Thursday June 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

economic downturn

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi completes first rated pass-through certificates offering. Y Combinator backs Monzo for U.S. expansion. Funding Circle set for largest securitization. Dianrong shifts strategy. Funding Circle inks 50M Euro deal with Avida Finans. Open raises $30M. Today’s main analysis: Chance for recession is rising (A MUST-READ PeerIQ analysis). Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

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

economic downturn

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

China

APAC

News Summary

United States

SoFi Completes First Offering of Rated Pass-Through Certificates (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed a $200 million offering of post-graduate student loan asset-backed certificates issued by SoFi Alternative Trust 2019-C (SAT 2019-C). The Certificates are rated single-A by DBRS and mark the first rated pass-through certificate transaction issued by SoFi and the first publicly rated student loan pass-through transaction in the securitization market.

Unlike traditional student loan ABS transactions, SAT 2019-C does not use overcollateralization or bond subordination as forms of credit enhancement.  The A rating assigned to the certificates by DBRS reflects the strong credit attributes of the borrowers. The portfolio has a weighted average credit score of 783 and a weighted average annual income of $175,746.

Y Combinator says Monzo’s community will help it succeed in the US where others have failed (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Leading US startup backer Y Combinator has become the latest high-profile backer of Monzo, on the eve of the bank’s American expansion.

Today Monzo confirmed it had raised £113m in a round led by Y Combinator’s Continuity fund, along with Latitude, General Catalyst, Stripe, Passion Capital and others.

Recession Risks; OCC Charter + Big Tech (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Weak economic data continue – inflation expectations tumble, manufacturing has moved into recession, and the 10y/3m yield curve remains mildly inverted. Although the FOMC took no rate action this week, dovish signaling has led market participants to expect a 70% chance of 3 or more rate cuts in 2019.

Source: WSJ, PeerIQ

CPI Since 1879 During Business Cycles

Source: Deutsche Bank, PeerIQ

How A Former J.Crew And Pillsbury Exec Is Applying His CFO Expertise At A Financial Unicorn (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Scott Rosenberg: Kabbage represented a great opportunity for me to apply my prior experiences and help architect the future vision of a fast-growing company. Every role in my career has allowed me to lead or influence multiple divisions within a company, which makes my operational approach similar to that of a COO or General Manager. Beyond leading the CFO office in previous roles, I led Marketing at J. Crew, Operations at Pillsbury and most recently was the President of Purchasing Power. This broad vantage point lets me ensure financial growth as the CFO, but also identify opportunities to establish operational efficiencies more broadly across the organization. I take the same approach at Kabbage as I lead multiple disciplines, including Capital Markets and Legal. It encourages transparency across teams which allows us to move faster. With more than 175,000 customers accessing over $7.0 billion to-date, it’s an exciting role to drive hyper growth and deliver the best products and experiences for U.S. small businesses.

According to a survey released today by Kabbage that polled more than 500 companies across multiple industries, 80% of American entrepreneurs said they felt confident in their readiness to weather another economic crisis.

H&M and Klarna Grow Partnership to US (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

H&M and Klarna announced that they have expanded their current partnership agreement to also include the US market, in the development of an unrivalled payments and shopping experience across touchpoints. Together, H&M and Klarna are aiming at further integrating H&M’s digital and physical stores to give customers a seamless, personalised and engaging shopping experience no matter where, when and how they shop.

This Commercial Real Estate Marketplace Provides Direct Investment Opportunities (TheStreet), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, which launched in 2014, is the leading player in the fast-growing field of online commercial real estate investing. The company’s online Marketplace allows individual investors to reap the rewards of investing in the $6 trillion commercial real estate sector, investing in everything from multifamily apartment buildings to self-storage facilities and senior-living centers.

The average return on the first 14 deals financed on CrowdStreet’s platform — those which have fully wrapped up, yielding final returns to investors — is 31.7%, with a 1.6x equity multiple and a holding period of two years.*

MassMutual, CommonBond Team Up to Tackle Student Debt in the U.S. (Mass Mutual), Rated: A

Total student loan debt in the U.S. is now over $1.5 trillion, which prevents many people from passing financial milestones and saving for the future.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) has teamed up with CommonBond to offer a new student loan refinancing program through CommonBond with a rate advantage to help people take control of their student debt. This program – available online to all individuals with student debt today — is among the first of its kind in the student lending and insurance industries. The program is becoming available on a rolling basis in local communities across the U.S. through MassMutual’s network of financial advisors, currently 9,000 strong.

Ocrolus Raises $ 24M to Modernize Workflows with a Human Touch (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Ocrolus today announced $24M in Series B funding led by Oak HC/FT, a premier venture growth equity fund with deep fintech expertise. Ocrolus is powered by an elegant blend of artificial intelligence and crowdsourced human quality control, enabling firms across the financial sector to automate high-stakes business processes with precision. The company will use its new funding to automate underwriting workflows for lenders and banks, and expand into new verticals.

How Citizens Bank is rethinking mobile and online banking (American Banker), Rated: A


Robos are getting political. Will Wall Street follow? (FinancialPlanning), Rated: A

Forged in the wake of the financial crisis and political movements like Occupy Wall Street, digital advisory firms have become decidedly open about their political agendas. By advocating for the democratization of financial advice and stronger consumer protections, digital investment platforms have become the face of progressive politics in the market. That’s attractive to young investors — assets managed on digital platforms are expected to soar to $1.26 trillion by 2023, according to a report by Aite Group.

Cross River gets onboarding system it coveted in fintech deal (American Banker), Rated: A

The $1.5 billion-asset bank agreed on Monday to buy Seed for an undisclosed amount. The 5-year-old fintech offers a mobile account for small businesses, complete with bill payment, remote deposit and an attached debit card.

“It’s About Time” Documentary Sheds Light on Earned Wage Access (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today, PayActiv, Inc., the leader in employer-sponsored, holistic financial wellness service for employees, unveiled its documentary made in collaboration with Early Light Media and Roundtable Companies about the direct benefits of timely earned wage access. Now available at ItsAboutTimeTheFilm.com, the documentary, titled It’s About Time, looks at pay timing and its correlation with epidemic financial stress being experienced by millions of working Americans.

Fintech MX gets $ 100 million in funding to expand operations (American Banker), Rated: B

The data company MX is set to announce Tuesday an infusion of $100 million from a host of partners, including National Bank of Canada and Washington Federal.

Neighborhood Ventures Closes on Third Investment Property Near Old Town Scottsdale (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Arizona’s first real estate crowdfunding company, Neighborhood Ventures, recently closed on its third investment property, an eight-unit apartment building in Old Town Scottsdale. Ninety Arizona residents invested a total of $550,000 into the purchase of the property, which will be renovated with a plan to operate it as an Airbnb.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle set for its largest ever securitisation (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

DEUTSCHE Bank has unveiled more details on Funding Circle’s fourth securitisation, revealing it will be the highest-value package of loans it has offered so far.

The investment bank, which has been mandated as sole arranger and lead manager, said the deal will comprise 3,030 loans, with an aggregate balance of £244m and an average interest rate of 9.91 per cent.

FTSE 250 movers: Funding Circle falters (ShareCast), Rated: A

London’s FTSE 250 fell 0.14% lower to 19,260.07 in afternoon trade on Wednesday, with Funding Circle leading the index lower.

The peer-to-peer lending marketplace was accompanied by fellow financial stocks, with Amigo HoldingsCharter Court Financial ServicesPlus500 and Onesavings Bank all featuring among the top fallers.

OakNorth completes £60m facility for three new retirement schemes (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

OakNorth has completed a £60m loan to Affordable Housing & Healthcare Group (AHH) for the development of three new affordable retirement living schemes.

He said that in retirement he will continue to be a school governor, and that he intended to devote more time to the two charities he is involved with (the other one being Lendwithcare – peer to peer lending to entrepreneurs in a number of Third World countries).

China

Top Chinese peer-to-peer lender to shift strategy after latest fundraising (ETPrime), Rated: AAA

Wu Yujian and Liu Jiefei Dianrong, one of China’s largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, said it’s planning a shift in strategy to focus on cooperating with traditional financial institutions as China’s regulators continue to tighten their grip over the industry. The move was revealed on Thursday as the Shanghai-based company confirmed (link in Chinese) it had completed a new

Government Asks Victims of P2P Fraud Case to Register for Compensation (Caixin Global), Rated: A

An intermediate court in Beijing overseeing the Ezubo case said on Wednesday that victims could detail their cases to authorities at local registration sites between July 2 and Aug. 30.

European Union

A very Nordic fintech revolution (Pitchbook), Rated: AAA

Europe is a hotbed of activity when it comes to fintech investments, as the sector continues to mature. Year after year, billions of euros are plowed into promising startups, with last year seeing more than €2.8 billion raised across 438 deals, per the PitchBook Platform.

Below is a list of some of the most innovative fintech companies founded in the Nordics, together with noteworthy investments and backers.

EU Moves Closer To New Bloc-Wide Crowdfunding Rules (Law360), Rated: A

European lawmakers floated new rules on Wednesday to make it easier for businesses and investors to ask the public to fund their projects, bringing the European Union a step closer to forging a common set of rules for national regulators overseeing crowdfunding.

International

Funding Circle strikes €50m loans deal with Sweden’s Avida Finans (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has struck a deal with Swedish finance house Avida Finans to lend an initial €50m to small firms in Germany and the Netherlands this year.

How DeFi startups are providing an alternative to traditional lending (Sociable), Rated: AAA

DeFi lending startups are leveraging blockchain to shake-up the traditional money lending industry.

Digital Assets Kept as Collateral

Salt is one company which has been borne out of the cryptocurrency sector.  Through its platform, digital assets are kept as collateral but returned upon repayment of the loan.

Automated P2P Lending Agreements on Blockchain

ETHLend is another DeFi platform built on top of the Ethereum network.  It creates a means for lenders and borrowers from around the world to establish peer to peer lending agreements over blockchain.

Blockchain Catering to the Unbanked in Latin America

A Blockchain-Driven Lending Circle

A completely different approach is being taken by startup, WeTrust.

When it comes to lending, users can establish a ‘lending circle’ on the platform.

Australia

P2P lender expands presence in third-party space (TheAdviser), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has announced its new partnership with Choice Aggregation Services (Choice), providing accredited brokers with access to the lender’s personal loan offerings.

P2P lender joins aggregator panel (Broker News), Rated: A

The partnership will make RateSetter’s unsecured personal loan product available to Choice Aggregation Service’s network of more than 1,600 brokers, in line with the trend towards servicing a more diverse array of client needs.

Recognising SMEs’ contribution to the economy (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

Prospa research has highlighted how lending to small business positively affects the economy through contributing to GDP and creating and supporting jobs.

Data released this week by accounting software firm Xero, analysed invoices from 150,000 Australian SMEs and concluded that 53% of trade credit invoices are paid late by big business suppliers and customers – on average 23 days after their due date. Squeezing SMEs, Xero calculates these late payments are worth $115bn.

Technology boosting financial literacy (Financial Review), Rated: A

Technology will need to play a bigger role in boosting the financial literacy of Australians as a large number of financial planners leave the profession, says Bronny Speed, financial advice leader at Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand.

Speed says as increased educational and licensing standards for Australia’s 29,000 financial advisors will push some out of the market, it will leave a gap in the profession’s ability to provide financial advice and boost literacy.

India

India’s Open ‘neo-bank’ raises $ 30 million to help businesses automate their finances (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Open, a Bangalore-based startup that operates a “neo-bank” to help businesses automate and run their finances, has bagged $30 million in a new funding round as investors look to replicate a globally tried and tested business idea in emerging markets.

Open Banking is Disrupting the Traditional Banking System and Indian Neo Banks are Gearing up for it (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

In today’s age of digitisation, it is all about the customer and improving his/her experience. To achieve this goal, banks and fintech companies have to support each other. This change in the ecosystem has invented the concept of neo banking which can be rightly dubbed as the new era of the banking industry.

Govt should look at alternative financing option like P2P lending to solve MSMEs’ credit woes (MENAFN), Rated: A

As Budget is about to come in few weeks, it’s time for the government to look at alternative financing option like P2P lending to solve the credit crisis in Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, said Rajiv M Ranjan, Founder & CMD, Paisa Dukan.

While sharing the budget expectations, he said, ‘Getting access to institutional credit has been one of the major problems of the MSMEs and to maintain the wealth of the Indian middle class, P2P lending can turn a milestone.

Is fintech reeling under new challenges? (DNA India), Rated: A

The super exciting fintech segment in the start-up ecosystem has been encountering a host of challenges in the recent past. Following a move by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start a regulatory sandbox for the beta-testing of new fintech products in a controlled environment prior to their release, comes the issue of a liquidity crunch in the non-banking finance companies (NBFC) space.

STEADY GAINS

  • Over 1,300 new fintech ventures had cropped up in the sector between 2015 to 2018, according to a data
  • Fintech is a broad sector. It is wrong to connect the NBFC crisis to the whole fintech space
  • For a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending player who is dependent on retail investors for funding loans, maintaining trust is the key challenge
Asia

Singapore is ‘actively studying’ virtual banking licences, says country’s prime minister (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Singapore is actively studying whether to allow companies with no banking parentage to set up virtual banks, paving the way for start-ups like on-demand services operator Grab to potentially enter the formal financial services industry.

KoinWorks Closes $ 12M In Series B Funding Round (PYMNTS), Rated: A

KoinWorks announced that it has raised $12 million in a Series B funding round. The round was co-led by EV Growth and Quona Capital, with participation from existing investors. The funding will be used to expand the KoinWorks team and partnerships, as well as further develop the company’s systems and technology.

Business environment needs strong Gov’t actions: VBF 2019 (Vietnam News), Rated: A

The American Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (AmCham) expressed its desire for a highly standardised, transparent and stable business environment so all investors are treated equally.

Concerns were also raised by the Korea Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (Kocham) and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Việt Nam (JCCI).

The limit of foreign ownership in local financial firms has also prevented fintech and P2P firms from calling for foreign capital, making them unable to hire talent and keeping their businesses less competitive.

PT ALAMI Fintek Sharia (Alami) came in as the runner-up position in the TaqwaTech Pitch Pit organised by Gobi Partners Venture Capital.

Three companies from Indonesia qualified for the top ten, namely Alami, as well as two marketplace startups for pilgrimage services PergiUmroh.com and Umroh.com.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

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

Thursday June 7 2019, Weekly News Digest

economic downturn

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi completes first rated pass-through certificates offering. Y Combinator backs Monzo for U.S. expansion. Funding Circle set for largest securitization. Dianrong shifts strategy. Funding Circle inks 50M Euro deal with Avida Finans. Open raises $30M. Today’s main analysis: Chance for recession is rising (A MUST-READ PeerIQ analysis). Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

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

economic downturn

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

China

APAC

News Summary

United States

SoFi Completes First Offering of Rated Pass-Through Certificates (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it completed a $200 million offering of post-graduate student loan asset-backed certificates issued by SoFi Alternative Trust 2019-C (SAT 2019-C). The Certificates are rated single-A by DBRS and mark the first rated pass-through certificate transaction issued by SoFi and the first publicly rated student loan pass-through transaction in the securitization market.

Unlike traditional student loan ABS transactions, SAT 2019-C does not use overcollateralization or bond subordination as forms of credit enhancement.  The A rating assigned to the certificates by DBRS reflects the strong credit attributes of the borrowers. The portfolio has a weighted average credit score of 783 and a weighted average annual income of $175,746.

Y Combinator says Monzo’s community will help it succeed in the US where others have failed (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Leading US startup backer Y Combinator has become the latest high-profile backer of Monzo, on the eve of the bank’s American expansion.

Today Monzo confirmed it had raised £113m in a round led by Y Combinator’s Continuity fund, along with Latitude, General Catalyst, Stripe, Passion Capital and others.

Recession Risks; OCC Charter + Big Tech (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Weak economic data continue – inflation expectations tumble, manufacturing has moved into recession, and the 10y/3m yield curve remains mildly inverted. Although the FOMC took no rate action this week, dovish signaling has led market participants to expect a 70% chance of 3 or more rate cuts in 2019.

Source: WSJ, PeerIQ

CPI Since 1879 During Business Cycles

Source: Deutsche Bank, PeerIQ

How A Former J.Crew And Pillsbury Exec Is Applying His CFO Expertise At A Financial Unicorn (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Scott Rosenberg: Kabbage represented a great opportunity for me to apply my prior experiences and help architect the future vision of a fast-growing company. Every role in my career has allowed me to lead or influence multiple divisions within a company, which makes my operational approach similar to that of a COO or General Manager. Beyond leading the CFO office in previous roles, I led Marketing at J. Crew, Operations at Pillsbury and most recently was the President of Purchasing Power. This broad vantage point lets me ensure financial growth as the CFO, but also identify opportunities to establish operational efficiencies more broadly across the organization. I take the same approach at Kabbage as I lead multiple disciplines, including Capital Markets and Legal. It encourages transparency across teams which allows us to move faster. With more than 175,000 customers accessing over $7.0 billion to-date, it’s an exciting role to drive hyper growth and deliver the best products and experiences for U.S. small businesses.

According to a survey released today by Kabbage that polled more than 500 companies across multiple industries, 80% of American entrepreneurs said they felt confident in their readiness to weather another economic crisis.

H&M and Klarna Grow Partnership to US (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

H&M and Klarna announced that they have expanded their current partnership agreement to also include the US market, in the development of an unrivalled payments and shopping experience across touchpoints. Together, H&M and Klarna are aiming at further integrating H&M’s digital and physical stores to give customers a seamless, personalised and engaging shopping experience no matter where, when and how they shop.

This Commercial Real Estate Marketplace Provides Direct Investment Opportunities (TheStreet), Rated: A

CrowdStreet, which launched in 2014, is the leading player in the fast-growing field of online commercial real estate investing. The company’s online Marketplace allows individual investors to reap the rewards of investing in the $6 trillion commercial real estate sector, investing in everything from multifamily apartment buildings to self-storage facilities and senior-living centers.

The average return on the first 14 deals financed on CrowdStreet’s platform — those which have fully wrapped up, yielding final returns to investors — is 31.7%, with a 1.6x equity multiple and a holding period of two years.*

MassMutual, CommonBond Team Up to Tackle Student Debt in the U.S. (Mass Mutual), Rated: A

Total student loan debt in the U.S. is now over $1.5 trillion, which prevents many people from passing financial milestones and saving for the future.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) has teamed up with CommonBond to offer a new student loan refinancing program through CommonBond with a rate advantage to help people take control of their student debt. This program – available online to all individuals with student debt today — is among the first of its kind in the student lending and insurance industries. The program is becoming available on a rolling basis in local communities across the U.S. through MassMutual’s network of financial advisors, currently 9,000 strong.

Ocrolus Raises $ 24M to Modernize Workflows with a Human Touch (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Ocrolus today announced $24M in Series B funding led by Oak HC/FT, a premier venture growth equity fund with deep fintech expertise. Ocrolus is powered by an elegant blend of artificial intelligence and crowdsourced human quality control, enabling firms across the financial sector to automate high-stakes business processes with precision. The company will use its new funding to automate underwriting workflows for lenders and banks, and expand into new verticals.

How Citizens Bank is rethinking mobile and online banking (American Banker), Rated: A


Robos are getting political. Will Wall Street follow? (FinancialPlanning), Rated: A

Forged in the wake of the financial crisis and political movements like Occupy Wall Street, digital advisory firms have become decidedly open about their political agendas. By advocating for the democratization of financial advice and stronger consumer protections, digital investment platforms have become the face of progressive politics in the market. That’s attractive to young investors — assets managed on digital platforms are expected to soar to $1.26 trillion by 2023, according to a report by Aite Group.

Cross River gets onboarding system it coveted in fintech deal (American Banker), Rated: A

The $1.5 billion-asset bank agreed on Monday to buy Seed for an undisclosed amount. The 5-year-old fintech offers a mobile account for small businesses, complete with bill payment, remote deposit and an attached debit card.

“It’s About Time” Documentary Sheds Light on Earned Wage Access (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today, PayActiv, Inc., the leader in employer-sponsored, holistic financial wellness service for employees, unveiled its documentary made in collaboration with Early Light Media and Roundtable Companies about the direct benefits of timely earned wage access. Now available at ItsAboutTimeTheFilm.com, the documentary, titled It’s About Time, looks at pay timing and its correlation with epidemic financial stress being experienced by millions of working Americans.

Fintech MX gets $ 100 million in funding to expand operations (American Banker), Rated: B

The data company MX is set to announce Tuesday an infusion of $100 million from a host of partners, including National Bank of Canada and Washington Federal.

Neighborhood Ventures Closes on Third Investment Property Near Old Town Scottsdale (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

Arizona’s first real estate crowdfunding company, Neighborhood Ventures, recently closed on its third investment property, an eight-unit apartment building in Old Town Scottsdale. Ninety Arizona residents invested a total of $550,000 into the purchase of the property, which will be renovated with a plan to operate it as an Airbnb.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle set for its largest ever securitisation (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

DEUTSCHE Bank has unveiled more details on Funding Circle’s fourth securitisation, revealing it will be the highest-value package of loans it has offered so far.

The investment bank, which has been mandated as sole arranger and lead manager, said the deal will comprise 3,030 loans, with an aggregate balance of £244m and an average interest rate of 9.91 per cent.

FTSE 250 movers: Funding Circle falters (ShareCast), Rated: A

London’s FTSE 250 fell 0.14% lower to 19,260.07 in afternoon trade on Wednesday, with Funding Circle leading the index lower.

The peer-to-peer lending marketplace was accompanied by fellow financial stocks, with Amigo HoldingsCharter Court Financial ServicesPlus500 and Onesavings Bank all featuring among the top fallers.

OakNorth completes £60m facility for three new retirement schemes (Development Finance Today), Rated: A

OakNorth has completed a £60m loan to Affordable Housing & Healthcare Group (AHH) for the development of three new affordable retirement living schemes.

He said that in retirement he will continue to be a school governor, and that he intended to devote more time to the two charities he is involved with (the other one being Lendwithcare – peer to peer lending to entrepreneurs in a number of Third World countries).

China

Top Chinese peer-to-peer lender to shift strategy after latest fundraising (ETPrime), Rated: AAA

Wu Yujian and Liu Jiefei Dianrong, one of China’s largest peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, said it’s planning a shift in strategy to focus on cooperating with traditional financial institutions as China’s regulators continue to tighten their grip over the industry. The move was revealed on Thursday as the Shanghai-based company confirmed (link in Chinese) it had completed a new

Government Asks Victims of P2P Fraud Case to Register for Compensation (Caixin Global), Rated: A

An intermediate court in Beijing overseeing the Ezubo case said on Wednesday that victims could detail their cases to authorities at local registration sites between July 2 and Aug. 30.

European Union

A very Nordic fintech revolution (Pitchbook), Rated: AAA

Europe is a hotbed of activity when it comes to fintech investments, as the sector continues to mature. Year after year, billions of euros are plowed into promising startups, with last year seeing more than €2.8 billion raised across 438 deals, per the PitchBook Platform.

Below is a list of some of the most innovative fintech companies founded in the Nordics, together with noteworthy investments and backers.

EU Moves Closer To New Bloc-Wide Crowdfunding Rules (Law360), Rated: A

European lawmakers floated new rules on Wednesday to make it easier for businesses and investors to ask the public to fund their projects, bringing the European Union a step closer to forging a common set of rules for national regulators overseeing crowdfunding.

International

Funding Circle strikes €50m loans deal with Sweden’s Avida Finans (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has struck a deal with Swedish finance house Avida Finans to lend an initial €50m to small firms in Germany and the Netherlands this year.

How DeFi startups are providing an alternative to traditional lending (Sociable), Rated: AAA

DeFi lending startups are leveraging blockchain to shake-up the traditional money lending industry.

Digital Assets Kept as Collateral

Salt is one company which has been borne out of the cryptocurrency sector.  Through its platform, digital assets are kept as collateral but returned upon repayment of the loan.

Automated P2P Lending Agreements on Blockchain

ETHLend is another DeFi platform built on top of the Ethereum network.  It creates a means for lenders and borrowers from around the world to establish peer to peer lending agreements over blockchain.

Blockchain Catering to the Unbanked in Latin America

A Blockchain-Driven Lending Circle

A completely different approach is being taken by startup, WeTrust.

When it comes to lending, users can establish a ‘lending circle’ on the platform.

Australia

P2P lender expands presence in third-party space (TheAdviser), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has announced its new partnership with Choice Aggregation Services (Choice), providing accredited brokers with access to the lender’s personal loan offerings.

P2P lender joins aggregator panel (Broker News), Rated: A

The partnership will make RateSetter’s unsecured personal loan product available to Choice Aggregation Service’s network of more than 1,600 brokers, in line with the trend towards servicing a more diverse array of client needs.

Recognising SMEs’ contribution to the economy (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

Prospa research has highlighted how lending to small business positively affects the economy through contributing to GDP and creating and supporting jobs.

Data released this week by accounting software firm Xero, analysed invoices from 150,000 Australian SMEs and concluded that 53% of trade credit invoices are paid late by big business suppliers and customers – on average 23 days after their due date. Squeezing SMEs, Xero calculates these late payments are worth $115bn.

Technology boosting financial literacy (Financial Review), Rated: A

Technology will need to play a bigger role in boosting the financial literacy of Australians as a large number of financial planners leave the profession, says Bronny Speed, financial advice leader at Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand.

Speed says as increased educational and licensing standards for Australia’s 29,000 financial advisors will push some out of the market, it will leave a gap in the profession’s ability to provide financial advice and boost literacy.

India

India’s Open ‘neo-bank’ raises $ 30 million to help businesses automate their finances (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Open, a Bangalore-based startup that operates a “neo-bank” to help businesses automate and run their finances, has bagged $30 million in a new funding round as investors look to replicate a globally tried and tested business idea in emerging markets.

Open Banking is Disrupting the Traditional Banking System and Indian Neo Banks are Gearing up for it (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

In today’s age of digitisation, it is all about the customer and improving his/her experience. To achieve this goal, banks and fintech companies have to support each other. This change in the ecosystem has invented the concept of neo banking which can be rightly dubbed as the new era of the banking industry.

Govt should look at alternative financing option like P2P lending to solve MSMEs’ credit woes (MENAFN), Rated: A

As Budget is about to come in few weeks, it’s time for the government to look at alternative financing option like P2P lending to solve the credit crisis in Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, said Rajiv M Ranjan, Founder & CMD, Paisa Dukan.

While sharing the budget expectations, he said, ‘Getting access to institutional credit has been one of the major problems of the MSMEs and to maintain the wealth of the Indian middle class, P2P lending can turn a milestone.

Is fintech reeling under new challenges? (DNA India), Rated: A

The super exciting fintech segment in the start-up ecosystem has been encountering a host of challenges in the recent past. Following a move by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start a regulatory sandbox for the beta-testing of new fintech products in a controlled environment prior to their release, comes the issue of a liquidity crunch in the non-banking finance companies (NBFC) space.

STEADY GAINS

  • Over 1,300 new fintech ventures had cropped up in the sector between 2015 to 2018, according to a data
  • Fintech is a broad sector. It is wrong to connect the NBFC crisis to the whole fintech space
  • For a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending player who is dependent on retail investors for funding loans, maintaining trust is the key challenge
Asia

Singapore is ‘actively studying’ virtual banking licences, says country’s prime minister (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Singapore is actively studying whether to allow companies with no banking parentage to set up virtual banks, paving the way for start-ups like on-demand services operator Grab to potentially enter the formal financial services industry.

KoinWorks Closes $ 12M In Series B Funding Round (PYMNTS), Rated: A

KoinWorks announced that it has raised $12 million in a Series B funding round. The round was co-led by EV Growth and Quona Capital, with participation from existing investors. The funding will be used to expand the KoinWorks team and partnerships, as well as further develop the company’s systems and technology.

Business environment needs strong Gov’t actions: VBF 2019 (Vietnam News), Rated: A

The American Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (AmCham) expressed its desire for a highly standardised, transparent and stable business environment so all investors are treated equally.

Concerns were also raised by the Korea Chamber of Commerce in Việt Nam (Kocham) and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Việt Nam (JCCI).

The limit of foreign ownership in local financial firms has also prevented fintech and P2P firms from calling for foreign capital, making them unable to hire talent and keeping their businesses less competitive.

PT ALAMI Fintek Sharia (Alami) came in as the runner-up position in the TaqwaTech Pitch Pit organised by Gobi Partners Venture Capital.

Three companies from Indonesia qualified for the top ten, namely Alami, as well as two marketplace startups for pilgrimage services PergiUmroh.com and Umroh.com.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

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

Wednesday April 4 2018, Daily News Digest

Wednesday April 4 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck files first ABS in two years. Funding Circle opens second Denver office. LendingClub settles with Massachusetts regulator. OFF3R founder to launch personal investment assistant. China Rapid Finance reports unaudited Q4, full year results. Today’s main analysis: Strengthen your fraud prevention strategy. (A MUST-READ REPORT FROM LexisNexis) Today’s thought-provoking articles: True lender litigation is […]

Wednesday April 4 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

India

Other

News Summary

United States

OnDeck makes ABS return (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

The lender filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the upcoming deal on Tuesday. Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and SunTrust are leading the deal, according to the deal documents.

OnDeck spent the last two years holding a greater percentage of its loans.

Funding Circle Expands U.S. Operations with New Office in Denver (PR NEwswire), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle today announced it is expanding its U.S. operations with a second office in Denver, Colorado. With the move Funding Circle will look to hire around 290 new employees in the Denver area over the next two years to support the company’s growth.

LendingClub settles with Mass. banking regulator for $ 2M (American Banker), Rated: AAA

LendingClub has settled with the Massachusetts banking regulator to the tune of $2 million over claims that the company made unlicensed loans in the state.

The state division of banks said that the San Francisco-based LendingClub made over 46,000 loans to Massachusetts consumers without a license since 2011, when it surrendered its small loan company license as a condition of a consent order. The division also said that it found additional unlicensed lending activity at Springstone Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of LendingClub that has its main office in Westborough, Mass.

“True Lender” Litigation on the Rise: Recent Litigation and Enforcement Actions (JDSupra), Rated: AAA

Over the last two years the financial industry has seen an uptick in litigation and enforcement actions aimed at banks and their non-bank lending partners. These actions have primarily challenged the validity of the bank partnership model that is used by many non-bank lenders to generate consumer and small dollar business loans.

Bank and Non-Bank Lender Partnerships

Although the structure of a bank and their non-bank lending partners can take many forms, the typical relationship involves the non-bank lender identifying loan opportunities for the bank, which then originates the loan and either immediately assigns the loan to their non-bank partner or another third-party. By partnering with banks, non-bank lenders avoid certain regulatory and licensing requirements in states where their bank partners operate.  In return, banks are able to utilize their relationships with their non-bank lending partners to generate leads for additional loans.

Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code Administrator Takes Action

In January 2017, the Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code (“UCCC”) Administrator, Julie Meade, filed two substantially similar complaints in Colorado state court against Marlette Funding, LLC, and Avant of Colorado, LLC. The complaints alleged violations of the UCCC based on the theory that Marlette and Avant were the “true lender,” not their bank partners, in a series of loans made to Colorado consumers, which loans contained interest rates that exceeded Colorado’s usury laws.

Broad Reaching Implications

The CashCallMadden, and other related actions threaten the traditional bank partnership model that the financial industry relies on to originate, buy, sell, and transfer loans.

Legislative Fix Coming?

There is currently at least one bill pending in the House and Senate that, if passed, would address both the “true lender” issue and the consequences of the Madden decision.

Why It’s No Surprise That Online Lender GreenSky Would Weigh An IPO (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Now, the company is challenging a near-sacred belief in Silicon Valley these days that staying private for longer is better. GreenSky has filed confidentially for an IPO, according to 

Strengthen Your Fraud Prevention Strategy (LexisNexis), Rated: AAA

Key Findings

  • The cost of fraud is sizeable for retail, eCommerce, financial services and lending organizations. Every $1 of fraud costs organizations in these industries between $2.48 and $2.82 – that means that fraud costs them more than roughly 2 ½ times the actual loss itself. Fraud cost as a percent of revenues ranges between 1.58% and 2.39%.
  • The eCommerce, financial services and credit (rather than mortgage) lending sectors are getting hit somewhat harder.
  • The digital space, either as a transaction channel or type of good being sold, is a high risk for even more negative fraud impact. Regardless of industry segment, the percent of average monthly fraud attempts is higher for these types of organizations. For those using the online channel, this is the result of more fraudster focus on the anonymous purchasing environment, particularly leveraging the nocard-present opportunities compared to EMV chip barriers at physical points of sale.
  • Yet, digital channel / digital goods selling organizations are not fully leveraging the value of risk mitigation solutions. Identity verification remains a challenge and common type of fraud; there is only moderate use of advanced identity verification solutions among these  organizations.
  • These issues will only increase as more firms adopt the mobile channel. Larger merchants / firms tend to be the pioneers of the mobile channel.
  • Findings show that retailers, eCommerce merchants and financial services and lending firms which layer solutions by identity and fraud transaction solutions
Source: LexisNexis

Read the full report here.

U.S. Insurtech Oscar Secures $ 165 Million Through Latest Investment Round Led By Brian Singerman & Founders Fund (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Oscar Health, a U.S.-based insurtech, announced last week it has raised $165 million through its latest investment round led by Brian Singerman and Founders Fund. Founded in 2013, the company stated it is focused on utilizing technology, design, and data to humanize healthcare.

5 Major Ways Banks Are Getting Disrupted (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

The peer to peer lending term is kind of a loose term nowadays. Like Michael said, a lot of the bigger banks have started to copy this business model, so it’s not exactly peers loaning to peers anymore. But, at its heart, Prosper was actually the first mover on this. A lot of people think it was Lending Club but Prosper actually got there a little bit earlier. But, Lending Club was definitely the big one that got the banking industry on its toes in terms of peer to peer lending.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is one of the newest ones. Goldman is getting into consumer banking a little bit. On the business side, you have companies like Funding Circle, which is a really interesting concept, because business lending is a big pain in the neck, especially in certain industries.

The Lending Game: Streamlining Customer Experience (Lendit), Rated: A

Lending, much like dating, has been brought online in the past decade with the aim of streamlining the process and dramatically reducing the time spent for both parties. But as the backend systems involved become more complicated to include more data and decisioning points, how do lenders continue to create a simplified customer experience that will bring good customers back for that “second date”?

New Fintech IPO on the Horizon with GreenSky (Lend Academy), Rated: A

So who is GreenSky exactly and what do they do? We wrote about the company earlier this year when we learned of their $200 million funding round from PIMCO which made them the most valuable company in the online lending space. The company has a unique model where they partner with merchants and contractors to offer financing at the point of sale. They view themselves as more of a tech company since they do not actually lend any money. This capital light business model has likely led to much of the success they have seen. Instead of lending their own money GreenSky has relationships with about 15 banks. On the tech side, the process is paperless and all done through a mobile device.

What Borrowers Do When Payday Loans Go Away (Lend EDU), Rated: A

For South Dakota consumers, payday loans used to be available at storefronts, but since late 2016, this access and annual interest rates have been cut.

 

Although South Dakota limited payday lending, it didn’t outlaw it. And some borrowers are hitting online lending agencies found through Google searches under “payday loans”—a familiar option for South Dakota consumers, according to KELO. This alternative carries risks such as a lack of oversight and inconsistent regulation; however, this is a national issue with these lenders.

It may be too early to write off robo start-ups (Investment News), Rated: A

News that robo-adviser Wealthfront’s valuation dropped was read by many in the financial advice industry as the writing on the wall for direct-to-consumer digital advice startups.

Scott Smith, the director of advice relationships at research firm Cerulli Associates, said the stories surrounding Wealthfront are proof that the market is favoring a hybrid advice approach. While the number of people who want a purely digital advice platform could grow over time, the majority of assets are still held by people over the age of 40 who want human assistance with their financial decisions.

As for Betterment, the company says it isn’t experiencing any headwinds at all.

Why banks have trouble selling real-time payments (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Real-time payments have landed in the U.S., but banks are still figuring out how to sell them to corporate clients. BNY Mellon, U.S. Bank, Citi, JPMorgan, PNC and SunTrust are the only banks using the Clearing House’s new real-time payments system.

One challenge is simply the legacy infrastructure on which most financial services companies today are built. Companies that provide ERP systems like SAP or Oracle have built their systems in a batch processing world and need to also become real-time.

In the age of PayPal, Venmo and Square Cash, it’s easy to forget that most transactions that take place day-to-day aren’t happening in real time. They feel like they are, but they really just move money from one PayPal user’s balance to another. Moving that balance from PayPal’s banking partner to the customer’s own bank account is still a multiday process.

U.S. banks are not that far away from ubiquitous real-time payments, according to Ward, who said he thinks 90 percent of banks will have implemented real-time payments by the middle of 2019. PNC hasn’t met too many challenges itself trying to sell RTP, Ward said, but clients are still figuring out the best way to take advantage of it and whether they prioritize the needs of customers or suppliers.

MetaBank Announces Partnership with Health Credit Services to Originate Personal Healthcare Loans (Markets Insider), Rated: B

MetaBank; a wholly-owned subsidiary of Meta Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CASH) (“Meta”) today announced a new, three-year agreement with Health Credit Services (“HCS”), a technology driven, patient financing company. MetaBank will approve and originate loans for elective procedures for HCS provider offices throughout the country. HCS will work with its provider partners to market the loans, as well as provide servicing for them. Over the course of this relationship, MetaBank expects to originate at least several hundred million dollars in personal loans.

 

Amber Baldet Leaving JPMorgan Blockchain Team to Start New Venture (CoinDesk), Rated: B

Amber Baldet, who oversaw development of JPMorgan’s permissioned blockchain platform, Quorum, is leaving the financial institution, according to an internal memo sent Monday by the bank’s head of blockchain initiatives, Umar Farooq.

United Kingdom

The robo-adviser of robo-advisers (Fn London), Rated: AAA

The story of robo-advisers is an old one, or so thinks Lex Deak, serial entrepreneur and creator of a new breed of online wealth management tool. Deak, who was the brains behind the launch of peer-to-peer lending aggregator Off3r, is rolling out a new online service that he claims will bring web-based investment to the masses and “battle the bias and bullshit that has dogged the investment sector for decades”. The new service, called Personal Investment Assistant — or Your Pia — uses artificial intelligence to help investors sift through a range of robo-advisers, wealth management platforms and IFA networks.

Big names on the board
Todd Ruppert, the former president and chief executive of T Rowe Price — who is no stranger to backing fintech start-ups — is taking a seat on the Pia board. He will be joined by Daniel Sauva, head of creative and buzz at money transfer service TransferWise, and Nigel Webber, who was global chief investment officer at HSBC Private Banking. Gayle Schumacher, a Coutts executive, is taking a seat, too.

 

A new Innovative Finance Isa (IF Isa) has launched offering a whopping 7.28% annual interest rate. The easyMoney ‘Balanced’ IF Isa allows you to invest in peer-to-peer lending – where your money is lent to individuals or small businesses – within an Isa wrapper, so your returns are tax-free.

The target rate of 7.28% is a guide to what return you can expect from investing in multiple property-backed loans, all of which have a maximum 75% loan to value.

The firm offers two different IF Isas: its ‘Conservative’ IF Isa, has a 4.05% targeted annual return with a minimum investment of £1,000. It is “aimed at investors who are looking for something more than the paltry rates offered by cash ISAs”, says Mr Candole.

 

China

China Rapid Finance Reports Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Results (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (“China Rapid Finance” or the “Company”) (NYSE:XRF), operator of one of China’s largest consumer lending marketplaces, today reported its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2017.

Fourth Quarter 2017 Highlights:

  • Positive operating cash flow of $15.8 million
  • Total gross billings up 186% year-over-year
  • Facilitated 6.2 million loans with total loan volume of $1.03 billion
  • Added 627 thousand new borrowers, up 17% from the end of Q3 2017
  • Added approximately 10 thousand new investors to reach over 23 thousand investors
  • GAAP net loss of $3.9 million
  • Non-GAAP adjusted profit before income tax expense of $1.1 million

Full Year 2017 Highlights:

  • Year-end cash balance of $94.9 million, up from $74 million immediately after the IPO
  • Total gross billings up 102%
  • Added 2.9 million new borrowers, up 202% from the end of 2016
  • Facilitated over 23 million loans with total loan volume of $3.3 billion

Chinese P2P lenders get confidence boost with protection plan (Enterprise Innovation), Rated: AAA

China’s marketplace lending is bracing for regulation around “record filing” systems that kicks into effect this month (April 2018). However, said new regulations may not be addressing altogether the problem of runaway credit that is growing on the back of cash loans and microlending market.

Source: Enterprise Innovation

Technological Innovation and Anti-Fraud Technology in a Maturing Fintech Sector (Lendit), Rated: A

The current most prominent methods of financial fraud are organized fraud, regional fraud, and targeted-occupation fraud. Various criminal and fraudulent organizations, including organizations developing illegal software, hacking databases for sale, and batch registration, have been working together to increase profits. However, their golden times are over now.

An insider once commented, “Certain P2P platforms only have a user retention rate of 20% following promotional events due to malicious users while the remaining 80% became inactive. Platforms spend a lot of money on marketing which has directly led to continually rising costs in customer acquisition.”

  1. Hexindai’s risk control technology has laid a solid foundation for anti-fraud progress
  2. Introducing new technologies to enhance anti-fraud capabilities

 

International

HSBC partners with FinTech and asset managers for cloud-based data platform (Global Custodian), Rated: A

HSBC Securities Services has partnered with FinTech firm FINBOURNE, asset manager Fidelity International and hedge fund Altana Wealth to design a new cloud-based investment management platform.

The four organisations will collaborate to design a shared, cloud-based data utility that aims to reduce operating cost and improve the quality of information for in-house and client use.

The platform, named LUSID, is aimed at replacing existing in-house software and hardware, and achieve advanced standards of data handling for institutional clients.

 

Australia

SME lender gives insight on changing landscape (Broker News), Rated: AAA

Small business lender OnDeck Group is hosting an event centred on SMEs and the changing lending landscape in Australia.

Taking place on 17 April, CEO Noah Breslow, will host a select group of brokers, aggregators and finance partners, with special guest Stephen Koukoulas, Managing Director of Market Economics, and Economic Advisor to illion (formerly Dun & Bradstreet).

OnDeck has now loaned over $8 billion to 80,000 small businesses across the United States, Canada and Australia, making it one of the largest online SME lenders globally.

India

Cryptocurrency-backed Lending Startup BlockFi Eyeing Indian Market, CEO Reveals in Interview (Crypto-News), Rated: AAA

Borrowing against cryptocurrencies is becoming a big new trend in the industry. A number of startups have sprung in crypto-backed lending space, which include SALT, CoinLoan, Ethlend, Unchained Capital and most recently Nuo Bank. Now a new startup with similar offering is eyeing the Indian market from New York. The startup, called BlockFi, offers cryptocurrency backed loans to individuals and companies both in 35 states of USA as of now. However, it’s planning to expand internationally very soon, and in that expansion it sees India as a major opportunity. This was revealed by none other than company’s CEO Zac Prince in a recent interview to Bitcoin Magazine.

SME loans marketplace Namaste Credit raises $ 3.8 million (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Namaste Credit, a digital marketplace and technology platform for SME loans, has raised $3.8 million in a Series A investment round from Nexus Venture Partners.

The company intends to use the corpus raised to grow its geographic footprint, enhance its technology and data analytics platform, and further scale its business.  The company also plans to significantly increase its channel partner program across India and further expand its technology licensing partnerships with lenders globally.

 

 

Namaste Credit raises $ 3.8 million from Nexus Venture Partners (LiveMint), Rated: A

Owned by Delhi-based Opendoors Fintech Pvt Ltd, Namaste Credit is a digital platform which serves as a marketplace for borrowers and lenders. It focuses exclusively on small and medium enterprise (SME) customers.

“SME credit is seriously constrained due to lack of reach and relevant data to assess credit-worthiness of borrowers. Namaste Credit’s technology, combined with its channel partners and lender network, is already making a significant impact on facilitating credit to SMEs in a win-win manner for all,” said Anup Gupta, managing director at Nexus Venture Partners, in a statement.

Asia

3 Fintech Companies Answers Jokowi`s Challenge on Student Loans (Tempo.Co), Rated: A

Last month, state-owned banks was not up for President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) challenge to provide students with the option of student loans. However, companies of Fintech (technology-based financial services providers) responded positively to the president’s challenge.

Danacita and Koinworks are Fintech peer-to-peer lending companies that focus on funding the education sector. Meanwhile, Danadidik is an academic funds provider that is on crowdfunding as its main financial backing.

The three platforms also provide a long-term loan for university students with a tenor from four to six years. Each of these companies applies varying methods of repayments from 9 percent- 20 percent low installments up to profit sharing a student’s wage once they have found jobs.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday February 26 2018, Daily News Digest

bank accounts

News Comments Today’s main news: Revolut breaks even, prepares for global expansion. RateSetter finances divorces. Which Isas pay 6% or more. Half of all employers offer financial advice. CoAssets increases revenue by 471% in half a year. Today’s main analysis: Do Americans really want a bank branch? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Ron Suber, Godfather of Fintech. Unscrupulous banks fueled the rise […]

bank accounts

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

APAC

Africa

News Summary

United States

How Helping Your Employees Improve Their Credit Helps Your Bottom Line (Forbes), Rated: AAA

One possible cause of an employee’s poor attitude is that he or she has looming debts or is attempting to climb out of a credit score canyon. Workers facing these challenges are often unable to completely focus on their job responsibilities. It’s no surprise that constant stress over meeting financial obligations leads to a loss of focus and time dedicated to work obligations. And because employees work for paychecks that go toward their debts, it makes sense that they begin to associate the two.

Defeating Debt-Fatigue

About 

Giving the middle class credit: New bill a step in right direction (The Hill), Rated: A

Consumers need access to credit, and bank-fintech partnerships are one way to meet their needs. Indeed, bank-fintech partnerships are good for both consumers and banks.

As I noted, consumers benefit because banks can use fintech to deliver safer, more transparent, lower-cost and more convenient financial products and services over the internet and mobile devices.

Banks benefit because fintech companies can leverage big data and technology, offering the infrastructure banks need to serve and welcome more people into the financial system.

An excellent example of community banks using fintech to compete with the Wall Street banks is Radius Bank, a $1-billion asset institution in Boston, which according to news reports is establishing “long-term relationships” with fintech providers, and is finding them to be “mutually beneficial.”

Ron Suber, the Godfather of Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Ron’s background and how he became interested in marketplace lending.
  • Why he saw a big opportunity for Prosper back in 2012.
  • What was behind Ron’s decision to leave Prosper last year.
  • What rewirement means to Ron and why it is important.
  • How the typical work week looks today for Ron.
  • Highlights of some of the trips he has taken recently.
  • What it was like doing the road show for the Credible IPO in Australia.
  • Details of the meeting Ron recently had with the Australian Treasurer.
  • What Ron is doing at Prosper these days.
  • Knowing what he knows now, what he would have done differently at Prosper.
  • What the marketplace lending industry still needs to improve upon today.
  • What inning the industry is in today.
  • What Ron looks for when he considers a new investment.
  • Why he pulled the trigger on some of his recent investments.
  • Ron’s view on Marcus and its impact on the online lending space.
  • What area of fintech Ron is most excited about today.
  • How he is able to maintain so many connections in fintech.
  • What is next for Ron Suber.

 

Chris Larsen Of Ripple (XRP) @Google (ValueWalk), Rated: A

Fed Minutes (PeerIQ), Rated: A

The Fed released the minutes of the January FOMC meeting and provided a bullish outlook to the economy with upside risks due to tax reform. The committee indicated that they were on track to raise interest rates in the March meeting, and market participants are expecting 3 rate hikes in 2018.

Meritize Raises $ 6.8M in Seed Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Meritize, a Frisco, Texas-based student lending platform, raised $6.8M in seed funding.

Colchis Capital, Chicago Ventures and Cube Financial Holdings led the investment round with participation from ECMC, College Loan Corporation, University Ventures, City Light Capital, PC Squared and Meritize management.

LendingPoint Co-founder Weighs in on Lending Club’s Earnings Report (deBanked), Rated: B

“In my view, [Lending Club’s] underlying problem is that they don’t have alignment of interest between their stakeholders,” Tavares said. “At LendingPoint, we have a different approach. We look at it really as a balance sheet model, which means that we put everything on our books. We use our own equity. We leverage other investors’ capital, but we’re not an origination platform…Lending Club’s model primarily is that they have to continue feeding the beast, so to speak, in order to continue making their revenues. They don’t have inventory to continue generating assets or to monetize going forward. That’s a significant shortcoming in their model,” he said.

Bay Area Man’s Opportunity Fund Giving Small Businesses A Leg Up (CBS Local), Rated: A

About 8,000 small business loans are denied every day in this country, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. It’s a story Alicia Villanueva knows all too well.

So in 1992, Weaver founded Opportunity Fund, launched with a consortium of 15 banks. But although the San Jose-based non-profit works with traditional lenders, its business practices are a bit different. Weaver says Opportunity Fund delves into an applicant’s financial picture and character.  And since it lends to people with bad or non-existent credit, a granted loan comes with an automatic offer of hands-on financial management support, and a hefty dose of financial responsibility.

Today, Opportunity Fund loans about $5 to $7 million a month to small business owners in California and 13 other states. The money comes from business and private donations. An average loan can range from $2,600 to $250,000. Under Weaver’s leadership, 6,200 businesses have received loans.

Opportunity Fund, along with other partners like Lending Club, is set to expand into other parts of the U.S. later this year.

A Look at CUneXus’ Strong Growth in 2017 (Finovate), Rated: A

Lending automation company CUneXus published some impressive growth stats today. Here’s a quick overview of a few of the California-based company’s success metrics:

  • Grew from 45 FI clients to 72 over the course of one year, from 2016 to 2017, a 60% year-over-year increase
  • Reaches more than 6.5 million potential end consumers across the U.S.
  • Averaging more than $6 million in new loan requests per day
  • Generated more than 140,000 loans totaling more than $2.5 billion with its 1-click borrowing solution

These and other FI clients have reported that CUneXus has helped contribute to their own success, including:

  • Loan processing times cut in half
  • A 110% increase in pre-approved lending activity
  • A 135% spike in funded loan amounts

3 Ways Technology is Bringing in New Real Estate Investors (Realty Biz News), Rated: A

Today, in addition to teaming up with development companies, many investors are using technology solutions to research options remotely. Here are the three trending ways technology is revolutionizing how new investors step into the real estate market space.

Mobile apps like Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) and Airbnb have become popular and more people are now looking to invest in such short-term rentals.

Big data is now a critical offering for the public, and the real estate niche is looking for ways of gathering and presenting the information for driving purchase behavior.

Following the success of the customer-centric applications, it’s clear to see that the industry holds a huge potential if technology is leveraged to bring in new investors. Real estate is the largest global economy asset with figures hinting at $217 trillion – surpassing the world’s GDP of $80 trillion! This is a clear indicator that there is a huge potential for financial freedom creating entrepreneurs looking to tap into the real estate market.

New York Federal Reserve: Fintech Has Improved the Mortgage Lending Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The New York Federal Reserve has published a staff report pertaining to “The Role of Technology in Mortgage Lending”.

While still relatively small, this segment of onlien lending has grown annually by 30% from $34 billion of total originations in 2010 or 2% of the market, to $161 billion in 2016 or 8% of the market.

The Fed research finds that Fintech lenders reduce mortgage processing time by about 10 days, or 20% of the average processing time.

Additionally, default rates tank by a whopping 25% indicating the credit process is superior to the antiquated analog method of traditional banks.

 

 

Do the Majority of Americans Really ‘Want’ to Use a Branch? (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

According to research conducted by Novantas, 60% of Americans said they would rather open a new checking account in person at a bank branch than on a phone, tablet or desktop computer. Reinforcing this finding is the reality that most consumers still only use digital channels for the most basic banking functions, such as checking account balances and transferring funds. For more complicated issues, like problems with an account or advice, most consumers prefer human contact.

The reliance on branches in North America is almost double other countries, where better digital offerings have been introduced. In fact, according to Novantas, 75% of consumers in Australia report visiting the branch less than once per month, or even less! The UK is very similar while, interestingly, only about half of US consumers exhibit the same behavior.


The banking industry has seen the closure of 1,700 branches in the 12 months ending in June 2017 – the largest one-year decline on record. Capital One Financial Corp. has cut 32% of its branches from mid-2012 to mid-2017, while SunTrust Banks Inc. cut 22% and Regions Financial Corp. has cut 12%.

U.S. Bank Offers New Online Tool to Help Consumers Get Fast, Convenient Car Loan Approvals (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Working with financial technology startup AutoGravity, U.S Bank created a new platform on USBank.com that provides a simplified, streamlined loan application process for users that typically takes just minutes to receive a loan decision.

Car buyers using the new U.S. Bank tool simply:

1) Pick their car and select a dealership online

2) Apply for a pre-approval for a U.S. Bank loan online

3) Close the loan at the dealership and drive off in their new car

When Weak Bank Lending Is a Good Sign (WSJ), Rated: A

Total commercial and industrial loans extended by U.S. banks were up just 1% from a year earlier on Feb. 7, according to weekly Federal Reserve data. For the month of January, C&I loans were down an annualized 10.8% compared to December, according to calculations by Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.

Asked how demand for loans has changed over the past three months from large and medium-sized firms, 84% said it was “about the same” or “somewhat stronger,” while just 16% said it was “moderately weaker.” For small firms with annual sales of less than $50 million, 88% of bankers said loan demand was about the same or better, while only 12% said it was weaker.

Financial incumbents are starting to care about financial education (Tearsheet), Rated: A

On Wednesday, Greenlight Financial Technology — the creator of a smart debit card for kids, teens, and college students — closed $16 million in a Series A funding round. Its investors went beyond your traditional venture capital firm, including a disparate coalition of  financial services bigwigs like SunTrust Bank and Ally Financial as well as the Amazon Alexa Fund, among other VCs. Greenlight, whose mission is to help strengthen financial literacy among kids and give parents a platform to raise “financially smart kids,” will use the new funds to develop its products.

That coalition of Greenlight partners signals a renewed understanding of the reality of most Americans’ financial lives — 57 percent of Americans are financially unhealthy according to the Center for Financial Services Innovation — by legacy financial services companies coming to terms with the fact that they need to be in the business of financial health in order to keep customer relationships in tact over the long term.

Don’t be THAT credit union. Offer short-term loans to your members. (CUInsight), Rated: B

CashPlease is an innovative new short-term, small-dollar loan solution that allows credit unions to implement a consumer loan product efficiently and compliantly.  Here’s how:

  • No additional loan officers or other additional staff needed
  • Underwriting technology that is automated and proven
  • Assistance with compliance best practices
  • Data-driven marketing to educate consumers about the availability of lower-cost loans

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING OBTAINS FULL RESTITUTION FOR CUSTOMERS OF ONLINE LENDER (Virginia.gov), Rated: A

Attorney General Mark Herring announced today that his office has reached a settlement with eight affiliated online lenders and debt collectors to resolve allegations that the companies offered unlawful open-ended credit plan loans and engaged in unlawful debt collection practices including contacting borrowers’ employers and implementing wage garnishments. As a result of the settlement, borrowers will receive nearly $150,000 in restitution and forgiven debt.

The settlement includes the following key terms relating to loans made by the lenders during the period from January 2015 through June 19, 2017:

  • The Lenders agree to refund all interest and fees paid by consumers in excess of 12% of the loan amount, totaling approximately $85,000;
  • The Lenders agree to forgive all outstanding remaining debt of Virginia consumers, totaling over $63,000;
  • The Lenders agree to a permanent injunction against consumer lending activity in Virginia;
  • The Debt Collectors agree to a permanent injunction against all debt collection activity in Virginia;
  • The Lenders agree to pay $10,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in attorneys’ fees;
  • The Debt Collectors agree to pay $75,000 in civil penalties and $10,000 in attorneys’ fees.

The companies include six lenders (Field Asset Service Team, LLC; VIM Holdings, LLC; MR Capital Group, LLC; Nascent Holdings, LLC; B Financial, LLC; and DTS Capital, LLC, collectively “the Lenders”) and two debt collectors (Bradley Goldberg & Miller, LLC and U Solutions Group, LLC, “the Debt Collectors”) that acted in concert to provide and collect open-end credit plan loans made over the Internet to Virginia consumers.

The Lenders offered open-end credit plan loans and imposed “service fees” as high as $160 per month. The Debt Collectors then emailed consumers in an effort to collect on these loans and contacted the consumers’ employers to implement wage assignments and collect money directly from the consumers’ paychecks.

CFPB Drops Lawsuit Against Payday Lender (JD Supra), Rated: B

The CFPB has dropped a recent lawsuit against a payday lender accused of charging up to 950% interest.

The case is CFPB v. Golden Valley Lending, Inc., et al., Case No. 17-cv-02521 (District of Kansas).

United Kingdom

Difficult divorce? RateSetter can help (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

The ‘big three’ peer-to-peer lender has been offering a family finance product for a number of months, whereby individuals can apply for a loan to pay for their divorce litigation.

The P2P platform offers personal loans ranging from £500 to £35,000, with terms between one year and five years, according to its website. Borrower rates range from 3.9 per cent to 29.9 per cent.

Unscrupulous banks have fuelled rise of alternative lenders (RealBusiness), Rated: AAA

Now it emerges that one bank was actively working against small businesses in its greed-fuelled quest for profits and bonuses. RBS has been exposed for making up fees, imposing punishingly high interest rates, acquiring equity and property from failed businesses – and pocketing huge bonuses off the back of it.

As a result, it is alternative lenders that are now the go-to for independent businesses in need of assistance when it comes to growth. Take, for example, the business cash advance, which is sometimes referred to as a merchant cash advance. This funding can be from as little as £500 up to £300,000 and is advanced to the business against future credit and debit card turnover.

These Isas pay 6% and more – but should you invest? (Which?), Rated: AAA

Last week, Ratesetter launched an Isa paying a top rate of 5.8%, while yesterday (24 February), Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou launched an tax-free account aiming to pay 4.05% per year.

Other innovative finance Isas are currently paying returns as high as 16% a year.

Zopa is currently paying between 4% and 4.6%. Zopa primarily lends to individuals, Ratesetter lends to both individuals and businesses whereas Funding Circle lends exclusively to small businesses. The latter’s innovative finance Isa is only available to existing customers, but is projecting an annual return of 7.5%.

EasyMoney launches Innovative Finance ISA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

EASYMONEY, part of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s ‘easy’ family of brands, has launched in the UK with an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) offering a target rate of 4.05 per cent a year.

Jacob Rothschild-backed firm plans £100m float (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

Augmentum Fintech, which is preparing to float next month, has unveiled plans to issue a target of 100 million ordinary shares at a price of £1 each, with a maximum issue size of 125 million shares.

FCA seeks feedback on its ideas for a global sandbox (Mondaq), Rated: A

The FCA’s new webpage contains its ideas for a global sandbox [14.02.02]. Its current sandbox only allows firms to test their ideas in the UK.

It highlights three areas:

  • addressing “pre-identified challenges” in areas known for “regulatory problems that cross jurisdictional boundaries” e.g. AML and KYC on-boarding.;
  • enabling firms wishing to expand in different markets to “bring their ideas to market more quickly and easily, creating more effective competition.” The FCA asks for firms who could benefit from testing out their ideas in a number of markets to get in touch; and
  • policy and regulatory challenges – the FCA suggests the sandbox could be used to convene “joint events and papers on emerging trends and challenges” using the experiences of the range of firms and regulators taking part to develop “consistent approaches”.

Brexit to shut the door on lengthy London house price boom (Euronews), Rated: A

British inflation will outstrip gains in house prices this year and next, particularly in the capital, as uncertainty over Brexit and weak consumer spending power hits demand, a Reuters poll found on Friday.

Next year, house prices will rise 0.9 percent in London and 2.0 nationally, still both below the 2.1 percent expected inflation rate. In 2020, London prices will increase 2.0 percent and by 2.3 percent nationally.

“Quite simply, with loan-to-income ratios for first time buyers sitting at around four times, average salaries of 33,000 pounds ($46,000), and your average flat in London costing over 500,000 pounds, it’s extremely difficult to see how London can be viewed as anything but very expensive,” LendInvest’s Lockhart said.

China

Hang Seng Bank deploys fintech to simplify mobile banking, mulls use of facial recognition at ATMs (SCMP), Rated: A

Hang Seng Bank plans to expand the use of fintech to mobile banking services and is also toying with the idea of incorporating facial recognition, after initial success with iPhone X, to allow customers to withdraw cash from its ATMs across the city, according to its chief executive.

The global facial recognition market is forecast to be worth US$6.5 billion by 2021, up from US$2.3 billion in 2016, according to estimates from research company Technavio.

European Union

Klarna Bank AB appoints Niklas Savander to Board of Directors (LeapRate), Rated: B

Klarna Bank AB has announce the appointment of Niklas Savander to the Board of Directors with effect from Thursday 22nd of February 2018. Niklas Savander will replace Niklas Adalberth.

International

Digital banking start-up Revolut breaks even as it prepares global expansion (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Revolut said Monday that it had broken even for the first time in December, and that its monthly transaction volume surged to $1.5 billion, an increase of over 700 percent in the last 12 months.

The start-up has signed up a total of 1.5 million users to its mobile app, up 50 percent from a figure it achieved in November.

Cryptocurrency A Risk Factor, Bank Of America Says In Annual SEC Filing (International Business Times), Rated: A

The 10-K filing referred to cryptocurrencies, without naming any specific one, three times under a subsection titled “Risk Factors” and described three different ways in which they could pose problems for the bank’s business.

The first reference was under geopolitical risks, with the bank talking about international money-laundering.

The third reference was along similar lines, with BoA saying: “The widespread adoption of new technologies, including internet services, cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services as we grow and develop our internet banking and mobile banking channel strategies in addition to remote connectivity solutions,” adding it “might not be successful in developing or introducing” competing products at lower prices.

 

Australia

SPOTCAP AWARDS SCHOLARSHIP TO ASPIRING FINTECH ENTREPRENEUR (Global Banking & Finance), Rated: A

Spotcap today announced Vishal Uppal as the winner ofthe Fintech Scholarship 2017. The first of its kind in Australia, the scholarship awards one aspiring graduate with an interest in fintech $10,000 towards the cost of their tuition.

India

Guide to smart banking: Why P2P lending is an ‘interest’ing idea (Business Line), Rated: AAA

P2P lending, on the other hand, is a completely tech-driven investment, which gives a net annualised return of 18-22 per cent to lenders, who start earning their principal and interest back from the very first month. The returns are higher because you can lend directly to the borrower and the intermediary costs are drastically reduced.

A majority of investors on these platforms are salaried professionals aged between 20 and 35 years looking for additional sources of income.

On Faircent.com lenders can invest as low as 750 per loan size or choose tech-enabled processes like auto-invest to save time. These features are a major attraction for millennials and, in fact, according to the last Research and Analytics report on P2P lending published by Faircent.com, 64 per cent of lenders are below 35 years of age.

Retirement plan: How real estate investment can help millennials secure their future (Financial Express), Rated: A

A growing number of millennials are also opting for investments into commercial real estate, as opposed to investments into residential properties made by their parents.

Commercial real estate: better yields for better financial security

Leases on these properties are usually taken out for multiple years by blue-chip companies, thus ensuring that steady rental income is assured for a specific duration of time. With India’s rise as a prominent international business destination, the sector is also witnessing remarkable growth; the country’s 537 million square feet of rent-generating commercial real estate inventory is currently estimated to be worth nearly $70 billion.

How technology is enabling millennials to make high-value real estate investments

The investments can start as low as Rs 5 lakh, making the entire process extremely affordable for millennial buyers whilst also allowing them to make multiple investments to diversify their portfolio, increase rental incomes, and minimise risk. Average rental returns to the tune of 7%-8% are quite common, while the overall returns can be as high as 22%.

India is projected to become the youngest country in the world by 2020, with a median age of 29.

Movers And Shakers Of The Week [19-24 Feb 2018] (Inc42), Rated: B

BigWin Infotech, a government recognized fintech startup has appointed Suneel Mohnot a the Director on its board.

BigWin Infotech is a self-funded startup who has recently forayed into P2P lending business through its solely owned market place PaisaDukan.com post revised RBI guidelines for NBFC-P2P and one of the strong contenders for NBFC-P2P license.

APAC

CoAssets Reports Half-Year Results With 471% Increase In Revenue (AsiaOne), Rated: AAA

CoAssets Limited (“CoAssets” or the “Group”) (ASX: CA8), a leading crowdfunding platform and Fintech lender specialising in facilitating funding for businesses reported its financial and operating results for the half year ended 31 December 2017, together with an update on the Group’s growth and capital strategy to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on 22 February 2018.

Total reported revenue increased by 471% from S$446,040 in 2016 to S$2,547,554 in 2017. Group’s profits in year 2017 was S$2,046,013, from a loss of S$3,899,325 in 2016. This increase in profits was due to business activities as well as investment gains. Operating expenses decreased from S$3,570,287 in 2016 to S$2,577,013 in 2017. This represents about S$1million or 28% in cost savings. Registered investor base reached 433,805 as at 31 December 2017. This represents an 88.17% increase from 30 June 2017.

Singapore — CoAssets Pte Ltd (“CAPL”)

After receiving the Capital Market Services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in June 2017, the company crowdfunded more than S$5.11million worth of deals from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017.

Singapore — CoAssets International Pte Ltd (“CAI”)

The company disbursed more than S$6.65million worth of loans over the last 6-months, with its loan book growing to more than S$16.21million as at 31 December 2017.

China — CoAssets China

This represents the Group’s fastest growing market, achieving remarkable growth in registered user base of more than 117% (from 173,000 to more than 375,000 members) from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017. The CoAssets platform in China funded more than RMB28.15million (S$5.94million) worth of crowdfunding projects over the last 6-months in 2017.

Hong Kong — Fintech Pte Ltd

In April 2017, the Group acquired Fintech Pte Ltd, an online corporate cash management platform called “PiggieBank ” in Hong Kong.  Since then, PiggieBank has successfully managed funds flow of more than S$21. 39million as at 9 February 2018.

Hong Kong — Brighten Finance Limited (“BFL”)

As at 31 December 2017, BFL’s loan book was worth HK$36.91million (S$6.27million).

EF, KoinWorks Serve Online Loans for Courses (netral english), Rated: A

English First, an English Education Institute signed a joint venture with KoinWorks – a Indonesian Peer to Peer Lending Platform – that serves investments and online loans without collateral for various productive loans.

Africa

Blockchain and financial services disruption (Punch), Rated: AAA

Key areas of the financial services that are most likely to be affected by blockchain include transfers, payment and lending. We have seen different start-ups such as OneFi, Inspire, Upstart, and Funding Circle, playing critical roles in peer- to -peer lending and services to individuals.

The closest we have seen so far is what VoguePay, a leading online payment start-up, has done.

It recently launched a multi-currency payment platform to enable businesses to send and receive payment from local and international customers, allowing merchants to accept payment in dollars, Euros, Rands, Cedis, Naira and Bitcoin payment.

The average Nigerian bank pays about five per cent interest rate on fixed deposits while requesting for two-digit interest rates on loans from customers. Economically, this does not make much sense because the margin is too wide when compared to what they offer for holding customers’ fund. Many people are tired of the highly monopolistic nature of banking.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 21 2017, Daily News Digest

RateSetter

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter surpasses $150M in loans. New York AG requests cybersecurity safeguards from Experian, TransUnion. Point72 Ventures leads AlphaFlow’s $4.1M seed round. Cross River appoints VP of Government Affairs to focus on regulatory framework. Clarity Money passes 500,000 user milestone. MarketInvoice’s losses doubled last year. Raisin expands into the UK with acquisition. Today’s main analysis: Millennial investors don’t […]

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United Kingdom

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Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Real estate investment platform AlphaFlow picks up $ 4.1 mln seed (PE Hub Network), Rated: AAA

AlphaFlow, an automated alternative investment platform for real estate, announced today the closing of a $4.1 million seed round funding, led by Resolute Ventures and Point72 Ventures, the venture capital arm of Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management. Other investment partners include Upside Partnership, Social Capital, Y Combinator, Clocktower Technology Ventures, an affiliate of Drobny Capital, Red Swan Ventures, and more.

AlphaFlow’s seed round comes two years after the company was established by CEO and former RealtyShares Co-Founder, Ray Sturm. AlphaFlow plans to use the funding to continue scaling successful partnerships with lenders and investors, both accredited individuals and investment managers.

AlphaFlow Optimized Portfolios are available for investment professionals such as endowments, pension funds, RIAs, and wealth managers, as well as by independent investors seeking uncorrelated returns through short‐term, higher‐yielding real estate loans backed by properties.

To date, AlphaFlow’s flagship product, AlphaFlow Optimized Portfolios, boasts broad diversification across hundreds of loans in 29 states, average LTV of 72%, and target net returns between 8 to 10%. With this seed round funding, AlphaFlow intends to continue to innovate in the application of sophisticated finance mechanisms to scale within the investment industry.

Another Study Confirms It – Millennial Investors Don’t Know What They Are Doing (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

Millennial investors are woefully underprepared for the next financial crisis according to a survey conducted by online real estate crowdfunding service Fundrise.

The Fundrise survey suggests that 67.2% of millennial investors are not prepared for the next crisis, and 47.1% feel that there is nothing that they can do to prepare for it. With 83 million millennials in the US holding an average of $75,500 in assets, this means the largest generation is at risk of losing $3.1 trillion in the next financial crisis assuming a repeat of the 50% drawdown seen last time around.

According to an annual study by Charles Schwab, 56% of millennial investors say ETFs are their investment of choice, compared to only 23% of seniors.

77.8% of respondents said that they had no interest in investing outside of the stock market while 42% of millennials surveyed said that they did not know whether it was important to invest outside of the stock market.

Source: ValueWalk

Cross River Appoints VP of Government Affairs (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Cross River, the financial services organization that merges the established expertise of a bank with the innovation and product offering of a technology company, announced today the appointment of Phil Goldfeder as VP of Government Affairs. Goldfeder will lead a team at Cross River working with regulatory agencies and policy makers in Washington, D.C., as well as state governments across the U.S., to implement appropriate regulatory frameworks that will encourage innovation while ensuring consumer protection.

Clarity Money Passes 500,000 User Milestone (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Clarity Money, the personal finance app that acts as the “Champion of your Money,” today announced that it reached 500,000 users on September 4, 2017, less than seven months after launching on iOS.

This milestone builds upon Clarity Money’s tremendous momentum in 2017, which has included:

  • Two successful rounds of funding, from noted investors such as Citi Ventures and Soros Capital
  • A nomination for the 21st Annual Webby Awards in the financial and banking services categories for mobile apps
  • Being a featured personal finance app on the Apple App Store and debuting as Apple’s #1 app under “New Apps We Love” in the Apple Store days after launching

NY AG Wants To Know About TransUnion, Experian Cybersecurity (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

TransUnion and Experian, two of The Big Three credit reporting companies, have received letters from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman inquring them about their cybersecurity safeguards in the wake of the massive data breach at rival Equifax.

According to a news report in The Associated Press, the attorney general wants the two companies to describe what security systems they have in place and what changes they are implementing since data on 143 million U.S. customers at Equifax was breached.

New York’s attorney general wants to know if the companies would waive fees for consumers that needed credit freezes because of the hack.

Equifax breach has banks tightening their defenses, counseling customers (Information Management), Rated: A

Asking bankers to comment on the Equifax data breach generally evokes a cone of silenceforged out of a combination of sympathy and fear — I’m not going to speak about it because it could happen to me.

A few, though, will acknowledge the toll the breach has taken on their customers and their security departments, which have scrambled to ensure they won’t share (or haven’t shared) Equifax’s fate.

Another banker, Jim Hanlon, the chief technology officer at Dedham Savings Bank in Boston, was astounded that Equifax did not catch its breach more quickly.

“We have 60,000 customers,” he said. “If somebody came into our network and was looking at 100 files, that would raise a flag with us. If somebody’s accessing millions of records, how is something not alerting them to that fact? That’s the concerning piece to me. The documentation said they take network security seriously. But there should have been a red flag somewhere.”

Equifax’s security team detected and blocked suspicious network traffic associated with its U.S. online dispute portal web application on July 29. But the company’s investigation found that hackers had access to certain files containing personal information from May 13 through July 30.

The Equifax Breach: What You Need to Do Now (Parade), Rated: A

While I don’t have all the answers, financial/debt attorney and author of Life & Debt Leslie H. Tayne of Tayne Law Group, P.C., has some great suggestions.

Q: What can consumers affected by the breach do now to protect their information?

A: For starters, sign up for credit monitoring so that future account fraud and identify theft attempts will be noted and immediately brought to your attention. Next, get in the habit of regularly monitoring your bank and credit cards on your end for any suspicious activity. While you’re online, update your account passwords using long, strong, unique passwords for every single account.

Q: Should you freeze your credit so that no one can use your information illegally?

A: There are pros and cons to freezing your credit. The biggest pro of freezing your credit is that no one can apply for credit in your name. But that no one includes yourself, meaning it could create delays and problems when credit is needed quickly in the case of applying for a loan, credit cards or jobs or if seeking insurance, looking to buy or rent a home or contracting with a utility company during the freeze period. Yes, you can unfreeze your credit at any time, but this is also time consuming and may involve having to pay a fee.

Q: It doesn’t sound like freezing your credit is the best option right now.

A: With these types of drawbacks, a better avenue to consider may be signing up for a fraud alert.

Q: What else do consumers need to know or be on the lookout for going forward?

A: A key concern emerging from the Equifax security breach that consumers need to watch out for are cons and phishing scams. They need be wary of anyone who may approach them impersonating financial or government institutions or general companies who may come across offering support in resolving their data breach.

To Survival: Listen, Learn, Repeat (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

While it may not be the oldest credit union around, the Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU) of Tukwila, Washington, has been in business since the days of the Great Depression. Founded in 1935, BECU began as a credit union for employees of the Boeing Company aircraft manufacturing firm. Today, at 82 years old, BECU is looking pretty fit for its age. It currently holds more than $17.2 billion in assets and services more than 1 million members, placing it in among the top five U.S. credit unions for cash assets — and that’s without a steady diet of kale and spinach smoothies.

But, a common element with which older financial institutions must contend is new players arriving on the scene and throwing older players’ relevance into question.

Should older institutions treat these younger upstarts as rivals or as potential partners?

Doug Marshall, BECU’s senior vice president of retail, recently told PYMNTS that BECU has chosen the latter approach.

BECU has approached approximately 60 organizations in the FinTech space to explore opportunities for collaboration, Marshall said. Among the companies approached is Even, a supply-side marketplace lending company. An official partnership has not yet been established, but BECU turned to the company to explore innovations for the credit union’s own lending habits and to help members “smooth their cash flow.”

A few years ago, BECU launched an updated mobile app in partnership with MX, a technology solutions provider for financial services companies. Marshall said BECU was excited to see how members would embrace the newly-launched app. When it went live, however, it became clear they weren’t thrilled.

“We did quite [a lot] of research before we deployed,” Marshall said. “But, in some ways, we didn’t ask one of the most fundamental questions.”

According to Marshall, one of the important lessons that younger FinTechs can teach older credit unions about staying relevant is to not be afraid to fail.

“Lesson three is pivot quickly,” Marshall said. “That’s the magic of a FinTech partnership. We were able to respond and [quickly] deploy a fix.”

Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor tells advisers to embrace technology (Investment News), Rated: A

Imagine financial technology that can create personal portfolio indexes for individual investors or a computer program that can assign forward-looking performance ratings for mutual funds and ETFs.

That’s the way Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor thinks when he imagines where technology is heading, and why he believes financial advisers need to run toward technological innovation to avoid being left in the digital dust.

He compared the initial fear of robo-advice platforms to fears from the threat of online brokerage trading in the 1990s.

“The online trading platforms were supposed to put everyone out of business, but they were just absorbed into the mainstream,” he said.

Impact Housing REIT, LLC Launches $ 35 Million Equity Crowdfunding Opportunity Focused Housing Crisis in America (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Impact Housing REIT, LLC (ImpactHousing.com), a new apartment real estate investment trust led by Edward (“Eddie”) P. Lorin, a 30-year multifamily real estate veteran, is pleased to announce that its $35 million direct public offering under Regulation A+ has been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is now open for investment. All investors – accredited and unaccredited, domestic and international – can invest directly in Impact Housing REIT Series A equity round for as little as $1,000.

Poor housing conditions due to a rising economy, extreme weather conditions, and poverty is effecting our health, quality of life, and country, as a whole. Impact Housing is the first REIT in the country using the new equity crowdfunding laws to focus on America’s housing crisis, specifically on creating affordable, livable, distinctive multifamily communities for America’s working people and their families.

Employing a strategy that Mr. Lorin has refined over decades, Impact Housing plans to buy neglected, poorly managed apartment buildings throughout the U.S., and transform them into thriving, healthy, family-oriented communities. Upgrades typically include new amenities, refreshed and upgraded interiors, resort style pools, playgrounds, state-of-the-art fitness centers, BBQs, dog parks, community gardens and open space social areas.

The technology enabling this online investment offering is backed by CrowdStreet, a leading provider of real estate fundraising and investor management solutions.

HOW AI APPS FOR BANKS ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF THE FINANCIAL SECTOR (TechGenix), Rated: A

Long before chatbots popped up as interesting business-use cases, long before mobile banking applications offered military-grade secure transactions, and much before focused analytics tools for banking made themselves known, AI apps for banks augmented by machine learning and deep learning began creating an impact in the world of banking.

The following factors make the financial sector a highly targeted market for all kinds of AI apps for banks:

  • Massive amounts of structured data from the past.
  • Consistency in data recording and archiving practices across financial institutions.
  • Quantitative nature of finance and banking business practices and operations.
  • Accuracy in data records.

AI apps for banks: Smart portfolio management for end users

These applications help banks build an online accessible tool that considers user preferences, personal demographic information, earning power, and wealth sources, and then matches these with their financial goals. In parallel, these systems take real-time market data and factor in parameters like a customer’s credit history, risk aversion, and lifestyle practices, creating a very robust portfolio of investment and saving instruments across asset classes.

Mobile banking applications like Moven and Simple leverage the idea of using algorithms that grow smarter with time. More precisely, they grow smarter by handling more data and measuring more results.

These AI-based applications can integrate with a user’s online bank accounts, debit and credit cards, and e-wallets to track their expenses, present advice on better expense management practices, and help them choose more suitable financial products that sit well with their financial habits, liquidity requirements, and short-term saving goals.

Automated hedge fund management

These models collate inputs from several sources of real-time financial information from the major financial markets of the world. Also, these models incorporate quantified inputs regarding sentiments in the financial markets.

Self-learning security systems for fraud detection

AI-based fraud detections tools of today leverage the principles of deep learning and machine learning, and are already beginning to incorporate the benefits of neural learning, and hence have tremendous potential in cybersecurity, particularly for the banking sector.

PeerStreet Named One of the Top Ten Startups to Work For in Los Angeles (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding platform PeerStreet announced on Tuesday it was named one of the Top Ten Startups to Work For in Los Angeles. The list was created by Zippia, an online startup career platform.

LendUp Appoints Jotaka Eaddy As New VP of Policy, Strategic Engagement & Impact (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

LendUp, a socially responsible online lender on a mission to redefine financial services for the emerging middle class, announced on Wednesday it has appointed Jotaka Eaddy as its new Vice President of Policy, Strategic Engagement, and Impact. Eaddy previously served as LendUp’s Head of Government Affairs.

LendUp has now saved borrowers nearly $135 million in interest and fees. The lender expects to surpass $200 million by the end of the year.

Need Money Fast? 4 Options for Small Business Owners (Entrepreneur), Rated: B

There’s an extremely fine line you have to walk when scaling. If you expand too quickly, hire too many employees, and order excess inventory, you could deplete your financial resources and crash. But if you don’t take any chances or prepare your business for growth, you won’t be able to respond in an efficient manner when you finally get the big break you’ve been waiting for.

So, what, exactly, can you do when you are ready and need money to expand? Here are four options.

1. Online lenders

If you need a sizable loan, you’ll still need to go through a traditional bank or lender. However, if you need only a modest amount of cash, online lending msy be the way to go.

2. Personal installment loans

If you’re really in a bind and need some quick cash, a personal installment loan might be the way to go. A lender simply checks your credit score and processes your request.

3. Line-of-credit loans

With a line of credit, your business gets approved for a certain amount of money for a specified period of time — typically one year.

4. Receivable financing (factoring)

The factor advances a portion of the receivables — likely 75 to 90 percent of the value — and then holds on to the remaining portion. It’s a good solution for businesses that have orders coming in, but don’t have the money to fill those orders.

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice’s losses doubled in 2016 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

MARKETINVOICE saw its losses double during 2016, as the peer-to-peer invoice finance platform continues to use funds to scale up.

Its latest accounts on Companies House for 2016 showed a loss before taxation of £6m, increasing from £3.1m in 2015.

This is despite turnover increasing from £4.1m to £4.4m and an increasing number of invoices getting funded, at £442m, compared with £328m a year before.

Deposit marketplace fintech enters UK via acquisition (AltFi), Rated: AAA

A leading European deposit marketplace has acquired Manchester-based fintech PBF Solutions as part of its entry into the UK market. Raisin will target UK savers with its marketplace of savings accounts, while also offering an end-to-end deposit raising solution for UK banks and other firms.

Founded in Berlin in 2013, Raisin is already partnered with 40 banks and financial institutions across Europe. In the past four years the firm has also attracted over €4.3bn in what it calls “marketplace deposits”.

PBF will become Raisin UK, and will significantly increase the size of its UK-based operations over the coming months. CEO Kevin Mountford will take charge of Raisin’s UK expansion.

Lendable: the next generation lending platform that can give borrowers a small loan within two hours (Independent), Rated: A

By taking advantage of the large amount of data available in the UK at a time when consumer lending was evolving fast, Kissinger and his team conceived of a new kind of online lending that they claim is faster and more efficient than larger peer-to-peer lenders Zopa and Ratesetter.

Since 2014, they have built the third largest unsecured consumer lending platform in the UK by 2016 volume, even though – at 4.6 per cent – their market share is still small. So far it has lent a comparatively small £80m to around 20,000 borrowers. Zopa, by comparison, has approved £2.62bn in loans since 2005.

But with a growth rate of 430 per cent in the last year, Lendable is expanding quickly. It aims to be the fastest lender to decide on applications and transfer cash in the market, getting funds of between £1,000 and £15,000 in the borrower’s account in as little as two hours.

Power to the people: Meet the P2P lender that uses a centuries-old way of lending (City A.M.), Rated: A

But for many rural businesses, Folk2Folk has been a saving grace. The peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform has helped struggling companies in a time of need, and in some cases prevented an entire community from caving in on itself.

“We don’t exist as a platform that wants to talk solely about interest rates,” says Giles Cross, the company’s chief marketing officer. “Rather, our purpose is to sustain local and rural communities around the UK – where people want to club together to make a difference.”

A large proportion of the businesses that use Folk2Folk are startups that have been starved of funding, largely because they don’t have a long-standing track record.

The House Crowd Says Investor Confidence at Record High (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The House Crowd, a UK property crowdfunding platform, is reporting “record levels of investor confidence”. According to the platform, the House Crowd is experiencing high demand for its property-backed peer-to-peer lending products, with over 1,270 people having invested in one. The House Crowd states that 66% of its investors now repeatedly reinvesting their capital through the business.

FCA’s Bailey calls for govt action on debt crisis (FT Adviser), Rated: B

Higher UK interest rates could spark a consumer debt crisis unless the government intervenes, according to Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

More than 8.3m adults in the UK are struggling under the burden of debt – a higher proportion of the population than in 2016, according to figures from the Money Advice Service.

Its data revealed 15.9 per cent of the UK population is living with a debt problem, up from 15.4 per cent in 2016.

China

Social Media Giant Tencent Gets Into Old-School Finance (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s largest social media firm, is entering the traditional finance industry by investing in CICC International Capital Corp., a move that may help the investment bank’s expansion in wealth management.

Shares of CICC jumped by a record after it said Tencent is paying HK$2.9 billion ($372 million) for roughly 5 percent of China’s oldest investment bank. The companies will team up on marketing and data analysis, according to an exchange filing.

Source: Bloomberg Technology

Ping An Securities deploys Finastra technology to boost revenue and enter new markets (The Asset), Rated: A

Ping An Securities has implemented FusionCapital from Finastra throughout its operations in Greater China.

The business, part of China’s Ping An Group, is now using the flexible Finastra platform to help extend its securities brokerage capabilities on a global scale – meaning it can boost revenues as it enters new markets.

Ping An Bank launched intelligent investment services (01Caijing), Rated: A

China Ping An “simple life” conference held in Shanghai. Ping An Bank mobile banking business – “safe pocket bank” launched a smart investment service (referred to as “safe intellectual investment”), the first open to ordinary investors to use. The service uses the Black-Litterman model (BL model) and the quantitative asset allocation method, which are widely used by overseas investment bankers, and develop personalized investment plan according to the customer’s risk appetite.

International

Japan wants to roll back regulations for financial technology startups — here’s why it could be bad for the US (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Japan’s push to attract innovative financial technology startups to the country could spell trouble for the US.

On Wednesday at the New York Stock Exchange, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was moving forward with a plan to roll back regulations on some fintech startups to help spur the development of emerging technology and drive growth in the country.

As such, Abe is pushing for a regulatory sandbox program that would allow fintechs, startups looking to automate or digitize aspects of financial services, to operate and scale without meeting existing regulations.

While such an environment is understood to exist in Silicon Valley more broadly, Berenguer said, those hoping to break through specifically in the financial industry in the US are often required to subscribe to the same regulations as their much larger peers.

That often means paying lawyers to ensure compliance, costs that can force entrepreneurs to put off investing in their product and team. This creates a sort of Catch-22 for some startups. Venture-capital backers are less likely to give entrepreneurs money without a product, but it’s more difficult to create a product with less money when also paying legal costs. Berenguer says this has made financial technology harder to break into relative to the overall tech industry.

Singapore, UK sandbox

Some companies, he said, are seeking greener pastures in Singapore and the UK, where a sandbox program has existed for some time.

Where the huge SoftBank-Saudi tech fund is investing (Money), Rated: AAA

The Softbank Vision Fund was unveiled less than a year ago, backed by Saudi Arabia and Japan’s SoftBank (SFTBF). By May it had raised $93 billion, out of a planned $100 billion, to spend on technology businesses of the future.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest Vision Fund investor, followed by SoftBank. Other investors include Apple (AAPLTech30), Qualcomm (QCOMTech30), Foxconn, Shar (SHCAY)p and Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates.

It’s already invested in 10 firms, leading funding rounds worth at least $7.7 billion.

Here’s what it has backed so far this year:

  • Slack
  • OYO
  • Fanatics
  • WeWork
  • Roivant
  • Guardant Health
  • Nvidia
  • Flipkart
  • Brain Corp
  • Plenty
Australia

P2P lender surpasses $ 150m in loans (Broker News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has now reached the $150m mark in loans facilitated thanks to a rapid influx of lenders into the platform.

Millennial investors have helped to drive this growth, especially in RateSetter’s one-month market where these younger demographics make up 72% of the lender’s investors since the firm launched in 2014. This is followed by the one-year market where Millennials make up 40% of all investors.

Investment in the platform has risen by 50% over the last five months alone after RateSetter hit the $100m loan milestone in March. There are now more than 7,700 investors registered with the platform, making RateSetter the largest P2P lender in Australia.

For the one-month market, the average amount invested has increased from $3,777 two years ago to $11,483 today.

Source: Broker News
India

In Game Of Loans, RBI Arms A New Player (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Amit Parker, 26, needed money for his father’s heart surgery. Banks refused to lend as he had delayed repayments on a motorcycle loan three years ago. The travel firm executive tried his luck at Lenden Club (Lenden is Hindi for give-and-take), an online portal that connects individual borrowers with lenders. He managed to get Rs 70,000.

Most of these are small-ticket transactions, and the market is small. A few hundred such loans are disbursed a month with only the young with poor credit record or the tech-savvy borrowing, Rajiv Raj, co-founder of credit-scoring platform CreditVidya, told BloombergQuint. Adoption could improve once the central bank comes out with guidelines.

The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday provided that clarity, bringing P2P lending platforms on a par with non-bank finance companies. And the opportunity is huge. More than 30 such startups have come up in the last four years, including Faircent, i2ifunding, Lenden Club and Billionloans.

Yet, since it involves lending to people with poor credit scores, interest rates can go as high as 28 percent. That didn’t deter Parker from taking another Rs 1.5-lakh loan on Lenden Club. He wishes to continue borrowing on the platform.

Millennials are the most active lenders and borrowers, Rajat Gandhi, co-founder of Faircent, said over the phone. About 60 percent of its 18,000 members are below 35 years. For its Mumbai-based rival Lenden Club, more than two-thirds of its users are 30-40 years old.

They largely borrow to improve lifestyle.

Loan marketplace Rubique targetting 250 pct growth in disbursement, 300 pct in revenue (Financial Express), Rated: A

Does the launch of your mobile app mean that you are shifting your focus to individual borrowers from SMEs?

From day one, we have maintained that our take on the opportunity in the financial space is not focused on retail or SME. The Indian financial sector is largely influencer-driven. Whenever, someone wants a loan, they go through an influencer, whether a chartered accountant or a financial advisor.

How much have you disbursed through your platform so far in FY18?

Last year, we did Rs 1,000 crore in disbursements, of which 60% was in the SME category and 40% in the retail category. This year, as a company, in the first four months (April-July), we did Rs 500 crore worth of disbursements and we have been clocking very healthy revenue. This month, we are touching around Rs 3 crore in revenue. We had been going at a monthly average of about Rs 2 crore in revenues so far. This year, we are targeting almost 250% growth over last year (in disbursements) and a healthy revenue growth. Last year, the revenue was Rs 15.5 crore. This year, we are targeting an almost 300% jump and we expect to cross `45 crore.

Buying a car this festive season? Consider these factors when comparing car loans (India Times), Rated: A

Many people wait for the festival season to make big-ticket purchases like buying a car. That is because banks and non-banking finances companies (NBFCs) usually lower their lending rates on car loans and even have offers such as writing off processing fees.

Source: India Times

“The only benefit of availing a car loan through the dealer is the slight convenience. Dealers tend to push the customer towards their captive finance arms or towards banks where they get higher commissions. So, when a customer compares the offer from the dealer with more banks or at online marketplaces, they will typically find lower interest rates and better terms than those offered by the car dealer,” says Gaurav Gupta, CEO, MyLoanCare.in, an online loans marketplace.

Source: India Times

Remittance firms should consider fintech start-ups as partners rather than competitors (The National), Rated: A

A recent Statista report estimates that fintech will be worth around US$20 billion by 2017.

For instance, 2016 GCC-wide figures by Statista showed that a full 57 per cent of banks and financial services providers saw fintech startups in their operational space as potential partners, while only 22 per cent saw them as competition.

Fintech start-ups tend to be technologically led. They harness mobile tech, social networks and a well-designed user interface to bring services directly to customers. But this technology-first model is most useful in the first and last mile fulfilment, ie, when a customer requests a transaction, or is notified of its completion. When it comes to actual transaction processing, fintech startups often lack the size, scale and well-developed treasury functions needed to fulfil global requests.

But mutually beneficial fintech partnerships can be a game changer. We are heading for what might be called a hybrid model – where a transaction is initiated in-app but is then handled by conventional partners through systems that are already compliant with regulations and have a robust track record of transaction fulfilment.

Asia

Used-car dealer taps fintech for one-stop ease (SGSME.sg), Rated: A

A USED-CAR dealership has tapped fintech to offer a paperless and hassle-free one-stop service to buyers, who can make an electronic deposit for a preferred model and submit an online car loan application, complete with insurance cover.

Orchard Credit, best known for its four decades in the vehicle financing business, recently set up a dedicated used-car showroom to provide the full range of car services to its customers.

Orchard Credit also pioneered the car loan aggregator. It is the only dealer which offers online car loans from nine banks and financial institutions – DBS, Hitachi Capital, HL Bank, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered, Sing Investments and Finance, Tokyo Century and UOB.

INDONESIAN peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup KoinWorks launches a new programme under its KoinPintar category of loans in collaboration with Binus Online Learning.

Benedicto says that KoinWorks will cover a maximum of 80% of the fees based an applicant’s finances. Loans with a flat interest rate between 9% to 12.5% will be offered to cover the rest.

How technology is changing equity trading (The Asset), Rated: A

The widespread use of algorithmic trading has lessened the need for interaction between the buyside and sellside, and brought with it increased reliability, faster speeds and lower costs. However, it also brings technology-related risks and a lack of transparency.

The widespread use of algorithmic trading – basically the process of using computers programmed to follow a defined set of instructions for placing a trade – means that it is no longer necessary for the buyside traders to speak to their counterparts every time they make a trade.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Republicans propose drastic overhaul of CFPB.  BOE chief sees no need for tougher FinTech regulation. CBRC assistant chair reported ‘out of contact’. Today’s main analysis: Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders. The India FinTech Market Map. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How this FinTech CEO plans to prosper. Interview with Scott Sanborn. International regtechs […]

Monday April 17 2017, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • Republicans propose drastic overhaul of CFPB, Dodd-Frank. GP:” This is just a proposal and it will likely change a lot by the time, if and when, it gets adopted into law. In all cases, the theme here seems to be more control and less power for the agencies.”  AT: “We saw this one coming. I didn’t expect a name change, but I think that’s interesting, especially the use of the word ‘opportunity,’ which puzzles me. Why would a regulatory agency include that word in its name? Another thing I find interesting is the deputy director holding the job at the will of the president, which I expected. However, it makes the agency serve at the whim of the winds of the political climate, like all other executive agencies. What makes that interesting is it goes against the initial conception of the agency, which was intended to be independent of the chief executive. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, good or bad either way, but we can expect the Democrats to fight this hard.”
  • How this FinTech CEO plans to prosper in 2017. GP:”The key is customer satisfaction, which itself relies on a good product, fair pricing, ease of use whom themselves depend on the cost of financing, employee satisfaction, technology quality and an infinite list of other items.”
  • Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders. GP:”This is very interesting data. If the online lenders build a reputation of being expensive, regardless if it’s true or not, it will hurt their customer acquisition costs significantly. This has to be fought and this perception is very dangerous. In general consumers, especially opinion leaders, are not stupid. I think a good way to fight for transparency and to fight the high rate and unfavorable terms opinion is by actually releasing actual verifiable data that offers more transparency and demonstrates the rate and term points. ” AT: “It’s important that online lenders not simply claim to be transparent. Most consumers, millennials, in particular, are well aware that technology is not inherently transparent. It can be used to set up walls of opaqueness as easily as see-through curtains, or blinds. If you’re going to call yourself ‘transparent’, you’ve got to be transparent.”
  • Chatting P2P marketplaces with LendingClub’s CEO. GP:” Lending Club is really turning into a large company, run as a large company, on values and brand and letting every department alone to do what they can with controls in place. I am curious how it will defer from a large bank in two or three years.” AT: “Scott Sandborn shares some interesting insights into marketplace lending in general and LendingClub in particular.”

United Kingdom

  • BOE chief sees no need for tougher FinTech regulation. GP:”I am pleasantly surprised, and once again I understand how the UK, despite being a small market, continues to be the point of reference in finance in the entire world and has been for hundreds of years. I am yet to see a single US regulator who says even once: there is no need for more regulation.” AT: “This is a sign of maturity. In the U.S., when legacy institutions sense up-and-coming competitors, the first thing they want to do is use regulation as a protectionist scheme. Competition is good–for the goose and the gander.”
  • Researcher showcases unauthorized NFC payments with cloned Android device. AT: “This is interesting. We must all understand there’s no such thing as fail-safe security in the cyber world. Every device is a potential entry point for bad actors. In fact, every app on every device is a potential entryway for hackers and other bad actors. The key goal for security experts is to stay ahead of them. This hole needs to be plugged quickly.”

European Union

International

China

India

Asia

MENA

Africa

News Summary

United States

Republicans propose drastic overhaul of Dodd-Frank and CFPB (Housingwire), Rated: AAA

According to the summary of bill changes, the original CHOICE Act would restructure the FHFA and OCC as bipartisan commissions. The FDIC would be reorganized as a bipartisan commission with all five commissioners appointed by the president, and both the Comptroller of the Currency and the CFPB director would be removed from the FDIC board. Also, NCUA board of directors would be increased from three members to five.

The new CHOICE Act 2.0 cuts a lot of those proposed changes, and instead, the FHFA director would be removable at will by the president, with no changes to the current law regarding OCC and NCUA. The FDIC structure would stay the same as proposed in CHOICE 1.0.

The original CHOICE Act replaced the director of the CFPB with a Consumer Financial Opportunity Commission, a bipartisan independent Commission serving staggered terms.

Instead, in the newest version, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would be changed to the Consumer Financial Opportunity Agency, an executive agency with a sole director removable at will. The deputy director would also be appointed and removed by the president.

While the original CHOICE Act established a CFPB Credit Union Advisory Council, the updated one removed it because the bill eliminates mandatory CFPB advisory committees.

How This FinTech CEO Plans To Prosper In 2017 (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Along with FinTech industry guru Ron Suber, Prosper’s president, Kimball is intent on growing loan volumes, offering lower average rates compared to traditional lenders, delivering higher returns to investors and returning Prosper to profitability.

Prosper, which is the original online peer-to-peer marketplace, has originated over $9 billion in consumer loans over the past decade.

Since being appointed CEO of Prosper Marketplace late last year, Kimball has stepped outside his former financial role as Prosper’s CFO to take on a more operational-driven strategy.

David Kimball: Ultimately, the long-term success of platforms will be dependent on their ability to deliver a great product and a consistent experience. The success of the partnerships will depend on the ability for the two companies to communicate and understand each other (language, transparency, and culture), and it will depend on how well objectives remain compatible.

David Kimball: Last year, the industry did a lot to lay the foundation for a successful 2017, and we’re seeing that work pay off. The [recently announced loan purchase deal] gives us the funding stability we need to continue to grow, while at the same time giving us some great long-term partners that are invested in our business and its success.

David Kimball: A successful CFO is one who partners with the business instead of playing the finance sheriff. That requires a willingness to understand the business, to think holistically, to work with peers who jointly own the results. The CFO is the finance subject matter expert, but should be able to consider other disciplines, just as a CTO should be able to understand the financial implications of engineering decisions.

As CEO, I continue to think holistically and I now have an opportunity to flex into other areas of the business.

Transparency remains a sticking point for online lenders (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

A small business credit survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found 46 percent customer satisfaction at online lenders like Lending Club and OnDeck Capital with a 19 percent rate of dissatisfied customers – compared with large banks’ 61 percent of customers who indicated they were satisfied with their small business loan process and 15 percent of whom expressed dissatisfaction. Almost half of all customers specified that their dissatisfaction came from a “lack of transparency.”

Online lending customers are also dissatisfied with higher interest rates and unfavorable repayment terms, two common issues for the growing industry, which continues to have a higher cost of capital and for customer acquisitions.

Chatting P2P marketplaces with LendingClub CEO, Scott Sanborn (Simple Innovative Change), Rated: AAA

CL: The LendingClub story is a fascinating one and one that I’ve followed from the early days. So how does it feel to sit here and realize that so much of what is here today and the proliferation of all these different lending platforms is really because of this company and this team and what you have been able to build?

SB: I think it is exciting. It’s very gratifying to see how the initial idea has gained traction and how that has spawned new players who are bringing new energy and new ideas to different segments of the market. I think the clearest benefit is looking at how much value we’ve driven to consumers and investors.

For example, the personal loan market was actually shrinking when we first started. It shrank like 57% from 2007 to 2010, and yet we were still able to giveCL: There’s this great photo from the day of the IPO back in 2014 in which you can see just how elated you were. At the time you were the CMO and it was a very happy day, but when you stepped into the CEO role recently it wasn’t necessarily under the happiest of conditions. So, how have you handled the ups and downs of being a part of the Lending Club team, and how are do you lead the team through these challenging periods?

CL: That’s the answer you want to hear, by all means. Since becoming CEO at LendingClub, what have you learned about your own management style and how are you navigating the transition to this role?

SB: So much is swirling and changing in real-time, which means you need to keep everyone in the loop. In those early days after I stepped into the CEO role, I can’t tell you how many times we pulled all 1,500 employees together and marched them across the street to a hotel, to fit them into one room and explain, “Here’s what’s happening. Here’s what we know. Here’s what comes next.” That was certainly critical.

Lastly, we have focused tirelessly on assembling the right team. When a business is growing 80% to 100% a year for so many years it’s hard for the organization to keep up, and this was an opportunity to say, “Okay, new reality. Let’s look at what the right foundation is for the next decade of Lending Club.”

CL: One of the other reasons that I wanted to speak with you is because I often speak with seed and series A Fintech startups that’ll eventually face the challenges of being a larger organization if successful. So, what do you think are the challenges associated with trying to be an innovator while also being a larger organization?

SB: Literally, I left that conversation, and sat down with several team members in a room and said, “Okay, what are our values?” It was remarkably easy, actually, to identify what our values were. We put those down on paper and we revisit them, probably annually, maybe every 18 months or so and say, “Do they still resonate? Are they still right for this stage of the company?” Essentially all of our initial values have remained intact and we’ve added one or two as we’ve grown to reflect the new stage of the company.

Since then we have remained crisp on what our values are, and we have made sure we’re hiring to those values, and that our performance reviews reflect those values as well. That’s how you keep the essence of a company and that integrity of the company as you grow. The reality is, as you get bigger and layers get introduced and processes get introduced maintaining that value system will help the company stay, essentially, intact and stay functioning well.

CL: As we look to the vision of the future loan markets, do you think that startups will increasingly become the sourcing mechanisms of loans with financial institutions acting more as the wholesale banking providers?

SB: I think we’re not done seeing the different types of models that could emerge and how they could participate, and I think that’s part of what’s exciting. Not all of them will be great ideas, and not all of them will work, but some will.

If you look at our model, banks provide between a quarter and 30% of our funding and they have a very low cost of capital. When you combine their low cost of capital with our low operating cost it allows us to give, especially that super-prime customer, an incredible value that they couldn’t get at these institutions directly.

United Kingdom

Bank of England Chief Sees No Need for Tougher Fintech Regulation (Corporate Counsel), Rated: AAA

Fintech could pose a threat to traditional banks in the United Kingdom, according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. But that doesn’t mean he thinks they should be subject to tougher regulation.

The Bank of England created a New Bank Start-up Unit last year, which advises companies trying to become new banks. Carney said in his speech that four mobile banks have been authorized as a result of the new division.

Some of the questions that he said need to be answered, moving forward are: “Which fintech activities constitute traditional banking activities by another name and should be regulated as such? How could developments change the safety and soundness of existing regulated firms? How could developments change potential macroeconomic and macrofinancial dynamics including disruptions to systemically important markets? And what could be the implications for the level of cyber and operational risks faced by regulated firms and the financial system as a whole?”

Researcher Showcases Unauthorized NFC Payments With Cloned Android Device (The Merkle), Rated: A

While this concept sounds ridiculous to most people, they should not underestimate the power of root malware on Android devices. By using this type of malicious software, it is possible to abuse the host card emulation protocol. Google introduced this feature in Android 4,4, as it allows for NFC payments by keeping the Android device next to a payment terminal. Unfortunately, it appears this protocol can also be used to make fraudulent purchases.

Thankfully, this exploit has been discovered by a security researcher who notified both Google and all of the applications he successfully “abused” about this vulnerability.

European Union

Aegon Leaves Legacy Behind With Ohpen’s Cloud Finserv Platform (Forbes), Rated: A

Ohpen, a banking technology company based in Amsterdam,has announced that it will partner with Aegon to develop a new platform for Aegon’s Dutch services, from banking to investments. It will also support multiple labels including Aegon’s Knab (bank spelled backwards) an entirely digital bank.

Aegon, a global financial conglomerate whose American holdings include Pimco, will replace multiple individual systems for pensions, savings, current accounts and wealth management with a single Ohpen platform running in the cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Aegon will plug into Ohpen’s platform through a flexible, 100% API-based interface.

Multiple companies under one corporate umbrella do many of the same things and have their own infrastructure and staff. Ohpen lets them merge all those activities onto a single cloud-based back end and then put an API on top so any application or Web site can get to it.

International

Keeping the banks honest: meet the regtech rule-obeyers (Wired UK), Rated: AAA

Under mounting pressure to become more transparent and accountable, banks and financial institutions are turning to regtech: technology that automates regulatory compliance.

London-based FundApps alerts financial institutions when regulations change, and gives them software to help compliance. Launched in 2010, it covers 88 jurisdictions.

Legislation in Europe requires companies to “know your customer” to make sure they’re not money laundering. That’s what Trulioo does.

Qumram records, retains and allows on-demand replays of digital activity across web, social and mobile.

US accounting rules require banks to store historical loan data to predict future repayment. “This is what we help them do,” says Vivek Subramanyam, CEO of Fintellix. Launched in 2006, it recently launched a website targeting US community banks and credit unions that are grappling with accounting regulations.

KYC3 (“Know Your Customer, Counterparty and Competition”) automates due diligence, so companies can screen potential clients.

How the World’s Richest Companies Can Help Its Poorest Citizens (Time), Rated: AAA

From Kenya and Tanzania, to Jordan and Peru, digital technology and simple mobile phones are opening up opportunities for millions of people by helping them to safely save and manage their money.

From Kenya and Tanzania, to Jordan and Peru, digital technology and simple mobile phones are opening up opportunities for millions of people by helping them to safely save and manage their money.

Four of the world’s largest telco system manufacturers — Sweden’s Ericsson, China’s Huawei, Canada’s Telepin and India’s Mahindra Comviva — have put aside their fierce competition and agreed to collaborate, not out of altruism but in order to better compete. Announced at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who works to bring competitors together to meaningfully address financial inclusion for the poor, these companies are developing a set of “application programming interfaces,” or in plain English, ways of making computers talk to each other. These APIs will create open-source standards for the development of digital financial services that are automatically compatible with each other, lowering costs for providers and increasing the utility of digital financial services for customers overall.

By governing how different digital accounts send and receive money, the APIs can be the basis for a new “internet of payments,” across which individuals, banks, merchants, employers, and governments seamlessly transact. The APIs are still under development, but when they’re complete they will be released as a global public good, available to anyone who wants to invent.

AI In Fintech: 100+ Companies Using AI Algorithms To Improve The Fin Services Industry (CB Insights), Rated: B

Funding to AI startups reached record highs in 2016 and applications for artificial intelligence technologies exist across nearly the entire spectrum of business. Highlighted here are the top 100 AI startups selected by CB Insights operating across numerous industry verticals.

China

Assistant chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission, Yang Jiacai, reported to be ‘out of contact’ (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Fifty-six-year-old Yang Jiacai, assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) was reported to be “out of contact” since Tuesday, April 11, by Chinese media Caixin and Caijing.

Caixin reported Yang had transferred all his responsibilities to his colleague, the commission’s vice-chairman Cao Yu.

Yang made his last public appearance a week ago during a press conference for the CBRC, during which he introduced some heavy-handed regulatory moves planned by the commission.

Podcast 97: Yihan Fang of Yirendai (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The origins of Yirendai and how it was incubated inside CreditEase.
  • When and why Yirendai was spun-off from CreditEase.
  • Some background on all the divisions inside CreditEase.
  • The typical borrower who comes to Yirendai for a loan.
  • How Yirendai has broken new ground in China.
  • The different channels they use to obtain borrowers.
  • The typical size, rate and term of their consumer loans.
  • How these borrowers use their loan proceeds.
  • How Yirendai differentiates themselves from their competitors.
  • Who the typical investors are who participate on their platform.
  • The average amount each of their 200,000 investors deploy on their platform.
  • How their investor product works and details of their risk protection fund.
  • How their business model works as far as revenue.
  • A breakdown of their institutional investor interest.
  • Why they decided to do an IPO in New York rather than Shanghai or Hong Kong.
  • The impact of the new marketplace lending regulations in China.
  • Yihan’s perspective on the fraud that has happened in China.
  • Details of their new Yirendai Enabling Platform that they launched at LendIt.
  • What areas Yirendai will focus on in the coming years.

China is Cracking Down on Unscrupulous Financial Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

In a series of reports, ChinaNews is pointing to the increasing scrutiny of the Chinese government regarding financial fraud and over-all malpractice.

Now the China Banking Regulatory Commission has published measures to address risks in the financial and banking sectors. According to ChinaNews, CBRC highlighted 10 areas for improving risk control in both traditional and internet finance – which includes peer to peer lending.

All of this is taking place with the back-drop of Xian Junbo, Chairman of China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), being placed under investigation for “disciplinary violations.” He will be the most senior government financial regulator to be investigated in several years.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Big Data Company Wecash raised $ 80 million in series C funding led by China Merchants Capital, Fore Bright Capital and SIG. Two new investors – Dongfang Hongdao Asset Management and Lingfeng Capital joined the existing investors in this round.

On April 10, China Banking Regulatory Commission released “Guidelines on risk prevention and control in banking industry” to make the P2P online lending market standard by perfecting the in-out mechanisms, paying more attention to the supervision and perfecting the governance of online lending companies.

According to the PwC Global FinTech Survey China Summary 2017 released on April 6, the three main areas to be disrupted by FinTech in China over the next five years will be consumer banking, investment & wealth management, and fund transfers & payments. E-retailers, large technology companies and financial institutions will be the biggest sources of disruption.

Compared with developed countries, the market-penetration level of auto finance in China is much lower. However, it also indicates that China has a tremendous room to develop and grow.

US

Australia

China

Market-penetration

80% – 85%

70%

Less than 30%

On April 6, second-hand car online trading platform Souche closed on $180 million in Series D Funding led by Warburg Pincus. Other participants in the round included VMS Investment Group, ClearVue Partners, Haitong International, CreditEase and Morningside Capital. Notably, Souche just finished Series C Funding led by Ant Financial in the last November. In the past five months, Souche has raised a total of $280 million.

 

India

The India Fintech Market Map: 72 Startups Working Across Lending, Payments, Insurance & Banking (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Looking at Indian fintech specifically, funding to private companies in the sector boomed from about $175M in 2014 to a high of $2B in 2015 (buoyed by mega-rounds to Paytm) and then slid to $530M in 2016. Still, 2016′s total funding was more than 200% higher than total funding in 2014. A host of global corporations and their venture arms have entered the fray, eager to reach India’s mostly unbanked population and profit from the country’s tech-friendly regulatory environment.

‘Free’ credit reports from fintech portals (livemint), Rated: A

Apart from bureaus, online financial marketplaces are also offering free credit scores and reports. These reports are not counted against the free reports you can get from credit bureaus directly.

On the four fintech platforms we went to, it took no more than a few minutes to log on, authorise the fintech to access our credit report, and get it on the screen or in email. And it was also simpler to get a report here than from a bureau’s website.

On Bankbazaar, we got the report on its website and in email. Paisabazaar displays the report on its website. Both sites provided reports from Experian Credit Information Co. of India Pvt. Ltd.

FinTech: To Regulate Or Not To Regulate? Former RBI Deputy Governor R Gandhi Explains (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

In lending, peer-to-peer lenders and online SME (small and medium enterprises) lenders are targeting clients considered too risky by banks. They claim to use technologies that can assess credit worthiness in smarter ways than the traditional income statements used by banks. In payments, wallet companies have taken the lead in retail payments forcing banks to up their game.

One gripe that banks have is that these fintech firms are getting away unregulated, which gives them a lot more flexibility in how they do business.

That’s true for now, said R Gandhi, former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) who retired after a 37-year stint at the central bank earlier this month. The dilemma for the regulator is to decide when to regulate and how to regulate so as to ensure that innovative business models get a fair chance, Gandhi explained in an interview with BloombergQuint on Tuesday.

Is India ready for Peer-to-Peer lending industry? (Faircent), Rated: A

What we are trying to do is to create a P2P (Peer to peer) lending industry. Fundamentally we are providing an alternative to banking and other financial institutions.

Karun: Investors whom we call lenders can get returns up to 18% to 20% per annum which is much better than other options today. As a borrower you can avail unsecured loans at much cheaper interest rates. What we feel is that the banks make huge margins in terms of the rates that they offering customers on their savings and the rates they are lending it out to people at, in the form of loans. By reducing the margin, with Faircent as the match maker, we are able to pass value to both sides of the table, to borrowers as well as lenders.

Karun: We are purely a digital entity.   We are trying to use technology so that there is minimal offline intervention.

We’ve done a lot of marketing technology interventions, like we have a CRM which is built on top of our platform, which is a custom made CRM. We have integrated it with our lead gen channels. We have an email marketing platform using which we nurture our customers and also do promotional activities with potential customers. We have done a lot of work in trying to become Omni-channel. Three main channels which we use are email, SMS and Voice.

Karun: We are using a lot of the off- the- shelf products. But the challenge for us is really how do we integrate them with our platform. So hence we have to be much more careful about which option we choose. We are using Octane and Amazon for email. Octane is basically a mix of email and SMS which we are predominantly using for marketing.

Karun: Yes, we have a mobile app which is available on the Android and iOS platform. Right now, our focus has been more to enable our customers to access our platform on the mobile device. So for example if there is an investor who wants to invest in loans on the fly he can do it using our app. At present we’re not really focused on the app to acquire more borrowers or acquire more investors and lenders.

Razorpay plans overseas foray (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: B

Razorpay, a payment gateway solution provider focused on online merchants, plans to go international. It is looking to enter South East Asia and West Asia markets in 2018-19, Harshil Mathur, co-founder, has said.

The fintech startup, which started its journey in mid-2014, is in talks with local and global (banking) players in these markets, Mathur said.

Razorpay, which had raised Series A funding of $11.5 million, is not worried about funding for the next two years, according to Mathur.

Asia

ORIX Launches New Online Lending Business for Japanese Small Businesses (Orix), Rated: AAA

ORIX Corporation (“ORIX”) and Yayoi Co., Ltd. (“Yayoi”), an ORIX Group company, announced today that they are launching a new online lending business, a new FinTech service utilizing accounting big data and proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) based credit model.

The business will provide Internet-based lending to small businesses in Japan. A new credit model is under development, utilizing ORIX’s credit expertise, Yayoi’s accounting big data, and cutting edge AI technology by ORIX’s partner company, d.a.t. Inc. Most existing credit models in the market to date relied solely on static data such as financial reports; by utilizing dynamic data, such as day-to-day journal data and other transactional data, the new credit model is expected to offer much better predictive power than before.

ALT plans to start offering lending services on a trial basis to the approximately 600,000 companies, who are existing users of Yayoi’s online services1 in October 2017. Customers will be able to apply online, during which process they grant permission to access their accounting data.

According to a survey of 7,609 Yayoi customers, 85.0% of small corporations have a need for short-term financing, but 36.5% of those have been shying away from obtaining traditional loans, due in part to the excessive amount of time and efforts required for approval of short-term financing. With respect to sole proprietors, just 16.4% of them have obtained short-term traditional loans. Utilizing online lending can reduce complex administrative procedures, including the need to submit financial reports and other paperwork and to visit financial institutions in person, and can also shorten the time needed to obtain much needed cash, making simpler, more flexible financing possible.

AN INDONESIAN peer to peer (P2P) lending startup, KoinWorks is supporting small and medium enterprises (SME) and education by launching an art exhibition, ARTificial Intelligence which will run from April 13 to April 30 at Pacific Place, Jakarta.

Benedicto also says that KoinWorks mainly focuses on SMEs that conduct their sales and marketing activities online. He also believes that by connecting SMEs to lenders, it will bring benefits to both sides.

Benefits for lenders are through net gained interest from their investment which can be up to 19.8% annually depending on the risk level. The service also fulfils social needs by helping businesses to grow.

Users may invest in KoinWorks with a minimum deposit of US$7.50 (100,000 rupiah). The funding will be deposited in real-time at a virtual bank account. Users only need to scan and upload information from their identity card, fill in the form, and deposit the money.

LendIt China Event, Lang Di Fintech, Updates on PitchIt Competition (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

LendIt, the global lending and Fintech conference, has announced the official launch of the Asian edition of their Fintech startup competition, PitchIt, in association with JadeValue, a Shanghai-based Fintech incubator. The competition is for all early stage Fintech startups in Asia-Pacific.

PitchIt will take place at the Lang Di Fintech conference, China’s largest global Fintech conference in Shanghai in July.

The 8 Finalists Will Receive:

  • Opportunity to secure investment and partners by meeting investors
  • Have your pitch heard by the international fintech community in front of an audience of international and local attendees across APAC.
  • Gain valuable exposure through global PR
  • Up to $1,000 for travel to Lang Di Fintech
  • Year-round exposure through press and brand visibility and the chance to gain mentorship from Global VCs on pitching and product positioning prior to the event.

The Winner Will Receive:

  • Mentorship, co-working space for 6 months and guaranteed investment of $150,000 from JadeValue
  • 2 free passes to LendIt USA 2018, roundtrip airfare and accommodations
  • Curated meetings for investment purposes in the US during LendIt USA 2018 (April, 2018, San Francisco)
  • Complimentary sponsorship at LendIt USA 2018
MENA

The future of digital money (Gulf News), Rated: A

At a time when the consumer relationship with cash is more virtualiser and abstract, and where use of physical cash continues to decline in many markets, the next phase of digital money offers undiscovered potential for a new period of expansive growth in transactions, beyond the limits of national borders.

The region’s e-commerce marketplace is thriving too, but it depends more on cash on delivery than on electronic payments. At the same time, a relatively low share of adults have bank accounts, while mobile money accounts have had limited success. That could be about to change. New Fintech entrants are playing their part in helping drive payment digitisation.

Furthermore, developments in payments technology are making it easier for us all to transact. Egypt’s Payfort recently has successfully helped smaller merchants accept electronic payments, and offers instalment payment options to help merchants improve sales. We’re also seeing global providers such as Apple Pay, Google Pay becoming more active in the region after a slow start and more global players are coming, for example Samsung, with Samsung Pay about to deploy payment services that are promising to be easier, faster and more secure using your Samsung smart phone.

Africa

VoguePay Wins Best Fintech Startup Award (This Day Live), Rated: B

VoguePay.com, a secure payment gateway has won the “Best Fintech Startup” at the 6th edition of the Cashless Africa Awards 2017, organised by Mobile Money Africa in Lagos recently.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor