Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest

Annual fintech financing Singapore

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out crypto trading with Coinbase. Walmart now offers Affirm loans. Funding Circle fund ups the ante on buyback strategy. Orca launches IFISA. LendDenClub cross 1 million borrowers, lenders milestone. Today’s main analysis: 2019 securitization update. How marketplace lending is a growing and dynamic global market. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: The 2009 […]

The post Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Annual fintech financing Singapore

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Fintech Startup SoFi to Roll Out Crypto Trading Via Partnership With Coinbase (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Fintech startup SoFi — known for its online lending services — is partnering with major United States-based crypto exchange Coinbase to roll out crypto trading support, according to a CNBC report Feb. 26.

Millennial online lender SoFi to offer zero-fee ETFs, an unexpected rival for index fund giants Vanguard, iShares (CNBC), Rated: A

The race to zero-fee exchange-traded funds has found an unlikely competitor: Online lending and personal finance platform SoFi, which has filed for two index ETFs that will waive management fees for the first year. In making the move to zero-fee ETFs, the online lender is crashing an ETF party dominated by Vanguard and BlackRock‘s iShares.

FTC orders SoFi to stop misleading consumers (MPA Mag), Rated: B

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered online lender SoFi to stop lying about how much borrowers can save by refinancing with the company.

Digital lender founded by ex-SoFi CEO raises $ 65M to fuel expansion (American Banker), Rated: A

The new company founded by Mike Cagney, the former embattled chief executive of Social Finance, plans to announce a $65 million funding round on Wednesday, bolstering firm’s expansion into other financial services, including wealth management.

With the new venture, Cagney is using some of the strategies from his tenure at SoFi — like diversification into areas typically only occupied by traditional banks. However, the new company, Figure, is focusing on different customers, and it’s taking steps to avoid scandals similar to the ones that saw Cagney step down from the SoFi helm.

Walmart teams with Affirm to offer point-of-sale loans (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Walmart will offer its customers point-of-sale loans for the first time — both on its website and in nearly 4,000 U.S. stores — under a partnership with the Silicon Valley lender Affirm.

Under the deal, Walmart shoppers will be able to get Affirm loans of three, six or 12 months to finance purchases ranging from $150 to $2,000. The loans are already being offered in Walmart stores, and they will be available to Walmart’s online shoppers in the coming weeks.

Affirm’s latest partnership brings its alternative financing to Walmart’s US stores and website (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The companies announced this morning that Affirm’s financing options would be made available in more than 4,000 Walmart Supercenters across the U.S., and will roll out to Walmart.com in the weeks ahead.

The offering will go live across Walmart Supercenters nationwide, except in Iowa, West Virginia and Puerto Rico, and will be soon available on Walmart.com.

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership (CNBC), Rated: A

Loan app Affirm CEO breaks down new Walmart partnership from CNBC.

ABS Vegas – 2019 Securitization Update; Square Charter Status (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In regulatory news, Square’s ILC charter application has received opposition from 37 community groups. The groups are concerned about Square’s CRA activities and have asked the FDIC to bolster Square’s CRA requirements. Before this letter from community advocates, nearly all of the 15 letters the FDIC received were in favor of Square’s bid. Square is the furthest along the path to getting an ILC charter and its experience will determine whether other FinTechs follow its lead.

Structured Credit Investor magazine explores the challenges facing the maturing marketplace lending sector. Issuers need to distinguish between the borrower experience that they provide and manage liquidity. The article also makes the point that the sector is ripe for consolidation, although we haven’t seen any M&A yet.

2019 Securitization Update

The first two months of 2019 saw 5 securitization deals totaling $1.7 Bn in new issuance. The issuance volume represents a 23% drop over that seen in the first two months of 2018, as the market recovers from the volatility in equity and credit markets seen at the end of 2018. Total securitization issuance now stands at $46.2 Bn, with 147 deals issued to date.

Source: PeerIQ

The Housing Market’s 10 Year Challenge — Comparing The Housing Market of 2009 to Today (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

When the real estate bubble burst in late 2008, many Americans saw their home values fall drastically, but a lot has changed in the 10 years since — housing prices have rebounded from their lows during the Great Recession. And though prices are now starting to cool, in many cases, home values have even exceeded their 2006 highs.

On average, median home values have increased by nearly $50,000 across the 50 largest metros in the United States since 2009.

Metros where housing prices have recovered the most since 2009

San Jose, Calif.

Median home value 2009: $638,300
Median home value 2017: $957,700
Median home value change: $319,400
Median unemployment rate change: -6.4%
Median household income change: $32,991

San Francisco

Median home value 2009: $591,600
Median home value 2017: $849,500
Median home value change: $257,900
Median unemployment rate change: -5.4%
Median household income change: $27,889

Los Angeles

Median home value 2009: $463,600
Median home value 2017: $617,100
Median home value change: $153,500
Median unemployment rate change: -5.0%
Median household income change: $11,467

Source: LendingTree
Source: LendingTree

Gen Xers Carry the Biggest Auto Loan Burden; Study Finds (One World Herald), Rated: A

According to the loan comparison website, the median balance of Gen Xers who have auto loans is $18,741 is higher than other age groups. It is 9% more than baby boomers’ $17,185 median balance. This is higher than millennials’ $16,200 and 37 percent more than the lowest median balance of $13,666 held by Gen Z.

Personal Loan Interest Rates for February 2019 (Nerdwallet), Rated: AAA

Personal loan interest rates, whether you’re considering a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender, generally range from about 6% to 36%. The actual rate you receive depends on factors such as your credit score and history, annual income, existing debt and where you get the loan.

Online lenders offer the lowest starting interest rates on personal loans to borrowers with good to excellent credit.

Source: Nerdwallet

LightStream and Marcus both require a minimum credit score of 660. LightStream accepts joint applications, and one applicant can have a credit score lower than its minimum. SoFi has a slightly higher credit score requirement and requires at least $45,000 in annual income.

Elevate Credit (ELVT) Posts Earnings Results, Meets Expectations (Fairfield Current), Rated: A

Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) announced its quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 11th. The company reported $0.09 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.09, Bloomberg Earnings reports. The business had revenue of $207.29 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $212.42 million. Elevate Credit had a return on equity of 15.72% and a net margin of 1.59%. Elevate Credit updated its FY 2019 guidance to $0.55-0.65 EPS.

Source: Fairfield Current

Hunt Real Estate Capital buys RealtyMogul’s proprietary loan underwriting program (Housing Wire), Rated: A

Hunt Real Estate Capital, which offers financing for all types of commercial real estate, will soon have a new underwriting system to help it originate those loans, as the company is buying a proprietary loan underwriting system from RealtyMogul.

Elevate’s Joan Kuehl Named Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year (The Progress), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”) today announced that Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Joan Kuehl has been named the Large Enterprise CIO of the Year by the Dallas ORBIE CIO of the Year Awards. The award honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership.

A Recession Coming? Small Business Lending Platform Kabbage Says It’s Prepared (Forbes), Rated: A

The world is bracing for a recession, with the latest data showing  in the U.S. expect it to occur by the end of 2021

If those predictions prove true, it will be the first major economic downturn for some of the nation’s leading fintechs. Born out of the ruins of the recession, these startups have enjoyed nearly a decade of success buoyed by strong economic growth, a bull run in the stock market and low unemployment.

Here’s more on the  AJC Top Workplaces midsize companies (AJC.com), Rated: B

Kabbage has been named to the list for five consecutive years and this is its first year in the top five. The private financial technology company, founded in 2009, has 489 global employes and 367 at its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta. Flexibility at work and perks, such as a daily catered lunch and snacks, are among reasons employees appreciate working for Kabbage. Wellness benefits include fitness classes, health equipment onsite, biweekly meditation classes, CPR training, an annual flu shot clinic and sponsoring sports clubs. It also fully pays health benefits for individuals and provides annual bonuses and a 401(k) match. Through its sabbatical program, employees of five years can receive six weeks of paid time off and an additional $6,000. In 2018, Kabbage participated in the Atlanta PRIDE parade and also took a stand against gun violence after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Workers in 2019 will build a Habitat for Humanity home as part of its Kabbage Kares program, which also has supported PAWS Atlanta, Easter Seals and the Epilepsy Foundation.

Diversifying a Self-Directed IRA Made Simple with New Offering from CrowdStreet (The Progress), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, an online marketplace for direct equity investment in commercial real estate (CRE), today launched a streamlined, investor-friendly approach to investing qualified retirement account funds into commercial real estate offerings. This new option makes it easier than ever for individuals to access CRE investments with their self-directed IRAs (SDIRA), thus reducing their investment exposure to a volatile stock market and achieving more independence in managing their investments.

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar Announce Strategic Partnership (Liquid P2P), Rated: A

Liquid P2P and Interest Radar are pleased to announce that they have entered into a strategic partnership. The two third-party investing services for online peer-lending giant Lending Club will combine strengths under a single platform to deliver a more comprehensive automated tool with a patent-pending liquidity solution.

Direct Lending Investments Suspends Investor Withdrawals (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Earlier this month Brendan Ross, the CEO of Direct Lending Investments, Inc., sent a letter to investors notifying them that they have suspended withdrawals and redemptions effective February 8, 2019. Lend Academy was able to obtain a copy of this investor letter, dated February 11, that provides some color into what happened. The reason given was the delinquency of a large holding, VOIP Guardian, a telecom receivables factoring company.

Fintech deal will provide access to midsize businesses in U.S. (American Banker), Rated: A

Add HSBC to the list of banks partnering with commercial online lenders.

The bank on Tuesday announced a partnership with Neptune Financial, a San Francisco online lender that focuses on businesses with $10 million to $100 million in assets. The bank estimates that, with the access it will get to Neptune customers, the deal represents a $1.5 trillion opportunity.

Venmo debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored card (Business Insider), Rated: A

Venmo, the PayPal-owned peer-to-peer (P2P) giant, debuted a limited-edition rainbow-colored version of its physical card product. The card will function the same as regular Venmo cards, allowing customers to pay wherever Mastercard is accepted, split costs and tips, withdraw funds from select ATMs, and manage their Venmo balance, but it will only be available for as long as supplies last, according to Venmo.

Source: Business Insider

Why digital identities will be so important in the next few years, according to Mastercard’s vice chairman (CNBC), Rated: A

The pace with which we are moving toward the internet of things is “very rapid” but we “can’t have the internet of everyone without the inclusion of everyone,” according to the vice chairman of payments giant Mastercard.

“You have to start focusing on how does the human get involved, and that’s going to be through having a digital identity,” Ann Cairns told CNBC’s Karen Tso on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Credit Karma’s Dana Marineau: ‘We want users to think of us as more than just free credit scores’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Today’s marketer on the hot seat is Dana Marineau, Credit Karma’s vice president of brand, creative and communications. People love Credit Karma for its free credit scores, but the company provides so many other free tools. Dana’s team is tasked with elevating the brand beyond just free credit scores, as a place to get help with financial decisions and achieve financial progress. She brings a 15 year experience at EA, working on many of the top sports games in the business.

Why this small bank created a separate, digital-first brand (American Banker), Rated: AAA

When Midwest BankCentre, a community bank in St. Louis, launched the digital-first Rising Bank in February, it joined the ranks of other financial companies —generally large players such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and MUFG Union Bank — that have created separate, digital-only brands. Unlike them, the $1.9 billion-asset Midwest hopes to keep a community bank feel at the internet-only unit.

The Future Is Plastic: Fintech Unicorn Brex Launches New Credit Card For E-Commerce Merchants (Forbes), Rated: A

Brex, a San Francisco credit card startup that reached a valuation of $1.1 billion late last year, 22 months after its founding, is launching its second product, a physical credit card for e-commerce companies. Its first card, targeted to venture-backed tech startups, has attracted more than 3,000 customers by providing higher spending limits and simplifying the application process.

YieldStreet raises $ 62M to democratise alternative investments in shipping, real estate and more (TechCrunch), Rated: A

YieldStreet — which provides a platform for making alternative investments in areas like real estate, marine/shipping, legal finance, commercial loans and other opportunities that in the past were only open to institutional investors — is today announcing that it has raised $62 million in a Series B round of funding.

Guaranteed Rate Leads Mortgage Executive Magazine’s List of Top Loan Originators in America (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

For the seventh consecutive year, Guaranteed Rate has the most loan originators of any lender on Mortgage Executive Magazine’s annual list of the “Top 200 Mortgage Originators in America,” including the number one originator.

Guaranteed Rate led the way with 36 originators ranking within Mortgage Executive Magazine’s Top 200, including three of the top five. Shant Banosian of Boston, Mass., was named the nation’s 2018 Top Originator by funding $536 Million in total loan volume.

Americans Focus On Debt Management But Lose Focus On Retirement Savings (Forbes), Rated: A

Our minds are wired to prioritize the near-term over the long-term. We shouldn’t be surprised that a new survey by 

U.S. banking regulator fights NY lawsuit over fintech charters (Reuters), Rated: A

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has asked a Manhattan federal court to dismiss a lawsuit by a New York financial regulator over its plan to issue banking charters to fintech companies, saying the lawsuit is premature.

Blockchain and data protection: the main concerns (JDSupra), Rated: A

Blockchain’s usage is no longer limited to digital crypto currencies, as blockchain databases may be deployed in innumerable circumstances and scenarios, including, for instance, within the financial services and insurance sectors for money transfer, peer-to-peer lending and transfer of securities, as well as automatic execution of contracts.

LoanStreet positions for growth with new hires (LoanStreet Email), Rated: B

After the launch of LoanStreet’s commercial lending product and the announcement of their $6.5 million funding round, LoanStreet – the first fully-integrated platform that streamlines the process of sharing, managing, and originating loans – has appointed three credit union industry veterans to support LoanStreet’s aggressive growth.

These new hires include Mike Doherty, Managing Director and Head of Credit Union Sales; Tony Harter, Business Development Director; and Joe Parvin, Business Development Director.

White Oak Business Capital Hires Carol Bader Apicella to Expand Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Markets (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

White Oak Business Capital, Inc. (“WOBC”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC, has announced that Carol Apicella has joined the firm as Senior Vice President and Senior Business Development Officer. Apicella will be responsible for expanding the firm’s markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle fund adds firepower for buyback strategy (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The portfolio, an investment trust, of loans originated by Funding Circle lowered its dividend expectations amid lower projected returns last year prompting a discount to its net asset value.

Following a move to a more than 10 per cent discount last year it started share buybacks in a bid to narrow its discount. It has now made additional capital available from its free cash flow to be deployed into share buybacks, the fund said yesterday.

Orca Innovative Finance ISA Launches, Enables Diversified P2P Investment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca Money is finally launching its long-anticipated Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA). Orca’s spin on the savings vehicle allows investors to spread their money across multiple peer-to-peer lenders (P2P) thus providing a heightened degree of diversification. Additionally, Orca Money conducts due diligence on behalf of IFISA investors.

Currently, the Orca IFISA allows access to 5 P2P platforms: Lending Works, Assetz Capital, Landbay, Octopus Choice and Lending Crowd.

Experian, ClearScore scrap merger plans (Reuters), Rated: A

Experian Plc, the world’s biggest credit data firm, said on Wednesday that it had agreed with rival ClearScore to abandon their proposed merger, after Britain’s competition watchdog indicated that it may block the deal.

NatWest launches account aggregation as Open Banking takes hold (AltFi), Rated: A

It’s been a long time coming, but Open Banking is finally spreading through the traditional banking industry, this week with the launch of account aggregation for NatWest customers.

The RBS subsidiary becomes the UK’s 4th bank to let customers connect rival current accounts.

Will Open Banking boom in 2019? (AltFi), Rated: A

It has been over a year since the Open Banking UK initiative under the Competition and Markets Authority order and Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was launched and has become one of the industry’s biggest technology and regulatory shake ups in recent years. It is no surprise that the initiative’s first year has seen a relatively low consumer uptake. This has been coupled with reports that consumers’ knowledge of the scheme appears to be markedly low.

Aave Launches Platform to Pay Bills Using Crypto (Finance Magnates), Rated: A

In an attempt to bring crypto closer to the mainstream, the London-based fintech startup has announced the launch of Aave Pay.

The app will allow its users to pay their utility bills using digital coins by converting crypto into fiat in real-time using bank transfer facility. The company is claiming that the platform can be used to business expenses as well including employee salaries, income taxes, and other commercial or corporate expenses.

Investing in crowdfunded development projects – what you need to know (Property Investor Today), Rated: A

You can invest in peer to peer development loans for the short term or in an Innovative Finance ISA for a longer commitment period, but with the potential to earn tax free returns.

By comparison, a peer to peer lending platform with its own development company will have much more control over its projects and be able to give you more detailed and trustworthy updates.

Failed Lender Reaching ‘From Beyond The Grave,’ MPs Warn (Law360), Rated: A

Failed payday lender Wonga is damaging the finances of thousands of customers “from beyond the grave” because they cannot seek redress for allegedly missold loans as the company was not covered…

International

Some Bankers Are Doing Even Worse Than in 2009 (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

It may not feel like it, but some corners of banking are suffering as badly as they did during the depths of the financial crisis. Global volumes of initial public offerings and share placings in January and February have been nearly 60 percent lower than in the same period last year. The numbers are worse than the first two months of 2009. If activity doesn’t pick up soon, it would be worrying evidence of the fragility of investor sentiment.

The hope is that the lull is temporary, and technical. The government shutdown in Washington has gummed up U.S. IPOs. Uncertainty over the U.K.’s future relationship with Europe just drags on. And the December stock-market wobble probably killed off deals that were being planned for the window that traditionally opens between January and the start of the full-year earnings season in late February.

Marketplace Lending – A Growing and Dynamic Global Market (DBRS Email), Rated: AAA

I wanted to share with you a new joint report from our U.S. and European structured finance teams. The new report, attached to this email, analyzes the growth of the marketplace lending market around the globe.

The commentary includes the following topics:

— The evolution in finance, from traditional banking to FinTech.
— FinTech’s influence on marketplace lending around the globe.
— Growth hurdles.
— Securitization considerations.

Bank on it: How Enova’s software expands credit access worldwide (Built in Chicago), Rated: A

Not all credit histories are created equal.

That’s the case for a large part of the world’s population who can’t get access to a loan from a traditional credit provider — like a bank — creating a world in which the hardest working people don’t always get access to the credit they need. Enova, however, believes it has a solution. The fintech company draws on the power of machine learning and data to offer products that expand access to credit for consumers and small businesses.

Blossom Capital scores $ 85m from Robinhood and Funding Circle backers (AltFi), Rated: A

Blossom Capital, which has already backed five startups including rental marketplace Fat Lama, today raised $85m which it will use to lead Series A rounds of between $5m and $10m in Europe.

Eight Simple Ways to Earn Bitcoin Online Legally (The Crypto Updates), Rated: B

Earn Bitcoins as the interest payments: If you have earned some Bitcoins already, you can put the Bitcoins to earn for you. Lend them out at particular interest rate. You can lend the Bitcoins directly to someone known at a greed interest rate and repayment period. You need to assess trustworthiness of borrower. Peer to peer Bitcoin lending is another way to let the earned Bitcoins earn for you. There are many peer-to-peer lending websites where the borrowers post the borrowing requests. Over these websites, you can act as a lender. It is also possible to fund the small portion of numbers of loans to reduce the risk.

