Wednesday April 25 2018, Daily News Digest

banking the nonbanks

News Comments Today’s main news: Wells Fargo still the largest bank to lend to nonbanks. Digit adds credit card payments to app. UK finance chief calls for regulatory crackdown on tech giants. Humaniq implements smart biometrics identification. Today’s main analysis: World Bank releases Global Findex Database. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit history, debt ratio are biggest constraints for would-be homeowners. Lending […]

banking the nonbanks

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News Summary

United States

Wells Fargo Leaves a Potential Subprime Smudge on Its Way to Squeaky Clean (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Sloan provided some evidence for that argument last week when the bank paid a $1 billion fine to regulators to close an investigation into abusive practices in its auto lending and mortgage unit.

But a look at one of its lending businesses suggests that exposure to questionable practices isn’t so much an oversight as a business decision. Wells Fargo, according to reports over the past few years, is by far the largest lender among the big banks to payday loan companies and others that make high-interest loans to subprime borrowers, including some that regulators have accused of predatory practices.

Source: Bloomberg

Banks don’t have to report how much they lend to subprime lenders, which falls broadly into the category of nonbank lenders. Wells Fargo, at the end of last year, had by far lent the most to nonbank lenders, with $81 billion in outstanding loans. Citigroup was the bank with next largest exposure, with just $30 billion outstanding.

Source: Bloomberg

Credit History and Debt Ratio are Biggest Constraints for Would-Be Homeowners (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the cities with the highest rates of denied mortgage applications and why mortgage shoppers in those areas have been denied.

Since the financial crisis, mortgage lending standards have tightened as underwriting has become more stringent. There are numerous reasons why a lender could deny a loan, from poor credit score to prior bankruptcies, but other reasons can include a lender’s inability to verify a borrower’s employer.

Source: Lending Tree

LendingTree delved into data from more than 10 million mortgage applications using the most recent available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set to find out the main reasons would-be borrowers were rejected, and to see if location has any correlation for rejection.

Fintech firm Digit adds credit card debt payment to savings app (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Digit, maker of one of the first apps to help people save by automatically sweeping modest amounts of money from checking into savings, is turning its attention to credit card debt.

The app can now be set to automatically make an extra payment every month on a user’s credit card, the fintech announced Tuesday.

At the end of January, the Federal Reserve reported that U.S. consumers had $1.03 trillion in credit card debt.

Breaking Away From The Bi-Weekly Payroll Tradition (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Today, this payroll schedule means an estimated 70 percent of employees in the U.S. live paycheck-to-paycheck – and many struggle to make necessary purchases or payments in the days leading up to payday. It’s also linked to the rise in the payday loan industry, which has more U.S. storefronts today than McDonald’s, according to data from Pew. Lenders make a collective $7 billion in fees, according to analysts, and they stem from more than $46 billion worth of payday loans issued each year.

According to Steve Barha, CEO of Instant Financial, the rise of the payday loan industry and overdrafts certainly comes with its controversies, but it’s no mistake that the industry exists in the first place.

Unison Reports 1000% Growth Year over Year in Home Ownership Origination Volume (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Unison, a unique financing platform for home ownership investments, is reporting strong year-over-year growth. According to the company, following a solid 2017, the origination volume for the first quarter of 2018 has grown and increased 1000 percent over the comparable period last year. This is due in part to an expansion of the management team and the availability of their service in ten new states.

Unison says these new hires will help extend their company into more states. In April alone, Unison HomeOwner and HomeBuyer programs will be available in 10 additional states including Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Missouri and Delaware, bringing its total footprint to 22 states plus Washington D.C. Unison expects to broaden its reach over the course of 2018 to over 70 percent of U.S. single family residential housing units.

Mulvaney response to CFPB data security gaps baffles cyber experts (American Banker) Rated: A

Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Mick Mulvaney has repeatedly pointed to data security as a defect in the agency’s supervisory program, but security experts are scratching their heads over the bureau’s response to such problems.

Mulvaney has said hundreds of CFPB-related data breaches justified his announcement in December that the agency would halt collecting personally identifiable information from companies it supervises.

Elevate vs. LendUp Payday Loans: Everything You Need to Know (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Pros of a LendUp payday loan
Getting cash fast is the main reason you’d choose a company such as LendUp. But they have some other benefits, as well.

  • If you pay your installment loan on time, you could boost your credit score.
  • The lender has an incentive program called the LendUp Ladder. You’re awarded points as you take out LendUp loans and repay them on time. As you accumulate points, the lender will reward you by allowing you to borrow at progressively lower rates.

For the sake of a side-by-side comparison, we’ll focus on Rise. Here are some pros of a Rise loan.

  • You can apply for a seven-day payment extension if you can’t pay on time.
  • The company will provide you with free access to your TransUnion credit score.
  • If you borrow from the company more than once, your interests rates could decrease.
  • Rates are lower than those offered by payday loans.
Source: Student Loan Hero

Chase customers can now use their voices to unlock their accounts (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Chase card members’ voices will soon be their passwords when they call for help.

The bank is debuting a voice-authentication feature for credit card customers dialing the call center this spring to reduce the customer burden of having to remember multiple passwords and answer cumbersome security questions. The initial launch would only be for credit card customers, but the bank plans to expand the feature to all customers by the end of the year, a spokeswoman said.

 

Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen’s venture capital group is on a fintech tear (CNBC) Rated: B

On Tuesday, Point72 Ventures will announce it led a $3 million investment in a startup called Extend, which has built mobile technology business owners can use to share their corporate credit cards with employees and freelancers without handing over the actual cards.

Earlier this month, the venture capital arm was a co-lead in a $29.4 million round for a New Jersey startup, DriveWealth, that has developed a mobile site for investing in exchange traded funds and stocks, and it led an $18.5 million investment in Silicon Valley-based DeepScale, which is developing autonomous driving technology.

United Kingdom

UK finance chiefs call for regulatory crackdown on tech giants Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Two of the financial technology executives involved in the FT debate — Funding Circle chief executive Samir Desai and Rhydian Lewis, his opposite number at RateSetter — agreed that GDPR was a welcome protection for consumers.

UK Fintech Humaniq Implements Smart bioID System to Further Strengthen Outgoing Transaction Security (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK-based fintech Humaniq announced on Tuesday it has implemented additional bioID settings that will act as an extra safeguard be integrated into Humaniq app, which the company reports has already had more than 100,000 downloads in the Google Play store.

Humaniq also revealed that the total transaction volume has reached 400,000 HMQ in more than 250,000 transactions per month. The company noted with the introduction of an additional layer of biometric authentication, this means over 10,000 transactions will be totally secured from fraud, benefitting over 100,000 users of Humaniq App.

Regtech start-up ClauseMatch lands £3.6m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

ClauseMatch, a UK-based start-up in the regtech space, has raised £3.6 million ($5 million) in its Series A funding round.

ClauseMatch, specialises in smart document management. It is a graduate of Barclays’ accelerator programme, Techstars, and has Barclays and Intesa Sanpaolo on its customer list.

Could a credit card cap protect chronically broke Brits? (Guardian) Rated: B

A credit card cap is needed to protect “chronically broke” Britons struggling to make repayments on high interest loans, ministers have been told.

Labour’s Stella Creasy warned that credit card firms were pushing millions into debt in the same way payday lenders did before action was taken to prevent anyone having to pay back more than double what they borrowed.

The Walthamstow MP made the comments as she moved an amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill which would require the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to take tougher action on credit card firms.

Ministers must extend cap on payday loans to other high credit that’s targeting poor, vulnerable Brits, MPs say (The Sun) Rated: B

MINISTERS should “learn the lessons” of the payday loan cap and extend it to cover other forms of high-cost credit such as credit cards and doorstep lending, MPs have demanded.

In a boost for The Sun’s campaign to stop millions of families falling prey to doorstep and legal high street loan sharks, MPs called on the Government to take tough action to stop the nation “drowning in debt” and protect “chronically broke” Brits.

China

Hong Kong Approves Dual-Class Shares, Paving Way for Tech Titans (Yahoo Finance) Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. approved the biggest change to its initial public offering rules in two decades, putting it in a position to battle New York for some of the world’s hottest companies.

Technology firms that have shares with different voting rights will now be allowed to go public in Hong Kong, overturning rules that barred the likes of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. from considering the former British colony. Businesses will be able to apply under the new regime starting April 30, HKEX said Tuesday.

 

European Union

Swedbank invests €3m in banking tech vendor Meniga (Fintech Future) Rated: AAA

Meniga, a white-label digital banking solutions provider, has received a €3 million equity investment from its customer, Swedbank.

The two firms partnered in 2017 to improve Swedbank’s digital customer experience through a personal finance activity feed and data aggregation platform. The new solution is intended to “give customers better control over their daily finances and a more personal, engaging experience than today”, according to Meniga.

The bank’s view of Open Banking (The Finanser), Rated: A

Another conversation about Open Banking, and an interesting point was raised by one bank. They said that they had been mapping financial moments – getting married, buying a house, having a baby, crashing your car, etc – and had started to reimagine the whole customer experience in those moments using APIs.

For example, I bring up my banking app 3-4 times a day. The bank probably thinks it’s love them as I bring up their app so often. Well I don’t love them at all. I’m just going into the app so regularly because, as a small business, I want to see if my customers have paid yet.

International

World Bank Releases the Latest Global Findex Database (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

The Global Findex Database and accompanying report give a clear indication of how fintech is impacting access to financial services globally.

Source: World Bank

Globally, about 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked—without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. Because account ownership is nearly universal in high-income economies, virtually all these unbanked adults live in the developing world. Indeed, nearly half live in just seven developing economies: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

Fifty-six percent of all unbanked adults are women. Women are overrepresented among the unbanked in economies where only a small share of adults are unbanked, such as China and India, as well as in those where half or more are, such as Bangladesh and Colombia.

Read the full report here.

US fintech funding boomed at the start of 2018 — but early-stage funding is drying up in Europe (Business Insider) Rated: A

VC-backed fintech companies raised $5.4 billion across 323 deals globally in the first quarter, according to CB Insight’s latest fintech report, released on Monday.

The figures were supported by a big uptick in deal-making activity in the US. US fintechs raised $2.1 billion across 147 deals. Notable investments include a $165 million funding round for insurance startup Oscar in March and a $110 million capital injection for San Francisco’s Collective Health in February.

Source: CB Insights

While deal activity spiked in the US and Asia, it fell to a 5-quarter low in Europe with just 63 first quarter deals.

The slump was largely down to a decline in early-stage funding deals and came despite several $100 million-plus funding rounds for European challenger banks N26 and Atom. European fintechs raised $933 million in the first quarter.

 

Will Beijing Manage to Survive the US-Chinese Trade War? (Sputnik International) Rated: A

Beijing has kicked off a number of measures aimed at bolstering its economic growth, Chinese researcher Liu Dan told Sputnik. According to Liu, the country’s internal difficulties have not been triggered by the US tariff war unleashed by the Trump administration on China.

One should not overestimate the impact of Sino-American trade frictions on China’s economy, says Liu Dan, a researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies (RDCY) of Renmin University of China.

Australia

Lending continues to rise Down Under for RateSetter Australia (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER lending platform RateSetter continues to pass lending milestones in Australia as its loanbook reached A$250m (£136.5m).

The firm, which is the only Australian P2P lender open to retail investors, also announced that it now has more than 10,000 registered users on its site.

RateSetter has doubled its investor base in the country within a year, which it says is due to customer dissatisfaction with Australian banks.

P2P lender’s growth due to consumer ‘rebellion’ (Australian Broker) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has attributed its recent rapid growth to consumers actively rebelling against the big banks.

The amount invested by these investors has increased by 14% over the last 12 months, with average investment now sitting at close to $40,000.

Asia

House hunting? Soon you can crowdsource your downpayment via blockchain and smart contracts (E27) Rated: AAA

For millennials, this presents a major barrier to homeownership. While 70% of Chinese millennials have already managed to purchase their first real estate, only 35% of their Malaysian peers have followed suit according to HSBC data. For 64% of millennials around the world a combination of low income and soaring property prices make the prospects of owning a house rather gloomy. A lot of them also do not qualify for traditional loans and do not have the family support for making that downpayment.

Add to this new concept the technology of blockchain, and you have a method by which borrowers can access an alternative down payment funding source, and an immutable record of each borrower-lender agreement is permanently recorded. This serves four purposes:

  1. Blockchain eliminates the traditional borrowing method, with its middlemen and fees. The repayment details are worked out between the borrower and the individual lender.
  2. Blockchain democratises borrowing, because credit scores, history, etc., are not factors in obtaining the loans. If a borrower can show basic ability to repay, an individual lender will be willing to put up the money at an interest rate that is mutually agreed upon.
  3. The borrower-lender arrangement is codified and recorded in a blockchain that is secure and permanent. Both borrower and lender have the security of knowing that their agreement cannot be changed except by mutual agreement.
  4. Re-payments are also recorded in the blockchain environment, so there is never a question about the amount or the ultimate meeting of a borrowing obligation to any individual lender.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor