Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

chinese p2p lenders

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle US small biz loan portfolio surpasses $2B. JPMorgan Chase to compete with Affirm, Klarna on POS financing. Funding Circle expands into Canada. Funding Circle financial highlights. Revolut fights new allegations. Dianrong lays off 2,000. Today’s main analysis: U.S. credit card debt hits record $870B IN 2018. International P2P lending volumes for February 2019. Today’s thought-provoking […]

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United States

United Kingdom

International

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News Summary

United States

Funding Circle US Small Business Loan Portfolio Surpasses Most Banks with $ 2 Billion Lent Through Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the global small business loans platform, today announced that investors have lent more than $2 billion through its platform to small businesses in the United States. With this milestone, Funding Circle now has more US small business loans outstanding than almost 98% of FDIC-insured banks1.

Funding Circle now has more than $1 billion of small business loans in its portfolio, which means that if it were a bank it would be among the 50 largest small business commercial & industrial loan portfolios in the United States, according to the latest FDIC data available1. However, unlike a bank, Funding Circle provides a single financial product. Its fully amortizing business loans, powered by sophisticated technology and proprietary credit models, enable business owners to access financing with speed and efficiency, allowing them to devote more time to delivering their product or service to the market and ultimately create more jobs and vitalize their communities.

JPMorgan Chase Enters A Hot Fintech Space: Point-Of-Sale (POS) Financing (Forbes), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase announced that it is moving into the point-of-sale (POS) financing market.

POS financing certainly isn’t new. In 2016, merchants in nine different retail categories saw more than 160 million POS loan applications—only 53% of which were approved, however.

Source: Forbes

Filene Research Institute 

Source: CORNERSTONE ADVISORS

Shopping at Discount Stores Could Help Get You a Loan (WSJ), Rated: A

Discount-store shoppers may soon get an unexpected benefit: better odds when applying for personal loans from Discover Financial Services.

Discover, best known for its credit cards, plans to use artificial intelligence to assess hundreds of unusual characteristics about personal-loan applicants in an attempt to get its rising losses under control.

U.S. Credit Card Debt Closed 2018 at a Record $ 870 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

U.S. credit card debt hit $870 billion — the largest amount ever — as of December 2018, according to the data from the Federal Reserve. Credit card balances rose by $26 billion from the prior quarter.

Source: New York Federal Reserve

Nearly 480 million credit cards are now in circulation — up by more than 100 million since hitting bottom after the recession a decade ago.

At the end of last year, credit cards were the fourth-largest portion of consumer debt in the U.S. after mortgage, student loan and auto debt. But the quarterly increase in credit card debt was faster than the other categories. Overall debt reached a record $13.5 trillion.

Source: New York Federal Reserve

LendingTree Compares Renting and Owning a Home in the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas in the U.S. (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Louisville, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City are the metros where median rents are cheapest when compared to median mortgages. In these areas, median rent costs are an average of $310 cheaper than median mortgage costs.

Source: LendingTree

Miami and Orlando, Fla.; and Virginia are the metros where rent payments are the most expensive when compared to mortgage payments. Median mortgage payments are an average of $215 cheaper than median rent payments in these metros.

Four of the top 10 metros where monthly rents are higher than monthly mortgage payments are in Florida. According to a recent housing study from Harvard University, low wages and too few rental units are key factors that have caused Florida’s rental affordability crisis to become the worst in the nation.

Source: LendingTree

‘Stop pitting misery against misery’: How TrueAccord is turning debt collections into a financial service (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Ohad Samet has spent his career working on lending analytics — first, at a firm called FraudSciences, which got bought by eBay. He ran analytics at Analyzd, which was acquired by Klarna. As the chief risk officer at the pay later lender, he became aware of how antiquated the debt collections industry was. Call centers, dialing for dollars, it just hadn’t kept pace with the front end of the business.

So, in 2013, he left and with two co-founders started TrueAccord, which is essentially a nearly-automated marketing and sales campaign for debt collection. Based on consumer data and data from the lender, it can determine who to call, what time to call, what communications channel — phone, text, email, chat — and what message to use. It purports to be a much better experience for consumers.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, Series 2019-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to five classes of notes (the “Notes”) issued by Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, Series 2019-1 (“Kabbage 2019-1”).

This transaction is Kabbage, Inc.’s (“Kabbage” or the “Company”) third securitization and it is expected that the proceeds of the sale of the Notes will be used to refinance the Company’s existing $610 million outstanding Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC Series 2017-1 Notes and provide extra funding capacity for Kabbage.

Notes Preliminary Rating Initial Principal Balance
Class A AA (sf) $421,221,000
Class B A (sf) $59,715,000
Class C BBB (sf) $69,348,000
Class D BB (sf) $35,316,000
Class E B (sf) $24,400,000

Peer to Peer Lending Platform Beehive Raises $ 4 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Beehive, a peer to peer lending platform servicing SMEs in the MENA region, has closed on $4 million Series B funding round, according to a release from the platform. This most recent funding brings the Fintech’s total raised to $15.5 million since platform launch.

Loan officers cast serious doubt on latest loanDepot, Chase mortgage promises (HousingWire), Rated: A

In recent LendingLife news, loanDepot announced its new digital mortgage, which it says can identify significant time and cost-savings for borrowers in seven minutes.

AI Foundry Unveils Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence Platform and Mortgage Automation Solution (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AI Foundry, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform company, today announced the launch of its next-generation Cognitive Business Automation Platform along with a new Agile Mortgages solution. This patent-pending technology incorporates the latest in AI, machine learning and machine vision to deliver a higher level of problem solving and decision making for enterprises. The new Agile Mortgages solution, which is built on top of the platform, automates manual, labor-intensive mortgage processes, enabling lenders to dramatically accelerate the lending lifecycle.

Could A Selfie Put An End To False Identities? (Forbes), Rated: A

Earlier this year, 

Auto Loan Statistics (LendingTree), Rated: A

Key facts

  • Americans originated a record 2.5 million auto loans in July 2018, the most recent month for which data is available.
  • Americans owed more than $1.14 trillion in auto loans as of September 2018, 23% more than 2013.
  • Outstanding auto loan balances are rising about 3.1% a year in dollar amounts.
  • Auto loans accounted for about 8% of outstanding consumer debt in 2018, including mortgages, about 2 percentage points higher than a decade earlier.
  • Gen Xers carry the highest auto loan balances with a median of $18,741 and are the most likely of other age groups to have a car loan.
  • The average new car loan originated by a finance company is $29,921.27, an increase of more than $5,000 from 10 years earlier.
  • Average monthly payments are rising, too:
    • $530 for new vehicles, up 5% year over year
    • $381 for used vehicles, up 4%
    • $430 for a new vehicle lease, up 4%

For many Americans, car loans are their largest debt burden, a weight which threatens to become overwhelming as they stretch loan terms to buy increasingly expensive vehicles — new and used. To get the full picture of auto loan debt in the U.S., we looked at auto loan originations, prices and term lengths. Here are the numbers.

Online bank Chime now valued at $ 1.5 billion after new funding round (CNBC), Rated: A

Digital bank Chime has tripled its valuation, officially passing the $1 billion-mark this week.

The San Francisco-based company announced a $200 million Series D financing round that brings its new valuation to $1.5 billion. Investors were led by DST Global, which also participated in earlier fundraising rounds, and new investors Coatue, General Atlantic, Iconiq Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group, Chime said Tuesday.

Jason Gross of Petal (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The personal experience that led to the founding of Petal.
  • Their core product and how it is different to what else is out there.
  • A profile of their typical customer.
  • How they are approaching underwriting.
  • The typical APRs and credit limits they offer on their card.
  • How they are protecting their company against fraud.
  • How Petal is getting the word out about their credit card.
  • The large waiting list they had when they launched last year.
  • The early signals they are seeing with credit performance.
  • How they are generating income.
  • The primary funding sources they use in providing the credit lines.
  • What they mean on their website when they say “a credit card with a conscience”.
  • Their biggest challenge as they grow their company today.
  • The goals the Petal team has for 2019.

FINRA Approves Circle’s Acquisition of SeedInvest, Continues Mission of Tokenization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FINRA has given their stamp of approval to the acquisition of SeedInvest by Circle. The crypto focused company announced the purchase of SeedInvest in October of 2018.  The acquisition of a regulated securities crowdfunding platform by the blockchain based Circle represented a seminal turning point in the crypto industry.

Virginians say online lender uses tribal immunity to get around state laws (Pilot Online), Rated: A

Virginians are taking a lead attacking what they say is a legal loophole that has left thousands of people stuck with debt they can’t escape.

The case involves loans at interest rates approaching 650 percent from an online lender, Big Picture Loans, associated with a small Indian tribe on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Lula Williams of Richmond, the lead plaintiff in one case, still owes $1,100 on the $1,600 she borrowed from Big Picture Loans — debt that she’s already paid $1,930 to retire. One of her loan documents reports the annual percentage rate for her debt at 649.8 percent, calling for her to pay $6,200 on an $800 debt. Her first three installments on that loan, each for $400, would have yielded Big Picture a 50 percent profit on the loan after just three months, court records suggest.

How to Invest in Real Estate without Buying Property (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

Lastly if you love jumping on the latest trends, then jumping on one of these companies services that how recently cropped up will help you get involved in real estate investing. You are able to invest in commercial and residential real estate investments and receive cash flow distributions in return, and just like the other options on this list, someone else is doing the heavy lifting whilst you reap the rewards.

Whilst there is no one standout company that we can confidently recommend, since they all havent been around long enough for us to make a property judgement, Fundrise returned an average of 11.4% on the invested dollars in 2017 and a further 9.11% in 2019.

The best part is you don’t even need to be an accredited investor to open an account, meaning if you’re new to the market, then this is your chance to get in on something thats shiny and new and that could potentially give you a place to invest your cash and reap the rewards of owning physical property.

Elevate Appoints Kathleen Vanderkolk as Head of Enterprise Risk Management (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE: ELVT) (“Elevate” or the “Company”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that it has promoted Kathleen Vanderkolk to Chief Risk Officer.

Vemanti Group Engages With Securitize And DSLG To Launch Digital Security Offering For eLoan, JSC (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Vemanti Group, Inc. (OTC PINK:VMNT), a technology-driven holding company, today announced that it has engaged with Securitize, Inc. (“Securitize”) and Digital Securities Law Group (“DSLG”) to launch a Digital Security Offering (“DSO”) to fund and propel the business objectives for eLoan, JSC (“eLoan”), its portfolio company. The Company recently announced that it has completed its investment in eLoan, a fintech company based in Vietnam.

The offering will be conducted by the Company on behalf of Fvndit, Inc. (“Fvndit” – formerly Directus Holdings, Inc.), eLoan’s US-based parent company, as the issuer. The issuance will be managed by Securitize’s platform and DS Protocol. Details of the offering will be announced at a later date.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Announces Expansion to Canada (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the leading small business loans platform in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, today announced its plans to enter the Canadian market and expand access to fast, affordable and transparent financing for Canadian small businesses.

Funding Circle will establish operations in Canada in the second half of 2019 with an office located in Toronto. The business will be led by Tom Eilon, who previously led the commercial strategy for Funding Circle in the United Kingdom.

Funding Circle Holdings plc (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Financial Highlights:

  • Strong Group performance delivering IPO guidance whilst continuing our strategy of investing for growth
  • Revenue of £141.9 million (2017: £94.5 million). Year-on-year growth of 55%1 (excluding property2) exceeding c.50% guidance stated at IPO
  • Segment adjusted EBITDA3 of £7.0 million (2017 loss: £3.9 million) with margin of 5% (2017: negative 4%)
  • Adjusted EBITDA4 loss of £28.5 million (2017 loss: £25.1 million) with margin improving to negative 20% (2017: negative 27%)
  • Basic loss per share of 18.2 pence (2017 loss: 14.0 pence)
  • Loss before tax £50.7 million (2017 loss: £36.3 million)
  • Free cash outflow5 of £42.0 million (2017 outflow: £35.3 million)
  • Cash of £333.0 million, £244.1 million higher than at the end of 2017 (£88.9 million), including IPO proceeds of £300.0 million, before expenses of £15.0 million

UK Peer to Peer Lending: Loans top £800 Million in Q4 as Industry Matures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer-to-Peer Finance Association(P2PFA) has published fourth quarter numbers for member platforms. According to their data, cumulative lending now tops £9.5 billion with over £800 million originated during the period.

The P2PFA states that platforms facilitated loans worth nearly £3 billion during 2018.

In Q4, P2PFA platforms originnated £527 million to businesses and £282 million to almost a quarter-of-a-million consumers. Cumulative lending among P2PFA platforms has now exceeded £5.5 billion for business lending and £4 billion for consumer lending.

Revolut is fighting back after yet more allegations were made against the $ 1.7 billion fintech unicorn after a week from hell (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Financial Times on Tuesday alleged that the UK National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is examining a complaint from a customer, adding to Revolut’s issues after a difficult week for the fintech.

However, the allegations were denied by Revolut and the Financial Times article was subsequently taken down.

The FT, citing emails, reported on an incident in which £70,000 was incorrectly paid into a Revolut customer’s account.

Is the Innovative Finance Isa worth it? We look at the pros and cons (City A.M.), Rated: A

At barely three years old, the Innovative Finance Isa still has some proving to do. And for some savers, it’s a product that is deemed too risky. But how risky is it really?

Of course, the IFISA is merely a tax-free wrapper, so the risk actually depends on the underlying investments held within.

And while investments can vary wildly, most IFISAs are invested in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market, where lenders are grouped together to invest capital through an online platform which distributes funds to borrowers.

How savers can use an Innovative Finance Isa to reap the rewards from the property market (City A.M.), Rated: A

Investors can open one IFISA per tax year, and have an annual subscription allowance of £20,000, with substantial tax-free returns.

There are also several different opportunities available when it comes to property IFISAs, including buy-to-let and development.

Wealth management firm urges greater awareness in investments (Wealth Adviser), Rated: B

Last year, the National Trust was criticised for investing in a fund with holdings in fossil fuel companies, while the Church of England was shown to have ploughed funds into Wonga, despite having publicly criticised the payday lender.

Provident fights back in bitter £1.3bn bid battle as it accuses former boss of destroying shareholder value and failing to grasp modern technology (This is Money), Rated: B

A war of words has erupted between the doorstep lender Provident Financial and its former boss John van Kuffeler as he mounts a £1.3billion hostile takeover bid.

The Provvy has accused van Kuffeler of destroying shareholder value and failing to grasp modern technology.

China

Dianrong has laid off as many as 2,000 employees amid a regulatory crackdown (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

China-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Dianrong has laid off as many as 2,000 employees and will shut down 60 of its 90 brick-and-mortar outlets, which helped verify the identities and qualifications of users, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

Additionally, the company has been accused of falling behind on wages and severance pay, per a Chinese media outlet cited by TechNode . The company reportedly started shrinking its business around 10 months ago, despite securinga $70 million funding round in January to expand its services, including SMB lending.

Source: Business Insider
European Union

How PSD2 Will Change Lending (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Merchants and customers are now transacting under PSD2 and GDPR in the European Union (EU) — regulations that allow a greater window into how customer data is being used. While these regulations are aimed at increasing consumer trust by allowing them more transparency, many consumers in the region are still adjusting.

French regulatory body, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), has fined Googlethe equivalent of $56 million for noncompliance with GDPR within the region, alleging that the information services company was using EU customer data for advertising purposes without obtaining clear consent from those customers.

For third-party providers, such as P2P lending and investment provider Zopa, PSD2’s data transparency rules provide an opportunity to “level the playing field” when it comes to gaining that consumer trust.

International

10 Fintechs Have Already Raised Monster Rounds in 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

We came into 2019 after a strong year of fintech investments with about $40 billion invested globally according to CB Insights.

Acorns

  • $105 million round led by NBCUniversal and venture arm of its parent company Comcast. NBCUniversal is now their largest shareholder.

Better

  • $70 million Series C from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). The company originated $1.3B in mortgages in 2018.

Figure

  • The $65 million Series B round was led by RPM Ventures as CEO Mike Cagney continues to show his fundraising prowess. Their valuation is said to be $365 million today about double the valuation from last year. Read our coverage here.

International P2P Lending Volumes February 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 531 million Euro.

This month I added Bondster (use Bondster Promotion Code 5506 to get 1% cashback).

Source: P2P-Banking

Omidyar Network spins out its fintech investment arm as Flourish, with up to $ 300 million (TechCrunch), Rated: A

After twelve years spent investing in impact-oriented financial services startups around the globe, the Omidyar Network,  which serves as the family investment office for eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, is spinning off its financial inclusion investment arm as Flourish Ventures.

Equipped with up to $300 million in capital for operations and investments, the new Flourish will continue to invest around the Network’s core mission of backing companies with a dual focus on making a social impact and achieving quality financial returns.

List of Multi-Crypto Wallets To Consider For Your Portfolio (Cryptomorrow), Rated: A

Everus

Everus is a multi crypto wallet that allows for payment of bills and for mobile top-ups in multiple crypto and management of multiple crypto. The wallet, which is part of an ecosystem featuring bill payment, marketplace, peer-to-peer lending and micro-finance; allows customers to send, receive, store and withdraw multiple cryptocurrencies (more than 50 currently).

Peer-to-peer lending will allow people to offer and accept microloans affordably, which will be more targeted to the un-banked.

Infinito Wallet

Other features to be added soon include crypto lending where users can lend crypto and earn profits, exchange integration to allow users to exchange crypto from the wallet, fiat gateway to let users purchase crypto with fiat, digital identity and KYC where users can register their digital identity and use it everywhere else without needing to create another one, news portal to furnish users with happenings in the crypto space, and App Square for browsing dApps.

Quppy Wallet

It links to other parts of the company’s product ecosystem including decentralized exchange to allow users to buy and sell crypto, a licensed crypto bank, Prepaid co-brand bank cards, a decentralized peer-to-peer lending for borrowers as well as merchants, individuals, corporate, financial and non-financial institutions as well as crypto-fiat payments for merchants and 100% legal fiat-crypto-fiat transactions regardless of region and legislation.

India

P2P lenders develop new ways to build trust (India Times), Rated: AAA

Monexo ensures less risk for lenders by keeping a lender’s contribution to a loan to only Rs 1,000. So if a Monexo customer lends Rs 1 lakh on the platform, it gets split across 100 loans.

Faircent also has a similar strategy. It does not allow lenders to lend more than 20% of a single borrower’s requirement. So for an average loan of Rs 1 lakh, there will be on average 43 lenders funding that. They also advice lenders not to lend beyond Rs 5,000-7,000 for one loan.

Scaling small businesses with alternative finance (India Times), Rated: A

Lack of access to finance is the most widely cited constraint by SMEs for growth and scaling up business. Generally commercial banks perceive SMEs fall in the category of high default risk due to limited collaterals, smaller in asset size and limited historical track record.

Asia

Tightened supervision needed for P2P lending services: Deputy PM (Nhan Dan), Rated: AAA

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked competent ministries and sector to enhance inspections, supervision and settlement of violations related to peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model which has been springing up in Vietnam in recent two years.

E-Money, P2P Lending The Hotspots (Fitch Solutions), Rated: A

  • The e-money and payments segment continues to show strong growth, and consolidation within the sector is positive to improve services and ease competitive pressures.
  • P2P lending is emerging as a bright spot, and regulation remains lax enough for lenders to thrive.
  • Cryptocurrencies show little potential for growth as the regulator remains apprehensive towards crypto-based assets.

FINTERRA Calls for All Thought Leaders and Regulators to Envision A Global Waqf Bank (Salaam Gateway), Rated: B

Malaysia has the potential to become the first nation in the world to set up a global “Waqf” bank using blockchain technology, expounded Hamid Rashid, the Founder of FINTERRA.

The platform is a blockchain-based solution to crowdfund Waqf charity, Islamic investments, and peer-to-peer lending.

Canada

Klarna And PayBright Partner To Give More Shoppers The Ability To Pay Over Time (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today, Klarna, a global payment provider, announces a partnership with Canadian instant financing provider, PayBright. Klarna and PayBright are joining forces to give Klarna’s 100,000 global retailers the ability to turn on a consumer finance solution for their Canadian shoppers quickly and easily.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 in San Francisco, was a huge success. One of the more interesting panels was on how the non-banking sector is taking over point-of-sale (POS) lending. Kim Gerhardt, director at the San Francisco office of Edgar, Dunn and Company, moderated the panel. Other panelists included Peter Kalen, Michael Garrity, Mark […]

The Technology Edge: How Non-Banks are Seeking to Dominate Point of Sale Lending

LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 in San Francisco, was a huge success. One of the more interesting panels was on how the non-banking sector is taking over point-of-sale (POS) lending. Kim Gerhardt, director at the San Francisco office of Edgar, Dunn and Company, moderated the panel. Other panelists included Peter Kalen, Michael Garrity, Mark Lorimer, and Camilo Concha.

Kalen is founder and CEO of Flexiti Financial, a Canadian company founded in 2013 that specializes in providing easy, instant POS financing through its award-winning mobile application process.

Garrity is co-founder, CEO, and president of a platform that has enabled merchants to facilitate consumer lending since November 2010. Financeit has processed over $2.5 billion in loan applications from thousands of merchants.

Lorimer represents LendingPoint, a lending company founded in 2014 that focuses on personal loans and debt consolidation. He is chief marketing officer. LendingPoint recently acquired LoanHero, which is in the POS lending business.

Finally, Concha is founder and CEO of LendingUSA, a company that provides innovative financing solutions with a specialization in POS lending. LendingUSA was launched in 2013 and caters to consumer finance in a variety of sectors from medical, pet care, consumer goods and services, etc.

Over the years, the POS lending industry has gained scale and seen a radical change. A convergence can be witnessed in the way payments are made and fintech lending is facilitated. The opportunity in POS financing is massive, and banks seemed to have missed the ball. Traditional banks strive to serve everyone, but when it comes to POS lending, merchants have to filter their prospective customers through a narrow funnel extending loans to a comparatively small customer base.

Flexiti Financial’s Entry in POS Lending

When Peter Kalen was asked about what brought Flexiti Financial into the business, the product that it is offering, and the level of traction it has been able to create in the market among other merchants, he articulated that Flexiti’s product is somewhat similar to what Synchrony or Alliance Data System is offering. Flexiti differs in the way transactions take place and aims to reduce the time consumed in the loan application process.

Many organizations issue private label credit cards, but application processes are long and approval rates low. With its experience and vision, Flexiti Financial has successfully introduced a 100% paperless process to offer instant POS financing. Its virtual credit card application can be downloaded from the Google Play store and the Apple store.

These private label cards speed up the loan application process, bringing the process down to three minutes. This is a win-win for retailers and customers. The platform improves the online retailer’s UX by removing the friction at the front-end.

Financeit and Point of Sale Lending

Garrity also shared his views on point of sale lending. He put emphasis on the fact that personal lending is more about new transactions and focuses less on lending. Everything in POS lending, from the technology to APIs is obsessed with enabling easy sales for merchants, improving their experience, and supporting them as they try to close more business. Merchants and customers want financing options, but they do not want to indulge in complicated programs.

Another area that Financeit targets is debt consolidation. The company has delivered a platform that makes it easy for businesses to offer powerful financing options to their customers from any device.

When asked about how they excel at delivering services to customers, Garrity said they have acquired Centah Inc, a company operating in home improvement work-flow and lead management software with joint partner and investor Goldman Sachs. The company redesigned its website to create a platform that manages the process, helps businesses connect with customers, provide dispatch scheduling systems, and represent financing options to customers throughout the process. He warnes other players that if they only focus on financing and not on the transaction, they will be missing out on an important aspect of dominating this space.

LendingUSA’s Role in POS Lending

Gerhardt asked Concha about his journey into this industry. Concha shared that LendingUSA focuses on point-of-need financing, which sits at the intersection of point of sale and fintech. He believes that businesses in today’s era are not required to be good but great if they want to be successful, and they are required to be great in all aspects, namely, marketing, technology, underwriting, and risk mitigation.

Concha started with a company called 1800mysurgeon that matched cosmetic surgeons with consumers. After starting the company, he realized the need for financing as an important part of the business. He decided to create a platform to interact with both surgery and finance to enhance the merchant’s experience.

LendingPoint’s Emergence In POS Lending

LendingPoint started as a direct consumer online lender specializing in 600-700 FICO score customers. Lorimer emphasized that the company understood very early that customer experience is crucial to POS transactions. Although the players in the market now are very good at generating products that banks like to own, they do not necessarily focus on the merchandise. LendingPoint simplifies the lending process by sharing risk and administering payment plans. LendingPoint also offers merchants risk programs to extend in-house, end-to-end services.

Marketing With Established Merchants

All the banks playing in the market are working to deliver better services to customers in different ways. The biggest players historically are Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Synchrony Financial. They all have significant relationships.

The question is whether these big banks can be a part of this game. Concha believes that banks are an important part of the ecosystem. These banks are good for purchasing loans but are constrained by reputational risks, marketing, and other issues. Lorimer added that LendingPoint also works with some established banks. Talking of the role of hard pull and soft pull in availing credit, he shared that because a hard pull impacts the credit report of the customer, it is a cause for low approval rates. Soft pulls, on the other hand, do not affect the credit score of the credit seeker leading to a higher approval rate for loans.

Garrity shared his point of view on the tie-ups with established banks and financial institutions that become balance sheet lenders. He said they are participants in securitization, originations, and selling. He believes there is clearly an opportunity for all the stakeholder businesses to grow. Online POS lending usually operates separately considering the fact that it is complicated and technology-driven. Banks are, therefore, slow followers of fintech companies.

The Technology Edge Leads to Domination

The next important aspect analyzed was whether it is the technology that enables online POS lending businesses to dominate the lending space.

Kalen believes technology is the most important element of this space. Concha believes this space is all about keeping merchants and customers happy and building long-lasting relationships with them in the process. Lorimer questions the integration of technology among banks and whether banks will be able to adapt to complex technologies. He believes banks aren’t set up to do that, but to deliver a mass homogenous customer service. Garrity, on the other hand, believes the less you see the technology, the more attractive it is; he also thinks it is better for the merchant to focus on increasing the business close rates.

Talking about data management, Lorimer believes technology definitely provides an edge to the business on the back end. The data is the source for everything and it is analyzed and configured to improve the experience. As technology enables automation and brings security, users can access everything at one place and find it already stored in the system.

Kalen agrees that technology is a boon for backend data management. He added to the discussion saying that the more established players have an edge as they have been in business for many years. They have been able to hone their skills over a period of time.

Concha also believes that technology will work for the POS lending as it is different from other businesses. There is a major role of risk, debt, and strong relationships in POS lending, and none of these can be managed properly without technology.

The Challenges of POS Lending

Technology, scale, and partnerships:
Kalen from Flexiti views POS lending as a very different business than retail lending. Getting customers and coping with technology are major challenges. Other challenges that non-bank businesses face are focusing on the scale. It is important for the business to look at the credit cycle and beware of fraudulent practices as it increases the scale of operations.

Credit cycle:
Being on the right side of the credit cycle is crucial to every lending business. The access to credit in the credit cycle determines the risk and therefore the value of the business. Businesses must prepare their strategies, keeping the future in mind.

Regulation:
Lorimer believes this space requires more regulation since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is not very active. Poor regulation and lack of control pose a major risk to the players in the market.

Availability of capital and credit risk:
Another challenge is the availability of capital to extend lending facilities. The fear of credit facilities drying up in a day also bothers businesses.

The Takeaway

Kalen has realized that success does not come easy. The companies in this space need to understand that a lot of lending capital is required along with an understanding of the tricks of the trade.

Concha believes it is a 3-step learning process where the business is required to go through a testing phase, an education phase, and an adoption phase.

With LendingPoint’s recent acquisition of LoanHero, it is comparatively a new entrant in the market.

The crux of the entire discussion is that POS lenders must be specialized to survive in the market. The business has to endeavor to offer value added merchant services instead of being a one-stop shop to be successful. There is a lot of room for growth provided one understands the complexities of the trade.

Author:

Stephanie Vaughan is vice president at  Allen TaylorPosted on Categories Alliance Data System, alternative lending, Analysis, balance sheet lending, Banks, CFPB, Citigroup, consumer lending, Credit, credit risk, Featured, FICO, Financeit, Flexiti Financial, instant financing, LendingPoint, LendingUSA, LendIt 2018, Online Lending, point of sale financing, point of sale lending, POS financing, POS lending, Regulation, Synchrony Financial, Wells Fargo

Friday April 6, 2018 Daily News Digest

Friday April 6, 2018 Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out deposit accounts, debit cards next month. PeerStreet raises $29.5M. Welendus loanbook hits 100K GBP in 3 months. Weidai plans $400M IPO. Instamojo to expand into SME lending. Today’s main analysis: Banks slow fintech investment, revert to their own digital infrastructure plans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit bureaus aren’t going anywhere yet. Blockchain […]

Friday April 6, 2018 Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Plans to Start Rolling Out Deposit Accounts Next Month (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. said it will start offering deposit accounts and debit cards to some customers next month, the first major new product under Chief Executive Officer Anthony Noto.

The San Francisco-based company is looking to branch into various financial services as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ratchets up pressure on SoFi’s profitable center of personal loans. The startup unveiled a banking-like product, called SoFi Money, in January and began accepting applications to a waiting list.

Majority of Millennial Women Have Money to Invest, But Fear Holds Them Back (Markets Insider), Rated: A

The biggest driver of the investment gap between men and women isn’t knowledge or other financial obligations, but fear, according to a new study by SoFi and professional networking site Levo League (Levo).

However, while millennial women are extremely active in managing their financial status, and over 50%+ have the means to invest each month, the study found the majority of millennial women do not to invest due to fear (56%). Furthermore, the study results indicated the top two reasons why millennial women do not invest is because they don’t know where to start (25%+) and because they are paying down their debt (25%+).

Credit bureaus aren’t going anywhere. For now (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The breach of personal data on more than 143 million customers Equifax revealed in September was followed in mid-March by the news that an executive insider-traded stock before the public was notified about the breach. This week, Equifax acknowledged it had sent erroneous breach notification letters to an undisclosed number of people.

 

 

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – March 2018 (Lending Tree), Rated: AAA

Lenders offered personal loan borrowers less money than they did last month, while offered APRs were mixed. Rate and loan amount offers varied widely among consumers, depending on factors including, but not limited to, credit score, income, and current debt obligations.

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.42% in March.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.42%, a decrease of 2 basis points from the prior month, and down 22 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $22,644, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 and above was down 4.61% ($1,045) from February, but up over 17.60% ($3,986) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 4.87% on average, and loan amounts of $35,669. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,021 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.

Good credit (680 – 719 score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score between 680 and 719 averaged 15.89% in March.

  • The average best APR for all borrowers with credit scores of 680 – 719 was 15.89%, up 20 basis points from last month and 139 basis points from a year earlier.
  • At $15,993, borrowers with scores of 680 – 719 saw the amounts offered with the best APRs decrease by 175 basis points ($279) in the last month, but increased by 242 basis points ($386) from March 2017.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within the 680 – 719 credit score range, had an average best APR of 7.00%, offered with an average loan amount of $23,822. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,250 by consolidating debt from a 15% APR over a three-year term.

The most common reasons for seeking a personal loan are credit card refinancing and debt consolidation. These two categories comprise 63% of all loan inquiries.

Source: Lending Tree
Source: Lending Tree

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

  • March’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 4.25% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 4.22% in February. Refinance loan offers were up 11 bps to 4.24%. Mortgage rates vary dependent upon parameters including credit score, loan-to-value, income and property type.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 5 bps to 4.85%. The loan note rate hit the highest since March 2016 at 4.75% and was also up 5 bps from February. We prefer to emphasize the APR as lenders often make changes to other fees in response to changing interest rates.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.72% in March, vs 4.99% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 27 bps between these score ranges was unchanged from February and still near the widest since this data series began in April 2016. The spread represents over $14,000 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30 years for the average purchase loan amount of $238,593. The additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 6 bps to 4.83%. The credit score bracket spread remained at 24 bps, amounting to nearly $13,000 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $239,668.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments were little changed at $62,758.
Source: Lending Tree

PeerStreet Raises $ 29.5 Million to Further Transform Real Estate Investing (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

PeerStreet today announced the close of a Series B funding round of $29.5 million to continue driving the company’s mission of democratizing access to real estate debt.

The Series B round was led by World Innovation Lab. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Thomvest, Colchis Capital, Felicis Ventures, and others participated along with new investors Solon Mack and Navitas Capital. The raise will accelerate PeerStreet’s growth. Specifically, PeerStreet will be broadening the type of real estate loans it cultivates from its network of lenders and hiring more world-class talent.

RealtyMogul Closes $ 2.75 Million Equity Investment in Plano Multifamily Portfolio (Business Wire), Rated: A

RealtyMogul announced that it has completed an investment in a $11.9 million multifamily apartment portfolio in Plano, Texas, consisting of 156 units.

The property was acquired through a partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners, a dynamic real estate investment firm specializing in multifamily apartment communities in densely-populated Hispanic neighborhoods. Comunidad reports to have owned and managed over $600 million in multifamily assets overall, comprised of approximately 8,200 units. RealtyMogul has invested with Comunidad Realty Partners on five previous transactions.

Stripe launches a new billing tool to tap demand from online businesses (Tech Crunch), Rated: A

Stripe  has made its name by providing developers with a simpler way to start charging customers and handling transactions, but today they hope to take another step by launching a billing product for online businesses. That’ll allow them to handle subscription recurring revenue, as well as invoicing, within the Stripe platform and get everything all in the same place. The goal was to replace a previously hand-built setup, whether using analog methods for invoicing or painstakingly putting together a set of subscription tools, and make that experience as seamless as charging for products on Stripe.

While this is a tool that’s a natural fit for something like Stripe, it’s certainly one that’s created a substantial business opportunity. Last month, Zuora — an enterprise subscription services company — filed to go public amid a fresh wave of enterprise IPOs that included Dropbox and Zscaler (and also, to a certain extent, Salesforce’s big acquisition of Mulesoft). Zuora’s subscription services revenue continues to grow, showing that Stripe will certainly have competition here, but also that there’s a large market opportunity.

Enhancing the Business Value of Loan Pricing Systems (Loan Pricing Pro), Rated: AAA

Today, FinTech companies, marketplace lenders, traditional banking institutions and many other types of innovative new lending platforms are using loan pricing systems to sharpen their focus on balancing shareholder returns with customer pricing sensitivities and market demands.

The lending landscape is changing, but the need to achieve an adequate rate of return while delivering fair and accurate pricing, remains a constant.

Source: LoanPricingPro

Read the white paper in full here.

Five Ways for FinTech Lenders to Achieve ROI on a Loan Pricing System Investment (ProBank), Rated: A

There are a variety of strategies to consider ensuring attaining a reasonable return on your investment in a loan pricing system. We’ll cover each of these in the form of short case studies that we’ve taken from one or more of our existing clients’ actual experiences.

  1. Enhanced Loan Yield Quantitative analysis can be easily used to measure the effectiveness of the loan pricing system implementation on a pre-test / post-test basis. The technique used relies on the same Funds Transfer Pricing (FTP) methodology which a robust loan pricing system uses to calculate loan profitability. To illustrate this, we’ll use a recent client implementation of LoanPricingPRO at a $1 billion lender.
    Source: Probank Report
  2. Increased Collection of Loan Fees In today’s highly competitive environment with historically low rates and generally weak loan demand, loan fees are often sacrificed, or at least underutilized as a tool for increasing profitability. As a general rule, the shorter the loan term, the more powerful the impact of loan fees on loan profitability and ROE.
  3. Decline in Lost Opportunities-Lenders using LoanPricingPRO® usually have a higher batting average when measuring the number of new loan clients against the total number of requests received or applications taken.
  4. Active Portfolio Management-When implementing a loan pricing system with an interface to the organization’s core data systems, significant new reporting capabilities are attained. Lenders are able to receive reports on and track trends in loan officers’ portfolios.
  5. Improved Discipline, Accuracy & Pricing Consistency-As has been shown, it is possible for senior management teams and lenders working
    together and aided by an accurate and appropriately calibrated loan pricing system, to significantly improve the return performance and growth rate of the lending client base.

Read the full report here.

 

A Third of Americans Would Forfeit Their Voting Rights For a 10% Pay Raise, Says Study (Time), Rated: A

More than a third of Americans would give up their right to vote for a 10% annual pay raise, according to a new survey.

The peculiar findings come from a survey conducted by LendEDU, an online student loan marketplace, that polled 1,238 working Americans. In exchange for the hypothetical pay bump, about 35% of these employees said they would sacrifice their voting rights for life. In addition, just over 9% of respondents said they would give up their children’s (or future children’s) right to vote for life for the make-believe raise.

But those aren’t the only big sacrifices the respondents would make for a 10% annual salary increase. More than 12% said they would break up with their partners, and nearly 19% said they would give up their health insurance for the next five years. Forty percent would forfeit their dental care for five years for a raise, and nearly 18% would say goodbye to their Social Security benefits.

Source: Lend EDU

DepositAccounts.com Releases 2018 Top 200 Healthiest Banks and Credit Unions in America (Benzinga), Rated: A

DepositAccounts.com, a subsidiary of LendingTree, today released its list of the 2018 Top 200 Healthiest Banks and Credit Unions in America.

Source: Deposit accounts

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them — How Banks, Fintech And Tech Players Can Win Together (Forbes) Rated: A

As tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and WeChat set out on their quest to be all things to all people, eroding the boundaries between industries, banks that want to maintain and grow their market share need to rethink the rules of competition.

While a growing number of banks have acquired fintechs to avoid fading into the background (

12 Best Bank of America Personal Loan Alternatives (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

Bank of America offers various loans — but not personal loans

Bank of America’s loans, however, are limited to two specific types:

Some online lenders with competitive interest rates on personal loans include:

LendingClub and Prosper, for example, are both in the peer-to-peer lending space. LendingClub has fixed personal loan rates ranging from 5.99% – 35.89%. You’ll need to check your rate with Prosper directly since it varies depending on your credit and borrower profile.

Marlette Funding Welcomes a New Advisor with a Focus on Innovation (LendEDU), Rated: B

Marlette Funding, LLC, recently appointed Marshall Lux as an advisor to its board of directors and company. Marlette Funding is the parent company of Best Egg, which is a lending platform that offers unsecured personal loans.

Jeffrey Meiler, chief executive officer of Marlette Funding, said Lux’s considerable experience in financial services and his expertise in the consumer market make him a good fit for the company.

FinTech Veteran Ethan Schwarzbach Joins inFactor To Head inFactorIQ Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: B

inFactor Corp, an integrated financial technology company providing liquidity solutions across the spectrum of non-bank lending, has announced today that Ethan Schwarzbach has joined the company to head up the company’s new inFactorIQ platform.

Mr. Schwarzbach joins inFactor from Orchard Platform where he most recently served as a Manager on the Business Development team. Orchard Platform is the leading provider of data, technology, and software to the online lending industry.

SOLO FUNDS ALLOWS YOU TO SEAMLESSLY BORROW FROM YOUR PEERS (Black Enterprise), Rated: B

According to a recent statement, SoLo’s founders uniquely understood the plight that American workers were facing every day because they too were once in their shoes. It is not uncommon to seek a small loan from friends and family, but the founders were not seeing a quick and easy lending solution to help facilitate the process.

Traditional banks don’t lend small dollars, and payday lenders charge excessively high interest rates that for many in emergency situations are almost impossible to pay back. There was simply no affordable way to get a small dollar loan. The team thought that the limited resources for small-dollar loans only plagued the minority communities like the ones they were raised in, but that was wrong; they discovered a more mainstream problem. According to the statement, 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck and 47% of the country can’t cover a $400 emergency expense without borrowing from someone else or selling a personal asset.

Liquid FSI Adds Key Board Member (deBank), Rated: B

Liquid FSI, a direct lender and creator of the Convert2Pay platform, which provides on-demand payment for medical invoices, added Barry Blecherman to its Board of Advisors.

While a few recent graduates of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering were helping the Liquid FSI team with some algorithms for their technology platform, they mentioned Blecherman, a professor of Finance and Risk Engineering at the Tandon School.

United Kingdom

Welendus loanbook hits £100,000 in just three months (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: AAA

WELENDUS investors have funded £100,000 of short-term loans in just three months of its beta stage, the platform has announced.

Nadeem Siam (pictured), founder of the platform, says a full launch of the product is planned soon but Welendus has already built up more than 4,000 users.

Klarna: 53% of retailers say “always on” sales are damaging profits (Tamebay), Rated: A

Research by payments provider Klarna shows that discounting is no longer confined to the traditional winter and summer sales. The new rules of retail mean discounting has become a fluid and unpredictable phenomenon with over half (57%) of consumers expecting regular sales.

The research of 500 British retailers highlighted the negative impact this can have on the bottom line of merchants. Over half of retailers surveyed (53%) say the “always on” nature of sales is having a negative impact on profits – 11% said discounting cost them over £25,000 throughout 2017. This isn’t felt just by smaller retailers, but merchants of all sizes – in fact, it’s those with 100-239 employees that feel the burden most with 66% saying constant discounts are impacting profits.

Investing Show: What you need to know about crowdfunding, peer to peer, and Innovative Finance Isas (This is Money), Rated: A

Stewart Cazier, of alternative lending platform Thincats, details what investors need to know about peer to peer, crowdfunding and Innovative Finance Isas on the Investing Show.

He explains to Simon Lambert, of This is Money, and Richard Hunter, of Interactive Investor, how alternative lending works, what investors need to consider, how to diversify and why it’s important not to consider it risk-free or put all your eggs in one basket.

Five questions for: Samantha Bamert, CEO of AskIf (Money Week), Rated: A

Ask Inclusive Finance (AskIf) is a commercial enterprise with an ambitious social mission – to close the sizeable funding gap for loans to financeable small companies unable to secure funding from banks. Smaller estimates suggest this funding gap could be upwards of £2.2bn per year.

Other research estimates much larger numbers. AskIf is a platform lender bringing together funders, a network of lending partners and the borrowers themselves. By providing support and funding to small companies, we’ll enable job creation, economic value and opportunity in many communities across the UK.

JP Jenkins – Continued New Initiatives (PR Newswire), Rated: B

JP Jenkins reports that its co-owner, Peterhouse Corporate Finance, has closed its 200th capital raise in the past three years, with a total funding of circa £200m for smaller growth companies.

Significant new capital has recently been provided by Malcolm Burne, a substantial shareholder and Executive Director, to expand the JPJ franchise further. The Company has also entered into partnership & collaborative agreements with US Capital Partners, private placements, Equidate a US private companies Stock Market, and Primary Markets an International Unlisted Exchange.

China

Chinese Online Lender Weidai Plans $ 400 Million IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Weidai Hangzhou Financial Information Service Co. is planning an initial public offering that could raise about $400 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

There hasn’t been a major listing of a Chinese financial technology company in the U.S. or Hong Kong since LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., which raised $124 million in a downsized U.S. IPO in December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Qudian Inc., which completed a $1 billion IPO in October, has since fallen 52 percent from its offer price.

European Union

Insurance and the Open Banking wave: seven use cases (Holland Fintech), Rated: A

Source: Holland Fintech

INNOPAY has defined a first set of use cases for insurance companies. The use cases have been mapped on the most important value levers for insurance to capture relevancy and see where exactly the use cases drive value. The mapping is presented in figure 1 and a first description of the cases is given below.

  1. New (cyber)insurance product for a new client segment: insure TPPs in PSD2 landscape: data sharing through third parties implies new (cyber) risks and thus accountability in case of data breaches.
  2. Better deal engines: PSD2 provides third parties access to payment account information data (AIS). This data can be mined and relevant insights on customer behaviour can be extracted. This behaviour can then be for example spending on insurance to see if a better offer can be made to the customer or looking for patterns which can imply a better risk profile and thus better pricing on insurance products for the customer.
  3. Improve personalised advice: next to mining, the data can be used to improve personalized advice. Although TPPs are by law only allowed to present the account information of customers, insurance companies can use that information to give advice about their financial situation.
  4. Optimise claims management: together with other data sources, account information that is shared by customers’ banks can be used to create new data sets that could be used to improve reconciliation and reimburse the right amount to customers and gain better insights on possible fraud (by looking at for example customer spending patterns).
  5. Up to date customer records: although there is no Open Banking standard yet and all banks are developing their own view and strategy on opening up data beyond PSD2 compliance, there are already good examples insurance companies can build upon.
  6. Expanding service proposition to providing accounts: with the possibility to execute a transaction (PIS) on behalf of the customer or to check available funds (CAF) the functional scope of PSD2 is limited.
  7. Digital identity verification: banks can help in identifying a person during a digital onboarding or digital identity verification process. This functionality is for example already operated by the banks in The Netherlands under the iDIN scheme.

Swiss Crowdlender Banks on Blockchain (Finews), Rated: B

A Swiss crowd-lending platform is using the blockchain technology to improve the way it brokers loans to companies. It will also introduce tokens as a currency of valuation.

Swisspeers, a Winterthur-based platform specialized in loans to small- and medium-sized companies is registering transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. The company is going to use the so-called Smart Contract developed specifically for its purposes, Swisspeers said on Thursday.

International

Not just dumb pipes: Fintech investment slows as banks try to gain back control (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Banks’ investment in fintech companies is slowing down as they refocus on improving core banking infrastructure, according to a report by CB Insights.

The Banks in Fintech report, released this week, found that banks have been foregoing big investments and partnerships over the past five quarters with a preference for building products in house — particularly in lending, payments and personal financial management. In both the U.S. and Europe banks spent more of their architecture investment dollars on capital markets software companies than blockchain startups.

Source: CBInsights

KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report for the fourth quarter of 2017 noted that while deal activity among venture capital and private equity firms remained steady compared to 2016, the earliest stage of VC financing could see fewer deals and a volume decline in particular segments like online lending in the coming year. It’s a sign of the industry’s maturity; banks are showing their efforts to “fight fintech with fintech,” Lindsay Davis, an intelligence analyst at CB Insights, said in a presentation.

Source: Tearsheet

Blockchain Integration Is Leading to a Revolution in Global Trade (The Market Mogul), Rated: AAA

In every step of the trade financing process, blockchain technology seems to offer an efficiency boost in commodity transactions and the global supply chains. From contract generation level, which includes time-consuming reviews of the operation by the Letter of Credit issuing bank, to the settlement level, which often proves problematic due to payment platform incompatibility, fintech offers smart solutions.

Although credit fintech is on the rise, blockchain was mostly used for peer-to-peer lending and that the trade financing gap persists, according to the Asian Development Bank. 70% of financial institutions which responded to the survey claimed that the technology would allow for greater exposure to SME risk, mostly because of significant cost reduction in compliance and due diligence.

Mambu unleashes digital marketplace (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) banking engine provider Mambu has launched its digital marketplace to offer cloud-enabled apps, products and tools for banking and lending.

Mambu Marketplace offers a choice of global and localised solutions which can be integrated with the SaaS engine. Its offerings are based on an API-driven architecture.

Will fintech realize its potential for financial inclusion? (LinkedIn), Rated: A

But it’s increasingly clear that many of the financially underserved are also technologically underserved. The GSMA’s Mobile Economy 2018 reports that nearly 40% of the world’s 5 billion mobile subscribers have no internet access; most of the offline, live in the low- and middle-income countries that could benefit the most from digital financial services. Many mobile subscribers live outside of 3G or 4G signal range, which slows service or limits what they can do with their devices. Many unconnected users must contend with poor network performance, high connectivity and handset costs, poor digital literacy, or a lack of locally relevant content.

Digital lending innovations: Small businesses face a $5 trillion financing gap. Inefficiencies in customer acquisition and analysis prevent lenders from making reliable lending decisions and entrepreneurs from getting the financing that they need. But new technologies and data sources can help small businesses: Mexico’s Konfio analyzes thousands of data points – including biographic information, financial history, electronic invoicing, and social media usage – to make lending decisions quickly and inexpensively.

India

Instamojo plans to expand into SME lending, logistics: CEO Sampad Swain (Livemint), Rated: AAA

Online payment solution provider Instamojo Technologies Pvt. Ltd plans to expand into business loans, logistics and advertising services for small merchants, as more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) turn to digital means to sell and market their product, a top company executive told Mint.

Bengaluru-based Instamojo, which focuses primarily on SMEs, currently has 400,000 SMEs using its payment service, and it is also targeting to onboard at least 1 million SME customers by the end of FY19, the company’s chief executive Sampad Swain said in an interview.

Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending – a Niche in the Financial Ecosystem (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Investment avenues are available either in the form of instruments per se (e.g. equity stocks, bonds, etc.) or as vehicles for participating in the instruments e.g. Mutual Funds, Portfolio Management Services, Alternate Investment Funds, etc. Some of the vehicles are available in small ticket sizes, e.g. Mutual Funds, whereas some require a sizable ticket e.g. PMS (Rs 25 lakh) or AIF (Rs 1 crore). There is a differentiated investment avenue, which is neither a tradable instrument nor a structured vehicle, but a facilitator for retail investors. This is called Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending where there is an online intermediary, which brings the lender and borrower together to facilitate direct lending by the lender to the borrower on mutually agreed terms. This is an online marketplace where the digital platforms like e.g. IndiaMoneyMart would conduct due diligence and credit assessment of the borrower and connect the two individuals.

Asia

Outsmarting the traditional experts with the aid of AI (Asia Asset Management), Rated: A

FinEX Asia offers Asian investors access to US consumer credit assets

Asian institutional investors often find it difficult to gain exposure to US consumer credit assets because of the diverse array of such products and a lack of investment channels.
Canada

Canadian Fintech PayBright Announces  E-Commerce Financing Solution is Now Available on IBM Websphere (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Canadian fintech lender PayBright announced on Thursday its e-commerce financing solution is now available for merchants operating the IBM Websphere Commerce platform.

According to PayBright, the e-commerce solution integrates with merchant’s e-commerce platforms and provides Canadian customers with an additional payment option at checkout. Upon selecting PayBright as a payment method, customers can finalize their purchases in a matter of seconds. Merchants then receive their funds directly from PayBright the next business day with no credit risk. Customers then pay for their purchases in affordable monthly installments over time, with interest rates as low as 0%. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 30 2018, Daily News Digest

Friday March 30 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub grows short interest. Larry Summers resigns from LendingClub board. RealtyShares intros gap financing for projects under $20M. Mark Davies steps down from RateSetter board. Today’s main analysis: Heap’s behavior attribution platform. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Can Noto sell mortgages at his new SoFi post? China banks report drop in bad loans. Chinese families rack up […]

Friday March 30 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

LendingClub Corp (LC) Sees Significant Growth in Short Interest (the Ledger Gazette), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest during the month of February. As of February 28th, there was short interest totalling 31,244,316 shares, an increase of 11.0% from the February 15th total of 28,142,392 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 9,132,224 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 3.4 days. Currently, 11.3% of the company’s stock are short sold.

Larry Summers Has Resigned From the LendingClub Board (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Yesterday, we learned that after nearly six years Mr. Summers will be leaving the board of LendingClub. He is being replaced by leading economist and Stanford professor Susan Athey. While she is not nearly as well known as Larry Summers she still brings serious economics clout to the board.

Heap launches behavioral attribution platform (Venture Beat), Rated: AAA

Source Heap

Heap is aiming to automate insights and is starting today with the launch of Heap Behavior Attribution. The new product is the industry’s first attribution product that measures behavior and does so in a way that requires no data science or engineering resources, the company said.

The Heap Behavioral Attribution measures standard marketing channels (i.e. Google and Facebook), and also ties in a set of broad user behavior, including email, customer relationship management (CRM), shopping cart, customer success, and either-or testing platforms. Examples include user behaviors stored in Salesforce, Marketo, Shopify, Autopilot, Optimizely, Oracle, and more.

Source Heap

It has more than 100 employees and 6,000 customers, including Twilio, Lending Club, App Annie, Morningstar, Monotype, and Casper.

 

RealtyShares Introduces Gap Financing Program For Projects Under $ 20 Million (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares today announced a gap financing program that delivers subordinated financing solutions to commercial real estate owners seeking higher leverage on the financing of projects under $20 million. The suite of solutions, which includes preferred equity, mezzanine debt, and second lien loans, helps commercial real estate operators get the capital they need to buy, refinance, or renovate commercial properties.

He Can Fix Your Student Debt, but Can He Sell You a Mortgage? (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

As chief operating officer of Twitter Inc., Anthony Noto did a lot to calm the company’s perpetually anxious shareholders. On Feb. 26, however, Noto took over as chief executive officer of a financial technology startup, Social Finance Inc., or SoFi.

He’ll be facing increasingly tough competition. SoFi sees Marcus, the consumer-lending business started by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in 2016, as the biggest threat, according to people familiar with SoFi’s thinking.

One question Noto will have to navigate is how much SoFi should use its own balance sheet—that is, hold on to the loans it originates as opposed to selling them to other investors. It currently keeps a slice of loans but sells off most of them. Holding loans allows a company to earn a stream of interest income, but investors generally put a lower value on financial firms than tech platforms.

SoFi says it plans to hold 500 events in 2018, up from 41 in 2015.

The wealth management unit, fully launched in May 2017, had $42.3 million in assets under management as of Jan. 18, according to Prosser.

 

Instant Financing Offers Drive Sales, Decrease Cart Abandonment (Retail Touchpoints), Rated: AAA

E-Commerce retailers in the U.S. recognize the value of instant financing offers, and 64% believe providing financing options through their online store is important to driving new and increased sales, according to a survey from Klarna. Another 46% believe such services decrease cart abandonment, which is a pressing concern for retailers.

Instant financing is a revolving line of credit that shoppers can apply for during online checkout, letting them spread payments out over time with low annual percentage rate (APR) offers. The option is particularly appealing to Millennials, as fewer than 33% of them carry credit cards, according to a 2016 Bankrate survey.

Retailers’ enthusiasm for online financing is shared by shoppers, and a 2017 Researchscape International survey conducted on behalf of Klarna found that consumers:

  • Prefer online merchants that offer instant financing (75%);
  • Want to be presented with an instant financing option when shopping online (47%);
  • Would spend more if given instant credit options when making a purchase (39%); and
  • Are very or completely likely to change retailers to use instant financing (28%).

FINANCE THEORY, LISTED EQUITIES, AND LIQUIDITY (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

A recent paper from Robeco discusses whether a liquidity premium exists in the stock market. The authors, David Blitz, Jean-Paul van Brakel, and Milan Vidojevic, conclude that “the evidence for such a premium is, at best, weak.”

Less politely, these authors refer to the whole notion of a liquidity premium as having been “challenged and debunked in various studies.”

Theory and Practice

In a sense there “should” be a liquidity premium. The more illiquid a stock, the more difficult it is to trade it, which on some models means that illiquid stocks are less attractive than liquid stocks, and should command a premium. One should have to be bribed to hold an illiquid stock just as one has to be bribed to hold a risky one.

BLACK ENTREPRENEURS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SBA OFFERINGS (Black Enterprise), Rated: A

Here is a surprising statistic: Over 80% of small business owners have never visited their local U.S. Small Business Administration office.

The finding was revealed as part of a random survey of 409 owners and senior leadership at small businesses by national online lender Fundera and online research firm Qualtrics.

Fundera also offers a list of other resources black entrepreneurs can tap into to help them get help with everything from how to run a small business to becoming a certified minority business.

Marketplace Lending Update #2: Another Rocky Mountain Remand (The National Law Review), Rated: A

In our prior Clients & Friends Memo “Who’s My Lender?” published on March 14, 2018, we analyzed two actions brought against marketplace lenders, one against Kabbage Inc. (“Kabbage”) in federal court in Massachusetts1 and the other against Avant in federal court in Colorado.2 In that memo, we noted that the Massachusetts action against Kabbage is proceeding to arbitration, while the action against Avant was remanded to state court.

Last week, Colorado courts issued several new rulings related to marketplace lending. First, the federal court in Colorado remanded another enforcement action brought by the Administrator of the Colorado Consumer Credit Code against Marlette Funding (“Marlette”),3 which had been doing business as a marketplace lender in Colorado under the name Best Egg. Following the reasoning in the Avant decision discussed in our prior memo, the court rejected the marketplace lender’s argument that Colorado’s usury laws were subject to complete preemption under federal law and therefore the court granted plaintiff’s motion to remand. As a result, Avant and Marlette will be forced to make their arguments that a bank is the “true lender” and that the Colorado Administrator’s usury claims are therefore preempted by federal law, and any other defenses, in Colorado state court.

KBRA Comments on Cross River Bank’s Settlement with the FDIC (Business Wire), Rated: A

The FDIC announced yesterday that it had reached settlements with Cross River Bank (“Cross River”) and Freedom Financial Asset Management (FFAM). Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) believes that the settlement and related consent order have a low likelihood of adverse impact upon the credit profile of Cross River and that of its parent, CRB Group, Inc. (CRB). While FFAM represents a very small portion of Cross River’s customer base, KBRA believes any adverse regulatory action draws heightened scrutiny to Cross River and the MPL industry, a factor already considered in the current ratings. Furthermore, KBRA believes that the matters cited by the FDIC were isolated instances and is not representative of pervasive issues with Cross River’s Compliance Management System (CMS). Nonetheless, we believe that has Cross River has since adopted enhanced compliance and reporting requirements consistent with FDIC guidance and incorporated enhancements to their CMS.

Enacomm and VOX Network Solutions to Provide Financial Institutions with Data-Driven Phone and Digital Assistant Banking (Global Newswire), Rated: B

VOX Network Solutions (VOX) has announced a partnership with Enacomm, Inc. (Enacomm) to bring Enacomm’s self-service solutions to VOX clients.  Through the reseller agreement, financial institutions will be equipped with VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) banking and the Enacomm Financial Suite (EFS), which includes a hosted, dynamic interactive voice response (IVR) system for personalized customer interactions.

Crypto Asset Expert David Drake Joins Advisory Board of Digits (Nothing in Particular Blog), Rated: B

Digits, a leading crypto company using technology aimed to combine the convenience of credit and debit card payments with the utility of cryptocurrency payments and to easily allow the consumer the ability to effortlessly pay for goods and services with crypto via their existing credit or debit card, announced today the addition of a highly respected crypto expert, David Drake, to its advisory board team.

United Kingdom

Betfair founder Mark Davies steps down from RateSetter board (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

MARK Davies has stepped down from the board of RateSetter after more than six years.

Davies, who was part of the founding management team at e-gaming company Betfair, joined the board of the peer-to-peer lender as a non-executive director in November 2011 – just 13 months after the company’s launch.

Data gatherers should be regulated like financial advisers (Financial Times), Rated: A

There was a time in the UK when most people were under the impression that financial advice was free. They went to see an adviser. He gave them advice. They handed over their money to him to be looked after. They never got a bill.

Only when the government changed the laws in 2012 did they realise they were paying. A lot. They just hadn’t noticed for the simple reason that they did not physically pay it to the adviser.

Deal maker Numis on the front foot after M&A numbers surge (Evening Standard), Rated: A

The City broker, which worked on the Trinity Mirror takeover of the Daily Express, and the sale of cocktail bar Revolution, said sales would be “significantly ahead” of £53 million recorded last year.

Since September, the company has worked on big deals like  the Mirror-Express takeover, the £600 million float  of car insurer Sabre and  the Aveva tie-up with Schneider’s electrical business.

Numis is also lined up to work on AJ Bell’s £500 million float and Funding Circle’s £1.5 billion float later in the year.

Shares rose 1.5%, gaining 5.5p to 365p.

One year to Brexit: How to protect you finances (Money Observer), Rated: A

Brexit is officially one year away and the impact it is having, and will continue to have, on our financial lives is filling the pages of our newspapers and TV screens daily.

Foreign currency

Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, sterling has fallen significantly in value against the euro. The pound reached a high of €1.42 in October 2015, but at the time of writing on 20 March 2018, it was worth 21 per cent less at €1.14, according to currency specialist Moneycorp.

Typical transaction costs for using your card abroad are between 2.75 and 2.99 per cent, and you will be charged a non-sterling purchase fee of up to 1.25 per cent on top.

Each time you use an ATM abroad, you can also be charged anything from £1.50 to £2 a time, so it is wise to withdraw larger sums in one go or to get a specialist overseas card that allows fee-free spending and cash withdrawals, according to Nick England, chief executive of travel money firm EasyFX.

Where are the current UK BTL hot spots? (Property Reporter), Rated: B

The latest UK buy-to-let index from property finance experts, LendInvest, has shown that the Midlands appears unaffected by the UK’s current house price growth slowdown, sending three of its largest cities into the top 5 places to invest – but where came out top?

  1. 1.  Colchester
  2. 2.  Northampton
  3. 3.  Leicester
  4. 4.  Luton
  5. 5.  Birmingham
  6. 6.  Manchester
  7. 7.  Ipswich
  8. 8.  Brighton
  9. 9.  Rochester
  10. 10.  Norwich

Together appoints new regional development director (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: B

Together has expanded its professional sector team with the appointment of Mel Fourie as its new regional development director.

Mel joins the specialist lender from RateSetter, where she was its strategic partnership manager covering the North of England.

China

Big four China banks report first drop in bad loans in 6 years (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Industrial and Commercial Bank of ChinaChina Construction BankAgricultural Bank of China and Bank of China had a total of 765.7 billion yuan ($122 billion) in non-performing loans on their books at the end of 2017, marking a 0.2% drop on the year.

Non-performing loans ratios — a gauge of asset quality — averaged 1.57% at the four state-owned lenders, 0.15 percentage point less than at the end of 2016. “Special mention” loans with an elevated potential for default decreased 0.9% to 1.59 trillion yuan. All four banks had reported 2017 results as of Thursday.

Famous for hoarding cash, Chinese families are now racking up debt on an unprecedented scale (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

Chinese families with their long tradition of saving money are now accumulating debt at a rate never been seen before, according to data compiled by a state-backed think tank in Beijing.

The country’s household leverage ratio – or the ratio between debt incurred by families and gross domestic product – surged to 49 per cent at the end of last year from 17.9 per cent at the end of 2008, going up about 3.5 percentage points annually, the think tank said in a report released on Thursday.

So in the period from 1993, when the data became available, to 2008, the household debt ratio went from 8.3 per cent to 17.9 per cent, with an annual rise of 0.65 percentage points.

According to its report, average disposable income could cover standard loan interest and mortgage repayments, while households were still sitting on 70 trillion yuan (US$11.13 trillion) worth of bank deposits and cash overall – enough to offset the 40 trillion yuan in outstanding bank debt.

Dianrong and Sino Guarantee Announce Lenders Protection Plan (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Dianrong and China United SME Guarantee Corporation, known as Sino Guarantee, one of China’s leading guarantee companies, today announced a new lenders protection plan for Dianrong customers. The plan, which went into effect at the beginning of 2018, is designed to provide third-party protection in the event of a loan default.

Dianrong’s borrowers now have the option to purchase the Sino Guarantee lenders protection plan, which further improves the borrower’s risk and credit profile. Sino Guarantee will then use a dedicated fund account to pay lenders the loan principal and any outstanding interest in the event of a loan default covered by the plan.

European Union

Spotcap Roundtable: Customers Expect More as Fintech Boosts User Expectations (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Spotcap, an SME focused online lender based in Berlin, recently held a roundtable on the future of finance. Individuals from prominent firms joined with the Fintech lender to assess progress made so far. Representatives from Deutsche Bank, Figo, GP Bullhound, McKinsey along with Spotcap debated how the financial ecosystem model will evolve, the implications for the customer, and the challenges and opportunities for Fintechs and more traditional financial service firms.

International

Alt.Estate To Become an Industry Standard for Blockchain-Based Real Estate Transactions (the Merkle), Rated: A

Using the blockchain technology to disrupt the real estate market, Alt.Estate has a strong potential to become an industry standard for the blockchain-based real estate transactions. A strong technology stack, a go-to-market strategy with 10X leverage, a working prototype with three tokenized apartments in key geographies, strong community support, and a solid pipeline of enterprise deals all position Alt.Estate as a win-win solution for real estate developers and investors.

Estimated at $217 trillion, the real estate market is worth nearly 2.7 times the global GDP.

“ERC-20” FOR REAL ESTATE

Developed two years ago, ERC-20 has quickly become a significant industry standard for all the tokens on Ethereum. Inspired by the approach of ERC-20 developers, Alt.Estate’s Protocol aims to become an industry standard for the tokenized real estate.

 

Asia

This Startup Combines FinTech And Traditional Lending Circles To Empower Women (Forbes), Rated: AAA

When Fonta Gilliam joined the foreign service out of school, she didn’t expect it would lead her to entrepreneurship. But after seeing community lending in practice throughout her work in East Asia and Africa, Gilliam wondered what would happen if she combined these traditional practices with new financial technology.

It all started when Gilliam was working in the visa department at the embassy in South Korea.

The practice of a lending circle is a kind of informal savings program. Say you have 10 members who each put $100 into the lending club each month. One member collects the full 1,000 each month and each month the total amount rotates until 10 months has passed and the circle starts back at the beginning.

Proptech – the emerging disruption in real estate (The Business Times), Rated: A

In proptech, three forms of technologies are particularly pertinent and pervasive: blockchain, augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI). In Singapore, these technologies are already making their impact felt in the real estate industry with their adoption by startups, global corporations and the government.

Blockchain: facilitating real estate transactions

A form of distributed ledger, the blockchain is distributed across nodes, locations and even countries. Being decentralised, it eliminates the need for an intermediary to process, validate or authenticate transactions.

Artificial intelligence: extracting insights from data

The most valuable tech companies (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) are where they are today because of the trove of consumer data they possess and continue to accumulate. In the realm of technology, data is wealth, and AI is the key to unlocking this wealth. AI, as the name suggests, is teaching the computer to think like a human, making sense of the data fed to it.

Proptech: transforming real estate in Singapore

Cognisant of the need to keep up with change, the Singapore government has introduced an Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the real estate industry. The ITM is focused on using automation, digitised contract templates, and predictive systems to streamline processes for property transactions and facilities management.

MENA

How GISC LoanCoin Network (GIS) is democratizing Credit with its Blockchain P2P, B2B & Altcoin Lending Platform (MenaFn), Rated: AAA

GISC uses a strict proprietary model composed of a fundamental and technical analysis strategy. So when their analysts suggested that cryptocurrency are poised to outperform in developing nations for some years to come, the company dedicated to coming up with a solution that would basically democratize lending of blockchain digital assets on a global scale.

GISC LoanCoin Network platform is designed with an aim of bridging traditional lending services to the blockchain and opening access to the non-banked. GISC LoanCoin Network is a Ethereum blockchain utility token based lending platform that will support P2P and B2B lending by eliminating intermediaries like banks and other financial institutes. It’s a platform where borrowers can interact and deal directly with the lender and GIS token holders can earn income by becoming Lenders or Guarantors.

GISC differs from other lending platforms like ETHLend and SALT in a way that GLN lends against Altcoins and this feature is yet to be introduced by any other lending platform. The platform usually takes a low, around 2% transaction fee for credit assessment/KYC-AML/ ID verification and connection through the network.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 21 2018, Daily News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: Mike Cagney’s Figure is out of stealth. CommonBond raises $50M. Airbnb features RealtyShares as multifamily financing solution. Monzo hits 500K current accounts. LexinFintech falls short on Q4 earnings. N26 raises $160M. Today’s main analysis: Mortgage Rate Competition Index widens. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The death of cash could be overstated. The most popular cities for millennial homebuyers. The […]

fintechs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Other

News Summary

United States

Ex-SoFi CEO Mike Cagney’s new startup, Figure, is out of stealth (Fast Company), Rated: AAA

SoFi cofounder Mike Cagney, who resigned as CEO last year, has been quietly working on a new project involving home improvement financing and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) for the last several months. Now, that project is out of stealth, with a live website: Figure.com.

According to Cagney’s LinkedIn profile, the startup plans to leverage blockchain-based technology and AI “to unlock new access points for consumer credit products that can transform the financial lives of our customers.”

The death of cash might be overstated (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The decline of cash in the US might be exaggerated, according to Cardtronics and PYMNTS’ Global Cash Index (GCI).

Cash still sees healthy usage in the US: The share of cash in 2016 accounted for 12.6% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the study forecasts that it will account for 11.2% of the US GDP by 2021.

Here are three factors that might contribute to the endurance of cash in the US:

Source Business Insider

Cash persists for low-value transactions. Nearly two-thirds of US consumers said they prefer to rely on cash for purchases of $10 or less. That could be partly because it’s expensive for merchants to accept card payments, which leads to card transaction minimums that encourage cash usage for these purchases. This could help keep cash alive in consumers’ day-to-day lives.

Des Moines, Pittsburgh and Buffalo Among Most Popular Cities for Millennial Homebuyers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree has released the findings of its study on the most popular cities for millennial homebuyers.

Young homebuyers are at the forefront of an increasing number of buyers returning to the housing market. The largest single-age population in the U.S. is 27-year-olds at almost 4.8 million, suggesting that millennials’ influence on the housing market has years to run before it peaks.

Millennial homebuyers make up one-third of mortgage requests. 32.5 percent of all mortgage requests through LendingTree between Feb. 1, 2017 and Feb. 1, 2018 came from consumers 35 years and younger. The average loan amount requested from this age group is $166,863.

Where millennials aren’t vying for homeownership. At the other end of the scale, Sarasota, Fla.Fort Myers Fla. and Honolulu had lowest shares of millennial buyers at 17.9 percent, 19.8 percent and 21.8 percent respectively.

Source: Lending Tree

CommonBond Secures $ 50M Series D Equity Round, Led by Fifth Third Bancorp (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

CommonBond, a leading financial technology company that empowers students and graduates to pay for higher education, today announced a $50M Series D financing round.

Fifth Third Capital Holdings, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fifth Third BancorpFITB, -0.69% led the round, with First Republic Bank FRC, -0.49% and Columbia Seligman Investments also participating, in addition to existing investors including Neuberger Berman, August Capital, and Nyca Partners. Individual investors in CommonBond include Vikram Pandit, former CEO of Citigroup, and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters. This latest round brings CommonBond’s total funding raised to over $130M. CommonBond will use this new funding to accelerate its growth and invest further in technology.

Airbnb Features RealtyShares as First Multifamily Financing Solution (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced it is featured by Airbnb as a financing resource in its Multifamily Properties Toolkit, a website that gives owners, operators and developers of multifamily buildings resources to support long-term tenants who wish to share their space with travelers. RealtyShares provides experienced multifamily building owners and operators financing to buy, refinance, and renovate their buildings.

Landlords can now manage Airbnb activity in their buildings and share in the additional rental income with the Airbnb Friendly Buildings Program. As a result, multifamily property owners have become increasingly interested in helping their tenants improve and share their space on Airbnb.

OnDeck Appoints Kenneth Brause As New Chief Financial Officer (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lending platform for small businesses OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK) announced it has appointed Kenneth Brause as its new Chief Financial Officer, effective March 26th, as part of a mutually agreed upon transition process. The lender reported that current Chief Financial Officer, Howard Katzenberg. Katzenberg will serve as an advisor to OnDeck until April 13th, working closely with Brause to facilitate a smooth transition.

According to OnDeck, Brause brings more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry to the lender’s team.

 

 

Average Cost of College Statistics for 2018 (Lend EDU), Rated: AAA

No matter whether you attend a public or private school, or whether you attend a 2-year or 4-year college, you can expect to pay more than those who attended before you.

By checking out the graph to the right (which does​ not account for inflation) you can see that in the past 20 years, tuition at all types of colleges has more than doubled, and in some cases has more than tripled.

Source: Lend EDU

Though the graph does not account for inflation, the rate of tuition increase has greatly outpaced the inflation rate – by at least 3 times for most school types.

The following is the average cost-of-attendance for the 2017-18 school year by school type including tuition & fees, room & board, books & supplies, transportation, and any other expenses.

  • Private 4-Year Not-for-Profit: $50,900   
  • Public 4-Year Out-of-State: $40,940  
  • Public 4-Year In-State: $25,290  
  • Public 2-Year In-District:​ $17,580   
  • Private For-Profit: $16,000 (tuition only)
Source: Lend EDU
Source: Lend EDU

 

Mortgage Rate Competition Index Widens (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

  • Homebuyers could have seen median savings of $27,980 by comparison shopping for the best mortgage rates last week, up 4.5% from the prior week.
  • This week’s Mortgage Rate Competition Index was 0.60 for purchase mortgages, up 0.15 from a year ago, and up 0.02 from last week. The Index measures the median spread between the highest and lowest APR available on the LendingTree platform.

Purchase loans

  • Across all purchase loan applications on LendingTree for the week ending March 18, 2018, the index was 0.60, up 0.02 from the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to nab a mortgage rate that’s 0.60% lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $27,980 in savings on a $300,000 loan
Source: Lending Tree

Mortgage fintech company completes capital raise (National Mortage News), Rated: B

Home Captain, a fintech company that looks to increase mortgage-lead conversion rates, completed a Series A financing round led by Spring Mountain Capital.

Spring Mountain joined Second Century Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the National Association of Realtors, as an institutional investor in Home Captain, which pairs prequalified homebuyers with real estate agents.

Ken Rees, CEO of Elevate, to Speak at LendIt Fintech Conference (Business Wire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced today that their Chief Executive Officer, Ken Rees, will address the audience at LendIt Fintech 2018 along with CNBC’s Ari Levy.

Rees will be joined by Levy, senior technology reporter at CNBC, who will lead the discussion through a variety of themes, including:

  • How banks and fintech companies can partner to take advantage of the opportunity in non-prime lending
  • What it takes to build winning products for non-prime consumers
  • Predictions for the biggest areas of innovation in non-prime lending in 2018 and beyond

Covr Financial Technologies announces Michael Kalen as Chief Executive Officer (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Michael Kalen has joined Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, as its chief executive officer, Covr Board Chairman Brian Finn announced.

U.S. Online Merchants Believe Instant Financing Will Drive Increased Sales (PNY), Rated: A

Online merchants in the U.S. are increasingly recognizing the importance of offering instant financing to shoppers, according to a new online e-commerce survey. Nearly two-thirds of retailers polled (64 percent) believe providing online financing options through their store is important to driving new and increased sales. Forty-six percent indicate it would decrease cart abandonment still one of the most critical challenges for online retailers today.

The survey was released here by Klarna, a leading global payments provider, at Shoptalk in Las Vegas.

Franklin Resources to Acquihire Random Forest Capital (Street Insider), Rated: B

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE: BEN), which operates as Franklin Templeton Investments, today announced the acquisition of Random Forest Capital, LLC (“Random Forest”), an investment firm with expertise in data science and non-bank marketplace lending. Following the acquisition, the Random Forest team will join the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group investment team. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

New Florida law will loosen small-dollar lending rules (American Banker), Rated: B

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Monday that will loosen the state’s rules for small-dollar consumer lending.

The law, which sailed through both houses of the Florida Legislature, authorizes 60- to 90-day loans of up to $1,000, while continuing to allow 30-day payday loans.

United Kingdom

Monzo Milestone: Challenger Bank Hits Half A Million Current Accounts (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Monday, UK-based challenger bank Monzo announced it has achieved half a million current accounts. The company launched its current accounts in October last year and since then, thousands of users have upgraded their accounts or signed up to start using Monzo’s banking products.

Monzo also reported that it will close the prepaid Beta on April 4th, so if users have not upgraded, their card will stop working and they won’t be able to use your Monzo app to make or receive payments.

Welendus goes live with interest-free loan offer (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER payday lender Welendus has launched its first product, offering borrowers an interest-free loan if the debt is repaid in one day.

Individuals can borrow up to £500 using the new facility, which is aimed at those faced with unexpected or emergency bills, Welendus said. The borrower does not have to pay any interest if they pay the loan back within 24 hours.

There are no early repayment fees and borrowers can get a decision within five minutes.

Investors will receive returns ranging between five and 15 per cent to fund the loans.

Fintech referral platform bags series A fundraise (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Funding Xchange, one of a handful of platforms designated by HM Treasury to refer businesses declined credit by the banks to other sources of funding, has closed a £1.5m series A round.

The round was led by Calibrate Management Ltd and Kimera. The money will be used to continue the development of Funding Xchange’s automated decisioning technology, as well as for the incorporation of live transactional data sources.

Inflation finally falls but still beats savings returns (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

INFLATION hit a seven-month low last month but there is little sign of respite for interest-starved savers as ISA season approaches, figures show.

Official for National Statistics (ONS) data shows consumer price inflation (CPI) grew by 2.7 per cent in February, finally falling from its five-year high of three per cent but still above the Bank of England’s two per cent target.

 

“But still, with inflation sitting at 2.7 per cent, savers’ cash is being eroded in real terms. In comparison to last year, savers would have found it difficult to get one per cent on an easy access ISA.”

Senior RBS fintech investment banker re-emerges at startup (Financial News), Rated: B

A former Royal Bank of Scotland investment banker, who led its coverage of fintech deals, has quit his private equity job after just five months to join a peer-to-peer lending startup staffed by former Goldman Sachs and HSBC analysts.

Rory McHugh, a former managing director at RBS, has joined Lendable, a UK-focused personal loans platform. Set up in 2014, the firm offers loans of up to £20,000 and raised £300m to lend to new customers in November.

Be a venture capitalist with an Innovative Finance Isa (The Times), Rated: A

Compared with cash Isas, Ifisas are as much a high-risk option as any loan that is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that lenders cannot seek money from P2P borrowers that are unwilling or unable to pay money owed, whereas the scheme protects savings and investments offered by FSCS-authorised banks and other companies.

Source: The Times

There are more than 30 providers jostling for space and support from subscribers, with typical rates of return of between 3 and 7 per cent, as well as some offering up to 16 per cent. The interest rates on offer comfortably outstrip the 2 to 3 per cent attached to cash Isas. See our table, below, for a range of Ifisas presently available to new customers.

FCA calls for global effort to speed up fintech growth (NAI500), Rated: B

The Financial Conduct Authority has called for the creation of a global alliance of regulators that would encourage growth in fintech by allowing companies to test new products without going through a full approval process.

Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London, Mr Woolard said expanding such a programme internationally would be “an immense undertaking”, but said “we’re up for the challenge”, having already seen “lots of interest” from other regulators.

China

Hot Chinese IPO LexinFintech Falls Short On Q4 Earnings, Revenue (Investors Business Daily), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech (LX) reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue as the Chinese online lender issued its first quarterly report since its December IPO.

LexinFintech earned 4 cents per U.S. share diluted on revenue of $244.95 million. Analysts had expected EPS of 13 cents on revenue of $279.7 million, according to Yahoo Finance.

Shares tumbled 12.4% to close at 15.98 on the stock market today after rallying 5.3% on Monday to 18.25.

Loan originations rose 115% vs. a year, customer balances swelled 95% and registered users 99%. Acquisition costs per customer fell 22%.

Dow Jones Leads Morning Rally, But This FANG Stock Falls Further (Investors Business Daily), Rated: A

IPO Leader LexinFintech (LX) fell over 8% after the Chinese online lender reported weaker-than-expected Q4 earnings and sales results. The new issue has been volatile after a short-lived breakout above an 18.39 IPO-base entry on March 9. Just days later, the stock would trigger the 7%-8% sell signal before rebounding.

Golden Bull Limited Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Golden Bull Limited (“Golden Bull” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: DNJR), an online finance marketplace that connects individual lenders with individual and small business borrowers, today announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 1,550,000 ordinary shares at a public offering price of $4.00 per share, for total gross proceeds of approximately $6.2 million before underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses. In addition, Golden Bull has granted the underwriters a 45-day option to purchase up to an additional 232,500 common shares at the public offering price, less underwriting discount and commissions.

 

European Union

The challenger bank N26 raises $ 160M ahead of U.S. launch (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The mobile-first bank N26 in Berlin has raised $160 million in preparation for its launch of a challenger bank in the United States.

All told, N26 has raised $215 million. Previous investors have included Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Earlybird Venture Capital and Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures.

Part of the $160 million will be used on product development for the existing offering in Europe, according to U.S. CEO Nicolas Kopp. The rest — and he would not say how much this is — will be used for international expansion, most immediately into the U.K. and U.S. markets.

Swedish banks risk losing tens of billions of euros to fintech startups – here are the ones leading the charge (Business Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, the startup Enkla launched, causing a stir in the market. Their interest rate of 0,95 percent is well below the banks’ average interest rates and according to their CEO, Alexander Widegren, Enkla received about 2 billion euros (SEK 20 billion) in applications their first day, Di Digital reported.

Enklas goal is set to lend out 10 billion euros within 18 months.

The four largest Swedish banks, SEB, Nordea, Handelsbanken and Swedbank – which have a combined 75 percent share of the country’s mortgage market – all had a rough day on the stock market on Monday, which may have been caused in part by the emerging threat.

Australia

Australian SMEs favor alternate lending to fund business (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: AAA

Australian small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are turning to non-banks to secure funding for their business. The latest issue of the Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index revealed that, between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of SMEs intending to use banks for funding has dropped from 38% to 24%. It also found that non-bank funding is now the first option for 22% of SMEs, up from 11% in 2014.

Moreover the report noted that 47.6% of SMEs, who have not used any non-banking lending options in the last 12 months, would be interested in using these options in the future.

There is an estimate 2.1 million SME businesses in Australia employing more than 7.3 million people or about 68% of Australia’s overall workforce.

Source: Enterprise Innovation

FinTechs To Surpass Banks As Aussie SMBs’ Top Finance Choice (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The “Scottish Pacific SME Growth Index,” released twice a year, found the portion of small businesses that said they would use banks for funding declined from 38 percent in 2014 to 24 percent in 2018.

Nearly half (47.6 percent) of SMBs that said they never used a non-bank to access financing said they would be interested in doing so in the future.

Asia

PT INVESTREE Radhika Jaya (Investree), a pioneer peer-to-peer lending (P2P) marketplace in Indonesia, is eyeing to close its Series B funding by the first half quarter of this year.

The company received an undisclosed amount of funding from Kejora Ventures in June 2016.

Investree has facilitated 600 billion rupiah (US$45 million) in loans to 330 SMEs, with 16,000 registered lenders, 5,000 active lenders between 21 to 40 years of age and has a return rate of 16.6% with no defaults.

In terms of business growth, Investree has seen 14% to 15% growth in revenue since 2016.

 

Latin America

Alipay breaks ground in Mexico (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Alipay, the world’s leading digital payments platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group, today announced that it is further expanding its footprint in the Americas through a partnership with Openpay in Mexico.

Now, Alipay’s more than 600 million active users in China will be able to use Alipay to make purchases from Openpay’s affiliated businesses in Mexico. Alipay is China’s leading payment provider and the primary means of online and mobile payment for Chinese consumers.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor