Friday December 22 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: DV01 finishes year with $7.9B in consumer unsecured bonds. PayPal invests in Raisin. Affirm CEO affirms its product is a personal loan. LexinFintech share price surges. The state of P2P lending in New Zealand. InvestUp considers cryptocurrency investing. Today’s main analysis: Why bitcoin is a threat to LendingClub. Today’s thought-provoking articles: High-tech lenders go after […]

LendingClub charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Cayman

News Summary

United States

High-tech lenders target the decades-old store credit card (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The once-hot online lending industry has been battered by scandal and losses since last year, but one of the oldest forms of lending – store credit – is increasingly attracting tech companies aiming to supplant a retailer’s credit card.

One such lender, San Francisco startup Affirm, is attracting investment and large customers by using a new approach to underwriting that allows it to approve more borrowers than traditional store credit cards.

Max Levchin, Affirm’s founder who also co-founded one of the earliest digital payments companies, PayPal, boasts that Affirm approves 126 percent more borrowers than Synchrony Financial, the largest issuer of private-label credit cards.

Startup Affirm CEO Clarifies that Product Is a Personal Loan – Not a Credit Card (LendEDU), Rated: AAA

Consumers looking for a personal loan option have another one to consider in Affirm, which is a startup from PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. With Affirm, consumers can access a loan, a form of credit, to buy items at a store, which was originally interpreted to be similar to how a credit card works.

But Levchin has pointed out there are important differences between an Affirm loan and credit cards.

Who Uses Affirm?

Generation X and Millennials are the customers who most frequently use Affirm. Younger consumers have seen how carrying high credit card balances affected their older relatives, and they are less likely to want to have much credit card debt.

The annual percentage rate can be steep, going from as low as 10 percent to as high as 30 percent. But, unlike credit cards, the interest isn’t compounded.

Why Bitcoin Frenzy Is Terrible News For LendingClub (SeekingAlpha), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (LC) has had plenty of troubles over the years. Back in 2015, you could throw a dart at a list of financial stocks and hit a double if you held it through today. LC stock, by contrast, has destroyed shareholder value since its IPO. Even the recent Trump financials rally did next to nothing for LC stock, and now shares are back to near new all-time lows after a downbeat earnings report:

Source: SeekingAlpha

In a booming economy, the G-rated loans did so badly that they jacked up interest rates almost 3% on consumers while also reducing expected returns by more than 3%. This suggests that the G-rated loans were fully 6% short of expectations. This speaks to massive problems with the company’s underwriting, and leaves you to wonder just how badly internet-originated subprime loans will fare when a recession hits and the unemployment rate goes up again.

Source: SeekingAlpha

Bitcoin Losses Ahead?

If you are someone with a low income and a challenging financial position, you have an almost no-lose proposition (if ethics don’t get in the way). You borrow money on a credit card or from LendingClub, “invest” it in Bitcoin or Ethereum, and then hope it keeps going to the moon. If it does, you make many multiples of your interest expense, and have hit the lottery.

Now if the trade goes bad, and Bitcoin plummets, what is your debtor going to do? Since there is little consequence to defaulting on unsecured debt (and LendingClub has a reputation for being a lax debt collector), you simply stop paying on the note. The borrower has a win/win situation – essentially the lender is financing purchase of lottery tickets. I don’t know about you, but I’d need a much higher interest rate than even the 15 or 20% you might get off a low-end LendingClub note to justify that risk.

Source: SeekingAlpha

DV01 to Finish 2017 With $ 7.9 Billion in Consumer Unsecured Bonds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, announced on Thursday it is set to close 2017 with $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds. This news comes just a few months after the company launched its Cashflows for Securitizations feature.

The company revealed that it has launched a redesigned Securitizations homepage to celebrate the $7.9 billion of consumer unsecured bonds.

SoFi Vs. Earnest Student Loan Product Comparison (StudentLoans.net), Rated: AAA

SoFi offers their clients an option. You can choose variable refinancing rates which currently range 2.75 to 6.84 percent if you enroll in the company’s autopay option. Fixed rates range from 3.25 to 7.24 percent.

Earnest offers their clients both variable and fixed rate options. For the variable option, the rates currently start at 2.57 percent APR while fixed rates start at 3.35 percent APR with their autopay options.

Both SoFi and Earnest do not have a maximum within their loan amounts, but the amount a client owes will affect the interest rates that are offered.

Repayment Options

SoFi offers a number of repayment options for their refinancing product. This includes flexible rates, terms, and an ability to set automatic payments that drop your rate by 0.25 percent. Repayment terms range from 5 to 20 years.

Earnest refinance loans offers the flexibility in the way of terms that range from 5 to 20 years. With their loans, you will be able to increase payments, pay lump sums, provide bi-weekly payments, skip a payment to pay later, and offers an interest break for those who set up automated payments.

American Financial Exchange (AFX) Announces Two-Year Anniversary Highlights (PR Newswire), Rated: A

American Financial Exchange (AFX), an electronic interbank lending market focused on U.S. small and mid-sized banks, announced today the second anniversary of its electronic trading platform. AFX facilitates the determination of Ameribor®, a transaction-based interest rate benchmark for small- to mid-sized banks via its electronic trading platform.

Since opening, more than $100 billion cumulative has been successful transacted. Recently, daily volumes have averaged approximately $350 million with several days of volume highs over $500 million principal traded.

Is Peer to Peer Lending the Best Option for Small Company Financing? (Newswire), Rated: A

If your small company needs a borrowing arrangement but does not have a credit rating that benefits instant endorsement from the banking institutions, you need to sign up for an alternative solution of capital such as peer to peer lending.

Rather than signing up to a recognized traditional bank for a financial loan, you create a proposal to be lent from people who, (if they are interested in your offer), sign up for the loan request in amounts as low as $25.

Unsecured business loans and where to get the best ones if you have bad credit (Las Vegas Informer), Rated: A

Kabbage

Kabbage offers loans that go between $2000 and $150,000, and the APR goes between 24% and 99%. They ask for no minimum credit score but you need to have been in business for at least one year in order to qualify, and have annual revenue of over $50,000.

Fundbox

With Funbox you’re looking at a loan amount of $1000 that can go all the way up to $100,000. The APR goes between 15% and 59%, and they also cater to the needs of people with bad personal credit.

OnDeck

With OnDeck you’re looking at loans that go up to $100,000 and an APR that can go from 14% to 40%. Unlike the other two, here you need good personal credit and also you need to be good at managing your cash flow. You will need a personal credit score of at least 600, not to mention an annual revenue of at least $100,000.

LendingClub

At LendingClub you can get a loan of up to $100,000, from a minimum of $5,000, with an APR that goes between 9.8% and 35.7%.

New Real Estate Investing Resource Platform is Changing the Landscape (Benzinga), Rated: A

Think Realty is a membership-based resource platform developed exclusively for real estate investors. Since launching in 2016, investors across the nation and around the globe have signed up at ThinkRealty.com to become Think Realty Members, with an 81 percent increase in membership in the past six months.

Think Realty’s reach continues to expand with its national talk radio show, Think Realty Radio, which will begin airing January 1, 2018 on Wall Street Radio. Think Realty is presenting four national conferences for investors in 2018, beginning with the Think Realty Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas, February 24 and 25. The other locations are Baltimore, Maryland, April 14 and 15; Irvine, California, July 14 and 15; and Atlanta, Georgia, September 22 and 23.

The 10 biggest real estate tech deals of 2017 (The Real Deal), Rated: A

WeWork is now worth $20 billion. Compass is valued at $2.2 billion following a December funding round. Have you heard of Placester? Well, investors think it’s worth $202 million. The Jared Kushner-backed real estate crowdfunding startup Cadre now has a $800 million price tag.

  • 1) WeWork, $4.4 billion fundraising round
  • 2 & 3) Compass, $100M and $450M fundraising rounds
  • 4) Cadre, $65 million fundraising round
  • 5) Placester, $50 million fundraising round
  • 6) Common, $40 million fundraising round
  • 7) HomeLight, $40 million fundraising round
  • 8) Roofstock, $35 million fundraising round
  • 9) Knock, $32.5 million fundraising round
  • 10) Opcity, $28.77 million fundraising round

Congress: Hands off new rule protecting families from payday lenders (Herald Sun), Rated: A

Ignoring the voices of families and communities who have worked for many years for relief from the harms of predatory payday lending, a handful of members of Congress have introduced legislation that would nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s national rule to rein in payday-lending abuses. Their legislation uses Congressional Review Act authority to repeal the rule and prevent the Consumer Bureau from issuing a similar rule in the future, giving predatory payday and car title lenders a free pass.

Why Amazon won’t buy a bank in 2018 (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Forget the speculation about Amazon buying a bank next year. But don’t count it out from adding banking to its near endless line of offerings.

For Amazon, providing financial services is just a means to an end: making more money by selling more things. Other retailers are still its main competition — not banks.

Why banks want to collaborate now on open banking standards (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Every U.S. banker is watching their European counterparts react to the looming Payment Services Directive, or PSD2, which will come into effect in 2018. When that happens, banks will lose their monopoly on customer data as merchants and retailers like Amazon will be allowed to retrieve customer account data from the banks (with customers’ permission).

Now, U.S. banks want to get ahead of their own regulators when it comes to creating data exchange standards. It can take 18 to 36 months to get a framework in place, Courbe said, but banks know they need to start exchanging data with other companies today.

LendingTree Adopts the RevJet Marketing Creative Platform (Sys-Con Media), Rated: A

RevJet, the first smart marketing creative platform, today announced that LendingTree has adopted RevJet’s system for producing, approving, personalizing, serving and automatically optimizing all formats of digital ad creative. Using RevJet to take a methodical approach to experimentation, LendingTree is able to deliver a higher volume of leads to their business partners while optimizing for revenue.

 

United Kingdom

December’s Lending Impact and Borrower Stories (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Whatever the season, small businesses work harder on any given day than Mr Claus on Christmas Eve. To celebrate their hard work and determination, we’ve created our very own Christmas Carol, looking at the past, present and future of small businesses. We begin with the small business past, looking at the history of small businesses, and how they adapted during the industrial revolution. Next up, dive into the small business present and learn about the impact they have on today’s world and the trends that have helped them along the way. Finally, discover what the landscape might look like for businesses in years to come in our small business future.

In our latest case study video, meet David, founder of The Creative Whisky Company.

Peer to Peer Robo-Lending Platform InvestUp Sizes Up Cryptocurrency Investing (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

FCA authorised crowdfunding aggregation platform InvestUp may be going crypto. The UK based Fintech has so far focused on the peer to peer lending space but management is currently looking at adding algorithm driven cryptocurrency investing.

InvestUp shares that 2017 has been another good year for P2P lending having delivered, on average, 10.74% to investors.

Protecting the future of peer-to-peer lending (Gov.uk), Rated: A

Today the peer-to-peer lending industry was given a boost of confidence as the government began legislating to clarify that no business borrowing through a peer-to-peer platform needs to be regulated as a ‘deposit taker’ (often referred to as a ‘banking licence’) unless that is their core business. The legislation will ensure that the industry can continue to thrive and innovate while still benefiting from the UK’s high quality regulatory standards.

The Committee on Exiting Europe Publishes Sector Reports Including Document on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Exiting the European Union Committee, appointed by the House of Commons to examine the process of the Department for Exiting the European Union , released a grouping of documents from the Department today. As one may expect, the slew of reports addressed certain aspects regarding ramifications of the UK’s departure from Europe.

The Fintech Sector Report highlights the current regulatory regime in the EU and how cross border transactions take place between continental Europe and the UK. The document describes Fintech as covering four different categories:

  • Investment, advice (including Robo-Advisors) and  neo or challenger banks
  • Regtech for compaliance
  • Payments including digital currencies such as Bitcoin
  • Alternative finance including crowdfunding and peer to peer lending

Read the full UK Fintech Report here.

Bank of England approves Tandem’s Harrods Bank takeover (AltFi), Rated: A

Tandem can now end the year on a high note after the Bank of England today gave regulatory approval for the challenger’s purchase of Harrods Bank.

The deal will now give Tandem access to a full banking license and the 10,000 customers attached to Harrods Bank, as well as the bank’s mortgage and savings books. According to Tandem, the purchase will also come with a “significant capital injection”.

UBS and EPAM Win Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management for SmartWealth App at Banking Technology Awards (NASDAQ), Rated: B

EPAM Systems (NYSE:EPAM), a global provider of digital platform engineering and software development services, and UBS AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, have been awarded for Best Use of IT Private Banking/Wealth Management at the Banking Technology Awards held on December 13, 2017 in London.

China

Chinese online lender LexinFintech surges in U.S. market debut (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Chinese online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd’s (LX.O) shares surged in their U.S. market debut on Thursday, brushing aside worries related to Beijing’s recent crackdown on the booming micro-credit industry.

LexinFintech’s shares touched a session high of $14.88, a 53 percent jump from its IPO price that valued the Shenzhen-based company at $4.51 billion.

China online lending IPO meets tepid demand as fintech zeal wanes (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

LexinFintech, the latest Chinese online consumer lender to complete a US initial public offering, has met with muted investor demand amid concerns over Beijing’s regulatory clampdown on dubious lending practices.

Lexin scaled back its planned $500m IPO on Nasdaq to $109m, and final pricing was at the bottom end of the price range initially marketed to investors.

Qudian, which is backed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, raised $900m on the New York Stock Exchange in October — the largest US IPO by a Chinese fintech group. After hitting that high point investor interest quickly slid: last month PPDAI raised $221m in a deal that priced below the initial price range.

Since their IPOs, both Qudian and PPDAI have faced allegations of issuing misleading financial disclosures. Qudian closed at 48 per cent below its IPO price on Thursday, while PPDAI was down 44 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

Is Qudian A Bargain Or A Falling Knife? (SeekingAlpha), Rated: A

QD’s stock price has taken a nosedive, plummeting from its $24 IPO price to $12.9 as of 12/19/2017. Given QD’s strong earnings and fast growth rates in the past, the current price may appear to be a great bargain. Is that true?

QD’s strong past operating performance is mainly driven by its online cash-loan business, which brings in 83.3% of its total revenue.

The regulations can be distilled into three key rules: (1) cap the interest rates at 36% (2) limit the leverage of cash-loan companies at 3 or lower, and (3) forbid commercial banks, insurance companies, P2P, etc from investing in cash loans. These rules will put QD’s extraordinary profits to an end, as discussed below.

  • Rule #1: The interest rate caps may turn QD’s strong profits into negative. While QD may have already compiled to the 36% interest cap by the time of its IPO, QD’s revenue will still take a nearly 1/3 cut, holding all else equal.
  • Rule #2: The leverage limit will bring QD’s entire cash-loan business to a halt. According to QD’s 3Q report (Qudian Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2017 Unaudited Financial Results), as of 09/30/2017, its capital structure consists of Liability: 11.18 billion; Mezzanine equity/convertible preferred shares: 5.94 billion;Total Shareholders’ deficit: 1.78 billion. However, the national regulation limits the maximum leverage at 3, or even at 1 according to some regional regulations (21jingji news). It is clear that with 1.78 billion shareholders’ deficit, QD has to raise literally billions of additional funds to satisfy this rule, which is “mission impossible” given the third rule as discussed below.
  • Rule #3: restricting the financing sources will shut the door for QD to raise additional capital.
QD PPDF
Market Cap 4,243 2,175
Total Transactions 3,938 3,231
Revenue 223 192
Net Income 100 83

Brett Diment: 2018 Will be China Fintech’s Breakout Year (FiNews), Rated: A

Fintech will increasingly be associated with Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou in 2018 instead of Silicon Valley, Aberdeen Standard’s Brett Diment details in a contribution for finews.asia.

The Chinese online-payment industry already accounts for around half of global transactions. Alipay, operated by Alibaba’s financial arm, is the market leader.

But Tencent’s Tenpay has been catching up fast. Tenpay’s stroke of genius was to allow its users to send electronic hongbao – the red envelopes of money traditionally given as a Chinese New Year gift. Some 16 million online hongbao were sent in 2014 – rising to a billion in 2015. This helped Tenpay’s share of the online-payment market to reach around 40 percent in just three years.

The University of Hong Kong Online Fintech Course Now Open for Registration (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The Fintech MOOC is a six-week online course on innovations in finance and is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the global changes impacting all financial services.

European Union

Mayo businesses raise almost €800,000 through Linked Finance (The Connaught Telegraph), Rated: A

LINKED Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company, has raised almost €800,000 for Mayo-based businesses.

Eighteen Mayo businesses, including Doherty for Men, Main Street, Castlebar, and Electric Escapes, based in Westport, have raised funds through Linked Finance’s online lending platform (www.linkedfinance.com) to facilitate business growth.

Electric Escapes has raised €50,000 over two separate funding rounds, facilitated through the platform.

PayPal backs fintech deposit marketplace Raisin (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Raisin has secured an undisclosed sum of investment from digital payments platform PayPal. The money will be used to accelerate the growth of Raisin across its core European geographies.

International

Blockchain is “no longer in proof of concept” phase (Global Trade Review), Rated: AAA

Sin has just helped launch the world’s first cross-border bancassurance distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, working with China Life Insurance and Guangfa Bank in Macau.

In another sign that the technology may be fit for commercial purpose, SME lending platform ModulTrade has settled its first blockchain-based export transaction out of China.

This transaction was small –  just over US$1,000 – but again shows that the technology is beginning to be used outside of the laboratory.

The company teamed up with Rabobank to complete an inventory financing transaction on the blockchain that resulted in a real-time payment for farmers.

All payments were made in real time, using a Rabobank-backed digital dollar, pegged to the Aussie dollar. The digital dollar was issued and cleared by a central issuing and settlement institution.

BENCHMARKING DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY (All About Alpha), Rated: A

Two scholars affiliated with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, in Great Britain, have prepared a fascinating overview of the present state of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

  • The protocol layer of this ecosystem is only slowly maturing, and the limit of this maturation is one of the key challenges for the broader adoption of DLT;
  • Most users experiment with only small-scale, isolated layers, with live applications allowed only as “permissioned” layers;
  • There is an increasing focus on creating common standards of enterprise DLT frameworks that will allow for interoperability, but this effort to overcome fragmentation is itself fragmented into “a variety of consortia”;
  • Ethereum in particular has been tested at 57% of central banks, either via the public network or a permissioned version.

Nearly half of the surveyed DLT start-ups are in North America (47%). The second largest group by continent is that which hails from Europe (28%), then 19% (Asia Pacific).

But employment isn’t precisely aligned with the number of enterprises on each continent. A full 61% of employees working in this field are in North America, and only 13% are in Europe.

RCN ANNOUNCES DECENTRALAND PARTNERSHIP (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

Earlier this week, RCNannounced their new partnership with Decentraland, the blockchain-based virtual reality platform where users can acquire virtual land to create and monetize their content.

Under the new partnership, RCN will be able to integrate its credit protocol with the Decentraland platform. This will enable users who own plots of land, content, or businesses created in the 3D world to issue and receive loans.

The Top FinTech Trends of 2017 … were they? (The Finanser), Rated: B

Rise of InsurTech

True. I’ve seen a lot of InsurTech movement this year with a number of standout start-ups like BackmeupBrollyBuzzmoveCuvvaInmybagLuther and Neos.

Rise of RegTech

Yep, I’ve heard more about RegTech this year than ever before, although that’s unsurprising when most banks have at least two staff checking the work of each employee (Citibank has 40,000 compliance people!). Consultancy picks out 100 of the most innovative firms in this space.

Platforms, APIs and Open Banking are the key

I feel like I’ve been talking platforms all year and, with PSD2 and Open Banking coming into play in January 2018, it is certainly true that platforms, APIs and Open Banking have definitely been the theme of 2017.

China and emerging markets focus

Ah yes, I definitely think this year has been a big year for financial inclusion and discussions of Ant Financial and Tencent.

Australia/New Zealand

Banking without the banks: the state of peer-to-peer lending three years on (The Spinoff), Rated: AAA

In 2014, New Zealand was one of the first countries to legalise peer-to-peer lending.

For the latter, Snowball Effect and PledgeMe led the way with the FMA awarding its first equity crowdfunding licences to the two firms. For the former, the first licence for P2P lending was granted to Auckland-based platform Harmoney, which was founded by Neil Roberts that very same year.

To date, there are eight licensed P2P lending services currently operating in New Zealand with more than 20,000 investors currently registered with P2P lending intermediaries. When it comes to borrowers, there are more than 200,000 individuals currently registered with P2P services.

Source: The Spinoff

Since launching in September 2014, it’s lent more than $655 million via 37,000+ loans and paid more than $87 million interest in total. In the most recent financial year, Harmoney saw over more than 830,000 investments made in loans by almost 5,400 unique investors.

Source: The Spinoff
India

Want Good Financial Advice? Ask a Digital Lending Platform (BW Disrupt), Rated: A

The need for credit can come for a variety of reasons, and can be catered to by a vast plethora of different loan products.

Clearly, if you had to get good financial advice, AI-leveraging algorithms are a better bet than humans. So why not use the same technology to help individuals and SMEs find the right credit options for their needs?

Asia

NewsBTC Interviews the Crowd-genie Team (NewsBTC), Rated: A

NewsBTC: Why is licensing so important? How difficult is it to get in Singapore? 

Crowd-genie: Being registered and licensed are two different stories. As peer to peer lending platform involves enormous monetary transactions, a securities license is crucial for regulated lending activities.

NewsBTC: Can you please explanation of how reputations coin work?

Crowd-genie: For each repayment, from the borrower to lenders, we will incentivise on-time payment by adding CGCOIN “Credits” to the borrowers’ wallets. This will be a spendable asset that will be tracked separately in the Digital Passport. The more CGCOIN Credits earned, the higher their reputation, and that in turn, will increase their chances of getting higher investments from more lenders and/or a lower interest rate.

 

Source: NewsBTC
Cayman Islands

Robot to speak at Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (Cayman Compass), Rated: B

Sophia, the world’s first robot to be granted citizenship of a country, will be one of the speakers at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit on Feb. 8 to 9, 2018, organizers announced Thursday.

At the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, Sophia will be interviewed on stage by a representative from event sponsor KPMG.

Organizers say the robot’s appearance complements the theme of the investment conference, “Wired: the rise of alternative investments in a digital age,” which targets opportunities at the intersection of alternative investing and technology.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday July 25 2017, Daily News Digest

SEC enforcement results

News Comments Today’s main news: ICBA letter opposing SoFi as a bank. Moody’s upgrades 7 Prosper ABS MPL tranches. UBS invests in iCapital Network. TenX processes Bitcoin with Visa transactions. BNI Europa reaches profitability. Today’s main analysis: SEC focus on capital formation, enforcement in direct lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Will U.S. banks dominate consumer lending again? China needs a bigger […]

SEC enforcement results

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Asia

News Summary

United States

Here is the Letter by the ICBA Slamming SoFi’s Effort to Become a Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last week, the Independent Community Bankers of America  (ICBA) sent a letter to the attention of Kathy Moe, Regional Director of the FDIC in San Francisco. The subject of the letter was the ICBA’s vehement opposition to Fintech darling SoFi’s effort to become a licensed bank.

The ICBA asked that Congress close the alleged “ILC loophole” because it not only threatens the financial system but creates an uneven playing field for community banks.

Read the full letter here.

SEC Focus on Capital Formation & Enforcement, and What it Means for Direct Lending (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

What might a focus on the SEC’s capital formation mandate mean for investors?

  • Retail investors may have greater access to alternative investments typically reserved for accredited investors. For instance, Piwowar questioned the premise of a distinction between accredited vs. non-accredited investors.
  • Small businesses may see a reduction in disclosure obligations to encourage small businesses to tap the public capital markets. SEC Chair Clayton identified the reduction of US IPOs (in the wake of SOX and post-Enron regulations) as a serious issue.
  • ABS investors may have a reduction in the disclosure and liability requirements for publicly registered securitizations. ABS issuance has shifted to Rule 144A private placements – in fact 100% of deals in the marketplace lending market are privately placed – in part, due to the higher disclosure and attestation burdens for public deals.

SEC Enforcement Actions & Investor Protection

After the late-2008 Madoff scandal, the SEC dialed up enforcement activities with the goal of improving investor confidence and market integrity.

Not surprisingly, enforcement actions on direct lending strategies has increased substantially as the sector continues to grow. (We refer reader’s to Harvard Law School’s SEC Enforcement Actions Against Investment Advisors for more information.)

Direct Lending is Prone to Valuation Negligence

A pool of unsecured personal loans may contain thousands of loans with differing and constantly shifting loan and borrower attributes. Unlike, say, a CMBS transaction where a valuation agent can visit a property, speak to an owner, and evaluate a tenant – the sheer volume of hundreds of thousands of loans requires advanced analytics to value a portfolio.

Below we share below our principles for valuation:

  • Transparency: A well-documented valuation methodology, with clear exposition of prepayment, default, credit spread, and other assumptions.
  • Auditable: A repeatable and testable valuation framework.
  • Fair value: Fair value based on a consistent modeling framework that factors in both unobservable and observable valuation inputs from similar assets or adjacent capital markets.
  • Accounts for major risk factors: The pricing framework accounts for risk factors including default risk, prepayment risk, and credit spread risk.
  • Forward looking: Loan valuations must be driven off of expected future cashflows, where cashflows are a function of the borrower’s current credit attributes, macro conditions, payment performance, and seasoning.
  • Loan-level: The pricing framework operates on a loan-level to address granularity in credit risk of loan rather than coarse replines.

Moody’s upgrades seven tranches from four Prosper marketplace lending ABS securitizations (Moody’s), Rated: AAA

The complete rating actions are as follows:

  • Issuer: Citi Held For Asset Issuance 2015-PM1
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Aug 6, 2015 Definitive Rating Assigned Baa3 (sf)
    • Class C Notes, Upgraded to Ba2 (sf); previously on Jul 14, 2016 Confirmed at Ba3 (sf)
  • Issuer: Citi Held For Asset Issuance 2015-PM2
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Oct 23, 2015 Definitive Rating Assigned Baa3 (sf)
    • Class C Notes, Upgraded to Ba2 (sf); previously on Jul 14, 2016 Confirmed at Ba3 (sf)
  • Issuer: Citi Held For Asset Issuance 2015-PM3
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Dec 18, 2015 Definitive Rating Assigned Baa3 (sf)
    • Class C Notes, Upgraded to Ba2 (sf); previously on Jul 14, 2016 Confirmed at Ba3 (sf)
  • Issuer: Consumer Credit Origination Loan Trust 2015-1
    • Class B Notes, Upgraded to A1 (sf); previously on Feb 11, 2016 Upgraded to Ba2 (sf)

Will banks in the US dominate consumer lending once again? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

SunTrust Bank is an interesting case in point. They are a large 125-year-old bank headquartered in Atlanta. They had total assets on their balance sheet of $204 billion as of December 31, 2016 which makes them a top 25 bank in the US.

From our perspective, what is most interesting about SunTrust is they have an online consumer lending platform. They actually acquired a small online lending platform called FirstAgain a few years ago and relaunched it as LightStream in 2013. They are starting to get some real traction, having done $1.5 billion in loans in 2015 and over $2.3 billion in 2016. Their average interest rate is lower than the marketplace lenders and their biggest categories are auto lending and home improvement.

Discover Bank is most well known in the US for their credit cards but they also have a robust personal loan business. In 2016 they originated $4 billion in new personal loans making them the second largest online lender in the category behind Lending Club. Unlike Lightstream, Discover’s personal loans are focused on debt consolidation so they are going directly after Lending Club and Prosper in this space. I find this a curious decision given that they have a $62 billion dollar credit card loan book (as of December 31, 2016).

The four biggest US banks are still mostly on the sidelines

JPMorgan Chase is the largest credit card issuer in the US with $142 billion in balances outstanding. Possibly because of their dominance in credit cards, they do not offer a personal loan product beyond student loans and a Home Equity Line of Credit.

Bank of America is very much like Chase in their offerings towards personal loans – they offer home equity loans and student loans. Nowhere on their website can you find an offering for personal loans.

Even though Citi is the second largest credit card issuer it does actually offer personal loans. You can apply on Citi’s website for a personal loan up to $30,000 (up to $50,000 if you apply by phone). Rates range from 7.99% to 17.99%.

Robo giant Betterment raises m in new funding round (AltFi), Rated: A

Robo-advice giant Betterment continues to grow. The platform raised a $70m (£54m) funding round, an extension of last year’s Series E.

The firm has raised nearly $300m in total since it was founded in 2008, as some question the business model of robo-advisers. The company was valued at $700m in 2016.

The funding round was led by Swedish investment company Kinnevik and included investments from Bassemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures and Francisco Partners.

PayPal to partner with JPMorgan (Reuters), Rated: A

PayPal Inc (PYPL.O) said on Thursday it would partner with JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), allowing the bank’s customers to link their Chase Pay and PayPal accounts.

Fintech faithful put payments on a pedestal (Reuters), Rated: A

Fintech’s faithful are putting payments on a pedestal. Square and PayPal shares are near all-time highs – as are those of venerable outfits like Visa, MasterCard and First Data. They’re each chasing what could be a $2.3 trillion revenue business by 2019, according to McKinsey. But they can’t all be winners.

Privately held Stripe kicked off the frenzy last November when it raised $150 million in its fourth funding round. That doubled to $9.2 billion the valuation of the seven-year-old company, which builds software to allow companies to quickly set up and track digital payments.

Quarterly InsurTech Briefing Q2 2017 (CB Insights), Rated: A

In this report we focus on one of the insurance industry value chain’s most underestimated modules – claims management. It is a $170 billion global industry currently controlled approximately 90% by incumbents. And it is booming with innovation.

Download the full report here.

Catching Up with Michael Koenitzer of Global Debt Registry (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Erin: How is GDR optimising the demand for its loan level diligence solutions?  How does the platform source partnerships?

Mike: Most online loans underwriting already undergoes some form of validation. Up until recently, however, most of the industry has relied on manual document validation — it’s taken awhile for the industry to wake up to digital data validation. That’s where we come in – we offer a more efficient and a trusted method of validation than what’s been used in the lending space in the past.

Erin: Leveraging blockchain technology is becoming integral in fintech.  Please describe GDR’s new multi-party blockchain proof of concept (POC) that is designed specifically for the online lending industry. What initial issues did/do you face and how did/do you and your team resolve them?

Mike: We see blockchain as perfectly suited to the online lending space and more specifically, the set of solutions we offer our clients, because it offers a single source of data that enables clients to access an immutable audit trail. They can see the state of a given loan across its entire lifetime and that builds confidence and trust.  The more certainty investors have, the more likely they are to invest capital in the online lending space.

Erin: Distributed ledger technology is another key fintech innovation. Why has GDR initiated partnerships with the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and Structured Finance Industry Group (SFIG) Blockchain Task Force for its strategy development?

Mike: Both organizations are naturally aligned with our role in shaping the broader conversation around blockchain adoption and what this technology can do for the online lending sector specifically. Through the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, we’re connecting with many of the banks we’ve been working with through our portfolio of loan validation tools, and with SFIG, we’re sharing and developing best practices around securitizing those loans, working with the underwriters.

Erin: How do you see marketplace lending evolving overall?

Mike: The space is going to continue growing, but it is also going to consolidate as any industry does during the process of maturation. I also think that there will also be a reality check on how well the online lending platforms underwrote the loans and what was missed if anything in the underwriting process.  We have seen and I think we will continue to see a shift from rivalry to increased cooperation and joint ventures between traditional banks and online lenders.

MPOWER Financing Extends Student Loan Program to All 50 States Through Partnership with Bank of Lake Mills (PR Newswire), Rated: A

MPOWER Financing, an innovative fintech company and provider of educational loans to high-potential international students, has entered a new partnership with Wisconsin-based Bank of Lake Mills, which enables MPOWER Financing to offer its online lending program to students in all 50 U.S. states.

As a result, MPOWER Financing is now available to thousands more students looking to secure financing across an expanded roster of 223 universities across the nation.

MPOWER Financing is a public benefit corporation whose mission is to remove the financial barriers to higher education in the U.S. by providing the financial resources necessary for students to attend schools and complete their undergraduate or graduate studies. Founded in 2014, MPOWER Financing provides financial resources to domestic students, DACA students and international students who are often undervalued and do not fit traditional credit criteria.

Older Women Flunk Financial Literacy Quiz (Forbes), Rated: A

In a survey released today, the 2017 RICP Retirement Income Literacy Gender Differences Report, from The American College of Financial Services, only 18% of women age 60 to 75 passed. By contrast, 35% of men did (also pretty shabby, if you ask me).

Most of the women surveyed (55%) said they were extremely confident they would have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. Only a quarter of those women passed the financial literacy quiz, however.

Also, the women surveyed were less likely than the men to get financial advice and information from friends: only 27% of women consulted friends vs. 39% of men.

Some 55% of women with advisers said it is extremely important that their money pro educate them about the risks of running out of money in retirement; just 42% of men felt this way. And 60% of women said it’s important to receive education from an adviser about investment management, as opposed to only 47% of men.

S.F. real estate fintech Opendoor to expand into Florida (Biz Journals), Rated: B

The move reflects just how fast the so-called iBuyer market is expanding, as some homeowners opt for a quick sale to Opendoor or its rival OfferPad to forego the time and expense involved in a traditional home sale.

United Kingdom

How does P2P stack up against other investments? (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

But as P2P enjoys its moment in the sun, it is worth looking at how the sector stacks up against investment and savings products.

  • P2P vs Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

Over the past year, the FTSE 100 has broken a number of records, ending last month 12.43 per cent higher than 30 June 2016.

While the majority of P2P platforms have not been able to beat the unusually strong performance of the FTSE 100, a few have come very close. LandlordInvest and Lendy are both offering up to 12 per cent on a variety of property loans, and Ablrate has listed asset-backed loans on its site for 14 per cent.

  • P2P vs cash ISAs

As a result, the returns offered by cash ISAs have reached historic lows. By December 2016, there was not a single cash ISA offering more than one per cent, and by May 2017, P2P platforms were noticing a surge of ISA transferswhich they credited in part to low-paying cash ISAs.

Funding Circle is offering a maximum return of 7.2 per cent on its SME loans, while Zopa is offering 6.1 per cent to Zopa Plus account holders, and RateSetter is offering five-year loans at a fixed rate of 4.6 per cent.

investUP Identifies Opportunities for P2P Lenders (Bob’s Guide), Rated: B

The peer-to-peer lending industry is maturing, with the market growing at over 30% per annum, and figures suggesting it will be worth over £5 billion by the end of 2017; as such, the sector is now regulated by the FCA.

investUP is a peer-to-peer lending aggregation platform with the ability to automatically place investments for time-conscious investors. Investors enable a lending robot, driven from criteria provided by the investor, to create a bespoke algorithm which works for them. investUP is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

China

China’s shadow banking crackdown needs a bigger stick (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: AAA

For non-bankers, shadow banking leaves this perception of illicit financial services that harms economies if not the financial services industry. The reality is that shadow banking, and the non-banks that offer the service, is a welcome source of diversification of the credit supply from the banking system, and provides healthy competition for banks. At least that is what is stated in the Global Shadow Banking Monitoring Report 2016 published by the Financial Stability Board, the Swiss-based international body that monitors and recommends on the global financial system.

Mid-tier banks bear the highest risk as WMPs now account for close to 50% of their deposits, increasing their liquidity vulnerability.

Cash loans platform-2345, realized $ 14.93million profit during the first half year. (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Cash loans platforms-2345 revealed its semi annual report last night. The revenue of the company was $159million during the first half year, increased by 127.1%.
The company’s original businesses were soft and hard ware developement. The huge increse this time due to the popular of internet finance(cash loans).

Tencent Internet insurance layout (Wall Street China), Rated: A

July 18, Taiwan Fubon gold control vice chairman Cai Mingxing said the company is working with Tencent to set up a joint venture in Shenzhen, the future of Fubon products or other company’s policy, will be in Tencent’s WeChat and other platforms. At the same time, Fubon Financial Control has received the approval of the management of robot management services, and hope that as soon as possible in the domestic launch of no one branch. This cooperation with Tencent, headquartered in Xiamen, Fubon Insurance will be through the WeChat sales insurance business.

CITIC Bank on the line of the first domestic block chain letter of credit information transmission system (01caijing.com), Rated: A

Recently, CITIC Bank on the block chain based on the domestic credit information transmission system (BCC) (BCLC) (a), which is the first time the domestic banking sector block technology will be applied to the settlement of credit. As of July 21, CITIC Bank has used BCLC to carry out real domestic letter of credit business, trading volume of more than 100 million yuan.

European Union

BNI Europa reaches profitability on its 3rd year anniversary (BNI Europa Email), Rated: AAA

Banco BNI Europa (“BNI Europa”) grew its total assets 36,7% reaching almost 500M€ in June this year. Total revenue grew 146,2% reaching 6,6M€ and the net profit was 2,7M€ allowing the bank to recover losses from 2016.

One year and half after its opening and with a new management team, the bank decided to completely change its strategy and focus on innovative products. Due to its limited resources, it also decided to create several partnerships with Fintech’s to accelerate its growth and product offering.

BNI Europa has been known for its customer centric digital platform and its attractive terms deposits and remunerated accounts. This year it launched with great success “Cereja” the reverse mortgage product for the senior consumer segment and the digital consumer credit platform “Puzzle” focused on independent workers.

The bank has also specialised in the management of alternative lending. So far, BNI Europa established twelve partnerships with European Fintech’s providing funding and credit to Banco BNI Europa across several European countries. Those credit products include consumer loans, student lending, SME medium term lending, SME revolving credit, invoice discounting and bridge lending.

Managing the fraud risk of frictionless payments (Finextra), Rated: A

Andrew Davies, VP, Global Market Strategy, Financial Crime Risk Management, Fiserv, talks about how increased speed and convenience in payments increase fraud risk, how financial institutions can address financial crime threats through technology and processes, and how firms can derive further benefits from their investment in fraud prevention – including by leveraging customer transaction information to identify new opportunities.

Watch the video interview with Davies here.

International

UBS Follows Credit Suisse Fintech Move (Finews), Rated: AAA

Zurich-based UBS has invested in New York-based fintech iCapital Network, «Crowdfund Insider» reported, without disclosing financial details of the deal.

iCapital is a digital distribution platform which provides access to private equity and hedge funds for wealthy clients and their private bankers.

UK vs. US: Liberalization of Fintech vs. More Regulation (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

Based on the policies involving cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technologies, UK moves to liberalization of cryptocurrencies while the US looks into more regulations.

Bitcoin Foundation warns that the US is moving backwards in terms of accepting cryptocurrencies and other peer to peer banking models, which could result in the US Banking system being left behind.

Meanwhile, Britain’s new system will give fintech corporations more freedom allowing them to compete on the world stage.

FinTech and RegTech – What Next for Financial Crime’s International Standard Setter? (RUSI), Rated: A

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global standard-setter for anti-money laundering (AML) and counterterrorist finance (CTF), in May brought together more than 150 delegates for its most in-depth discussion to-date on FinTech and RegTech.

There are, however, potential vulnerabilities inherent in the sector. RUSI’s FinTech FinCrime Exchange (FFE), run in partnership with FINTRAIL, a financial crime risk management consultancy, presented on both the risks and opportunities observed during six months of industry engagement.

The most significant fintech acquisitions of 2017 so far (Bob’s Guide), Rated: A

According to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report, fintech VC activity in Europe has hit a historically high level for successive quarters. In Q1 2017, global investment in fintech companies hit $3.2bn across 260 deals. Q1 2017’s total capital invested soared to $610m, which was noted as the highest tally in years.

  • Broadridge Financial Solutions acquires Message Automation: Amount undisclosed
  • First Data acquires CardConnect for $750m
  • AntFinancial buys MoneyGram for $1.2bn
  • Paypal acquires TIO Networks for $233m
  • D+H and Misys merge in $4.8bn acquisition and form Finastra
  • Mastercard closes acquisition of Vocalink for $920m
  • Worldpay agrees to $10bn acquisition by Vintav
  • Klarna acquires Billpay for $75m

Time for fintechs to shine – nominations for 2017 Fintech 100 open (BizEDGE), Rated: B

Nominations are now open for the 2017 KPMG & H2 Ventures Fintech 100, the annual list designed to recognise leading fintech innovators.

Companies or any fintech that deserve to be considered for the 2017 Fintech 100 need to be nominated by Thursday, August 31.

Asia

Singapore Startup Takes Bitcoin Into Real World With Visa (Bloomberg Technology, Rated: AAA

TenX is pitching its debit card as an instant converter of multiple digital currencies into fiat money: the dollars, yen and euros that power most everyday commerce. The company said it takes a 2 percent cut from each transaction and has received orders for more than 10,000 cards. While transactions are capped at $2,000 a year, users can apply to increase the limit if they undergo identify verification procedures.

TenX currently processes about $100,000 of transactions a month. By the end of 2018, it’s targeting $100 million in monthly transactions and a million users.

Ant Financial invests in Shanghai-based fintech startup VFinance (e27), Rated: A

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba, has made a strategic investment in VFinance (维金), a Shanghai-based startup providing digital financial infrastructure solutions to enterprises in China, according to VFinance’s announcement.

At a press conference on July 18, VFinance also signed strategic cooperation with MyBank (网商银行), an online bank launched by Ant Financial in 2015.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor