Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses. Any funding model ultimately comes down […]
Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses.
Any funding model ultimately comes down to matching the needs of those who want capital with those who can supply capital. Typically, banks or other large financial institutions would act as the intermediary between investors and borrowers or entrepreneurs. But with many banks pulling back after the financial crisis, and the internet making it easier than ever to play matchmaker, the alternative finance universe is attracting more and more capital.
However, there is still broad-based confusion among both institutional and retail investors about the differences between the various alternative funding models. This confusion is exacerbated by how often the terminology is used interchangeably in the media and the larger financial community. The truth is that each funding model has distinct nuances, rewards and challenges, and it’s important for investors and their financial advisors to understand the differences before incorporating alternative lending or financing into an investment portfolio.
In general, these models can be broken down as either debt or equity investments, with a similar risk-reward profile as any other debt or equity investment.
DEBT (lower risk, lower reward)
In a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model, an individual or business borrows from an outside source or sources – a “peer” – rather than a bank. This process is facilitated through a third party, such as an online platform, which makes it easier to aggregate enough peers to fund the loan. These loans typically come with fixed terms and set repayment schedules. Many loans will also include details about the borrower—such as their income, credit score, occupation, and risk level—to help the “peers” (or lenders) determine whether to fund the loan and at what amount. Examples of peer-to-peer loans include consumer loans, student loans, small business loans, and fix and flip loans on single family homes.
Investors can get into the peer-to-peer lending market by purchasing the whole loan, a fractional interest in a loan or building a portfolio of fractional and/or whole loans. Investors then collect the proceeds of each loan payment, with the peer-to-peer lender taking a fee to cover the costs of running the platform. While even the most creditworthy borrowers may default on their loans, investors can mitigate this risk by building a diversified portfolio that includes multiple loans across different risk spectrums. Investors should also consider if the P2P loans they are investing in are unsecured or have some form of collateral securing the loan. Consumer and student loans tend to be unsecured, while small business and fix and flip loans tend to be secured.
Marketplace lending is another term used to further describe peer-to-peer lending. While the two terms are used interchangeably, an important differentiator is the source of capital. Whereas P2P lending platforms tend to rely on a group of small retail investors or large institutional investors to fund loans, marketplace lenders prefer to first pre-fund loans and then offer them to investors.
The marketplace lending model, therefore, offers qualified borrowers a guarantee that their loan will be funded within a specific timeframe, which may be an important consideration for some borrowers. For example, while a consumer borrower may be willing to wait until his loan is assessed and funded by multiple peers, a borrower looking to finance a real estate transaction has a closing date that must be met otherwise he will lose his down payment.
Direct lending/balance sheet business lending
In contrast to marketplace or peer-to-peer lending models, a direct lender will rely on its own balance sheet or proprietary access to funds as its primary source of capital. Instead of having to find enough retail and institutional investor capital to match the needs of borrowers, a direct lender can look to its unrestricted access of funds before making a lending decision.
The advantage of this approach is that the direct lender is better positioned to survive a potential downturn since each of the loans on its balance sheet represents a piece of collateral that can be used to offset any potential losses. Investors in these loans will therefore have a better opportunity to allocate capital in all market cycles. Many direct lenders may also manage a fund for accredited investors that consists of a portfolio of some, but not all, of the loans made by the lender.
EQUITY (higher risk, higher reward)
In the crowdfunding model, investors are given the opportunity to provide seed capital in up-and-coming products and businesses. Capital is provided in several forms including equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt . While equity stakes are typically small—often less than 1%—even a modest upfront investment can generate a large eventual payoff if the company is successful. This is particularly true of technology start-ups, which can grow quickly if their product or service is well received among customers.
This model is also popular in the arts and entertainment industries. For example, people might choose to fund an independently produced movie, music album or play in exchange for a small piece of revenues and/or additional perks like attending rehearsals and premiere parties, meeting the artist, or receiving a memento from the set. In real estate, crowdfunding is most typically used by developers seeking to raise money to fund development or redevelopment projects.
Investors should find out if the crowdfunder is providing equity and debt on the same project. This is critical should a recovery plan need to be put in place if the project does not go as expected. Typically, equity investors want to hold on and wait for an increase in value , while debt investors want to liquidate immediately in hopes of recovering their investment. A crowdfunder that is representing both equity and debt investors in the same project will have a conflict of interest. In addition, these investments also tend to be fairly illiquid, so investors should tread carefully. While these early stage equity investments could potentially pay off handsomely, there’s always the risk that the company or project is a flop.
Initial coin offerings
An initial coin offering, or ICO, is a brand-new type of funding model that is attracting many of the same types of companies that previously relied on crowdfunding. However, instead of acquiring an equity stake in the company, investors in ICOs receive cryptocurrency coins, like Bitcoin or Ether, which are redeemable for cash on certain exchanges. The idea is that as the company grows and becomes more valuable, the coins will also become more valuable.
Since ICOs are still loosely regulated, investors should take extra precautions when evaluating a crypto-related investment opportunity. While a business idea may sound great on paper, investors should look for growth signs like recurring revenues and a large potential market.
These five models only scrape the surface of the full universe of funding options for individuals and businesses. A company or a funding model doesn’t always fit neatly into a box either, and investors should take care to understand how each funding platform generates revenue and where its capital comes from.
When choosing which segment of the market to pursue, investors and advisors should also consider their risk tolerance, which will help determine whether a debt or equity investment is most appropriate, and at what scale.
News Comments Today’s main news: Rumor: Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney is planning a comeback with new HELOC startup. Funding Circle preparing 1B GPB float. Morgan Stanley to offer robo-advice. New bill could make IRS use API. Spice Mobility to invest $1.95M in P2P lending startup. Today’s main analysis: Yirendai still growing, and at a good price. Today’s thought-provoking […]
Cagney has been approaching investors in recent weeks about a new fintech startup with a plan to raise about $25 million, according to multiple people familiar with his outreach. He has pitched investors such as Peter Thiel along with several others who were backers of SoFi, a company that Cagney pushed to become worth almost $5 billion.
Cagney is starting the new company alongside his wife, June Ou, who previously served as SoFi’s chief technology officer, the people said. The company does not yet have a name and has yet to be publicly announced — Ou’s LinkedIn page says she will serve as the COO of a “#newCo.”
The company is said to focus on HELOC, or home equity lines of credit, though the people said the idea was in the early stages and still required more sharpening. Ou this month shared a job posting on GlassDoor for engineers at a company soon to launch.
Morgan Stanley has made a late push for dominance in the fast-growing market for “robo-advice” in America, launching an automated service aimed at the offspring of its well-heeled customers.
Funds managed by software will grow to $385bn by 2021, according to Cerulli Associates, more than quadrupling from today’s levels.
Morgan Stanley is the latest to pitch in, offering a choice of ETFs, mutual funds and seven themed portfolios, among them sustainability, gender diversity and next-wave technology. The new online tool, known as Access Investing, is designed to appeal to a younger generation, many of them members of wealthy families.
This API would turn a cumbersome, manual process into an automated one. An API would allow the agency to provide your transcripts the instant you give your authorization. Credit providers would then have more information to make better decisions about your approval and rate. This could cut financial fraud and improve credit prices, speed and access for everyone.
A recent study by Visa showed that, unsurprisingly, consumers are ready to say goodbye and good riddance to passwords, both because of the friction they create when trying to remember them – and the inevitable stutter step that the “forgot password” prompt creates – and because in the aftermath of the Equifax breach, the public has never been more conscious of how far passwords fall short in preventing fraud and keeping their data secure.
It was one of the big drivers, Nelsen said, behind the development of Visa ID Intelligence. Nelsen said that ID Intelligence is an ecosystem of authentication solutions to which issuers connect via a single API.
Over the last four years, Nelsen said there’s been an enormous increase in credit applications – a healthy portion of which are from fraudsters who’ve stolen legitimate credentials and have attempted to use them to open new accounts. Banks now recognize that the best way to combat new account fraud is to put knowledge-based authentication in their rearview mirror, in favor of using tools like identity documents and device data to help determine whether an identity is legitimate, stolen or synthetic.
2017 has been a great year for equity and credit markets. The S&P500 ended the year up 20%, while CDX IG and CDX HY spreads tightened 46bps. ABS markets enjoy record issuance and all-tight time spreads.
Republicans have made limited progress on President Trump‘s pledge to “dismantle” the Dodd-Frank Act, which the GOP had hoped to gut by the end of 2017. But the GOP and independent regulators could still make critical changes to key parts of the law’s legacy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters last week that he’d like to hold a vote on a bipartisan Senate Banking Committee bill to exempt small and mid-size banks from aspects of Dodd-Frank.
During the Banking panel’s markup of bipartisan Dodd-Frank rollback bill, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) sought to add language meant to boost accountability and transparency when credit reporting agencies are breached.
As we have previously reported, the Bureau’s final rule on payday, vehicle title and other so-called high-cost installment loans created new consumer protections for a wide variety of short-term loans and provided official staff interpretations of the rules. Nearly 1,700 pages in length, the rule was issued on Oct. 4.
One of the more controversial provisions of the rule declares it an “unfair and abusive practice” for any lender to make covered short-term or longer-term balloon-payment loans, including payday and vehicle title loans, before reasonably determining that consumers have the ability to repay the loans according to their terms. Pursuant to the rule, it would also be an unfair and abusive practice to make attempts to withdraw payment from consumers’ accounts after two consecutive payment attempts have failed, unless the consumer provides a new and specific authorization to do so.
Now the rule—which is currently set to take effect Jan. 16, 2018—may see the same fate as the arbitration rule. H.J. Res. 122, introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), states “That Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection relating to ‘Payday, Vehicle Title, and Certain High-Cost Installment Loans’ and such rule shall have no force or effect.” Significantly, H.J. Res. 122 includes Democratic co-sponsors.
Auto Finance—Another Bureau rule may soon be on the road to CRA repeal after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in response to a query about CFPB Bulletin 2013-02.
The long-term vision of the company has not changed: to provide banking products and services to people when they want it. We call it personalized banking for all—anytime, anywhere.
But how do you create a human relationship when more and more business is being done electronically?
So we’ve decided as a long-term strategy to combine the human element with digital components. We call it “human-digital banking.”
What does that mean? We have a new retail application in pilot called BFF—Best Financial Friend—created by Pivotus Ventures [Umpqua’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based fintech/research unit], that customers download on their phones. The first phase of the pilot was a centralized hub. Now we’re rolling it out in stores in the Portland [Ore.] market, training associates to serve as a BFF digitally in addition to working with customers in person. Our intent, as a more robust application becomes available early in 2018, is to introduce it into other metropolitan markets.
Using the app, customers pick a banker in the bank who will be kind of their personal concierge—almost like a personal shopper. They will help the customer do anything with Umpqua except get cash.
More than 53,000 single-family homes and condos were flipped nationwide in the second quarter of 2017 alone for a home-flipping rate of 5.6 percent of second-quarter home sales, according to Attom Data Solutions. The estimated total dollar volume of financing for homes flipped in second-quarter 2017 was $4.4 billion, the highest level since third-quarter 2007, nearly a 10-year high.
More than 35 percent of homes flipped in second-quarter 2017 were purchased with financing, according to Attom. That’s the highest level since third-quarter 2008, or a nearly nine-year high.
A joint study by the University of Cambridge and the University of Chicago suggests that the alternative lending sector, which includes crowdfunding, “hit a stride” in 2016 and has plenty of room for growth. Total market volume in 2016 for alternative financing in the U.S., Canada, Latin America the Caribbean was $35.2 billion, up 23 percent versus 2015. Real estate crowdfunding accounted for just 2.3 percent of the alternative lending market in 2015, but its volume rose by 70 percent in 2016.
And finally, short-term lines of credit are more expensive than products that you’d get at a bank. The exact interest rate you’d get on an OnDeck line of credit, for instance, depends on the exact qualifications of your business, but in general, you can expect them to range from 10% to 80%.
There are several ways you can invest in small businesses. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending is a popular way that you definitely need to look into. This lending system eliminates middlemen completely and lets you connect with small businesses across the country with ease.
Open banking is coming to the UK. To be more precise, from January 13, 2018, Britain’s nine largest banks and one building society will be required to make customer account data available to approved rivals. If all goes according to plan, the new regime will herald a bold era of competition by allowing up-and-coming challenger banks and fintech (financial technology) businesses to compete on a more-or-less level playing field with the giants of the financial services industry.
In the business loans market, peer-to-peer platforms have become increasingly accepted as a source of debt finance. For instance, in the three months to September, pioneering peer-to-peer platform, Funding Circle rang up £114m in new net lending to small businesses. This compared with £95m in new net lending by the big four banks.
According to a survey conducted by Decision Technology, 43% of bank retail customers would consider sourcing a personal loan from a fintech provider. Although consumers were less amenable to opening savings accounts (only 26% would do so).
Earlier this month, Liverpool-based property developer Mitty Group secured £1,982,000 worth of funding from UK-based peer-to-peer lender Assetz Capital to develop two new residential and leisure sites in Merseyside.
According to Assetz Capital, Mitty Group has secured a £942,000 loan from the online lender to fund its Regency Court Development in the Old Swan area of Liverpool.
Assetz Capital also reported that Mitty Group secured a £1,040,000 loan to fund its Burscough Street Development in Ormskirk town center.
Real estate crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular and it was valued at $3.5 billion in 2016. It is also projected to have the value of $5.5 billion by the end of 2017. It is a great time to think of investing in property UK using the crowdfunding option. However, it is important that you proceed with caution. Here are a few tips to help you make savvy decisions about real estate crowdfunding.
Satoshi Nakamoto is the anonymous coder, or group of coders, who created bitcoin as a stateless digital currency nine years ago. It’s a pseudonym. Her/his/their true identity remains a mystery, but, as cryptocurrencies continue to rise in influence and as investors lose faith in traditional institutions, that influence is more than likely to grow.
Imagine, for a moment, what it means to be Satoshi Nakamoto. You are, at least digitally, one of the 50 richest people alive and one of the most important people in the financial world.
Robo advisers promised to shake up the UK investment market by using algorithms to deliver low-cost automated services to the masses. However, British investors have found a bug in the system — when it comes to managing their money, they want to speak to human beings too.
The new breed of “robos” are morphing their business models to provide over-the-phone and face-to-face advisory services, recognising that more of a personal touch is needed to win over customers.
Scalable Capital, the European online robo-advice company backed by BlackRock, is launching over-the-phone and face-to-face consultations for a one-off fee of £200 from January after finding a number of clients wanted to talk to human advisers rather than answering its online questionnaire alone.
Andrew Lawson, Chief Product Officer of Zopa.com, a UK online personal finance peer-to-peer lending company, believes that Wow service/experience starts with the customer and solving a problem they face. Too often customer service is a team that is set up to solve the problems that are inherent within the products/services that have been created.
But it has also made things easier for scammers. QR codes are so accessible that a simple scanning of an unidentified barcode can lead to a loss of huge money or massive personal information leakage.
For instance, while offering credit support for small and micro-sized enterprises who may not have enough collateral or sound balance sheets is still a headache for the banking sector, banks now can make better loan decisions by evaluating their conditions more precisely with technologies like big data and blockchain.
Last month, a number of private banks (except WeBank, MYbank and XWBank)received notification from CBRC that they should stop offering online lending services, which caused quite a stir within the industry.
On December 23rd, a charity-crowdfunding campaign from Fenbeichou received profound attention and donations on China’s leading social platform WeChat. People were encouraged to donate and help underprivileged children who have same birthday as themselves. Applause for the campaign’s creativity didn’t last long when journalists found that there were some beneficiaries on the platform who were labelled with different names (but for the same picture) or even non-existent date of birth (e.g. 2017.2.29). People suspected this “Same-Birthday Crowdfunding” campaign was a fraud.
On December 28th, the Nanjing Municipal Public Security Bureau posted on its official Weibo that the head of online finance platform Qbao.com had surrendered himself to the local police.
On December 27th, a new range of rules were released to ramp up the security in the mobile payment sectors.
Online lending, including marketplace lending or peer to peer lending, is entering a new era. Goldman Sachs and their Marcus platform is schooling early entrants with good tech and access to low cost of capital that is hard to beat. Big tech is moving in too, as companies like Square, PayPal and Amazon are now providing loans. In the US, early online lenders are rushing to launch new verticals and update models to remain competitive and relevant. Elsewhere, such as the UK and China, models are becoming more established as the focus has been different and the regulatory environment more welcoming.
Equity-based crowdfunding is now accounting for 17% of all seed and venture stage equity investment in the UK. Peer-to-peer business lending provides 15% of all new loans lent to small businesses by UK banks.
Today, the Fintech Charter has not moved an inch forward and is arguably in retreat. And why is that? Because the States do not want to lose relevance and Congress is unable to do anything about it. Who loses out? Consumers and small business, of course.
In early 2017, the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney delivered a pointed speech where he said Fintech could “signal the end of universal banking as we know it.” Why is this important? Because it is the Bank of England: the second oldest central bank in the world.
Borrowing rates have fallen to their lowest level for 62 years, triggering debate that Australia’s increasing household debt will force regulators to raise further speed limits to contain new lending, despite an already slowing investor market.
Other lenders, including online lender ING and Newcastle Permanent, the nation’s largest building society, are also targeting the owner-occupied fixed-rate sector with cuts pushing the headline rate to below 3.8 per cent.
Mortgages are a key profit generator for lenders, accounting for about 55 per cent of bank loans and 30 per cent of cash earnings.
BK Modi group company Spice Mobility Ltd is set to pick up a 30% stake in Luharia Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs peer-to-peer lending platform anytimeloan.in, for Rs 12.5 crore ($1.95 million) in an all-cash deal.
Spice Mobility Ltd is buying 30% stake in Luharia Technologies Pvt. Ltd which operates P2P lending platform anytimeloan.in, in all cash deal of ₹12.5 crore ($1.95 million), the company said in a stock exchange filings.
THE YEAR 2017 has been somewhat of a twilight zone for digital in India.
India is the world’s second largest online market with 460 million internet users and more than 1 billion mobile subscribers. But internet penetration is still south of 20% of our overall population.
I read recently that over 2.4 billion brand-related conversations happen online every day. In one significant trend, consumers are undergoing digital saturation amidst the social media and marketing barrage. As many as 83% of consumer respondents in a recent survey felt that brands didn’t handle their emotions well across different touchpoints.
For some startups, especially for Fintech firms like Paytm, 2017 has been an incredible year as they were most ready to reap the benefits of disastrous demonetisation policy announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which forced the people to rely on mobile wallet firms for making payment for even their tea. Further, implementation of GST has push an environment wherein individuals and SMEs are looking to go digital.
Lohia says that 2018 will see scaling up of players in the lending space especially in small business lending.
On the other hand, for peer to peer (p2p) lending platform – OMLP2P – that brings investors and borrowers together for a seamless and transparent loan disbursal experience, the year 2017 was a mile stone year because on October 4, 2017, RBI came out with the guidelines for the P2P industry, which paved the way for the P2P players to get themselves registered as “ NBFC- P2P” with RBI.
For starups like CreditMantri, 2017 has been a good year as they were able to reach out to 3.8 million Indians with their CreditMantri platform.
For Pune based startup Loantap, which focuses on providing lending platform to Salaried Professionals, 2017 has been a good year. He bets that 2018 is going to be great year for LoanTap and his firm will cross 100 crore Loan Book within first few months.
Lendingkart Finance: The Ahmedabad-based SME lending startup raised $3.8 Mn (INR 25 Cr) in debt from the State Bank of India. The latest influx of funds will be utilised to bolster Lendingkart’s loan book. The fresh capital will also enable the startup to expand its geographical reach to over 950 cities.
Foyr: Virtual reality-based prop-tech startup Foyr raised $3.8 Mn in Series A funding led by property consultancy JLL and other individual and non-institutional investors.
Anytimeloan.in: Spice Mobility is gearing up to buy 30% stake in Luharia Technologies, which owns and operates P2P lending platform Anytimeloan.in.
The fast-paced digitization has unlocked fresher avenues for fintech players, especially the ones associated with SME-based lending.
Virtual agents With everything going digital, loan officers can’t be too far behind.
Machine Learning and user experience
2018 will also be the year for adoption of new regression models driven by Machine Learning.
All of this is being done through automated algorithms that scrape everything from historic transactions, preferences, and supply chain partnerships, down to critical metadata embedded into user information.
Our nation has taken a giant stride in the realm of technology by developing its own blockchain network.
UPI (Unified Payment Interface) and AEPS (Aadhaar-enabled Payment System) have paved the way for an open banking channel in 2018.
Physical and Digital Merger
In India, despite a commendable effort to bank the unbanked, a majority of the Indian population is still deprived of access to banking services till date. Businesses, on the other hand, have enough data to prove their creditworthiness but fail to acquire credit because of conventional scoring mechanisms that banks use. Lately, fintech startups have begun collaborating with banks and helped them in making good use of their data and increasing ..
EY’s Fintech Adoption Index (2017), a survey of more than 22,000 digitally active consumers, ranks India second (52%) behind China (69%) in terms of percentage of the digitally active population.
Digital payments reached 1,162 crore transactions between April and November and are expected to exceed 1,800 crore in the current fiscal.
Wallet Usage To Rise
2017 has been the year which saw e-wallets and digital payments come to the fore, placating the masses post demonetization. Come 2018, this trend will likely mature as more and more Indians turn to the digital side of things.
The rise in digital payments and online lending also makes the sector exposed to hackers who are always on the prowl to feed on vulnerable security.
Motivated by the intention of democratising financial services while aiming for exponential growth, these FinTech startups will come up with newer models for lending, especially in the P2P Lending space.
Open banking – With initiatives such as Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS), banking will become more ‘open’ in 2018.
Proliferation Of Chatbots
In 2018, we can expect more chatbots to be deployed with improved quality of interactions, the speed of responses and accuracy in decision-making.
India will be more than USD 4-trillion economy by 2022. Out of this, USD 1-trillion would be digital economy—and it’s the most conservative estimate the government is working with. As Indians become digitally more aware, India’s emerging Peer-To-Peer (P2P) lending industry will flourish in 2018.
Here’re the top 5 trends to watch out for:
P2P lending platforms to become an important contributor to India’s growth story… Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute about a third of India’s manufacturing output and provide employment to over 10 crore people. Despite this, the share of institutional lending in the total borrowings of MSMEs is less than 10%.
Faster and cheaper loans to SMEs and self-employed borrowers
Fund raising activities of the P2P lending platforms may gather pace… RBI has given 3 months to the existing players and 12 months to the new players for registration. The regulator has made it mandatory for an aspirant P2P lender to have a minimum net worth of Rs 2 crore.
Personal loans to grow at a healthy pace
Awareness about the P2P lending sector to grow among investors
The infrastructure to enable digital payments has been strengthened through issuance of debit cards, roll-out of Point of Sale machines, launch of phone-based acceptance through the BHIM app and the Bharat 4.0 app that allows seamless acceptance of QR code and UPI based payment.
At the same time, incentives have been provided to merchants to accept digital payments through the new Merchant Discount Rate rules
The RBI is helping make digital payment instruments like Wallets more viable
Along with these initiatives, the Government has concomitantly undertaken a massive consumer education and information campaign.
FINTQ, the PLDT group’s financial technology (fintech) arm, seeks to bring insurance, investment and savings solutions to 30 million unbanked Filipinos by 2020 through a grassroots-based financial inclusion program KasamaKA.
Launched to veer Filipinos away from usurious informal lenders, KasamaKA enables members to earn by referring applicants to any of the digital financial services offered by Lendr, FINTQ’s digital loan platform.
Singapore headquartered fintech start-up, InstaReM, which offers convenient and cost-effective international money transfers to individuals and businesses aims to grow 600 percent in financial year 2018-19.