Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck prices $225M securitization. Prosper is looking for new whole loan contributors for securitizations. Funding Circle lends 123M GBP to businesses in March. Funding Circle SME considers new equity raise. Ant Financial to raise $9B. Today’s main analysis: Competition among lenders worth $27K to borrowers last week. The grad degrees that deliver more debt than […]

Wednesday April 18 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

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News Summary

United States

On Deck Capital (ONDK) Prices $ 225 Million Securitization (Street Insider) Rated: AAA

OnDeck announced today that it has priced $225 million initial principal amount of Series 2018-1 Fixed Rate Asset-Backed Notes (the “Notes”) in a private securitization transaction. The Notes, which will be issued in four classes, were priced with a weighted average fixed interest rate of 3.75% per annum. It is expected that DBRS, Inc., in satisfaction of one of the closing conditions, will rate the Notes at closing. The anticipated DBRS rating for the Class A Notes would be the highest rating ever for a class of notes in an asset-backed securitization of small business loans in the online lending industry.

The Notes will be issued by OnDeck Asset Securitization Trust II LLC (the “Issuer”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of OnDeck. The Notes will be secured by and payable from a revolving pool of OnDeck small business loans. The Issuer will be the sole obligor of the Notes; the Notes will not be obligations of or guaranteed by OnDeck or any of its other subsidiaries. OnDeck will act as the servicer of the loans securing the Notes.

The net proceeds from the Notes offering will be used by the Issuer together with other available funds to optionally prepay in full a prior notes issuance (the “Old Notes”) that had a weighted average interest rate of 4.7% at December 31, 2017.

Prosper to keep PMIT shelf, but seeks new blood as loan agreement winds down (GlobalCapital) Rated:AAA

Prosper will continue to issue ABS from its long standing PMIT shelf, but is looking for new whole loan contributors for its securitizations as it eyes the end of a loan consortium agreement inked last February.

Prosper’s securitizations will retain the multi-seller deal format, in which whole loan investors contribute collateral to the securitizations, said three people speaking with GlobalCapital on the sidelines at the LendIt Fintech USA 2018 event in San Francisco.

Anthony Noto on leaving Twitter for SoFi, and what comes next (Axios) Rated: AAA

Former Twitter chief operating officer Anthony Noto just finished his first month on the job as CEO of SoFi, the “unicorn” financial services company whose former CEO was booted late last year after allegations of sexual misconduct.

Axios spoke to Noto about the new job, growth plans, recruitment and that long-rumored IPO. The quick read:

  • He had always wanted to be a CEO, and felt he had accomplished what he set out to do at Twitter.
  • He believes SoFi is a cultural reclamation project, but that the core business is strong.
  • SoFi wants to launch a membership-type credit card.
  • The firm has no plans to either IPO or fundraise in 2018.
On joining SoFi as CEO, after stops at Twitter and Goldman Sachs:

“This opportunity leverages all of my professional background as a tech person, as a consumer-facing person and from a financial industry perspective.

Heard at LendIt Fintech 2018 (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Scott Sanborn, CEO of LendingClub:

“A reckoning is coming. The US is ground zero.There is a 37 trillion dollar shortfall in the retirement sector. This is coming and we cant just think we have 32 years to solve this problem.”

Omer Ismail, Chief Commercial Officer of Marcus:

“Since we launched 18 months ago we have done $3 billion in loans and we have $20 billion in deposits and about 500,000 in customers.”

Max Levchin, CEO and founder of Affirm:

“There are 10 to 15 million people in this country who need money and can probably borrow responsibly yet they end up at payday lending.”

Jay Farner, CEO of Quicken Loans:

“If a mortgage can be done in 10 [days] a personal loan can be done in 1 [day]”

In a Bad Month for Public Equity Markets, Local Isn’t Spared (Street Fight) Rated: AAA

Source: Street Fight

Coming off one of the worst months in recent memory, March saw big declines in the public equity markets. The SCP SMB Index was the least impacted, retreating 4.1% compared to all other major indices, which declined more than 5% during the month.

The SCP SMB Index declined 4.1% in March. The S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Dow Jones all experienced losses during the month of 5.1%, 5.2%, and 6.1%, respectively.

Returns since inception (indexed at Jan 4, 2016)

Since the inception of the SCP SMB Index in January 4, 2016 (where 100% is no change), here are the returns through March 29, 2018:

  • SCP SMB Index : 144.47%
  • S&P 500: 129.43%
  • Nasdaq : 141.73%
  • Dow Jones : 139.07%

Competition Among Lenders Worth Over $ 27,000 to Borrowers Last Week (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

We calculate the Mortgage Rate Competition Index weekly as the median spread between the lowest and highest APR offered by lenders in our marketplace. By calculating this spread, we hope to show consumers how much they stand to save by comparing rates during the lending shopping process.

Purchase loans

  • Across all purchase loan applications on LendingTree for the week ending April 8, the index was 0.59, up 0.03 from the previous week.
  • How big of a deal is it to nab a mortgage rate that’s 0.59% lower than the competition? Over 30 years, that could translate to $27,339 in savings on a $300,000 loan (see Mortgage Savings Tracker graphic below).

Refinances

  • The index was wider in the refinance market at 0.65, up from 0.63 the prior week.
  • Borrowers shopping for refi loans could have saved $30,329 by shopping for the lowest rate.

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

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

Key highlights

  • A Credible analysis of more than 91,000 graduate degree holders with student loans found significant debt and income differences across 16 graduate degree majors.
  • Dentists, optometrists, and veterinarians tend to have student loan debt that’s the most out of balance with their earnings soon after graduation.
  • Even years out of school, optometrists, veterinarians, physician assistants, dentists and pharmacists devote more than 10 percent of their monthly income to their student loan payments.
  • Computer scientists, MBA holders, people with masters in finance degrees (not MBA) and nurses allocate the smallest proportion of their monthly earnings to pay down their student loan debt (between 6.4 and 7.1 percent).

AUTOGRAVITY EXPANDS VEHICLE FINANCING OPTIONS TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS THROUGH A NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH WESTBON (Lendit) Rated: A

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer that empowers car shoppers to buy and finance any new or used car in minutes from their smartphone, today announced a partnership with Westbon, the first lending platform for international students in the U.S. Through this unique partnership, Westbon financing options are now accessible to international students who use AutoGravity to finance their vehicle in the United States.

FINITIVE LAUNCHES ALTERNATIVE LENDING INVESTMENT PLATFORM WITH $ 1.3 BILLION OF INITIAL TRANSACTION VOLUME (Lendit) Rated: A

​Finitive LLC (www.finitive.com), a financial technology platform providing institutional investors with direct access to alternative lending investments, announced today the launch of its zero-fee platform.

Finitive, which commenced operations in August 2017, has received commitments for transactions with an aggregate capacity of $1.3 billion. Several asset managers and banks have committed capital for transactions in the consumer, renewable energy and commercial real estate lending sectors.

NSR Invest secures growth financing with FinSight Ventures (Lendit) Rated: A

Lend Core Inc., parent company to NSR Invest and LendingRobot, announced today the close of its first external financing round with FinSight Ventures. The investment will help the company expand its investor outreach, accelerate product development and strategic partnerships. FinSight Ventures General Partner, Alexey Garyunov, and Investment Director, Maxim Nazarov, will join Lend Core’s Board of Directors.

The company’s core technologies drive innovation through interactive analytics, custom modeling, algorithmic investing, order execution, portfolio management, and transparency through blockchain application.

Alchemy Peer-to-Peer Lending Will Help Millennials Dominate the Future of Finance (TechBullion) Rated: A

One blockchain startup, Alchemy, is using the technology to create a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending system that ensures transparency and guarantees security to its participants.

Alchemy works by matching lenders and borrowers for the requested amount of capital. Because of the instant, global, and secure peer-to-peer interactions that blockchain facilitates, costs of service are kept incredibly low. Interest rates are kept as close to a free market determination as possible, ensuring a fair consumer experience that often eludes customers of big banks.

Quovo Launches New Products to Improve Lending Value Chain (Lendit) Rated: A

Quovo, a data platform that provides connectivity to consumer financial accounts, announced today at LendIt Fintech USA, new products that equip lenders with insights to streamline and improve key processes in the lending value chain, adding to Quovo’s ability to assist with underwriting, funding, and ongoing servicing workflows.

Income + Expense analyzes and summarizes recurring and irregular income and expense streams, creating a fuller picture of cash flow in linked accounts. Balance Estimator uses historical cash flows to predict future account balances up to 30 days in advance, giving loan servicers a key perspective on when customers can most
effectively meet their payment obligations.

Income + Expense and Balance Estimator provide valuable cash-flow-based insights that can be combined with Quovo’s core data products—such as Aggregation and Authentication—to create end-to-end solutions for lending, from the first loan application to the last servicing event.

MoneyLion Announces the Big Alternative to the Big Bank (Business Wire) Rated: A

MoneyLion today announced that it will be expanding its popular MoneyLion Plus membership with a full suite of checking and savings capabilities. With these additions, the new MoneyLion Plus membership will provide a comprehensive banking option for anyone with access to a smartphone, becoming the one and only financial membership consumers need to build wealth, improve credit and manage day-to-day spending.

DebtBench Consolidates The Business-to-business Loan Marketplace Into One Place (Benzinga) Rated: A

DebtBench: We are creating an Open Banking marketplace structure where business borrowers can connect and gain access to capital at lower rates, in far less time, than they would by going to a brick-and mortar institution. According to our estimates, banks, credit cards and other lending institutions generate $870B+ each year in fees and interest from over $3.2 trillion in lending activity. The interest rate spreads gained by financial institutions can be minimized.

Intrinio to Release API v2, Making Financial Data Even More Accessible (Lendit) Rated: B

Intrinio, a fintech company providing access to over 200 financial data feeds, will be releasing their API v2 this quarter.

Intrinio’s API v2 is built on the OpenAPI specification, which is a community-driven, open source, standardized API spec within the OpenAPI Initiative (OAI), a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project. This allows both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of a service without requiring access to source code, additional documentation, or inspection of network traffic.

OCC Gearing Up To Publish Position On FinTech Charter (PYMNTS) Rated: B

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is getting ready to release its position on a proposed charter for online lenders and other FinTech companies in the next three months.

AI and the next step in financial management tools (Venture Beat) Rated: B

An Aite Group study finding has the answer. More than 75 percent of 22- to 49-year-old consumers are interested in this kind of advice and guidance around reducing debt, achieving savings goals, and tracking their finances, as well as optimizing their overall financial health.

Funding Your Dream: Financial Tips for Startups (Axcess News) Rated: B

 

Small Business Loans

Companies like the Lending Club, make it easy for you to apply for small business loans online. You can receive several thousand dollars towards your business expenses.

 

Building a Strong Credit History Without Using Credit Cards (Analyst of Finance) Rated: B

Although many people turn to credit cards to help them build credit, there are other tools individuals can use to improve their credit scores. Since some people have trouble managing credit card debt and do not want to pay high-interest rates, they often turn to alternatives to help them build a solid credit history. Here are a few of those alternatives.

Loans to Help Build Credit
Some banks and credit unions will offer their members what are known as credit builder loans. The goal is to pay off the loan before the maturity date.

Peer-to-Peer Lending
Instead of going through a traditional financial institution, borrowers can apply for loans offered by individual investors. Known as peer-to-peer loans, consumers can apply using a reputable P2P lending website or service. The loans typically offer reasonable interest rates, and this type of financing is completely legitimate.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle lends £123m to businesses in March (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: AAA

The figure represented an increase on the £113m lent in February.

The company announced in its monthly review that in March it provided 1,831 businesses with access to finance and created 4,670 jobs (directly and indirectly) via its platform.

Funding Circle lent over £701m from September 2017 to March 2018 and more than 10,500 small businesses accessed finance through the platform in the same period.

Funding Circle SME fund considers new equity raise (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

THE FUNDING Circle SME Income Fund is considering a potential equity raise as it assesses its growth options.

Any issue of shares or sale from treasury would be priced at NAV plus a premium to cover all issue costs, the fund said in a stock exchange announcement on Monday.

MarketInvoice joins NatWest Capital Connections panel (Finextra) Rated: A

NatWest has added invoice finance platform MarketInvoice to its Capital Connections panel, which helps SMEs unable to borrow from banks get access to alternative sources of money.

Liberis raises £57.5M to offer finance for small businesses paid back via customer card transactions (TechCrunch) Rated: A

Liberis, the London-based fintech that provides finance for small businesses, has raised £57.5 million in new funding to help support the company’s growth. The alternative finance provider makes loans against a company’s future credit and debit card sales.

The majority of the new capital being raised by Liberis  is debt, which in turn will enable it to issue more loans. The facility is being provided by British Business Investments (the commercial arm of the tax payer-funded British Business Bank), Paragon Bank, and BCI Finance.

In addition, Blenheim Chalcot has made an equity investment into Liberis. The so-called “digital venture builder” also previously backed Clearscore, the credit scoring startup recently acquired by Experian.

As good as it ap(peer)s? (Metro) Rated: A

■ Peer-to-peer lending is becoming popular in low interest times, but it’s controversial

Peer-to-peer remains controversial, especially since the government approved a new type of Isa, the Innovative Finance Isa (Ifisa), in April 2016 that allows customers to receive income from the peer-to-peer loans they make free of tax.

There are many questions you will need to ask before lending your cash. Here are some of the most important:

What returns can I really get?

When faced with the best-buy rate on an instant access current account (around 1.3 per cent according to Moneyfacts), or on a five-year, fixed- rate bond (2.75 per cent), it’s hard not to find the headline rate you would receive from a peer-to-peer lending site very attractive.

Is the platform a member of a reputable association?

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association is the main trade body, though not all companies involved are members. Check membership at p2pfa.org.uk. Robert Pettigrew, director of the association, says: ‘Investors should understand the nature and level of risk to which they are exposed, so that they can ensure that it is commensurate with their individual risk appetite.

 

China

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial to Raise $ 9 Billion, Become World’s Biggest Unicorn (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial Services Group, carved out of his e-commerce giant Alibaba Group HoldingLtd. BABA -0.52% seven years ago, is preparing to raise $9 billion in a private funding round, according to people familiar with the matter. That ups a previous fundraising target of $5 billion.

Ant, which owns popular mobile payments network Alipay and is one of China’s largest non-bank lenders, is currently in talks with potential investors and demand for its shares has so far been strong, the people familiar said.

The latest funding round could value Ant at close to $150 billion, according to the people, making it by far the world’s largest unicorn—a term used to describe private companies valued at over $1 billion.

X Financial Provides a Chinese Fintech Perspective at LendIt USA (Markets Insider) Rated: A

“Fintech is playing animportant role in China. Given the demands for consumer finance are not yet fully satisfied and credit system is not perfect, financial technology has a golden development opportunity in Chinawhich leads the world in data mining and processing capabilities in the mobile Internet market.” said Simon Cheng, President of X Financial, a leading fintech company in China at LendIt USA recently.

International

Is the Banking System Up for Disruption? (GURUFocus) Rated: A

The popularity of blockchain technology has grown over the last several years as the hype surrounding the cryptocurrency market has thrived. Nearly every industry is currently exploring options on how they can use this disruptive technology to make a difference in the market. Its impact on various sectors has attracted big technology companies like Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM). They ventured into distributed ledger technology architecture to augment their existing businesses while simultaneously trying to exploit emerging opportunities in the industry.

Over the last two decades, the financial services sector has experienced a major technological shake-up, with emerging industries like fintech playing a vital role. PayPal Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL) disrupted the payments industry by introducing online methods of payment. While some said credit cards and checks would be phased out in due time, they are still crucial products. It remains to be seen how long they will last, though.

On the other hand, peer-to-peer lending platforms like LendingClub Corp. (NYSE:LC) and Zorpa reinvented lending and, in the process, sparked debates on whether they could eventually overtake traditional lending in the credit market. Nothing of the sort has come to pass, yet. In fact, after peaking in the first half of the current decade, peer-to-peer lending may have started to experience a slowdown in growth.

RESPONDING TO TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTION IN WHOLESALE BANKING (International Banker) Rated: A

In this article, we explore two areas that have attracted significant interest by FinTech innovators:

  • Marketplace lenders (MPLs) that are disrupting traditional credit-underwriting models with lower overhead, higher transparency, faster loan approval and higher returns on capital.
  • Blockchain-based supply chains with the potential to disrupt entrenched payments and credit processes by managing the physical and financial flows associated with commerce. In addition, we discuss approaches to IT spending and innovation that banks can take in response.

Ezira – The distributed social media and business platform (AMBCrypto) Rated: A

Ezira will utilize the delegated proof of stake decentralized consensus algorithm used by Bitshares, EOS, and Steem. Ezira will operate on a new public blockchain, will provide a flagship user application, and a multi-token circular economic model. It will have a fairer token distribution and will share drop 10% of the EZIRA asset onto the cryptocurrency community.

The Ezira network will offer users access to a suite of cryptocurrency and social media features during its release.

Content Rewards

Users will receive content rewards for posting according to the number of votes and views that each post receives. Once per day, a content reward payment will be distributed according to the stake weight of the accounts that upvoted and viewed the content.

Ezira Cryptocurrencies

Payments using Ezira currencies will have zero transaction fees and will receive confirmation within the 3 second block time. Users send EziraCoin to a stealth address and send payments using a ring signature, and use ring confidential transactions to conceal the payment amount.

Decentralized Exchange

Users will be able to use peer to peer lending to earn interest by lending their funds to other users, based on collateral, independent verification processes, and established creditworthiness.

Australia

Online lender Prospa challenges Australia’s big banks (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Last year Prospa passed a milestone of providing more than A$500m ($385m) in loans to 12,000 businesses.

The company offers loans of between A$5,000 and A$250,000, over a term of three to 24 months, with no security required for amounts of up to A$100,000. Its platform enables business owners to apply within 10 minutes, receive approval on the same day and funding within 24 hours.

Annual interest rates on Prospa loans vary depending on risk but typically start at roughly 12 per cent and stretch into the mid-20s.

Prospa’s growth has been supported by venture capital backers, with AirTree leading a A$25m funding round last year that valued Prospa at A$235m. The funds enabled the lender to boost its staff to 165, build a direct distribution channel and sign up 7,000 intermediary partners.

Australia lags on digital banking revolution: Oracle survey (The Sydney Morning Herald) Rated: A

New survey results from US technology firm Oracle suggest Australians are less open, compared with consumers in other large economies, to engaging with the fintech revolution.

The survey, released on Wednesday, shows only 6.25 per cent of Australians regularly use a “fintech” bank, compared with 10 per cent in the United States, 12 per cent in Britain, and 40.5 per cent in India.

Despite a growing number of digital “robo advisers”, 9.75 per cent of local respondents said they used fintech wealth advisers services frequently, compared with 16 per cent in Britain and 21.5 per cent in United States.

India

P2P lending company Faircent.com launches its open API platform (ETRise) Rated: AAA

P2P lending firm Faircent.com will soon be opening its API platform for developers. The move will enable new fintech entrants and offline businesses to leverage the company’s technological infrastructure to build new digital lending products, as well as to integrate existing solutions into their offerings.

Faircent.com’s technology stack offers a wide range of solutions pertaining to online lending such as borrower and lender verification, credit evaluation and underwriting, and payment collection and recovery, among others.

Kae Capital infuses funds in P2P digital lending startup Loanzen (ENTracker) Rated: A

Loanzen, a peer to peer business loan marketplace startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of sum from Kae Capital. The Bengaluru-based digital lending platform had earlier raised an undisclosed seed funding from Angels through TracxnSyndicate.

The fintech firm will deploy fresh funds to expand operations. It also holds NBFC licence by RBI.

Asia

How is Fintech Making Credit Cards and Personal Loans Easier to Get? (TechWorm), Rated: AAA

Fintech firms have exploded onto the financial scene in Singapore and other mature markets in Asia in recent times. Focusing on disruptive technologies like peer-to-peer lending, affordable digital payment solutions, and more accurate risk analysis among other things, these startups are winning over customers by replacing the service delivery model used by traditional banks with user-friendly technologies.

Fintech Companies Are Changing the Process of Loan Offtake

Have you ever heard about Crowdo, Capital Springboard, FundedHere, or MoolahSense? These are peer-to-peer online lending sites through which you can raise funds by sharing your story. These crowdfunding sites are revolutionising the alternative lending space through disintermediation, cost optimisation, quicker delivery, and technology modernisation.

Players like Skolafund provide deserving students a chance to get funded by potential funders for pursuing education in an affordable manner. They can match profiles and ensure that the right student meets the right funder.

SMEs, often ignored by traditional banking channels, have found their go-to source for funds. Crowd Genie, which started in 2016, is helping SMEs get loans through crowdfunding.

MENA

Start-up crowdfunding: Window of opportunity (Arabian Business) Rated: A

After witnessing the 2011 Egyptian revolution, former journalist Ahmed Moor decided to launch Liwwa, a peer-to-peer funding platform that would address the MENA region’s $240bn SME funding gap by lending money to growing businesses.

Together with co-founder and CTO Samer Atiani (former senior software developer at New York-based online retailer Etsy), Moor has managed to lend over $8m to SMEs across the region since the establishment of the Amman-based firm in 2013.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 21 2017, Daily News Digest

Purchase APR LendingTree

News Comments Today’s main news: Experian buys, integrates Clarity Services. Think Finance files for bankruptcy. PayPal offers robo-investing. Assetz Capital achieves 1.5M GBP funding through Seedrs. Elevate launches industry research repository. Nav Athwal steps down as CEO of RealtyShares. Ping An Insurance prepares for Lufax IPO. TransferWise doubles revenue. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree releases monthly mortgage offer report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The […]

Purchase APR LendingTree

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia/New Zealand

India

MENA

News Summary

United States

Integration of Clarity Services Inc by Experian (Experian Email), Rated: A

Dear Clarity Services Inc Supplier:

As a supplier to Clarity Services Inc, we are writing to formally notify you that as of October 6, 2017, Clarity Services Inc has been purchased by Experian Holdings, Inc.

Effective January 1, 2018, purchases and invoice payments will be processed by Experian’s centralized Procurement and Accounting departments.

Source: Experian

Think Finance Files for Chapter 11 (U.S. Bankruptcy Court), Rated: AAA

Read the court brief here.

PayPal in robo-investing venture (The Australian), Rated: AAA

The payments company was connecting its website and smartphone apps with those of Acorns Grow, a five-year-old automated savings and investment service, the two companies said on Monday.

PayPal users would be able to use their accounts to make contributions to Acorns and would be able to monitor and manage their Acorns investments from the PayPal app, said Joanna Lambert, the company’s vice-president of consumer financial services.

PayPal is rolling out the Acorns offerings in phases, with the first batch of users getting access on Monday and all US users by early 2018.

Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class Launches Industry Research Repository (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The Center for the New Middle Class, a research-focused body developed by Elevate to engage and educate the public about the growing needs of individuals who do not have access to traditional credit options, today announced it has launched an industry research repository for researchers, reporters, policy makers and the general public. Known as the Resource Database, it is a curated collection of the best research on non-prime Americans and their challenges, attitudes, and needs.

In addition to containing external research and editorial content from sources such as Pew, the National Bureau of Economic Research and “The Atlantic,” the database will house research and commentary from the Center for the New Middle Class regarding economic conditions that affect America’s New Middle Class.

By visiting the database here users can search for entries, filter the results, and see the full bibliographic reference of information provided.

The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending” (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The shame of all this is that all the sensational headlines have already been written and confirmed in many people’s minds the supposed shady nature of our industry. It would have been far better for everyone if the authors of this report had done their homework and produced a thoroughly researched report in the first place.

As Todd Baker pointed out, “we really should know which online lenders are adding to consumer financial health and which ones are detracting from it.”

Why The Cleveland Fed Pulled Their Online Lending Study (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

“[These borrowers] are not underbanked, they’re sort of overbanked,” observed Yuliya Demyanyk, a Cleveland Fed economist and co-author of the report. “Defaults on [marketplace] loans have been increasing at an alarming rate, resembling pre-2007 crisis increases in sub-prime mortgage defaults, where loans of each vintage perform worse than those of prior origination years.”

The authors of the Nov. 9 report “have received several questions about the composition of the underlying data set they used in their analysis,” the Cleveland Fed said on its website, and are “revising their paper to further clarify the data sample they used” and will post the new version as soon as it’s ready.

So, what happened?

One theory is that they may have stretched the definition of online lending so far as to make an accurate and credible apples-to-apples comparison implausible.

Karen Webster spoke with Lending Club’s head of government relations, Richard Neiman, to get a better sense of the source of discrepancy, since even Googling the definition of marketplace loan, Webster commented, might have saved the Cleveland Fed economists a lot of grief.

“The industry is so big now,” Neiman said, “that it is not easy for policymakers to fully understand the divergences between different platforms, the different products, the different modeling and the differences in levels of transparency that are now defined as online lending.”

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for October (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its first monthly Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network.

  • October’s best loan offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.75% for purchase and 3.70% for refinance, on conforming 30-year loans.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were down 3 bps month over month, to 4.31%, the lowest since November 2016. In contrast, the loan note rate of 4.18% was up 7 bps to the highest since July.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw an average APR offer of 4.18% vs 4.44% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 22 bps between these score ranges was 1 bps lower than in September. The spread represents nearly $12,600 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $228,730. Additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 10 bps to 4.26%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 16bps from 15 bps, nearly $7,500 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $235,844.
  • The average proposed down payment for purchase mortgages have been rising for 7 months and reached $59,680 in October.
  • Average monthly payments were little changed at just over $1,100 for both purchase and refinance. The credit score bucket spread was $241 for purchase and just $77 for refinance.
Source: Business Insider
Source: Business Insider

Inflation and Counterfeit Credit (GoldSeek), Rated: AAA

Let’s take a look at an often-repeated idea that is popular in the gold and alternative investing communities. The government possesses a printing press. Therefore, it will never default. It will just inflate its way out of the debt. It will devalue the dollar.

The government does not set the value of the dollar. And it has no mechanism to set it. So, logically, it has no mechanism to reset it. It cannot devalue it. In the same way, you cannot lower yourself down by your bootstraps since you are not lifting yourself up by them in the first place.

We must emphatically state that the government does not print. It borrows. Congress does not have a printing press, to create greenbacks. It has a Treasury that can sell bonds to cover whatever payments the government is obligated to make that it has not got tax revenues for. Over the past year, for example, the government increased its debt by over 630 billion dollars.

Like any bank, the Fed borrows to fund its purchases of interest-paying assets. It earns a spread between what it pays (currently about 1.25%) and what its asset portfolio pays (over 2%). The commercial banks currently deposit over $2.1 trillion in excess reserves, and the Fed’s total liabilities are over $4.4 trillion including Federal Reserve Notes (on which the Fed pays zero). Unlike any commercial bank, there is a law that obligates us to treat the Fed’s liabilities as if they were money.

We are working on the problem that all borrowing and lending uses the dollar. We offer gold financing, simplified and a yield on gold, paid in gold.

Source: GoldSeek

Right now speculative mania is occurring in crypto currencies so that may (but not necessarily, beware correlation!) shunt such capital flows away from gold. As to default risk, there are signs of rising stress in high yield credit markets, but it’s early yet.

Nav Athwal Exits CEO Role at RealtyShares (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Nav Athwal, one of the more prominent founders in the real estate crowdfunding space, has announced his decision to step down from the CEO role at RealtyShares, a platform he founded four years ago.

Ed Forst, RealtyShares Board Member and former CEO of Cushman and Wakefield, has been selected as the interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Crowdfund Insider spoke to Athwal regarding his decision to change his leadership role at RealtyShares and he explained he would continue to be engaged with the company;

“RealtyShares is in the strongest position it’s ever been in. The company is moving from the build phase to the scale phase of its lifecycle. To best position RealtyShares for the future, I made the decision to transition out of my role as CEO to a new role on the Board of Directors. I asked Ed Forst to take on the role of interim CEO, while we look for a permanent CEO who will fit the culture and profile we’re seeking. I am still very much a part of RealtyShares and will be actively involved in strategic decision-making. I am looking forward to supporting the company in this new capacity and getting back into principal real estate investing and agribusiness. As I begin to work on additional projects, I will be sure to let you know.”

Leading RealtyShares Into Its Next Chapter (RealtyShares), Rated: A

I started RealtyShares four years ago with the idea of creating a company that would make real estate more accessible, efficient, and transparent. RealtyShares has come a long way since those early days in my living room. It is now a 100-person operation and the leading platform for online real estate investing and capital formation.

My primary focus has always been to best position RealtyShares for future success. RealtyShares is now at an inflection point. I will remain on the Board of Directors supporting the company as it continues on its journey to build a global marketplace for real estate investing.

Kabbage Releases Research: On Building Successful Small Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Kabbage Inc., a global financial services, tech and data platform serving small businesses, released new data reporting on the similarities that connect all small business owners (SBOs), including personal sacrifices, professional challenges and growth expectations. Featuring responses from 400 SBOs, the data shows more than 67 percent expect to increase revenues by the end of 2017, with more than half anticipating an increase of 10 percent or higher.

In partnership with Bredin, a leading small-business market research firm, Kabbage polled small business owners across industries, including retail, education, manufacturing, food and beverage, healthcare, automotive, energy and finance.

RealtyMogul Tops $ 300 Million in Real Estate Funding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

RealtyMogul has topped $300 million in total deal flow.

RealtyMogul has garnered over 140,000 investors, received over $300 million invested into deals presented on its platform and returned $65 million to its investors since its inception in 2012.

RealtyMogul Wins Gold in 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business (BusinessWire), Rated: A

RealtyMogul has been awarded the Gold Stevie Award in the Consumer Services category during the 14th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organizations they run. All individuals and organizations worldwide are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The 2017 awards received entries from 25 nations and territories.

The Postal Banking Solution (Jacobin Magazine), Rated: A

Fewer than two thousand people live in Bluff, but any one of them can walk into the post office and cash a check or apply for a loan.

Meanwhile, the United States is riddled with what are called banking deserts — inhabited areas, many of them urban, where residents have no access to a bank.

One in four US households is unbanked or underbanked, meaning they’re fully or partially boxed out of traditional financial services. Those 68 million people represent a growing market for payday loan sharks, and spend an average of 10 percent of their yearly income on the high interest and fees that go with alternative financial services — roughly the same proportion they spend on food.

But there’s a collective solution to the banking desert: we could set up a public postal banking system like New Zealand’s.

Fighting the fees: robo-advisers win followers, if only for lower costs (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Rated: A

But one day last year Mr. Hansen was complaining to his mother, an avid investor, about the high fees he was paying on his investment account. She suggested he look into an online investment company called Betterment that markets itself as a low-fee alternative to traditional financial advisers.

Some of the most popular robo-advisers — such as Betterment, Wealthfront and Charles Schwab’s Intelligent Portfolio — use exchange-traded funds to keep costs low. Betterment charges an annual fee of 0.25 percent of the account value. Wealthfront charges no fee for accounts $10,000 or less. Schwab’s robo-advising platform limits its fees to the operating expenses included in the ETF, which range between 0.07 percent and 0.21 percent of the fund balance.

Citizens Bank, a Providence, R.I.-based bank that claims the third-largest deposit market share in the Pittsburgh region, introduced a new digital investment and advisory platform on its online banking home page in September.

A July report by S&P Global Market Intelligence predicts that digital advice assets will grow from $98 billion at the end of 2016 to $460 billion at the end of 2021.

InterNex Capital Launches “Velocity” (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Digital asset-based lender, InterNex Capital (“InterNex”) is pleased to announce their Velocity platform for small and medium-sized businesses. Velocity provides borrowers on demand liquidity through the InterNex Line of Credit and delivers real-time access for working capital management. Velocity empowers accelerated growth and powerful analytics, traditionally only available to large enterprises.

Wells Fargo adds overdraft protection with Rewind (Bankrate), Rated: B

On Nov, 14th, Wells Fargo announced Overdraft Rewind, a new feature to help customers avoid fees for overdrawing their checking accounts right before payday, when overdrafts most commonly occur.

Going forward, the bank will not charge overdraft or insufficient funds fees if a direct deposit large enough to cover those charges is received by 9 a.m. local time the day after the account goes negative.

You don’t need to opt in; if you have a Wells Fargo account, you’re covered by default.

Fintech seeks to ‘democratize data’ with Nasdaq’s help (American Banker), Rated: A

The fintech startup Intrinio has partnered with Nasdaq to include the exchange’s real-time data feeds in its financial data marketplace.

Global Debt Registry Unveils Collateral Pledge Blockchain Proof of Concept (Global Debt Registry), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company, today announced it has developed a collateral pledge registry, the first of its kind in the structured credit space, using Hyperledger Fabric, one of the Hyperledger blockchain framework implementations hosted by The Linux Foundation.

Midwest is on the rise in attracting tech investors’ interest (Crain’s Cleveland Business), Rated: A

Among those quoted in the story is Mark Kvamme, a top venture capitalist in Silicon Valley who now heads Columbus-based Drive Capital. The firm has raised $550 million and invested in 26 companies, betting, The Timessays, that “the middle of America amounts to an undervalued asset, rich in markets, new business ideas and budding entrepreneurs.”

Even so, three-quarters of all venture capital invested in America goes to California, New York and Massachusetts, the National Venture Capital Association estimates, and Ohio gets less than 1%.

Getting Help with Credit Card Debt (Business Insider), Rated: A

For the many Americans who face unmanageable credit card debt, it’s time to get their financial lives in order, says Andrew Housser, co-founder and CEO of Freedom Debt Relief– and if they need outside help, time to know how to find the right firm.

People looking for a trustworthy debt relief organization to help win the battle against debt can ask Housser’s seven questions:

  1. Does the company provide actual consultations and free advice to consumers?
  2. Does the company provide educational material, including budgeting and financial advice, free of charge?
  3. What is the background of the firm’s management team?
  4. How long has the company been in business?
  5. Request and review the company’s dropout and completion rates.
  6. What are the fees, and how will the firm assess them?
  7. How will the company help with creditor calls?

Atomist is formally launching with the Developer Automation Platform, an open source client and API. The new Development Automation Platform is designed to bring automation into the development and delivery process so that developers can focus on more important tasks.

Companies such as NVIDIA, Pivotal, Kyyti Group, Marlette Funding and Barclays Africa use Atomist for automation.

Mphasis’ top trends in Cognitive Intelligence in 2018 (CIO), Rated: B

  1. Smart environments with Pervasive Human and Machine Networks
  2. Predictive Analytics driven Customer 360
  3. Artificial Intelligence driven Multi-structured analytics – Cognitive Intelligence can enable insurance companies in analysing contact centre as well as chat data interactions in real time to predict propensity for fraud based on voice, video and text analysis and correlating the same with other similar fraudulent customer behaviors. The long term objective in such scenarios is to build machine learning based intelligent systems which learn on an ongoing basis based on historical pattern based analysis of billions of user and machine data points and predicts events.
  4. Immersive Multi-modal User Experiences
United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Achieves £1.5 Million Through Latest Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than a month after launching its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital has successfully secured £1.5 million from more than 700 investors. The online lender took to the funding portal to raise £1 million for expansion.

Banking bots advise NatWest customers on investments (ITPro), Rated: AAA

NatWest has launched a chatbot that allows customers to seek financial advice from the comfort of their sofa.

The bot will determine the best way for customers to invest their money by asking questions such as what they want to achieve from investments, their current financial situation, what they can afford, their debts and other personal information, plus their attitude to risk.

It will then suggest ISA products they could consider for investment, plus how much they should consider investing and the most effective way to use their ISA allowance.

Monzo plans crowdfunding push to deepen ties with customers (Financial Times), Rated: A

Banking app Monzo is planning to launch one of the UK’s largest crowdfunding efforts next year to give customers in the fast-growing bank what it calls “a greater share of ownership”.

Tom Blomfield, chief executive, said the start-up, which raised £71m in a private equity fundraising earlier this month, intends to make a further cash call of between £10m and £30m in 2018.

However, the main driver of the crowdfunding push would be “to enable the customer base to own part of the bank”, Mr Blomfield said, adding that crowdfunding created a “genuine sense of ownership”.

Payday loan firm used £1.2m pension liberation scheme to pay debts (Citywire), Rated: A

Three directors of an insolvent payday loan firm which received cash from pension liberation schemes have been disqualified.

Speed-e-Loans.com (SEL), used £1.2 million from private investors via the schemes to meet its existing debts.

Directors Philip Miller, Robert Alan Davies and Daniel Jonathan Miller have been banned from acting as directors for nine, six and five years respectively for breaching fiduciary duties and the duties of care, skill and diligence.

China

Ping An Insurance Preparing For IPO Of Online Financing Platform Lufax (Asian Review), Rated: AAA

Ping An Insurance Group is working towards an initial public offering for its peer-to-peer online financing platform Lufax Holding, the Chinese insurer’s chief operating officer said on Monday.

She didn’t provide a timeline or size for the planned public offering. The company was valued at $18.5 billion after a round of fundraising last year.

Ping An Insurance sells tech, lightens assets to aid returns (Asian Review), Rated: A

Ping An Insurance Group will go light on assets and target technology exports as its next mainstay, China’s leading financial conglomerate said Monday.

European Union

TransferWise reports doubled revenue for last fiscal year (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The London-based firm’s annual revenue has grown by 140 per cent since last year, coming in at £67m this year compared to £28m in 2016. Its audited results show an adjusted operating profit of £2m, and an overall profit for the fiscal year of £7.4m.

As a result, TransferWise’s operating loss has decreased from £17m in 2016 to £56,000 in 2017.

Swiss Platform Launches ICO Engine to Host Start-ups (TheStreet), Rated: A

Switzerland headquartered Eidoo has today officially launched a initial coin offering (ICO)engine that allows companies and startups to host ICOs through the Eidoo mobile app.

According to data provider Coinschedule, $3.3 billion has been raised in more than 200 ICOsover the past 12 months alone and the popularity of this innovative ICO form of crowdfunding shows no signs of relenting.

BNP Paribas buys 10% stake in SME credit specialist Caple (AltFi), Rated: A

Through the alliance and a 10 per cent stake in Caple, BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) is establishing a new platform to offer alternative credit to European SMEs.

Australia/New Zealand

CEO Jeff Greenslade details why Heartland Bank is moving aggressively into digital banking (Interest), Rated: AAA

Greenslade also reiterated Heartland’s forecast for June 2018 year net profit after tax of between $65 million and $68 million, an increase of up to 12% from $60.8 million in the June 2017 year.

“While some understandably lament the decline of branch banking, the bricks and mortar approach is not something we can compete in and is showing signs of obsolescence,” said Greenslade.

He pointed to Heartland’s digital services offering livestock finance, personal loans, SME working capital finance and deposits, noting “significant opportunity” to build on these.

Heartland has just six branches in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, Riccarton in Christchurch, and Ashburton.

India

Lower interest rates for borrowers in offing? Read where things stand (Financial Express), Rated: A

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending will attract more people to these platforms and help bring down the interest rates for borrowers, Bhavin Patel, founder and CEO of LenDen Club, told Shritama Bose. Players in the segment have sought the regulator’s clarifications on the permissibility of institutional lenders on P2P platforms, he added.

Will the RBI guidelines have an impact on the lending rates?

In the current scenario, the P2P lending market is a minuscule percentage of the huge lending market in India. But, due to the sentimental impact of the regulation, many more lenders may take to P2P lending, resulting in higher liquidity on such platforms. This will eventually lead to reduction of the interest rates offered to borrowers in this segment.

How Fintech is Shaping Up the Future of Financial Services (Dekh News), Rated: A

Traditional banking institutions have changed very little in the last hundred years. Most offer online banking and mobile apps these days, but behind the scenes, very little has changed.

In total, $49.7 billion was invested in fintech between 2012-16, which indicates just how important fintech is.

Fintech innovators are more cost-effective than traditional lenders. Their technology and business models are low cost. A traditional lender may have operating costs of around 7% compared to an online lender whose operating costs are as low as 2%.

A staggering 38% of customers no longer visit banks. The rise of online banks has proven that traditional bank branches are not essential. Online lenders such as Atom have become firmly embedded in the banking ecosystem.

MENA

A tale of how two cities thrive in FinTech world (Khaleej Times), Rated: A

Two cities thrive in this new world. Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Long before renewable energy was pervasive, Abu Dhabi had established Masdar. It has brought in the magic of the Louvre from Paris. Singapore has consistently been ahead of the curve of change. The world’s largest vertical botanical garden paves the way for urban farming. The Marina Reservoir is a masterpiece of engineering and vision that turned an inlet of the sea into a strategically critical freshwater resource for the “Little Red Dot”.

Recently, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) held its inaugural FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit.

Two major announcements were made at the event. The first was the launch of the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre by the first half of 2018.

The second was about a collaboration. ADGM and Plug and Play, the world’s largest startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley, signed a new partnership to launch a startup acceleration programme in Abu Dhabi, focused on FinTech. The programme, first of its kind in the Mena region, will be housed within the ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre. The partnership was signed by Ahmed Al Sayegh, chairman of ADGM, and Saeed Amidi, CEO, Plug and Play. Some of Plug and Play’s success stories include Google, Paypal, Dropbox and Lending Club.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor