Alternative Lending: Insights from Clarity

online installment loan amounts

With billions of dollars in monthly origination and listed players like Lending Club, alternative lending is now mainstream in the United States. Experian’s Clarity Services, a specialist in alternative financial services data and solutions, has released a report titled Alternative Financial Services Lending Trends. It includes deep insights into the online consumer lending industry and […]

The post Alternative Lending: Insights from Clarity appeared first on Lending Times.

online installment loan amounts

With billions of dollars in monthly origination and listed players like Lending Club, alternative lending is now mainstream in the United States. Experian’s Clarity Services, a specialist in alternative financial services data and solutions, has released a report titled Alternative Financial Services Lending Trends. It includes deep insights into the online consumer lending industry and leverages data points of over 350 million consumer loan applications and 25 million loans.

The report threw a lot of expected statistics and some surprises that should help online lenders pivot to more fertile territory.

Understanding the Channels

Alternative financial services can be obtained from both online and offline platforms. Though online platforms are mushrooming, brick and mortar still remains dominant in the consumer lending industry.

Types of loans

The types of loans in the report are broadly classified in two categories-

  1. Installment loans – Loans repaid in a series of regular payments (months or years) are known as installment loans.
  2. Single pay – Single pay loans are repaid in a single payment (Lump sum) and usually have a shorter tenure (days/weeks).

Market Trends- Product Mix

Everybody is aware of the fact that online lending has grown, but the growth numbers presented by Clarity are staggering. Following are the charts that capture the growth pattern of online installments and online single pay loans in regards to funded loan volume and the number of funded loans from 2014 to 2018.

The online installment loans marked a growth of approximately 643% in 2018 starting from 2014 whereas the single pay loans’ market doubled in four years.

The number of loans analysis threw similar growth numbers as the loan volume analytics.

Data suggests that online installments loans are the most popular choice in the alternative lending space. The number of unique borrowers has increased by 30% for the past three years.

Loan Characteristics

Installment Loans

  • Loan amount Almost 60% of loans fell between the $500 to $2000 range in 2018, rising from 43% of all loans in 2014. Only 15% of the funded loans were under $500 in 2018. Therefore the average loan amount is increasing on a year-on-year basis.
  • Loan Tenure – Maximum loans (over 62%) had a repayment period of over 7 months in 2018 whereas only 9% online installment loans have a payment period of fewer than three months.
  • Scheduled monthly payment amount – The monthly payment amounts have declined over time. Around 34% of monthly repayments were less than $200 in 2018. This number is an increase from 17% in 2015.

Single Pay Loans

  • Loan Amount – Loans above $500 grew from 23% to 28% between 2014 and 2018. The overall trend is towards an increasing loan amount.

Credit Quality

A credit profiles analysis indicates that online lending is finding favor among not only the subprime category but also the prime and near-prime, which are aggressively adopting alternative financing options.  Clarity reports that 29% of consumers with an alternative credit inquiry fell into the prime or near-prime categories in 2018 compared to 21% in 2017.

Consumer Demographics

  • Age – The online installment borrowers were older than the online single pay borrowers whereas the age of installment and single pay loans’ borrowers remains the same in the case of the storefront channel.

  • Income trend – The online borrower reported a higher income as compared to one borrowing through a storefront.

In the online segment, income values tend to be higher for Installment loans than single pay loans.

  • Data Points:

– Forty-five per cent of online installment borrowers reported an annual income over $40,000, while 37% of single pay borrowers reported incomes in this range.

– Conversely, 15% of single pay borrowers reported an income of less than $20,000, as opposed to only 8% of installment borrowers.

Hence consumers falling under the category of online installment loans are likely to have a higher income as compared to other sub-groups.

  • Consumer Choice – Consumers that prefer privacy opted for online lending whereas the consumers that were looking out for a reliable personalized experience went for the storefront option.
  • Location – California and Texas are the obvious leaders due to their size. Ohio is steady at third place for the last 3 years with Illinois at the 8th position.

Takeaway

Clarity’s alternative credit loan data provides key learning points for all in the alternative lending industry.

  • The Online Installment Loan market is growing and the demographics support further growth.
  • The online installment loans are being increasingly characterized by larger loan amounts, longer payment terms, and smaller scheduled payment amounts.
  • There are early signs of deterioration in credit performance.
  • Over half of the online borrowers in 2018 were new to the alternative lending space.
  • Applicants new to the alternative lending space in 2018 have higher credit scores than those previously seen. However, 2017 borrowers who migrated to traditional lending in 2018 also had higher credit scores than those who stayed with alternative financial services.
  • California, Texas, and Ohio continue as the top three states for online lending in number of loans, while the largest growth in borrowers is in the middle states like Nebraska and Kentucky.

Insight: Online Lenders will be well served to identify patterns like an increase in loan amount and loan tenure and the rise of Middle America looking for hassle-free lending options.

The post Alternative Lending: Insights from Clarity appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday December 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Consumer Spending

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa gets banking license. SoFi cuts mortgage business jobs. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to CLUB Credit Trust 2018-P3. Money360 surpasses $1B in loan originations and closings. SoftBank is biggest startup story in 2018. Today’s main analysis: Rate hikes pause in 2019. LendingTree Debt Report November 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree Debt Report November 2019. October was biggest […]

Consumer Spending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Southeast Asia

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Cutting Jobs in Their Mortgage Business (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Late Friday Bloomberg reported that SoFi was cutting 7% of its staff, or around 100 jobs, in the company’s mortgage department. This is due to a change in strategy as to how they underwrite mortgage loans. Rather than underwrite loans themselves, as they have done since launching their mortgage business back in 2014, they will outsource the underwriting to a partner.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P3 (AP News), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P3 (“CLUB 2018-P3”). This is a $272.40 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close December 13, 2018.

The transaction has initial credit enhancement levels of 30.87%, 22.80% and 9.70% for the Class A, Class B, and Class C notes, respectively. Credit enhancement is comprised of overcollateralization, subordination of the junior note classes, a cash reserve account and excess spread.

This transaction is LendingClub Corporation’s eighth rated sponsored securitization, fourth of 2018 and the fifth sponsored securitization consisting of prime unsecured consumer loans facilitated by LendingClub’s proprietary technology platform supporting an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors by offering a variety of loan products originated by issuing banks through the platform, www.lendingclub.com.

Money360 Milestone: Surpasses $ 1 billion in Loans Originated & Closed (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Real estate marketplace lender Money360 announced on Monday it has surpassed $1 billion in loans originated and closed since inception. The announcement comes just 11 months after the lending platform revealed it had hit $500 million.

Rate Hikes Pause in 2019; Performance of Credit Card Borrowers with Personal Loans (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US Q3 GDP showed 3.5% annualized growth, well above potential growth of 2%. Growth slowed from the blistering 4.2% pace in Q2 due to rising inventories and lower consumer spending:

Source: WSJ, PeerIQ
Source: VantageScore, PeerIQ

LendingTree Debt Report November 2018 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Nine months into 2018, Americans had a cumulative $3.93 trillion in non-mortgage debt. About a quarter of that debt is credit cards and other revolving debt, while the remainder is for car payments, student loans and other fixed-rate loans such as personal loans.

In just five years, Americans will have increased their debt by $1 trillion. Consumer debt eclipsed the $3 trillion mark in 2013. By comparison, the previous $1 trillion milestone — from $2 trillion to $3 trillion of consumer debt — took more than 10 years.

43.5% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 5% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: A

For the week ending Dec. 2, 2018, the share of borrowers with rates under 5% was the highest in two months, which may lend some support to a weakening housing market.

Source: LendingTree
Source: LendingTree

LendingTree’s State Migration Study Finds Americans Are Moving South (GuruFocus), Rated: A

LendingTree today released its State Migration Study on where Americans are interested in moving. The study looked at where people moving out of state are going and discovered that of the 12.1 percent of homebuyers across the country who change states, most plan to head south.

Florida is the No. 1 destination. Florida was the top new destination for 15 of the 50 states.

Texas residents love the Lone Star State. Texas had the highest percentage of residents looking to move within state lines — 93.4 percent of purchase mortgage requests from individuals in Texas were for properties in the same state.

Source: LendingTree

October was Biggest Month for Reg CF Since May 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

October was a big month for Reg CF campaigns, according to the StartEngine Index. In fact, October booked the most money raised using the crowdfunding exemption since the rule became actionable in May of 2016.

According to StartEngine, $10.9 million in funding was raised. Until October came along, this past July held the top spot at $10.7 million. The Index indicates that Reg CF has now raised $151.7 million since inception. The Food & Beverage industry remains the most popular sector to use Reg CF followed by Tech.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Fintechs’ Take On Installment Payments Explodes Online (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Installment payments have been around for seemingly forever but a new crop of fintechs are offering it with a twist: the ability to pay off smaller purchases in installment payments that in many cases are interest-free.

And it appears to be resonating with scores of U.S. consumers judging from the brisk business installment payment services like QuadPay.com enjoyed during the kick off to holiday shopping season this past Thanksgiving weekend. David Sykes, chief operating officer at QuadPay.com said 35% of online Black Friday sales for one large merchant customer came via QuadPay. On average Sykes said its service accounts for around 20% of all the online transaction from its roughly 500 e-commerce partners.

QuadPay.com makes money via the merchant, getting a cut of the sales generated by its service. That enables it to offer interest-free loans to consumers wanting to purchase everything from Uggs to underwear. Sykes said the average value of the orders on the platform is $150. QuadPay takes 25% of that on day one and then spreads out the remaining payments every two weeks. Because the average installment payment is around $37 there isn’t too much risk of customers defaulting on the loan.  To prevent default it won’t let a customer use the service again if they were ever late with a payment. The executive noted QuadPay approves 92% of all applicants.

How the largest US financial institutions rank on offering the mobile banking features customers value most (Business Insider), Rated: A

In Business Insider Intelligence’s second annual Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study, 64% of mobile banking users said that they would research a bank’s mobile banking capabilities before opening an account with them. And 61% said that they would switch banks if their bank offered a poor mobile banking experience.

Source: Business Insider

Why Wealthfront is offering free financial planning (Financial Planning), Rated: A

Wealthfront is offering its planning services for free, effectively unbundling its software, and giving millions of Americans access to a financial roadmap.

The second largest independent robo is betting the firm can steer users into fee-based accounts after they interact with its software to come up with a financial plan. The freemium software uses the firm’s automated advice engine, Path, according to the firm.

Credit Karma’s Kenneth Lin on building a billion dollar brand (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Building a great service is hard but not impossible. But building a great service and making it available for free — that’s really hard.

Credit Karma seems to have figured out a way to do both. The company, with 85 million members in the U.S. and Canada, continues to roll out free, innovative financial products to its user base. It all began 11 years ago with a simple premise: to provide users with free access to their credit scores. From there, the company has rolled out a bunch of new products, including ID monitoring, tax preparation, a financial chatbot, auto finance, and unclaimed money.

Betterment launches tool to optimize cash savings (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Automated investment advisor, Betterment is rolling out “Two-Way Sweep”, a tool that can automatically “sweep” excess money from customers’ bank accounts into a Betterment account optimized to provide better returns for cash.

What’s behind this new product: Studies show that only one in three millennials is investing in the stock market. That means they’re holding a high percentage of cash. In fact, Betterment sees 30 percent of customers with cash balances of $20,000 on average. This excess in savings earns little to no interest. Betterment’s Two-Way Sweep is intended to take the hesitation out of deploying more money into investments by automating the process.

CommonBond Acquires NextGenVest to Help Reach Generation Z (Lend Academy), Rated: A

CommonBond, best known as a leading provider of online student loans, has made its second acquisition, NextGenVest, an artificial intelligence powered advice platform for Generation Z. NextGenVest helps high school and college students in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia with their college financial needs through a combination of human “money mentors” and AI-powered suggestions delivered entirely through text messages.

OppLoans Named a Best Workplace by Glassdoor for the Second Year in a Row (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Chicago-based fintech firm OppLoans has been honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, recognizing the best places to work in 2019. This marks the second year in a row that the personal lender has been named to this prestigious list in the Small & Medium Business category. The Employees’ Choice Awards program, now in its 11th year, is based solely on the input of employees, who elect to provide feedback on their jobs, work environments and companies on Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites.

Backstage Capital-Backed CapWay Moves to Atlanta As It Expands Its Digital Banking Offerings (Hypepotamus), Rated: A

According to 2017 statistics from the FDIC, 16 percent of households in Mississippi are unbanked, choosing instead to use “predatory services” like corner store check cashing in their neighborhoods.

Allen founded her first startup, an app development shop, while still in college. After moving to Silicon Valley, Allen realized it wasn’t just rural communities that were underserved by banks. Inner city areas across the country, most of which are home to majority Hispanic and African-American populations, are also affected. An FDIC survey found that more than 15 million adults in the U.S. go unbanked.

In 2016, Allen founded CapWay with co-founder and fellow Mississippian Timothy Lampkin. The mobile-first platform is aimed at younger generations (think older millennials and Gen Z) in those unbanked communities to help them break out of the predatory economy cycle.

Finicity Announces Partnership with Princeton Mortgage for Effortless Digital Mortgage Origination (Benzinga), Rated: B

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, announced today it is working with mortgage banker Princeton Mortgage to automate borrower asset verification for lenders. The agreement will provide Princeton Mortgage loan officers and borrowers with a faster, simpler loan origination experience that reduces both paper chase and headache.

NBKC Bank fintech accelerator participant wins $ 1M (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Onward Financial Inc., a member of the first cohort in NBKC Bank’s Fountain City Fintech accelerator program, won a $1 million award from the Communities Thrive Challenge, which is put on by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Zopa Granted a Banking License in the UK (LendIt Fintech), Rated: AAA

Back in 2005 Zopa quietly launched their P2P lending platform in the UK, the world’s first. It was the start of a lending revolution that has moved on to all corners of the globe. Today, a new chapter begins as the company announced that regulators have approved Zopa’s banking license. With that Zopa achieves another first: becoming the world’s first combined peer to peer lending platform and digital bank.

Zopa Says it Will Redefine Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa explained that this is called the “mobilisation’ phase” as regulators put some restrictions in place. A full licence will be granted once it meets the conditions set by the regulators.

Zopa said it will begin its new service next year. The digital bank will include options such as a fixed term savings product protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), credit card and a money management app.

Pointing to a statement by the FCA that just “40% of UK adults have confidence in the financial services industry,” Zopa sees opportunity in becoming a digital bank unencumbered by green-screen legacy tech and unnecessary brick and mortar branches.

Zopa explained it would redefine banking with the following services:

  • Giving customers a fair deal as standard – with no catches like sign-up offers that aren’t available to existing customers or hidden fees and charges.
  • Making sure money management is simple and a real person is available to discuss
  • Going beyond ‘good enough’

Zopa: Bank launch won’t impact P2P rates (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ZOPA has insisted its peer-to-peer lending rates will not be dictated by the savings products on offer when its bank launched.

It currently offers target returns of 4.5 per cent on its Zopa Core product and 5.2 per cent on Zopa Plus.

Thomas Cook to slip out of FTSE 250 index in quarterly review (The Guardian), Rated: A

Other companies expected to be promoted to the FTSE 250 are peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle, the retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone and the investment trusts Smithson and Woodford Patient Capital.

Funding the future of the UK PLC (Business Leader), Rated: A

Looking at 2017, we saw some encouraging trends and one of them is in terms of diversity and choice. We saw peer-to-peer lending grow at over 50%. It’s obviously coming from a smaller base as it’s a reasonably new form of lending, but 50% growth is a very strong outcome.

Tandem’s Journey Card strives to better users’ credit scores (Alt Fi), Rated: A

Tandem Bank has announced its Journey Card has assisted nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of its users to first-time credit or is helping individuals with poor credit history get back on track.

Due to the higher risk users it targets, the credit card carries a reasonably expensive representative APR of 24.9 per cent.

Tandem says it hopes to help the 43 per cent of Journey Card holders who have poor credit history, some of whom have defaulted with other providers.

CrowdProperty Provides Performance Metrics Disclosing Lending Returns Using Brismo Methodolgy (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer property lender CrowdProperty is now disclosing their performance metrics using Brismo’s (formerly known as AltFi) standardized reporting methodology. CrowdPropert states that it is the first property development platform to incorporate the Brismo process which is described as an independent standard.

UK housebuilders back new online property listing start-up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Some of the UK’s largest housebuilders are backing a new property portal that will launch next year in the latest attempt to challenge the two dominant market leaders, Rightmove and Zoopla.

Barratt Developments, Bovis, Persimmon and Redrow have signed up to list their homes with the start-up Rummage4Property, as have Countrywide and about 30 other estate agency groups.

ARBUTHNOT BACKS MBI TEAM WITH £2 MILLION FACILITY (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: A

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending (ABL) has supported a highly experienced Management Buy In (MBI) team, led by Paul Hampton, with a £2m invoice discounting facility to support Premier House Investment’s acquisition of Ralph Coleman International Ltd (RCI) and provide ongoing working capital, paving the way for the company’s exciting expansion plans.

KAMBO expands its reach with two native apps (Life Pulse Health), Rated: A

KAMBO is expanding beyond desktops to become accessible on our most coveted devices, our smartphones. With the introduction of two native apps, KAMBO’s lending platform will become one of the most flexible and diverse of its kind.

The KAMBO app is now available on iOS and Android, making it the first crypto-lending platform to have an app in the App store.

LendInvest Joins Ingard’s Buy to Let Panel (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Ingard, a compliance network, brokerage, and lending packager specialist, announced on Tuesday online lending platform LendInvest has joined its buy to let panel. According to Ingard, members may now access the lender’s buy to let range direct by registering through LendInvest’s online portal

China

Ping An GammaLab Wins Global AI Machine Reading Comprehension Competition (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (hereafter “Ping An” or the “Group”) is pleased to announce that OneConnect, a subsidiary of the Group, ranked first in one of the world’s most authoritative machine-reading comprehension challenges — the Stanford Question Answering Dataset 2.0 (SQuAD). GammaLab Institute of Artificial Intelligence (GammaLab), owned by OneConnect, scored 83.435, close to the human performance level of 86.831, way ahead of other companies in the challenge.

Another scenario is internet arbitration in universal financial inclusion. Small loan companies tend to turn to online arbitration, which is expensive and takes time to resolve, under the current peer-to-peer lending market. With the reading comprehension skill of GammaLab, the arbitrator will finish a case quicker, reducing the cost for arbitration.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes November 2018 (P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintosleads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 473 million Euro.

I removed Unilend, as the platform has closed and the company has gone into receivership.

Source: P2P Banking

CORELOGIC LAUNCHES NEW AUTOMATED VALUATION SOLUTION TO HELP STREAMLINE MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATIONS (CoreLogic), Rated: A

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, announced today the introduction of its Total Home Value for Originations AVM solution.

The new Total Home Value for Originations solution is specifically calibrated and packaged to improve efficiencies when performing property valuations during the purchase and refinance loan underwriting process.

Becoming a Digital Leader: 5 Customized Fintech Strategies That Work (Cutomer Think), Rated: A

According to EY study, fintech startups have raised $41.7 billion in the first half of 2018 across the globe. So, what fintech strategies need to be implemented to transform the consumer experience on the market?

  • Consumers first
  • Rebuilding trust
  • Lack of credibility
  • Partnership instead of competition
  • Improving the quality of lives

Nasdaq buys Canadian alternative data provider Quandl (Finextra), Rated: B

Nasdaq has acquired Quandl, a Toronto-based provider of alternative and core financial data. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Australia

Crypto Lending Services Coming to Australian Markets (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

Helio Lending is the first independent crypto lending company to launch on Australian shores according to reports.

The company claims to be in the position to offer 50% more spending power to clients than they would have by holding on to their crypto assets.

Lakeba Invests in Lodex to Become Latest Capital Equity Partner (CryptoTechNews), Rated: A

Lodex, Australia’s first auction-style loans and deposits marketplace leader, today announced it has secured capital investment from Lakeba Group, an established Australian technology innovator.

India

India catches up with China, records 2nd highest fintech adoption rate: Here’s all you need to know (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

India is finally catching up with its neighbour and biggest competitor China. The country now has the second highest fintech adoption rate of 52%, only behind China’s 69%, which also throws a huge opportunity for India to not only make best out of financial services sector but also to disrupt it.

Southeast Asia

How Japan’s SoftBank and Its $ 100 Billion Vision Fund Became the Biggest Startup Story of 2018 (Inc.), Rated: AAA

UberWeWorkSaudi Arabia. The biggest startup stories in 2018 shared one long and influential thread: Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, its $100 billion tech investment fund, and founder Masayoshi Son.

The Vision Fund is backed by several prominent investors, including Apple and the government of Abu Dhabi, but its largest financial partner is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The country’s government, under crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, contributed 45 percent of the $100 billion, and in October announced plans to put another $45 billion into a second Vision Fund.

P2P lending can plug Southeast Asia’s US$ 175B business finance gap (Yahoo! News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has emerged as a popular alternative financing option for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia. In 2016, P2P lending generated US$115.01 million, which accounted for more than half of total market share of Southeast Asia’s alternative financing market. In an evolving financing landscape, P2P lending complements the services banks provide and support the region in realising its growth and development potential. The very fact that investment in the region’s startups tripled from US$2.52 billion in 2016 to US$7.86 billion in 2017 is a testament of the vast potential in Southeast Asia’s FinTech startups.

Businesses, largely SMEs, benefited from such platforms too. According to a Deloitte report, SMEs contribute to 40% of Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and hiring 70% of the region’s workforce. Despite the importance of SMEs regionally, support is generally lacking, especially in terms of financing. This is due to strict banking regulations imposed after the 2008 global financial crisis, which have made banks and most financial institutions increasingly risk-averse. This is evidenced by McKinsey Global Institute’s report stating that 39 million Southeast Asian SMEs (or 51%) lack access to credit.

Malaysia may issue more equity crowdfunding, P2P lending licences in 2019 (Asia Asset Management), Rated: AAA

Malaysia’s securities regulator may license more operators of equity crowdfunding (ECF) and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms next year, after current operators raised more than 200 million ringgit (US$48.25 million) for small firms since the industry was legislated in 2015, according to its chairman.

Singapore’s Milieu Insight raises US$ 730K to enhance market research platforms (e27), Rated: A

Singapore- and Thailand-based marketing software startup Milieu Insight has announced that it has raised S$1 million (US$730,000) from a group of private investors including former Rippledot Capital Director, Ravi Ravulaparthi.

Korean Fintech Startup HonestFund Attracts $ 12 Million Series B Investment (PR Newswire), Rated: A

HonestFund (CEO: Sanghoon Seo) has announced that the company, one of the largest marketplace lending players in South Korea, has successfully raised $12 million Series B investment.

Investment was led by Korea’s leading VCs and investment companies, such as Dunamu & Partners, MurexPartners, KB Investment, TL Asset Management, Bass Investment and HB Investment. This brings HonestFund’s total investment to $21 million, making it one of the most valuable Fintech companies in South Korea.

Canada

How experimental tech drives TD Bank’s mobile app (American Banker), Rated: AAA

While many banks have sought to employ experimental technologies when dealing with customers, including predictive virtual assistants, geolocation and advanced data analytics, few have brought all those pieces together to the degree used by TD Bank.

The bank has used such technologies live in production and won significant customer adoption, with its mobile app becoming No. 1 in the finance category in Canada for both iOS and Android. Mobile customers use the app 17 times a month on average, a figure that is growing.

OnDeck to merge Canadian operations with Evolocity Financial Group (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

OnDeck (NYSE:ONDK) will combine its Canadian lending operations with Evolocity Financial Group, a private, Montreal-based online small business lender, to create OnDeck Canada.

Africa

Peer-to-Peer Lending as a Means of Propelling Startup Growth (Modern Ghana), Rated: AAA

Capital is the livewire of any business, especially for startups and established small businesses. Hence, they are always seeking for some additional funding that is too small for an angel investor to get a return for their effort. Banks also think it’s not worth their time. That’s where peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is working to fill that lending gap. This model may be a solution for many small businesses that are struggling with just tapping smaller funding amounts.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Predicting Default Rates for Online Lending

Clarity Services

According to data from Experian’s Clarity Services, online consumer lending has grown over 350 percent from 2013 to 2017. Funded single-pay volume rose 72 percent while installment loan volume went up nearly 500 percent. The single-pay loan volume actually shot up 106 percent through 2016 but fell slightly the following year. Still, these numbers indicate […]

Clarity Services

According to data from Experian’s Clarity Services, online consumer lending has grown over 350 percent from 2013 to 2017. Funded single-pay volume rose 72 percent while installment loan volume went up nearly 500 percent. The single-pay loan volume actually shot up 106 percent through 2016 but fell slightly the following year. Still, these numbers indicate a growth in online alternative finance lending, and with governments around the world cracking down on traditional payday lending, this spells a huge opportunity for further growth in the years to come.

In 2013, the average online installment loan amount was just below $800. In 2017, it was just over $1,400. And the average loan term rose from six months in 2013 to almost 10 months in 2017.

This growth may have something to do with how online installment loan providers are marketing their services. The number of lenders using direct marketing in 2015 was indexed to 100, but in 2018 (through July), that number was 275, representing growth on pace to reach 550 percent by year end. The number of pre-screened mailed names went up from an indexed amount of 100 in 2015 to 988 through July of this year.

Marketing isn’t the only factor affecting growth in this segment of online lending. There is also a growing number of lenders tapping into the market, and the fact that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), several U.S. states, the United Kingdom, and other government entities are beginning to target traditional brick-and-mortar payday lenders is contributing to the growth of the online installment loan segment.

The growth of this segment highlights the importance of credit risk evaluation. The need for effective credit risk solutions that identify potential defaulters and is capable of separating the good borrowers from the bad is also growing.

The Importance of Predicting Defaults Before Issuing Online Loans

One of the most important tasks for any lender is predicting the likelihood of default. A higher than expected default rate can lead to huge losses. On the other hand, mitigating delinquencies can lead to greater profits and allow the lender to issue more loans. It is particularly important to predict whether a borrower will default on the first payment of an installment loan. After all, defaulting on the first installment means the lender will not recoup any of its investment, and defaulting on the first payment is a clear sign that the borrower should have been flagged as a high credit risk and will likely default on subsequent payments.

Alternative finance lending is inherently risky. Lenders must fight a higher default rate than banks (20 percent vs. 3 percent) right off the bat. That alone makes predictive credit risk modeling a necessity in today’s installment loan market.

In recent years, online lending leaders have seen greater than expected default rates, which means these online providers must be extra diligent about predicting delinquencies in order to watch their bottom lines. For this reason, the tools that lenders use to make such predictions must be carefully chosen so that default rates decline and profits increase over time.

3 Ways to Identify Good Credit Risks Before Issuing a Loan

Some defaults are to be expected. Profitable lenders understand that the interest on the good loans will pay for the losses on the bad loans. Nevertheless, mitigating those losses is paramount to maintaining solvency and being able to service future borrowers. An online installment loan lender can use credit risk scoring to decrease default rates and increase profits simply by identifying the good and bad credit risks. Here are three ways a lender can ensure they are focusing on the good credit risks:

  1. Prescreen your potential borrowers – Credit risk evaluation should begin before you make initial contact with potential borrowers. If you are involved in direct marketing, prescreen potential borrowers before sending them your marketing collateral. Not only can this lower your default rate, but it will also lower your marketing expenses.
  2. Use an effective credit risk scoring solution – Today’s lenders do not just rely on FICO scores and payment histories. They collect alternative data that identifies how potential borrowers spend their money and handle their debts. Much of this data is out of sight from traditional credit scoring agencies, but it is essential to getting a complete picture of the borrower.
  3. Make your offer based on the borrower’s credit risk profile – First, build a credit risk profile on the borrower and use the predictive score to make your loan offer. It is best when lenders are able to structure a loan based on a consumer’s risk level. For example, a higher risk customer might warrant a smaller loan amount to control the lender’s risk.

Assessing Credit Risk: The Perfect Solution for Online Installment Loan Providers

The most important factors in underwriting the subprime consumer involve credit risk assessment and fraud detection. New solutions that combine the largest visibility into the industry’s alternative credit data and traditional bureau data ensure lenders are fully equipped to assess and mitigate risks. These solutions are offered by Experian’s Clarity Services and Experian, and include:

  • Clear Credit Risk
  • Clear Advanced Attributes

These solutions are designed to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness or to determine credit eligibility. Lenders receive an actionable score with adverse action codes to help them determine whether a potential borrower is a solid credit risk and to help determine a reasonable loan structure.

Clear Credit Risk is Clarity’s trademarked credit risk product designed to predict the likelihood of a borrower’s default on the first payment. It includes an effective score and is built on data that has proven most predictive for subprime consumers.

Experian’s Clarity Services is a credit reporting agency founded in 2008 and acquired by Experian in 2017. As the leading alternative credit data provider, the company services a wide variety of alternative finance lenders such as auto finance companies, check cashing services, prepaid credit card issuers, short-term installment lenders, small-dollar credit lenders, telecommunications providers, and more.

Authors:

Allen Taylor

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

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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

Monday June 25 2018, Daily News Digest

FREED 2018-1 collateral characteristics

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi launches SoFi Money. Robinhood in talks with regulators about bank products. Orca Money plans to double in size this year. Monzo, TransferWise partner. Banco BNI Europa drops 50M Euro into Linked Finance. Today’s main analysis: FREED 2018-1 Deep Dive. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What financial service firms can learn from direct-to-consumer companies. Graduate degrees with […]

FREED 2018-1 collateral characteristics

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s Latest Product Called “SoFi Money” is Here (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

At time of writing, SoFi is paying 1.1% on their account which is a competitive rate when you consider that it is a hybrid account. Other banks who continuously offer the highest rates available on the market such as Goldman Sachs’ Marcus are currently paying around 1.7% on savings accounts. The largest banks in the US such as Bank of America, Citi and JP Morgan Chase pay between 0.01% and 0.1% on savings accounts which varies depending on deposit amounts and current promotions.

Source: Lend Academy

Continued Yield Curve Flattening, FREED 2018-1 Deep Dive (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The yield curve continued its unrelenting flattening after last week’s Fed meeting. The spread between 10-year and 2-year treasury yields now stands at 36 bps (about 1 to 2 rate hikes from inversion). An inverted yield curve and lower-long term yields have presaged economic slowdown or recessions in the past. You can read our analysis of the Fed’s interest rate decision here.

FREED 2018-1 Deep Dive

FREED 2018-1’s collateral pool consists of 2 types of loans – 61.6% Freedom Plus (F+) and 38.4% Consolidation Plus (C+).

F+ Loans: F+ loans are unsecured consumer loans to near prime and prime borrowers. F+ collateral has a WA age of 8 months and WA remaining term of 41 months. The WA current FICO score of the pool is 723 and the WA interest rate is 14.8%.

C+ Loans: C+ loans are offered to select qualified debt settlement clients as an option to shorten the duration of their debt settlement program by making funds immediately available to fund settlements reached by Freedom Debt Relief. C+ collateral has a WA age of 8 months and WA remaining term of 44 months. The WA current FICO score of the pool is 654 and the WA interest rate is 22.9%.

Source: Source: PeerIQ, KBRA, DBRS
Source: PeerIQ
Source: PeerIQ

There’s plenty more. See the rest of the charts here.

Robinhood is said to discuss bank products with regulators (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Robinhood Markets has more than 4 million U.S. consumers using its free stock-trading platform. Now, it’s in talks to offer them other banking services like savings accounts, according to people familiar with the matter.

KeyBank Acquires Digital Lending Platform For Small Businesses Bolstr (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

On Wednesday, KeyBank announced it has acquired digital lending platform for small businesses Bolstr. According to Key, the fintech software, which is expected to be implemented later this year, will enable the banking group to provide faster and easier access both to SBA loans and to traditional capital for business owners. The acquisition comes just after the OCC recently called on banks to issue more SME loans. 

Capital One Co-Founder Is Making a Bet on Risky Borrowers (Bloomberg) Rated: A

The co-founder of Capital One Financial Corp. is betting now’s a good time to lend to the riskiest borrowers.

Nigel Morris, Richard Fairbank’s partner in creating the company that became Capital One, is joining the board of LendUp Global Inc. and boosting his investment in the firm, which uses machine learning to look beyond traditional credit scores in the subprime market.

What Financial Services Can Learn from Direct-to-Consumer Companies (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

2016 Bain study found that nearly a third of customers globally would change their bank if they could do so easily. With dissatisfaction that high, traditional financial institutions should look to emulate the branding strategies of direct-to-consumer retailers, rather than leaning on their well-established names, to engage with millennial and Gen Z consumers.

Research from BCG found that brands that create personalized customer experiences with technology and data can increase revenue by six to ten percent, and direct-to-consumer brands have capitalized on the benefits of personalization.

Many fintech companies’ value proposition is to leverage technology to provide less expensive financial advice, lower interest rates on student loans, or more fair and reflective insurance rates. For example, robo-advisor Betterment charges only 25 basis points for wealth management services and no minimum to enroll, as opposed to traditional financial advisors that charge one to two percent on assets under management and often require high minimum investments to qualify for on-boarding.

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that 75 percent of bank customers base their purchasing decisions on whether or not they’ve had a positive customer experience at the bank.

Which Graduate Degrees Deliver More Debt than Income? (Credible) Rated: AAA

Credible’s analysis of student loan debt levels and salaries across 16 graduate school majors shows that the most important consideration isn’t how much debt you’ll take on to obtain an advanced degree — or how much you’ll earn after graduation — but achieving the right balance between the two.

Source: Credible
United Kingdom

Scottish fintech Orca Money hopes to double in size (Insider), Rated: AAA

Scottish fintech firm Orca Money hopes to double its staff to ten over the next year following its second funding round.

The Edinburgh-based company raised £280,000 seed capital last January and is now talking to investors about follow-on funding.

P2PFA accused of reducing transparency after loanbook changes (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

THE PEER-TO-PEER Finance Association (P2PFA) has been accused of reducing transparency and hindering efforts to enhance investor protection after changing the rules governing how firms publish their loanbook.

Previously, members of the self-regulated trade body were obliged to publish their full loanbook, showing information about all the loans on their platform.

But at the start of June, the P2PFA announced that members now have the option to “either continue to publish their entire loan book, or provide a detailed breakdown of loans in their overall loan book to enable a consumer to be informed about the nature and number of loans of different descriptions presently originated through the platform according to standards to be approved by the P2PFA board.”

Asset management giant warns on ‘exotic’ peer-to-peer lending pension investing (AltFi News) Rated: A

Pension investors should avoid high yielding assets such as peer-to-peer loans, according to new research by UK-based Royal London Asset Management.

The firm, which manages £114bn of assets, says investors looking generate income in retirement should beware for high risk, higher yielding investments.

How I invest: Ayo Adesina, a software engineer with £32,000 in peer-to-peer (iNews), Rated: A

Ayo Adesina, 34, was lucky enough to come into a £50,000 windfall when he won series two of Channel 4’s TV programme Hunted in 2016.

Mr Adesina, who describes himself as a novice investor, put the majority of the money – £32,000 – into a peer-to-peer property lending platform. He says his investment has grown 7 per cent, or £3,000, since he opened an account a year ago.

Who’s switching jobs at BWB Compliance (City A.M.), Rated: B

BWB Compliance has recruited Dena Chadderton as a senior adviser. With wide-ranging experience both as a regulatory consultant and across the financial services industry, Dena will primarily be advising firms in the fintech and asset management space. In particular, Dena will continue to specialise in the regulation of P2P lending and crowdfunding platforms, a growing part of the current team’s client-base.

China

Online lender seeks small-scale borrowers (The Standard) Rated: AAA

China’s FinUp Finance Technology Group, which operates a technology-enabled finance platform with a focus on marketplace lending, aims to widen its market in the country by going public in Hong Kong.

The fintech firm also provides a variety of other personal credit services including point of sale instalment services to automobile financing services.

Chinese Fintech PINTEC Launches Installment Financing on E-Commerce Platforms (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Chinese fintech Pintec Technology Holdings Limited (PINTEC) announced on Wednesday it has launched installment financing on its e-commerce platforms. This news comes just a couple of weeks after PINTEC secured $103 million through its latest financing round, which as led by Mandra Capital and SINA Corp.

European Union

Monzo partners with TransferWise for international payments (TechCrunch) Rated: AAA

The partnership, which TechCrunch outed nearly three weeks ago, will see TransferWise power international payments for the U.K. challenger bank’s 750,000 customers. It is the second new bank partnership that TransferWise has unveiled this month, after the fintech unicorn announced that it has begun working with France’s second largest bank BPCE Groupe.

Asked why Monzo  has chosen to work with TransferWise, Blomfield reiterates the challenger bank’s goal of becoming a “hub or control centre” for your money. This won’t necessarily all be done by Monzo, he says, “but with partner organisations who plug into this hub”. TransferWise is the first of these.

LINKED FINANCE SECURES €50M FUNDING FOR IRISH SMES FROM BANCO BNI EUROPA (Irish Tech News) Rated: AAA

Linked Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, has secured backing from Portugal’s fastest growing digital bank, Banco BNI Europa, who will deploy up to €50m over a 2-year period, to lend to Irish SMEs.

As part of a wider strategy to identify the best P2P lending platforms in key European markets, Banco BNI Europa will deploy its capital alongside Linked Finance’s existing lenders. Linked Finance, connects Irish SMEs who need loans with an online lending community of more than 19,000 users.

HAVE YOUR CAKE AND ‘HODL’ TOO: TAKING OUT A LOAN WITH BITCOIN (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

P2P lending platform InLock wants to change this by enabling cryptocurrency to be used as collateral for a loan in fiat — effectively solving the short-term spendability problem. At the same time, borrowers can remain ‘hodlers‘ with the option to get their cryptocurrency back in full after the loan is paid off, regardless of any changes in price.

Csaba: When we looked at the Bitcoin blockchain, we found that 40% of all bitcoins existing today had not been moved at all in the past year. Looking back at 2017, there were plenty of reasons to move them: hard forks, the mempool crisis, regulation problems, an amazing bull run, followed by a 70% correction.

The FinTech50 2018 (The FinTech 50) Rated: B

Listings include:

  • Monzo
  • N26
  • OakNorth
  • Raisin
  • Revolut
  • Seedrs
  • SolarisBank
  • Starling Bank
International

34 Fintech and Insurtech Unicorns (Inside Bitcoins), Rated: AAA

According to data compiled from CB Insights and Crunchbase, they are currently 34 fintech unicorns, or startups valued at over $1 billion.

32. Funding Circle — $1 billion

Value: $1 billion | Raised: $413 million

Founded: 2009 |  | HQ: London

What it does: Peer-to-peer marketplace for business loans.

Why it’s hot:Over £3 billion has been lent across the platform and the company is tipped for a blockbuster European float later this year.

31. Kabbage — $1 billion

Value: $1 billion | Raised: $500 million

Founded: 2009 |  | HQ: Atlanta

What it does: Fast online small business loans.

Why it’s hot: The company has written over $4 billion-worth of loans and has partnered with Spanish bank Santander.

24. ACORN OakNorth — $1.2 billion

Value: $1.2 billion | Raised: $486 million

Founded: 2015 |  | HQ: London

What it does: A fintech firm focused on unlocking the potential in bespoke SME lending globally using its data and technology platform, ACORN machine.

Why it’s hot: ACORN machine is a fintech platform that helps automate the way banks penetrate this underserved and underestimated market. It does this by leveraging process excellence, machine learning and technology to fuel data-driven decision making across the loan lifecycle.

22. Tuandaiwang — $1.46 billion

Value: $1.46 billion | Raised: $380 million

Founded: 2012 | HQ: Dongguan

What it does: Peer-to-peer lending platform.

Why it’s hot: The company has helped individuals and companies borrow $11.4 billion and helped lenders make $335 million in returns.

17. NuBank — $2 billion

Value: $2 billion | Raised: $527 million

Founded: 2013 |  | HQ: Sao Paulo

What it does: Brazilian app-only bank.

Why it’s hot: The bank has 3 million customers and has raised money from Sequoia Capital, Goldman Sachs, Tiger Global, and more.

16. Affirm — $2 billion

Value: $2 billion | Raised: $720 million

Founded: 2012 |  | HQ: San Francisco

What it does: A hire-purchase provider, letting people buy products and pay them off in installments.

Why it’s hot: The company works with over 1,200 retailers in the US and its technology helps retailers increase average order sizes by 51%. Morgan Stanley and Singapore’s GIC are both investors.

15. Avant — $2 billion

Value: $2 billion | Raised: $1.8 billion

Founded: 2012 |  | HQ: Chicago

What it does: Online personal loans.

Why it’s hot: The company has lent over $1 billion and is backed by the likes of Tiger Global, KKR, and Jefferies.

13. Klarna — $2.5 billion

Value: $2.5 billion | Raised: $636 million

Founded: 2005 |  | HQ: Stockholm

What it does: User-friendly payment systems for mobile and web that lets people buy now and pay later.

Why it’s hot: The company processes 800,000 transactions a day and has been used by 60 million people globally. Sequoia Capital, the Silicon Valley fund that backed PayPal, is an investor.

9. GreenSky — $3.6 billion

Value: $3.6 billion | Raised: $350 million

Founded: 2006 |  | HQ: Atlanta

What it does: Provides technology to banks that is used in processing loan applications.

Why it’s hot: Steven McLaughlin, a former Goldman Sachs banker whose firm advised GreenSky on a funding deal, told Bloomberg in 2016 that GreenSky “is the single best fintech company created in the last 10 years, by far.”

8. Credit Karma — $3.5 billion

Value: $3.5 billion | Raised: $868 million

Founded: 2007 |  | HQ: SanFrancisco

What it does: Provides free online credit reports, offsetting the cost of paying for them with targeted advertising of financial products.

Why it’s hot: Over 75 million people in the US and Canada have used the service. Google Capital is an investor.

7. SoFi — $4 billion

Value: $4 billion | Raised: $2.1 billion

Founded: 2011 |  | HQ: San Francisco

What it does: Peer-to-peer student loan refinancing, mortgages, and other types of personal loans.

Why it’s hot: Like Zenefits, SoFi struggled with a slew of setbacks in 2017. Allegations of sexual misconduct and loan misstatements forced out founder Mike Cagney. Former Twitter CFO and ex-Goldman banker Anthony Noto is now leading a turnaround of the business.

3. Lu.com — $18.5 billion

Value: $18.5 billion | Raised: $1.7 billion

Founded: 2011 | HQ: Shanghai

What it does: Chinese peer-to-peer loans and financing platform.

Why it’s hot: Lu.com, also known as Lufax, is one of China’s largest online lenders and is tipped for an IPO this year.

ETHLend Blockchain Lending Platform Adds MyBit Token (MYB) in Partnership (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: B

MyBit is an Ethereum-powered ecosystem that aims to connect the global Internet of Things (IoT) industry. ETHLend works with the Ethereum blockchain as well and is a marketplace for peer-to-peer lending services that use smart contracts. The company provides low interest rates and a transparent technology for processing transactions.

Currently, it allows users to lend with Ethereum, but it may be ready to introduce new altcoins at the end of this year, including MYB.

Australia

RateSetter to ‘accelerate’ broker strategy with new appointment (The Adviser) Rated: A

Last week, The Adviser broke the story that Mark Woolnough had left his role at ING after 18 years at the lender to join the fintech RateSetter.

It has now been confirmed by RateSetter that Mr Woolnough has joined its ranks as head of third-party distribution.

India

P2P lending marketplace ‘PaisaDukan’ to open branches in Noida and Bangalore (Knowledge & News Network) Rated: AAA

PaisaDukan, a P2P lending platform fully owned by Mumbai based fintech startup BigWin Infotech, has decided to launch 2 branches in Noida & Bangalore as a part of its PAN India expansion and growth plans by the end of next month.

This will enable the company to have better control over their operations and widen its reach.

Asia

Bills on P2P lending, cryptocurrency pending in National Assembly (The Korea Herald) Rated: AAA

Rep. Min Byung-doo of the ruling Democratic Party and Rep. Kim Su-min of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party filed two separate bills to regulate P2P lending firms in July last year and in February, respectively.

With the bills still pending in the National Assembly, financial authorities have been struggling to tackle abusive and deceptive P2P lending practices.

Open Banking: no leisurely walk in the DX park (Enterprise Innovation) Rated: A

The 2018 Global Payments Insight Survey: Retail Banking report by ACI Worldwide and OVUM  claimed that 86% of banks in Asia are developing their open banking strategy.

Ovum’s 2017 Payments Insight Survey said 87% of surveyed banks report having a clear strategy for developing open APIs, up from 59% in 2017.

Africa

FINT is changing the narratives in the Nigerian lending space (Nairametrics), Rated: AAA

In a recent report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), less than a third of MSMEs have successfully obtained loans from financial institutions, and that is not for a lack of trying.

Nigeria currently has over 35 million MSMEs and if approximately only 10 million MSMEs have been able to get loans from financial institutions, hence, a credit gap of about 25 million in the country.

What exactly is FINT?

FINT is an online lending marketplace, basically we connect verifiable income borrowers looking for access to affordable credit with lenders who are looking to fund the loans for attractive returns. We have consumer loans i.e. loans between N60,000 and N2 million at rates as low as 8% for 3 – 12  months, with retail and institutional lenders (banks and asset managers).

For lenders, they can lend in the multiples of N20,000 grows at 26-39% for one-year loan tenures, for 6 months 15-22% for 3 months it is 8-14%.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Princeton Alternative Funding Gets a New Beginning

alternative lending fund

The 2008 financial crisis saw a lending freeze from traditional banks. Grabbing the opportunity, alternative lenders filled the space. Drawn by superior returns, sophisticated financial investors and funds sprung up to invest via these platforms to directly/indirectly lend to consumers and small businesses. Princeton Alternative Funding is one such player. But the company has had to […]

alternative lending fund

The 2008 financial crisis saw a lending freeze from traditional banks. Grabbing the opportunity, alternative lenders filled the space. Drawn by superior returns, sophisticated financial investors and funds sprung up to invest via these platforms to directly/indirectly lend to consumers and small businesses. Princeton Alternative Funding is one such player. But the company has had to face rough weather, with bankruptcy protection and multiple lawsuits hobbling its progress.

Princeton Alternative Funding’s Humble Beginnings

Jack Cook (CEO) founded Princeton Alternative Funding LLC (PAF), a fund management company on March 1, 2015. The company is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and helps accredited and institutional investors achieve strong positive returns in the alternative lending sector. Walt Wojciechowski is the CFO and Jeff Davner is the President of the company.

Princeton Alternative Funding LLC is the general partner of Princeton Alternative Income Fund (PAIF), a flexible 3(c)(7) hedge fund. The inspiration for PAF was the evolution of fintech. There were no online lenders 15 years ago, and it is the recent technology advancement that has made it possible for the alternative lender market to come into forefront.

Though the company started on a strong note, its relations soured with its biggest limited partner in late 2015.

The PAIF Bankruptcy Filing

Ranger Direct Lending Trust (RDLT) along with RSIF and its affiliate “Ranger,” invested indirectly in PAIF Offshore. PAIF Offshore is a British Virgins Island Offshore entity, which is a limited partner in PAIF. According to the company’s filings, Ranger’s actual motivation was not to be a limited partner but the owner of the fund. They had reflected to their own investors that they control and own PAIF, which was materially false, according to PAF spokesmen. Though the two parties had major disagreements, PAIF was churning great returns for Ranger.

In fact, in 2015, Ranger received cash payments of $2,299,070.00 in the form of returns from PAIF, but they again attempted to acquire an equity interest in PAF. This attempt was rejected by PAIF, which forced Ranger to look for other means, which in turn destabilized the fund operations. Its bankruptcy filing states that the company entered bankruptcy protection while continuing to fight Ranger and its unwanted advances.

The case has turned more complex with Argon Credit, PAIF’s largest finance company borrower filing a bankruptcy petition in December 2016, placing 60 percent of the company’s assets in the PAIF fund at risk. Shortly after, Bristlecone Holdings, another one of PAIF’s finance company borrowers, filed a bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada.

PAF’s Climb Back to the Top

2015 saw the company open its fund raising doors. In March, they received their first capital. From March 2015 to Feb 2016, Ranger put in a total of $62 million. The company received new management in March 2016 after it was discovered that certain executives colluded with Ranger. The next year, they added more than 13 limited partners. The fund is now focused on providing revolving lines of credit to finance companies.

The fund has purchased a total of 12 portfolios from LOC (line of credit) originators. Two of them have been paid off and the rest are being serviced. These loans mainly comprise of small-dollar short-term consumer loans. All of them are installment loans, and some fall under lease/rent-to-own categories. There are a total of 60,000 consumer loans in the entire portfolio.

The company has an exclusive partnership with Microbilt Inc., a Consumer Rating Agency that provides top of the line analysis and monitoring capabilities. It will have access to proprietary databases and scorecards of MB, which will allow it to analyze loan originators and their performance as well as evaluate borrower performance on a granular level. The proprietary technology software includes auto underwriting tools, statistical models, and software tools to determine the validity of each loan.

PAF is now primarily funded by Microbilt to the tune of almost $2.5 million.

Conclusion

The year-to-date audited adjusted returns have exceeded the fund’s performance targets since its creation.

  • 2015: 13.97% YTD return
  • 2016: 17.41% YTD return
  • 2017: 15.17% YTD return

Princeton Alternative Funding does not have many competitors. Even players like Victory Park Capital have exited the space. But Princeton Alternative Funding firmly believes the alternative lending sector and its niche is a growing market. Banks and financial institutions are not able to offer easy credit to the consumer market, which is where alternative lending facilities come into play. It is looking to become a force to reckon with in its niche of short-term small-dollar consumer loans.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Competing With Banks Through a Mobile App

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost […]

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost trust in traditional banks, and millennials don’t see the appeal in standing in line for banking services. To fill the void, Varo Money has launched a mobile banking business. The aim is to disrupt how banking is done in the United States. Its goal as to help customers cover their expenses, pay their bills, and build wealth over time.

Varo Money was founded in 2015 by Assaf Guery, Colin Walsh, Mykola (Kolya) Klymenko, and Roger Van Duinen. Its headquarters is located in San Francisco, California. The company has managed to raise over $78 million in various funding rounds with PE giant Warburg Pincus as the lead investor. CEO and Co-Founder Colin Walsh previously served for over 25 years in various reputed financial institutions like Amex in Europe, Lloyd Banking group, and Wells Fargo.

More Than a Bank

Throughout his professional career, Walsh realized a growing need to empower the next generation with tools that will help them improve their overall financial condition. He also realized incumbents were too entrenched in their existing business models to concentrate on developing products for the millennial generation. This became the driving force behind Varo Money. So he built a talented team with deep financial services expertise and a strong consumer technology knowledge. Varo Money is trying to be a one-stop shop for users’ banking needs and wants to inculcate better financial habits among customers by providing them with the right tools and financial guidance.

Last year, Varo Money launched their mobile app and banking products through a partnership with The Bancorp Bank. The partnership helped the platform come to the market with a FDIC-insured product. This helped them compete against incumbent banks and appeal to a larger cross section of the population. But Varo has big ambitions and wants a bigger share of the pie. That’s why the company applied for a national bank charter through the OCC. Even though obtaining this charter will be an uphill task, considering no new charter has been issued in the last decade or so, it’s a courageous move. It puts the spotlight on the young entrant and highlights its intention to be a serious regulated player in the industry.

Varo’s Business Model

The foundation of the Varo Money platform is relationship banking. It offers a basic consumer checking account just like any other bank, but the difference is a customer can perform all the basic functions like deposits and money transfers without having to go visit a bank branch. It even issues a debit card to customers and has started offering savings accounts. A customer can open a savings account on his or her mobile app and Varo offers interest rates up to 50 basis points as compared to 1 or 2 basis points offered by traditional banks.

Apart from the bank account, Varo also offers short- and long-term financing solutions. The short-term line of credit is a flexible line of credit (LOC) and is available to customers unexpected financial challenges. The LOC helps customers manage cash flows while avoiding the need to take a payday loan or cash advance. Also, 3- and 5-year fixed rate installment loans are aavailable for long-term financial needs.

Varo Money’s Technology and Competitive Posture

Varo Money is available as an iOS application with an Android version coming soon. The app is loaded with features like touch ID, a geolocation service to spot nearby ATMs, and the ability to link other accounts through APIs. The app is free and requires no minimum balance to open an account. Also, there are no foreign exchange charges or overdraft fees. Its customer base has access to over 55,000 ATMs worldwide as compared to 18,000 ATMs for Chase and 12,000 for Wells Fargo.

Varo charges a nominal fee for debit card usage. It also sells financial products of its partner bank earning income from that partnership. However, its lending products are a primary income generator. The pricing and structure of LOC products are developed to compete with other alternative lenders in the market.

Varo has a lot of competitors in different niches of banking. Players like Discover, Ally, and Goldman Sachs concentrate on only a few lending segments; these lenders do not follow a complete relationship model, but only offer a specific product. On the other hand, there are neobanks like Chime, Simple, and BankMobile that are single-purpose saving apps. Though they are doing a great job when it comes to user experience, the range of products offered by them is narrow compared to a full suite of products offered by a traditional bank.

This is where Varo Money is different. It is focused on customer relationships and wants the ability to offer the entire gamut of banking services to consumers. This gives it multiple cross-selling opportunities and reduces the cost of client acquisition. Its strategy seems to be paying off. In just 7-8 months, Varo has garnered tens of thousands of customers and over 100k downloads.

Conclusion

Varo Money is focused on replacing traditional banks with its comprehensive suite of online banking services and products. Coupled with its obsession for helping millennials make smarter financial decisions, Varo Money is looking to be an emerging player in the digital bankin sector.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Financing Life’s Most Important Moments

LendingUSA

Camilo Concha’s experiences in building specialized online platforms taught him that there was a need to place potential clients and patients with the right professional for their situation, but there was also the need to help them finance their legal and medical bills. That’s when he started the two specialty companies mylegalloan.com and medicalfinancing.com. His […]

LendingUSA

Camilo Concha’s experiences in building specialized online platforms taught him that there was a need to place potential clients and patients with the right professional for their situation, but there was also the need to help them finance their legal and medical bills. That’s when he started the two specialty companies mylegalloan.com and medicalfinancing.com.

His ability to diagnose market needs and find viable, simple solutions brought about his latest, largest, and boldest venture yet, LendingUSA.

Prior to the 2015 founding LendingUSA, Concha attended a LendIt conference where he learned how to build a better platform. He connected with Cross River Bank, which now does all of the company’s loan licensing, and First Associates, who services the loans. He also connected with Howard Freedland. Freedland, in turn, brought Brandon Ross, CEO and founder of Direct Lending Investments, and the two partnered with online lenders to add $55M USD in debt capital to the $5M Concha had raised in equity funding. That $60M is the only funding the company has seen to date, and Concha says that it was possible to raise that amount due to the company’s $1B in loan application flows.

LendingUSA Continues Concha’s Successful Run

Simplicity is evident when we look at how LendingUSA got off the ground. “We basically built an underwriting model and started lending,” Concha said. Working with doctors and merchants at the point of sale (POS), the company has developed a strong vantage point, being able to offer their product to consumers who can’t or don’t want to do longer term financing.

Much of the client base is comprised of people who want to get elective medical procedures, such as liposuction, which are not covered by insurance. LendingUSA makes a loan to the customer but pays the amount straight to the doctor.

Loan pricing is set into the business model, and it is based on a credit profile, which includes credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and credit sought in the last six months. FICO scores are also a factor, but just one of the important things, with the company also assessing whether customers are maxed out on their credit and if they’re paying their bills. Risk assessment is measured by an algorithm, a process that allows the customer to be approved or declined on the spot.

Being a POS lender provides many benefits to the LendingUSA business model. Beginning the process with the provider, rather than the borrower, referrals come from the providers themselves, whether through an advisory role or by way of brochures available in providers’ offices. Providing loans at this point allows LendingUSA to offer financing in installment loans where other companies tend to deal in lines of credit. This allows the company to go higher on the credit scale than would be possible with lines of credit and to also go a little lower on the credit spectrum, as far as 620. Installment loans also prove more beneficial to the borrower as risk goes down every month.

The company charges a fee at the POS depending on their risk evaluation, and the merchant fee for these services usually runs about five to six percent.

LendingUSA’s Performance

During LendingUSA’s growth, the company has also acquired 30 branded websites including bridalloans.com, surgeryloans.com, petloans.com, and dentalloans.com. In all, the company currently does business with 3,700 different medical providers.

Working with customers who have an average credit rating of 682, the company currently has a loan volume in the neighborhood $225M. The average loan is $6K with an average interest rate of 22% and an annualized charge off rate of about 8-10%.

Choosing to focus on “life’s important moments,” LendingUSA focuses on “niche markets we think we can win in,” counting elective medical, dental, cosmetic surgery, chiropractic, pet loans, and funeral loans among the diverse group of industries it works in.

Competition and Customers

Concerning the competition, Concha shows another reason why he has proven successful in that he doesn’t worry himself with concerns about what other companies are doing, choosing to focus on what his is doing. “I don’t like to call it competition,” he said. “There are great companies like Care Credit, Affirm, and Green Sky that do similar things, but they work in other niche markets or do it differently by providing revolving lines of credit. We have our little niche and are a better fit for some people, [especially in that] installment loans are better for large amounts of revenue, and lines of credit better for smaller amounts.”

The typical LendingUSA customer is someone in their 40s and 50s who makes $60K to $80K a year. “We believe that a lot of people want to improve their lives,” Concha said. “Our customers are gainfully employed, but they don’t have the means to get the product they want. We make it available to them.” In doing so, the company provides a great service for their merchant partners by helping them to capture more clients and generate more revenue.

LendingUSA’s Goals and the Direction of the Industry

“Our initial goal was to reach $1B in sales in the next three to four years,” Concha said. “We’re looking to price loans better, securitize loans, and find new capital partners.”

Concha is positive about these goals as the cosmetic surgery and elective medical fields are growing every year. The growth is underscored by the fact that men are now gravitating toward cosmetic surgery, when the thought was taboo in the past. These procedures are now more generally accepted for men. He also says that fears of economic downturns, which might stunt growth in other industries, are less of a concern. “People still want to feel good about themselves; they might not buy a new house or car, but they want to look good,” Concha said.

LendingUSA’s Team and The Future

Concha considers himself fortunate enough to have built a strong team. This includes Mike Testa, the company president and the former president of Care Credit, who built a POS business in the medical industry from $80M to $6B; Sharad Shankar, the former chief risk officer of Lending Point, who now holds that title with LendingUSA; and
Jenann Shemisa, LendingUSA’s chief compliance officer, who served as a senior attorney for the enforcement division of the FDIC.

Understandably pleased with what he has built in less than three years since founding LendingUSA, Concha says the company is now focused on loan performance. “Because we’re at the POS, we’re able to compete more on service than on price. This means we can charge a little more, which allows our portfolio to perform at 500 basis points better on yield than most marketplace lenders. Everybody that advertises on LendingTree and online comparison sites is competing on price, which doesn’t help portfolio performance. By working at the POS, we get better yields because we’re not competing on price.” With this focus, the company has a goal of being number one in the markets it services.

Concha’s Past Comes Back to Reward Him

Concha came to the U.S. from Colombia with his family when he was 14. It only took him seven years to go from being a school boy who spoke little English to starting his first business, which he ran while he studied at California State University, Northridge and worked as a Spanish interpreter at the San Fernando Bar Association.

Seeing the desperate need for an attorney referral service, he founded the Attorney Search Network (ASN), which he ran out of his apartment until he could afford to pay for his first office space, a converted janitor’s closet that was so small he had to speak with clients in the hallway.

Concha then saw that he could create other companies to fulfill similar voids in different fields. This brought about the founding of 1800mysurgeon.com, created to help assist individuals who are looking for a board-certified and reputable cosmetic surgeon.

Concha now works out of one of the tallest buildings in the San Fernando Valley, employs dozens, and the two companies together have extensive databases with hundreds of doctors and lawyers from every legal and medical field. Add to that the lending businesses he has founded and he has quite the legacy. All of them are still growing strong. There’s nothing her to suggest that LendingUSA won’t maintain a similar trajectory.

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Written by Paul Keenan.