Tuesday June 13 2017, Daily News Digest

credit card charge-offs

News Comments Today’s main news: KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Lending Club securitization. Ant Financial extends online credit service to retailers. Credit Peers secures 45 million GBP credit line. Today’s main analysis: A significant increase in US credit cards defaults. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 4 in 10 Brits are shunning savings. Why India’s fintech startups are flocking to the […]

credit card charge-offs

News Comments

United States

  • KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Lending Club securitization. GP:”The securitization volumes continue to increase. This is a package of near prime unsecured consumer loans.”
  • Lending Club markets first sponsored deal. GP:”This should be a teamplate for further securitizations. Why is this important? Because this further diversifies the sources of capital available to Lending Club and also probably makes their capital even cheaper. This should also perhaps enable Lending Club to increase their revenue by turning some profit on these securitizations. All in all, I think it’s a very bullish sign for Lending Club.”
  • Americans are suddenly defaulting on credit cards. GP:”The increase is still not out of the channel bounds we have seen since beginning 2014 for the average credit card company except for Capital One. The question is: Is Capital One ahead of the pack in noting defaults or are they a special case? Further analysis  seems to point that underwriting standards have recently degraded in fact. Would this be seen this quickly in the default performance? “AT:”Excellent analysis. Remember the mortgage crisis? The S&L crisis? Bank failure bailouts? The controversial CFPB was created to solve some of the problems associated with consumer financial management behavior. Could we be headed toward another political crisis? If it is perceived that banks are using poor risk assessment metrics or issuing credit card debt to people who shouldn’t have it, then we may see more headlines soon.”
  • CommonBond closes $231M securitization. GP:”Aa3 from Moody’s. CommonBond’s fourth and largest, and was more than three times oversubscribed by investors.”
  • Marketplace Lending: The Next 10 Years GP:”Most industries follow the same bell curve of solution and no problem, problem found, exponential increase, margin collapse, consolidation, new innovation. I don’t see why online lending is any different.”
  • The next industry Amazon could dominate. GP:”Amazon will probably dominate lending to Amazon vendors. That is not an industry, just a small and growing piece of it. Will Amazon dominate retail commerce in its entirety? I hope not, as in general, we don’t think that monopolies are good for society.” AT: “An overstatement. Amazon is a product retailer. While there may be a good business case for Amazon having a lending vertical, Amazon will never be a specialist in online lending, to small businesses or otherwise. But there are some good points made in this article, one of which is the cost of the loans themselves–not exactly competitive.”
  • Rubicon adds Bond Street for financing options. GP:”Growth through partnerships continues to be the  best way for good cost of customer acquisition which is one of the two pain points (together with cost of capital).”
  • Corporate America has lost control of your wallet. AT: Interesting comparison of PayPal and Bitcoin. All to say that banks may not be necessary, which is arguable despite Bill Gates’ prescient wisdom.”
  • PeerStreet offers new way to bet on housing. GP:”PeerStreet offers p2p investment in debt in real estate. Is the yield sufficient to justify it?”
  • The best way to beat robos: Be more human. GP:”In my experience in capital markets the robos work until the market type changes. And markets change types, due to the underlying source driving source changing, every few months. “AT: “I’m seeing more and more of this type of advice for financial advisors.”
  • Marketplace lending and the future of consumer bitcredit. AT: “Interesting podcast interview.”
  • Fundbox launching new product for SMBs. GP:”A line of credit”
  • SoFi has applied for a bank charter. GP:”Here is the application.”
  • Elevate launches analytics team in San Diego.
  • Lendio Pilots Online Lending Platform with Comcast Business Customers GP:”Growth through partnerships continues to be the  best way for good cost-of-customer-acquisition which is one of the two pain points (together with the cost of capital).”

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-NP1 (“CLUB 2017-NP1”). This is a $279.388 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close June 22, 2017.

This transaction is LendingClub Corporation’s (“LendingClub” or the “Company”) first sponsored transaction and the second rated securitization of near prime unsecured consumer loans facilitated by LendingClub’s proprietary technology platform. All loans in this securitization are whole loans that were purchased through a pro-rata allocation of the near prime loans originated on the platform by seven third parties unaffiliated with LendingClub.

Lending Club markets first sponsored deal (Global Capital), Rated: A

San Francisco-based online platform Lending Club is sponsoring its first multi-seller securitization, which is backed by a portfolio of near-prime consumer loans.

“A club deal program enables Lending Club to drive standardisation in offering docs, covenants, structure, servicing, collateral consistency, and offering cadence,” wrote Ram Ahluwalia.

Americans are suddenly defaulting on their credit cards (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The American economy has looked pretty robust of late — unemployment just hit a 16-year low, and stocks recently reached an all-time high.

This makes it all the more curious that Americans have suddenly stopped paying off their credit-card bills at a rapid rate.

In the past two fiscal quarters, banks reported a steep rise in credit-card charge-offs — debt that companies can’t collect from their customers — according to a report from Moody’s.

The sharp increase, the largest since 2009, is especially unusual given how strong the US employment market has been, Moody’s noted. It suggests that American consumers haven’t fallen on hard times so much as banks have started to loosen their standards and issue credit more aggressively.

Charge-offs and unemployment tend to be related: When people lose their jobs, credit cards tend to be one of the first bills people stop paying, as compared with loans for a home or a car in which people risk losing those crucial assets.

CommonBond Closes $ 231M Securitization (CommonBond Email), Rated: A

Of the transaction, CEO David Klein said:

“Our highest-rated and largest deal yet clearly reflects both the growing investor and customer demand for CommonBond’s products. By maintaining maniacal focus on our category, and delivering the best possible experience for our members, we’ve been able to consistently provide investors with superior credit quality assets. We’re pleased to welcome a standout group of investors to this transaction. And as a programmatic issuer, we look forward to continuing to bring opportunities to market for investors over time.”

Highlights include:

  • The offering achieved AA ratings from Moody’s and DBRS – Aa3 and AA, respectively – which are our highest ratings to date.
  • The transaction was CommonBond’s fourth and largest, and was more than three times oversubscribed by investors.
  • CommonBond and Goldman Sachs acted as co-sponsors for the transaction. Goldman Sachs served as structuring agent, co-lead manager, and book-runner.
  • Barclays and Citi served as co-lead managers and book-runners on the transaction as well. Guggenheim Securities served as co-manager.
  • CommonBond’s inaugural securitization from 2015 was also recently upgraded by DBRS.

Marketplace Lending: The Next 10 Years (deBanked), Rated: A

The marketplace for consumer and small-business loans has come a long way over the last 10 years. Since the early days of peer-to-peer lending, there has been a great proliferation of new types of intermediaries creating new layers of distribution for the risk involved with the lending process. Now marketplace lending has reached an inflection point that will create a much different scenario with fewer players and more partnerships.

The linchpin holding this model all together is technology including machine learning, which is driving more efficient distribution. “Technology is what has made marketplace lending so rich and competitive. But technology firms must now compete within the market they’ve created. And typically technology – once it exists can be commoditized,” said Hadden, adding that technology will eliminate intermediaries, not create new ones.

Meanwhile, growth for the software providers will be through partnerships.

The Next Industry Amazon Could Dominate (Fortune), Rated: A

Amazon revealed last week that it loaned $1 billion to merchants on its marketplace in the past 12 months. Square and PayPal have adopted similarly successful models. As of November, Square’s two-year-old lending arm had lent $1 billion to businesses. PayPal’s small business lending is growing at a rate of $4.5 million a day.

These tech giants’ emergence and momentum in this burgeoning industry might be the boost online lending needs to become a mainstream option for small businesses.

They’re well positioned to succeed for a few reasons. First, the tech giants have massive, active customer bases; Amazon has 2 million potential lending customers already selling products on its own marketplace.

Second, while there are certainly well-known players inside the online lending space, from OnDeck to Lending Club, there’s no direct lender that’s a household name.

Third, companies like Amazon, Square, and PayPal know who they’re lending to. Since their core business model encompasses their customers’ business transactions, they know exactly how much money their customers are making and when that money comes into their business. This information makes the tech giants better prepared and more likely to underwrite loans for businesses that might have been denied elsewhere.

While Amazon’s pricing is particularly attractive, with estimated annual interest rates between 10.9 and 12.9%, PayPal’s annual percentage rate (APR) is estimated to be between 15 and 40% and Square’s is estimated between 30 and 35%. This pricing is competitive for short-term loans, but if business owners have larger, longer-term, or revolving credit needs, they could qualify for more cost-efficient options.

Rubicon adds Bond Street for financing options (Waste Today Magazine), Rated: A

Rubicon Global, Atlanta, has announced online lender Bond Street, New York, has joined as a partner in its RubiconPro consortium buying program. The program delivers fuel, equipment, maintenance and financial benefits for independent waste hauling companies and truckers across North America.

Rubicon says Bond Street is an affordable option for companies to finance growth investments such as hiring additional employees, purchasing inventory or equipment or refinancing a business credit card. An online lender, Bond Street provides one-year to three-year term loans that range from $25,000 to $ 1 million, with rates starting at 6 percent, according to the company.

These loans were created to help homeowners, but for some they did the opposite (Los Angeles Times), Rated: A

Now her mother, who receives $11,600 a year from Social Security and suffers from dementia, is struggling with a roughly $50,000 loan paid through a $5,500 annual tax assessment — an increasingly popular form of home-improvement financing known as PACE.

Edwards said the contractor explained that “a government program” would help the octogenarian afford the improvements, but never explained how the payments would work or warned them Hill could lose her house if payments were missed.

The total amount lent for residential PACE projects topped $1.5 billion in 2016, up from $350 million just two years earlier, according to trade group PACENation.

The loans are secured by a property lien and if unpaid a borrower can be foreclosed upon. Consumers put no money down and usually don’t pay anything for at least six months. Eligibility is largely based on home equity. Credit score and income are not a factor.

Many consumers simply know their loans as the HERO program, the name of the PACE program from the industry’s biggest lender, Renovate America in San Diego.

Critics say PACE can serve a worthy purpose, but worry too many consumers are agreeing to loans they don’t need or understand after being contacted by aggressive contractors, who often make cold calls or engage in door-to-door marketing.

According to lawsuits and interviews with borrowers and their advocates, some contractors are inflating the cost of their services and misrepresenting how much the loans cost or how they are paid back.

Contractors can get consumers approved on the spot, having them sign documents on a tablet computer — an experience advocates say can be confusing, particularly for elderly homeowners. Lenders then send final financing documents to homeowners for their signature, with the process taking a few hours to several days.

The three major private lenders — Renovate America, Renew Financial of Oakland and Ygrene Energy Fund of Petaluma, Calif., — say most of their customers come away happy and point to low default and delinquency rates as evidence the programs are working.

Across the nation, less than 1% of all securitized PACE loans that Kroll Bond Rating Agency tracks have defaulted, said Cecil Smart, a senior director at the company.

Renovate America said over the last five years, none of its clients have been foreclosed on for not paying their PACE loan, but nearly 80 homeowners with such financing, or 0.08% of the total, have been foreclosed upon after they didn’t pay their mortgage.

Corporate America Has Lost Control Of Your Wallet, Thanks To These Innovators (Huffington Post), Rated: A

For as long as there have been big banks, Wall Street has controlled your money. They’ve chosen who gets loans, how much they cost, who gets access – they’ve basically hand picked the economic winners and losers of the world. But not anymore, thanks to the rise of the sharing economy, financial technology, and the disruption of the traditional banking system.

The democratization of money starts with decentralizing control over that money. And that means more peer-to-peer payments, greater convenience, and a simple, easy-to-use electronic payments system working behind the scenes. Wirecard AG is a leader on all these fronts, helping consumers break free of big bank control.

We’ve had a pretty convenient way of sending money abroad, paying for odd jobs and transferring money online for goods and services for a while now. All by using an email address. PayPal came onto the scene breaking down the need for costly bank transfers and setting up recipients.

Like payment company, Square. Their convenient app, Square Cash, lets you send money from email to email.

Peer to peer lending companies like Lending Club, Prosper, and Upstart, now provide individual loans of up to $35k and business loans of up to $300k.

And for those of you comfortable with an unregulated, digital type of platform, now you can buy and sell in Bitcoin.

In fact, a report by Goldman Sachs found that one third of millennials don’t believe they’ll need or have a bank account within the next five years! And that makes Wall Street traders tremble.

PeerStreet Offers New Way to Bet on Housing (Investopedia), Rated: A

Whether he stills feels this way or not, Burry has placed a different bet on the U.S. housing market by taking a seat on the board of PeerStreet, a peer to peer marketplace that allows investors to buy into the debt of real estate investments. Think Lending Club, but for real estate, where investors can access prime traunches of real estate debt. It’s real estate loan securtization by any other name, but by investing in the debt of a real estate investment at low loan to value ratios, PeerStreet is offering what it calls a ‘safer type of real estate investment’. If things go sour, debt investors are paid off ahead of equity investors, thereby cushioning the risk. Furthermore, PeerStreet advertises 6-12% annualized returns, and the loan periods are as short as 6 months to a just a couple years, but only for accredited investors.

The best way to beat robos: Be more human (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Anything in an adviser’s daily routine that can be automated should be outsourced to technological tools, says Alan Moore, co-founder of XY Planning Network. According to Bloomberg, 58% of an adviser’s role can be automated with artificial intelligence.

Fava agrees, suggesting that rather than trying to best robo advisers, advisers should shift their focus to aspects of their organization that requires a human touch.

Virtual meetings can take place anytime via video chat and chat bots can help answer routine questions. In his research McDermott says he’s found a growing number of advisers using video chat for initial consultations and their clients are satisfied with telephone consultations afterwards.

Another easy automation is password management software, McDermott says. Using that tool is simpler than trying to remember 70 passwords or having to input and look them up individually on a spreadsheet, he says.

Marketplace Lending and the Future of “Consumer Bitcredit” (American Bankruptcy Institute), Rated: A

A podcast interview with Profs Andrew Dawson and Christopher Odinet.

Marketplace Lending and the Future of “Consumer Bitcredit” – Episode 203

Fundbox Launching New Product for SMBs (Fundbox Email), Rated: B

Tomorrow, Fundbox, the leading cash flow optimization platform for small businesses will unveil its newest product, Direct Draw – a revolving line of credit (up to $100,000) that offers business owners instant access to working capital, without using personal credit scores and we wanted to give you an early look. The company will also reveal survey findings indicating the widespread industry need for the Direct Draw product; 65 percent of business owners don’t believe that FICO should be tied to business credit.

Direct Draw enables Fundbox to help the 18M SMBs in the U.S. that are underserved by existing funding options, most of which rely on personal credit, something that is unpopular with many SMBs. For Direct Draw, customers are approved using bank account data.

Would you like to see the embargoed release and / or speak with Eyal Shinar, Founder & CEO? Eyal has often said that he aims to be the next Visa, and they are on well on their way. Also, Direct Draw is possible because of the company’s deep investments in artificial intelligence and Eyal can speak to that as well.

SoFi has applied for a bank charter (Tech Crunch), Rated: B

In May, SoFi CEO Michael Cagney told TechCrunch the company would be applying for a bank charter “in the next month.” Well, it’s about a month later, and — surprise! — the company has actually done so.

On June 6, SoFi applied for a de novo (or “new”) bank charter, according to a filing notice on the FDIC website. There will be an open comment period on the application for the next month, which will close July 6. The company confirmed it submitted the application, which TechCrunch has received a copy of.

The company is applying for an industrial loan charter under the name SoFi Bank in Utah, listing a Salt Lake City location as its proposed depositary address.

Elevate Launches Analytics Team In San Diego (SocalTech), Rated: B

San Diego-based Elevate Credit, a fintech startup aimed at providing credit to non-prime customers, said it has launched a new “Advanced Analytics” center in San Diego. The company said the San Diego team has more than 35 data scientists, including more than 25 member with advanced degrees, and eight with PhDs.

Lendio Pilots Online Lending Platform with Comcast Business Customers, (Email), Lendio

Lendio, a marketplace for small business loans, today announced a pilot agreement with Comcast Business designed to provide its small business customers with quick and easy access to capital. Through the collaboration, Comcast Business customers will have more streamlined access to Lendio’s marketplace and network of more than 75 lenders, where they can get matched with the financing they need to help them start, grow and thrive.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are more than 28 million small businesses in America, accounting for 48 percent of U.S. employees. Many of these businesses face obstacles getting a loan, like researching an overwhelming number of potential lenders, soliciting financing offers, and determining what loan is right for them. The collaboration between Lendio and Comcast Business will seek to resolve these challenges by providing more direct access to capital through an established set of lenders offering a wide range of loan offerings, and personal attention from small business loan experts.

Comcast Business customers participating in the pilot will be able to choose from various loan products such as lines of credit, working capital loans, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, term loans, equipment loans, accounts receivable financing, and more.

United Kingdom

Four in 10 Brits shunning savings, RateSetter warns (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ALMOST four in 10 Brits failed to save a penny in the three months to April, RateSetter research has found, with the peer-to-peer lender warning that this could lead to financial difficulties down the line.

37 per cent of UK adults did not put any money away, and just 21 per cent expected to be able to save more over the next 12 months, data from the platform showed on Tuesday.

Almost half of respondents to a survey commissioned by RateSetter blamed the non-existent returns currently available on cash, with the higher rate of inflation compressing income opportunities.

Credit Peers Secures £45 million Credit Line (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Credit Peers, one of the first peer-to-business (P2B) secured property lending platforms in the UK, announced today that it has secured a credit line of £45 million from a European investment management firm.

The financing should allow Credit Peers to expand its growing business by providing fast-tracked debt funding to experienced property investors and developers on investment grade property transactions across the UK.

Earlier this year Credit Peers launched its loan-based P2B platform offering property transactions to the public that were previously only available to institutions and banks. Credit Peers aims to significantly speed up the process of property financing compared to the traditional model.

Fintech CEO on how to create Buzz in a start-up (CNBC), Rated: A

A fintech can effectively become a ‘concierge’ directing its customers to insurance, or any other financial service if they control the data. However, linking to established insurers or banks, which often have legacy IT systems and data silos that cannot interact with newer formats, messaging standards and more modern IT, can be problematic for any start-up looking to partner with a financial institution (FI). This may be an issue for BuzzGroup in the future as it attempts develop a data-centric ‘concierge’ business and scale up.

The spin-off BuzzVault insurtech digital inventory and app, which stores and protects belongings on the blockchain, takes a fee from insurers for its services, effectively acting a sales channel. But it offers insurance partners a fresh approach to customer acquisition and retention that they would not otherwise possess.

Many older fintech firms see insurance as another vertical in which they can use the same artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, big data analysis, blockchain or other technologies that they’ve already used in the investment or retail banking arena , to disrupt a new area. Other newer start-ups are focusing on insurtech as a standalone vertical because they believe the younger unploughed field has more scope for growth. BuzzGroup falls into this later group.

BuzzGroup has so far raised $9.2m in five rounds of equity fundraising from a mix of nine angel, seed and accelerator investors.

  • Wayra contributed €532,610 ($579,865) in February 2015, having been part of an earlier €597,129 ($650,000) BuzzGroup fundraising round in March 2014 that included Andrew Weisz, Justin Peters, Tom Singh and Avonmore Developments.
  • Wayra also contributed €60,000 ($65,000) at the birth of BuzzGroup in May 2013, alongside money from the founder.
  • The last round of investment in August 2016 raised £6 million ($7.75m) from White Mountains Insurance Group – the largest insurtech seed investment at that time in Europe – and emanated from the SBC InsurTech London.

One possible way around the recruitment challenge is to hire hungry youngsters who want to be part of an innovative new company and to perhaps offer them an equity stake in exceptional circumstances to help retain and motivate them.

As start-ups grow the ability to hand out equity stakes naturally diminishes, especially as angel and seed fund investors will be hungry for their cut.

Venture capitalists jamming on the brakes in 2017 (CNBC), Rated: A

The tidal wave of venture capital (VC) money that flowed into global financial technology (fintech) investments during 2016 has already shown signs of receding, according to the U.K.’s fintech chief.

Continuation of such momentum is critical given than once the U.K. has left the EU – with the clock already ticking down to a March 2019 deadline – the domestic fintech industry will lose access to the European Investment Fund. This EU body provides financing to small and medium sized enterprises and contributed around EUR 2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) to U.K. VC funds between 2011 and 2015.

Two institutional investors increasing stakes in Funding Circle and Honeycomb investment trusts (AltFi), Rated: A

Two newer entrants include the £405m Funding Circle SME Income fund, launched November 2015, and £300m Honeycomb, launched December 2015. The two portfolios differ greatly but both are products of the bank-deleveraging trend and have seen their assets grow as high investor demand has also prompted new issuance of shares.

The Railways Pension Trustee Company recently increased its stake in Funding Circle SME Income to fund to a 26.18 per cent of total share capital making their holding worth – according to today’s prices – more than £100m.

Invesco Perpetual, which backed Honeycomb since launch, recently increase its stake following an oversubscribed share issuance of more than £100m. It now has 37.8 per cent held in the fund, representing £113m at today’s share price.

China

Ant Financial extends online credit service to retailers (China Daily), Rated: AAA

Ant Financial Services Group, the online finance firm backed by billionaire Jack Ma, will extend its online consumer credit service to four million retail businesses across the country to boost sales and encourage spending-as China’s consumers increasingly feel more comfortable shopping with borrowed money.

iang, vice-president of Alipay Business Unit at Ant Financial, said that sales surged by an average 41 percent per client year-on-year from 2015 to 2016 after a number of retailers adopted Huabei, or Ant Check Later, a loan and installment service.

Credit score by Alibaba applicable for visa applications to Japan or Luxembourg (ECNS.com), Rated: A

Sesame Credit, a credibility scoring system used on Alibaba’s Ant Financial platforms, could be used as supporting documents for visa applications to Japan and Luxembourg, the People’s Daily reported on Thursday, citing the company’s announcement.

Ant Financial users with a score of at least 750 for Japan, or 700 for Luxembourg, on the scale which ranges from 350 to 900, will be “exempt from the normally required process of submitting bank records when applying through Alibaba’s travel-booking service provider for visas,” said the statement.

Interview with Co-founder and CEO of Monaco, Kris Marszalek (Urban Crypto), Rated: A

KM: We’ve certainly seen a number of people questioning this approach, I think it remains to be seen whether the decision was right or not. Our initial plan was to follow the advice of TokenMarket and launch in July, after at least a month of pre-marketing. We decided to go with an accelerated timeframe when we found out a competing project, that also does FX+Crypto was getting ready to launch their ICO in June.

UC: Can you tell us where are you guys based?

KM:  The only physical presence we have is in Hong Kong at the moment.

UC: What is the status of the Visa connection?

KM: We’re in the process of becoming a VISA program manager. Our card designs were not approved yet, so you can’t see any VISA logos on the website and apps. We’re just following the protocol here. Another reason we want to be extra careful is that TKN case showed VISA and other companies are not really keen on being associated with ICOs at this moment.

European Union

Revolut expands into business market (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Revolut, a financial technology (fintech) firm that offers foreign currency to consumers abroad at the interbank rate available on the financial markets is to expand into the business sector with claimed interest from large European corporations such as Virgin Atlantic.

Users of the new Revolut for Business app can set up an account within five minutes and hold, exchange or transfer money from 25 currencies, including British pounds, euros or U.S. dollars from this home bank account.

Three packages ranging from £25 up to £1,000 per month are available to business end users, who get additional features such as real-time spending notifications and data analysis alerts, plus dedicated customer support.

International

Real Estate & Alternative Investments in Bulgaria & Around the World (Novinite), Rated: A

The latest innovation in smart investing comes from stREITwise with their use of new legislation to provide one of the first crowdfunded office REITs. The idea behind their launch was to deliver private real estate crowdfunding into the hands of a younger group of investors who enjoy crowdfunding sites and would like to invest using the same technology.

Instead of relying on buying private REITs through financial advisors with hefty sales commissions and REIT fees added on, their new REIT keeps fees around 2% while avoiding joint venture deals that tend to add an additional layer of costs. New property deals are sourced directly to avoid outside consultants. Their first REIT specializes in acquiring and managing office space in central business districts and other neighborhoods in the U.S. where there is a need.

India

Why India’s Fintech Startups Are Flocking To Disrupt The UAE (Forbes), Rated: AAA

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry in India (ASSOCHAM), India now stands third after the UK and USA in fostering the growth of technology startups.

Sandeep Jhingran, co-founder of cross-border payment start-up Remitr, says, “UAE has a high appetite for innovation. Investors here are ready to pay for creativity, and disruptive companies stand a fair chance to thrive.”

With more than 2.6 million members and a 30% population share, Indians constitute the largest expatriate community in the UAE. Specifically, there is a growing need for diverse financial services. While India’s fintech sector peaked in 2015, with investment reaching USD$2 billion, UAE’s fintech sector is showing signs of steady growth. A report titled State of Fintech by Wamda says that the number of fintech startups launched in the MENA region will reach 250 by 2020 from the current 105, and will be predominantly involved in offering payment solutions, P2P lending or raising capital. Notably, most of the startups surveyed in the report originated from the UAE.

India’s top court halts plan to link for biometric ID to tax (SMH), Rated: A

Indian citizens cannot be forced to enroll for a 12-digit unique identity number to be able file tax returns, the country’s top court said in a ruling that may be a hurdle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to move transactions online.

The Supreme Court partially stayed a law that made the Aadhaar card mandatory for filing returns or for obtaining a 10-digit alpha-numeric code the Income Tax Department issues to tax payers. The stay is needed till a question on the right to privacy under Indian laws is decided by a constitution bench of the top court with at least five judges, a two-judge panel ruled.

Asia

PT INVESTREE Radhika Jaya (Investree), a pioneer peer-to-peer lending (P2P) marketplace in Indonesia, officially registered with the Financial Services Authority (OJK) on May 31 with the registration number of S -2492 / NB.111 / 2017 as indicated on the “Investee Radhika Jaya Registered Evidence” letter from OJK.

Investree is registered as an Information-Technology-based Lending and Borrowing Service Provider under the Directorate of Institutional and Products of Non-Bank Finance Industry (IKNB) administration.

As of June 5, 2017, Investree had successfully disbursed loans amounting 148 billion rupiah with 592 total loans, a 17.5% average rate of yield, and no defaults.

3 Western Governments Partnering With Asian FinTech Intitatives (Edgy Labs), Rated: A

The OCC feels it is high time to create a regulatory framework for FinTech banking institutions as the number of FinTech companies in the U.S. has soared. Investment in FinTech companies has increased more than ten times in the last five years, currently around $24 billion USD worldwide.

Meanwhile, FinTech Investment in Other Parts of the World

According to Nikkei again, soon, 10 new cryptocurrency platforms will be in use in Japan. This is all building on top of Japan’s already significant FinTech investment. Both legally and financially, Japan laid the groundwork in the spring of 2016 when they passed bills to recognize cryptocurrencies as the digital equivalent of money.

Singapore has FinTech Investment deals with South Korea, the UAE, France, and Japan, and their unique position in Asia makes them an ideal partner for FinTech-friendly countries in other regions.

In an effort to make intellectual Fintech investment, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission signed an agreement with Indonesia in order to share information of FinTech market trends and regulatory developments.

Swift, operator of the global interbanking platform, recently chose Hyperledger Fabric as the core tech for its blockchain proof-of-concept.

Nostro accounts make international transactions for the global banking system possible. Simply put, banks put their money into nostro accounts that are closer to a transaction destination so that funds are available to make global transactions more efficient.

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, DBS Bank, RBC Royal Bank and Wells Fargo will all be participating in testing the Swift PoC.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Republicans propose drastic overhaul of CFPB.  BOE chief sees no need for tougher FinTech regulation. CBRC assistant chair reported ‘out of contact’. Today’s main analysis: Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders. The India FinTech Market Map. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How this FinTech CEO plans to prosper. Interview with Scott Sanborn. International regtechs […]

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • Republicans propose drastic overhaul of CFPB, Dodd-Frank. GP:” This is just a proposal and it will likely change a lot by the time, if and when, it gets adopted into law. In all cases, the theme here seems to be more control and less power for the agencies.”  AT: “We saw this one coming. I didn’t expect a name change, but I think that’s interesting, especially the use of the word ‘opportunity,’ which puzzles me. Why would a regulatory agency include that word in its name? Another thing I find interesting is the deputy director holding the job at the will of the president, which I expected. However, it makes the agency serve at the whim of the winds of the political climate, like all other executive agencies. What makes that interesting is it goes against the initial conception of the agency, which was intended to be independent of the chief executive. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, good or bad either way, but we can expect the Democrats to fight this hard.”
  • How this FinTech CEO plans to prosper in 2017. GP:”The key is customer satisfaction, which itself relies on a good product, fair pricing, ease of use whom themselves depend on the cost of financing, employee satisfaction, technology quality and an infinite list of other items.”
  • Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders. GP:”This is very interesting data. If the online lenders build a reputation of being expensive, regardless if it’s true or not, it will hurt their customer acquisition costs significantly. This has to be fought and this perception is very dangerous. In general consumers, especially opinion leaders, are not stupid. I think a good way to fight for transparency and to fight the high rate and unfavorable terms opinion is by actually releasing actual verifiable data that offers more transparency and demonstrates the rate and term points. ” AT: “It’s important that online lenders not simply claim to be transparent. Most consumers, millennials, in particular, are well aware that technology is not inherently transparent. It can be used to set up walls of opaqueness as easily as see-through curtains, or blinds. If you’re going to call yourself ‘transparent’, you’ve got to be transparent.”
  • Chatting P2P marketplaces with LendingClub’s CEO. GP:” Lending Club is really turning into a large company, run as a large company, on values and brand and letting every department alone to do what they can with controls in place. I am curious how it will defer from a large bank in two or three years.” AT: “Scott Sandborn shares some interesting insights into marketplace lending in general and LendingClub in particular.”

United Kingdom

  • BOE chief sees no need for tougher FinTech regulation. GP:”I am pleasantly surprised, and once again I understand how the UK, despite being a small market, continues to be the point of reference in finance in the entire world and has been for hundreds of years. I am yet to see a single US regulator who says even once: there is no need for more regulation.” AT: “This is a sign of maturity. In the U.S., when legacy institutions sense up-and-coming competitors, the first thing they want to do is use regulation as a protectionist scheme. Competition is good–for the goose and the gander.”
  • Researcher showcases unauthorized NFC payments with cloned Android device. AT: “This is interesting. We must all understand there’s no such thing as fail-safe security in the cyber world. Every device is a potential entry point for bad actors. In fact, every app on every device is a potential entryway for hackers and other bad actors. The key goal for security experts is to stay ahead of them. This hole needs to be plugged quickly.”

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News Summary

United States

Republicans propose drastic overhaul of Dodd-Frank and CFPB (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

According to the summary of bill changes, the original CHOICE Act would restructure the FHFA and OCC as bipartisan commissions. The FDIC would be reorganized as a bipartisan commission with all five commissioners appointed by the president, and both the Comptroller of the Currency and the CFPB director would be removed from the FDIC board. Also, NCUA board of directors would be increased from three members to five.

The new CHOICE Act 2.0 cuts a lot of those proposed changes, and instead, the FHFA director would be removable at will by the president, with no changes to the current law regarding OCC and NCUA. The FDIC structure would stay the same as proposed in CHOICE 1.0.

The original CHOICE Act replaced the director of the CFPB with a Consumer Financial Opportunity Commission, a bipartisan independent Commission serving staggered terms.

Instead, in the newest version, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would be changed to the Consumer Financial Opportunity Agency, an executive agency with a sole director removable at will. The deputy director would also be appointed and removed by the president.

While the original CHOICE Act established a CFPB Credit Union Advisory Council, the updated one removed it because the bill eliminates mandatory CFPB advisory committees.

How This FinTech CEO Plans To Prosper In 2017 (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Along with FinTech industry guru Ron Suber, Prosper’s president, Kimball is intent on growing loan volumes, offering lower average rates compared to traditional lenders, delivering higher returns to investors and returning Prosper to profitability.

Prosper, which is the original online peer-to-peer marketplace, has originated over $9 billion in consumer loans over the past decade.

Since being appointed CEO of Prosper Marketplace late last year, Kimball has stepped outside his former financial role as Prosper’s CFO to take on a more operational-driven strategy.

David Kimball: Ultimately, the long-term success of platforms will be dependent on their ability to deliver a great product and a consistent experience. The success of the partnerships will depend on the ability for the two companies to communicate and understand each other (language, transparency, and culture), and it will depend on how well objectives remain compatible.

David Kimball: Last year, the industry did a lot to lay the foundation for a successful 2017, and we’re seeing that work pay off. The [recently announced loan purchase deal] gives us the funding stability we need to continue to grow, while at the same time giving us some great long-term partners that are invested in our business and its success.

David Kimball: A successful CFO is one who partners with the business instead of playing the finance sheriff. That requires a willingness to understand the business, to think holistically, to work with peers who jointly own the results. The CFO is the finance subject matter expert, but should be able to consider other disciplines, just as a CTO should be able to understand the financial implications of engineering decisions.

As CEO, I continue to think holistically and I now have an opportunity to flex into other areas of the business.

Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

A small business credit survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found 46 percent customer satisfaction at online lenders like Lending Club and OnDeck Capital with a 19 percent rate of dissatisfied customers – compared with large banks’ 61 percent of customers who indicated they were satisfied with their small business loan process and 15 percent of whom expressed dissatisfaction. Almost half of all customers specified that their dissatisfaction came from a “lack of transparency.”

Online lending customers are also dissatisfied with higher interest rates and unfavorable repayment terms, two common issues for the growing industry, which continues to have a higher cost of capital and for customer acquisitions.

Chatting P2P marketplaces with LendingClub CEO, Scott Sanborn (Simple Innovative Change), Rated: AAA

CL: The LendingClub story is a fascinating one and one that I’ve followed from the early days. So how does it feel to sit here and realize that so much of what is here today and the proliferation of all these different lending platforms is really because of this company and this team and what you have been able to build?

SB: I think it is exciting. It’s very gratifying to see how the initial idea has gained traction and how that has spawned new players who are bringing new energy and new ideas to different segments of the market. I think the clearest benefit is looking at how much value we’ve driven to consumers and investors.

For example, the personal loan market was actually shrinking when we first started. It shrank like 57% from 2007 to 2010, and yet we were still able to giveCL: There’s this great photo from the day of the IPO back in 2014 in which you can see just how elated you were. At the time you were the CMO and it was a very happy day, but when you stepped into the CEO role recently it wasn’t necessarily under the happiest of conditions. So, how have you handled the ups and downs of being a part of the Lending Club team, and how are do you lead the team through these challenging periods?

CL: That’s the answer you want to hear, by all means. Since becoming CEO at LendingClub, what have you learned about your own management style and how are you navigating the transition to this role?

SB: So much is swirling and changing in real-time, which means you need to keep everyone in the loop. In those early days after I stepped into the CEO role, I can’t tell you how many times we pulled all 1,500 employees together and marched them across the street to a hotel, to fit them into one room and explain, “Here’s what’s happening. Here’s what we know. Here’s what comes next.” That was certainly critical.

Lastly, we have focused tirelessly on assembling the right team. When a business is growing 80% to 100% a year for so many years it’s hard for the organization to keep up, and this was an opportunity to say, “Okay, new reality. Let’s look at what the right foundation is for the next decade of Lending Club.”

CL: One of the other reasons that I wanted to speak with you is because I often speak with seed and series A Fintech startups that’ll eventually face the challenges of being a larger organization if successful. So, what do you think are the challenges associated with trying to be an innovator while also being a larger organization?

SB: Literally, I left that conversation, and sat down with several team members in a room and said, “Okay, what are our values?” It was remarkably easy, actually, to identify what our values were. We put those down on paper and we revisit them, probably annually, maybe every 18 months or so and say, “Do they still resonate? Are they still right for this stage of the company?” Essentially all of our initial values have remained intact and we’ve added one or two as we’ve grown to reflect the new stage of the company.

Since then we have remained crisp on what our values are, and we have made sure we’re hiring to those values, and that our performance reviews reflect those values as well. That’s how you keep the essence of a company and that integrity of the company as you grow. The reality is, as you get bigger and layers get introduced and processes get introduced maintaining that value system will help the company stay, essentially, intact and stay functioning well.

CL: As we look to the vision of the future loan markets, do you think that startups will increasingly become the sourcing mechanisms of loans with financial institutions acting more as the wholesale banking providers?

SB: I think we’re not done seeing the different types of models that could emerge and how they could participate, and I think that’s part of what’s exciting. Not all of them will be great ideas, and not all of them will work, but some will.

If you look at our model, banks provide between a quarter and 30% of our funding and they have a very low cost of capital. When you combine their low cost of capital with our low operating cost it allows us to give, especially that super-prime customer, an incredible value that they couldn’t get at these institutions directly.

United Kingdom

Bank of England Chief Sees No Need for Tougher Fintech Regulation (Corporate Counsel), Rated: AAA

Fintech could pose a threat to traditional banks in the United Kingdom, according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. But that doesn’t mean he thinks they should be subject to tougher regulation.

The Bank of England created a New Bank Start-up Unit last year, which advises companies trying to become new banks. Carney said in his speech that four mobile banks have been authorized as a result of the new division.

Some of the questions that he said need to be answered, moving forward are: “Which fintech activities constitute traditional banking activities by another name and should be regulated as such? How could developments change the safety and soundness of existing regulated firms? How could developments change potential macroeconomic and macrofinancial dynamics including disruptions to systemically important markets? And what could be the implications for the level of cyber and operational risks faced by regulated firms and the financial system as a whole?”

Researcher Showcases Unauthorized NFC Payments With Cloned Android Device (The Merkle), Rated: A

While this concept sounds ridiculous to most people, they should not underestimate the power of root malware on Android devices. By using this type of malicious software, it is possible to abuse the host card emulation protocol. Google introduced this feature in Android 4,4, as it allows for NFC payments by keeping the Android device next to a payment terminal. Unfortunately, it appears this protocol can also be used to make fraudulent purchases.

Thankfully, this exploit has been discovered by a security researcher who notified both Google and all of the applications he successfully “abused” about this vulnerability.

European Union

Aegon Leaves Legacy Behind With Ohpen’s Cloud Finserv Platform (Forbes), Rated: A

Ohpen, a banking technology company based in Amsterdam,has announced that it will partner with Aegon to develop a new platform for Aegon’s Dutch services, from banking to investments. It will also support multiple labels including Aegon’s Knab (bank spelled backwards) an entirely digital bank.

Aegon, a global financial conglomerate whose American holdings include Pimco, will replace multiple individual systems for pensions, savings, current accounts and wealth management with a single Ohpen platform running in the cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Aegon will plug into Ohpen’s platform through a flexible, 100% API-based interface.

Multiple companies under one corporate umbrella do many of the same things and have their own infrastructure and staff. Ohpen lets them merge all those activities onto a single cloud-based back end and then put an API on top so any application or Web site can get to it.

International

Keeping the banks honest: meet the regtech rule-obeyers (Wired UK), Rated: AAA

Under mounting pressure to become more transparent and accountable, banks and financial institutions are turning to regtech: technology that automates regulatory compliance.

London-based FundApps alerts financial institutions when regulations change, and gives them software to help compliance. Launched in 2010, it covers 88 jurisdictions.

Legislation in Europe requires companies to “know your customer” to make sure they’re not money laundering. That’s what Trulioo does.

Qumram records, retains and allows on-demand replays of digital activity across web, social and mobile.

US accounting rules require banks to store historical loan data to predict future repayment. “This is what we help them do,” says Vivek Subramanyam, CEO of Fintellix. Launched in 2006, it recently launched a website targeting US community banks and credit unions that are grappling with accounting regulations.

KYC3 (“Know Your Customer, Counterparty and Competition”) automates due diligence, so companies can screen potential clients.

How the World’s Richest Companies Can Help Its Poorest Citizens (Time), Rated: AAA

From Kenya and Tanzania, to Jordan and Peru, digital technology and simple mobile phones are opening up opportunities for millions of people by helping them to safely save and manage their money.

From Kenya and Tanzania, to Jordan and Peru, digital technology and simple mobile phones are opening up opportunities for millions of people by helping them to safely save and manage their money.

Four of the world’s largest telco system manufacturers — Sweden’s Ericsson, China’s Huawei, Canada’s Telepin and India’s Mahindra Comviva — have put aside their fierce competition and agreed to collaborate, not out of altruism but in order to better compete. Announced at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who works to bring competitors together to meaningfully address financial inclusion for the poor, these companies are developing a set of “application programming interfaces,” or in plain English, ways of making computers talk to each other. These APIs will create open-source standards for the development of digital financial services that are automatically compatible with each other, lowering costs for providers and increasing the utility of digital financial services for customers overall.

By governing how different digital accounts send and receive money, the APIs can be the basis for a new “internet of payments,” across which individuals, banks, merchants, employers, and governments seamlessly transact. The APIs are still under development, but when they’re complete they will be released as a global public good, available to anyone who wants to invent.

AI In Fintech: 100+ Companies Using AI Algorithms To Improve The Fin Services Industry (CB Insights), Rated: B

Funding to AI startups reached record highs in 2016 and applications for artificial intelligence technologies exist across nearly the entire spectrum of business. Highlighted here are the top 100 AI startups selected by CB Insights operating across numerous industry verticals.

China

Assistant chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission, Yang Jiacai, reported to be ‘out of contact’ (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Fifty-six-year-old Yang Jiacai, assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) was reported to be “out of contact” since Tuesday, April 11, by Chinese media Caixin and Caijing.

Caixin reported Yang had transferred all his responsibilities to his colleague, the commission’s vice-chairman Cao Yu.

Yang made his last public appearance a week ago during a press conference for the CBRC, during which he introduced some heavy-handed regulatory moves planned by the commission.

Podcast 97: Yihan Fang of Yirendai (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The origins of Yirendai and how it was incubated inside CreditEase.
  • When and why Yirendai was spun-off from CreditEase.
  • Some background on all the divisions inside CreditEase.
  • The typical borrower who comes to Yirendai for a loan.
  • How Yirendai has broken new ground in China.
  • The different channels they use to obtain borrowers.
  • The typical size, rate and term of their consumer loans.
  • How these borrowers use their loan proceeds.
  • How Yirendai differentiates themselves from their competitors.
  • Who the typical investors are who participate on their platform.
  • The average amount each of their 200,000 investors deploy on their platform.
  • How their investor product works and details of their risk protection fund.
  • How their business model works as far as revenue.
  • A breakdown of their institutional investor interest.
  • Why they decided to do an IPO in New York rather than Shanghai or Hong Kong.
  • The impact of the new marketplace lending regulations in China.
  • Yihan’s perspective on the fraud that has happened in China.
  • Details of their new Yirendai Enabling Platform that they launched at LendIt.
  • What areas Yirendai will focus on in the coming years.

China is Cracking Down on Unscrupulous Financial Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In a series of reports, ChinaNews is pointing to the increasing scrutiny of the Chinese government regarding financial fraud and over-all malpractice.

Now the China Banking Regulatory Commission has published measures to address risks in the financial and banking sectors. According to ChinaNews, CBRC highlighted 10 areas for improving risk control in both traditional and internet finance – which includes peer to peer lending.

All of this is taking place with the back-drop of Xian Junbo, Chairman of China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), being placed under investigation for “disciplinary violations.” He will be the most senior government financial regulator to be investigated in several years.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Big Data Company Wecash raised $ 80 million in series C funding led by China Merchants Capital, Fore Bright Capital and SIG. Two new investors – Dongfang Hongdao Asset Management and Lingfeng Capital joined the existing investors in this round.

On April 10, China Banking Regulatory Commission released “Guidelines on risk prevention and control in banking industry” to make the P2P online lending market standard by perfecting the in-out mechanisms, paying more attention to the supervision and perfecting the governance of online lending companies.

According to the PwC Global FinTech Survey China Summary 2017 released on April 6, the three main areas to be disrupted by FinTech in China over the next five years will be consumer banking, investment & wealth management, and fund transfers & payments. E-retailers, large technology companies and financial institutions will be the biggest sources of disruption.

Compared with developed countries, the market-penetration level of auto finance in China is much lower. However, it also indicates that China has a tremendous room to develop and grow.

US

Australia

China

Market-penetration

80% – 85%

70%

Less than 30%

On April 6, second-hand car online trading platform Souche closed on $180 million in Series D Funding led by Warburg Pincus. Other participants in the round included VMS Investment Group, ClearVue Partners, Haitong International, CreditEase and Morningside Capital. Notably, Souche just finished Series C Funding led by Ant Financial in the last November. In the past five months, Souche has raised a total of $280 million.

 

India

The India Fintech Market Map: 72 Startups Working Across Lending, Payments, Insurance & Banking (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Looking at Indian fintech specifically, funding to private companies in the sector boomed from about $175M in 2014 to a high of $2B in 2015 (buoyed by mega-rounds to Paytm) and then slid to $530M in 2016. Still, 2016′s total funding was more than 200% higher than total funding in 2014. A host of global corporations and their venture arms have entered the fray, eager to reach India’s mostly unbanked population and profit from the country’s tech-friendly regulatory environment.

‘Free’ credit reports from fintech portals (livemint), Rated: A

Apart from bureaus, online financial marketplaces are also offering free credit scores and reports. These reports are not counted against the free reports you can get from credit bureaus directly.

On the four fintech platforms we went to, it took no more than a few minutes to log on, authorise the fintech to access our credit report, and get it on the screen or in email. And it was also simpler to get a report here than from a bureau’s website.

On Bankbazaar, we got the report on its website and in email. Paisabazaar displays the report on its website. Both sites provided reports from Experian Credit Information Co. of India Pvt. Ltd.

FinTech: To Regulate Or Not To Regulate? Former RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi Explains (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

In lending, peer-to-peer lenders and online SME (small and medium enterprises) lenders are targeting clients considered too risky by banks. They claim to use technologies that can assess credit worthiness in smarter ways than the traditional income statements used by banks. In payments, wallet companies have taken the lead in retail payments forcing banks to up their game.

One gripe that banks have is that these fintech firms are getting away unregulated, which gives them a lot more flexibility in how they do business.

That’s true for now, said R Gandhi, former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) who retired after a 37-year stint at the central bank earlier this month. The dilemma for the regulator is to decide when to regulate and how to regulate so as to ensure that innovative business models get a fair chance, Gandhi explained in an interview with BloombergQuint on Tuesday.

Is India ready for Peer-to-Peer lending industry? (Faircent), Rated: A

What we are trying to do is to create a P2P (Peer to peer) lending industry. Fundamentally we are providing an alternative to banking and other financial institutions.

Karun: Investors whom we call lenders can get returns up to 18% to 20% per annum which is much better than other options today. As a borrower you can avail unsecured loans at much cheaper interest rates. What we feel is that the banks make huge margins in terms of the rates that they offering customers on their savings and the rates they are lending it out to people at, in the form of loans. By reducing the margin, with Faircent as the match maker, we are able to pass value to both sides of the table, to borrowers as well as lenders.

Karun: We are purely a digital entity.   We are trying to use technology so that there is minimal offline intervention.

We’ve done a lot of marketing technology interventions, like we have a CRM which is built on top of our platform, which is a custom made CRM. We have integrated it with our lead gen channels. We have an email marketing platform using which we nurture our customers and also do promotional activities with potential customers. We have done a lot of work in trying to become Omni-channel. Three main channels which we use are email, SMS and Voice.

Karun: We are using a lot of the off- the- shelf products. But the challenge for us is really how do we integrate them with our platform. So hence we have to be much more careful about which option we choose. We are using Octane and Amazon for email. Octane is basically a mix of email and SMS which we are predominantly using for marketing.

Karun: Yes, we have a mobile app which is available on the Android and iOS platform. Right now, our focus has been more to enable our customers to access our platform on the mobile device. So for example if there is an investor who wants to invest in loans on the fly he can do it using our app. At present we’re not really focused on the app to acquire more borrowers or acquire more investors and lenders.

Razorpay plans overseas foray (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: B

Razorpay, a payment gateway solution provider focused on online merchants, plans to go international. It is looking to enter South East Asia and West Asia markets in 2018-19, Harshil Mathur, co-founder, has said.

The fintech startup, which started its journey in mid-2014, is in talks with local and global (banking) players in these markets, Mathur said.

Razorpay, which had raised Series A funding of $11.5 million, is not worried about funding for the next two years, according to Mathur.

Asia

ORIX Launches New Online Lending Business for Japanese Small Businesses (Orix), Rated: AAA

ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) and Yayoi Co., Ltd. (“Yayoi”), an ORIX Group company, announced today that they are launching a new online lending business, a new FinTech service utilizing accounting big data and proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) based credit model.

The business will provide Internet-based lending to small businesses in Japan. A new credit model is under development, utilizing ORIX’s credit expertise, Yayoi’s accounting big data, and cutting edge AI technology by ORIX’s partner company, d.a.t. Inc. Most existing credit models in the market to date relied solely on static data such as financial reports; by utilizing dynamic data, such as day-to-day journal data and other transactional data, the new credit model is expected to offer much better predictive power than before.

ALT plans to start offering lending services on a trial basis to the approximately 600,000 companies, who are existing users of Yayoi’s online services1 in October 2017. Customers will be able to apply online, during which process they grant permission to access their accounting data.

According to a survey of 7,609 Yayoi customers, 85.0% of small corporations have a need for short-term financing, but 36.5% of those have been shying away from obtaining traditional loans, due in part to the excessive amount of time and efforts required for approval of short-term financing. With respect to sole proprietors, just 16.4% of them have obtained short-term traditional loans. Utilizing online lending can reduce complex administrative procedures, including the need to submit financial reports and other paperwork and to visit financial institutions in person, and can also shorten the time needed to obtain much needed cash, making simpler, more flexible financing possible.

AN INDONESIAN peer to peer (P2P) lending startup, KoinWorks is supporting small and medium enterprises (SME) and education by launching an art exhibition, ARTificial Intelligence which will run from April 13 to April 30 at Pacific Place, Jakarta.

Benedicto also says that KoinWorks mainly focuses on SMEs that conduct their sales and marketing activities online. He also believes that by connecting SMEs to lenders, it will bring benefits to both sides.

Benefits for lenders are through net gained interest from their investment which can be up to 19.8% annually depending on the risk level. The service also fulfils social needs by helping businesses to grow.

Users may invest in KoinWorks with a minimum deposit of US$7.50 (100,000 rupiah). The funding will be deposited in real-time at a virtual bank account. Users only need to scan and upload information from their identity card, fill in the form, and deposit the money.

LendIt China Event, Lang Di Fintech, Updates on PitchIt Competition (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendIt, the global lending and Fintech conference, has announced the official launch of the Asian edition of their Fintech startup competition, PitchIt, in association with JadeValue, a Shanghai-based Fintech incubator. The competition is for all early stage Fintech startups in Asia-Pacific.

PitchIt will take place at the Lang Di Fintech conference, China’s largest global Fintech conference in Shanghai in July.

The 8 Finalists Will Receive:

  • Opportunity to secure investment and partners by meeting investors
  • Have your pitch heard by the international fintech community in front of an audience of international and local attendees across APAC.
  • Gain valuable exposure through global PR
  • Up to $1,000 for travel to Lang Di Fintech
  • Year-round exposure through press and brand visibility and the chance to gain mentorship from Global VCs on pitching and product positioning prior to the event.

The Winner Will Receive:

  • Mentorship, co-working space for 6 months and guaranteed investment of $150,000 from JadeValue
  • 2 free passes to LendIt USA 2018, roundtrip airfare and accommodations
  • Curated meetings for investment purposes in the US during LendIt USA 2018 (April, 2018, San Francisco)
  • Complimentary sponsorship at LendIt USA 2018
MENA

The future of digital money (Gulf News), Rated: A

At a time when the consumer relationship with cash is more virtualiser and abstract, and where use of physical cash continues to decline in many markets, the next phase of digital money offers undiscovered potential for a new period of expansive growth in transactions, beyond the limits of national borders.

The region’s e-commerce marketplace is thriving too, but it depends more on cash on delivery than on electronic payments. At the same time, a relatively low share of adults have bank accounts, while mobile money accounts have had limited success. That could be about to change. New Fintech entrants are playing their part in helping drive payment digitisation.

Furthermore, developments in payments technology are making it easier for us all to transact. Egypt’s Payfort recently has successfully helped smaller merchants accept electronic payments, and offers instalment payment options to help merchants improve sales. We’re also seeing global providers such as Apple Pay, Google Pay becoming more active in the region after a slow start and more global players are coming, for example Samsung, with Samsung Pay about to deploy payment services that are promising to be easier, faster and more secure using your Samsung smart phone.

Africa

VoguePay Wins Best Fintech Startup Award (This Day Live), Rated: B

VoguePay.com, a secure payment gateway has won the “Best Fintech Startup” at the 6th edition of the Cashless Africa Awards 2017, organised by Mobile Money Africa in Lagos recently.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor