Thursday May 16 2019, Weekly News Digest

consumer debt

News Comments Today’s main news: iintoo picks the meat off the bones of RealtyShares. Kabbage, Affirm, SoFi among CNBC’s Disruptor 50. LendInvest cuts rates, product fees. Tencent profits, revenues surge. Pleo raises $56M. Prospa closing in on IPO. Paytm offers credit card. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report. Is POS trend putting pressure […]

The post Thursday May 16 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

consumer debt

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United States

This crowdfunding firm just picked the carcass of RealtyShares (The Real Deal), Rated: AAA

New York-based iintoo acquired RealtyShares’ assets, Inman reported. The move boosts the company’s portfolio size to $2.5 billion assets under management from $1 billion, according to the company.

Current and former investors in RealtyShares will be able to access iintoo’s crowdfunding platform, the report said. The deal — terms of which were not disclosed — is a joint venture between iintoo and Texas-based real estate firm RREAF Holdings, LLC, which will manage the investment porftolio.

Meet the 2019 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies (CNBC), Rated: AAA

14. Kabbage

Founders: Rob Frohwein (CEO), Kathryn Petralia (President), Marc Gorlin
Launched: 2009
Headquarters: Atlanta
Funding:
 $489 million
Valuation: $1.2 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
 Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning
Industry: 
Credit, financial services, lending

26. SoFi

So far, 600,000 members, $30 billion in loans

33. Affirm

Founders: Max Levchin (CEO), Nathan Gettings, Jeff Kaditz
Launched: 2012
Headquarters: San Francisco
Funding:
 $800+ million
Valuation: $3 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
 Machine learning, software-defined security
Industry: 
e-commerce, financial services, fintech

New LendingClub Account Performance – Q1 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In April 2018, LendingClub provided us with $5,000 to open a brand new account. Since then we have been chronicling the status of the account on a quarterly basis. Below are links to the full series of blog posts in chronological order:

Source: Lend Academy

Personal Loan Offers Report – April 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 9.23% in April.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 9.23%, an increase of 13 basis points from the prior month and an increase of 188 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $20,810, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 was up 0.33% ($69) from last month, and down 9.44% ($1,964) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 5.15% on average, and loan amounts of $19,489. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $1,565 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.

Is the Point-of-Sale Trend Putting Pressure on Plastic? (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

The latest entrant to the credit market, point-of-sale loans, may be shaking up how consumers finance large purchases. According to the TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) Q1 2019 Industry Insights Report, this phenomenon, combined with the popularity of credit card reward programs, may be particularly taxing for the private label card category.

Year-over-Year Origination Growth

Card Type Q4 2018 Q4 2017 Q4 2016 Q4 2015 Q4 2014 Q4 2013
Private Label -5.5% -6.7% -3.8% -0.1% 4.1% 9.2%
 Bankcard 2.9% 0.1% -4.4% 15.1% 7.4% 18.1%

Q1 2019 Credit Card Trends

 

Credit Card Lending Metric

Q1 2019 Q1 2018 Q1 2017 Q1 2016
 Number of Credit Cards 432.8 million 416.5 million  405.8 million 386.4 million
Borrower-Level Delinquency Rate (90+ DPD)  1.89%  1.78%  1.69%  1.50%
Average Debt Per Borrower $5,554 $5,472 $5,332 $5,193
Prior Quarter Originations* 16.5 million 16.0 million 16.0 million 16.7 million
Average New Account Credit Lines* $5,296 $5,283 $5,262 $5,091

*Note: Originations are viewed one quarter in arrears to account for reporting lag.

Growth in Personal Loans Led by Super Prime Consumers

Personal loan balances continued to climb in Q1 2019, growing 19.2% year over year to a new high of $143 billion. Over the past four years total balances have nearly doubled, growing from $72 billion in Q1 2015. Growth is occurring across all risk tiers with originations increasing 9.7% to 5.0 million in Q4 2018.  Super prime borrowers had the largest growth on the origination front with an increase of 22.5% year-over-year, compared to 19.5% over the same period last year.

Q1 2019 Unsecured Personal Loan Trends

 

Personal Loan Metric

Q1 2019 Q1 2018 Q1 2017 Q1 2016
 Total Balances $143 billion $120 billion $102 billion $93 billion
Number of Unsecured Personal Loans  21.4 million 19.2 million 16.9 million 15.4 million
Number of Consumers with Unsecured Personal Loans  19.3 million 17.6 million 15.7 million 14.7 million
 Borrower-Level Delinquency Rate (60+ DPD) 3.47%  3.51% 3.72% 3.59%
 Average Debt Per Borrower $8,618 $7,986 $7,603 $7,544
 Prior Quarter Originations* 5.0 million 4.6 million 3.7 million 4.1 million
Average Balance of New Unsecured Personal Loans* $5,432 $5,044 $5,132 $5,077

*Note: Originations are viewed one quarter in arrears to account for reporting lag.

Credit Card Loan Performance (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US consumer credit grew by $10.3 Bn in March, at a 3.1% annualized rate, the slowest in nine months. Revolving credit outstanding decreased by $2.18 Bn indicating that consumers ended the quarter more cautious about borrowing. US GDP growth has been propelled by rising consumer spending and a slowdown could put a dampener on growth.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

30 and 90-day delinquency rates from credit card master trust data

Source: Bloomberg, Bank Credit Card Trust Data, PeerIQ

Declining Credit Enhancement in US MPL ABS is Unwarranted (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fitch is out with a report on marketplace lending (MPL) asset-backed securities (ABS) stating declining credit enhancement is unwarranted.

Fitch states that credit enhancement (CE) levels of ‘Asf’ category rated US MPL ABS have meaningfully declined since 2017, while asset quality remained relatively steady. As a result, bondholders of more recently issued transactions have less loss protection for the same amount of asset risk.

PeerStreet Reports Accelerating Growth as the Real Estate Platform Tops $ 2 Billion in Property Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

This past March, PeerStreet, a real estate crowdfunding platform, announced that it had topped $2 billion in transactions and over $1 billion in Assets Under Management. Three months early in January, that transaction number stood at $1.7 billion. If that pace holds, PeerStreet should be nearing $3 billion in transactions by the end of the year thus firmly establishing itself as a leading property lending platform. While some sectors of real estate crowdfunding have struggled, PeerStreet does not appear to be one of them.

WealthStone Announces Real Estate Platform (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

WealthStone LLC announces the formation of its new real estate platform.

Typical investments require between $10 million to $100 million in total capitalization per project, including prudent leverage. These assets are expected to provide a total annualized return of 10% to 12%, including an annual cash dividend of 5% to 8% to the equity invested in its projects.

WealthStone aims to allocate approximately $300 million of equity capital for an estimated $700 million of total investments in a variety of real estate ventures during its current deployment phase.

Fintech seeks to help customers avoid overdrafts — with assist from a big bank (American Banker), Rated: A

The savings app provider Digit on Tuesday unveiled an instant withdrawals feature that will let users move money from their Digit account to their bank account instantly. This can help them meet emergencies and avoid incurring overdraft fees and resorting to payday loans.

Startup Launches To Combine All Of Your Credit And Debit Cards Into One Digital Card (Forbes), Rated: A

Forget checking your balance on your mobile phone. Startup Binji wants you to use your debit card instead.

In stealth mode for the past twelve months, the Irvine, California fintech is launching a debit Mastercard that enables consumers to consolidate as many as twenty-four credit cards and debit cards into a single account.

Connecting the Unbanked to A Friendlier Ecosystem (Cryptopolitan), Rated: A

P2P lending platforms like AssetStream are introducing significant improvements in the world of financing, which makes lending and borrowing friendlier and more easily accessible services.

How do We Empower a Growing Number of Small Enterprises? (Cryptopolitan), Rated: A

To be exact, if a company with relatively worse credit score applies for a large loan, let’s say $1 million, they’re more likely to be approved than a smaller, more trustworthy company that applied for a $100,000 on the same terms.

Data privacy, AI, regulation: Small-business lending is changing fast (American Banker), Rated: A

“We used to have 14,000 banks. When I started at the SBA, we were down to about 8- or 9,000 banks. Now we’re down to 5,000 banks.”

Much of the technology that is transforming how small-business lending gets done is coming from fintechs, and Mills sees “the next wave of the fintech evolution” as a partnership between these innovators and banks. “Particularly small banks,” she says.

Listen to the podcast here.

Goldman Sachs execs are opening up about their plans for Marcus (Business Insider), Rated: A

The bank has made more than $5 billion in consumer loans since making the first loan in October 2016. It has also attracted more than $46 billion in deposits.

Talwar’s comments may foreshadow the next phase of Marcus’ growth, which will center on three pillars:

1. Free financial-management software offered by Clarity Money, which was bought by Goldman last year and is likely to be rebranded at some point.

2. Direct-to-consumer products such as loan and deposit products, potentially in addition to wealth-management and insurance products.

3. Strategic partnerships.

Walmart Offers Even.com To Improve Employee Financial Health (Forbes), Rated: A

Although Even.com can let Walmart employees access their wages ahead of payday, that is its least important features, according to its CEO, Jon Schlossberg. For $8 a month — like many employees Walmart pays a share of the fee — it aims to improve financial wellness. It shows  users with a glance at a smart phone how much they have left to spend safely and helps them save for specific goals.

Millennials Are Helping to Sound the Credit Card Alarm (Bloomberg), Rated: A

First, the charge-off rate among card issuers in the first quarter increased to the highest level in almost seven years. The figure is effectively a gauge of “bad debt” — it reflects the percentage of loans companies have concluded will never be repaid. As Bloomberg News’s Jenny Surane noted last month, executives like Capital One Financial Corp. CEO Richard Fairbank chalked that up to the length of this economic expansion causing some negative credit events during the financial crisis to disappear from credit bureau reports, essentially making risky borrowers look stronger.

Crypto Startup Launches Bitcoin Term Deposit Offering 9% Annual Interest (CryptoGlobe), Rated: A

A Delaware-based cryptocurrency startup called BitLeague has recently launched a Bitcoin term deposit product designed to bring mainstream-like services to the crypto economy and attract new users.

The move was announced at Consensus 2019 and, according to a press release, the term deposit will offer 9% annual interest, with a lock-in period of 3 to 36 months.

Human Rights Watch Comment on CFPB Proposal (HRW.org), Rated: A

According to research by the Pew Charitable Trusts, approximately 12 million Americans take out payday loans and 2.5 million take out vehicle-title loans each year.[3] The short-term nature of these loans and their repayment structure drive about 80 percent of borrowers to re-borrow frequently and repeatedly pay fees to refinance their accumulated debt.[4]  The 2017 rule establishes logical baselines for consumer protection, including by requiring lenders to verify that borrowers have the ability to repay the loan and its associated fees prior to issuing a loan.

The vast majority, around 73 percent, of survey respondents reported household incomes under US$40,000, with an average of two children each, and nearly half had taken out a payday, auto title, or both types of short-term loans. People reported taking out loans most often to cover unexpected expenses, but also for their everyday expenses and groceries. More than half of those who took out a loan said they had trouble repaying their loans and associated fees.[8]

Fintech charter delayed following court ruling: Otting (American Banker), Rated: A

In a recent sit-down with American Banker, Otting said he no longer expects to have a fintech firm formally apply for the new special purpose bank charter in the second quarter of the year, after a federal judge ruled May 2 that the New York State Department of Financial Services could continue with its case to invalidate the charter.

Accomplished Human Resources Executive Joins Online Small Business Lender (OnDeck), Rated: B

OnDeck today announced the appointment of Deb Stroff as the company’s Chief People Officer.  Ms. Stroff will be responsible for leading all aspects of people strategy, including overseeing organizational design, total rewards, talent management, recruiting, leadership development and learning, as well as driving the talent agenda forward as OnDeck continues to grow in scale and complexity.

Roostify and Docutech Join Forces to Amplify the Consumer Experience (Roostify), Rated: B

Roostify announced the finalization of its integration with Docutech, a provider of document eSign, eClose and print fulfillment technology.

By joining forces with Docutech, Roostify consumers can now view, complete, and eSign documents, all within the Roostify platform.

CrowdStreet Appoints Award-Winning FinTech Innovator Donna Wells to its Advisory Board (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

CrowdStreet, Inc., a technology provider with an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), today announced the appointment of financial technology entrepreneur Donna Wells to its Advisory Board. The news comes on the heels of the company passing the $500 million threshold in total online investments with a record number of new individual investors.

Cadre Expands Executive Team, Appointing Sam Mischner as Chief Commercial Officer (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Cadre announced today that Sam Mischner has joined the company in the role of Chief Commercial Officer. Mischner brings expertise in strategic sales and operational excellence to Cadre, where he will oversee marketing, sales, and operations.

LendingPoint CEO Chosen as Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist Southeast by EY (BusinessWire), Rated: B

LendingPoint is excited to announce that CEO and founder Tom Burnside was selected as a finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year Southeast. The program recognizes entrepreneurs in more than 145 cities around the world who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in areas such as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

United Kingdom

LendInvest cuts rates and product fees (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: AAA

LendInvest has dropped its product fees and lowered interest rates for both of its 5-year fixed rate buy-to-let remortgage products for a limited time.  

The products will be available on standard property cases up to 75% loan-to-value and up to £250,000 in loan size.

The products are offered at an interest rate of 3.60%, with the ICR calculated at the pay rate, or at an interest rate of 3.49% with the ICR calculated at 5%. Both products will have zero product fee.

CapitalRise secures new institutional funding line to write larger loans (AltFi), Rated: A

Specialist property lending platform CapitalRise has secured a £30m institutional funding line from a major financial institutional investor, as it looks to expand its loan book.

The new £30 million facility was received from a UK bank, whose name is undisclosed.

OakNorth completes £30m loan-on-loan facility with Hilltop Credit Partners (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has completed its first finance deal with Hilltop Credit Partners, a specialist funding partner for small and mid-sized residential property developers and housebuilders.

The £30m loan-on-loan facility will be used to support the recently launched real estate development lending platform, led by Paul Oberschneider, who has more than 25 years of experience in property development and asset management. Backed by Round Hill Capital, a global real estate investment firm with a focus on macro-driven residential real estate investment strategies, Hilltop Credit Partners aims to help developers who know their local markets but need access to tailored financing solutions in order to fund their projects.

Crypto lending platform for business launches this month (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

London-based financial services firm Mode has announced its first product – a crypto-backed lending platform for businesses – will launch later this month.

The company is aiming to become the UK’s first fully-regulated digital-asset bank as it works on building an ecosystem of products and services designed to bridge the gap between digital and traditional finance.

The service is aimed at companies which hold Bitcoin and Ethereum – whether through direct purchase, investment, or as payment from clients.

How to Build Your Own Startup with Micro-financing? (Cryptopolitan), Rated: A

A report on This is MONEY shows that more than 50% of UK startups with less than 50 employees were rejected for bank loans. More so, 37% of SMEs are likely to give up their search for loans after their first approach is rejected.

P2P investing not always ‘high-risk’ (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Imagine an asset class where investor returns have been overwhelmingly positive every year since its inception and incredibly stable, hovering around the mid-single digits, without the rollercoaster of the stock market.

OakNorth completes £2.5m loan to multi-site specialist school, Cressey College (fe news), Rated: B

OakNorth completes £2.5m loan to multi-site specialist school, Cressey College, to support the groups growth strategy.

Finastra appoints Mark Miller as Chief Financial Officer (Virtual Strategy), Rated: A

Finastra has announced the appointment of Mark Miller as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) effective May 13, 2019.

Mark is a seasoned finance executive, with nearly 25 years of global technology, finance and operational experience. He has worked at several industry-leading companies including, most recently, Marketo, where he was CFO and travel technology firm Sabre Corporation, where he spent 18 years in a number of leadership and executive roles including CFO.

China

Tencent profit tops forecast as fintech and cloud revenues surge (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Tencent Holdings Ltd posted record quarterly profit on Wednesday, smashing market expectations, as the social media and gaming giant booked a rise in the value of its investments while fintech and cloud revenues helped make up for declines in games.

In the three months ended March, Tencent saw 17% growth in net profit to 27 billion yuan ($3.93 billion), beating the 19.4 billion yuan average of 13 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Boosting profit was a 46% rise in “net other gains”, such as from investments, to 11.1 billion yuan. Revenue, however, came in just shy of analyst estimates at 85.5 billion yuan, with growth at an all-time low of 16%.

European Union

Business card management platform Pleo raises $ 56m (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

Fintech Pleo, the business spending platform based around smart company cards, has raised $56 million in a Series B financing round led by Stripes, a New York-based growth fund.

Pleo will use the funding round to more than triple its headcount, from 120 to 400 employees by the end of 2020 and to accelerate product development as it aims to service the entire purchase process for SMEs across the whole of Europe. This includes adding credit, invoices, mobile payments, a vendor marketplace, VAT reclaim and more.

International

More global banks commit to Finastra’s Fusion LenderComm (Realwire), Rated: A

Finastra has signed three global banks on its Fusion LenderComm platform as part of a coordinated campaign, including BNP Paribas, Natixis and Societe Generale. With NatWest, which joined recently, the ramp up signals a move towards a new era of efficiency in this complex space.

How to capture Gen Z spend (Drapers Online), Rated: A

In a survey, 58% told Klarna that they would pay more than $5 (£3.90) for one-hour delivery – if brands cannot compete, then consumers will take their custom elsewhere.

Leading the way in terms of sustainability, 72% said they would pay more for sustainably sourced products, 55% would abandon a purchase if it was not sustainable, and 83% said it is important that brands prove be “pro-equality”.

Klarna found that most of this generation still frequent the high street, and do so more than any other age group.

Australia

Prospa IPO books close; on track for June 11 listing (AFR), Rated: AAA

Investment banks Macquarie and UBS are set to underwrite Prospa’s $610 million sharemarket float after running a bookbuild to sell the shares.

The brokers closed the bookbuild at 2pm on Wednesday and funds were told the lead managers had secured enough support to raise the $110 million required for Propsa’s initial public offering.

Home loan discount frenzy drives bargains for borrowers (Mozo), Rated: A

Popular online lender Tic:Toc has launched a $1,000 cashback offer for all new customers, while competitor loans.com.au has dropped its variable rate below 3.50% to match Tic:Toc’s ultra low rates. Homestar has a competitive low rate plus fee waiver offer on the market, while Virgin Money is enticing new customers with Velocity rewards points.

India

India’s largest mobile wallet company Paytm now offers a credit card (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The firm, operated by One97 Communications, today unveiled Paytm First Credit Card with lofty benefits as it races to bulk up its financial offerings. The cards, issued by Citi Bank, will be the first in the country to offer unlimited, one percent cashback on purchases, Paytm claimed in a statement. The company is hoping to rope in about 25 million credit card customers in the coming months.

The penetration of credit cards remains very low in India with under 50 million peoplepossessing one.

SIDBI’s pilot scheme for fintech NBFCs to boost digital lending (Business Line), Rated: A

To give a fillip to digital lending, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has put together a pilot scheme to extend financial assistance of up to 10 crore to new-age fintech non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) engaged in financing small businesses and other income-generating activities.

Asia

P2P lending in Vietnam (krASIA), Rated: AAA

In Vietnam, where the economy is booming, approximately 79% of the population is unbanked. Without a banking account, it is almost impossible for people to access financial services such as insurance and loans. The phenomenon is called “financial exclusion.”

The country has an internet penetration rate of 67%, higher than the region’s average of 58%, and nearly three-quarters of the adult population owns a smartphone.

Vietnam is fertile ground for massive fintech adoption, particularly in peer-to-peer (P2P lending).

P2P Lending to Overcome Financial Exclusion (SME Magazine), Rated: A

The global P2P market is estimated to be worth US$490 billion in 2020. By then, Vietnam’s own P2P market is expected to be US$7.8 billion, almost doubling from US$4.4 billion in 2017 according to estimates by APAC-focused consulting firm Solidiance. Currently, there are over 40 P2P lenders operating within Vietnam; several of which are prominent due to their size and reach.

Innoven Capital pulls in USD 200 million from Temasek and UOB (krASIA), Rated: A

Singapore-headquartered venture debt firm Innoven Capital received an additional USD 200 million in funding from its shareholders – Temasek Holdings and United Overseas Bank (UOB). The firm said it’s doing this in anticipation of the massive potential that Asia’s venture debt space offers.

Canada

Koho Secures $ 42M in Series B Funding (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Koho, a Toronto, Canada-based fintech company that provides Canadians with a mobile current account and Visa card, closed a $42m Series B funding round.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Business card management platform Pleo raises $56m

The post Thursday May 16 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday October 18 2018, Daily News Digest

Major US Banks Active Mobile Banking Users

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade to debut ABS bond. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1. Funding Circle launches free iPad incentive. China’s P2P lending is in trouble. Today’s main analysis: State laws put installment loan borrowers at risk. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi’s data science head on machine learning and non-traditional lending. LendingClub’s Bill Walsh says […]

Major US Banks Active Mobile Banking Users

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Online lender Upgrade prepares debut ABS bond  (International Financing Review) Rated: AAA

Upgrade, an online lending company started by former LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche, is looking to sell a debut asset-backed bond deal, four people with knowledge of the deal told IFR on Wednesday.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1 (“UPGR 2018-1”). This is a $286.390 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close October 30, 2018.

This transaction represents the first ABS securitization collateralized by unsecured consumer loans originated through the online marketplace lending platform operated by Upgrade, Inc. (“Upgrade”) and the first from the Upgrade Receivables Trust (“UPGR”) shelf. Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1 (“UPGR 2018-1” or the “Issuer”) will issue four classes of notes totaling $286.390 million. The proceeds from the sale of the notes will be used to purchase the loans and related rights from Upgrade Receivables Depositor LLC (the “Depositor”), who purchased the loans from the unaffiliated transferors, to fund the reserve account and to pay transaction expenses. The Depositor will in turn sell the loans to the Issuer.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Upgrade Receivables Trust 2018-1

Class Preliminary Rating Expected Initial Class Principal
A A (sf) $187,308,000
B BBB (sf) $32,569,000
C BB (sf) $28,440,000
D B (sf) $38,073,000

SoFi’s data science head: Opening the funnel to non-traditional borrowers with machine learning (Thomson Reuters) Rated: AAA

ANSWERS: What are some of the issues in machine learning that you are working to solve for right now?

WU: I think where machine learning plays the biggest role is in datasets that have extremely high numbers of dimensions, very low signal ratios and very sparsely populated values. For example, people in lending use data from the bureau. There are millions and millions of rows, there are thousands and thousands of columns. Each specific field has very little to no signal and each person has very few things that are actually populated. Those are opportunities where machine learning, particularly deep learning, has an extremely high potential.

ANSWERS: How can machine learning assist with lending decisions, and how does one keep bias from creeping into that?

WU: When making a decision on creditworthiness, machine learning can help lenders look at metrics beyond FICO and income. Whether it’s adding more information to traditional metrics versus determining creditworthiness of applicants without a full credit history, machine learning can drive tighter risk management while assessing borrower’s creditworthiness where traditional models cannot.

LendingClub’s Bill Walsh: ‘At its core, marketing is a data problem’ (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

Today’s marketer on the hot seat is Bill Walsh, LendingClub’s general manager and head of marketing for personal loans. Bill brings an engineer’s approach to marketing. The MIT grad began his tenure at Lending Club in an operations role, where rigorous problem solving was used to solve some of the biggest problems in the business. Now that he’s leading marketing on the consumer side, he brings a similar approach.

We talk about how LendingClub defines marketing and approaches channels. We pay particular attention to a recent TV campaign you might have seen over the summer of 2018. Measuring and responding to the signal is core to LendingClub’s approach and in the course of this four week broadcast campaign, Bill’s team iterated twice. This puts ad agencies on notice — this is the new data-driven fintech marketing world.

Mobile banking is reaching a saturation point in the US (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase counted32.5 million active mobile banking customers in Q3 2018 — an 11% year-over-year (YoY) increase from 29.3 million in Q3 2017.

That’s up from the 31.7 million active mobile customers in Q2 2018, but is also a slight deceleration from the 12% YoY growth in Q3 2017— following several quarters of decelerating growth: Chase has been adding around 800,000 mobile users on a quarterly basis.

Wells Fargo counts 29 million total active digital customers — 22.5 million of which use mobile banking. This marks an 8% annual increase in mobile banking customers, but a 4% YoY increase in total digital customers, demonstrating that most of its new customers are coming from mobile channels.

Source: Business Insider

State Laws Put Installment Loan Borrowers at Risk (PEW) Rated: AAA

Pew’s analysis found that although these lenders’ prices are lower than those charged by payday lenders and the monthly payments are usually affordable, major weaknesses in state laws lead to practices that obscure the true cost of borrowing and put customers at financial risk. Among the key findings:

  • Monthly payments are usually affordable, with approximately 85 percent of loans having installments that consume 5 percent or less of borrowers’ monthly income.Previous research shows that monthly payments of this size that are amortized—that is, the amount owed is reduced—fit into typical borrowers’ budgets and create a pathway out of debt.
  • Prices are far lower than those for payday and auto title loans. For example, borrowing $500 for several months from a consumer finance company typically is three to four times less expensive than using credit from payday, auto title, or similar lenders.
  • Installment lending can enable both lenders and borrowers to benefit. If borrowers repay as scheduled, they can get out of debt within a manageable period and at a reasonable cost, and lenders can earn a profit. This differs dramatically from the payday and auto title loan markets, in which lender profitability hinges on unaffordable payments that drive frequent reborrowing. However, to realize this potential, states would need to address substantial weaknesses in laws that lead to problems in installment loan markets.
  • State laws allow two harmful practices in the installment lending market: the sale of ancillary products, particularly credit insurance but also some club memberships (see Key Terms below), and the charging of origination or acquisition fees. Some costs, such as nonrefundable origination fees, are paid every time consumers refinance loans, raising the cost of credit for customers who repay early or refinance.
    Source: PEW

Read the full report here.

Bank Of America’s Zelle Boosts P2P Transactions 138 Pct In Q3 (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Bank of America cut expenses and reduced its provision for credit losses as the financial institution also beat analysts’ revenue and earnings expectations. Bank of America, in reporting its latest financials on Monday, also said that Zelle P2P payment transactions increased 138 percent year over year.

Revenue increased about 4 percent year over year, hitting $22.8 billion, higher than analyst expectations of $22.67 billion. The financial institution reported earnings per share of 66 cents, which represents a 43 percent year-over-year increase and is above analyst expectationsof 62 cents. Net income grew 32 percent to $7.2 billion.

Bank of America said its provision for credit losses decreased $118 million during the third quarter of 2018, to $716 million. “The net reserve release was $216 million, driven by continued improvement in consumer real estate and energy portfolios,” the bank said in its Q3 financial report.

As digital banks proliferate, so do risks (American Banker) Rated: A

Facing intense deposit competition from online-only banks such as Ally Financial and Goldman Sachs’ Marcus, many traditional banks are looking to turbocharge their deposit gathering by launching — or considering launching — digital banks of their own.

PNC Financial Services Group is the latest big bank to join the fray, recently rolling out a digital-only bank in markets where it lacks a brick-and-mortar presence. Like JPMorgan Chase, Citizens Financial Group and a number of other regional and community banks, PNC is counting on its digital bank to attract low-cost deposits to fuel loan growth while also helping it reach new demographic groups.

Early results have been promising — PNC CEO William Demchak said Friday that he’s been “pleasantly surprised” by the response in the Kansas City, Mo., market — but with the space becoming so crowded, industry watchers are beginning to question if the U.S. marketplace can reasonably support so many new digital banks.

Source: American Banker

Outside Financial Launches to Help Consumers Save up to $ 3,000 on Auto Loan Packages (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Outside Financial, an independent auto loan marketplace, launched its consumer-first platform today to bring transparency to auto finance. The company is the first to offer full auto loan packages outside of the dealership, which can save customers $1,000 to $3,000, along with time and hassle. Outside Financial also arranges refinances for existing borrowers.

In 2017, Americans racked up $568.6 billion in auto loans1, yet 60 percent of buyers don’t know they can bring their own financing to the dealership. The company’s new Outside Financial (OF) Markup Index* reveals that, on average, new car buyers are charged $1,717 in hidden markups when arranging their loans through a dealer.

Individual Investors Can Now One-Click Invest in Commercial Real Estate with CrowdStreet’s “Blended Portfolio” Offering (Benzinga) Rated: A

CrowdStreet, which operates the largest and most diversified online marketplace for direct equity investment in U.S. commercial real estate, is now raising $25 million for the company’s first CrowdStreet Blended Portfolio investment offering. To provide individual investors and registered investment advisors another way to diversify their investments with commercial real estate, the company plans a series of diversified and specialty portfolio investment options that will collectively raise and invest up to $170 million.

The first CrowdStreet Blended Portfolio’s proceeds will be deployed across 30-50 pre-vetted projects on the CrowdStreet marketplace, representing a broad range of commercial and multifamily asset types, risk profiles and geographies.

Credible.com Unveils First Truly Consumer-Centric Mortgage Marketplace (Business Wire) Rated: A

Credible.com, the leading online loan marketplace, announces the launch of its first-of-its-kind mortgage marketplace. Credible.com is the only mortgage marketplace that provides actual rates from top lenders in 3 minutes (without affecting a borrower’s credit score), and a streamlined digital origination process. The platform is designed to save borrowers frustration, time and money.

The Credible.com mortgage marketplace builds on the success of the company’s marketplaces for student loans, student loan refinancing, and personal loans, which have facilitated more than $1.6 billion in loans to date. The first product offered through the mortgage marketplace is mortgage refinancing, which went live today in 20 states that collectively represent 65 percent of mortgage originations.

Talking Regulation at the Online Lending Policy Summit (Lend Academy) Rated: A

The big topic of the day was the OCC’s Special Purpose National Bank Charter also known as the Fintech Charter. The topic was laid out for the audience by the first keynote speaker, Grovetta Gardineer, the Senior Deputy Comptroller for Compliance and Community Affairs at the OCC. She talked about the history of the OCC going back to 1863, with the National Banking Act, when the dollar supplanted state currencies as the sole currency of the United States, a revolutionary idea back then. Ms. Gardineer reaffirmed the authority of the OCC to introduce a national fintech charter and talked about how companies should proceed if they are interested. While she would not comment on specifics she did say that the OCC is currently having preliminary conversations with fintech companies but no formal application has been received yet.

The new head of the CFPB’s Office of Innovation, Paul Watkins, talked about the importance of the regulatory sandbox concept. He was one of the architects of the Arizona fintech sandbox and he is bringing that knowledge with him to Washington. He talked about the two main tools to help facilitate innovation at the CFPB: their trial disclosure program and the no action letter.

How Dealstruck Arrived, “Disrupted,” and Died – A Cautionary Online Lending Tale (deBanked) Rated: A

A self-described member of the “lucky sperm club,” a not-even 30-years-old Senturia went on to successfully raise $30 million of investor capital to fund his business, enough to fuel his rise and price-shame his competitors for years. But it wouldn’t last, as he detailed in book, Unwound, about the behind-the-scenes chaos that ravaged Dealstruck until the company closed for good in late 2016.

AFR Wholesale announces partnership with Floify (Housingwire) Rated: B

AFR Wholesale and Floify shook hands on a partnership, and AFR will now use Floify’s point-of-sale technology.

AFR’s goal in partnering with Floify, a 2018 HW Tech100 winner, is to reduce origination time and increase broker productivity. According to the release, Floify’s POS platform can save up to 15 hours of processing time per loan.

This is only one of an ever-increasing number of companies partnering with software companies or developing their own tech solutions in hopes of increasing productivity and getting some breathing room in the margin department in this tough mortgage market.

iintoo Launches Principal-Protection Product for Retail Investors Supported by Insurance Provided by Everest (iintoo Email) Rated: B

Online Real Estate Investment Management Company iintoo Investments Ltd. (“iintoo”) launched Epiic (Equity Protection Investment Community), the first-of-its-kind real estate investment product that provides principal protection for private accredited investors. Supported by insurance provided by an affiliate of Everest Re Group, Ltd. (NYSE:RE), a leading international reinsurance and insurance organization with operations that span the globe, and a social community pool, Epiic offers two layers of protection for investors’ principal.

iintoo opens up access to real estate investments that were once exclusive to professional funders and high-net-worth individuals. Starting at $25,000, accredited investors can invest in ownership shares in projected high yield, premium real estate projects.  Each project undergoes a rigorous due-diligence and approval process provided by iintoo.  In order to assess the risk factors in real estate investing, iintoo also conducted a thorough analysis of the real estate market in the United States, taking into consideration all sectors in all 50 states over the past 30 years.

TRANSACT Tech San Francisco to Examine the Impact of Software Providers on the Payments Industry (PR Newswire) Rated: B

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) will bring together executives from leading banking, payments and FinTech companies on November 1, 2018 for TRANSACT Tech San Francisco at the Wells Fargo Connections Center. The event will explore how software services are changing the way key ecosystems players – processors, banks and hardware manufactures – serve merchants and channel partners.

The day-long conference will kick-off with a fireside chat with Secil Watson, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital Solutions for Business at Wells Fargo. “Customer expectations are changing rapidly, and pace of change in technology is accelerating.” said Watson. “Yet we still have cash and checks. What can we learn from today’s customer experiences to build a better payments ecosystem for tomorrow?

Finicity Partners with Freddie Mac to Provide Industry-Leading Automated Income and Asset Assessment Solution (Finicity Corp) Rated: B

Finicity, a leading provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, announced today it has been selected as a third-party service provider for the new Freddie MacLoan AdvisorSM automated income and asset assessment capabilities, which provide a faster, easier way for lenders to verify loan application data upfront. Finicity’s digital verification reports greatly improve efficiency and accuracy, while also providing a simpler, more pleasant borrower experience.

Freddie Mac announced its new income and asset assessment capabilities at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Convention & Expo earlier today. Finicity’s verification reports are integrated within Freddie Mac Loan Product Advisor®, the cornerstone of Loan Advisor Suite.  When the capability goes live later this quarter, asset verification will be generally available and income verification will be available as a limited release.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle launches ‘free iPad’ incentive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

LISTED peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle is enticing new investors by offering a free iPads. But there’s a catch – they have to add at least £30,000 to their Funding Circle accounts before 16 November.

The P2P platform is also offering a number of other cashback and ‘giftback’ incentives to lenders who invest lower amounts of money.

Investors who add £20,000 to their Funding Circle accounts will receive £200 in John Lewis vouchers, while those adding £15,000 will get an Amazon Echo.

LendInvest Update: Accelerates BTL Production Application Volume Thanks to Rate Reductions (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

UK-based online lender LendInvest announced last week it has reduced rates and product fees across its Buy-to-Let product range. According to LendInvest, the pay rate for its five year fixed rate product has dropped to 3.60%, with the ICR calculation at a pay rate of 3.60%. Meanwhile, product fees for all BTL mortgages on standard property and HMO cases have been reduced to 1%, with borrowers who prioritize leverage in mind.

The lending platform also reported that for a limited time, valuation fees have been reduced to £100 for all standard property cases. LendInvest will now cover the borrower’s legal fee scale costs for standard property, standard conveyance cases, where dual representation is selected.

You think it’s going to be easy challenging the big banks? Think again (The Times) Rated: A

here has never been a more opportune moment for the pack of digital upstarts looking to topple the institutions that dominate the financial industry. Rarely does a week go by when a big bank does not suffer an IT meltdown, spewing sensitive data into the ether or freezing customers out of their accounts.

A decade after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, public distaste for the high street banks remains at elevated levels. Two thirds of Britons do not trust big banks to act in the best interests of society, according to a recent YouGov poll. The advent of smartphones, meanwhile, has fundamentally altered consumers’ expectations of their relationship with service providers.

Amex brings SME financing to UK with ezbob (Banking Tech) Rated: A

American Express (Amex) has partnered with online financing platform ezbob to offer UK SMEs competitive access to finance.

Through this partnership, eligible Amex business clients will receive a referral to apply for up to £300,000 in finance from ezbob at a fixed annual interest rate from 3%.

Carlos Carriedo, senior vice-president of global commercial services at Amex, says: “We know agility is crucial for smaller businesses to help retain a competitive advantage but accessing the finance needed to react swiftly to changing customer demands, or seize an opportunity, can be a challenge.”

Amex customers taking out a loan with ezbob will also benefit from a 40,000 Membership Reward points offer, the company adds.

Connect for Intermediaries announces new panel (Mortage Strategy) Rated: A

Connect for Intermediaries has announced the launch of a new unsecured lending panel.

Comprising Funding Circle, iwoca, Whitoak and Fleximise, the panel will be open to all of Connect’s AR members, and Connect will be able to obtain terms on behalf of other brokers as referrals.

Loans from £5,000 to £250,000 for up to five years will be available from 1.5 per cent.

Connect sales director Kevin Thomson says: “We have seen an increased demand for unsecured loans for trading businesses, as increasingly, brokers are coming to us with business clients who are looking to ease cashflow or expand their businesses.

P2P Lending Investment Returns Outstrip Many Market Competitors (CL News) Rated: A

P2P lending arrived in the UK back in 2010 with the launch of Funding Circle. The idea was simple. In the wake of the financial crisis, banks were – and still are – paying abysmally low rates of interest to savers. P2P platforms allowed savers to collectively lend money to businesses and individuals, usually over relatively short periods of time. By cutting out the middleman (or to be more precise, banks and other traditional lenders), P2P lenders were able to offer competitive rates to borrowers and superior returns to investors.

The market has evolved over the years. AltFi – which provides specialist news for the alternative investment industry along with a range of analytics services – says the market is growing rapidly. For instance, in 2015, P2P lending platforms brokered around £1.1bn in loans. In the first half of 2018 alone, the figure was £3bn. Separate figures from the Peer to Peer Finance Association reveal that its members have, to date, originated loans to a value of £9bn.

11:FS Foundry’s launch brings digital to banks (Banking Tech) Rated: A

Consultancy firm 11:FS has launched 11:FS Foundry, an approach to delivering digital banking services through a modular core banking architecture. It kicks off with the partnership with DNB, Norway’s financial services group, which has also become an investment partner.

DNB has invested £3 million for a 5% stake in 11:FS Foundry. This investment represents the long-term commitment between 11:FS and DNB to change how banks deliver digital banking services, the two companies say.

Watchdog warns payday lenders over customer complaints (Financial Times) Rated: A

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority encouraged payday lenders to proactively compensate past customers; the industry has come under a lot of heat in recent months after a surge of complaints; companies say a lot of these complaints are bogus and a pushed by professional claims management companies (CMCs)

Wonga was forced to shut down a few months ago after they saw a significant rise in complaints, complaints now cost companies more than $725 per complaint after the first 25 complaints; the rise in complaints has come after new rules were put in place in 2015 where high cost lenders we ordered to drop fees and adhere to stricter standards; a new survey by Kantar TNS showed that 60 percent of payday loan customers still pay more than anticipated.

Fintech offers fresh ways to finance an MBA (Financial Times) Rated: A

According to David Simpson, admissions director at London Business School, MBA students spend just as much time trying to find funding as they do trying to find the right program; while struggling to find his own financing Prodigy Finance CEO Cameron Stevens though there had to be a better way so he started Prodigy with two former classmates.

The company is now growing fast by offering a service few others do, while also collecting credit records from across the globe; “You have talented people who have proved their potential in receiving offers to business school,” says Mr Stevens to the FT. “The only barrier for them is funding, because the banks are still incredibly localised, as they were in the 1500s.”

Arbuthnot Banking Group PLC Third Quarter Trading Update (Arbuthnot Group) Rated: A

Customer Lending balances are 28% higher than at the same time in the prior year and originations of new loans are 18% higher. However, as previously stated, the Group remains committed to maintaining its discipline in both credit underwriting decisions and return on capital when extending credit.

The newly launched Asset Based Lending division continues to develop ahead of the original business plan and has a strong pipeline of new opportunities. The Specialist Finance division has now completed the hiring of its core team of six employees and is currently setting up its operations based in Manchester. It is expected that it will write its first deals toward the end of the fourth quarter or early 2019.

OakNorth appoints form PRA director to board (Finextra) Rated: B

OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – today announces the appointment of Martin Stewart, the former Director of Banks, Building Societies & Credit Unions at the Bank of England, as an Independent Adviser on its advisory board.

Stewart joined the Bank of England in April 2013 and spent five and a half years there. In addition to supervising UK banks, building societies, credit unions and new entrants into UK banking, he was a Member of the PRA’s Executive Team responsible for PRA regulatory policy. His regulatory experience also includes spending three years at the FSA between 2010-2013, where he was a member of the leadership team that defined and implemented the UK’s post financial crisis prudential regulatory regime that now underpins the work of the Prudential Regulation Authority. In addition to this, he has almost two decades’ board-level experience having been Managing Director of a group of European subsidiary companies of the IFG Group PLC for almost four years, and as Chairman of the International Credit Union Regulators’ Network for the last six years.
China

China’s P2P Lending Sector Is in Serious Trouble (Money Makers) Rated: AAA

P2P lending has been lucrative in China with little constraining regulation. The industry is worth as much as $120 billion and has been high-risk, but high return.

Chinese regulators have been clamping down on debt and financial risk, the number of loan defaults is rising, capital investments are running out of the sector, and Chinese citizens are losing money. And getting pretty angry about it.

In July 2018, 114 P2P lending platforms in China were shut down or had funds suspended, without warning, by China’s regulators over liquidity concerns. Since June 2018, 243 online P2P lending platforms have gone bust.

Several Chinese Peer-to-Peer Lending Companies Have Submitted Self-Inspection Reports (Capital Watch) Rated: A

With hundreds of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms having collapsed at the beginning of this year, different district-level financial bureaus recently rolled out a tougher reform on all P2P platforms’ risk compliance to ease a growing panic among investors.

This industry reform involves three major steps. First, all platforms have to complete a P2P Compliance Self-Inspection Report and submit it to the bureau by the end of October. Then, companies will be inspected by its local Internet Finance Industry Association, a non-state association. This will be followed by verification of inspection results by district-level Municipal Bureau of Financial Work with field inspection and a possible final check by higher-level government organizations.

New York-listed Hexindai Inc. (Nasdaq: HX) and PPDAI Group Inc. (NYSE: PPDF) both announced that they have completed and submitted the report.

European Union

A risky investment (Euro Weekly News) Rated: AAA

MANY UK nationals living part of the year in Spain, or visiting often, might spend months here but still retain tax residency in their home country.

This means those looking for investment opportunities can still take advantage of UK tax efficient products such as Finance ISAs – ones which use peer-to-peer lending to offer high rates of return. They may be nothing new but one legal justice firm has upped the ante offering returns of up to 8 per cent a year.

International

Advantages of P2B platforms in lending to SMEs (Lendit Conference Blog) Rated: AAA

In the EU and Australia, SMEs comprise 99.8% of all the firms and employ about 67% of the workforce. To tell the truth, SMEs might be rightfully called the economy, not just the backbone of it. A few other facts that follow are paradoxical. 2 years ago, International Finance Corporation (under World Bank) presented statistics that the gap for underfinanced SMEs around the world stood at 2.6 trillion $. One might expect, the situation got better in recent years with the global economy picking up and showing better and better numbers. On the contrary, most recent statistics from the same institution shows that the gap has widened to 5.2 trillion $.

P2P platforms make lending process global

P2B platforms can connect a business on one side of the world with an investor from another side of the world, and with a third party providing a service from yet another part of the world. All applications for loans can be made online, processed, assessed and the decision made within a matter of a few hours. Compare it to a similar process with the banks and the difference, that of speed and efficiency becomes clear. As an asset (loan) is put on the platform, investors can start investing within a matter of seconds. In such a way, a local business, somewhere in Eastern Europe can get funds from someone (or institutional investors) in UK or Germany and be able to use the collected amount for business operations within a couple of days.

4 developments that will shape the future of fintech (Business Matters) Rated: A

Within the past decade, we’ve seen the landscape of fintech move from a few disruptive start-ups to an industry that’s changing the landscape of business altogether. Consumers are becoming more and more accepting of technology as part of their day-to-day finance, a factor that has stretched the services sector and levelled the playing field with traditional institutions.

For instance, there has been a monumental shift in the way that consumers are managing their money. PwC’s Global Fintech Survey 2017 found that 84% of incumbent financial services providers believed their customers were already making payments with fintech companies, 68% thought customers were conducting fund transfers, and 60% said their clients were using fintech for their personal finances.

Quona Capital leads $ 5 million round for Brazilian small business lender BizCapital (Impact Alpha) Rated: A

Brazilian fintech firm BizCapital launched operations in January to help Brazil’s small business owners secure capital necessary for the day-to-day and growth needs of their businesses. Quona Capital, a financial tech investment firm that spun out of Accion, has led the company’s R$20 million ($5 million) investment round. Two existing investors, Monashees and Chromo Invest, both based in Brazil, also participated.

Roughly 70% of Brazil’s micro and small business owners are shut out of mainstream bank lending and instead resort to taking personal loans, which can carry interest rates as high as 200%. BizCapital offers short-term loans for up to R$150,000 ($40,000) at annual rates in the mid-double digits. The company hasn’t disclosed the size of its loan book but says it’s received more than 100,000 credit requests and serves customers in all 26 Brazilian states.

Australia

Global corporate lending platform, Trade Ledger has warned the Federal Government of substantial weaknesses in its proposed Open Banking implementation plan, when compared to the global best-practice model.

These primarily include the lack of an independent implementation and governance organisation, and limited consumer and small to medium-sized enterprise representation in the development of industry standards.

According to Trade Ledger, these omissions “risk a scaremongering campaign around data security that could stall progress and reduce the scope of the changes, leaving the door open for overseas financial markets to take over our local markets in the new era of Open Banking”.

India

UIDAI Asks Non-Banking Fintech Companies To Stop Aadhaar-Based Services (Inc 42) Rated: AAA

After getting telecom companies to submit their exit plans from Aadhaar-based services, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Aadhaar regulatory body, has now asked digital payment companies to stop offering any sort of Aadhaar-based service on their platforms.

In a letter, the UIDAI also directed digital payment companies to submit confirmation of closure of Aadhaar-related authentication and their alternative plans to exit from the Aadhaar-based ecosystem.

According to reports, the UIDAI has sent the letter only to non-banking companies such as PayPoint, Eko India Financial Services, and Oxigen Services, among others.

Citing unnamed sources, an ET report stated that banks and payment companies such as Paytm, which have obtained banking licences, have not received the notice.

Africa

Kenya built a reputation as a pioneer of financial inclusion through its early adoption of a mobile money system that enables people to transfer cash and make payments on cellphones without a bank account.

Now, a proliferation of lenders are using the same technology to extend credit to the banked and unbanked alike, saddling borrowers with high interest rates and leaving regulators scrambling to keep up.

This week, the finance ministry published a draft bill on financial regulation which covers digital lenders for the first time. A key aim is to ensure that providers treat retail customers fairly, it said.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday March 8 2018, Daily News Digest

Purchase APR

News Comments Today’s main news: CommonBond receives AAA securitization rating. Ranger Direct returns suffer. Victory Park Capital posts record returns from balance sheet investments. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree mortgage offers report for February 2018. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can big tech stop the compensation bubble? What’s driving venture capitalist’s attention to B2B fintech? The evolution of modern fintech. United States […]

Purchase APR

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

News Summary

United States

Online Lender CommonBond Receives First AAA Rated Securitization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

CommonBond, an online lending platform servicing the student loan market, has received its first triple A rating for securitization. Moody’s has assigned provisional ratings of (P)Aaa (sf) to Class A-1 and A-2 notes to be issued by CommonBond Student Loan Trust 2018-A-GS (CBSLT 2018-A-GS). DBRS rated the loans AAA as well. The transaction was CommonBond’s sixth securitization at $233.75 million bringing the total to $1.22 billion.

LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report – February 2018 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • February’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 4.22% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 3.93% in December. Refinance loan offers were up 38 bps to 4.13%.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 25 bps to 4.80%. The loan note rate hit the highest since March 2016 at 4.70% and was also up 25 bps from January. We prefer to emphasize the APR as lenders often make changes to other fees in response to changing interest rates.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.68% in February, vs 4.95% for consumers with scores of 680-719.
Source: LendingTree

The $ 5.7 trillion question: Can big tech stop the comp bubble? (INTL FCStone), Rated: AAA

INTL FCStone Global Macro Strategist Vincent Deluard:  “The $5.7 trillion question: Can big tech stop the comp bubble, resist higher yields, and deliver the growth?”  

  • Compensation, especially stock-based comp, is exploding at large tech companies
  • The tech rally rests on a foundation of low interest rates, rising stock prices, and quick revenue growth
  • Many big tech companies are becoming too big to grow
  • Rising interest rates and, God forbids, lower stock valuations could cause the entire edifice to crumble
Source: INTL FCStone

Millennials are seeking non-traditional banking (Digital Journal), Rated: A

A wake-up message for banks: if you want to remain competitive you need to embrace digital multi-channels and appeal to tech-savvy millennials.

A generational change is happening, and businesses have to accept that ‘millennials’ are expecting most products and services to be offered digitally. Financial products, including banking, are not immune from this trend. Two separate reports highlight this tendency.

review by Intelligent Finance has found that the biggest factor that attracts millennials to select one bank over another is an easy-to-use smartphone app, with most wishing to use online banking via a smartphone. In contrast, Baby Boomers stated that face-to-face customer service was the key determinant (with rude service being highlighted as the main reason why this generation might take their money to another bank). In contrast, millennials are most likely to exit from a bank if they did not like the smartphone app or if the bank suffered from a cyber breach.

19 of the top ex-bankers in fintech (efinancialcareers), Rated: A

It’s becoming more common for bankers to quit the traditional financial services in favor of financial technology, either co-founding a startup or landing at an established fintech firm. Some crash and burn and come crawling back to banking with their tail between their legs, but many have found great success in the fintech space.

The following are 19 of the top former bankers working in fintech today (in no particular order).

John Mack, a member of Lending Club’s board of directors

Mack stepped down as chairman/CEO of Morgan Stanley in 2011. Since then, he has invested in various fintech companies, including Lending Club (on whose board he sits), Orchard and Dataminr, which sends social media-based alerts to traders. He also participated in a $10m initial funding round for New England Funding Technologies (NEFT), which created the mPowerCredit credit-rating platform.

Dominic Gamble, founder of Findawealthmanager.com

After starting out as a sales-trader at Credit Agricole, Gamble worked at Credit Suisse for seven years before he moved to Deutsche Bank in 2010. However, a year later Gamble left to set up his website, Findawealthmanager.com, which helps high-net-worth investors to research and evaluate financial advisers.

Points awarded for new ISOs and more; Prizes include a Nintendo Switch (6th Avenue Capital), Rated: A

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

  • The breakdown of points* awarded per category is as follows:
  • New ISOs/ISOs submitting first MCA application – 1 point
  • New MCA submissions – 1 point
  • Approved submissions – 2 points
  • Funded deals – 3 points
  • *California submissions excluded.

Points will be awarded from March 1, 2018 to March 30, 2018 and tallied at the end of the month. Prizes will be awarded to the top nine finishers as follows:

  • 5th through 8th place – Amazon Echo Dots (4)
  • 1st through 4th place – Parrot Mambo Drones (4)
  • 1st place – Nintendo Switc and Parrot Mambo Drone

Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein On Their #FinTechForChange Call Against Assault-Style Rifles (Hypepotamus), Rated: A

How did you decide as a company to take a public stand on this issue?

As a technology leader and financial services company, we believe we have a unique responsibility and opportunity to help prevent future tragedies from occurring. Doing nothing is still a choice. We choose to do something to drive positive change and be an example to others.

How data analytics drives better real estate investing (Housing Wire) Rated: A

For Auction.com, the largest real estate marketplace, innovative technology enables us to provide a superior level of functionality and data analytics on a host of different types of real estate in the 3,000+ counties we serve — helping build stronger relationships with our buyers and sellers, and making us a trusted partner throughout the auction process.

Buyers and sellers demand greater data capabilities

In a world increasingly driven by big data, the real estate professionals who effectively utilize robust data analytics to make more informed decisions typically realize greater levels of success. Just as stock market investors conduct due diligence and use varied data sources prior to purchasing a company’s stock, real estate investors should do the same when buying property. Likewise, sellers come to the marketplace with one goal in mind – selling a property at market-price in the least amount of time. Data analytics serves as a catalyst to ensure that both of these needs are met.

World Economic Forum leads creation of fintech cyber security consortium (The Star), Rated: A

The World Economic Forum has led the creation of an industry consortium focused on improving the cybersecurity of financial technology companies, as collaboration between fintechs and financial institutions grows.

The consortium’s founding members include Citigroup Inc, online lender Kabbage, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, Zurich Insurance Group and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the companies said on Tuesday.

The mortgage market risk no one’s talking about (BROOKINGS), Rated: A

After the crisis, Congress and financial regulators increased regulation of the credit risk associated with mortgage lending, including the enforcement of stronger underwriting standards. But according to new research published in the Spring 2018 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, a boom in nonbank mortgage lending means the mortgage market is still exposed to liquidity risk that very few people are talking about.

What is Blockchain Technology? A Beginner’s Guide (Invest in Blockchain)

The very primitive form of the blockchain was the hash tree, also known as a Merkle tree. This data structure was patented by Ralph Merkle in 1979, and functioned by verifying and handling data between computer systems. In a peer-to-peer network of computers, validating data was important to make sure nothing was altered or changed during transfer. It also helped to ensure that false data was not sent. In essence, it is used to maintain and prove the integrity of data being shared.

Source: Invest in Blockchain

Women in NYC Tech: Angela Galardi Ceresnie of Climb Credit (Alley Watch), Rated: A

Today we speak with Angela Galardi Ceresnie, COO of Climb Credit, the smart student-lending platform. After undergrad and roles at Citi and American Express, Angela took her financial acumen to the startup world in 2013 to cofound Orchard Platform, an investment platform for the peer-to-peer and online direct lender, with Matt Burton, Jonathan Kelfer and David Snitkof. During Angela’s time at Orchard, the company had raised over $40M in funding, backed by some notable investors including John Mack, Thrive Capital, and Spark Capital. In 2016, Angela transitioned to Climb Credit to work alongside the founding team to help it scale. Angela is an active member of the NYC tech ecosystem and continues to give back to the community through her involvement.

 

What are the advantages of being a woman in tech?

We have a unique perspective that we can bring to the table, what has historically been, a primarily male-dominated field, and that allows us to make useful observations and a significant impact as long as we stand behind our ideas. There is also no shortage of support from other women in the industry.

iintoo Returns Net 15.95 Percent on Exited Deals (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Real estate investment management company iintoo investments Ltd. (“iintoo”) announced a 15.95 percent average annual return on investment, net fees, and $3 million in regular distributions to investors since its founding in 2015. The returns are based on iintoo’s six exited investments to date, with a total asset value of $50 million, all of which exited ahead of schedule. With assets totaling $560 million and a global community of 32,000 members, New York-based iintoo opens up access to real estate investments that were once exclusive to professional funders and high net worth individuals.

Unlike a crowdfunding platform, iintoo works directly with project developers to vet and create business plans to maximize the chances for success.

RealtyShares Survey Shows Many Americans Believe Commercial Real Estate is Critical to Improving Local Communities (Business Wire), Rated: A

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, today announced the results from its Commercial Real Estate Investing Survey.

The survey found that a quarter of U.S. adults (25%) felt commercial real estate investment has the biggest impact on enhancing the reputation of a community. Roughly 1 in 5 of those who have or are currently investing in commercial real estate have done so for reasons that may support their community, like helping a friend or family member with capital for a commercial real estate investment (20%) or needing a facility for their own business (17%).

While some are already involved, the survey revealed fifty-three percent of Americans would invest in commercial real estate within their communities if given a chance. For those who have never invested in commercial real estate, affordability and access were the major roadblocks. Sixty-one percent believe they lack the necessary funds, while 19 percent don’t know how to invest. This may be creating an investing gap, as nearly 9 out of 10 Americans (89%) have never invested in commercial real estate, according to the report.

A Guide to Commercial Real Estate Crowdfunding (Commercial Property Executive), Rated A

Charles Clinton, co-founder & CEO of investing platform EQUITYMULTIPLE, delves into the mechanism behind commercial real estate crowdfunding and underlines the most important factors an investor must consider for long-term success.

What opportunities does real estate crowdfunding offer investors?

Clinton: By moving real estate syndication online, real estate crowdfunding has begun to change that old paradigm. Individual investors can now invest in private market real estate transactions at low minimums (our investment minimum at is typically $10,000 per offering) and start allocating a portion of their portfolio into real estate without taking on the burdens of direct ownership.

Investors have full transparency into what properties they’re investing in and the low minimums help facilitate diversification. The best platforms also pre-screen the real estate companies and investments that they present, easing the selection burden on investors.

What are the benefits of crowdfunding investment compared to traditional instruments?

Clinton: Strong yield—after years of near-zero interest rates, investors have been forced to look for yield in new places. Less volatility—these investments are illiquid and non-traded, as opposed to public stocks, traded REITs or cryptocurrencies (a topic on everyone’s mind). While illiquidity has its drawback, it also reduces market correlation, making direct real estate investing less subject to market swings and, in aggregate, exhibit less volatility.

Potential for outsized returns—because private real estate markets are inefficient, there is potential for market-beating returns by investing in markets and submarkets that are underserved by traditional sources of capital, and in properties with untapped potential. Downside protection is also an advantage. Real estate—as an irreplaceable resource with tangible value—is also less vulnerable to recessions. The economy will expand and contract cyclically, but a growing number of humans will always need places to live and work.

Then we have tax advantages. Real estate investing platforms allow individual investors to share in the same unique tax advantages as institutional real estate investors—namely write-offs for depreciation, and a new 20 percent deduction for investments made through an LLC, courtesy of the recently-signed tax bill.

QuantumReverse Expands Its Team (PR Newswire), Rated: B

QuantumReverse, the technology company that is building an advanced reverse mortgage LOS, announced the addition of four industry veterans to its team. QuantumReverse’s team now boasts over 50 years of combined experiences in the reverse mortgage technology space.

Triad ranks among the best places for new small businesses (Tiad Business Journal), Rated: B

The Triad area ranks among the 50 best places for new small businesses, according to a new study by online loan marketplace LendingTree.

Interview with Yann Murciano, CEO of Blend Network (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Blend Network has already lend £1.5 million GBP to 6 project across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Norfolk with an average fixed return of 12.2% p.a.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  1. Access to niche markets
  2. High returns
  3. Strong due diligence and credit risk assessment

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

  1. Access to finance
  2. We bring knowledge and understanding of developers’ true requirements
  3. No exit fee for early repayments
United Kingdom

Ranger Direct’s returns still suffering from Princeton proceedings (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: AAA

RANGER Direct Lending’s (RDL) ongoing legal dispute with its Princeton holding pushed its net asset value (NAV) return down to 0.43 per cent in January, the investment trust has revealed.

RDL has been locked in arbitration proceedings with Princeton since last year over its exposure to bankrupt lender Argon Credit, and without these costs it said its returns would have been 0.68 per cent.

The update shows its NAV is down from 0.48 per cent in December.

VPC posts record returns from balance sheet investments (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: AAA

VICTORY Park Capital (VPC) Specialty Lending Investments has reported that gross revenue return from its balance sheet investments hit an all-time high in January.

Its balance sheet loans produced returns of 1.08 per cent in January, compared to its marketplace loans which produced 0.04 per cent.

80 per cent of its portfolio was in balance sheet loans as of 31 January, the company said.

Fintech lender iwoca pledges £100m for Northern SMEs by 2020 (AltFi), Rated: A

European small business lender iwoca has announced today its intention to pledge £100m in lending to micro and small businesses in the UK’s Northern regions by 2020, as it fights to counteract the withdrawal of credit by UK banks.

The UK neobank market has reached a critical juncture (Business Insider), Rated: A

Starling Bank and Monzo became the top two banks in terms of customer satisfaction, according to consumer finance site Smart Money People, knocking incumbent first direct out of the number one spot for the first time. Additionally, the percentage of UK consumers willing to use a digital-only startup bank fell during 2017, from 78% in the first half of the year to 54% by the end of the year, according to a survey by RFi Group.

Do SMEs favour equity and alternative finance over debt? (Specialist Banking), Rated: A

At the beginning of 2017, SMEs in the UK accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses and 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.

Last year saw a substantial increase in the value and number of SME equity deals (up 79% and 12% respectively) in the UK, as well as continued growth in the value of SME asset finance deals (up 12%) and P2P lending (up 51%).

This was at the same time that traditional bank net lending declined to £700m – down from £3bn the year before.

Forget the Lifetime ISA, we need an ‘Everything ISA’ (City Wire),  Rated: A

A report by the Association of Taxation Technicians (AAT) has criticised the number of ISAs available that brings ‘unnecessary complexity, bureaucracy, and confusion’, said chief executive Mark Farrer.

‘Some ISAs have age limits, some do not, some have a maximum savings limit of £20,000 per annum, one has a £4,128 limit, another £4,000, and the Help to Buy ISA offers a £50 bonus for every £200 saved, up to a maximum of £3,000,’ he said.

Farrar also pointed out the ‘mind-boggling interaction’ between different types of ISAs that means the total saved into a Lifetime ISA (Lisa) – a maximum of £4,000 a year – has to be deducted from the total (currently £20,000) that can be saved into a cash or stocks and shares ISA.

Checkout.com Secures a Place on Tech City’s Future Fifty, (PRNEWSWIRE), Rated: B

Checkout.com, a leading international online payment solutions provider, has been included in Tech City’s renowned Future Fifty programme for 2018.

China

Property Tax In China By 2019? (supchina), Rated: A

Meanwhile, there is no tax on real estate. If you buy an apartment — even if it sits empty — it does not cost anything. Although there has been talk of a property tax for many years, there has been little action aside from a few experiments in local markets. That might be about to change, judging by this Sohu report (in Chinese):

  • At this morning’s press conference at the annual political gathering known as the Two Sessions, Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin 史耀斌 told reporters that his ministry and other government departments were “drafting and improving the real estate tax law,” while former Finance Minister Lou Jiwei 楼继伟 said that a draft bill may be reviewed by the legislature this year.
  • One important detail that has not yet been worked out: How will the value of property be assessed — based on appraisal, market value, or some other indicator?
  • Local governments will collect and have the benefit of property taxes.
  • The Party’s biggest worry is, I believe, that a property tax will be an excessive new burden on ordinary households whose only major investments are in real estate.
  • A possible solution mentioned in the Sohu article is leaving the first 160 square meters of a person’s property tax-free, but placing a levy on floor space in excess of that and on additional real estate owned by the same person.
  • “A property tax is a potential game-changer for a real estate industry sometimes called too big to fail for the Chinese and world economies,” says Bloomberg.
European Union

EU proposes crowdfunding ‘passports’ in boost for fintech (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The European Commission has proposed crowdfunding “passports” for the European Union in a draft law that forms part of efforts to boost growth in the financial technology sector.

“An EU crowdfunding license would help crowdfunding platforms scale up in Europe,” the EU’s financial services commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement.

International

What’s Driving VCs’ Attention To B2B FinTech (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

According to the analysis, which was released last week, an 18 percent increase in FinTech funding in 2017 led the industry to see $27.4 billion worth of investments. FinTech funding spiked 31 percent to $11.3 billion in the U.S. alone, and the U.K. market’s funding deals nearly quadrupled in value to $3.4 billion.

The volume of deals increased, too, with nearly 2,700 investment rounds closing last year.

B2B FinTechs are playing an especially prominent role in this trend, analysts noted. Anecdotally, these firms have been talking for years about the industry’s potential to make significant disruptions in areas like corporate finance, small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending and more.

The alternative finance market saw a sudden boom, and a similarly sudden period of volatility as big industry names like Lending ClubOnDeck and Kabbage struggled to continue growth momentum. Kabbage was hit with a lawsuit last year initiated by an SMB borrower, and Lending Club’s CEO resigned in 2016 following an investigation into improper loan sale practices.

Fintech – The Evolution Of Modern Financial Technology In The 21st Century (Valuewalk), Rated: AAA

Financial procedures have evolved 

India

Nirav Modi fallout: As banks tighten purse strings, fintech can fill the void (India Times) Rated: AAA

As banks scramble to tighten their credit disbursal process, the ones most affected would surely be the small businesses. The now oft quoted figure from the Economic Survey this year has revealed that the amount of credit or loans disbursed by banks amounted to Rs 26,041 billion as on November 2017, but 82.6% of this was cornered by large enterprises. There is, however, now a robust alternate source of finance for small businesses to tap into.

“Non-Bank Finance Companies (NBFCs) stepped up financing of MSMEs after demonetization. NBFCs can be a very powerful vehicle for delivering loans under MUDRA. Refinancing policy and eligibility criteria set by MUDRA will be reviewed for better refinancing of NBFCs,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget for 2018-19.

Digital lenders call for easing of regulations (The Times of India), Rated: A

The Digital Lenders’ Association of India (DLAI) has presented a set of policy recommendations to the finance ministry, including easing of funding sources for digital lenders, expanding access to the micro and small enterprises (MSMEs), easing paperless transactions, and opening up lending data.

DLAI, formed in late 2016, comprises of 42 alternative lending startups including CapitalFloat, Lendingkart, Indifi, and KredX. It was formed to develop and promote the needs of these players.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor