Recent FinTech Woes Have Long-Term Public and Private Market Implications

Recent FinTech Woes Have Long-Term Public and Private Market Implications

With several fintech companies reporting earnings disappointments over the last two weeks and with FinTech Unicorn GreenSky, Inc. (GSKY) that IPO’d less than fifteen months ago now considering strategic alternatives, both public market and private equity investors have to consider the longer tail implications for the sector. Is the public market fairly valuing the underlying […]

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Recent FinTech Woes Have Long-Term Public and Private Market Implications

With several fintech companies reporting earnings disappointments over the last two weeks and with FinTech Unicorn GreenSky, Inc. (GSKY) that IPO’d less than fifteen months ago now considering strategic alternatives, both public market and private equity investors have to consider the longer tail implications for the sector. Is the public market fairly valuing the underlying business fundamentals and growth opportunities being pursued by fintech companies? Should GreenSky have stayed private? And given the GreenSky situation, will other FinTechs be able to gain access to much needed capital (both public and private) for further growth and value creation?

GreenSky has repeatedly under delivered relative to market expectations. The company reported second quarter earnings last week of $0.19 (versus consensus expectations of $0.23) due to weaker-than-expected lending volume. Not only were earnings short of expectations but transaction volumes grew 20% year-over-year when the company had indicated that it would deliver 30% growth. Add to these disappointing performance metrics the fact that one of GreenSky’s bank partners announced it would not renew its asset buying relationship with the company and GreenSky is now looking for alternative funding arrangements. All of this news was eclipsed by management announcing that it is considering “strategic alternatives”. The stock declined 37% on the day the quarter’s results were announced, driving its 21% underperformance for 2019 and adding to its 67% decline since its IPO just last May.

Public companies have nowhere to hide when things do not go as planned. When expectations are repeatedly not met and business models do not deliver the profits that technology-enabled business models suggest should be produced, recently minted public companies are punished severely. Public companies cannot contain the bad news to the board room where private equity investors complain loudly but their complaints lack the echo chamber of the public markets. GSKY cannot do a down round in private and has to take its lumps in public. There was similar news for OnDeck (ONDK) last week when it announced alongside its earnings that JPMorgan Chase (JPM) was ending its loan origination partnership (ONDK shares declined 23% that day and is down 43% YTD, and off 83% since its IPO). The FinTech world was banking on these bell weather companies delivering strong, sustainable business models that would reshape the financial services landscape. So far, this is not what happened.

GSKY’s and ONDK’s woes are only the beginning for private fintech companies. Earlier stage FinTechs look to the public FinTechs as reference points and hope that they can replicate their IPOs and deliver sustainable growth. GreenSky could have been that shining success, but it appears to be example of what can go wrong when a FinTech goes public. Growth stage companies tell their private investors that if they grow fast enough and big enough, they can go public — like public companies GSKY and ONDK. But, when these companies underperform with significant market value erosion and talk about exiting the public market, it sends shudders down the backs of private lenders and the investors who back them.

What are the lessons that private companies can glean from the disappointing news coming from the public FinTechs? Under promising is a winning strategy. Fin-techs have to stop falling into the trap of setting expectations so high that they miss delivering against them. The public market has demonstrated that newly minted public companies will be severely punished for missing performance targets. And while founders want big valuations and private equity investors need big write ups to be viewed as successful, they would both be far better served setting expectations lower by accepting lower initial public valuations and thereby allowing themselves to set lower performance targets for the 12 to 24 months after they IPO. This sort of thinking may seem logical to observers of this market, but when you are neck deep in the FinTech market as an operator, investor or banker, it is hard to avoid overheating expectations and valuation. With each capital raise leading to quantum leaps in valuations, private companies have to set very heady goals for their IPOs and for the year post going public. After all, the IPO buyers need a big return too. And this dynamic has ended recently with a very disillusioned FinTech market. If we wish to see FinTech deliver on the promise of next-generation financial services with transformational value add, better economics, and broad adoption, we have to give these companies the time to grow into world beaters. It cannot happen overnight and promising such only leads to creating a cynical market that will think twice about investing in early-stage and later-stage FinTech innovators.

Author:

Andrew Marquardt is a partner at Middlemarch Partners, LLC, a merchant banking firm that advises and invests in financial services companies, with a particular focus on fintech and tech-enabled growth companies.

The post Recent FinTech Woes Have Long-Term Public and Private Market Implications appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday August 1 2019, Weekly News Digest

Consumption loans

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck, Chase divorce; OnDeck to pursue bank charter. DBRS assigns provisional ratings to Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2. RateSetter ISA passes 250M GBP in subscriptions. Iwoca doubles lending, turns first annual profit. Nubank raises $400M. Elevate Credit CEO resigns. Today’s main analysis: What the Fed rate cut means. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

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Consumption loans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

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News Summary

United States

OnDeck Pursuing Bank Charter, Loses Chase (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

OnDeck had some pretty interesting updates in their earnings release which took place earlier today (Editor: July 29).

Probably the biggest shock was that Chase is concluding their partnership with OnDeck.

Chase will stop originating loans through OnDeck and OnDeck will continue to service the loans for two years.

You can view OnDeck’s Q2 earnings press release here.

Source: Lend Academy

What’s next for OnDeck after breakup with JPMorgan? (American Banker), Rated: A

In retrospect, Jamie Dimon’s comment that his bank could duplicate the capabilities of online lenders might have served as a warning.

“Can we do something like that? Of course we can,” the JPMorgan Chase Chairman CEO 

OnDeck shares slide 22% (Biz2Credit Email), Rated: B

Shares of OnDeck (According to industry expert Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora, OnDeck spent a lot of money marketing when they should have focused more on managing risk and developing technology – the two most important things in today’s small business lending environment.

“Their gross write-offs were 15%… and that is in an economy that is doing very well,” Arora said.

DBRS Assigns Provisional Ratings to Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2 (DBRS Email), Rated: AAA

DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) assigned provisional ratings to the following classes of notes (collectively, the Notes) to be issued by Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2 (UPST 2019-2):

— $230,208,000 Class A Notes at A (low) (sf)
— $61,558,000 Class B Notes at BBB (low) (sf)

Source: DBRS

Read the DBRS Presale Report here.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2 (“UPST 2019-2”). This is a $358.4 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on August 7, 2019.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Upstart Securitization Trust 2019-2

Class

Preliminary Rating

Expected Initial
Class Principal

A

A- (sf)

$230,208,000

B

BBB- (sf)

$61,558,000

C

BB- (sf)

$66,617,000

Europe’s startup banks are coming to America. Can they succeed? (CNN), Rated: AAA

Two of Europe’s most popular online banks are making a big push into the United States. But they may struggle to win over consumers.

Berlin-based N26 and its UK rival Monzo have signed up millions of young professionals in Europe by offering free accounts that can be opened in minutes via smartphones.
Critics say the startup European banks remind them of American online-only banks that sprang up and then disappeared during the dot-com boom.

Netflix for banking; Equifax settles (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

But first, in industry news, Equifax settled $700 million with state and federal authorities due to the 2017 security breach. Investors are looking past the incident. Equifax’s stock price is within earshot of an all-time high.

“Netflix” Model for Banking

MoneyLion’s “all-you-can-eat” membership pricing model has distinguished itself from the pack. MoneyLion provides customers access to financial advice, loans, and other banking service. Customer’s can enjoy the lion’s share of offerings all at a bundled rate $20/month.

The near-Unicorn FinTech announced a roaring $100 M funding round led by Edison Partners and Greenspring Associates, bringing PIC to ~$200M. MoneyLion is looking to invest in broker dealer, training, and stock-investing capabilities and further distance itself from potential copycats.

Series Money Raised Valuation Services Provided
MoneyLion C $200M ~$1B Financial advice, loans, integration of other bank accounts
Chime D $309M $1.5B Debit, checking, and savings accounts with no fees
Acorn E $270M $860M Rounds up purchases and invests the change, financial education
Betterment E $275M $800M Robo-advising, savings, checking (soon), debit cards

Source: PeerIQ

Here’s what that Fed rate cut means for you (CNBC), Rated: AAA

The Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates 25 basis points for the first time in over a decade marked a dramatic shift in monetary policy.

Now, interest rates are historically low, which leaves the central bank with little wiggle room in the event of a recession or if the economy stumbles. The current target range for its overnight lending rate is 2% to 2.25%.

In the past five years, the average interest rate charged on credit card debt has increased 35%.

Considering that the average household currently owes $8,390, credit card users would save roughly $1.5 billion in interest as a result of a quarter-point rate cut, a separate report by WalletHub found.

Elevate Credit CEO Resigns as Q2 Revenue Misses, Guidance Cut (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit (NYSE: ELVT) announced the exit of CEO Ken Rees today a Q2 earnings release missed on top-line numbers and the Fintech lowered guidance for Q3. Current COO Jason Harvison was selected to be interim CEO as the firm seeks a full-time replacement. Rees will remain on the Board of Directors.

Japanese Online Retailer Rakuten Seeks U.S. Bank Charter (WSJ), Rated: A

Japanese online merchant Rakuten Inc. wants to open a bank in Utah to offer loans, credit cards and other financial services to customers of its existing U.S. cashback-shopping business, the company said Friday.

“We’re going to focus on that customer base we already have,” said Lee Carter, the new head of banking development at Rakuten and a former UBS Group AG executive. “That’s really the community that we want to extend additional financial services to.”

My Company Surpassed $ 7 Billion in Business By Investing in This 1 Thing (Inc.),Rated: A

In the early days of my company, Kabbage, we struggled against requests from some potential partners. They wanted customers to be able to upload traditional loan paperwork like bank statements and tax returns.

By insisting on data connections, which in 2008 was usual, we lost some potential upfront revenue but prioritized a unique customer relationship and experience that would make us a more than $7 billion lending platform just a few years later.

Online bank Green Dot reveals savings account with a rate 30 times the national average (CNBC), Rated: A

Branchless bank Green Dot is launching the highest yielding bank account in the industry.

The Pasadena, California-based bank, which gained traction with prepaid cards in the dot-com era, launched a new bank account Tuesday with 3% annual interest on savings, and 3% cash back on all online debit card purchases. The average rate for savings accounts, according to Bankrate.com, is 0.1%.

The 3% rate on a savings account is the highest for any bank in the country, according to Bankrate.

The Story of Rocket Loans and the Rebirth of Detroit (Lend Academy), Rated: A

I was in Detroit recently at the invitation of Rocket Loans CEO, Bill Parker. I do visits to fintech companies quite regularly but usually in the big hubs of New York, San Francisco or London. This was my first visit to Detroit for a couple of decades so I was excited to see how the city had changed. And you can’t really tell the story of Rocket Loans without also talking about the city of Detroit.

Quicken Loans is the crown jewel of the financial component of Rock Ventures. It is now the largest mortgage lender in the country, bigger than even the largest banks. They seem to be slowly moving away from that brand, though, and moving to Rocket Mortgage which has a much more modern and innovative feel.

BofA terminates First Data partnership (Finextra), Rated: A

Bank of America is to terminate its merchant services partnership with First Data when the ten-year contract expires in June 2020.

The news came within hours of Fiserv acquiring control of First Data, sending its shares downward.

BofA says it expects to incur an impairment charge of about $1.7 billion to $2.1 billion in Q3 2019 due to the termination of the partnership, which started in 2009.

Open Banking Takes On Bad Rap Of Merchant Cash Advance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The merchant cash advance is considered the payday loan for many in the small business lending market — and that’s not necessarily a good thing. While designed to connect small business owners to quick capital for a boost to their cash flow, the MCA has earned a reputation for some predatory behavior, like sky-high interest rates and fees.

Man Repeller and Klarna Collab on “Dream Closet” Pop-Up at Showfields (Sourcing Journal), Rated: A

Fashion and lifestyle blog Man Repeller is taking operations offline through a pop-up retail collaboration with Klarna. Opening at Showfields in New York on Monday, the “highly instagrammable” retail space was crafted to represent a shopper’s “dream closet,” Man Repeller said in a statement. Curated by the Man Repeller team, the temporary store includes offerings…

Visa pitches a program offering fintechs faster market access through an ecosystem of partners (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Visa is pitching a new way for startups in the fintech space to get to market faster by using its rails and a group of pre-approved partners.

Chiefly, the process makes it easier to integrate with Visa. It’s an attempt to put the payment processor’s network, VisaNet, at the center of a vast array of services ranging from payroll to business to business payments and online banking, online lending and even digital wallets.

The Most Exciting Piece Of Opportunity Zone Investing Is Still Being Defined (Benzinga), Rated: A

Despite the enthusiasm they have received from the private equity world and the billionaire hedge fund set, a majority of investors have been mostly shut out of the conversation surrounding the Opportunity Zones initiative included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Although there is already a flood of capital being funneled into qualified funds (upward of $40 billion according to the National Council of State Housing Agencies’ Opportunity Zone Fund Directory) Opportunity Zones remain an ongoing experiment in maximizing the benefit to both investors and the communities in which they invest.

According to Thomas McDonald, Investment Product and Portfolio Manager of the online real estate investing platform CrowdStreet, the new language is a critical move for the program.

Real estate lending platform Groundfloor raises $ 3 million through crowdfunding (Housingwire), Rated: A

Groundfloor, a real estate lending platform that raises its loan funds via crowdfunding from the public, announced Wednesday it raised $3 million from 1,580 investors, while also doubling its annual revenue in the second quarter of 2019.

Groundfloor is taking private real estate lending public (Groundfloor Email), Rated: B

As we close out the first half of the year, we’re excited to report accelerating growth and strong financial results for the quarter. Once again, GROUNDFLOOR more than doubled its year-over-year revenue for the quarter to $1.6 million, 1H revenue to $2.6 million and trailing 12-month revenue to $4.4 million.

OCC’s innovation pilot gets little love from banks (American Banker), Rated: A

The OCC received 19 comment letters on a pilot program announced in April meant to provide supervisory clarity as national banks pursue “novel activities” in which regulatory uncertainty is perceived to be a barrier to development.

Melissa Koide of FinRegLab (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Melissa Koide, the founder and CEO of FinRegLab. They have just published their first research report this week on the use of cash flow data in underwriting. It is the first independent research done on this topic and it is milestone for both FinRegLab and the fintech community.

Zerocard aims to reduce overspending with “debit-style” credit card and rewards (CNBC), Rated: A

Fin-tech company Zero announced on Tuesday, July 30, the public release of Zerocard, a credit card providing a “debit-style experience” issued by WebBank and backed by Mastercard.

Zerocard aims to be an alternative to credit cards from big banks that make money off cardholders who fall into debt.

Genesis Reports $ 746 in Crypto Lending/Borrowing Originations in Q2: Best Quarter Ever (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Genesis, a digital asset trading and lending platform that is also a broker-dealer registered with FINRA, and a BitLicense holder with the New York State Department of Financial Services, reports that its services are booming.

According to a release from last week, Genesis’ Q2 performance was the best over as it topped $746 million in loans/borrowing – a 48% quarter over quarter increase.

Genesis states that total active loans increased to $454 million – a 149% increase over Q1.

Northwest Community Credit Union Short-Term Loans, Powered by QCash Financial’s Platform  (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, Northwest Community Credit Union (NWCU) launched two new products earlier this year called Northwest Cash and Northwest Cash Plus, offering short-term loans from $150 to $700 and $701 to $4,000, respectively. Both products are designed to help their members deal with unexpected cash needs with an easy to use application process.

Using QCash Financial’s white-label, digital lending platform, NWCU automated the loan process using the member’s credit union relationship to make the lending decision rather than credit history.

Kony Secures $ 37 Million in Financing from BMO (Finovate), Rated: B

An infusion of $37 million in debt financing from BMO will help cloud-based digital banking and low-code platform company Kony “accelerate growth” in its two signature solutions: Kony DBX, the company’s digital banking technology, and Kony Quantum, its low-code development platform. The financing, courtesy of BMO’s Technology and Innovation Banking Group, adds to the more than $115 million in funding Kony has raised to date.

White Oak Commercial Finance Responds to Increasing ABL Demand with New Key Hires (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, announced today the addition of two new professional underwriters, further increasing the company’s originations presence across the United States. Mr. Sudhir Chaudhry joins White Oak’s Los Angeles office bringing nearly 25 years of structured finance and underwriting experience. Mr. Kevin Maitland joins White Oak in Boca Raton with over 14 years of asset-based lending and commercial banking experience.

FINICITY INTEGRATION WITH ELLIE MAE ENCOMPASS DIGITAL LENDING PLATFORM NOW LIVE  (Finicity), Rated: B

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data access and insights, and Ellie Mae, the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, today announced that Finicity’s digital Verification of Assets (VoA) solution is now available through Ellie Mae’s Encompass Digital Lending Platform.

United Kingdom

RateSetter ISA passes £250m in subscriptions (LoveMoney), Rated: AAA

But by investing within a large, diverse portfolio of loans (RateSetter’s portfolio is currently £875 million with 250,000+ loans) investors get the stability of scale and this makes for steady and predictable returns.

And putting this inside the ISA tax-free wrapper, it’s no wonder that in less than 18 months since launch, RateSetter’s Innovative Finance ISA has attracted more than £250 million of investments from people looking to put their money to work.

Platforms may be forced to favour high net worths due to incoming 10pc rule (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RETAIL investors are at risk of being shut out of the peer-to-peer lending sector due to the so-called 10 per cent rule that will come into force this December.

However, a number of P2P lending platforms have a minimum investment of £1,000, which would mean that individuals must have at least £10,000 in total to invest across a variety of asset classes. Official statistics indicate that most UK adults do not have this amount of money to invest, which could effectively bar them from certain platforms.

P2P lenders such as Zopa, Funding Circle and ThinCats require a minimum investment of £1,000, but the FCA’s latest financial lives survey shows that 49 per cent of UK adults, equating to 25 million people, either have no such assets or have less than £10,000 in value.

Iwoca doubles lending, turns first annual profit (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Iwoca almost doubled its loans last year, leading to its first annual profit since the small business platform was founded eight years ago.

The London-based fintech, started by chief executive Christoph Rieche (pictured, centre) and James Dear in 2012, said loan originations jumped by 91 per cent to £325m, as its lending hit the equivalent of 12 per cent of the UK’s small business overdraft market over the last year.

Former RateSetter executive to launch new P2P platform (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

RATESETTER’S former chief technology officer John Gillespie is preparing to launch a “next generation” peer-to-peer consumer lending platform.

After raising money from family and friends, SquareDeal.Finance has opened pre-registration for a funding round on equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs.

Gillespie has described the platform as “the next generation P2P consumer lender”, although he said there would be scope to expand into other types of finance in the future.

Digital asset lending platform outlines new framework in a bid to resemble securities market (The Trade Crypto), Rated: A

A digital asset lending platform is looking to set new industry standards with the launch of a framework using master agreements typically seen from incumbent capital markets bodies.

The Global Digital Assets Lending Agreement (GDALA) was developed by Lendingblock, with legal counsel and support from Norton Rose Fulbright.

The platform, targeting institutional investors, will use master agreements framework similar to ISLA’s Global Master Securities Lending Agreements, ICMA/SIFMA’s Global Master Repurchase Agreements and ISDA’s Master Agreements.

What to Know About Alternative Lending (Nav), Rated: A

Alternative lending includes business lenders that exist outside of the traditional lending space. The different types of alternative lending these lenders provide include short-term business loans, medium-term business loans, lines of credit, invoice financing, equipment financing, merchant cash advances and more. They don’t typically include bank loans or SBA loans.

ARBUTHNOT SPECIALIST FINANCE STRENGTHENS TEAM WITH TWO NEW APPOINTMENTS (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: B

Arbuthnot Specialist Finance (ASFL) announces the appointment of Chloe Skae and Molly Markey to the relationship management team.

OakNorth completes loan to Kexgill for latest student accommodation development at the University of Hull (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

Fintechs invited to enter £2m affordable credit challenge (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

THE TREASURY and innovation foundation Nesta Challenges are offering £2m in prize money to encourage fintechs and community lenders to work together on affordable credit solutions.

Over 5.4 million high-cost short-term credit loans were made in the year to 30 June 2018, according to the Financial Conduct Authority’s consumer credit data.

China

China’s Generation Z Is Hooked on Credit (Bloomberg Businessweek), Rated: AAA

At one point in June last year, Zeng Jinpeng was more than 10,000 yuan ($1,500) in debt to a smartphone app.

Formal household borrowing rose to 54% of gross domestic product in the first quarter, up more than 4 percentage points in a year. China’s ratio is still lower than that of the U.S. (66%), Hong Kong (72%), or South Korea (100%), according to S&P Global.

Source: People’s Bank of China

Regulators last year launched a crackdown on peer-to-peer lending, which besides being a source of easy credit had also become a popular investment vehicle. The sector has shrunk to less than half its peak size as a result of forced shutdowns. Official data showed that almost 70% of China’s 50 million P2P investors were younger than 40.

New era of technological finance faces spectrum of challenges (Global Times), Rated: A

Online attacks against China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms have been rising. An industry report released on Wednesday shows that more than 10 million malicious attacks were encountered by the online financial sector in the first half of 2019, and gambling-related attacks accounted for over 56 percent.

China Lending Arranges Partnership With Zhong Lian in Consumer Financing (CapitalWatch), Rated: A

China Lending Corp. (Nasdaq: CLDC) announced Monday its five-year strategic partnership with Zhong Lian Jin An Insurance Brokers Co. Ltd. in the development of consumer financing and litigation guarantee business, sending its shares up 4 percent intraday to 88 cents apiece.

European Union

Is ‘Hodling’ the Future of Cryptocurrency Lending? (150sec), Rated: AAA

The nascent cryptocurrency sector is renowned for its volatility.  It’s very early days in the development of the industry and with that, various niches are emerging within its overall purview.  DeFi or decentralised financing is one such area.  Over many years, the world of retail and business sector lending has seen little in the way of disruption.  However, that may be in the process of changing.

Firms like Ripio Credit Network (RCN), Salt Lending, EthLend, and WeTrust are emerging, providing their unique twists on financing with blockchain as a basis to their respective propositions.  Within Europe too, the market is innovating. Hodl Finance is one such entity – which is harnessing this newly emerging economy to provide its unique take on financing.

Engaging shoppers is hard. Keeping them is harder. (Candy Industry), Rated: A

New research from Klarna, a Swedish firm that offers interest-free installment payments among other payment solutions, suggests shoppers will only tolerate such aggravations for so long.

Through a survey of 2,065 shoppers conducted in May and June, Klarna found 55 percent of consumers say one bad retail experience would stop them from returning to a brand. Nearly 30 percent of consumers said they don’t find shopping as fun as it used to be.

Klarna also noted 39 percent of the 250 retailers surveyed realize shopper loyalty isn’t just driven by rewards programs. Nearly 70 percent understand they have to do more to retain customers, but just over a third of retailers are struggling to keep up with changing consumer expectations because of outdated technology and a short-term emphasis on sales.

International

The Fintech Revolution: Who Are The New Competitors In Banking? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

In Asia, Africa and Latin America, the percentage of unbanked people exceed 60% in all cases. However, people in this segment of the population do own a mobile device.

The massive use of mobile phones has allowed great successes, such as that of M-Pesa in Kenya and ten other African countries, which over the past decade has enabled more than 30 million users to transfer money, take out loans and make deposits using mobile phones, from the remotest rural areas.

The Pulse of Fintech H1 2019 (KPMG), Rated: A

Both the number of global fintech deals and the total global investment in fintech dropped in H1’19, raising $37.9 billion across 962 deals, driven by the lack of  mega deals seen in 2018.

Source: KPMG

Catching attention in marketing (Business Daily Africa), Rated: A

Kiva, with its African headquarters in Nairobi, thrives as a peer-to-peer lending website whereby millions of US dollars get lent from around the world at zero percent interest rates. In 2009, dozens of competitors of Kiva emerged based largely off their business model: get generous individuals to lend their money for a few months up to a few years all while earning no interest return as long as the funds go towards helping entrepreneurs.

Australia

4 small business tips to kickstart the 2019/20 financial year (Mozo), Rated: A

And Australian businesses have access to a number business loan sources including traditional banks and online lenders, although according to online lender OnDeck, some small businesses can have trouble securing funding from traditional sources.

New research from the lender found that nearly 25% of small to medium enterprises (SME’s) that have applied for business finance with a bank have been rejected – a figure that rises to 37% of SMEs which have been operating for less than five years.

India

P2P Lender Rupeecircle launches Affordable Credit Products for Rural Tamil Nadu (IndianWeb2), Rated: AAA

Digital lending marketplace RupeeCircle has set up a segment-wise model of credit disbursement through its P2P platform. Deserving Individuals and families belonging to certain communities who were hitherto declined loans from banks and NBFCs due to lack of sufficient credit history or lack of a proper bank account can now avail loans on the P2P platform.

Asia

Vietnam tech company NextTech pledges US$ 10M fund for early-stage startups (e27), Rated: AAA

Vietnam-based tech company NextTech announces a total of US$10 million injected into Next100, a fund dedicated for backing early-stage startups.

Recently, Next100 invested in VayMuon.vn, a P2P lending platform based in Vietnam, Heyu.asia, a startup that provides order consolidation and shipper services, and Teky.edu.vn, a tech academy for kids.

Latin America

Fintech decacorn Nubank raises $ 400M led by TCV (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Brazil-based Nubank, which offers a suite of banking and financial services for Brazilian consumers, announced today that it has raised a $400 million Series F round of venture capital led by Woody Marshall of TCV. The growth-stage fund is best known for its investment in Netflix but has also made fintech a high priority, with over $1.5 billion in investments in the space. According to Nubank, the company has now raised $820 million across seven venture rounds.

Shares in Brazil’s Banco Inter surge as it lures SoftBank (Business Recorder), Rated: A

Shares in Banco Inter SA surged more than 20% on Tuesday as the Brazilian online lender raised 1.25 billion reais ($329.73 million) in an offering largely sold to Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, boosting pressure on traditional banks.

Africa

Reaching the unbanked — MTN to shake up Nigeria’s fintech sector (the africa report), Rated: AAA

In the latest bullish development, OPay, founded by Norwegian browser company Opera and which includes lead investors such as Sequoia China, raised $50m to partly fund its expansion in Nigeria.

While sub-Saharan Africa’s number of adults with a bank or other financial account increased to 43% in 2017, up 9% from 2014, Nigeria’s banked population dropped to 40%, down 4% from 2014. Over half of Nigerian adults — 60 million people — lack access to financial services.

Under the new mobile-money framework, MTN will drive user acquisition with its large existing subscriber base and powerful agent network. With a 42% market share of Nigeria’s 163m active voice subscriber accounts, MTN has a huge pool of untapped demand as each voice subscriber represents a potential new mobile money account.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday August 1 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

chinese p2p lenders

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle US small biz loan portfolio surpasses $2B. JPMorgan Chase to compete with Affirm, Klarna on POS financing. Funding Circle expands into Canada. Funding Circle financial highlights. Revolut fights new allegations. Dianrong lays off 2,000. Today’s main analysis: U.S. credit card debt hits record $870B IN 2018. International P2P lending volumes for February 2019. Today’s thought-provoking […]

The post Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

chinese p2p lenders

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Funding Circle US Small Business Loan Portfolio Surpasses Most Banks with $ 2 Billion Lent Through Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the global small business loans platform, today announced that investors have lent more than $2 billion through its platform to small businesses in the United States. With this milestone, Funding Circle now has more US small business loans outstanding than almost 98% of FDIC-insured banks1.

Funding Circle now has more than $1 billion of small business loans in its portfolio, which means that if it were a bank it would be among the 50 largest small business commercial & industrial loan portfolios in the United States, according to the latest FDIC data available1. However, unlike a bank, Funding Circle provides a single financial product. Its fully amortizing business loans, powered by sophisticated technology and proprietary credit models, enable business owners to access financing with speed and efficiency, allowing them to devote more time to delivering their product or service to the market and ultimately create more jobs and vitalize their communities.

JPMorgan Chase Enters A Hot Fintech Space: Point-Of-Sale (POS) Financing (Forbes), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan Chase announced that it is moving into the point-of-sale (POS) financing market.

POS financing certainly isn’t new. In 2016, merchants in nine different retail categories saw more than 160 million POS loan applications—only 53% of which were approved, however.

Source: Forbes

Filene Research Institute 

Source: CORNERSTONE ADVISORS

Shopping at Discount Stores Could Help Get You a Loan (WSJ), Rated: A

Discount-store shoppers may soon get an unexpected benefit: better odds when applying for personal loans from Discover Financial Services.

Discover, best known for its credit cards, plans to use artificial intelligence to assess hundreds of unusual characteristics about personal-loan applicants in an attempt to get its rising losses under control.

U.S. Credit Card Debt Closed 2018 at a Record $ 870 Billion (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

U.S. credit card debt hit $870 billion — the largest amount ever — as of December 2018, according to the data from the Federal Reserve. Credit card balances rose by $26 billion from the prior quarter.

Source: New York Federal Reserve

Nearly 480 million credit cards are now in circulation — up by more than 100 million since hitting bottom after the recession a decade ago.

At the end of last year, credit cards were the fourth-largest portion of consumer debt in the U.S. after mortgage, student loan and auto debt. But the quarterly increase in credit card debt was faster than the other categories. Overall debt reached a record $13.5 trillion.

Source: New York Federal Reserve

LendingTree Compares Renting and Owning a Home in the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas in the U.S. (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Louisville, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City are the metros where median rents are cheapest when compared to median mortgages. In these areas, median rent costs are an average of $310 cheaper than median mortgage costs.

Source: LendingTree

Miami and Orlando, Fla.; and Virginia are the metros where rent payments are the most expensive when compared to mortgage payments. Median mortgage payments are an average of $215 cheaper than median rent payments in these metros.

Four of the top 10 metros where monthly rents are higher than monthly mortgage payments are in Florida. According to a recent housing study from Harvard University, low wages and too few rental units are key factors that have caused Florida’s rental affordability crisis to become the worst in the nation.

Source: LendingTree

‘Stop pitting misery against misery’: How TrueAccord is turning debt collections into a financial service (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Ohad Samet has spent his career working on lending analytics — first, at a firm called FraudSciences, which got bought by eBay. He ran analytics at Analyzd, which was acquired by Klarna. As the chief risk officer at the pay later lender, he became aware of how antiquated the debt collections industry was. Call centers, dialing for dollars, it just hadn’t kept pace with the front end of the business.

So, in 2013, he left and with two co-founders started TrueAccord, which is essentially a nearly-automated marketing and sales campaign for debt collection. Based on consumer data and data from the lender, it can determine who to call, what time to call, what communications channel — phone, text, email, chat — and what message to use. It purports to be a much better experience for consumers.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, Series 2019-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to five classes of notes (the “Notes”) issued by Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC, Series 2019-1 (“Kabbage 2019-1”).

This transaction is Kabbage, Inc.’s (“Kabbage” or the “Company”) third securitization and it is expected that the proceeds of the sale of the Notes will be used to refinance the Company’s existing $610 million outstanding Kabbage Asset Securitization LLC Series 2017-1 Notes and provide extra funding capacity for Kabbage.

Notes Preliminary Rating Initial Principal Balance
Class A AA (sf) $421,221,000
Class B A (sf) $59,715,000
Class C BBB (sf) $69,348,000
Class D BB (sf) $35,316,000
Class E B (sf) $24,400,000

Peer to Peer Lending Platform Beehive Raises $ 4 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Beehive, a peer to peer lending platform servicing SMEs in the MENA region, has closed on $4 million Series B funding round, according to a release from the platform. This most recent funding brings the Fintech’s total raised to $15.5 million since platform launch.

Loan officers cast serious doubt on latest loanDepot, Chase mortgage promises (HousingWire), Rated: A

In recent LendingLife news, loanDepot announced its new digital mortgage, which it says can identify significant time and cost-savings for borrowers in seven minutes.

AI Foundry Unveils Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence Platform and Mortgage Automation Solution (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AI Foundry, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform company, today announced the launch of its next-generation Cognitive Business Automation Platform along with a new Agile Mortgages solution. This patent-pending technology incorporates the latest in AI, machine learning and machine vision to deliver a higher level of problem solving and decision making for enterprises. The new Agile Mortgages solution, which is built on top of the platform, automates manual, labor-intensive mortgage processes, enabling lenders to dramatically accelerate the lending lifecycle.

Could A Selfie Put An End To False Identities? (Forbes), Rated: A

Earlier this year, 

Auto Loan Statistics (LendingTree), Rated: A

Key facts

  • Americans originated a record 2.5 million auto loans in July 2018, the most recent month for which data is available.
  • Americans owed more than $1.14 trillion in auto loans as of September 2018, 23% more than 2013.
  • Outstanding auto loan balances are rising about 3.1% a year in dollar amounts.
  • Auto loans accounted for about 8% of outstanding consumer debt in 2018, including mortgages, about 2 percentage points higher than a decade earlier.
  • Gen Xers carry the highest auto loan balances with a median of $18,741 and are the most likely of other age groups to have a car loan.
  • The average new car loan originated by a finance company is $29,921.27, an increase of more than $5,000 from 10 years earlier.
  • Average monthly payments are rising, too:
    • $530 for new vehicles, up 5% year over year
    • $381 for used vehicles, up 4%
    • $430 for a new vehicle lease, up 4%

For many Americans, car loans are their largest debt burden, a weight which threatens to become overwhelming as they stretch loan terms to buy increasingly expensive vehicles — new and used. To get the full picture of auto loan debt in the U.S., we looked at auto loan originations, prices and term lengths. Here are the numbers.

Online bank Chime now valued at $ 1.5 billion after new funding round (CNBC), Rated: A

Digital bank Chime has tripled its valuation, officially passing the $1 billion-mark this week.

The San Francisco-based company announced a $200 million Series D financing round that brings its new valuation to $1.5 billion. Investors were led by DST Global, which also participated in earlier fundraising rounds, and new investors Coatue, General Atlantic, Iconiq Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group, Chime said Tuesday.

Jason Gross of Petal (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The personal experience that led to the founding of Petal.
  • Their core product and how it is different to what else is out there.
  • A profile of their typical customer.
  • How they are approaching underwriting.
  • The typical APRs and credit limits they offer on their card.
  • How they are protecting their company against fraud.
  • How Petal is getting the word out about their credit card.
  • The large waiting list they had when they launched last year.
  • The early signals they are seeing with credit performance.
  • How they are generating income.
  • The primary funding sources they use in providing the credit lines.
  • What they mean on their website when they say “a credit card with a conscience”.
  • Their biggest challenge as they grow their company today.
  • The goals the Petal team has for 2019.

FINRA Approves Circle’s Acquisition of SeedInvest, Continues Mission of Tokenization (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

FINRA has given their stamp of approval to the acquisition of SeedInvest by Circle. The crypto focused company announced the purchase of SeedInvest in October of 2018.  The acquisition of a regulated securities crowdfunding platform by the blockchain based Circle represented a seminal turning point in the crypto industry.

Virginians say online lender uses tribal immunity to get around state laws (Pilot Online), Rated: A

Virginians are taking a lead attacking what they say is a legal loophole that has left thousands of people stuck with debt they can’t escape.

The case involves loans at interest rates approaching 650 percent from an online lender, Big Picture Loans, associated with a small Indian tribe on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Lula Williams of Richmond, the lead plaintiff in one case, still owes $1,100 on the $1,600 she borrowed from Big Picture Loans — debt that she’s already paid $1,930 to retire. One of her loan documents reports the annual percentage rate for her debt at 649.8 percent, calling for her to pay $6,200 on an $800 debt. Her first three installments on that loan, each for $400, would have yielded Big Picture a 50 percent profit on the loan after just three months, court records suggest.

How to Invest in Real Estate without Buying Property (Realty Biz News), Rated: B

Lastly if you love jumping on the latest trends, then jumping on one of these companies services that how recently cropped up will help you get involved in real estate investing. You are able to invest in commercial and residential real estate investments and receive cash flow distributions in return, and just like the other options on this list, someone else is doing the heavy lifting whilst you reap the rewards.

Whilst there is no one standout company that we can confidently recommend, since they all havent been around long enough for us to make a property judgement, Fundrise returned an average of 11.4% on the invested dollars in 2017 and a further 9.11% in 2019.

The best part is you don’t even need to be an accredited investor to open an account, meaning if you’re new to the market, then this is your chance to get in on something thats shiny and new and that could potentially give you a place to invest your cash and reap the rewards of owning physical property.

Elevate Appoints Kathleen Vanderkolk as Head of Enterprise Risk Management (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (NYSE: ELVT) (“Elevate” or the “Company”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that it has promoted Kathleen Vanderkolk to Chief Risk Officer.

Vemanti Group Engages With Securitize And DSLG To Launch Digital Security Offering For eLoan, JSC (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Vemanti Group, Inc. (OTC PINK:VMNT), a technology-driven holding company, today announced that it has engaged with Securitize, Inc. (“Securitize”) and Digital Securities Law Group (“DSLG”) to launch a Digital Security Offering (“DSO”) to fund and propel the business objectives for eLoan, JSC (“eLoan”), its portfolio company. The Company recently announced that it has completed its investment in eLoan, a fintech company based in Vietnam.

The offering will be conducted by the Company on behalf of Fvndit, Inc. (“Fvndit” – formerly Directus Holdings, Inc.), eLoan’s US-based parent company, as the issuer. The issuance will be managed by Securitize’s platform and DS Protocol. Details of the offering will be announced at a later date.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle Announces Expansion to Canada (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, the leading small business loans platform in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, today announced its plans to enter the Canadian market and expand access to fast, affordable and transparent financing for Canadian small businesses.

Funding Circle will establish operations in Canada in the second half of 2019 with an office located in Toronto. The business will be led by Tom Eilon, who previously led the commercial strategy for Funding Circle in the United Kingdom.

Funding Circle Holdings plc (Funding Circle), Rated: AAA

Financial Highlights:

  • Strong Group performance delivering IPO guidance whilst continuing our strategy of investing for growth
  • Revenue of £141.9 million (2017: £94.5 million). Year-on-year growth of 55%1 (excluding property2) exceeding c.50% guidance stated at IPO
  • Segment adjusted EBITDA3 of £7.0 million (2017 loss: £3.9 million) with margin of 5% (2017: negative 4%)
  • Adjusted EBITDA4 loss of £28.5 million (2017 loss: £25.1 million) with margin improving to negative 20% (2017: negative 27%)
  • Basic loss per share of 18.2 pence (2017 loss: 14.0 pence)
  • Loss before tax £50.7 million (2017 loss: £36.3 million)
  • Free cash outflow5 of £42.0 million (2017 outflow: £35.3 million)
  • Cash of £333.0 million, £244.1 million higher than at the end of 2017 (£88.9 million), including IPO proceeds of £300.0 million, before expenses of £15.0 million

UK Peer to Peer Lending: Loans top £800 Million in Q4 as Industry Matures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer-to-Peer Finance Association(P2PFA) has published fourth quarter numbers for member platforms. According to their data, cumulative lending now tops £9.5 billion with over £800 million originated during the period.

The P2PFA states that platforms facilitated loans worth nearly £3 billion during 2018.

In Q4, P2PFA platforms originnated £527 million to businesses and £282 million to almost a quarter-of-a-million consumers. Cumulative lending among P2PFA platforms has now exceeded £5.5 billion for business lending and £4 billion for consumer lending.

Revolut is fighting back after yet more allegations were made against the $ 1.7 billion fintech unicorn after a week from hell (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The Financial Times on Tuesday alleged that the UK National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is examining a complaint from a customer, adding to Revolut’s issues after a difficult week for the fintech.

However, the allegations were denied by Revolut and the Financial Times article was subsequently taken down.

The FT, citing emails, reported on an incident in which £70,000 was incorrectly paid into a Revolut customer’s account.

Is the Innovative Finance Isa worth it? We look at the pros and cons (City A.M.), Rated: A

At barely three years old, the Innovative Finance Isa still has some proving to do. And for some savers, it’s a product that is deemed too risky. But how risky is it really?

Of course, the IFISA is merely a tax-free wrapper, so the risk actually depends on the underlying investments held within.

And while investments can vary wildly, most IFISAs are invested in the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market, where lenders are grouped together to invest capital through an online platform which distributes funds to borrowers.

How savers can use an Innovative Finance Isa to reap the rewards from the property market (City A.M.), Rated: A

Investors can open one IFISA per tax year, and have an annual subscription allowance of £20,000, with substantial tax-free returns.

There are also several different opportunities available when it comes to property IFISAs, including buy-to-let and development.

Wealth management firm urges greater awareness in investments (Wealth Adviser), Rated: B

Last year, the National Trust was criticised for investing in a fund with holdings in fossil fuel companies, while the Church of England was shown to have ploughed funds into Wonga, despite having publicly criticised the payday lender.

Provident fights back in bitter £1.3bn bid battle as it accuses former boss of destroying shareholder value and failing to grasp modern technology (This is Money), Rated: B

A war of words has erupted between the doorstep lender Provident Financial and its former boss John van Kuffeler as he mounts a £1.3billion hostile takeover bid.

The Provvy has accused van Kuffeler of destroying shareholder value and failing to grasp modern technology.

China

Dianrong has laid off as many as 2,000 employees amid a regulatory crackdown (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

China-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lender Dianrong has laid off as many as 2,000 employees and will shut down 60 of its 90 brick-and-mortar outlets, which helped verify the identities and qualifications of users, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

Additionally, the company has been accused of falling behind on wages and severance pay, per a Chinese media outlet cited by TechNode . The company reportedly started shrinking its business around 10 months ago, despite securinga $70 million funding round in January to expand its services, including SMB lending.

Source: Business Insider
European Union

How PSD2 Will Change Lending (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Merchants and customers are now transacting under PSD2 and GDPR in the European Union (EU) — regulations that allow a greater window into how customer data is being used. While these regulations are aimed at increasing consumer trust by allowing them more transparency, many consumers in the region are still adjusting.

French regulatory body, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), has fined Googlethe equivalent of $56 million for noncompliance with GDPR within the region, alleging that the information services company was using EU customer data for advertising purposes without obtaining clear consent from those customers.

For third-party providers, such as P2P lending and investment provider Zopa, PSD2’s data transparency rules provide an opportunity to “level the playing field” when it comes to gaining that consumer trust.

International

10 Fintechs Have Already Raised Monster Rounds in 2019 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

We came into 2019 after a strong year of fintech investments with about $40 billion invested globally according to CB Insights.

Acorns

  • $105 million round led by NBCUniversal and venture arm of its parent company Comcast. NBCUniversal is now their largest shareholder.

Better

  • $70 million Series C from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). The company originated $1.3B in mortgages in 2018.

Figure

  • The $65 million Series B round was led by RPM Ventures as CEO Mike Cagney continues to show his fundraising prowess. Their valuation is said to be $365 million today about double the valuation from last year. Read our coverage here.

International P2P Lending Volumes February 2019 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 531 million Euro.

This month I added Bondster (use Bondster Promotion Code 5506 to get 1% cashback).

Source: P2P-Banking

Omidyar Network spins out its fintech investment arm as Flourish, with up to $ 300 million (TechCrunch), Rated: A

After twelve years spent investing in impact-oriented financial services startups around the globe, the Omidyar Network,  which serves as the family investment office for eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, is spinning off its financial inclusion investment arm as Flourish Ventures.

Equipped with up to $300 million in capital for operations and investments, the new Flourish will continue to invest around the Network’s core mission of backing companies with a dual focus on making a social impact and achieving quality financial returns.

List of Multi-Crypto Wallets To Consider For Your Portfolio (Cryptomorrow), Rated: A

Everus

Everus is a multi crypto wallet that allows for payment of bills and for mobile top-ups in multiple crypto and management of multiple crypto. The wallet, which is part of an ecosystem featuring bill payment, marketplace, peer-to-peer lending and micro-finance; allows customers to send, receive, store and withdraw multiple cryptocurrencies (more than 50 currently).

Peer-to-peer lending will allow people to offer and accept microloans affordably, which will be more targeted to the un-banked.

Infinito Wallet

Other features to be added soon include crypto lending where users can lend crypto and earn profits, exchange integration to allow users to exchange crypto from the wallet, fiat gateway to let users purchase crypto with fiat, digital identity and KYC where users can register their digital identity and use it everywhere else without needing to create another one, news portal to furnish users with happenings in the crypto space, and App Square for browsing dApps.

Quppy Wallet

It links to other parts of the company’s product ecosystem including decentralized exchange to allow users to buy and sell crypto, a licensed crypto bank, Prepaid co-brand bank cards, a decentralized peer-to-peer lending for borrowers as well as merchants, individuals, corporate, financial and non-financial institutions as well as crypto-fiat payments for merchants and 100% legal fiat-crypto-fiat transactions regardless of region and legislation.

India

P2P lenders develop new ways to build trust (India Times), Rated: AAA

Monexo ensures less risk for lenders by keeping a lender’s contribution to a loan to only Rs 1,000. So if a Monexo customer lends Rs 1 lakh on the platform, it gets split across 100 loans.

Faircent also has a similar strategy. It does not allow lenders to lend more than 20% of a single borrower’s requirement. So for an average loan of Rs 1 lakh, there will be on average 43 lenders funding that. They also advice lenders not to lend beyond Rs 5,000-7,000 for one loan.

Scaling small businesses with alternative finance (India Times), Rated: A

Lack of access to finance is the most widely cited constraint by SMEs for growth and scaling up business. Generally commercial banks perceive SMEs fall in the category of high default risk due to limited collaterals, smaller in asset size and limited historical track record.

Asia

Tightened supervision needed for P2P lending services: Deputy PM (Nhan Dan), Rated: AAA

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue has asked competent ministries and sector to enhance inspections, supervision and settlement of violations related to peer-to-peer (P2P) lending model which has been springing up in Vietnam in recent two years.

E-Money, P2P Lending The Hotspots (Fitch Solutions), Rated: A

  • The e-money and payments segment continues to show strong growth, and consolidation within the sector is positive to improve services and ease competitive pressures.
  • P2P lending is emerging as a bright spot, and regulation remains lax enough for lenders to thrive.
  • Cryptocurrencies show little potential for growth as the regulator remains apprehensive towards crypto-based assets.

FINTERRA Calls for All Thought Leaders and Regulators to Envision A Global Waqf Bank (Salaam Gateway), Rated: B

Malaysia has the potential to become the first nation in the world to set up a global “Waqf” bank using blockchain technology, expounded Hamid Rashid, the Founder of FINTERRA.

The platform is a blockchain-based solution to crowdfund Waqf charity, Islamic investments, and peer-to-peer lending.

Canada

Klarna And PayBright Partner To Give More Shoppers The Ability To Pay Over Time (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today, Klarna, a global payment provider, announces a partnership with Canadian instant financing provider, PayBright. Klarna and PayBright are joining forces to give Klarna’s 100,000 global retailers the ability to turn on a consumer finance solution for their Canadian shoppers quickly and easily.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday March 7 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Lenders Bet On Artificial Intelligence for Credit Scoring

Lenders Bet On Artificial Intelligence for Credit Scoring

Banks have to struggle with a lot of challenges – from issuing credit to operational risks, and technological troubles to good old fashion fraud. In addition to the risks of yesteryear, modern banks face falling long-term rates, growing fintech competition, and low profitability. In this challenging environment, savvy modern banks focus more of their attention […]

Lenders Bet On Artificial Intelligence for Credit Scoring

Banks have to struggle with a lot of challenges – from issuing credit to operational risks, and technological troubles to good old fashion fraud. In addition to the risks of yesteryear, modern banks face falling long-term rates, growing fintech competition, and low profitability. In this challenging environment, savvy modern banks focus more of their attention to mitigating risks.

Chief among these challenges are low-performing loan portfolios, which are a constant thorn in the side of lenders. For example, European non-performing loans stand above €1 trillion with more than one third of banks having NPL ratios above 10% (ECB, 2017).

This minefield of factors has driven lenders to seek out new ways to increase profits and cut funding costs in order to stay competitive.

Artificial Intelligence in Fintech: Will it take over?

AI is a powerful tool for banks, thanks to its ability to harness vast quantities of data to learn more about customer patterns and behaviors”, says Steve Ellis, head of the innovation group at Wells Fargo.

As powerful as artificial intelligence (AI) is, traditional banking is still heavily reliant on statistical methods that were developed over half a century ago. Lenders determine creditworthiness based on 20+ data points, which leave otherwise worthy customers behind.

Modern machine learning (ML) makes it possible to go much deeper when analyzing data, and allows lenders to extract valuable insights from available data patterns.

According to a McKinsey report, a number of European banks have already replaced the antiquated statistical-modeling approach with machine-learning techniques. The results speak for themselves: a 10% increase in the sale of new products, 20% savings in capital expenditures, and a 20% decline in churn.

Source: thefinancialbrand.com

The data doesn’t lie: Lenders are betting on AI. Evidence of this modern trend can be seen in numerous ‘banks and fintech collaborations’ and AI-based software releases:

  • JPMorgan Chase pioneered a Contract Intelligence platform designed to “analyze legal documents and extract important data points.”
  • American MobileBank deploys AI software to lend to thin-file millennials.
  • Canadian TD Bank uses Layer 6’s AI engine for scoring and cybersecurity.
  • Deutsche Bank came out with new AI-based equities to predict their pricing and volume more accurately.
  • Wells Fargo employs its own AI team to provide more personalized services and strengthen digital offerings.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch implements HighRadius’ AI solution to speed up receivables reconciliation for their large business clients.

Logistic regression is no longer the de facto standard

Nine times out of 10, logistic regression is used to build scoring models and solve classification issues. Before it can take over and provide predictive results, there’s an important step of preliminary analysis and data quality control that must be taken. If the dataset contains:

  • imperfect and missing values, outliers and unstructured data;
  • numerical and categorical values (age, income vs marital status, education);
  • raw data that doesn’t fit strict parameters(data with fractions or decimals, etc.)

data analysts will spend days (if not weeks) just to preprocess the data before it can be assessed. Cutting corners and ignoring such data may lead to the loss of valuable insight and incorrect predictions.

How modern AI/ML methods build better risk models

Today, lenders have the ability to collect more data than ever about their clients. In addition to traditional socio-demographic data, this may include transactional data, records from credit bureaus, social media, Google Analytics, as well as other non-traditional sources.

Processing and interpreting this data so that it can be used to issue loans to worthy credit seekers is where modern ML/AI methods give banks the edge they need.

Machine learning techniques like gradient boosting, random forest, or neural networks can better find hidden dependencies in a dataset, which helps to gain more accurate predictions. This assists banks in determining how collected parameters in a dataset should be weighed to predict whether borrowers will consistently repay their loans on time.

This is made possible by data signals, which define significant parameters that affect the power of a scoring model. Depending on the type of business, geography, target audience, and data authenticity, significant parameters may differ. Modern ML can determine which data points contain the desired signal.

Traditional data sources like credit bureaus still remain an important part of the process and provide the data that contain the above-mentioned signal. Unfortunately, they do not cover noteworthy market segments such as millennials, self-employed entrepreneurs, small business owners, immigrants, or the unbanked.

The team at GiniMachine carried out pilot projects to build accurate scoring models with minimal data points and without access to an applicant’s credit history. Some of the most promising and predictive parameters included the applicant’s industry and occupation, the size of their company, the total years they’d been in business, the size of their family, and data from social networks like their overall activity, as well as the quantity and quality of their connections.

The team at GiniMachine has proven that it is possible to capitalize on information about borrowers that is collected from alternative sources to accurately and efficiently assess borrower’s credibility and make effective lending decisions.

Modern ML methods can build more accurate risk models because of their capacity to:

  1. use built-in ‘raw’ data pre-processing tools
  2. find hidden dependencies of arbitrary complexity
  3. harness unstructured, big data, and data from alternative sources

The financial world, and lending businesses in particular, have seen major changes throughout the last few years. Using ML and AI in concert with traditional practices is the way forward for banks that want to remain competitive in the modern world. It’s clear that making good loans to the people of the future requires a futuristic helping hand.

Author:

Dmitry Dolgorukov is a CEO and co-founder of GiniMachine & HES, a technology entrepreneur, and an investor with over 15 years of executive experience in software development and fintech. In 2018, Dmitry was ranked as one of the top 200 Fintech leaders in Europe that contribute to the industry as influencers through action.

 

Monday March 12 2018, Daily News Digest

Funding Circle

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa competes with tech giants, not banks, for talent. Funding Circle to use 4 big banks to prepare for IPO. Japan tours Europe to pitch Open Banking. Lending Loop expands into corporate lending. Today’s main analysis: Preqin on the PE outlook. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Banking Amazon’s moment. How a commission-free robo-advisor plans to generate […]

Funding Circle

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Banking’s Amazon Moment (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Co-branded partnerships are not new, and banks have long partnered with retail institutions to launch co-branded credit cards. In a co-branded partnership, the financial partner deals with deposit or credit management, account servicing, and regulatory compliance, while the retail partner deals with marketing and customer acquisition. We have recently seen Barclays launch a credit card with Uber and Goldman Sachs potentially partner with Apple to finance device purchases. What is novel about this partnership is that it extends the same business model to checking accounts.

Benefits of Partnership

In the current regulatory environment, Amazon needs a partner as there is no clear regulatory swim lane for Amazon to compete head-on with the banks today. The Bank Holding Company Act demarcates commerce and banking. Partnering with JPM makes sense as it avoids Amazon having to comply with onerous banking regulations, but also makes it possible to offer products like checking accounts to its customers.

These strategic partnerships are also incredibly valuable to banks. As we pointed out in a prior newsletter, banks that do not establish a digital banking presence do not have a seat at the table. For banks, this is a battle for long-term customer relevance. Banking products are increasingly commoditized, and new generation customers want to bank with technology firms. They like the customer experience, the self-service nature, control, and value. These customers shudder at the idea of walking into a bank branch.

The customer segment that Amazon is targeting – younger generation, unbanked – generate notoriously low checking account and debit card fee-income for banks. Amazon has no legacy bank branch network, low customer acquisition cost and can make the economics work where most banks cannot. Banks also get access to a new customer acquisition channel, like Alexa where Amazon controls access and can leverage the customer data that their partner has gathered to offer better products to existing and new customers.

Significance of this Partnership

The primary motivation in the short-term is economics. Amazon pays about $250 MM in interchange fees – about 2% per transaction. Customers with an Amazon checking account can pay directly out of their checking accounts and avoid the network transaction fees. If Amazon captures even 25% of this opportunity, and adds $50 Mn to its bottom line, it would be accretive to its market capitalization by ~$10 Bn.

Amazon’s banking footprint today consists of its Visa Signature Rewards credit card issued by Chase, and Amazon Lending, a small business lender that has made ~$3 Bn in loans. It is conceivable that once Amazon’s customers sign up for a checking account, Amazon could sell them a variety of financial products like insurance and investment advice. Bain estimates that Amazon could establish a retail financial relationship with 70 Mn US customers, similar to that of Wells-Fargo.

Who might follow Amazon?

Source: PeerIQ

Amazon hiring head of newly-formed mortgage lending division (Housing Wire), Rated: A

While limited in scope, Amazon’s plans are to start with offering checking programs first, then maybe move into the debt product space after.

Well, after reporting that, we’ve received information that Amazon is currently looking to hire someone to lead their newly-formed mortgage lending division.

Due to non-disclosure agreements, we probably shouldn’t reveal their identities. After all, with Amazon planning a move into mortgage lending, it’s best we work with them and not against them. Am I right?

We can say that if you look at the top 10 HMDA lenders and pick out the nonbanks, that’s where Amazon is recruiting their talent.

How a commission-free robo-adviser plans to generate revenue (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Digital investment startup M1 Finance is making a big bet that no fees are the future.

The Chicago-based company, which launched its platform two years ago, decided to drop its assets under management fees to zero in December.

Investment companies can make as much as 70 percent of revenue from services that don’t involve charging customers commission, like lending and transaction fees for third parties, according to its CEO, Brian Barnes.

Source: Tearsheet

Instead of subscriptions, Barnes added that revenue from other services is more than enough to sustain a profitable business: lending to banks based on the securities it holds, interest from loans to customers who borrow from M1 using their portfolio as collateral, and transaction fees paid to the company from exchanges. While it’s free to use the platform and execute trades, M1 charges customers other miscellaneous fees for services like paper statements, transferring an account to another brokerage, and wire transfers.

THE TIPPING POINT FOR ALTERNATIVE DATA (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The term “alternative data” as Deloitte uses it refers to any set or sets of data that may be useful for investors but that is outside their traditional/conventional frame of reference.  In this age of “big data” that frame is going to have to expand, and the use of (say) communications metadata or satellite imagery, which might still be innovative this week, might be quite common next week, and a bare necessity for survival the week after that.

The traditional model for data analytics by IM firms (however ‘alternative’ they may be in their assets or strategies) involves as the paper puts it “structured data sets acquired from various information providers” that are then “aggregated and loaded into proprietary quantitative models.”

But the sometimes unstructured data sets on which investment managers will hereafter be expected to draw are large, heterogeneous, and would have to be processed at an extremely fast rate to be of any use. This requires machine learning and cognitive computing for the analytics.

In 2016, big data analytics (BDA) solution vendors received $3.2 billion from securities and investment services (S&IS) firms. About 15% of that (close to half a billion) originated from technologies that at least potentially support the generation of alpha.

How banks are promoting Zelle (Tearsheet), Rated: A

How banks promote Zelle is about more than television ad campaigns.

This year Chase and Wells Fargo have launched 15- and 30-second commercials advertising Zelle, the peer-to-peer payments offering built right into banks’ mobile apps. Zelle itself has even launched a couple of spots, one featuring Hamilton star Daveed Diggs.

Smaller banks that can’t afford national commercials, however, will need to promote Zelle in their existing products, their mobile banking apps, and perhaps take a page from fintech startups’ marketing playbook and design their apps in such a way that the product does the selling for them. That’s according to a new report by Javelin Strategy on Zelle’s rollout; that it emphasizes within its own mobile banking experience that a product called Zelle exists and communicates the benefits of using it and the reasons its better than competitors like Venmo or Square Cash.

Only 25 percent convey that Zelle is free or that it only requires an email or cell phone number, and only 38 percent convey that users can send it to anyone with a U.S. bank account, even if they bank at a different institution than the sender.

However, within those mobile apps, banks are positioning Zelle a little more prominently. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and USAA are all examples of different banks that have chosen to show customers they can send money with Zelle. Bank of America more clearly shows users they also have the options to split or request money. Chase has chosen to rebrand its existing peer-to-peer payment service, Chase Quick Pay, by adding the Zelle name at the end of it and offering customers the option to “QuickPay with Zelle.” SunTrust has changed platforms entirely from PopMoney to Zelle.

LESS ACTIVE ROLE IN FINANCIAL LIVES LEAVES WOMEN MAKING LESS, SACRIFICING MORE (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

A recent study of college-educated Americans found that more than half (54%) of adults don’t think they will ever make enough money to reach their financial goals. Findings released today by national online lender Laurel Road reveal the factors fueling this pessimism, which is significantly higher in women than in men. Millennial women (64%) are significantly more stressed than their male peers (47%) about their finances, and they report starting salaries that fall more than $10,000 lower than millennial men’s, on average ($29,403 vs. $39,839).

Fiscally confident millennial male grads (94%) were significantly more likely than their female counterparts (79%) to prioritize their future earning potential over personal passions when picking a major. Of those without a degree in finance, 88% of male millennials report taking personal or business finance courses while in college, compared to only 54% of female millennials. Meanwhile, nearly one-fourth (24%) of women completed an unpaid internship, compared to just 12% of men.

Millennial women (35%) are more than three times as likely as their male peers (11%) to not have completely understood their financing options when applying to college. These stark differences have a clear trickle-down effect post-graduation. More than half of women (57%) have had to decrease nonessential spending to save money since graduation, compared to just 35% of their male peers.

76% of college-educated adults aren’t completely confident they thoroughly understood their financing options to pay for college. Accordingly, more than half (55%) of Americans with student loans report that it took them longer than expected to pay them off – and for millennials, that number rises to 66%.

However, readjusting interest rates through options like refinancing can ease the burden. But it seems Americans might not be fully aware of this option, as only about one-third (34%) of college-educated adults who have taken out student loans have refinanced their student loans. Despite having less student loan debt, millennial men (62%) are taking advantage of refinancing benefits to a far greater degree than women (39%).

Additional findings include:

Advice adverse: Just more than half (57%) of college graduates have asked for financial advice, and only 16% do so on a monthly basis.

Overlooking the basics: Surprisingly, many college-educated Americans still haven’t taken some of the most basic steps to ensuring a healthy, long-term financial plan, including:

  • 83% have not taken a personal finance course or seminar outside of college classes
  • 62% have not negotiated a higher salary at a job
  • 37% have not begun investing in a retirement account

Persisting pessimism: Nearly 2 in 3 (66%) grads are not fully confident they know the steps required to finance a home. While millennial men (42%) are more likely than their female peers (29%) to feel completely confident they know the steps required to finance a home, it seems a solid financial foundation early on is key to building a comfortable future later on down the road.

Are HNW Investors Ready for Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms? (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: A

Cecilio is founder and CEO of San Diego-based DiversyFund Inc., which bills itself as a “vertically-integrated real estate crowdfunding platform.” Rather than acting as a middleman, DiversyFund manages all of its real estate projects from start to finish.

Accredited investors put money directly into development of commercial and residential real estate projects in Southern California, such as a multifamily development in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood. Investors can place as little as $5,000 in one of DiversyFund’s deals. Today, DiversyFund claims over 30,000 investors and more than $100 million in assets under management.

For now, an accredited investor must either make at least $200,000 a month or have a net worth of at least $1 million. But DiversyFund plans to open up its online platform this spring to non-accredited investors who can put as little as $500 into a project, Cecilio says.

NY Wealth Manager to Issue Loans Against Bitcoin (CoinDesk), Rated: A

With all the ICOs that have taken place (not to mention the meteoric rise in the value of crypto assets late last year), there are a lot of entrepreneurs who fit this description, but few products that allow them to turn long-term HODLing into actionable capital.

That’s the idea behind a new subsidiary being started by Dominion Capital, a family office based in New York City. While the company has long invested in a variety of assets, Dominion’s known for helping to finance projects by backing loans.

For the entrepreneurs who are willing to bet on the strength of their holdings, there’s a strategic opportunity at play. Essentially, the service would allow individuals and projects to borrow against either their own crypto assets (or those invested by supporters) rather than converting them directly to cash.

Restaurants Outpace Other Industries Investing In Mobile Technologies in 2018 (Modern Restaurant Management), Rated: B

The new findings show an overwhelming focus on mobile technologies, with 63 percent planning to invest; a well-advised investment given nearly 85 percent of all mobile users searching for a restaurant go on to make a purchase. The total average across all industries is 51 percent. In fact, restuarants and bars are among the most bullish to invest in mobile, trumped only by accounting services (70 percent) and marketing agencies (67 percent).

What’s more, nearly in one in four (23 percent) plan to invest in real-time analytics or big data solutions, to help analyze and identify growth opportunities.  This is an emerging opportunity for all small businesses as insights, typically available only to large corporations, are becoming increasingly more available.

U.S. Treasury Official Previews Report on FinTech Regulation (The National Law Review), Rated: B

Craig Phillips, Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury), recently delivered remarks at a conference held by the Institute of International Bankers in which he previewed the upcoming Treasury report about possible reforms to the laws and regulations that apply to non-bank financial institutions and FinTech companies.

Mr. Phillips reportedly signaled that the report will include a review of the regulations governing mortgage originators and servicers, marketplace lenders, payment processors and other FinTech companies, and will also cover the “regulatory asymmetries” between such institutions and more regulated institutions.

Pennsylvania judge partially dismisses action against investors of an online lending scheme (Lexology), Rated: B

On January 26, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania partially dismissed an action brought by the Pennsylvania Attorney General against out-of-state investors of an online payday lender and the lender for violating Pennsylvania’s Corrupt Organizations Act (COA). The Attorney General alleged that an online payday lender and the investors “designed, implemented, and profited from a consumer lending scheme to circumvent the usury laws of states.” The alleged conduct, which the court referred to generally as “rent-a-bank” and “rent-a-tribe” schemes, involved the online lender partnering with an out-of-state bank and later with tribal nation to act as the nominal lenders of the loans.

Alabama Senate OKs bill to cap payday lending interest rates (Tuscaloosa News), Rated: B

Payday lending customers would have longer to repay their loan under a bill approved Thursday by the Alabama Senate, which marks the latest attempt to cap the interest rates charged with the short term loans.

The bill by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur would give borrowers 30 days to repay a loan instead of as little as 10 days. Orr said the change would give people a better opportunity to pay off the loan. Senators approved the bill on a 20-4 vote.

Square’s Cash app now supports direct deposits for your paycheck (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Case in point, the app just rolled out support for ACH direct deposits, meaning users can now get their paycheck or other deposits put directly into their Cash app balance.

Like other features in the peer-to-peer payments app setting up direct deposits is almost too simple. After accepting a disclosure you’re given an account number and routing number, which is all an employer needs to start making direct deposits. Users get a notification when deposits hit their account, and all funds get added to their normal Cash app balance – meaning it can be sent to a friend, spent using a debit card, used to buy bitcoin or withdrawn to another account.

This feature combined with the Cash app’s debit card now means that the app can essentially provide all the basic functions of a bank account, assuming you don’t need to deposit checks or do complex things like wire transfers.

United Kingdom

Zopa is competing with tech giants not banks for talent, says CEO (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA is competing with Google and Facebook for talent, not the likes of HSBC, the peer-to-peer lenders’ chief executive Jaidev Janardana (pictured) has said.

Funding Circle Picks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley for IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle Ltd., the biggest online loan provider in Britain, named Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Numis Corp. Plc to help manage its initial public offering, according to a person familiar with the deal, in a milestone for U.K. fintech.

The offering in London, planned for the second or third quarter, will probably value the eight-year-old company at between 1.5 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) and 2 billion pounds, according to the person, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. That would make it the biggest IPO by a British financial-technology startup.

Funding Circle has arranged more than 4 billion pounds in loans for small and medium-sized companies in the U.K., the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands.

 

Source: Funding Circle and Bloomberg

 

Funding Circle co-founder joins crypto-lending platform as advisor (AltFi), Rated: A

Andrew Mullinger’s LinkedIn profile reads: “currently semi-retired until I get bored”. The Funding Circle co-founder stepped back from the firm in May 2016. He has now joined a very different kind of online lender.

Lendingblock, an open exchange for cryptocurrency loans, today announced that Mullinger has joined the company as an advisor.

Augmentum Fintech raises £94m in IPO (Fine Extra), Rated A

Fintech venture firm Augmentum has raised £94 million in an initial public offering ahead of a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Set up by venture group Augmentum Capital, Augmentum Fintech is raising the money for a new fund investing in early-stage financial technology companies in the UK and wider Europe.

The new company is acquiring Augmentum’s existing investments in a portfolio of five fintech firms, including Seedrs, Zopa, Interactive Investor, BullionVault and SRL Global.

In a rare meeting of the public and private markets, crowdfunding platform Seedrs was itself used to raise more than £500,000 towards the IPO. The management team and family members have provided £2 million in capital.

BBVA and Visa-backed banking platform solarisBank scores €56.6m in Series B raise (AltFiNews), Rated: B

solarisBank, the first banking platform to be fully regulated by the FCA with a banking license, has successfully completed a Series B investment round, gaining another €56.6m in funding. Current investors Arvato Financial Solutions and SBI Group renewed their stakes, with BBVA, Visa, Lakestar and ABN AMRO’s Digital Impact Fund (DIF) joining them.

 

China

Review: The flimsy finances behind China’s miracle (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

Since the financial crisis of 2008, China’s economic growth has depended less on exports than on rising levels of domestic investment. Capital spending is mostly directed at construction, which directly accounts for some 20 percent of China’s gross domestic product and indirectly for much more. The long construction boom has produced dozens of ghost cities – McMahon counts 50 in all – filled with empty apartment blocks. Mighty skyscrapers have sprouted up in unlikely provincial backwaters.

Increasing property supply has been accompanied by rising prices. Sky-high valuations have priced many Chinese workers out of the market, creating a nation of “mortgage slaves” and “ant tribes” – graduates forced to live in cheap properties in urban peripheries. In some super-hot markets like the southern city of Shenzhen, the price of land has exceeded the value of the properties built on it, giving rise to the expression “flour more expensive than bread.”

If China’s economy is fuelled by construction, it’s no secret what keeps the cranes swinging and the bulldozers revving. The country has been on a credit binge ever since Beijing announced the “Great Stimulus” late in 2008.

Last China P2P Company Delists Domestically, foreseeing New Tide of Listings Abroad (PRNewswire), Rated: A

China-based Jiayin Fintech, parent company to Niwodai, one of chinese largest P2P lending companies, applied delisting from National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ) in China on 7 March.

Jiayin Fintech’s main business is offering micro-finance services solution, among which, the part accounting for the largest income is tying qualified individual borrowing needs with the investing demands through Niwodai platform. So this delisting may indicate some trends of P2P industry, according to media in China.

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Golden Bull decreases proposed US IPO deal size to million (Nasdaq), Rated: A

The Shanghai, China-based company now plans to raise $7 million by offering 1.6 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. The company had previously filed to offer 2 million shares at the same range. At the midpoint of the revised range, Golden Bull will raise -23% less in proceeds than previously anticipated.

 

International

PREQIN ON THE PE OUTLOOK (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Preqin has issued a report on the near term outlook for private equity based on a recent (November 2017) survey of more than 350 PE firms around the globe.

Although this isn’t new, the worries about high valuations for portfolio companies have been a factor for years now; such worries are getting more intense over time. In November 2016, 36% of respondents said pricing for portfolio companies had gotten higher over the preceding year. In November 2017, 58% said the same thing.

A majority (56%) of fund managers plan to make more exits in 2018 than they did in 2017, though only 8% said that will be “significantly” more.

Australia

Fintech Australia begins hunt for new CEO as Danielle Szetho steps down (IT Brief), Rated: A

Fintech Australia’s Danielle Szetho is stepping down from her position as CEO after nearly two years in the role.

The organisation has already begun the search for its new lead executive while appointing Sarah Worboys as interim CEO.

 

Asia

Open Banking Provides Perfect Environment for FinTech Integration in Japan (PRNewswire), Rated: AAA

With a rapidly changing, quality business environment, the Government of Japan has launched a series of events across Europe to inform and promote active discussions around the future opportunities in Japan’s lucrative and intelligent market.

On February 19, a Japan You Didnt Know roundtable event kicked off in London at the office of global management consulting firm, A.T. Kearney. Discussions at the event focused on the impact of the new wave of finance, technology, consumerization and personalization sweeping Japan, and how the country is adapting its policy and regulatory framework to welcome foreign investors to deliver predictable conditions for accelerated growth.

Japan boasts the world’s third largest economy and has seen eight straight quarters of stable macroeconomic growth. Driven by a transformation of the market by means of bedrock deregulation and international trade deals, Japan is designing an efficient and productive environment that welcomes foreign business for the coming opportunities in financial services.

Canada

 

P2P PLATFORM LENDING LOOP NOW OFFERING CORPORATE LENDING (Beta Kit), Rated: AAA

Toronto-based Lending Loop, which provides a peer-to-peer lending platform for small business loans, is now allowing corporations to invest in small business loans through its online platform.

The launch of corporate lending is expected to expand small business’ ability to access fast financing, while enabling more lenders to earn attractive returns. To date, Lending Loop says it has facilitated over $17.5 million in loans to businesses across Canada.

Som Seif’s Purpose Financial to acquire fintech lender Thinking Capital (BNN), Rated: A

Canadian ETF pioneer Som Seif’s Purpose Financial announced Friday it is acquiring Montreal-based Thinking Capital, an online lender to small businesses, for an undisclosed amount of cash and securities.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday March 7 2018, Daily News Digest

marketplace lending categories

News Comments Today’s main news: Citigroup may open a national digital bank. Marcus to open in UK, Goldman recruiting engineers. Robo.Cash posts 2017 results. Tera Funding to hedge P2P project finance risk. Today’s main analysis: Preparing taxes for LendingClub, Prosper investments. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why institutional investors turn to marketplace loans. Branches are still disappearing despite Chase’s investment. Credit card […]

marketplace lending categories

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

News Summary

United States

Citigroup moving toward ‘national digital bank’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Citigroup Inc is laying the foundation, through a growing network of mobile banking tools, to support the launch of a national digital consumer bank sometime within the next three years, its chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

Citigroup, the fourth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, had fewer than 700 U.S. branches at year-end compared with more than 4,000 at the three biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co.

Citigroup, Kabbage Form Consortium on Fintech Cybersecurity (WSJ), Rated: A

Four financial companies including Citigroup Inc.C -0.48% and online lender Kabbage Inc. said Tuesday they have formed a consortium to address fintech firms’ cybersecurity risks, a sign of the industry’s growing links to traditional banks and insurers.

 

Why institutional investors are turning to marketplace loans (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Greenwich Associates, an unaffiliated research company, conducted a study to better understand how marketplace lending is perceived and the current state of adoption within the institutional investing community.

Study Finding #1: Higher yields drive investment.

Sixty-seven percent of institutional investors cited the higher yield that marketplace loans tend to offer as their primary reason for investing.

Study Finding #2: Different investors use the asset for different things.

Because marketplace loans can be used for many different reasons, one of the first questions that investors may face when considering marketplace loans is how to categorize them. For over two-thirds of surveyed institutional investors currently invested in MPL (see chart below), they fall in the category of structured products, putting them alongside ABS and collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). Almost half of current investors reported viewing them as short-duration instruments and one-third as high-yield bonds.

Almost 40% of institutional investors who are not yet invested in marketplace loans said they didn’t know how to characterize them.

Study Finding #3: The path to institutional adoption will be driven by a few key catalysts.

Since mid-2017, however, each new issuance was rated by at least one rating agency, removing this obstacle and further broadening exposure to the asset class.

Investors deeply value data and analytics, which are key to understanding the credit profile of borrowers on marketplace lending platforms.

While the secondary market for marketplace loans is illiquid, there is a more active secondary market for the securitized offerings.

Study Finding #4: Marketplace lending is here to stay.

A majority of current investors, 52%, believe that marketplace lending will be a significant player in the financial system in the next 10 years. This is another meaningful vote of confidence in the industry.

New phase of growth and development for ‘Peer-to-Peer’ lending (IBS Intelligence), Rated: A

Among the investors participating in a new Greenwich Associates study, 30% of institutions not currently investing in marketplace loans (MPL) are watching the space or conducting research and due diligence on the asset class—a level of interest that suggests future institutional involvement is on the horizon.

The first marketplace loans were securitised in September 2013, and the trend has accelerated rapidly since then. Cumulative issuance now stands at $28.2 billion, with $4.4 billion issued in Q4 2017.

LendingClub and Prosper Tax Information for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Note that investors who invest through a retirement account do not have to worry about tax reporting. Here at Lend Academy we believe there is a strong case for investing in marketplace lending through a product like an IRA.

Copied below is how LendingClub summarizes the tax treatment of investing in loans on the platform:

Generally, gains and losses from recoveries, sales or charge-offs related to LendingClub Notes are reported for tax purposes as capital gains or losses, rather than ordinary gains or losses. Generally, LendingClub Notes are considered capital assets because they are owned for the purposes of investment (similar to a stock or a bond). Generally, realized capital losses are first offset against realized capital gains. For individuals, any excess capital losses can be deducted against ordinary income up to $3,000 ($1,500 if married filing separately). Capital losses in excess of this limit may be carried forward to later years to reduce capital gains or ordinary income until the capital losses are fully utilized.

Source: Lend Academy

I had $12.21 in proceeds (recoveries) from loans that were charged off which is offset by the cost basis of charged off loans, $204.33. This resulted in a net loss of $192.12.  On my 1099-B outlining long-term transactions I had proceeds of $109.64 with a cost basis of charged off loans of $1,469.02 resulting in a net loss of $1,359.39. The short and long-term transactions roll up on the 1099-B summary shared above (middle box). Ignoring taxes, I earned a profit of about $500 on my LendingClub account for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

Filing Taxes for a Prosper Account

Below is my 1099-OID which includes the net interest of $840.62 I received for the year.

Source: Lend Academy

My losses totaled $834.71 which means I earned a net return of around $100 for the year.

How would regulators react to Amazon-JPM checking partnership? (American Banker), Rated: A

The negotiations between Amazon and big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Capital One to offer a checking-account-like product pose significant questions for regulators about the e-commerce giant pushing further into the banking space.

Who owns the customer?

If the bank “owns the customer,” then “the rules governing banks protect the consumer,” said Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Washington-based financial services consultant, Federal Financial Analytics. “If the bank doesn’t own the customer, then the rules — not just the consumer protection rules but the safety and soundness rules — are both different.”

What is Amazon’s role in the accounts?

If JPMorgan is “contracting with Amazon to do the marketing and customer intake, in that case, Amazon is subject to the regulation for those activities,” similar to other bank partnerships, said Brian Knight, director of the program on financial regulation and a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Who, if anyone, would regulate Amazon?

Another tricky question is which agency would regulate the partnership depending on how it is structured. For example, if Amazon were to act as a vendor to the bank, the e-commerce company would fall under a wide range of bank regulations involving partnerships and data security. However, if JPMorgan were to be a vendor to Amazon, those regulators would have limited influence over the deal.

Branches are still going away, despite Chase’s flashy investment (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Earlier this year JPMorgan Chase announced it’s investing $20 billion in 400 new branches and last week at the company’s Investor Day CFO Marianne Lake said 75 percent of its deposit growth comes from customers that visit its branches. Research published last month by Novantas shows 60 percent of Americans would still prefer opening a checking account at a branch than on digital channels and a September report by Deloitte similarly found 56 percent of people prefer to open bank accounts in branches (based on a survey of 3,000 consumers who had opened a deposit wealth management or consumer loan between January 2016 and May 2017).

JPMorgan Chase may be opening hundreds of new branches, but that hardly suggests every bank will follow.

Source: Tearsheet

Legacy vendors have been losing revenue
Global financial services and ATM producer NCR has been watching revenue fall over the past year where ATM sales and software licenses are concerned as revenue from services and cloud has shown a slight uptick. Diebold Nixdorf, another manufacturer of connected commerce and self-service products in the banking and retail industries, reported a 9.6 percent decline in revenue from banking sector services to $3.4 billion from 2016 to 2017.

Reimagining Lending Risk Management for the Digital Era (Lend Academy), Rated: A

As of February 2018, US bank lending of various kinds – auto loans, commercial credit, mortgages, credit cards or small business lending – constituted $11.7 Trillion, representing around 60% of US GDP and 70% of commercial banking assets.

A tale of two startups with ‘superstore’ ambitions: Robinhood and Cadre (TechCrunch), Rated: A

“If you think about Amazon, they took the book model, built brand equity, trust, credibility and now they are a superstore for any retail product,” Cadre’s co-founder and CEO Ryan Williams told attendees at an industry event in San Francisco last week. “We’re doing the same for the investments world.”

Robinhood’s co-founder and CEO, Vlad Tenev, speaking at the same event later in the evening, had much the same messaging. “Five years from now,” Tenev told the crowd, Robinhood will be a “full service financial institution” with every product one can find at a “local bank branch and more.”

‘PIN on glass’ is still a novel concept for U.S. retailers (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Though common in Europe, chip cards with PIN numbers still haven’t caught on in the U.S. But a mobile chip-and-PIN terminal could nudge more retailers to get on board.

TransUnion Introduces New IDVision Alerts to Mitigate Rise of More Sophisticated, Emerging Risks (Nasdaq), Rated: A

A new TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) analysis found that the growth in outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing in large part due to recently focused efforts by issuers to prevent such instances of fraud.

Outstanding suspected synthetic fraud balances rose 5.2% between Q4 2016 ($276.01 million) and Q4 2017 ($290.37 million). This was a far smaller percentage rise than what was observed the previous year when such balances rose 68.5% between Q4 2015 ($163.77 million) and Q4 2016. Despite the slowing of fraud balance growth in the credit card space, TransUnion found that the incidence of such fraud on credit applications remains similar to last year, moving from 0.59% at the end of 2016 to 0.60% in 2017.

While the growth of synthetic fraud in the credit card market is slowing due to proactive measures being taken by issuers, outstanding balances of suspected synthetic fraud identities increased 6.6% to $885.42 million in Q4 2017, up from $830.25 million in Q4 2016 for auto loans, credit cards, personal loans and retail cards combined.

TransUnion today introduced 25 new IDVision Alerts and data enhancements to its current collection of alerts, including new alerts for possible synthetic fraud, new or recently created identities and social security numbers that may be compromised. In total, TransUnion IDVision Alerts now provide more than 65 notifications to businesses about high risk, suspicious identities and other potentially fraudulent activities.

 

Varo Money Helps Americans With High-Yield Savings Accounts & SMS Alerts (Varo Email), Rated: A

Mobile banking startup Many Americans Are Struggling to Achieve Good Financial Health

A recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults age 18+, conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Varo Money, determined that 85 percent of American adults sometimes feel stressed out about money, and a full 30 percent feel stressed out about money constantly.

  • About 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) are living paycheck to paycheck
  • More than two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) report having had to dip into their savings to make it to the next payday at least once in the past two years
  • 55 percent of millennials have dipped into their savings in the past few months
  • About a third (31 percent) of millennials understand what their finances will look like from month to month only “somewhat” or “not at all”

Helping Customers to Make More from Their Money

Varo’s 1.25% APY Savings Accounts have no fees or minimum balances and offer a rate that is more than 60x the average rate offered by traditional banks. According to Varo’s two new features are part of its continued expansion of features and focus on financial health for Varo customers:

  • 1.25% APY High-Yield Savings Account: All Varo customers can easily open an online savings account with a few taps through the Varo app and receive a rate of 1.25% APY. Customers can access funds 24/7 and easily transfer money from their checking into savings. There are no fees or minimum balances required.
  • SMS Alerts: Customers can receive notifications based on aggregated financial activity across all linked accounts that let them know how they’re doing on income, saving, and if they are at risk of overspending so they can stay on top of their money effortlessly. Standard text messaging and/or data rates from the wireless service provider may apply.

Startup, Rentlender Revolutionizes the Rental Market, Offering Finance Options for Renters (PR Newswire), Rated: A

According to a Harvard University housing report, over 110 million Americans, or about 36 percent of households, now live in rental units — an increase of 9 million renters over the past decade — the largest 10-year gain on record.

Unfortunately, other records are being smashed too: the number of cost-burdened renters — that is, households paying more than 30% of their income on housing — jumped to 21.3 million. And a record 11.4 million Americans are spending more than half their income on rent. The news is even worse for New Yorkers, who last year spent 65.2%, or two-thirds of their total income, on rent2.

With upfront rental deposits and fees at move-in costing over $3,000 (more if you live in New York City, where comparable costs typically top $20,000); there has never been a greater need for finance options for renters.

Beginning today, New York City-based startup Rentlender is partnering with Upstart to provide modern financing solutions for renters.

Renters must meet a minimum set of requirements to qualify for a loan including having a minimum credit score of 620 and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 45%.  All loans are originated by Cross River Bank, an FDIC insured New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, and lending terms and fees are as follows:

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,0003
  • Loan duration: 3 or 5 years
  • Annual percentage rate: 7.436.25% to 29.99%4
  • Origination fee: 0% – 8% of loan amount
  • No prepayment fee

Renters can use these loans to ease the burden of renting in a number of ways:

  • Upfront costs – Pay first month, last month, security deposit and broker fees
  • Individual Months of Rent – Finance one or two months rent
  • A Full Year’s Rent – Finance a full year’s rent in addition to up-front costs

The loan application process is Powered by Upstart and provides renters with a fast, easy and paperless application process:

  1. Check Your Rate –  With a quick form, renters can see the loan options for which they qualify.
  2. Submit an Application – Complete the application online and indicate the bank account where funds should be sent.
  3. Accept Your Loan – Upon approval, log in and digitally sign loan documents. Funds can be available as quickly as the next business day.

Crowdfunding enters the New York City real estate scene (Born2Invest), Rated: A

These two problems are big hurdles for investors, but StraightUp is offering a solution to these woes. Crowdfund Insider notes that it is a new real estate crowdfunding platform that provides backers and investors an “unbeatable opportunity” on properties in New York City.

Capital markets tech firm Capitolis snagged $ 29 million in VC (New York Business Journal), Rated: A

Who gets: Capitolis, a New York-based technology provider for the capital markets, secured new funding.

Amount raised: $20 million in series A financing, plus $9 million in seed funding.

Credible Appoints Jobe Danganan as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Credible, the consumer finance marketplace that helps consumers save money and make smarter financial decisions, today announced that it has appointed Jobe Danganan as general counsel and corporate secretary, effective immediately.

GDS Link to Exhibit at LendIt Fintech USA 2018 (PRWeb), Rated: B

GDS Link, a global provider of credit risk management solutions and consulting for multiple verticals within the financial services industry including marketplace lending for both consumer and small business, point of sale retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto and leasing, will be attending LendIt Fintech USA 2018, April 9-11 at the Moscone West in San Francisco.

Upgrade Inc. Named a 2018 ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Upgrade, Inc. (), a consumer credit platform that combines personal loans with tools that help consumers understand and monitor their credit, announced that it has been named a ‘Best Place to Work in the Bay Area’ finalist in the small company category by the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal.

United Kingdom

Goldman Sachs is recruiting at least 6 people for the UK launch of its online lender Marcus (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is recruiting engineers in London to help build and launch its online lender, Marcus, in the UK.

Credit Card Customers Prepare for Debt Crackdown (Market Oracle), Rated: AAA

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has, as of this month, given credit card providers six months to adhere to the new rules that tackle the issues surrounding persistent debt*.

From September 2018, credit card providers must review the last 18-month history of a borrower’s repayment records, if they are in persistent debt, and assess whether they are subject to the new rules.

Source: Market Oracle

Investors flock to Assetz Capital IFISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ASSETZ Capital has had almost 3,000 investors start the process of setting up an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), with those who have already started investing putting an average of nearly £12,000 into the product.

Business borrowers should think outside the bank (Insider.co.uk), Rated: A

SMEs are the backbone of the Scottish economy, making up 99% of the business population and accounting for more than half of all private sector employment.

The unemployment rate in Scotland rose to 4.5% in the final three months of last year, slightly higher than the rate of 4.4% for the UK as a whole, but there are grounds for optimism. Independent forecasts suggest that growth in the Scottish economy will be slightly higher than last year.

According to research from the British Business Bank , published on 20 February, net bank lending remained “relatively flat” in 2017, while P2P business lending volumes rose by 51% to almost £1.8 billion.

Why SME banking may spawn the industry’s next big winners (Euromoney), Rated: A

Small businesses, which account for more than 99% of private businesses in the UK and in aggregate contribute more than half of turnover and employment, are particularly poorly served by big banks.

The big five high street lenders are built for serving either retail customers or medium-size and larger companies with collateral to back three-year and longer term loans that the banks like to hawk to companies that do not really need them as a way to sell associated risk management.

Small businesses want short-term, flexible working capital with no punishing fees for low usage or early repayment. This is expensive for banks to underwrite – especially for new startups and sole traders lacking several years’ worth of financial history – and to administer. Few small businesses want the interest-rate hedging and FX facilities that banks like to bundle up with term loans for medium-size and larger corporate customers.

The market is at last now producing non-bank competitors looking to provide the right kinds of services and products for small businesses – ones that give these challengers a shot at the £2 billion of annual revenue the British Bankers Association suggests SMEs now pay for financial services.

Wealth Wizards launches AI robo system (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Wealth Wizards, the robo-adviser majority owned by LV, has launched an artificial intelligence service which will learn how advisers serve their clients and replicate that house view.

China

Chinese IPOs In US Continue To Disappoint Investors (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

Industry watchers foresee a 25% to 30% increase in the the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2018, versus 2017. That’s a significant gain given that the number of Chinese IPOs in the U.S. in 2017 was more than double the number in 2016.

Peer-to-peer lending company Qudian Inc. raised more than a billion dollars when it went public on the New York Stock Exchange in last October. Today the stock is down just over 50%, according to data from Dealogic, a loss of more than US$500 million for investors.

The average PE ratio for profitable Chinese companies listing in the U.S. reportedly rose to 50 in 2017, versus 31 a year earlier, driven in part by the marketing efforts of the three banks behinds most of the IPOs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse AG, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Another problem has been the Chinese government’s crack down on online consumer lending. This has hurt the businesses of financial technology companies, which made up the largest group of IPOs in 2017.

European Union

Online Lender Robo.Cash Posts 2017 Stats (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Robo.cash outlined the results of its first year in operation on the European P2P lending market: 2,000 investors from the EU and Switzerland invested over €3M in the issue of 330,000 short-term PDL-loans in Kazakhstan and Spain. The average inflow of investments is €240,000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.Robo.Cash views the results and platform dynamics as proving the growing demand for complex automated solutions in the global alternative fintech.

The European investors financed 330 thousand short-term PDL-loans (Financial IT), Rated: A

The European P2P-platform Robo.cash was launched in Latvia on February 21, 2017. It has achieved to attract over €3 million and 2.000 investors from 29 European countries (the EU and Switzerland) in one year. The average inflow of investments is €240 000 with 150 new investors joining the platform monthly.

International

The Pro-Growth Magic of Inflation Anchoring: Eco Research Wrap (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Credit-constrained industries grow faster in countries with well-anchored inflation expectations, based on an IMF analysis of data covering 22 manufacturing industries for 36 advanced and emerging-market economies between 1990 and 2014. It seems to be the anchoring – not the level – that matters for growth. So while most advanced economies angle for 2 percent, there’s nothing magical about that number.

Killing zombies

The share of global zombie firms – low-productivity companies that struggle to meet their interest payments – has more than tripled in the past two decades, climbing to 2 percent of companies in 2016 from 0.6 percent in 1996. Early, incomplete data for 2017 indicate that the may finally be disappearing, suggesting that climbing interest rates are making it harder for the laggard firms to hang on.

Websites for Bitcoin (BTC) Borrowing and Lending (Hade Platform), Rated: A

1) Bitbond

They have more than 100,000 happy borrowers and investors. The peer to peer Bitcoin borrowing community has offered loans to more than 2500 borrowers. The loan application process is simple, and the loans can be received within one hour. Investors receive up to 13% interest on the loans they give, with some investors having a history of loaning to more than 100 borrowers. The duration of the loans, which are generally to help finance small businesses, range from 6 months to 3 years. Bitbond has users from more than 120 countries, and has an investment volume above $1million.

2) Btcpop

With a large user base above 20,000, from more than 60 countries, Btcpop holds a volume above $1million.

3) BTCjam

BTCjam has more than 100,000 users from more than 200 countries. The website supports peer to peer lending and has a volume of more than $13 Million BTC in their holding.

Australia

RateSetter CEO: Comprehensive credit reporting and open banking to help Australia play catch-up (mozo), Rated: AAA

For many Australians hearing the words ‘credit history’ may well elicit a shudder down their spine – especially if they’re looking at taking out a finance option such as a personal loan, credit card or home loan. But in just under four months that could well change, with the impending implementation of mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR).

From July 1, the big four banks will be required to have at least 50% of their credit data – both positive and negative – available to be shared, which Daniel Foggo, Australian CEO of peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, suggests will help Australia catch up to the rest of the world.

Promontory says AI for banking compliance ‘a long game’ (Financial Review), Rated: A

The inaugural chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority says it will take “massive investment” before regulators let banks use artificial intelligence to meet their multimillion-dollar compliance obligations.

While AI is being used to deliver personalised banking experiences to customers via “chatbots” and helping bank staff make more customer-centric decisions, the technology which Promontory thinks has the capacity to cut sky-high compliance costs is still a work in progress.

The company is combining its regulatory prowess with IBM’s artificial intelligence technology known as “Watson” to cut costs, but also to improve accuracy for regulators.

Verrency, a global Australian payments platform and fintech marketplace, has been accepted into the latest fintech cohort of Silicon Valley-based technology accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center.
India

Women are Looking at Alternative Forms of Investments and Tech is Here to Help (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

More and more women are taking charge of their financial decisions and moving beyond the usual investment routes and looking at P2P lending, mutual funds as options.

Rajat Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Faircent, believes that gone are the days when women investors looked only at traditional tools of investments as part of their financial planning. “These ambitious go-getters are increasingly ditching the traditional tools of savings and investments and exploring the relatively new and more lucrative forms of investments,” said Gandhi.

At Faircent, 14% of the lenders registered are women and they account for 21% of the total amount disbursed through the platform.

“Female lenders on our platform are earning an average NAR of approx. 20% p.a proving that women tend to invest wisely; know how to take calculated risks, can meticulously diversify their investment portfolio across different borrowers and hence, end up enjoying better returns,” asserted Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Keerti Kumar Jain, founder and CEO, of Anytime Loan, shared the following statistics from their platform regarding female lenders.

Blockchain: a new technology or a new kind of enterprise? (YourStory), Rated: A

Let us imagine a new kind of enterprise that is designed to create value through a self-regulating method that is both decentralised and auto-incentivising. This is in direct contrast to the conventional top-down hierarchical, command and control enterprise.

We will do this in a two-step process.

First, we set up an initial monetary policy (“the white paper”) in the form of a finite number of digital tokens that represents the overall value of the enterprise. This also creates the requisite economic scarcity to start with that is essential to this approach.

Second, we set up clear encodable rules for how the participants who generate value in the enterprise will “earn” in tokens. This incentivises the participants to “do the right thing” to generate value for the enterprise, which in turn increases the value of the tokens.

Distributed ledgers

One basic requirement for setting up such an enterprise, is the use of a transparent immutable Distributed Ledger to establish trust between all participants of the enterprise.

Examples of the new kind of enterprise

A Distributed P2P Lending Network in which Lenders and Borrowers are joined by a network of Verifiers, Hosting providers and Developers, all incentivised to build, maintain and use the distributed lending platform that is hosted on a blockchain technology.

Asia

Tera Funding sets out to hedge risks of P2P project finance (The Korea Herald), Rated: AAA

The high return — often at above 10 percent — that the instrument promises to the lenders, triggered a rush into the sector, and roughly a third of loans on P2P platforms went into project financing as of September.

As such, the default rate of the average local project financing P2P platform operators is relatively higher at 1.7 percent, over threefold that of other P2P platforms, according to an estimate by the Financial Services Commission.

The returns are roughly estimated 8-15 percent of investment per a year, without tax deducted, depending on the level of risk.

Fintech lenders hit back at OJK (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Indonesia’s financial technology (fintech) players were in shock when they found out that their main regulator, the Financial Services Authority (OJK), had some disconcerting views about their businesses despite having a relatively close relationship.

Executives of peer-to-peer (P2P) lending fintech firms on Tuesday voiced their concerns about a controversial statement from OJK chairman W…

Funding for RedDoorz, Hotelogix, and 23Mofang (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Online lender Finova Capital secures US$6 million Sequoia Capital backing (India). The startup provides loans to small businesses in India’s tier-2 cities and rural areas. Finova will use the funding for technology development and hiring talent. Sequoia India made its investment in two tranches, the first taking place late last year.

Paytm Mall in talks with SoftBank to raise US$600 million (India).

Canada

Katipult Named Finalist For Most Promising Partnership Award at Lendit Fintech Industry Awards (Crowfund Insider), Rated: B

Canadian fintech Katipult announced last week it has been nominated, alongside Polymath Inc., for the Most Promising Partnership Award at the second annual Lendit Fintech Industry awards in April. According to Katipult, the partnership will be competing against some of the world’s finance and fintech giants including partnerships involving Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, Swedbank, and Lending Club.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday March 6 2018, Daily News Digest

credit card charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: Is Amazon about to partner with JP Morgan Chase? Elevate saves customers $3B over payday loan alternatives. LendInvest hosts a roadshow. Folk2Folk lenders provide 200M GBP to UK rural businesses. China issues first personal credit rating license. Today’s main analysis: Credit card losses surge at small banks. Today’s thought-provoking articles: FT Partners’ CEO monthly […]

credit card charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

News Summary

United States

Amazon wants to make it easier to shop its website without a credit card (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Amazon is in early talks with financial institutions including J.P. Morgan Chase to help launch checking account-like products, aimed at younger customers and those without bank accounts, The Wall Street Journalreported Monday.

More than a quarter of U.S. households have no or limited access to checking and savings accounts. Unbanked doesn’t necessarily mean unconnected, about 6 in 10 unbanked consumers have a smartphone, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

New prime subscriptions flattened in the third quarter of 2017, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. Another survey by Piper Jaffray in June said that 82 percent of U.S. households with more than $112,000 in annual income are already Prime members. Its reach is the lowest among those that make less than $41,000 a year.

In November, it announced that shoppers at 7-Eleven stores nationwide could deposit as little as $15 and as much as $500 into an Amazon account through its “Amazon cash” program. Shoppers can then use that cash to shop on Amazon. Nearly one-half of the U.S. population lives within one mile of a 7-Eleven store.

Will Amazon Pitch Financial Advice To Millennials? (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

If Amazon is successful in creating a banking relationship with its vast customer base of millennials, can an investment advice platform be far behind?

Stich predicts that Amazon, a company with a $700 billion market cap, will offer three levels of investment accounts to millennials and interested customers: It could offer do-it-yourself accounts and robo-advisory accounts; and for those who want a personal advisor, Amazon could create and refer customers to a state-by-state network of select investment professionals.

Consumers interested in idea of Amazon-created cryptocurrency, survey reveals (The Block), Rated: A

More than half of consumers would be open to using an Amazon-created cryptocurrency, with Amazon Prime users even keener, according to poll findings from student loan marketplace LendEDU.

The study, which polled 1,000 consumers who had purchased a product from Amazon in the past 30 days, found 51.7% would be interested in an ‘Amazon Coin’, with the number increasing to 58.27% for Prime members, and only one in five (21.9%) saying no.

Only 17% of those polled said they would trust Amazon more than a traditional bank, compared with 23% who disagreed and 38% who said levels of trust would be about the same. Nine in 10 respondents however said that overall, they trusted Amazon to have their best interests in mind, with 52.49% answering ‘yes, very much so’ and 37.56% opting for ‘somewhat.’

Elevate Milestone: Customers Have Saved More Than $ 3 Billion Over PayDay Loan Alternatives (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc. (Elevate), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, announced on Monday its customers have saved more than $3 billion to date, versus what they would have paid for payday loans. $1.3 billion was saved in 2017 alone.

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

This month’s report features an exclusive interview with Keith Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Payability, a platform that provides friction-free financing to sellers operating on digital marketplaces. In our conversation with Keith, he delves into the vision behind founding Payability and the unique opportunities and strategies of lending to online marketplace sellers.

M&A
Financings
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)
 (FT Partners Advised)

Source: FT Partners

Download and read the full report here.

A Dialogue with Peter Renton: Cryptocurrency and Beyond (deBanked), Rated: AAA

deBanked: Why did you decide to rebrand LendIt as LendItFintech?

Renton: The main reason is that we have moved beyond the online lending space.

deBanked: What about online lending? The industry has gone through a lot of changes in its relatively short history. How do you expect to see the competitive landscape change in the next year or so? What about farther out?

Renton: The online lending space has gone through a lot of changes in its short history. I feel like the biggest trend we’re seeing right now is banks launching their own platforms. Take Goldman Sachs with the Marcus online lending platform, for example. More than anything else that has happened in the history of online lending that is among the most telling for the future, I think.

deBanked: What do you see as the biggest risks for online lenders today? How can they best overcome these challenges?

Renton: As an industry, we have to focus on profitability.

Credit-Card Losses Surge at Small Banks (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Missed payments on credit cards at small banks have risen sharply over the past year, a sign that their cardholders are taking on more debt than they can handle. Their charge-off rate, or the share of outstanding card balances written off as a loss after consumers failed to pay, hit 7.2% in the fourth quarter, up from 4.5% a year ago, according to Federal Reserve data.

But they’ve especially surged at smaller banks, those outside the 100 largest by assets that have less than around $10.4 billion in assets. There, the average charge-off rate is near an eight-year high, while the 3.5% loss rate at large banks remains well below the 10.6% seen in 2010.

tZero Has Acquired VerifyInvestor for Million in Cash (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Buried within the tZero Offering Memorandum for its ongoing initial coin offering were several interesting items of note. The first was the fact the SEC was in the process of reviewing the offering. Another interesting bit of information was the fact tZero has acquired a majority stake in VerifyInvestor.

 

Gina Harman of Accion (Lend Academy), Rated: A

My next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is Gina Harman, the CEO of the U.S. Network for Accion. They are a non-profit lender with 14 regional offices around the country focused on providing funding to underserved businesses. Accion has a very consultative approach to lending so their work often involves face to face meetings with the potential borrowers. But they are also serving the entire country through online means today.

LendingPoint Launches Merchant Solutions Platform (BusinessWire), Rated: A

LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, today unveiled LendingPoint Merchant Solutions to provide merchants and other service providers a fully integrated one-stop retail financing platform to convert more consumers at the point of sale.

LendingPoint Merchant Solutions combines the LoanHero merchant onboarding, program management and reporting technology with LendingPoint’s industry-leading credit underwriting, risk management, and customer service expertise.

Grameen America eyes banks in ambitious push to expand microlending effort (American Banker), Rated: A

Grameen America is looking for banks and social impact investors to help fuel significant growth in its microlending effort.

The plan is to double the size of its loan portfolio, and lend a cumulative total of $2 billion, over the next five years, David Gough, its chief financial officer, said in an interview.

RICO suit filed against Great Plains Lending over allegations of predatory online lending scheme (Legal NewLine), Rated: A

Vanessa C. Grainger, Beverly Kristina Miller and Lilya J. McAtee, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against Great Plains Lending LLC, Kenneth E. Rees, Victory Part Capitol Advisors LLC, et al. over alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

THE SEC’S ICO SUBPOENA EXPLAINED (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

“The SEC typically sends a subpoena for one of two reasons: you are either a direct target of a new or ongoing investigation or you are involved somehow with an entity or individual that is under investigation,” notes William Skelley, Co-founder of William Chris, a Dubai-based consulting firm founded by David Drake and Simon Cocking.

Clayton had stated that most ICOs need to register with SEC because, like other securities that the agency regulates, they trade coins in secondary markets. However, ICO companies have shown reluctance in subjecting themselves to SEC’s oversight despite the fact that up to $8.7 billion has been raised through ICOs, based on CoinDesk data.

How Stash Invest is trying to reach the underserved (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Stash is letting its customers invest in single stocks, the company’s latest major investment product launch beyond theme-based exchange-traded funds.

Stash lets customers buy portions of shares (called fractional shares) with a minimum balance of $5.

Core Upgrade Brings Orion’s Dynamic, Time-Saving Reporting to Private Assets (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Orion Advisor Services, LLC (“Orion”), the premier portfolio accounting service provider for advisors, today announced the release of its Alternative Investment Platform (“AIP”), a tool that lets Orion advisors show their clients’ private assets as easily as their public holdings at no additional cost.

AIP lets financial advisors track and maintain alternative investment data for client assets held in private equity, direct investments, venture capital, hedge funds, private real estate, REITs, and more, with ease and efficiency. AIP lets advisors aggregate and update committed capital amounts, total cash distributions, return of capital, and commitment amounts for alternative investments of all types into client reports alongside publicly-traded assets to create a cohesive picture of the client’s net worth.

Is there a sandbox in the US’s future? (Euromoney), Rated: A

The cooperation between the FCA and the CFTC will cover information sharing, referrals and learning from proofs of concept, trials or innovation competitions.

Various agencies – including the CFTC, SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) – oversee specific segments of the market, and for a US sandbox regime to be successful there would need to be substantial collaboration and coordination between all of these agencies.

Shinnecock Partners Publishes “How to” for Private Investors on Direct Lending (PRWeb), Rated: B

Direct lending is a new category that is reshaping the asset management and investment landscape, yet most investors see the arena as a “black box.” Shinnecock Partners, a 28-year old family office boutique with significant expertise in alternative finance and fintech, offers investors insights into the category with its recently published report: High Yield for Investors in Specialty Finance: Exploring Opportunities in Factoring and Merchant Cash Advance. Written and researched by the firm’s founding partner, Alan C. Snyder and co-author Marla Harkness, the 37-page report is a virtual blueprint for investors, RIAs, advisory firms and the new generation of innovators who have started alternative lending companies to serve a vacuum left by large banks and community banks that used to serve small and mid-size business pre-recession.

The paper covers:

  •     In-depth descriptions of both factoring and merchant cash advance (MCA) loan originators
  •     Insider lingo, so investors are up to speed when reviewing documents
  •     Regulatory history and framework
  •     Detailed investor evaluation checklists

You can access the report here: High Yield For Investors in Specialty Finance.

Fintech firms are gobbling up Manhattan office space (The Real Deal), Rated: B

Fintech firms and units of larger companies accounted for roughly 877,000 square feet of Manhattan office leasing last year, according to JLL data reported by the Wall Street Journal. That’s almost triple the sector’s total for 2014.

Venture capital funding for fintech firms has roughly doubled from 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Albuquerque ranks among 10 best places for new small businesses (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Albuquerque ranked No. 8 on LendingTree’s list of the best cities for new small businesses released Feb. 27.

United Kingdom

Roadshow Announcement (London South East), Rated: AAA

LendInvest Limited, the specialist mortgage provider, announces that it has mandated Peel Hunt to arrange a series of meetings with fixed income investors in the UK and Channel Islands, commencing the week of 5 March 2018, to discuss a possible second issue of sterling denominated bonds.

Folk2Folk Lenders Provide £200 Million to Rural Businesses in the UK (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Folk2Folk, a peer-to-peer (P2P0 lending platform for local and rural businesses, announced on Monday it has now lent £200 million, providing a valuable source of capital to hundreds of local businesses across the UK. According to the online lending, this milestone demonstrates the strong demand in the company’s Local Lending Movement as Lenders and Borrowers are attracted by Folk2Folk’s platform, providing a fair exchange that sees no difference between what Borrowers repay and Lenders receive on a monthly basis.

Folk2Folk’s lending milestone was reached thanks to a growing community of local Lenders who have placed £20,000 or above on the lender’s platform. The average lent per Lender now exceeds £65,000. Lenders receive 6.5%pa interest which is paid monthly, helping them achieve their financial goals, whether it be an additional income for retirement or funding a life event like a once in a lifetime holiday.

Exchange Platform LendingBlock Boosts the Development of the Crypto Sphere (Coinspeaker), Rated: A

Lendingblock is an outstanding representative of the “picks and shovel” business of the crypto economy. The recent announcement of an ICO by this company raises an important issue: can these followers of Gold Rush traditions achieve the same success?

Lendingblock is an open exchange platform for both borrowers and lenders of crypto currencies. The platform enables owners of digital assets to earn passive, low risk interest income, while borrowers get an opportunity get assets needed to support trading, hedging and working capital needs.

Tales of failed peer-to-peer lenders (AltFi), Rated: A

A little-known pawnbroking and property-backed peer-to-peer lending platform named Collateral has gone into administration, according to reports. Its investors are in limbo, unable to access their money or even view their accounts.

Be The Lender folded in August 2014. It was a tiny peer-to-peer platform with a focus on lending to small businesses.

GraduRates was a very small peer-to-peer lender specialising in loans to post-graduate students. In 2014, with a new regulatory regime for P2P firms looming, its founder Jonathan Webb decided to close down operations.

TrustBuddy was a peer-to-peer firm specialising in short-term loans for consumers. It is perhaps the best-known example of a P2P blow-up because it was the first big platform to go belly-up.

Finally, the complete comedy that was the Ezubao blow-up. There are many, many examples of failed Chinese P2P platforms, but Ezubao takes the biscuit.

FOS tells adviser to pay client over £30k loss through unsecured Sipp loan (Money Marketing), Rated: A

The Financial Ombudsman Service has told an adviser to compensate a client who they told to make an unsecured loan to a third party with money from their Sipp.

Mr H says O’Rourke Partnership recommended and arranged for him to make an unsecured loan of £29,325 to the third party from funds he held in his Sipp.

The loan was to be over a short-term at a high rate of interest but the loan has not been repaid and Mr H has lost his money.

An investigator reviewed the complaint, thought the advice was unsuitable and recommended that it should be upheld.

P2P lending “high  up the scale of respectability” for non-standard investments (AltFi), Rated: A

BondMason boss warns that recent FSCS fines are likely make SIPP providers extra cautious in reviewing non-standard investments.  

An estimated one million people are said to have taken up a SIPP (self-investment pension plan) since the wrapper was first introduced as part of the government’s Pension Freedom Reforms in April 2015. But squeezing non-standard investments into the still relatively-new tax wrapper hasn’t been easy.

Archover announces new non-exec director, nears profitability (AltFi), Rated: A

The peer-to-peer business lender is turning dissenters into directors with its latest hire, after hitting £60m in lending.

ArchOver, the p2p business lending platform, has announced it will be appointing Bill Johnston to its board as a non-executive director. Johnston previously was an outspoken critic of p2p lending and alternative finance in general, but says he has been swayed after seeing ArchOver succeed.

Beauty marketplace founder joins Blend Network management team (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A FORMER Morgan Stanley banker turned beauty marketplace founder is among two appointments to the board of a new peer-to-peer lending platform aiming to become the “Goldman Sachs of P2P”.

Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, a former Morgan Stanley vice president and founder of Zeebba – which arranges at-home beauty services – has joined asset-backed property lender Blend Network as business development manager.

Metro Loans Presents Unsecured Business Start up Loans for Unemployed in UK (MENAFN), Rated: B

The UK based direct lending company has come up with unsecured business start up loans to build up new entrepreneurs.

China

China Issues its First Personal Credit Rating License (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On February 22, the People’s Bank of China published an announcement about setting up personal credit rating agencies. According to the document, Baihang Credit Rating Co., Ltd., was granted the first personal credit rating license in China, and the qualifications of its management team (including board member, supervisors and senior management) has all received approval.

A New Ransomware Virus Could Steal All Your Alipay Balance

Recently, a ransomware virus called “unicorn 2.1” raged online. It spreads through QQ and other Instant Messengers.

Once the virus hacks the computer, it will lock all the files in the computer and requires the victim to pay ¥3 yuan by scanning with his / her Alipay. As long as the victim scans the QR code, the hacker will be able to get access to the Alipay account and steal all the balance.

International

Marketplace lending platform Maliyya scores EUR1.3 million in seed funding (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Maliyya, a fintech company engaged in development of a P2P lending and borrowing platform, has just closed the first seed investment round of USD$1.3 million from Ground1 Ventures, a private investment firm based out of UK.

Targeting to become a primary P2P lending and borrowing platform for the Middle East, North African and Asian Region, Maliyya is working on to roll out its MVP in the coming months.

How can today’s generation of lenders fight global financial crime? (LendIt), Rated: AAA

What if you lent money to someone who used it to finance an act of terrorism? Or to disguise the proceeds of drug dealing. How would this make you feel and what would it mean for the reputation of your growing business?

Today’s generation of FinTechs however, face huge technology and operational challenges – they interface with banks and therefore need ‘bank-grade’ solutions for KYC/AML but existing technology solutions struggle to fit with their unique needs. Increasingly, they are looking to new technology to help them comply with global KYC/AML standards, maintain banking relationships and ultimately fight financial crime.

What are the financial crime risks for lenders and FinTechs?

Lenders spend billions of dollars a year on compliance solutions trying to combat their financial crime risk, which broadly fall into two categories: anti-money laundering / terrorist financing (AML/CTF) risk and fraud.

Crypto’s missing pieces: Building a sustainable financial ecosystem (International Business Times), Rated: AAA

Centralized, “off-chain” cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bitfinex and Poloniex, support margin-lending. Although limited to certain customer groups, and a limited number of assets, they generally fit the definition of money markets. The downside is that investors have to trust that the exchange won’t get hacked or abscond with assets. That’s a big risk. The recent $530 million heist from the Japanese exchange, Coincheck, isn’t likely to be the last, and many customers feel that the incremental returns aren’t worth the risk. That may change as exchanges move toward adoption by the existing financial system.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Peer to peer lending protocols, including ETHLend and Lendroid, eliminate the risk of centralization by allowing users to lend to each other directly. But to an outside observer, they hardly resemble money markets with a uniform interest rate.

Profile Software’s innovative solutions for banking and wealth industry (Hubbis), Rated: B

The company today has a presence in Europe, the Middle East, America, Asia and Africa, throughout those regions delivering innovative solutions to both start-ups and established banking and finance institutions, through direct communication or a reliable partners network.

Profile’s leading platform, Axia is an omnichannel wealth management  platform covering all aspects of the investment operations that modularly, and with flexibility, embrace the whole spectrum of portfolio management, with continuous updates on client onboarding, online trading, compliance issues (such as MiFID II), instruments, custodian links and bank interfaces, financial planning, and so forth. The investment management solution also supports operations in insurance firms, private banking, custody, brokerage needs and more, with a successful track record.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday January 29 2018, Daily News Digest

financial advice market

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi buys Clara Lending product, engineering teams. LendingClub files 8K on $200 warehouse agreement. Raisin surpasses 5B Euro. Columbian lender LoanPie goes online. Today’s main analysis: UK P2P lending hits 3.1B GBP, borrowers shift to online lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: PeerIQ evaluates letter from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Mulvaney. Funding Circle in no […]

financial advice market

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

South America

News Summary

United States

SoFi Buys Teams From Mortgage Startup Clara to Boost Offerings (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. has acquired the engineering and product teams of mortgage startup Clara Lending, bolstering the financial technology company’s offerings beyond student-loan refinancing, according to people familiar with the matter.

SoFi confirmed the acquisition on Friday and said taking on the Clara teams allows it to “immediately ramp up our technical capabilities.”

San Francisco-based SoFi has plans to hire about 100 engineers, one of the people familiar with the matter said, and Clara filled about 20 of those spots.

How Credible.com Makes Refinancing Student Loans Easy (Pop Dust), Rated: A

While refinancing my own loans, it was a stressful situation to navigate, even with the help of my parents. Coming out of school with a $200,000 degree but only a $40,000 annual salary was a tough pill to swallow, and I wasn’t alone – several of my friends found themselves in a similar situation.

Credible is working to change all of that by simplifying the refinancing process. Instead of hopping from lender to lender and form to form looking for a good rate, Credible provides a one-stop shop where you can connect with a variety of vetted lenders and get real rates in about two minutes, without affecting your credit score.

LendingClub Files 8K on $ 200 Million Warehouse Agreement (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendingClub (NYSE:LC), the largest marketplace lending platform in the US, has just posted an 8K regarding a warehouse funding agreement with certain lenders. LendingClub has enlisted the assistance of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. as administrative agent, and Wilmington Trust, National Association as collateral trustee. The warehouse is to provide a $200 million secured revolving credit facility.

LendingClub’s 8K filing.

Strong GDP growth, Mulvaney’s New Director for CFPB, SoFi’s New CEO (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In this week’s newsletter, we interpret key points of Mulvaney’s letter and how they may affect the lending industry.

Source: PeerIQ

The US economy grew by 2.6% in the 4th quarter, continuing the pattern of strong trend growth in 2017. Global economies continue to enjoy an unusual period of synchronized growth, a constructive pattern last seen in the mid-2000s. US growth was primarily driven by consumer spending of 3.8%. US consumer spending is supported by US consumer credit outstanding which grew at an annualized rate of 8.8% – well ahead of GDP growth.

Bank earnings continued to roll in this week. Retail banks reported that credit card losses rose 20% year-over-year to $12.5 Bn.  Credit card losses as a percentage of outstanding receivables have increased to 4.5% from 2.9% in 2015 as credit normalization trends continue. The combination of high consumer credit growth relative to GDP, full employment levels, and low productivity growth is casting doubts on whether 3%+ GDP prints are sustainable.

Earnest Co-Founder Steps Down a Few Months After Selling Startup (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Louis Beryl, co-founder and chief executive officer of Earnest Inc., left the online lender this week after selling his company in October.

The San Francisco-based startup was acquired by student loan provider Navient Corp. for $155 million after a lengthy search for a buyer. Beryl and his co-founder, Ben Hutchinson, were supposed to remain at the firm and continue running Earnest as a separate unit within the company. Hutchinson remains there as chief operating officer, Navient said.

Don Davis of Prime Meridian (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • When marketplace lending first got on Don’s radar.
  • Why he decided to start Prime Meridian.
  • How his offerings have expanded from one product to four.
  • The total AUM they are at today.
  • Who their typical investor is today and how that has changed over the years.
  • How his conversations with investors have changed.
  • What investors misunderstand about the space today.
  • What platforms his company is investing on today.
  • How they conduct due diligence on new platforms.
  • Don’s views on why some of platforms have failed.
  • How the investor pullback of 2016 affected Prime Meridian.
  • The state of the marketplace lending industry today.
  • What areas Don likes most and what he likes least.
  • The only two things that matter for marketplace lending platforms.
  • How he has been able to grow his company so quickly.
  • What’s next for Prime Meridian.

A bank’s unfolding plan to enter online consumer lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Meta Financial Group in Sioux Falls, S.D., has struck a deal to provide personal loans to customers of Liberty Lending, an online lender based in New York.

The $5.2 billion-asset Meta said it expects to originate $500 million to $1 billion in personal loans during the three-year partnership. The program marks Meta’s first foray into the direct-to-consumer credit business.

Discover CEO bashes online lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Discover Financial Services CEO David Nelms said this week that many of the online lenders that have emerged in recent years do not understand how to underwrite the loans properly over the long run. He also jabbed at the technology-focused firms for their failure to achieve profitability.

JP Morgan Chase invests $ 20bn for new branches and jobs (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

JP Morgan Chase has unleashed a five-year $20 billion investment plan that includes 400 new branches, 4,000 jobs and an increase in staff wages across the US.

It is also a stark contrast to yesterday’s report concerning branches in 2017. Last year, US banks accelerated their pace of branch closures, shutting down 2,069 locations (an 18% increase compared to 2016).

According to JP Morgan Chase, these new branches and bankers will help the firm increase small business lending nearly 20%, or $4 billion, over three years.

7 failed fintech ideas that might succeed today (PaymentsSource), Rated: A

Blippy’s card-sharing social network

Contactless payment cards

Opendoor Raises $ 135M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Opendoor, a San Francisco, CA-based online home-selling service, raised $135m in funding.

The round was led by Fifth Wall Ventures and Lennar with participation from Rialto Capital Management.

Technology will have a massive impact on your financial future: here’s why (The Next Web), Rated: A

For consumers, that’s mostly good news; it means you have access to more services in a digital format, and at a much less expensive rate. For the finance industry, this is coming with big changes; as banks digitize more, Citigroup estimates that the industry will lose 1.7 million jobs or more to automation and digital environments.

On a level that’s probably more familiar with mainstream consumers, we can look to the emergence of money savings appsstock exchange appsbudgeting apps, and other tools designed to make financial management easier for the average customer.

As many as 45 percent of financial intermediary services are victims of economic crime every year, which makes security and privacy top concerns for the finance industry.

 

Ladenburg Thalmann Launches Tech Innovation Platform (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Brokerage and advisory firm Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services has announced the launch of its Enterprise Innovation initiative and Innovation Lab. The company said innovation strategist Dan Sachar has been named as the vice president of enterprise innovation.

United Kingdom

P2P Lending Tops £3.1 Billion in 2017, Q4 Sees Borrowers Shift to Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has published aggregate fourth quarter data for of 2017 for its member platforms. The P2PFA shows that during 2017 £3,145,098,842 in peer to peer loans were facilitated. Cumulative lending transacted through P2PFA member platforms exceeded £8 billion.

Funding Circle heads for market (The Times), Rated: AAA

Sources close to the lender said it was in “no hurry” to do an initial public offering but, if markets remain favourable, the float could go ahead in the second half of this year.

Atom Bank chairman to step down (AltFi), Rated: A

Anthony Thomson, the founder of UK challenger bank Atom Bank, is planning to step down from his role as chairman after it completes its latest £150m fundraise.

Existing non-executive director, Bridget Rosewell, will be taking over the helm of the Durham-based lender, subject to regulatory approval.

Best buy-to-let areas in the UK for 2018 (Simply Business), Rated: AAA

LendInvest’s latest buy-to-let index is out, and it makes great reading for landlords looking for the best buy-to-let areas.

  • Manchester is currently the best place to buy-to-let in England and Wales. It ranked highest for rental yields (5.55 per cent) and rental price growth (5.76 per cent). Manchester took the top spot after a steady climb up LendInvest’s rankings throughout 2017.
  • Colchester in Essex and Luton in Bedfordshire are in second and third position, with rental yields of over 3.78 per cent. Colchester has the strongest capital gains of all postcode areas over the last 12 months, while Luton remains a popular commuter town within easy reach of London.
  • The Midlands is still the buy-to-let location to watch, though – Leicester rose an incredible 17 places to reach ninth place in December’s index, while Birmingham narrowly missed out on the top 10, coming in at 11th.

According to the research, here are the 10 best buy-to-let areas 2018:

  1. Manchester
  2. Colchester
  3. Luton
  4. Rochester
  5. Southend-on-sea
  6. Hull
  7. Romford
  8. Norwich
  9. Leicester
  10. Ipswich

Top 10 areas for capital gains in the UK

Area Capital gains
Colchester 11.96%
Southall 11.09%
Hemel Hempstead 10.27%
Slough 10.19%
Harrow 9.89%
Ipswich 9.44%
Luton 9.16%
Southend-on-sea 9.12%
Ilford 8.82%
Hull 8.46%
Source: LendInvest

FCA reports increase in advice firm numbers (Money Marketing), Rated: A

Figures drawn from regulatory returns show 5,270 financial advice firms had at least one staff member advising on retail investments, with a total of 25,951 advisers recorded as at the end of November 2017.

The number of advisers at banks and building societies continued to decrease, however, from 3,525 to 3,374. 34 banks had at least one adviser as at the end of November last year, compared to 38 the December before.

Expert Tips to Keep a Close Eye on your Cash Flow this Year (NewBusiness), Rated: B

Find the right finance for you

Here are some examples of the various types of external finance that may be available if you need a helping hand:

Bank loan – one of the most commonly chosen finance options. The loan will be fixed over an agreed period, with a fixed rate and monthly repayments.  Eligibility for this can be dependent on how long you have been trading for.

Peer-to-peer lending – this is a form of borrowing without using a traditional financial institution such as a bank or building society. The lending involves individuals or ‘peers’ where you are matched up to people willing to invest in, and lend money to, your business.

Merchant cash advance – an alternative financial solution if you have strong sales and good volume of card transactions every month. You receive a lump-sum payment to be repaid via an agreed percentage of your future credit and debit card transactions.

Business credit card – stay in control of your business expenses and keep your cash flow moving. A business credit card is a short-term flexible way to manage expenses.

London fintech start-up Duco raises £20m (The Times), Rated: B

Duco, which was founded eight years ago by a computer science postgraduate from University College London, allows financial institutions to manipulate enormous amounts of data through remote internet servers, popularly known as the cloud. It is understood the funding round values the company at about $100m.

China

Future FinTech Announces Digital Assets Transfer Agreement (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Future FinTech Group Inc. (NASDAQ: FTFT) (“Future FinTech”“FTFT” or “the Company”), a financial technology company and integrated producer of fruit-related products, today announced that on January 23, 2018, one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, DigiPay FinTech Limited (“DigiPay”), entered into an agreement to acquire 60% of the digital assets associated with DCON, a blockchain development project that has developed 100 communities utilizing blockchain technology and which intends to conduct a variety of financial businesses to provide users with a diversified blockchain experience.

European Union

Deposit marketplace Raisin surpasses €5bn after record year (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Since its founding four years ago, Raisin has returned its first cash flow positive month after passing €5bn in brokered savings deposits.

The European marketplace for savings and investment products increased its total customer deposits by over €3bn in 2017, after its international expansion efforts bolstered growth. The company now serves over 30 European markets, with around 20 per cent of all new customer acquisitions coming from abroad.

Europe’s Alternative Finance Sector Accelerates (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Europe’s online alternative finance market continues to grow, but remains dominated by the UK, new research shows. The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance says the market was worth €7.7bn by the end of 2016, the most recent period for which data is available, with €5.6bn of that total accounted for by the UK.

The data means the alternative finance market across Europe grew by 41 per cent during 2016, providing a range of valuable funding for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises that was not available from traditional funding sources. Stripping out the UK, however, the market was up by 101 per cent, with the less mature alternative finance industries of continental Europe now growing very rapidly.
The UK’s share of the European alternative finance market fell to 73 per cent in 2016 from 81 per cent a year earlier as other markets grew faster. France, Germany and the Netherlands are now the three largest alternative finance markets outside the UK, followed by Finland, Spain, Italy and Georgia.
Consumer lending remains the single biggest sub-sector of the alternative finance industry, with peer-to-peer lending sites accounting for 34 per cent of the marketplace. However, SME funding is significant, with peer-to-peer business lending, invoice trading and equity-based crowdfunding together accounting for 40 per cent of the market.
International

FintruX – Disrupting P2P Lending and Unsecured Loans on the Blockchain (ChipIn), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platforms are also still on a global uptick. In just one country where this new kind of access to capital is having a major impact, the UK, over $3.3 billion in P2P loans were facilitated in 2017. That number is expected to continue to rise globally this year, and blockchain is likely to be right in the middle of it.

The FinTruX Network is one of the world’s first blockchain-based online marketplaces for unsecured lending that connects the dots in an environment augmented by specialized servicing agents who can configure and construct each borrower’s (smart) contract in real time.

Cascading levels of credit enhancement help borrowers improve creditworthiness. Lenders are provided with several forms of reassurances that their money will be repaid. Loans are over-collateralized. Local third-party guarantors and cross-collateralization act as an additional kind of insurance.

And here is the best part: All of this is enabled by a system token which creates not only a fee structure but a tracking device, authenticator, and payment system, all in one place.

Robo Advice: Are ETFs the Solution? (CFA Institute), Rated: A

RiskSave and True Link are examples of such emerging technology. The portfolios generated from a broader spectrum of assets improve on the current robo model, offering more efficiency and superior risk-return characteristics.

Robo advice and digital asset management will open up financial advice to a much wider market. People who previously were priced out of financial advice will now be able to afford it. The reduced costs of robo advice in the United Kingdom could give as many as 16 million more people access to financial advice, according to estimates from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Are ETFs the correct solution?

Much of the financial management industry has concluded that ETFs are the future of automated advice. That is naive.

Tradeshift explores new Frontiers with innovation lab launch (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Business commerce platform Tradeshift has unveiled Tradeshift Frontiers, an innovation lab and incubator designed to apply emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), distributed ledgers, and internet of things (IoT) to business networks, supply chains, and global trade, reports David Penn at Finovate (FinTech Futures’ sister company).

India

FinTech platforms providing robust loan disbursal to MSMEs (Outlook), Rated: A

CreditMantri helps small business connect with NBFCs and banks on its platforms and avail financial assistance. The easy and hassle-free digital procedure makes it easy for a business to avail a loan in lesser time.

Aye Finance, along with its commercial operations, also funds its non-profit initiative to coach MSMEs on market knowledge, business book-keeping and advising on operations techniques. These, in turn, help sustain employment at the bottom of the pyramid. Aye Finance has already impacted an ecosystem of over 40,000 MSMEs through its business enterprise loans.

CoinTribe is confident about the adoption of digital in the SME segment especially as younger generations enter the domain. With increasing digital adoption in the country and expansion of the MSME sector, CoinTribe aims to facilitate USD 5 billion of loans through its platform over a period of 5 years and is rapidly scaling up its marketplace operations.

Faircent’s P2P model serving business loan requirements is an example of how far lending industry has come to serve MSMEs. The platform has over two lakh registered borrowers and 18,000 registered lenders.

South America

Columbia business launches $ 1.8M investment website (Columbia Daily Tribune), Rated: AAA

LoanPie, an online local marketplace based out of Columbia for residential and commercial real estate investing, last week launched its website with over $1.8 million in investments available.

The company seeks to introduce more accredited investors to the secondary mortgage market using a web-based platform. LoanPie’s goal is to create return on investment for 25,000 subscribers by the end of this year.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Will Amazon Lending Disrupt, Displace, or Prop Up Banks?

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started […]

Amazon Lending

Twenty-two years ago, when Jeff Bezos launched Amazon, no one ever thought the e-commerce startup would transform the retail industry landscape. In June, it made a statement-making purchase by buying Whole Foods for a staggering $13.7 billion. The company took advantage of technology, used an aggressive growth strategy, and disrupted the entire industry. It started as an online seller of books and CDs in 1995 and now the “everything store” has sales of more than $400 billion.

Amazon’s Lending Business

The company is virtually omnipresent in all businesses, be it furniture, electronics, food or entertainment. In 2012, it added yet another service to its stable: Small business loans.

Considering Amazon enables millions of small companies to sell their products across the globe, having its own lending arm was a no-brainer. Amazon’s entry into small-business lending could transform the banking industry in the same way it revolutionized retail. Just recently, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant announced that it has made $1 billion in small-business loans to more than 20,000 merchants in the United States, Japan, and the UK during the past 12 months. Since Amazon Lending launched in 2011, it has surpassed $3 billion in loans to small businesses. Further, more than 50 percent of the companies eventually take a second loan from Amazon.

Launching its own lending arm is a stroke of genius by Amazon, the company will earn interest on the loans while retailers (with the aid of the loans) will be able to sell more products on the Amazon website and thus will add to Amazon’s earnings. Its big pockets and negative working capital mean it has lots of cash to lend; a mammoth retailer database means it is fairly easy for Amazon to tap into the lucrative space.

“We created Amazon Lending to make it simple for up-and-coming small businesses to efficiently get a business loan, because we know that an infusion of capital at the right moment can put a small business on the path to even greater success,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice president for Amazon Marketplace, in a company announcement.

How Does Amazon Lending Work?

Amazon’s loan program is by invitation only. It offers short-term business loans ranging from $1,000 to $750,000 for up to 12 months to micro, small, and medium businesses selling on Amazon to help them grow their businesses. Loans are approved within 24 hours and, usually, loan money is used for inventory financing and business expansion.

Unlike traditional lenders, which use lengthy loan applications and require a host of documents, Amazon uses internal algorithms to invite sellers to the program based on the popularity of their products, inventory cycles, and other factors. It does not charge an origination fee or prepayment penalties. Furthermore, after establishing its foothold in SME lending, the company plans to branch out  into other markets where there are a lot more opportunities, such as Canada, India, France, and China.

To Be or Not To Be: A Bank

For now, the lending business is relatively a small part of its operations. But considering its vast resources and huge database, it will be interesting to see whether Amazon scales up its credit business and applies for a banking license.

According to a survey of 32,715 people in 18 countries conducted by Accenture, 31% of the respondents would switch to Google, Amazon, or Facebook for banking, if these companies offered financial services. In another report by CB Insights, Amazon has the highest customer satisfaction at 86% compared to Citi (82 percent), Capital One (80 percent), “all banks” (80 percent), TD Bank (79 percent) and Bank of America and Chase (each 75 percent). With more and more millennials opting against traditional banks, becoming a full-fledged financial institution does seem like a viable option. But will Amazon follow that path?

Regulatory Backdrop

Ever since marketplace lenders gained prominence in the financial circle, there has been a debate raging on whether or not to grant technology companies special banking charters that will allow them to compete with banks nationwide. Right now, the situation is vague with regards to regulations for technology companies. Wal-Mart, in 2006, applied for a banking license to establish an industrial loan company (ILC) in Utah. Eventually, lawmakers and banking groups blocked future banking efforts by Wal-Mart and tried to prohibit commercial companies from obtaining new ILC licenses.

Amazon can cause a similar backlash for itself and would rather want to concentrate on other aspects of its business than deal with the headaches of being a bank. Moreover, providing financial services is merely another avenue for plugging companies into the Amazon ecosystem. So the lending arm (as a non-bank) fits nicely into the overall scheme of things.

The Real Threat of Amazon

Amazon really doesn’t want to displace banks as they are one of the main consumers of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Rather, it wants to disrupt banking services. Amazon Web Services is the biggest provider of cloud computing and controls 45 percent of the global cloud infrastructure market. It is used by most of the major businesses and has become an absolute necessity for the financial sector.

“Amazon Web Services (AWS) is forming the backbone of the financial services ecosystem, with a diverse set of firms – from JP Morgan to startups such as Xignite – adopting AWS for data storage and processing,” a consulting report stated.

Apart from this, legacy banks are losing direct interaction with their customers. For example, USAA and Capital One are both experimenting with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa as a new consumer banking channel. Amazon is not taking any direct market share from banks; rather, it is becoming the customer interface for banks and putting them in the background.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon shapes its lending business with enterprise AWS contributing a sizeable chunk to the bottom line. But with hundreds of millions of customers and merchants on its platform, you can bet it will be at the vanguard of online lending.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.