Friday April 27 2018, Daily News Digest

Canada investments

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage buys Orchard.Ascentium Capital issues $330M securitization.LendingTree reports record Q1 results.Funding Circle issues second MPL deal.Revolut raises $250M, achieves unicorn status.BBVA issues first blockchain loan from a global bank.IOU Financial releases 2017 results. Today’s main analysis: Canadian fintech funding declines 60 percent in Q1. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Where the oldest […]

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United States

It’s Official: Kabbage To Acquire Orchard (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

It was the worst kept secret in fintech. There were rumors flying around during LendIt Fintech earlier this month and then Bloomberg published this story a couple of weeks ago about the pending deal. Well, today it became official. In a press release this morning it was confirmed that Kabbage, the tech-focused small business lender, will acquire Orchard.

So, what will become of Matt Burton and his team? Some clues are provided in the press release:

Orchard’s CEO and co-founder, Matt Burton, as well as Chief Analytics Officer and co-founder, David Snitkof, will both join Kabbage in leadership roles upon the closing, helping oversee technology integrations and future innovations. In total, Kabbage will add more than twenty Orchard employees who are predominantly focused on advanced analytics, data science and engineering to its New York City office.

Kabbage plan in Orchard deal: Expand offerings to banks, small businesses (American Banker) Rated: A

Kathryn Petralia, president and co-founder of Kabbage, said the acquisition will help the company diversify its business and offer more data-driven services to small businesses and financial institutions. It currently works with ING, Santander and Scotia Bank. Kabbage’s U.S.-based loans are issued by Celtic Bank in Salt Lake City.

The Orchard name will not survive. “At closing we will be Kabbage,” Burton said.

Until now, Orchard has been providing loan and portfolio analysis to other online lenders. This business model will be discontinued and those relationships will most likely end. Orchard’s current clients are being told about its sale to Kabbage, Burton said.

Ascentium Capital Announces $ 330 Million Securitization (Ascentium) Rated: AAA

Ascentium Capital issued a $330 million small ticket equipment securitization of Ascentium Equipment Receivables 2018-1 Trust.

This represents the company’s ninth securitization since 2012 and the first time a non-investment grade, independent equipment finance company received triple AAA and Aaa ratings from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

LendingTree Reports Record 1Q 2018 Results (Markets Insider) Rated: AAA

LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com today announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.

First Quarter 2018 Business Highlights

  • Revenue from mortgage products of $73.5 million represents an increase of 17% over first quarter 2017 driven by strong growth in both purchase and refinance revenues at 13% and 18%, respectively.  According to Mortgage Bankers Association, originations industry-wide were projected down 4% in the comparable period.
  • Record revenue from non-mortgage products of $107.6 million in the first quarter represents an increase of 55% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Revenue from our credit card offerings continued its momentum, growing to $46.1 million in 1Q, up 36% over the first quarter 2017.
  • Personal loans revenue of $26.0 million grew 53% over first quarter 2017.
  • Home equity revenue continued to climb, growing 81% over first quarter 2017.
  • More than 8.0 million consumers have now signed up for free credit scores and savings alerts through My LendingTree.  Revenue contribution from MyLendingTree grew 76% in the first quarter compared to the prior year period as new features, such as Credit Analyzer and free credit monitoring, are driving increased engagement.

LendingTree Study Reveals Which Places Buy the Oldest Used Cars (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on the places that buy the oldest used cars. LendingTree analyzed auto loan offers for borrowers in the top 50 U.S. metros (based on population) to find the average age of used cars financed in each metro, as well as which makes of used cars were most popular.

The national average age of a used car people sought to finance was six years old, but some parts of the country prefer older used cars more than others.

Source: Lending Tree

Mobile Banking One of Top Three Most Used Apps by Americans, 2018 Citi Mobile Banking Study Reveals (Citigroup) Rated: AAA

Apps for mobile banking have become some of the most widely used by Americans, according to Citi’s 2018 Mobile Banking Study, released today. The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that, measured by top two ranked responses, 31 percent of consumers use their mobile banking app the most, behind only apps for social media (55 percent) and the weather (33 percent).

“Over the past year we’ve witnessed this increase in engagement first-hand, with mobile usage in North America increasing by almost 25 percent, and we don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon.”

LendingClub was sued for the fees it charges — how you can avoid being overcharged (Market Watch) Rated: A

Pay attention to both the interest rate advertised, as well as the annual percentage rate (APR), Clements said. If they’re different, the lender is likely factoring additional fees into your annual percentage rate.

You may need to borrow more money than you expected if that’s the case, he said, because the total amount you would receive will be less than you asked for.

Research several lenders before choosing which one you want, he said. And if there are any unfamiliar terms, or any confusion about how much you’ll pay back monthly, ask.

Digital bank in a box: Fintech offers branding tool (American Banker) Rated: A

The core systems provider Nymbus is offering a new product for bank customers that want to get in on the burgeoning trend of having a stand-alone, digital brand.

Dubbed SmartLaunch, the offering enables financial institutions to create a digital brand under their existing charter in as little as 90 days, according to Nymbus. The product is built on Nymbus’ cloud-based SmartCore platform, and the company says it provides banks that use the service with all outsourced operational and technological requirements to run the digital bank. Also included are client support, digital marketing and website services.

Source: American Banker

RealtyMogul and Comunidad Realty Partners Close $ 30 Million in Texas Multifamily Properties (Citizen Tribune) Rated: A

RealtyMogul, a pioneer in providing private real estate to discerning investors, announced that MogulREIT II, its real estate investment trust or “REIT,” has completed investments in multifamily apartment complexes in Fort Worth, Texas and San Antonio, Texas, consisting of over 450 units.

The properties were acquired through a partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners, a dynamic real estate investment firm specializing in workforce housing communities in culturally diverse neighborhoods.

Scaling Real Estate Crowdfunding: PeerStreet Establishes a Culture of Excellence at the Top (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Loans on PeerStreet are sourced and curated from vetted private lenders throughout the United States. These lenders have real estate expertise and established borrower relationships. To date, PeerStreet has helped to finance over $900 million in loans by using this partnership approach. The properties they help finance are typically smaller in value – a segment of the industry that is usually overlooked by big institutional money. Loans range from 6 to 24 months and are first lien so investors have a good degree of security.  Most of the loans are below a loan to value of 75%. About a year ago, PeerStreet announced having funded $300 million in loans. In less than 12 months, PeerStreet has funded double that number.

PeerStreet is doing small loans commercial, some multi family and mixed used properties. The largest loan size is around $5 million but there can be exceptions. The rate of return for investors during 2017 stood, on average, at 8% net of fees. As for defaults, so far only five loans have gone into foreclosure but they have not experienced any loss of principle – a positive metric.

Citizens Bank Taps Finastra and Infosys for Trade Finance Solution (Citizens Bank) Rated: A

Citizens Bank, working with Infosys as its implementation partner, has selected Finastra to power the trade finance solution it offers to its corporate clients. This new capability will enable Citizens’ corporate clients to digitize traditionally paper-based trade processes, leading to increased efficiencies and reduced costs.

The new trade finance offering will allow the bank to meet increased client demand. Citizens picked Finastra’s Fusion Trade Innovation for its end-user experience, ability to support all trade products, capacity to integrate with downstream systems through open APIs and its high level of configurability.

Consumers in Columbus less likely to put fraud alerts on their credit reports (The Columbus Dispatch) Rated: A

However, a new study finds that consumers in the biggest Midwest cities, including Columbus, are much less likely to put alerts on their credit reports than those in other cities, such as Las Vegas, Houston, Miami and New York. The study by online lender Lending Tree was based on a random sample.

US banks to get more freedom to offer unsecured loans (Financial Times) Rated: B

Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency, said he believed standards should be relaxed to allow banks back into the small dollar loan market; loans would range from $500 to $5,000 and be paid back in 45 and 90 days; right now payday lenders dominate this space and typically take advantage of borrowers by charging high fees and rolling over the principal; allowing banks back into the market will help to bring more regulation and cut down on abuses.

Growth plans: Both big and small banks set to expand locally (Orlando Business Journal) Rated: B

David Stahl, senior vice president, SunTrust Bank: We acquired an online lender called LightStream two years ago, and that has been a huge opportunity for us. The days of people walking into a bank and applying for a loan are pretty much gone.

Free Research Reports on These Credit Services Stocks — MoneyGram, Navient, Oaktree Specialty Lending and On Deck Capital (PR Newswire) Rated: B

This morning, WallStEquities.com observes MoneyGram International Inc. (NASDAQ: MGI), Navient Corp. (NASDAQ: NAVI), Oaktree Specialty Lending Corp. (NASDAQ: OCSL), and On Deck Capital Inc. (NYSE: ONDK). Credit Services companies originate, acquire, and service loans to individuals and corporations. Their products include student loans, mortgages, lines of credit, private equity, and venture capital. All you have to do is sign up today for this free limited time offer by clicking www.wallstequities.com/registration

Covr Financial Technologies appoints Chris Growney to Board of Directors; Gregory Fleming and Robert Kerzner, join Covr’s Advisory Board (PR Newswire) Rated: B

Covr Financial Technologies, a digital, multi-carrier life insurance platform for financial institutions, announced that Chris Growney, an advisor with venture capital and advisory firm Nyca Partners has joined Covr’s Board of Directors following Nyca’s role in Covr’s June, 2017 fundraising. Growney, a director, advisor and investor in a broad range of start-up and growth companies was most recently the founder of Clearwater Analytics, an investment analytics and accounting software company based in Boise, Idaho.

6th Avenue Capital Announces Promotion of Darren Schulman to President (deBanked) Rated: B

6th Avenue Capital, LLC (“6th Avenue Capital”) announced today the promotion of Darren Schulman to President, effective immediately. In his new position, Schulman has oversight over originations, underwriting, operations, collections and strategic initiatives. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer, and will continue to report directly to Chief Executive Officer Christine Chang.

The company also announced today that Chang and Schulman have been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors.

Best Egg Teams with Junior Achievement of Delaware on Financial Education Initiatives (Business Wire) Rated: B

Best Egg, the consumer lending brand of Marlette Funding, LLC, is providing both classroom education and other inspiring financially-related activities for Junior Achievement of Delaware (JA of DE). This announcement coincides with National Financial Literacy Month, being celebrated throughout the month of April.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle brings second marketplace loan deal (Global Capital) Rated: AAA

Sole arranger and lead manager Deutsche Bank announced Thursday a £207m UK SME securitization from Funding Circle, Small Business Loan Origination Trust 2018-1, the second ABS offering from the online lender.

In addition to being just the second deal from Funding Circle, and the third European marketplace loan ABS overall, SBOLT 2018-1 marks the first time Kroll Bond Rating Agency has assigned a public rating for a European securitization deal.

KBRA Europe Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (Business Wire) Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited (KBRA) has assigned preliminary ratings to four classes of notes (“Rated Notes”) issued by Small Business Origination Loan Trust 2018-1 DAC (“SBOLT 2018-1”). This is a £206.6 million ABS transaction collateralised by unsecured loans made to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) incorporated in the United Kingdom (“UK”).

This transaction represents the second ABS securitisation collateralised by unsecured loans to SMEs originated through the online lending platform operated by Funding Circle Limited (“Funding Circle”), and the first European rated ABS securitisation for KBRA.

Source: Business Wire

Confirmation of that came on Thursday as Revolut became the first of Britain’s digital-only banks to achieve “unicorn” status – in other words, a privately held start-up company with a valuation of more than $1bn (£720m).

Revolut, which was only founded in July 2015, has been valued at $1.7bn (£1.22bn) in its latest funding round.

The bank, which started out as a currency exchange app but later moved into providing personal banking and cryptocurrency trading services, raised $250m (£180m) from backers including DST Global, an investment firm backed by the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, whose previous early-stage tech investments have included Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Spotify.

Ranger Direct Lending rejects investor call to wind up (City Wire) Rated: A

Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) has criticised shareholder Oaktree Capital Management for trying to force the struggling alternative income fund to wind up.

Oaktree, the second largest shareholder in the fund that invests in and through lending platforms, has made public its correspondence with Ranger, which it described as a ‘sub-scale platform’ with shares ‘too illiquid to attract large institutional investors, especially in light of its persistent trading discount to net asset value (NAV)’.

Goji passes £50m in assets (Goji) Rated: A

Goji has now got more than £50m of assets on its platform a little over a year after opening its doors to investors.  With over 5,000 customer accounts, our hard earned growth is testament to the work the whole industry has done in selling the asset class to the UK public.

After campaigning hard to change the tax laws to open up the ISA rules so that non-lending platforms could also offer an IFISA, Goji was the first firm to offer investors diversification across a number of platforms through a single Innovative Finance ISA.  Goji’s Diversified Lending Bonds target 5%, whilst it’s Renewables Lending Bond targets returns in excess of 8%.

A lending site where you can rent anything just scored millions in venture capital (Business Insider) Rated: A

Fat Lama, which announced $10 million in its Series A on Wednesday in a round led by Blossom Capital, says it will use its latest funding to further its reach within the US and to create a mobile-first offering (so far, the site’s mobile app is only available in the UK).

Fat Lama lets users borrow everything from drones to camera equipment to printers.

The site insures any item listed on its site for up to $30,000, and Englander said his company has plans to raise that amount to $50,000 in the near future.

 

 

Artificial intelligence backed to reduce P2P defaults (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

ARTIFICIAL intelligence (AI) could provide peer-to-peer lenders with greater lending security and less chance of defaults, a technology consultancy claims.

Nick Parham, technical pre-sales consultant at NashTech, said there is much P2P platforms can learn about AI from traditional lenders.

“The traditional lending market offers us a powerful insight into the potential for AI in P2P lending,” he said.

TURNING TO YOUR PEERS (BQ Live) Rated: A

They created ArchOver, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform that allows firms that have been operating for more than two years to borrow money from lenders using its website. Companies borrow a minimum of £250,000, with interest rates starting at 7.7% a year.

Since it launched in the autumn of 2014, ArchOver has helped its lenders to inject more than £65m into British businesses, bringing in more than £2.5m in interest at an average return of 7.3%. In an age when bank savings accounts are paying less than 0.5%, it’s easy to see the attraction for investors who understand the risks as well as the rewards.

European Union

Klarna integrates with Magento for streamlined checkout (Payments Source) Rated: AAA

Commerce platform Magento is giving merchants the option to activate Klarna instant credit for online checkouts.

Sweden-based Klarna is built into the latest version of Magento Commerce, giving merchants a streamlined path to offer goods consumers may opt to pay for immediately, within 30 days, or longer via installments, Klarna said in a Thursday press release.

Taaleri increases its ownership in Fellow Finance by 7.3 per cent (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

Taaleri Plc has decided to exercise its option to acquire an additional 7.3% holding in Fellow Finance Oy, as outlined in the shareholders’ agreement signed in 2015. After the transaction Taaleri’s shareholding in Fellow Finance, which offers a crowdfunding platform for companies and for consumers, will increase to 45.7%. The transaction is scheduled to be realized in April-May.

International

BBVA and Indra deliver the world’s first blockchain-supported corporate loan (BBVA) Rated: AAA

BBVA has successfully completed the first global corporate loan transaction using blockchain technology from the negotiation of the deal to its signing, in line with their close collaboration to leverage cutting-edge technologies to streamline business processes.

The pilot enabled the closing of a €75 million loan using a solution developed by BBVA based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). This demonstrates how BBVA continues to incorporate innovative and disruptive technology into its customer solutions, including those products that up to now have seen limited digital innovation, as is the case with wholesale finance.

BANKS VS FINTECHS: THE WAR FOR TALENT (International Banker) Rated: A

Many of these start-ups, moreover, are equipped with enough cash to be able to compete with their banking counterparts on salaries. According to assessments by recruitment site Glassdoor, for example, a London-based software engineer at online lender Funding Circle will earn a base salary of £51,000 on average, which is equal to the salary paid at Goldman Sachs for a similar role. At UBS, that figure is £59,000, while at challenger Monzo Bank it is currently £64,000. Speaking recently to Bloomberg, co-founder and CEO of property lending platform LendInvest, Christian Faes, asserted that between 30 and 40 percent of the company’s hires are from major financial institutions, while banks also account for 100 percent of its small-risk and compliance team. Similar trends are also being reported by UK online lender MarketInvoice Ltd., where three-quarters of its 85 employees have come from either the financial-services or accountancy space.

Source: International Banker

Deserve Raises $ 50 Million in Debt Financing (Finovate) Rated: A

In rebranding his company from SelfScore to Deserve, CEO Kalpesh Kapadia explained “we believe that access is everything and everyone deserves a chance to build a positive credit history. So we are making our products available to all students, U.S., and international, and to all those who seek to build and/or maintain a good credit history.”

And now Deserve is $50 million closer to serving this broader population of potential customers. The Accel-backed fintech has just secured a $50 million debt facility from Keystone National Group to drive growth in account receivables and help “jumpstart” first-time credit owners’ financial journeys.

 

Fintech for the Financially Excluded? (Stanford Social Innovation Review) Rated: A

At Bamboo Capital Partners, we believe fintech can help low-income people reduce vulnerabilities, build assets, manage cash flow, and increase income, and we have invested as such: In the last couple of years, we have made four equity investments in fintech companies in Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Tanzania, committing more than $16 million. Our investees are helping democratize access to finance through peer-to-peer lending platforms (KuboFinanciero), promoting access to insurance (ComparaOnline), enabling mobile payments and savings for low-income people through nano deposits (Movii), and providing a smart data platform for emerging market financial institutions (First Access).

APAC

Game-changing technologies at work in Asia Pacific’s real estate (JLL) Rated: AAA

Singapore-based mall operator Capitaland has a chatbot called Sparkle on its app that responds to shoppers’ queries and make reservations or hail a ride from its malls.  National Australia Bank is participating in a A$9 million investment round for real estate crowdfunding platform Brick X.

The rise of proptech, however, could be a cause for cybersecurity concerns, as highlighted in JLL’s report Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech.

Source: Jill Real Views

 

Coast Labor MP Calls For Ban On Loan Machines (TripleM Network) Rated: A

There are calls for the Berejiklian Government to outright ban payday loan machines cropping up on the Central Coast.

There’s a Cash N Go kiosk at Wyoming offering up to $1000 at a time with minimal checks, while the devices, which look like ATMs, have also been spotted in the Hunter and Illawarra.

Latin America

Brazil’s Central Bank authorizes peer-to-peer lending (Rueters) Rated: AAA

Brazil’s Central Bank on Thursday released rules for credit start-ups that include authorization for peer-to-peer lending, as a way to increase competition in loans in a country with notoriously high interest rates for consumers.

Credit fintechs will be allowed to operate with a minimum capital of 1 million reais ($288,000), according to the new regulation. Peer-to peer lending had not yet been formally authorized in the country. The practice involves lending between individuals through online services.

Canada

Funding for Canadian Fintech Companies Declines 60 Percent in Q1 (Investing News) Rated: AAA

Canadian fintech companies received $88 million in investment over the first quarter of 2018, representing a 60-percent decline, says a new report from PwC.

Total investment in Canada in the first quarter of 2018 was over $1 billion, which is a 52-percent increase over the last quarter. A total of 105 deals were signed as compared to 81 in the previous quarter, representing a 30-percent increase.

Source: PwC

Read the full report here.

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2017 (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV:IOU) announced today its results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

  • Reached profitability during the year with positive adjusted net earnings of $0.1 millionin Q4.
  • Surpassed the half-billion loan origination mark with loan originations of $91.3 million(US) for the year.
  • Increased interest revenue of 8.1% to $14.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 vs 2016.
  • Reduced operating costs (excluding non-recurring costs) by 20.3% to $9.0 million for the year ended 2017.
  • Raised $3.5 million via a private placement.

BlackChain Solutions Signs LOI With DMG Blockchain Solutions to Bring P2P Lending to the Cryptocurrency Market (Investing News) Rated: B

Under the proposed license, BlackChain will retain exclusive rights for use of the technology for P2P Lending. DMG will be entitled to a royalty on commercial revenues generated by Blackchain using the technology. The parties intend to negotiate and finalize a definitive agreement by May 15th, 2018.

 

MENA

Global REIT’s crypto-powered real estate investment model will be first of it’s kind… (Global Cryptocurrency Press) Rated: AAA

Moving this structure onto the blockchain, and powering the investments with cryptocurrency now means the average cryptocurrency investor can easily access the real estate investment market. Global REIT will begin in their home of Dubai, a place where real estate is currently exploding, and acquire assets within the U.A.E, before branching out globally.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday April 26 2018, Daily News Digest

Hong Kong IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: FTC says LendingClub misled customers on fees. Credit Karma expands ID theft monitoring to include dark web data. Two startup robos were top performers in Q1. Shanlin Finance leaders charged with operating Ponzi scheme. TransferWise launches borderless accounts in European nations. Today’s main analysis: Small-dollar loans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Elevate’s safe credit. Hong Kong makes […]

Hong Kong IPO

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United States

Lending Club misled customers about hidden fees, regulators say (CNN Money) Rated: AAA

The Federal Trade Commission said the company, which connects borrowers to investors without banks in the middle, “lures” customers with the promise of no hidden fees.

Instead, Lending Club deducts money up front — hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, the FTC said.

The FTC also accused Lending Club (LC) of falsely leading customers to believe they have been approved for a loan.

The FTC further accused Lending Club of withdrawing double payments from the accounts of its customers and charging customers who had canceled auto-payments or already paid off their loans.

LendingClub (LC) Said FTC Allegations are Unwarranted (Street Insider) Rated: A

Following an inquiry that began in May 2016, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought an action against LendingClub(NYSE: LC) earlier today in the Northern District of California alleging that certain LendingClub practices do not, or in the past did not, comply with the requirements of the FTC and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Acts.

LendingClub believes that the allegations in the FTC’s complaint are legally and factually unwarranted. The company is disappointed that it was not possible to resolve this matter constructively with the agency’s current leadership and intends to oppose the claims and work towards an early resolution of the matter in Federal Court. Additional information about the complaint and LendingClub’s response are on its blog.

Why LendingClub Corp Stock Plunged Today (Motley Fool) Rated: B

Shares of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) are down by about 15% as of 3:30 p.m. EDT after the Federal Trade Commission charged the company with deceiving customers.

Elevate Provides Safe Credit To People Banks Can’t Serve With FICO (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Providing credit to 160 million Americans who are being ignored by banks sounds like a great business. And indeed, Elevate, which does just that, has been growing faster than Lending Club, SoFi, or OnDeck and is more profitable than any of them, said Ken Rees, the company’s CEO .

“Forty percent of Americans show monthly income swings of 30%. The majority of Americans need access to emergency credit but the banks have pulled back. Credit is particularly important because they have very low savings.”

Credit Karma expands its identity theft monitoring tool to include dark web data (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

After introducing a free identity monitoring tool for its users late last year, Credit Karma is widening the scope of its fraud-fighting scans to include data from the dark web.

Credit Karma’s  existing ID-monitoring tool searches 4.5 billion public breaches for a user’s personal data, but the improved service will scour additional breaches culled from the dark web. Added up, the tool will now search through 13 billion data breaches.

The company estimates that 65 percent of its users have experienced a data breach, whether they know it or not, so Credit Karma is well-positioned to issue a wake-up call about protecting identifying information online.

2 New Robo-Advisors Among the Top Performers in Q1 (ThinkAdvisor) Rated: AAA

Two relative newcomers to the robo-advisor space are among the industry’s top three performers in the first quarter, according to the latest Robo Report from BackEnd Benchmarking.

SoFi Wealth Management, which launched in May 2017 as an offshoot from the SoFi online lending platform, took first place; TIAA SRI, the socially responsible investment portfolio of its TIAA Personal Portfolio robo, placed third; and sandwiched between the two was Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.

All three robos lost money in the first quarter in their taxable, balanced portfolios, split roughly 60/40 between stocks and bonds, but they performed better than other digital advisors and the overall stock market, which was down 0.76%, for the S&P 500. Their losses ranged from 0.14% for SoFi and 0.45% for TIAA SRI.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios excelled largely because of its fixed income allocation, which included high-yield bonds and international debt, according to the Robo Report. It placed first for fixed income performance not only for the first quarter of 2018 but for the one-year and two-year trailing periods.

Source: Think Advisor

Small-dollar loans (Lexology) Rated: AAA

The Trump Administration has also taken notable steps to ease the burden placed on the payday lending industry. These include terminating the Obama-era “Operation Choke Point,” which was designed to discourage banks from doing business with payday lenders,11 as well as removing payday-bank partnership restrictions for at least one payday lender.12 This signals a significant departure from regulatory constraints put in place a decade ago prohibiting affiliations between national banks and payday lenders that sought to circumvent state interest rate caps.13

In addition to established market participants targeting borrowers with high credit scores, new internet-based startups are offering small-dollar loans to non-prime borrowers, directly targeting the payday lenders’ customer base. Fintechs aim to compete with traditional payday lenders by marketing a more customer-centric approach, as well as flexible terms and lower fees. These new market entrants generally rely on the use of AI-driven scoring products and non-traditional data analytics to assess a borrower’s creditworthiness. In addition to fair lending considerations, these new online startups generally rely on mobile devices and related technology to host their software and undertake lending decisions, thereby raising privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

Source: Lexology

Navient reports higher earnings in first quarter (Delaware Business Now) Rated: A

Wilmington-based Navient reported higher earnings in the first quarter as the company expanded its segment reporting to reflect a broader array of businesses.

Results that included the origination of $500 million of private education refinance loans, a 43 percent decrease in private education loan charge-offs and a 32 percent increase in business processing fee revenue from the year-ago quarter.

For the first-quarter 2018, GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) net income was $126 million compared with $88 million ($0.30 diluted earnings per share) for the year-ago quarter.

California merchant accuses lender of ‘rent-a-bank’ scheme (Rueters) Rated: A

Utah-based Celtic Bank and Georgia-based lender Kabbage Inc have been hit with a proposed class action accusing them of creating a “rent-a-bank” arrangement to issue high-interest loans to small businesses in California and evade the state’s usury laws.

The case was removed by Celtic Bank to federal court in Los Angeles on Tuesday after being filed last month in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

How employees build and shape the rock-solid cultures at 5 local tech companies (Built In Chicago) Rated: A

What is the foundation of Enova’s culture?

If I may grossly generalize and speak for the majority of the millennial workforce, workplace culture is a big job-hunting factor. Of course, we want to make decent salaries and have access to good health insurance. We also want to be spending those 40 or more hours per week with people we enjoy working with, tackling independent and collaborative work, constantly learning new things, and developing our skills — all of which Enova does a great job of cultivating.

What is the foundation of Avant’s culture?

Avant’s culture is based a lot around letting the best idea win. No matter what part of the business someone is in, if they have an idea that really shines through and will resolve the issue at hand, they are heard. In my experience, even if you’re not in your domain, people will listen to you as long as you come in with a clear spec. If you ask for something and have a good explanation as to why it’s needed, you can get it.

 

 

CEO of student loan marketplace LendEDU admits the name of the founder of a partner site is fake (CNBC) Rated: A

A spokesman cited in publications, including a CNBC story in March about students using their financial aid money to invest in cryptocurrencies, is a fake, the CEO of a partner website has admitted.

Nate Matherson, CEO of student loan refinancing company, LendEDU, said he started The Student Loan Report — studentloans.net — in 2016.

 

Where to Get a Loan of $ 5,000 or Less (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Many online lenders have personal loans that offer more flexibility. Some lenders set borrowing minimums as low as $1,000.

Pros: Some online lenders offer flexible repayment plans. For example, Avant allows you to make changes to your upcoming payments online, including the amount and date of your current or future payments. The company says it’s willing to work with you if you’re unable to make a payment, making it easier to repay your loan.

Kirsten Gillibrand Unveils A Public Option For Banking (Huffington Post) Rated: A

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is introducing legislation Wednesday that would require every U.S. post office to provide basic banking services, an ambitious step aimed at improving the lives of Americans with limited financial resources.

The postal system’s 30,000 locations touch every community. A majority ― 59 percent ― are in so-called banking deserts, or zip codes that have either no bank branches or just one.

Upgrade Personal Loans Review: Low Rates and Free Credit Monitoring (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

Upgrade is an online lender that primarily offers unsecured personal loans between $1,000 and $50,000. You can use these loans for a variety of purposes, including home improvement, debt consolidation, or a big purchase.

As unsecured loans, these personal loans don’t require any collateral.

Source: Student Loan Hero

How to Cope With the High Costs of Infertility (US News) Rated: A

According to the National Survey of Family Growth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy and more than 85,000 women in the U.S. undergo in vitro fertilization each year.

According to a 2015 study about the sentiment, costs and financial impact of fertility treatments in the U.S. by Prosper Marketplace, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, nearly half of those polled said that prices impacted the level of treatment they sought. Almost 34 percent of those women surveyed had to stop treatment due to the financial burden. Meanwhile, 70 percent of participants reported acquiring some degree of debt in their quest to conceive with more than 26 percent taking on over $30,000 of debt. The cost of treatments was also the single largest factor for those respondents who initially decided to delay fertility treatment at nearly 82 percent.

Washington Wants to Weaken Bank Rules. Not Every Regulator Agrees. (The New York Times) Rated: A

In recent weeks, federal banking regulators have proposed softening a requirement that puts a hard limit on how much the largest banks can borrow. The rule, known as the supplementary leverage ratio, requires that banks prepare for a disaster by maintaining a certain level of capital on their balance sheets based on their total size.

Banks have long complained that the rule is too restrictive and makes it harder for them to do business, including lending, in important markets. They have asserted that the ratio is too blunt of an instrument and often the strictest of the various capital requirements that were put in place after the crisis.

Which Is Best: REITs or Real Estate Crowdfunding? (US News) Rated: A

Who can invest in REITs and real estate crowdfunding? The best investors for REITs and real estate crowdfunding might not be the same. Joseph Hogue, chartered financial analyst and owner of Crowd 101, a crowdfunding website, says that although real estate crowdfunding is less work than direct investment in properties, it still involves more due diligence than REIT investing.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of REITs and real estate crowdfunding? For hands-on investors, who want to customize their real estate investing, crowdfunding fits the bill, says Javier Benson, senior vice president of strategy and implementation at crowdfunding site RealtyShares. RealtyShares specializes in funding commercial real estate projects valued at more than $50 million, certainly not a market for the individual investor.

Benson summarizes the benefits of real estate crowdfunding: “lower fee loads, increased transparency and the opportunity to select individual projects.”

Lenders reject 9% of CT loan applications (Hartford Business) Rated: A

Mortgage lenders rejected 9 percent of loan applications in recent years from Greater Hartford borrowers, which is the nation’s 10th worst denial rate, according to a recent study.

The study by national lending exchange marketplace Lending Tree said lenders denied mortgage shoppers in Hartford, West Hartford and East Hartford at a high rate mainly due to insufficient debt-to-income ratios and collateral.

Hartford’s would-be borrowers ranked second in the nation for cities where collateral issues resulted in their mortgage denial, which amounts to 24 percent of its denials.

LendingTree and COMPLY2018 Announce the Kraken Innovation Award (PR Newswire) Rated: B

COMPLY2018 announces that LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, will award one company as The Most Innovative Company during the annual RegTech and Compliance Conference May 16-17 in New York City.

United Kingdom

Growth Street Celebrates Full FCA Authorization & New GrowthLine Lending Product: Need to Borrow £2M? (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

UK alternative finance firm Growth Street has been granted full FCA authorization,  a significant milestone for Growth Street, which had been operating as an Appointed Representative of Resolution Compliance Limited since 2016.

Growth Street has simultaneously rolled out an update to its flagship business lending product, GrowthLine. The firm is now accepting applications from businesses looking to borrow up to £2M, a substantial increase from the previous maximum limit of £1M.

Borrowers unaware of how to check loan providers as scams increase (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

A THIRD of personal loan applicants have admitted they weren’t confident about how to check if their provider was legitimate, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed.

Research by the City watchdog found 36 per cent of those who took out a loan product in the past three years didn’t do any checks to ensure the legitimacy of their loan provider.

The FCA has revealed that more than £3.5m has been lost to loan fee fraud and said reports to its consumer helpline on this issue had increased by 44 per cent.

China

Eight charged in China over ‘Ponzi scheme posing as P2P lender’ that took US$ 9 billion (China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Eight ringleaders of the Shanghai-based Shanlin Finance have been charged with illegally obtaining deposits and taken into custody, according to local public prosecutor the Shanghai Pudong district People’s Procuratorate, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The scheme was disguised as a peer-to-peer lending platform, police said. Shanlin’s online lending platforms and mobile apps have been suspended from service.

Big Bang Means Buyer Beware in Hong Kong IPOs (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. will allow innovative companies that use shares with weighted voting rights to apply for IPOs starting April 30, and will also admit unprofitable biotech firms. That’s a landmark departure from the exchange’s longstanding adherence to the one-share-one-vote principle and the requirement for a three-year profit track record.

China has also opened the door for companies listed on its National Equities Exchange and Quotations market – an over-the-counter trading venue that’s developed something of a reputation as a casino – to sell H shares in Hong Kong.

Looser entry rules will create a vastly different market.

The Fall of Peer-to-Peer Lending in China (Caixin Global) Rated: A

P2P lending, which was designed to bypass traditional lending by matching individual borrowers and lenders, began to flourish on the Chinese mainland in 2011 as the government encouraged the wider use of technology to expand financial services to small businesses and individuals. At P2P lending’s peak in late 2015, there were more than 3,300 platforms operating, according to Wandaizhijia, a portal site that tracks the sector.

However, due to the absence of unified regulations, a great proportion of P2P lenders began collecting cash from investors, offering high returns. A market worth more than 1 trillion yuan ($158 billion) quickly developed.

China’s online lenders reel from industry shake-out (Financial Times) Rated: A

A survey by FT Confidential Research shows the online lending industry in China continues to consolidate from new regulations; the days of significant growth and platform expansion have ended as the government looks to weed out the smaller players; since 2016 the government has capped borrowing limits, shut down secondary markets and forced platforms to file with local regulators

European Union

Fintech unicorn Transferwise launches a ‘borderless’ account in Sweden, Finland and Denmark (Business Insider Nordic) Rated: AAA

Transferwise is today rolling out a “borderless” consumer account and linked debit card, which will let people hold money in multiple currencies.

The service, which Transferwise says is the first one of its kind, has been openly trialed among a few thousand customers since January, and goes live globally including in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Norway will follow later on.

This means that people will be able to transfer and spend money abroad, with little or no exchange or mark-up fees. They will also be able to make withdrawals through a Mastercard debit card. The debit card will me made available for larger businesses later in 2018.

RBS plans to move 1m users to new challenger bank, says report (AltFi News) Rated: A

According to an insider at the Royal Bank of Scotland, the bank has set an internal target of switching more than 1m users from Natwest to its latest project, a “next generation mobile-only bank”, in time for its debut in the third quarter of 2018.

In another interesting move, the insider has said that RBS’ mobile-only bank will be pursuing a marketplace business model, aiming to forge third-party partnerships as its primary source of revenue over lending. This is a model that is now well-known in the digital banking sector, hailed by dominant players like Monzo and Starling Bank as the future of next generation banking.

GDPR and financial advice: Processing data on children (Professional Adviser) Rated: A

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) makes special mention of children and, for the purposes of the regulation, consent cannot be granted without parental approval by anyone under the age of 13. Upon their 13thbirthday, data subjects can freely consent to how their data is processed – in other words, they can sign up to newsletters and appropriate alerts.

Unlikely as it may be that a 13-year-old will be signing up for newsletters from financial advisers, advice firms will still be processing large amounts of data on under-13s. Taking Intelligent Office as an example, there are currently more than 75,000 records of people under the age of 13 and so it is important that appropriate checks are in place and that parental consent has been granted at the beginning of the process.

Deposit Solutions shows potential of open banking (Euromoney) Rated: A

However, don’t tell that to Deposit Solutions. The Hamburg-based provider of an open-banking platform that lets deposit-rich banks offer their account holders insured savings products from other banks is growing fast. It launched its own business-to-consumer marketplace Zinspilot in September 2015 and by the end of 2016 had transmitted $1 billion in deposits.

Deposit Solutions also has 50 banks in 16 European countries on its B2B platform. These include Deutsche Bank, FFB – the German subsidiary of Fidelity – and MünchenerHyp in Germany, and Atom Bank and Close Brothers in the UK.

So-called product banks, such as Atom, that are seeking funding, but don’t want to invest in a traditional deposit-gathering infrastructure, can offer terms to so-called client banks, such as Deutsche, with lots of customers, but already an excess of deposits.

International

Inside Santander’s plans to digitize money (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

The Spanish banking giant’s U.K. arm recently launched One Pay FX, a mobile payments service for its U.K. debit card holders that want to send payments to people in Euro Zone countries and the U.S. It’s the first market-ready product built on blockchain technology, Ripple’s xCurrent protocol, for retail customers. It had been running as a pilot for employees for the last 18 months.

Santander, one of the founding members of R3 CEV, a prominent consortium of banks investing in the company’s blockchain technology for financial applications, soon became one of the first members to exit the group as it concentrated on other payments-focused group work like the Utility Settlement Coin — “a tokenized version of central bank money,” in Faura’s words — and the Global Payments Steering Group.

Source: Tearsheet

This MBA Loan Provider Is Helping International Students Start New Careers Abroad (Business Because) Rated: A

According to BusinessBecause data, 90% of MBA applicants would consider studying abroad. At the same time, over 60% say they wouldn’t be able to pursue an MBA without financial aid.

Prodigy Finance has lent more than $505 million in loans to over 10,300 students globally. Those loans have enabled international students such as Alex Brack, originally from Brazil and a recent MBA graduate for The F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, to thrive.

ZPER Secures Crypto Mobile Wallet with Trustonic (Global Banking and Finance Review) Rated: B

Following an increase in incidents such as the January 2018 theft of $425 million from Coincheck Inc, ZPER, the decentralised peer-to-peer (P2P) financial ecosystem, is launching the most secure cryptocurrency wallet available. ZPER is achieving this by embedding advanced security solutions from app and device security leader, Trustonic, to provide best-in-class protection. This move is in response to growing concerns about the vulnerability of cryptocurrencies when stored in exchanges.

Australia

 

Instant cash loan machines may target most vulnerable with quick dollars, financial counsellor says (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Rated: A

The emergence of instant cash loan machines across parts of New South Wales has sparked fears about low-income families being potentially caught in a debt trap.

The machines, which look like ATMs, only require identification and bank details before users are approved for cash loans almost immediately.

Financial counsellors have expressed concern about the devices, which they say appear to be popping up in low socio-economic areas.

India

 

RentoMojo is using machine learning to create credit profiles of users (Tech Circle) Rated: AAA

It raised $10 million (Rs 64.3 crore) in a Series B round of funding led by Bain Capital Ventures and Renaud Laplanche, a French-American entrepreneur. The company had earlier raised $2 million in a pre-Series A round from Accel Partners and IDG Ventures India in November 2016.

Asia

Emerging Asian leaders in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency to watch out (Finextra) Rated: A

Crowd-Genie, an Asia-wide cross-border lending platform, concluded its ICO on March 1, raising over $5.5 million. Under the stewardship of CEO and Co-Founder,Akshay Mehra, Genie is aiming to build a private capital hub using smart contracts to make borrowing safer, cheaper and more efficient. Mehra is certified in CMFAS by the MAS and has over 15 years industry experience. His goal of creating a tokenized lending platform puts him at the forefront of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology in Asia.

Under Mehra’s leadership, Crowd Genie’s goal is to develop a Business Loans Asset Exchange on which lenders can enhance their liquidity by transferring asset ownership. Crowd Genie Financial Services Pte. Ltd. is one of a handful of licensed platforms in Singapore to hold a ‘Dealing in Securities’ license by MAS and GenieICO’s token – CGC – was listed on the Cobinhood exchange on March 19.

Latin America

Brazilian bank IPO tests disruption potential of fintech firms (Reuters) Rated: AAA

The first initial public offering (IPO) by a Brazilian retail bank in nearly a decade, set to price on Thursday, will test if investors expect new technologies to give smaller lenders a fighting chance against Brazil’s dominant big four banks.

Banco Inter SA, a tiny mortgage lender that has reinvented itself as a purely online bank, is the first in a wave of feisty digital challengers planning to go public – and looking to trade at higher multiples than many of Brazil’s largest lenders.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday April 3 2018, Daily News Digest

FT Partners

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi issues $2.6B in ABS notes in Q1 2018. GreenSky files for IPO. China’s P2P lenders brace for more regulations. FinanZero raises $3.6M. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO alternative lending market analysis. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cities with highest share of cash-out refinance borrowers. Retailers grow financial services capabilities. India’s unsecured instant loan interest rates […]

FT Partners

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Issues a Record $ 2.6 Billion in ABS Notes in the First Quarter of 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed $2.6 billion in loan securitizations in the first quarter of 2018, a 35% increase over the prior-year period and its largest-ever quarterly ABS issuance volume.

In Q1 2018, SoFi completed a total of three securitization transactions: two student loan ABS offerings ($960 million SOFI 2018-A Notes and $869 million SOFI 2018-B Notes) and one consumer loan ABS offering ($774 million SCLP 2018-1 Notes). The SoFi 2018-B Notes marked the first time SoFi included medical residency loans as a part of the collateral.

LendingTree Ranks Cities with the Highest Share of Cash-Out Refinance Borrowers (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released the findings of its study on where cash-out refinancing was most prevalent in the past year.

Cities with the highest share of cash-out borrowers

Source Lending Tree

Cities with the highest cash-out loan amounts

Source Lending Tree

Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a sizable initial public offering that could come as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Atlanta company, which operates a lending platform that enables retailers, health-care providers and home contractors to offer loans to their customers, could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion, some of the people said.

FT Partners’ CEO Monthly Alternative Lending Market Analysis  (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Manu Smadja, co-founder and CEO of MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender that enables high-potential international students to finance their education. In our conversation with Manu, he discusses the inception of MPOWER, along with the unique opportunities and challenges of lending to this market.

M&A

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Max Levchin To Participate In A Keynote Fireside Chat At LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendIt Fintech announced today that Max Levchin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Affirm, a financial services technology company that is reimagining consumer credit and banking, will be featured in a keynote fireside chat on April 9. The world’s most prominent and emerging fintech CEOs from Wall Street to Main Street will gather April 9-11 at Moscone Center in San Francisco to focus on the hot-button topics and issues exploring the future of finance.

In a session titled The future of credit: Reimagining the financing ecosystem, Levchin’s keynote fireside chat will delve into how the retail industry has evolved and how retail experiences are continuing to grow beyond the capabilities of traditional credit and lending. Levchin will share his thoughts on why the industry needs to reimagine the financing ecosystem from the ground up in order to unlock the future of credit. Levchin will also discuss why Affirm is committed to reinventing credit, starting with the belief that it should help improve consumers’ financial lives in addition to financing their purchases.

Kabbage: Small Businesses Turning To Mobile Lending In Big Numbers (Payment Week), Rated: A

Sometimes, businesses need ready cash to get from “the latest bills” to “the next paid invoice,” and that’s where lenders are coming in. A new report from Kabbage says that small businesses are turning to mobile devices to get in on that lender funding in increasing numbers.

Kabbage surveyed almost 150,000 small businesses, and found that loans accessed by mobile device had increased better than three-fold, over 360 percent, of what they were back in April 2014. While the total numbers went through the roof, the value of the loans accessed went through the roof and over the treetops, having increased over 1,220 percent.

Why Marcus Has Changed Everything (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

Fast forward almost 18 months and Marcus is the fastest growing online lender in history. They have lent $2.5 billion in this time to 350,000 customers and have 700 employees spread across three offices. Not only that, but they have grand ambitions in the space. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has repeatedly talked about the importance of Marcus to the future of Goldman Sachs.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal the consumer banking business of Goldman Sachs is expected to generate $1 billion in revenue for the firm by 2020. That is significantly more revenue than LendingClub is expected to generate in 2018 as an 11-year- old business.

We have heard that Barclays and PNC Financial will be launching their own lending platforms in 2018 and there are rumors that many other large banks are going to do the same.

Most people probably don’t know Goldman Sachs offers a savings account with excellent perks — and anyone can use it with just $ 1 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Marcus— named after the Goldman Sachs founder Marcus Goldman — allows any adult (except in Maryland, where Marcus is not yet available) to create a savings account.

The big selling point for Marcus is the 1.5% annual percentage yield offered. Whereas interest rates for many banks have plummeted to as low as 0.01%, Goldman Sachs’ savings accounts create significant interest.

There is also no minimum amount needed to open an account with Marcus, and a deposit of even $1 allows users to earn the 1.5% APY.

Ohio Insurtech Root Insurance Completes Series C Round With $ 51 Million in Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated:A

Root Insurance, an Ohio-based car insurtech company, announced last week it secured $51 million in funding through its Series C round, which was led by Redpoint Ventures, with Scale Venture Partners and existing partners Ribbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital Partners. 

Root will use the new funding to expand into additional states and continue to invest in technology that significantly improves the customer experience.

That Fast Online Loan Could Have Super-high Interest Rates and Hidden Fees That Bankrupt Your Business (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

recent lawsuit against fintech small-business lender Kabbage Inc., charging that it partnered with a bank in order to offer interest rates that exceeded the legal limit, highlights the need for more regulatory oversight of the growing number of online lenders signing deals with small businesses.

Online lenders are getting more scrutiny.

The recent Massachusetts federal case brought by a small business against Kabbage (and its partner Celtic Bank) highlights why non-bank fintech lenders should be regulated. The suit alleges that Kabbage used its relationship with Celtic — which “rented” its balance sheet to Kabbage — as a basis to charge interest rates that violated usury laws.

How Credit Karma is using data to become a central finance hub (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s not a bank, but it uses customer data to help banks find customers.

Currently valued at $4 billion, Credit Karma has 80 million customers — half of whom are millennials. The company joins a growing number of financial startups like Clarity Money, SoFi, Chime and Varo Money that are aiming to become one-stop shops for customers’ finances. The field is growing increasingly competitive. Meanwhile, banks are bundling personal finance advice into their mobile apps. But Credit Karma has two advantages its competitors often struggle with — scale and data — and it’s using a chatbot to lock in the relationship with the customer.

A Chase Sapphire experiment is getting revived and expanded after the trial run blew away expectations with millennials last year (Business Insider), Rated: B

Last year, ahead of the spring homebuying season — the busiest of the year — JPMorgan Chase engineered an experiment to gain an edge in the mortgage-lending competition.

So the bank targeted its Sapphire customers, offering another 100,000 in rewards points if they closed a mortgage with the bank — a bonus worth as much as $1,500.

HNW Clients Warming Up To Digital Advice (Financial Adviser), Rated: A

In its report, “The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2018 Issue,” the researcher found that more than one-quarter of investors over 70 who have $2 million to $5 million in investable assets said they would consider online-only engagement. Beyond that, high-net-worth investors in general seemingly are more receptive to digital advice platforms.

In 2015, Cerulli found that 38% of investors with investable assets of $2 million to $5 million said they were willing to engage with digital providers. Last year, that number jumped to 46%. And among investors with $5 million-plus in investable assets, those numbers went from 30% in 2015 to 38% last year.

Why borrower experience will be the principal driver of bank revenue in the lending market (Lendit), Rated: A

Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have rewritten the rulebook for consumers when it comes to what they can reasonably expect from their service providers. Consequently, bank offerings are being judged to the same standard as the most innovative digitally native products in the world.

The benefits of improved customer experience

More generally, banks must focus on improving user experience to remain competitive as digitally native fintech products flood the marketplace. Focusing especially, the motivations for improving customer experience can be described as:

  •  Differentiation Financial services can no longer lean on long-standing relationships and brand positioning to generate new customer business.
  • Positive brand response in addition to research, some customers will also emphasize the emotive impression they receive from a product when making purchasing decisions.
  • Coping with an economic downturn During a recession or other global economic hardship businesses are placed under increased financial strain. Services viewed positively by their existing clients will stand a better chance of retaining their clients as well as growing their client base during the downturn.

Pindrop Introduces New Biometric Solution: Tongueprinting (Finovate), Rated: A

Banking Technology’s Anthony Peyton reports that the Atlanta-based anti-fraud and authentication specialist has unveiled Tongueprinting, a technology that analyses every person’s unique tongue as its newest biometric engine. Banking Technology is Finovate’s sister publication.

The idea is for Tongueprinting to stop fraudsters from taking over legitimate accounts by spoofing the call centre with automated bots, social engineering, and knowledge-based authentication questions.  

HomeUnion Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Individual Investors (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched a crowdfunding platform that allows investors to purchase stakes in funds of single-family rental (SFR) properties on its website. Starting with a minimum investment of $10,000, retail investors now have the ability to acquire interest in the HomeUnion Fix-and-Flip Fund. The fund enables consumers to invest in SFR assets acquired for fix-and-flip purposes in seven HomeUnion markets: Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh and Tampa.

Upstart tests buyer appetite with riskier loans, more sub notes (Global Capital), Rated: A

Online lender Upstart is the latest marketplace loan company to broaden the risk profile of its ABS, announcing a deal this week offering more subordinate bonds and backed by a higher proportion of longer term loans.

The California-based lender, founded by ex-Google employees, uses an underwriting model which incorporates data points beyond borrowers’ FICO scores, utilizing other factors such as schools attended, areas of study, academic performance and work history.

Is low pay hurting banks in the battle for tech talent? (American Banker), Rated: A

Conversations about pay in the banking industry typically focus on whether executives at the top are paid too much or workers at the bottom are paid too little.

But new data available as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act is drawing rare attention to the compensation of employees in the middle. In what will become an annual exercise, publicly traded U.S. companies are now required to disclose annually the median pay of their employees.

Information and Data Integrity: A Two-Way Street (Lendit), Rated: A

For many businesses, data is an important aspect of decision management. When you are choosing with whom to do business, you rely on the validity of data to guide you. If it proves faulty, you may be steered into accepting bad customers or rejecting good ones, which can seriously affect your bottom line. For consumers, inaccurate data can be equally harmful—leading to the appearance of having bad credit, denials of services or products or worse, flagged as potentially fraudulent.

Spanning both digital and real worlds, and encompassing data about identity, financial characteristics, behaviors and more, an integrated view is the foundation of enhanced insights that can ultimately improve financial outcomes. TransUnion understands the importance of current, accurate data and gives its customers access to information—including both highly-regulated and publicly available forms of alternative data—that creates powerful, comprehensive views of consumers.

Here’s Why Millennials Are Choosing Personal Loans (Lendit), Rated: A

When it comes to millennial spending habits, it looks as though they’re rounding a corner to a new kind of credit. With the vast treasure trove of accumulated data available, credit bureaus like TransUnion are seeing spikes in personal loans compared to Generation X’s spending habits in the early 2000s. It’s a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture a demographic that expects more from their lender.

The Overarching Trends

The newly minted adults of Generation Z are at the very beginning of their financial journey, but millennials are at the age where they’re expected to make major purchases. As they struggle with the economy and student debt, they’re making different financial choices along the way.

Adopting New Technology

Lenders are turning to financial technology (fintech) to help peddle their products, which millennials are all too happy to use. Ironically, applying for a personal loan without the face-to-face connection can be far more attractive than the traditional application process.

A Decline in Credit Card Usage

Right or wrong, credit cards have long been linked to perpetual debt in many people’s minds. In 2009, the CARD Act was introduced to place stricter limits on the marketing of credit cards at college campuses. Debit cards have become more of the rule as opposed to the exception, leaping from 8 billion transactions in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015.

Small Business Confidence Is Up, What Does that Mean? (Lendit), Rated: A

The year 2017 saw small business owners across the United States grow more optimistic about the future than they’ve ever been—at least since the creation of the Optimism Index by the NFIB in the 70s.  “2017 was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan.

The Tax Bill Could be a Boon for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations are all examples of what are called pass-through businesses; and make up roughly 95 percent of all U.S. businesses. They also happen to be many of our customers at OnDeck, and other online small business lenders. One of the main components of the new tax bill is a 20 percent tax deduction for those businesses, where business owners can “shield” 20 percent of their business income from flowing through to their personal income tax returns.

Cincinnati-based financial tech startup raises $ 1.2 million (Cincinnati Business Courier), Rated: B

A Cincinnati-based financial tech startup that aims to help users secure low-dollar loans without having to resort to a payday lender raised $1.2 million in venture capital.

Mayor proposes employee loans to offset predatory lenders (Santa Fe New Mexican), Rated: B

A few months after a new annual 175 percent cap on small-loan interest rates in New Mexico went into effect, Mayor Alan Webber is proposing a short-term loan program to help municipal workers avoid payday lending businesses viewed as predatory by consumer advocates.

BlockFi Gives Hodlers Another Option to Borrow Against Crypto Assets (BitcoinMagazine), Rated: B

Options for borrowing and lending with cryptocurrencies are on the rise. One of the latest start-ups to join the likes of SALT and Unchained Capital is BlockFi, a New York City–based startup that issues loans backed by bitcoin and ether to individuals, companies and institutions in 35 U.S. states.

BlockFi takes cryptocurrency as collateral, offering interest rates on loans of around 12 percent. This is generally lower than unsecured loans and higher than loans secured with traditional assets such as securities or real estate.

eBus to offer visitors financial advice, credit reports (The Repository), Rated: B

The eBus is a mobile classroom which is equipped with 14 personal computers and satellite technology staffed by Fifth Third bankers and representatives from nonprofit community organizations. On the bus, visitors can request a credit report and review it with a professional; receive a personalized evaluation of finances; receive internet banking and bill pay demonstrations; speak with nonprofits about housing, money management and business advice; receive consultation on foreclosure prevention; and conduct online job searches.

United Kingdom

Scots ‘side businesses’ generate £1.7bn a year (The Scotsman), Rated: A

More than 500,000 people living in Scotland have started a side business, generating a collective £1.7 billion a year out of more than £33bn UK-wide, according to new research.

Online lender Sunny said many of those north of the Border turning to side businesses are doing so to help with the cost of bills, savings and debts, and bring in an average of £272 a month on top of their main income.

That represents a 20 per cent increase from when they first started their business.

China

China’s P2P lenders brace for renewed regulatory crackdown (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China will soon be rolling out new licensing requirements for p2p lenders; The system will kick off in April with approvals slated to come at the end of this month, but many lenders aren’t aware of the filing process; in 2016 and 2017 many p2p lenders shut down and according to data there are around 2,000 remaining; it is expected that many of the 2,000 will not pass the new requirements; the new rules won’t allow platforms to guarantee loan payments and also limit loans to individuals and businesses; it will also require that platforms use custodian banks.

China Rapid Finance Executives Selected to Speak at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: A

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE: XRF) announced today that the Company will participate as a sponsor and exhibitor at the upcoming LendIt Fintech USA 2018, to be held between Apr 9th and 11th in San Francisco, California.

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On March 28th, cross-border payment company iPayLinks announced that it had completed, at the beginning of this year, a hundreds of million-yuan B1 round of financing led by Tencent and followed by Legend Capital.

NIFA Issues a Self-Discipline Convention for Debt-Collection Practitioners

The five-chapter convention is mainly applying to regulate the behavior of overdue debt collection within the Internet Finance industry by establishing several basic principles (e.g. observing laws and regulations, prudential regulations, protecting privacy, and strict self-discipline). In other words, the document outlines a framework of debt-collection regulation in terms of discredited punishment, business management, personnel management, information management, outsourcing management, and complaints.

China’s internet lenders fall foul of data privacy rules (Financial Times), Rated: A

More than half of Chinese internet finance lenders are failing to comply with data privacy regulations, research has found, raising risks for investors as China steps up the implementation of laws to protect consumer data.

The breaches include collecting phone numbers from users’ contact lists, which can be used to mount harassment campaigns and shame users into repaying debts.

The survey of 200 finance apps by Renmin University and Nandu Personal Data Protection Research Centre, a Beijing think-tank, ranked 111 apps as having “low” compliance.

It found that almost half — 95 apps — wanted to read users’ text messages, while 97 of them wanted access to users’ contact lists, despite such access not being necessary for the app’s functioning.

International

How retailers are growing their financial services capabilities (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Amazon isn’t the only retailer encroaching on the financial services space. It may be the scariest — just the rumor of it entering a company’s space will send its stock price down — but ultimately, Amazon only cares about getting more buyers and more sellers to join its platform.

Overstock’s Raj Karkara, vp of loyalty and financial services, echoed that sentiment earlier this year, saying that offering financial services or connecting customers with financial services providers is a natural extension of its retail function of buying and selling consumer goods.

Rakuten
Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce site and has slowly been growing outside of the country. It has a footprint in media, video-on-demand, mobile messaging, e-books, travel, fashion, marketing and even sports. It also operates the largest online bank in the country.

Overstock
For the past few months, e-commerce company Overstock.com has been quietly building out FinanceHub, a sort of marketplace for financial services that includes existing Overstock credit cards and insurance products; loans by LendingTree, Prosper and Sofi; a robo-adviser for automated investing; and, most recently, a discounted trading platform.

Sainsbury (and Tesco)
Amazon may not be interested in becoming a bank but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed in stealing customer attention from them. The U.K.’s largest grocers have all opened banks attached to their brands —  Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

ETHLend (LEND) Token – Will It Go Down After Kyber Network Partnership? (Hot Stocked), Rated: A

ETHLend has recently partnered up with Kyber Network. The ETHLend (LEND) Token has reached a market capitalization of 45.69 Million US dollars in the last 24 hours. The token traded 9.50%higher against the U.S. dollar during the last 24 hours ending at 10:30 AM EDTon April 2nd. That rise might be as a result of the partnership. ETHLend aims to become another decentralized and secure financial marketplace, but targeting peer to peer lending agreements via Blockchain and Smart Contracts.

Source CoinMarketCap

 

Australia

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN AUSTRALIA: SHOULD YOU SEEK FINANCE FROM A BANK OR AN ONLINE LENDER? (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Considering the small business sector employs nearly half the national workforce and contributes around $380 billion to Australia’s GDP [1], it’s easy to see why it’s frequently referred to as the ‘engine room’ of the economy.

Like all engine rooms, the sector requires sufficient fuel – in this case, working and growth capital – to not only keep running but also accelerate. However, poor access to capital remains a significant barrier to small businesses, accounting for a majority of failures in the sector.

Part of the reason is that banks are reluctant to lend to small businesses in circumstances where the borrower doesn’t have bricks-and-mortar security – especially if a short-term loan is sought.

APRA rejected CBA home loan data as inaccurate and incomplete (Financial Review), Rated: B

Commonwealth Bank was being pressured by the prudential regulator to appoint external consultants and fix its flawed home lending data almost 2½ years before the Hayne royal commission began exposing the big four for sloppy administrative errors and irresponsible lending.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s frustration with the failure of Australia’s biggest home lender to accurately identify what proportion of its loans were taken out by property investors and its level of exposure to big borrowers has been revealed in evidence tendered to the banking royal commission and published in a massive dump of more than 100 documents late last week.

India

Interest rates on unsecured instant loans are high (LiveMint), Rated: AAA

Financial institutions and fintech companies have launched multiple small credit products in India in the past 1-3 years. It is now possible to get loans even on your mobile phone. But how do you pay for this convenience?

P2P lending platform

Peer-to-peer lending companies such as Faircent, i2ifunding and Lendbox connect lenders and borrowers on their platforms. Usually, the lender is an individual and not a financial institution. The interest rates are between 15% and 36% per annum and the loan amount can range from Rs50,000 to Rs5 lakh. The interest rate is decided based on the credit profile of the customer. Usually, the P2P lending companies take into account your Cibil credit score. The loan tenure is 3 months to 24 months.

Fintech eco-system is moving to blockchain and AI: Rajat Gandhi, Faircent (Economic Times), Rated: A

A lot of players have come into the fintech space. There are wallet players, then there are PPI, P2B, crowdsourcing and other payment players as well. So, regulation is one of the key challenges the private players are going through. What is your take on it?

Surprisingly, the Indian regulators, I would say, are strict. You can see the example of NBFC P2P licences regulation. It is a good rule-based model. In fact, the players themselves were pushing for some kind of regulation because financial markets need them. It’s not like e-commerce or running a taxi where the risks are not that high.

India’s Finzy Raises $ 1.3 Mln At Pre Series A Funding (Reuters), Rated: A

Finzy, India’s fastest growing peer to peer lending platform, has raised USD 1.3 million in first round of Pre Series A from investors in the industry. A second round of fundraising is expected to close with pre-identified set of investors within the next 60 days.

Latin American

Brazilian Loan Marketplace FinanZero raises USD 3.6 million in Series A Funding Round (PR Newwire), Rated: AAA

FinanZero is a leading marketplace for consumer loans in Brazil. The business is an independent broker for loans, negotiating the customer’s loan application with several banks and credit institutions, to find the loan with the best interest rate and terms for the consumer. FinanZero handles the lending process from start to finish.

The Series A round was led by Swedish publicly listed investment company, Vostok Emerging Finance, with participation by other Swedish investors, including Webrock Ventures and Zentro Founders.

Africa

Fintech is central to Nigeria’s future success (Financial Times), Rated: A

Central to this opportunity is an acceleration in the development of a modern banking and financial services sector. We are already seeing huge breakthroughs in digital banking and the adoption of fintech-based services by Nigerian consumers — be they retail or business customers. But this expansion must be encouraged by policies that will see greater inclusion of women and rural communities into mainstream banking activity.

Asia

Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Viva Republica is the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea. Since the 2015 launch of its simple peer-to-peer payments app Toss, banks are finally revamping their user experiences and customers have easier access to financial products. South Korea’s mobile payments have more than quadrupled in that time to $4.6 billion, according to Bank of Korea data.

The startup, funded at $76 million, hasn’t stopped there. After PayPal joined a $48 million investment in Toss in March, Toss has grown from a simple money-transfer app to a diverse consumer-finance platform generating Viva Republica’s $20 million in expected revenue in 2017. Toss thus joins Asia’s ranks of fast-growing mobile P2P payment services, reaching a $12 billion transaction volume in 2017.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 12 2018, Daily News Digest

bitcoin debt

News Comments Today’s main news: More LendingClub-IEG drama.Black Fish raises $145M.Moneygram partners with Ripple.Kreditech expands into India with Mambu. Today’s main analysis: JP Morgan Chase’s investments into digital technology.Is Yirendai undervalued? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Investors go into debt to buy bitcoin.Small business financing trends.How open banking could change how people manage money.Banks, trade finance, and […]

bitcoin debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

Africa

News Summary

United States

Lending Club has a bitcoin pivoting suitor (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club has all kinds of problems: a history of profit warnings, faint traces of scandal after a management upheaval almost two years ago, and a share price still more than 80 per cent adrift from its peak.

Add to that list: a bizarre, crypto-fuelled activist campaign waged by a Las Vegas-based payday lender called Paul Mathieson, who told authorities in his native Australia that he fled to America in 2008 because he feared being killed by a mobster.

Mathieson’s case for change at Lending Club, laid out in a letter to the company’s board on 2 January, is not a terrible one, on the face of it. He argues that the cost structure at the loss-making company, a pioneer in peer-to-peer lending, is “excessive,” noting fancy headquarters in San Francisco and “hundreds” of “excess” developers. He says that the board should consider a pivot to using its own balance sheet to lend, rather than acting as a broker, taking fees for matching borrowers with lenders. Underwriting has been sloppy, he says, resulting in sub-par returns to investors.

Mathieson is offering 13 shares in his own penny-stock company, IEG Holdings, for every share in Lending Club. At the time of the offer on Monday morning, that was a premium of 19 cents, or about 5 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

SeeThruEquity Issues Update on IEG Holdings Corporation (Bay Street), Rated: A

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) provides online unsecured consumer loans under the brand name “Mr. Amazing Loans” via its website, www.mramazingloans.com, in 20 US states. The company offers $5,000 and $10,000 personal loans over a five-year term at rates ranging from 19.9% to 29.9% APR. IEG Holdings plans future expansion to a total of 25 US states, which would cover 240mn people and represent approximately 75% of the US population.

Since 2013, IEGH has obtained additional state lending licenses, and they are licensed and originating direct consumer loans in 20 states including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Company was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

IEG Holdings Plans to Create its own IEGH Crypto/Blockchain Currency Backed by Gold Metal and SEC Registration as a Security

IEGH announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Investment Evolution Crypto, LLC (“Crypto”), is negotiating to purchase a gold project with gold metal in the ground and prospecting licenses. IEG Holdings plans to utilize a gold resource to investigate creating, through Crypto, and a joint venture with Investment Evolution Corporation, also a wholly owned subsidiary of IEG Holdings, its own gold metal-backed crypto/blockchain currency, and potentially offer loans and accept loan repayments in its own crypto/blockchain currency.

IEGH increases loan originations

The company stated that it provided $960,000 in new consumer loans through its online property mramazingloans.com, from the October 2017 to December 2017 period. This represented a 12.3% increase over its July to September 2017 operating period, during which the company’s new loan originations were $855,000.

Desperate to get into bitcoin, investors slip into debt (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Roughly 18 percent of people who buy bitcoin use a credit card to do so, according to a new survey by loan marketplace LendEDU. Of those, 20 percent have not paid off their balance. The phrase “buy bitcoin with credit” has been trending on Google for weeks.

Another problem with going into debt for cryptocurrencies is that people will have to pay back their debt before they see sufficient returns, said Erika Safran, founder of Safran Wealth Advisors. That may require tapping other resources, potentially creating further financial trouble.

Credit card debt from CNBC.

Small Business Financing Trends To Stay Abreast Of (CXO Today), Rated: AAA

  • Traditional bank loan rejections are notoriously high in all markets
  • Small Business Administration (and equivalent agencies) are nefarious for overextending the time-to-credit tolerances of small businesses
  • Volatility of markets, and exposure of almost all markets to disruption by startups could pose urgent cash needs for businesses, which are generally not considered for loan applications by traditional lenders.

Online Lending And Its Deepening Hold Over The Small Business Finance Market

In 2014, a Federal Reserve (US) survey concluded that one in five small business owners opted for loans from online lenders. Since then, the proliferation of online lending platforms has been on the surge, to the extent that traditional brick and mortar lending institutions have also had to move base to the online domain. In the coming years, multiple factors will result in the success and sustainability of online lending platforms. These include:

  • Growing confidence among small business owners to trust online lending platforms
  • Availability of cheaper, quicker, and more convenient loans
  • Options to truly personalize and customize the loan repayment terms to suit the business’ interests

The Call for Transparency in the Online Lending Market

Though the online lending market has been growing year on year, this doesn’t detract from the concerns around lack of transparency in the way some of these platforms operate. Some of the key concerns are around undisclosed APRs and hidden fees. In fact, some online lenders have been castigated for charging significantly high rates of interests from borrowers, often with service quality issues post-approval. Thankfully, there’s already some progress towards bringing a degree of regulation in place for online lending platforms to be at par with traditional lending regulations.

JPMorgan Chase Competitive Strategy Teardown: How The Bank Stacks Up On Fintech & Innovation (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan is making a bigger push into payments technology as digital banking becomes a strategic priority.

In 2016, the bank spent $9.5B on technology and Dimon has committed $300M alone to improve JPMorgan’s technology for its asset management products. Relative to its peer group, JPM claims the highest number of mobile banking customers and its Chase Mobile app currently sports a 4.7 (out of 5) rating in the App Store.

Earnings call analysis – Barclays, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley talking up digitization

  • JPM discussed continued digital consumer banking growth, which grew 6% in Q3’17.
  • Bank of America spent portions of its Q1’17 and Q3’17 talking about digital banking initiatives and technology investment. Specifically, CEO Brian Moynihan mentioned the bank spent $2.25B on technology initiatives in the first three quarters of 2017. The bank also now sees mobile devices account for 1 of every 5 deposit transactions.
  • On Morgan Stanley’s Q3’17 earnings call, Morgan Stanley CFO Jonathan Pruzan mentioned the bank is beta testing new customer-facing digital products it plans to launch, potentially in the robo-advisory space. Specifically, Pruzan noted: “When we think about our wealth business, it’s a business that’s built on scale. And it’s built on the fact that people with wealth want personal advice. So it’s going to be both a mix of technology and digital with the personal element of the advice channel. And we think that’s the winning formula going forward.”

Based on the data, JPMorgan ranks ahead of most bulge bracket banks when it comes to overall fintech investment since 2013, but behind its peers Goldman Sachs and Citi.

Online Marketplace Lender Nav Facilitated More Than 20,000 Small Business credit Approvals in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Nav, a small business marketplace lending platform, announced this week it has facilitated more than 20,000 small business credit approvals in 2017.

The company currently has more than 327,000 entrepreneurs now using its platform to manage their data and access capital.

Bono’s Fund Makes Its First Fintech Investment, Backing Acorns (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The Rise Fund, a private investment firm co-founded by the U2 lead singer, is making its first known bet on a fintech business by backing Acorns Grow Inc., said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

Georgia Company Acquires S.D. Fintech Startup LoanHero (San Diego Business Journal), Rated: A

LoanHero, one of San Diego’s few financial technology startups, has been acquired by Georgia-based company LendingPoint.

Terms of the deal, announced Jan. 11, were not disclosed.

Small-dollar lender Oportun to open 20 offices in Florida (American Banker), Rated: A

Oportun, a community development financial institution that provides small loans to individuals with little or no credit history, is planning to open 20 lending offices in Florida.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based lender said this week that it has already opened four offices in Miami and Hialeah and that it expects to add 16 more in the Sunshine State, primarily in South Florida, by the end of the year.

6 Key Trends in Fintech to Watch in 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Convergence of Software and Financial Products  One of the important lessons that Square taught the market is that bundles of software solutions (loyalty, POS, analytics, scheduling and many others) and lending are essential drivers in advancing growth of payment processing.
  2. InsureTech
  3. The Power of the Machines  Companies like LendingClub are using machines to discover new relationships and patterns to introduce more tailored financial offers to their customers.
  4. Emerging Economies  Many growing companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are developing and adopting financial solutions, often faster and with more innovation than in developed economies.
  5. Wealth Management
  6. Rise of Crypto and Blockchain

Google Pay brings payment tools under a single brand (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The Internet giant is finally putting its many payments capabilities — Google Wallet, Android Pay and Pay with Google — under a single name, Google Pay, after lagging for years behind Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Ladder Secures $ 30M Series B Led by RRE Ventures (coverager), Rated: A

CA-based life insurance MGA Ladder announced it has raised $30M in a Series B round led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Thomvest Ventures, as well as Ladder’s existing investors: Canaan Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nyca Partners . Ladder launched its fully-digital life insurance solution in California on January 10, 2017, and has since expanded to nearly every state across the country.

Fifth Third regains top CRA grade, an entree to M&A (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp has received top marks from the Federal Reserve on its most recent Community Reinvestment Act examination as expected.

Fifth Third announced the results on Wednesday, saying in a press release that the Fed gave it an “outstanding” rating on its most recent exam. The Cincinnati company had said in a regulatory filing last month that it expected to ace the test, which covered the period between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016.

A Beginner’s Guide to Applying for College Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

Student loan debt statistics show that more than 70 percent of students graduating from four-year colleges have debt, so you aren’t alone if you need to borrow to cover educational costs.

Step 1: Understand your options

  • Federal loans for students
  • Federal loans for parents
  • Private loans for students
  • Private loans for parents
Source: Federal Student Aid

Step 7: Determine if you’ll need to apply for private loans

  • Family contributions if parents or other family members are willing and able to pay
  • Savings
  • Scholarships or grants from community groups or other sources
  • Parent PLUS Loans
  • Private student loans

Step 8: Learn how to apply for private student loans

Because there are many private student loan lenders, it’s a good idea to shop around. You should consider:

  • Loan eligibility requirements: What do you need to qualify?
  • Loan terms: How long do you have to repay the loan?
  • Repayment terms: When do you need to start repaying, and is there a prepayment penalty?
  • Fees: Is there a cost to apply for the loan or a loan origination fee?
  • Interest rates: Is the rate fixed or variable? How much will you pay to borrow?

You can visit our private student loan marketplace to find private student loan lenders offering loans to parents and students.

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!

LENDER RATES (APR) ELIGIBLE DEGREES
CHECK OUT THE TESTIMONIALS AND OUR IN-DEPTH REVIEWS!
2.58% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT SOFI
2.57% – 6.39% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT EARNEST
2.76% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT COMMONBOND
2.99% – 5.15% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LAUREL ROAD
2.74% – 7.26% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LENDKEY
3.11% – 8.46% Undergrad
& Graduate

 

 

Roostify adds tech veteran Adnan Habib as vice president of engineering (Housingwire), Rated: B

Roostify announced Thursday that it hired Adnan Habib as the company’s new vice president of engineering.

In this role, Habib will lead Roostify’s growing product delivery team and will be responsible for making improvements to the Roostify’s digital lending platform.

Roofstock Appoints Suresh Srinivasan as Chief Marketing Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roofstock (www.roofstock.com), the leading online marketplace for buying and selling leased single-family rental homes, today announced the strategic hire of Suresh Srinivasan as chief marketing officer. Srinivasan has 20 years’ experience leading marketing, product, and e-commerce functions at Fortune 500 and high-growth tech startups. Most recently serving as the SVP of Marketing for Xome, Srinivasan brings a deep understanding of the fast-growing real estate technology sector to Roofstock where he will be responsible for accelerating growth of Roofstock’s marketplace for single-family rental homes and developing the company’s partnership network.

United Kingdom

An invisible banking reform that ‘could fundamentally change how we manage our money’ is days away (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Regulators in Europe and the UK are ordering banks and credit card companies to share customer data with other companies if their customers agree. The companies will also be able to carry out payments on a customers’ behalf.

Open Banking forces lenders to offer a digital “fire hose” of data that any third party can use to get standardised access — provided the startup is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the customer agrees to share their data. They won’t have to negotiate deals with banks, just plug into their digital systems and go.

The aim of Opening Banking is to give customers greater control over their data and to encourage account switching.

An investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority in 2015 found just 3% of customers switched their banks in the last year, meaning many were left with accounts that were not right for them.

 

ThinCats Says 2018 is Poised for Growth in SME Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ThinCats says 2018 is poised for growth. The online lender reports that December was a record month booking £12 million of funding listed on the platform followed the biggest-ever ThinCats-listed loan of £6.7 million to the Chelsea Yacht & Boat Company at the end of September.

Loan Store Reveals to Reduce Interest Rates on Instant Cash Loans for the UK People (MENAFN), Rated: A

Loan Store is the responsible lending hub that reveals to reduce the interest rates on instant cash loans for the UK people.

Hennery Dicosta, a senior adviser of Loan Store, has offered the complete details about this announcement. This is what he said- In a recent scenario, people usually try to borrow a small loan amount. That is why we have decided to provide the loans for bad credit people with no guarantor and no fees on an instant decision to resolve their short term emergencies. We never charge any processing fee and we are now providing these loans on quite low rates of interest. Besides, we do not judge the creditworthiness of the borrowers with their credit rating and give an instant decision on their loan request.

Crowdstacker joins the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CROWDSTACKER has joined the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), becoming the self-regulated trade body’s eighth member.

The business lending P2P platform will be represented by chief executive Karteek Patel.

China

3 Growth Stocks at Deep-Value Prices (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, we asked three Motley Fool investors to each profile a company that has a low valuation now compared to its earnings-growth potential. They identified Yirendai (NYSE:YRD)Criteo S.A.(NASDAQ:CRTO), and Changyou.com (NASDAQ:CYOU) as strong contenders trading at attractive discounts.

China’s first P2P online lending platform

The Chinese P2P lending market blossomed in the late 2000s, catering to  customers who were underserved by traditional banks, and is worth about $60 billion today.

Analysts expect Yirendai’s revenue and earnings to rise 74% and 14% respectively this year, followed by 43% revenue growth and 41% earnings growth next year. Yet the stock trades at just 14 times earnings, compared to an industry average of 26 for credit service providers. Based on those numbers, Yirendai looks likely an undervalued growth stock.

But there are some obvious reasons why investors are discounting it.

First, Yirendai is a subprime lender. Just 1.7% of its loans were rated as prime “Grade A” last quarter. Another 8.7% were Grade B, and 14.1% were Grade C — but 75.5% were rated Grade D. Yirendai collects higher fees from lower rated borrowers, but its business could collapse if its delinquency rates rise.

The company only discloses delinquency rates for loans past due by 15 to 89 days, and that rate came in at a low 1.8% last quarter. But it doesn’t report any data on loans delinquent for over 90 days.

Chinese finance platform Black Fish raises $ 145m from Gobi, Lightspeed, others (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Black Fish, a consumer finance platform based in China’s Nanjing region, has received $145 million in a series A round from a cluster of firms  including Lightspeed China Partners and Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur based Gobi Partners.

Others who participated in the round include Morningside Venture Capital, JAFCO Asia, Fullcent Capital and Zhang Tao, founder of Dianping.com.

At this point, the average annual growth rate of consumer finance is 16.4 percent.

China’s Renren Is Poised To Unlock Value From Its Investment Portfolio And Grow With Blockchain (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Renren holds a significant investment portfolio that is easily worth $12 per share.  This value will likely be realized in the near term due to multiple catalysts.

The company has started to get involved with blockchain-related businesses, which potentially turns them into a “blockchain play”.

This situation leads to an asymmetrical payoff structure in which there is very little downside and significant upside. My target price is $18.

Renren was an early VC investor in Sofi, taking part in its seed round of financing as well as a later follow-on round. They currently hold a 13% stake in SoFi, having sold 14.1% of their holdings (representing 2% of SoFi) in April 2017 for $92 million.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Dianrong Signs Strategic Agreement with Dalian Finance Development Bureau & Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Dianrong and the Dalian Finance Development Bureau and Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (DFIIG) recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement to drive financial innovation in Dalian and across China. According to the agreement, Dianrong will develop a series of specific projects in partnership with the Dalian government, including:

  • Assist the Dalian Finance Development Bureau in creating a financial technology (fintech) cloud platform to provide fintech capabilities for small loan and guarantee companies, and other small and medium-sized financial institutions in the region and at large. Tools and services will include sophisticated fraud detection, big-data risk management tools, payment channel integration, and compliance reporting. The fintech cloud platform will also provide regulators with easier monitoring of local lending activities and trends in an ongoing and comprehensive way, helping them provide timely policy guidance and support on risk management.
  • Work with DFIIG to establish a special Internet finance investment fund for Dalian. The fund will focus on investment in fintech projects and startups with the potential to strengthen Dalian’s new economy and financial services industry.
  • Develop a supply-chain trading platform in Dalian utilizing advanced fintech and blockchain capabilities to help more small and medium-sized suppliers secure needed funding. Last year, Dianrong created the first blockchain platform for supply-chain finance with FoxConn Group, a global leader in consumer electronics.

Shanghai tightens financial sector supervision (Ecns), Rated: B

Shanghai is one of China’s largest financial markets by market trading volume. In 2017, its trading volume was 1,438 trillion yuan ($220.9 trillion).

Shanghai has already launched a campaign against fraud and illegal behavior in financial consumer markets, such as internet-based peer-to-peer lending, cash loans to college students, and pay-day loans.

European Union

Rocket Internet CEO says ready to pounce with cash pile (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany’s Rocket Internet needs to hold on to its mountain of cash so it can compete with rivals from the United States and China and pounce when investment opportunities arise, the chief executive said in an interview.

CAUTIOUS MARKET

Rocket is invested in more than 100 start-ups, including in financial and property tech, logistics and travel sites, with its stakes in the five biggest of them potentially worth more than 1 billion euros to Rocket, according to Berenberg bank.

International

MoneyGram Signs Deal to Work With Currency Startup Ripple (WSJ), Rated: AAA

MoneyGram International Inc. MGI +2.63% signed on to run a pilot program testing XRP, a digital currency created by San Francisco startup Ripple, in its payments network, the companies said Thursday.

The Dallas-based company agreed to test XRP as a tool for reducing money-transfer costs and settlement times.

How Banks Can Use Trade Finance Services and Data to Increase Share of Wallet (Traxpay), Rated: AAA

While global trade presents tremendous growth opportunities, businesses of all sizes are none-the-less finding it difficult to access much needed credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap. According to an Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) 2017 Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, And Jobs Survey, that gap was $1.5 trillion in 2016.

Non-financial institution competitors are aggressively targeting this market, using innovations such as blockchain to develop products and tools that not only replace outdated paper and manual-based processes, but also deliver unprecedented levels of cybersecurity that are critical in today’s digital transaction space. The same ADB survey revealed more than $13 billion in venture capital was invested in FinTech trade finance in 2016 alone.

The recent Simmons & Simmons Hyperfinance studyof the world’s leading trade banks found that only 7% believe they are at the forefront of digital innovation in spite of the fact that 80% of innovation leaders report digitally-driven products and services introduced over the past three years have expanded revenue growth. This illustrates the reality that financial institutions recognize the importance of developing a digital strategy, but few are moving aggressively enough to take advantage of these new technologies.

PRINCIPLES, ESG, AND CREDIT RISK (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The question before the house right now, though, is: what about the credit rating agencies? The question comes in three parts: there are the global CRAs; the smaller/regional CRAs in most of the world, and regional CRAs in the special case of China.

First, the global CRAs [there are just two of them, Moody’s and S&P] are making “strong efforts” to incorporate an understanding of ESG issues. They are hiring staff with ESG backgrounds, equipping their existing analysts with the relevant expertise, and drawing on third party providers.

Then there is China. Its CRAs include Dagong Global, China Chengxin, and Golden Credit Ratings. The idea of integrating ESG into their analyses is thus far limited to the issue of green bonds, that is, bonds issued for the development of brownfield sites. Government policy in China encourages green bonds and the CRAs have responded. The resulting assessments are focused on the “E,” not so much the “S” or the “G.” And their environmental assessments rely on measuring the impact of the project the bond aims to finance.

  • Research very generally supports the hypothesis that there exists a causal link between ESG factors and the credit worthiness of a borrower;
  • Academic research in limited in that it is too exclusively content to measure credit risk by credit ratings, rather than testing the ratings themselves against alternative measures;
  • But some research does employ the spread of credit default swaps as an independent measure of risk;
  • Anecdotal observation indicates a clear link between G and defaults, although the linkage between E and S and defaults is more difficult to pin down;
  • There is much evidence in the linkage of ESG to macroeconomic factors and potential growth, which in turn are important to sovereign risk in particular.

ABS braces for more auto deals after strong start to year (IFR), Rated: A

The asset-backed bond market is braced for a slew of new issues next week, with deal flow expected to be dominated by auto issuers including BMW and Mercedes.

Just two issuers sold deals this week – GM Financial and Consumer Portfolio Services – and both auto trades were met with strong demand from investors. One banker on the GM deal said the deal was over-subscribed across the capital stack.

The biggest tightening though was seen on the smallest and lower rated tranches. The 3.58-year Class B, rated Aa3/AA by Moody’s and Fitch, priced at 30bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 35-40bp and whispers of 45bp area.

The 3.58-year Class C, rated A1/A, priced at 50bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 55-60bp and whispers of 65bp area.

FROM BANKING TO BITCOIN, FINTECH IS POISED TO CHANGE THE WORLD (Tech Genix), Rated: A

Currently, it represents only 1 percent of the global financial industry. By comparison, digital media accounts for 40 percent while eCommerce accounts for around 10 percent.

Source: Tech Genix

To give you a perspective, venture capitalists invested more than $13 billion across 840 different fintech holdings in 2016, according to a report by KPMG. This is 7 percent more than they invested in 2015.

According to the McKinsey report, five areas will see high growth over the next decade. They are consumer finance, mortgage, lending, retail payment, and wealth management.

Online payments

PayPal handled $1.73 billion worth of transactions in the first quarter of 2017 alone, representing a 30 percent increase year-on-year.

Borrowing and lending

However, the delinquency rates have been increasingover the last few years. These rates have increased from 0.56 percent in January 2015 to 0.75 percent in December of the same year.

Overstock.com’s 2017 Highlights: Innovation, Expansion, and Recognition (Business Insider), Rated: A

Overstock’s blockchain-focused subsidiary, Medici Ventures, named its board of directors in 2017, and also saw a number of its portfolio companies continue to use blockchain to revolutionize industries including capital markets, money and banking, property registry, voting, identity, and underlying blockchain technology, including:

  • tZERO, the world’s first SEC approved, blockchain-based alternative trading system, launched its initial coin offering (ICO), which attracted over 10,000 subscribers and raised $100M in commitments in the first 12 hours of its pre-sale. A significant portion of the tZERO security tokens issued will be available to accredited investors in the public sale beginning in January, 2018.
  • DeSoto Inc., a joint venture between Overstock.com founder and CEO Patrick Byrne and world-renowned economist Hernando de Soto, was created to develop a global property registry system to surface the property rights of billions of people in the developing world.
  • Bitt, a Barbados-based financial technology company using blockchain to create central banking tools and mobile money applications, named Rawdon Adams, son of former Barbadian Prime Minister Tom Adams, as its CEO. Bitt also fully launched its new mMoney digital payment product, bringing to market a blockchain-based mobile wallet that allows users to participate in digital transactions on their smartphones without the need for a traditional bank account, helping to foster financial inclusion in the region.
  • South-American based Ripio (formally known as BitPagos), participated in an ICO that raised $37M to fund its Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Ripio Credit Network.
  • Belgium-based SettleMint launched a token sale for its DataBroker DAO, a peer-to-peer marketplace created to provide Internet of Things (IoT) sensor-owners with a clear path to data monetization, and data consumers with a decentralized marketplace in order to buy IoT sensor data. SettleMint also signed an agreement with The Islamic Research and Training Institute, the research arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, to work with local partner Ateon on developing blockchain-based financial products that can be used to support development and inclusion in IsDB member countries.

Global lender selects Aussie fintech, Trade Ledger, as worldwide technology partner (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Zürich-based lender, TradePlus24, has selected Australian deep tech startup, Trade Ledger, as its global technology partner to roll out its new trade insurance wrapped lending product across their European lending network, and enter the Australian market.

Bankers fear they will get Amazon-ed in tech disruption (Financial Times), Rated: A

According to IDC, only about a quarter of US bank technology budgets is spent on digital transformation, as opposed to business as usual. They expect this to grow to nearer 40 per cent in 2020.

Secondly, this spending could substantially boost banks’ productivity, and profits.

Banks will drive up the cost of customer acquisition for start-ups who will increasingly struggle unless they build network effects and scale very quickly. Roboadvisers and peer-to-peer lenders will be on heightened alert. Some start-ups will need to rethink their plans to disrupt and look to form partnerships instead.

Changes in financial regulation, such as a lighter touch fintech charter being examined in the US or the second payment services directive in Europe, could potentially make this more likely. The tech giants have the brands, customer reach, digital processes and flair to develop good products, and to take swift advantage of any regulatory changes.

Karma token trading opens after successful million ICO campaign (Crypto Ninjas), Rated: B

India

German Online Lender Kreditech Heads to India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

German online lender Kreditech is making its way to India, Bank Innovation has learned.

For this expedition, the fintech has teamed up with SaaS banking platform Mambu for providing short-term lending products specifically tailored to local consumers.

Kreditech selects Mambu’s SaaS banking engine for its passage to India (Finextra), Rated: A

Kreditech currently operates in Europe and Latin America and will expand into India in early 2018, together with its partner PayU, a global online payments provider and Mambu client in Latin America.

The loan product is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2018, all data will be hosted by AWS India.

NiYO Solutions Raises $ 13.2M in Series A Funding (FINSSMES), Rated: A

NiYO Solutions Inc., a Bangalore, India-based fintech startup for salaried employees, raised $13.2m (85 crore) in Series A funding.

APAC

Myanmar takes small steps towards providing greater liquidity for SMEs (Myanmar Times), Rated: AAA

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

Currently, local banks extend loans at interest rates ranging between 8.5 percent and 13pc. The local banks began offering SME loans at8.5pc interest in 2015. Since then, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and KfW Development Bank from Germany have also launched SME loans.

P2P lending

To get around the financial constraints, borrowing from family members and peers is common.

In fact, a rising number of businesses have resorted to P2P lending for funds to build up their businesses. Without any guarantees of success though, many entrepreneurs ultimately end up in debt. Others fall prey to fraud. Last year, The Myanmar Times reported at least three cases of fraud involving fake promises of repayments with up to 30pc interest.

Cloud Lending Solutions Recognized as a Top 25 FinTech Company of 2017 (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Cloud Lending Solutions was recognized as a “Top 25 FinTech Company for 2017” by APAC CIO Outlook Magazine. A panel of industrial experts and executives collaborated with the editorial board to curate the list with an aim to provide clarity into the ideal FinTech partners.

Africa

Local digital currency eyes real estate disruption (ITWeb), Rated: AAA

Cape Town-based fintech company, Wealth Migrate, has launched a global   – WEALTHE Coin.

According to Wealth Migrate, while almost half of the world’s wealth is held in real estate, fewer than 13% of people have access or the resources to invest in and  from this lucrative market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday November 20 2017, Daily News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi offers 6-month grace period for SoFi ReFi. Zopa to build Open Banking infrastructure. Faircent secures $4M funding round. Assetz Capital launches IFISA. Ping An make big bet on technology. Ant Financial partners with Standard Chartered. Today’s main analysis: Student loan borrowers prefer payments over iPhone X or bitcoin. Who are LendingClub borrowers? (A must-read market […]

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United States

Behind the Investment Platform: The LendingClub Borrower (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

From 2007 through 2017, LendingClub has matched $31 billion investor dollars with 2 million borrowers’ loans.

Source: LendingClub

Today, outstanding credit card and personal loan balances in the U.S. are approximately $960 billion. Of that, two-thirds, or roughly $600 billion, represents interest-earning balances carried month-to-month —the overall addressable population. About half of the addressable population (more than $300 billion) currently meets LendingClub’s target credit profile—a market that we have only just begun to penetrate.

Read LendingClub’s Marketplace Insights report in full here.

Holiday Finance with Lending Club (ABC News), Rated: A

LendingClub Appoints Former Netflix Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord As New Board of Directors Member (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Online credit marketplace LendingClub Corporation (NYSE: LC), announced on Tuesday it has appointed Patty McCord as the newest member of its Board of Directors, effective December 13, 2017.

McCord spent 14 years creating the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix and as the video streaming giant’s Chief Talent Officer, she helped create the Netflix Culture deck and experimented and cultivated new ways to work.

SoFi Now Offering Six-Month Grace Period for Graduates Using SoFi ReFi (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, online lending platform SoFi announced it is now offering a six-month grace period for graduates using its newly launched SoFi ReFi program.

ABS investors could pull back from MPLs in 2018 as cycle set to turn (GlobalCapital), Rated: AAA

Interest in marketplace loan ABS from the buyside picked up in 2017, but some investors are now saying that they could sit things out in 2018 as credit concerns grow and a lack of data presents problems in the late stages of the credit cycle.

ABS volumes doubled from $3.4bn in 2016 to $7bn in 2017, with SoFi issuing more than $3bn in deals this year, according to data from JP Morgan. The introduction of multi-seller platforms from SoFi, Lending Club, Marlette Funding, Prosper Marketplace also drove liquidity for the sector, while new …

Fiserv teams with TransUnion for loan origination system (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Financial services company Fiserv and credit reporting agency and risk information provider TransUnion have joined forces, reports Julie Muhn at Finovate (Banking Technology‘s sister company).

Under the agreement, Fiserv will integrate TransUnion’s CreditVision Link to increase precision of scoring and risk modeling in its Automotive Loan Origination System.

Over 65% of students prefer student loan payments over iPhone X or Bitcoin for holidays (TechRepublic), Rated: AAA

LendEDU asked 1,000 people repaying student loans if they would prefer a popular holiday gift or a loan payment of equal value. And, despite the hype surrounding tech trends, they wanted loan payments more.

Source: LendEDU

Voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo won’t change banking in 2018 (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Bankers agree voice will be the biggest and most important channel to their business after mobile, only this time, it won’t sneak up on them like mobile did. They’re looking at 2018 as a year to get their companies more involved with voice by adding features to their Alexa skills, creating an Alexa skill if they haven’t done so already or expanding Alexa capabilities to other parts of the organization. But for the most part, they’re looking for a clearer sense of how people even use Alexa.

In 2017, USAA, Ally Bank and U.S. Bank launched Alexa skills. Before this year, Capital One was the only bank with the feature, which it launched in 2016.

Upstart’s First SaaS Partner (LinkedIn), Rated: A

Earlier this year, we announced an initiative to bring the industry’s first Software as a Service (SaaS) lending platform to market, which we call “Powered by Upstart”. Now we’re excited to announce that BankMobile is the first bank to launch their personal loan program on the Upstart platform. Beginning today, BankMobile offers consumers in 43 states personal loans from $5,000 to $30,000, with no origination fees and interest rates starting at 5.99%.

Overcoming the Hurdles of Big Data Start-ups (Big Data), Rated: A

We are an early investor in the company ‘Kabbage” and Kabbage to me is a major disruption in the fund-lending and risk-analysis market. Established in 2009, Kabbage supported the emerging companies that were suffering the blow of a financial crisis. Banks were declining to lend money to small businesses and entrepreneurs had no access to capital to support their businesses. What aggravated the problem is that even if they did get access to money, the procedure for evaluating the risks of money lending were strictly based on scrutinizing the company’s financial background and fico scores instead of probing into the business. Deviating from the established model of risk analysis, Kabbage stepped into the market at a time of financial distress and operated on a completely different strategy. They would evaluate your UPA shipping data, ebay seller reviews, and other bits of information that are generated on different platforms and then assess credit card risks based on these factors and not just credit card fico scores. Kabbage started off by accumulating a ton of third party data which they ingested, analyzed and then created a solution. Over time, the company has gathered a substantial amount of primary data that they can use to tweak and refine their risk-analysis model. The company efficiently leveraged big data to provide an entire new service in the risk-analysis industry.

Anthemis Group’s Jillian Williams on tough times for personal finance apps (Tearsheet), Rated: A

It’s a space that started out with Mint ten years ago, with a new way to look at all of one’s finances in one place. The field has now grown to accommodate an ever-expanding number of direct-to-consumer PFM apps, including apps like Digit, Clarity Money, Penny and Qapital, and banks are now folding PFM capabilities into their mobile apps.

Banks have been folding in PFM features and competing apps are having trouble differentiating. Where do you see the PFM market right now?
A lot of PFM will continue to move to a business-to-business, or business-to-business-to-consumer model. Things [business-to-consumer PFMs] struggle with are being able to monetize and with customer acquisition.

What’s the problem with business-to-consumer PFM?
The market is really crowded and it’s hard to provide that extra value to really distinguish themselves from other platforms in the space.

Instant Loans at Checkout: helpful or hurtful? (MSN News Now), Rated: A

An $800 mattress for your bed. A $600 sofa for your living room. A vintage designer bag as a Christmas gift for your best friend.  They’re all pretty big purchases to buy online, but now you can get an instant loan for any of them right at checkout.

Ingle says the payment plans are different than credit card options. Companies like Affirm partner with certain retailers to offer the loans, which are installment loans with interest rates, and set payments are made over time.

India

Peer-to-peer lending platform Faircent gets $ 4m in Series B (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Faircent has raised $4 million in a Series-B round led by Belgian impact investment fund Incofin and Muthoot Fincorp.

P2P platform Faircent raises Series B from Muthoot Fincorp, Incofin, others (Economic Times), Rated: A

In a statement Faircent said it will utilise the newly acquired funds towards strengthening the platform’s technology and creating greater awareness about P2P lending’s significance as a new and highly rewarding asset class.

Fintech Startups Seek to Shake Up Money Transfer Industry (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The race is on to become the top global app for international money transfers.

Fintech startups including WorldRemit Ltd., TransferWise Ltd. and Remitly Inc. are pulling ahead of the pack of the dozens of companies trying to disrupt the remittance industry, using the latest technology to send money internationally.

More than $600 billion is remitted world-wide every year, mostly by migrant workers from places like India, Mexico and the Philippines, who have traditionally had to deal with long lines and high fees to send money home.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Finvasia gets licence to operate as NBFC (The Tribune), Rated: A

Chandigarh-based Finvasia, a fintech company offering zero brokerage, has received the Certificate of Registration (CoR) from RBI to operate as a non-banking financial corporation (NBFC). This extension will allow the company to offer loan-based products to retail and corporates alike. The company plans to develop block chain technology based P2P (peer-to-peer) lending platform.

Canada

Fintech Select Announces Launch of Physical Bitcoins (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Fintech Select Ltd. (“Fintech Select” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:FTEC) is pleased to announce that it will be launching its physical Bitcoin product alongside its Selectcoin closed loop swipe card.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday December 13 2017, Daily News Digest

Wednesday December 13 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Court dismisses case against OCC Fintech Charter. Affirm’s valuation confirmed at $1.75B. RateSetter Australia reaches $200M milestone. SoftBank invests $450M into Compass. Starling Bank expected to profit in 2019. Linked Finance launches P2P lending pension accounts. ID Finance raises $85M through ETF bonds. Today’s main analysis: TransUnion reports on consumer credit markets. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What […]

Wednesday December 13 2017, Daily News Digest

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United States

Court throws out New York regulator’s suit against OCC fintech charter (American Banker), Rated: AAA

A New York District Court judge threw out a lawsuit by the New York Department of Financial Services that sought to block the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s attempted fintech charter, saying the charter doesn’t exist yet so the suit is premature.

Lending startup Affirm valued at $ 1.8 bln in latest financing round (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Silicon Valley lending startup Affirm said on Monday it has raised $200 million in a fresh round of funding, boosting prospects as the firm aims to go after the market for millennial shoppers needing loans.

The new financing put Affirm’s total fundraising to date at about $450 million, and increases its valuation to $1.75 billion, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Max Levchin On What Comes After $ 200M Worth Of Capital Affirmation (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

The CEO with the measured response is PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, who told Karen Webster that with any capital raise of size, the temptation is to believe that “it is a big victory and it is validation … but all it really is, is a temporary tally of how far you have gone.”

He noted that with big investments come big responsibility (and Affirm has raised roughly $450 million to date), as he remarked that there is the implicit end goal of taking the money and parlaying vision and strategy into strong returns on that cash.

Affirm says that its retailers report that consumers who use Affirm leave with a basket size 75 percent greater than those who don’t use Affirm to pay for their purchases, and enjoy site-wide conversion rates as much as 20 percent higher, with revenue per visitor lifts of more than 10 percent.

Doing customers wrong allows your competitor to make things right (American Banker), Rated: A

Consider Affirm, a startup that offers consumers installment loans for individual purchases and markets the loans as a simpler and more honest financing alternative — a message that is clearly targeted at consumers who are frustrated by a perceived lack of transparency in the costs associated with using credit cards. This message appears to be resonating in the market; Affirm is processing relationships with more than 1,000 internet retailers and is reportedly working with Walmart on a pilot project.

In an interview with American Banker, Douugh founder and CEO Andy Taylor said: “When we dug deeper, we realized the consumer debt levels are out of control. Big banks are running off legacy business models that are driven to keep customers within these debt cycles. They’re not properly incentivized to foster financial wellness.”

Affirm, Marcus and Douugh are all basing their strategic direction on a simple but powerful insight: There is a difference between the way many consumers use credit cards and the way that those consumers should use their credit cards in order to maximize their financial wellness.

Retailers now offers Instaloans to pay for purchases (ABC30.com), Rated: A

A growing number of major retailers offer shoppers instant loans to pay for your purchases.

But how do they work? And are they better than credit cards?

Each lender may be slightly different, but typically: you give basic information, decide the length of the loan -usually anywhere from three to twenty-four months and in less than a minute you’ll know if you’re approved.

Prosper Appoints Former J.P. Morgan Chase CMO Claire Huang to Board of Directors (Crowfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Prosper announced on Tuesday it has appointed former Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan, Claire Huang to its board of directors. According to Prosper, Huang has held senior leadership positions at various well-known financial services companies, which includes Bank of America, Fidelity Investments, and American Express.

OnDeck Adds Former GE Capital and SunTrust Executives to Finance Team (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leading online lender to small business, today announced the hiring of two senior financial services executives to join its management team. Kelly Merrill and Erich Wust will assume new leadership roles that directly support OnDeck’s mission of empowering small business owners with the fastest and most flexible credit solutions.

Kelly Merrill joins OnDeck as the Senior Vice President for Finance, where she will help lead the company’s short-term and long-term financial planning initiatives. Merrill brings over a decade of finance experience to OnDeck from GE Capital, where she played a leading role in developing and executing the disposition strategy for GE Capitals’s $200 billion balance sheet.  Previously, Merrill was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of GE Capital Real Estate, where she led a team of more than 50 employees.

Erich Wust has been appointed as the Senior Vice President for Portfolio Management at OnDeck. He will be responsible for managing portfolio credit strategies, balance sheet optimization and other components of the company’s loan portfolio. Wust joins OnDeck after more than a decade in credit and risk leadership roles at SunTrust Bank.

Compass gets $ 450M from SoftBank; real estate portal now valued at .2B (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Less than a month after raising $100 million led by Fidelity, real-estate startup Compass is striking while the iron is hot. The company has now picked up an even bigger investment of $450 million, this time from the SoftBank Vision Fund, plus another $50M in secondary deals, to fill out a vision of its own: taking its real estate rental and sales platform global.

New York-based Compass is now valued at $2.2 billion post-money, up from $1.8 billion just four weeks ago, with $775 million raised to date.

Consumer Credit Market Expected to Remain Strong in 2018 Even in a Rising Rate Environment (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

In spite of rising interest rates, the U.S. consumer credit market is poised to perform well in 2018, with well-managed delinquencies and continued wide access to credit across all products. TransUnion’s (NYSE:TRU2018 consumer credit forecast found that expected increases to GDP, personal income, total employment and the Housing Price Index, among other factors, will outweigh potential negatives such as increasing interest rates and slowing vehicle sales.

5-Year Trends: Serious Borrower-Level Delinquency Rates for Key Credit Products**
Credit Product Q4 2013 Q4 2014 Q4 2015 Q4 2016 Q4 2017* Q4 2018* PCT Change in Last 5 Years (2013-2018)
Auto Loans  

1.23

%  

1.19

%  

1.27

%  

1.44

%  

1.43

%  

1.46

%  

+18.7 %

Credit Cards 1.60 % 1.48 % 1.59 % 1.79 % 1.86 % 1.96 % +22.50 %
Mortgage Loans 4.31 % 3.40 % 2.46 % 2.28 % 1.83 % 1.65 % (-61.7%)
Unsecured Personal Loans 4.01 % 3.73 % 3.62 % 3.83 % 3.37 % 3.36 % (-16.21%)
*Projections; **Serious mortgage, auto loan and personal loan delinquencies are defined here as those with payments 60 or more days past due. Serious credit card delinquencies are defined as those with payments 90 or more days past due. 

Inside the Mortgage Forecast

60-Day+ Mortgage Delinquency Rate and Average Mortgage Debt per Borrower
Q4 2009 Q4 2010 Q4 2011 Q4 2012 Q4 2013 Q4 2014 Q4 2015 Q4 2016 Q4 2017* Q4 2018*
7.16% 6.65% 6.15% 5.38% 4.31% 3.40% 2.46% 2.28% 1.83% 1.65%
$190,324 $186,488 $185,594 $184,753 $187,228 $187,311 $189,914 $194,415 $200,935 $205,534
*Q4 2017 and Q4 2018 include projections

Inside the Credit Card Forecast

90-Day+ Credit Card Loan Delinquency Rate and Average Credit Card Loan Debt per Borrower
Q4 2009 Q4 2010 Q4 2011 Q4 2012 Q4 2013 Q4 2014 Q4 2015 Q4 2016 Q4 2017* Q4 2018*
2.97% 2.17% 1.90% 1.75% 1.60% 1.48% 1.59% 1.79% 1.86% 1.96%
$6,043 $5,609 $5,485 $5,371 $5,324 $5,329 $5,337 $5,486 $5,626 $5,675
*Q4 2017 and Q4 2018 include projections

Inside the Auto Finance Forecast

60-Day+ Auto Loan Delinquency Rate and Average Auto Loan Debt per Borrower
Q4 2009 Q4 2010 Q4 2011 Q4 2012 Q4 2013 Q4 2014 Q4 2015 Q4 2016 Q4 2017* Q4 2018*
1.59% 1.27% 1.11% 1.15% 1.23% 1.19% 1.27% 1.44% 1.43% 1.46%
$14,922 $15,031 $15,377 $16,061 $16,781 $17,456 $18,004 $18,391 $18,588 $18,694
*Q4 2017 and Q4 2018 include projections

Inside the Personal Loan Forecast

60-Day+ Personal Loan Delinquency Rate and Average Personal Loan Debt per Borrower
Q4 2009 Q4 2010 Q4 2011 Q4 2012 Q4 2013 Q4 2014 Q4 2015 Q4 2016 Q4 2017* Q4 2018*
4.98% 4.78% 4.20% 3.93% 4.01% 3.73% 3.62% 3.83% 3.37% 3.36%
$6,650 $6,138 $5,895 $5,904 $6,247 $6,741 $7,360 $7,640 $8,066 $8,461
*Q4 2017 and Q4 2018 include projections

Why JPMorgan, Amex, HSBC are backing ‘isolation’ web browsing (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Often users are tricked by phishing emails that mimic a legitimate note from the boss or a senior corporate leader. And the links and sites can look secure. According to PhishLabs, nearly 25% of all phishing sites in the third quarter were hosted on HTTPS domains — almost double the rate of the previous quarter.

As part of their effort to deflect these attacks, some banks are turning to isolated browsing, or remote browsing, technology. Such systems force all internet activity to happen in a protected space on the cloud, preventing malicious code from reaching a company’s network. The technology is not brand new, but it is starting to gain traction as some large banks have finished their testing of it and are going public with their use of it.

JPMorgan Chase, American Express and HSBC announced Monday that they are leading a $40 million round of funding in the isolation-tech provider Menlo Security, bringing its total funding to $85 million.

Source: American Banker

 

Niche lending and fintech cross paths in Silicon Slopes (Utah Business), Rated: A

There are, however, entire demographics not serviced by tried-and-true lending institutions. Often, these folks’ credit score fails to meet a bank’s minimum standards. Or they need unconventional terms on an equipment or business loan. Whatever the reason, these transactionally marginalized sectors find themselves at the mercy of high-interest lenders. Or with no access to capital at all.

“There is a significant population of U.S. consumers who can’t get a loan,” notes Nate Heward, CFO at Acima Credit, a company that provides a point-of-sale credit platform.

Capitalism abhors a void

From the ubiquitous strip mall payday lender to the world of microfinance, a plethora of entrepreneurial solutions has emerged to get cash in the hands of would-be borrowers cut off from other avenues. These alternative lending practices have various degrees of reputability; a wide spectrum exists between the purely predatory lending shop, on the one hand, and the creative value-adding venture, on the other.

Scratching the consumer itch

In practical terms, Acima asks four simple questions of the would-be borrower:

  1. Do you have a three-month history with your current employer or source of income?
  2. Do you deposit $1,000 or more into your checking account each month?
  3. Have you had a checking account for at least 90 days?
  4. Is your checking account free from NSFs, excessive overdrafts and negative balances?

It’s all fintech

The companies profiled in this article may not be considered fintech firms per se; they’re not using technology to create a new financial paradigm a la Paypal, Indiegogo or Coinbase. They’re merely offering tried-and-true solutions to untapped consumer markets. Viewed from another angle, however, they’re fintech companies through and through. Acima, Progressive, et al are racing to deliver the most convenient financial solutions to the most people in their target customer base. And to do so, they’re relying on technology all the way.

Finance teams are ‘bottlenecking’ banks’ digital transformations (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banks are working hard to beef up their technology and innovation teamsembrace agile developmentand move to acting like digital companies, but bank finance departments still do a lot of manual work and will start to hold their companies back from becoming digital entities. Finance teams are the control functions and scorekeepers of an organization, but if they can’t process data at the same speed as the rest of the organization they could slow down the speed of company mergers or product rollouts when competing transactions are already taking place.

Royal Business Bank Invests $ 500K in Lendistry Loan Fund, Providing Opportunity for Small Businesses in Underserved Communities (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Royal Business Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBB Bancorp, has made a $500K commitment to the Lendistry CRA Loan Fund I. Launched at a time when most banks were struggling, Royal Business Bank has been successfully serving the Asian-American community since 2008. While specializing in businesses engaging in trade with Pacific Rim countries, the bank also offers small business loans and residential mortgages.

First financial industry brief filed in CFPB English v. Trump case (Ballard Spahr Email), Rated: A

This afternoon (LT Editor: December 12,2017) the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), represented by Ballard Spahr’s Alan Kaplinsky, filed the first amicus brief from the financial industry in the English v. Trump litigation over who will succeed Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CUNA supports the President’s authority to appoint an acting director.

Lawsuit: Trump appointee Mick Mulvaney has ‘no more right’ to lead CFPB ‘than Santa’ (Washington Examiner), Rated: A

A new federal lawsuit says President Trump’s “plainly illegal” appointment of Mick Mulvaney to be acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must be reversed in favor of Leandra English, who also claims the title.

Ilann Maazel, an attorney for the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, told the Washington Examiner that the credit union is suing because of the feared effect of Mulvaney policies.

The legal dispute centers on whether the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform, which set up the CFPB, makes the deputy director the acting director if there’s a vacancy, or whether the older Federal Vacancies Reform Act gives the president that power.

US Bank sees success with Zelle (Business Insider), Rated: A

US Bank integrated Zelle — which has over 30 other banking partners like Bank of America (BofA), JPMorgan Chase, and Citi — last year. The bank saw a 104% increase in Zelle transactions in the past four months, and a 50% increase in customer enrollment in the P2P offering during that time.

Source: Business Insider

To compete with big tech firms, banks need big-tech talent (American Banker), Rated: A

Nine years ago, D.J. Patil and Jeff Hammerbacher coined the term “data scientist.” Four years later, Patil and Thomas Davenport deemed the profession “the sexiest job of the 21st century” in the pages of Harvard Business Review.

For banks, this imbalance is particularly challenging at a time when the industry is increasingly vying for the same talent the tech giants are aggressively courting. To stay competitive, the financial services industry must defend against a new cast of competitors by changing how it attracts, hires and develops data science talent.

 

BitGo Raises $ 42.5M in Series B Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

BitGo, a Palo Alto, CA-based company which makes digital currencies usable for businesses in a regulated economy, raised $42.5m in Series B financing.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate enabling businesses to integrate digital currencies into their existing financial systems.

AI 100: The Artificial Intelligence Startups Redefining Industries (CB Insights), Rated: A

Source: CB Insights

5 Promising Early-Stage Startups to Watch (Tech Startups), Rated: B

Throtle is a 2nd generation data onboarding company focused on deterministic matching, identity resolution and closed loop enablement, powering brands and companies with their omnichannel marketing efforts.

Affirm is a San Francisco-based financial service startup that offers installment loans to consumers at the point of sale. Its aim is to improve the banking industry to be more accountable and accessible to consumers.

Homebuying With Alternative Credit (Microbilt), Rated: B

Source: Microbilt
United Kingdom

Digital challenger Starling to hit profit in 2019 says founder Anne Boden as European expansion takes crucial step (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Digital-only challenger bank Starling will “definitely” be in profit by the end of 2019, its chief executive told City A.M., as it announced a major step in its plans for European expansion.

The bank will today announce it has become a direct member of the single euro payments area (Sepa), which allows credit transfers, direct debit and card payments in euros across the whole of the EU.

Crowdfunding a mission to save capitalism from itself (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Jeff Lynn is on a mission to save capitalism from itself at a time when millions feel locked out, and unable to foresee themselves better off than their parents. His answer: to democratise capital.

That is one reason he founded Seedrs, an online platform through which individual investors can buy shares in high-growth companies at an early stage — a privilege once reserved for institutions and private equity funds. The other reason was to make money.

Seedrs, which along with Crowdcube dominates the UK market, has funded more than 540 deals, representing £280m of investment. Some were follow-on rounds, and in total about 400 companies have been funded. About 20-30 companies are live on the site at any time.

Crowdfunding by numbers

Critics say a big difference between crowdfunding and the stock market is liquidity — you cannot just sell your stake. But Seedrs has begun a secondary market and says it has had several exits already.

Free Agent, a Scottish maker of accounting software, floated in November 2016 at 87p. Its shares remain below the 100p Seedrs investors paid, though some sold when it hit 140p this year. Chapel Down, a vineyard, was already quoted on the Nex exchange (formerly ISDX) when it raised money at 28p a share in October 2014. It has been trading around three times that level.

China

SenseTime Raises US$ 410M Series B Financing (Finsmes), Rated: A

SenseTime, a Chinese artificial intelligence company focused on computer vision and deep learning technologies, raised US$410m series B1 B round of financing.

SenseTime has powered many industries such as finance, security, smart phone, mobile Internet, robotics, and automobile with core computer vision technologies including face recognition, video analysis, character recognition, and autonomous driving.

European Union

Linked Finance Launches New P2P Lending Pension Accounts (Better Business), Rated: AAA

Irish peer-to-peer lending company Linked Finance has launched a new type of account that allows holders of self-administered pensions to make P2P lending to Irish SMEs part of their pension investment portfolio.

With net returns of between 7 and 8.5 per cent, 24/7 online account access, complete control of lending activity, and monthly repayments of principal & interest, P2P lending is becoming an attractive asset class for a growing number of investors.

Mobile bank N26 partners with crowd-lending platform Younited Credit in France (Telecompaper), Rated: A

European start-up N26 has expanded the range of its banking services on offer in the French market via a partnership with Younited Credit, a fintech start-up specialising in short-term loans and crowd-lending.

The Advantages of #Peer-to-Peer Lending (EU Reporter), Rated: A

For many years, if someone wanted a loan, they would have to apply for one through a bank. Before they received that loan, the bank investigated their credit and decided what the rate of interest would be applicable.

However, there is another way to get a loan without worrying about a low credit score or high interest rates. This is peer-to-peer lending or P2P. Through peer-to-peer lending platforms, individuals can invest their money in other individuals, with an interest rate that the two groups have agreed is fair.

Hungarian fintech secures EUR 6 mln in Czech funding (Portfolio.hu), Rated: A

The investor will first acquire a 20% stake in Barion, which is active in online and mobile payments, for EUR 2 mln.

Finnish Crowdfunding & P2P Lending Platform Fellow Finance Receives Payment Institution Authorization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Finnish crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform Fellow Finance announced on Tuesday it received payment institution authorization from the Financial Supervisory Authority of Finland. The online lender claims it is the first funding platform to receive this type of authorization, which will notably enable Fellow Finance to provide new services to its consumer and corporate customers, to expand its services further in Europe and to utilize the new payment service directive (PSD2) in the development of Fellow Finance service.

With Norrsken House, ex-Klarna executive envisions a global network of co-working spaces focused on impact (TechCrunch), Rated: A

He launched the Norrsken Foundation later that year with about $20 million of his own money. By early 2017, the first fruits of that funding took shape with the opening of Norrsken House, a co-working space in Adalberth’s hometown of Stockholm dedicated to companies that are developing technologies that have a social impact.

Now, Adalberth has committed an additional $62 million of his own money to expand that vision. The goal, he said, is to eventually create a network of 25 impact-focused co-working spaces and foundation hubs around the globe in the next 10 years. The first Norrsken House has 112 companies in it and seven have received direct investment from the Norrsken Foundation’s fund (more on that in a bit).

International

ID Finance raises $ 8.5m via exchange-traded bonds to support growth (Finextra), Rated: AAA

ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, today announced successful completion of its first issuance of exchange-traded bonds.

The company raised $8.5m from the bond registered in Russia and listed on the Moscow Exchange. It was the first tranche of a $170m bond issuance programme that the company plans to support global expansion.
The bond, which was oversubscribed, has a maturity period of three years and a quarterly coupon payment frequency.

Banks, fintechs and a Brit royal to build green-lending blockchain (American Banker), Rated: A

Could fintech help the planet cope with climate change?

Some major players — Prince Charles; bankers from Barclays, Standard Chartered, and BNP Paribas; three fintechs; and professors from the University of Cambridge — all hope the answer is yes.

On Tuesday at the One Planet Summit in Paris, they are expected to announce they are developing blockchain technology that lets banks see which potential borrowers use environmentally sustainable practices and therefore are worthy of preferential lending terms. Such disclosures presumably would put pressure on companies to pollute less.

Australia

RateSetter’s Australian business hits $ 200m milestone (AltFi), Rated: AAA

RateSetter Australia has hit the AUD$200m mark in lending a little over three years removed from launching down under. The platform, which lends to both businesses and individuals, has doubled its lending volumes over the past six months.

Interestingly, 56 per cent of its investors withdrew money from bank savings accounts in order to divert them into the platform, while a further 17 per cent reallocated money from bank term deposits. The greatest proportion of the platform’s investors are millennials, at 58 per cent, although they invest the least amount of money on average of any age group at $9,454. Retirees (aged 65 and over) by contrast invest an average of $66,118.

India

Understanding the Data Protection White Paper Part XI: Establishing proper deterrent consequences for privacy violations (Tech 2), Rated: AAA

This article is Part 11 of a multi-part series explaining the recently issued white paper on data protection in India. You can read Part 1Part 2, Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9 and Part 10.

Consider also the case of Sitesearch in the US, where the company bought payday loan applications and sold them to third parties, which included fraudsters, who used the data to steal more than $25 million from user accounts. Such careless buying and selling off of data should not be justifiable in the name of consent. While safeguards such as requiring that companies transfer data to only to companies with a comparable level of privacy provisions help, these must be backed up by huge penalties for violations.

For example, consider the Equifax data breach, the breach of a credit information company, leading to the loss of crucial data of over 143 million Americans. This breach was the result of a vulnerability in their web application software, a vulnerability that was discovered and for which a patch had been issued at least 2 months before the actual hack. The breach of this crucial data was thus the result of negligent, or non-implementation of the patch.

A landmark privacy judgment in India is the Canara Bank case, which struck down a provision in a law, which allowed the authorisation of ‘anyone’ to conduct investigations and demand the production and seizure of documents, including bank documents. Such a wide delegation of powers can allow any and everyone, even unscrupulous actors, permission to gain access to confidential data, which should not be allowed.

This case draws attention to an important aspect of data protection — it must be ensured that investigations, at all times, must be authorised, and by authorised personnel only. Any violations, or even exceeding of powers must be punishable.

Asia

8Percent leverages power of platform (Korea Herald), Rated: A

Companies that have used the 8Percent platform include Korea’s leading vehicle-sharing app operator Socar, solar energy firm S-Power and restaurant chains Power Plant and The Booth.

For example, a P2P investor into Socar was given a 1-hour free-driving offer each month for a year, until the loan matured. The offer was part of a return to about 600 retail investors, who lent a combined 1.3 billion won ($1.19 million) to the car-sharing firm in July 2015.

Vouchers for restaurants, such as Power Plant and The Booth, were given as rewards to investors.

According to a December estimate by 8Percent, three-fourths of investors, who offered an accumulated 97.7 billion won in loans, were from metropolitan areas — either Seoul or Gyeonggi Province — while those in their 20s or 30s accounted for over three-fourths of investors. The investors, without tax being deducted, are offered on average 9.78 percent interest for investments.

Some 65 percent of its borrowers — about 5,000 – had a credit rating between 4 and 6 on the scale of 1 to 10.

MENA

Crowdfunding real estate: a new reality booming? (Gulf News), Rated: AAA

Similarly, online REITs use online platforms and digital technology to enable wider access to REITs and quicker dissemination of REIT information. This allows mass participation and broader wealth distribution.

The ticket size to crowdfund a $1-billion airport is not exactly for everyone. However, a three-bedroom apartment in Mumbai, Manchester or Dubai Marina jointly owned by a hundred individuals sounds realistic. It also helps diversify risks for investors.

Smart Crowd is a crowdfunding platform, very different from an online REIT. The company believes it can enable anyone with Dh5,000 in savings to enter the Dubai property ladder. Its platform is awaiting final regulatory approval from the Dubai Financial Services.

Israel

MK Rachel Azaria threatens banks with P2P legislation (Globes.co.il), Rated: AAA

MK Rachel Azaria, chair of the Knesset Reforms Committee (officially known as the Special Committee on the Planning and Building Bill and the Maternity Leave and Parenting Bill) did not like the draft circular released by the Bank of Israel on regulating the relationship between the banks and the digital peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms on Sunday.

Azaria is now threatening to promote legislation that will regulate relations between the banks and the platforms, but this appears to be designed to pressure the Bank of Israel to publish new, more focused guidelines .

South America

Creditas Raises $ 50M in Series C Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Creditas, a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based digital secured loan platform provider, raised $50m in Series C funding.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor