Securing Digital Payments on a Mobile Phone

MagicCube

Digital payments have crossed the Rubicon and are now not only an acceptable form of payment but soon expected to become the dominant form. But the problem is small businesses are still hampered in leveraging digital payments for the convenience of their customer base. The below graph indicates the share of small business owners in […]

MagicCube

Digital payments have crossed the Rubicon and are now not only an acceptable form of payment but soon expected to become the dominant form. But the problem is small businesses are still hampered in leveraging digital payments for the convenience of their customer base. The below graph indicates the share of small business owners in the United States who accept digital and mobile payment methods as of October 2017.

Source: Statista

Similarly, IoT is no longer the future. Autonomous cars and voice-controlled assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are already in our lives. All of these technology developments represent a new challenge in how to manage and secure our digital payment and IoT devices and infrastructure.

The MagicCube Business Model

The MagicCube solution helps in securing digital transactions on different devices, with the same level of security as device hardware solutions without the complexity and cost associated with hardware deployments.

While working with VISA, founder and Chief Executive Officer Sam Shawki witnessed that companies had to use Apple Pay to access chips while securing credit cards. This required an extensive hardware set up. This led him to embark on a project to create virtual chips.

MagicCube’s patented technology provides an embedded software solution in the existing hardware set up. Now, Visa users will not have to go to Apple to get tokenized cards. Rather, they can use the hardware of MagicCube on their regular devices via cloud by just entering a pin. Now the phone can be used to access payments and there is no need for a separate external device. A lot of companies used to give these devices to merchants for free to capture payments and lending business. But now, with MagicCube, the onboarding process does not require expensive hardware. This allows for faster and cheaper penetration of the market, and merchants don’t have to interact with bulky hardware for managing transactions. Now, consumers will not require credit cards to make payments and merchants will not need any hardware device for accepting payments.

The company charges a setup fee depending on the geography, specific requirements, and volume of the client. There is a fee for active merchants on a monthly basis and a software license fee for every user.

MagicCube Products

    • Mobile Payments: According to research reports, digital payments will overtake cash transactions by 2023. All stakeholders in the payments ecosystem need to conform to the latest technologies as well as ensure that these payments are as secure as those executed through chip-based credit cards. The company’s MC Token Shield will offer a device-independent, hardware-grade security for mobile payments without the complications of hardware. It will also render the excessive middlemen fees associated with current digital payments redundant. The company has achieved PC-DSS Level 1 SP Certification and needs just a single API for integration with any App.
    • Connected Cars: Device security in connected cars is extremely important. According to research, by 2020, one in five vehicles on the road will have some form of wireless network connection. The company’s MC Vehicle Shield offers hardware-grade security to autonomous vehicles for their most critical parts. It will not only reduce the hardware bill for the car manufacturers, but any updates in security standards can be handled like a normal software update instead of having to recall the vehicles.
    • Pin on Glass: Only 45% of US Small Businesses accept credit cards. The point-of-sale hardware costs and the complexity attached with operating them has made it too expensive for millions of small merchants. Pin on Glass technology allows for a regular smartphone to safely accept payment card PINs, thus transforming the humble phone into a POS terminal. The tech has the power to change the entire payments paradigm. MagicCube’s MC Screen Shield works on delivering hardware-grade security and cloud monitoring services for such “PIN on Glass” payments.

Who Are MagicCube?

Founded in 2014, the Silicon Valley- and Brisbane, Australia-based MagicCube is the creator of the world’s only Software Trusted Execution Environment (sTEE) platform, a technology that enables large-scale deployment and management of IoT and mobile-secure solutions for consumers. The company has raised over $10.5 million in funding from Bold Capital, Epic Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, and others. The company’s seed round saw participation by payments giant Visa.

Before launching the startup, Shawki was the head of Visa’s Global Remote Payments business unit. He was the driving force behind the company’s global push in mobile and remote payments. He also served as the chief innovation officer of VimpelCom, the sixth largest telecom player in the world with over 214 million customers in 18 countries.

Nancy Zayed is the cofounder and chief technical officer. She was head of engineering and operations at InnoPath, a founding member of OMA (Open Mobile Alliance), head of platform development at Cisco Systems, and also spent 10 years at Apple in various leadership roles.

Partnerships and Competitors

The company has entered into a partnership with Visa-funded Yellowpepper to secure token-based payments and is launching the solution in the Latin American market. The company has also partnered with ID Tech, a POS solutions provider for launching a product that will securely allow any mobile device to be converted into a POS terminal.

The young startup is competing with heavyweights like Qualcomm and Infineon, who provide security chips powering and securing payments today. But the CEO is confident that their software will soon make any hardware solutions obsolete. The company is also looking to partner with other players for launching new products and is in the process of attaining critical industrial certifications which will make the sales process much easier. The company seems to be in the pole position to change how digital payments and IoT devices will be secured in the future.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Wednesday September 6 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech bank investment map

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade appoints Western Union exec at general counsel. Assetz Capital now claims to be second largest P2P lender in the UK. Perseus has the solution for EU cyber threats. Amartha partners with Jamkrindo in Indonesia. Today’s main analysis: How banks are investing in fintech. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn interviews with […]

fintech bank investment map

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Upgrade, Inc. Appoints Western Union Executive as General Counsel (Upgrade Email), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), the new consumer credit platform launched by LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche earlier this year, today announced the appointment of John Dye as General Counsel. Prior to joining Upgrade, John was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Western Union Company. He was also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Western Union Foundation.

Before joining Western Union in November 2011, John was Senior Vice President, Interim General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Freddie Mac from July 2011. From 2007 to July 2011, John served as Senior Vice President, Principal Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Affairs of Freddie Mac, where he worked on corporate transactions and managed attorneys in the areas of corporate disclosure, securities, intellectual property, contracts and human resources.

Prior to joining Freddie Mac, John spent 13 years at Citigroup Inc. in New York City, where he held senior leadership positions, and served as Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel at Salomon Smith Barney.

Upgrade also hired Louis Shansky, a partner on the securitization team at the law firm of Mayer Brown, as Deputy General Counsel.

Back and Better Positioned than Ever—CEO Scott Sanborn Interviews with Bloomberg (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

  • The macroeconomic backdrop: While macro trends are generally positive—low unemployment, low interest rates, low inflation and low oil prices with an increase in consumer confidence—credit card debt levels are near all-time highs. Today, there is more than $1 trillion in outstanding credit card debt in the U.S.
  • Borrowers are not alone: LendingClub borrowers are not alone in seeking a lower interest rate solution: credit card debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high1 and credit cards tend to carry high interest rates. Sixty to 70% of our customers are currently taking advantage of our personal loans to pay off credit cards which helps them to get on the path to financial success.
  • LendingClub is enabling more new investors access to an old asset: Fifteen percent of our investor base still invests directly through the retail website, with the balance accessing the asset through other means.
  • Institutions want more: In Q2 2017, we had record high subscription from more than 100 institutional investors participating on the platform. Banks were 44% of our overall investor mix last quarter, attributed to LendingClub’s assets offering solid returns with a short duration.
  • Reaching new investors through securitization: More than 20 new investors engaged with LendingClub via the first deal, which demonstrated high demand for the asset.

The Top Fintech Trends Driving the Next Decade (ABA Banking Journal), Rated: AAA

Here is a glimpse at the technologies driving bank innovation today—as well as a look ahead to the technologies coming down the pipeline that will change the way banking is done over the next 10 years.

  1. Digital Lending (here and now) – Unsecured consumer lending is the first market where digital lending has made an impact and is by far the most mature. Today, the two leading consumer lending platforms (Lending Club and Prosper) originate roughly $2.5 billion in loans quarterly. Small business lending has quickly followed and is rapidly digitizing. ABA has endorsed the digital commercial lending solutions offered by Akouba, providing banks of all sizes the use of these platforms to enhance customer service and significantly reduce underwriting costs.
  2. Biometrics (1-2 years) – Passwords are only secure to the extent that they are kept private and cannot be guessed by a keen observer. The problem is that these passwords often rely on observable pieces of our life like our birth date, our children’s names, or our pets (my personal favorite), which are all readily available to criminals using social media and public databases. A 2015 study by TeleSign indicated that one in five people use passwords that are over 10 years old, with 73 percent of accounts being secured by the same password. Compounding this problem is the fact that we now have so many accounts that require a password, that it is impossible to keep them straight.
  3. Customer Data (1-3 years) – Today, customer data at banks is often unstructured—housed in systems that are inconsistent and may not talk to each other. A single customer may have multiple accounts with a bank that are all housed in different systems, with inconsistent identifiers. A number of banks, as well as core processors, are working to reconcile these systems. Some are working to build additional data warehouses that aggregate disparate customer data to create a unified view of customers.
  4. Regtech (3-5 years) – Regulatory reporting is one area that seems ripe for digital disruption. Today, filing call reports is a quarterly activity that requires significant time. It would not be hard to imagine a software solution that was tied into a bank’s back-end systems and prepopulated all of the key reporting fields. Moreover, it would be possible for regulators to receive a steady feed of data from a bank that would give them an ongoing view into the bank and may reduce the frequency with which exams are necessary.
  5. Artificial Intelligence (5-10 years) – One way this could help bankers is by improving fraud detection. Traditional fraud monitoring systems rely on specific non-personal rules (like geography) to detect fraudulent transactions. Machine learning could be applied to analyze the transactions of each customer, flagging transactions that are out of their normal habits.
  6. Internet of Things (8-10 years) – For example, banks may be able to use internet-connected devices to make better loans and monitor collateral. Inventory or livestock for a small business can be monitored in real time. This would allow a bank to monitor a customer’s balance sheet on an ongoing basis, giving it the tools to make better decisions about lending or adjusting credit lines in real time.

The biggest long-term impact that IoT is likely to have is in payments. Connected devices are already able to talk to each other, but will also require the ability to make payments back and forth. Today, this may be as simple as using your smart watch to settle a bill, but could evolve to the point at which your refrigerator pays for groceries that are running low. A number of auto makers are experimenting with enabling cars to make payments.

Scott Zoldi of FICO (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The Chief Analytics Officer at FICO talks about their use of artificial intelligence in credit models, fraud, alternative data, financial inclusion and more.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why his background in theoretical physics was perfect for studying fraud and credit risk.
  • What the company FICO actually does and how it interacts with the credit bureaus.
  • What his role as Chief Analytics Officer entails.
  • Some examples of the 130+ patents that FICO has been granted.
  • The importance of being able to explain how a credit model works.
  • How their advanced machine learning models can be explained to regulators.
  • How FICO has been using artificial intelligence for decades.
  • What Scott thinks about the sudden embrace of artificial intelligence in the last couple of years.
  • What he worries about with so many new companies coming into the AI fray.
  • How Scott views alternative data and using new data sources.
  • His thoughts on disparate impact and the use of alternative data.
  • How the FICO XD score helps expand access to credit.
  • How FICO’s fraud product called Falcon became the industry standard for banks.
  • Scott’s views on how a 700 FICO score today compares with the same score 10 years ago.
  • What Scott is most excited about today in his work at FICO.

Citizens Financial Starts Robo-Adviser With SigFig Partnership (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group Inc. is the latest bank to start a robo-advisory product as part of its larger push into wealth management.

Citizens, a regional bank based in Providence, Rhode Island, is providing the technology to customers beginning Wednesday through a previously announced partnership with SigFig Wealth Management LLC, which uses algorithms to provide financial advice at lower fees than traditional human advisers.

The minimum initial investment in the Citizens offering will be $5,000, according to the firm. The annual asset-management fee is 50 basis points, or about half the typical cost of a traditionally advised account.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Shows Signs of Maturation (Real Estate Tech News), Rated: A

Last month, crowdfunding giant RealtyShares bought smaller rival Acquire Real Estate. This news was a significant in the multibillion-dollar sector, which is not even five years old. It begged the question as to whether this deal was a product of synergies between two platforms or a case of a larger player protecting its turf by taking a smaller rival off the board?

Whatever the answer, one thing is clear: We are likely looking at the start of a push toward consolidation in real estate crowdfunding. While there are hundreds of platforms now vying for a capital pool that is almost halfway to 12 figures, some clear-cut market leaders have emerged, and a movement toward economies of scale would signal continued maturation. Over the next year or so, it would not be surprising to see companies like FundriseCrowdStreet and Patch of Land join the market for acquisitions, especially as the space continues to establish mainstream legitimacy.

MPL Market Shows Growing Origination Volume, With Tightening Credit Stance (dv01 Digest/LendIt), Rated: A

Looking at origination characteristics for the four largest MPL originators, we see origination volume continue to rise: 21% for 2Q17 over 1Q17, and up 52% over 2Q16. Loan coupons have risen from a 14.20% GWAC for the 2Q16 vintage to a 14.31% GWAC for the 2Q17 vintage, while the two year treasury has rallied approximately 50bps over the course of the year. PTI is relatively unchanged, coming in at 9.05% for 2Q17 versus 8.99% for the 2Q16 vintage.

Average FICO has increased significantly: 703 for the 2Q16 vintage to 711 in 2Q17.

Prosper closed its second $500MM Consortium securitization, PMIT 2017-2, on which dv01 was loan data agent. Data from PMIT 2017-2 is available for accredited investors through dv01’s Securitization Explorer, and is updated monthly.

Download and read the full report (with charts) here.

Debit cards, a trillion in debt, and millennials: What could go wrong? (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp is borrowing inspiration from the fintech world as part of its effort to woo millennial customers and compete with megabanks for consumer deposits.

The Cincinnati bank on Tuesday is scheduled to roll out a stand-alone app designed to help its customers pay student loan debt. The app, called Momentum, lets customers link Fifth Third debit cards to student loan accounts held by more than 30 servicers. Customers can have their debit card purchases rounded up to the next dollar, or have a dollar added to every purchase; the money is applied weekly to the balances on designated loans once a minimum of $5 is contributed.

“I see Momentum as being complementary” to apps such as Acorns and Digit, she said. “This [millennial] generation is sitting on $1.3 trillion of [student loan] debt. We wanted to take a relatively simple concept and offer something to help them in their day-to-day life.”

Op-Ed: Regulatory Sandboxes Can Help States Advance Fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

The U.S. captured 54% of the $127 billionin global venture capital invested in 2016. This access to capital has allowed some American fintech startups to succeed despite the regulatory burdens. Yet, the U.S. underperforms in fintech venture capital compared to our share of overall venture capital. In 2016, the U.S. obtained only 33% of the $13.6 billion in worldwide fintech venture capital investment.

I am working with Arizona policymakers to introduce a sandbox in Arizona that would reduce entrepreneurs’ barriers to entry without sacrificing core consumer safeguards. This would be the first state sandbox in the United States.

Op-Ed: Regulatory Sandboxes Can Help States Advance Fintech (Arizona Attorney General), Rated: B

Attorney General Mark Brnovich is calling for Arizona to become the first state in the country to adopt a “sandbox” like regulatory environment that would reduce fintech entrepreneurs’ barriers to entry into local markets in a new op-ed penned for American Banker magazine. Key to creating sandbox regulatory systems is ensuring core consumer safeguards are not sacrificed. Sandboxes have already been implemented in countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore, UAE, Malaysia, and Australia.

‘Fintech’ Loans: A Sometimes Costly Lifeline for Small Business (KQED News), Rated: A

Che Al-Barri remembers feeling like he was drowning in debt last year. He had taken out a $70,000 loan for his small cleaning company, but was struggling to repay it.

The lender, a financial technology — or fintech — company, automatically collected $331 from his bank account daily, Monday through Friday. The frequent hits depleted his income and took a toll on his business, he said.

For Al-Barri, taking a big loan seemed like a great opportunity at first. Large clients were taking months to pay him, he said, and he wanted to buy equipment and hire employees to expand. But he underestimated how much he would earn, making it very difficult to repay the loan plus the $30,000 in interest he owed.

Stanford study examining Airbnb users and data suggests that reputation can offset social bias (Stanford.edu), Rated: A

new Stanford study analyzing Airbnb users and data suggests measures that enhance a user’s reputation, like stars or reviews, can counteract these harmful prejudices. The results, the researchers said, indicate sites that use reputational tools create a fairer and more diverse online marketplace.

The share economy, also referred to as “collaborative consumption” and “peer-to-peer lending,” has allowed everyday citizens to turn into entrepreneurs, taking advantage of an industry that’s projected to grow to $335 billion by 2025, according to the Brookings Institution.

The researchers in this study focused on a certain type of bias called homophily, a natural tendency to develop trustful relationships with people similar to themselves, and how best to counteract it. The study is part of a broader research project analyzing trust and technology at Stanford.

The 36k-population neighborhood that’s hot for real estate investors (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: A

Data from real estate crowdfunding firm Sharestates says there has been a 650% increase in demand from investors wanting to put their cash into property in Fishtown.

That’s because of an attractive 11.8% return on investment and the ratio of the total loan amount compared with after repair value is 14%.

Cordray Remains Mum About Political Plans in Ohio Speech (Credit Union Times), Rated: B

Speaking at an AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati, Cordray did not address one of the most—if not the most—crucial issue facing the agency—whether Cordray will resign to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in the Buckeye State.

And when questioned afterward, he declined to comment on his intentions.

The CFPB is working on its most high profile set of rules—those governing the payday lending industry. The bureau is believed to be planning to release those final rules this month.

LendingTree Partners With Benzinga to Award $ 10,000 to Winner Of Fintech Innovation Challenge At The Benzinga Fintech Summit (Baystreet), Rated: B

Benzinga, a leading financial media and events company, announced Thursday that it will team up with the nation’s leading online loan marketplace LendingTree to award $10,000 to the winner of an on-site fintech demo competition at the inaugural Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco September 28.

The Fintech Innovation Challenge Presented by LendingTree will award $10,000 to the company whose product best demonstrates scalable, material innovation to the Summit’s audience.

United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Now Second Largest UK P2P Lender (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital, one of the largest peer-to-peer lending platforms in the UK, has announced it has received full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  Additionally, Assetz Capital has claimed second place in the ranking of UK’s largest P2P lenders as it reports lending in excess of £25 million per month on average to SMEs throughout the UK.

To date, Assetz Capital has lent over £316 million to businesses across the UK.

£17m invested into Innovative Finance Isas (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

HMRC has revealed that 2,000 Innovative Finance individual savings accounts (IFIsas) were opened during the last tax year.
The average investment into IFIsas during 2016/17 was £8,500 which meant £17m was invested collectively.

HMRC also reported that the amount invested in cash Isas had fallen from £58.7bn in 2015/16 to £39.2bn in 2016/17, while investment in stocks and shares Isas edged up from £21.1bn to £22.3bn.

Peer-to-peer Isas failed to gain much popularity in their first year, with just 2,000 Innovative Finance Isa (IF Isas) accounts opened in the tax year 2016/2017, according to the latest statistics from HMRC.

The biggest problem is that many peer-to-peer platforms have struggled to gain approval from regulators to become IF Isa providers. There are currently around 60 firms that have received approval from financial regulators, with most of these only starting to operate within the past few months.

Across the 2,000 IF Isa accounts opened, £17 million worth was subscribed. The average subscription per account was £8,500 – about the same as the average stocks and shares Isa account subscription.

Peer-to-peer platform Abundance claims it sold the majority of IF Isas in the last tax year. It says 1,436 Abundance IF Isas were opened, representing 72% of all IF Isa products opened last year.

Overall, the amount held in Isas in 2016/17 fell to £61.5 billion, compared with £80 billion the previous tax year. This decline was largely driven by a steep fall in the amount held in Cash Isas. In 2015/16, a total of £58.7 billion was held in Cash Isas; in the latest tax year this fell by a third to £39 billion.

Lucky Generals bangs out a new tune for Funding Circle (More About Advertising), Rated: A


The theme of the campaign seems to be “for those made to do more.” Here’s another in the campaign, not quite so striking.

If peer-to-peer lenders lack anything, it is not ambition (The Times), Rated: A

Samir Desai, co-founder and chief executive of Funding Circle, Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lender, says that his business, which has arranged $2.7 billion of loans to small companies, could be lending at least $100 billion within a decade.

Peter Behrens, co-founder of Ratesetter, one of Funding Circle’s main rivals, believes that his platform could double its annual loans within the next two years to £4 billion.

China

China’s fintech firms eye overseas IPOs to fund growth as regulations tighten at home (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

The A-share market, due to its profitability requirements, remains off-limits to most Chinese fintech firms, particularly peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms that were once regarded as an important part of the mainland’s reform of the banking system.

The increasing demand for financing has prompted a clutch of fintech firms to kick off their overseas IPO processes, most of which plan to complete fundraising in the next 12 months.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, is seeking to raise as much as US$1.5 billion via a Hong Kong IPO.

After five years in business, Zhong An has developed a customer base of about 500 million people.

Views on China’s coin fundraising ban: someone still have an illusion (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

The Chinese regulators’ ban on ICO has heightened, and the financing of various tokens of the virtual currency has been put to death. In a consequence, the ICO asset value has evaporated nearly $20 billion, and more than 100,000 investors may be affected.

However, some ICO initiators still don’t want to stop. ”I don’t think the central bank’s oversight of ICO is going to be that severe,” a charger of the Digital Currency Asset Exchange said, ”and we would wait and see the specific notice of the local financial office and then decide what to do with it.” But in some communities of the ICO, we can see initiators start to announce the withdrawal of investors’ assets.

European Union

Perseus start-up seeks to shield German SMEs from cyber threats (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

According to fintech incubator FinLeap, which is behind the venture, more than 70% of German companies were affected by cybercrime activities within the last two years, but only one out of ten SMEs holds an insurance policy that covers the resulting damages. Because Perseus offers a platform, it can connect services and offer “best-of-fit” tech solutions.

There is no specific date yet, but it also plans to add an industry-specific cyber insurance proposition to its portfolio of services.

Irish P2P lender GRID Finance rules out UK as part of growth plans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

IRISH peer-to-peer lending platform GRID Finance has ruled out the UK as part of its current expansion plans.

The business lender announced it had received €3m (£2.7m) of finance yesterday that will help to fund expansion into new markets, but chief executive Derek Butler says the UK market is already very competitive.

He said he was focusing on scaling the business in Ireland first and competing with the country’s two main banks, Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland.

Fintech Pushes EU to Explore Changes to Bank Software Rules (The New York Times), Rated: A

EU banking rules treat software as a cost rather than an investment, forcing lenders to cover expenditure on digital applications with an equal amount of capital.

If expenditure on software, which amounts to roughly half of banks’ total digital investment, were treated in the EU as it is in the U.S. it could free up more than 20 billion euros ($24 billion)in capital this year alone, one banking lobbyist said.

Many European banks have been slow to invest in adapting to rapid changes in the way consumers use technology for finance, with so-called fintech firms starting to steal market share in a variety of sectors from payments to lending.

Timing problem with Klarna and possibly other payment providers (Our Umbraco), Rated: A

There are cases when the authorization callback from Klarna doesn’t get processed until after the user arrives at the confirmation page. The reason is that the callback and the redirect are made almost simultaneously by Klarna, so it’s a bit random which wins.

Workaround: If currentOrder is null, sleep for 500 ms and try again (GetCurrentFinalizedOrder). Repeat for 10 seconds.

CrowdExplorer Wins Fintech Award at Digitale Innovations Competition (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

CrowdExplorer, a marketplace for “Crowd-investing”, has won the special prize for “Fintech” at this year’s “Digitale Innovations” competition.

CrowdExplorer is designed to provide investors with a platform to compare access to the international Crowd Investments. CrowdExplorer has launched with the following four categories: Equity, Real Estate, Loans and P2P lending.

Index Ventures is coming in force to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin this December (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Index Ventures started as a European firm in 1996, but 20 years on, it has a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic and has backed startups in 39 cities in 24 countries.

Among well-known Index-backed companies are Dropbox, Slack, Farfetch, Funding Circle, Adyen, Squarespace, Deliveroo, Just Eat, King and Supercell.

Australia

Spotcap launches $ 10,000 Fintech Scholarship program (Finder), Rated: AAA

Online lender Spotcap has this week announced the launch of a Fintech Scholarship program, with $10,000 being awarded to an Australian student attending university in a fintech-related field. The lender launched the program with the aim of supporting local fintech talent and ensuring the longevity of financial innovation in Australia.

Spotcap is also offering one paid internship placement at its offices in Sydney alongside the program.

Tech-tock, the tech clock is ticking (Bluenotes), Rated: AAA

The Bank for International Settlements – known as the ‘central banks’ central bank’ – says the rapid adoption of financial technology or ‘fintech’ and the emergence of new business models pose an increasing challenge to incumbent banks “in almost all the scenarios considered”.

According to the venture capital analysis group CB Insights non-technology companies now invest more in technology than tech companies.

In the firm’s recent report into fintech investments by major US banks, six – Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo — have made strategic investments in 30 fintech companies since 2009.

The key sectors banks are investing in – and this is true across the globe, to differing degrees – are payments, data analytics, personal technology, distributed ledgers and/or digital currencies and peer-to-peer lending.

India

Here’s why smart Investors in India should opt for P2P lending (Money Control), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer loans are the perfect alternative investment instrument for income-seeking investors. It enables you to offer personal loans to borrowers for an array of purposes while eliminating intermediaries such as banks, NBFCs, and unorganised lenders.

Furthermore, a good P2P lending platform can make available all the relevant information on borrowers to lenders, assisting them in assessing the credit profile of a borrower in an efficient manner. It can provide each lender with a customized dashboard with relevant informatics and data to help make an informed decision.

As per our research, lenders on our platform can earn gross returns to the tune of 18 to 24 percent p.a on an average by building a diversified borrower portfolio. These returns are not merely comparable, but often preferable to returns from other investment instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, real estate, bank deposits, and gold. Income-seeking investors who specifically want to diversify their investments get good returns at the end of the day. As a rule of thumb, at least 20 percent of total investments should be in alternative investments like art, commodity, P2P lending etc.

Asia

Peer to Peer Lender Amartha Partners with Largest State Owned Micro-credit Company in Indonesia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender Amartha has formed a partnership with the largest state-owned micro credit guarantee company in Indonesia, Perum Jamkrindo. This follows a similar partnership with Bank Mandiri. Amartha is an online lender designed to connect Micro Businesses and SMEs that seek affordable working capital with investors who want to fund their business based on credit risk and expected return. This is a significant agreement for Amartha. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and support of small business is vital to the economy.

Jamkrindo is a state-owned enterprise that has been given a special mandate by the Government to guarantee credit and financing, as well as financial transactions particularly in the SME and micro segments. Jamkrindo is the largest credit guarantee company in Indonesia with total guarantee value of more than Rp 270 Trillion and 8 Million credit.

Regulatory ‘Sandboxes’ in Asia Can Foster Fintech Innovation (Brink), Rated: AAA

Two years ago the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK launched the first formal global regulatory sandbox.

There are a few technologies in fintech that haven’t launched but are being tested around the world—these include using bitcoin as a remittance channel, using electronic health records for life insurance underwriting and a financial robo-adviser/wallet that has a holistic view of an individual’s finances.

Things are altogether different in Asia’s developing economies. First, in these countries, the infrastructure is developing. Apart from India, the concept of digital identity is only evolving in countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia. Moreover, in these countries, bureaucracy is generally a bottleneck since multiple government agencies work in silos with differing incentives.

Developing Asian countries need to prioritize different issues depending on their economies. For example, remittances are of utmost importance in the Philippines and Bangladesh.

For example, robo-advisers are a great way to enable the burgeoning middle class to put their savings into equities with a view toward investing and long-term retirement preparation; Thailand has none of those at the moment. There are international brokerages such as interactive brokers that enable robo-advisers to operate in other parts of the world and are licensed in Thailand. However, there are no traditional Thai banks/ brokerages that provide these new services to their consumers. Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is a great example of where the regulators have worked with new businesses to create regulations around peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

Source: Brink

Senturia Capital Announces Partnership With Funding Societies to Expand Alternative Financing Access to Malaysian Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Private equity fund manager Senturia Capital has reportedly announced a partnership with peer-to-peer financing platform Funding Societies to expand alternative financing access and capital solutions for Malaysian businesses.

MUFG plans ‘fintech’ unit to focus on cashless settlements, automation (Japan Times), Rated: A

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. will launch a financial technologies unit Oct. 1 in collaboration with 32 regional banks nationwide.

MUFG will put up ¥3 billion in capital to start Japan Digital Design Inc., which is expected to develop new services including those for cashless settlements using smartphones at small shops. It will also promote the automation of operations through artificial intelligence.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday August 24 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart getting closer to a deal with Afffirm. AutoFi raises $10M. Zopa reports diminishing losses, rising revenues for 2016. Landbay closes 2.4M GBP round on Seedrs. USAmeriBank goes live on Finastra. Today’s main analysis: After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize. Today’s thought-provoking articles: A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending. What’s behind […]

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Walmart reportedly closes in on pilot deal to offer Affirm loans (Retail Dive), Rated: AAA

Walmart reportedly is closing in on an agreement with loan services startup Affirm for a pilot program under which Affirm would offer the retailer’s customers installment loans for purchases, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.The pilot could start as early as this fall.

Why are retailers so enamored with Affirm? Giving customers the option to take out an installment loan to finance a purchase gives customers more choices, making it more likely that they actually will make the purchase. Millenials and other younger demographioc consumers are often loathe to carry mountains of personal debt that way previous generations have.

However, it also has to do with the inflexible and sometimes excessive terms of store credit cards, which generally charge higher interest rates than the lowest portion of Affirm’s rate range. Still interest revenue and late fees from store cred cards contribute a significant amount of money to retailers’ bottom lines, making it difficult for them to commit to giving their customers more financing choices.

Overall though, retailers, banks and credit card companies are all starting to understand that at a time of massive change in how and where people shop, they need to make it easier for shoppers to close the deal. Mastercard may recognize this as well as Walmart does. The card network aligned with Verifone late last year to begin offering instant installment financing at the point of sale.

You can now buy 0 pants with a subprime loan (The Outline), Rated: A

Affirm may be a relatively new company, but the service it offers isn’t particularly innovative: It’s taking the concept of layaway, a type of no-interest payment plan that became popular during the Great Depression that lets you pay for things in fixed installments and take them home once you’ve paid for it in full, and twisting it for millennials.  Unlike layaway, Affirm delivers your purchases instantly — but the cost of instant gratification is interest rates as high as 30 percent.  The service is basically a cross between credit cards and layaway, combining the worst aspects of both.

Once your Affirm loan is approved, you can choose to pay it off in 3, 6, or 12 months, and interest rates range from 10 to 30 percent. The average customer takes out a $750 loan with a 21-percent interest rate and pays it back in nine months. Compared to credit cards, which have an average APR of 17 percent, and personal loans that typically have interest rates ranging from 5 to 36 percent, Affirm isn’t a particularly good deal.


Wal-Mart Stores To Exacerbate Synchrony Financial Woes With Affirm Deal (Baystreet), Rated: A

Affirm and Walmart have been in discussion about the possibility of teaming up since last year. Talks appear to have picked pace this year as the retailer continues to explore ways of giving customers access to a wide range of financing options to boost sales and shrug off competition posed by e-commerce platforms.

However, the move would also spell trouble for Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) which is the retailer’s exclusive U.S card issuer.

The fact that Affirm offers loans could significantly reduce the number of people who apply for Synchrony credit cards.

After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Credit spreads in the corporate bond market stabilized last week after a brief sell-off the prior week pushed spreads higher. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 2 basis points to +113, and the average credit spread of the BankAmerica Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 2 basis points to +398.

Earlier this month, British American Tobacco (BBB, stable) decided to issue $17.25 billion worth of bonds to fund its acquisition of Reynolds Tobacco. This transaction is the second-largest corporate bond deal Page 3 of 22 Morningstar Corporate Credit Research Highlights | 21 August 2017 | See Important Disclosures at the end of this report. Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 issued this year, surpassed only by AT&T’s (BBB/UR-) $22.5 billion transaction, which itself was the third-largest corporate bond deal in history. The proceeds from the AT&T transaction will be used as the final installment for the permanent financing of its pending acquisition of Time Warner (rating: BBB+/UR-). In addition, McCormick & Co. (A+/UR-) had issued $2.5 billion of new bonds two weeks ago to finance its acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food division.

Through the week ended Wednesday, Aug. 16, investors pulled $2.3 billion of assets out of the highyield market. Among the open-end funds, investors withdrew $1.0 billion of funds, and across the highyield exchange-traded funds, there was $1.3 billion of net units redeemed.

AutoFi Raises $ 10 Million Series A To Make It Easier To Get A Car Loan (Forbes), Rated: AAA

AutoFi has raised $10 million in its quest to make it easier to take out a car loan.

The San Francisco-based financial technology company said on Thursday it has completed a Series A funding round, with investors including Crosslink Capital, Ford Motor Credit Company and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

AutoFi makes a white-label technology platform that allows car dealers to offer faster, online financing to customers. It recently partnered with Ford Motor Credit and is in the midst of launching at select Ford and Lincoln dealerships.

How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

A common refrain in financial services these days is that companies need to go where customers are, not wait for people to come to a banking app or brokerage website.

TD Ameritrade is following that advice with a Facebook Messenger chatbot that will give customers instant updates on their portfolios and trades. The bot, unveiled Tuesday, will require the unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank to work through the privacy and security issues financial firms face whenever they communicate with customers via third-party platforms such as Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa.

The Future of Simple (Simple.com), Rated: A

Over the last few years, we have been focused on rebuilding Simple’s technology on our new partner bank, Compass. Our focus on infrastructure and supporting customer growth means we haven’t been fully invested in building new technology that helps people feel confident that they’re doing money right. We have not made good on our promise to change an industry that is failing them.

We have been focused on growth instead of innovation. We have been acting like a bank instead of a technology company. And that changes today.

Today, we are recommitting to being a technology company that is completely focused on product. We are re-designing our team so that everything we do is in support of this focus. We will be ruthlessly dedicated to identifying customer problems and building products that solve them.

SuperMoney’s Auto Loan Offer Engine Will Change the Way You Buy A Car (Supermoney), Rated: A

After debuting its personal loan offer engine at Finovate in April 2017, SuperMoney today unveiled an automotive focused loan offer engine where its lending partners compete in real-time with customized auto loan offers.

The new auto loan offer engine allows borrowers to submit a single, easy, online application and receive multiple auto loan offers back. The tool makes apples to apples comparisons easy when shopping for the best auto financing rates, fees, and terms.

Only 31.6% of car buyers negotiate the interest rate on their loan

A recent survey by the Federal Reserve reported that 76.1% of car buyers negotiated the purchase price with the seller, but only 31.6% negotiated the interest rate on their loan. It gets worse. 27.1% of car buyers considered the monthly payment on their auto loan as the most important factor, but only 6.1% considered the interest rate on the loan as the most important factor (source).

 

 

Lending as a service (LaaS) and why it matters (CIO), Rated: A

Banks today are turning away more loan applicants than in recent memory thanks to stricter regulations and lingering memories of the recent financial crisis. Younger entrepreneurs who have little or no credit history often find themselves rejected from these financing options.

Even when they are accepted, the loan process can be arduous and needlessly complicated, taking longer than business owners can afford. Applications take several visits to the bank, credit checks, records requests and weeks’ worth of back-and-forth communications just to reach the underwriting phase.

The major catalyst for this new lending paradigm has been the rapid pace of online technology innovation over the last decade. Improvements in cloud infrastructure and artificial intelligence systems enable fintech companies to create reliable evaluation and matching systems for loans. Companies can now examine a potential borrower’s financial records in minutes instead of weeks. Thanks to this compressed timeline, approval can now happen in as little as one day.

Instead of multiple meetings with bank lenders over the course of many weeks to compare options, users can often be approved in under a day by a reputable LaaS company.

LaaS platforms such as Ezbob promise to approve a business loan for companies and deliver funds in under thirty minutes. The company’s algorithm examines more than credit scores, evaluating company financials and records to quickly distribute capital to those that require it most.

New Report on Fintech from the World Economic Forum (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, the World Economic Forum released a report titled, Beyond Fintech: A Pragmatic Assessment Of Disruptive Potential In Financial Services, that was the result of those and many other discussions they had with leaders from around the world. The report aims to answer the question about whether fintech companies will really change the financial landscape.

Below are some of the key findings from the report:

  • Fintech start-ups have so far fallen short of their ambitions to upend the competitive landscape in finance, driving innovation but struggling to capture market share in mature markets.
  • What fintechs have done is define the direction and speed of innovation across most areas of financial services; they have also set new and higher bars for user experience.
  • Large technology firms like Amazon and Google may represent the largest competitive threat to financial institutions, as their AI and cloud computing services become more central to the sector, and customer data rises in importance.
  • Models of financial services innovation around the world are diverging, benefitting local firms and making it harder to co-ordinate a regulatory response.

Douugh Rises to Challenge with AI-Powered Banking (Paybefore), Rated: A

Banking challenger Douugh has unveiled its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered financial platform, guided by “Sophie”—a 24/7 personal assistant for finances, reports Paybefore sister publication Banking Technology.

Douugh plans to use Sophie to help consumers make better financial decisions by:

  • Connecting a user’s existing bank accounts and credit cards, Sophie will collate, organize and inform on spending habits all in one place;
  • Using Sophie as their own personal banker to perform transactional tasks—such as paying and splitting bills, requesting money, saving, tracking and management of spending and savings goals;
  • Integrating with Alexa and Siri for voice activation.

Rebundling financial services is aspiration of startup Douugh (American Banker), Rated: A

“You are 0% of the way to your retirement goal! You have plenty of time, keep up the good work.”

This message I recently received from the Wela app reminded me to kick my retirement saving efforts into gear. It’s an example of the kind of personalized financial advice many banks and fintechs are trying to provide right now, often with artificial intelligence engines analyzing customers’ account data, predicting future trends and making recommendations.

Based in San Francisco, Douugh strives to use artificial intelligence to help the 25-to-35-year-old set reduce their credit card and student loan debt and make better spending and saving decisions.

Ripple- Just As Good If Not Better (Investing.com), Rated: A

If you could buy a wristwatch that is the same quality as a Rolex or a Cartier for $350, would you wear it?

A company called Filippo Loreti aims to deliver just that. The level of support that the young company is receiving from alternative investors is truly inspiring.

Thanks to the power of the Internet this watchmaker has already raised $6 million in two rounds of funding making it one of the most successful crowdfunding projects in history.

Smart Solutions for Smart Cities (JD Supra), Rated: B

Property “consumers” will be able to compare real-time information on a wide range of variables affecting property assets – for example, energy efficiency, connectivity and traffic noise.  Banks will no longer be the only source of funds, with fast availability of internet peer-to-peer lending speeding up the time taken to put a deal together.

Blockchain or distributed ledger technology raises a number of opportunities in this field, from mortgage valuations, to rental and service charge payment systems. Smart contracts will replace the traditional approach to conveyancing – the main incentives being that the technology will expedite the process, reduce fraud and offer total transparency.

SCORE: Dos and don’ts for crowdfunding small businesses (PostBulletin), Rated: B

To help make a rewards-based crowdfunding effort successful, Dargie offers these dos and don’ts:

Do:

  • Understand the differences between rewards-based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.
  • Pick the right platform for your rewards-based campaign.
  • Follow through on your promises. Watchdog groups and state and federal consumer protection bureaus have begun to shift their attention to deceptive crowdfunding campaigns.

Don’t:

  • Fail to manage the expectations of your campaign’s backers.
  • Launch a campaign without the liability protection of a properly formed business entity.
  • Forget about taxes.

“When We Decided to Sell the Company, it Became Apparent that RealtyShares Was the Right Choice” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Last month, Real estate crowdfunding platform RealtyShares announced it acquired technology-first, marketplace platform Acquire Real Estate.

Now, less than 30-days later, Director of Business Development at RealtyShares and former CEO of Acquire, Josh Klimkiewicz, is sharing more details about the acquisition.

“The mission doesn’t end here. I will join the RealtyShares team as the director of commercial business development to lead that channel as RealtyShares continues to scale. In my new role, I will concentrate on building long-term relationships between RealtyShares and real estate owners across the country.”

Wealth Management vs. Financial Advice: They’re Not the Same (Kiplinger), Rated: B

Wealth management is one of the terms that is most overused, and it’s often misunderstood. But it’s actually pretty straightforward. Wealth management takes things up a notch, with an adviser or advisory team providing a full range of services for the client in three distinct ways.

  1. Investment consulting
  2. Advanced planning
    • Wealth enhancement: This is the use of strategies to deal with cash-flow issues and liquidity concerns, mitigate taxes and maximize growth.
    • Wealth transfer: Advisers look for the most efficient ways to pass your wealth on to your heirs in a way that lets your beneficiaries keep most or all of the money.
    • Wealth protection: For those who are subject to a lot of liabilities, there are strategies that can help protect hard-earned savings and avoid any blind spots.
    • Charitable giving: With proper planning, donating to a charity or charities can be a win-win, maximizing support for a favorite cause while making the most of certain tax advantages.
  3. Relationship management

How to Win an Argument (Mental Floss), Rated: B

To persuasively drive your point home, follow the tips below, provided by online lender CashNetUSA’s SavingSpot blog and spotted by Entrepreneur.

United Kingdom

Zopa Reports Diminishing Loss as Revenues Rise for 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the first peer to peer lender to set up shop in the UK, has filed its annual accounts for 2016, and according to their numbers business is looking better.

Top line revenue improved by 61% jumping to £33.2 million for 2016. The operating loss stood at £5.9 million for the year, an improvement over the £8.9 million from year prior.

A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Between RateSetter’s wholesale lending saga and subsequent withdrawal from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, Zopa’s heightened loss expectations, and Funding Circlesignalling an end to manual investment, industry detractors are hardly short of fuel for their fires.

And yet we continue to endure spurious headlines that seem to be born of a broad desire to bash P2P, on the basis of seemingly anything.

Anyway. The latest episode of this kind comes courtesy of The Financial Times, which reported on Monday that peer-to-peer lending websites are “struggling to attract UK customers who want to borrow money”.

Source: AltFi

Landbay Closes £2.4M Crowdfunding Round on Seedrs (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Landbay, a London, UK-based buy-to-let mortgage lender, has closed a £2.4m crowdfunding round.

The funds were raised via Seedrs.

The company, which has raised approx. £7m to date via the crowdfunding platform, intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and launch new products.

IFAs still most influential source of financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INDEPENDENT financial advisers (IFAs) are the most trusted source of external investment advice, but investors are still more likely to trust their own judgement, new research claims.

A survey by property finance firm Minerva Lending found that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of active investors prefer to take the advice of an IFA. However, the vast majority of active investors (77 per cent) said that they would rather trust their own judgement. Three in five (60 per cent) said that they would be more likely to trust word of mouth.

The survey also found that investors still prefer traditional investment advice over newer fintech solutions. Only 12 per cent of the investors surveyed said that they would trust a robo-adviser to offer financial guidance, and just 22 per cent would trust a standalone piece of software.

Should more banks form partnerships with alternative lenders? (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

More banks should be forming partnerships with alternative lenders, one business finance provider has stated.

In the bank referral scheme, the UK’s biggest banks pass on the details of SMEs that have been turned down for loans to three SME finance platforms, which then share their details with alternative finance providers.

Almost £4m of funding was accessed by 230 SMEs under the matchmaking scheme.

Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, felt there were clear benefits to the collaboration between banks and alternative lenders, but also urged for transparency.

Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths (City A.M.), Rated: A

So let’s look at some of the common arguments raised and try to filter out the fact from the fiction.

P2P will suffer in an economic downturn

Yet the oldest UK platform Zopa – which launched in 2005 – managed to survive during the financial collapse of 2008.

Admittedly the default rates jumped to 4.2 per cent from 0.4 per cent the year before, but figures from Zopa show that investors were still able to earn a four per cent annual return during the financial crash, compared to six per cent in 2007.

P2P platform Landbay commissioned an independent report in 2015 to find out how it would perform in poor economic conditions.

While the loss rate on Landbay’s loans is 0.03 per cent in normal economic conditions, the loss rate was estimated to hit 0.48 per cent if times got tough – that is, if GDP was down 3.5 per cent, unemployment rose to nine per cent, and UK house prices fell by 20 per cent. So even if the economy shrinks, investors would not have lost money.

An interest rate rise will kill the P2P industry

But Lucy Bott, head of customer operations at RateSetter, points out that interest rates on P2P platforms are not set by the banks, but by the supply of and demand for money.

P2P is for young people

He points to a report from Nesta, which found that more than half of P2P lending investors are aged 55 and over, while a third of lenders are aged 35 to 54, and just 12 per cent of investors are under 35.

P2P Lending Sites Not Quite Wooing UK Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Among 1,100 British consumers polled by consultancy firm EY, only 7 percent indicated they had used such a service to borrow money this year. A separate poll of 1,050 Brits by Blumberg Capital revealed just 4 percent of them had utilized alternative lending platforms over the previous year, according to the Financial Times.

Where FinTech firms worldwide attracted $20 billion in investments over the first half of 2016, that number dropped to just $12 billion during the first six months of 2017.

The lower funding amounts could be attributed to banks having joined the peer-to-peer lending landscape, creating their own technologies or joining forces with startups to stay current, thus broadening the competitive field.

China

Fintech in China: What’s Behind the Boom? (Brink News), Rated: AAA

The country makes some of the world’s largest investments in the sector, and it has adopted fintech technologies faster than anywhere else. Companies such as Alipay, Lufax and ZhongAn Insurance have made their names across the globe by using fintech to develop some of the most disruptive business models. These players have enjoyed the fruits of fintech’s unprecedented growth by filling the gaps in China’s structurally imbalanced financial system in an open regulatory environment.

We believe the development of fintech in China has reached an inflection point. From this point, technology will be the key driver of value-chain disruption in an increasingly data-driven industry.

For example, it took four years for peer-to-peer transaction volume to exceed $5 billion in the U.S., while it took only two years in China. Lufax, a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform founded in 2011, reached an annual loan origination amount of 9 billion yuan in just two years, compared to five years for Lending Club, the biggest peer-to-peer lending company in the U.S.

A global block chain summit was spot inspected, caused shock on ICO market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, the Market Supervision Bureau of Shanghai Pudong New District has raided a global block chain summit that is suspected of false propaganda. According to the investigation, 35 companies set up booth to promote technology and financial products on the spot, and nearly 2,000 people attended the summit. The organizer is a Shanghai-based software technology company. The company referred to “bitcoin” technology and has developed a digital cryptocurrency ETP (entropy) on its own, which was traded on its platform.

On the spot, Law enforcement officials ordered the meeting to be halted immediately and interviewed with the parties involved. And in the same day, this news triggered a nearly 200% shock in the value of related tokens on some trading platforms, reflecting the growing risk of the ICO market. Now the company is still under investigation for alleged violations.

European Union

Klarna co-founder seeks to spur European tech giving (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the US, technology magnates from Microsoft’s Bill Gates to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have started a long line of high-profile, high-minded initiatives often aimed at combating disease and helping the poor.

But in Europe, where many of the unicorns — start-ups valued at more than $1bn — are of a more recent vintage, many founders are still thinking of how to make money rather than spend it.

Two years ago, Mr Adalberth had become bored with what he describes as “the constant chasing of the next goal or achievement” at Klarna. So he stepped aside from the group and its relentless attempt to conquer the digital payment world by becoming a bank and attracting Visa in as an investor.

Instead, Mr Adalberth became one of the first of the recent crop of European tech founders to think about giving away money. The result is Norrsken Foundation, which has a triple-pronged approach aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurship. His venture is risky but is likely to be closely watched by the growing ranks of multi-millionaire European founders to see if it can provide some kind of blueprint. “There is a trend in the US to give something back. This trend has come to Sweden and maybe Europe as well,” he says.

Rabobank constructs physical model to understand IT architecture (Finextra), Rated: A

Rabobank has built a 3D model of its own organisation and supporting IT systems to help visualise improvements that can be made as it embarks on its digital transformation programme.

As a banking co-operative operating at both local and regional levels, the Dutch bank runs a complex network of independent IT platforms often performing the same functions depending on local practices.

International

USAmeriBank live on Finastra hosted payments hub (Finextra), Rated: AAA

USAmeriBank selected Finastra’s hosted solution in order to have the flexibility to quickly add new payments rails and services, future-proofing its technology investment, while improving customer service and increasing straight-through processing.

In addition to quick time-to-market and ease of implementation, another benefit of using a hosted solution is a reduction of maintenance effort and total cost of ownership, as the technology and business services are maintained by Finastra.

In the coming months, the bank plans to add US ACH, and eventually real-time payments components, completing the bank’s journey to a fully-outsourced payment processing model.

AI Is the New UI – Exclusive Interview With Jake Tyler, CEO of Finn.AI (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

 

LTP: Give us a high-level paragraph pitch for your company.

JT: The Finn Virtual Banking Assistant is a personal banking and financial management assistant, powered by artificial intelligence.

Finn delivers a personal banker within a customer’s favorite channels, including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SMS, iOS and Android apps, and web chat. We believe that AI is the new UI.

LTP: In a sentence or two, what specific problems are you solving today?

JT: We help banks connect with customers where they already are (in major instant messaging and voice platforms), adapt to a new paradigm of consumer expectations set by Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook where deep personalization and simple conversational interfaces are the norm, and reduce costs by augmenting human customer care agents with AI.

LTP: What are the biggest challenges you face when building with AI and ML, being nascent technologies? How have you overcome, or are you overcoming, those challenges?

JT: The biggest challenge is data, both quantity and quality. We address this by going deep in one core vertical – banking. We have a large, pre-existing data model in this domain that grows daily as consumers use our assistant. As new banks adopt Finn they are able to leverage this data model to deploy a high-quality assistant with proven features much faster than they would otherwise be able to do.

India

RBI to harmonise NBFC regulations (India Times), Rated: AAA

There is scope for harmonisation of regulations covering non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and the Reserve Bank is moving in that direction, Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan said today.

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Guernsey consultation to update regs governing ‘non-regulated’ financial businesses (International Investment), Rated: A

The 103-page Lending, Credit & Finance Consultation Paper  is aimed jointly at enabling Guernsey to accommodate the growing number of “innovative, often digitally-enabled, financial services which don’t neatly fit into the boxes marked banking, insurance, investment or fiduciary covered by current laws”, as well as to better protect Guernsey consumers and investors, “particularly those who are less financially able, from unscrupulous lending practises”, the GFSC says, in a summary of the LC&FCP‘s contents.

The proposed legislation would replace this existing NRFSB Law.

To read and download the consultation paper, click here.

Asia

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Read more at:

The future of banking in Southeast Asia is in Cryptocurrency (Hero Email), Rated: B

There are an estimated two (2) billion people in the world who remain unbanked and underbanked. That’s roughly a quarter of the entire planet’s population who have little to no direct access to financial services most commonly found in banks and formal lending institutions.

In Southeast Asia, approximately only twenty-seven (27%) of the entire region are financially included, leaving the rest with little to no defense in times of economic crises.

Hero will build a blockchain-based credit algorithm and lending platform. Hero will be launching its own cryptocurrency coin called Hero Token through an upcoming token sale.

The majority of populations who suffer from financial exclusion live in emerging countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and their neighbors in Southeast Asia. A notable fact about this region [SEA] is that it is the fastest growing Internet region in the world and is also the fourth largest.

Backed by an award winning group of experts, the organization started operating in the Philippines in 2015 as PawnHero, offering collateralized loans using an online platform, and since then has been helping thousands of Filipinos obtain access to affordable credit.

There will also be a ‘pre-sale’ wherein people can buy tokens prior to the actual token sale and get bonuses. During the pre-sale, Hero will offer 80% of all tokens to be created for purchase by the public in the Hero Initial Coin Offering under the ticker symbol Hero. The remaining 20% of all Hero tokens will be distributed to early believers, advisors and founders.

To participate in the Hero token sale people can send the following currencies – Ethereum (ETH), ETH Classic, BitCoin (BTC), Ripple, LiteCoin, and Waves from a wallet they directly control to the Hero wallet. Aside from these, extra tokens will be offered to those who commit early. Bounties are provided when the crowdsale ends. All payments received for Hero tokens in connection with this token sale will be held in escrow in a multi-signature address, with a multi-key structure.

For more information go to .

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor