Friday April 20 2018, Daily News Digest

Marketplace Lending Securitization League Table

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck closes $100M credit facility. LendingClub expected to announce quarterly sales of $152.18M. Affirm expands to cover smaller purchases. Funding Circle lends 80M GBP through IFISA. China Construction Bank opens robot-only branch. Today’s main analysis: Originator league table. UK P2P lending nears 9B GBP. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Top fintech investors by stage. Interview with […]

Marketplace Lending Securitization League Table

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United States

United Kingdom

China

Australia

Other

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Announces New 0 Million Revolving Credit Facility (PR Newswire) Rated: AAA

OnDeck announced today the closing of a $100 million asset-backed revolving credit facility with Pioneers Gate LLC, a lending vehicle of a leading life insurance company managed by 20 Gates Management. The new facility provides the longest revolving funding period of any of OnDeck’s funding sources, and the lowest interest margin of any of OnDeck’s variable-rate funding facilities to date.

Lending Club (LC) Expected to Announce Quarterly Sales of 2.18 Million (The Lincolnian Online) Rated: AAA

Wall Street brokerages expect that Lending Club (NYSE:LC) will announce sales of $152.18 million for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Three analysts have provided estimates for Lending Club’s earnings. The lowest sales estimate is $150.00 million and the highest is $154.53 million. Lending Club posted sales of $124.48 million during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year-over-year growth rate of 22.3%. The firm is scheduled to announce its next earnings results after the market closes on Tuesday, May 8th.

On average, analysts expect that Lending Club will report full-year sales of $688.45 million for the current financial year, with estimates ranging from $680.00 million to $693.30 million. For the next fiscal year, analysts expect that the company will post sales of $803.61 million per share, with estimates ranging from $773.00 million to $858.31 million. Zacks Investment Research’s sales averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that cover Lending Club.

Affirm Expands Offering to Cover Smaller Purchases with Simple, Transparent Payments (The Virginian Pilot) Rated: AAA

Affirm, Inc., the company founded by entrepreneur Max Levchin to provide fair and honest financial products, today announced Affirm will partner with brands and retailers to offer shoppers a simple, no-interest payment option on purchases of any size via three easy, monthly payments. Now, Affirm’s financial products are available for purchases of any size, marking an expansion for the company. Affirm will continue to offer shoppers the option to buy now and make simple, transparent payments over time for purchases up to thousands of dollars, with terms ranging from 3 to 36 months.

The expansion of Affirm’s capabilities will be especially valuable to fashion and apparel brands and retailers that want to offer a quick and convenient payment method that better aligns with shoppers’ cash flows and are more transparent than traditional credit.

PeerIQ Releases Their Marketplace Lending Securitization Tracker For Q1 2018 (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

We see another robust quarter for marketplace lending securitizations with $4.3 billion in new deals.

SoFi lead the way again with $2.6 billion or around 60% of the market with two huge student loan deals and a consumer loan deal.

Online Lending in Risk On Mode: Unprecedented 21 Months of Non Stop Securitization Issuance (Crowdfubd Insider) Rated: A

The most recent report stated that PeerIQ has observed an “unprecedented 21 months of non-stop issuance. Markets remain in a “risk-on” mode and MPL investor appetite continues to grow. This is a very bullish statement for online lenders coming at a time when interest rates are rising as is competition in the sector is increasing.

Top Seed-Stage FinTech Investors (Crunchbase News) Rated: AAA

Crunchbase News recently took a deep dive into the U.S. FinTech industry’s Q1 2018 venture activity. We found that deal volume in 2017 amounted to more than $7 billion in venture funding for seed, early, and late-stage startups. As 2018 came to a head, the number of deals in the space declined slightly, while venture capital dollars increased by 37 percent quarter over quarter.

The firm has made more than 690 investments in technology companies, with lead investments in 24 startups. Plug and Play also made an early bet on PayPal, now a public company with a market cap over $90 billion. California-based Hippo Insurance picked up an investment by Plug and Play in its $25 million Series B in January 2018. Hippo Insurance was coincidentally also mentioned in our Crunchbase News analysis of startups that have weird names.

Source: Crunchbase News

Defi Solutions, a SaaS platform for lenders, was the latest growth-stage FinTech company to score an investment by the firm. Bain Capital Ventures was the sole investor in the startup’s $55 million Series C in January 2018.

Source: Crunchbase News

RealtyMogul’s MogulREIT I Closes Senior Debt Investment in San Francisco (The Virginian Pilot) Rated: A

MogulREIT I today announced that it has completed an investment in a $6.69 million mixed use building in San Francisco, California, its 15 th acquisition since inception. MogulREIT I was designed to offer investors potential cash flow through managing a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate investments, including, but not limited to medical office buildings, multifamily apartment complexes, office spaces and retail shopping centers.

Ascentium Capital Surpasses $ 4 Billion in Originations (deBanked) Rated: A

Texas-based lender Ascentium Capital announced last week that it had surpassed $4 billion in origination volume since the company was founded in 2011.

The other business channel is a direct channel where Ascentium makes direct loans to small and medium sized businesses of up to $250,000. Depping told deBanked that the company’s direct channel makes up about 30 to 40 percent of its business.

Q&A: Renaud Laplanche on Starting Upgrade and Offering New Credit Products to Consumers (LendEDU) Rated: AAA

Q: It looks like you co-founded Upgrade with a total of 6 co-founders. How has starting Upgrade been unique from a team building perspective?

A: Over the last year we’ve on-boarded more than 250 team members across our three offices – San Francisco, California headquarters, Phoenix, Arizona operations center and Montreal, Quebec, Canada development center. It has been an incredible year, especially looking back at the team we’ve formed.

Q: How did the challenges of starting LendingClub compare to the unique challenges of starting Upgrade?

A: The challenges are quite different because the launch of each company stands about decade apart, so the landscape is very different.

Q: Beyond credit monitoring, how is Upgrade helping to educate consumers about their finances?

A: We believe helping people get smarter about credit can enable them to access more affordable credit in the future, and that’s why we launched Credit Health. Credit Health comprises of a range of tools that we think can help people understand their credit profile and what they can do to improve it. In addition to credit monitoring and alerts we offer Credit Health Insights – a library of educational articles and videos. Credit Health also features a credit simulator that gives you customized advice and tips tailored to your unique credit history. We haven’t seen other credit monitoring platforms offer this the same way we do.

Blockchain Startup Backed By Billionaire Bitcoin Bull Peter Thiel Gets $ 28 Million Investment (BTC Manager) Rated: A

Harbor, a blockchain startup backed by billionaire bitcoin bull Peter Thiel, has received an additional $28 million investment that it hopes will make blockchain real-estate investing a reality.

This latest cash infusion was led by Thiel’s Founders Fund, venture-capital fund Andreessen Horowitz, and cryptocurrency investment firms Pantera Capital and Craft Ventures. The San Francisco-based Harbor secured $10 million in Series A financing in February 2018, raising its total investments to $40 million.

LendingClub vs. Prosper Review: Here’s What You Need to Know (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

In recent years, there’s been rising interest in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. A report from Research and Markets estimates that P2P lending could grow by 53.06% between 2016 and 2020, while Transparency Market Research projects that the global P2P market will be worth $897.85 billion by 2024.

Source: Student Loan Hero

Need an Alternative to a Capital One Personal Loan? Here’s Where to Look (Student Loan Hero) Rated: B

For example, if you’re looking for a small loan — say, around $500 — you should skip online lenders. Most don’t provide loans for less than $1,000 or $2,000. Also remember that your credit score is vital to the approval process, so if you can’t get one on your own, consider getting a cosigner.

Source: Student Loan Hero

Why digital banks are welcoming CRA revamp (American Banker) Rated: A

To get a sense of why Ally Bank wants the Community Reinvestment Act rewritten, look at its situation in Utah.

Since it has no retail branches, the $137 billion-asset Ally is assessed for CRA compliance for its lending in Salt Lake City, where its bank is headquartered. But Ally gets no CRA credit for lending in Detroit, where its holding company is based and where nearly four in 10 households are living in poverty.

Quarles suggests new Fed approach to ILCs (American Banker) Rated: B

The Federal Reserve Board’s chief regulator suggested he was open to companies receiving industrial loan company charters, a sign that the central bank’s view on ILCs may be evolving.

“I don’t think of [ILCs] as a particularly special, excessively problematic case,” said Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles at an International Monetary Fund forum Wednesday.

Education Loan Finance Receives AAA Ratings on Inaugural Securitization Deal (Business Wire) Rated: A

Education Loan Finance (ELFI), a division of SouthEast Bank, focusing on student loan debt refinancing and consolidation, announces the close of its inaugural securitization of refinanced student loans. Education Loan Finance is the first student loan refinancing lender to receive the AAA rating from both Standard & Poor’s and DBRS on its senior notes in its first securitization transaction comprised of this type of education loan product.

The $200 million transaction was comprised of $24.784 million of variable rate Class A-1 Notes, $158.65 million of fixed rate Class A-2 Notes, and $16.566 million of Class B Notes. The Class B Notes are rated A by DBRS. Citi and Credit Suisse served as joint lead managers on the transaction.

The process of elimination in multiple-offer scenarios (The Ledger) Rated: A

If a house is listed for $400,000 and someone presents a cash offer for $380,000, that will not be favored over an offer for $400,000 from a person getting an 80 percent loan.

For example, a 75 percent loan from an online lender with no ties to the Nashville area could be trumped by a 100 percent loan from a local, well-known lender that provides physician loans.

Boulder solar power finance firm lands big bucks (like $ 112M of them) (Denver Business Journal) Rated: A

Boulder-based Wunder Capital, which lends money for commercial-scale solar power projects, said Wednesday it’s raised $112 million in equity and debt financing to grow the company.

The Series B financing round was led by New York City investment firm Cyrus Capital Partners, which manages $4 billion in investments. Existing investors also were involved in the round, including Techstars Ventures which led the company’s Series A round of funding in March 2016.

United Kingdom

£80m lent through Funding Circle Isa (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has announced that approximately £80m has already been lent to thousands of businesses through its Innovative Finance Isa (IFIsa).

The Isa offers an estimated tax-free projected return of 7.2% and is a flexi Isa which allows investors to take money out of their account and put it back later in the tax year without losing their tax-free entitlement.

There is an initial minimum investment of £1,000 and investors will be able to transfer exiting Isas into the Funding Circle Isa later this year.

 

 

P2PFA: UK Peer to Peer Lending Industry Nears £9 Billion in Total Lending (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has released Q1 data for its member platforms. According to the industry association, P2P lending is nearing £9 billion in loan originations having provided finance for approximately 50,000 business and 221,000 individuals. Total investors stand at around 150,000.

 

Source: Crowdfund Insider

How Starling Bank is taking cues from Amazon (Tearsheet) Rated: AAA

And digital-only banks with a license, like Monzo, Starling, Tandem and OakNorth, are growing market share.

What are the biggest problems with banking today?
Banking as it is today sucks — it’s hard to easily manage account openings, and [until recently] to send payments to friends. That’s why Venmo has been so successful, but this should be a thing banks do.  You shouldn’t have to read an FAQ to use the mobile app or set up a bill pay.

LendInvest Calls Upon UK Government to Improve Finance Access for Property SMEs (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

LendInvest reported that in a new report entitled Putting Finance First: the alternative route to funding Britain’s SME housebuilders, the online lender recognizes that while the government is trying to help improve the outlook for property SMEs, but then argues that not enough is being done to put rhetoric into action. The report focuses on three proposed initiatives that combine existing government-backed funding mechanisms with the experience and expertise of alternative lenders, like LendInvest, to speed up and increase the supply of finance to property SME businesses:

  • Homes England: Should deploy its £2.5 billion Home Building Fund through funding lines agreed with alternative lenders.
  • Local authorities: Should co-invest with alternative lenders in local developments, utilizing the Public Works Loan Board mechanism to provide discounted capital for SMEs.
  • The British Business Bank: Should appoint more alternative lenders to use the ENABLE Guarantee programme to underwrite property investment and development loans.

Malta-Based Decentralized Ventures to Spearhead Crypto Island’s Blockchain Services Provision (Blockchain News) Rated: B

Blockchain services provider Decentralized Ventures on Tuesday announced its official launch, with the objective of bolstering Malta’s crypto communities.

A partnership between initial coin offering (ICO) specialist TokenKey and token research and Blockchain consultancy Strategic Coin Inc., Decentralised Ventures is designed to support the Maltese government’s plans to create the world’s first fully regulated market for ICOs, DLT and virtual currencies, a statement said.

 

JustUs launches IFIsa to support ethical housing scheme (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: B

The IFIsa aims to raise £367,500 and will offer a return of up to 6.5% to investors.

JustUs will provide a bridging loan to Mersten for up to 50% of the property’s value to fund the renovation.

China

 

China Construction Bank opens robot-run branch (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

China Construction Bank (CCB) has opened a branch in Shanghai run solely on the power of pure technology.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the branch has no human staff and instead uses facial recognition, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to provide the bank services.

SCMP says it is hyped as a first for the Chinese banking industry, and the Beijing-based bank says it has installed 1,600 smart machines at its 360 branches in the city to ramp up its appeal to tech-savvy customers and trim staff costs.

CreditEase’s Hou outlines allocation outlook (Asian Investor) Rated: A

Beijing-based CreditEase, a peer-to-peer P2P lending platform and wealth management platform, has been busy building its roster of mutual fund, trust and insurance products.

European Union

iZettle squares up to Square with e-commerce platform launch (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Swedish mobile payments firm iZettle is taking on Square with the launch of its new e-commerce platform that will allow merchants to sell in-store and online.

Called iZettle E-commerce, it lets small business owners set up and customise a new webshop or start selling across channels online, including social media, blogs and existing websites.

International

Digital banking’s key trends: Demand, competition, mobile on the rise (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Two global studies — a study of 150,000 consumers polled by Gallup for the World Bank for its Global Findex Database, and a survey of 5,200 consumers by the tech giant Oracle — found complementary trends in the use and adoption of digital banking.

For example, 60% of customers globally want to open a bank account online, according to Oracle’s survey.

Many are already there: Sixty-seven percent of customers globally are on digital banking platforms now, according to Oracle; the World Bank reports that 515 million customers worldwide opened a banking account through a mobile money provider in the last three years.

 

More Than Half Of Cards Issued Globally Were EMV-Enabled (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Data from EMVCo shows that 54.6 percent of all cards issued globally by the end of 2017 were EMV-enabled.

In addition, the number of EMV payment cards in circulation around the world increased by 1 billion over the previous 12 months — to a total of 7.1 billion.

“Both EMV chip card issuance and EMV chip transactions surpassing 50 percent globally is testament to the increasing maturity of the worldwide infrastructure, and [is] a significant milestone for the payments community,” EMVCo Executive Committee Chair Jack Pan commented.

 

Australia

Australia’s top bank says it charged dead clients for advice (CNN) Rated: AAA

Australia’s top bank has admitted to charging fees to clients it knew had died years previously.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBAUF) told a government inquiry Thursday that the practice of billing deceased customers for financial advice stretched back years. In one instance, an adviser at the bank’s financial planning business was collecting fees from a client more than a decade after they had died.

The revelations emerged as part of a Royal Commission, or public inquiry, into malpractice in Australia’s financial services industry.

One winner from the banking royal commission (The Australian) Rated: B

The peer-to-peer lending space may be a major beneficiary of the poor practice scandals coming out of the Royal Commission, according to one non-bank lender.

ME hikes home loan interest rates: does this mark the end of super low rates? (MOZO) Rated: A

Online lender ME has announced it is increasing home loan interest rates across its variable mortgage range effective today, citing increased funding costs as the reason – and it’s not the first to do so.

ME hiked its standard variable rate for existing owner-occupier principal-and-interest borrowers with an 80% LVR by 6 basis points, bringing it to 5.09% p.a. (5.11% comparison rate).

Existing investor principal-and-interest borrowers were hit with a bigger increase of 11 basis points, while interest-only borrowers saw the biggest increase of 16 basis points.

Source: MOZO
Asia

 

High investor FOMO about P2P lending in SE Asia: Funding Societies co-founder Kelvin Teo (Deal Street Asia) Rated: AAA

Your Series B round is likely the largest for a P2P lender in the region. Is that a measure of how strong the investor interest in this space and the potential for the sector in Southeast Asia?

P2P lending is a promising sector in Southeast Asia. We see strong investor interest, but perhaps too much, especially for emerging markets like Indonesia where the fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) is high. SME lending is a technical and a very localized business, and Southeast Asia apparently is not easily understood. We did not realize the significance of them until we started speaking to investors for Series B. In all candour, it was slightly painful to interact with investors who do not know Southeast Asia and/ or lending business.

Is $25 million the amount that you were looking to raise? 

We have a trust-based relationship with our shareholders. Our early discussion with our Series A lead investor Sequoia was to raise US$ 10M – 15M.

Alternative investment opportunities in Việt Nam (Viet Nam News) Rated: A

Access to and use of formal financial services is low in Việt Nam compared with other countries in the region, with only 31 per cent of all adults having formal bank accounts in 2016, according to the World Bank.

In 2016, 14.6 per cent of Vietnamese had saved money with a formal financial institution, 18.4 per cent had a loan with a formal financial institution, and only 26.5 per cent had access to a debit card. Interestingly, about 30 per cent of adults borrowed from friends or family in 2016 in Việt Nam, against 18.4 per cent who have borrowed from a financial institution.

Latin America

Creditas investment a Brazilian first for Santander InnoVentures (Bankless Times) Rated: AAA

Santander InnoVentures, the fintech venture capital fund of Santander Group, announced today an investment in the startup Creditas, a Brazilian secured lending platform. This is Santander InnoVentures’ first investment in Brazil and second in Latin America.

Creditas also announced today an increase of its Series-C funding round to $55 million with the addition of Santander InnoVentures and Amadeus Capital Partners. The round was led by Vostok Emerging Finance (VEF), a company focused on early and growth stage fintech companies across emerging and frontier markets, based in Sweden. Current investors also participated in the round, including Kaszek Ventures, Quona Capital, QED Investors, International Finance Corporation and Naspers Fintech.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday April 13 2018, Daily News Digest

Friday April 13 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage to acquire Orchard Platform. Zopa to raise 50M GBP. RateSetter investors wait to file taxes. Shanlin Finance being investigated. Kaleidofin raises $2.8M. Today’s main analysis: Hedge funds depend on public information. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Online lenders adopt the model they disrupted. How Plaid became the happy plumbers. How hedge funds depend on public information. United […]

Friday April 13 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Other

News Summary

United States

Kabbage to Acquire Startup Backed by Wall Street Titans (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Orchard Platform Markets LLC, a provider of lending data and services backed by the former heads of Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley, is set to be acquired by small-business lending platform Kabbage Inc., said people familiar with the deal.

Kabbage plans to use Orchard’s technology, and some of the employees are also expected to move to Kabbage’s New York office, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. It’s unclear how much Kabbage will pay, and the transaction could still fall through. Kabbage and Orchard declined to comment.

FUNDS USE PUBLIC INFO TO COMPLEMENT PRIVATE SIGNALS (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

Alan D. Crane and two colleagues have written a paper on whether and how hedge funds profit from publicly available information, in particular from SEC filings.

To choose the most likely among the other three, the Rice authors looked at so-called “scrapers,” that is, funds whose essentially strategy is the systematic scraping of the SEC website. Scrapers perform best when filings are long and complex. A long and complicated filing will likely contain important information in the details – information that only a scraper is likely to find.

Source: Do Hedge Funds Profit from Public Information?

Read the full report here.

See where Cincinnati ranks for fraud alerts (Cincinnati Business Courier) Rated: A

The bad news is Cincinnati made the list of 50 U.S. cities, according to Charlotte, N.C.-based LendingTree. The good news is the Queen City finished near the bottom of the list, tied for 45th place with Kansas City, Mo.

See where Denver ranks for fraud alerts (Denver Business Journal) Rated: A

The bad news is that Denver made the list of 50 U.S. cities, according to Charlotte, N.C.-based LendingTree. Among LendingTree users in Denver, 6.2 percent have fraud alerts on their credit reports.

Online lenders adopt the model they sought to disrupt (American Banker) Rated: AAA

This week, at the online lenders’ largest annual conference, much of the talk was about building something closer to a full-service bank, albeit one designed for the digital age.

“If the only thing you’re doing is lending money online, it’s going to go the way of the dinosaur,” said Rob Frohwein, the CEO of Kabbage, which started in loans but has added more products for its small-business customers. “Our objective is to sit at the financial nerve center of small businesses.”

Source: American Banker

MoneyLion, a New York-based online lender that focuses on consumers who lack a financial safety net, announced plans to start offering deposit accounts.

Payday Lenders Sue the CFPB Over Consumer Protection Rule (LendEDU) Rated: A

Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), the main trade association for payday lenders, filed the lawsuit on April 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, according to The Washington Post.

At issue is a CFPB rule, effective in August 2019, that could alter the way payday lenders do business. Lenders will be required to verify if borrowers can afford their requested debt prior to receiving money, and the number of times borrowers can take out consecutive loans will be capped.

How Plaid Became Fintech’s Happy Plumbers — And Built A Business Approaching $ 1 Billion (Forbes) Rated: AAA

Plaid software acts as a kind of plumbing, connecting apps to each new user’s bank to quickly confirm an account holder, without any penny deposits or paperwork.

PLAID HOOKS INTO around 10,000 banks. Its internal fortunes have improved, with $59 million in funding from investors such as Spark Capital, NEA and the venture arms of Citi and American Express. In 2016, its $44 million Goldman-led Series B valued the company at $250 million. Today, with sales quadrupled, the company has recently received funding interest valuing the company at $1 billion, according to a source with knowledge of its finances.

Look under the hood at startups like Acorns, Betterment, Coinbase and Clarity Money, and you’ll find Plaid humming away. Developers love Plaid’s fast tech; founders and their investors like saving money by not having to build their own connections. “We built this for ourselves,” Hockey says, “solving problems that were incredibly hard to do.”

Plaid’s own public status page reveals connections to banks with uptime of 98% or even 95%—meaning that 5 out of every 100 authentications with that bank will fail in that moment, a rate that would be unacceptable were it not for the difficulties imposed by the banks.

Fly now, pay later: Are travel loans a good deal? (WTOP) Rated: A

Travel lenders say they appeal to people with average credit scores who may not qualify for travel reward cards that require excellent credit. The loans also can make sense for people who are building credit and prefer the discipline of fixed payments over credit cards’ revolving payments.

White Oak Partners with C2FO on New Venture (Nasdaq GlobeNewswire) Rated: B

White Oak Global Advisors, LLC on behalf of its institutional clients (collectively “White Oak” or the “Company”), announced today that it has partnered with C2FO, the world’s largest market for working capital, to offer new and innovative receivable financing options to C2FO’s extensive network of businesses throughout the U.S.

With the White Oak partnership, C2FO can provide businesses access to additional funding options when early payment is not available from out-of-network customers.

Premium Title Expands National Footprint by Securing Escrow Licensing in Four New States (Altisource) Rated: B

Premium Title, a national provider of title and escrow services, today announced it has secured escrow licensing in Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. This additional licensing expands the business’ footprint and allows Premium Title to now provide clients with direct title/settlement services in 45 states plus Washington, D.C.

 

United Kingdom

Zopa is Raising £50 Million, Shuffles Board as it Preps for Bank Launch (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

The grande dame of peer to peer lending in the UK, Zopa, is raising £50 million at a valuation of £400 million, according to several reports.  SkyNews states this most recent funding round will be led by current investors including Wadhawan Global Capital out of India. The report does not preclude new money joining the round.  Zopa raised £32 million last summer to help fuel its transition into the next generation digital bank. A forthcoming initial public offering is said to be in the queue as well.

The company also revealed a restructuring of boards. The bank and the online lending vertical will now have separate boards to help guide strategy.

Christine Farnish, the founding Chairperson of the UK P2PFA, will become the Chair of Zopa’s peer to peer lending board. Farnish is widely respected within the global P2P industry as well as with public officials and thus represents a significant addition to Zopa’s leadership.

On the banking side, former Standard Chartered executive Richard Goulding, Paul Cutter of  Paddy Power Betfair and former Tandem CEO Peter Herbert will be joining the board. Herbert will reportedly become Zopa Bank board chair.

RateSetter investors facing wait to file tax returns early (Peer2Peer Finance News) Rated: AAA

RATESETTER investors looking to file their tax return early have been stifled by the platform removing its tax statement functionality for enhancements.

The deadline for paper tax returns is at the end of October this year or it can be done online by 31 January 2019, but some may want to file at the start of the tax year in April if they are owed a tax refund.

 

LendInvest Syncs with IRESS & Twenty7Tec: Bringing BTL Loans to Wider Market (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

LendInvest, the specialist property finance lender, has partnered with mortgage sourcing partners Twenty7Tec and IRESS’s TriGold system to bring its Buy-to-Let product to more intermediaries. These sourcing systems now bring LendInvest BTL loans to the market in a faster, more efficient way to reach a wider range of customers.

Landbay Surpasses £1.4 Million Through Latest Seedrs Campaign & Announces Funding Round Closing Date (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

UK-based peer-to-peer lender Landbay announced on Thursday it is set to close its latest equity crowdfunding round on Seedrs next Tuesday (April 17th). The campaign quickly secured its initial £1.25 million and has successfully raised more than £1.4 million thanks to over 250 investors.

Landbay reported that more than 25% of mortgages on its platform have been originated in the last three months. The lender has had no defaults and no losses to date.

JustUs launches investment opportunity with Mersten (Manchester Business News) Rated: B

JustUs has partnered with property developer, Mersten, to launch the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) investment.

Initial funds will be used to renovate and develop a property in south-west London, which will help house residents with learning disabilities and those that require 24/7 care.

Founder Gandesha steps down as chief executive at Property Partner (Property Week) Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding platform Property Partner has announced RFIB Group chief executive Marshall King as its new top man replacing outgoing chief executive and founder Dan Gandesha.

Gandesha founded the crowdfunding platform in 2015 and overseen year-on-year revenue growth of more than 100% since then as chief executive. He will remain in the company as a member of the board but has stepped down from the top position ahead of plans to relocate to Ireland with his family at the end of the month.

REITs still offer a huge opportunity for the sector (Inside Housing) Rated: A

Combined with the greater flexibility enjoyed by private investors since the pensions freedom reforms of 2015, this has spawned the rapid growth of a new investment class known as “alternative income”.

Although these funds are structured as equity, investors are looking for something which is more akin to a fixed income product, ie stable sources of income (dividend yields are usually 5% or more and sometimes index linked) backed by secure revenues from real assets or other receivables.

More recently another REIT called Fundamentum launched a £150m fundraising in spite of recent sharp falls in the share prices of two social housing REITs.

How to master investment portfolio diversification in 2018 (IG) Rated: B

1. Invest via funds

Funds offer instant diversification, by spreading your investment across a range of stocks and shares which are all linked by a common theme. If you have an interest in one particular sector or geography, a dedicated investment fund is a great way to introduce your money to new areas without taking on too much risk.

2. Create a balanced portfolio

Traditionally, a ‘balanced’ portfolio refers to a portfolio which is largely split between equitiesand bonds, with a small amount of money held in cash.

3. Review your portfolio regularly

As your portfolio matures, you will find that your risk appetite or investment goals change significantly.

China

Private P2P Lender Shanlin Finance Under Investigation (Capital Watch) Rated: AAA

On April 10, Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lending company Shanlin Finance, which reportedly has over $2 billion in assets under management, was shut down by Shanghai authorites. On the same day, investors reported difficulities withdrawing money from Shanlin’s homepage, and the Shanlin Fortune App, which officially launched on May 10, 2016, could no longer be opened.

On that evening, reporters from a website, ndb.com, went to Shanlin’s headquarter in Shanghai and found the office area was still brightly lit, and a display screen in its lobby was still playing Shanlin Finance’s promotional videos. However, there were no employees working in the office, except several security personnel, and at least five workers were using carts to carry a number of packed carton boxes to a truck parked outside the building.

India

Indian fintech Kaleidofin raises $ 2.8 million for services to unbanked (Impact Alpha) Rated: AAA

About 200 million households in India have no access to formal banking, insurance and investment services. Chennai-based Kaleidofin uses algorithms to tailor financial services to the needs of the unbanked. Investors includes Omidyar Network, Blume Ventures and individual investors.

Asia

PublicInvest maintains outperform on N2N Connect (The Star) Rated: A

PublicInvest Research said it is favourable on N2N Connect Bhd‘s prospects and maintained its outperform call on the stock while awaiting more details on its latest stake acquisition plan.

N2N had announced that it plans to acquire 28% interest in Australian-based OurMoneyMarket Holdings Pty Ltd for A$2.8mil cash.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday September 15 2017, Daily News Digest

ZhongAn Chinese fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: CFPB issues first no-action letter to online lender. SoFi defends its mortgage underwriting standards. Was SoFi’s FICO-free zone really FICO-free? RealtyShares raises $28M for commercial real estate investing. Betterment partners with Goldman Sachs, BlackRock. JustUs receives full FCA authorization. Raisin offers term deposits to businesses. Earthport partners with Cross River Bank. Reserve Bank of India waiting for government […]

ZhongAn Chinese fintech

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United States

CFPB Issues First No-Action Letter To Online Lender (Law360), Rated: AAA

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday issued its first no-action letter to online lender Upstart Network Inc., allowing the company to continue using alternative credit data to evaluate borrowers in exchange for providing data to the federal consumer finance watchdog.

SoFi defends mortgage standards, denies Fast Company allegations (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

SoFi, also known as Social Finance, adamantly said it doesn’t shy from criticism, stepping up to defend itself amid the recent negative news coverage on the company’s alleged toxic workplace environment.

Included in Fast Company’s coverage of the fintech company is a bold claim that “in the first round of SoFi mortgages, some homes lacked appraisals.”

According to a SoFi spokesperson:

In late 2014, we tested a simplified version of our home mortgage product that used paystubs for income verification and did not require home appraisal. The test did not proceed into a launched product, and we launched our mortgage product with requirements for full income verification and home appraisal, which is still the case today. All of these mortgages met the ability-to-repay standards promulgated by Dodd-Frank and none of these pilot mortgages were ever sold to investors, and we continue to hold those loans on our balance sheet.

SoFi’s “FICO-Free Zone” Loan Process Was Maybe Actually Rather Full Of FICO (Dealbreaker), Rated: AAA

It turns out that when SoFi executives and employees weren’t banging the “collateral” out of each other in parked cars or office bathrooms, they were being less than honest with loan applicants about how their loan applications were being evaluated.

According to conversations with numerous former SoFi employees, the company’s “FICO-Free Zone” loan product actually relied quite heavily on evaluating applicants by their FICO score. After very publicly announcing in early 2016 that SoFi would no longer use FICO scores to evaluate loans, sources tell Dealbreaker that the company saw defaults tick up and made the internal to decision to reintegrate FICO data. No announcement of the shift back was ever made, the “FICO-Free” language disappeared from the website and some evidence of the SoFi’s move away from FICO was even scrubbed from the company’s blog.

Eager to please, did SoFi close early mortgages without appraisals? (Housingwire), Rated: A

I’ve sat on panels that discuss all the benefits the aforementioned Silicon Valley approach brings to housing. Having SoFi around isn’t one of them, if their underwriting standards are as bad as some claim.

If this article at Fast Company proves true, this explosive headline is correct: At SoFi, The Problems Go Way Beyond Its Toxic Workplace.

Ainsley Harris writes: “In the first round of SoFi mortgages, some homes lacked appraisals.”

Why on earth would a lender not get the value of the collateral it was lending to? Did SoFi think in-depth valuations where unnecessary? Do investors know that SoFi doesn’t know how much these homes are worth in the event of an REO?

Let me say this, whatever the reason to potentially forego appraisals, SoFi’s investors will disagree with that decision. The Fast Company revelation is so baffling that SoFi’s plan for an IPO will be delayed, perhaps indefinitely.

Let’s hope so. A company that plays fast and loose with its own people is shameful. A company that plays fast and loose with prudent lending practices is downright dangerous.

Here is SoFi’s Response to NYT Article that Criticized Operations & Culture at Fintech Firm (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

SoFi has published a public letter addressing the allegations leveled by NYT.com earlier this week.

The letter is republished in its entirety below. (Ed. Note: Excerpted by Lending-Times)

Mortgage: The story cites unnamed sources saying there was some period where we were “not doing enough” to validate income for mortgage borrowers. This is an incredibly vague claim, and we have no idea what this means. We underwrite our mortgage loans consistent with market standards, which includes rigorous income verification, and consistent with the ability to repay requirements put in place by Dodd-Frank.

Personal Loans: The story implies that our personal loans business grew in part because of a change in the way loans were approved: that customer service reps were approving loans rather than underwriters. That view reflects a lack of understanding of our business. We underwrite loans using a highly automated platform where all credit decisions are made by a pre-defined algorithm that analyzes each applicant’s credit profile and ability to pay.

A Thriving Business: The story did mention our business performance, and indeed, SoFi is thriving. Since inception, we have funded more than $20 billion in loans, $3.1 billion in the second quarter alone. In Q2, we had $134 million in revenue, up 67% year over year, with adjusted EBITDA of $61.6 million, up 60% year over year. We have more than 350,000 members, and they like what we do – our products run Net Promoter Scores in the 60-80 range, among the highest in financial services.

RealtyShares raises $ 28 million for commercial real estate investing (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

RealtyShares is raising a $28 million Series C round led by Cross Creek Advisors, with participation from existing investors including Union Square Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Menlo Ventures.

Founder and CEO Nav Athwal says that RealtyShares has over 120,000 users on the platform. The startup says it has deployed over $500 million across more than 1,000 properties since it was founded in 2013.

Credit markets need legislative guidance after Madden decision (American Banker), Rated: AAA

In a recent op-ed in American Banker (derived from a longer blog post), professor Adam Levitin argues that the recent legislative proposals to “fix” the repercussions of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s Madden v. Midland Funding decision are “overly broad and unnecessary and will facilitate predatory lending.” The legislation Levitin opposes would restore the ability of banks to sell loans to nonbanks and have the loans remain valid on their original terms, the type of transaction on which the Madden decision has cast doubt. I disagree, at least with regard to marketplace lending. There are compelling legal and policy arguments to undo the Madden decision that Congress should consider.

Levitin is certainly right that the Nichols case and the similar 19th-century cases reflect a different fact pattern than was presented in Madden. It does not necessarily follow, however, that the principle of valid-when-made should not also apply under the Madden facts.

The issue at question in Madden, the interest charged on the loan, was set by the bank at the loan’s inception. The borrower got the benefit of the federal regulatory regime, which includes the incorporation of the bank’s home state usury law, when the loan was created, and the relevant characteristics did not change. So why is there suddenly a problem?

The impact of Madden on innovative credit is harmful to borrowers

Madden also appears, as would be expected, to be reducing access from marketplace lenders to credit for borrowers with lower credit scores. Contrary to Levitin’s argument, a recent study shows a reduction in credit availability not just for borrowers with FICO scores under 625 (though that is where the reduction is most pronounced). The study indicates that borrowers in New York and Connecticut with FICO scores under 700 saw a reduction in availability relative to comparable borrowers outside the Second Circuit.

For example, it is important to keep in mind that the majority of marketplace loans are used to pay off bank-issued credit cards (which are not subject to borrower state usury laws) or consolidate existing debt. Denying borrowers access to these loans does not leave the borrowers unencumbered by debt; it leaves them in the situation they view as worse than taking out this new loan. This is especially true given that there is evidence that marketplace lenders can help provide expanded access and competition, services in areas that have few banks, and better pricing for some borrowers than they would receive from banks. Cutting off access isn’t protecting borrowers, it is leaving them with fewer, perhaps inferior, tools to protect themselves.

Usury caps can lead to loan arrangements being distorted in ways that make the loans legal but worse for the borrower. We see examples of this in the shift from payday to “payday installment” and subprime auto loans, where lenders bound by interest rate caps change the loan principal amount or repayment schedule to make the loans viable. These loans can actually be more expensive in total because the lower interest rate is applied to a higher principal over a longer time period. Larger loans also can be more expensive for borrowers if they pay them off early or go into default. Borrowers also could be forced into using suboptimal options like pawn shops or illegal loans, or find themselves without credit altogether.

Betterment struck a deal with 2 Wall Street giants to provide its 270,000 users more investment options (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Betterment, the largest roboadviser with $10 billion under management, has enlisted the support of financial juggernauts Goldman Sachs and BlackRock for two new portfolio options.

The portfolio managed by Goldman Sachs is a smart-beta option, providing users with a more aggressive alternative to Betterment’s core portfolio, which allocates money to stocks and bonds, according to Arielle Sobel, a spokeswoman for the firm. It will be more exposed to emerging markets and REITs, according to a press release.

Wealthfront, Betterment’s San Francisco rival, announced an in-house-built smart-beta portfolio in June, according to a company spokeswoman.

The other portfolio option is an income-based portfolio, managed by BlackRock, the largest fund manager in the world with $5.7 trillion under management. It provides investors a more conservative option and delivers target income.

The imperative for self-sovereign identification (get lost Equifax) (TheFinanser.com), Rated: AAA

As we have known for a long time now, it is no longer good enough to use customer’s personal information for account access. After Ashley Madison and so many other incidents (Tesco Bank, Lloyds Bank, JPMorgan Chase, SWIFT, the Federal Reserve, the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security eBay, Yahoo, Google, Adobe, Target, Neiman Marcus, Home Depot …), surely we should be moving away from this antiquated system. Bear in mind it’s been used for almost two decades, it’s no wonder the system is no longer working.

So the banks add second-factor authentication (2FA) with secure entry pads and PINs, but they still rely on personal information for account access when you ring their call centres, and this is just annoying.

Is there a solution?

First is biometrics and TouchID, voice, eyes and more can easily be used for authentication via a smartphone. Why banks aren’t incorporating these into their onboarding and access mechanisms beggars belief …. or maybe not, as banks would need modern systems to use such radical authentication techniques, and that’s a big ask. Far easier to rely on name, address, date of birth and all the information the hackers stole from Equifax.

Source: TheFinanser.com

Emerging technologies (particularly blockchain, although not exclusively) are making the development of “self-sovereign identity” a real possibility.

The basic idea behind self-sovereign identity is that rather than have our information held by third parties (often without us even knowing what that information is) and used to guarantee our identity and make decisions that affect us; we could turn the entire model on its head and give each individual control over their own digital identity.

With self-sovereign identity, you would hold all of the different elements of your online identity in a “box” or “wallet”, and would then be able to choose which of those elements to reveal in any given context.

Anuj Nayar Leaves PayPal For Lending Club (Holmes Report), Rated: A

PayPal’s global head of product communications Anuj Nayar has left to become head of communications at peer-to-peer investment company Lending Club.

In his new role that starts on Monday, Nayar will be in charge of the team running all internal and external communications, as well as social media, for the $2.5 billion publicly-traded fintech company.

A recap of Goldman’s summer siege on fintech lending (AltFi), Rated: A

Last night we learned that Goldman Sachs is poaching roughly 20 employees from online lender Bond Street, which seems to have paused making new loans, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It is indicative of Goldman’s strategy that the bank has forced its way onto the AltFi (“Alternative Finance”) homepage three times this week. Those incursions were tied to its £100m investment in UK employee benefit lender Neyber, its $300m deal with home solar financing firm Mosaic, and the announcement that it plans to launch an online bank in the UK.

So its latest decision, to nab 20 workers from the dormant Bond Street, is not without precedent. But Bond Street is not a consumer lender. It offers term loans of up to $1m to small businesses. Could Goldman, then, be sizing up an expansion into small business lending for Marcus?

Open the door to new loan opportunities without sacrificing security (CUInsight), Rated: A

Year-to-year, community financial institutions have become more conservative about consumer lending. So as to not open themselves up to additional risks, many of these institutions tend to only service consumers with prime and super prime credit. However, consumers with non-prime credit make up a solid portion of the consumer lending market, so this desire to stick with “safer” loans leaves quite a few loan opportunities on the table. And when many community financial institutions are dropping their rates to as low as 0% in order to compete with large national lenders for prime and super prime consumers, missing additional revenue opportunities for your loan portfolio is not a small matter.

Market disruptors like retail lenders (i.e. Costco), mobile lenders (i.e. AutoGravity), and peer-to-peer lenders (i.e. Lending Club) are finding ways to bypass the existing banking system, credit bureaus and financing requirements to lend to this highly sought after demographic.

Got Student Debt? Soon Your Employer Might Help With That (Buzzfeed), Rated: A

Fidelity Investments introduced a program Thursday that will let employers make regular payments to their employees’ student loan accounts, much the way companies already pay into their workers’ 401(k)s or health care savings accounts.

Some smaller financial services companies already facilitate this type of benefit program, such as First Republic Bank and startups like Student Loan Genius and SoFi.

But the entry into the market of Fidelity Investments — one of the country’s biggest mutual fund, money management and financial planning companies — is a sign that student debt relief may soon become a mainstream benefit that employers will have to offer to remain competitive.

This Startup Is an ATM for the Money You Haven’t Been Paid Yet (Inc.), Rated: A

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, on the other hand, even small unexpected expenses can put you in the red. The two weeks between paychecks is an eternity for an hourly worker whose credit card is already maxed out, or who doesn’t have one to begin with. Every parking ticket and hospital co-pay is a potential crisis. By the time payday comes, it’s too late — the next crisis has already arrived.

Financial technology startup DailyPay thinks giving people in this situation more frequent access to wages would go a long way toward solving this problem and putting them on the path to financial security.

DailyPay’s solution works like this:

1) The startup integrates with a company’s established payroll and time-tracking systems. Instead of going directly to an employee’s bank account, paycheck deposits are set up to go through DailyPay first.

2) An employee can withdraw wages he or she has earned but not yet received throughout the two weeks or month before formally getting the paycheck. DailyPay fronts the money for a small fee, and keeps the expense on its balance sheet.

3) Come payday, DailyPay deducts whatever money the employee has already withdrawn, and sends the rest of the paycheck through to the employee’s bank account.

Perhaps Lee likens his service to an ATM because the more obvious comparison — a payday loan provider — is often considered predatory.

One key difference is that DailyPay interfaces directly with employers, positioning itself as an HR benefit. DailyPay’s pitch to other companies is that flexible payroll reduces turnover, which is good for the bottom line, and the service is free to implement. One internal study of 20 DailyPay clients found that turnover shrank by 40 percent on average after they adopted it.

Mosaic Will Sell $ 300 Million Worth of Solar Loans to Goldman Sachs (GreenTechMedia), Rated: A

Solar loan provider Mosaic reached an agreement with Goldman Sachs in which the bank will buy $300 million in loans over time.

This deal will clear up space on Mosaic’s balance sheet to finance more loans, and signals a prestigious bank’s willingness to buy and own solar loans for itself.

Market Overheated? Not These Sub-Sectors (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Since I run an opportunistic portfolio that seeks out high upside “Fat Pitches” (soon to be a subscription service), it may seem as though I, too, would be stumped; however, I continue to find opportunities, albeit in sectors a bit off the beaten path.

While “value” and “high-growth tech,” may seem anathema to each other (wait till you see the next section), the three public fintech companies – Lending Club, Ondeck, and Elevate Credit – all seem undervalued today relative to their potential, and each have posted strong results in the recent quarter.

Ondeck, which lends to small and medium businesses, also recently decided to scale back its growth, raise rates, and cut staff. The company lowered orginations last quarter by 19% sequentially last quarter, but loss provisions as a percentage of revenues also fell from 8.7% to 7.2%. After implementing a $45 million cost reduction program, the company’s losses declined to only $1.5 million, down from $16 million in losses a year ago.

Speaking of acceptance, it may seem on the that the company that serves the subprime market – thought to be the riskiest of all – is the most profitable of the three. Elevate Credit has been doing everything right – though you wouldn’t know it by its languishing stock price. Last quarter, Elevate grew originations 29% and revenues by almost 19% (due to a higher mix of lower rate, but higher-quality loans), expanded its core RISE product to the state of Kansas—its 16th state, and was able to lower its interest rate on its high-cost funding from Victory Park Capital.

How A Bank And A FinTechs Are Jointly Cracking The Code On Financial Inclusion (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The teams at FinTech startup LendUp and Oakland-based Beneficial State Bank think very differently about that relationship. As LendUpCEO Sasha Orloff and Beneficial State Bank Co-CEO Kat Taylor told PYMNTS in a recent interview, banks and FinTechs need each other, and a very large segment of the population living on the margins of financial services in the United States need these two groups to work together as well.

That constituency, Orloff noted, isn’t always easy to serve – or to serve profitably – without relying on a business model that counts on its customers to fail and then charging sky-high fees for those failures. LendUp and Beneficial State Bank have a different approach: They want to invest and make money on their customers who are succeeding financially and are able to participate in the full spectrum of the financial system.

Fifty-six percent of Americans have a sub-prime credit score, meaning mainstream banks likely can’t approve them for their products; more than half of all Americans could not find $400 in the event of an emergency; and two-thirds of millennials have not started building any kind of credit score, in a system in which having no score or a poor score can cost a person $250,000 over their lifetime.

Lending money beyond what people can bear is the hallmark of predatory lending, she emphasized, and that’s not going to help the customer.

That alternative – the L Card, issued by Beneficial State Bank in partnership with LendUp – is a low annual fee card (starting at $0 and capped at $5 per month or $60 per year) that offers consumers a grace period for payments and even caps late fees (at $7). It has a higher interest rate – 19.99 percent to 29.99 percent – for a credit card than the national average, but according to The PEW Charitable Trusts, is a fraction of the payday lending rate, which is around 400%. Credit limits range from $300 to $1,000 based on credit score, and a year of timely payments and responsible behavior allow customers to double the limits.

CommonBond gets new CFO from Deutsche Bank (India Times), Rated: A

Jay Coleman, a Wall Street banker focused on equity raises and initial public offerings, has joined online lender CommonBondas chief financial officer, according to the company’s co-founder David Klein.

While still small, the company had lent about US$1bn to 12,000 borrowers as of May 1, according to Moody‘s Investors Service.

Coleman was poached from Deutsche Bank where he was head of private capital and equity capital markets execution, according to a CommonBond spokesperson. Prior to that he worked at Barclays, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley.

eOriginal Appoints Timothy Wall Chief Revenue Officer (Broadway World), Rated: B

eOriginal, Inc., a rapidly growing financial services technology company, has named Timothy Wall Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).

As CRO at eOriginal, Wall will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s sales organization and revenue development, including direct sales, channel sales, sales engineering and customer success.

Ex-U.S. Representative Nussle: credit unions are the ‘original disrupters’ in financial services (Radio Iowa), Rated: B

Former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle today said Iowa’s 94 not-for-profit credit unions have filled a void as banks throughout the country and in Iowa continue to consolidate.

More than 1.1 million Iowans are members of a credit union and the state’s credit unions have about $16 billion in assets, according to Nussle.

Nussle indicated the “speed of change” and stress in the industry has been rather dramatic, not only because of the “Great Recession,” but because of incidents like Wells Fargo’s admission that its employees created fake accounts without customers’ permission. The recent growth of on-line “peer to peer” lending presents credit unions with an opportunity rather than a challenge, according to Nussle, because credit unions are member-driven.

GDS Link Welcomes 2017 LEND360 to Dallas (PR Web), 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, retail finance, alternative financial services, credit card, auto, and business leasing, announced its role in bringing the fourth annual LEND360 to Dallas.

“The LEND360 Dallas host committee, co-chaired by Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer of Elevate Credit, Inc. and Paul Greenwood, President and Co-founder of GDS Link, and supported by other influential members of the fintech community, has been meeting since late 2016 to ensure a valuable attendee experience for the upcoming conference, assist with speaker development and engage innovative industry leaders to take part in the event,” according to a LEND360 press release.

Hear from Both Sides of the Aisle on the Future of Fintech (Business Insider), Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI), the leading voice for policy analysis, in-depth research, and education for the online lending industry, today announced its roster of speakers for the Second Annual Summit on Sept. 25 at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C. The Online Lending Policy Summit provides an opportunity for industry participants to share insights, propose standards, and have an open dialogue with regulators and policymakers to build consensus viewpoints on the regulation of online lending. Keynote addresses will be delivered by the following four policy leaders:

  • Keith Noreika, Acting Comptroller of the Currency. Mr. Noreika advocates for the need to embrace innovation while ensuring that new products and services do not present undue risk to the financial system. He will discuss how regulators and industry can work together on “responsible innovation” and with principles for governing the rapidly growing financial technology sector.
  • Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY-5), now in his tenth term, serves one of the most diverse constituencies in the nation. Mr. Meeks is known for being an effective, principled, and commonsense leader. Congressman Meeks is a senior member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, and is the lead Democratic sponsor of important legislation dealing with the Madden v Midland Funding court case.
  • Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN-6) represents Minnesota’s 6thDistrict in the U.S. House of Representatives. He began his congressional career on January 6, 2015 and serves as a key member of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. Prior to his congressional service, Mr. Emmer practiced law for several years, and followed his entrepreneurial calling and opened his own law firm.  In 2004, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and re-elected by overwhelming majorities in 2006 and 2008.  After a narrow loss in the 2010 gubernatorial race, Tom entered the radio business as a conservative radio host.
United Kingdom

JustUs Receives Full Authorization From the Financial Conduct Authority (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform JustUs announced this week it has received full authorization by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The online lender revealed that the full authorization is a pre-requisite to offer the JustUs Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) and registration forms have been submitted to HMRC with a planned launch of the ISA in October.

A Battle For The Soul of Peer-To-Peer Lending (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Crowd2Fund, a relative newcomer to the alternative finance industry, is accusing Funding Circle, one of the market leaders, of turning its back on the whole ethos of peer-to-peer lending.

The row follows an announcement last month by Funding Circle that it will no longer allow investors on its platform to choose which specific companies they want to lend their money to. Instead, the platform will automatically spread investors’ cash across a group of businesses looking for funds – much as a professional collective fund manager in any other asset class chooses investments on behalf of its investors.

Crowd2Fund said Funding Circle’s move reflected the larger platform’s increasing focus on large institutional investors in peer-to-peer lending, as well as concern about the growing regulatory scrutiny of the sector.

36% of UK adults did not save or invest last quarter (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Over a third of UK adults (36%) have not saved or invested any money in the last three months, according to the second instalment of RateSetter’s quarterly tracker.

On average, people saved or invested £232 each month in the last quarter.

The research also revealed:

  • men saved significantly more than women over the period (£296 a month, compared with £170)
  • 25- to 34-year-olds put away the most over the period (averaging £278 a month), followed by those aged between 35 and 44 (£260 a month)
  • young adults, aged between 18 and 24, put away the least (£154 a month).

ArchOver CEO: SMEs have “wrong attitude” in eschewing finance (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ARCHOVER’S chief executive Angus Dent (pictured) has urged small business owners to be more confident in taking on debt, after new figures showed that 80 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are refusing to apply for new finance.

The boss of the peer-to-peer business lender said that while their caution was understandable, it is the “wrong attitude” for SMEs that want to scale up.

LendInvest property academy receives public support (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: A

LendInvest  has received public support from three major industry bodies for its property development academy.

The Centre for Entrepreneurs, Homes for Scotland, and the Home Builders Federation have each praised the academy, which was established in 2016 to help develop the skills of aspiring and new small-scale housing developers.

ASTL conference: FCA praises regulated bridging market’s ‘rosy picture’ (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

Data from the FCA showed regulated bridging customers contrasted strongly with the stereotypical version, with just 3.3% of bridging loans going to credit impaired clients.

The regulator found bridging customers ware typically wealthier, older, more likely to be self-employed and bought bigger houses than standard mortgage customers.

The FCA data revealed:

  • Bridging is much more concentrated in London and the South East – around 40% of loans are in these regions compared to 26% for standard mortgage lending;
  • Significantly less bridging lending takes place in the north of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  • Median bridging loan value is around £208,000, compared to £143,000 for a standard mortgage;
  • Median property value is significantly higher at around £550,000 compared with a normal mortgaged property value of £230,000;
  • Significantly more bridging loans are on detached houses – 51% compared with 23%;
  • Average bridging customer age is 56, compared to 37 for a normal mortgage;
  • Bridging customer are more likely to be self-employed – 31% vs 11%;
  • Bridging customers are also significantly more likely to be retired at 28% vs 1% standard mortgage customers.

Why Investors are Excited about Birmingham (Landlord News), Rated: A

Birmingham, the site of LendInvest’s latest Property Development Academy, is a perfect example of this. Time and again we heard from attendees of just how exciting the city is for property development currently, and why they are so desperate to get cracking with their own development projects.

It’s notable that in last year’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate report from PwC and the Urban Land Institute, which looked specifically at which European cities present the best opportunities for investors, Birmingham was the best performing UK city. It ranked 22nd, ahead of cities like Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Brussels and Rome.

All of this has led to a thriving rental sector. Our most recent Buy-to-Let Index found that the city currently boasts a rental yield of a very strong 5.03%, with capital gains of 4.97% over the last year.

The latest UK Economic Outlook report from PwC named the West Midlands as one of the housing hotspots, predicted to see house price growth of 4.5% this year, compared to a UK average of 3.7%.

China

Lawmaker urges FSC to curb online lending bad debt (Taipei Times), Rated: AAA

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) yesterday urged the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to curb bad debts stemming from fraud and loan sharking on Internet-based peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Online lending platforms have existed for years in other nations and have caused many problems, Lin said, adding that in China they are blamed for generating an estimated 60 billion yuan (US$9.2 billion) of bad debt.

ZhongAn Plants a Fintech Acorn for China (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Like electric cars, whose era of global dominance has yet to arrive, the app-driven insurance industry is more of a concept than reality. That doesn’t mean investors should dismiss the Hong Kong initial public offering of ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co., despite its hefty price tag.

Bankers are currently sounding out investors for an IPO that could raise as much as $1.5 billion, giving ZhongAn a valuation of $11 billion. That’s well above CLSA’s $8 billion estimate, which already ranks the online insurer as China’s third-most valuable fintech company after Ant Financial, an affiliate of Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and Lufax, the peer-to-peer lender owned by Ping An Insurance (Group) Co.

ZhongAn is the world’s sixth-most-valuable e-finance company, at about $8 billion.

So here’s the bad news. ZhongAn is tiny. Its net written premiums were a mere 3.4 billion yuan ($520 million) last year, or 0.5 percent of China’s insurance industry, according to Bernstein Research analyst Linda Sun-Mattison.

Source: Bloomberg

It’s also expensive. The $11 billion valuation implies an adjusted price-to-book level of 4.3 times, Smartkarma analyst Ke Yan estimates.

European Union

Wealth Products Marketplace Raisin Takes a Leap Forward with Term Deposits for Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Pan-European marketplace Raisin continues its trailblazing expansion. Having penetrated new geographies with international and localized services in 2016, the Berlin-headquartered startup is now broadening its offering to address a new customer segment: small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Starting September 14, businesses can open term deposit accounts on Raisin’s German site www.weltsparen.de, or more precisely, on www.weltsparen.de/geschaeftskunden.

International

Earthport strengthens US network with Cross River partnership (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Earthport (AIM: EPO), the leading payment network for cross-border transactions, is pleased to announce its partnership with Cross River, a US-based bank, to provide inbound cross-border payment services across the US market, adding to its existing capabilities to process payments in the US.

The partnership will facilitate the execution of inbound ACH payments through Cross River, and further strengthen Earthport’s global payment network, enabling high volumes of low-value payments originating outside the US to be serviced more efficiently.

Fintech to the rescue for the world’s unbanked (City A.M.), Rated: A

Half the world is unbanked. That’s the provocative title of a 2009 research paper published by the Financial Access Initiative (FAI), a consortium of researchers from New York University, Harvard, Yale and Innovators of Poverty Action.

Their study also provided an empirical grounding that, although it is possible to serve low-income communities at scale with financial services, there are still billions left to reach. According to figures from the World Bank, as of 2015 there are still 2bn people who lacked access to any formal financial services.

The advent of mobile technology along with increasing smartphone penetration, especially in developing countries, has opened up a new portal of possibilities.

This newfound access in countries across South East Asia and Africa has provided the perfect ecosystem to initiate financial inclusion.

Top Fintech Innovations To Look Out For in 2018 (Finovate), Rated: A

Nick Ogden – founder and Executive Chairman, ClearBank

The number one thing that’s going to occur in 2018 is fragmentation of the marketplace as we know it today. The days of big banks delivering everything and being specialists in everything are over. Some of them might still not accept that but the reality is that it’s happened.

Karen Kerrigan – Chief Legal Officer, Seedrs

Rather than looking at a specific technology, have a look at a particular sector. There are a lot of challenger banks out there at the moment – Starling Bank, ClearBank, Monzo, Tandem – and they’re all vying for the same space. They’re all doing things slightly differently, but  ultimately are taking on the banks.

Lol a FoHFs ICO, srsly (FT Alphaville), Rated: A

Tokens may not be available to all persons in all jurisdictions as certain offering restrictions may apply. In particular, no tokens will be available in the US, Singapore or the EEA. Offering and trade restrictions, as well as the rights of holders of FundCoin, will be set out in further detail in the offering memorandum.

That little snippet is from the last page of the “whitepaper” for FundCoin, which deserves a spot in the pantheon of initial coin offerings (ICOs) to which regulators should be paying more attention. FundCoin is “the first private equity token ICO” and is the creation of Finles, a 40-year-old Dutch fund of hedge funds manager that has decided to turn to the crypto markets to raise money.

Virtual money shifting global trading trends (BusinessDay), Rated: A

Cryptocurrencies are the most undervalued asset class in the world, says Farzam Ehsani, leader of Rand Merchant Bank’s blockchain initiative.

The combined market capitalisation of all cryptocurrencies was only about $120bn, Ehsani said on Thursday at the Business Day/Financial Mail Investment Summit, held in partnership with Old Mutual Wealth.

By comparison, the market capitalisation of all stock markets is about $68.5-trillion, according to figures from the World Federation of Exchanges.

The price of a single bitcoin has surged from $605 to $3,487 over the past year, leading sceptics to label it a “bubble”.

India

‘RBI AWAITING GOVT NOTIFICATION FOR COMING OUT WITH P2P LENDING NORMS’ (Daily Pioneer), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank is waiting for a gazette notification from the Government on getting the peer-to-peer lenders under its regulatory ambit before coming out with guidelines on the sector, a senior official said on Wednesday. “Following up on the consultation paper we did last year, we are shortly going to come up with guidelines on peer to peer lending,” RBI’s executive director Sudarshan Sen said at an industry event here.

According to the official, the P2P lending interface will come under the purview of RBIs regulation by defining these platforms as NBFCs under the RBI Act by issuing a notification in consultation with the Government.

Investree to develop online transaction system of state securities for retail investors (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Investree announced that it has been appointed by the country’s Ministry of Finance to run a pilot project that aims to develop online transaction system of state securities for retail investors.

According to a DailySocial report, through the project, users will be able to purchase state securities through the Investree platform.

Demonetization in India shines a light on the digital future (The Asset), Rated: A

India’s demonetization experiment has been declared a failure by economic pundits. However, it has expanded India’s tax base and fast-tracked the digitization of payments, which is a good thing.

Some nine-million-odd new taxpayers came into the fold thanks to the scheme. Around 20 million new bank accounts were created by Indians panicked by the possibility of having their cash holdings voided.

Second, the scheme accelerated the digitization of payments in India, with a vast swathe of merchants forced to accept digital payments in lieu of cash.

Types of crowdfunding and why it is beneficial for real estate sector (Moneycontrol), Rated: A

The global crowd-funding industry generated about USD 34.4 billion in 2015.

Apart from raising capital, crowdfunding is also a way to create awareness among the masses and support for a project from the people around you.

Crowdfunding has exploded new ways to raise funds for start-ups, social sector, real estate, inventions and so on.

In India, transaction value in the “Crowd-funding” segment amounts to a meagre USD 6 million in 2017.

Transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 24.8 percent resulting in the total amount of USD 16 million in 2021.

The most used method for real estate crowdfunding is “equity crowdfunding” which helps individual become partial owners in distinct properties, allowing them to participate alongside real-estate companies who acquire, redevelop, or build.

Another type of crowdfunding used for real estate is syndicated debt crowdfunding. This fast growing platform takes some or all of an existing real-estate loan, secured by a deed on the underlying property, and syndicate it out to a network of individual investors at a fixed rate of return.

Canada

IOU Financial Ranked Fourth Fastest-Growing Company in Canada (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), announces today that Canadian Business and PROFIT ranks IOU Financial as the fourth-fastest growing company on the 29th annual PROFIT 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Published in the October issue of Maclean’s magazine and at CanadianBusiness.com, the PROFIT500 ranks Canadian businesses by their five-year revenue growth.

IOU Financial makes the 2017 PROFIT 500 list as the fourth fastest growing company with five-year revenue growth of 8,600%.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

July 19th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 19th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Dear readers, today I was traveling all day for my other company Lampix (www.lampix.co) . Unless I am traveling, I aim to send the daily Lending Times at 1pm EST. I was able to do so reliably for sometimes and will continue to aim towards 1pm EST daily. United States Lending Club’s CEO, Scott […]

July 19th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

  • Dear readers, today I was traveling all day for my other company Lampix (www.lampix.co) . Unless I am traveling, I aim to send the daily Lending Times at 1pm EST. I was able to do so reliably for sometimes and will continue to aim towards 1pm EST daily.

United States

United Kingdom

  • A very long and complete article on the FCA, crowdfunding, and p2p lending. This article comes in the recent context of the FCA conducting a new review of the space. A learned a lot from this article.
  • Crowd2Fund launches their own auto-investing tool. A must have for all p2p companies to make sure their lenders deploy capital easily, fast, often, and that they are diversified enough not to hurt themselves.
  • In the UK’s version of today’s comedic note: JustUs is attempting to raise £5.35m, and a Chinese group GuanQun has plowed in …….drumroll….£50k. Yes, 50 thousand GBP. I think this piece of news hurts more than it help.

Australia

India

News Summary

 

United States

Lending Club’s CEO Scott Sanborn’s response to Wall Street Journal’s article on July 12th, (Wall Street Journal), Rated: AAA

We respectfully disagree with your characterization of charge-off rates on the LendingClub platform in “Online Lender’s New Issue: Bad Loans” (Money & Investing, July 12). The article fails to note that lower-graded loans, which have experienced higher charge-off rates, represent just 25% of the company’s standard program loan volume, while 75% of standard program loan volume has exhibited stable performance.

We believe the single most critical factor in the discussion of performance is net returns to investors. Our expectation of performance on the loans you have singled out is a net annualized return of roughly 5%. Based on the steps we have taken to improve performance, which aren’t mentioned in the article, we anticipate the performance of any future loans in this subset to be more than 8%. We believe that in the current low-yield environment, LendingClub platform performance continues to compare very favorably with available alternatives. For example, the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index returned 1.96% for the year ending March 31.

Scott Sanborn,CEO, LendingClub,San Francisco

 Student loan platform CommonBond raises 0M and M in equity, buys Gradible, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

Today, CommonBond, a platform that specializes in loans and refinancing for students, is announcing that it has raised $300 million in debt to loan out to prospective borrowers; and a further $30 million in a Series C equity round to continue building out its platform.

On top of this, the company has acquired another startup, Gradible, for an undisclosed amount to add new services to its business, specifically providing a facility for future employers to contribute to student loan payoffs. (Think of it as a 401k for student loans.)

The funding comes as NYC-based CommonBond says it’s passed the half-billion dollar mark for funds lent on its platform since going national three years ago. David Klein, the company’s CEO and co-founder, told TechCrunch that the company is profitable on a per-loan basis and projects that it will be fully profitable as a business in 2018.

CommonBond is not disclosing its valuation with this round. “We have strategically decided not to play the unicorn game,” Klein said in an interview. “But what I can tell you is that if we were a private company when you bought our stock and were now going public, you’d be happy with the return.”

He also described it as an “unstructured upround”, in reference to situations where a valuation is tied to complex terms that might be seen as a down-round in another light. As a point of reference, one of CommonBond’s competitors, Social Finance (SoFi), raised money last year at what was thought to be a $4 billion valuation.

The $30 million in equity funding takes the total raised by CommonBond to date to just under $80 million, while the $300 million being announced today looks like the closing out of a round that was first reported unconfirmed earlier this year at a lower value. Taking equity and debt funding altogether, the company has raised around $1 billion.

Klein said that the funding his company is announcing today is the first major round of financing raised by an online loan platform this year in the U.S. (The UK’s Future Finance, a would-be competitor that also focuses on students, raised $171 million earlier this year.) So what is CommonBond doing right, exactly, that others are not?

In the case of CommonBond, he said that some of the important factors are the fact that it targets higher education students, who will be earning more over the years when they are working, and it’s also seeing a growth in its loan volumes, which are double what they were a year ago — although the company is not disclosing actual numbers.

That is where the Gradible acquisition comes into play, too. The company — which had raised funding from the likes of AngelPad, 500 Startups and Kima Ventures — will help CommonBond differentiate itself from SoFi and others by giving it an extra set of services to offer to students not just during periods when they are in school, but beyond. The Gradible deal — terms of which were not disclosed — will also mean that CommonBond can tap further into the loan refinancing market as well, competing more against the likes of Earnest.

Baidu invests in ZestFinance to develop search-powered credit scoring for China, (Tech Crunch), Rated: AAA

Baidu, which operates China’s dominant search platform, took part in a $60 million round for payments firm Circle in June. Baidu’s search engine has around 80 percent marketshare in China.

“ZestFinance’s unique ability to analyze and process complex, disparate data to make accurate credit decisions is very valuable to the Chinese credit market, where a centralized credit scoring system has yet to emerge,”

ZestFinance was founded by ex-Google CIO and VP of engineering Merrill, and it uses machine learning and big data to transform information into measurements and signals for credit scoring. It has raised nearly $100 million from investors, with its most recent raise a $20 million Series C round in July 2013. JD.com also put money in as part of its strategic partnership last summer.

Alibaba and Tencent both operate digital banks and micro-loan programs, while Baidu stepped into the banking ring via a partnership with brick and mortar bank CITIC. ZestFinance previously partnered with JD.com, Alibaba’s closest rival in China’s e-commerce space, to power the credit service run by its financial arm, which is valued at more than $1 billion. Then there are multi-billion dollar payment services like Alipay (Alibaba) and WeChat Pay (Tencent), too.

Can SoFi Be New School And Old Fashioned At The Same Time?, (Pymnts), Rated: AAA

The firm is much beloved of investors, having snapped up a cool $1 billion in Series E Funding in a round lead by SoftBank. The firm is currently valued at $4 billion and has loaned out over $10 billion for student loans. According to its CEO Mike Cagney, he would like to see the company grow to a value of $100 billion someday.

But SoFi, despite its slightly different business model than its marketplace lending fellows (SoFi does not sell off loans in their entirety, and holds on to a percentage of all of them) and fairly rarified customer-base (SoFi’s initial and current focus is on millennial borrowers with debt from elite universities) is still feeling the tidal pressures that are pulling the rest of its segment around.

And, it seems in SoFi’s case, it is being pulled in two nearly opposite directions.

Being Even More Alternative

Whatever else can be said of SoFi – if recent reports in CNN Money about the lengths they go to help their users meet and mingle are accurate – they definitely take the “social” part of Social Finance seriously.

Over 8,000 borrowers have met up at the 300 or so (mostly fully booked) SoFi events held nationwide over the last year. Events include social mixers full of free food and alcohol, yoga classes and the chance to meet other young, upwardly mobile professionals.

“You meet a lot of interesting, like-minded people,” New York-based SoFi Customer Elsa Yan noted of the four different SoFi events she has attended.

Getting Into Traditional Banking

While SoFi may seem to be doubling down on the alternative path by developing their answer to Tinder for the financially responsible – recent reports indicate that SoFi is also moving toward being much more like one of those traditional banks whose methods it has historically eschewed.

And the Super Bowl ad worked a little too well and flooded its website with far more traffic than it was ready to handle. Days passed – customers waited, got mad, and turned to Twitter and online review sites to blast SoFi for being inept.

Then it came out that the firm just plainly didn’t have the capital reserves necessary to meet the surge in loan demand – which didn’t help the PR situation – and had their growth happy CEO singing a slightly different tune.

On the table: SoFi could seek regulatory approval for a state banking charter in Utah. This has the upside of adding the sort of stability lenders would like to see – but comes with the miles of red tape SoFi has built a reputation for speedily avoiding. Also possible options are credit cards and deposit accounts. Finally, partnerships with big financial institutions seem very much in play. That last option has seemed increasingly likely since the former co-chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank AG, Anshu Jain, announced his intention to join SoFi’s board of directors. Cagney also met extensively with JPMC’s Jamie Dimon earlier this year.

So far, SoFi is doing somewhat better than its peers. In May, SoFi received a triple-A rating from Moody’s on a $380 million deal that repackaged loans into bonds. It was the first securitization by an online lending startup to get the top rating from Moody’s.

Untangling The Marketplace Lending Mess, (New York Financial Press), Rated: A

“I foresee a heightened period of FinTech innovation, where new technologies and platforms will emerge to overcome these recent challenges, and help the industry scale,” Dara Albright says.

“Just this month, Prosper launched a revamped user experience for its retail investors,” explains Albright. “Another online lending product, American Homeowner Preservation 2015A+ LLC, received SEC approval to use Reg A+ to bring a higher-yielding, fixed-income alternative to retail investors, and more and more platforms are incorporating IRA Services’ ISCP™ technology into their platforms in order to help retail investors facilitate tax-deferred P2P investing.

PTIN Directory Selects Bizfi to Provide Access to Funding for Hundreds of Thousands of Accountants and CPAs and Their Small Business Clients, ( Business Wire), Rated: A

The National Directory of Registered Tax Return Preparers & Professionals (PTIN) has selected premier fintech company Bizfi to provide its tax professionals, accountants, CPAs and their small business clients with access to funding through its aggregation marketplace via a custom referral process.

PTINdirectory.com is the first comprehensive national online directory of federally registered tax preparers. It is independently owned by the National Directory of Registered Tax Return Preparers & Tax Professionals, Ltd. and has no affiliation with the Internal Revenue Service or any government agency.

The partnership gives PTIN’s hundreds of thousands of members access to the full range of Bizfi’s funding products, including lines of credit, short-term financing, equipment and invoice financing, medical financing, franchise financing, medium-term loans and even long-term loans backed by a guarantee from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Members are able to leverage these solutions for their own businesses as well as refer their small business clients to Bizfi to speed the process of applying for and receiving capital.

Bizfi is a fintech company combining aggregation, funding and a participation marketplace on a single platform for small businesses. Founded in 2005, Bizfi and its family of companies have provided more than $1.7 billion in financing to more than 31,000 small businesses in a wide variety of industries across the United States.

Is Online Lending Doomed? 5 Predictions for the Future of the Industry, (Forbes), Rated: A

1. Lending Club will survive. The fall was great, but it is not a death knell.

2. There will be shake-out and consolidation.

3. Banks will “play ball.” Recently, big names like Wells Fargo and American Express have launched online, fast-decision loan products with a small-business focus. One way or another, we can expect to see more banks looking for a piece of the pie, and it will be interesting to see how Bank of America and others will respond.

4. (More) Regulation is coming — but how much is unclear.

5. Online lending is here to stay.

Online Marketplace Lending — Recently Misunderstood?, (Forbes), Rated: A

It’s true that charge-offs are ticking up for some consumer credit lenders. As of May 2016, Prosper had charged off, from year-ago loans, about 4.2% of loan principal amounts; at LendingClub, gross charge-offs of its top-graded loans ticked up to 1.51% from 1.46%, while charge-offs of its lower-graded loans went to 6.31% for year-ago loans from 4.58% on loans that had been originated in 2013. These numbers are nowhere near the double-digit charge-offs seen during the financial crisis, but the trend has caused institutional purchasers to re-think how these loans compare with some popular bank offerings, even though banks’ charge-off rates have also ticked higher in 2016 versus their low in 2015.

In the real estate sector, there are additional differences, since loan underwriting turns more on the nature of the underlying property (asset) than the credit worthiness of the borrower. By taking a mortgage on the property, lenders on real estate provide themselves with some level of security – a feature of real value if the borrower turns out to be less than reliable. Because real estate loans are secured by the subject property, they typically involve significantly less risk compared to unsecured consumer loans, at least in the eyes of most sophisticated investors. There’s never any assurance against a widespread drop in asset prices, which would adversely impact asset-backed loans, but the relative infrequency of such events, together with the presence of a significant equity “cushion” on most individual loans, generally acts to mitigate such risk.

Nasdaq and KBW launched a new fintech index on July 18, 2016, ( Business Insider), Rated: A

The index will track the performance of companies that leverage technology to deliver financial products and services and represents approximately $785 million in total market cap. The index has 49 fintech companies including major data, exchange, trading and payments companies. Their distribution is nearly exclusively electronic.

In May, SoFi received a triple-A rating from Moody’s on a $380 million deal that repackaged loans into bonds. It was the first securitization by an online lending startup to get the top rating from Moody’s. The deal likely presages the continued normalization of the markets.

Myth Busting: Are Online Lenders Shadow Banks?, (Benzinga), Rated: A

As non-bank lending institutions, alternative lenders have occasionally come under fire for acting as “shadow banks,” a term coined to describe the subprime lenders that led to the 2008 financial crisis. However, the term is a misnomer when applied to innovative lenders, according to an industry expert.

“As each day, week and month goes by, we are looking at new ways of making data, information, trends, ideas, concepts more available, more transparent, and [bringing] the industry to welcome a very open and robust dialogue,” Goldman said.

However, there’s a lot of work to be done to get to that point, Goldman said, as different loan originators will have different data points and metrics.

Goldman sees standardization of what data originators should provide as a top priority to enforcing true transparency in the industry. He sees Orchard Platform’s work in creating a lending exchange as “[getting] to the heart of that” priority.

KBRA Announces Addition of Xilun Chen to ABS Team, (Press Release), Rated: B

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) announced today the appointment of Xilun (Xi) Chen to the role of Senior Director within the Commercial ABS group. Xi will be reporting to Anthony Nocera, Managing Director and head of Commercial ABS. Xi joins from Standard & Poor’s where he spent the last 6 years focusing on various esoteric ABS assets.

As Marketplace Lenders Offer Less, LoanMart Offers More Opportunities for the Credit Challenged, (Business Wire), Rated: B

LoanMart, one of the nation’s premier financial technology companies, is excited to introduce a new type of loan to meet the significant demand of its customers: an Unsecured Personal Loan.

LoanMart will now offer Unsecured Personal Loans in 8 states including California, Alabama, Missouri, New Mexico, Utah, South Dakota, Georgia and Indiana. LoanMart will also continue to offer vehicle secured loans in 11 states and small business loans for self-employed consumers in another 14 states.

Starting in 2002, LoanMart offers both vehicle secured and personal loans.

United Kingdom

A Case of Regulatory Evolution: A Review of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Approach to Crowdfunding, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The United Kingdom is the leader in online alternative finance in the European market, accounting for just under 75 percent of all transaction volumes in Europe. In 2015, online alternative finance in the United Kingdom grew to GBP 3.2 billion, increasing by 84 percent from GBP 1.74 billion in 2014.

The FCA defines crowdfunding as an umbrella term to capture various “categories” of activity, some of which are regulated whilst others are not.

This broad term includes four sub-categories:

  • Donation-based crowdfunding: people give money to enterprises or organisations whose activities they want to support.
  • Pre-payment or rewards-based crowdfunding: people give money in return for a reward, service or product (such as concert tickets, an innovative prod- uct, or a computer game).
  • Loan-based crowdfunding: also known as “peer- to-peer lending”, this is where consumers lend money in return for interest payments and a repayment of capital over time.
  • Investment-based crowdfunding: consumers in- vest directly or indirectly in new or established businesses by buying investments such as shares or debentures (FCA 2016a).

The first two categories are exempt from regulatory oversight from the FCA.

Investment Crowdfunding

In 2015, equity-based crowdfunding experienced 295 percent growth compared to the previous year.

The FCA defines the instruments traded on investment-based crowdfunding as “non-readily realisable securities” that are not listed on regulated stock markets, and are distributed and sold over the internet.

At the time of the February 2015 review, the FCA publically acknowledged the full authorisation of ten firms as of 1 April 2014, with an additional four platforms receiving authorisation by the end of 2014. While the FCA has yet to release a 2016 crowdfunding review, our assessment is that as of March 2016, a total of 24 crowdfunding platforms have permission to function as an investment-based crowdfunding business in the UK. Additionally, a closer examination of the FCA’s registry indicates that at least 12 platforms are operating an investment-based crowdfunding business as an appointed representative.

At the end of 2015, investment crowdfunding raised GBP 337.8 million.

Investment Crowdfunding Risks

In addition to use of social media for financial promotion, equity crowdfunding platforms must also navigate potential additional supervision of the “online forums” typical for most crowdfunding campaigns. While the existing guidance does not specifically discuss how online forums should be supervised, this is probably an area that will attract attention in the future.

Another potential area of risk may relate to the required due-diligence that platforms must undertake before allowing businesses to raise equity on their platform

Loan-based crowdfunding

In March 2016, the FCA indicated that a total of eight firms (only an additional seven in the course of a year) had received full authorisation to operate as a P2P platform, with a further 86 firms awaiting a decision.5 Of these 86 platforms, only 44 have interim permissions related to their previously held OFT license (FCA 2016c).

Interestingly, it seems as though one particular firm, Resolution Capital (FCA 2016d), is “currently attached to” approximately 25 businesses, including several firms operating in the P2P lending space. As such, it seems like a considerable number of appointed representative firms are using the Resolution Capital license.

Loan-based platforms rules

The FCA implemented prudential requirements (FCA 2015a), which reflect the standardised capital reserves that a platform must comply with.

Utilising the GABRIEL portal, platforms are expected to report to the FCA on a quarterly basis, with monthly reporting of any information relating to the holding of client monies (FCA 2016e). Although prudential rules are not easy to generalise, as they are based upon the individual permissions and activities of each platform, P2P lending firms do have a base capital requirement of GBP 50k, with a GBP 20k requirement during the transition period.

At present, firms are obliged to meet minimum capital requirements only upon authorisation, with a transitional period until April 2017 (FCA 2015a). A platform operating in the P2P space is also required to notify the FCA should the value of their loans outstanding increase by 15 percent or more, thus necessitating a recalculation of any prudential requirements. In addition to financial reporting, platforms are required to report any disputes between consumers and the platform.

In addition to capital requirements, platforms are obliged to conform to Client Money Rules, as outlined in the FCA Handbook in the section relating to their Client Asset Sourcebook rules (or CASS) related to “adequate protection”– i.e. no co-mingling of client monies, clear and transparent holding of client monies, etc. (FCA 2016f). Rules related to client money were further modified in 2016, following the Consultation Paper entitled: “Loan-based Crowdfunding Platforms and Segregation of Client Money”.

Loan-based crowdfunding platforms must comply with disclosure requirements, where all communications are “fair, clear and not misleading”.

The FCA’s approach to crowdfunding is often lauded as the “gold-standard” for crowdfunding regulation. With regulation now having been in place for over a year, it is interesting to note the high levels of satisfaction registered by crowdfunding platforms.

Of the P2P Lending (loan-based crowdfunding) platforms surveyed, 91 percent regarded the current regulatory regime as “adequate and appropriate” to their activities, with only 5.66 percent suggesting that “tighter or stricter” regulation need to be implemented. A mere 3.77 percent viewed regulation as “excessive and too strict”.

Crowd2Fund Launches New Investment Feature Smart-Invest, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowd2Fund announced on Monday the launch of its new intelligent investment feature known as Smart-Invest, which will reportedly allow investors to automate their crowdlending investments.

Earlier this spring, Crowd2Fund was approved for IF ISA and promoted higher interest rates for investors.

Chris Hancock, CEO and founder of Crowd2Fund added: “The combination of Smart-Invest and the IF ISA government scheme continues to demonstrate our commitment in helping our investors grow their savings whilst supporting great British businesses.”

Chinese financial group backs Alderley Edge lender JustUs, ( Bdaily), Rated: A

In June, JustUs embarked on a drive to raise £5.35m, with the bulk (£4m) sought from institutional investors and a further £1m via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The fundraising, which will value JustUs at £26m, will allow the firm to recruit over 100 new staff and launch a new media campaign.

Since its inception, the company has secured around £2m in investment.

Peer-to-peer consumer lending firm JustUs has received backing from a Chinese financial group, giving a boost to its £5m fundraising goal.

Four representatives of GuanQun Investment, which has already ploughed £50k into the Cheshire-based firm, are heading to JustUs’ Alderley Edge headquarters next week (July 29) to discuss ramping up investment and explore strategic global partnerships.

Based in London, GuanQun Investment (GQI) forms part of Beijing-based Guanqun Chicheng, which has supported around 200k SMEs since it was established in 2009

Australia

Cloud SMSF administration software provider, Class, has collaborated with peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, to provide self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) accountants and their clients with a direct-connect date feed.  This would allow for automated data entry and transactions processing within Class.

RateSetter [Australia] has facilitated more than $50 million in loans through its platform since it launched in 2014, with SMSFs providing the funds for close to a quarter of the loans.

India

Lending marketplace Deal4Loans raises fifteen million dollars from Franklin Templeton, (Tech Circle), Rated: AAA

Mywish Marketplaces Pvt. Ltd, which operates retail loans marketplace Deal4Loans.com, has raised $15 million from Franklin Templeton International Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. The development comes after VCCircle first reported in May that the company was looking for a big-ticket investment in its first institutional round of funding.

The company had in April raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a bunch of high-profile investors, including Ram Shriram, founding board member and one of the first investors in search engine giant Google; WhatsApp’s global business head Neeraj Arora and Puru Vashishtha, a former Wall Street hedge fund investor.

Founded in 2009 by Durham University MBA alumnus Rishi Mehra, Deal4Loans offers comparison of retail loans across six different categories – home loan, personal loan, car loan, credit cards, loan against property and education loan. The platform has 50 lending partners (a mix of banks and non-banking financial companies) and 7 million registered customers. The marketplace uses algorithms to acquire customers for the participating banks’ loan products and to match customers with products.

According to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle, Deal4Loans earned a net profit of Rs 78.5 lakh on net sales of Rs 7.7 crore for the year through March 2015.

RBI more open to experimentation at early stages of a product or method of service: Raghuram Rajan, (Live Mint), Rated: A

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan on Monday said that the Indian central bank is more open to experimentation at the early stages of a product or method of service but at the same time will have to be more conscious of the risks to stability.

“Non-bank entities are providing innovative payment products and services, forcing banks to reflect upon their strategy—to compete or to collaborate? Banks may not have the wherewithal to compete effectively if they have not been investing in technology and associated personnel. However, if they collaborate without building these capabilities, they may be left with crumbs from the client while their partner take the whole client cake,”

Rajan said RBI welcomes both competition and collaboration.

Author:

George Popescu