Tuesday July 18 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech adoption

News Comments Today’s main news: Laplanche shares vision for Online Lending 2.0 at Lang Di Fintech. Elevate named a great place to work (again). FinLeap raises 39M Euro. Crunchbase-like database launches in Singapore. Today’s main analysis: Ant Financial poised for more growth. Fintech use reaching mass adoption among digital consumers. Today’s thought-provoking articles: OCC vs. New York DFS.  Ant Financial […]

fintech adoption

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United States

Elevate Named Great Place to Work by Independent Analysts for Second Year in a Row (4-Traders), Rated: AAA

Elevate was recently certified as a great workplace by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®. Elevate earned this credential based on ratings provided by its employees in anonymous surveys. A summary of these ratings can be found at 

“According to our study, 87 percent of Elevate employees say it is a great workplace,” says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, Vice President of Great Place to Work Certification & List Production.

79% of Elevate employees completed a survey, resulting in a 90 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.04.

Ex-LendingClub CEO Laplanche sees new Upgrade venture growing loan volumes (Yahoo! News), Rated: AAA

Online lender Upgrade, launched by former LendingCLub Corp CEO Renaud Laplanche in April, expects to grow its loan volumes and add new asset managers to its roster of buyers in coming months, Laplanche said in an interview on Monday.

Upgrade has been testing its credit quality and risk management systems, compliance framework and other operations, as well as building up its infrastructure to deal with rising volumes before ramping up the service, Laplanche added. The company has signed up six asset managers who are already buying or plan to buy loans originated by the company, including Jefferies LLC and an unnamed Hong Kong firm, he said.

OCC vs. New York DFS: Battle for the Future of FinTech (Bloomberg BNA), Rated: AAA

In the rapidly developing world of financial technology it often is unclear who has the legal authority to regulate the activities of newly created companies. Many of these companies do not neatly fit into any established regulatory scheme. However, answering the question of who will be creating the regulatory rules for FinTech companies is important both for regulators and the FinTech companies themselves.

State Regulators Want to Regulate FinTech

Over the past several years, state regulators have been staking out positions as leading regulators of FinTech companies.

During this same period, federal regulators have announced the intention to assert control over the regulation of FinTech companies.

The OCC indicated that its authority to grant FinTech Charters to nonbank FinTech companies stems from 12 C.F.R. § 5.20(e)(1), which states that the agency may grant such charters to institutions that conduct “at least one of the following three core banking functions: receiving depositions, paying checks, or lending money.”

The Lawsuit

The DFS did not limit itself to criticizing the proposed FinTech Charters. On May 12, 2017, the DFS filed a lawsuit against the OCC in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that the OCC’s proposed FinTech Charters exceeded the agency’s statutory authority under the National Banking Act and violated the Tenth Amendment. Based on these claims, the DFS sought declaratory and injunctive relief that would declare the proposed FinTech Charters to be unlawful and prohibit the OCC from creating or issuing these charters in the absence of express authorization from Congress.

Third, even if the OCC prevails and begins granting FinTech Charters, state agencies such as the DFS will still attempt to regulate FinTech companies. This could lead to future disputes over the nature and scope of the federal preemption of state regulations, which will add to the confusion over which regulations apply to which FinTech companies.

As a result of these issues, FinTech companies have little idea what the future regulatory terrain will look like. This uncertainty makes it difficult for companies to predict the future regulatory cost of business decisions they would like to make today.

Worthy Financial Announces the Closing of Its Seed Financing Round (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Worthy, a digital investment app that redefines how Americans access investment products, diversify their portfolios and save for retirement, announced the successful closing of its seed financing round. The funds will be used for the full-scale roll-out of the Worthy mobile app, and will enable Worthy to expand its growing user base as well as to broaden the array of investment product options it offers retail investors.

Worthy provides users with the unprecedented ability to spend their way to retirement by investing retail round-ups into high-yielding fixed interest bonds, the proceeds of which fund growing businesses. In doing so, anyone has the capability to build a nest egg, enhance portfolio returns, mitigate risk, and generate both social as well as financial returns. Worthy investors grow their portfolios while simultaneously supporting American entrepreneurs.

Stash, now valued at $ 240 million, lets anyone start investing in the stock market with just $ 5 (Business Insider), Rated: A

Krieg and Robinson realized then that they had an opportunity to help.

They founded Stash, an app that lets you build a portfolio and start investing with only $5, plus it teaches you the ins and outs of the stock market.

Krieg and Robinson realized then that they had an opportunity to help.

The company launched in October 2015 and just closed on a $40 million Series C led by Coatue Management. That brings Stash’s total funding to $78 million and values the New York-based startup at $240 million, according to a person familiar with the company.

Stash makes money by charging a subscription fee of $1 per month for accounts with less than $5,000. When an account has more than $5,000, Stash charges a fee of 0.25% fee.

Stash now has about 850,000 customers nationwide.

Why Robo-Analysts, Not Robo-Advisors, Will Transform Investing (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: A

Robo-advisors and robo-analysts are both important to enabling wealth management firms to cut costs without sacrificing quality of advice, but the importance of a robo-analyst to enhance the quality of investment advice shouldn’t be underestimated.

Today, many of the tasks performed by robo-advisors are low value-added services such as determining and communicating asset allocation strategies (e.g., 60% equities, 30% fixed income and 10% cash). In fact, these services are so low value-added that advisors cannot make money doing them unless they are bundled with higher value-added services.The value proposition of a robo-analyst is very different.

Specifically, by shining an analytical light in the dark corners of financial filings, robo-analyst technology can identify many critical data points overlooked by most research analysts today. No longer must investors rely on the headlines or management-manipulated earnings. With new technologies, investors can receive a much fuller, more comprehensive analysis of financial filings, company profits and valuation so as to make better informed decisions than ever before. As a result, robo-analyst tech raises the analytical bar universally, enabling investors to transcend the short-sighted and high turnover trading mentality that, in the long run, does more damage to investors than good.

Bankers Worry About Jobs Lost to Automation (Newsmax), Rated: A

A quarter of banking’s “front line” professionals are worried about losing their jobs to robots and artificial intelligence-boosted mobile apps, according to a LinkedIn survey.

In the poll of 1,012 pros from financial technology, investment banking, retail and corporate banking, financial and hedge fund management, accounting, insurance, and private equity, 25 percent said they are concerned automation will impact their job security – with 34 percent of retail bankers saying it is a significant concern for them.

The survey also found 42 percent of financial services pros think financial technology is a “direct threat” to traditional financial services, compared with 13 percent of professionals who work in traditional financial services, and 18 percent of all the financial professionals.

Matthew Wong of CB Insights on Insurtech (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In today’s episode of the Lend Academy podcast we have Matthew Wong of CB Insights. He has been following innovation in the insurtech space for some time and his weekly insurtech newsletter has a subscriber base of more than 18,000 people.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Matt’s background and how he first became involved in insurtech.
  • What CB Insights does.
  • The headwinds facing insurance industry incumbents today.
  • Why millennials are not buying insurance as much as other generations.
  • Why insurtech is hot right now when it comes to VC investments.
  • Some of the most interesting companies in the insurtech space right now.
  • Why it will probably take a long time for these startups to get to scale.
  • Why Matt likes Zhong An Insurance, the first and largest online insurer in China.
  • How the incumbent insurance companies have been reacting to this surge in startup activity.
  • Why Munich Re is one of the most interesting incumbents.
  • Matt’s view on what SoFi is doing partnering with a life insurance company.
  • The endgame for many of the insurtech startups.

Solar Loans Are A Risky Investment But Not Unlike Other ABS (ValueWalk), Rated: A

Solar loans are on the rise as the industry undergoes a transition and credit investors consider whether these asset-backed securities are worth the risk. In some ways, they’re similar to other types of collateral, and credit investors are already used to dealing with the types of risk they pose. However, analysts at Moody’s warn that they’re one of the riskiest securitization asset classes.

The reason solar loans are so new is because until now, the residential solar market has been dominated by third-party ownership of solar panel systems via power-purchase agreements and leases. GTM Research projected late last year that 2017 will be the year direct ownership of residential solar panels retakes its position as the top solar financing model.

The firm projected that 55% of the U.S. residential solar capacity that’s installed this year will be bought by customers who either pay in cash or take out a loan to finance their systems.

Jefferies gives IBM Watson a Wall Street reality check (TechCrunch), Rated: A

IBM’s Watson unit is receiving heat today in the form of a scathing equity research report from Jefferies’ James Kisner. The group believes that IBM’s investment into Watson will struggle to return value to shareholders.

The narrative isn’t the product of any single malfunction, but rather the result of overhyped marketing, deficiencies in operating with deep learning and GPUs and intensive data preparation demands.

If job postings are any indication, IBM is not keeping pace with other technology companies in hiring machine learning developers.

Cascade Fintech Signs 3-Year Contract for AU10TIX ID Authentication & Onboarding Automation (WVAlways.com), Rated: A

US prepaid card and P2P payment services provider Cascade Financial Technology Corp has signed a 3-year contract to power customer onboarding and KYC with 2nd generation ID authentication and onboarding automation. AU10TIX Secure Customer onboarding (SCO) cloud service that already powers major players across financial services markets, is known not only to increase KYC robustness and fraud protection but also improve customer conversion success chances and operating efficiency.

The future of Millennial banking (Marketing-Interactive), Rated: A

In the last ten years, the fundamental assumption that financial institutions are the only avenue to financial transactions is being called to question, especially by Millennials, who are by far the most entrepreneurial generation.

In a disruptive world, what does the future of banking and finance look like? How can and should financial institutions adapt to remain relevant, or even lead in this era of change?

  • Seamless, efficient and fast

Payments are perhaps the most basic and prevalent interaction with finance for the masses, yet for the longest time, payments to businesses saw minimal innovation. P2P transfers were never a focus for banks since it was a zero commission business. This was a pain-point to Millennials, who are used to sending everything from photos to documents electronically – having to withdraw physical cash or obtaining account details to securely transfer money for lunch is considered old fashioned!

  • Flexibility and access to funds

Traditional unsecured loans might require a strong financial history or proof of steady income stream, which would be unlikely if the individual were not taking a salaried job. Cash advances on credit cards would usually incur overly high interests costs.

This creates opportunities for peer to peer (P2P) lending marketplaces such as Prosper and Lending Club, platforms which create alternative ways to access cash loans while providing alternative yields on deposits.

  • Information access

Websites such as MoneySmart, DirectAsia, GoBear and Milelion position themselves as third-party and an unbiased advisor of investment products and policies. They perform the heavy lifting of trawling through multiple sites to aggregate and analyse information, empowering consumers to make informed purchases in the shortest time.

  • The reversal to brand love

The answer lies in placing the consumer in the centre of their businesses and asking the right questions constantly to redefine scope of value-add. It is an iterative journey, and worthwhile to include consumers as co-creators in product design and transformation.

Wela, the World’s First Financial Advice App Pairing Artificial Intelligence with Real Advisors, Available for Android Devices (Marketwired), Rated: B

Wela, a personal finance app that pairs artificial intelligence (AI) and human advisors, announces today it is available for download on Android devices in addition to iOS. Wela pairs real financial advisors with AI through the personification of its digital advising algorithm, Benjamin. The first true digital advisor, Benjamin utilizes AI to track users’ daily, weekly and monthly spending habits and provides personalized advice based on their financial needs and goals. Unlike other free consumer finance apps, Wela also offers access to real financial advisors via phone, video chat or in-person at no additional cost.

The Android app contains the full functionality of the iOS version and employs the same innovative features that allow users to track all their financial accounts in one place. Wela protects user privacy by leveraging bank-level security, as well as 256-bit SSL encryption and two forms of secure authentication. Capable of aggregating data from more than 13,000 financial institutions, Benjamin pulls linked account information to run a complete analysis, helping users take steps toward financial wellness based on three main pillars: creating an emergency reserve, paying off debt and implementing an investment strategy. In addition to Benjamin’s foundational metrics, the algorithm delivers custom insights on demand, helping users stay on track to reach their short- and long-term goals.

Three Leading Lawyers Take the Helm of Manatt’s Financial Services Group (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, today announced new co-chairs of the firm’s industry-leading financial services group, with the appointment of Richard Gottlieb, Brian Korn and Donna Wilson.

Gottlieb is a partner in the firm’s Chicago office, Korn is based in Manhattan, and Wilson practices in Manatt’s Los Angeles office.

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice Stands at £1.34 Cumulative Invoices Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

This past February, MarketInvoice shared it had funded invoices over £1.1 billion since platform launch in 2011. The online lender said it expects to top the £2 billion in invoices funded by the end of the year.

In Q2 of 2017, MarketInvoice announced that it had funded invoices from UK businesses worth £161.9 million. Compare this amount to the £103 million funded in Q2 of 2016 and the platform is generating some serious momentum.

In the first quarter of 2017, MarketInvoice generated £130 million in invoice finance.

RateSetter’s new chairman heralds benefits of provision fund (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER’S new non-executive chairman Paul Manduca (pictured) has heralded the peer-to-peer lender’s “simplicity”, citing its provision fund as an example, on his first day in his new role.

The asset management veteran said that financial innovation can sometimes result in overly-complex products that investors cannot understand, which is “complacent and out of step with what customers want”.

Activist investor increases stake in Ranger Direct Lending fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The LIM Asia Special Situations Master Fund has increased its stake in the £243m Ranger Direct Lending fund, following the portfolio’s move to a double-digit discount.

The Hong-Kong based fund had already invested in the closed-ended portfolio, which invests in a host of online lending platforms, owning less than 4 per cent. Last week it increased its holding to 5.48 per cent (on the 7th July).

Assetz Capital Continues UK P2P Expansion with Scotland Appointment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Assetz Capital is continuing its strategy of establishing a local presence across the UK with the appointment of Ian Craig as Regional Relationship Director to help manage operations in Scotland. The appointment comes as Assetz Capital says growth in Scotland continues with a target of £50 million in lending (subject to two upcoming completions). Assetz Capital says it is well on its way to becoming the second largest alternative finance lender in Scotland.

Craig will be responsible for helping local Scottish businesses acquire finance through the peer-to-peer platform and ensure borrowing with Assetz Capital runs seamlessly.

P2P lenders helped British Business Bank fund £717m of SME loans last year (P2P Finance news), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER lenders were among the delivery partners helping the British Business Bank (BBB) fund £717m of loans to small businesses last year, the firm’s annual report revealed.

The state-backed institution, which has channelled funds through P2P platforms such as RateSetter, Funding Circle and MarketInvoice, facilitated 94 per cent of its finance through banks outside of the ‘big four’ last year, up from 90 per cent in 2015 and 79 per cent in 2014.

The BBB has a key performance indicator of having more than 75 per cent of its finance facilitated through providers other than the four largest banks over five years, so it has already surpassed that aim.

China

Renaud Laplanche Shares His Vision for Online Lending 2.0 at Lang Di Fintech (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

In his first public appearance in over a year Renaud Laplanche, the CEO of Upgrade, gave a presentation this past weekend at Lang Di Fintech, LendIt’s annual Chinese conference, in Shanghai. Titled Online Lending 2.0 he laid out his vision for where he thinks the online lending industry is going next.

He talked about how one of the big innovations in Online Lending 1.0 was the introduction of more data into the underwriting process. Ten years ago, which marked the beginning of Online Lending 1.0, this new data allowed more accurate underwriting of consumers. But in Online Lending 2.0 this has expanded dramatically with not just more data but new and better tools available to analyze this data.

The two key data points that are being added in Online Lending 2.0 are location data and free cash flow analysis. We need to adjust underwriting to take into account location because a consumer in New York City has a much higher than average cost of living while a consumer in Greenville, SC has a much lower than average cost of living for example. This is why Debt-to-Income (DTI) is less important than free cash flow today.

Alibaba Affiliate Ant Financial: World’s Largest Fintech Poised For More Growth (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s (NYSE:BABA) financial affiliate, is the largest fintech in the world, and leads the pack of the world’s largest fintech unicorns, the top four of which are from China, the largest fintech market in the world: Ant Financial (US$60 billion), Lufax (US$18.5 billion), JD Finance (US$7 billion) (NASDAQ:JD), and Qufenqi (US$5.9 billion).

Alipay

Payments make up the biggest portion of fintech in China and this is expected to be the same going forward.

Mobile phones function as mobile wallets for about 425 million Chinese, or 65% of all mobile users. This is the highest penetration rate in the world. At 38 trillion yuan (US$ 5.5 trillion) last year according to data from iResearch, China is the world’s largest mobile payments market and is over 50 times bigger than the American market where mobile payments reached US$112 billion.

China’s e-commerce market is expected to continue its upward climb. Online sales represented 16.4% of China’s total retail sales in the first half of 2016 and this is expected to climb to 21.7% by 2020 which should benefit Alipaygoing forward.

Wealth Management

Wealth management is the largest area of fintech after payments.

There are about 325 million Chinese investors in Yu’e Bao, a number almost as big as the population of the United States and the fund has more assets than the rest of the top 10 Chinese peers combined.

The majority of Yu’e Bao users are millennials under the age of 30 and about 99.7% of its investors are individuals, according to its annual report, rather than companies or financial intermediaries as is usually the case at other Chinese money-market funds.

Credit scoring

Data from the World Bank’s Global Findex study revealed that the bank account ownership rate among individuals aged 15 and older is quite high in China (79% in 2014) yet credit usage is relatively low at 14% in 2014.

The People’s Bank of China covers credit profiles for just about 25% (around 350 million) of China’s 1.3 billion population and shares this data only with selected banks. This absence of reliable credit scoring is partly the reason individuals and small enterprises experience difficulty obtaining a loan from China’s state-controlled banking system which tends to favor large corporates and state-owned enterprises.

Lending

Credit data from the system will also be used to support lending activities at Ant Financial’s MYbank, an internet-only bank which provides loans to SMEs. Set up in mid-2015, the bank will extend loans up to US$800,000 as well as smaller loans that state banks usually don’t pay much attention to.

China has just 8.1 commercial bank branches and 55 ATMs per 100,000 people. This compares with US and Canada which have 28.2 branches and 222 ATMs per 100,000 people and in Europe where there are 28 branches and 81 ATMS per 100,000 people.

PBOC calls upon fintech firms to help fund system to monitor online transactions (SCMP), Rated: A

China’s central bank has urged financial technology (fintech) companies to help pay for a government-controlled monitoring system to watch over financial transactions on the internet.

Sun Guofeng, director general of the People’s Bank of China’s research institute, said the fast-growing fintech businesses have ratcheted up pressure on authorities to invest heavily in regulatory technology, or regtech, but he pointed out that it would be unfair to cover the costs by using taxpayers’ money.

Merger and acquisition may be the future trend for P2P lending sector (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, Dianrong announced that the company has purchased Quark Finance, Quark Credit Workshop and its related branches and teams. Before that, the merger has been spread for a long time. The merger seems indicate a direction for P2P lending platforms: small platforms might be realise the compliance requirements by being merged, and big platforms also could expand and increase their market share through the acquisition. Thus, mergers and acquisitions might become the next new wave of the P2P lending industry in China.

PwC: Fintech Survey China 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

There are three main areas of finance that are poised to be irreversibly changed, according to PwC. Consumer banking, investment & wealth management and transfers & payments are becoming pretty much all digital and data driven.

Some high level bullet points on China and Fintech include:

  • 68% of financial institutions expect to increase Fintech partnerships in the next three to five years
  • 85% believe mobile apps are the fastest growing customer channel
  • 71% regard price wars as one of the challenges of Fintech
  • Personal loans are at the top of the list for moving to Fintech over the next 5 years

Download the full report here.

European Union

German fintech factory FinLeap raises EUR39 million (Finextra), Rated: AAA

FinLeap, the startup platform behind Germany’s solarisBank, has secured EUR39 million in equity capital to support its ongoing fintech incubation programme.
Having launched twelve fintech ventures so far – including bank account switching platform FinReach, digital debt management outfit Pair Finance, insurance broker Clark, and Germany’s solarisBank – FinLeap is already active in ten European countries.

Regulating FinTech: the Way Forward (Fexco), Rated: A

On Friday 14th July Brian hosted an event at the European Parliament offices in Dublin entitled ‘Regulating FinTech: the Way Forward’. Speakers at the event were the Minister for Financial Services Michael D’Arcy TD, Neil Ryan, COO Quaternion Risk Management; Derek Butler, CEO Grid Finance; Camille Blackburn, Central Bank of Ireland, and Ruth McCarthy, Director of the FinTech and Payments Association of Ireland and CEO of FEXCO Corporate Payments.

The panel discussed regulatory responses to FinTech services at EU and domestic level, as well as examining opportunities within the FinTech ecosystem in Ireland.

Strong networks, good government supports and the presence of major innovators are enabling Ireland to stay at the cutting edge, and these factors will help Ireland to achieve its IFS2020 target for job creation in financial services.

Bricknode: Reporting To fFnancial Regulators With The XBLR Format Creates Confusion (Mondovisione), Rated: A

Financial institutions of various types are required to conduct periodic reporting to local regulators, like the Swedish Financial Inspection and EU-authorities like the European Banking Authority. Following the financial crisis of 2007/2008 numerous resolutions were past to increase regulations of the participants in financial markets. These initiatives are now being implemented regularly. Both MiFID II and MiFIR are scheduled to be implemented as of January 2018 with extensive reporting requirements and scarce information of how this should be implemented practically. During 2017, financial institutions and FinTech companies were impacted by EU-reporting in practice. One example is the reporting file format called XBLR were a lot of confusion exists.

International

Fintech Use Reaching ‘Mass Adoption’ Among Digital Consumers (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Findings from the EY Fintech Adoption Index 2017, published by EY, indicate that fintech firms are approaching mass adoption among digitally active consumers. Leveraging digital technology, combined with personalized solutions, fintech firms are differentiating the customer banking experience. Simplicity, clean design, personalization, real-time insights and transparency are the defining components of these new solutions.

The four key themes that emerged from the 2017 EY Fintech Adoption Index were:

  1. Fintech services have reached mass adoption in most global markets
  2. New services and players are driving increased adoption
  3. Fintech users prefer digital channels and technologies
  4. Fintech adoption will continue to gain momentum

According to the EY report, some of the primary strategies used by fintech firms to gain traction include:

  • Offering a service for free or at a much lower cost that traditionally had a cost associated
  • Solve a problem an existing customer base
  • Provide an entirely new service
  • Create word-of-mouth advocates
  • Build a strong brand identity
  • Leverage highly targeted marketing

The most dramatic variance between fintech users and non-users is the ways consumers prefer to manage their lives. According to EY, “64% of FinTech users prefer managing their lives through digital channels, compared to 38% of non-FinTech users. FinTech users are also more likely to be users of non-fintech digital platforms, such as on-demand services (digital taxis, online food, etc.) and the sharing economy (bike and housing rentals).”

India

Alt Lending platform OxyLoans plans to raise Rs 200 cr debt (MoneyControl), Rated: AAA

The city-based alternative lending platform, OxyLoans, today said it is planning to raise a debt of Rs 200 crore to meet the requirements of borrowers.

He said they have over 240 asset-backed applications from borrowers, and expressed hope to complete the process (raising debt of Rs 200 crore) within six months.

Thatavarti further said that OxyLoans, which has set a loan disbursal target of Rs 156 crore in three years, has facilitated loans to the tune of Rs 64 crore in the last nine months.

This startup is an end-to-end digital platform for lenders and borrowers – TachyLoans (KnowStartup), Rated: A

TachyLoans is an online lending marketplace catering to both Individuals & Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Their platform is based on Peer-to-Peer lending paradigm that uses the proprietary credit decision model designed with some of the best and innovative practices in the financial industry using the cutting edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning and is built through state of the art technology.

Founded by Brahma, TachyLoans is based out of Bangalore and was established in the year 2016. Brahma brings to the table more than 20 years experience and expertise in Retail Banking, Sales, Marketing and Operations.

When airlines don’t have parachutes, why should P2P lending platforms have LPF? (India Times), Rated: A

The regulations will lay out the corporate structure that each of the platforms would need to follow and most importantly the DOS and Don’ts related to dealing with lenders and borrowers. However, of late, there has been an interesting trend of platforms coming up with a lender protection fund. What does it do? In case a lender loses the money he has extended to a borrower as a loan, the lender protection fund is expected to cover the losses for the investor. On the face of it, it sounds like a good idea, but if you dig deeper, there are several issues.

The flyer is aware of the risk, but he trusts the plane. You have a life vest under your seat for an emergency landing on water, but you do not have an escape pod that can be activated if a flight is about to crash. Similarly, the lender on a P2P site should be able to trust that the lending platform has built a system that can help Lender earn higher returns by mitigating risk. While a P2P platform cannot shirk its responsibilities when it comes to investor protection, having a fund to mitigate losses is not the answer. Proper systemic safeguards and strong ethics should alone suffice.

Launching LPF would in some ways signal that a platform does not have confidence in its own credit evaluation and risk-mitigation system.

Paytm invests in Mobiquest (e27), Rated: B

India’s leading digital payments and m-commerce company Paytm has made an investment in loyalty app developer Mobiquest. The funding amount was not disclosed.

Asia

Fintech non-profit launches database for financial technology startups in Singapore (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

The Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) announced today it has created an online directory for fintech companies based in the city-state. The database contains a short description of each company and information about its founding team, funding status, and business model.

Currently listing around 300 startups, the database is free to use and data is maintained by the companies themselves. The directory looks similar to Crunchbase and Tech in Asia’s own startup database, but it’s exclusive to fintech.

The SFA built the directory in collaboration with US data company Let’s Talk Payments and its Medici platform, which provides information and resources about the fintech industry.

South Korean FinTech Firms To Offer International Money Transfer Services (ETH News), Rated: A

According to The Korea Heraldofficials at South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) announced last week that they expect approximately 40 FinTech firms to provide international money transfer services starting August 15.

Per Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s international money transfer market currently totals approximately 10 trillion won ($8.7 billion). Opening the market to FinTech firms will encourage competition and drive down costs to consumers since the companies can offer money transfer services at much lower prices than traditional banks.

Single transfers via FinTech firms will be capped at $3,000, and individual annual limits will be set at $20,000. For FinTech firms to qualify for the FSS permit, they must possess 2 billion won ($1.77 million) and a debt-equity ratiobelow 200 percent.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday May 4 2017, Daily News Digest

auto loan originations

News Comments Today’s main news: Banks pull back on car loans as used-auto prices plummet. Trump’s expected OCC pick, a banker, signals paradigm shift. Elevate Credit rated a buy. RateSetter rejigs relationships with former wholesale lending partners. China Rapid Ffinance raises $60M in IPO. Today’s main analysis: Goldman Sachs embraces banking’s bland side. Global money transfer. Today’s thought-provoking articles: German […]

auto loan originations

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

China

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Banks Pull Back on Car Loans as Used-Auto Prices Plummet (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Wells Fargo & Co., one of the largest U.S. auto lenders, last month reported a 29% fall in its auto loan originations for the first quarter from a year earlier. The decline, the biggest for the San Francisco-based bank in at least five years, was part of a common refrain in quarterly announcements from lenders including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. , Ally Financial Inc. and Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc.

Bankers’ caution is increasingly showing up in car sales, which Tuesday came in worse than expected for April. The declines are mostly occurring in lending to riskier borrowers, in particular those with low credit scores, where lending had ramped up for years.

Some banks, including regionals Fifth Third Bancorp and  Citizens Financial Group Inc.,  are beginning to retreat from higher-quality “prime” auto loans as new risks emerge.

Some anticipated the market would cool off after record new car sales in 2015 and 2016. But banks are also posting higher losses on defaulted auto loans, hit by a mix of more borrowers falling behind on payments and the declining value of used cars.

When lenders repossess cars, they resell the vehicles and use the proceeds from the sale to recover as much of the unpaid balance as possible. Declining values mean that lenders are recouping a smaller share of those balances. Lenders who are repossessing cars tied to prime auto loans that were securitized in 2015 are recovering about 51% of the unpaid loan balances on average, down from 56% for 2014 loans and 65% for 2011 loans, according to S&P Global Ratings.

Car loans have been among the fastest-growing consumer lending categories since the last recession.

 

Mimecast Limited versus Yirendai Ltd. Head to Head Compare (CMLVIZ), Rated: AAA

We will compare the two companies on revenue growth, earnings, revenue per employee, operating margins, free cash flow and valuation.

  • Yirendai Ltd. has larger revenue in the last year than Mimecast Limited.
  • YRD is showing a profit while MIME has negative earnings over the last year.
  • YRD generates substantially larger revenue per employee ($344,000) than MIME ($202,000).

  • Both companies are growing revenue. Yirendai Ltd. is growing revenue massively faster than Mimecast Limited.
  • For every $1 in revenue, the stock market prices in $6.42 in market cap for MIME and $3.66 in market cap for YRD.

Goldman Sachs Embraces Banking’s Bland Side: Lending Money (WSJ), Rated: AAA

The firm has been opening its checkbook for the past several years to finance corporate takeovers, lend against mansions and art, and make personal loans for things such as kitchen remodels and fixing broken windshields.

It is exploring new credit businesses such as trade finance, equipment leasing and extending credit that consumers use for online purchases, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Loans outstanding across Goldman have doubled to $95 billion since 2011, filings show. Real-estate loans are up 10-fold. Business lending has tripled, while loans in its private-wealth division, secured by everything from stock portfolios to rare artwork, have quadrupled. Goldman doesn’t report revenues tied to lending, which remains a small part of its overall business.

 

Elevate Credit Inc (ELVT) Now Covered by William Blair (The Cerbat Gem), Rated: AAA

They set a “buy” rating and a $12.00 price objective for the company. Compass Point reissued a “neutral” rating and set a $9.00 price objective on shares of Elevate Credit in a report on Tuesday, April 18th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $11.00.

Shares of Elevate Credit (NASDAQ:ELVT) opened at 7.64 on Monday. Elevate Credit has a one year low of $7.00 and a one year high of $8.86. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $8.05 and its 200-day moving average is $8.05. The firm’s market capitalization is $99.33 million.

State Regulators Mount Counter-Offensive Seeking to Stop OCC’s Fintech Charter (Lexology), Rated: A

Clearly, CSBS is mounting a legal counter-offensive to the OCC’s attempt to license entities historically regulated by the states. While state and federal regulators currently are arguing as to who should control the regulatory sandbox, the true focus of regulatory concern should be on the development of innovative financial services, consistent with safe and sound operations, with viable and effective consumer protections. While, historically, payments companies and lenders have been regulated by the states, the OCC’s SPNB Charter has sparked a dialogue as to whether the current regulatory system for fintech operations is viable. Innovation of financial services may also require innovation of financial services regulation. Rather than trying to pigeon-hole financial services into traditional regulatory models, perhaps it is time for regulators, at both the federal and state level, to act in concert to develop a system of licensing, regulation, and enforcement for financial products and services that is efficient, not redundant, and minimizes the regulatory burden on financial institutions while it provides for the continued protection of consumers. Setting aside the merits of the pending suit, the right policy prescription will likely involve the federal and state governments working together to minimize the regulatory burden while appropriately protecting the safety and soundness of FinTechs and provide necessary consumer protection.

Trump’s Expected OCC Pick Signals Shift at Regulator That Could Ripple Through Financial Markets (WSJ), Rated: A

President Donald Trump’s expected move to replace the Comptroller of the Currency signals a change in direction at the bank regulator that could ripple through the financial markets, from private-equity buyouts to financial technology—and even municipal securities.

Comptroller Thomas Curry, whom people familiar with the matter say could be replaced as soon as this week, is a career regulator appointed by President Barack Obama. Mr. Curry used his office to tamp down on what he viewed as overly risky lending practices in the banking industry.

His expected replacement—Joseph Otting, a former chief executive of OneWest Bank—would be the first former banker to hold the comptroller’s job since the 1990s.

Wall Street Pushes Back on Mnuchin’s Idea of Ultralong Debt (WSJ), Rated: A

A committee of Wall Street advisers is pouring cold water on a proposal by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to issue superlong 50-year and 100-year U.S. government bonds, arguing that the big pension funds and insurers expected to buy the securities won’t have much interest.

The committee meets quarterly, in advance of a regular release by the Treasury on its plans for financing the U.S. debt. Currently, the U.S. Treasury issues no debt longer than 30 years. Mr. Mnuchin has argued that ultralong bonds could be a useful tool for locking in today’s low borrowing costs for a very long time. Last month, the Treasury requested the advisory committee analyze the viability of bonds longer than 30 years.

The 30-year bond strengthened Wednesday, after the advisory committee cast doubt on the idea 50- and 100-year bonds. The yield on the 30-year Treasury dropped to 2.963% from 2.982% on Tuesday, according to Tradeweb. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

A key question for the Treasury is what types of investors would buy ultralong bonds, especially if the members of its advisory committee aren’t interested. Relatively few individual investors have 100-year or even 50-year investing horizons.

Real Estate Crowdfunding to Take Center Stage at Crowd Invest Summit (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Crowd Invest Summit, the country’s largest crowdfunding investment conference, taking place on September 6 th and 7th at the Los Angeles Convention Center, has today announced that it will be expanding its focus on Real Estate crowdfunding.

Since the signing of the JOBS Act in 2012, Real Estate Investing has been the fastest growing segment of the new Crowdfunding Industry. According to Fundingtree.com, over $3 Billion Dollars has been raised so far.

Crowd Invest Summit is the largest investment focused crowdfunding event in the country. It was founded by pioneers in the equity crowdfunding sector Josef Holm and Alon Goren. The conference was developed with the vision that every American – whether accredited or not – can now become equity investors.

Nav raises $ 13 million to help small businesses with credit scores (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Goldman Sachs is leading a $13 million investment in Nav, a startup that helps small businesses with financial advice and credit scores. Billionaire Steven Cohen’s Point72 Ventures is also investing, along with Clocktower Ventures and the CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund.

This follows $25 million that was invested in the company last year, and is considered part of the same Series B round, bringing the total to $38 million.

Characterizing Nav as a Credit Karma for small businesses, King believes his startup will “materially decrease the death rate of small businesses in the U.S.” They currently have over 200,000 customers, most of whom don’t pay anything for their credit score, but can opt to pay about $20 per month for added financial advice.

Data Suggests That Venmo Is Winning Mobile Payments (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

  • 68% of mobile payments users are using Venmo most often.
  • Venmo processed $6.8B in mobile payments in Q1.
  • Rapid smartphone adoption, alongside a large unbanked population, makes the theme of mobile payments an attractive investment.

In the days leading up to the quarter, a new survey of 2,170 Millennials found that Venmo is leading the category. The researchers asked the following question: “Which of the following mobile payment apps do you use most often?”

Researchers found that 44% of respondents answered “Venmo”, 1% of respondents answered “Square Cash”, 14% of respondents answered “My bank’s mobile payment app”,and 4% of respondents answered “Other”. However surprisingly, 35% of respondents answered “I don’t use a mobile payment app”.

Colorado versus Fintech (OLPI), Rated: A

On February 15, 2017,  the Administrator of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code for the State of Colorado (“Colorado”) sued Avant and Best Egg (in separate actions), claiming in both actions that they violated Colorado’s usury rate and entered into loan agreements containing a governing law provision other than Colorado.

Shortly after, WebBank and Cross River separately sued Colorado seeking Declaratory Judgement and Injunctive Relief.

On April 25, 2017, Colorado filed a Motion to Dismiss both Complaints for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief.

Colorado initially argues that WebBank’s action for declaratory judgement should be dismissed based on the well-pleaded complaint rule. There seems to be two issues with this position: (1) WebBank was purposely left out of Colorado’s initial complaint (although this theory might apply if Avant brought the federal action for declaratory judgment), and (2) diversity jurisdiction does apply as to Avant and WebBank vis-a-vis Colorado.

Second, Colorado argues that WebBank’s action should be dismissed because WebBank’s injury is too attenuated. Colorado does not directly address WebBank’s contention that the suit challenges WebBank’s overall business model.

Finally, Colorado argues that “interest exportation does not preempt the application of state usury laws to non-banks as a matter of law.”   Colorado seems to acknowledge WebBank’s right to preempt Colorado’s usury rate based on DIDA (the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 – extending the National Bank Act’s preemption to FDIC-insured state banks).  Colorado argues that WebBank is trying to assign its preemption to Avant – that Avant is the lender.

Colorado also argues that the valid when made doctrine is not applicable because “there is no ‘subsequent usurious transaction’ between WebBank and Avant that is alleged to invalidate a consumer’s loan obligation.  Instead, Avant merely purchased the subject consumer loans from WebBank.”  This is a difficult argument to follow.  Colorado sued Avant claiming that Avant loans are usurious and Avant, and not WebBank, is the true lender.  Colorado points out that Avant buys the loans from WeBank within two business days of the loans being made.  Relying on Midland in the Avant action, Colorado states that Avant cannot “enforce a bank’s federal interest rate exportation rights when they purchase loans from banks (or purchase loan receivables) because banks cannot validly assign such rights to non-banks.”   It seems to imply that Colorado is not saying the loans are invalid (due to Avant having a Supervised Lender’s License), but rather the loans just need to be limited to the Colorado usury rate –yet, as noted, the argument is difficult to follow.

What fintech is going to do to banking (Financial Times), Rated: A

  • Fintech is ultimately about taking away frictions.
  • I guessed that there was a 25 or 30 per cent chance that 10 years from now, there was about a 25 per cent chance that there would be a fintech company with the kind of $250bn market cap that some big American banks have. I do not expect that in the foreseeable future fintech will have the kind of existential impact on banks that Netflix has had on Blockbuster. But I do think in some areas fintech companies are likely to have the kind of effect Skype has had on the big telephone companies — forcing drastic reductions in pricing and profit margins on some key products.
  • I was quite serene about the impact of fintech on financial stability.
  • By providing for faster settlements, more transparency, and diversification, fintech is likely to have as many stabilising as destabilising effects.
  • If the large banks of today are not as large five or 10 years from now, I think it is more likely to be because of bad lending, heavy regulation or market pressures to break up because the whole is valued less than the sum of the parts than because of disruption from fintech. I say this because much of what fintech does depends on the banking system and because I doubt that over this horizon banks can be completely disrupted.

FinTech Funding in New York Declines (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

In the report from data provider CB Insights, The Global FinTech Report: Q1 ’17, it found that during the first three months of the year, fintech funding to venture capital-backed New York companies dropped by 35 percent on a quarterly basis. However, while financial technology deals in the state rose by 26 percent from Q4 ’16, it registered a 33 percent drop below the same quarter last year.

During the first three months there were three New York City companies – Namely, Trumid, and Payfone – who were among the top ten U.S. financial technology backed deals.

Namely raised $50 million in Series D funding from Altimeter Capital, Scale Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Four Rivers Group, Matrix Partners, and Greenspring Associates.

Trumid raised $27.6 million in Series D funding from Thiel Capital, and Payfone raised $23.5 million in Series E funding from BlueCross Blue Shield and Andrew Prozes.

First Associates Implements AI to Enhance Customer Satisfaction and Boost Portfolio Performance (PRWeb), Rated: A

First Associates has announced today that it has implemented A.I. enabled speech analytics as part of its third-party loan and lease servicing. The speech analytics platform facilitates higher quality customer interactions while ensuring compliance with financial industry regulations.

Using speech analytics, First Associates monitors, scores and provides agent feedback on 100% of voice interactions with consumers using data-driven benchmarking. Traditional loan servicing management techniques call for a 1% sample size of voice interactions using human quality assurance agents to assess quality and effectiveness. The company has already seen significant improvements across quality and performance metrics from the implementation.

Adams Business Credit Rebrands as Context Business Lending (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Adams Business Credit, a national asset-based lender, will rebrand as Context Business Lending, bringing the firm in unison with the family of businesses and affiliates under Context Capital Partners, an alternative investment firm. The newly named Context Business Lending will continue to focus on providing flexible working capital solutions for businesses that do not qualify for traditional bank financing.

Context Business Lending typically provides loans of up to $15 million for lower middle-market businesses that may be experiencing some type of challenge, which may include: rapid growth; seasonal fluctuations; supply chain and vendor pressure; operating losses/negative net worth; turnaround and restructuring; merger or acquisition and debtor-in-possession financing. The firm is sector agnostic and works with businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, wholesaling and service sectors.

‘Hybrid’ Approach To Robo Investing Models a Winner (Insurance News Net), Rated: A

Investors who rely on “robo-only” investment models are making a big mistake, financial advisor tells InsuranceNews.Net.

McElwee provides three specific reasons why that’s the case:

  • Robo advice assumes that the past is destined to repeat itself.
  • People make bad financial decisions when they are under financial stress.
  • Questions, questions, questions. Robo advisors build financial profiles of clients based on a set of questions designed to reveal how a client thinks about risk, return, and financial planning.

MoneyLion Shortlisted for Top Industry Award (MoneyLion Email), Rated: B

 May 11th.

Usage of MoneyLion’s app nearly quadrupled in the second half of 2016, allowing them to track $12bn in transactions from more than one million users. To date, users have saved over $5 million in rate reductions through MoneyLion.

De Rito Partners Chooses RealtyShares for Acquisition of Shops at Fry’s Marketplace Shopping Center (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B

RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has just announced an $800,000 commercial equity investment in Mesa, Arizona, funded through the company’s network of accredited investors. The deal is sponsored by De Rito Partners, one of Arizona’s largest retail investment and brokerage firms.

De Rito Partners acquired the property in 2016, and is seeking to capitalize on a temporary tenant turnover in a formerly fully-leased retail property. The firm intends to use the funds raised through RealtyShares to invest in tenant improvements and implement a leasing strategy to achieve market-level rents.

The property is shadow-anchored by a Fry’s Marketplace, one of the largest grocers by sales in the Phoenix metropolitan area according to Chain Stores Guide. The shopping center is comprised of more than 20,000 square feet of rentable retail space, and is currently leased to tenants including Starbucks, H&R Block and Subway. It is located at the intersection of two major thoroughfares, four miles from downtown Mesa.

De Rito Partners owns 20 properties, manages approximately 1.9 million square feet of retail space, represents 180 shopping centers in a leasing agency capacity, and is currently developing a Fry’s Marketplace-anchored shopping center and a strip center located in Chandler, AZ.

Download a complimentary copy – ALTERNATIVE CREDIT GUIDEBOOK (NN Investment Partners), Rated: B

United Kingdom

RateSetter rejigs relationships with former wholesale lending partners (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The acquired motor finance companies are Vehicle Stocking Limited and Vehicle Credit Limited. Both firms were acquired out of their parent company’s administration, and both have previously received wholesale funding from RateSetter. RateSetter will now lend directly to these companies’ customers.

The size of these two motor finance firms’ combined loanbooks is roughly £30m. These portfolios are said to be “performing well”, and we’re told they would have continued to be serviced had RateSetter not stepped in.

Another of RateSetter’s former wholesale lending partners is George Banco, a guarantor lender with a representative APR of 49.7 per cent. RateSetter has now taken an equity stake in the company, and will lend directly to its 10,000 customers.

Lendy: 2017 is the Year that P2P Lending Finally Matures (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Lendy, a UK based peer to peer lending platform in the secured property sector, believes 2017 is the year for P2P lending to finally mature. Management says that P2P will shift from alternative finance to “main challenger to the traditional banks.”  But to accomplish this goal, P2P lending platforms must build upon best practices and operate more like mainstream lenders while providing rigorous due diligence and superlative service.

Lendy advocates on four key steps in providing a better service than traditional financial firms:

  • Initial due diligence – carry out an extensive ‘know your customer’ (“KYC”) process when they first source a loan.
  • Legal panel – after the loan has passed the first stage it is then reviewed by a legal panel. Solicitors ensure that a legal charge is properly made against each security property, and that each of the security properties has good title.
  • Valuation – use a highly rated independent firm to value security properties.
  • Credit checks – put each lending proposition under extensive scrutiny to determine its viability.

Robots and responsibility (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Robo-advice has become a widely-known concept in the financial advice community over the past 12 months, as more and more firms launch their own proposition.

In addition, it is important to have someone understanding the algorithm from the client experience, and for advisers to grasp the inputs into the algorithms.

One of the areas that needs to be tackled, according to Mr Strachan, is the grey area between fully automated guidance and full-on advice.

The report, The Next Frontier: The Future of Automated Financial Advice, outlines the amount people will be prepared to pay for the use of a robo-adviser. By the far the largest cohort said they would be prepared to pay £125, with popularity rapidly declining the more the price goes up.

Automated advice on investing £11,000 charged at £225 only received support from 16 per cent of people, while a £360 fee saw support from 6 per cent.

Fintech startup Curve names Callum McCaig as its first PR hire (Gorkana), Rated: A

London fintech startup Curve has made its first PR and comms hire with the appointment of Burson-Marsteller’s Callum McCaig, as the business prepares to scale out of ‘beta’ and launch its digital banking platform to the mass market. 

Curve has raised £3m in seed funding from investors, including Seedcamp and the founders of Transferwise, Betfair, Azimo and Google Wallet, and plans to announce a Series A funding round later this year.

MarketInvoice joins UK FinTech Financial Crime Exchange (Finextra), Rated: B

MarketInvoice, the world’s largest peer-to-peer online invoice finance marketplace, has joined the UK FinTech Financial Crime Exchange (FFE), a joint initiative by think tank RUSI and risk consultancy FINTRAIL, launched today.

The FFE brings together FinTech firms who have agreed to collaborate, by sharing best practice and pooling information on financial crime typologies to protect their customers and strengthen their sector’s ability to detect and counter the global threat of financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption, tax evasion and market manipulation.

The UK FinTech sector is at the forefront of the global FinTech revolution, contributing £7b to the UK economy.

European Union

German Crowdfunding Association Urges Regulator Not to Exclude Real Estate from Crowdfunding Regulation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Invited to defend their views vis-à-vis the financial commission of the parliament, representatives of the German Crowdfunding Association have challenged the government’s position and presented substantial counterarguments.

As a reminder: crowdfunding regulation at European Union (EU) level was so far deemed “premature” by EU authorities and is therefore not included in the Capital Markets Union, the EU’s effort to harmonize capital market regulations at EU level. Hence, each EU country currently issues its own regulation which creates a legal patchwork and hinders cross border deals.

The German government’s report firstly notes that German real estate projects represent 10% of the successful projects and 33% of the capital raised through crowdinvesting, that is €36 million. Projects are typically residential property development, mostly construction, the reminder being renovations. German real estate crowdinvesting nearly doubled in size last year while the growth of startup crowdfunding slumped.

The government finds this trend negative. It justifies its proposal to exclude real estate from the scope of the crowdfunding exemptions as follows:

  • The large share of real estate in crowdinvesting represents a deviation from the intention of the legislator which was to foster the funding of high-growth startups.
  • There is no lack of funding for real estate projects. Social real estate, for example, can be funded through schemes that are specific to social housing. 
  • Real estate crowdinvesting could be considered as a form of deregulation of real estate finance which could, bearing in mind the role played by real estate in the 2008 financial crisis, create a price bubble, and ultimately pose a threat to financial stability.

The Crowdfunding Association and crowdinvesting platform leaders found many of the government’s arguments “incomprehensible” and offered point-by-point rebuttals:

  • Crowdfunding counters price bubbles and real estate overheating. The current real estate market boom is in no way due to crowdfunding, which is much too small to influence market prices, but rather to macroeconomic factors such as the currently low interest rates.
  • Crowdfunding helps finance real estate SMEs and innovative entrepreneurs. There is no sensible criterion for distinguishing real estate financing from other types of business financing.
  • The risk of subordinated debt instruments is not specific to real estate. It would therefore be more appropriate to open crowdinvesting to all securities, including profit sharing securities, rather than to exclude real estate from crowdinvesting.

Currently, the German crowdfunding market is disproportionately small. It is surpassed on the Continent by the French market (28% smaller GDP) and dwarfed by the UK market (15% smaller GDP).

This guy is quickly but quietly building Sweden’s next fintech giant – already operating in 65 markets (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Johan Tjärnberg is quietly building a fintech business that may prove as successful as Klarna. During 2016, his payments company, Bambora, grew 20% to revenues of SEK 2 billion.

Bambora is a platform that aggregates hundreds of payments services, and it’s currently available in 65 markets. Bambora’s clients can even choose to use Klarna as their payment service.

During 2017 the business will expand to North America, where the number of merchants using the service will increase by 10,000 over the year. That will boost the sales of the group by 30% to EUR 260 million, Johan Tjärnberg said to Bloomberg News.

Currently, the company has about 100,000 clients, of which 30,000 are located in the US and Canada.

Can a Public-sector Organization Become a Fintech Disruptor? (ValueWalk), Rated: A

In 2010, Klaus Regling, the head of the euro-area rescue fund for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), asked me to join the board. I agreed, and said that I wanted to build the Google of the public sector. He looked at me and asked: “Why Google? We can be better than that.” And of course, he was right.

The ESM provides financial assistance to Eurozone countries that have lost market access. It was set up at the height of the euro crisis. Without the ESM, countries such as Greece would have defaulted, and the euro would have broken up. The ESM is the institution that kept the euro together during the crisis. Our total lending capacity is $742 billion. We have provided assistance to five countries: Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus. In all, we have provided $281 billion in loans, which is three times as much as the IMF over the same period of time.

Here is how we are planning to move forward to build a modern public institution.

Digital at Heart

First of all, we wanted a lean model, and so we kept only the strategic functions in-house, like funding, economics and investments. We outsourced support functions and non-strategic functions as much as we could. We were the first financial institution worldwide to use a fully cloud-based trading system.

Secondly, we wanted to leverage new technology where possible.

Finally, our workforce of tomorrow, made up of millennials, is the first in our field to consist almost entirely of technology natives.

A Public Sector-driven Fintech solution

Europe has launched the capital markets union, an ambitious effort to harmonize corporate, tax, and bankruptcy laws across the countries of Europe. The differences between these laws are vast because of centuries of history in the 28 members of the European Union. Now we hope to make the laws more similar, because it would create a truly pan-European financial market. For example, the union would break down borders for private equity investment and venture capital, and open up an alternative channel of funding for small- and mid-sized enterprises. Thus, it would reduce Europe’s heavy reliance on bank lending.

The ECB idea is about the centralization of settlement and payment processes for securities. This is a very important initiative, and one that could be complemented by a similar initiative for the primary issuance of securities. It is worth considering a European public sector issuance platform to help distribute debt more efficiently: a fintech solution, driven by the public sector.

One could even think of using new technologies, such as blockchain, to set up the new issuance platform.

International

P2P MONEY TRANSFERS TO DRIVE DIGITAL PAYMENT GROWTH AS MARKET APPROACHES $ 3.9 TRILLION IN 2017 (Juniper Research), Rated: AAA

A new study by Juniper Research has found the value of digital payments will approach $3.9 trillion this year, representing an increase of more than 14% on last year’s total. While the bulk of transaction value (55%) will be accounted for by online retail purchases for physical goods, P2P (Person to Person) money transfers will see the largest year-on-year net increase in value ($200 million).

The new research – Digital Payment Strategies: Online, Mobile & Contactless 2017-2021 – argued that the US would see particularly strong growth, with the bank-backed Zelle Network expected to build on its successful debut in 2016 as additional banks come on board.

The research also emphasised that the demonetisation policies employed by India’s government had encouraged a surge in mobile wallet adoption and, with it, sharp increases in both P2P and mobile retail transactions.

Global Money Transfer (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Download this must-read report here.

Australia

CFA considers AI, robo-advice in exams (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

The CFA Institute believes artificial intelligence, fintech and robo-advice will have the greatest impact on the financial services industry – to the extent it is considering including such topics in its examinations.

An overwhelming majority (70%) of CFA members globally who took part in a study said affluent investors will be positively affected by automated financial advice tools in the form of reduced costs, improved access to advice product choices.

Respondents (46%) however, were concerned about automated financial advice algorithms being the biggest risk emanating from robo-advice, followed by mis-selling (30%) and data protection concerns (12%).

China

VC-backed China Rapid Finance raises $ 60m in US IPO (AVCJ), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance (CRF), a VC-backed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, is trading up 32% on its IPO price following an offering on the New York Stock Exchange that raised $60 million.

The stock closed on May 2 at $7.90, giving the entire company a market capitalization of around $448 million.

India

P2P funding platforms or traditional banking systems (India Info Online), Rated: AAA

India’s P2P Lending sector is poised to grow at a rapid pace thanks to favourable demographics, rising computer literacy, internet connectivity and the ongoing wave of digitalisation among others. With the higher economic growth, the credit-backed consumption growth may jump too.These could be the possible triggers for the growth of P2P Lending Industry.

There is no official assessment suggesting the size of the market in India. But it is estimated to be around Rs 200 Cr. The P2P lending industry may grow 25 to 30 times over next 5-6 years. Talking about the interest rate, the yield on 10-Year Sovereign benchmark bond hovers in the range of 6.45% to 6.95%.

However, it is also important to note that the P2P Lending sector is unregulated.

On the other hand, in P2P lending projects, investors can earn in the range of 14% p.a. to 30% p.a. on a reducing balance method. In P2P Lending, interest rates are decided depending upon the creditworthiness of borrowers.

Asia

5 Korean Fintech Startups to Watch in 2017 (Seoul Space), Rated: AAA

Blocko is a blockchain technology startup that developed the platform called CoinStack v3.0 and was able to raise $1.3 million in their series A funding led by Samsung Venture Investment Corporation.

Korean fintech startup company Honest Fund is a P2P crowdfunding company that raised over $6 million in funding led by KB Investments, Shinhan Capital, Hanwha Investment, and others.  It is a peer to peer personal loan lending service that connects borrowers and lenders directly without the need of banks.  These funds will not impact the borrower’s credit rating and will charge between 5% to 15%with the average being 9%.  They offer a different personal credit review model compared to the banks that only look at a person’s credit rating.

PeopleFund is the first Peer-to-Peer lending platform through a Bank in Korea focused on unsecured personal loans.  In 2015 alone PeopleFund has processed over $13 million in loans.

8 percent is a P2P lending company that raised over $13 million.  Their APR is set at 8 percent which is why the company is called 8 percent.  Established in late 2014 this P2P lending company has become the pioneer in this industry.  8 percent reviews an application and based on credit score and other measures.  It is cheaper for clients to use 8 percent than a bank and therefore 8 percent has been able to grow every month.  Loans for startup employees and a bridge for big companies have been their new model in 2016.  They made news in 2016 for getting funding of $10 million from KG Inicis, one of the leading payment gateway companies in Korea.  Bringing together investors and creditworthy borrowers are what 8 percent brings to the table.

Viva Republica runs a money transferring service called TOSS which raised over $48 million in funding from Altos Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Paypal, and KTB Network. They are known for Toss, which is a financial services platform that makes payment system easier by only asking users for 1 password to go along with three easy steps.  The max they can transfer per transaction is $430 which makes everyday payments easy.  Now they have over 6 million registered users in Korea and Toss has already processed over $3 billion in transactions. Toss now does credit scoring as well as micro-loans and is looking into cross-border money transfers and loan brokerages.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor