivatives are used to transfer risk, are also said to be growing in favor as banks seek to bolster their balance sheets — and even as regulators push back against use of such “regulatory capital” trades.

“Discussions with market participants suggest that the volume may be (much) larger,” Batchvarov wrote. “The revival of synthetic securitisations speak[s] to the need of the banks to manage their capital and credit risk of their balance sheet, but apparently this is now done through bilateral transactions, mostly not rated, and rarely seen.”

 

United Kingdom

Re-setting Ratesetter’s default ratings, (FT Alphaville), Rated: AAA

At the end of last month, we reported on Ratesetter’s higher than expected default rates, which has raised questions about the resilience of its provision fund. The story was based on information from the Ratesetter website, where the level of provisioning per year and the expected vs. actual default rates were made available to investors, along with other information like how much of the yearly provisions had been been used up.

That’s the nature of transparency: you should disclose the bad as well as the good.

But now Ratesetter has decided that publishing expected default rates for each year “are not meaningful for [our] model, since investors do not need to provide for defaults”.

And that’s not the only change.

Ratesetter is now tweaking the way it calculates its provision fund coverage ratio. Instead of just subtracting expected losses from the current value of the provision fund, Ratesetter will now add “expected future income” in as well, thereby boosting the coverage ratio. Here’s their explanation of the change:

The “Expected Future Income” from open loans will be included in the calculation of the Coverage Ratio. This will be introduced alongside our regular update of the Expected Future Losses figure. Two years ago we made the strategic choice to spread more of the Provision Fund’s fees over the lifetime of loans as opposed to all being upfront when the loans are made. This obviously changed the short term flow of cash into the Provision Fund but we believe, in the long run, it is a more sustainable model. Today the total value of this contracted future income stands at over £6m.

The provision fund, which at one point Ratesetter thought to invest in its own loans, currently has almost £17.4m covering for £610m worth of lending — that figure doesn’t yet appear to account for the £6m of future income (nor does it account for any recoveries on defaulted debt, Ratesetter points out in its blog). The loss rate expected is 2.3 per cent, while a rate of 2.85 per cent would eat up all of the provisions. That’s a 55 basis point margin of error and probably the number worth remembering even after all these changes.

Financial markets welcome Leadsom quitting UK’s Prime Minister race, (Press Release), Rated: AAA

Andrea Leadsom’s decision to quit the UK’s Conservative party leadership battle is likely to be welcomed by the financial markets, affirms the boss of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

“First, Leadsom quitting eradicates one layer of the uncertainty that has been hanging over the UK since the historic vote to leave the EU.  The many question marks since the Brexit decision have, unsurprisingly, created volatility in the markets.  With Leadsom pulling out there is one less question mark.

“May could possibly kick triggering Article 50 way into the long grass, or go for the Norwegian model and allow free movement in exchange for access to the single market.

“This kind of ‘Brexit-Lite’ might well please the markets – which had widely priced in and were largely relying upon a Remain victory before the shock result.”

 

Korea

P2P raises concerns about fraud, (Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: A

As of March, there were 20 P2P lenders in Korea that directly connect lenders and borrowers without intermediation by existing financial companies.

The average loan issuance was 22.1 million won per head. Individual loans on credit accounted for about 85 percent of all P2P lending, the data showed. About 6 percent of individual borrowers took out loans from P2P businesses, taking their properties as collateral.

“I was introduced to the company by one of my acquaintances and heard it was a thriving P2P lender that attracts quite a lot investors as it promises 15 percent returns annually,” Choi said.

The FSS has reported such complaints by consumers to police and prosecutors and said it will enhance monitoring on similar practices.

 

India

Education loans marketplace GyanDhan gets funding from Stanford Angels, Harvard Angels, (Techcircle), Rated: A

GyanDhan, an education loans marketplace operated by Delhi-based Senbonzakura Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs and Harvard Angels.

GyanDhan had earlier received angel funding from Satyen Kothari, founder of Cube and Citrus Pay, to grow operations from the concept phase to its first loan disbursal.

The company will use the money raised in the latest round to build the tech platform to provide a better experience both to banks and students, and to develop its data sciences capabilities.

GyanDhan’s product offerings include loans up to Rs 30 lakh without any collateral for higher education abroad.

The company claims it has processed about 2,500 applications to date and has helped students avail loans worth Rs 10 crore through its partner financial institutions. The firm expects to process transactions worth Rs 30 crore by the end of the year.

Peer-to-peer lenders will help you borrow even from banks or non-bank financial corporations, (DNA India), Rated: A

Online businesses like BankBazaar, Paisabazaar, Policy Bazaar, etc have emerged and established themselves as loan aggregators, thereby passing on leads to financial companies like banks and NBFC’s. However, the quality of the lead has to be still ascertained by the banks and NBFCs through their own efforts, due diligence and filtering to assess the suitability of these leads and the conversion from a lead to a prospect and finally to a borrower.

The need to meet deployment targets is another major reason that banks have challenges in finding adequate numbers of borrowers who meet all their criteria.

A P2P platform provides a curated list of pre-verified, credit assessed list of borrowers from whom the financial companies can cherry-pick based on their appetite and provide loans, thereby significantly reducing their loan origination cost and improving their operating spreads.

Increasingly, banks and other financial companies will see a lot of value accruing to their business by aligning themselves with P2P marketplaces who perform all the necessary verification, credit assessment and also use various social and other information to rate borrowers and build a lot of analytics for intelligent credit decisions over and above the conventional methods which will prove to be an irresistible proposition to conventional financial institutions.

New Zealand

Harmoney’s P2P loan insurance a Kiwi world first, (Biz Edge), Rated: A

Harmoney has claimed to be the first in the world to use peer-to-peer lending for ‘unforeseen hardship’ on loans, the company reports. Its Payment Protect offering is a ‘repayment waiver’ that can protect against unexpected events that can affect loan repayment, such as death, terminal illness, disability or redundancy.

“For an individual loan, the waived repayments could be greater than the Payment Protect fee earned. However, across a whole portfolio the fee income and additional interest should outweigh any waived repayments and fee costs,’ Hagstrom explains.

Hagstrom says the method of delivering ‘peace of mind’ to customers through peer-to-peer lending is a rival to traditional insurance and borrowing methods, while providing lender returns through interest income, returns and yield enhancement.

The Financial Markets Authority issued Harmoney the first P2P lending licence in 2014. The company has raised $30 million in working capital, assessed more than $2 billion in loan applications and paid more than $24 million in interest to lenders.

Author:

George Popescu