European Union

Grid Finance suspends taking investments below € 100,000 (Irish Times), Rated: AAA

One of the largest providers of peer-to-peer loans in the State has shut down a key part of its business aimed at smaller investors, blaming an absence of regulation in the crowdfunding space.

Grid Finance, which is backed by Enterprise Ireland, wrote to holders of its “Brick” accounts – that facilitate the investment of up to €100,000 – in recent days stating that it would withdraw the offering from the marketplace.

China

Dragon Victory International: Exposure To The Chinese Crowdfunding Market At A Regulatory-Driven Discount (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

In recent years as China winds down its industrial and manufacturing powerhouse growth, it’s looking to other developed nations to determine which platforms it should invest in and pave the way to sustained economic growth. As most other major developed nations have done over the past century, financial services and engineering have been a very profitable platform and companies in China are quick to launch their own services to capitalize on the triple-digit growth in online financial services exhibited since 2003.

Similar to Hexindai (HX), which I’ve previously covered as a leading online lender which is capitalizing on the middle class appetite for debt to finance their lives and vacations, Dragon Victory International Limited (LYL) is taking on the crowdfunding segment in the People’s Republic of China. Similar to countless other platforms around the world, the company’s services are around financing new companies and capitalizing entrepreneurs through public funding and they already have over 4.5M users who use their services, a number nearly doubling each year.

Source: Dragon Victory International F-1 filings

China Fintech Today: The P2P Boom Is Truly Over (SupChina), Rated: A

This year, the government has continued to lead a reorganization of the industry:

  • More companies will die: As of February 17, only 60 percent of online lending institutions had disclosed their operational information for January 2019, including five problematic platforms.
  • However, the current asset quality of the online lending industry has improved significantly according the data from firms that did report.
  • As of the end of January 2019, the accumulated amount of the online P2P online loan industry was about 7.78 trillion yuan ($1.16 trillion). The total loan amount in January was 91.4 billion yuan ($13.61 billion), down 55.1 percent year-on-year and down 1.3 percent from the previous month.
  • Further consolidation of industry players is certain. Some experts quoted in media reports predict that the scale of future online loans will continue to shrink because of regulation.
  • Some listed companies, such as Aoma Electric and Panda Financial Companies, have abandoned their P2P businesses.
  • Aoma Electric issued a letter of concern to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on February 14, attributing the decision to the broader economic slowdown, and a high number of overdue loans.
  • Panda Gold Control in 2018 was also dragged down by its P2P business, and expects a net loss of 41.16 million ($6.13 million) to 57.63 million yuan ($8.58  million) in 2018. Faced with the uncertainty of the P2P sector, Panda Gold Control chose to divest.

A Crypto Project That Raised $ 20 Million Is Caught Faking Its Founding Team (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Launched on Dec. 2, BHB claims to offer an ethereum-based solution for peer-to-peer lending, but by Jan. 18, local media reports were already accusing the project of operating an illegal pyramid scheme. Now, CoinDesk is able to reveal inconsistencies in the information provided about its founding team that further suggest something may be amiss at the China-based project.

However, the image of Bobby White used in BHB’s marketing materials is identical to that of an economics professor at China’s Tsinghua University named Alexander White. Meanwhile, the image of Gregory Moss is the same as one used by a philosophy professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, who is also named Gregory Moss.

Tencent-backed brokerage firm downsizes US IPO amid weak market demand (Technode), Rated: A

Tencent-backed online brokerage firm Futu Securities has set the terms for its US initial public offering (IPO) to raise up to $130 million, which will value the company at more than $1 billion. The company previously set its target at as high as $300 million when it filed for the US listing in December.

Chinese tech behemoth, Tencent, owns over 38% of the company, has shown interest in purchasing up to 25% of the new shares issued.

Australia

How should accountants talk to clients about fintechs? (In the Black), Rated: A

Like the ombudsman’s office, ASIC has also made information available to educate consumers and advisers, including on its MoneySmart Borrowing Basics and Peer-to-Peer Lending sites.

Is any flexibility possible, Shiel wonders, with a peer-to-peer lending model in which the borrower likely doesn’t know who is providing the funds?

India

LenDenClub crosses 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders milestone (News Barons), Rated: AAA

LenDenClub, one of India’s fastest growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, recently crossed an important landmark with more than 1,00,000 borrowers and lenders on its platform. The breakdown of borrowers to lenders is 83,300 and 16700, respectively. The company crossed this milestone by keeping up with latest market trends, and saw an increase in the use of its product InstaMoney, which was launched in June 2018.

Why Do Fintech Startups and Investors See a Huge Potential in Lending? (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

Today, thanks to the ongoing digitization, borrowing has become as easy as it can get in India. For contrast, all it takes now is the touch of a few buttons, answers to a few verification-related questions, and anyone can receive a loan in a matter of hours or days, if not minutes. And all of this is without any collateral and while enjoying the comfort of your home. Now, compare this with taking a day off to go to the bank, doing extensive paperwork, visiting frequently to check the progress of your loan application, and ultimately, getting your application rejected because of the loan officer’s misjudgement. All while wasting two months of time in the constant to and fro and taking multiple days off from your office.

It is beyond doubt that the advent of fintech startups has altered the game of lending in India. It has become both simpler and convenient to borrow using their revolutionary approaches driven by state-of-the-art technologies. Currently, more than 1,500 fintech startups (of all shapes and sizes) are catering to the Indian market, and more than half of these startups have been launched over the last 3 years. This gives us a clear picture of how lucrative the sector is becoming for our startup ecosystem. But what is essentially fuelling this trend? Let’s find out.

Banning of UDS to benefit P2P Lending Industry (Inventiva), Rated: A

The latest ordinance of the Banning of Unregulated Deposits (UDS) 2019, was passed by the government to provide a comprehensive mechanism to ban UDS as well as to protect the interest of depositors. This is in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines on the NBFC-P2P sector, issued in October 2017 to regulate the unorganized lending business in the country.

Asia

Singapore fintech investments rose two-fold to US$ 365m in 2018 (SBR.com.sg), Rated: AAA

US$102.2m of the total funds raised went to lending fintech companies such as the homegrown Funding Societies.

Fintech investments in Singapore more than doubled to US$365m in 2018 from US$180m in 2017, putting the country amongst the top five fintech markets by funds raised last year in Asia Pacific, behind China, India, Australia and Japan, according to Accenture’s analysis of CB Insights data. The number of deals in the country rose to 71 from 61 in 2017, making it the third busiest market in the region, behind only China and India.

Source:

Validus Capital raises $ 15m for SME financing (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Validus Capital, a Singapore-based SME financing platform, has raised SGD 20.5 million ($15.2 million) in a Series B funding round, led by FMO, a Dutch public-private development bank.

Latin America

PayPal expands its small business loans initiative to Mexico (Leaprate), Rated: AAA

Online payment giant PayPal launched its Working Capital initiative in 2013 as an alternative method for business to access working capital much faster than through traditional means. Many small and medium-sized business (SMB) clients embraced the program and since then the company has advanced more than $6 billion in loans to over 170,000 businesses in the UK, US, Germany and Australia.

PayPal also recently revealed that it has partnered with Konfio, a Mexican online lender that utilizes unconventional data sources to facilitate fast credit assessments, in a deal that will allow PayPal to extend its Business loan and working capital programs to Mexican businesses.

ID Finance eyes ‘pivotal moment’ for Latam fintech as revenue in region climbs 403% (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

ID Finance, the fintech company operating in Europe and Latin America, saw revenue of $49m in 2018. This represents growth of 236% for the business, which was formally separated from its operations in Russia and CIS region last year.

The company is enjoying particularly strong growth in Latam, one of the world’s fastest growing markets for fintech adoption thanks to high mobile penetration and a sizeable underbanked population – according to the World Bank 61% of Mexico’s population is excluded from the traditional banking system, while 40% of Brazil’s 207m population are blacklisted. The company now has 141 employees in Latam and saw revenue growth of 403% in the region last year.

Challenger bank N26 expands to Brazil (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Germany-based mobile challenger bank N26 is powering on yet again as it has revealed its plans to expand to Brazil.

Africa

How FinTech Companies Inspire Africa With Mobile Technology (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

With the potential for rapid growth and job creation, FinTech firms in Africa have caught the attention of global investors. According to the London Stock Exchange Group’s 2019 “Companies to Inspire Africa” report, which highlights these firms, the FinTech sector has the second highest growth rate representation of technology and telecoms as well as financial services. As it stands, companies in this space represent more than a quarter of 360 featured firms from 32 different countries. Pan-African payments firm Cellulant is among the companies that appeared in the first and second editions of the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday February 28 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday September 21 2018, Daily News Digest

Chinese companies surge on debut after US IPOs

News Comments Today’s main news: LendingClub spent $6.4M to relocate two executives. Funding Circle to price IPO between 420-530 pence. Funding Circle to set valuation at $2.4B after IPO. Qatar fund to invest in Lufax. X Financial completes IPO. Today’s main analysis: Fintech investors like ‘stodgy’, not ‘sexy’. Prospa has written $750M in loans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How machine learning helps P2P […]

Chinese companies surge on debut after US IPOs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

Some Companies Spend Plenty to Lure Executives Willing to Relocate (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

Some businesses have gone so far as to shell out millions to move key players from miles away. LendingClub Corp. LC -2.63% spent nearly $6.4 million to bring two new top officers and their families to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017, according to an analysis of data from company proxies by research firm Equilar Inc. That sum largely reflects $3 million in relocation bonuses for Steve Allocca, the new president, and Thomas Casey, LendingClub’s chief financial officer. Both men moved from less-costly cities in Texas.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Fintech investors like ‘stodgy more than sexy’ (Financial Planning) Rated: AAA

A good chunk of the money being invested in wealth management and banking technology is going toward funding artificial intelligence-driven tools.

But forget the popular concept of conversational, British-voiced computers, chatbots or even cute robot assistants greeting customers at branches; the applications that investors want in on are focused on improving operational efficiency.

The industry’s current methods of handling compliance issues, back-office processing, clearing and settlements, he says, are ripe for reinvention.

Source: Financial Planning

How Does Machine Learning Help Peer to Peer Online Marketplaces Succeed? (Tech Pluto) Rated: AAA

Machine learning technology brings a real ROI to peer to peer marketplace owners. Airbnb, a company known for their personalized approach to each customer has seen a significant growth in the number of bookings after they started using machine learning. Other popular P2P marketplaces such as Etsy, Uber, Lending Club also apply intelligent algorithms to increase their conversion rates and acquire a competitive advantage.

Machine learning helps leading marketplaces and companies that provide AI consulting services develop features that bring tangible value to business and consumers. So how exactly do P2P marketplace companies use this cutting-edge technology? Let’s find out.

Predicting which products a user will like is a widely adopted use case for machine learning. A variety of digital products today have recommender systems powered by this technology. In the past product recommendation systems were based on hard-coded rules. Those rules determined what item to show to a user based on some predefined scenarios. For example, if a user buys a fancy red dress, she’s likely to also buy shoes that match this dress.

SoFi’s Former Head Of Venture Strikes Out On His Own (Benzinga) Rated: A

For this installment, Benzinga interviewed an intriguing fintech venture capitalist: Logan Allin, general partner at Fin Venture Capital and former head of venture at SoFi.

Allin’s career has been largely spent “in and around” financial services, he said, including stints at SoFi, City National Bank and Invesco Ltd. IVZ. He launched Fin Venture Capital in April with a focus on the global fintech sector, greenfield areas and B2B and B2B2C players in particular.

BZ: Fintech funding rounds are getting larger, some consolidation is occurring and the space in general is maturing — is there still room for small startups to have a major impact? What verticals are ripe for disruption?

According to Pitchbook’s data, the U.S. funding environment is skewed increasingly to growth and late stage startups and is on pace to surpass $100 billion in deal value for the first time since the dot-com era.

Indeed, there was $57.5 billion of VC invested in U.S. companies through the first half of the year, and the second quarter of 2018 is higher than six of the past 10 full-year totals. Despite the volume, the deal count has remained stable due to later-stage entry points and larger round sizes, and as a result, deployment is at a slower pace than seen in 2013-2015.

You’re seeing a move toward larger fund sizes with the same investment period as they’ve always had, five years, which leads to larger check requirements per deal and thus a move downstream to growth and late-stage rounds where the valuation math and round sizes align.

Goldman Sachs nears deal to sell its fintech app – WSJ (Reuters) Rated: A

Goldman Sachs is in advanced talks with several financial companies to spin off ‘Simon’, its three-year-old app that sells financial products to retail investors, the Wall Street Journal reported on.wsj.com/2OzaWmf on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, HSBC Holdings , Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo and insurer Prudential Financial have expressed interest for a stake in the business, the report said.

The deal, which would value the app at around $100 million, is likely to be finalised in the coming weeks.

Lendio Franchising Growth Soars, Doubling Amount of Loans Funded Quarter Over Quarter Since Inception (Lendio) Rated: A

LendingTree Announces Startup Innovators Program at LEND360 (PR Newswire) Rated: A

LendingTree®, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced it will sponsor a $10,000 award to be given at LEND360 to the fintech startup with the most cutting-edge solutions propelling the online lending ecosystem forward.

As the desire to enter the fintech space continues to heat up, LEND360’s Startup Innovators Program will highlight startup organizations’ crucial part of the fintech ecosystem, bringing new and innovative thinking to the industry.

LEND360 will be held October 8-10, 2018 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

iCapital Buys Bank of America Alt Feeder Fund Ops (Wealth Management) Rated: A

Alternative investing platform iCapital Network announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Bank of America to acquire the bank’s alternative investment feeder fund operations. iCapital expects the volume on its platform to more than quadruple as a result, growing from $6 billion in invested capital across 14,000 underlying accounts to $25 billion across nearly 70,000 accounts.

Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust account holders and advisors will continue to use their existing interfaces and their client relationships, but the inner workings of the system will be improved, said Lawrence Calcano, CEO of iCapital.

More Americans With Low Credit Scores Buying Homes (Laredo Morning Times) Rated: A

If you have a low credit score and want to buy a home, your odds of getting a loan have improved. A study by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) shows that credit scores for new mortgage originations have been dropping, suggesting that lenders are slowly relaxing the tight credit policies imposed after the housing crisis.

According to the study, new mortgage loans with credit scores less than 700 increased from 21.9% of all mortgage loans in 2009 to 29.7% in 2017. These include scores in the subprime market that can reach down into the 400s. (While the typical lower credit score limit is 620 for conforming loans and 500 for FHA loans, loans may be granted at even lower credit scores with extenuating circumstances.)

The shift in average credit scores is driven by FHA loans – as expected by the lower acceptance criteria for FHA loans. The latest Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae shows that only 16.7% of conventional mortgage loan originations in July 2018 were associated with FICO scores less than 700.For FHA loans, over 65% of FHA loans went to borrowers with scores below 700.

2Wheel Partners With Affirm to Offer 0% Financing (Motorcycle & Powersports News) Rated: A

Affirm Inc., a financial technology company, provides transparent alternatives to traditional credit. Customers can select the Affirm payment option at checkout and quickly and easily receive real-time approval of their loan amount. The payment terms are clearly stated with no hidden fees or compounding interest.

5 Surprising Traits of Digital Banking Winners (Financial Brand) Rated: A

Ever since JP Morgan declared itself a technology company that provides financial services — not the other way around — analysts and investors have been scrambling to discern which banking companies are doing tech well, and which are not. They know the institutions that harness the power of artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data, and more importantly, the applied business insights these technologies can generate, will be the banks that will be the winners in the long run.

“Long term I think this will determine the split between winners and losers,” one investor told the Financial Times in a story on AI and banking earlier this year.

New Research Indicates Non-Prime Hispanics Have a Leg up on Financial Health (Market Watch) Rated: A

When it comes to personal finances, Hispanics in the U.S. are more stable and optimistic than other groups studied. A newly released study from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (CNMC) found that non-prime Hispanics – or those with credit scores below 700 – experience higher levels of employment and less volatile monthly income. When compared to the broader non-prime community, non-prime Hispanics in the U.S. are:

  • 65% more likely to plan for major expenses
  • 86% more likely to feel financially stable
  • 38% more likely to save money each month
  • 20% less likely to have had a vacation expense in the last 12 months
  • 23% less likely to spend on routine medical expenses
  • 50% more likely to be able to cover a $1200 unexpected expense
  • 3x more likely to regularly pay using a smartphone
  • 20% less likely to have a credit card
  • 25% less likely to have a personal retirement account
  • 2x more likely to regularly give money to a child or grandchild
  • 40% more likely to be employed

Why those high-profile bank glitches just won’t stop (American Banker) Rated: A

The glitch that left SunTrust customers without access to mobile and online banking for two days is just the latest digital snafu to afflict the banking industry. Upgrades by banks or their vendors that went haywire have resulted in multiple outages this past year.

So it begs the question: If there’s such potential for an upgrade to go wrong, why aren’t banks more prepared for the eventuality, instead of scrambling to get service back up and running?

Industry experts bear some bad news about the state of technology in banking: Banks can’t really be proactive enough to prevent the problems.

Why do state regulators want to limit consumer choice? (American Banker) Rated: A

The decision by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to begin accepting applications for special purpose national bank charters from fintech companies promotes innovation, gives consumers and businesses greater choice and creates economic growth and opportunity.

It is also good for America’s dual banking system, which the president of Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services ignore in their recent articles and statements.

Fed will have the say on key parts of OCC’s fintech charter (American Banker) Rated: A

The Federal Reserve is under increasing pressure to provide clarity on whether nonbank fintech firms that receive a special federal charter will have direct access to central bank lending and to the U.S. payment systems.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency confirmed in July that it would accept applications from fintech firms for a “special-purpose” national bank charter, although the new license has been legally challenged by state regulators.

But many experts say the OCC’s charter would lose value if the Fed did not allow direct entry to fintech firms. Those firms now, for example, can access the payments system only through bank partners.

White Oak Healthcare Finance Refinances Texas SNFs for Granite Investment Group (Digital Journal) Rated: B

White Oak Healthcare Finance, LLC (“White Oak”), today announced it acted as sole lender and administrative agent on the funding of a $33.2 million senior credit facility for Granite Investment Group (“Granite”). The funds were used to refinance a portfolio of four skilled nursing facilities in Texas.

Granite Investment Group is a privately held, real estate investment firm focused on multi-family, senior housing, and post-acute care.

AlphaFlow Continues Expansion with Launch of New York Office, Hiring of Fintech Executives Stephan Leccese and John Woodruff (PR Newswire) Rated: B

AlphaFlow, the first automated alternative investment platform for real estate, announced today the opening of a new office in New York City. The office launch and expansion operations will be helmed by recently hired fintech executive Stephan Leccese, who joins the firm as Vice President of Partnerships & Servicing.  John Woodruff, a former credit fund senior analyst, will be joining Stephan in New York, serving as Vice President of Investments.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to price 71.4 mln IPO shares between 420-530 pence (Nasdaq) Rated: AAA

British peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle plans to sell up to 71.4 million new shares in its initial public offering for between 420 pence and 530 pence per share.

Funding Circle, which expects to list in October with a valuation of more than 1.5 billion pounds ($1.92 billion), said it plans to raise gross proceeds of about 300 million pounds.

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle to be valued up to $ 2.4 billion after IPO (CNBC) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle announced the pricing range for its initial public offering (IPO) on Wednesday that could value the company up to around £1.8 billion ($2.4 billion).

The British fintech firm said the price range of the offer has been set at 420 pence to 530 pence per share. The flotation will comprise a maximum of 71.4 million new shares and a secondary component to be determined.

After the completion of the IPO, the issued share capital of the company is expected to comprise between 329.7 million and 345 million shares.

Is real estate crowdfunding the investment option for you? (Born2Invest) Rated: A

Equity crowdfunding has been a great alternative investment for many, but there are other principles that branched out from it. Some investors direct their funds not only on startups that offer unique products or services as others become virtual landlords through property crowdfunding.

Platforms like LendInvest, Landbay and Lendy have risen to make real estate investing more interesting because of higher returns. Some sources suggest that peer-to-peer lending (P2P) schemes like crowdfunding in real estate allow for returns in excess of 5-6 percent compared to traditional real estate investment trusts (REITs).

There are three ways to get into real estate crowdfunding: P2P, debt crowdfunding and virtual buy-to-let.

China

China’s Online Lender Lufax Attracts Potential Investment From Qatar Fund (Gooruf) Rated: AAA

China’s online lender Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co. (Lufax) has attracted a potential investment from sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

QIA has been negotiating the probable purchase of a minority stake in Lufax with an estimated price range of about US$500 million to US$1 billion, said Bloomberg citing the source.

The company has been aiming to file for an initial public offering in Hong Kong since 2017, but only to witness its flotation on ice because of Beijing’s probes into online lenders.

Fintech / Peer to Peer Lender X Financial Trades on NYSE (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Chinese peer to peer lending platform X Financial (NYSE: XYF) completed its initial public offering (IPO) today trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co. were joint book runners on the IPO.

The IPO saw the Class A ordinary shares priced at $9.50. The offering was for 11 million American Depository Shares (ADSs) thus representing a raise of about $104.5 million. Shares initially traded much higher jumping to over $20/share at one point but are now currently hovering around $13/share.

The underwriters have been granted an option to purchase up to 1,650,000 additional ADSs at the IPO price less the underwriting discount.

X Financial on IPO: We Have Built One of the Strongest Fintech Businesses in China (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Earlier today, China based X Financial (NYSE:FXE) traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in its initial public offering raising approximately $104.5 million as 11 million shares were floated at $9.50/share. The shares quickly jumped higher in early trading and eventually closed about 25% higher than the offer price. X Financial, a peer to peer lender and Fintech platform, is part of a growing group of Chinese firms deciding to list their shares on US exchanges. In fact, this was the 9th Chinese company to list on the NYSE this year.

X Financial reports experiencing dramatic growth in the past few years. Top line revenue was approximately USD $270 million for all of 2017. As of the first six months of 2018, the company had already topped this number (USD $279.3) as it appears to be on track to double the year prior total.

Investors Love Chinese Tech Stocks (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer online lender X Financial soared on its first day of New York trading, adding to a string of frenzied U.S. debuts by Chinese technology companies.

Source Bloomberg

Banks give China’s Web lenders a second life (The Business Times) Rated: A

China’s online lenders have found an unlikely lifeline. Investors are fleeing the country’s US$200 billion peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector as regulators crack down. The funding squeeze has pushed many companies to team up with traditional banks that they once sought to disrupt.

Beijing is reining in the country’s non-bank lending sector. Strict rules, such as caps on loan balances for sites matching small borrowers with individual investors, have shut down hundreds of unruly upstarts. Regulators delayed a June deadline for companies to apply for licences, putting larger groups in legal limbo. New York-listed Yirendai has seen its market value more than halve to US$1 billion since the start of the year.

The stakes are huge. Chinese consumer finance – which includes credit card loans, e-commerce credit, and unsecured personal loans – is on track to top 11 trillion yuan (S$2.2 trillion) by 2020, up from four trillion yuan in 2015, according to Oliver Wyman. But banks prefer to lend to customers with credit histories, which much of the population lacks. They often spurn private corporate borrowers for similar reasons. That has opened the door for P2P operators as well as Web giants like Ant Financial.

Lending hand (Breaking Views) Rated: A

China’s online lenders have found an unlikely lifeline. Investors are fleeing the country’s $200 billion peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector as regulators crack down. The funding squeeze has pushed many companies to team up with traditional banks that they once sought to disrupt.

Beijing is reining in the country’s non-bank lending sector. Strict rules, such as caps on loan balances for sites matching small borrowers with individual investors, have shut down hundreds of unruly upstarts. Regulators delayed a June deadline for companies to apply for licenses, putting larger groups in legal limbo. New York-listed Yirendai has seen its market value more than halve to $1 billion since the start of the year.

The stakes are huge. Chinese consumer finance – which includes credit card loans, e-commerce credit, and unsecured personal loans – is on track to top 11 trillion yuan ($1.6 trillion) by 2020, up from 4 trillion yuan in 2015, according to Oliver Wyman. But banks prefer to lend to customers with credit histories, which much of the population lacks. They often spurn private corporate borrowers for similar reasons. That has opened the door for P2P operators as well as web giants like Ant Financial.

China Rapid Finance to Participate in DBS Fintech Corporate Day (Acrofan) Rated: B

China Rapid Finance (NYSE: XRF), a leading online consumer finance platform in China, today announced that its Chief Executive Officer Zane Wang will participate in the DBS Fintech Corporate Day, to be held at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore on Thursday, September 27, 2018.

The Company will also host investor meetings throughout the day.  Attendance at the conference is by invitation only.  Interested investors should contact your DBS sales representative to secure a meeting time.

International

Growth of Investor Numbers on P2P Lending Marketplaces (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

The disadvantage of showing indexed numbers for growth is that it gives smaller, younger an advantage as their percentage increase of investor base is likely still higher because they come from smaller absolut numbers. An example for this effect is Peerberry where percentage growth of investors is rapid, but the absolute number as of Sep, 1st has reached only 2468 investors as it is a very young marketplace.

Source: P2P Banking

ETHLend Blockchain Crypto Lending Launches New Tech Firm Aave To Induce Innovation (Bitcoin Exchange Guide) Rated: A

Decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) financial marketplace, ETHLend has recently revealed the launch of a new tech firm dubbed, Aave. The reason for creating Aave is to induce consumers to come up with innovative ways to expand on “evolving and imaginative technology”. Simply put, the team is working towards bridging the gap centralized players like PayPal and Coinbase have left behind.

Aave will serve as the parent company for ETHLend and the team will remain the same. In other words, the CEO for Aave will be that of ETHLend, Stani Kulechov, Jordan Lazaro will serve as COO, Nolvia Serrano is the CMO, Mika Soyring is the CFO and Ville Valkonen is the CCO.

Australia

Fintech Prospa has now written $ 750 million in loans (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Fintech Prospa, a lender to small business which in June postponed an ASX-listing after being pinged about unfair loans terms, says it has now written $750 million in loans.

Loans for the year to June were $367 million, a 70% increase on the previous 12 months and 9% higher than prospectus forecasts with strong momentum in the fourth quarter.

For the six months to June 2018, loans hit $211 million, up 16% on prospectus forecasts and up 61% on the previous corresponding period.

MENA

OurCrowd Still on Track to Top USD $ 1 Billion in Investment Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

In many ways, OurCrowd epitomizes the aspirations of what investment crowdfunding has the potential to deliver for both issuers and investors. By providing access to quality deals to smaller (accredited) investors, OurCrowd has opened up an asset class previously closed off to all but the very fortunate. On OurCrowd, you can find yourself investing alongside some of the biggest names in venture capital – at the exact same terms – an important distinction. It is also important to note that OurCrowd has skin in the game for each offering it lists on the platform – thus interests are aligned: OurCrowd wants the company to succeed and it also very much wants to see a return on its own investment. These qualities make OurCrowd a compelling option for investors that are willing to shoulder an element of portfolio risk that can also drive some outsized returns.

OurCrowd is based in Israel – where many of its investments are made – but its vision is to empower investors globally and fund companies regardless of geographic borders. This is what you want to see in the digitized, internet fueled Fintech age.

Build a real estate portfolio starting with as little as $ 1000 (AME Info) Rated: A

Real estate crowdfunding comes to Dubai in the form of Smart Crowd

In the US, investors are utilizing crowdfunding sites like Realty Mogul, CrowdStreet, and Fundrise to start and/or build their portfolios, Investopedia notes.

Smart Crowd, an innovative new digital real estate investment platform that supports crowd-funding endeavors in the real estate sector, is trying to fill in a similar role in the region.

Asia

P2P operations launched in Hyderabad (Telangana Today) Rated: AAA

LenDenClub, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, launched its operations in Hyderabad. It will also expand to other cities later.

LenDenClub chose Hyderabad as the city is a major hub of the IT industry and houses a large number of young professionals, who are among the largest users of digital lending services in the country. It expects 10 per cent of its loan requests originate from Telangana in the next six months.

It is aiming to disburse loans worth Rs 100 crore in 12 months.

European Union

INLOCK Signs MoU with Institutional Lending Provider – Partners with Major CEE Crypto ATM Manufacturer to Test Its Platform (Bitcoin News) Rated: B

INLOCK, a crypto lending platform where licensed lenders can compete for borrowers who want to use their cryptocurrency as collateral for loans, announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an institutional lending provider and entered a partnership with one of the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEE) region’s biggest crypto ATM manufacturers to test its Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The company launched the ICO for its ILK token on September 15, the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

The CEE region’s crypto ATM manufacturer plans to integrate INLOCK’s services into all of its machines, enabling users to directly take out loans and receive funding in cash within hours. The crypto ATM manufacturer will act as a matching service provider by forwarding customers to INLOCK.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

How Community Development Creates Savings Opportunities for Investors

CNote

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) are financial institutions focusing on channeling the savings of investors in community development projects including development of women entrepreneurs, affordable housing, helping underserved communities in wealth creation, and small & mid-sized businesses. Funds in such institutions are structured through investment from government, banks, non-banking financial institutions, foundations, and individuals. Though […]

CNote

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) are financial institutions focusing on channeling the savings of investors in community development projects including development of women entrepreneurs, affordable housing, helping underserved communities in wealth creation, and small & mid-sized businesses. Funds in such institutions are structured through investment from government, banks, non-banking financial institutions, foundations, and individuals.

Though CDFIs are profitable, they are more focused on the community they serve. So the only aim is not to please shareholders by profit maximization. The four sectors of the CDFI Industry are Community Development Banks, Community Development Credit Unions, Community Development Loan Funds, and Community Development VC Funds. The industry has been a backwater for individual savings due to multiple legal and technical reasons till now. This has led to a gap in the market with no options for individuals looking to invest and generate decent fixed income returns and simultaneously positively impacting local communities with their investments.

CNote is the bridge that is looking to transform the savings space by offering “smart savings technology” and new savings products to earn good savers 40x more.

About CNote

The company invests in CDFI lenders for fixed yields and offers attractive returns (as compared to a saving account) to its investors. Co-founders Catherine Berman and Yuliya Tarasava launched CNote in 2015 with the aim solving the pain points that individual investors have, and to better serve the community.

Berman is a serial entrepreneur. CNote is her third venture. Her previous startup, Global Brigades, is the largest student development firm in the world. She was also a managing director at Charles Schwab and has experience at marque names like Deloitte.

Yuliya has over a decade of Wall Street experience, and in creating financial products. At Charles Schwab, she oversaw a $30 trillion wealth transfer from baby boomers to the next generation, and saw that financial and saving products have not evolved to serve today’s market. This is what led to her to design CNote.

CNote started as a bootstrapped company and recently raised $60,000 from Pipeline Angels. The company is also in discussions with investors for a future round.

CNote’s Business Model

CNote positions itself as an alternative savings product. It shipped out the first product in 2016 with the aim to reinvent boring financial savings products. It interviewed over 200 persons in its target market to get the right product market fit. They opened to the mass market by getting SEC qualification in 2017. This allowed retail investors to trust the company with its savings products and ensures that all compliance is met to the most stringent level. The company charges no fees but pockets any difference above returns starting at 2.5%.

The savings alternative offered by the company is different from that offered by traditional institutions and banks. Cash locked in traditional savings accounts offer a nominal interest, normally at a rate below 1%. This is not enough to even keep up with inflation. On the other hand, CNote’s savings offer draws interest at an estimated 2.5% (compounded) without the need to incur any upfront cost or minimum account balance. The user-friendly website provides an easy online access for investors helping them to register in just three minutes.

The revenue model and operating cycle of CNote is just like that of a financial lender or a bank. They charge interest for lending out money to community lenders and providing a return in the form of interest to individual investors.

The company’s platform has over $12 million already committed. In addition to earning a competitive return, CNote tracks the usage of funds lent to the community lenders so that it can measure the impact on society at large. According to Berman, the company has helped in creating over 1,000 jobs in the United States.

CNote’s platform attracts both retail and institutional investors. Women under the age of 45 are its typical individual investor whereas institutional customers include wealth management platforms and wealth managers. Investors consider CNotes a cash alternative, impact investment, and/or a competitive fixed income instrument.

The CDFI Opportunity

CDFIs are not new to the market and have a history of over 20 years. They are well established and certified by the US Treasury. Though CDFIs are not federally insured, the last recession saw CDFIs outperforming FDICs (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). Still, 99% of Americans have never heard of them.

There are multiple reasons for this lack of awareness. Absence of standardized due diligence techniques for accessing the financial position of lenders is a hurdle faced by many CDFIs. Investors also find it difficult to compare the financial products offered by different institutions. Most of the products offered by these institutions are not geared for non-accredited investors because of a high investment amount threshold.

CNote savings provides access to this high performance asset class services to ordinary Americans. CNote broke all these barriers by introducing scalable products, which are designed specifically according to the needs of individual investors.

Future Offerings

CNote has identified a gap in the $100 billion impact investment industry by offering a product that is suitable for retail investors looking to earn positive fixed returns. The upside is that the investment is also doing social good by investing in backward communities, minority and women entrepreneurs, and other underserved markets. The company has no visible peer in the industry that is leveraging CDFIs as a retail investment opportunity. With strategic funding, the company can quickly capture major market share in this multi-billion dollar industry.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday May 29 2018, Daily News Digest

alternative loans

News Comments Today’s main news: How SoFi, Robinhood trick investors into saving money. The highest paying green IFISAs. Ant Financial’s $10B fundraising is oversubscribed. HashChing gets $700K loan. Today’s main analysis: Alternative loan borrowers may be traditional prospects. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The challenges online lenders would face in a recession. Crowdfunding in Switzerland is at a record high. Only 4% […]

alternative loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

Designers at SoFi, Robinhood explain how they trick users into saving (and making) money (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

  • Personal finance apps have gained traction with customers — especially millennials — thanks to the ease with which they let users sock money away, save towards big goals, and make big purchases more possible.
  • From the loan refinancing company SoFi to the stock trading platform Robinhood, many of these companies are now worth billions of dollars thanks to enthusiastic investors.
  • At the heart of their success: A good product which combines smart design with financial psychology to convince users to meet the goals they set for themselves.
  • Here’s how the best companies in fintech design their apps to convince users to save and make money.

Alternative loan borrowers may be traditional prospects (Banking Exchange) Rated: AAA

The latest example of this comes from a new study by TransUnion that indicates that some borrowers who use “alternative loans” may actually be good candidates for traditional consumer credit products.

Alternative loans typically don’t appear in traditional credit bureau files. These services include short-term debt, such as “payday loans”; point-of-sale finance offered by retailers or third-party lenders; virtual “rent-to-own” finance; and auto-title loans.

Release coincides with OCC announcement

Elizabeth Pagel, vice-president, market strategy, consumer lending at TransUnion, notes that while many consumers in the FactorTrust database of alternative loan users skew subprime, nearly 40% are not subprime credits, and 12% are actually prime or above.

One example given by TransUnion demonstrating the general pattern concerns near-prime borrowers (those with VantageScore 3.0 credit scores of 601-660):

• About 14% of those borrowers with only one short-term loan went 90 days or more past due on a traditional account 12 months later.

• The delinquency level fell to less than 12% when a consumer possessed two alternative loans.

• The delinquency level fell to about 9% when a consumer had eight or more alternative loans over the course of seven years.

Source: Banking Exchange
Source: Banking Exchange

The Unique Challenges Online Lenders Would Face In A Recession (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Technology has reshaped the lending industry over the last decade. Companies like Lending Club, Prosper and SoFi built billion dollar business (even if valuations have come down from their respective peaks) by better connecting lenders to borrowers and streamlining what was previously a slow and bloated consumer lending process. Dozens more companies have launched in their wake and are contributing to this wave of change. In fact, TransUnion data shows that fintech lenders now account for over a third of personal loan origination by volume. That Goldman Sachs launched their own online lending business, Marcus, shows that much of this change is here to stay.

But these businesses have all come of age during an unprecedented period of economic expansion and low default rates. Low defaults have helped performance, while low yields in other asset classes have driven up investor demand for higher yielding personal loans.

If the market needed a warning sign, look no further than auto loans. Delinquencies in the subprime auto market have 

PeerStreet Review 2018 – Real Estate Crowdfunding Platform (Dough Roller) Rated: A

Some real estate investors come to the platform looking for financing, while others come looking for above average returns on their money.

The difference is that while other P2P platforms provide personal loans to individuals, PeerStreet supplies financing for real estate transactions. The purpose of the platform is to make these sophisticated investments in commercial real estate available to ordinary investors.

The loans are generally short-term, between six months and 24 months. They also have conservative loan-to-value (LTV) ratios, of not more than 75% of the value of the underlying property.

Types of loan investments include:

  • Single-family residential buy-to-rent properties
  • Single-family refinances
  • Single-family Value Add (This is a property that is purchased then renovated for sale, sometimes referred to as a fix-and-flip loan.)
  • Bridge loans

Kabbage Sees More Mobile Lending, Women and Minority Owned Businesses Seeking Funds (Small Business Trends) Rated: A

Online lending platform Kabbage says it sees more mobile lending, more women and minority owned businesses seeking loans and more businesses from rural and lower to middle income communities too.

Today 140,000 small businesses use Kabbage. Today, Kabbage has delivered over $4.5 billion in funding, moving the loan process from long lines at a physical bank to a  shorter wait on mobile or the web.

Expect More Bank Mergers After Dodd-Frank Rollback (Barrons) Rated: A

But the legislation known as the Crapo bill (named after Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo), which President Donald Trump signed into law on Thursday, could provide another boost to bank investors by unleashing mergers, dividend increases, and buybacks among regional and local banks.

By raising the threshold for stricter supervision under Dodd-Frank from $50 million in assets to $250 million, the new law effectively removes a disincentive for mergers and acquisitions.

Banks had been wary of doing deals that would put them over the $50 billion level, which required more capital and more stringent supervision. CIT Group’s (CIT) deal for OneWest was a rare case where an acquisition broke that barrier since Dodd-Frank was enacted in 2010.

Vermont Passes First-of-Its-Kind Law to Regulate Data Brokers (Gizmodo) Rated: A

Earlier this week, Vermont became the first state in the nation to enact a law that will regulate data brokers that buy and sell personal information in an attempt to add a new layer of accountability to the massive, data-trading companies that often operate without much oversight.

As TechCrunch noted, under the guidelines of the bill—which passed into law Tuesday without the signature of Republican Governor Phil Scott—data brokers will have to pay a $100 annual fee to register with the state, and will have to comply with new rules meant to protect Vermonters from suffering at the hands of another data breach like the one that befell Equifax last year and exposed the data of 145 million (and counting) Americans.

United Kingdom

The highest paying green IFISAs of 2018/19 (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

Earlier this year, Assetz Capital closed its Green Energy Account due to a lack of deal flow, while Trillion Fund closed in 2015 after the government scaled back its green energy subsidies.

So in alphabetical order, here are the highest-paying P2P green IFISAs available right now…

Abundance

  • Target returns for IFISA: 3-15 per cent

Downing Crowd

  • Target returns for IFISA: 3-7.6 per cent

Goji and Prestige-Prime Group

  • Target returns for ISA: 6.5-8.3 per cent

Triodos Crowdfunding

  • Target returns for IFISA: 5-7 per cent

Ethical bank Triodos launched its own P2P platform earlier this year, named Triodos Crowdfunding. Within the first few months of the year it had already funded seven projects, four of which were IFISA eligible.

Could savers be given access to multiple IFISAs each tax year? (Peer2Peer Finace) Rated: A

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) – an independent adviser to the government on simplifying the tax system – has said ISA rules should be made more simple for investors to administer.

It suggests changing the rule where only one type of ISA can be opened at a time and instead letting savers hold multiple products, such as more than one Innovative Finance ISA from different peer-to-peer lenders or a variety of cash ISAs, as long as they remain within the annual allowance.

Rage against robo-advice machines (FT Adviser) Rated: A

Despite the FCA offering this assistance now the regulator has found several causes for concern in the robo-advice that is being given to clients.

The watchdog revealed some robo-advice firms were failing to properly disclose prices and services, and crucially, the regulator flagged risks clients were not receiving suitable advice.

As a result, the FCA has required many of the robo-advisers which took part in the study to make “significant changes” to their businesses.

Christian Faes of LendInvest (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How the financial crisis formed the backdrop for the founding of LendInvest.
  • How their first foray into raising capital online transformed their business.
  • The kinds of loans that LendInvest offers today.
  • The typical borrower who uses LendInvest today.
  • How they have applied technology to the borrowing process.
  • How they attract these kinds of borrowers.
  • The four different channels for investors.
  • Details of their London Stock Exchange listed bond.
  • What is being done in the UK to address the housing shortage there.
  • How Brexit has affected their business over the past two years.
  • Who has provided equity capital for LendInvest.
  • Christian’s thoughts on international expansion for LendInvest.
  • How he feels about a potential LendInvest IPO.

Crowdfunding faces withholding tax clampdown (The Times) Rated: A

Revenue has tightened the rules on peer-to-peer lending by requiring businesses that raise money through crowdfunding to deduct a 20% withholding tax on the interest they pay.

The move will make it harder for individuals to avoid tax when they use crowdfunding to lend spare cash to small businesses rather than earning paltry returns by leaving it on deposit.

Can this lending buy-to-let startup help agents sell more homes? (The Negotiator) Rated: A

A buy-to-let finance start-up founded by the entrepreneur behind crowd-funding mortgage firm Landbay says it wants to help agents sell properties faster and in greater volumes.

Officially launched this week after being set-up in November last year, Dot offers agents and developers a one-click buy-to-let purchase button for their ‘properties for sale’ listings (see mock-up above) which, the company’s claims suggest, could offer an antidote to the current sluggish sales market.

After clicking the button, investors will be offered the opportunity to buy the property on the spot if they put down a 30% cash deposit via Dot.

FCA urged to extend cap on payday loan fees to other forms of credit (The Guardian) Rated: B

The City watchdog is facing mounting pressure to extend its cap on payday lending fees and interest to a broader range of high-cost financial products before a major review of lending practices this week.

Likely to result in a series of new rules for banks and finance companies, the review comes as hard-pressed Britons increase their personal borrowing to levels unseen since the financial crisis.

China

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Ant Financial’s $10-billion fund-raising faced oversubscription

The ongoing $10-billion fund-raising of Ant Financial Services has attracted the attention of multiple investors.

According to informed sources, investors expected to participate in this round of financing include private equity group Carlyle, General Atlantic, Silver Lake, Sequoia Capital China, Warburg Pincus, sovereign wealth fund Temasek, institutional funds Canada Pension Plan Investment Committee (CPPIB) and BlackRock; while many other investors were rejected.

According to a person involved in the funding, this round of financing will value Ant Financial at more than US$150 billion. 

Traditional banks can be the ‘trusted face’ of fintech and online finance firms (South China Morning Post) Rated: A

While banks see fintech as their biggest threat, they can use their trusted position among customers and regulators to collaborate in the shift to digital banking, software firm Temenos says

In a recent survey of 400 banking executives, Temenos said more than 53 per cent of respondents cited e-financial services like PayPal, Alipay, WeChat Pay and Apple Pay as their biggest non-traditional competition in the next two years.

European Union

Crowdfunding in Switzerland at Record High: CHF 375 Million (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

The Swiss crowdfunding market has reached a record high volume of CHF 374.5 million in 2017, almost three times more than in the previous year. This has been revealed by the latest Crowdfunding Monitoring report issued by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The financing of SMEs and investments in real estate are key drivers of the strong growth. The authors of the report are expecting a further marked increase to about CHF 1 billion this year. Compared to the more advanced markets in the United Kingdom and the United StatesSwitzerland is two to three years behind, but catching up rapidly.

Hungary ready to join the global blockchain market (Budapest Business Journal) Rated: B

Europe is starting to take blockchain-based solutions seriously, and Hungarian players seem ready to be part of the game. The largest international blockchain summit in the CEE region, Blockchaineum 2.0, gathered major stakeholders in Budapest to discuss the hottest issues on the global agenda.

Peer-to-peer lending is considered another blockchain target area. Ray Youssef, CEO of Paxful gave the example of Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa, where high inflation and foreign currency restrictions push many people towards finding shelter in cryptocurrencies.

International

Mobile ventures to take on payments (Daily Sabah) Rated: A

Square, one of the most popular payment solutions Visa invested on, allows street vendors the opportunity to accept credit cards. It brings the convenience of payment for consumers, who can shop safely anywhere in the world.

Klarna is another venture that has received Visa investments. It is one of Europe’s leading payment providers, aiming to make the payment process simple, smooth and secure for customers and trading partners. Klarna offers payment solutions for over 60 million users in Europe and North America.

Cryptocurrency Cap Waiting to be Unlocked by Lenders (The Merkle) Rated: A

Today, cryptocurrency has an estimated market cap of $300 to $800 billion USD. Asset-backed tokens have been expected to reach $5 trillion USD by 2025.

Now, Depository Network (DEPO) has made it even easier for digital asset owners to cash in on their holdings while offering peace of mind to lenders.

DEPO is developing the world’s first decentralized, multi-platform collateral network. The depository will be a secure place for borrowers to deposit their coins or tokens as a collateral for loans while offering lenders full control over the details of the loan agreement.

Australia

Mortgage marketplace receives $ 700k loan (Australian Broker) Rated: AAA

An online home loan marketplace has received a $700,000 loan from Jobs for NSW, which is set to help the business create 46 jobs over the next five years.

HashChing reports it now has over $900million settled through their platform from more than 1,950 loans. It also says it has 586 mortgage brokers on the platform and is growing at 700% year-on-year.

India

Only 4% Indians get easy personal loans from banks and NBFCs (Sify Finance) Rated: AAA

27 public sector banks, 93 commercial banks, over 10,000 non banking financial and Gold companies and several micro-finance institutions, but ask any entrepreneur the ease of getting a loan. A mixed response is most likely, with majority opting for diplomatic correctness over factual accuracy.

Getting a loan is certainly a monumental feat in this era of digitisation. And this is the exact demand that peer-to-peer companies such as LenDen, i2i Funding, Faircent, Lendbox are keen to fulfill.

i2i Funding is India’s second largest p2p lending platform, with a size of 50,000 customers. The company aspires to cross Rs 2 crores in monthly disbursal by October 2018.

How do Investors Invest in Startups – From a Venture Capitalist’s Point of View (Entrepreneur India) Rated: A

In this regard, to decode what goes on in the minds of leading venture capitalists, Entrepreneur India interacted with Bhaskar Majumdar who is Managing Partner at Mumbai-based Unicorn India Ventures. At this point in time, Unicorn India has dedicated equity funds worth INR 100 crores under deployment, while another INR 600 crores worth debt fund has been launched.

He also states that with aspects such as credit scoring, data collection, and even lending to MSMEs having now received the digital touch, Fintech is exciting considering the fact that startups in the sector could effectively collaborate with banks to bring more people into the formal banking system.

Xiaomi Launches Mi Credit, A Lending Marketplace Exclusively for MIUI Users (BW Disrupt) Rated: B

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced Mi Credit which aims to deliver instant loans exclusively to MIUI users.

Mi Credit provides a hassle-free approach to avail loans instantly.

MIUI users can apply for a loan anytime and from anywhere. The company is offering loans starting from Rs 1,000 up to Rs 1 Lakh.

According to a report published by ET, the loan will be extended at 3% interest per month and focuses on salaried professionals.

Africa

Kenya moves to regulate fintech-fuelled lending craze (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Kenya built a reputation as a pioneer of financial inclusion through its early adoption of a mobile money system that enables people to transfer cash and make payments on cellphones without a bank account.

Now, a proliferation of lenders are using the same technology to extend credit to the banked and unbanked alike, saddling borrowers with high interest rates and leaving regulators scrambling to keep up.

This week, the finance ministry published a draft bill on financial regulation which covers digital lenders for the first time. A key aim is to ensure that providers treat retail customers fairly, it said.

Eurasia

Russia Has Significant Opportunity to Advance Financial Tech Services – Analyst (Sputnik International) Rated: AAA

Bob Contri: I think that in financial services, which is where I work, digital is very important. I would say for our clients globally it’s probably the most important topic right now. I think it’s very important from a client perspective so how do they provide financial services to their clients in a very efficient way. And I think it’s also very important how they manage their business so how can they use their technologies to create more efficiency in the middle and back office. So it’s probably the biggest topic right now in our practice globally with working with our clients.

Sputnik: Do you think there’s big potential for new approaches in banking such as peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding?

Bob Contri: Sure, I think that the face of financial services is changing pretty dramatically. I think that obviously automated money transfers and cross-border payments will change dramatically. I think peer-to-peer lending has a big opportunity to grow significantly. So I think the whole face of financial services is changing pretty dramatically. That’s not to say that the market leaders of today won’t be the market leaders of the future.

MENA

RentSher — a firm with a hire purpose (Gulf News) Rated: AAA

Founders Vaibhav and Purvashi Doshi and Harsh Dhand originally conceived of RentSher as a peer-to-peer lending platform, the Airbnb of stuff.

But after they launched the firm in Bengaluru in 2015 (Dubai followed in 2016), they noticed a problem.

“We figured out that peer-to-peer alone is not scalable enough,” said Vaibhav, the firm’s CEO, in an interview at his and Purvashi’s Dubai villa.
That forced a rethink, and a move towards a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) model, a centralised one-stop rental platform for companies already offering rental services to connect with a pool of customers through an easy-to-use interface.

Reaping the fruits of hard work (Khaleej Times) Rated: B

It was while discussing a common problem that Marie-Christine Luijckx and three friends came up with a successful business model. Luijckx and her friends were doing long working hours in their corporate jobs with very few healthy food choices resulting in loss of productivity at the workplace. They thus decided to establish Fruitful Day, a business that delivers curated selections of fresh fruit to workplaces and homes across the UAE in 2015.

Luijckx says all partners believe passionately in the business and they funded it with their personal savings. “Our only external funding to date has been through Beehive, which is a debt crowdfunding platform,” she says.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Block X Ventures Founders and Investors Meeting

Block X Ventures

Date: Sunday, May 13 – Wednesday, May 16 Location: New York Hilton Midtown – 1335 6th Avenue New York, NY An Exclusive Consensus Event for Investors and Company Founders Premier Opportunities For Unique Companies to Present to Investors. Reserve Private Meetings at our Exclusive Events, located within Hilton Presidential Suites and on-site Fine Dining Venues. Agenda will include: Block X will leverage our […]

Block X Ventures

Date: Sunday, May 13 – Wednesday, May 16

Location: New York Hilton Midtown – 1335 6th Avenue New York, NY

  • Block X will leverage our private list of HNWI and cryptofunds in order to manage and facilitate introductions to investors in private settings.
  • Block X will distribute marketing collateral for events.
  • Block X will provide 24/7 staff support for all client needs.
  • Both suite and events will include food, beverage, beer, wine, cocktails.
  • Dinner events will include buffet, beer, wine, cocktails.
  • Block X will work with companies to bring a stand alone banner for their choice of branding, made visible in front of REMI, steps away from the conference
  • Our team will be flexible with eating arrangements, catering to our clients preference.

Register here.

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi changes wealth portfolios. Silver Lake buys $500M of Credit Karma stock. Half of Zopa deposits are into IFISA accounts. Landbay considers IPO, opens Seedrs campaign. Wonga South Africa enters personal lending. Today’s main analysis: 7 reasons to hate the long bond (A GREAT READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: The benefits of additional data from […]

Thursday March 29 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi Announces Changes to Wealth Portfolios (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, online lending platform SoFi announced it was making changes to wealth portfolios. SoFi made changes in all five risk strategies – Conservative, Moderately Conservative, Moderate, Moderately Aggressive, and Aggressive.

Conservative:

“Our lowest risk portfolio invests heavily in bonds, which may be appropriate for someone investing with a lower tolerance for risk or a shorter time horizon, like under three years. With bonds, there are three options: Short-term bonds are considered lower-risk/lower-reward, intermediate-term bonds are considered moderate-risk/moderate-reward, and long-term bonds are considered higher-risk/higher-reward.

Source Crowdfund Insider

Moderately Conservative

“The Moderately Conservative strategy is also weighted toward short-term bonds, so it’s a fairly cautious approach. Historically, we’ve selected both investment-grade bonds (lower risk, lower interest rate) and high-yield bonds (higher risk, higher interest rate). Now, we’re reducing some of that high-yield exposure and increasing the amount of investment-grade bonds to lower the overall risk of this portfolio. This strategy also invests a bit in the stock market. Our approach here (and in other strategies) is to balance our investments across the globe. We’re putting a little less in Emerging Markets, less in U.S. Markets, and more in Developed Markets outside the U.S. (like Japan, parts of Europe, and Canada). We believe that these new allocations will give this portfolio a relatively better chance to grow.”

Source Crowdfund Insider

Silver Lake Buys $ 500 Million Stake in Credit Karma (Fintech Collective), Rated: AAA

San Francisco based Credit Karma has received $500m in a secondary offering from Silver Lake, valuing the company at $4b.

Credit Karma isn’t receiving any proceeds or issuing any new shares as part of the transaction, Chief Executive Kenneth Lin said in an interview. Rather, Silver Lake is amassing common shares from earlier investors and employees in a so-called secondary sale that values the 11-year-old company at roughly $4 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

How You May Benefit from Additional Data When Reviewing Subprime Applicants (Lendit), Rated: AAA

Nearly 80 million adults have what is considered subprime credit, according to Experian data.

The takeaway: while Darrell has a higher biweekly income than Nancy, he is much less stable in his borrowing history. And, while Nancy has been late on a few payments, she has a proven track record of ultimately satisfying her debts.

These examples illustrate why lenders hoping to help consumers in the growing nonprime and subprime markets stand to benefit from alternative credit data.

Sophisticated Investors May Be Harming Fintech Lending Platforms (Harvard Business School), Rated: AAA

But lending platforms, also called peer-to-peer lending, must address a major design problem: Sophisticated investors have been gaming the system by applying specialized screening tools to scoop up the choicest loans with the lowest default rates, leaving less experienced investors with less attractive loans to choose from. After these lower-grade loans perform poorly—that is, the borrowers fall into arrears with payments or default altogether—these less savvy investors may flee the platform.

Can lending platforms make their systems more equitable for all investors?

In their new working paper Marketplace Lending: A New Banking Paradigm? Vallée and Yao Zeng, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Washington, address these issues from the perspective of what platforms can do to level the investing playing field.

The key variable to control, Vallée and Zeng found, is the amount of information available about loan applicants. When platforms share a lot of information about applicants with potential investors—data such as income, debt level, and credit history, and even whether the loan is financing a wedding, for instance—experienced investors can precisely pin down the safest loans to back.

The researchers looked at all transactions executed by LendingRobot users for a three-year period between January 2014 and February 2017, including more than $120 million invested on the two major lending platforms, LendingClub and Prosper. They found that using the LendingRobot screening model paid off by reducing the average loan default rate by more than 20 percent compared to the average level on the platforms.

Bond Investors Should Double Down On Due Diligence As Yields Rise (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Appealing to this new financial demographic is the idea behind such companies as Upstart and Social Finance Inc. (commonly known as SoFi). Since 2013, SoFi has securitized about $9.5 billion in loans, while Upstart last year packaged $338 million of personal loans into two deals.

SoFi targets top college graduates – Harvard lawyers, Yale doctors, Wharton bankers – people whose outstanding student-loan balances match their outstanding career potential. For SoFi, this cohort is a good bet to provide lower-cost loans that allow the buyers to de-lever faster and hopefully return for car loans, mortgages and wealth management services such as college and retirement savings plans. Upstart took the idea a stage further by widening the customer base beyond the Ivy League.

Kabbage Data Shows Mobile is the Future for Small Business Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Mobile devices have changed consumer expectations. People now expect that you can have access to anything you might need right from your mobile device. While this has historically been the case for consumer financial apps, Kabbage released data today on small businesses which shows they too are leveraging mobile to better manage their business.

They analyzed behavior of almost 150,000 small business and found that between April 2014 and February 2018 loans accessed through mobile increased by more than 360 percent. Dollars accessed through mobile increased over 1,220 percent.

Petal, WebBank to launch card for ‘credit invisibles’ (American Banker), Rated: A

The fintech startup Petal announced a partnership Wednesday with WebBank to officially launch a credit card for the estimated 65 million people who have insufficient credit history to qualify for a traditional credit card.

The CFPB has identified 45 million people who have no credit score,” Gross said. “Experian and others have indicated that there are 50 million more people that are thin file people and have a have a credit score that’s not accurate because of limited data at the credit bureau. Andreessen Horwitz has estimated 90 million people are misscored — that’s a third of the U.S. population.

Property Coin ICO: A Securities Token for a Real Estate Portfolio (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Aperture is a new platform that is focusing on the real estate marketplace putting a new spin on property crowdfunding. While not the first blockchain based real estate startup, Property Coin (PCX) is in the midst of a security token offering that is claiming first when it comes to crypto denominated securitization / structured real estate portfolio using distributed ledger technology.

Operating in the fix and flip space, Aperture says they have delivered over “50% un-levered IRRs so far – a claim that is pretty impressive.

In aggregate, their team claims they have been involved in the closing of over $150 billion of real estate financing transactions and have originated over $10 billion in mortgage loans, having worked for some of the largest investment banks in the world.

A mortgage in 30 minutes? Fintech says it’s coming (American Banker), Rated: A

Lenda claims to make the fastest mortgages out there — currently two weeks start to finish, with an eventual goal of 30 minutes in a nearly all-digital process.

Launched in 2014, Lenda has made $200 million worth of mortgages, is licensed in 12 states and plans to expand to 12 more later this year. Jason van den Brand, its co-founder and CEO, said that despite other big players, the mortgage arena is ripe for further disruption.

How Lenda works

Lenda lets the consumer log in to their bank account from its portal to retrieve the necessary three months of bank statements. (They could also download the statements from their Dropbox, Box or Google Drive account and then upload them to Lenda.)

Income verification and employment verification are automated where possible. To be sure, some employers don’t share employment data with databases used by lenders. In such cases employment verification needs to be manual.

Consumers ready for a digital mortgage

Consumers, meanwhile, seem to be increasingly ready for digital mortgages. According to a Harris poll commissioned by Fiserv, 69% of consumers already research loan options online and 68% said they review loan documents online. Among millennials, 48% said they would be comfortable researching loan options on their smartphone.

New small businesses have a tough time in these 10 cities, report says (Fast Company), Rated: A

Specifically, it looked at businesses that earn an annual revenue of less than $7,500,000, have been in business for at least six months and no longer than 60 months, and submitted a loan query to LendingTree between Jan. 1, 2016, and Jan. 23, 2018. The self-reported data was then limited to the 50 most populous metropolitan areas, and with that, a list was born.

Here are the 10 worst cities, per LendingTree:

  1. Cincinnati
  2. Rochester, N.Y.
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Louisville, Ky.
  5. Birmingham, Ala.
  6. Detroit
  7. Harrisburg, Pa.
  8. New Orleans
  9. Virginia Beach, Va.
  10. Chicago

Here are the 10 best cities, per LendingTree:

  1. Sacramento, Calif.
  2. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  3. Portland, Ore.
  4. Knoxville, Tenn.
  5. Denver
  6. Seattle
  7. Tulsa, Okla.
  8. Albuquerque, N.M.
  9. Fresno, Calif.
  10. Los Angeles

With No Movement On Lending Reforms, Catholic Group Starts Microloan Program (WOSU), Rated: A

Faced with watching some parishioners struggle to pay back high-interest loans, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Diocese of Columbus launched its own microloan program in Licking County in late 2016. Since then, it’s expanded to four other counties.

The non-profit organization has partnered with a local credit union to offer loans of up to $500. Borrowers then make monthly payments for 12 to 15 months to pay off loans that carry an interest rate of 3 percent.

That’s a fraction of the rate for loans from payday lending businesses, where interest can exceed 600 percent.

The Catholic microloan program is open to people of all faiths, and Zabloudil says about 75 percent of loan recipients have made good on their payments. Part of the reason for that, Zabloudil says, is they work to ensure borrowers don’t get in over their head.

The program currently offers loan to people from Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Knox, Licking and Ross Counties. Zabloudil hopes to eventually take the program to the 17 other counties served by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

 

 

LENNAR TO INTRODUCE ONLINE, MOBILE MORTGAGE APPS (Builder), Rated: B

Lennar Corp. plans to start using mortgage-application technology from San Francisco, Calif.-based startup Blend in an effort to attract younger buyers. By applying for a mortgage online or on a phone, consumers can shave 10 days off the process, executives say. The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Kusisto reports:

Making it easier for those buyers to get mortgages could help Lennar with attracting millennials, a critical group of home buyers that have been put off from buying new homes by the high prices and long commute times to many communities. An additional obstacle on the margins for younger home buyers is the complicated process of applying for a mortgage.

GoKapital Launches Its Nationwide Business Loans Affiliate Program (PR News), Rated: B

GoKapital, an online lender from Miami Florida, has launched an affiliate program that will allow bloggers, webmasters, and digital marketers to earn commissions when they refer new customers to one of their business loan programs.

GoKapital’s Affiliate program highlights:

  • Business loans ranging from $10,000 to $1,000,000 for every industry. Servicing businesses in all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico
  • 24-hour funding with 95% approval rate
  • Dedicated support and integration manager

Marshall Lux Joins Marlette Funding as an Advisor (Business Wire), Rated: B

Marlette Funding, LLC, owner of the Best Egg personal loan platform, today announced the addition of Marshall Lux as an Advisor to the Board and Company.

Marshall Lux has been a Financial Services consultant and practitioner for 30 years. He began his career at McKinsey where he served all manner of financial service firms across a variety of subsectors and functional areas. Marshall led McKinsey’s and BCG’s private equity practice. He has extensive relationships across PE Firms.

Seven banks in seven months select Jack Henry’s Core Director platform (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Jack Henry & Associates’ banking division is in seventh heaven with the revelation that seven US community banks within the last seven months have selected to implement its Core Director processing platform.

The platform can be installed in-house or implemented through JHA OutLink Processing Services, Jack Henry Banking’s outsourced offering.

The firm names two of the banks – California International Bank and the State Bank of Bottineau, located in North Dakota. FinTech Futures has contacted Jack Henry for the other five names but they won’t be revealed yet.

United Kingdom

Accounts promising rates up to 15% are drawing in savers – with 12,000 at Zopa alone (This Is Money), Rated: AAA

Half of all customer deposits at peer-to-peer lender Zopa since the start of the year have come via its Innovative Finance Isa, despite only launching the tax-free accounts in June 2017, This is Money can reveal.

Zopa, which was the first to offer the new style Isa product, said 12,000 customers have opened one of its two Isas, which offer up to 4.6 per cent interest.

For savers with a cash Isa, the FSCS offers protection of up to £85,000 per banking licence. This means that if something goes wrong with the bank or building society where you have deposited your money, you will never lose the first £85,000.

Meanwhile for those with a stocks and shares Isa, the first £50,000 is protected, as long as the provider belongs to the scheme.

Landbay opens Seedrs round to new investors as chief eyes IPO (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

LANDBAY has announced that it is opening its latest equity funding round to new investors on Seedrs, as its chief executive unveils the company’s flotation ambitions.

The peer-to-peer lender, which specialises in buy-to-let mortgages, has already raised its target of £1.25m from this funding round but it has been opened up again to new investors.

Landbay recently hit the £100m cumulative lending milestone, with over 25 per cent of that amount having been originated in the last three months.

LendingCrowd raises $ 2.8 mln (PE Hub), Rated: A

LendingCrowd said March 28 that it secured another 2 million pounds ($2.8 million) in funding led by Equity Gap. Also participating were a number of private investors from Scotland’s entrepreneurial and finance scene and the Scottish Investment Bank. LendingCrowd, of Edinburgh, Scotland provides a peer to peer lending platform.

Credit unions and the tech revolution: Lessons from the Abcul conference (Coop News), Rated: A

But technology also presents opportunities to reach new markets – making it vital that credit unions keep up with new developments, delegates at this year’s conference of the Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul) were told.

Pitching his fintech to the conference, he said it could offer new possibilities to the sector, such as partnering with the Post Office to offer branch facilities where members can deposit and withdraw money.

“Mobile use is continuing to shoot up. 78% of the UK population is using a smartphone two-four hours a day – and fastest growth is the over -55s. In the South Manchester Credit Union 65% of traffic comes from mobile devices. It’s something we’ve got to accept.”

Colchester is top area for buy-to-let (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

Colchester in Essex is the top area to invest in buy-to-let based on capital growth, transaction volumes, rental yield and rental price growth, LendInvest research shows.

In Colchester prices are rising by 9.98% per year, rental growth is increasing by 3.41%, transaction volumes are rising by 2.79% and yields stand at 3.71%.

Despite topping LendInvest’s list Colchester is far from the best in terms of yield, with Manchester offering returns of 5.42%.

The worst area to invest is in East Central London, where capital gains are falling by 3.76%, rental price growth is sliding by 1.1% and transaction volume growth is down 1.73% year-on-year. Despite all of these factors landlords in that area still make a yield of 2.9%.

Scott Wright: Will RBS fund lead to better deal for SMEs? (Herald Scotland), Rated: A

In a growing economy there is a balance to be struck between ensuring banks are well-capitalised and providing the credit private companies need to expand. That much is recognised by leading business figures such as Mike Welch and Jim McColl, with the latter planning to launch his own bank to help address the funding issues.

In that context, the £425 million Royal Bank of Scotland has set aside to boost competition in the banking sector for SMEs is to be welcomed.

And it is encouraging that Nationwide said it would direct that funding to the UK’s 5.7 million smaller and micro businesses rather than the big corporates, given that is arguably firms of this size which have suffered most from the tightening of bank lending. It is also SMEs, broadly speaking, which have been caught up in the shocking mistreatment scandals that have to occurred at certain banks since the financial crisis.

Cryptocurrencies yet to convince the savvy investor – Assetz Capital (Finextra), Rated: B

Investors in the Assetz Capital platform are yet to be convinced by cryptocurrencies, with just 16% seeing them as worthwhile investments.

The peer-to-peer lending platform canvassed the views of its investors in the Q1 Assetz Capital Investor Barometer. 43% believe the entire market is on the brink of collapse, while 40% feel cryptocurrencies are still too immature at present with significant risks attached. 14% feel it is a worthwhile investment but only in moderation, with just 2% thinking it is the future of investments.

The doors are open to MBAs in finance, including fintech, wealth management and venture capital (Find MBA), Rated: B

One route into the fintech sector is the Spotcap Fellowship, which provides up to £8,000 towards the cost of an MBA and a path to working at the Berlin-based online lender.

Niels Turfboer, UK managing director of Spotcap and an IE Business School MBA graduate, says he created the scholarship to address a talent shortage. A survey by recruitment website Indeed found that 20 percent of top fintech job vacancies were left unfilled after 60 days.

 

 

China

CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund Invests in Branch International (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading FinTech conglomerate in China, announced that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”), recently joined a group of prestigious investors to participate in the Series B investment round of $70 million in Branch International. Other strategic investors in this round of financing include International Finance Corporation (IFC), Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures and Victory Park.

According to the report recently published by CreditEase, jointly with IFC and Stanford Business School, there are over two billion adults globally in the emerging markets who do not have access to basic financial services (click here to download the Financial Inclusion Report). On a daily basis, Branch processes tens of thousands of loans, in amounts ranging from $2.50 to $500, and expects its total loan origination to exceed $250 million in 2018. Recently entered into the Nigerian market, Branch is currently growing 50 percent month-over-month within that country and 20% month-over-month overall.

European Union

How Fintech is Fixing Broken Credit (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

For millions of people, a lack of access to credit is just another part of life. Yet, without this access, it can be incredibly difficult for businesses and customers to connect with each other. In fact, according to The World Bank, despite a 20% increase between 2011 and 2014 in the number of adults with access to formal financial services worldwide, an expected 2 billion adults worldwide are unbanked. In addition, some 200 million businesses are excluded from the formal financial system.

The problem is particularly prolific in high growth markets; with a 2015 PwC report putting India’s unbanked population at 233 million (that’s nearly every 1 in 6 people). In South East Asia, a further 264 million people are without access to credit (including a staggering 80% of Cambodians). And even beyond the individuals affected, some 200 million businesses are excluded from the formal financial system.

A key way that we are achieving this at PayU is through our €110 million investment in German fintech company Kreditech, a leading technology group for digital consumer credit using machine-learning based underwriting. With traditional credit models simply not catering to large sections of the population, collaborative partnership can be instrumental in finding new ways to offer innovative solutions to the huge problem at hand.

International

Seven reasons to hate the long bond (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

The price of long-term treasuries will fall because:
1 – The global savings glut is turning into a global savings squeeze
2 – Just look at a chart of Treasury yields
3 – Speculative traders have a massive one-way bet on curve-flattening
4 – China could (should?) sell long-term Treasuries to teach Trump a lesson
5 – The Federal Reserve is reducing the size and duration of its holdings: it still has $526 bn of long bonds to sell!
6 – U.S. public debt is abnormally short: deficit-driven issuance will hit the long end disproportionately
7 – Forward guidance artificially compressed term premia: economic uncertainty will make them rise again

Source: INTL FCStone
Source: INTL FCStone

Chinese savings are unlikely to support anymore U.S. bonds for at least five reasons:
• The disappearance of China’s trade surpluses: China’s trade surplus has fallen from 10% of GDP in 2007 to 1% last year. China may become a deficit country next year.
• The Belt and Road initiative: China has found much better uses for its savings than financing the U.S. military and boomers’ Social Security claims. Going forward, China’s mountains of savings will build the infrastructure of Central Asia, the horn of Africa, Russia, Iran, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe, rather than flood the U.S. Treasury market.
• American protectionism: In the unlikely event that Trump’s bid to reduce the U.S.-China trade deficit by $100 billion next year is successful, China will have $100 billion less to invest in the U.S. Treasury market.
• China’s retaliation against American protectionism: Despite Trump’s claim that “trade wars are easy to win”, other countries have national interests too. China also has industries to protect, jobs to defend, and face to maintain. China is sitting on $3.1 trillion in currency reserves: according to the U.S. Treasury, China holds about $1.2 trillion in U.S. national debt (that just includes official accounts).

Source: INTL FCStone

 

Fintech and Property: What You Need to Know (The Urban Developer), Rated: A

Fintech is disrupting the global finance industry, to the benefit of both businesses and consumers.

Advancements in communication and information technology has enabled the rapid growth of technology platforms that provide transactional services. Online payment systems, debt platforms and online exchanges allow companies to better manage their clients and use the data collected to provide the best possible service.

What Fintech products will the property industry gain the most benefit from?

Data Analytics: Using information and data from Fintech platforms will help advisors and agents to make informed decisions for their clients. They will be able to get a better understanding of the client’s overall position, while also increasing the level of personalisation for the client.

 

Raising Capital: There are a number of avenues available for raising capital and the digitalisation of fundraising will open up new opportunities. Using Fintech products will not only speed up the process, but it will also open the door for reaching new investors through a number of online platforms.

India

Nuo Bank, India’s First Decentralized Cryptocurrency Bank, Raises $ 250,000 from Directors of PayU India (Crypto News), Rated: AAA

Despite government’s discouraging stance towards cryptocurrencies India’s crypto startups are getting their deserved thumbs-up from the industry and investors. One such promising startup known as Nuo Bank just raised about Rs. 1.6 crore ($250,000) from the CEO and MD of PayU India within a week of its launch, which shows the kind of trust that both PayU directors have in its growth potential.

Next, like other major cryptocurrency companies Nuo bank will also have its own coin. It’s going to issue 200 million Nuo tokens to customers, which represent 20% of its 1 billion token supply. The value of these tokens will be determined from smart contracts, and the smart contracts stipulate that 25% of Nuo Bank’s revenue should be kept reserved for these tokens.

P2Ps are in a race to build 1st blockchain platform here (The Economic Times), Rated: A

From established players like Faircent to early stage companies like India Money Mart, Paisadukaan and OML P2P, all are trying to develop the industry’s first blockchain platform and also share data about lending transactions between them in order to mitigate frauds.

All these companies have applied and are waiting for the NBFC P2P licence from the Reserve Bank of India.

Faircent, the country’s largest P2P platform has committed upwards of $1 million for this kind of a solution which they feel will help them reap huge benefits when traction on these platforms gains.

 

Asia

Fintech startup takes receivables platform to blockchain (Global Trade Review), Rated: A

The Singapore-based firm forecasts a US$2tn market opportunity in its use of blockchain to provide a secure invoice factoring solution using its customised cryptocurrency. With its token pre-sale set to end on April 8, the group’s initial coin offering will launch on April 9.

Acudeen Technologies brands its platform as “an inclusive environment for small businesses who are having a hard time getting financing using traditional means”.

Africa

Wonga South Africa Enters the Personal Loans Market (The African Exponent), Rated: AAA

Fintech craze changing face of lending (Business Daily), Rated: A

The numbers are in and the jury is out. The world over the fintech craze that underpins lending outside the traditional banking ecosystem continues unabated.

Whether the channel of consumption is online, mobile or the services packaged differently such as payday lending and layaway financing, investments continue to pour in chasing opportunities in a vertical that is quickly getting overcrowded with little to no service differentiation and a continued insistence on insight wizardry riding off copious amounts of personal data ingested.

Will technology save independent financial advice? (Money Web), Rated: B

Essentially technology can do two things for the advisor. It can significantly reduce the costs of administration and record keeping, while also making these processes simpler and more efficient.

“The whole market place is talking about digital – the rewiring of the investor and the investment advisor,” Wilson says.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday March 20, 2018, Daily News Digest

fintechs

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm intros in-store capabilities. SoFi prices first student loan ABS with medical residency refis. Experian targets non-prime borrowers with new credit score. RateSetter CEO warns of collaboration risk. Today’s main analysis: Hui Ying Financial Holdings’ 2017 financial results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: What the Senate Banking Committee bill means. Key Chinese technology players. What Europe’s investors […]

fintechs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Affirm Introduces In-Store Capabilities (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

Affirm will partner with merchants to make Affirm financing available in-store. Now shoppers can use Affirm InStore in brick-and-mortar locations, securing credit in just seconds before they even get to the cash register, and can pay for their purchase over time in simple, fixed monthly installments. Additionally, the company announced that consumers will have the ability to instantly add a newly issued Affirm virtual card to Apple Pay, the easy, secure and private way to pay, via the Affirm mobile app.

Affirm InStore brings the same easy experience shoppers and retailers have come to expect online to the point-of-sale in brick-and-mortar locations. Affirm gives merchants two flexible options: they can integrate the Affirm InStore API (application programming interface) with their Point Of Sale (POS) system or use Affirm’s expanded virtual card experience.

According to a survey conducted by Affirm, this can impact a retailer’s brand even if the financing product is offered by a third party. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they would think less favorably of a brand that offers a financial product that can be harmful to consumers.

Affirm’s platform makes it possible for shoppers to pay for purchases over multiple-month terms with simple interest loans that don’t charge compounding interest or late fees. And, unlike most credit lenders that base loan decisions on a consumer’s credit score and income alone, Affirm takes a more sophisticated approach, using data science in credit-scoring algorithms that combine credit history and other relevant factors to assess creditworthiness.

Affirm, a startup founded by PayPal co-founder, just launched Apple Pay Credit Card without the plastic (Tech Startups), Rated: A

Affirm now has more than 1,000 merchants using its service.

The company is going after the millennials with a new type of credit card, without plastic and only available online. The company announced today the launch of Affirm virtual card to Apple Pay Credit Card without the plastic. With Affirm Virtual Card, consumers will have the ability to instantly add a newly issued Affirm virtual card to Apple Pay, via the Affirm mobile app. With the virtual card, Affirm is reinventing credit with alternative to traditional credit cards and making its micro-lending program available through Apple Pay and letting customers use their iPhones to pay in brick-and-mortar stores.

SoFi prices 1st student loan ABS with medical residency refis (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Social Finance’s second private student loan securitization of the year, which priced Friday, is also its first to include loans refinancing the debt of medical residents.

Loans refinancing the debt of medical residents and fellows account for approximately 5% of the collateral for the original collateral for the transaction, SoFi Professional Loan Program 2018-B Trust, according to rating agency presale reports. The collateral for the deal was upsized, to $900 million from $700 million originally, in response to strong demand, though investors demanded slightly higher spreads on the senior notes compared to SoFi’s previous student loan securitization, completed in January.

Experian Releases a New Credit Score Aimed at Non-Prime Borrowers (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The ranks of thin file consumers continues to grow in this country. According to Experian these consumers now number 25% of the total U.S. population. These are people with five or fewer items in their traditional credit history.

Since the acquisition they have worked with the Clarity Services team to build a new score specifically for the non-prime segment. They are calling it the Clear Early Risk Score. As the name implies this new score is designed to give lenders a clearer view of the risk of these thin file consumers, many of whom should not be categorized as subprime.

When I asked Alex how this new score will be used in conjunction with their traditional FICO score he said it will be used in two ways:
1. When the consumer has no traditional file and therefore no credit score it will be used as an independent score.
2. The consumer may be originally scored as subprime and this new score could provide new  information that may lead to a different conclusion regarding risk.

 

 

 

Here’s what the latest Senate bill means for US fintech (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

A bill that the Senate Banking Committee has been drafting for several years, designed to reduce the regulatory burden for small- and mid-sized US lenders, received bipartisan approval in the Senate on Wednesday with a 61-38 vote.

The bill’s proposals include raising the threshold for the Dodd-Frank definition of a “systemically important” lender from $50 billion in assets to $250 billion, thus absolving smaller banks from strictures like annual stress tests; absolving banks with under $10 billion in assets from the Volcker Rule; and allowing small banks and credit unions to report less of their mortgage loan data, among other things.

Source: Business Insider

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

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

The merchant survey, which recognizes the importance of instant financing among online retailers, corresponds with consumer attitudes as revealed in a Klarna-sponsored survey last year that showed:

  • Three quarters of consumers (75 percent) indicate preference for online merchants offering instant financing
  • 39 percent said they would spend more money if given instant credit options when purchasing goods and services online
  • 28 percent would be very likely or completely likely to change merchants in order to use instant financing
  • Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) would like to be presented with an instant financing option while shopping online

THE QUANTS, THE ALGORITHMS, AND THE PERFORMANCE (All About Alpha), Rated: A

In the forthcoming paper he contends that with only “a tiny handful of exceptions” (read “Renaissance”) such trading doesn’t produce exceptional results. The problem goes far beyond what one addresses by saying that the field is new and still developing, that machine learning will get better, that Big Data will get even bigger, and so forth.

Heaton asks us to contemplate Citadel LLC. This huge hedge fund “returned only about 13 percent in 2017,” which was short of the S&P 500 gain. Yet the S&P gain would have been “available quite inexpensively to anyone with the money to open an account at Vanguard Group.”

Does Citadel compensate for underperformance in bull markets by preserving capital in bear markets? Heaton says that it does not, “Citadel fell nearly 60 percent in 2008, far more than the S&P 500 index.”

Composing Architecture for Growth (Lendit), Rated: A

The same technology that is influencing this change is also making it possible to deliver that experience at a fraction of the time and cost it would take with older technology.

This ‘right’ technology means embracing cloud-based services and an API-enabled composable architecture.  Today, building an architecture is quick and cost effective, particularly through the use of cloud technology.  Rather than having to buy, build, and maintain a collection of poorly-connected systems, an API-enabled composable architecture lets institutions leverage services built on a flexible yet secure infrastructure.

A composable API-driven architecture is necessary to tap into the full potential of cloud technology. The traditional approach is all or nothing, build an end-to-end solution which relies on a single vendor which would be responsible for the implementation.  But the composable approach embraces thinking that one company cannot focus on everything and be the best at it.  The architecture can be divided in small pieces and managed through life cycles separately and tested, removed or replaced without risk.

Everlasting Capital Grows from a Basement to Inc.’s 500 List (deBanked), Rated: A

“I was making $267 a week at the pawn shop and I was having to ask friends to help me pay my rent for a room,” Feinberg said. “So at that point, I realized that something needed to change.”

That question prompted Feinberg to present to his brother and Murphy the idea to start a finance company. Feinberg said he drew up a business plan in a day and a half and his brother and Murphy agreed to give him $3,000 to start the company. That was November of 2012.

And it did. After a year, Feinberg’s company, Everlasting Capital, made $110,000 in commissions and $3.5 million in volume. Within that first year, he also hired three people and moved from the basement of the pawn shop in Rochester, NH to a 600 square foot office in the same town.

This lightning fast trajectory is by no means common. That’s why Everlasting Capital made it onto 2017’s Inc. 500 list, the iconic list of America’s fastest growing private companies. By year two, Everlasting Capital earned $640,000 in commissions, generating $14 million in volume, and by year three it earned $1.6 million in commissions with $18 million in volume.

A Conversation with Lendup’s CEO Sasha Orloff and Vice President Jotaka Eaddy (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: A

We were happy to connect with LendUp’s co-founder and CEO Sasha Orloff and Jotaka Eaddy, the company’s vice president of policy, strategic engagement and impact. Orloff, Eaddy and the rest of the LendUp team are clearly mission-driven professionals who want to put borrowers on the pathway to better financial health.

The Financial Revolutionist: Sasha and Jotaka, it’s great to see you again. Sasha, I know you started the company in 2011 with your step brother, Jake. When did you start making loans?

Sasha Orloff:    Thanks Gregg. We recently hit our six-year anniversary of our first loan. Although Jake and I “started” the company in 2011, LendUp was really born after coming out of Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class.

FR:     Is access to credit a civil rights issue that needs more attention?

JE:    Absolutely. It’s just that some of the blatant racism that’s confronting our nation these days takes center stage on TV and social media. But historically, race has played a major role in accessing credit and how people are marginalized when trying to access it. Plus, when you look at the predatory products across this country, they are heavily marketed to poor communities. So yes, safe access to credit is an important issue for me — and should be for everyone — and LendUp is on the right side of it.

OCC once wanted payday lenders to ‘stay the hell away’ from banks. No longer (American Banker), Rated: A

More than a decade has passed since federal regulators cracked down on partnerships between payday lenders and banks that had been designed to circumvent state interest rate caps.

Now the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, operating under newly installed leadership, has taken a notable step in the opposite direction.

The agency said Friday that it has terminated a 2002 consent order with Ace Cash Express.

South Dakota is an example of a state that could be impacted. Sixteen months ago, the state’s voters approved a 36% interest rate cap. Critics of payday lending worry that federal banking regulators may effectively overturn such laws, and that last week’s decision by the OCC is a step down that path.

Goldman Sachs Adds LPL Financial to Its Securities-Lending Business (US News), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs Group Inc has signed LPL Financial Holdings, the largest U.S. independent broker-dealer by revenue, to its securities-based lending platform, the bank said on Tuesday.

Called GS Select, the platform was launched last year as a way for the Wall Street bank to target borrowers who have less than $10 million in investable assets. GS Select issues loans worth $75,000 to $25 million that are collateralized by the borrowers’ investment portfolios.

Goldman’s typical wealth clients have at least $50 million in assets.

Questions raised as robo advisers hire humans (FT Advisor), Rated: A

Robo-advice firms offering automated financial advice have begun incorporating human advisers into their service, raising questions about how this will impact their business models.

Schroders-backed Nutmeg is currently looking at introducing human advisers into its service, while rival Scalable Capital, in which Blackrock has a large minority stake, has recently done just that.

Cerberus completes Cyanco acquisition (PE Hub Network), Rated: B

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. today announced the completion of the previously announced acquisition of Cyanco Holding Corp. by a Cerberus affiliate from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. The transaction closed on March 16, 2018.

Cyanco will continue to be led by its current management team. As part of its investment, Cerberus will be putting in place a new board of directors for Cyanco. The new board will be chaired by Daniel Ajamian, an executive who has been Chairman of several other Cerberus portfolio companies.

Here Are 7 Atlanta Startups That Have Raised More Than $ 100 Million in Funding (Atlanta Inno), Rated: B

Kabbage, a FinTech company that connects small businesses with capital they need, is sitting pretty at $1.6 billion in total funding acquired since its debut on the Atlanta credit scene in 2009. Kabbage was recently in the news after the lending startup announced that, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, it would stop processing loans to assault-style weapons manufacturers.

Greensky, a consumer lending company which offers paperless solutions and financial services to businesses, secured a total of $350 million in funding in just two rounds.

 

United Kingdom

RateSetter CEO warns of ‘risk’ of collaboration over competition (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: AAA

At the Innovate Finance Global Summit at London’s Guildhall, Lewis warned that if the two cohorts solely collaborate, there would be little visible change from the viewpoint of the consumer.

“The technological advances being made are unstoppable; the question is who is going to take them to market,” he said on Monday.

There have been an increasing number of partnerships between fintech firms and the very incumbents that they are trying to disrupt. US investment bank Goldman Sachs has acquired a number of innovative start-ups through its online lending platform Marcus.

report released last month from consulting firm Capgemini and corporate networking website LinkedIn found that more than 75 per cent of fintech firms cite collaborating with incumbent firms as their primary business objective.

 

The state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is working on secret plans to create a standalone digital bank to compete with emerging British fintech champions including Monzo and Revolut.

Sky News has learnt that RBS has assigned one of its top executives to the project, which is so confidential that few people inside the company are aware of its existence.

RBS has already struck agreements with a number of leading fintech companies such as Funding Circle, with which it works to direct customers to peer-to-peer and other providers of alternative finance.

 

LendInvest launches second retail bond offer (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

The online platform for property finance has issued a five-and-a-half year 5.375% fixed rate retail bond due October 2023.

Payments under the bond will be guaranteed by LendInvest and the bond will be secured by way of a floating charge over the whole of the undertaking and all property, assets and rights, both present and future, of the issuer.

LendInvest’s first retail bond – which trades on the London Stock Exchange – raised £50m from a broad base of retail and institutional investors.

As of 31st December 2017, the bond was 99.6% utilised, with an interest coverage ratio of 192% and a weighted average LTV ratio of 57%.

Letter: Build a brighter future (Watford Observer), Rated: A

My suggestion was Funding Circle, which enables businesses to access finance independent of their banks and allows them to receive funds within a couple of weeks, compared to up to three months with a traditional bank loan.

It’s been a tried and tested investment since August 2010 and there are currently 18 councils investing through the Funding Circle platform, and the amounts invested vary from £1,000 to £2 million.

The Funding Circle minimum a council could lend to a business is £20, so Funding Circle suggests lending £2,000 would allow a council to lend to at least 100 businesses, lend no more than 1 per cent of the portfolio to each business.

What recent IPOs reveal about the state of fintech (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Over the last week or so we’ve seen not one but two fintech focused venture capital style listed funds list on the London market: Augmentum Fintech raised £94m while TruFin hit the market with a £70m valuation. Both of these funds have their own unique characteristics although perhaps the most interesting information from the listings is what they reveal about the likely worth of the alternative finance space in the UK.

The fund’s 15 per cent stake in Zopa, by contrast, seems a little more tangential though it’s also the single most valuable asset in the fund.

City of London and Innovate Finance Launch Fintech Strategy Group (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The City of London Corporation and Innovate Finance have jointly announced the launch of the Fintech Strategy Group (FSG) to help continue the success of the UK Fintech sector. According to Innovate Finance, the group will combine senior industry leaders across the sector including banks, regulators, and innovative Fintech startups.

The purpose of the FSG is to foster a collaborative dialogue on the future of UK Fintech – a vital issue as Brexit weighs on the financial services industry.

 

 

China

Chinese Tech Major Key Players – Tencent, Vipshop, Weibo, and Yirendai Market Analysis & Forecast 2017 to 2022 (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

China’s government is intent on upgrading its manufacturing sector and leading the world in a range of advanced technologies. Implicit in its “Made in China 2025” 10-year plan is the notion that China will displace the US as the world’s dominant technological power.

The US is likely to remain a leader in all major advanced technologies over the next decade, with Baidu the only Chinese player equipped to challenge the US’s lead in next generation technologies such as AI. There are signs though, that China is closing the overall gap faster than we expected.

This report researches the state and thrust of Chinese technology over the next two to five years and what it implies for global technology investors.

Hui Ying Financial Holdings Corp. Reports Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Results (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Revenues increased by 88.4% to $46.5 million and loans facilitated through platform increased 59.9% to over $1.3 Billion

Source: Markets insider
  • Total loans facilitated through our platform increased by 59.9% to $1,308.7 million for the year ended 2017 from $818.5 million in 2016, as China’s online peer-to-peer lending platform industry continued to grow significantly during 2017, coupled with an increased marketing campaign, promotion activities on our platform as well as increased brand awareness of our online marketplace. This led to accumulated value of loans facilitated through our platform in the aggregate amount of $2.87 billion since the launch of our marketplace in December 2013 through the end of 2017.
  • We had 8,047 borrowers and 69,232 investors participated in an aggregate of 23,263 loans during 2017, compared to 1,067 borrowers, 39,999 investors and 8,739 loans during 2016. As of the end of 2017, we had 367, 893 registered investors and 24 cooperative partners who frequently serve as guarantors of loans on our platform.
  • Total revenues increased by 88.4% to $46.50 million for the year ended 2017 from $24.68 million in 2016, as a result of an increase in loans facilitated through our platform and the contribution from the newly launched entrusted loan business. Revenues from loan origination service fees, loan repayment management fees and financing income from entrusted loans were $26.70 million$18.21 million and $1.58 million, respectively, for the year ended 2017 compared to $17.49 million$7.19 million and nil, respectively, in 2016.
  • Net income increased by 344.1% to $15.27 million for the year ended 2017 from $3.44 million in 2016. Diluted earnings per share was $0.21 for the year ended 2017, compared to $0.05 for 2016.

Blockchain startups are overvalued: Q&A with Anju Patwardhan, Managing Director at CreditEase China (Technode), Rated: B

Blockchain technology is in full swing. Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are all vigorously investing in blockchain technology and Chinese VCs are fishing for blockchain tech companies. What’s more, the Chinese government is also poised to educate Chinese people about this booming technology. However, that doesn’t mean that all blockchain projects are viable.

With a $500 million fund and another RMB fund with the same amount, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund is investing in fintech companies, mostly participating in B and C rounds.

European Union

Here’s what investors in France, Spain and Italy are up to (GooRuf), Rated: AAA

Lendix is one of the leading European players in the crowdlending sector for SMEs and although it is not yet active in the UK or outside of Europe, it sure is expanding fast.

So what are investors’ preferences?

– The French investor prefers grade A projects with a duration of 37 to 48 months.
– Spaniards are the most risk-averse and tend to invest more in projects with A and A + grades, but are not opposed to longer durations.
– Italian investors are the most risk-prone: they prefer B rated projects but with shorter durations (0-24 months).

This data shows that the Lendix community invests 11% more on A, A + and B + projects than on B or C ratings. Moreover, the duration seems to have a relative impact in terms of amounts invested, even if investors are more attentive to this parameter in the case of small projects (amounts up to 100,000 euros). In general, the community invests 32% more in long-term projects.

These 2 brothers just declared a mortgage price war – and Sweden is going nuts (Business Insider), Rated: A

Sweden’s mortgage industry is today worth around 3 trillion krona ($370 bn), according to Statistics Sweden, and most of the interest on these loans end up in the pockets of big banks.

A new fintech venture called enkla.com has today launched a potentially game-changing service. The Swedish online lender offers consumers a 0.95% fixed mortgage rate for three years, which is considerably less than the 1,6% average for similar loans among Sweden’s major banks, according to Di Digital.

Enkla’s self-stated goal is to borrow 100 billion SEK ($12,2 billion) worth of mortgages in the next 18 months by issuing mortgage bonds on the international markets, Di Digital writes. If the target is met, Enkla.com would be looking at a 3 percent share of the Swedish mortgage market.

The service enters a market where Sweden’s household debt has exploded from 66 percent to 87 percent of GDP in the past decade, driven by soaring housing prices. Consumers are evidently hungry for a cheaper deal than what banks can offer. Currently, Sweden’s four biggest banks – Swedbank, Nordea, Handelsbanken and SEB – have 75 percent of the country’s mortgage market, Breakit reports.

Enkla.com takes a 0,35% cut on the mortgages.

Beyond data sharing, open banking boosts omnichannel payments (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

In Europe the move to open banking has been driven by regulations such as the revised Payment Services Directive PSD2 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which compel banks to open their core systems to allow customers to control and release their data to third parties delivering added value services.

In other territories with no regulatory imperative, the drive towards open banking is led by the desire to provide the best customer experience, with added value services, new business models and connected marketplace products from third parties and vice versa. To do this, the application programming interfaces (APIs) of the bank will need to be open and connected to external providers. And cloud technologies will be fundamental in enabling this to become a reality.

International

Tech and Global Money Transfers: Why We Need Each Other (Canstar), Rated: AAA

Digital disruptors such as peer-to-peer lending services, mobile apps and blockchain have shifted the market, offering borderless accounts combined with speed and transparency.

Powering these disruptors are new technologies like artificial intelligence, big data and robotics, which are changing the customer experience; providing unprecedented insights into customer behaviour that help deliver a more seamless money transfer experience.

The World Bank predicts the value of global remittances will grow by 3.4% to USD$616 billion in 2018. In order for the industry to continue to thrive, businesses will be better served by coming together to redefine the future of money transfers.

A bitcoin trading firm just opened up a lending business — and it’s going gangbusters (Business Insider), Rated: A

Bitcoin might be in a bit of a slump, but one brand new bitcoin business is going gangbusters.

Genesis Capital, the recently launched subsidiary of market making firm Genesis Trading, has close to $100 million in loans outstanding, a person familiar with the company’s operations told Business Insider. That’s a striking milestone, considering the business was launched two weeks ago.

It gives out loans worth $100,000 or more in cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash. BlockTower Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund, and DV Chain, a crypto trading firm, are some of Genesis’ clients, according to people familiar with the matter.

Autonomous NEXT estimates the number of crypto funds has increased to 226. That’s up from approximately 50 at the end of August 2017. In total, they manage approximately $3.5 to $5 billion, a tiny fraction of the $3.2 trillion managed by traditional hedge funds.

What are the technology trends to look out for in 2018? (Investment Week), Rated: A

One key trend at the forefront of the digital space is artificial intelligence (AI). Some estimates predict that the AI market could grow from $5bn to $120bn by 2025.

A report from digital consultancy Juniper Research, has found that annual cost savings derived from the adoption of ‘chatbots’ in healthcare will reach $3.6bn globally by 2022, up from an estimated $2.8m in 2017.

The UK is leading the way when it comes to peer-to-peer lending, and is one of Europe’s largest alternative finance markets at £4.9bn, according to the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School.

 

Fintech: partner, build, or buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

“Fintech” covers many things, but is often used to refer to nonbank firms that leverage cutting-edge technology to deliver financial services directly to consumers and businesses. In that sense, banks initially viewed fintechs as competition, as they compete for lending, personal finance, payments, and other consumer services.

1. What’s the problem to be solved?

Sounds like common sense, but a fintech partnership should necessitate an extensive evaluation of the underlying need, such as filling in product or service gaps, or, in this bank example, offering borrowers a digital channel for applying and getting to closing quicker on a commercial loan as their primary competitors offered. Clear objectives help the bank and fintech determine if the match is on solid ground from the start.

A fintech partnership should offer the bank an upside—quantitative and qualitative—that simply isn’t available at more favorable cost, risk, and performance measures under the build or buy options.

2. What’s the difference between buying vs. partnering with a fintech?

Is it a shared risk and shared reward? Does the reward justify the risk? Or is it just the innovation culture of the third party? The definition is critical as the process of evaluating a fintech’s performance, costs, and risks entails unique considerations from a typical vendor evaluation.

Many partnerships are really just vendor relationships. That’s okay. In many cases, banks with extremely low risk appetites prefer the typically lower risk of a vendor relationship. One fintech exec noted how impossible it is to run many banks’ risk gauntlets because they don’t understand what they are getting into.

Asia

Indonesia eyes banking boom (Asean Economist), Rating: A

Indonesian banks will enjoy “more than 12 per cent” loan growth this year due to a recovering global economy and rising commodity prices, according to Jakarta’s financial regulator.

Loan growth in Indonesia has fallen below 10 per cent since early 2016, compared with more than 20 per cent during the preceding commodity boom.

MENA

Interview with Ahmed Moor, CEO of Liwwa (P2P Banking), Rated: A

What is Liwwa about?

liwwa is a marketplace lending platform that provides funding to small and medium businesses in Jordan. Our mission is to support job and income growth in the region. To date we have underwritten about 10 million USD in loans. This has helped to create 475 jobs in Jordan, 1.77 million USD in income, and 13.05 million USD in economic output.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

The type of investors we target are financially-savvy professionals who already have a portfolio of investments. They are attracted to our service because it is a way for them to further diversify their existing portfolio. The other advantage is that there are no big barriers to testing out the platform – provided he meets certain basic criteria, anyone can register and there is no minimum amount required in order to start lending.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

There is a 240 billion USD capital access gap in the MENA region. For borrowers, we provide a much-needed alternative to bank financing.

Canada

BMO launches banking chatbot with Finn.ai (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

The chatbot – called BMO Bolt – is available via Facebook Messenger, which is Canada’s “top messaging platform”, according to Finn.ai.

84% of the country’s population uses a smartphone to access Facebook and 38% performs mobile banking tasks via mobile phones, the vendor adds.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

What Investors Should Know About Non-Bank Lenders

nonbank lenders

Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses. Any funding model ultimately comes down […]

nonbank lenders

Investors looking to add private debt and private equity to their portfolios may feel overwhelmed by all the choices. From peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding, there are countless industry players across a wide range of alternative lending and financing models, serving everyone from individual borrowers to small and medium-sized businesses.

Any funding model ultimately comes down to matching the needs of those who want capital with those who can supply capital. Typically, banks or other large financial institutions would act as the intermediary between investors and borrowers or entrepreneurs. But with many banks pulling back after the financial crisis, and the internet making it easier than ever to play matchmaker, the alternative finance universe is attracting more and more capital.

However, there is still broad-based confusion among both institutional and retail investors about the differences between the various alternative funding models. This confusion is exacerbated by how often the terminology is used interchangeably in the media and the larger financial community. The truth is that each funding model has distinct nuances, rewards and challenges, and it’s important for investors and their financial advisors to understand the differences before incorporating alternative lending or financing into an investment portfolio.

In general, these models can be broken down as either debt or equity investments, with a similar risk-reward profile as any other debt or equity investment.

DEBT (lower risk, lower reward)

Peer-to-peer lending

In a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model, an individual or business borrows from an outside source or sources – a “peer” – rather than a bank. This process is facilitated through a third party, such as an online platform, which makes it easier to aggregate enough peers to fund the loan. These loans typically come with fixed terms and set repayment schedules. Many loans will also include details about the borrower—such as their income, credit score, occupation, and risk level—to help the “peers” (or lenders) determine whether to fund the loan and at what amount. Examples of peer-to-peer loans include consumer loans, student loans, small business loans, and fix and flip loans on single family homes.

Investors can get into the peer-to-peer lending market by purchasing the whole loan, a fractional interest in a loan or building a portfolio of fractional and/or whole loans. Investors then collect the proceeds of each loan payment, with the peer-to-peer lender taking a fee to cover the costs of running the platform. While even the most creditworthy borrowers may default on their loans, investors can mitigate this risk by building a diversified portfolio that includes multiple loans across different risk spectrums. Investors should also consider if the P2P loans they are investing in are unsecured or have some form of collateral securing the loan. Consumer and student loans tend to be unsecured, while small business and fix and flip loans tend to be secured.

Marketplace lending

Marketplace lending is another term used to further describe peer-to-peer lending. While the two terms are used interchangeably, an important differentiator is the source of capital. Whereas P2P lending platforms tend to rely on a group of small retail investors or large institutional investors to fund loans, marketplace lenders prefer to first pre-fund loans and then offer them to investors.

The marketplace lending model, therefore, offers qualified borrowers a guarantee that their loan will be funded within a specific timeframe, which may be an important consideration for some borrowers. For example, while a consumer borrower may be willing to wait until his loan is assessed and funded by multiple peers, a borrower looking to finance a real estate transaction has a closing date that must be met otherwise he will lose his down payment.

Direct lending/balance sheet business lending

In contrast to marketplace or peer-to-peer lending models, a direct lender will rely on its own balance sheet or proprietary access to funds as its primary source of capital. Instead of having to find enough retail and institutional investor capital to match the needs of borrowers, a direct lender can look to its unrestricted access of funds before making a lending decision.

The advantage of this approach is that the direct lender is better positioned to survive a potential downturn since each of the loans on its balance sheet represents a piece of collateral that can be used to offset any potential losses. Investors in these loans will therefore have a better opportunity to allocate capital in all market cycles. Many direct lenders may also manage a fund for accredited investors that consists of a portfolio of some, but not all, of the loans made by the lender.

EQUITY (higher risk, higher reward)

Crowdfunding

In the crowdfunding model, investors are given the opportunity to provide seed capital in up-and-coming products and businesses. Capital is provided in several forms including equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt and senior debt . While equity stakes are typically small—often less than 1%—even a modest upfront investment can generate a large eventual payoff if the company is successful. This is particularly true of technology start-ups, which can grow quickly if their product or service is well received among customers.

This model is also popular in the arts and entertainment industries. For example, people might choose to fund an independently produced movie, music album or play in exchange for a small piece of revenues and/or additional perks like attending rehearsals and premiere parties, meeting the artist, or receiving a memento from the set. In real estate, crowdfunding is most typically used by developers seeking to raise money to fund development or redevelopment projects.

Investors should find out if the crowdfunder is providing equity and debt on the same project. This is critical should a recovery plan need to be put in place if the project does not go as expected. Typically, equity investors want to hold on and wait for an increase in value , while debt investors want to liquidate immediately in hopes of recovering their investment. A crowdfunder that is representing both equity and debt investors in the same project will have a conflict of interest. In addition, these investments also tend to be fairly illiquid, so investors should tread carefully. While these early stage equity investments could potentially pay off handsomely, there’s always the risk that the company or project is a flop.

Initial coin offerings

An initial coin offering, or ICO, is a brand-new type of funding model that is attracting many of the same types of companies that previously relied on crowdfunding. However, instead of acquiring an equity stake in the company, investors in ICOs receive cryptocurrency coins, like Bitcoin or Ether, which are redeemable for cash on certain exchanges. The idea is that as the company grows and becomes more valuable, the coins will also become more valuable.

Since ICOs are still loosely regulated, investors should take extra precautions when evaluating a crypto-related investment opportunity. While a business idea may sound great on paper, investors should look for growth signs like recurring revenues and a large potential market.

These five models only scrape the surface of the full universe of funding options for individuals and businesses. A company or a funding model doesn’t always fit neatly into a box either, and investors should take care to understand how each funding platform generates revenue and where its capital comes from.

When choosing which segment of the market to pursue, investors and advisors should also consider their risk tolerance, which will help determine whether a debt or equity investment is most appropriate, and at what scale.

Author:

Written by Evan Gentry, CEO of Money360.

6 Blockchain-Based Crypto Lenders Changing P2P Lending

ETHLend

The integration of blockchain technology into multiple facets of our world could greatly streamline many industries that affect our day-to-day lives, and financial lending is the ideal forum. A natural progression of P2P lending, blockchain application can make the entire lending process more seamless and greatly reduce the amount of time the process takes. Here […]

ETHLend

The integration of blockchain technology into multiple facets of our world could greatly streamline many industries that affect our day-to-day lives, and financial lending is the ideal forum. A natural progression of P2P lending, blockchain application can make the entire lending process more seamless and greatly reduce the amount of time the process takes.

Here are a few of the players in the early days of this promising technology.

SALT (Secured Automated Lending Technology)

According to its website, SALT is the only platform built to facilitate loans secured by blockchain assets.

“Distributed ledgers represent a paradigm shift in the storage and transfer of assets and, for the first time in history, there is a perfect form of collateral: blockchain assets,” the website reads.

Basing loans on blockchain assets makes creditworthiness no longer an issue. Writing for Forbes, Roger Aitken reported that SALT asserts that, by focusing on the borrower’s assets instead of their credit score, it is able to “dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of the loan process.” SALT seeks to streamline every step of the loan process, facilitating a new blockchain-backed lending market.

The investor retains the value of their holdings, with any earnings or losses that occur to the wealth during the process reverting completely to the borrower.

Among the potential assets to blockchain-based coin lending are that it is a realm where crypto wealth is recognized. Company CEO Shawn Owen, speaking with Forbes, said “if you’re a holder of blockchain assets, a lot of your financial wealth is not being recognized by lenders.” This technology is poised to open those funds to be leveraged and also break down geographic constraints while bringing the potential for the unbanked and underbanked into the financial world.

SALT offers three value tiers and products.

  1. The basic membership package affords one up to $10k in term financing, paid only in USD; terms go from three to 24 months
  2. The premier package offers up to $100K in term financing with a line of credit. This can be paid in USD, Euro, GBP, JPY, and RMB. Term lengths are anywhere from one hour to 36 months.
  3. The enterprise package provides access to over $1M of term financing and a line of credit to be paid in an ad hoc currency selection, dictated by metered terms. This package offers two benefits that the premier package doesn’t–API integration and cold storage enterprise wallets.

All three packages offer no pre-payment penalties, market data and educational resources, and loan management web portals. The premier package offers access to the SALT hardware wallet, customizable loan terms, and early access to new products. These are not offered with the basic membership package.

All member lenders are Regulation D accredited investors, and while credit checks are not done on borrowers, SALT undertakes full Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) verification checks.

The loans, which sport interest rates in the 10 to 15 percent range, are not transferable via the blockchain, as they become securities and are thus transferable through existing financial channels.

EthLend

EthLend is an Estonian-based fully decentralized P2P lending platform on the Ethereum blockchain for lending Ether as tokens for collateral. The platform uses any ERC20 token. All lending on the platform is facilitated through the use of smart contracts, a feature unique the Ethereum blockchain.

The company’s Twitter feed from January 3 reports that it has reached nearly $600K USD in lending volume. The company offers address-to-address loans that are sent within minutes, with no middle men, assuring that no one, not even EthLend, can stop one’s lending or borrowing.

With a roadmap that goes into Q4 2019, the company seems to have a well-plotted vision. Included in that roadmap are:

  • Q1 2018—Plans for a Decentralized Credit Rating (DCR), which will draw on Credit Tokens (CRE) and previous loans on EthLend to create a decentralized credit rating that can be used for other Decentralized Applications (DAPPs) as well
  • Q2 2018—The addition of bitcoin to the DAPP
  • Q2 2018—CRE from third party services, such as uPort and Civic, which can be used when the borrower doesn’t have enough previous loans
  • Q4 2018—the incorporation of the lending of other altcoins and tokens
  • Q3 2019—expansion beyond Ethereum to other distributed ledger networks

Rating the company, CrushCrypto.com says “use cases may seem limited for now, but we believe as tokenization of real assets becomes more prevalent, EthLend has a good chance to become a market lender in this space.”

A pre-ICO lasting from September 25th to October 25th of last year sold 62.5 million LEND available at a sale price of 1 ETH = 25K LEND. The ICO, which ran from November 25-30, saw the company raise $17.86M USD, essentially 100% of the $17.9M goal.

In Q4 2107, the company opened up to USD-based loans and installments.

The platform is not without some aspects that may cause concern for some industry insiders. Certain functions are only accessible with LEND tokens, such as featured loan listings and email marketing for new loan requests. Also, EthLend is currently only available through the Eidoo ICO search engine.

On the upside, only dealing with crypto-to-crypto borrowing means there will be fewer regulation restrictions when those start to be handed down. Also, some insiders fear that other blockchain lending platforms that deal in fiat currencies might be swallowed by the banks, as they do open their transactions to become securities.

ICO Bench rates EthLend at 4.4 out of 5.

Celsius

Celsius is a New York-based NPO based on the Ethereum blockchain, which extends instant credit through a decentralized P2P network. The network is akin to a membership organization that consists of both lenders and borrowers. Members must complete a Celsius profile to join.

Celsius touts itself as the “first crypto wallet that allows users to earn interest (7%) on their held coins” and allows borrowers to use cryptocurreny as collateral to gain access to USD loans. Using a token called a DEG, Celsius deals in BTC, ETH, and USD and uses smart technology to bind the lender/borrower relationship.

Borrower’s metrics are ascertained by using the Celsius Score, a digital credit score calculated by using various traditional metrics, such as FICO scores and mortgage history, as well as non-traditional ones such as Uber and Amazon histories. Lenders choose their borrowers using this score to determine risk.

An NPO acting in the best interests of its users through lower fees and no hidden fees, Celsius’s ultimate goal is to give credit to large blocks of the public who are underserved by banks.

ICO Bench rates Celsius at 2.8 out of 5. The central reason for the less than stellar mark centers around the company being long on marketing, but less so in technology terms.

Some Other Players

Fusion LenderComm

Seven banks, including BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING, BNY Mellon and State Street, have joined forces with R3 and Finastra to develop a blockchain-powered marketplace for syndicated loans. The first pilots have already been successfully completed.

With the early support of seven global banks (two of which do not yet wish to be named), the platform will cover 10% of the syndicated loan market when live next year.

Inspeer

An expansion under the Russian LightFin.ru brand, Inspeer deals in crypto and fiat. The company serves three million regional customers and processed 200,000 loans in its first year.

LendingBlock

For those who like to be in the know a little earlier, there is LendingBlock, a securities lending platform for crypto and digital assets. Users can lend and borrow cryptocurrencies against collateral of other cryptocurrencies in a completely decentralized and private manner. Watch for a Q1 token presale and a Q3 launch. LendingBlock is not currently working with fiat currencies.

 

Conclusion

The business of cryptocurrency lending is looking like the Wild West. There are some promising players to consider, and more if you look. SALT has Erik Voorhees associated with it, who founded Coinapult and gambling site SatoshiDice. He is a long-time cryptocurrency and blockchain advocate.

Do your own homework to make informed choices, but if crypto lending is in you future, start your research with these platforms.

Author:

Written with Paul Keenan.

Allen Taylor

Friday January 5 2018, Daily News Digest

small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Wealthfront gets backing from Tiger Global. Funding Circle partners with Kansas bank. Elevate customers see rise in credit scores. NextCapital raises $30M for digital advice platform. London tops tech funding. HMT Treasury says P2P lending not deposit-taking. Yields lower in Euro zone as MiFID II begins. Today’s main analysis: FT Partners’ CEO monthly alt lending market […]

small business lending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

An investing startup that grew by $ 100 million in a single day just got some big name backing (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Wealthfront, a robo-adviser with more than $9 billion under its management, announced Thursday that Tiger Global, the New York investment firm, would lead a $75 million fundraising round.

Wealthfront plans to use the new capital to enhance its Path platform, which allows users to view all of their financial accounts.

“Path’s appeal to young people propelled our growth such that people under 45 now represent 85% of our clients,” Wealthfront cofounder Andy Rachleff said in a statement.

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

As FT Partners wraps up 2017 and looks forward to 2018, we are extremely proud of our accomplishments. Celebrating over 16 years in business, we executed a record number of deals, significantly expanded our team, continued our global expansion and won a number of industry awards during the past twelve months. We are confident that 2018 will be another successful year for the Firm and we are incredibly thankful to our clients and friends across the industry.

In case you missed it, we recently published our latest in-depth, 200+ page industry report: “

Source: FT Partners

Read the full report here.

Business-Loan Growth Fell Off a Cliff in 2017 and No One Can Figure Out Why (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Business-loan growth fell to its lowest levels since the aftermath of the financial crisis in the final weeks of 2017, a puzzling development that could weigh on bank earnings later this month.

Bank loans to companies grew 1.1% from a year earlier as of Dec. 20, up slightly from a 0.8% rate the prior week, according to Federal Reserve data. That Dec. 13 level was the lowest since spring 2011, when banks were just starting to lend to companies again after the financial crisis.

The readings likely cement 2017 as the worst year for this type of lending in recent history. The average weekly rate of business-loan growth was 2.7% for 2017 through Dec. 20, compared with 9.3% in 2016 and double-digit growth in the two years before that.

Looking at 2018: A Discussion with Ron Suber (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

“[People] from the banking industry from the tech industry. We have grown up,” said Suber. “We had some people that were great from the early days but were not good for long term growth. There has bee a major turnover in the leadership at many of these companies. My call is that companies are focusing on cash flow, profitability and EBITDA for the first time. Earnings on GAAP basis … I think that is great for the industry. You are seeing companies generate cash. [In the past] Prosper did $400 million in month and it lost money. Now it is doing, say $200 million a month and it is making money. They are being run to be profitable businesses. That is the takeaway from 2017.”

Suber says that today, Prosper makes money every quarter. They have $100 million on the balance sheet and it gets higher every month.

“We are seeing lots of money coming in from Asia to buy loans now. More than ever,” added Suber.

LendingClub, a reporting company, has had a tough two years as its stock has tanked while Wall Street looked elsewhere for growth.

ELEVATE ANNOUNCES BOOST IN CUSTOMER FINANCIAL HEALTH (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

More than 140,000 customers of Elevate’s RISE product have seen an improvement in their credit scores. Additionally, more than 35,000 RISE customers are now eligible to receive at least a 50 percent reduction in their APR and more than 13,000 customers are eligible to receive RISE’s lowest rate.

More than 160 million Americans are either non-prime or “credit invisibles,” without any credit score. These customers account for almost two-thirds of the U.S. population, yet are significantly underserved by the traditional financial industry.

RISE loans are originally priced to risk. Customers are eligible to receive 50 percent off of their rate on subsequent loans after 24 months of payments, eventually achieving a further reduction to 36 percent. Today, more than 35,000 customers have received or are eligible to receive a 50 percent rate reduction and more than 13,000 customers are eligible for an APR of 36 percent.

About the Data

Elevate worked with a major credit bureau to which it reports, gathering anonymized data on RISE customers. Elevate reviewed credit scores of customers from the customer acquisition point up to two quarters after loan completion.

The number of customers who have reached the necessary number of payments to receive a rate reduction was calculated by tabulating the number of accounts at the number of payments necessary.

  • 24 months of payments are required to receive 50 percent off of the customer’s original APR
  • 36 months of payments are required to reach 36 percent

NextCapital Raises $ 30M for its Digital Financial Advice Platform (ChicagoINNO), Rated: AAA

NextCapital officially announced Thursday that it has raised $30 million in new funding to grow its enterprise digital advice platform.

The Series C round brings the company’s total funding to more than $52 million. The round was led by Oak HC/FT, and included additional investments by Manulife Financial, Transamerica Ventures, Vermont Seed Capital Fund and Route 66 Ventures.

FSOC Annual Report on Financial Stability Highlights Marketplace Lending (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Last month the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) released their annual report. This 165-page report highlights potential risks to our financial system by looking at new developments and providing recommendations to improve financial stability.

Section 4.14 of this year’s report deals with new financial products and there is an entire section on marketplace lending. Here is their conclusion about our space:

Although marketplace lending has the potential to reduce costs and expand access to credit, the extent to which these benefits have been realized thus far is unclear. Furthermore, the marketplace lending model has not been tested through a full credit cycle. There are risks that misalignment of incentives could exist on these platforms.

Can blockchain technology revive peer-to-peer lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The original premise of online peer-to-peer lending platforms was simple and democratic: A single mom from Kalamazoo, Mich., could post her story explaining why she needed $5,000 to pay off her credit card, and a retired electrician in Illinois could read it, decide to fund her loan and receive interest far exceeding what he could get on his savings account.

LendingClub and others that proffered this people-helping-people model quickly found they needed to make changes.

 

Unbanked vs. Underbanked: Who they are and how they differ (MicroBilt), Rated: A

Slightly more than two-thirds of households in America frequently make use of traditional banking services, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. But that leaves 33 percent of people in the U.S. who don’t, a significant percentage by any measure.

Unbanked

As the title implies, unbanked Americans are those who don’t make use of any banking services whatsoever. This includes debit cards and checking accounts, as well as savings accounts. In 2015 – the most recent year for which data is available – the unbanked represented 7 percent of U.S. households, translating to approximately 23 million individuals, including children, the FDIC reported. The percentage of unbanked households in the U.S. is down slightly from 2013, when it was 7.7 percent.

Families have a plethora of rationales for why they opt to go without banking services, but it’s usually due to what they do not have in terms of savings. Nearly 57 percent of unbanked households cite this as their prime reason, according to the FDIC report.

Underbanked

Around 20 percent of Americans are underbanked, according to the FDIC, which means they have either a checking or savings account, though rarely both. Households are also usually given the underbanked distinction if they’ve used alternative financing options during the previous year, such as money orders or rent-to-own services. Around 67 million Americans are underbanked, or the equivalent of 24.5 million households, based on 2015 figures from the most up to date FDIC survey.

As far as demographics are concerned, millennials are among the most likely to be underbanked, with 31 percent of them under the age of 24, according to federal figures.

‘We don’t need to stay in the student market’: How BankMobile wants to grow its offering and replicate its model (Tearsheet), Rated: A

BankMobile, the digital-only bank that offers checking accounts to students, wants to start offering them credit.

The three-year-old Customers Bank subsidiary launched a personal loan product for its customers at the end of December, but that was just the first of a suite of credit products the bank plans to roll out this year as part of its “customer-for-life” strategy, according to Luvleen Sidhu, president and chief strategy officer.

BankMobile has 1.8 million customers to date and has opened about 300,000 new accounts each year in the student demographic through its university partnerships.

Why are you expanding into credit now?
We’re just looking at our demographic. Many in our current customer base are living paycheck to paycheck — that’s why personal loans make sense.

How do you plan to expand your products after the personal loan?
We have a lot of products to introduce on the credit side: credit cards in the second quarter, student refinancing in the second quarter, auto loans and home equity by the second half of next year.

You’re partnering with Upstart on credit products. What are the advantages of that approach?
In the longterm you could say it’s more expensive to partner but those costs outweigh the fact that we get to market much faster.

How has competition changed since BankMobile launched?
It’s accelerated. Challenger banks and Neobanks like Moven, GoBank, Simple and Varo continue to flourish and grow. Digital banks like Ally, USAA and Captial One 360 have really done a push in 2017 attracting millennials, tweaking their product, tone, messaging, branding to make sure they start penetrating that segment. Traditional banks are finally realizing the branch based customer acquisition model is not sufficient.

Banks compete for tech talent by helping on student loans (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks spend not only a lot of time thinking about how to attract millennial customers, but also how to get millennials to work for them.

Though banks might be hard-pressed to offer similar wages — average starting salaries at Uber, Pinterest, and Airbnb are all over $220,000, according to Paysa — they can offer something most tech companies don’t: a student loan repayment benefit plan.

Inside Citizens Bank’s branch redesign strategy (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Banking giants like Citi and Capital One with much more money and resources at hand have been making branches look more like lounges, coffee shops or museums as they figure out what to do with them with less foot traffic, but in 2018, smaller institutions could start to make a move on their plans.

The Providence, Rhode Island bank is transforming its branches into digitally-connected community centers, Johnson said.

Citizens currently has 1,200 branches, and the bank is in the second year of a 10-year plan to reduce its branch footprint as lease expiries take effect. It’s replacing paper pamphlets with digital tools, like a digital retirement checkup platform customers can use while meeting with bankers. The bank can also project digital content onto the walls of a meeting room — a nod to the digital-first habits of some younger customers. Citizens is on an ambitious track to reduce its retail footprint by as much as 50 percent — a “do more with less” approach that over the long term that will save occupancy costs, CEO Bruce Van Saun said in an earnings call last year.

How banks use behavioral economics to win over customers (American Banker), Rated: A

When a major international bank was looking to improve the response rates for its credit card mailers in 2017, rather than changing the graphics or upgrading the paper stock, it turned to a firm that could offer guidance on how consumers make decisions.

It was trying to tap into the insights of behavioral economics, a discipline that uses psychological observations about human behavior to analyze and predict how people will act.

A Fight Over the Credit Score Lenders Use for Your Mortgage (WWJ), Rated: A

Banks and rival lenders are butting heads over the credit scores used to decide millions of mortgage requests by U.S. home buyers.

Now, a federal agency is weighing whether to step into the fight, which revolves around a longtime requirement for lenders who sell mortgages to Fannie Mae FNMA -3.17% and Freddie Mac FMCC -3.31%to gauge most borrowers using FICO scores. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s ultimate decision could have wide-reaching ramifications for the mortgage market and home buyers across the U.S.

Many nonbank lenders, which in some recent quarters have accounted for more than half of the mortgage dollars issued in the U.S., want the ability to use a credit score provided by a company owned by credit-reporting firms Equifax Inc., EFX +0.00% Experian EXPGY 0.23% PLC and TransUnion . TRU 0.80% These lenders argue the alternative score would open the mortgage market to a greater number of people and lead to more mortgage approvals, helping to boost home sales and the economy.

That is where VantageScore Solutions LLC, the scoring firm that Experian, Equifax and TransUnion launched in 2006, says it can step in.

The company says it can assign a credit score to about 30 million more consumers than FICO. Roughly 7.6 million of those consumers would potentially be eligible for a Fannie or Freddie mortgage, VantageScore says.

Envestnet Finalizes Acquisition of FolioDynamix for $ 195 Million (Finovate), Rated: A

Wealth management intelligence solutions company Envestnet has finalized its acquisition of Actua Corp’s FolioDynamix, a wealth tech solutions company, this week.

PropertyMetrics helps real estate investors create more accurate proformas (Realty Biz), Rated: A

With that in mind, a company called PropertyMetrics has built a web based platform that’s designed to help investors come up with a proforma that includes evaluation and analysis. With PropertyMetric’s software it’s possible to analyze any property in minutes, from any device. This means investors can quickly generate a quick cash flow proforma, perform a cash flow analysis and generate PDF reports from anywhere, in a matter of minutes.

10 favorite stocks for 2018 from top-ranked stock newsletter writers (MarketWatch), Rated: A

Michael Brush, Brush Up on Stocks

I also recently suggested Lending Club Corp. LC, +0.98% in part because of the huge buying by Chinese technology and internet expert Tianqiao Chen, who founded the online gaming company Shanda Interactive Entertainment years ago while he was in his 20s.

He owns around 20% of Lending Club, an online peer-to-peer lending platform. LendingClub recently tightened its lending standards, which hurt loan growth, so the company missed earnings estimates and guided down. But it still expects 15%-20% annual revenue growth over the next few years. This seems plausible given how many people with OK credit would like to refinance their credit card debt with loans. Lending Club estimates $300 billion to $350 billion in credit card debt could potentially be refinanced in this way.

An Online Lending Task Force is Coming to New York (deBanked), Rated: A

An online lending task force DFS study will be coming soon to New York, according to legislative records.

Chippewa Cree Tribe Settles BEH Gaming Ltd Lawsuit (PRWeb), Rated: B

Plain Green, LLC, the online resource for the short-term financial needs of underbanked and subprime consumers, today announces a successful settlement with BEH Gaming Ltd related to loans to the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation. Plain Green’s settlement and payment of the debt to BEH releases the Chippewa Cree Tribe and Chippewa Cree Tribe Development Corporation from all liability. The settlement amount is under seal of court order.

The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by Florida-based BEH Gaming Ltd in 2014 (Case # DV-14-142 in the 12th Judicial District Court in Hill County, Montana) to repay loans to expand Northern Winz Hotel and Casino.

Portland ad agency lands $ 126M LendingTree account (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Advertising agency R2C inked a deal late last month to become the new media partner for LendingTree Inc.

LendingTree is an online loan marketplace for financial needs like auto loans, small business loans and credit cards headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. AdWeek reports that the company had a media budget of $126.5 million in 2016, and spent nearly $61 million during the first half of 2017, though R2C won’t manage LendingTree’s entire media budget.

Growing your business? These 3 financing mistakes can cost you big (News-Journal), Rated: B

1. Not understanding the true cost of your loan

When shopping for a business loan, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by fast-talking salespeople, endless strings of acronyms and confusing terms. If it’s unclear how much you’ll really pay for financing, that’s a good sign you should walk away, Hodges cautions.

2. Getting trapped in daily or weekly repayment cycles

Term loans are often the better option, Hodges says. They allow businesses to borrow a set amount of money for a specific purpose, like hiring new staff or stocking up on inventory. The funds are then paid back over a set amount of time, with consistent monthly payments and no surprise fees.

3. Not knowing what you deserve

After seeing countless small businesses get stuck with credit products they couldn’t afford or understand, a coalition of small business advocates, lenders and online credit marketplaces came together to launch the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights. As the first-ever gold standard for responsible business lending, the Bill of Rights outlines the rights and safeguards that small businesses should expect from finance providers.

3 Behaviors To Keep Credit in Good Standing (MicroBilt), Rated: B

Source: MicroBilt
United Kingdom

London was top destination for tech funding in 2017 (Reuters), Rated: AAA

London was the top city in Europe for technology investment last year, with more funding going into companies in the British capital than into firms based in Paris, Berlin and the next seven cities combined, data showed on Friday.

Tech firms in London attracted 2.45 billion pounds ($3.3 billion) in venture capital funding in 2017, about 80 percent of the 2.99 billion pounds invested in Britain as a whole, according to data compiled by funding database PitchBook for London & Partners.

Fintech, or financial technology, was the most popular segment for investors, attracting a record 1.34 billion pounds in venture capital, the data showed, led by major rounds for TransferWise, Funding Circle and Monzo.

London’s tech scene pulls in record £2.5bn in 2017 venture capital bonanza (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

London’s tech venture capital investment reached another all-time high in 2017 as firms raked in four times more cash than Paris, the nearest European rival.

Softbank’s $502m (£392m) investment in game development platform Improbable was the biggest single investment during the year, but it was London’s burgeoning fintech firms which led the way with a record haul of investments.

European cityLondon Total funding raised (£)

2.45bn

European cityParis Total funding raised (£)

564.97m

European cityBerlin Total funding raised (£)

456m

European cityStockholm Total funding raised (£)

360.27m

European cityMadrid Total funding raised (£)

65.38m

European cityAmsterdam Total funding raised (£)

212.18m

European cityDublin Total funding raised (£)

117.45m

European cityHelsinki Total funding raised (£)

56.98m

European cityCopenhagen Total funding raised (£)

40.23m

European cityLisbon Total funding raised (£)

2.43m

Treasury clarifies whether P2P lending constitutes deposit-taking (AltFi), Rated: AAA

HMT Treasury has passed an order confirming that straight-forward peer-to-peer lending does not constitute deposit-taking.

The order relates to the now-infamous “Dear CEO” letter, sent in March 2017, in which the FCA effectively ordered P2P platforms to cease and desist with all wholesale lending activities. The rationale was that a business borrowing money in order to lend that money on constitutes a form of deposit-taking. This was deemed illegal, per article 5, paragraph 1 of the regulated activities order.

How angel investors support UK start-ups (Growth Business), Rated: A

Investing in start-ups is becoming increasingly popular and accessible in the UK. The attractiveness of that market has come from two main factors: the success of a number UK start-ups built over the past two decades (ASOS, Just Eat, Zoopla, Funding Circle) which are showing the way for many more to come and the supportive policies implemented by the various governments over the same period to encourage investment in ventures.

These schemes have proven to be extremely popular with private investors who every year invest over £1.5 billion into high growth ventures under SEIS and EIS.

So how do you get started with investing in start-ups if you are new to this market?

Your first option is to invest through online equity crowdfunding platforms (ECF) such as Seedrs, Crowdcube and Syndicate Room, which showcase dozens of investment opportunities from start-ups looking to raise equity funding from the public. The advantage of ECF websites is that they are convenient and accessible to anyone with investment tickets starting at £10.

If you consider yourself to be a more sophisticated type of investor looking to build a portfolio of investments with tickets of more than £5,000 per company, then you should probably think about joining an angel syndicate.

A third option to get started is to invest through a start-up fund.

High numbers using expensive credit to buy basic household appliances (Ekklesia), Rated: A

Research found almost 60 per cent of people on a low income turn to more expensive forms of credit to purchase home appliances because they do not have the means to pay up front or access to affordable credit. Seventeen per cent say they used a credit card to make the purchase, 10 per cent used an overdraft and 10 per cent used a store card. More worryingly, significant numbers said that they used high cost credit to buy home appliances, with 13 per cent relying on hire-purchase and eight per cent saying that they used a payday loan.

Blockchain-based banking startup Babb names Paul Johnson as CIO (Finextra), Rated: B

Blockchain-based banking startup BABB (Bank Account Based Blockchain) has appointed banking technology veteran, Paul Johnson who previously lead one of the UK’s leading challenger banks, Aldermore, as CIO to spearhead the development of the world’s first decentralised bank.

European Union

Euro zone yields edge lower as MiFID II kicks in (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield fell 2 basis points to 0.44 percent DE10YT=TWEB, off two-month highs hit on Tuesday after weekend comments from the European Central Bank’s Benoit Coeure that there was a “reasonable chance” ECB stimulus will not be extended this year.

Most core euro zone bond yields were down 1-4 bps on the day, with the gap between Italian and German 10-year bonds yields tightened to 160 basis points as Italian yields dropped as much as 6 bps to 2.03 percent. IT10YT=TWEB

Ireland meanwhile kicked off its annual funding drive by raising 4 billion euros with a syndicated 10-year bond, covering around a quarter of its issuance target just three days into the year.

P2P platform bosses offer cautious support for pan-EU licences (AltFi), Rated: A

“Opt-in passports” are the way forward, says Lendix co-founder Patrick de Nonneville.

The EU Commission is laying the groundwork for a licence that will allow European crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms to operate across the bloc.

“We think it’s a great development that will be useful for us,” said Patrick de Nonneville, chief operating officer at French marketplace lender Lendix.

Raffael Johnen, CEO and co-founder of leading German marketplace lender auxmoney, offered his thoughts.

“Getting closer to a single digital market will further boost the creation of true European fintech champions.”

International

Online lender Funding Circle inks partnership with Kansas bank (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, an online lender that operates in four countries, is partnering for the first time with a U.S. bank.

On Thursday, the 7-year-old company announced a deal with Intrust Bank in Wichita, Kan., under which it will sell $20 million worth of its small-business loans to the $5 billion-asset institution.

This Cryptocurrency Inventor Has Suddenly Become One of the World’s Richest Men (Money), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency has a new king. His name is Chris Larsen, and he’s the co-founder and former CEO of Ripple, which created the digital token known as XRP. He’s now one of the world’s richest billionaires, thanks to XRP’s incredible hot streak.

XRP, a cryptocurrency intended for international transactions, has had a meteoric rise this winter. Its value went from $0.25 a coin in mid-December to $3.16 as of Wednesday, according to Coinmarketcap. It’s currently the second biggest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin.

Forbes reports that, as a result, Larsen almost instantly became worth $37.3 billion (based on XRP’s Monday exchange rate).

India

BCCL invests in fintech company FinREQ in an ads-for-equity deal (Medianama), Rated: AAA

Bennett, Coleman & Co Limited (BCCL), the publisher of the Times Of India and the parent of Times Internet, has acquired an undisclosed stake in online loan company FinREQ.

As such, it looks like the investment in FinREQ is an ads-for-equity deal.

FinREQ was founded in 2011 and has tie-ups tie-ups with nationalized, co-operative, foreign, private banks, NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies. The company provides a variety of loans ranging from overdrafts, import & export finance, supply chain financing, loans against property (LAP), loans against share, lease rental discounts and others.

Online lending platform EarlySalary raises $ 15.7 mn in Series B round (VC Circle), Rated: A

Pune-based Social Worth Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs online lending platform EarlySalary, has raised Rs 100 crore ($15.7 million) in a Series B funding round led by Eight Roads Ventures India, a company statement said.

Invest smart with these asset class investment options (ANI), Rated: B

Fixed Depositsinvestment in goldReal Estate and many other traditional options are losing grounds when trying to woo the new age investors.

A research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies indicated that nearly three-quarters of millennials are saving for retirement and that we started doing so at an earlier age than previous generations.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in India currently gives a net return of 18-22 percent to lenders.

Asia

Commencement of Online Lending Service for Small Businesses That Leverages Accounting Big Data and AI Technology (Orix), Rated: A

ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) and Yayoi Co., Ltd. (“Yayoi”) announced today that the ALTOA Online Lending Service, which leverages accounting big data and AI technology, will commence its operation through the jointly established entity, ALTOA, Inc. (“ALTOA”).

The ALTOA Online Lending Service is an online lending service that provides small amount, short-term loans for small businesses through a new credit model that leverages the credit know-how of ORIX, the accounting big data of Yayoi, and the AI technology of d.a.t. Inc., who is a partner in this venture.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor