Friday December 1 2017, Daily News Digest

interest rate sensitivity

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm partners with Shopify Plus.The Fed is thinking about starting a cryptocurrency.Payday lending group sues Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).Funding Circle gets first IFISA sign-up within 15 minutes of opening.Assetz Capital to launch IFISA with manual lending.KappAhl to offer mobile payments in store with Klarna. Today’s main analysis: How should […]

interest rate sensitivity

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International

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India

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United States

Affirm Joins Forces With Shopify Plus to Help High Growth Retailers Rapidly Scale Online Store Sales (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Affirm, Inc., the company started by Max Levchin to provide fair and honest consumer financing, today announced it has joined the Shopify Plus Technology Partner Program to help more retailers quickly scale their online store sales by giving their customers a quick and easy alternative to credit cards.

Affirm App Gives Loans For Designer Jeans, Holiday Flights And More (International Business Times), Rated: A

Affirm’s chief of staff and head of international expansion, Ryan Metcalf, told International Business Times the startup works with 1,200 retailers nationwide and issued $1 billion worth of loans in 2017.

“We are able to approve 126 percent more people than industry averages. A large portion of these people have no access to credit or if they do they are being mispriced in the market because their FICO score is outdated,” Metcalf said. “Around one in 10 Americans have ‘unscorable’ credit reports. That’s around 30 million people. So we’re also able to offer credit to those people as well.”

According to the Fair Isaac Corporation’s data, 20 percent of American credit card owners are ranked as “subprime” because their FICO score is 600 or lower.

Expert Commentary: how should equity investors position for a secular uptrend in rates? (INTL FCStone Email), Rated: AAA

In Four Interest Rate Myths, I made a theoretical case for higher rates by debunking the New Gospel of the New Normal. The Slow Agony of and Old Bull highlighted seven signs that the bond bull market was already over. This report discusses the most important question facing market participants for the next five years – how should equity investors position for a secular uptrend in rates?

The report reviews the performance of U.S. sectors, currencies, and international indices during prior hiking cycles and their recent correlations with yields. Six conclusions emerge:

  • Almost tautologically, bond proxies have consistently underperformed during prior hiking cycles.
  • Currently, only two sectors are positively related to interest rates: financials and energy. Since their valuations remain below average, these sectors are a cheap option against the risk of rising rates.
  • Investors should monitor the correlation between yields and tech stocks: higher rates would kill the bull market if the correlation between tech stocks and bond yields turned negative.
  • U.S. stocks and the dollar index have tended to fall in prior hiking cycles.
  • Korean equities and, to a lesser extent, Japanese stocks have outperformed during prior hiking cycles.
  • The performance of emerging markets and commodity-driven markets is mixed: they have outperformed massively during in the 2003-2006 cycles, but have suffered during the hiking cycles of the 90s.

Read the full report here.

Dudley Says Fed Has Started Thinking About Official Digital Currency (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said Wednesday the U.S. central bank is beginning to explore whether it could adopt its own digital currency, in an appearance at Rutgers University where he also expressed optimism about the economy.

Bitcoin is “really more of a speculative activity,” Mr. Dudley said. But he said aspects of the technology are interesting and worthy of attention. “It’s premature to be talking about the Federal Reserve offering digital currencies, but it is something we are starting to think about,” he said.

Some academics have called for the Fed to offer its own digital currency. They believe it would afford the central bank better control over the economy by tweaking interest rates at the consumer level, bypassing fickle financial markets that often work at cross-purposes with Fed policy aims.

THE FINTECH EFFECT: AMAZON, GOOGLE, AND THE DISRUPTION OF SMALL BUSINESS LENDING (The Boss Magazine), Rated: AAA

If banking bigwigs and fintech entrepreneurs have seemed a bit queasy since October’s Lendit Europe conference, they might be blaming Karen Mills for daring to illuminate the elephants in the room: Amazon and Google, and their ability to disrupt the small business lending industry.

Mills, a former White House administrator for small business and current Harvard Business Review fellow, succinctly pointed out the obvious. With the tremendous amount of financial and personal data these behemoths collect, a broadening of scope into small business lending may be inevitable.

While Google hasn’t made any notable overtures into the lending business yet, Amazon launched its lending business to support its merchants in 2012. As reported by Bloomberg, the retailer issued $1 billion in loans in the 12 months between May 2016 and June 2017. To date, they have extended $3 billion to over 20,000 small businesses here, as well as in the U.K. and Japan.

The Magnificence of Micro Loans

Merchant services provider Square has given its merchants loans of over $1.5 billion since its in inception in 2014, and PayPal’s Working Capital program has loaned over 115,000 global businesses a total of $3 billion.

Amazon and Square merchants repay the loans automatically based on the amount of sales they make. PayPal’s maximum small business loan amount is 30 percent of a merchant’s annual PayPal sales, not to exceed $97,000 for the first loan.

Small Business Domination

Small businesses account for roughly 99.9 percent of all businesses in the U.S., and are responsible for 61.8 percent of the new jobs established from Q1 1993 to Q3 2016. About 80 percent of the nation’s 29.6 million small businesses are nonemployers.

Payday lending group plans to sue the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (USA Today), Rated: AAA

The Community Financial Services Association of America plans to challenge one of the federal watchdog’s signature achievements could signal how the consumer bureau’s previous enforcement policies will shift under new Trump administration leadership.

The anticipated battle would target a new rule that was indeed published in the Federal Register on Nov. 17, capping a contentious 18-month public comment and lobbying battle between the payday loan industry and consumer advocates.

Federal budget director Mick Mulvaney, installed by Trump as the bureau’s acting director, has been critical of the payday lending rule and has received campaign backing from the industry. He received $31,700 in 2015-2016 federal campaign cycle contributions from payday lenders, ranking ninth among all congressional recipients, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Federal judge refuses to block Trump’s designation of Mulvaney as interim head of CFPB (Legal NewsLine), Rated: A

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected arguments by Leandra English, who was named the deputy director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by outgoing director Richard Cordray, in a lawsuit she brought over the agency’s interim leadership.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to a minute order and entry on the case docket, denied English’s emergency motion for temporary restraining order after a motion hearing held Tuesday.

English filed her lawsuit Sunday night in attempt to block President Donald Trump’s naming of Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the bureau’s acting director.

In a minute order filed Wednesday, Kelly said the parties will meet, confer and submit by Dec. 1 a joint proposed schedule for briefing the merits and/or for briefing a preliminary injunction, or separate schedules.

Payday lender going public as new sheriff takes over at CFPB (Seeking Alpha), Rated: B

Curo Group is looking to raise about $100M with the sale of 6.7M shares at hoped-for range of $14-$16 each. Prospectus here

Marlette Funding President Offers Insight on Personal Loan Market (LendEDU), Rated: A

Q: So we know that Fintech personal loan lenders are starting to attract more consumers and take up more of the market. How do you expect traditional banks to react to this over the next couple of years if the trend continues?

A: You’re starting to see banks wake up to this new way of lending. They’ve been impacted by a regulation-focused environment in recent years, driving them towards a compliance mindset. However, banks are starting to think of ways to grow their consumer lending businesses, and technology is a big part of this.

Q: What sort of future do you see for blockchain technology in the Fintech personal loanmarket? What sort of challenge would its implementation pose to Fintech lenders?

A: One use that I could see for Fintech lending is creating a more secured identity verification process for the customer. From the recent Equifax news, you have a single source of data where all relevant info is in one location, and a breach creates both chaos as well as problems with trust. Distributed ledger tech creates an interesting opportunity to limit this concern, but it’s going to take a long time before it can be implemented fully.

For Workers In A Pinch, Start-Ups Experiment With No-Interest Loans (Forbes), Rated: A

Dave is part of a new crop of financial technology companies that are trying to help consumers avoid nasty overdraft fees, as well as payday loans, pawn shops and other expensive forms of debt, via zero-interest loans. They’re going after workers who may struggle to make ends meet, but who could benefit from a minor influx of cash at the right time.

Dave analyzes a consumer’s bank account history to issue warnings about potential overdrafts up to seven days in advance. Then, for users who still find they’re in a pinch, it may approve a loan of up to $75. Dave doesn’t charge interest, but the app costs $1 a month and users are asked to leave a tip on advances. The Mark Cuban-backed service has amassed 100,000 users since it launched in April.

In 2016, financial institutions hauled in $33.3 billion on overdraft fees alone, according to Moebs Services, an economic research firm.

Dave, in addition to companies like Even and Earnin (formerly Activehours), are attempting to do away with the high interest rates and fees that they say put a financial institution’s incentives in contrast with those of the borrower. Their answer: Small, zero-interest advances on a person’s next paycheck with no hidden or punitive fees.

According to one study of low and moderate income families, household income spiked — or fell — by more than 25% in six months out of every year.

YieldStreet CEO Milind Mehere: Excited about Growth and YieldStreet’s Future (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Launched in NYC in 2015, YieldStreet aims to allow people to invest in alternative investments that are backed by real collateral. With a world-class advisory board which recently added three new members Ron Suber (Prosper Group), Mitch Jacobs (On Deck)Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (Gilt Group) and a growing leadership team, including Volfi Mizrahi who just joined as Managing Director of Originations and Ivor Wolk as General Counsel, the platform’s growth is undeniable.

Erin: On what other elements of your YieldStreet street vision are you currently working?

Milind: Continuing to expand our product and audience offering – AutoInvest will let users choose their investment preferences such as asset class, yield and duration, then the algorithm our platform uses will match them as offerings become available. In 2018 we hope to open the platform to non-accredited investors, and we are working to provide liquidity on our platform, as well as creating products for the Financial Advisor/RIA market and IRA market.

Erin: How do you expect YieldStreet to grow? How do you source deals?

We work with a network of originators and asset managers, as well as many funds (from $50M to $10B) in the private credit space.

Erin: What lessons from Yodle — from its beginnings to its $342M sale to web.com in 2016 — have you applied to YieldStreet?

Milind: We have been incredibly efficient at YieldStreet because of that. We have just raised $3.7M in seed capital to reach $200M in originations, where some of our peers have raised anywhere from 6x-25x to achieve the same results. Yodle taught me to be extremely disciplined about where to invest and when.

Erin: What are YieldStreet’s future plans for growth by 2018? by 2020? by 2025?  How do you predict the sector will change and be disrupted?

Milind: According to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the asset management industry is set for “transformational change” and booming growth in the next decade. Alternative asset classes, such as real estate and private debt are expected to grow to about $21.1 trillion by 2025.

Innovative Approaches to Expanding Home Availability and Affordability (Lend Academy), Rated: A

It seems like almost every day I see a story about increasing real estate prices in the major metropolitan areas of the US. Prices in cities like San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Washington DC have made homeownership unobtainable for many people.

SoFi comes to mind with their jumbo mortgage which allows borrowers to put just 10% down and offers loans up to $3 million.

Landed is taking a different approach. I spoke with Alex Lofton who is Head of Growth and Co-founder at the company. They first came on my radar this summer when TechCrunch profiled them. They are similar to companies like Unison (who recently was on the Lend Academy podcast) and Point with a slight twist. Currently, the company focuses on teachers to help purchase a home, providing up to 50% of the down payment. Like other similar products, Landed participates in either the upside or downside when the home is sold.

PWC CHARGE: ASSET MANAGERS ARE DIGITAL TECH ‘LAGGARDS’ (AllAboutAlpha), Rated: A

In filling out the particulars of this claim the authors of the new report make four more specific points: one, asset management is a buyers’ market and will become more so, in large part because “institutional investors have the tools to differentiate alpha and beta,” and they want to pay for the former not the latter. They also say that asset managers have been filling gaps in the financial system that emerged in the wake of the global financial crisis – they’ll need to capitalize on and expand these once-niche markets. Thirdly, while they make the common point that traditional active managers feel a squeeze between passive management on the one hand and alternatives on the other, they go further in that direction than other analysts have, saying that the way to react to this squeeze is not to try to beat back the competing forces but to join them, to turn a management firm into a “multi-asset solutions firm.”

But perhaps the most surprising of the four points is the contention that asset management has been a refuge of digital technology “laggards,” and that this will change in the near future, as “technology giants … enter the sector, flexing their data analytics and distribution muscle. The race is on.”

Lincoln Financial Network Launches Integrated Technology Platform to Drive Greater Client Engagement and Collaboration in Financial Planning (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Lincoln Financial Network (LFN), the retail wealth management affiliate of Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE:LNC), today announced that it has successfully launched a meaningful enhancement to its fully integrated wealth management platform for financial advisors and their clients – Automated Account Opening (AAO). AAO encompasses a full suite of new capabilities, integrated tools, and client-servicing solutions that will increase client satisfaction and collaboration with advisors.

Banks resist pressure to raise rates, but for how long? (American Banker), Rated: A

Online banks have been aggressively raising the rates they pay on consumer deposits, and that is putting pressure on mainstream banks to consider following suit or risk losing valuable deposits to their more nimble competitors.

A recent survey of 100 banks conducted by MoneyRates.com found that online banks such as Ally Bank, Goldman Sachs’ GS Bank and Sallie Mae Bank are paying significantly higher rates on savings and money market accounts than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

U.S. regional banks delve deeper into advisory services to boost growth (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Smaller banks, like their bigger Wall Street rivals, have aggressively cut costs since the 2008 financial crisis and trusted ultra-low interest rates to increase loan volumes.

U.S. Bancorp, BB&T Corp, SunTrust Banks Inc, Fifth Third Bancorp, KeyCorp and Citizens Financial Group Inc together earned $6.97 billion in non-interest income in the third quarter, up 10.6 percent from a year earlier and 15.2 percent from the second quarter.

That compares with growth in net interest income of 7.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

RICH PICKINGS

The number of millionaires in the United States is at the highest since Chicago-based research company Spectrem Group started measuring it in 2004, but thresholds of – for example $250,000 to invest – mean many are too small to get personal attention from the big Wall Street firms.

Born between the early 1960s and 2000, Americans from Generations X and Y who have an average annual income of about $200,000, account for 18 percent of millionaires compared with 8 percent in 2012.

Yet only 58 percent have financial advisers compared to 72 percent five years ago, according to a study by Fidelity Investment.

KeyBank Forms Strategic Partnership With Snapsheet To Provide Powerful Insurance Claims Payment Solutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) announced today its strategic investment and partnership with Snapsheet, an innovator of self-service claims solutions for insurance carriers. This investment follows the joint launch and announcement of Snapsheet Transactions, a payment platform on the back end of Snapsheet’s existing claims solution.

Snapsheet Transactions provides carriers with a payment hub that features a variety of payment options, without adding complexity or risk to insurance carriers’ back-end processes. Key and Snapsheet will continue to partner with each other to support the rollout and execution of enhancements and innovations related to Snapsheet Transactions.

Concord President & COO Shaun O’Neill to Lead Panel at Marketplace Lending Conference in New York City (PRWeb), Rated: B

Shaun O’Neill, President and COO of Concord Servicing Corporation, a leading force in the portfolio servicing and financial technology industry, has been invited to serve as moderator of a finance-related panel during the upcoming Information Management Network’s 3rd Annual Investors’ Conference on Marketplace Lending. O’Neill’s panel will focus on the highly topical “Trends and Best Practices for Loan Servicing” during the conference, to be held December 1st at the Marriott New York Downtown, in New York City.

LendingTree Logo To Appear On Greensboro Swarm Jerseys As Part of Company’s Partnership With Hornets (NBA.com), Rated: B

The Charlotte Hornets, Greensboro Swarm and LendingTree announced today that the LendingTree logo will appear on the jerseys of the Swarm as part of the Founding Level Partnership announced earlier this month between the Hornets and LendingTree.

Family loans: How to dodge the drama (Work IT, SOVA), Rated: B

There are advantages of a family loan for a borrower: no credit check, low or no interest and flexible payback terms.

Family loans may also come with tax considerations, whether the lender charges interest or not. Charge zero interest, and you may face a gift tax; a borrower who receives a gift may have to report it as taxable income. Tack on an interest charge and you must follow IRS-specified guidelines for the rate you charge and report it as income.

BORROWERS: EXHAUST OTHER OPTIONS FIRST

When weighing the pros and cons of a family loan, also consider alternative options, including a personal loan borrowed from a bank, credit union or online lender that can be used for any purpose.

Personal loans from credit unions and online lenders typically have more flexible qualification requirements than a bank loan.

LENDERS: ASSESS THE REASON FOR THE REQUEST

If you are lending the money, try to set your emotions aside and look at the reason for the loan. Has your family member been rejected by banks and other lenders? If so, why? Will your loan help promote good financial decisions?

United Kingdom

Funding Circle IFISA motors ahead with instant sign-ups (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has begun rolling out its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to investors and had a customer sign up within 15 minutes.

The peer-to-peer business lending giant started emailing users on Thursday morning, in order of when they opened accounts and started investing.

The IFISA account is a flexi-ISA, meaning you can withdraw any available funds without affecting your annual £20,000 ISA subscription limit, providing you transfer them back in by the end of the tax year.

Assetz Capital Announcement: Soon to Launch IFISA Set to Include Manual Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The online lender reported that the IFISA will be launched next month, with users able to use their £20,000 annual tax-free allowance on the Assetz Capital platform. Users will be able to transfer in past years’ ISA savings from their cash and shares ISAs. Assetz Capital also noted that new and existing investors will be able to open an IFISA wrapper on the platform and then invest into any automated Assetz investment account. The IFISA is also set to include the popular Manual Loan Investment Account (MLIA) in the New Year.

Digital banking: a tough way to make money (Financial Times), Rated: A

It’s been a busy period for the UK’s fledgling digital banks. Since January, eight UK digital banks have collectively raised $600m and two challenger banks were acquired for $2B+. Digital banks have built out the tech, landed banking licenses, and started winning customers – but they have arrived at a ‘now what’ moment. How can they capture a large enough customer base to validate their significant collective investment?

Monzo reported that its prepaid card scheme loses around £50 per active customer per year, and other digital banks face similar costs. While on the one hand the cost to acquire these current account customers is not very high, given the ‘buzz’ around the sector and banks’ word of mouth-driven growth – these current accounts, with their low average balances, are also inherently unprofitable. So it’s a steep climb for digital banks to recoup their operational costs, much less make a lot of money per customer.

P2PGI unveils new strategy that speeds up timetable for target returns (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) has brought forward its timetable for reaching its target returns of six to eight per cent after unveiling its new portfolio strategy on Thursday morning.

The investment trust said it now expects to provide a dividend of at least 15p per quarter by the end of the second quarter of 2018, which analysts say reflects an annualised yield of 7.8 per cent.

LendInvest: How our BTL launch will fill the portfolio landlord lending gap (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

The prospects of the dinner party landlord, who picked up a property or two during the boom years, have been dented by moves like the additional rate of stamp duty on second homes and the changes to mortgage interest tax relief.

In contrast, it’s the professionals who are best placed to adjust their budgets and ride out such changes. These are the investors who spend their working hours – rather than just their spare time – focused on running their property businesses.

Countrywide’s letting index in August flagged up the fact that the number of homes on the market to tenants has jumped by 171,000 over the last two years, despite the number of landlords falling by 154,000 over the same period.

Three reasons why investors must consider alternative lending (Money Observer), Rated: A

With cash held at the bank slowly being eroded by inflation, many investors have been attracted to the enhanced return prospects offered by alternative – or ‘peer-to-peer’ – lending.

Alternative lending is very interesting from this perspective, as it is one of the few income options available to retail investors that may be shielded from market volatility. This has grown in importance recently as many markets are currently trading at historically high valuations. Markets follow a supply and demand dynamic and the traditional asset classes are definitely vulnerable to sudden downside pressures in stressed market environments.

China

Was 2017 the year that Chinese fintech grew up? (Ecns.cn), Rated: A

While investments in the Chinese fintech sector tripled to almost 10 billion US dollars in 2016 compared to the year before, 2017 has seen a significant drop in corporate fintech investments across Asia. KPMG reports that corporates have only put 840 million US dollars into the sector in 2017, compared to 6.8 billion US dollars in 2016.

Decline of P2P, robo-advisors

One other area that has struggled in 2017 has been robo-advisors. In 2016, China Merchants Securities predicted that by 2020, some 5.22 trillion yuan (758 billion US dollars) worth of assets would be managed by robot financiers.

China leverage and shadow banking biggest threats to growth (The Asset), Rated: A

FINANCIAL system leverage and shadow banking pose the biggest threat to China’s economic growth, according to a live poll of attendees at the Fitch on China Forum.

The forum was organized by The Asset in association with Fitch Ratings and held on November 30 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong.

Source: The Asset

Ant Financial and QCash scoop FT fintech awards (Financial Times), Rated: B

A big Chinese group and a US not-for-profit have triumphed in the second annual Financial Times fintech awards, with Ant Financial taking the “impact” prize and QCash winning for “innovation”.

European Union

KappAhl first to offer mobile payments in store with Klarna (NB Herard), Rated: AAA

KappAhl is the first major fashion chain to offer its customers digital payment solutions in stores via their smartphones. Customers will have the option to make their purchases with Klarna In-Store, paying either on the spot or upon invoice.

This new payment solution will become one of the cornerstones in KappAhl’s digital transformation, with customers in stores benefitting from the same payment options that they have in Shop Online.

The service has been rolled out gradually and, as of 1 December, will be available in all 173 KappAhl and Newbie stores in Sweden. From 1 December, the service will be available in all 96 Norwegian stores, and, from 4 December, in all 58 stores in Finland.

Fintech company Deposit Solutions raises $ 20 million from existing investors (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Deposit Solutions, a German fintech company, has raised $20 million in a round led by e.Ventures and Greycroft, both existing shareholders.

The new funds will be used to grow the Hamburg-based company’s Open Banking platform for savings deposits for both B2B and B2C services, and to expand internationally. Its APIs allow banks to connect to the platform to build and offer deposit services. It has partnered with more than 50 banks.

Why Scandinavia’s Biggest Bank Is Setting Up Its Own Fintech Startup Fund (Forbes), Rated: A

The bank has announced that it’s setting up Nordea Ventures, to make strategic investments in fintech start-ups.

A case in point is Tink the Swedish-based fintech company, where Nordea provided capital and advice and integrated some of Tink’s own technology into its own digital products while preserving Tink’s name and brand.

Tink’s app helps consumers to aggregate financial transactions in one place, to compare and switch mortgages to a partner bank or open a savings account, for instance. Another Tink app for banks and payment services like Klarna provides account aggregation and payment capabilities.

Nordea invests in fintech company Betalo (Nordea), Rated: B

Nordea is investing in the fintech company Betalo. This takes our partnership with the Swedish company to the next level after a cooperation agreement was signed in March 2017.

PSD2 BRINGS DELAYED DISRUPTION TO THE FINTECH ECOSYSTEM (TechSavvy), Rated: A

A new EU-directive is about to force banks to open up their data vaults and allow third parties to access their user data. Nordea has chosen to embrace the change with open eyes, and a fintech startup predicts tough competition embarking on the opportunities it brings along.

The release of bank data is bound to cause a stir in an otherwise traditional and established sector. One of the incumbents that have already made an imprint is the fintech startup Spiir.

American tech giants might end up owning the financial space. Rune Mai looks to China to catch a glimpse of what the financial future might hold. The retail giant Alibaba owns half the payment market here with an all-encompassing app that offers everything from dating, financing to shopping.

Nordea is more inspired than afraid of Amazon. The bank has more than 10 million customers in the Nordic region, and they have decided to face the coming change with open eyes. They are actively pursuing a first mover strategy and has allocated more than 100 people to ready themselves for the coming digital disruption.

International

Blockchain P2P Lending, Sending, and Spending: Etherecash Garners Support from Over 40,000 Contributors During Pre-ICO (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

A little over three weeks are left in the Etherecash token sale and it’s been a fantastic run so far; the success they have seen comes after a big appearance at the World Blockchain Summit, Dubai, which was closely followed by a heated Pre-ICO.

The platform is the remedy to the overly-complex and lengthy process of getting a traditional bank account, and will provide access to finances through a cryptocurrency-backed P2P (Peer-to-Peer) fiat currency loan marketplace. P2P loans are backed by the borrower’s own crypto-wealth allowing them to borrow up to 80 percent of their wallet’s value.

On top of this, once the crypto debit card is available, users will be able to store multiple types of cryptocurrency on it, allowing them to shop anywhere and everywhere as they please, even abroad.

Based on the Ethereum standard token ERC20, purchasable with Bitcoin or Ethereum, the exciting ICO Launch began 15th November, 2017 – ending December 19th, 2017.

Australia

Treasurer of Australia Scott Morrison Visits Online Lender Prospa’s New Office in Darlinghurst (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prospa, an online lender serving SMEs in Australia, had a visit from the Honorable Scott Morrison yesterday. The Treasurer of Australia help to open up Prospa’s new high tech Darlinghurst office, which apparently is quite large extending over two floors housing a team of 150.

Prospa expects to add another 50 hires over the next 12 months as it accommodates platform growth.

India

KrazyBee looks to expand in Tamil Nadu (The Times of India), Rated: A

Online lender KrazyBee says it is rapidly expanding its business in Tamil Nadu and its focus in the state will be on solving unique needs of the student community.

KrazyBee, which earlier operated in five cities (Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Vellore and Mysore), said that is expanding aggressively in over 11 cities, including Chennai. With more than four lakh registered student borrowers on its platform, KrazyBee says it currently processes over 3,000 loan applications and disburse around 1,700 loans per day.

Asia

Asian banks’ operating income could be hit by fintech disruption (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Asian banks that do not take any action against the rise of financial technology (fintech) could see their operating income take a hit, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday (Nov 30) in its latest Financial Stability Review.

For lenders in Singapore that do nothing to stave off the disruption, that could mean a 5 per cent loss in operating income over the next five years, the central bank warned.

 

Mobile wallets taking hold in Asia (The Asset), Rated: A

WHILE the development of digital payments started with the launch of the first universal credit card in the 1950s, the space has rapidly evolved, and now the mantle is being passed to e-wallets, otherwise known as mobile wallets.

In 2014, credit and debit cards accounted for more than half of e-commerce payments in terms of transaction value. However, that share is predicted to drop to 49% in 2019 as mobile wallet options start to gain ground, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Canada

Activists across Canada demand fair banking for low-income people (TheStar), Rated: AAA

At the Toronto rally held outside Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s constituency office, a 46-year-old man was holding the loan he got in August from a payday loan company and was trying to get pedestrians to look at it.

He took out a $5,500 loan to pay his rent in August, to be paid back at 60 per cent interest by 2020.

Don is a member of the grassroots activist group called Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), and one of thousands of people who, on Tuesday, rallied across Canada demanding fair banking.

Mobetize’ CEO to speak at first BC Tech Association FinTech Day (Globe Newswire), Rated: B

Mobetize Corp. (OTCQB:MPAY), a leading fintech service provider for payments, remittances and mobile banking solutions, today announced CEO Ajay Hans will be the keynote speaker at BC Tech’s Fintech Day event on December 5.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday June 16 2017, Daily News Digest

Indonesia fintech

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi wants to steal banks’ most coveted customers. Biggest online lenders don’t always check key borrower data. Fed issues FOMC statement. RateSetter puts aside George Banco partnership. Alibaba’s first fintech investment in Hong Kong. Investree enters Vietnam. Today’s main analysis: How fintech startups are transforming banking in Indonesia (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Real estate […]

Indonesia fintech

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

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International

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Africa

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United States

SoFi Wants to Steal Your Most Coveted Customers (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

Don’t look now, but the ‘in your face’ fintech firm, SoFi, is moving from offering just student and personal loans to providing wealth management and opening checking accounts. And their target market is one of the most coveted by banking … the educated, affluent, digital-first Millennial.

In an interview with Mike Cagney, “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer said, “If Bank of America or Citi had the Internet when they were forming, this (the SoFi model) is what they would have started.” Cagney responded saying, “Absolutely. I think what’s going to happen is the banks are going to move toward our model over time. And we certainly don’t have the hubris to expect that we’re going to change all of banking, but we are going to drag them into a different kind of service model. One that’s a lot more aligned to the customer.”

The company is also developing financial planning services, which it expects to launch this summer. These include joint financial planning for couples and first-time home buying.

“If you look at SoFi, we run over 65 percent contribution margin across our three lending businesses. We’re the most profitable fintech company in the marketplace. And there’s huge opportunity to expand from that, and it comes down to cost of acquisition. If you build really strong brand, really strong evangelism, really strong what I call ‘cross-buy,’ you can drop that cost of acquisition significantly and that drives margins,” Cagney said.

When fintech meets CRA: SoFi bank bid draws activists’ ire (American Banker), Rated: A

In its early days, Social Finance made loans only to borrowers who had attended name-brand universities. Graduates of elite colleges were paying relatively high interest rates on federal student loans even though they represented a low risk, and the Silicon Valley startup saw in that mispricing a chance to make money.

SoFi CEO Mike Cagney noted in a 2013 interview that traditional banks were aware of this opportunity but were unwilling to pursue it.

Real Estate Lending: The Investment Bankers are Coming (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Back in 2012, I borrowed money to purchase a house I planned to fix-and-flip. I contributed 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. For the privilege of borrowing the other 80%, I paid a local “hard money lender” a 3.5% origination fee plus interest only payments at a 13% APR.

I started doing some more research into the market that was originating a majority of these types of fix-and-flip loans, which is called “hard money lending”. There were a few things that became quickly apparent to me.

  1. The market was highly-fragmented. There wasn’t a single lender that controlled any significant amount of the national market.
  2. The use of technology was virtually non-existent. The ability to apply online for a hard money loan didn’t exist. The lender I borrowed from didn’t even have a website.
  3. Capital formation was very analog. This put them in a perpetual cycle of originating new loans to keep their funds working while also raising additional capital to meet the demands of their borrower base.
  4. Hard Money Lenders, generally speaking, had a very negative reputation among the borrower community. This was in part due to the high interest rates. However, upon further digging, the real cause of dissatisfaction among borrowers was the lack of service and transparency.

Much like the early days of peer-to-peer lending, the new online real estate originators won business by providing a better borrower experience. Online applications with instant feedback on pricing and terms provided better transparency to borrowers. Quick funding decisions that are augmented by large data sets, rather than relying 100% on appraisals, allows these new lenders to provide more certainty around closing. Online dashboards where borrowers can order construction draws and make interest payments make the loan servicing experience easier for the borrower. Regardless of the financial innovation that is to follow, these technology platforms have improved the level of service provided to borrowers.

That said, the five largest online originators still only write between 5-8% of the total loan volume in the fix-and-flip market. We are still in the very early days of what is likely to be a massive consolidation of a previously fragmented market.

Biggest Online Lenders Don’t Always Check Key Borrower Data (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Inc. doesn’t verify key information like income and employment for around a quarter of the loans it makes, according to documents tied to bonds that Prosper sold last month. LendingClub Corp. said it only verified income about a third of the time for one of the most popular loans it made in 2016, according to company data seen by Bloomberg. If either lender finds mistakes in a borrower’s application, such as overstated income, they may still go ahead with the loan, according to disclosures linked to bond sales from the companies, including documents for securities that LendingClub is offering now.

Online loans usually don’t have collateral, so when they go bad, investors can lose out. Traditional consumer finance companies and banks tend to check incomes and employment on closer to 100 percent of new customers before making these kinds of loans, according to industry executives. Online lending competitor Social Finance Inc. checks income on 100 percent of its borrowers, according to a report from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

Investors in LendingClub loans earn average annual returns of around 4.3 percent, about three percentage points higher than the yield for two-year U.S. Treasuries. Those kinds of returns helped nonbank startups arrange more than $36 billion of loans in 2015, mainly for consumers, according to a report from KPMG.

LendingClub verified income on 35.6 percent of one of its most popular types of loans in 2016, according to company data obtained by Bloomberg. That figure has bounced around over time: it was 16 percent in 2008, and 47 percent in 2013.

LendingClub has had to write off a growing percentage of its loans — 8.5 percent, annualized, in the first three months, compared with 5 percent the same quarter a year ago.

Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement (Federal Reserve), Rated: AAA

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising moderately so far this year. Job gains have moderated but have been solid, on average, since the beginning of the year, and the unemployment rate has declined. Household spending has picked up in recent months, and business fixed investment has continued to expand. On a 12-month basis, inflation has declined recently and, like the measure excluding food and energy prices, is running somewhat below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1 to 1-1/4 percent.

SEC: RIAs Are Worse Than BDs at Cybersecurity (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

The SEC says many financial advice firms are falling short when it comes to cybersecurity, with investment advice firms being less prepared than broker-dealers, Reuters writes.

As part of its second stage of cybersecurity exams initiated in 2014, the SEC analyzed 75 firms and found that 26% of the companies don’t conduct risk assessments on a continuous basis and 57% of the firms fail to carry out vulnerability and penetration tests with simulated attacks on critical systems, according to the newswire.

The SEC has concluded that investment advice firms have had more issues with cybersecurity than broker-dealers, according to the newswire. On the other hand, the SEC learned that almost all investment advisors practiced regular system maintenance as part of their cybersecurity process, namely by consistently installing security patches, Reuters writes.

Only 4% of the companies examined were missing essential patches or updates, according to the newswire.

Marlette Funding Depositor Trust (SEC), Rated: A

On June 2, 2017, representatives of the Company provided us with a computer-generated unsecured consumer loan data file containing data, as represented to us by the Company, as of May 24, 2017, with respect to 29,806 unsecured consumer loans (the “Statistical Loan File”).  At your instruction, we randomly selected 125 unsecured consumer loans (the “Initial Sample Loans”) from the Initial Statistical Loan File using the following criteria provided to us by the Company:
(i)
3 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #1” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(ii)
21 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #2” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(iii)
1 unsecured consumer loan with a seller identified “Seller #3” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(iv)
23 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #4” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(v)
15 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #5” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
(vi)
62 unsecured consumer loans with a seller identified as “Seller #6” on the Initial Statistical Loan File;
In addition, on June 13, 2017, representatives of the Company provided us with a computer-generated unsecured consumer loan data file containing data, as represented to us by the Company, as of May 24, 2017, with respect to an additional 4,203 unsecured consumer loans (the “Subsequent Statistical Loan File”).  At your instruction, we randomly selected 8 unsecured consumer loans from the Subsequent Statistical Loan File with an origination date (as set forth on the Subsequent Statistical Loan File) on or before March 31, 2015 (the “Subsequent Sample Loans”).  The Initial Sample Loans and the Subsequent Sample Loans are collectively and hereinafter referred to as the “Sample Loans”

Fintech Ingo Money raising $ 12M in venture capital, plans to add up to 100 jobs (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Ingo provides risk-management services to financial institutions, such as banks and payment networks. Investors include Baltimore-based Camden Partners, Philadelphia-based MissionOG, and Bethesda, Md-based CNF Investments.

Notice of Class Action Settlement (Google AdWords Email), Rated: A

In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369-EJD
U.S. District Court Northern District of California
A $22,500,000 class action settlement has been preliminarily approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in the case In Re Google AdWords Litigation, No. 5:08-cv-03369-EJD.  Your rights may be affected and you may be entitled to a portion of this settlement if you are an eligible Class Member.
Who Is Included in the Settlement?
You may be a Class Member if during the period of July 11, 2004 and March 31, 2008, you: 1) were a U.S. resident; 2) had a Google AdWords Account; and, 3) were charged for clicks on advertisements appearing on parked domains or error pages.
What Is This Case About?
This case alleges that Google failed to disclose to its AdWords customers that it placed ads on websites known as parked domains and error pages.  The lawsuit alleges this conduct violates California laws against unfair competition and false advertising.  Google denies these claims.
How Do I Ask for Payment?
To receive payment, you must submit a claim form no later than June 21, 2017 and have spent at least $1.00 on AdWords served on parked domains or error pages between July 11, 2004 and March 31, 2008.  You may complete the claim form online at June 21, 2017. If you do not want to stay in the Class, you must submit a request for exclusion by June 21, 2017. If you exclude yourself, you cannot get a payment from this settlement, but you will keep any rights to sue Google for the same claims in a different lawsuit. The detailed notice explains how to exclude yourself, object, and request to appear.
The Court’s Fairness Hearing.
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing on July 27, 2017 at 9:00 am PST at the following location: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Courthouse, Courtroom 4 – 5th Floor, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether: 1) the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate; 2) to approve the service awards to the class representatives; and 3) to approve the award of attorneys’ fees and expenses to the attorneys for the class.
Where Can I get More Information?

SEC heightens exam focus on robo advisers (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

Under newly confirmed Chairman Jay Clayton, the SEC is setting its sights on expanded protections for retail investors, planning a series of RIA sweep exams exploring areas like robo advisers and money market funds.

Slated to launch this year is an exam sweep looking at how firms are deploying robo advisers, or using automated services to augment the provision of investment advice.

Levine said that the sweep will likely run along the lines of the guidance on digital advice platforms that the SEC issued in February, when it affirmed that robo advisory services still have a fiduciary duty, and warned of potential issues around disclosure and client communications.

Also this year, the SEC is planning to launch a sweep looking at how firms that traffic in money market funds are incorporating the rules the SEC adopted to shore up that sector following the destabilizing run in 2008.

As part of a broader focus on retail investors saving for retirement, the commission is also planning to launch a sweep exam looking at how firms are adhering to the schedules laid out in the disclosures of target-date funds, and another probing the controls advisers have in place on fixed-income cross trading relating to retirement accounts.

Initiative invests $ 5M to help more educators access Landed (Landed Blog), Rated: A

Today, we’re excited to announce that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), has invested $5,000,000 to create a Landed down payment support fund that will make it easier for educators in the Redwood City, Ravenswood City, and Sequoia Union High School districts in California — districts which face some of the highest housing costs in the country — to buy homes.

  • Eligibility: Any district or public school employee within the boundaries of Sequoia Union High School District, Redwood City School District and Ravenswood City School District.
  • Support: Up to half of a down payment (max $120,000), for the purchase of a primary residence.
  • Terms: Participants share up to 25% of the appreciation (or loss) in the price of the home upon sale, or after 30 years, whichever is sooner. There are no monthly payments.
  • Other: Participants can choose to end their relationship with Landed at any time. Financial coaching support will also be made available to participants.

Fletcher Jones Auto Group Partners With AutoGravity To Bring Financing Of Real Time Inventory To The Smartphone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a FinTech pioneer on a mission to transform car shopping and financing, has announced the launch of real-time inventory on the Fletcher Jones Drive (FJ Drive) smartphone app powered by AutoGravity. Car shoppers now have access to the largest selection of Mercedes-Benz inventory in the nation, a seamless auto financing application and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services offer presentment – all in the palm of their hand through the AutoGravity powered FJ Drive app for iOS and Android.

AutoGravity joined forces with the Fletcher Jones Auto Group to launch FJ Drive, the nation’s first and only mobile app that allows customers to secure financing for any new Mercedes-Benz right on their smartphone. Real time inventory extends the partnership by empowering users to shop for specific vehicles sitting on the dealership lot. Guests can choose any Mercedes-Benz model and browse all available cars for their store of choice. Easy to use filters, including model year, body type and color, make finding cars simple and intuitive. Guests apply for financing and review their lease or loan offer in the app before picking up their car at the Fletcher Jones showroom.

Venture fund seeks fintech ‘workhorses’ (American Banker), Rated: A

Since its beginnings in 2015, Centana has invested in four companies, including the insurance technology company One and digital identity management firm Jumio. The New York-based limited partnership says it is hunting for other investment candidates and that it expects to put $5 million to $30 million into as many as 15 investments.

Centana is hoping to differentiate itself from other venture capital firms by pursuing “workhorses” — essentially, companies that will help incumbent companies improve on existing business models, Cukier said.

FinTech Marketplace Wealth Migrate Announces Luxury Condo Give-a-way (Benzinga), Rated: A

Wealth Migrate, an online real estate investment marketplace, announces the global opening of its #LikeAMillionaire luxury condo give-a-way. The competition, which is open to all new users who sign up on the WealthMigrate.com platform, is another example of how Wealth Migrate is putting quality real estate within reach of middle class investors throughout the globe, who typically do not have access to these types of deals.

The Zero-2-One Tower, standing 42 stories tall, is set to be the tallest building in Cape Town upon completion in 2020.

FinTech and InsurTech company IATAI Enterprises and payment solutions enabler BPP create Handy U (Crossroads Today), Rated: A

The FinTech and InsurTech company IATAI Enterprises (IATAI), which specializes in making mobile transactions, communications and other interactions quicker and easier across platforms, has joined forces with the payment solutions enabler BPP to develop Handy U, a universal and customizable payment, rewards and insurance solution for consumers, businesses and merchants.

Handy U is a reloadable Visa virtual/digital account that enables IATAI’s travel and insurance clients to instantly make and receive payments, access benefits and redeem rewards generated by their loyalty programs. Handy U is hosted on IATAI’s digital wallet, onepocket, which lets users combine several payment methods in a single transaction, both online and in-store.

First Foundation to acquire Community 1st Bank for about $ 50 mln (Reuters), Rated: B

* First Foundation – deal is valued at approximately $50.4 million in aggregate

* First Foundation – at closing, transaction is expected to be about 2.5% dilutive to co’s tangible book value per share with an estimated tangible book value earn-back period of 3.6 years

“Investing in Real Estate through Equity Crowdfunding Websites” Now On Demand (Benzinga), Rated: B

This Financial Poise webinar series explores the purchase of ownership shares in private companies via crowdfunding websites.

Episodes in the series address

  • the modes of angel investing in a company during its early stages,
  • the opportunities and perils of crowdfunding real estate investments,
  • the money-raising entity’s perspective and
  • a close look at crowdfunding options under federal and state law.

The 3rd episode of the “Equity Crowfunding” series is available now on demand! “Investing in Real Estate through Equity Crowdfunding Websites” (Register Here) features Moderator Chris Cahill of Lowis & Gellen. Chris is joined by Jordan Fishfeld of CFX Markets, Marty Coyne of Connected Investors Inc. and Lynda Davey of Avalon Net Worth.

Boston’s FinMason Announces New Fintech Accelerator Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinMason, a Boston-based fintech and investment analytics firm, announced on Thursday the launch of its new fintech accelerating program, FinSpring, which is described as an initiative that will provide free access to FinRiver, a set of flexible and lightning-fast investment analytics APIs.

United Kingdom

RateSetter Update: Decides to Not Go Ahead With George Banco Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Last month, RateSetter announced it was entering a partnership with George Banco and acquiring an equity stake in the personal loan provider company. Unfortunately, RateSetter revealed earlier this month that it has decided to pull out of the partnership after all.

“We have subsequently decided not to go ahead with this new arrangement with George Banco. After further examination of the infrastructure required to do this, we concluded there were better uses of our development resources which may be deployed more effectively to source other borrowers. Therefore, we will not facilitate lending directly to George Banco’s customers, and accordingly we have updated our Principles of Lending document which sets out our lending criteria. The existing wholesale loans to George Banco will continue to be repaid in accordance with the schedule of the existing loan contracts. The total of these existing loans currently stands at £31.5 million.”

To see the updated Principles of Lending document, click here.

BTL index: Nothing to choose between Tory and Labour-voting regions (Letting Agent Today), Rated: AAA

The top ten buy-to-let postcodes in England and Wales are evenly split between locations that voted for the Conservatives or Labour.

Luton has been identified as the best buy-to-let investment location across England and Wales, with an average yield of 4.54% and rental price growth of 7.37%.

According to LendInvest, which analyses data from Zoopla and the Land Registry to compile its Buy-to-Let Index, Stevenage is the best performing buy-to-let postcode out of areas that voted Conservative last week.

The Hertfordshire town has recorded capital gains of 11.64% and rental price growth of 7.5% over the last quarter.

Luton is the top performing Labour-voting postcode.

Top 10 buy-to-let postcodes

Yield Capital gains Rental price growth Transaction volume growth
Luton 4.54% 12.83% 7.37% -10.40%
Stevenage 4.05% 11.64% 7.47% -9.40%
Rochester 4.55% 12.34% 5.45% -9.40%
Colchester 4.29% 14.14% 4.14% -11.16%
Dartford 4.37% 13.61% 3.92% -10.94%
Peterborough 4.71% 9.04% 6.98% -10.67%
Southend-on-Sea 4.30% 12.37% 3.89% -10.26%
Manchester 6.11% 7.58% 7.53% -12.41%
Canterbury 4.36% 9.34% 6.62% -11.49%
Romford 4.81% 14.42% 1.28% -11.67%

MoneyThing posts record month ahead of 2017 IFISA launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

MONEYTHING is on track to boost its loan origination ahead of an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) launch later this year, after delivering its highest new loan monthly level to date in May.

The peer-to-peer lending platform launched £7.7m of new loan opportunities last month, which marks its strongest result since it launched in February 2015, and £3.7m more than its previous record.

It now aims to roll out the tax-free wrapper by the end of the year, although the launch will not be imminent, a company representative told Peer2Peer Finance News.

Irish fintech firm Assure Hedge receives UK regulatory boost (Irish Times), Rated: A

Assure Hedge, a provider of foreign exchange technology to protect businesses from currency fluctuations, has received a boost from the UK Financial Conduct Authority under a programme aimed at drawing financial technology (fintech) under its regulatory oversight.

China

Meet Alibaba’s first fintech investment in Hong Kong (The Asset), Rated: AAA

Aiming to fix cash flow issues for companies operating in Hong Kong, Andy Chan along with his partner Winston Wong, set out on a mission to craft Hong Kong’s first invoice trading platform, Qupital.

Since its inception less than a year ago, the company has started to gain attention from companies including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

In terms of generating revenue, Chan shares that when an invoice is purchased, Qupital would take between 25-75 basis points of the total invoice value. Moreover, the company would take 20% of net gains made by funders.

With fresh capital from high-profile backers, Chan has his sights on deepening his business in Hong Kong with an eye on expansion to other markets in 2018 such as Thailand and Vietnam.

Baidu, With a Move Into Fintech, Gets Wary Credit-Ratings Look (WSJ), Rated: A

Baidu Inc. is among China’s tech giants looking to get a leg up in the competitive financial-services market. Credit-rating companies aren’t so sure it’s a good idea.

Fitch recently placed Baidu on negative watch, citing “significantly higher” business risks as it moves into making unsecured consumer loans and selling uninsured investments known as wealth-management products, which Fitch said are “part of the shadow banking system in China.”

Moody’s decided last month to place Baidu’s bond ratings on review for a downgrade, citing concerns over the firm’s short history in the financial-services business.

Baidu’s financial services, which also include its mobile payment platform, now account for about 12% of its assets, or 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion)—representing rapid growth for a firm that formed its financial-services group only about a year ago. That has significantly changed Baidu’s credit profile, said Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer Lina Choi.

International

Transforming banking with fintech (HSBC), Rated: A

HSBC has its own tech teams designing new platforms and products, and they are absolutely brilliant. But we need to be humble and recognise that we don’t have all the answers. We invest in and work with fintech start-ups where we think they can help.

Our partnership with Tradeshift is making it easier for business customers to manage their accounts and their relationships with suppliers online, saving time and cutting down paperwork.

Retail customers in the UK can now download an HSBC SmartSave app, developed in partnership with a start-up called Pariti. It helps them save money without even having to think about it.

We have invested in a start-up which is developing technology that can sift through large amounts of financial transactions to pinpoint suspicious patterns. This will help us tackle financial crime more effectively, and, ultimately, keep our customers safer.

Australia

ZipMoney eyes profitability, partners with NAB (AltFi), Rated: A

ASX-listed fintech zipMoney has put the finishing touches on its A$260 million debt warehouse with big four bank NAB and could become one of the few all-Australian fintechs to make a profit.

The money raised will go to the “immediate refinance of $70 million of existing receivables”, ZipMoney told the ASX, resulting in lower interest rates across the board. It will also allow the company to increase volumes and hire more staff.

ZipMoney provides a ‘buy now, pay later’ service, offering shoppers loans between $1000 and $10,000 for up to eight months.

ASIC permanently bans Perth financial adviser (Professional Planner), Rated: B

An ASIC investigation found that between January 2011 and November 2012 Mr Hutchison dishonestly:

  1. banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account, when he knew he was obliged to remit or report them to RI Advice. Mr Hutchison then deducted additional fees from his clients’ investment platform or financial product for payment to RI Advice; and
  2. banked cheques he received from his clients for advice fees directly into his personal bank account and failed to record the receipt of the cheques on RI Advice’s payment system.

Mr Hutchison misled or deceived his clients by failing to disclose to them that they had been double charged advice fees and failed to comply with the proper process for remitting and reporting the fees. He also misled or deceived RI Advice by failing to disclose that he had deposited the advice fees into his own account and did not comply with RI Advice’s relevant fees policies and procedures.

India

SMC Capital, REPL launch Rs 1,000-crore real estate fund (India Times), Rated: A

SMC Capital and EPC developer REPL group have come together to launch a Rs 1,000-crore real estate fund, SMC IM Capital. The fund has already got commitments from global investors based in the US and Middle East and will look at a first close by end of this month.

The fund will invest between Rs 50 crore and Rs 80 crore in the middle segment affordable housing projects in tier I and II cities.

In India, real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture, and is slated to grow at 30% over the next decade. The real estate sector comprises four sub sectors — housing, retail, hospitality, and commercial.
Asia

Indonesian P2P lending site Investree to enter Vietnam, launches sharia-based service (e27), Rated: AAA

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Investree announced on Thursday that it is set to begin expansion to Vietnam in 2018, DailySocial reported.

The Jakarta-based startup said it is currently undergoing the process of setting up a joint venture with an undisclosed local financial institution.

Investree also announced that it is going to launch a sharia-based lending service in July; the startup is currently on the process of applying for certification from the National Sharia Board (DSN).

Gunadi cited strong demand from both borrowers and lenders to set up a lending practice based on the Islamic law, and by far three small businesses from Jakarta and Surabaya have agreed to join in the pilot project.

How FinTech Startups Are Transforming The Way Banks Function In Indonesia (inc42), Rated: AAA

India, November 2016. PM Modi launched a demonetisation drive to eradicate black money, fostering a new wave of digitisation in India. Consequently, there was a tremendous rise in the adoption of e-wallets, launch of new fintech startups, and the average Indian became familiar with a new financial entity, bitcoin.

From local grocery shops to petrol pumps to movie theatres, digital wallets have captured each and every day-to-day business which requires payments. Not only this, digital wallets have even seen a massive adoption for payment chores like booking air tickets or buying movie tickets or paying bills (DTH, Water, Electricity).

Be it digital payments, online lending, or remote banking, Indonesia has seen a surge of startups that have developed products to solve the current needs of the population.

At the same time, the country remains a challenging market for fintech industry to grow with only 40% of adults in the country having access to banks. 49 Mn SMEs unit are still not bankable, because of low credit score and little or no financial history.

It is estimated that only 40% of Indonesia’s 250 Mn populationcurrently have access to services provided by banks.

Secondly, Indonesia is a country of SMBs. These enterprises account for 99% of the total amount of enterprises that are operating in Indonesia and they create a total of 107.6 Mn jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest emerging economy, as per a Deloitte report. Moreover, Indonesia’s micro, small, and medium-sized companies contribute 60.6 % to Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Thirdly, due to Indonesia’s peculiar geography, its traditional banking system suffers. The number of bank branches, which is estimated at 10 banks (branches)  per 1,000 square kilometersis far too low to serve Indonesia’s vast geography.

The major areas that startups are capturing and disrupting are payments, insurance, stock markets, investments, PoS, comparison, and online lending. Major startups in the payments sector include Mandiri, T-Cash, PayPro, IPayMu, Xenditi among others.

Digital payments have become so big in the archipelago that the total transaction value in the “Digital Payments” segment amounts to $18 Mn in 2017. Additionally, the total transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 18.4 %, resulting in the total amount of $36 Mn in 2021. Popular fintech categories in Indonesia are lending platforms, capturing 17% and marketplaces for financial products that have occupied 13%.

Deposits, Lending, And Capital Raising

The online lending space is dominated by players included Modalku, Taralite, and Investree. The online lending segment has a huge market demand in the country, owing to the fact that a major population of the country has a low credit score and SMEs can benefit from these alternative services.

Taralite: Launched in 2016, the startup sanctions financial loans with relatively low interest, starting from 1%, for education, marriage, childbirth, house renovation, vehicle purchase, property & housing. It also provides loans without collateral. It recently secured $6.3 Mn from Japanese financial services provider, SBI Group.

MODALKU: Founded in 2016, it is an online lending platform, that provides loans up to IDR. 2 Bn, with relatively affordable interest. Its focus areas are SMEs looking for working capital, with minimum one year of operations.

Market Provisioning

Cekaja.com: Launched in 2013, the platform allows users to compare various financial products at one place.

Investment & Risk Management

JOJONOMIC: JOJONOMIC digitises the entire employee reimbursement process for an employee.

RajaPremi:  Founded in 2014, RajaPremi is an online insurance marketplace.

Bareksa: Founded in 2016, it is an online and integrated marketplace for mutual funds.

Digital Payments

Kudo: Launched in 2014, the startup has a website and a mobile application that enables anyone to be an online entrepreneur without having to personally stock the items.

DOKU:  A 2007 founded startup, Doku is the biggest player in the Indonesian payments scene. Functioning as an online and offline payment gateway for businesses and individuals, DOKU is an e-wallet equipped with links to credit card and electronic money.

t-cash: Founded in 2011, it is an electronic money service provided by Telkomsel (a telecom giant). Users are required to install the T-Wallet app on their mobiles and equip their mobiles with the t-cash stickers.

Ayopop: Launched in 2016, Ayopop is an app that specialises in bill payments.

POS (Point-Of-Sales Startups)

Pawoon: Launched in 2013, Pawoon is a cloud-based Point of Sales (POS) application for SMEs.

DealPOS: DealPOS is a cloud-based point-of-sale ( POS ), inventory and accounting software for business which was also launched in 2013.

A Year Ago… (LinkedIn), Rated: A

A year ago, I found myself on stage in Hong Kong, China speaking on “How Fintech Companies Can Differentiate Themselves and Build Special Competitive Advantage“.

Wondering in the halls of an incredible conference in Shanghai a few days later at LendIt Conference China, I was consumed with anxiety. Every platform I saw in China easily had 30 million plus active users. Whether it was credit, payment, insurance or investments, the conference in China was filled with eager entrepreneurs, seasoned executives and hunger investors.

Out of necessity, with a series of coincidences and a ton of luck I founded a company called MaxDecisions, Inc. with an old colleague and friend Henry Wang. We didn’t think too much of it and we didn’t really know where we will end up with it.

In the same month, I founded another company called Kuber Financial, LLC. and later Kuber Inc. with two other co-founders. Both of them left in the middle of the project, one early on and one late later year.

Fluid App came to me because I wanted to build something that’s truly different from all other platforms. A fun, mobile only, credit building product that could truly change lives of millions of young Americans. A FinTech, AdTech mesh up, that a lot of people are now starting to understand and appreciate my vision for this product.

With our 10th employee coming onboard at www.maxdecision.com next week, we’ve officially broke our first million dollars in sales.

Shenzhen – Singapore – Hong Kong Financial Technology Alliance was formally established (01Caijing), Rated: B

June 14, Shenzhen Internet Finance Association, THE FINLAB PTE LTD and the Hong Kong Internet Professional Association in the World Youth Entrepreneurship Forum officially signed a tripartite cooperation memorandum, at the same time announced at the forum, Shenzhen – Singapore – Hong Kong Financial Technology Alliance was formally established.

Africa

Payment Startups Lead Way In Africa’s Booming FinTech Scene (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Payments and remittances startups account for the majority of Africa’s over 300 fintech startups, though blockchain companies are the more likely to secure funding.

Payments and remittances is the most populated of nine sub-sectors addressed in the report, with 125 startups across the continent focused on making the process of sending and receiving money easier. Lending and financing – with 65 startups – is the next most popular category; indeed, over 60 per cent of all Africa’s fintech startups are focused on these two crucial spaces.

African blockchain startups are the most successful in percentage terms, with almost 40 per cent of the blockchain-focused startups on the continent securing funding.

The continent’s fintech startups have secured over US$92.5 million in investment since 2015, the report finds, while the data shows fintech startups are spread across the African continent. Southern Africa and West Africa are fintech leaders – with 34.2 per cent and 34 per cent respectively based in those regions respectively. South Africa has the most fintech startups (94), followed by Nigeria (74) and Kenya (56).

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor