Wednesday June 13 2018, Daily News Digest

Financial Strain by category

News Comments Today’s main news: Money360 surpasses $750M in commercial real estate loans closed. Attorneys defend $16M LendingClub fee. Funding Circle lending unlocked 75K jobs in 2017. Westpac ends Prospa relationship. Today’s main analysis: Should financial advice be tailored along credit and gender lines? Today’s thought-provoking articles: GreenSky look fairly valued, but there are competitive risks. 4 companies driving […]

Financial Strain by category

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United States

United Kingdom

European Union

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News Summary

United States

Money360 Surpasses $ 750 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans Closed (Globe Newswire), Rated: AAA

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate loans, today announced it has surpassed $750 million in loans closed since inception. This includes $82.5 million in loans closed in May 2018.

Notable loans closed in 2018 include:

  • A $26 million bridge loan for a specialty retail center in Punta Gorda, FL, brought to Money360 by Mark Reichter at Q10 / Triad Capital Advisors, Inc.
  • A $15.6 million bridge loan for an office building in Houston, TX, brought to Money360 by Rich Perry at Churchill Commercial Capital
  • A $17.25 million bridge loan for a medical office in Newport Beach, CA, brought to Money360 by Scott Monroe at NorthMarq Capital, Inc.
  • A $7.9 million bridge loan for Raytheon’s industrial space in Albuquerque, NM, brought to Money360 by Jake Clopton at Clopton Capital
  • A $9.2 million bridge loan for a neighborhood center in Tulsa, OK, brought to Money360 by Mark Reichter at Q10 / Triad Capital Advisors, Inc.
  • A $5 million bridge loan for an office park property in South Bend, IN, brought to Money360 by Dean Giannakopoulos at Marcus & Millichap Capital Corp.
  • A $5 million bridge loan for a manufactured housing property and park in West Sacramento, CA, brought to Money360 by Jake Clopton at Clopton Capital
  • A $3 million bridge loan for a mid/high rise multifamily building in Detroit, MI, brought to Money360 by Robert Krupka at Gelt Financial
  • A $2.3 million bridge loan to a self-storage building in Panama City Beach, FL, brought to Money360 by Doug Brooks at Marcus & Millichap Capital Corporation
  • A $1.6 million bridge loan to a multifamily building in Macon, GA, brought to Money360 by Naveed Khan

Attys Defend $ 16M LendingClub Fee Bid That ‘Shocked’ Judge (Law360) Rated: AAA

Attorneys seeking $16 million for representing LendingClub Corp. investors in securities class actions against the peer-to-peer lending company defended their fee bid Monday to a California federal judge who previously said the amount “shocked” him, saying their work produced an “outstanding result under any measure.”

The 28-page motion filed by attorneys for Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, lead counsel for the lead plaintiff, argues that the requested 13.1 percent cut of the $125 million settlement is reasonable in light of the results achieved, the risks…

GreenSky Looks Fairly Valued, But Competitive Risks Remain (Forbes) Rated: AAA

GreenSky followed through with its plans to go public within weeks of confidentially filing with the SEC last month – making it the largest fintech IPO in the country since LendingClub and OnDeck went public nearly four years ago. The company offered 38 million shares at $23 per share to raise $874 million (with the actual proceeds being $830 million after underwriting fees). The company’s shares have largely traded around this level since then. This points to a valuation of $4.4 billion for GreenSky – around the figure .

GreenSky’s role as an intermediary between lenders and potential borrowers with strong credit histories makes its overall business model a risk-averse one, as it bears negligible credit risk. At the same time, the relationships it has built with banks, home improvement companies and healthcare providers promise to drive growth at a steady pace over the foreseeable future, even as the company explores other growth segments.

Four companies driving the bank tech discussion, with only one a FAANG (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google garner so much attention that they have their own collective shorthand, FAANG. But at American Banker’s Digital Banking conference this week, a mostly different set of companies were top of mind: Call them SASA, or Starbucks, Amazon, Sears and Acorns.

More than 40% of the 55 million U.S. smartphone users will have made an in-store mobile payment through Starbucks’s app, and that just over 23 million consumers over the age of 14 will use the Starbucks app to make a point-of-sale purchase at least once every six months, according to Gavin Michael, head of technology for Citigroup’s Global Consumer Bank, citing data from research firm eMarketer.

Should financial advice be tailored along credit and gender lines? (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Women with credit scores below 700, according to an analysis conducted by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class, an independent research arm of the online lender.

Source: American Banker/Elevate

Fifty-six percent of women with subprime scores say their finances cause them significant stress. About 45% of men with subprime credit scores say the same, as well as only 23% of women with prime ratings and 16% of men with prime ratings.

Seventy percent of women with subprime credit scores work full time, versus 62% of women with prime scores.

The woman with subprime credit is 41% more likely to have children in her home than a prime woman. She is also 79% more likely to have an elderly parent living with her.

Only 39% of Non-Prime Women Believe They Have the Skills to Manage Their Finances (SC Now) Rated: A

Most surprisingly, only 39% of this group believe they have the skills to manage their finances, despite the fact that ongoing research from myriad sources have found women to be the primary financial stewards of their households.

Key findings in the research include:

  • Two-thirds of non-prime women live paycheck to paycheck.
  • They are 3x more likely to have lost a job in the last year compared to prime women
  • Only 34% of non-prime women hold salaried jobs
  • They are 4x more likely to have trouble predicting next month’s income compared to prime women
  • More than 4 out of 5 non-prime women admit to running out of money at least once a year
  • More than one quarter admit to running out of money every month
  • They are 24% more likely to say their finances cause them stress compared to non-prime men
  • Only 13% of non-prime women would have money on-hand to cover an emergency of $1200
  • Non-prime women are 6x more likely to have used a payday loan

But another myth persists: Seasonal businesses suffer most of all. SBA’s data doesn’t bear this out, showing companies across varied industries tend to follow similar patterns in terms of failure. Manufacturing-based businesses, for example, are no more protected from failure than seasonally driven businesses like restaurants and retail stores, meaning other factors determine companies’ likelihood of long-term success.

An Ohio State University study indicated that  of restaurants don’t make it past the first year. Another 2005 study amended that, saying that the 60 percent figure applied to the first three years.

With CB Insights finding that  of small business failures can be attributed to cash flow problems, it’s imperative that seasonal business owners find ways to “spread the wealth.”

Kabbage, for example, ties its line of credit to a small business’s live data, allowing the company to adjust lines of credit in real time to match a business’s seasonal needs.

Why Digital Lenders Are Tightening Their Lending Criteria (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

In the early days of online lending, the big appeal was access to funds for potential borrowers with few, if any, options for securing capital.

According to recent reports, some of the largest marketplace lending players in the field — SoFi, LendingClub, AvantProsper — are being pushed by their investors to batten down their credit hatches and demand better credit scores from their borrowers, as well as shorter maturities so they can make more attractive offerings to investors as they look to repackage those loans into asset-backed securities.

According to KBRA, the weighted average of FICO credit scores of Prosper’s loans, packaged in ABS, increased to 717 in a March 2018 deal from 704 in a sale two years earlier. And they weren’t the only lender to see its average score go up — SoFi, increased the weighted average of its FICO credit scores to 744 in a sale earlier this year from 732 in a deal at the start of last year.

Overlooked Millionaires: Finding A Home In The Democratized Family Office Model Of Financial Advice (Forbes) Rated: A

Over the last 20 years, the number of American investors with between $2 million and $20 million in investible assets has grown remarkably. According to 

Optimal Blue, Finastra partner for pricing integration (Mortgage Professional America) Rated: B

Optimal Blue and Finastra have announced an expansion of their relationship under which Optimal Blue will be integrated Finastra’s Fusion MortgagebotPOS product.

The new integration enables banks and credit unions to provide mortgage applicants with Optimal Blue’s live pricing searches via any point-of-sale channel. Fusion MortgagebotPOS is a web-based platform that allows lenders to receive applications through every point-of-sale channel: consumer-direct via the internet, in the branch or call center, or through professional loan officers.

Direct 1031 Exchange Launches New Online Platform for Accredited Investors (Sys-Con Media) Rated: A

A new online platform is now available for accredited investors seeking direct access to Section 1031 exchange investment opportunities with the launch of real estate investment sponsor Direct 1031 Exchange. The company provides Section 1031 exchange offerings directly to investors using the Delaware statutory trust structure under SEC Rule 506(c).

Through Direct 1031 Exchange’s online investment portal, accredited investors can participate in 506(c) DST offerings sponsored by the firm with no upfront load or commission paid by the investor.

LendStreet and Its Unique Approach to the Debt Settlement Space (Lend Academy) Rated: A

LendStreet is a lender that works with consumers who are experiencing financial difficulties. These are people who have taken on too much debt and find themselves in a hole, unable to pay it all back. But rather than declaring bankruptcy, these people want to work things out and reduce their debt through a debt settlement.

This is the point when the debt settlement companies come in. LendStreet lends only to customers whose debt is being or will be negotiated by a debt settlement company. Most of LendStreet’s customers are already enrolled with debt settlement companies before getting to LendStreet. Those who come directly to LendStreet are paired with a debt settlement company to negotiate down their debt, which will be funded by a LendStreet loan.

Chris Sugden of Edison Partners (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Chris Sugden is the Managing Partner of Edison Partners, a growth equity firm based in Princeton, New Jersey. They provide growth capital for small business doing $5 million to $20 million in annual revenue, typically based on the east coast between DC and Boston. They have never invested in a Silicon Valley startup.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The history of Edison Partners and their unique New Jersey location.
  • The difference between East Coast and West Coast entrepreneurs.
  • The three different verticals they cover.
  • The impact that Marcus will have on the broader fintech space.
  • The shift Chris has seen with the banks as they embrace fintech.
  • The interesting fintech trends Chris is focused on right now.

Radius in Boston working with fintech firm on online business checking platform (American Banker) Rated: A

Radius Bank in Boston has lined up its next fintech project.

The $1.2 billion-asset online bank is working with a Treasury Prime, a San Francisco startup, to create a business checking account. The Tailored Checking Account will allow business owners around the country to quickly open accounts online.

SME smartphone lending set to take off (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Fintech platform Kabbage predicts that 20 per cent of US dollars lent to SMEs will be via smartphone apps by the end of 2018.

Kabbage analysed nearly 150,000 US small businesses and found an increasing trend towards lending organised via mobile devices, with the number of loans increasing more than 300 per cent.

Online Lender Accused Of Using Tribe To Shield Illegal Loans (Law 360) Rated: A

An internet lending company and others have engaged in a plot to charge illegally high interest rates on loans while attempting to use a Michigan tribe’s sovereign immunity as a shield from suit, a group of borrowers said in a proposed class action filed in California federal court Monday.

Four plaintiffs from various states claimed in their complaint that even though Big Picture Loans LLC said it was owned and operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, loans made in Big…

Nobel laureate Kahneman says human financial advisors are still crucial (CNBC) Rated: A

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, said Tuesday financial advisors still play a major role in the finance world — despite recent technological disruptions in the industry — as they act as therapists for investors.

Robo-advisors are growing at a very fast rate, surpassing $200 billion in assets under management last year, according to BackEnd Benchmarking, which releases quarterly data on robo-advisors.

Lending Express Opens Shop in Silicon Valley & Adds Moshe Kazimirsky to Team (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Lending Express, an AI-powered marketplace for business loans, has opened a new Silicon Valley office in San Mateo, as well as the appointment of Moshe Kazimirsky to VP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development to support the West Coast team. The announcement comes on the heels of Lending Express’ May $2.7 million seed funding round led by Entrée Capital, iAngels, and existing investors.

PeerStreet’s CEO Brew Johnson and Leadership Team Wins Comparably’s 2018 Culture Awards in Multiple Categories (Business Wire) Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that it has won Comparably’s 2018 Culture Awards in the following categories:

  • Best CEOs for Diversity
  • Best CEOs for Women
  • Best Managers
  • Best Leadership Team

Robots could replace as many as 10,000 jobs at Citi’s investment bank (Business Insider) Rated: A

Robots could replace as many as 10,000 human jobs at the banking giant Citi within five years, its president told the Financial Times.

Wells Fargo bans cryptocurrency purchases on its credit cards (Payments Source) Rated: B

Wells Fargo & Co. customers hoping to use their credit cards to buy Bitcoin will have to look elsewhere.

United Kingdom

Lending through Funding Circle unlocked 75,000 jobs in 2017 (Pr Newswire) Rated: AAA

A new report published today by Oxford Economics reveals that lending through Funding Circle, the global small business loans platform, unlocked 75,000 jobs in the United States and Europe in 2017.

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle to create 200 UK jobs (B Daily) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle is creating 200 jobs in the UK.

The London-headquartered firm has this morning (June 13) confirmed plans to take on 400 new employees in 2018, half of whom will be recruited in the UK.

LendInvest’s path from adversity to opportunity (City A.M.) Rated: A

Although the online marketplace model had been proven to work – Amazon and eBay had been established over a decade earlier – LendInvest was initially both “offline” and “pretty uninteresting”. It wasn’t until 2012, with £30m investors’ capital under management, that the founders became intrigued by the role tech could play.

The path to success is littered with unforeseen obstacles, good days can follow bad, tailwinds become headwinds. LendInvest is no exception. When the company was young, raising debt finance often felt like an uphill struggle. It took many air miles and international calls, but eventually an eastern European bank offered a £2m funding line, later increased to £6m.

Ranger Direct shares end higher after bowing to activist pressure to wind up (Financial Times) Rated: A

Ranger Direct Lending operates a £128 million investment company which has faced pressure from activist investors who own almost 30% of the company.

The board proposed yesterday of winding down the company as Ares Management withdrew itself from consideration to manage the trust. Ranger’s board also suggested shareholders vote against newly nominated directors by activist investors.

Ranger Direct Lending has struggled as defaults have crept up in the sector.

Monzo launches task automation with IFTTT (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Personal finance apps offer customers insights into their budgeting and spending habits, but U.K.-based digital bank Monzo is taking that a step further by letting its customers design their own rules on how they want to interact with their money.

Monzo’s tie-up with If This Then That, rolled out in early June, lets customers automate tasks using their financial data through personalized rules. IFTTT is a web and app-based platform to help customers get apps and devices to work together. It lets users set up “if, then” rules; for example, “if I post an Instagram, post it as a native photo on Twitter,” or “if I add a new task to an Amazon Alexa to-do list, add it to the iPhone reminders app,” and so on. IFTTT’s integration with consumer financial data lets them experiment with new use cases for financial data and lets the bank learn more about customer preferences and behavior.

Collateral investors may have to join queue of creditors (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

COLLATERAL investors may end up having to recoup any unpaid interest owed as a creditor of the company, the administrator of the closed peer-to-peer lending platform has revealed.

An update from BDO said its initial view was that due to section 26 of the Financial Services and Markets Act – which deems that agreements with unregulated parties are unenforceable – investors would be treated as creditors.

This means they would have to submit documentation to BDO on what they are owed and wait to see what funds can be recouped through the administration.

European Union

B2B FinTech Could Earn Index Ventures $ 2 Billion This Year (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Venture capitalist (VC) firm Index Ventures is on its way to earn $1.6 billion from its early investments in B2B FinTech, according to Forbesreports Monday (June 11). Index Ventures’ portfolio includes iZettle and Adyen, with unconfirmed reports of a Funding Circle initial public offering (IPO) that could push Index Ventures into the $2 billion mark.

LendInvest joins Luxembourg fintech hub (Finextra) Rated: B

LendInvest, the UK’s leading online marketplace platform for property finance, has become a fellow of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), the country’s leading FinTech innovation hub.

LendInvest has had a presence in Luxembourg since 2014 when it established its first Luxembourg-domiciled fund.

Fintech threatens to eclipse banks that do not adapt digitally (Financial Times) Rated: A

Writing an opinion piece for the FT BBVA Executive Chairman Francisco Gonzalez talks about the rise of fintech and big tech in banking. He explains that banks still have an advantage when it comes to security, privacy and compliance.

A new regulatory model is needed for the new era of digital banking and data. Banks need to build on what they do best and evolve to ensure they stay relevant. He believes there is a paradigm shift occurring in banking and that banks need to find a new way to support customers and build out their assets

Australia

Westpac Ends Prospa Collaboration After IPO Postponement (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Days after Australian alternative lending platform Prospa delayed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) indefinitely, one of its bank partners, Westpac, announced it was ending its relationship with the FinTech.

Reports in The Australian Financial Review (AFR) on Monday (June 11) said Westpac is ending its referral program that sees small business owners rejected for a bank loan linked to the Prospa platform.

Dover Financial Group calls in outstanding debts from financial planners (Australian Financial Review) Rated: A

Dover Financial Group lured financial advisers by offering to postpone payment of annual licence fees for a year or more, but the collapsed company is now calling for immediate payments of those debts, leaving planners, who are already worried about their future, furious.

India

With Rs 35 cr in disbursals, Lendbox is creating a new asset class for investors (Your Story) Rated: AAA

Basing only 20 percent of its risk assessment engine on the CIBIL score, the platform assesses a borrower’s credit-worthiness based on their social, professional, behavioural analysis, including their salary expenditure trends and limits on credit card. The founders claim that the platform takes close to 130 data points into consideration before deciding on a suitable interest rate.

The borrowers are then classified between A1 (A2 and A3) and B3, with the rate of interest ranging from 12 to 36 percent.

Ekmeet says that close to 85 percent of loan requests are denied by the platform, and only 20 percent of their total users are from Tier II towns and cities.

Asia

Kakao Bank’s chatbot will answer up to 80% of requests (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Kakao Bank, South Korea’s largest internet-only bank, is already showing the beta version of its customer support chatbot, which is scheduled to be launched sometime this month.

The bank says that the tech will help relieve the stress on its customer services department, which receives up to 80% of requests that could be automated.

Canada

Luge Capital goes huge with $ 75m fintech funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Initially, $50 million of the raised capital was announced in October 2017 by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Desjardins Group, two of the fund’s major investors.

Sun Life Financial, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ and La Capitale are also “significant” participants. Luge says it may expand the fund up to $100 million in the coming months.

Real estate crowdfunding in Canada: portal insights for 2017/18 (IT Business Blog) Rated: A

Real estate online investment or crowdfunding has been a sector that has attracted significant interest in the U.S. over the last several years, with more than 100 portals launched to serve rapidly growing developer and investor interest. In fact, industry research hub crowdsourcing.org estimates that the industry will be worth more than $300 billion USD by 2025.

Latin America

Defaults the largest driver of Brazil banking spreads -cenbank (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Credit defaults have been the main factor keeping Brazilian banks from cutting interest rates to households and companies, the central bank said on Tuesday, even as benchmark rates have fallen to all-time lows.

The average cost of credit fell 1.3 percentage points in 2017 to 21.3 percent, according to a central bank report, compared with a 6.75 percentage point decline in the benchmark Selic interest rate. Spreads fell 3.8 percentage points to 18.9 percentage points.

Defaults, which reached 3.2 percent at the end of 2017 according to a widely used metric, forced banks to keep interest rates high to account for potential losses, the central bank said.

Defaults were behind an average 37.4 percent of banking spreads in 2015-2017, the largest contributor to bumping up credit costs to consumers. Other reasons were administrative expenses, taxes and financial margins, a central bank report showed.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday February 21 2018, Daily News Digest

LendingClub originations by funding source

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club losses extend to Q4 2017. LendingClub to settle lawsuit for $125M. Groundfloor launches online public offering. Even Financial gets backing from American Express. LendInvest launches buy-to-let calculator online. Today’s main analysis: Lend Academy reviews LendingClub’s Q4 2017 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Equity sharing and home ownership. How millennials move emerging markets. Why Australia needs […]

LendingClub originations by funding source

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

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News Summary

United States

Lending Club extends losses for fourth straight year (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club lost money for a fourth year in a row last year, as it wrote a big cheque to settle class-action lawsuits connected to its governance glitches of 2016.

The San Francisco-based company, the biggest listed online lender in America, said on Tuesday that net losses for the fourth quarter almost tripled from a year earlier, to $92m, as it agreed a $125m settlement to resolve civil suits stemming from the loan-mis-selling scandal that blew up almost two years ago. About $48m of the sum would be covered by insurance, the company said, with the remainder to be paid from liquid assets of about $650m.

The loss for the full year came to $154m, wider than the previous year’s $146m.

LendingClub agrees to settle shareholder litigation for 5M (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Under the agreement, which was announced Tuesday, the San Francisco-based online lender expects to pay $77.25 million. An additional $47.75 million is expected to be covered by LendingClub’s insurance, bringing the total payout to $125 million. The deal is subject to court approval.

LendingClub Corp (LC) Shares Sink on Q4 Earnings Miss (InvestorPlace), Rated: A

Lending Club also underwhelmed in its revenue as the company raked in $156.5 million during its fourth quarter, below Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $157.6 million, according to FactSet. The figure did increase 20% compared to the year-ago quarter.

On an adjusted basis, the company posted earnings of a penny per share, compared to a loss of 2 cents in the year-ago quarter.

The company also experienced a 23% annual growth in originations, which reached over $2.4 billion.

LendingClub Q4 2017 Earnings Results Review (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

LendingClub delivered another record quarter of $156.5 million in revenue up slightly from their previous quarter. Originations were slightly down from the third quarter at $2.436 billion. They reported a GAAP net loss of $92.1 million in the fourth quarter which was affected by the class action litigation settlement expense.

Source: Lend Academy
Source: Lend Academy

LendingClub provided the below guidance for Q1 2018 and reaffirmed their guidance for 2018:

First Quarter 2018

  • Total Net Revenue in the range of $145 million to $155 million
  • Net Income (Loss) in the range of $(25) million to $(20) million
  • Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $5 million to $10 million
  • Reconciling Items between net loss and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA consisting of stock-based compensation of approximately $19 million, and depreciation and amortization and other net adjustments of approximately $11 million

Full Year 2018

  • Total Net Revenue in the range of $680 million to $705 million
  • Net Income (Loss) in the range of $(53) million to $(38) million
  • Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $75 million to $90 million
  • Reconciling Items between net loss and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA consisting of stock-based compensation of approximately $77 million, and depreciation and amortization and other net adjustments of approximately $51 million

Stocks making the biggest moves after hours (CNBC), Rated: B

LendingClub stock plunged 10 percent after the bell. The peer-to-peer lending company reported earnings and revenues that missed Wall Street estimates.

Groundfloor Launches Online Public Offering Amidst Increased Stock Market Volatility (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Groundfloor, the first issuer qualified by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission to offer real estate based payment dependent notes that are available to non-accredited investors, today announced that it has raised a total of $4.3 million from 687 participating investors in a combination of two recent financings, a private online bridge note closed late last year and an initial closing of its online public offering of equity. In each case, the company kicked off the invitation-only raises to customers and friends of the company with a $1M target, surpassing that in under 48 hours. Due to increased growth opportunities and strong demand, the company has today expanded the equity raise to the public.

Groundfloor is offering a total of up to 530,000 shares of Common Stock at $10 per share in its online public offering. Investor benefits include: no investor fees for life2; access to regular shareholder-only loan offerings; and invitations to attend annual Groundfloor shareholder events.

Recently increased expectations that the Fed may raise interest rates in the future has investors rebalancing their portfolios, with a shift out of equity into debt, as bond yields are expected to increase. Twelve-month bond yields have recently inched up to 1.97 percent.

By comparison, Groundfloor investors have earned an average of 13.6 percent per year over the past three years, which represents over 6x the yield of a current one year Treasury note, and over 1,000 percent more than they would have made if their money had been in a CD or savings account over this period.1 Groundfloor’s retail investors create their own portfolios of real estate debt investments in the fix and flip residential housing market, and the loans on which the investments are based are secured by a first lien position against the underlying real asset.

Real Estate Equity Crowdfunding: A New Investment Opportunity for the Investors (EIN News), Rated: A

Talking in context of real estate, there are 3 ways to invest in a crowdfunded real-estate property:

• Equity crowdfunding
• Syndicated debt crowdfunding
• Platform-issued (‘pre-filled’) debt crowdfunding

Following are the pros and cons of going for equity crowdfunding in real estate:

Pros

• High yield potential
• Lower barrier to entry: Even if you have a very less amount of money, you can still invest even in large commercial real estate projects through equity crowdfunding and enjoy the benefits of the real estate i.e., strong returns and lower volatility.
• No self-employment taxes
• Higher returns

Cons

• The risks. An investor should know how to evaluate the risk factors like local economy volatility and chances of higher than expected construction costs. Due diligence is what is required.
• Liquidity constraint: These investments need to be held up for a period of five years or so, and hence one should go for this option if this much bandwidth is available, lack of liquidity is not there, and an investor is comfortable with the invested amount to be tied up for several years.
• It’s still an early option: It is still an early option to be considered as the performance track record and validation is still not complete and individual investors are still trying to figure it out.
• Lack of control: Since it is a passive investment, the investors are not involved in the day to day activities and therefore have limited ability and control over the operations required.

RealyInvest App Empowers Beginners to Invest in Commercial Real Estate (PR Newswire), Rated: A

In a rising tide of fintech apps, RealyInvest is emerging as a new way for beginning investors to access the high-priced world of premier commercial real estate right from their smartphones.

RealyInvestors can purchase fractional shares of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) for as little as $5. Investors can also own shares of commercial real estate NNN Assets, such as a building long-term leased to Starbucks, for as little as $20.

All investments, rental income and dividend earnings can be managed right on your smartphone. Fees range from $1 to $3 per month, depending on investment options.

Silicon Valley Explores a New Investment: Your Home (WSJ), Rated: AAA

A handful of companies, including those backed by marquee Silicon Valley names such as Andreessen Horowitz and Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization, are experimenting with a product that essentially lets them take an ownership position in a house along with the homeowner. The agreements, called shared-equity contracts, provide a new way for investors to get exposure to rising home prices across the U.S.

Shared-equity products are aimed at new buyers who need help with a down payment, or current homeowners looking for an alternative to a cash-out mortgage refinancing or a home-equity loan. The first use has caught the attention of mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac ,which recently agreed to buy loans on properties where one firm,Unison Agreement Corp. , contributes to the down payment.

Landed Inc. offers these down-payment contracts to teachers and other educators. Last year, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative , a philanthropy co-founded by Facebook Inc.’s chief executive, gave Landed $5 million to start a new fund.

The length of the contracts can vary from a few years to 30. Homeowners can repay early, including if they sell their house before the term ends. How much they end up owing depends on how the value of their home changes. Because the funds are equity, not a borrowing, they don’t require monthly payments.

Even Financial inks $ 3 mln (PE Hub Network), Rated: AAA

Even Financial, the technology platform powering financial services online, has secured a strategic investment round totaling $3 million. The round includes an investment from American Express Ventures, the strategic investment unit of American Express, as well as Plug & Play and Arab Angels.

With this investment, Even Financial will expand its team and advance its proprietary technology, which allows financial institutions and other partners to scale customer acquisition and remain competitive in the growing online financial services industry.

Fundrise Reports 2017 Performance. Total Return for the Year Stands at 11.44% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In brief, this is what Fundrise reported;

“In 2017, Fundrise investments earned an 11.44%* total return on investment, including over $16 million in dividends paid out to investors. Delivering attractive, consistent cash flow is a core part of our mission to offer you a better way to invest.”

Online SMB lending platform Yalber closes $ 20M senior credit facility (Bankless Times), Rated: A

SMB lending platform Yalber closed a $20 million senior credit facility this week, the company announced today.

Blinker Joins With Ally To Enhance The Auto Industry’s Only Peer-To-Peer E-Commerce Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

South by Southwest Interactive Innovation Award winner and 2018 LendIt Fintech Industry Award finalist Blinker, the only peer-to-peer e-commerce platform that provides an end-to-end solution for anyone buying, selling or financing cars, announced two major milestones for its business today:

  • Blinker is now available in the largest car markets in the US – Beginning today, Blinker is expanding its proprietary e-commerce and loan origination platform from Texas and Colorado to California and Florida, allowing millions of customers to buy, sell and finance vehicles easier, quicker and safer with other people. Thirty percent of vehicle sales across the US every year are between people, yet private-party marketplaces including Craigslist, Letgo, Autotrader, Cars.com and Facebook Marketplace don’t have services such as integrated financing or lien payoff support. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, Blinker customers get guidance and tools to complete the entire purchase process themselves, from instant vehicle valuation to real-time auto loan approval to e-signing documents to secure funds transfer, all for free within Blinker’s mobile app.
  • Blinker joins with Ally to offer best-in-class auto protection products – Blinker will now give customers the option to add Ally’s vehicle protection coverage, including Ally Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) and Ally Premier Protection vehicle service contracts, for their vehicle purchases in the app. GAP covers the difference between the cash value of a vehicle and what Blinker customers still owe on their loan if the vehicle is totaled or stolen. Ally vehicle service contracts cover the repair cost for over 7,400 mechanical, electrical, safety or digital components, as well as some related expenses like trip interruption, rental car coverage, towing and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Zelle users are finding out the hard way there’s no fraud protection (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Scammers have taken to Zelle, the Venmo alternative backed by U.S. banks, to defraud consumers who believe the service includes the same protections they’ve come to expect from PayPal. A number of customers report having lost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, over Zelle, when they used it for transactions with people they didn’t know – like tickets bought off a Craigslist posting, for example.

Cyberattacks took $ 56B from U.S. economy in ’16 (American Banker), Rated: A

Malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, the White House said Friday.

The estimate comes in a Council of Economic Advisers report on the impact of cyberattacks on U.S. government and industry. The report details the range of threats that U.S. entities face from actors including corporations and countries such as Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

The council’s estimate represents between 0.31% and 0.58% of the 2016 U.S. gross domestic product. For comparison, the report cites a Center for Strategic and International Studies report that estimated the cost of malicious cyber activities against U.S. entities at $107 billion in 2013, 0.64% of GDP that year.

BlockFi Raises 1.55M in Seed Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

BlockFi, a New York-based fintech company whose first product is a loan for cryptoasset owners, raised $1.55m in seed funding.

Backers included ConsenSys Ventures, Kenetic Capital, PJC, SoFi, Purple Arch Ventures and Lumenary.

The 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies (Fast Company), Rated: A

03 Square

For extending the benefits of banking

19 Social Capital

For putting values into its ventures

26 Kakao Bank

For marrying social messaging with banking

31 Paytm

For pioneering the cashless economy

42 Stripe

For writing the new startup manual

47 CommonBond

For offering payback

‘Pinterest will get even bigger for us’ says fintech lender Elevate Credit (The Drum), Rated: A

Speaking to The Drum in the final instalment of a four-part video series with Falcon.io exploring social media strategies, she admitted that while it can be a challenge, using data to understand her audience’s wants and needs has helped her shape content which is likely to resonate.

Fox says she has been finding success on the unlikeliest of social media platforms – Pinterest.

“All our content is more lifestyle focused than finance focused,” she explained.

OpenClose Bolsters Software Integration and Support Teams (Send2Press), Rated: B

OpenClose, an industry-leading multi-channel loan origination system (LOS) and mortgage fintech provider, announced that it has added staff to its integration and customer support departments. The new hires will help enhance OpenClose’s existing software products, facilitate digital mortgage processes, produce fintech-level innovation and provide excellence in customer support. The company also recently added three senior software engineers to its development team.

3 Loans for Students You Should Avoid Like the Plague (Student Loan Hero), Rated: B

1. Payday loans

You usually have only a couple of weeks to repay the loan, and the typical APR is almost 400.00%, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you can’t pay it back and have to take out a new payday loan to pay off the first, you could end up stuck in a vicious cycle of predatory debt.

What you should try instead: payday alternative loan (PAL).

2. Auto title loans

The reality is these short-term loans also have three-digit APRs, and you typically have between 15 and 30 days to repay the loan.

What you should try instead: A short-term campus loan.

$20 / $2,000 = 1%
1% x 365 days = 3.65
3.65 / 60 = 6.08% APR

3. Cash advances

This type of loan isn’t as costly as a payday loan or an auto title loan, but it’s not ideal for two reasons:

  1. Credit cards charge a fee, typically 5% of the advance amount. So, if you withdraw $500, you’ll have to pay $25 upfront.
  2. There’s no grace period with cash advances, so interest starts accruing immediately.

What you should try instead: A 0% APR promotion. Some credit cards offer a 0% APR promotion on new purchases for a period.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle to launch two new mobile apps this year (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The business lender, which currently only has an iPhone app for investors to access, monitor and manage their accounts, is now advertising for a global mobile apps product manager and for an Android developer.

Both positions are based in the UK.

“We have an ambitious roadmap for this year and want to launch two new apps (Android and iOS) for our investors,” the job advert on the Funding Circle website said.

LendInvest Announces Launch of Buy-to-Let Online Calculator for Intermediaries (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Tuesday, LendInvest announced the launch of its new buy-to-let (BTL) online calculator for intermediaries.

 

P2P business lending up 51% (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

The value of P2P business lending grew by 51% during 2017, according to new research from the British Business Bank (BBB).

The report also found that the value of SME asset finance deals was up 12%.

Although net bank lending volumes remained positive (£700m in 2017), it was weaker than in both 2016 (£3bn) and 2015 (£2bn).

The BBB found that there had been a significant increase in both the value and number of SME equity deals, up 79% and 12% respectively.

Online lenders and banks may operate as ‘joint ventures’ (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ONLINE lending platforms may partner with banks to fund and market credit products in the future, even sharing the approval process and compliance, in one scenario outlined by global banking regulators.

A number of peer-to-peer lenders have already partnered with banks on a smaller scale. For example, Metro Bank has lent through Zopa’s platform and Santander has referred borrowers to Funding Circle. However, these tie-ups have not gone as far as the report’s scenario suggests in terms of becoming a joint venture.

Crowdfund sites ‘are not explaining the dangers’ (The Times), Rated: A

Square Pie, which started life as a stall in London’s Old Spitalfields Market, expanded with the help of a “pie bond” that promised 8% annual interest over four years. The bond was offered through one of Britain’s biggest crowdfunding platforms, Crowdcube.

A total of 324 investors signed up, lending more than £650,000 to fund Square Pie restaurants and its efforts to improve supermarket sales. Square Pie has gone into administration — the first failure of a business that issued a mini bond on a crowdfunding site.…

Crypto lending platform nears launch (AltFi), Rated: A

Lendingblock is one such business. The soon-to-launch platform is, in its founder Steve Swain’s words, “an open exchange for cryptocurrency loans”.

Lendingblock is in the middle of a three-stage Initial Coin Offering that will conclude in March. The first phase has already been completed, raising the equivalent of $500,000. The offering has a hard cap of $10m.

Number of farming building conversions falls 20 percent in a year (FarmingUK), Rated: B

The number of conversions of farm buildings into new homes dropped 20% in the last year, denting hopes that these conversions could help solve the rural housing crisis.

According to Lendy, one of Europe’s largest peer-to-peer lending platforms, only 1,511 agricultural-to-residential conversion applications were approved in 2016/17.

China

The New Year to Bring a New Flood of IPOs (CapitalWatch), Rated: A

Golden Bull Ltd., an online peer-to-peer lending platform in China, plans to offer up to $9 million in shares on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “DNJR.” The Shanghai-based company, which was founded in 2015, provides borrowers access to short-term loans.
European Union

Finnest Expands Online Financing to Larger Corporations, Adds Institutional Investors (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Finnest is an interesting online lender operating in the DACH countries. The peer to peer platform was launched to provide SME funding supported by individual investors but the company is now expanding by providing loans of €10 million and higher. Institutional investors such as insurance companies, funds, family offices and banks will now be able to invest in large SMEs on “FinnestPro.”

Why it’s OK that the majority of consumers don’t know about Open Banking – for now (AltFi), Rated: A

The new EU legislation on payment services – PSD2 – and the introduction of Open Banking in the UK seem to have passed the vast majority of people in the country by, according to an AltFi News article last month.

This referred to a report by Which saying that 92 per cent of consumers hadn’t even heard of Open Banking.

International

How Millennials are Moving Emerging Markets (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Millennials in advanced economies have come under pressure in recent years, thanks to stagnating wages, rising house prices and escalating student debt. But an altogether different trend is taking place in many emerging markets where millennials are seeing their prospects rapidly improve. This in turn is creating an investment opportunity, as millennials in these countries are becoming hugely influential on the prospects for emerging market equities.

Millennials will account for half of the global workforce by 2020, meaning they will be one of the most influential groups in shaping the economy and society, including consumption habits, policy and how companies may want to market and brand themselves. They are disrupting traditional industries and companies are having to adapt. This presents investment opportunities, but it also presents new investment risks.

Latest ICO Updates on VLR Token – Valorem Foundation ICO is LIVE! (TechBullion), Rated: A

Based on ERC-20, the multilayered cryptocurrency platform will host a marketplace that allows developmental phases. The first phase focuses on micro loans (small loans), rent payments, student loans and peer-to-peer payment processing.

As trust grows on the platform, phase 2 will be implemented to cater to sales distribution, global small business investing and global commercial and residential real estate crowdfunding while the third stage will serve charity and insurance. The final phase will be dedicated to maintenance and future developments that may include additional currency adoption, feature adding etc.

Valorem (VLR) is the token offered. The exchange rate stands at 1 ETH= 1000 VLR. There is a total supply of 200 million tokens of which 150 million are available during the ICO and 50 million will be kept in reserve. Valorem will not be mined.

Wealth managers must go digital (Raconteur), Rated: B

People born between roughly 1982 and 2002 are set to receive the biggest inheritance boom of any post-war generation. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) estimated the figure will be around $4 trillion in the UK, Canada and United States.

An Interview with Kirill Suslov – The CEO at Finom and TabTrader Founder (NewsBTC), Rated: B

NewsBTC: Now it seems that you have no experience with banking services yet. How do you plan to cover this area?

Now I can say we understand confidently how banking works and how it should work in the crypto industry. By 2020, we’re going to have a licensed bank and transform it into a crypto one with a network of crypto terminals.

A bit sooner, in 2018, we plan to release crypto e-wallets with linked debit cards. Miners will be able to use recently mined coins right away, transferring them to their wallets immediately. We’re also designing a platform for peer-to-peer lending.

Australia

Peer To Peer Lending Increasingly Popular In Australia (compare dinkum), Rated: AAA

Australian investors and borrowers are increasingly adopting peer to peer lending platforms according to the results of survey undertaken by ASIC. The results of the survey suggest that as much as $300 million of personal and business loans were underwritten by peer to peer lenders over the course of the last fiscal year. That represents a doubling in the amount that was lent on such platforms during the 2015/2016 financial year.

Why Australia needs a better system for credit scores (The Converstion), Rated: AAA

Australia’s credit rating system is failing both borrowers and lenders. Many borrowers are unaware of their own credit scores and our research shows they have trouble applying for suitable loans. Lenders are also struggling with too little information, causing them to extend loans to those they shouldn’t and restrict loans to worthy borrowers.

Upcoming changes to Australia’s credit reporting system could remedy these issues.

Under the new credit reporting regime, both lenders and borrowers will have access to more data, such as monthly payment histories on loans and credit cards.

More innovation ahead in mortgage lending

For higher-risk borrowers, novel techniques to assess credit risk (such as analysis of social media accounts) may be the answer to distinguish good borrowers from bad.

But prior experience from an over-reliance on credit scores in the United States shows that careful assessment of borrowers remains vital.

India

Refer to these fintech startups for range of medical loans (Business Standard), Rated: A

Among all the personal the medical loan is the most crucial one which is often required on an urgent basis by the applicants.

Recently a host of Financial technology(Fintech) and Non-financing related start-ups have been launched in providing a variety of medical to the clients.

Canada

They couldn’t get loans from their banks so turned to a legitimate-looking lender online (The Star), Rated: AAA

Unable to qualify for a loan from her bank, Johnston searched online for private lenders and found a website for what appeared to be a legitimate company calling itself North Clear Credit.

Everything about it — the variety of loans offered, the glowing testimonials, the company description — seemed professional. In fact, a customer who later reported North Clear Credit to police says an officer told her the website looked legitimate.

For Johnston and Mood, the terms were appealing. The money could be paid back monthly over five years at an interest rate substantially lower than what they would be charged elsewhere.

Johnston completed an online application and was approved for a $20,000 loan.

Within a few days, Johnston and Mood had lost $3,500, and two North Clear Credit “representatives” with whom Johnston had been corresponding had disappeared.

Blackchain Announces Private Placement (Stockhouse), Rated: A

Blackchain Solutions Inc. (the “Company” or “Blackchain”) (CSE: BIS), announces a private placement of up to 3,400,000 units at a price of $0.18 per unit, for gross proceeds of $612,000.  Each unit consists of one common share and one share purchase warrant.  Each warrant is exercisable at a price of $0.22 per share for a term of two years.

Proceeds generated from this financing will be used to initiate and support the filing of multiple patents and trademarks related to the Blackchain Crypto Credit Rating API and P2P Lending Platform.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor