Friday July 21 2017, Daily News Digest

RateSetter

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi CEO: why Etherium is worth more than Bitcoin. Affirm has 1,000 retail partners. Wells Fargo joins digital mortgage revolution. AutoGravity has half a million users. LendInvest launches retail bond offering. N26, Lydia support Apple Pay in France. Borrowell raises $57M in Canada. Today’s main analysis: RateSetter moves to protect users. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Takeaways from […]

RateSetter

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Canada

News Summary

United States

Why Ethereum Is Much More Valuable Than Bitcoin (Fortune), Rated: AAA

As lending startup SoFi expands from student loans to full-service banking, it is also venturing into one of the trendiest areas among big Wall Street banks at the moment: blockchain.

An upstart cryptocurrency, Ethereum’s price has surged so dramatically in recent months that it now commands nearly as much market share as Bitcoin itself. Driving that rise is excitement about the way Ethereum allows its blockchain technology to be used to develop myriad other projects, as Cagney described.

In particular, SoFi, which is valued at more than $4 billion, is exploring a way to use blockchain to revolutionize title insurance, a standard requirement for many home buyers.

How SoFi is developing its financial services offerings (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

SoFi has always been as much about culture and brand before product and tech. Now that it’s postponed its initial public offering in December (it raised $500 million in private funding shortly after) it has the luxury of time to develop its financial services offerings.

“While we run positive contribution margins around our credit products… it pales in comparison to what the lifetime value of that relationship is worth,” CEO Mike Cagney said at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado Wednesday morning. “Not having that deposit product means that the bank, if it has that deposit product, is going to constantly try to cross sell [customers] and pull them back to the bank. That introduced this vulnerability in the business.”

There are also no branches planned for the non-bank financial services company, he confirmed, citing that in the 40 SoFi events he’s hosted and attended almost all other attendees have said they haven’t walked into a branch in the last five years, he claims.

SoFi is also in the exploratory stages of how to use alternative data like cell phone data for credit scoring as well as distributed ledger technology for title insurance.

U.S. banks are valued at between $2,000 and $100,000 per customer. SoFi currently has 250,000 members today and anticipates 500,000 by end of year. Cagney said it’s not unrealistic to get two million customers at “$25,000 to $50,000 per customer, which gets us in the $50 to $100 billion valuation range.”

Affirm now has 1,000 retail partners (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Today Affirm has announced it has more than 1,000 merchants signed up to offer its financing options at checkout, helping to reduce the friction around making large purchases and, by extension, increasing sales for its partners.

While promoting its most recent milestone, Affirm is also trying to get across the message of how it’s different — and frankly, better — than point-of-sale financing options of the past. As a result, the company is pushing a marketing campaign around “honest finance” to enumerate the ways in which Affirm helps consumers by providing more access and better terms for big-ticket items.

Affirm Challenges Retailers, FIs To Practice ’Honest Finance‘ (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

“Finance is pretty broken.”

So started Affirm’s Co-Founder and CEO Max Levchin’s remarks at his firm’s first-ever AFFIRMation conference for its retail partners in San Francisco yesterday.

He’s on a mission to fix a system that he believes doesn’t really serve anyone’s long-term interest nearly as well as it could or should. When it comes to the extension of credit, Levchin says that customers often lose out, retailers end up with angry customers who frequently feel ripped off and FI’s alienate their customer base.

Broken by the Numbers

“Sixty percent of Americans fear credit cards,” Levchin noted.

“[Most consumers] think getting involved with using a card will cost them a lot more than they bargain for. A third fear they will overspend. And they are right; that’s what happens, and the industry does very little to help them create necessary guardrails.”

Bad Faith

In fact, Levchin noted, the industry doesn’t want to create guardrails, because a lot of players have literally built products that bet against the consumer.

Deferred interest — the “dirty little secret” of consumer credit that bears a retailer’s logo and accompanies those too good to be true offers — means that even one day late on a payment 59 months into a 60-month loan, means interest gets calculated back to day one.

Bad Long-Term Thinking

Last quarter, on the occasion of its one millionth consumer installment loan, Affirm reported a 75 percent increase in purchase value on purchases made using Affirm, a 20 percent lift in POS conversion and a repeat rate of 25 percent of borrowers returning.

And Affirm’s net promotor score: It’s 82, slightly trailing Starbuck’s 85, but not by much.

Affirm is looking to retailers across the country to join in pledging to abandon “predatory consumer credit practices” and has also challenged the nation’s financial institutions to do the same.

Nation’s largest lender finally hops on digital-mortgage bandwagon (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said that the bank expects to launch a digital mortgage application tool by the end of next year, according to a report by the Charlotte Business Journal. Sloan made the announcement during an earnings call on Friday.

Sloan told investors that Wells Fargo doesn’t currently have as many online loan products as it would like, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. He said that employees are currently testing the online mortgage tool, and that the bank plans to run a test with customers this year before a full rollout in 2018.

AutoGravity Now Has Over 500,000 Users (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

AutoGravity says it has now surpassed 500,000 in just one year. AutoGravity is an App-based online lender targeting the auto financing space. Pick the car and request a loan all on your smartphone. It’s that simple.

Additionallly, AutoGravity shares that more than $500 million in financing has been requested through the AutoGravity platform.

Fundrise Officially Announces New eFunds (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fundrise, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has officially announced the availability of their new eFunds.

The “featured” eFund starts with the Los Angeles market. The LA eFund aims to provide housing for the underserved millennial homebuyer.

Fundrise has also launched a DC eFund.

PayPal Completes Acquisition of TIO Networks (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL) and TIO Networks Corp. (TSXV:TNC) today announced that PayPal has completed its previously announced acquisition of TIO Networks. In accordance with the terms of the Arrangement announced on February 14, 2017, PayPal acquired all of the outstanding shares of TIO for $3.35 CDN ($2.64 USD) per share in cash or an approximate $302 million CDN ($238 million USD) equity value.

LendKey Announces Series C Funding (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendKey, the leading lending-as-a-service solution for banks and credit unions, today announced $13 million in Series C funding, $8 million in equity and $5 million in debt financing. North Atlantic Capital, based in Portland, ME, led the round with participation from each of LendKey’s existing investors including DFJ, Updata Partners, Gotham Ventures, and TTV Capital.

The Series C funding will enable the company to expand its services and staffing. LendKey plans to grow its regional office in Cincinnati, Ohio and expand its account development and sales teams.

Mobile savings and investment service Acorns is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 (TechCrunch), Rated: A

The company now boasts more than 2 million investment accounts (with 600,000 opened in 2017 alone) and is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 through the proprietary broker-dealer that it created.

Still, the numbers were impressive enough to attract Bain Capital Ventures to commit another $35 million to the company, bringing Acorns total Series D financing to $70 million. Previous investors PayPal, Greycroft Growth Fund, e.Ventures Growth Fund, NYCA, Capital Group, Rakuten, Point72 and Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures also participated in the round.

Unifund CEO Consumer Credit Caution: “Time To Stop Getting Lost In The Averages” (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Fifty years ago, when customers thought about using credit, it was in the context of buying something expensive that they really needed — a refrigerator, a washer/dryer, a car — with the intention to pay off that loan balance quickly.

Credit as a Currency

For super-prime customers — those for whom credit cards are basically payment cards because those consumers pay them in full monthly and never accrue any interest — Rosenberg said that card “borrowing” is an incentive-driven system. The customer gets cash back, rewards points, airline miles, hotel stays — and those incentives have very successfully attracted consumers to use them to buy things. Rosenberg noted that for a large segment of consumers, buying something without using a credit card is almost a foreign concept because the card offers them access to a more valuable form of currency.

But a more artificial intelligence-driven, machine learning system, Rosenberg said, will allow those customers who are locked out of the credit market today to be seen more clearly by creditors, and to be given incentives that are more explicitly tailored to their wants.

A Better Subprime Experience

The problem with the categorizations of “prime” and “sub-prime” borrower is that they are somewhat less hard and fast than people like to think they are. Rosenberg explained that there aren’t simply two classes of buyers — those who pay their bills and those who don’t.

But, Rosenberg said, the truth is most people pay bills in the order of absolute necessity, and when things get bad financially because a job was lost or an economic catastrophe has happened, that order gets very utilitarian. Car payments get paid, because car companies have no sense of humor and will repossess a car. But eviction from a house takes longer, which means a person with a more pressing need would rather skip their mortgage for a few months than not buy medication they need. And credit card bills? Those quickly fall to the bottom of a pile.

Bank of America Unveils New Mobile Capability to Apply for Business Advantage Term Loans and Credit Lines (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Bank of America today announced enhancements to its mobile app experience that add on-the-go convenience to small business banking and lending. With the suite of updates, Bank of America small business clients can now apply for a Business Advantage Term Loan or Business Advantage Credit Line from any Bank of America digital platform – including the Bank of America mobile banking app, and bankofamerica.com.

More than 1.3 million small business clients are active users of the Bank of America mobile banking app, an increase of 14 percent over the past year.

December 2016 Fed Rate Hike: Most Consumers Fared Well, But It’s a New Dynamic for Consumers and Lenders Alike (TransUnion), Rated: A

TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) released an analysis today showing that most borrowers were able to absorb their increased monthly payment obligations after the Federal Reserve Board rate hike last December.

TransUnion’s study identified these 63 million consumers because they carried debts for which the minimum monthly payment due was tied to the market interest rate, such that a rise in rates from the December rate hike could cause an increase in payments required. TransUnion used its CreditVision® aggregate excess payment (“AEP”) algorithm, which incorporates monthly payments from mortgages, credit cards and other debt obligations, to identify 10.6 million of these consumers who were at elevated risk of not having the capacity to absorb a rate increase of 0.25%.

Banks That Don’t Invest in Technology Risk Falling Behind Permanently (Forbes), Rated: A

Wack points to a new study of mortgage lending, Fintech, Regulatory Arbitrage, and the Rise of Shadow Banks, co-written by business school professors at the University of Chicago, Columbia Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The researchers found that some banks find themselves trying to play catch-up to competitors that long ago allowed borrowers to apply for mortgages online. The institutions that have been slow to adopt online applications for mortgage lending are losing market share to their competitors. Meanwhile, non-bank lenders have grabbed a substantial piece of the market; so-called “shadow banks” lend money but don’t use bank deposits to finance the transactions. They now write 38% of all home loans — almost triple their share in 2007. Further, the shadow banks now originate three-fourths of all loans to low-income borrowers insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

I’m a banker and I say let SoFi into the club (American Banker), Rated: A

As the president of a small community bank, I feel the need to respond to certain misleading comments that have been made by banking industry representatives and community activistsrecently in opposition to the Social Finance application to charter an industrial bank.

I feel the need in particular to respond to comments as reported in the press by a representative of the Independent Community Bankers of America, an industry trade association I support. In essence, this individual stated opposition to SoFi’s recent application based on his assertion that industrial banks don’t follow the same rules as other banks. This assertion is not accurate.

The banking industry is evolving. Doesn’t it make more sense to focus on how to evolve with it rather than how to reduce competition?

Ga. banks less stressed, but lending slowdown a worry (myAJC), Rated: A

Across the nation, bank lending has slowed for most types of loans since the presidential election. Business lending declined in the first quarter and is still crawling at close to its slowest pace since 2011, according to Federal Reserve data.

Overall loan growth is a bit better, but across the board, lending has slowed for debt ranging from auto loans to credit cards to financing for factories, office buildings and small businesses, according to the Fed.

That has made for stiff competition for bankers hunting for loan customers, and because interest rates are still low, banks’ profit margins on their total loan portfolios remain tight.

Last week, Columbus-based Synovus Corp., the second largest bank headquartered in the state, with $31 billion in assets, said its total loans grew by $314 million in the second quarter, up 5.2 percent compared to the first quarter. Synovus banked a $73 million profit during the quarter, 27 percent higher than a year ago.

Synovus’ consumer loans grew at a 16 percent annual pace during the recent quarter, accounting for $2 out of $3 of Synovus’ new loans.

Credit Risk Startup James Closes $ 2.7M Funding Round (Finsmes), Rated: A

James (formerly known as CrowdProcess), a New York-based credit risk startup, closed a $2.7M funding round.

The round was led by Gaël de Boissard with participation from Henry Richotte and BiG Start Ventures. As a result of this deal, Mr. de Boissard has joined James’s Board of Directors.

Investors Approach Investing Differently Across Generations (Plan Adviser), Rated: A

The Dreyfus study found that investors tend to take different approaches to investing based on age. Sixty-one percent of investors 55 years of age or older indicated they have not, or will not, reevaluate their investment approach in today’s existing investing environment. Meanwhile, 65% of Millennials, defined in the study as people between the ages of 21 and 34, had already evaluated their investment approach at the time of the survey. These actions are reflected among 51% of those between the ages of 35 and 54, as well as for 39% of those at least 55-years-old.

OCC FinTech Charter in Trump Administration Cards (JD Supra), Rated: A

In his remarks to the Exchequer Club in Washington, D.C., President Trump’s Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Keith Noreika, came strong to the mic, roundly stating the charter is a “good idea” and flatly saying “yes”, the OCC has the authority to grant the FinTech charter in the face of legal challenges by the New York Department of Financial Services and the  Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

Here are three other takeaways from the Acting Comptroller’s remarks:

  1. The FinTech charter promotes the dual banking system.
  2. The OCC is having informal meetings with interested FinTech companies.
  3. Existing OCC bank charters may be an option now.

Access Anytime, Anywhere Powers Better Consumer Lending (Blend), Rated: A

That’s why we’re harnessing the power of technology to bring consumers closer to their loan officers (LOs) and launching Blend Mobile, the first native mobile application allowing LOs to manage their businesses, including borrower requests and applications, anytime and anywhere.

Robos are offering SRI, so shouldn’t live advisers? (Investment News), Rated: A

“SRI has been one of the most consistent personalization requests we’ve had,” said Dan Egan, Betterment’s director of behavioral finance and investments. “It allows people who want to buy a better world to put their money where their mouth is.”

The nation’s largest robo adviser, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, which has $80 billion in assets, offers clients a proprietary fund on its digital platforms that tracks a benchmark that screens companies on social, human rights and environmental criteria. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which has $19.4 billion in AUM, does not offer an SRI option.

Mastercard Enhances Artificial Intelligence Capability with the Acquisition of Brighterion, Inc. (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Mastercard (NYSE:MA) today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Brighterion, Inc., a leading software company specializing in artificial intelligence. This acquisition will further expand its suite of capabilities that deliver an enhanced customer experience and security.

Commentary on the Reintroduction of the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act (H.R. 3299) (Factory Email), Rated: B

Passing the Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act into law is critical for the consumer lending industry. We are pleased that forward looking legislators aim to remove the regulatory and capital markets uncertainty caused by court cases such as Madden vs. Midland.

Lead by the Second Circuit Court’s decision, other state regulators are attempting to erode a core tenet of our federal banking system. “Both the ‘valid when made’ doctrine and the exportation of usury rate have facilitated nationwide lending for over a century by allowing the rate of interest on certain loans to remain unchanged after transfer of the loan,” said Gilles Gade, President and CEO of Cross River, an FDIC insured New Jersey State chartered bank and leader in marketplace leading origination. “The ability for banks to sell loans to non-banks is vital to the capital markets ecosystem in general, and to consumers in particular who are getting hurt as access to credit is made more difficult and more expensive. The perenniality of this tenet hinges on a healthy secondary market, increased liquidity, and the securitization of debts ranging from mortgages to credit cards, all of which help facilitate emerging innovations and provide capital that makes credit more accessible and affordable for millions of Americans. We applaud the bipartisan reintroduction of this bill and look forward to its expeditious review and passage.”

Comment by William M. Bell of Factory.

LendingTree Announces Promotion of Sam Mischner to Chief Sales Officer and Head of Mortgage (PR Newswire), Rated: B

LendingTree® (NASDAQ: TREE), the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that Sam Mischner has been promoted to Chief Sales Officer and Head of Mortgage.  Previously, Mischner served as SVP, Sales and GM, Mortgage.

United Kingdom

Fintech lender LendInvest to launch retail bond offering (AltFi), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, a leading alternative lender in the property space, is launching a retail bond. The bond will offer investors a fixed rate of 5.25 per cent, due 2022.

It is expected to be listed on the London Stock Exchange once the subscription period closes. LendInvest is targeting an initial raise of £50m, and the company expects this to be the first of a number of bond issues over the coming years. The bond has a minimum investment amount of £2,000.

Interest from the bond will be paid semi-annually on 10 February and 10 August each year. The net proceeds will be used to fund the origination and/or purchase of loans which satisfy the company’s eligibility criteria.

RateSetter moves to protect its investors (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

UK marketplace lender RateSetter has given more details on a series of interventions it has made to protect the company’s 50,000 retail investors from adverse consequences related to its lending decisions in the last two years.

Here are the three measures RateSetter has now explained in greater detail:

  • Buying two subsidiaries in a motor finance company. 
  • Wholly buying Adpod, an advertising company. 
  • Ending its partnership with George Banco, a consumer lending platform. RateSetter is withdrawing from the partnership, remaining only as a passive investor, after reviewing the strategy more closely. RateSetter added that George Banco is still repaying its £32 million ($42 million) loan.

Monzo gently rolls out current account (Banking Tech), Rated: A

The bank, which received its full UK banking licence in April, says it’s been using the current account internally and today (17 July) is now inviting some of its customers to join and “help put it through its paces”.

Its aim is to offer a current account to all existing customers by the end of the year. Towards that goal, over the next three months it will roll out between 10,000 and 20,000 current accounts to existing customers. As you probably guessed, users can register their interest on its site. Investors get priority access.

TransferWise’s cofounders have swapped the CEO role between themselves again (Business Insider), Rated: A

Kristo Kaarmann is taking over from Taavet Hinrikus as the boss of the international money transfer business, according to a blog post on Medium that was written by Hinrikus and published on Tuesday.

Next-gen Credit Scorer Aire Raises $ 5m in Series A Funding from Deep-tech VCs (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Aire today announces the closing of a $5m Series A funding round, led by Sunstone Capital alongside White Star who previously led Aire’s Seed round in 2016.

Aire today announces the closing of a $5m Series A funding round, led by Sunstone Capital alongside White Star who previously led Aire’s Seed round in 2016.

The Lines Are Blurring Between Alternative, Traditional SME Finance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Alternative lending has shifted from a competitor of traditional FIs to a collaborator, often lending a digital hand to banks in need of upgrading their systems to provide faster, more agile financing to SMEs. A new report from the state-backed British Business Bank (BBB), however, suggests alternative lenders are becoming an increasingly important part of its operations in a different way, highlighting how the lines between alternative finance (AltFin) and traditional finance continue to blur.

The annual report said the BBB facilitated more than $930 million in SME loans last year, and, according to the data, every year more of that money is landing at small businesses thanks to collaboration with alternative lenders like RateSetter and Funding Circle. According to reports, in 2014 the percentage of BBB funds that went through a P2P platform was 79 percent; in 2015, it was 90 percent.

Permira Joins Payments Rush by Buying Into Sweden’s Klarna (U.S. News), Rated: A

Private equity group Permira has bought a stake of at least 10 percent in payments firm Klarna, one of Europe’s most highly valued tech startups, the companies said on Friday.

Permira will acquire the Klarna stake from existing shareholders General Atlantic and DST Global, and the Sweden-based firm’s co-founder Niklas Adalberth.

General Atlantic and DST Global will cease to be shareholders in Klarna after the deal, they added in a statement.

Bank of England opens up payments systems to spur fintech (Tribune), Rated: A

The Bank of England has widened access to Britain’s interbank payments system to increase competition from new fintech firms in the financial system, where the “Big Four” high street banks have long dominated.

The changes, which in practice will come into effect in 2018 once legislative changes have been completed, will enable such non-bank payments services providers (PSPs) to compete better with banks, the BoE said.

There is no ‘existential crisis’ challenge for banks from fintech, HSBC’s digital chief says (CNBC), Rated: A

The idea that big banks are facing an “existential crisis” from financial technology (fintech) challengers is “overblown”, the digital chief of HSBC told CNBC.

Crowdfunding: the stable option in 2017? (The C Suite), Rated: A

Research conducted by Beauhurst on 2016 UK funding deals for non-listed high-growth businesses concluded that crowdfunding outperformed private equity and venture capital. Whilst 2016 saw a decline in the total number of deals financed by equity investors, activity on the leading crowdfunding platforms increased. Crowdcube (launched in 2011) and Seedrs (launched in 2012) accounted for 21% of such equity investment in the UK last year.

According to Beauhurst’s research, Q1 of 2017 has seen a small increase of 2.7% in equity funding in non-listed, high-growth companies. However deal numbers are still 6.72% lower than the same quarter in 2016. The growth has primarily been driven by crowdfunding platforms, with an 11% growth in deal numbers.

Boost for UK fintech as Receipt Bank secures huge $ 50 million in funding (Business Insider), Rated: A

Accountancy software startup Receipt Bank has raised $50 million (£38.4 million) in a Series B funding round led by a New York venture capital firm.

Perfect storm for Scots property borrowers (Scotsman), Rated: A

By 2018, loans from alternative finance schemes such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and private debt, will be as cost competitive as the retail banks, blowing the finance market wide open for loans in the £500,000 to £10 million range.

Naturally, because alternative lenders such as Funding Circle, The Route and Folk to Folk are settling loans for higher loan-to-value (LTV) ranges (between 60 and 75 per cent), they absorb the risk by charging higher interest on both short- and medium-term loans – currently between 6 and 12 per cent a year.

LTVs in retail banking property loans are settled at around 55 to 60 per cent, but they offer lower loan costs of between 2.5 and 5 per cent. This is all set to change in 2018 – with increased availability of finance for lenders, such as innovative finance ISAs (IFIsa), the cost of capital is set to fall and this will encourage alternative lenders to reduce their interest rates.

Zopa’s Home Improvement Index Reveals: A New Kitchen Can Deliver Over 50% ROI (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Wednesday, peer-to-peer lender Zopa released its latest Home Improvement Index that indicated a quart of British homeowners looking to improve their homes this summer are choosing to renovate their kitchens and are seeing a 51% return on investment as a result. According to research, 25% of British homeowners undertaking a home improvement are opting for a new kitchen, with the renovation boosting the value of a home by an average of 10%.

Zopa noted that the research found that the average home improvement would increase the value of a home by 9% or nearly £24,000 (£23,837) – based on homeowner’s estimates. The average return on investment was 50%, based on the total amount spent by homeowners.

Opinion split on best P2P marketing techniques (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

Property P2P platform Lendy has recently announced sponsorship of the Cowes Week sailing regatta, while business lender Ablrate has been announced as a sponsor of the PGA EuroPro Tour’s £100,000 Shoot-Out competition.

Other firms such as RateSetter have used adverts on the London Underground and Crowdstacker has run adverts in print publications, while Zopa and Funding Circle have used TV campaigns.

But Frazer Fernhead, founder and chief executive of The House Crowd, prefers to invest in digital marketing.

China

Yirendai Limited: A Growth Play At Deeply Discounted Valuations (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

The ADR has returned a solid 250%+ in a year and a half since then. In comparison, Alibaba stock is up by 83% while NetEase is up by 16% and JD.com has risen just 27.5%. In other words, Yirendai has been the best performing Chinese stock/ADR ever since the company was listed in the US.

Yirendai reported quarterly revenue of $148.42 million for Q1 2017, which grew 75% year-on-year. On the earnings front, the company reported earnings per ADR (EPADR) of 84 cents, a 147% improvement over 34 cents EPADR in Q1 2016. On a trailing twelve month (NYSE:TTM) timeframe, the revenue has grown from $265.2 million in Q1 2016 to $544.6 million in Q1 2017, a 105% year-on-year growth.

We believe that, based on Yirendai’s earnings history and the historical valuation multiples, the stock should easily trade in the $43.4 – $57.7 range, which represents a 65% upside at the higher end.

European Union

N26 and Lydia announce Apple Pay support in France, but major banks are still missing (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Apple Pay hasn’t really been a major success in France so far. France’s biggest banks still don’t plan to support Apple’s payment service. But two companies announced today that they were going to add Apple Pay support before the end of the year — Lydia and N26Crédit Mutuel Arkea’s banks also recently announced that they were working on that feature as well.

Crowdfunding and Crowdlending (Soundcloud), Rated: A

Get a unique insight into what crowdfunding and crowdlending are and find out how you can participate in it – either as an entrepreneur or as an investor. Responsible for crowdfunding in DNB, Lars Marthinsen, and CEO of Kameo, Sebastian Martens, are guests at #pengepodden .

International

Finstar commits $ 150m to fintech investment (Finextra), Rated: A

Private equity outfit Finstar Financial Group is planning to pump $150 million into fintech startups over the next five years.

The money will be used to buy stakes in promising fintech startups in Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and South Asia, as well as on research and development within portfolio companies.

Baloise invests in insurtech company Trov (Baloise), Rated: A

Baloise is investing in the Californian insurtech company Trov. The start-up offers on-demand insurance for personal items and has already launched in the UK and Australia, and will roll out in the U.S. later this year. For Baloise, this is the first investment arising from its partnership with Anthemis.

Baloise’s investment is part of the Series D financing secured by Trov in April 2017.

Australia

Factor in the robo-advice (The Australian), Rated: A

The disruption is well under way in the US, where two giant companies – Betterment and Wealthfront – have emerged, each with a valuation of more than $5 billion. In recent months Betterment has seemed to outpace Wealthfront in terms of size and growth. Betterment, which has cheaper services, now boasts a client list of 188,000 while Wealthfront has 90,000.

ANZ has put its $4.5 billion wealth advice unit on the block, in a move that followed UBS’s decision to sell its wealth management arm in Australia a year ago. And Platinum Asset Management, the one-time king of specialist overseas fund managers in the local market, has announced a dramatic cut in its fee charges.

In Australia, the SMSF Industry Association tacked a robo-advice questionnaire onto one of its recent surveys and found that 18 per cent of its members – higher than in the general population (13 per cent) – would be willing to try robo services.

Online Lender Prospa is NSW State Winner in 2017 Telstra Business Awards (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Prospa, an online lender to Australian small business, has been awarded the 2017 Telstra New South Wales Medium Business Award in the 2017 Telstra Business Awards.

Prospa said it was the first Fintech company to be awarded the accolade.

India

How Fintech Revolution Is Making Way For A Potential $ 5 Bn Online P2P Lending Empire In India (Inc42), Rated: A

Currently, at a nascent stage, the P2P lending landscape in India is also poised to grow into a $4 Bn-$5 Bn industry by 2023. The domain’s origin actually dates back to 2012, when the first peer-to-peer lending company i-Lend was launched. At present, the P2P lending space is populated by more than 30 players including Faircent, LendBox, LenDenClub, IndiaMoneyMart, Monexo, Rupaiya Exchange, LoanBaba, CapZest, i2iFunding and many more.

One factor that has played an integral role in the rise of an alternative fintech industry is demonetisationinstated on November 8, 2016. Post the ban on INR 500 and INR 1,000 notes, bank deposits underwent a discernible slowdown. Loans to SMEs and MSMEs reached an abrupt halt, forcing many businesses to seek other methods of financing. Last year, for instance, around 34% of P2P borrowers were actually business owners looking to expand without having to rely on banks.

Singapore Based Bridge Data Centres Looks To Pour $ 500 Mn Into India (Inc42), Rated: B

Bridge Data Centres is looking to invest $500 Mn in India over the next two years. As per reports, the investment will enable the Singapore-based data centre outsourcing (DCO) company to gain a stronghold of the country’s fast-growing market for data centres.

In June 2017, Alibaba revealed plans to set up two new cloud data centres in India and Indonesia, in an attempt to strengthen the company’s computing resources in Asia. Earlier in January 2017, US-based data storage and management firm NetApp launched its Global Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru, as part of a $155 Mn (INR 1,000 Cr) investment. In December last year, Amaravati-headquartered Pi DATACENTERS raised $23 Mn from Epsilon Venture Partners. It was reported that the funds would be used to roll out state-of-the-art data centres across India.

Multinational alternative investment firm Bain Capital recently infused $10 Mn in Bengaluru-based consumer leasing startup RentoMojo has raised $10 Mn in Series B funding round led by Renaud Laplanche. Existing investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures also participated in the round.

Because the construction and maintenance of data centres is a capital-intensive activity, an increasing number of businesses in India are  enlisting the help of data centre service providers.

Canada

Borrowell raises $ 57M in New Funding to Expand Credit Education and Lending (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Financial technology company Borrowell announced today it has secured $12 million (CAD) in equity funding and $45 million in new credit facilities. The Series A equity round is being led by Portag3 Ventures LP, Equitable Bank and White Star Capital, with participation by FirstOntario Credit Union and other new and existing investors, and brings the company’s total equity financing to $16.7 million. The credit facilities are being provided by Concentra and FirstOntario Credit Union for the purpose of funding ‘one click’ loans to prime consumers. This latest round of funding will allow Borrowell to provide free credit information and loans to more people.

More than 300,000 Canadians have a Borrowell account, with thousands more signing up each week.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday June 28 2017, Daily News Digest

china big banks

News Comments Yesterday, Lending-Times incorrectly stated that Zopa would charge all borrowers the same rates with its planned bank. In actuality, the plan is to price the book the same between new and existing customers, and not make a difference between new and existing customers as other banks do. Today’s main news: MarketInvoice, Funding Circle, […]

china big banks
News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

News Summary

United States

Elevate’s RISE Credit Enters a Sixteenth State, Offering Lines of Credit in Kansas (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced today that its RISE product, traditionally offering installment loans, will now offer lines of credit. Kansas will be the sixteenth state where RISE’s products are available and the first state in which RISE’s line of credit is available to non-prime consumers.

RISE is a state-licensed online lender offering unsecured installment loans and lines of credit. RISE is designed to meet the needs of the millions of non-prime Americans with less than prime-credit, who do not have access to traditional sources of credit. RISE is a path toward a brighter financial future with features such as fast approval, flexible loan terms, lower rates than other non-prime lenders, rates that can go down over time, credit bureau reporting, free credit score monitoring and financial literacy courses.

Take These 9 Steps Early To Make The Most Of Your Company’s Regulation A+ IPO (Forbes), Rated: AAA

When online peer to peer lending was new, consumers were the first investors to step in while accredited and institutional investors stayed on the sidelines until later – they now dominate the peer to peer lending business, which has grown to be a huge multi-billion dollar market.

1. If you have an enthusiastic following in your industry:

If you have a large enough network, this group might fund your entire capital raise. Take steps to build a working contact list of them. And make sure to establish a regular habit of emailing them so that when you later send out an email suggesting that they consider investing in your Reg A+ offering, your email will be opened and read.

2. Build a large and enthusiastic customer base.

VidAngel emailed their most active 30k customers andraised $10 mill in 5 days live to investors, setting the record for the fastest rate of onlineinvestor capital raise in Reg A+ to date.

3. Establish a direct sales relationship with your customers.

When your customers find it normal that you send them an email message, they are far more likely to respond favorably when you send them an email offering them the opportunity to become an investor and part owner of your company.

4. Add a consumer appealing product or service;

5. Build a large social media fan base;

A fan base of 100k people is a good start.

6. Combine product and investment marketing;

This combination can save marketing expense and also emphasizes the brand building and product sales synergy that can be levered in a Reg A+ offering.

7. Leverage your existing investors;

As an example, a sizable portion of the recent MYONYSE IPO and the ADOMNASDAQ IPO investments were from existing investors and their friends.

8. Prepare consumer investment rewards:

Line up your reward packages ahead of time to ensure that you have long lead time items ready and on hand in quantity when your Reg A+ goes live.

9. Assemble the proof points that you will need;

Gather and build the market size and total available market evidence you will need to make credible claims that your market is large enough to justify the attention of investors.

Larry Raffone is racing to ‘lock up’ the 401(k) market by combining robo with a semi-national RIA (RIABiz), Rated: A

Financial Engines Inc. CEO Larry Raffone is seeking to give his company a second date with destiny by combining the biggest 401(k) robo-advisor and one of the larger national RIAs — and coming out of it with a true national RIA that can take on the accounts of Fortune 500 companies at the retail as well as the pension-plan level.

Raffone plans to open new Financial Engines offices in more populous areas such as Southern California, where Financial Engines is already on-site at corporations where participants use its managed account 401(k) service.

The pricing model is still TBD, but William Blair equity analyst Robert Napoli said in an April 6 report that he expects Personal Advisor to come in at 80 basis points. He notes that compares to 35 basis points for FE’s managed account 401(k) program.

LendingOne Closes Series A Funding, Investors Include Ron Suber, Richard Vague, Sidney Brown, Michael Heller (Latest Share News), Rated: A

LendingOne, one of the nation’s fastest growing online lenders for real estate investors, announced today it closed a Series A financing round.

Investors include Ron Suber, a prominent fintech investor and President of Prosper Marketplace, Richard Vague, co-founder and former CEO of two credit card companies, First USA and Juniper Financial, Sidney Brown, CEO of NFI Industries and former Chairman of Sun National Bank, Michael Heller, CEO of Cozen O’Conner, a national full-service law firm, along with LendingOne founder and CEO, Bill Green.

College Ave Closes First Securitization, SoFi Finalizes Its Fourth (Lendedu), Rated: A

College Avenue Student Loans, an online student loan refinancing and origination company, has closed its first securitization of private student loans, according to Global Capital.

Getting into the asset-backed securities (ABS) business for the first time, College Ave’s securitization is a $160.89 million offering backed by private student loans. Barclays is the only underwriter on the company’s first ABS transaction.

Credit research and ratings company DBRS has assigned provisional ratings for the various classes of notes issued by College Ave. The Class A-1 notes worth $95,320,000 have been given an A rating, while the Class A-2 notes worth $43,470,000 have also been an A rating. The Class B notes worth $10,760,000 have been given a BBB rating, and, finally, the Class C notes worth $11,340,000 have been given a BB rating, according to DBRS.

Disruption Brings Great Opportunities — and Risks — to the Middle Market (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Most executives of middle-market companies not only expect their business to experience disruption in the near future, but welcome it, according to Disruption in the Middle Market, a report released today by Capital One Commercial Bank. However, this optimistic view does not always translate into action; only a small portion of middle market companies have taken a full range of defensive measures to protect against disruption’s potentially destructive consequences.

Capital One surveyed more than 300 senior executives from companies with annual revenues ranging from $100 million to $3 billion to determine their views on disruption—a significant interruption to an existing business arising from innovative technology, a new business model, or political, economic and environmental forces.

The study revealed that attitudes toward disruption correlated to size.  Smaller middle-market companies are more likely than their larger counterparts to be unprepared for disruption. The report also highlighted a series of steps, such as strengthening financial relationships, that smaller companies can take to catch up.

Disruption in the Middle Market provides a detailed picture of the views of middle-market executives about disruption and the steps they are taking to address it. Eighty-eight percent of respondents reported that their companies have already experienced disruption or expect to experience it during the next three years.  However, only one-sixth of those surveyed believe they are prepared to deal with a disruptive event. Despite this lack of preparation, four-fifths of middle-market executives view disruption as an opportunity, not a threat.  Many of these executives believe that disruption threatens their industry—but not their own company.  Forty-three percent said that their industry is vulnerable to disruption, while just 18 percent reported that their own company is vulnerable.

Size proved the key determinant in a company’s preparedness and attitude toward disruption. Companies with revenue between $2 billion and $3 billion are much more likely to see a disruptive event as an opportunity than companies in the $100 million to $499 million range. In addition, larger companies are more likely to have insulated themselves from the effects of a disruptive event and to be pursuing a disruptive strategy of their own that could lead to a competitive advantage.

Financial Preparation Is Critical

The study revealed that a strong relationship with a stable financial institution could play a critical role in helping a middle-market company respond to disruptive forces. Sixty-eight percent of those with an ongoing banking relationship expect to need additional funding in the face of a disruption. These companies will find it easier to arrange than the 32 percent without a strong banking relationship.  Here again, smaller companies are at a disadvantage.  Many lack the holistic banking relationship needed to confront disruption, and instead are willing to consider alternative sources of capital like peer-to-peer lending and even crowdfunding.

Attitude toward disruption varies considerably by industry
Middle market executives in some industries have adopted a much more proactive approach to disruption than those in others.

  • Financial services and insurance companies are archetypical disruptors. Forty-seven percent are quite or extremely prepared for disruption, and 83 percent are pursuing a disruptive strategy. The overall middle-market averages for the survey are 16 percent and 60 percent, respectively.
  • Energy, resources, and chemicals companies tend to be classic delayers. Eighty-three percent are slightly or not at all prepared for a disruptive event (compared to 53 percent for the full survey), and only 37 percent are pursuing a disruptive strategy (compared to 60 percent overall).

Plaid puts out a ‘request for startups’ in nine underserved fintech sectors (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Plaid wants to make it easier for financial services companies to serve consumers and businesses, but it also sees significant holes in the fintech ecosystem. As a result, the company has issued a Y Combinator-like “request for startups” to tackle particular issues where it believes significant innovation is lacking.

Like Yodlee before it, Plaid enables startups and other tech companies to more easily connect with banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions, both to authenticate consumer accounts and access their financial data.

  1. Better bills.
  2. Consumer-centric loan servicing.
  3. Hardware + software for branches.
  4. Tax preparation.
  5. Mobile bank account opening.
  6. Abstractions from the core.
  7. Brokerage-as-a-Service.
  8. “Exotic” insurance.
  9. Compliance-as-a-Service.

Easiest Path to Riches on the Web? An Initial Coin Offering (The New York Times), Rated: A

A new crop of technology entrepreneurs is forgoing the usual routes to raising money. The entrepreneurs are not pitching venture capitalists, selling stock in an initial public offering or using crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.

Instead, before they even have a working product, they are creating their own digital currencies and selling so-called coins on the web, sometimes raising tens of millions of dollars in a matter of minutes.

Since the beginning of the year, 65 projects have raised $522 million in these offerings, according to Smith & Crown, a research firm focused on the new industry.

Last month, a small team of computer engineers in Lithuania raised $14 million in 45 minutes by selling a coin, known as Mysterium, that is intended to give access to an encrypted online data service that is still being built.

The next day, a group of coders in the Bay Area pulled in $35 million in under 30 seconds of online fund-raising. The coders were offering Basic Attention Tokens, which will one day work on a new kind of ad-free web browser.

Then this week, a team in Switzerland raised around $100 million for a coin that will be used on an online chat program that has not yet been released, known as Status.

Last year, the first blockbuster coin offering, the Decentralized Autonomous Organization, quickly raised more than $150 million. But the project blew up after a hacker manipulated the code and stole more than $50 million worth of digital currency.

Private SLABS upgrades anticipated (Structured Credit Investor), Rated: A

Moody’s has placed on review for possible upgrade the ratings of 41 private student loan ABS bonds – totalling approximately US$2.56bn worth of securities across 19 securitisations – issued by three marketplace lending platforms. At the same time, Fitch has released an exposure draft of criteria for rating US private student loan ABS that could result in multiple-category upgrades for …

Insurance Tech Rising: 135+ Insurance Startups Across P2P, Life, Commercial & More in One Chart (CB Insights), Rated: A

The map focuses on 11 categories, as follows.

  • Life/annuity: Private startups providing distribution of life insurance products including term life and annuities including Abaris and PolicyGenius
  • Auto insurance (split into distribution, usage-based insurance/telematics, and claims): Startups ranging from aggregators including CoverHound and Goji to white label auto claims apps (Snapsheet) to per-mile managing general agents like Metromile.
  • P2P insurance: Private peer-to-peer insurance and mutual-based startups include Lemonade, Guevara, Friendsurance, and others.
  • Small business insurance: Private tech companies serving as commercial insurance brokers and managing general agents to SMBs  include Insureon, Embroker, and Next Insurance.
  • Insurance industry software/analytics/IaaS: Insurance-specific software across the value chain providers range from BI and data-warehousing startup Quantemplate to insurance fraud detection firm Shift Technology to re-insurance SaaS analytics startup Analyze Re to claims inspection startup Spex.
  • Mobile insurance management: Startups focusing on allowing consumers to manage and purchase insurance policies via their mobile device including Knip and GetSafe.
  • Product insurance: Companies insuring or tracking products — i.e. smartphones, laptops — for insurance applications.
  • Renters/homeowners: Startups providing distribution of renter’s insurance and homeowner’s insurance as well as lease default insurance programs.
  • Sharing economy: Startups working on new insurance products in coverage areas including short-term rental marketplaces and for sharing economy 1099 workers.
  • Health insurance: Across new carriers like Oscar as well as healthcare insurance startups targeted at individuals (Stride Health) and employers (Zenefits).
  • Pet insurance: Startups include Embrace Pet Insurance and Figo Pet Insurance.
Source: CB Insights

 

The Fiduciary Rule And Investment Advisers: Why It Matters (AlphaFlow), Rated: A

One of the most hotly contested aspects of the Fiduciary Rule is around the standard of suitability as a determinant for an investment choice made by a registered representative. Today, a registered representative must only ensure that an investment is ‘suitable’ for a client. This suitability is determined by factors including investment risk tolerance, time frame, and goals. However, there is no determination made as to whether the investment is in the client’s best interests.

To illustrate, let’s say the registered representative (RR) has a choice of offering two different mutual funds to a client. Both invest in similar stocks and have relatively similar returns (before fees), but one charges higher fees and also pays the RR’s firm based on the total dollar investments made into that particular fund.  The RR only offers the client the one for which they get compensated, even though the other mutual fund option may be a better option for the client (because it charges lower fees).  The reason the RR can do this is that both mutual funds are considered “suitable”: meaning as long as the recommendation meets the client’s risk profile and investment goals, then they can offer that product to their client.

In contrast, an investment adviser representative (IAR) must act as a fiduciary.  In the same situation, if the IAR wanted to offer the same mutual fund that the RR did, they would need to disclose to the client that they are getting compensated for sales of that fund and that the lower cost option makes more sense for the client.  So, instead of simply offering a suitable choice for the client, the IAR must: 1) disclose conflicts of interest and, 2) act in the best interest of the client rather than in their own best interest.

What The Fiduciary Rule Would Change

Staying with the scenario above, the Fiduciary Rule would require an RR to act like the IAR in when selling any products related to, or be advising on anything related to retirement.

The rule would also apply to anyone dually-registered (meaning they are registered both as an RR and an IAR).  Currently, the dually-registered representative can decide what ‘hat’ they wear (RR or IAR) when suggesting investments for retirement.

A new way to estimate your home equity (Chicago Tribune), Rated: B

LendingTree, the popular mortgage site, which debuted its own valuation model earlier this month, can tell you why: Because none of the other value estimators calculate your home equity or suggest how and when you might want to tap into it.

If you’re not quite ready to move ahead but instead prefer to track your equity, credit and mortgage situation on a regular basis, you can sign up for a more comprehensive “My LendingTree” service, for which there is no charge. It provides you with monthly updates plus periodic alerts on your home equity movement. You get an alert when there’s “an actionable opportunity” for you to tap into your equity on favorable terms, based on “real-time market data,” changes in your credit files and equity levels, according to the website. There’s no requirement that you take any action.

OppLoans Welcomes Daniel Fell as VP of Business Development and Partnerships (Digital Journal), Rated: B

OppLoans, the nation’s leading socially responsible online lender serving non-prime consumers, has announced the appointment of Daniel Fell to the role of Vice President of Business Development. Fell will oversee all strategic business development and partnership objectives at the high-growth, profitable firm.

6 things that will help cut the cost of your business debt (TD Daily), Rated: B

1. Choosing the right product

Debt works really well when you choose the right type of debt for your business. You can reduce what you pay for business debt by making a well-informed choice. For example, peer-to-peer lending may be an option if you’re unable to get a loan or finance from a traditional bank and can be cheaper too.

2. Nurturing your cashflow/credit score

If your business doesn’t have great creditworthiness, or is too new to have any credit history, then a lender will look at the credit score of someone able to guarantee the business’ debts.

3. Shopping around for the best deal

If you need finance consider all the options – the high street bank, the online lender, the peer-to-peer lender and the government-backed lender.

4. Staying on top of the repayments

5. Consolidating debts

6. Pay your debts off more quickly

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice, Funding Circle, Zopa, LendInvest make Fintech 250 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

MARKETINVOICE, Funding Circle, Zopa and LendInvest have made CB Insights’ Fintech 250 list for 2017, which awards the companies worldwide that are leading the transformation in financial services.

The list of 250 emerging private companies from 23 countries, which was chosen out of a longlist of more than 2,000 entrants, was revealed by the research firm’s chief executive and co-founder Anand Sanwal during The Future of Fintech conference in New York on Tuesday.

The Fintech 250 companies (in alphabetical order):

51Xinyongka

Axoni

Canopy Tax

55 Capital

Behalf

Capital Float

Acorns

Beijing LaKala Billing Services

Captable.io

Activehours

Better Mortgage

Chain

Addepar

Betterment

Circle Internet Financial

Adyen 

Billtrust

CircleUp

Affirm

BIMA

Clarity Money

Airwallex

bitFlyer

ClearTax

Algomi

BitPesa

Cloud9 Technologies

AlphaSense

Blend

Clover Health

AngelList

Blockstack Labs

Coinbase

Ant Financial Services Group

Blockstream

Coins.ph

Artivest Holdings

BlueVine

ComplyAdvantage

Assembly Payments

bonify

Credit Benchmark

Atom Bank

Branch International

Credit Karma

AutoGravity

Brave Software

Creditas

Auxmoney

Bright Health

CreditEase Insurance Agency

Avalara

C2FO

CreditMantri

AvidXchange

Cadre

Cross River Bank

Crowdcube

IEX Group

Nongfenqi

CurrencyCloud

Indiegogo

Nubank

CurrencyFair

Indifi Technologies

Numerai

Cyence

iyzico

Nutmeg

Dadao Financial

iZettle

One97 Communications  

Deposit Solutions

JD Finance

Onfido

DianRong

Juvo

OpenFin

Digit

Juzhen Financials

OpenGamma

Digital Asset Holdings

Kabbage

Oportun

Digital Reasoning Systems

Kakao Pay

Orchard Platform

Droit Fintech

Kasisto

Oscar Health Insurance Co.

Earnest

Kensho Technologies

Paga

Easynvest

Kickstarter

Parasut

Ebury

Klarna

Paymax

Ellevest

Kreditech

PayNearMe

Embroker

Kyriba

Payoneer

eShares

Ladder

Paystack

Even Respsonsible Finance

Lemonade

Paytm Payment Bank

EverCompliant

LendingHome

PeerIQ

Ezetap Mobile Solutions

Lendingkart

PeerStreet

Factom

LendInvest

Perfios

Fenergo

LendUp

Personal Capital

Fenqile

LevelUp

Ping++

figo

Lu.com

Plaid Technologies

FinanceIt

M-DAQ

Point Digital Finance

FinancialForce.com

Magento Commerce

Polychain Capital

Finrise

MarketInvoice

Ppdai

Flywire

Marqeta

Propel

Folio

Merlon Intelligence

Property Partner

freee

MetroMile

Prospa

Fundbox

MobiKwik

Qapital Insight

Funding Circle

MoMo

QFPay

Funding Societies

MoneyFarm

Qingsongchou

Futu5

Moneytree

Quantopian

GoCardless

Monzo

Qudian

GoFundMe

Mynt

Quovo

GreenSky

N26

Raisin

GuiaBolso

Namely

RealtyShares

Guideline

Nav

Red Dot Payment

Gusto

Neighborly

Reorg Research

Habito

NerdWallet

Revolut

hibob

New York Shipping Exchange  

Ripple Labs

IceKredit

Next Insurance

Riskalyze

Robinhood

THEO

Weidai

Rong360

Tiger Brokers

WeLab

Roofstock

Tink

WorldCover

Roostify

Token

WorldRemit

Seedrs

Tradeshift

Xapo

Shenzhen Kingdee

Trading Ticket

Xiaoyusan Insurance

Suishou Technology

TransferWise 

Xignite

Signifyd

TravelBank

Xishan Information Technology

Silverfin

Trov

YapStone

simplesurance

TrueAccord

Yoco

SirionLabs

Trulioo

YongQianBao

Smava

Trumid

Yuanbaopu

SocietyOne

Tyro Payments

Zeitgold

Socure

Upgrade

ZestFinance

SoFi

VATBox

ZestMoney

solarisBank

Veem

Zhong An Insurance

Stash Invest

Verato

Zoona

Street Contxt

Viva Republica

Zooz

Stripe

Wave Accounting

Zopa

Symphony Communication

Wealthfront

Zuora

Services Holdings

WealthNavi

Tala

Wealthsimple

Tally Technologies

WeCash

Fifty years of the ATM: How long can cash survive in a digital world? (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Fifty years of using the hole in the wall

  • As of 2015 there were 70,270 cash points in the UK, more than 52,000 of which were free to use.
  • 48 million of us use cash machines and 89% use them at least once a month.
  • In 2015 the amount of average withdrawal was £69.
  • On average each cash machine dispensed £7,576 per day in 2015 – and that figure is on an upward trend.
  • The daily record for cash withdrawals was £730m, which was set on 23 December 2016.
  • 46% of cash machines are in supermarkets, shops and shopping centres, 27% are in banks and 4% in Post Offices.
  • HSBC has the UK’s busiest cash machine by Cambridge Circus in central London.
  • The original cash machine was designed by Scottish inventor John Adrian Shepherd-Barron who came up with the idea of a machine dispensing cash, rather than chocolate bars, while in his bath.
  • ATMs in temples in India let you make religious donations.
  • Vatican City has the only ATM that gives instructions in Latin.

TransferWise CEO talks about Brexit worries for fintech companies (CNBC), Rated: A

 

The Profitability Challenge for Fintech Startups (Finextra), Rated: A

The evidence from a sample of 20 fintech startups in the UK is that there are substantial profitability challenges that still need to be overcome. As of June 2017, the total equity investment in the sample companies I have looked at has been £852m. The total valuation of the sample at the last valuation round for each company was £2.6bn, but none are profitable and cumulative losses have been £211m.

Only one company in the whole sample has reported a single year of profitability, but this has since fallen back into loss.

However, the median losses are: £0.3m in year 1, £1.3m in year 2 and £2.0m in year 3. One company, Atom Bank, is already losing £22.5m in the third year of operation, substantially more than any of the others.

RateSetter exec sees opportunity in Brexit (Bankless Times), Rated: A

While the head of one of the United Kingdom’s largest P2P sites understands why small business owners are hesitant to make big decisions in Brexit’s wake, he cautions them to not miss the opportunities either.

“The door is open for business leaders to redefine Brexit so that it is seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat.”

Increasing options on low-yielding properties (Bridging & Commercial), Rated: A

Property investors have had to deal with a host of government and regulatory changes over the last couple of years.

These new rules have resulted in many buy-to-let lenders requiring much more significant interest rental coverage, often looking for as high as 145%.

For example, in the last LendInvest Buy-to-Let Index we found that Southampton offered an average yield of 4.08% – significantly lower than landlords can enjoy in other areas of the UK. Yet it has seen solid capital price growth at 5.47%,  its excellent transport links into the capital regularly see it named as a future house price hotspot, while the presence of two large universities boosts its appeal to landlords.

FT PARTNERS CONTINUES EXPANSION WITH ESTABLISHMENT OF EMEA PRESENCE IN LONDON (LendIt.com), Rated: B

Financial Technology Partners (FT Partners), the only global investment banking firm focused exclusively on FinTech, is pleased to formally announce its planned expansion into the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) markets. This announcement is a direct response to the global demand the Firm is seeing for its highly specialized and deep domain focused advisory capabilities from EMEA clients and further highlights the Firm’s strong activity in cross-border FinTech deals globally. FT Partners’ global team of FinTech focused investment bankers will continue to serve its clients and its EMEA operations will be based out of London in the United Kingdom. The Firm is also announcing the continued expansion of its senior team with the addition of Timm Schipporeit, former FinTech investment banker at Morgan Stanley and FinTech investor at Index Ventures, who joins as Managing Director in our London office

Women In Fintech 2017 Powerlist: Innovate Finance Opens Nominations (Forbes), Rated: B

UK organisation and global fintech representative Innovate Finance has announced today the opening for submissions to its 2017 Women in Fintech Powerlist.

Innovate Finance is calling on both men and women to submit names of female colleagues (CxOs, managers, lawyers and journalists) to be included in the 2017 Powerlist.

China

Fintech No Threat for China’s Big Banks (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Concerns that bad-loan levels are worse than lenders are confessing to, combined with fears the country’s fintech giants, including Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. affiliate Ant Financial, are disrupting operations, have weighed on stocks.

For one, bad-debt figures, if you believe them in the first place, are coming down. And even if you do think nonperforming loans have been understated, what’s undeniable is that the country’s big banks have been shifting into mortgage lending, which has a lower default rate than the state-firm lending that’s long been their bread and butter. The nonperforming loan ratio of a mortgage in China is 0.37 percent, one sixth of a corporate advance, according to CIMB Securities Ltd. analyst Michael Chang.

Of course, fintech companies getting into the lending business is cause for concern. Alipay’s consumer credit site Ant Check Later will lend up to a certain amount without needing to see bank records, while e-commerce outfits like JD.com Inc. allow monthly payment installments that blur the line between bank and retailer.

However, it’s worth noting that lending is a business with thin margins, and figuring out default risk is crucial, especially considering many fintech startups cater to those people the big banks won’t touch.

FinTech Wave Revolutionizes Financial World (SCMP), Rated: A

According to Morgan Stanley, online loan volume in the US market is expected to reach US$120 billion in 2020, up from US$20 billion in 2015.

Among others, one important promise of FinTech is that there will be greater reliance on algorithmically-determined financial decisions in areas such as loan, insurance and stock picking. The advancement of artificial intelligence methods has been the propeller facilitating the transition in such a direction.

The overall implication here is that a machine can replace a human in processing large amounts of text in a much more efficient way. This information extraction procedure also helps us understand more about the interplay between investors and various types of information. Interestingly, we find that investors react more strongly to negative than to positive text, and that analyst report text is more useful when it places more emphasis on non-financial topics, is written more assertively and concisely, and when the perceived validity of other information signals in the same report is low.

One common feature of the above two research studies is that computer algorithms are used to extract and quantify some otherwise fuzzy concepts: analyst sentiment in the first study, and analyst information discovery and interpretation effort in the second one. The computer achieves it by aggregating a huge amount of data which is surely beyond any human’s ability to process. Even though humans can understand intuition through very limited observations, it is hard for them to transfer the intuition or knowledge to other people. The computational limitation and the qualitative nature of the human knowledge are the underlying reasons why computers will eventually outperform humans in more and more settings.

FinTech does not come as a free lunch, however. Algorithm-based decisions are not immune to anomalies and manipulations. On 6 May, 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 998.5 points (about 9%), mostly within minutes. This sudden market crash was later attributed to the algorithm trading systems being manipulated by a trader.

European Union

Visa takes a strategic stake in Klarna, the finance startup out of Sweden (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Klarna, the $2 billion+ startup out of Sweden that works with some 70,000 e-commerce sites to enable payments and provide flexible financing to make purchases, is adding one more key investor to help take its next steps into a wider range of services. Today it announced that credit card giant Visa is making an equity investment in the company, and as part of it, the two are forging a strategic partnership to roll out new products.

Visa and Klarna are not disclosing the size of the stake — following the same pattern Visa took when it invested some years ago in two other fast-growing financial startups, Square and Stripe — and Klarna is not specifying what form the strategic partnership will take.

Brexit upheaval prompts French entrepreneurs to dream of home (Financial Times), Rated: A

In 2014, I moved to London to launch an asset management firm investing in loans originated by marketplace lending platforms.

Starting the business in London made sense. The UK boasted a business environment in which risk-taking was encouraged and entrepreneurial success valued and rewarded. Simple rules such as entrepreneurs’ relief, which reduces capital gains tax on the sale of a business, are very attractive for budding entrepreneurs.

However, the vote in last year’s referendum for Britain to leave the EU has caused me to reconsider my decision to live in and operate my business from London.

Gaël de Boissard joins the winner of last year’s Money20/20 Europe Startup Competition (deBanked), Rated: A

Exactly one year after winning Money20/20 Europe Startup Competition, James (a FinTech in Credit Risk, formerly known as CrowdProcess) returns to Copenhagen after closing an oversubscribed investment round led by Ex-Credit Suisse Board Member Gaël de Boissard. This round also included ex-Deutsche Bank COO, Henry Ritchotte, and BiG Start Ventures, a VC focused on FinTech and InsurTech. As a result of this deal, Mr. de Boissard has now joined James’s Board of Directors, after having previously been at the board of Credit Suisse.

Blockchain technology is moving into the financial mainstream with IBM and seven European banks (CNBC), Rated: B

IBM is building blockchain technology that will be used by seven of Europe’s largest banks, including HSBC and Rabobank, to facilitate international trade for small and medium-size enterprises, the company said on Tuesday.

International

Kiva.org Reaches $ 1 Billion Milestone in Crowd-Funding Loans Disbursed Globally (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Today Kiva.org, the world’s first and largest crowdfunding platform for social good, announced that it surpassed $1 billion USD in loans supporting borrowers around the world. More than 2.4 million entrepreneurs, farmers and students globally have been able to launch and expand viable businesses or pursue an education thanks to loan support from 1.6 million people, lending just $25 dollars at a time.

Recently on World Refugee Day (celebrated globally on June 20), Kiva launched a new World Refugee Fund, a $250K matching fund to be followed by a rotating fund of up to $9M in loan capital to provide support to refugees and host communities in countries including Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

The World Refugee Fund seeks to fill this lending gap and is being developed by Kiva and the Alight Fund, along with founding partners the Tent Foundation and USA for UNHCR. To date, Kiva has crowdfunded $4.3 million in loans to 4,544 refugee borrowers globally.

Can Cash be Crushed? Multi-Country FinTech Survey Finds Many Adults Still Rely on Paper Money (IT News Online), Rated: AAA

According to KPMG’s 2016 global Pulse of Financial Technology (FinTech) Report (source), Venture Capital (VC) investment in the FinTech sector reached an all time high with a total of $13.6 billion across 840 financings in 2016. While FinTech investment proved to be “hot” in 2016, has this massive investment translated into consumer adoption? Today, at Money 20/20 Europe, early-stage venture capital firm Blumberg Capital released the results of its recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll in France, Germany, Israel, United Kingdom (U.K.), and the United States (U.S.), which found that FinTech appears to be gaining traction with Israel emerging as a leader in early-adoption. Despite investment and adoption progress, cash still remains king for most of these countries such as Germany, where 75 percent of adults still use paper currency and coins to make purchases at least once a week. Can cash ever be crushed? To see the full findings, please visit globalfintech.blumbergcapital.com.

Israel Embraces FinTech Early but Cash is Still König in Germany
The findings indicate Israel as a leader in early FinTech adoption as this country is more likely than other countries surveyed to use mobile banking apps and mobile wallets to make a purchase at least once per month. Additionally, nearly one in 10 Israeli adults say they have used alternative financing/lending services within the last 12 months. While many may believe cash to be an antiquated form of payment, the survey revealed paper money is still regularly in use.

  • Israeli adults are most likely to use a mobile banking app at least once a month (e.g., to check account balances, transfer funds, make a mobile deposit) (50 percent vs. 38 percent in U.S., 37 percent in U.K., 35 percent in France, 28 percent in Germany).
  • Israeli adults are more likely than French, British, and American adults to use mobile wallet apps to purchase goods/services at least once a month (27 percent of Israeli adults vs. 21 percent of French adults, 18 percent of American adults, and 17 percent of British adults).
  • Seven percent of Israeli adults have used alternative financing/lending services (e.g., peer-to-peer lending, online lender, lease-to-own) within the last 12 months.
  • German adults are most likely to use cash to make purchases at least once a week (75 percent vs. 64 percent of British adults, 58 percent of American adults, 48 percent of French adults, 47 percent of Israeli adults).

What is Fraud Anyway?
As cybersecurity continues to dominate the headlines, there was a surprisingly low level of concern among most countries surveyed given the current risk landscape. In Blumberg Capital’s 2017 State of Cybersecurity Report, findings revealed a gross overconfidence in cybersecurity knowledge and safety despite $15 billion being stolen from 13.1 million American consumers in 2015 in the U.S. alone (source). This disregard for fraud risk could indicate that consumers generally have confidence in the products and services they choose, suggesting that FinTech companies have the opportunity to educate new users on the security measures they have in place and why they are important.

  • British, American and Israeli adults are more likely than French and German adults to worry about being defrauded (e.g., getting scammed, having identity stolen, having accounts hacked) when they make financial transactions online (43 percent, 39 percent, and 38 percent vs. 31 percent and 23 percent, respectively).

Nationalism vs. Globalization: Are transactions crossing borders?
The survey also looked at how often people make online cross border purchases at least once a month. Again, Israeli adults lead the charge in cross-border transactions which could reflect on the narrower range of product choice available locally in Israel compared to other countries or Israel’s acceptance and wider adoption of FinTech and international eCommerce. Additionally, people were polled regarding the costs related to cross-border transactions, which revealed a budding anticipation of increased costs for these types of purchases in the future, especially in  the U.K. This belief in the U.K could be related to Brexit.  Findings include:

  • Israeli adults are most likely to make online purchases outside of the country they live in at least once a month (44 percent vs. 17 percent of French adults, 14 percent of German adults, 13 percent of British adults, and 9 percent of American adults).
  • 21 percent of British adults believe making online purchases outside of the country they reside will become more expensive (i.e., goods/ services will cost more and/or there will be additional fees) in the future. (Vs. 16 percent of American adults, 14 percent of German adults, 11 percent of French adults, 9 percent of Israeli adults).

Methodology
This survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Blumberg Capital from May 16-22, 2017 among 2,166 American adults ages 18+, 1,046 German adults ages 18+, 1,048 French adults ages 18+, 1,050 British adults ages 18+, and 550 Israeli adults ages 18+. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For additional information about the survey results and methodology please contact: blumberg@sparkpr.com

What’s Next For Fintech After 50 Years Of The Cash Machine (Forbes), Rated: A

For the 50th anniversary of the first ATM, YouGov has conducted a global poll of 8000 consumers on behalf of ACI Worldwide to survey the usage of automated teller machines.

The survey found that only 42% of British consumers use ATMs just as much as they always have, while 48% in Germany, 47% in Spain and 40% in France believe the same, perhaps because of the widespread availability of alternative digital payments. 29% of UK consumers, 31% of French, 38% of Spanish and 43% of Italian would prefer this as well as a more secure way of payment authentication.

Zurawski does not see an ATM retirement any time soon as many still prefer using hard cash because it is a deliberate way of controlling spending.

The survey presented that customers want mini-statements, alerts for upcoming payments or overdraft fees plus the ability to dispense a new credit or debit card.

G20 watchdog says fintech doesn’t pose threat to financial stability (Reuters), Rated: A

The rise of fintech does not pose any compelling risks to financial stability, according to a review by global regulators, but this may change as the sector grows.

While financial technology is changing how financial services and information are being delivered, there is no evidence that services like crowdfunding, “robo” advice and cloud computing will fundamentally change underlying activities such as lending, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) said in a report published on Tuesday.

Australia

While money transfers and payments services still lead the fintech charge with an adoption rate of 50 per cent in 2017, insurance has come in a surprise second with a 24 per cent global adoption rate.

The adoption level for insurance fintech services in Australia stands at four per cent higher than the global average (29 per cent), linked to the upswing of personalised wearables with in-built abilities which allow for prediction of claim probability and lifestyle trends by insurance firms.

India

i2iFunding emerges as first P2P lending player (Outlook India), Rated: AAA

While many players try to attract investors by offering high-interest rates and leave them in the lurch in the case of default, i2iFunding has walked the talk by making the first payment from the Principal Protection Fund, and reiterated its commitment to shore up investors’ confidence.

Deteriorating asset quality has become an inevitable problem of the banking sector these days. Bad loans skyrocketed 135 percent over the last two years, and now, they constitute close to 11 percent of the advances of Public Sector Banks (PSBs).

The P2P lending industry is no immune to this trend.

i2iFunding has become the first P2P lending platform in India to compensate investors for the loss of outstanding principal amount incurred on the defaulted accounts.

Principal Protection programme will also be strengthened further, and many new features will be included. As of now, the level of principal protection depends on the category of the loan. Default in the category “A” qualifies for 100% protection of outstanding principal. This falls by 10% for the every next category and default in the “F” category offers you 50% protection. The functioning of the Principal Protection Fund will be further rationalised and smoothened. i2ifunding will primarily provide 50% and 100% principal protection options in each category from ‘A’ to ‘F’. There will also be the third option of ‘zero’ protection. Depending on the option selected by the investor, he/she will have to settle in for lower EMIS. The fee for offering principal protection service would be deducted through EMIs, but won’t be collected upfront. It’s noteworthy that, this may proportionately reduce the returns earned on lending projects but would make lending at i2iFunding safer and more secure.

Rubique breaks the language barrier; goes local to create earning opportunities for all (Outlook India), Rated: A

Always ahead of the innovation curve, Rubique has yet again demonstrated its focus on making financial solutions accessible to as many users as possible. The one-stop online marketplace providing technology enabled end-to-end solutions to financing needs of individuals and SMEs has just localised its Rubique Associate app.

The interactive app now live in Hindi, Marathi and Bengali language will now enable more number of potential Business Associates to register with Rubique and earn a commission for every reference search for loans or credit cards.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Using Machine Learning for Risk Management in Online Lending

online lending

The financial services industry has entered into an arms race fuelled by machine learning and AI. Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term for computers able to execute on a higher level of human mental functioning. Machine Learning is part of that AI; it allows the computer to learn from its functioning without being explicitly programmed. […]

online lending

The financial services industry has entered into an arms race fuelled by machine learning and AI. Artificial Intelligence is an umbrella term for computers able to execute on a higher level of human mental functioning. Machine Learning is part of that AI; it allows the computer to learn from its functioning without being explicitly programmed. The machines will get better at their jobs without humans needing to code that improvement.

AI has wide-ranging applications across the business spectrum, but nowhere is it being exploited with as much zeal as in FinTech. According to CB Insight reports, more than $5 billion has been raised by AI start-ups globally in 2016. This dwarfs the over $3 billion raised in 2015. CrowdProcess is a young data science startup from Lisbon with a new take on machine learning and transparency.

The Genesis of CrowdProcess

CrowdProcess was founded in 2013 by Pedro Fonseca, Jaoa Menano, and Samuel Hopkins.

Fonseca, head of data science and CEO, started his career in FinTech at the age of 25. He also co-founded ODMLX, one of the largest open data organizations in Lisbon. Menano, co-founder and CFO, has technical expertise in data science and worked with Fidelidade, an insurance company in Portugal as project manager. Hopkins, CTO and co-founder, is proficient in machine-learning. He has worked at three different start-ups performing different roles as an application programmer, system administrator, and applied data scientist.

CrowdProcess’s headquarters are located in Lisbon and New York. The company has raised $1million in seed capital funded by Seed Camp, Rising Ventures, Kima Ventures and Frontline Ventures. It is currently in a new round with 50% of capital already committed by investors.

How CrowdProcess Taps Into AI Innovation

CrowdProcess offers a SaaS analytics and data decisioning model for the credit space. They help develop, deploy, and monitor credit scoring models. Using AI and machine learning, they can reduce default rates by almost 30% or improve acceptance rates by over 10%. Its USP is the ability to operate without black boxes.

A black box is a system where the inner components, or logic, is not available for inspection. Due to its existence in machine learning models, it hinders the process of regulation. Adverse Action regulation requires the lender to inform the borrower that an adverse action has been initiated on their credit application, and why. This provides more transparency throughout the process.

James, its flagship solution, is a one-stop shop for credit risk management. Lenders gain access to James around the clock. To ensure reliability and avoide vulnerabilities, it is fully secure and highly encrypted. James’ cloud infrastructure is scalable, and its potential can be enlarged to accommodate hockey stick growth.

James’ features include:

  • Scorecard: Traditional scorecards have been augmented with a random decision factor, gradient boosting, and neural networks.
  • Validate: It provides precautionary alerts according to the model`s metrics and access to data necessary for validation. James has an edge over other solutions in the market, which may not enable regulators to validate.
  • Deployment: James has superiority with regards to the timeline of deployment. The model can be run automatically or in conjunction with other models. So a 6-month integration time is essentially reduced to zero and the company can compare multiple models in parallel.
  • Monitoring: James monitors its own performance in real-time. The system not gives out early warnings and helps ensure data sets are used appropriately. When a material change occurs, the software is tweaked accordingly.

CrowdProcess charges a fixed fee, but its flexible depending on the volume. The company invests a lot on UI and UX removing the need for hiring coders and engineers. A financial analyst with sound knowledge of credit models will be able to use the model without any external support or requirement to code. This young startup has been able to snap established clients like Evo Banco (owned by Apollo Global Management, a bank in Spain) and Cofidis (a consumer financing house, in Paris).

The Value of Machine Learning

In order to help customers know the real value of its model and smooth out the onboarding process, CrowdProcess has launched a 1-day onboarding workshop known as Jumpstart. Customer data is cross–validated with the company´s predictive analysis. Through this back testing, customers are guided toward the proposed benefits of saving time and money in preference to traditional predictive machine learning models. CrowdProcess has undertaken 15 jumpstarts that have resulted in 100% positive outcomes and has beaten existing models.

James has the ability to outperform incumbent models in this sector. Realizing the potential, CrowdProcess is on an aggressive sales roadshow in the U.S. Its USP is not only the ability to offer a better model, but a solution which is transparent and will not turn out to be a regulatory nightmare for its clients. The Portuguese company has major tailwinds and has the chance to capitalize on this massive market.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.