Friday March 9 2018, Daily News Digest

Friday March 9 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: What SoFi pays for prime customer acquisition. Funding Circle investors lent over 113M GBP in February. Landbay hit 100M GBP lending milestone. Atom Bank secures 149M GBP, BBVA ups stakes. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree personal loan offers report – February 2018. Americans owe more than $1T in credit card debt. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans […]

Friday March 9 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi Is Paying Top Dollar To Acquire Its Prime Customers (Fast Company), Rated: AAA

Last year, even as a sex scandal engulfed the six-year-old company, SoFi originated $12.9 billion in loans, added 225,000 customers, and turned a profit.

All told, SoFi spent $170 million on marketing in 2017, or $756 to acquire each new customer, according to data obtained by Fast Company and confirmed by the company. This year, SoFi plans to spend $200 million.

Other online lenders targeting prime borrowers, like Lending Club and Prosper, typically spend $350-$450 to acquire each customer, industry experts say.

Judge ‘Shocked’ By $ 16M Atty Fee Bid In LendingClub Deal, (Law 360), Rated: A

A California federal judge said he was “shocked” attorneys want $16 million for representing LendingClub Corp. investors in two securities class actions against the peer-to-peer lending company, telling the plaintiffs’ lawyers at a hearing Thursday they “may be being greedy” by asking for that much of the $125 million settlement.

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – February 2018 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.44% in February.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.44%, an increase of 3 basis points from the prior month, but down 19 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $23,689, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 and above was down 2.23% ($528) from January, but up over 21.44% ($5,078) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 4.97% on average, and loan amounts of $33,050. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $2,748 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.
Source: LendingTree

Good credit (680 – 719 score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score between 680 and 719 averaged 15.69% in February.

  • The average best APR for all borrowers with credit scores of 680 – 719 was 15.69%, down 10 basis points from last month, but up almost 126 basis points from a year earlier.
  • At $16,272, borrowers with scores of 680 – 719 saw the amounts offered with the best APRs increase by almost 4% ($644) in the last month and by almost 5% ($795) from February 2017.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within the 680 – 719 credit score range, had an average best APR of 6.75%, offered with an average loan amount of $24,484. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,440 by consolidating debt from a 15% APR over a three-year term.
Source: LendingTree

Credit Card Debt Study: Trends & Insights (WalletHub), Rated: AAA

Americans now owe more than $1 trillion in credit card debt for the first time ever, after adding a post-Great Recession record $92.2 billion to our tab in 2017. Only four times in the past 30 years have we spent so much in a year. And in each of those prior cases, the charge-off rate – currently hovering near historical lows – rose the following year.

Source: WalletHub

The $67.6 billion in credit card debt that we added in Q4 2017 is the highest quarterly accumulation in the last 30 years – 68% higher than the post-Great Recession average.

Source: WalletHub
Source: WalletHub

 

 

Fintechs on Bank of Amazon: It’d be a net plus (American Banker), Rated: A

When Chris Britt, founder and CEO of the challenger bank Chime, heard that 

Brett King — founder of Moven, which is on its way to becoming a U.S. challenger bank — had a similar reaction.

“I’m frankly surprised it took them this long, given Alibaba’s massive success with Yue Bao,” he said, referring to the money market fund the online retailer formed that now has more than 370 million investors.

Kathryn Petralia, co-founder and president of the small-business lending fintech Kabbage, also liked the idea of Amazon offering checking with a large bank partner.

“It made perfect sense to me,” she said. “It seems like Amazon is doing this to enhance the customer experience, and they have a really strong focus on customer experience and customer service.”

Kabbage already competes with Amazon for small-business loans. Amazon began making loans of $1,000 to $750,000 in 2011. Last June, the company said it had issued more than $1 billion in loans during the previous 12 months and $1.5 billion in loans in the four years prior. Kabbage has made $4 billion in loans since it started in 2009.

Small-bank contract negotiators expand from core systems to fintech (American Banker), Rated: B

The consulting firm Paladin fs announced on Tuesday that Alex Lopatine, who founded the cloud-based core systems provider Nymbus, will be the managing director of its new “FinTech Advantage,” a unit dedicated to helping banks buy financial technology “needed to remain competitive and successful in the fast-evolving industry,” according to a press release.

St. Vincent de Paul Society’s alternative to payday loans (The Arlington Catholic Herald), Rated: A

 

In 2014, the Arlington District Council of St. Vincent de Paul Society began looking into the issue. In February, the group launched the Alternative Loan Program. People who qualify will be eligible for a loan of up to $1,000 to escape debt due to a payday loan. For people who need help with housing utilities, or medical bills, “we’ll still administer our assistance program,” said George Degnon, chairman of the loan committee.

To help run the program, the council partnered with Apple Federal Credit Union, which has several branches around Northern Virginia. “(The society) will maintain deposits at Apple Federal to serve as security for loans to borrowers whom the society recommends,” the group said in a press release. An interest rate of 3.1 percent will be retained by Apple Federal to cover administrative costs of the program.

Borrowers are required to take a budgeting class before qualifying for a loan, and can repay at a rate of just $25 a month, said Degnon.

Will 2018 Be the Year the Mortgage Industry Finally Bridges the Digital Divide? (JD Power Email), Rated: A

It should come as little surprise to those familiar with the mortgage industry that attendees at the recent Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Servicing Conference overwhelmingly selected Technology & Innovation when asked what their priorities were for 2018.

Digital Interaction Improves Mortgage Customer Satisfaction
For the first time, the 2017 J.D. Power U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination StudySM found both refinance and purchase customers cite online/website as the most frequent method of submitting a mortgage application. A total of 43% of mortgage customers report applying digitally in 2017, up from just 28% in 2016. Customers applying digitally also report substantially higher overall satisfaction with the mortgage origination process.

Still Need a Human Touch – Balancing Self-Service with Live Support Presents Challenges
The J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study was the first to introduce
the idea of the “rise of the retail banking omnivore,” a financial services consumer that flips seamlessly through multiple interaction channels. Specifically, the study found that more customers than ever are using mobile banking (49% of Millennials, 31% of Gen X and 16% of Boomers). Despite this widespread adoption of the digital channel, 71% of all bank customers visited the branch an average of 14 times over the past year. Among Millennials, 71% used the branch, averaging 11 visits in the past year.

Source: J.D. Power

View the full report here.

HomeUnion Launches Investimate to Determine a Home’s Value as an Investment Property (Business Wire), Rated: A

HomeUnion, the leader in online residential real estate investing, has launched Investimate, a tool that enables consumers to see the potential value of a house as an investment using AI and machine learning. Investimate predicts a property’s investment value by estimating three factors: its price, rent, and operating expenses. Investimate is powered by big data on 110 million homes, institutional-quality research and on-the-ground experts with deep insight into local real estate market conditions.

With the launch of Investimate, HomeUnion is the only website that forecasts the performance of residential properties over a period of 15 years. After entering the address of a house, a consumer views comprehensive information on that property, including yields, appreciation and total returns. HomeUnion’s Investimate also displays in-depth information about the physical characteristics of each property, surrounding neighborhoods, historic price and rent trends, sales comps and other detailed information.

Real estate tech company Qualia closes $ 33M Series B (Bankless Times), Rated: A

Qualia, a real estate technology company streamlining the home closing process, today announced the closing of a $33M Series B led by Menlo Ventures with participation from 8VC, Bienville Capital, and Barry Sternlicht. With this new capital, Qualia will expand its engineering and product teams and accelerate their growth into additional markets across the U.S.

BBX Capital Corporation Reports Financial Results For the Fourth Quarter and Full Year, 2017 (MarketWired), Rated: A

Fourth Quarter 2017 Compared to Fourth Quarter 2016:

  • Total consolidated revenues of $214.7 million vs. $198.5 million, an increase of 8.2%
  • Net income attributable to shareholders of $44.0 million vs. $4.9 million
  • Diluted earnings per share of $0.43 vs. $0.05
  • Benefit for income taxes of $37.3 million vs. a provision for income taxes of $12.5 million due to a decrease in net deferred tax liabilities as a result of the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2)
  • Free cash flow of $19.6 million vs. $16.0 million (1)

Year Ended December 31, 2017 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2016:

  • Total consolidated revenues of $815.8 million vs. $767.3 million, an increase of 6.3%
  • Net income attributable to shareholders of $82.2 million vs. $28.4 million
  • Diluted earnings per share of $0.79 vs. $0.32
  • Benefit for income taxes of $7.2 million vs. a provision for income taxes of $36.4 million primarily due to a decrease in net deferred tax liabilities (2)
  • Free cash flow of $43.6 million vs. $68.2 million (1)

Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2017 Compared to December 31, 2016:

  • Total consolidated assets of $1.6 billion vs. $1.4 billion
  • Total shareholders’ equity of $573.2 million vs. $454.6 million
  • Fully diluted book value per share of $5.52 vs. $4.22

Three equity crowdfunding platforms you should consider (Born2Invest),  Rated: A

Indiegogo

Founded in 2007, Indiegogo remains to be one of the most popular and easy-to-access crowdfunding platforms to date. The website is home to countless crowdfunding projects, most of which are gadgets and technological innovations. Some of the successful campaigns out of Indiegogo are the ONAGOfly smart droneSondors THIN electric bike, and popSLATE2, which serves as a second screen for iPhones.

Other than a huge selection of startups to invest on, Indiegogo is also one of the few crowdfunding platforms that provide initial coin offerings (ICO) for new cryptocurrencies, according to Black Enterprise.

SeedInvest

The minimum investment to be made at SeedInvest is $500. Also, since the projects on the website are highly vetted and promising, chances of success are bigger. The platform offers a customizable auto invest program that allows people to diversify their investments in up to 25 startups as well.

StraightUp

For New Yorkers, StraightUp is going to be of great help. Coming straight out of the incubation of HAP Ventures, the company carries a deep knowledge of property crowdfunding and The Big Apple’s real estate market.

What StraightUp does differently from other competitors in its field is that it invests along with its clients. Whatever project their client finds interesting, StraightUp also supports by being a part of its crowdfunding. In doing so, the interest between StraightUp and its clients are in line with each other.

Lendio adds Gainesville-Ocala franchise (Bankless Times), Rated: B

Small business loan marketplace Lendio today announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in the Gainesville-Ocala, Florida region. Through the Lendio franchise program, Luis Salazar will help local businesses in the community apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing the financial hurdles for small business owners.

Lendio is an online service helping business owners find the working capital they need to grow their business through the company’s network of more than 75 lenders. Funding options include SBA loans, startup loans, equipment loans, and commercial real estate loans. In the last fiscal year alone, Lendio facilitated more than $300 million in funding.

 

HR Buzz: March Madness, Taxes and Mobility, Disappointing HiPos (Bloomberg), Rated: B

More than seven in 10 (71.4 percent) student debtors consider benefits covering their loans to be an important or very important factor when pondering job offers, a survey commissioned by student loan consolidation and refinancing service LendEDU and online lender Laurel Road found.

More than half (53.1 percent) would stay in a job they disliked if it was helping them pay off their student debt, and 58.4 percent would take a loan repayment benefit instead of additional vacation days. The survey was done Feb. 8-9 among 1,000 student borrowers who graduated between 2012 and 2017.

EnTrustPermal Expands Alternative Investment Capabilities With Dedicated Aviation Financing Team (PRNewswire), Rated: B

EnTrustPermal, a global alternative asset manager, today announced the expansion of its private debt opportunities investment platform with the addition of John Morabito, a veteran aviation investor from the CIT Group.  EnTrustPermal’s private debt opportunities capabilities now include direct leasing and financing vehicles in the maritime and aviation industries.

Commercial Real Estate Veteran Joins PeerStreet to Lead Commercial Real Estate Team (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet is excited to announce the appointment of Greg Galusha as Head of Commercial Real Estate. He will be based in the firm’s headquarters in Los Angeles, California.

Galusha is responsible for leading PeerStreet’s growing commercial real estate division, which will help PeerStreet expand and enhance the current spectrum of commercial real estate investments offered through its marketplace.

 

Elevate Named as Finalist for LendIt Fintech 2018’s Financial Inclusion Award (Business Wire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, has been named as one of six finalists in the “Excellence in Financial Inclusion” category for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards 2018. This award is given to the company that has made the biggest impact in expanding access to financial services in new and innovative ways.

United Kingdom

Landbay Milestone: Hits £100 Million in Lending (Crowd Fund Insider), Rated: AAA

UK-based peer-to-peer lender Landbay announced this week it has hit its £100 million in lending milestone. The online lending platform achieved its half-way point in lending this past September and revealed that since then momentum has accelerated to result in near-on double of lending volumes in just six months. The lender also noted that the amount to more than £4 million in interest was earned by its investors from loans originated by its platform.

Landbay also confirmed that while lending volumes are always increasing, its focus remains on ensuring that all the lending it does is responsible and it is proud to affirm that its track-record of zero defaults or arrears is still intact.

Founded in 2013, Landbay describes itself as a fast-growing UK peer-to-peer lending platform that enables retail investors, institutions, and local governments to invest in UK’s private rented sector through the funding of residential buy-to-let mortgages.

Landbay is fully authorized and regulated by the FCA, but peer-to-peer lending platforms are not covered by the FSCS. Since its founding, Landbay has launched six other Seedrs campaigns, with the previous initiative attracting more than £1.6 million, which includes an investment from tennis star, Andy Murray.

 

Funding Circle Investors Lent More Than £113 Million to Over 1,700 UK Businesses in February 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Source: Crowdfund Insider

On Wednesday, online lender Funding Circle announced investors lent more than £113 million to over 1,700 UK businesses throughout the month of February. Funding Circle also reported that over the last six months investors have helped more than 10,200 small businesses be able to gain access to financing. More than 678 million has been lent through its platform from August 2017 to February 2018. Breakdowns of February 2018 included the following:

Source: Crowdfund Insider

 

Woodford-backed Atom Bank grabs £149m as Spanish bank BBVA ups its stake (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Challenger bank Atom, which counts rapper Will.i.am as a board adviser, has today grabbed £149m in its latest capital raising.

BBVA, which invested £85.4m and has ploughed in a total of £167m so far, upped its stake to 39 per cent and said the new investment signalled its “confidence in both the business strategy and management team”.

Augmentum’s fintech fund exceeds crowdfunding target to raise £695,000 (Peer2Peer Finance News). Rated: A

A VENTURE capital firm that has a stake in Zopa has breezed through its crowdfunding target to hit £695,000 before closing to new investments, and now looks set to raise £100m from a London flotation.

The initial £500,000 crowdfunding target was hit within 24 hours.

LendInvest Funds £5.5 million Development Deal on Historical Glaswegian Location (CrowdFund Insider), Rated: A

LendInvest also reported that construction is expected to be completed by late October 2018. The total GDV is forecast at just under £8.5 million.

Ablrate considers buying Collateral’s loan book (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: A

BUSINESS lender Ablrate is considering buying the loan book of Collateral, the peer-to-peer lending platform that recently went into administration.

Ablrate’s chief executive David Bradley-Ward said he has contacted Collateral’s administrators to find out how it can help.

LATTICE80 opens New Global Headquarters in London (LATTICE80), Rated: B

Global Fintech Hub LATTICE80 strategically relocates its global headquarters from Singapore to London.

LATTICE80 announced its plan to expand into several cities globally including London, New York and Seoul. By relocating its global hub to London, it can better support its global expansion plans in Europe, Asia and US this year. LATTICE80 will still keep the operations in Singapore to cover Southeast Asia.

European Union

Business Borrowers Should Think Outside the Bank (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Peer-to-Peer lending for small businesses is not new, as those of us on this side of the pond can recall from Lending Club and Prosper, and surely not without lender risk. One of the points made in this piece is that SMEs in Scotland account for ‘more than half’ of all private sector employment.  This is not dissimilar to the world in general, although SME definitions vary widely. In the U.S. for example, there are about 102 million people employed and we would estimate that roughly 60% work for businesses with less than 100 employees. Among these are about 24 million businesses with no employees (sole-proprietors).

They key to this business space however is to help fill a liquidity gap in the market that banks are either unwilling or unable to accommodate, given capital regulations, asset risk ratings, liquidity ratios and so forth.

Real estate crowdfunding company Housers teams up with Redpiso (PropertyPortalWatch), Rated A

The participative real estate financing platform Housers has signed a collaboration agreement with Redpiso so that its promoters appear on the website of this real estate company, the two companies reported today.

 

Capital Markets Union (European Commission), Rated: B

Commission presents Action Plans on sustainable finance and financial technology and adopts legislative proposal on crowdfunding

Action Plan on Financial Technology

The Action Plan sets out 23 steps to enable innovative business models to scale up, support the uptake of new technologies, increase cybersecurity and the integrity of the financial system.

Legislative proposal on crowdfunding

The Commission also put forward new rules that will help crowdfunding platforms to grow across the EU’s single market.

 

International

Is a new and better culture evolving in the credit market? (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The promise of direct lending 2.0

The fastest-growing and potentially huge segment of private credit is being brought about by tech and data powered lending platforms – Direct Lending 2.0. These groups have evolved from their P2P roots. Business models are being re-examined, which is healthy. Several, such as Auxmoney, Funding Circle and Lending Club are now large originators and servicers of SME and consumer credits direct for institutional investors. Just one UK-based platform lender originating SME credits of around 100,000 Euros per clip made more loans of that size to UK companies than the entire UK banking system managed in Q4. This potentially vast capital market has the potential to be a sustainable alternative to the banking system.

The arrival of credit culture 2.0?

In this context it was interesting to see Patty McCord, world-beating Netflix’s ‘Chief Talent Officer’ (we don’t see many of those in the credit market) recently join Lending Club.

Meeting the Fintech Challenge in Digital Consumer Lending: Strategies and Technologies for Innovation (Celent), Rated: A

Digital lending is not limited to fintechs; banks and credit unions have many strengths which, when combined with digital technology, will enable them to thrive long after the Fintech Era ends.

Source: Celent

Finastra, Microsoft form strategic alliance to shape future of financial services software (RealWire), Rated: A

Finastra and Microsoft have formed a strategic alliance to deliver secure, flexible and cost effective financial services cloud solutions. As part of the alliance, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s enterprise-ready trusted cloud platform, will underpin FusionFabric.cloud as Finastra’s strategic cloud platform. In addition, Finastra will launch a selection of its global payments and retail banking products on Azure over the course of this year.

India

This husband-wife duo makes AnyTimeLoan a reality (Your Story), Rated: AAA

Keerthi is an engineering graduate and an alumnus of IIM and ISB with over 14 years of experience across financial service and infrastructure sectors. He co-founded the AnyTimeLoan along with his wife Neha Jain, 32, who is a Chartered Accountant by profession and has over nine years of experience in taxation, compliance, and audit. She was associated as Partner in a CA firm before she took over ATL as co-founder wherein she handles entire finance, compliance, etc.

ATL has also applied to the RBI and is in the process of seeking NBFC P2P license.

For the financial year 2017-18, it is clocking revenues worth Rs 300 lakh, with total loans disbursed around Rs 39.8 crores. It also claims to have a default rate of less than 0.23 percent.

Africa

Africa’s banks lag behind on innovation in financial services (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

African central banks are stifling development by failing to keep up with financial services innovation, according to the head of a UN economic agency and industry executives.
Penetration of mobile money is more than 90 per cent in countries such as Kenya, where Safaricom, a telecoms provider, developed the Mpesa platform in 2007. But it is only 1 per cent in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, some central banks, such as in Tanzania, allowed innovations such as payments between different telecoms operators three years ago while others still ban them.

Many financial services companies, such as mobile-based micro-loan companies, have escaped formal regulation in most African countries as central banks and telecoms regulators struggle to categorise them.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday September 11 2017, Daily News Digest

Zopa trailing 12-month net return

News Comments Today’s main news: Equifax cybersecurity breach. Goldman to take on UK retail banks. China cracks down on online lenders, cryptocurrency dealers. Klarna is testing credit cards with employeees. Today’s main analysis: CECL overview. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Consumers who go to Equifax for help after data breach may not be able to sue. The data behind Zopa’s lowered return […]

Zopa trailing 12-month net return

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Equifax Cyber Incident (Equifax Email), Rated: AAA

At Equifax, we recognize that consumers and customers expect us to provide superior data security, and we work hard to do that every day. Unfortunately, on September 7th, 2017, we announced a cybersecurity incident involving consumer information.  This cybersecurity incident strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do.  Above all else, our first priority is to support consumers and you, our customers, by doing what we can to make this right.

What happened?

On July 29, 2017, Equifax identified a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Equifax discovered the unauthorized access and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. We promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm that has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. We also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continue to work with authorities.

What information may be impacted?

The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Criminals also accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers.

Additional Information:

We have found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.  In addition, we have found no evidence that this cybersecurity incident impacted Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases, including,  ACRO, Workforce Solutions, including The Work Number payroll data, NCTUE, IXI and  CFN.

Where can I learn more?

We have set up a dedicated website at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com:

  • To see if you are potentially impacted, you can click on the Potential Impact Tab
  • To enroll in complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services and how to find out if your personal information may have been impacted, you can click on the Enroll Tab.
  • To learn more about the complimentary offering, you can click on TrustedID Premier Tab. TrustedID Premier provides you with copies of your Equifax credit report; the ability to lock your Equifax credit report; 3-Bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; Internet scanning for your Social Security number; and identity theft insurance.

To speak to someone directly, we have also established a call center at 866-447-7559, available every day (including weekends) from 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. EST, for individuals to ask questions.

Consumers Who Go to Equifax for Help After Data Breach May Lose Their Right to Sue (Money), Rated: AAA

On Thursday credit bureau Equifax said a data breach put personal information of 143 million people at risk. Now its response is drawing more outrage, as lawmakers and others accuse it of encouraging consumers who come to it seeking answers to sign away their chance to seek recourse in the courts.

Following the breach, which compromised tens of millions of Social Security numbers and other valuable data, Equifax set up a website to help worried consumers determine whether or not their information was at risk. That website encouraged visitors to sign up for a program known as TrustedID Premier, the company’s credit monitoring service, which provides automated alerts to credit changes and up to $1 million in ID theft insurance. That’s where the trouble began.

TrustedID’s terms of service include an arbitration clause, insisting that customers agree “all claims, disputes, or controversies…shall be finally settled by arbitration” rather than a court of law. Such clauses aren’t unusual for credit monitoring services — or indeed many other consumer products. But in this circumstance, it created the impression that Equifax was asking consumers it had harmed to surrender their legal rights — including becoming part of a class-action law suit — before it would agree to help them.

One key legal avenue that arbitration clauses typically close off for consumers is the class-action lawsuit. That could be significant for Equifax — at least on one proposed class-action lawsuit was already filed against the company late Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

Equifax free credit monitoring service has some concerned (News Channel 6 Now), Rated: A

The 143 million Americans whose information was compromised by the Equifax data breach may still be on edge even with the free credit monitoring service being offered by the company.

Everything from names, addresses, social security numbers and credit card numbers were hacked in the Equifax data breach.

Kuehner said right now the company is sending out letters letting people know if they have been potentially affected. They can also check online at equifaxsecurity2017.com.

However, it is not only the breach that has consumers concerned, it is the company’s response.

“We’re taking unprecedent step of offering every U.S consumer in the country a comprehensive package of identity theft protection, ecredit file monitoring at no cost,” said Rick Smith, Equifax Chairman, and CEO, in a statement released online.

CECL Overview (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This past Wednesday, FASB released an update to the current expected credit losses methodology (CECL) for estimating credit loss allowances. This new accounting standard, which was initially published in June 2016 (in conjunction with regulators such as the FDIC, OCC, and NCUA), will apply to financial assets carried at amortized cost, including loans held for investment and held-to-maturity debt. Once in place, these assets must be held on the balance sheet net of an expected loss account. Changes are effective for fiscal years beginning after Dec 15, 2019, for all for-profit companies that file with the SEC.

Once firms adopt CECL, management will have increased discretion around forecasts and ultimately net asset carrying value. This represents a dichotomy for investors. Assets should be carried at more accurate levels and better reflect the organization’s financial position. However, management estimates will significantly affect the balance sheet and income statement.

The major change with the CECL methodology is that organizations are expected to include forward looking information when determining credit losses. Banks will need to calculate expected credit loss at the loan level for the entire life of the loan and then aggregate with similar instruments.

Since ECL is calculated for the life of the financial asset, rather than the annual rate, almost all held-to-maturity instruments that are not risk-free will have a credit loss allowance. These long-dated assets may appear more volatile than financial statement users are accustomed to because their impairment has large implications for the balance sheet and income statement. Under the new regulation it will be more important to have correct, auditable, and explainable expected credit losses.

Source: PeerIQ, FASB, FDIC

Overall, we applaud the coming changes to US GAAP and expect investors to respond favorably.

Square Becoming a Bank Is Brilliant. Here’s Why (Inc.), Rated: A

However, there is much more to this story. In fact, this strategic decision could be one of the best moves the company has made. Square’s decision could start a revolution and revamp the entire financial institution structure to address the changes in the transaction and lending environment.

Square essentially is proving how the traditional bank is no longer necessary. By becoming their own bank, they do not have to seek out a separate institution as a strategic partner. They don’t have to add specific business banking services to their portfolio.

Although the banking sector has tried, most banks still have too many fees and capital requirements to provide business accounts with their needs. Numerous freelancers or startups just can’t satisfy those requirements because banks are still designed with the larger business in mind.

More small businesses need smaller sized loans to tap into for their launches and expansion. Recognizing how peer-to-peer lending has grown together as an entire industry illustrates how ripe the financial industry is for more competition. Peer-to-peer lending is more personal, with a much needed boost to the financial sector in watching to find new ways to provide the much-needed financial support of smaller entities and businesses.

With these products, it makes sense that the company could become a one-stop shop for financial needs. To become a one-stop service requires obtaining a bank charter, which is what the company has now applied for under the moniker, Square Financial Services Inc.

King of fintech defined by optimism (San Francisco Business Times/Ron Suber Email), Rated: A

Source: San Francisco Business Times

PeerStreet – Real Estate Investing for Rich Millennials (Nanalyze), Rated: A

While your average American doesn’t have much in the way of savings, the younger “millennial generation” is actually saving at a higher rate than any other generation. More than 80% of those “investment professionals” will then go on to underperform the market and get paid anyway.

If all of this sounds too daunting already and you want the easy way out, use Betterment.

Founded in 2013, Los Angeles startup PeerStreet has taken in just over $21 million in funding from investors that include Andreessen Horowitz to build “a marketplace that provides unprecedented access to high quality real estate loan investments“. Before you start getting too excited, take note that you’re going to need some cash to bring to the table. PeerStreet shows you some dropdown boxes when you create your account and unless you choose the one that says you make $300,000 a year or the one that says you have $1 million in assets, you’re not going to be allowed in. Those of you who were smart enough to major in a STEM subject are more likely to be squared away here while those of you who majored in underwater basket weaving should probably just stop reading right now.

Right away we can see that this is a property that is out of reach for the majority of Americans with a hefty $3.78 million price tag.

This means that the amount of money we could get from selling our property falls to around $3 million which still makes it very easy to pay off a $2 million loan. In fact, the only point we would start to worry is if property prices fell more than -53% over an 18-month period. This would represent a “black swan” type of event which has a very low probability of occurring. Of course there’s always the risk of PeerStreet going under but then you still have the property as collateral for the loan and you are first in line to receive payback should their property portfolio be liquidated. For providing everyone with this great service, PeerStreet takes a reasonable .75% fee which is paid each month alongside the interest payments.

The first thing to note here is that the price of entry is an extremely attractive $1,000. You’d be joining the 295 other investors who have already plunked down an average amount of $6,169 which brings the loan up to 91% funded. If you then went out and found 9 other properties to invest in, you’d have a nice little diversified portfolio of 10 various property investments that are transparent and relatively simple to understand (provided you took the time to understand the risks as we have done with this example), all for just $10,000.

Source: Nanalyze

Lend360: Fintech is No longer a Boutique Financing Option, but a Key Component of Lending Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The early days of peer to peer lending have morphed into a far more complex and data driven credit service that is competing against not just innovative Fintech startups but traditional lenders seeking to maintain relevance. Crowdfund Insider recently asked Lend360 organizers a few questions on their perspective of the online lending industry and what has changed – and what they expect going forward.

What has changed in the lending environment in the past 12 months?

The biggest change is that Fintech is no longer just viewed as a boutique financing option, but a key component of today’s lending market. For proof of this change one only needs to look at the push for a national Fintech charter.

Where do you see current opportunities?

As long as there is a demand for credit, there will be an opportunity for Fintechs to step up and fill the void.

 

Unexpected expenses hit non-prime Boomers hard (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

New research, “The unGolden Years: Non-prime Baby Boomers,” from the Elevate Center for the New Middle Class indicates that non-prime Boomers are borrowing against their 401k accounts three times as frequently as prime Boomers do. The survey found that 4% of prime Boomers have 401k loans, while 13% of non-prime Boomers have borrowed against these retirement plans.

Less than half—43%—of the non-prime Boomers in the company’s research feel comfortable with their ability to manage their day-to-day finances, let alone prepare for retirement. Not that prime Boomers all feel confident, either, with 76% saying they can manage daily financial needs.

Elevate’s study, based on a survey of over 1,000 prime and nonprime consumers, found that non-prime Boomers are 14 times as likely as prime Boomers to have difficulty predicting monthly income—and 4 in 10 say they live paycheck to paycheck. They also tend to have difficulty predicting monthly expenses and are therefore more likely to experience unexpected expenses, the research says.

Among non-prime boomers, 7 in 10 run out of money at least once a year, in spite of generally decent employment levels—frequently, in fact, with more than one job apiece.

The study asked respondents how they would meet an emergency need for $1,200. Among the non-prime Boomer respondents, nearly half had difficulty coming up with a source of funds—1 in 8 could think of no solution at all.

  • 22% of non-prime Boomers could cover the $1,200 surprise through savings—about half of the portion of prime Boomers who could do so.
  • 22% said they could use a credit card to cover the surprise, but less than a third said they could pay off that borrowing before it began to accrue interest.
  • 11% said they could tap family or friends for the money. Interestingly, only 2% of prime Boomers would go that way.
  • A small portion—4.4%—of non-prime Boomers would use payday lenders, deposit advances, or overdraft programs. Interestingly, in a separate question, 13% of non-prime Boomers said they’d used a payday loan in the previous 12 months.

HedgeCoVest Rebrands, Pivots Toward a TAMP (Wealth Management), Rated: A

HedgeCoVest is pivoting away from being a platform to help investors access hedge funds in favor of being a turnkey asset management platform. To reflect the change, the company is rebranding as SmartX Advisory Solutions.

And as part of the change, SmartX is bringing on 27 new investment strategies from firms like Blackrock, Morningstar Investment Management and Nasdaq Dorsey Wright. The models will cover strategies including ETFs, income portfolios, international equities, global/macro investing and U.S. equity strategies.

RIA in a Box Introduces Trade Monitoring

The technology company has a new employee trade-monitoring tool for its MyRIACompliance software platform that RIA in a Box says will help firms comply with Rule 204A-11, which requires the submission of securities holdings and transaction reports. The new tool digitizes the process, provides an interface for employees to electronically link applicable personal brokerage accounts, and provides chief compliance officers with supervision, administration and reporting capabilities.

Cryptocurrency IRAs

CoinIRA, a subsidiary of Goldco focused on digital currencies, is launching Digital IRA Bundles, new investment products that come prepackaged with combinations of popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.

Commonwealth Selects Quovo for Aggregation 

Commonwealth Financial Network announced the completion of an upgrade to the account-aggregation features within Investor360 using Quovo.

Don’t Fall for Loan Sharks Just Because They Have Hip Branding  (Lifehacker), Rated: A

We all know payday lenders, loan sharks, and credit cards profit when you go into debt and, therefore, they can be dangerous. But many of these companies conceal their danger with clever marketing. Beware: a debt trap by any other branding is just as dangerous.

Over at the Outline, writer Gaby Del Valle discusses one such company, Affirm. v

The difference between this service and a typical subprime loan seems to mostly lie in the marketing. Unlike other loans, Affirm is a bit more upfront about the terms you’re getting into.

Everyone is picking on Affirm here, but the issue is not unique to them. This reminds me of the recent fiasco with Navient, the student loan servicer that was sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over shady business practices like misapplying student loan payments. In the lawsuit, Navient said they have no obligation to act in their customers’ best interest. But that’s not exactly the message that comes across on their “Financial Tips Blog.” These companies use financial literacy to hook you into making bad financial moves.

How to Use a Peer-to-Peer Loan to Pay off High-Interest Debt (Forbes), Rated: A

High-interest debt, such as credit cards, sometimes seems impossible to pay off.

Peer-to-peer loans are unsecured — you don’t have to tie any collateral to them. They’re attractive to borrowers with high-interest rate debt because they provide concrete payoff dates and an option for a fixed — and potentially lower — interest rate.

In fact, according to peer-to-peer platform Lending Club, its borrowers — on average — secure a 24% lower interest rate when using its peer-to-peer loans to consolidate debt.

SS&C Announces Major New Release of Precision LM Loan Management Solution (Business Insider), Rated: A

SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSNC), a global provider of financial services software and software-enabled services, today announced the availability of Precision LM™ 3.0, the latest version of the company’s loan origination, servicing, accounting and asset management solution. The new version marks the culmination of significant input and engagement from Precision LM clients as well as SS&C’s proven ability to execute on its comprehensive development roadmap.

Pefin, a fintech start-up, is using A.I. to offer financial advice. Just don’t call it a ‘robo advisor.’ (CNBC), Rated: A

Automated financial advice is becoming more commonplace in the hunt for bigger returns, yet Pefin bills itself as “the world’s first [artificial intelligence] financial advisor.” The company aims to use machine learning to deliver a range of financial planning and investment advice via a chat interface.

“I started Pefin mainly because when you think about less affluent people, there’s really no access to financial advice aside from robos,” Joseph told CNBC in an interview recently.

“Robos are trying to execute a transaction, while we are trying to manage your finances. Investing is optional with us, and we’ll help you if we think it’s the right move for you” rather than generating fees for the company, she told CNBC.

Pefin Welcomes Catherine Flax as Chief Executive Officer (Benzinga), Rated: A

Pefin, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) financial advisor, welcomed Catherine Flax as Chief Executive Officer today.

Flax has had a multi-decade, distinguished career on Wall Street, as the Managing Director and Head of Commodity Derivatives, Americas at BNP Paribas and as Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan. She was named the Most Influential Woman in European Investment Banking in 2012 and one of the 100 most influential women in European Financial Markets in 2010 and 2011. Flax has been a leader in the FinTech space, as a Board Member of leading blockchain company, Digital Asset Holdings, and for the last two years, as an Advisor to Pefin in matters of Marketing, Regulation, Business Development and International Growth.

CoverWallet, Benzinga Fintech Award Winner, Appoints OnDeck’s Paul Rosen As COO (Benzinga), Rated: B

CoverWallet, the winner of Best Insurtech Solution at the 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards, has hired Paul Rosen, formerly the chief sales officer at On Deck Capital Inc ONDK, as its chief operating officer.

Insurtech reminds Rosen of what fintech looked like five to six years ago, he told Benzinga.

Former OnDeck Director Joins Pearl Capital as Chief Revenue Officer (Monitor Daily), Rated: B

Pearl Capital Business Funding, a provider of direct financing to small and midsize businesses, announced Jared Kogan joined the company as chief revenue officer.

Kogan joined Pearl following a 10 year career in the fintech space, most recently serving as the director of OnDeck’s broker division where he funded 10,000 loans for over $650 million in volume and was able to grow production from $14 million to over $40 million per month. Prior to OnDeck, Kogan served as vice president at Newtek, the largest non-bank SBA lender in the country.

Bad Credit? Business Loan Options For Entrepreneurs (Business Computing World), Rated: B

Online Lending Platforms

Typically, these lenders operate only on the web and promise quick assessment and disbursal with less bureaucracy. Some specialist bad credit lenders are ready to structure loans according to your convenience. You can also look at peer-to-peer lending platforms that give you access to individuals who are looking to invest their money in different ventures. Again, these platforms can get cash relatively more quickly into the system.

United Kingdom

Goldman Sachs to take on UK retail banks (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is looking to expand its retail banking business to the UK, replicating its mass-market offering in the US, as it continues a steady march from Wall Street to Main Street.

The New York-based investment bank began to pivot in the US about 18 months ago, offering high-interest online savings accounts for a deposit of as little as $1. Last October it took a step further by launching Marcus by Goldman, a digital consumer-lending platform that seeks to rival the San Francisco trio of Lending Club, Prosper and SoFi.

Now Goldman is taking it international, aiming to launch an online deposit business in the UK about the middle of next year. According to Stephen Scherr, the bank’s head of strategy, the lender plans a greenfield start in the UK under the Marcus brand, but could look to buy a book of deposits — as it did in the US — if the opportunity came its way.

The data behind Zopa’s lowered return projections (AltFi Data Email), Rated: AAA

Zopa has an enviable track record of delivering net returns as evidenced by a more than 10 year track record of delivering 4-7% returns  (after losses and fees).

Source: AltFi Data
Source: AltFi Data

Investors value projected returns over track record (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INVESTORS rank the expected rate of return as the most important factor when choosing an investment provider, research shows.

Analysis by bond provider Minerva Lending, based on a poll of 1,000 adults with more than £50,000 to invest, found 61 per cent consider the rate of return as the most important factor when choosing who to trust their money with.

The research, released on Friday, does not refer to peer-to-peer lending but investors appear to be looking for many factors that P2P firms offer.

Zopa’s Andrews warns on post-Brexit skills shortage (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE UK is facing a technology skills shortage that may worsen because of Brexit, Zopa’s co-founder and chairman has warned.

Giles Andrews (pictured) said that the peer-to-peer consumer lender’s decision to open a hub in Barcelona was partly due to a concern that it would be harder to recruit top tech talent following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Assetz signs for Manchester Green office (North West Place), Rated: B

Assetz Capital, part of the Manchester-based Assetz Group, has relocated from Newby Road in Hazel Grove where it occupied 3,000 sq ft of a 6,000 building, to take the newly refurbished Building 3 on a 10-year lease.

China

Cryptocurrency dealers and online lenders feel heat in China (Nikkei), Rated: AAA

On Friday, Caixin, a Chinese business news outlet, reported that financial authorities have decided to shut down virtual currency exchanges.

Beijing appears eager to eliminate money laundering and choke off capital outflows by shutting down bitcoin exchanges and other virtual currency trading platforms. It is also tightening its grip on peer-to-peer lending, in which individuals privately contract to borrow and lend.

Some exchanges have temporarily halted trading in response to the report. Investors rushed to sell their digital currencies for cash, sending bitcoin about 20% lower versus the yuan at one point on Saturday, compared with the day before, to below 24,000 yuan ($3,703).

Report Casts Doubt on Future of China’s Bitcoin Exchanges (Coindesk), Rated: A

Regulators in China are said to be considering a move to close all domestic bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.

As of now, no official announcements from regulators have been seen. However, there are reasons to believe the report may be authentic.

The work group was first launched by China’s State Department in 2016 to tackle market risks in the country’s financial technology industry such as p2p lending.

Emerging Digital Payments are Crowding out the Banking Market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

According to report from the Central Bank, in the second quarter of 2017, banking financial institutions have handled 36.247 billion electronic payment services, amounting to 545.58 trillion RMB, which was down about 4.4% from the same period of last year.

Actually, non-bank payments including Alipay and wechat Pay are growing rapidly. The Central Bank’s data also shew that in the second quarter of 2017, the scale of non-bank payment market reached to 570.95 trillion RMB. Compared to the amount of 23.35 trillion in the same period last year, it has significantly increased 34.87 percent.

 

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On September 6th, Zhao Jianjun, deputy director of the Department of Finance at Ministry of Education, announced at a press conference that online marketplace lenders are banned from lending to college students in China.

On September 6th, Zhao Jianjun, deputy director of the Department of Finance at Ministry of Education, announced at a press conference that online marketplace lenders are banned from lending to college students in China. According to WeChat Pay, users of the new product will be able to make payments and transfer, send Hongbao, pay back credit card debt and be awarded with interest on their digital wallet balances.

As response to the latest regulation, NEO Council announced it would offer refunds for NEO purchased through its ICO.

On September 4th, China’s leading digital payment service Alipay announced to expand its operation to Norway.

Early this week, Proptech BBT announced that the platform had managed to secure RMB 60 million Pre-A funding from Hongdao Capital at the beginning of August.

European Union

Klarna is reportedly testing its own credit cards among employees (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Since Klarna received its full banking license this summer, there have been many questions as to how exactly it would be leveraged. One among many speculative scenarios includes launching the company’s very own credit- and bank cards.

Now there are some initial reports indicating that the credit card rumours are for real. Referring to internal documents it has been able to access, Breakit reports that the Swedish e-invoicing giant, valued at $2,5 bn, is testing credit cards in-house.

A memo sent through the company’s intranet has supposedly given Klarna’s Swedish employees the opportunity to test proprietary payment cards for a limited amount of time.

Knowledge is power in Grid Finance’s revolution (Independent.ie), Rated: A

SME lender Grid Finance is expanding its offering to include a digital pension product targeted at the owners of small businesses. The company has engaged Conexim to provide the back office infrastructure on the product – as well as the regulatory umbrella – while Grid will act as distributor.

It is the latest piece of innovation being undertaken by the company, which is looking to build what chief executive Derek F Butler calls “a small business bank in all but name”.

10 Swiss Fintech Startups to Watch (LinkedIn), Rated: A

The 10 selected entrepreneurs reflect the acceleration of the Swiss fintech scene in the recent years and the impressive quality of its startups. They will join the intense journey taking place from September 10 – 16 in New York.

  • Advanon, Phil Lojacono: Advanon in its basic version is an online platform that allows SMEs to pre-finance their open invoices directly through financial investors.
  • Algo Trader, Andy Flury: The startup provides an algorithmic trading software that allows automation of complex, quantitative trading strategies.
  • Creditgate24, Teddy Amberg: CreditGate24 is an independent Swiss company and a fully automated platform for lenders and borrowers which offers efficient, transparent and scalable credit processing at high quality.
  • KiWi (eBOP), Christian Sinobas: KiWi transforms merchant’s phone into a smart point of sale.
  • Monito (Global Impact Finance), François Briod: Sending money abroad? Monito is the Booking.com for money transfers, helping migrants and expatriates find, review and compare money transfer services.
  • OneVisage, Christophe Remillet: OneVisage is a leading cyber-security company developing biometric solutions to help financial services eliminating identity theft and increasing user’s digital experience.
  • SONECT, Sandipan Chakraborty: SONECT enables every shop in the neighborhood to act as a virtual ATM.

Should you let a ‘robot’ manage your retirement savings? (BBC.com), Rated: A

Consultancy firm Accenture found that 68% of global consumers would be happy to use robo-advice to plan for retirement, with many feeling it would be faster, cheaper, and more impartial than human advice.

Joe Ziemer, vice president of communications at Betterment, a US robo-adviser with more than $9bn under management, says: “The Betterment service takes your information and uses a series of algorithms to create an asset allocation plan, which might be, for example, 90% equities and 10% bonds for a retirement saver.”

Wealth Wizards, for example, typically charges £65 for investments up to £30,000, and 0.30%, or £300, on a £100,000 investment pot. Betterment charges 0.25% a year.

That’s peanuts compared to human advisers’ fees, which come in at about £580 for advice on a £200-a-month pension contribution, or £1,000-£2,000 for guidance on what to do with your £100,000 pot when your retire, according to UK adviser network Unbiased.

Robo.cash Reports Steady Growth in European P2P Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The young lender says the total amount of investments now exceed €1.8 million. Approximately €400,000 in loans were added in August. The average invested amount per investor gained 2.2% to the previous month at €3,270 in August. In regards to the number of investors using the platform, in August Robo.cash added 188 users. Currently, there are more than 900 investors in total who have joined the platform in the first six months of operation.

Source: Crowdfund Insider
International

Mitek Unveils Mobile Verify® for Lending (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

For the first time at FinovateFall, Mitek (NASDAQ:MITK) (www.miteksystems.com), a global leader in mobile capture and identity verification software solutions, will demonstrate Mobile Verify® for Lending. This new, five step digital lending experience enables lenders to verify identity and bank account information in real time for fast loan decisions with a simple process for borrowers.

When applying for a consumer loan from a desktop computer, the borrower will first log into their online bank account and agree to have their account information shared with the lender. A text message is then sent to the borrower’s smartphone directing them on how to take four photos: front and back of their driver’s license, a selfie and a photo of their pay stub or other trailing document, to complete the loan application process. This new digital experience is quick and easy for the borrower and provides the lender with real-time identity and bank account verification.

Moroku lands on the BNP Paribas Radar (Moroku Email), Rated: A

Dear friends

Last week Moroku was identified as one of the top 4 Fintech’s globally best positioned to take on the battle for Millennials 

Fintech has transformed payments but not savings, says BlackRock’s chief executive (SCMP), Rated: A

The financial technology boom has transformed the way over a billion people engage with financial services, particularly when it comes to making payments, but Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, said that no company has yet managed to use technology successfully to get people investing for the long term.

Both in China, and in Europe and North America, a plethora of investment platforms and robo advisory services are evolving, but none has yet reached critical mass.

Memorandum of Understanding Signed with GoldMint (LSE), Rated: B

Eurasia, the platinum, palladium, iridium, rhodium and gold production company, is pleased to announce it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with GoldMint PTE (“GoldMint”), a Singapore based Limited Company.

Australia/New Zealand

Broker numbers to swell in SME space (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

More brokers will diversify into the SME loan space due to increased competition in traditional markets and growing demand from clients, the lender’s head of sales Michael Burke said.

“Brokers are not only looking to move into online lending because of the speed and ease of doing business it offers, but because their time-poor customers are demanding a more convenient solution involving faster turnaround times.”

As well as providing a digital platform to facilitate the loan process, OnDeck’s underwriting policy also helps ease the broker’s burden, Burke told Australian Broker.

PledgeMe joins Equitise in eyeing Australian market (Scoop), Rated: A

PledgeMe, the equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform, has joined rival Equitise in signalling plans to enter the Australian market ahead of a law change coming into effect across the Tasman this month.

Co-founder Anna Guenther will relocate to Brisbane for six months to establish the Wellington-based company’s Australian arm, according to a PledgeMe blog post. PledgeMe will participate in the Queensland government’s HotDesQ programme, which provides networks, support, and funding for companies to relocate to the state.

India

SoftBank Vision Fund makes second bet in two months; fintech remains investors’ favourite baby (Yourstory), Rated: A

SoftBank Vision Fund, the world’s largest pool of private capital, placed its second major bet on an Indian startup in a span of two months with its investment in OYO Rooms. The $250-million funding has taken OYO’s valuation from $460 million in August last year to between $850 million and $900 million.

APAC

This Not-for-profit Fintech Hub Wants To Impact The Unbanked Population (BLLNR), Rated: A

Allow me to set the scene: in the wider region of Southeast Asia that surrounds Singapore, where Lattice80, our not-for-profit fintech hub that we launched last year is based, there is a huge unbanked population. KPMG estimates put the number at about 438 million. In poor countries like Cambodia, the population with a bank account falls to just 5 percent.

McKinsey did a similar study in 2010 on the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked. Asia’s emerging markets were identified as a hotbed of unbanked. The same study suggests that reaching the unbanked population in ASEAN could increase the economic contribution of the region from US$17 billion to US$52 billion by 2030.

Multi-asset funds offer ‘all-in-one solutions’ (Straits Times), Rated: A

Q WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION OF MULTI-ASSET INVESTING?

It is the ability to combine a range of asset classes with different and largely independent economic drivers in order to achieve consistent return and reduce downside risk.

Years of central bank intervention in markets have depressed interest rates and left investors hunting for reliable yield. More asset classes beyond traditional equities and bonds have become more accessible in the past decade.

Q WHAT IS THE COMPOSITION OF YOUR MULTI-ASSET PORTFOLIOS?

More recently, we added peer-to-peer lending, mortgage and corporate funds that offer excess return over corporate bonds for a similar level of risk, litigation financing and credit funds. The world’s largest institutional investors have already diversified into these assets. Now, smaller institutions and individual investors can too, through our multi-asset strategies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday August 30 2017, Daily News Digest

Prosper

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper performance update for July 2017.Top Mozido executives quietly left company.White House OKs delay of fiduciary rule.Funding Circle kicks off 12M marketing campaign with TV ad.LATTICE80 to open London fintech hub.Klarna profits up 130%+.RateSetter hits 2,000 broker milestone. Today’s main analysis: Millennials prefer auto, personal loans to credit cards. Today’s […]

Prosper

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

South America

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Prosper Performance Update: July 2017 (Prosper), Rated: AAA

Today we are sharing performance data from the Prosper portfolio for July 2017.

Our risk team implemented a credit tightening in July aimed at removing certain populations of borrowers from originations on a go-forward basis. As a result of this credit tightening, the overall distribution of the book shifted slightly towards lower risk loans. This slight shift resulted in an overall portfolio coupon decrease of 45bps and an overall return estimate decrease of 26bps.

Additional highlights from the July Update include:

  • Charge-off levels in 2016H2 vintages continue to show meaningful improvement compared to 2016H1 vintages.
  • Periodic delinquencies moved higher for 2016 and 2017 vintages.
Source: Prosper

The Top Executives Of Former Fintech Unicorn Mozido Have Quietly Left The Company (Forbes), Rated: AAA

The top two executives of Mozido, a financial technology company that raised some $300 million to develop a mobile payments business, have quietly left the company.

On its web site, Mozido currently lists Todd Bradley as its CEO, but Bradley said in a brief interview that he left the company in June. Bradley’s departure appears to have left Mozido without a chief executive officer. Bradley has also left Mozido’s board but the company’s web site still lists Bradley as a director.

Scott Ellyson, Mozido’s chief financial officer who is listed on Mozido’s web site as its second-most senior executive, has also left the company, according to Bradley. Ellyson’s LinkedIn page currently does not mention his time at Mozido. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Three weeks ago, Michael Liberty, the founder of Mozido, was sentenced to four months in prison and a $100,000 fine by a federal judge. Liberty pleaded guilty in November 2016 to making illegal campaign contributions.

Digitalization Among Factors Pushing Millennial Credit Preferences Toward Auto and Personal Loans (NASDAQ), Rated: AAA

As the first generation to be fully immersed in mass-market digitalization, Millennials are slowing their credit card usage while increasingly using other credit products such as personal loans. A just-released TransUnion (NYSE:TRUstudy found that Millennials are carrying on average two fewer bankcards and private label cards than Generation X (“Gen X”) consumers at the same respective ages. Conversely, Millennials’ appetite for new auto and personal loans has grown at a faster rate than Gen X borrowers at the same age points.

Credit Cards Out of Fashion; Cars and Personal Loans in Style

The study found that, in addition to carrying fewer credit cards than Gen X consumers, Millennials also are maintaining lower balances on those cards. TransUnion analysts believe that this is partly driven by the CARD Act of 2009, which limited the marketing of credit cards on college campuses. The increased use of debit cards also plays a role in this shift. The study pointed to recent Federal Reserve data, which found that debit card transactions grew from 8 billion in 2000 to 60 billion in 2015. In contrast, credit card transactions only increased from 16 billion to 34 billion in that same timeframe.

Source: TransUnion

Millennials and Mortgages

Among all major credit products, the mortgage market has been the slowest to recover from the Great Recession, with home ownership rates still below levels observed in 2009. Overall, homeownership is down 0.8% since the Recession, but this number grows to -1.6% for 35-44 year olds and -2.1% for those under 35.

As a result of credit access being limited and, per the U.S. Census Bureau, affordability being affected by income gaps between the two generations, TransUnion’s study found the percentage of Millennials opening mortgages between the ages of 21-34 (5%) is nearly half of the Gen X group (10%) when they were that age. TransUnion observed a smaller but still material gap (13% for Millennials vs. 16% for Gen X) within the Super Prime risk tier, suggesting that this dynamic is not driven solely by credit supply.

TransUnion’s study found that access to mortgages has declined dramatically for 21-34 year olds. In 2000, 39% of mortgage originations in this age range were comprised of non-prime borrowers.  In 2016, non-prime borrower originations declined to 20%.

Further impacting mortgage originations to Millennials are lower income levels. Per the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income of consumers ages 25-34 declined from $60k in 2000 to $57k in 2015.  The impact can be seen in the housing status of these consumers: a larger portion of younger adults ages 25-29 are living with their parents, rising from 15% in 2000 to 25% in 2014.

Despite these challenges, a TransUnion survey of 1,340 consumers in July 2017 found that nearly 75% of Millennials ages 23-37 said they plan on purchasing a home in the future.

White House OKs DOL Fiduciary Rule Delay (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: AAA

The Office of Management & Budget of the White House has approved the Department of Labor’s request to push back the final implementation date of its fiduciary rule — originally scheduled for January — to July 2019, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Banks Send Warning Signs for Economy (WSJ), Rated: A

Being a key transmission mechanism for savings, investment and spending, the banking sector is worth watching as a barometer for the health of the overall economy. Lately it has been acting as one would expect toward the end of an expansion phase.

Most glaringly, after strong lending growth for several years, momentum clearly is slowing. In its quarterly report on the sector, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. found that total loans and leases by banks and other insured institutions rose by just 3.7% from a year earlier at the end of June. That is the third consecutive quarterly deceleration and is down from a 6.7% pace of growth a year ago.

After a period of strong lending, it is also typical for defaults to start ticking up as levels of indebtedness rise and bills come due. This is indeed happening, at least among consumers. Credit-card charge-offs soared by 24.5% in the second quarter, according to the FDIC, marking the seventh straight increase. Charge-offs on loans to commercial and industrial borrowers, however, declined by 9.7%, possibly due to a recovering energy sector.

‘Madden fix’ bills are a recipe for predatory lending (American Banker), Rated: A

Currently pending in both houses of Congress are versions of the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act of 2017 — bills that would “fix” the 2015 appellate court decision in Madden v. Midland Funding LLC. Unfortunately, these so-called legislative solutions are based on a faulty reading of case law.

The Madden case held that National Bank Act preemption of state usury laws applies only to a national bank, and not to a debt collector assignee of the national bank. The decision has potentially broad implications for all secondary markets in consumer credit in which loan assignments by national banks occur: securitizations, sales of defaulted debt and rent-a-BIN lending.

Unfortunately, the “Madden fix” bills are overly broad and unnecessary and will facilitate predatory lending.

The actual “valid-when-made” doctrine provides that the maker of a note cannot invoke a usury defense based on an unconnected usurious transaction. The basic situation in all of the 19th-century cases establishing the doctrine involves X making a nonusurious note to Y, who then sells the note to Z for a discount. The discounted sale of the note can be seen as a separate and potentially usurious loan from Y to Z, rather than a sale. The valid-when-made doctrine provides that X cannot shelter in Y’s usury defense based on the discounting of the note. Even if the discounting is usurious, it does not affect the validity of X’s obligation on the note. In other words, the validity of the note is a free-standing obligation, not colored by extraneous transactions.

Recovering Non-Performing Loans: Better Options (Lend Academy), Rated: A

A small business lender knows that a certain percentage of loans will become NPLs and typically has parameters the business must stay within to remain profitable. The lender may pursue NPLs on an in-house basis indefinitely past the charge-off date or turn them over to a collections agency at some point. Both options create problems in the fintech business model.

The best recovery option for online small business lenders is to manage NPLs in-house until they become charge-offs, then use the services of a reputable commercial debt buyer. This is how it works.

  • The lender works with the commercial debt buyer on a one-time basis, periodically, or in a forward-flow relationship where NPL information is sent regularly to the buyer.
  • A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is signed and the lender provides information to the buyer on the pool of non-performing assets. This includes the number of accounts and amount of outstanding balances.
  • Buyer assigns a value to the NPLs and offers a price.
  • Lender signs the purchase agreement. Typically, buyers in forward-flow relationships will send payment within 24 hours.
  • Reputable buyers then work to collect the debts over time, without using the lender’s name and in a sensitive manner, and without reselling the debt.

TEN-X PARTNERS WITH MONEY360 TO OFFER FINANCING SERVICES FOR COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION MARKETPLACE (Money360), Rated: A

Ten-X Commercial, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace, today announced that it has partnered with Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender focused on commercial real estate (CRE), to offer financing for properties available for sale. The partnership will expand the investor pool for commercial properties listed on Ten-X by giving prospective buyers assurance they will be able to procure the necessary financing to fill the deal’s capital stack, while providing sellers and their brokers increased confidence that once terms are agreed upon, buyers will be able source a loan and close the deal.

Under the agreement, Money360 will work with Ten-X to determine which commercial properties listed on the Ten-X platform are appropriate for pre-arranged financing, and will then pre-underwrite bridge and/or permanent loans for qualifying properties. The lender’s offers will be listed on the Ten-X property detail page, informing prospective buyers about the available financing terms. After the property trades, Money360 will work with buyers to underwrite, process and close the loans to facilitate the transaction.

Non-Prime Boomers Struggle Financially, but Less So Than Other Generations (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Despite the widespread perception that Baby Boomers (ages 51-64) are struggling to make ends meet more than any other generation, new research from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class has found that Baby Boomers are actually struggling the least. In fact, Baby Boomers are the most likely to have steady employment and run out of money less often, compared to data from previous studies.

“These findings come as a surprise, as they are counter-intuitive to many of the trends we have seen widely covered around Baby Boomers,” said Jonathan Walker, executive director of Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class. “Recently, it was reported by the Federal Reserve that Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce in such large droves that they are skewing employment numbers, but we’ve found that 60 percent of non-prime Boomers have had no employment change in the last 12 months, compared with 59 percent of Gen-X and 43 percent of Millennials.”

But even though they struggle less than other non-prime generations, they are still facing challenges in the new economy, especially when compared to their prime counterparts. Non-prime Boomers are more likely to hold more than one job and are 10 times more likely to run out of money every month.

Additional key findings include that – compared to their prime cohorts – non-prime Boomers are:

  • 2.2x as likely to say that their finances cause them significant stress
  • 4x as likely to live paycheck to paycheck and 1 in 6 use payday loans
  • 14x as likely to express difficulty predicting monthly income and are 2.5x more likely to overdraft on bank account
  • 3x as likely to take a loan against their 401k
  • 46 percent less likely to go on vacation
  • More likely to be living in households with 3 or more working adults

How Gen Z Will Affect The Future Of The Peer To Peer Economy (Forbes), Rated: A

Born in the mid-1990s to late 2000s, Gen Z accounts for one-quarter of the U.S. population. They are considered the most diverse and most multicultural generation the U.S. has ever seen. The highly influential Gen Zers are the first digital native generation. They are already impacting the current peer-to-peer (P2P) economy and will have an enormous effect on how this economy evolves.

Gallup study found that about 8 in 10 students in grades 5 through 12 reported that they wanted to be their own boss rather than work for someone else.

Additionally, a millennial branding studyreported that 72% of high school students and 64% of college students want to start their own business.

PUBLIC COMPANIES MAKING ICO-RELATED CLAIMS (Investor.gov) Rated: A

The SEC may suspend trading in a stock when the SEC is of the opinion that a suspension is required to protect investors and the public interest.  Circumstances that might lead to a trading suspension include:

  • A lack of current, accurate, or adequate information about the company – for example, when a company has not filed any periodic reports for an extended period;
  • Questions about the accuracy of publicly available information, including in company press releases and reports, about the company’s current operational status and financial condition; or
  • Questions about trading in the stock, including trading by insiders, potential market manipulation, and the ability to clear and settle transactions in the stock.

The SEC recently issued several trading suspensions on the common stock of certain issuers who made claims regarding their investments in ICOs or touted coin/token related news.  The companies affected by trading suspensions include First Bitcoin Capital Corp.CIAO GroupStrategic Global, and Sunshine Capital.

RealtyShares Reports: $ 10.3 Million Raised for Industrial Real Estate Deals in San Francisco and Boston MSA (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online real estate marketplace RealtyShares announced on Tuesday the closing of two industrial real estate financing transactions in San Francisco and Boston MSA. The amount raised between the deals was $10.3 million.

RealtyShares stated it secured  $8.7 million industrial debt loan for a San Francisco located mixed-use, industrial warehouse and office space in the city’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood.

Westlake Financial Services Embraces Clarity Services’ Clear Fraud to Enhance Its Auto Lending Nationwide (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Following impressive results using Clear FraudTM to mitigate losses in targeted auto lending transactions, Westlake Financial Services has expanded its relationship with Clarity Services to strengthen its auto portfolio nationwide.

Westlake, which has a network of more than 50,000 new and used auto and motorcycle dealers throughout the United States, began testing Clear FraudTM a year ago in select markets. The California-based finance company has enhanced its profitability by using Clear FraudTM to provide loan terms that are more attractive to both consumers and dealers.

By incorporating Clarity’s credit data, Westlake is able to more accurately price and structure deals with profitable loan terms, and determine down payment requirements. Westlake’s use of Clear FraudTM helps the lender evaluate subprime applicants with credit scores below 600. Clear FraudTM also makes it easy to integrate scores into Westlake’s existing scorecard.

AirFox Closes $ 6.5 Million AirToken Pre-Sale Weeks Ahead of Schedule (News BTC), Rated: A

AirFox, the company making mobile data and the internet more affordable for millions of people, today announced it closed its $6.5 million ICO pre-sale weeks earlier than scheduled. The ICO will open at 10 a.m. ET on September 19, 2017. AirFox will use the ICO funds raised to further develop and launch its new blockchain consumer platform, AirToken (AIR), in order to tokenize mobile access by unlocking mobile capital from the smartphone for the underserved and underbanked prepaid mobile subscribers in emerging markets.

FinTechs Give Banks A Wake-Up Call With Loan Disbursements (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Not too long ago, when small- to mid-sized business (SMB) Orion First, a business credit ratings firm, needed a loan, its only option was to visit a local bank, fill out myriad application forms and wait several weeks or months to (maybe) get approved. Fast forward to today, and the small business lending process has undergone a significant overhaul.

With a growing number of FinTech players competing in the lending space, small businesses now have improved access to a range of loan options — and, in most cases, funds are disbursed in as little as 24 hours.

New services that can expedite the lending process for companies like Orion First are already gaining popularity with SMBs and consumers who need short-term loans. The Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA), a trade organization representing several companies in the space — including prominent players like small business loan provider Kabbage and financial consultant and insights provider PayNet — says its member companies have distributed more than $14 billion in capital loan disbursements to small businesses to date.

The millennial population is estimated at roughly 83 million, and a recent survey found almost half of millennials (49 percent) plan to start their own businesses within the next three years.

recent survey by YouGov found 81 percent of both retail consumers and SMBs who turned to digital lenders said the ease and speed of completing a loan application were the reasons they made the switch. In the same survey, 77 percent of respondents cited the rapid pace of loan decision making as the key appeal for these platforms.

3Q 2017 PitchBook Fintech Analyst Note: Marketplace Lending (PitchBook), Rated: B

Key takeaways & highlights:

  • Online lenders have faced increased competition from other more established fintech companies. Furthermore, banks such as Goldman Sachs have started their own lending arms
  • Publicly traded firms have made great strides in improving financials; the analyst consensus has Lending Club moving into positive GAAP earnings by year end in part driven by securitizations as a lower-cost source of capital
  • SoFi has made strides towards becoming more bank-like after adding mortgage loans, wealth management services and acquiring (and subsequently shuttering) online bank and money transfer service Zenbanx

Online Lenders Gain Traction By Partnering With Incumbents (ValueWalk), Rated: B

As the latest PitchBook fintech analyst note points out, some of the most notable companies are becoming more like banks, with SoFi the most prominent example, as it expands from student loan refinancing into unsecured consumer credit, wealth management and more. Yet as some online lenders establish a foothold, there are still significant hurdles to overcome.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle is kicking off a £12 million marketing bonanza with a Great British Bake Off TV ad (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Online lender Funding Circle is kicking off a £12 million ($15 million) marketing campaign with a prime-time TV advert during the Great British Bake Off.

A 30-second TV spot of a woman drumming will run during the premiere of the smash hit baking show on Channel 4 on Tuesday evening.

Singapore Fintech Hub LATTICE80 Announces UK Expansion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LATTICE80, a fintech hub owned and operated by Singapore-based private investment firm Marvelstone Group, announced on Monday it is set to open a fintech hub in London as part of its global expansion. The organization revealed that as of August 2017, its UK entity has been registered, but a suitable hub space remains to be found. It is currently in talks with relevant parties in the private and public sectors, with plans to secure and open a hub by 2018.

The evolution of the UK receivables market (AltFi), Rated: A

In particular, the UK market has lots of new entrants (now in excess of 100 providers) but the number of clients seems to be static at about 40,000-45,000. In order to remain competitive, lenders are required to compete on price and terms, which increases their risk and often reduces their return.

Customers also have more choice in the market, in that they have access to working capital both from banks and alternative lenders such as peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the non-traditional players in the market that are harnessing technology. The new generation of borrowers is more tech-savvy and more comfortable embracing P2P capabilities, which makes new players more attractive.

The funding pitfalls a small business owner needs to know (RealBusiness), Rated: A

Richard Spielbichler, ABL director North West, Independent Growth Finance

“The main pitfall to consider is whether the business has a USP that will protect their position in the market. Many businesses suffer from ‘me too’ syndrome, where their USP is very similar to an existing organisation.”

Angelika Burawska, COO, Startup Funding Club

“It depends on the type of financing. In the case of loans and various types of trade finance, the main pitfalls lie in payment terms, such as how much and when, late payment fees and what happens if a company fails to pay.

“In the case of equity funding, businesses have to pay attention to the valuation they raise which may be too high or too low; and the control rights they give to investors.”

China

There Is a Major Tech IPO Boom Happening, Just Not in the United States (TheStreet), Rated: AAA

In the first half, a total of 59 Chinese technology, media and telecommunication (TMT) companies sold shares through initial public offerings (IPOs), a surge from 10 a year ago.

In value, the firms raised a combined 25.8 billion yuan (US$3.9 billion) in the first six months, five times the amount a year earlier, said the accounting firm in Shanghai.

The trend is a continuation of a boom that began in the second half of 2016, when there were 58 IPOs of such companies raising a total of 33 billion yuan.

Embracing Auto Finance Wave, Zhushang Financial Raised Tens Million RMB in Series A (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 25th August, Zhushang Financial, a P2P lending platform specialize in providing auto financing services, announced the closing of Tens million RMB in series A funding. Toulang Capital led the round, with participation from Cailang Capital. The “Zhushang Financial” brand has been upgraded from the “Zhushang Dai” brand and announced with this round of financing.

Zhushang Financial is based in Chengdu, a developed city in west China, providing P2P auto financing services for small companies and individuals. Currently, it has established branches in many western cities, including Chongqing, Guizhou Province, Kunming, Xi ‘an, Taiyuan and Lanzhou. Also, the company has signed agreements on depository with both Zhejiang Mintai Bank and Hunan Rural Commercial bank (Youxian Branch). Up to now, the total volume of the platform has reached over 500 million RMB.

According to the report of Central Bank, China’s auto financing market reached 700 billion RMB in 2016 and may exceed 1.85 trillion RMB in 2018. Its rapid growth comes not just from the wave of “car service”, but also from the policy support. Actually, according to the policy issued last year, the net loan assets must be small and dispersed, and since then auto finance has become a new hotspot of P2P lending industry.

sources said the SFC on the ICO advice Jianzhao pyramid schemes (Yicai), Rated: A

August 29, the first financial reporter from a block chain technology business executives were informed that the China Securities Regulatory Commission recently to some of the block chain enterprises on the ICO (Initial Coin Offering, virtual currency initial public offering) for advice, the current In the stage of collecting comments and discussions, the SFC expressed particular concern about ICO projects for pyramid schemes in the name of virtual currency.

Net mass transfer will go to the US IPO official response (01Caijing), Rated: B

According to Bloomberg News, Fintech Quantifiers currently selected JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley as US financial adviser to the US IPO, the IPO size of about 200 million US dollars.

European Union

Profits Up More Than 130 percent In Klarna’s Half-Year Report (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Klarna, the online payments firm based in Sweden, and one of the unicorns that came of age with a more than $1-billion valuation, posted results Friday detailing growth for the first half of the year.

The company said that net profit came in at 228 million crowns, or about $28.4 million, up 138 percent year over year, on sales of 2.05 billion crowns.  Sales were up 21 percent.

Klarna Celebrates Year-Over-Year Sales, Profit Gains (Finovate), Rated: A

On Friday the company reported sales and profit results for the first half of 2017 that represented gains of 21% and 138%, respectively. The strong financials come amid a series of headlines that show the Swedish payments company making strides on a number of fronts. This includes rumors that Klarna is partnering with Stripe to better access the U.S. market. Such a partnership would make Klarna the only non-credit card option available on the platform, and enable customers to take advantage of Klarna’s signature “pay after delivery” service. A deal between Klarna and Stripe also would provide what an anonymous source quoted in Nordic Business Insider referred to as “potentially an important piece of the puzzle” of Klarna’s plan for expansion in the U.S.

Swedish Tech Bank Klarna Launches ‘Smoooth’ Brand (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Last year, Klarna launched the “Smoooth” campaign with a series of award winning and critically praised advertisements showing just how smooth payments should be. Now Klarna takes the next step by fully implementing the concept of “Smoooth” across all aspects of the brand. This includes not only a new logo, graphic identity and checkout touch-points but towards a completely new user experience – transforming rational payment transactions into an emotional shopping experience for consumers.

Ice-cream melting on warm car hoods, shampooed long-haired dogs and pencils being pushed into huge jelly pastries. Klarna`s new identity is definitely not your average bank speaking.

“We are on a journey to transform Klarna from a traditional payment provider to a stronger consumer brand. Our new identity is more modern and expresses our focus on the consumer experience, innovation and simplicity in payments. It’s time for a new kind of bank.” Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna

This is not only an update of the visual identity of Klarna but also changing the way consumers interact with the company. The concept of “Smoooth” will be evident when watching an ad or pushing a button to pay in the Klarna app. Every Klarna touchpoint has a new unique graphic and will be smarter and more intuitive. That will ensure a better user experience for consumers, but will also support in driving growth, conversion and consumer loyalty for all  Klarna merchants.

There are three intuitive ways to shop with Klarna:

  • Pay now. – Pay directly at checkout. No credit card numbers or passwords to remember.
  • Pay later. – Try first, pay later. Klarna lets you have 14 days or more to decide if you want to keep your goods or not.
  • Slice it. – Get all your payments on one invoice and choose how much to pay each month.

As of today, Klarna has released all touchpoints that can be updated automatically, and over the coming months will continuously roll out “Smoooth” updates to the touchpoints of all merchants.

PitchIt @ LendIt Europe 2017 (LendIt), Rated: B

Submit your application to PitchIt, a competition for fintech startups, taking place at LendIt Europe–one of the largest international lending and fintech conferences in Europe. This exclusive programme will nurture emerging talent throughout the competition, provide selected finalists with unparalleled access to industry expertise as well as invaluable exposure, branding and more at the event.

Deadline for applications is 4 September 2017.

International

NEW REPORT: Faster Disbursement Services From Alt-Lending Players Put Banks On Notice (PYMNTS), Rated: A

The August edition of the PYMNTS.com Disbursements Tracker™, powered by Ingo Money, highlights several notable developments that explain the waning influence of the paper check, and how new disbursement tools could impact the workplace, pension systems and mobile payment options.

The August edition of the PYMNTS.com Disbursements Tracker™, powered by Ingo Money, highlights several notable developments that explain the waning influence of the paper check, and how new disbursement tools could impact the workplace, pension systems and mobile payment options.

Hike recently added a digital payments wallet to its app, allowing money transfers between customers using the country’s United Payments Interface (UPI) service. Skype is another messaging service helping users quickly send money to one another using popular payment option PayPal. The partnership between Skype and PayPal enables users to send money to fellow Skype users in 22 countries, including the U.S., Canada and more than a dozen nations in Europe, through PayPal in the Skype mobile app.

Australia

Australian SMEs are turning to alternative sources of funding (Finder.com.au), Rated: AAA

Australian businesses are turning to crowdfunding, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and online loans for finance, according to new research from Businessloans.com.au. The Small Business Credit Surveyconducted by ACA Research, found that the most sought-after alternative funding source was equity finance (34%), followed closely by online lenders (30%) and P2P business loans(21%).

However, while small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are embracing alternative sources of capital, not all of them are receiving the loans they hope for. The survey revealed that while 84.1% of businesses were successful in their applications, less than half of those (38.9%) of those were approved for all of the credit they applied for.

It is interesting to note that the number of businesses which were declined a loan is only 1.6% of respondents. The remaining 14.3% of the “unsuccessful applicant” group was approved for less than half of the loan they had asked for. Over one-third of this group (35%) had applied for more than or equal to $250,000.

The survey found that a rejected application seriously affects a business. Respondents that did not receive the full amount applied for delayed or could not expand their businesses (34%), delayed or were not able to fulfil existing orders or contracts (27%) or did not hire new employees (17%).

 

P2P lender reaches 2,000 brokers (Broker News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has accredited 2,000 brokers on its lending platform, amidst a rise in P2P popularity within the general public.

Lending volumes through the broker channel, especially in auto and home improvement loans, are doubling every six months, according to the lender’s most recent settlement figures.

Across the direct and broker channels, RateSetter has also passed $150m in lending facilitated since 2014. In the last five months alone, lending grew 50% across both channels, passing the $100m milestone in March.

Source:: BrokerNews.com
India

‘Future-ready’ Industrial Policy to be out in October (The Hindu), Rated: A

The other “illustrative outcomes” are developing alternatives to banks and improving access to capital for MSMEs through ‘Peer to Peer Lending’ and ‘Crowd funding’, providing a credit rating mechanism for MSMEs to provide them easier access to funds, addressing the problem of inverted-duty structure and also balancing it against obligations under multilateral or bilateral trade agreements, studying the impact of automation on jobs and employment, ensuring minimal/zero waste from industrial activities and targeting certain sectors to radically cut emissions.

Asia

Dianrong and FinEX Asia Launch Asia’s First Fintech Asset Management Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Dianrong and FinEX Asia today announced the launch of Asia’s first financial technology (fintech) asset management platform. FinEX Asia was established in 2017 to connect Asian investors with US consumer lending assets, such as credit card loans.

FinEX Asia combines its risk management expertise with Dianrong’s advanced fintech capabilities to give Asian investors access to a diverse and attractive portfolio of U.S. consumer lending assets. FinEX Asia’s fintech solutions offer advanced risk modeling capabilities, blockchain data security, performance monitoring, and secondary marketplace liquidity.

Seminar: Regulating Peer-to-Peer Lending to SMEs (Asian Development Bank), Rated: B

Event | 12 September 2017ADBI, Tokyo, Japan

This seminar looks at the regulation of P2P lending in the US, People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the UK, and discusses how regulators can help develop P2P as a safe and effective source of financing for SMEs.

Register here.

South America

Top VC funds in Fintech in Argentina (TechFoliance), Rated: A

Currently, Argentina has four major investment funds that have Fintech companies within their portfolios.

  1. NXTP
  2. Kaszek – Founded in 2011, it recently announced the release of a third fund of $200 million to be used for young technology throughout the region. To date, Kaszek has invested USD 1.4 billion in 43 companies, including Nubank, Brazil’s largest digital bank.
  3. Wayra
  4. Incutex
Canada

RBC WANTS TO USE AI TO GIVE CUSTOMERS FINANCIAL ADVICE (Betakit), Rated: AAA

Canada’s largest bank has announced that its mobile banking app will soon provide users with “actual insights about our client’s financials and a fully automated savings solution that uses predictive technology to identify money in a client’s cash flow that can be automatically saved.”

Dubbed ‘NOMI Insights’ and ‘NOMI Find and Save,’ the services are currently in a pilot release. A full launch is expected later this fall.

IOU Financial Inc. Releases Financial Results for the Three and Six Month Period Ended June 30, 2017 (Newswire), Rated: A

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”) (TSXV: IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses, announced today its results for the three and six month period ended June 30, 2017.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Loan originations for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 were US$26.2 million versus originations of US$31.8 million for the same period last year. Loan originations decreased by 17.8% due to changes made to the Company’s lending policies in response to increased delinquency levels. We anticipate that these changes will have a positive impact on our loan portfolio over the course of 2017. For the first half of 2017, loan originations amounted to $48.2 million, representing a decrease of 15.7% over the origination of $57.1 million for the same period last year.
  • As of June 30, 2017, IOU’s total loans under management amounted to approximately $65.7 million as compared to $79.6 million in 2016. On June 30, 2017, the principal balance of the loan portfolio amounted to $41.6 million compared to $35.5 million in 2016. The increase is consistent with the Company’s strategy to retain more loans on its balance sheet. The principal balance of IOU’s servicing portfolio (loans being serviced on behalf of third-parties) amounted to approximately $24.1 millioncompared to $44.1 million in 2016.
  • IOU recorded gross revenue during the second quarter of $4.4 millionversus $3.5 million for the same period last year, representing a 24.5% increase. The increase in gross revenues was primarily driven by a 55.3% increase in interest income from $2.4 million in 2016 to $3.7 million in 2017, as a result of an increase in the size of the loan portfolio. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, gross revenues improved to $8.7 million compared to $6.8 million for the same period in 2016.
  • Interest expense during the three-month period ended June 30, 2017increased by 44.3% to $1.0 million, up from $0.7 million over the previous year. The increase is attributable to an increase in borrowings under the credit facility partially offset by a reduction in the cost of funds borrowed versus the previous year. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, interest expense amounted to $1.9 million compared to $1.3 million in 2016.
  • Provision for loan losses (net of recoveries) increased to $2.4 million for the three-month period ended June 30, 2017, up from $1.2 million for the previous year. The increase is primarily attributable to an increase in defaults by borrowers and partially due to an increase in the size of the loan portfolio. To improve loss performance, IOU Financial has made changes to its lending policies and deployed its next generation proprietary IOU Risk Logic Score. In addition, the Company has implemented certain process changes to improve its servicing and collections which includes an aggressive litigation process against businesses who intentionally default on their loan obligations. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, IOU recorded a provision for loan losses of $4.3 million compared to $2.0 million in 2016.
  • Excluding non-recurring costs, operating expenses decreased 18.1% to $2.5 million for the three-month period ended June 30, 2017 as compared to $3.1 million for the previous year. During the quarter ended September 30, 2016, the Company adopted a plan to reduce operating expenses. The Company is on track to achieve its target of quarterly operating costs of $2.0 million to $2.2 million on a normalized basis in the third quarter. In the second quarter, IOU recorded non-recurring costs of $0.5 million related to vendor contract cancellations and impairment of intangible assets. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, operating expenses amounted to $4.9 million, excluding non-recurring costs, compared to $6.0 million in 2016.
  • IOU closed its second quarter 2017 with a net loss of $2.1 million, or $0.03per share, compared to a net loss of $1.5 million or $0.02 per share during the same period of 2016. For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, the net loss amounted to $3.1 million versus $2.8 million in 2016.
  • IOU closed its second quarter 2017 with an adjusted net loss of $1.3 million, which excludes certain non-cash and non-recurring items, compared to an adjusted net loss of $1.1 million in the second quarter of 2016. For the first half of 2017, the adjusted net loss was $1.9 millioncompared to an adjusted net loss of $1.6 million for the same period in 2016. Assuming the cost reduction plan was fully implemented on January 1, 2017, IOU’s pro forma adjusted net loss for the three-month and six-month period ended June 30, 2017 would have been approximately $0.8 million and $1.2 million, respectively.
Africa

Should established banks fight or assimilate to tech? (African Business Magazine), Rated: AAA

The same quandary that now faces established banks stood before landline telecoms operators 15–20 years ago. In terms of fintech, it seems likely that the answer will become clear over the next few years, as different banks adopt different strategies.

Global consultancy Accenture calculates that fintech threatens more than a third of traditional banks’ revenue. Due to the march of technological innovation and the emergence of more attractive investment regimes, the challenge posed by fintech is only likely to grow.

Fintech is not just a threat to established banks but also to other companies in the financial services sector. Visa, for instance, is built on technology developed during a previous financial technology revolution, and should be able to capitalise on the fintech boom.

Other attempts to integrate the two worlds include PayDunya, an online payments system that allows African e-businesses to accept payments from credit and debit cards, as well as mobile money wallets. Similarly, Yoco provides retailers with an integrated card acceptance and point-of-sale solution, incorporating a mobile app, and either wireless or plug-in card reader.

Some established banks have sought to compete by becoming incubators for fintech. Standard Bank and Barclayshave both launched startup support programmes, with the most successful companies taken under their wing at the end of their periods of support.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday August 25 2017, Daily News Digest

alternative investing

News Comments Today’s main news: Ellevest raises $32M to target women investors. eOriginal, Notarize close first digital mortgage closing. OFF3R launches SIPPS portal. Zopa reduces higher-risk lending. China issues draft rules on illegal fundraising. TWINO adds second Russian originator. African university to offer fintech degree. Today’s main analysis: Should P2P lending investors worry about default rates?Early-stage fintech investment in UK, Germany. Today’s […]

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United Kingdom

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United States

Wall Street alum Sallie Krawcheck just raised $ 32 million for her investing platform (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

But the uncertainty and risk that comes with the markets is very often a major deterrent, especially for women, who invest at a much lower rate than men in the US.

To combat this, former Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck launched Ellevest in 2016, a digital investing platform that puts female investors’ money in low-cost ETFs based on a pick-and-choose set of goals, like starting a business, buying a home, having children, and retiring comfortably.

This week, the startup raised $32.5 million in its latest round of funding, according to CNBC. Tennis superstar Venus Williams, who is a champion of equal pay and opportunity for women both on and off the court, was among Ellevest’s first investors.

Just 28% of women are willing to take on high risk to get a good return on their investment, compared to 45% of men, according to a 2015 report by BlackRock.

Man finds it can be hard to return $ 6,000 (WoodTV), Rated: AAA

When 53-year-old Wyoming resident Duane La Varier found $6,180 had mysteriously appeared in his bank account, he never dreamed how hard it could be just trying to give money away.

He said he and his wife never filled out any applications and never sought any kind of loan.

The deposit a week ago had come from a company called LendingClub.

“I said, ‘I did not apply for this loan. Just take it back, just take it all out of my account.’ They said no.”

LendingClub is not the actual lender — it represents lenders — but Dudum said the company will take the hit for the $6,000 loan and its fees.

eOriginal and Notarize Make Digital Mortgage the New Reality (Broadway World), Rated: AAA

With its launch of Notarize for Mortgage, the company’s proprietary signing and remote notarization platform, Notarize recently completed the first-ever online mortgage closing. By integrating directly with eOriginal’s electronic vault, they enable lenders to leverage a joint solution that takes only a few short days to set up and launch before borrowers can start closing loans online. Together, Notarize and eOriginal allow lenders to quickly provide a seamless digital experience spanning the entire closing process all the way through registration with MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc.) and sale into the secondary market.

Connecting lenders, title agents, borrowers and notaries online 24 x 7 to digitize the closing process, the Notarize for Mortgage platform is approved by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, underwritten by national title underwriters, and was launched with five lender customers and numerous warehouse lender and mortgage servicer partners. The platform is available to lenders online or via modern APIs that allow them to integrate an online closing process directly into their existing tools, automating their closing operations entirely.

eOriginal’s platform of integrated solutions delivers a fully digital mortgage and supports every type of digital closing strategy.

TRANSPARENCY IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTING (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

In February of this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 200 senior asset managers and institutional investor executives to learn what factors are most important in the way they make their decisions. Several different types of institution were involved, including hedge funds, private equity firms, insurance companies, and nonprofits.

New Business Models – and Transparency

The 2008 global financial crisis of course had a negative impact on the alternative investments industry.

New business models have arisen to supply demand across the spectrum of investors, including those investors eligible for and interested in alternatives. Publicly traded limited partners are one important example.

Who will win the robo advisor IPO race? (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

It’s been a decade since the launch of the industry’s leading independent digital advice platforms — Betterment, Wealthfront and Personal Capital.

The question that now remains for all three: who will cross the IPO finish line first?

In terms of assets, the trio has kept their positions in the market respectively, with Betterment leading all independents with over $10 billion in AUM, followed by Wealthfront’s $7.4 billion and Personal Capital’s $4.9 billion.

Collectively, the three count just over 420,000 clients and over 548,000 accounts, according to SEC filings and company statements.

Personal Capital, which always tailored its services for HNW clients before lowering its account minimums (and then raising them up again) claims its average client account size is roughly $380,000; users with more than $1 million in investable assets, the company says, comprise about 40% of its AUM.

Source: Financial-Planning.com

Online Lenders Featured in the Inc. 5000 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Every year Inc. pulls together a list of the top 5000 fastest growing private companies in the United States. This year there were around 250 companies that made it in the financial services category and there are several familiar names on the list.

Other lenders readers may recognize are Lighter Capital (634), FastPay (1653), National Funding (2030), and ZestFinance (2202).

How Debit Activity Can Benefit Lenders in a Cashless Society (Clarity Services), Rated: A

With nearly half the American population carrying a subprime credit score, rent-to-own companies, online installment, storefronts and others are embracing new tools to intelligently navigate a market that has been largely overlooked.

  • Cash is only 14 percent of the share of transactions by value of payments (The Federal Reserve System Cash Product Office).
  • While the average American spends roughly $100 per day – not counting the purchase of a home, motor vehicle or normal household bills (Gallop), half of us are walking around with less than $20 cash (Bankrate.com).
  • If given the choice between a cashless and cash-only shop, most consumers in the wealthiest countries prefer the cashless option (ING Group/eZonomics).
  • Nearly 40 percent of Americans said that they would be happy to go completely without cash. (ING Group/eZonomics).

The top 7 startups from Y Combinator S’17 Demo Day 2 (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Standard Cognition is using machine vision to build the checkout of the future. Called autonomous checkout, the technology will allow shoppers to grab what they want and walk out of a store without having to go to a cashier. Standard Cognition believes it tech will enable those companies to save money and reduce theft.

Dharma Labs is building what it calls the first “protocol for debt on blockchains.” Citing the popularity of ICOs, the startup believes there’s a “proven demand for cryptoassets that look and act much like equity.” So Dharma has built a mechanism for decentralized peer-to-peer lending. “Anyone in the world can borrow and anyone in the world can lend.”

Emailage Raises $ 10m in Growth Equity Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Emailage, a Chandler, AZ-based provider of global fraud prevention and identity verification using email address scoring, raised $10m in growth equity funding.

The round was led by Anthos Capital, with participation from Radian Capital, Wipro Ventures, Mucker Capital and Tallwave Capital.

The company intends to use the funds to expand existing partnerships, further advance its email address-based predictive scoring system, and accelerate growth in North America, EMEA, LATAM and other key markets.

How to Expand Your Business Online by Offering More Products or Services (Kabbage), Rated: A

Hopefully, increased revenues will help ease cash flow problems and in the end, improve profits. Other advantages of growing business may include the chance to bring in more qualified employees, acquiring more customers and improving credit scores.

Expand service areas

Companies that provide services to homes or other businesses may find that their hometown or neighborhood has a limited customer base.

Expanding to nearby locations is one of the most common ways that local businesses grow into regional businesses. This also allows the company to add some more geographic areas to a business website, directories, and social pages to show up in more local searches.

Expand services

Most small business owners have to work to manage cash flow, and this task is much tougher when revenues are only high for a few months but operational costs last all year.

These are some ways to expand services both offline and online:

  • One good way to promote this kind of service online could be through holding webinars with tax tips for small businesses or even individuals. Some tax preparers might also produce books or videos for sale to help startups and small businesses manage tax planning better.
  • Some of these plucky entrepreneurs have learned to keep business flowing by offering holiday specials for getaways. Others have opened their facilities up to host seminars or workshops for organizations.
  • He kept his local business website to attract repair customers, but he also added an online store to sell products to the DIY crowd all over the country. He promoted this online store by creating some how-to videos.

This credit card alternative could be bad for your wallet (WSBTV.com), Rated: B

The problem is that these instant loans encourage impulse spending — and it doesn’t have to be a pricey vacation! Affirm will spread payments over a period of 12 months for loans of $100 or more.

To put that in perspective, you could easily pay more than $15 in interest on just a $100 loan!

LENDINGCLUB INVESTOR REVIEW: THE BEST PEER TO PEER LENDING SOLUTION (The College Investor), Rated: B

Over the last 8 years, 150,000 investors have lent over $26 Billion in personal loans through the peer to peer LendingClub platfrom. On average, investors in the top grade loans earned 5-7% annualized with strong cash flow.

As an added bonus, LendingClub allows you to invest as little as $25 per note. That means it’s easy to spread your risk across dozens or even hundreds of loans.

First, you need to meet some strict investor requirements.

  •  Income requirements: Must earn $70,000 annually ($85,000 in California)
  • Net Worth Requirements: Must have a net worth (exclusive of your home value) of $70,000 ($85,000 in California). People with a $250,000 net worth do not have to abide by the income requirements ($200,000 in California).
  •  Kentucky residents must be accredited investors (earn $200,000 annually or have a net worth of $1 million)
  •  Residents of Alaska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania cannot invest in LendingClub
  •  No more than 10% of your net worth can be investing in lending club notes
  •  $1,000 minimum investment

LendingClub charges $100 per year for their self directed IRA accounts, but they waive that if you maintain $5,000 of investments in your first year or $10,000 in subsequent years.

Once you select your loans, LendingClub will help you evaluate the risk on your portfolio of loans. They will even provide a projected rate of returns based off of history.

Source: The College Investor

TD Auto Monitors Fintech Startups (Auto Finance News), Rated: B

TD Auto Finance is keeping a close eye on fintech startups as it evaluates “opportunities that might exist” for auto refinance and private-party transactions, President and Chief Executive Andrew Stuart told Auto Finance News.

TD Auto is already “in discussions” with several fintech players to evaluate “where that might go,” Stuart said.

5 Things To Know Before Taking A Loan Online (ValueWalk), Rated: B

If you’ve considered taking a personal loan online here’s what you need to know:

  1. More accessible – Smaller, newer financial firms have stepped in to fill the gaps left behind by traditional banks since the crisis.
  2. Tailored products – You can tailor the specifics of the loan, such as the timeline for payback and the purpose of the loan. Businesses can use everything from inventory to invoices without the need for a personal guarantee.
  3. Pricing Variety – Whether the payments are amortized monthly or weekly. Whether the effective annual rate is as attractive as you expected.
  4. Less Regulation – Alternative lenders and online loan providers are not regulated by the FDIC the same way as traditional banks.
  5. More awareness – The lack of regulation means alternative online lenders have more flexibility to provide custom lending solutions. They can be as innovative as they want with these financial products. However, you need to be more careful when dealing with an online lender. Look into their history, get assurances from the company, and do your best to educate yourself about their business.
United Kingdom

OFF3R launches new SIPPS portal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

OFF3R has launched a new channel dedicated to Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), the tax-free vehicle for pension savings.

The investment aggregator’s SIPPs portal launched on Tuesday 22 August with an initial list of three pension providers: Hargreaves Lansdown, IG, and True Potential Investor. It details the various fees and investment thresholds of each platform, as well as information on the different management styles.

Zopa reduces higher-risk lending (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa has revealed it is taking steps to attract more lower-risk customers as it continues its reduction in higher-risk lending.

Zopa has reduced the amount of lending in its higher return D-E markets, which are included in its Plus product.

The Plus product was designed for investors who were willing to accept more risk for higher returns, with rates of between 6-7%.

Zopa expects that the lower-risk approach will mean the targeted returns for new investments in the Plus product will be 4.5%.

“For example, the proportion of D and E loans in the Plus product would go from 30% until now, to 10-15% in the future.”

Peer-to-peer lending: should you worry about default rates? (Your Money), Rated: AAA

Neil Faulkner, managing director of peer-to-peer research and ratings agency 4thWay, explains that investors should pay close attention to published bad-debt figures (which cover loan write-offs as well as simple defaults) of the different platforms.

Zopa

When a loan is approved, Zopa makes an assumption about its likelihood of falling into default over the lifetime of the loan, and then revises this default expectation over the lifetime of the loan.

Source: YourMoney.com

Zopa divides up investor money between many borrowers matching the risk profile specified at the outset by the investor, to spread the risk. If a borrower misses four months of repayments, then a recovery process begins.

RateSetter

The headline rate to note is that over its lifetime, 98.31% of loans are up-to-date – in order words, around 1.7% are in some form of arrears.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle is a little different in that you are lending to businesses rather than people. Over the lifetime of the site, it says that around 2% of loans have turned bad.

Lending Works

To date, Lending Works has an actual bad debt rate of 1.1%.

Assetz Capital Update: Investors Have Earned £25 Million to Date (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Assetz Capital has shared that investors in aggregate have earned gross returns of more than £25 million on their investments in approximately four years. Assetz Capital says lenders earned an average of 8% gross interest across all Assetz Capital loans since platform launch, before allowances for tax or any losses not covered by a provision fund.

Currently, Assetz Capital has about 20,000 registered and active investors. The returns since the launch of the platform were generated from over £309 million lent to UK businesses from a range of industries looking to raise funds, including SME, bridging and development sectors.

ThinCats plans staggered IFISA roll-out before end of 2017 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Earlier this month, ThinCats received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allowed the firm to apply for ISA manager status from the HMRC. While a launch date has not been officially set, Stewart Cazier, head of retail, told Peer2Peer Finance News: “I’m definitely thinking 2017. I’d be very disappointed if it didn’t happen this year.”

Innovate Finance CEO steps down (AltFi), Rated: B

After two and half years at the helm of the fintech member association, Innovate Finance, Lawrence Wintermeyer has stepped down.

Wintermeyer is leaving to pursue other opportunities, he said.

China

China issues draft rules in crackdown on illegal fundraising (Reuters), Rated: AAA

China issued draft rules targeting illegal fundraising on Thursday, as the authorities step up a campaign to crack down on risky and illicit behavior in the country’s financial sector.

The draft rules, issued by the law office of China’s State Council, call for participants engaged in illegal fundraising to cover the losses stemming from those activities.

Regulators will guide financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers on tightening up their supervision of suspicious fund flows, the draft rules said.

Financial institutions and non-bank payment service providers, if found to be negligent, will be subject to having their illegal income forfeited. They will also be subject to a fine of more than 1 time but less than five times of the illegal income, the draft rules said.

The executives responsible for the illegal activity will be removed and banned from entering the financial industry for a certain period of time and could be subject to fines of between 50,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan each ($7,507-$75,072), the rules said.

China Rapid Finance Posted a $ 13.5M Net Loss in Q2, but Very Close to Profitability (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, China Rapid Finance (NYSE:XRF) released an unaudited financial report for the second quarter of 2017. In the second quarter, the company reported a gross income of $24.5 million, up 59% from a year earlier, and their net income was $15.2 million, up 9 percent year on year. The company posted a net loss of $13.5 million in the second quarter, compared with $5.9 million in the same period last year, as the cost of including customer incentives increased.

However, the company still held the “Low and Grow” business strategy. Compared to the profitability, there are more concerned about gross income. Through analysis of the company’s financial and business data, we can find that some business data is changing and the potential for profit is increasing.

Better Buy: SINA vs. Weibo (The Motley Fool), Rated: A

Chinese internet companies SINA (NASDAQ:SINA) and Weibo(NASDAQ:WB) are closely tied to each other. SINA holds a 46% stake in Weibo, deriving 72% of its top line from the Chinese Twitter clone (as Weibo is referred to by some).

Weibo’s greater gains have made it more expensive with a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 132 as compared to SINA’s 30.

SINA relies on Weibo for 70% of its revenue, which means that investors can still enjoy the latter’s rapid growth via a stock with a lower valuation. Additionally, SINA’s non-Weibo business has started gaining some traction of late, with the company witnessing 8% year-over-year growth from this segment in the latest quarter.

While there is no denying that Weibo’s growth is still impressive — as the 28% year-over-year jump in its monthly active users boosted its advertising revenue by 72% last quarter — at the same time, there will be a limit to the company’s growth given its negligible presence outside China and the competition from the likes of Tencent‘s (NASDAQOTH:TCEHY) WeChat.

Fluid Wins LendIt Choice Award – Aug 2017 (FluidFi), Rated: B

Fluid, a California based FinTech & AdTech startup announces today that it received LendIt LangDi Fintech Choice Award from LendIt Conference in Shanghai, China.

European Union

Latvian P2P Lender TWINO Adds Second Russian Originator (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Latvian peer-to-peer lending platform TWINO has reportedly added a second Russian originator to its platform since its December 2016 launch.

According to P2P Finance News, over 40% of TWINO’s investors have funded Russian loans.

Early-Stage Fintech Investment In The UK & Germany Goes To Insurtech, Banking (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

Year-to-date, European fintech companies have raised close to $2.6B across 295 deals, meaning that at the current run rate 2017 could see 500 deals and $4.5B in total funding by year end. For perspective, funding to European fintech companies is already 30% higher in 2017 YTD than the 2016 total.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

UK early-stage fintech financing has remained above 15 deals quarterly since Q2’14. Total disclosed funding has been a bit choppier: at $27M, Q4’16 was the lowest quarter since Q2’14, while the following quarter (Q1’17) saw the third-highest total funding at $81M and the largest number of deals at 33. Most recently, Q2’17 figures fell to $41M across 16 deals.

For example, Monese, which provides banking services for immigrants and expats, raised a $10M Series A in Q1’17, while Wirex, which allows for the holding of fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies in a single account on its personal banking platform, raised a $3M Series A in the same quarter.

Insurance is trending up across Europe at large, with more than 20 early-stage deals closing for approximately $50M year-to-date.

GERMANY

Funding hit its peak in 2016 as well, at $135M, well above the previous high-water mark of $46M in 2013 and more than 4X the $31M total for 2015. 2017 is on pace to surpass 2016 early-stage fintech financing figures, with 22 deals and $83M year-to-date.

Germany has also seen an increase in early-stage deals to small business banking and API-focused mobile banking platforms. Financing rounds to this group have increased steadily since 2015, which saw 5 deals close for $17M and was followed by 7 deals in 2016 (for a much smaller $6M).

Klarna (Hortonworks), Rated: A

Klarna uses Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) and Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) to help drive its deep data mining and AI, and to thus mitigate risk for buyers and sellers.

International

San Francisco and Berlin have new competition for the capital of ‘fintech’ (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Dubai has seen a surge of interest from fintech startups and banking assets over the last three years, according to the emirate’s financial center’s management body.

It’s fast becoming a destination for financial technology startups because of its location, private investment and innovation.

He told CNBC that the financial services industry contributes about 12 percent to Dubai’s total gross domestic product and it is expected to increase to 18 percent by 2024.

Increased appetite for fintech investment in Dubai from CNBC.

AXIS Capital Partners with Plug and Play Tech Center (BusinessWire), Rated: A

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited and its operating subsidiaries (“AXIS Capital”) (NYSE:AXS) today announced it has partnered with Plug and Play, a global digital startup innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley. By joining Plug and Play’s InsurTech platform, AXIS will gain access to world-class digital insurance startups and will provide mentorship and technical support, along with underwriting and actuarial expertise, to help turn their ideas into products or services.

To help address the rapid and transformative changes underway within the (re)insurance industry, AXIS will work with property and casualty, life/health and general InsurTech startups that have been accepted to Plug and Play’s InsurTech program. This 12-week program attracts applications from hundreds of startups from around the world that utilize technology, data and analytics to develop innovative new business models, products and services.

AXIS will focus on the areas of Insurance, Reinsurance, Health, IoT (Internet of Things), FinTech and Mobility, with leaders from different business areas serving as program mentors and technical advisors.

Australia

Digital advice embraced by all ages (Financial Standard), Rated: AAA

Superannuation fund member engagement via Decimal’s digital financial advice software increased 37% in the past year, latest quarterly statistics show.

Decimal’s digital insights report for the June quarter shows 2366 members in its superannuation client base decided to engage with super via the digital advice channel over a 12 month period, up from 1731 the year prior.

Total funds under advice increased to $8.4 billion, up 72% year-on-year, and Decimal Software chief executive Nick Pollock said compound growth is stimulating for the super sector.

“The insights show that 43% of all logins were by women, 28% of logins took place outside of business hours, with 31% of those logins happening between 10pm and 6am,” Pollock said.

Australian fintech launches industry census (AltFi), Rated: A

Australian fintech has launched an expanded industry census, which will seek to unpack key issues like how to expand overseas and gender diversity and help set lobbying and policy priorities.

Working on the census, consultancy firm EY, and industry group FinTech Australia, have asked Aussie fintechs to complete it by 3 September.

FinTech Australia Reveals Initial Speaker Line Up for Inaugural Fintech Fest (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

FinTech Australia and Next Money, along with the State Government of Victoria, a gearing up for their inaugural week long Fintech event –  Intersekt. The Fintech festival will be taking place in Melbourne, Australia from October 27 to November 3rd if you happen to be in Australia.

Confirmed speakers for Intersekt so far include:

  • Anthony Thomson, founder of the UK’s Metro and Atom Banks (and the current chairman of Atom Bank). Atom Bank is one of the leading UK Challenger banks.
  • Ron Suber, called the “godfather of Fintech” due to his globe-trotting reputation for promoting online lending and all things Fintech. Suber recently joined the leadership team at Credible, the multi-lender marketplace for student loans. Suber is also President Emeritus of Prosper Marketplace and holds a broad portfolio of Fintech investments.
  • Megan Caywood, chief platform officer for the UK’s mobile only Starling Bank, who has delivered a range of major customer experience improvements.
  • David Birch, an international thought leader in digital identity and digital money and author of “Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin”
  • Van Le, who is the co-founder of Xinja, which is on track to be Australia’s first independent, 100% digital bank made for mobile.
    Lucy Liu, co-founder and chief operating officer of Melbourne-based payments company Airwallex who was this year named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30
  • Emma Weston, CEO and co-founder of AgriDigital, which provides a blockchain-enabled, integrated commodity management solution for the global grains industry
India

Over 40% Indians act on financial advice given by spouse, RBI report shows (Zeebiz), Rated: AAA

Key Highlights:

  • Over 50% Indians think that their children will take care of them financially after retirement
  • 44% Indians do not think they will ever retire from work 
  • An average of 66% of randomly selected adult household members have a bank account.
Source: Zeebiz

The report found that the average Indian household holds 84% of its wealth in real estate and other physical goods, 11% in gold and the residual 5% in financial assets.

Source: Zeebiz

The report said that 44% Indians have not thought of retirement as “people like me cannot retire from work,” they said.

Only 13% people surveyed were actively saving for their retirement while 33% had absolutely no planning for retirement.

Only around 5% people had money invested in financial assets for their retirement planning while gold formed nearly 10% of this fund.

India’s Domestic Workers Have A New Ally In This Innovative FinTech Startup (Forbes), Rated: A

The team at SERV’D has a simple but ambitious goal: to organize India’s unorganized domestic workforce. That means bringing financial inclusion to millions of unregistered workers via a mobile contract and payment app.

The lack of written contracts also makes it difficult for low-income domestic workers to build a financial history. Without that, they struggle to save money or obtain insurance, which all but guarantees they will remain in poverty. Exclusion from formal financial services bars people from accessing health insurance, bank accounts, and can even inhibit them from finding affordable housing.

SERV’D seeks to replace the verbal work agreements made between customers and their hired help. Instead of tenuous oral contracts, the fintech startup wants employers and employees to create digital agreements on the SERV’D app. The platform also allows them to make digital payment transfers so neither party has to worry about dealing with cash.

Most importantly, the online payment trail creates traceable income records for poor, unbanked workers. With enough proof of income built up, they will eventually be able to open bank accounts and access financial products that are currently beyond reach.

Ezetap’s fresh funds are the latest VC dollars flowing to Indian fintech (PitchBook), Rated: A

Mobile payments startup Ezetap is the latest Indian fintech company to pull in new equity financing. The company has raised $16 million from investors including JS Capital Management, Social Capital and Horizons Ventures.

Fintech NBFC “Prest Loans” Forays Its Operations In Rajasthan (BusinessWorld), Rated: B

Prest Loans the new age FinTech NBFC, providing online loans to small businesses and MSME segment has expanded its operations by opening new office in Rajasthan.

Asia

LATTICE80 & FINOLAB Sign MOU on Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LATTICE80, a Singapore based non profit Fintech hub backed by Marvelstone Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FINOLAB in Japan to mutually boost their Fintech ecosystems and global networks. Marvelstone is a global VC group based in Singapore.

This Fintech bridge will seek to create a passporting system for Fintech’s in each country to expand into new markets.

PH startups urged: Aspire to be unicorns (Cebu Daily News), Rated: AAA

Aldo Carrascoso, founder and chief executive officer of GlycoProX Biosciences, Veem, and Jukin Media & Verego, said that focusing on becoming “unicorns” detracts the purpose of why people launch startups in the first place.

Lee argued that the first unicorns were founded in the 1990s, Google Inc. being the clear “super unicorn” of the group with a valuation of more than $100 billion. Many unicorns were also born in the 2000s, although Facebook Inc. is the decade’s only super unicorn.

Other prominent unicorns today include Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, Spotify, Pinterest, and Lazada, to name a few.

Treading the path toward that level takes mindfulness of revenue, a good business model, addressable market, and a product-market fit, said Carrascoso.

Benjamin cited Xoom, a San Francisco-based digital money transfer or remittance provider, which traces its foundations to serving clients between the Philippines and the US.

Since then the company has expanded to India and Mexico, among others, and was bought by PayPal for $890 million. Today, they do $9.1 billion in money transmissions and are operating in 18 countries with a demand for money remittance services.

The search for a unicorn is on (Sunstar), Rated: A

THE Philippines may have its own “tech unicorns” or technology businesses valued at $1 billion in the future. But experts says more work and collaboration is needed to achieve this dream.

To date, no Philippine tech startup has managed to meet the goal of being a billion-dollar company.

Globally, the US and China lead in numbers, having produced the most number of unicorns like Facebook, Uber, Airbnb as well as Xiaomi and Alibaba. Meanwhile, Malaysia in Southeast Asia has produced two unicorns in Grab and the Lazada Group.

First, he said Philippine startups need to know how to be fundable. Instead of aiming to be a unicorn, he advised local startups to become a “cockroach” instead, one that characterizes strong survival skills, or a rhino, “big and realistic.”

Getting payments to pay off (The Edge Markets), Rated: A

“A key advantage of e-wallets is the low cost. You can make payments and transfer money at much cheaper rates than in conventional payment systems,” explains Gunther Zhen, the founder and CEO of iPayLinks Financial Information Service (Shanghai) Co Ltd.

For China, this is certainly the case. While incumbent payment systems that rely on Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay charge merchants an estimated 2.5% to 3% MDR (merchant discount rate), new rivals like Alipay charge between 0.7% and 1.2%.

In Malaysia, however, the landscape could be different as the current MDRs are already quite low. Bank Negara Malaysia’s Payment Card Reform Framework has slashed the MDR on debit and credit cards since July 2015 when it took effect.

Today, domestic debit cards have an MDR of only 0.56% while for international debit cards, it is 0.96%. Credit cards are still relatively expensive with an MDR of 1.35%, but that is expected to drop drastically by 2021 when Bank Negara will cap interchange fees (the largest component of MDR) at 0.48% — less than half the 1.1% ceiling imposed today.

Just look at Touch ’n Go Sdn Bhd, which booked RM15.3 million of interest income in 2015 on RM429.3 million worth of deposits in card balances. And this is merely from the relatively small balance in each card.

Alipay creation, Yu’E Bao, is one of China’s most popular internet-based funds. It had amassed RMB1.43 trillion as at end-June. By comparison, Bank of China, one of the four major commercial banks in the country, had total deposits of RMB1.6 trillion as at end-2016.

Pundi-Pundi Raises $ 4M in Pre-A Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Pundi-Pundi, a Jakarta, Indonesia-based mobile payments and micro-loan startup aiming to create a cashless environment in South East Asia, closed a $4M pre-A round of funding.

Africa

UCT to offer fintech-focused degree from 2018 (BusinessDay), Rated: AAA

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has become one of the first tertiary institutions in Africa to offer a degree specifically designed to equip students with the critical skills and knowledge to embrace the technological revolution in the financial services sector.

One of its key focus areas will be blockchain technology, or the distributed ledger system, that has given rise to new crypto-currencies such as bitcoin and ether.

The crypto-currency market is reportedly now worth more than $50bn and the use of virtual currencies is gaining traction in SA.

UCT has sought to tackle this problem by offering a new master’s degree in data science with a specialisation in financial technology, said Georg, who is also the course convener. The programme is due to commence in 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday August 10 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: NSR Invest, LendingRobot merge: Now the largest alt lending robo-advisor.LendInvest makes London Stock Exchange debut.Big banks losing ground to China’s fintech giants. Today’s main analysis: Q2 update from LendingClub CIO.MarketInvoice loanbook snapshot. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub’s surprise comeback.Sanborn looks ahead.Personal financial management apps fold as banks work them into their […]

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

NSR Invest and LendingRobot merge to become the largest robo-advisor in the alternative lending space (LendingRobot Email), Rated: AAA

NSR Invest and LendingRobot, two of the largest specialized Registered Investment Advisors in the alternative lending space, announced today that the companies have merged to create the leading independent advisory platform for alternative lending. Lend Core LLC, the parent company of NSR Invest, acquired Algorithmic, Inc. and all its assets, including the LendingRobot website and technology.

The joint team will combine its knowledge in the industry, investment algorithms, machine learning and blockchain technologies with the goal of providing steady investment returns to more than 8000 clients.

The websites, operating, and trading systems of NSRinvest.com and LendingRobot.com will continue to function separately in the short term. In the immediate future, the company is focusing its newfound strength on the LendingRobot Series.

Q2 2017: An Update from Our CIO (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Projected investor returns are also largely unchanged from the first quarter and continue to range from approximately 4% to 9% (see below).

A few factors that influence returns on the platform1 are listed below:

  • Economic Backdrop. The American economy remains robust but growth continues to be relatively modest. The unemployment rate has changed little over the past year, measuring at 4.4% as of July 2017. Meanwhile, GDP increased by 2.6% in the second quarter of 2017.
  • Borrower Performance. Recent vintage performance continues to come in broadly in line with our expectations. As mentioned above, we continue to see lower delinquency rates across most grades and terms than in loans issued in the second and third quarters of 2016, which we attribute to changes made in 2016.
  • Interest Rates. The overall interest rate environment remains low, though the Federal Reserve raised its Target Rate by 25 bps in June 2017. After announcing its latest rate increase, the Federal Open Market Committee signaled its willingness to raise rates further, as it “expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the Federal Funds Rate.” Interest rates on the LendingClub platform are not changing at this time.
Source: LendingClub

Lending Club makes a surprise comeback (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In Q1 2017, US alt lender Lending Club published disappointing results, which showed a flat performance and seemingly vague turnaround plans, sparking concerns that it could be headed for a dead end. However, the company has now reported its second-highest quarterly revenue to date for Q2 of this year, with analysts pointing outthat it appears back on a growth trajectory.

In Q1 2017, US alt lender Lending Club published disappointing results, which showed a flat performance and seemingly vague turnaround plans, sparking concerns that it could be headed for a dead end. However, the company has now reported its second-highest quarterly revenue to date for Q2 of this year, with analysts pointing outthat it appears back on a growth trajectory.

LendingClub CEO Sanborn ‘Looking Ahead’ After Scandal (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) Stock Soars As Banks Prove To Be Hypocrites (BNL Finance), Rated: A

Importantly, peer to peer lending is the fastest growing industry in lending, and while there are a lot of players in the game, LendingClub is one of the largest. On many occasions over the last year, BNL Finance has told members that banks would come back and that LC stock losses were overdone.

With that said, LendingClub stock has rallied 26% over the last three sessions.

PFM apps are folding as banks work them into their own apps (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Last week,  Level Money, the money management app owned by Capital One Financial, said it will shut down on Sept. 1. Also last week, Prosper Marketplace said it would discontinue the Prosper Daily app and urged customers to bring their PFM needs to Clarity Money. Earlier last month, SoFi said it would nix the services by Zenbanx, just six months after it acquired the online banking company, and would use its technology and personnel for its own online bank.

PFM has never been a prominent feature of consumer bank accounts. For most of banks’ existence people had to balance their own checkbooks based on debits and credits. That’s changing now as banks realize the importance of personal financial management for continued customer engagement. And they’re starting to implement PFM features into their offerings to provide more complete banking experiences. As it is today, PFM is usually a separate entity found in entirely different apps like Clarity Money, Moven or Mint.

For example, one of the biggest nuisances of PFM historically has been the lack of good financial data. Customers using an app would have to hand over their online banking credentials so the third party financial app could access their banking data to be able to provide users with their financial snapshot. The data that appeared on the home screen of their online banking wasn’t always in sync with what they would see in their PFM app.

Chinese Stock That Rallied 4,555% Could Get the Boot From the Nasdaq (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Wins Finance Holdings Inc., the Chinese loan guarantor that couldn’t explain a 4,555 percent surge in its stock, is set to be delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market, which cited violations of exchange rules related to its shareholder base.

Nasdaq said Wins doesn’t meet regulations requiring it to have at least 300 shareholders who own 100 shares. The exchange’s decision was also based on “the making of alleged misrepresentations by the company relating to the 300 round-lot shareholder requirement,” as well as public interest concerns, Wins said in a statement Wednesday.

Source: Bloomberg Markets

Installment Loan Provider Earns Top Rating from TopConsumerReviews.com (PR Web), Rated: A

TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded their highest five-star rating to Lending Club, an industry leader among companies offering Installment Loans.

“For Installment Loans ranging from $1000 to $40,000, Lending Club provides incredible customer service with fair interest rates and fees,” according to Brian Dolezal, of TopConsumerReviews.com, LLC.

StreetShares raises $ 10.3m for “Shark Tank meets eBay” approach to P2P lending (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Alternative lending platform StreetShares raised $10.3 million in a venture round this week, writes Finovate(Banking Technology‘s sister company).

The funds come from an undisclosed investor and bring the Virginia-based company’s total funding to almost $20 million since it was founded in 2013.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms Work to Find a Niche (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: A

However, as crowdfunding marketplaces are getting bigger and more investors are coming onboard, the power to raise equity through this marketplace is growing, says Tore Steen, co-founder and CEO of CrowdStreet Inc. Initially, many sponsors have been looking to raise $1 million to $2 million as a supplement to their existing base of investors. Those levels are now moving to $3 million to $5 million. CrowdStreet’s largest equity raise on a single offering to date was close to $8 million.

Although it remains a fragmented niche that is difficult to quantify, research firm Massolution had estimated the size of the global real estate crowdfunding industry at $3.5 billion in 2016.

RealtyMogul emerged as one of the early players in real estate crowdfunding. Since the firm launched in 2013, it has raised more than $280 million in equity through its online real estate investing marketplace.

Currently, CrowdStreet has more than 25,000 registered investors on its marketplace. In addition, among its active investors, over 55 percent are repeat investors.

Crowdfunding firms such as RealtyMogul are also fueling growth with online “eREITs” that allow them to target a bigger pool of non-accredited investors. Currently, RealtyMogul has 135,000 registered users on its platform, including both accredited and non-accredited investors.

How David Zalik Skipped High School On His Way To Becoming A Billionaire (Forbes), Rated: A

With that I become the first public witness to the long, irregularly shaped basement office where GreenSky, America’s third-most-valuable fintech company (after Stripe and SoFi), has been incubating in obscurity for the past decade. And it’s Zalik who holds the golden ticket: Last September, GreenSky raised $50 million at a $3.6 billion valuation. The 43-year-old cofounder and CEO still owns more than half of the company, shooting him well into the billionaire ranks.

GreenSky’s real magic, however, is something you can’t see: a model that transfers much of the risk, as well as the work, to other parties–and profits from both sides of each deal. Those 17,000 contractors not only market the loans to homeowners but also pay GreenSky, on average, 6% of the loan amount.

From Illinois’ woes to the state of credit: Jamie Dimon lets loose (Crain’s Chicago Business), Rated: A

Obviously you’re a believer in online lending, given JPMorgan’s relationship with small-business lender OnDeck. Tell me how you see online lending going.

What the real issue in peer-to-peer lending is that the borrower will need the money in good times and bad, but the lender will not lend the money in good times and bad. The second there’s a recession, they’ll pull back. That’s exactly what you saw in February of last year when all of a sudden people were pulling back in giving money to the peer-to-peer lenders, who couldn’t then make loans. And they all got crushed. Some have been quite bright. So I think Chicago-based Avant has been quite bright, and they kind of anticipated this, and they created permanent capital. There are multiple ways to create permanent capital. Securitizations kind of work. But they don’t work in tough times. They disappear. Bank relationships work. There are ways to fix the problem. But that is an issue: Can you sustain your business model through the cycle? I think some of them will succeed.

Would you ever see banks getting directly into online consumer lending?

Remember, there is nothing online lenders can do that we can’t. ling With Insurance Companies Less Miserable

5 fintech trends disrupting retail banking (and how banks can fight back) (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

  1. Quick money transfer apps – Millennials have come to expect such an experience. Many banks and credit unions are starting to realize this, but they’re a little behind the eight ball.
  2. Chatbots and Messenger-Based Payments – Soon, you’ll be able to pay for that used TV you found on Craigslist by texting the seller directly from your phone’s messenger app, including Apple which turned on the Messagespayments functionality in June 2017.
  3. Forget the Card, Pay With Mobile Devices – On its own, this doesn’t seem like much of a Trojan horse for banks, but as more people shift behaviors so too will the expectations of banking customers. And with the global mobile payments market estimated to hit $3.4 trillion by 2022, it’s worth monitoring in relation to banking customers.
  4. Smart Budgeting and Personal Finance Management
  5. Digital Currencies That Don’t Require Central Banks

Fintech expert Maule to join British digital banking startup (American Banker), Rated: A

Fintech expert Sam Maule has been hired by nascent digital banking firm 11:FS to head up its expansion in North America.

Marketplace Lending Abs Fund Form D (Weekly Register), Rated: B

The New Jersey-based Marketplace Lending Abs Fund, Lp filed Form D for $2.75 million offering. This is a new filing. The Limited Partnership raised $2.75 million. The offering is still open. The total offering amount was $2.75 million. This form was filed on 2017-08-09.

Online Lending Policy Institute to Host Second Annual Summit in Washington, D.C. (Markets Insider), Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI), the leading voice for policy analysis, in-depth research, and education for the online lending industry, today announced it will host its Second Annual Summit on Sept. 25 at The Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C.

Capital One VP Joins veteran-focused fintech firm (American Banker), Rated: B

A former Capital One executive has moved to StreetShares, an online lending and investing platform.

Heather Tuason, formerly senior vice president of small business at Capital One, is now the fintech startup’s chief product officer, it announced Tuesday.

EquityBuild Announces Master Class Webinar on Five Years to Wealth Through the Brand New Model (Benzinga), Rated: B

EquityBuild announces a new master class on the Power of Five, highlighting their new five-year investment model.

Here is the upcoming webinar master class to attend August 14, 2017:

EquityBuild Power of Five Master Class – Find out how this unique model changing the way investors view real estate. Join us for this special event here.

Labor Department delays fiduciary rule implementation date (Reuters), Rated: B

The U.S. Department of Labor will give wealth management companies more time to get in line with the new “fiduciary rule,” a regulation that requires financial advisers to put retirees’ interests ahead of their own, the regulator said on Wednesday.

Securities brokerages like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch now have until July 1, 2019, to present retirement savers with new contracts that spell out the fees brokers make on certain investment products or transition them into accounts that charge a flat fee based on assets.

United Kingdom

LendInvest makes London Stock Exchange debut with £50m raise (Finextra), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, the UK’s leading online platform for property lending and investing, today listed a £50 million retail bond on the London Stock Exchange’s Order book for Retail Bonds (ORB).

The process to raise LendInvest’s first retail bond was closed early and oversubscribed, thanks to strong demand from retail and institutional investors. About half of the proceeds raised came from major financial institutions including several multi-billion pound asset managers, two global insurance businesses and a major UK state pension fund.

The bond pays a fixed annual coupon of 5.25% for five years, and is secured against a portfolio of property loans and guaranteed by LendInvest. From today, the bond trades under the LSE ticker LIV1.

P2P Lending: MarketInvoice Loanbook Snapshot (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

MarketInvoice, founded in 2010, is the largest UK online P2P lending firm specialising in invoice discounting and invoice factoring. Selective invoice discounting is a facility that allows businesses to sell individual invoices at a discount in order to unlock immediate funding which can be an attractive solution for SMEs periodically strained with cashflow. In early 2017 the platform launched an additional product in the form of MarketInvoice Pro, an invoice factoring product that essentially is a debt facility which businesses can draw on backed by the business’s sales ledger.

Source: Sukhwinder Shoker

MarketInvoice celebrated its strongest origination quarter in 2017Q2 with £161.9m in invoices traded and a healthy 25.3% increase from the previous quarter. Annualised invoice origination growth (2013-2016) for the platform stands at 82.6% and, whilst encouraging, it is clear to see from the oscillation in monthly advanced funding that to-date annualised return performance has been highly influenced by seasonality trends.

Source: Sukhwinder Shoker

Invoice terms exceeding 60 days formed 28.3% of origination in 2016Q2, however, this has significantly increased to 58.2% of 2017Q2 origination.

Invoice originations have shifted away from riskier price grades since the introduction of Market Invoice Pro and this is welcome news for investors.

Meet Finimize: The fintech startup that turned a popular newsletter into a financial planning platform (Tech World), Rated: A

Rofagha quickly realised that the banks couldn’t help him, a financial advisor was unreachable with his income, and the rise of the robo-advisor hadn’t really taken off yet.

Then there is one of his favourite statistics: “86 percent of millennials save each month but they keep more than 50 percent of their assets in cash, because there is no suitable way for them to get financial advice.” This was his lightbulb moment.

Now Rofagha has launched the next phase, a financial planning platform called Finimize MyLife, which is currently in beta and has a waiting list of more than 24,000 people.

The Finimize MyLife platform is free to use and helps users create a financial plan by answering a few questions about their financial position, setting goals and then selecting from a range of options, be that opening an ISA or investing with a partner like Nutmeg or Moneyfarm.

The next steps for Rofagha will be to invest in data science so that the platform can make more tailored product recommendations for users, once it has built out its data set.

WiseAlpha opens up corporate bond market for investors (AltFi), Rated: A

Online lending platform WiseAlpha is adding corporate bond and loan investments to its platform.

Retail investors can now access Tesco’s £300m institutional bond that has a 4.8 per cent return.

Users can buy the debt for as little as  £100 and cash in their bonds via the secondary market on the platform. The grocers bond matures in 2042.

Six of the best alternative income ideas (IG.com), Rated: A

Looking at the ten years to the end of May 2017, inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) rose 31.8%, while anyone receiving the Bank of England (BoE) base rate would have made a total return of 13.2%. In other words, cash in a bank account has lost 18.6% of its real value over ten years.

Over several years, the Investment Trust sector has seen huge growth in alternative income products, and here we list six products from sectors that investors may want to consider for inclusion in their investment allocations.

MARKET INSIGHT: OLD MONEY, NEW METHOD (Campden FB), Rated: A

Marketplace or ‘peer-to-peer’ lending can be attractive for family office investors for several reasons:

  • attractive absolute and relative returns compared to other fixed interest instruments
  • ability to create some granular/diverse portfolios through investment in loan parts
  • transparent credit process and loan pricing
  • ability to match maturity profile to desired outcomes

At present, the lack of a uniform set of standards places some obstacles for investors willing to invest across multiple marketplace lenders. The data structure, terminology, and methodologies differ greatly from platform to platform. However, good platforms are able to clearly demonstrate how loans are underwritten, an expected loss rate and basis for making investment decisions.

How can family offices engage with marketplace lenders?

Firstly, investors need to consider the asset class and risk profile they wish to invest in.

Secondly, investors need to consider how active they wish to be—in its truest form marketplace lender allow absolute discretion to bid on individual loans at whatever size suits.

Glint is a stealthy London fintech startup that promises to turn gold into a ‘new global currency’ (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Glint, a stealthy London fintech startup that promises a new “global currency,” has raised £3.1 million from a plethora of individual backers in the financial services and asset management space, alongside early-stage investor Bray Capital.

However, I understand that Glint will offer a frictionless way to both store and spend your money in gold, including at the point of sale, just like a regular local currency.

Railsbank, a new fintech startup from founder of Currencycloud, raises $ 1.2M led by Firestartr (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Railsbank, a relatively new fintech startup co-founded by CEO Nigel Verdon, who previously founded money exchange and payments platform Currencycloud, has raised $1.2 million in a funding round led by seed investment firm Firestartr.

The company, yet to see its full launch and over a year in the making, offers what it describes as an open banking and compliance platform aimed at other companies, including other fintechs, that have global banking requirements that need to be accessed programatically via an API.

China

China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China’s central bank has ordered online payment groups to operate through a centralised clearing house, a move likely to undercut the dominance of Ant Financial and Tencent by forcing them to share valuable transaction data with competitors.

China is the world leader in mobile payments, with transaction volumes rising nearly fivefold last year to Rmb59tn ($8.8tn), according to iResearch. They are now widely used for everything from high-street shopping to peer-to-peer lending.

Now the People’s Bank of China is requiring all third-party payment companies to channel payments through a new clearing house by next June, according to a document sent to payment companies on August 4 and seen by the Financial Times.

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba Group, is the market leader in mobile payments, with its Alipay unit processing 54 per cent share of all transactions in the first quarter of the year, according to iResearch. WeChat Pay, linked to Tencent’s mobile messaging app, held a 40 per cent share.

Big banks on notice that they’re losing ground to China’s fintech giants (SCMP), Rated: AAA

“JPMorgan every year, as we speak, processes through our QuickPay 94 million payments,” she said, “But Tencent, the Chinese company, over Chinese New Year, in five days processed 46 billion payments. Basically that means 800 million payments per hour.

“Visa has a maximum capacity of processing 25,000 payments per second. But Alipay can process 50,000 payments, twice as much, per second.”

The rise of online payments through non-bank services, exemplified by Alipay and WeChat Pay – which falls under the Tenpay umbrella – in China, has caused another banking giant, Goldman Sachs, to stand up and take notice too.

The firm recently published a report, led by Mancy Sun, which reveals the value of third-party payments in China grew more than 74 times from 2010 to 2016, from US$155 billion to a staggering US$11.4 trillion.

Of that total, 56 per cent took the form of peer-to-peer transfers while about 16 per cent was consumption-related. Furthermore, payments made via third-party payment companies comprised 40 per cent of all retail sales, a figure that is still growing.

Top3 Chinese block chain asset trading platform (the second-tier platforms) (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

First of all, how to define the Chinese second-tier platforms? We refer to the following three factors:

  1. It has been established for a long time, and there is little risk of failure for the company after a long-term market test and trials.
  2. Popular and profitable.
  3. It belong to the major currencies which are the top of the list. And it has certain dominance in a few currencies.

So, the TOP3 Chinese second-tier platforms are finally selected as:

BTC
Online date: May 2013
Website: btc38.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Shenzhen

CDC CloudCoin
Online date: April 2014
Website: yunbi.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Beijing

CHBTC
Online date: early 2013
Website:chbtc.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Zhongshan city, Guangdong province

China Commercial Credit Enters Share Exchange Agreement with Sorghum Investment Holdings Limited (Markets Insider), Rated: A

China Commercial Credit, Inc. (NasdaqCM: CCCR) (“CCCR” or the “Company”), a microfinance company providing financial services to small-to-medium enterprises (“SMEs”), farmers and individuals in Jiangsu Province, today announced that, it has entered into a share exchange agreement (the “Share Exchange Agreement”) by and through its Board of Directors and majority shareholder dated August 9, 2017 with the equity holders of Sorghum Investment Holdings Limited (“Sorghum”), an Internet platform specializing in providing peer-to-peer lending services to individuals and small business owners in China. Pursuant to the Exchange Agreement, the Company has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding equity interests of Sorghum in exchange for 152,586,795 shares of the Company’s Common Stock (the “Acquisition”). Upon completion of the Acquisition, the Company will own 100% of Sorghum, and will be a financial services group operating in both smart financing as well as microfinance sectors in China.

Sina Corp Establishes $ 500M Online Finance Fund To Back Chinese FinTech Firms (China Money Network), Rated: A

Chinese Internet portal Sina Corp said it would establish an Online Finance Fund with a target fundraising size of US$500 million to invest in Chinese fintech companies.

Fintech is one of the most important opportunities in the next three to five years, Chao said during the call. The company believes that it can leverage its own online traffic, data, and microblog services Weibo to attract users and create a strong new brand.

Sina will focus on the business categories where it can obtain its own operating license, such as micro-lending. The company is currently offering micro-lending to users via a partnership with other financial firms, but it is in the process to get its own license.

LendIt Lang Di Fintech Names Omega One PitchIt Competition Winner (PR Newswire), Rated: B

LendIt, the world’s largest show in lending and fintech, named Omega One the winner of its Lang Di Fintech PitchIt competition in Shanghai on July 16. Out of eight PitchIt finalists (and hundreds of applicants) at China’s largest fintech conference, Omega One, an automated trade execution platform, was chosen as the winner for its innovation in the cryptocurrency markets.

As the winner, Omega One received a RMB 1 million investment from JadeValue and co-working space for six months. The company also received two tickets to LendIt USA 2018 as well as round trip airfare and full accommodations for the duration of the conference. The LendIt team will also curate meetings with fintech companies and investors during Omega One’s trip to the U.S.

Lang Di Fintech was held in Shanghai on July 15 – 16, 2017.

European Union

FinTech Group Counts on BearingPoint RegTech (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint, a leading provider of Risk and Regulatory Technology (RiskTech/RegTech), announced that FinTech Group AG, one of the leading providers of innovative financial technologies in Europe, included BearingPoint’s regulatory reporting solution ABACUS/DaVinci in its product portfolio.

International

Fintech startup brings blockchain and cryptocurrencies to invoice finance (GT Review), Rated: A

New fintech startup Populous is introducing smart contracts, blockchain technology and digital tokens to the invoice financing space.

Having raised more than US$10mn in crowdfunding in just five days, the company has now started piloting its new platform, which lets firms and individuals sell or buy invoices globally.

Australia

Locked out of property market? Five better places for Millennials to put money (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

Below are five better places to put your money as a young Australian in 2017.

Another investment opportunity emerging with the rise of fintech is peer-to-peer (P2P) or marketplace lending.

You input a few details into an online form, such as your preferred credit grade, loan term, and maximum amount you wish to invest in any one loan. The algorithm then does the rest on your behalf, and some lenders claim returns as high as 12 per cent per annum.

Women in Finance finalists revealed (TheAdviser), Rated: B

Online lender Prospa received nods in three categories — Alison Binskin, head of operations, made the cut for Fintech Leader of the Year, Lauren Davidson received recognition for Human Relations Professional of the Year and Anna Fitzgerald for Public Relations/Communications Professional of the Year.

India

Just Rent, Don’t Buy (Business Today), Rated: AAA

India has many consumer-lending companies, but there are very few consumer-leasing firms that borrow, convert the money into assets and lease them. RentoMojo does just that and says it has discovered the playbook fairly early, which could be used across categories and not just furniture.

There is one weakness in this model – it is capital intensive, and assets have to be bought before they can be leased.

Adukia, who looks after internal finances, says that the company has lines of credit with banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and high net-worth individuals (HNIs).

There has been no independent study on the market size of the consumer-leasing business, but the company claims it is about $10-12 billion. To stay on top of this market in terms of affordability, RentoMojo does not deal with middlemen and buys directly from manufacturers, says Nain. “We also act like a quasi-bank that takes a call on the creditworthiness of its customers [to protect our revenues].”

Is our banking industry facing existential crisis from fintech boom? (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Recent developments in the rise of Robo-advisers and investments in digital and P2P lending platforms, however, appear to support arguments on the contrary. Already we are seeing Alibaba dominating the payment scene in China while similar local companies like Go-Pay in Indonesia is also rapidly evolving into a commendable competitor of the banks in the payments scheme locally.

The level of threat does not go unnoticed within the banking professionals’ sphere. Based on a survey by PWC, about 81 percent of the banking and fintech players in Indonesia would see a degree of disruption in the way the banks are doing business, with which roughly 50 percent of them observe potential significant disruptions.

On the payment and settlements front, we have also seen how fintech has exposed the inefficiencies in the banks’ existing business processes. For example, in the cross-border interbank payment, the current average transaction costs for sending remittances abroad through bank average around 10.99 percent of the nominal amount globally, according to a report by World Bank. This is highly efficient and perhaps one of the catalysts for online remittance companies like TransferWise to exist.

Another study estimates suggest that mortgage borrowers in the US and European market could potentially save $480 to $960 per loan and banks would be able to reduce costs in the range of $3billion to $11billion by lowering processing costs in the mortgage origination process. Such figure further highlights the inefficiency in the banks’ current operating structure. The figure would likely be more substantial on the percentage basis if similar survey is conducted in Indonesia.

Asia

Globe Telecom’s Fuse to Provide Loans Powered by Mambu (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Mambu, the SaaS banking engine, today announced it will be powering the consumer and business lending products of Fuse, the lending arm of Filipino financial technology firm Mynt, by September 2017.

Mynt is increasing access to  financial services through mobile money, micro-loans and technology by leveraging the mobile and store networks of its partners and parent company in a country with 113% mobile penetration but only 31% banking penetration.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 99.6% percent of total registered companies in the country, as well as individuals face significant difficulty in accessing credit from incumbents due to stringent credit decisioning, limited authentication documentation and lack of collateral.

Singaporean fintech hub Lattice80 to launch office in India (Tech Wire Asia), Rated: A

LATTICE80, Singapore’s fintech hub will be opening an India branch at the end of September, as reported by Bloombergmarking the company’s first step in expanding their global operations.

The fintech hub is planning to open offices in world’s financial capitals, especially London, New York and cities in the Middle East.

MODALKU has become the first and only peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company to attain membership at the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers (IACPM), a forum where financial institutions share and discuss best practices for credit risk management.

Modalku co-founder and CEO Reynold Wijaya stated that his team is focused on attaining international, even global standards.standards.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday June 6 2017, Daily News Digest

u.s. FICO scores

News Comments Today’s main news: Proposed U.S. REIT credit rating methodology. Tisa group pushes for P2P lending in Sipps. Dumiao issues first digital lending ABS on Shanghai exchange. Today’s main analysis: Borrowers accelerating paydowns on six-figure student loan debt. Top 10 P2P lending platforms by volume and loan balance in China. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Millions of Americans just got […]

u.s. FICO scores

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

  • Dumiao issues first digital lender ABS in Shanghai. GP:”ABS offering on Shanghai Stock Exchange. In general investors see the Shanghai Stock Exchange as being particularly prone to insider trading and not many international investors participate in the market. Despite this there is a need for Chinese ABS and there will be, with or without international investors, a Chinese ABS bond market due to the needs of local insurance, private equity, banks and other participants.”
  • Top 10 P2P lending platforms. GP:”A very useful list.”AT: “Interesting, Yirendai, #2 by loan balance, isn’t on the volume list.”
  • Renaud Laplanche to keynote at LendIt’s Lang Di Fintech conference. GP:”I think his return to the public speaking circuit in our industry in China will not receive as much visibility as expected. Renaud should speak in the US again.”

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Proposed U.S. Real Estate Investment Trust Credit Rating Methodology (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

The four key components that drive MCR’s credit rating methodology for REITs are:

  1. Our Business Risk encompasses various measures of a REIT’s business risk.
  2. Our Cash Flow Cushion ScoreTM is an evaluation of a REIT’s ability to cover debt maturities, interest, and other debt-like obligations.
  3. Our Solvency ScoreTM is a predictor of default based on four key metrics.
  4. Our Distance to Default Score is based on a REIT’s likelihood of financial distress using market-based inputs.

Two separate component scores converge to form our final Business Risk assessment: Country Risk and Company Risk. Once we assign these two component scores, we weight them as follows to determine the overall Business Risk assessment for each REIT:

  • Country Risk: 10%
  • Company Risk: 90%

We believe EBITDA is the best measure of size for REITs and assign points for size according to the following scale:

Source: Morningstar

The distance to default metric is a market-based measure of financial health. Both inputs, equity volatility, and the ratio of enterprise value to market capitalization, are calculated using daily updated market data. This allows us to incorporate new information faster through the distance to default calculation compared with accounting-based measures of financial health. As a result, our credit ratings can be more responsive to early signs of financial distress.

  • Step 1: Calculate annualized trailing 300-day equity total return volatility (EQVOL).
  • Step 2: Calculate current enterprise value/market cap ratio (EVMV).
  • Step 3: Transform EQVOL into a percentile [0, 1] by ranking it relative to all other stocks in the calculable universe (EQVOLP). 1 represents high equity volatility, 0 represents low equity volatility.
  • Step 4: Transform EVMV into a percentile [0, 1] by ranking it relative to all other stocks in the calculable universe (EVMVP). 1 represents high leverage companies, 0 represents low leverage companies.
  • Step 5: Calculate new raw DTD = 1-(EQVOLP + EVMVP + EQVOLP*EVMVP)/3
  • Step 6: Transform new raw DTD into a decile [1, 10] by ranking it relative to all calculable U.S.-domiciled stocks. 10 represents poor financial health while 1 represents strong financial health.

Request for Comment (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC (MCR) will accept comments on this Request for Comment until 5 p.m. Eastern Time on July 5, 2017.

Comments should be submitted by the deadline date and time via email to NRSROconsultations@morningstar.com. Comments should contain your name, your title (if writing on behalf of an organization), your organization (if applicable), address, phone number, and email address.

Millions Of Americans Just Got An Artificial Boost To Their Credit Score (Zero Hedge), Rated: AAA

Stated simply, the definition of the all important FICO score, the most important number at the base of every mortgage application, was set for a series of “adjustments” which would push it higher for millions of Americans.

Now, as the Wall Street Journal points out today, efforts to rig the FICO scoring process seems to be bearing some fruit.  The average credit score nationwide hit 700 in April, according to new data from Fair Isaac Corp., which is the highest since at least 2005.

Meanwhile, the share of consumers deemed to be riskiest, with a score below 600, hit a new low of roughly 40 million, or 20% of U.S. adults who have FICO scores, according to Fair Isaac. That is down from 20.5% in October and a peak of 25.5% in 2010.

Extreme refinancing: Borrowers accelerating paydowns on six-figure student loan debt (Credible), Rated: AAA

A growing number of Americans who have student loan debt are enrolling in repayment plans that ease the burden of their monthly payments by stretching them out over a longer time period. Some borrowers pursuing this strategy may qualify to have their remaining debt forgiven after 10, 20, or 25 years of payments. Others will rack up thousands of dollars in additional interest rate charges without qualifying for loan forgiveness.

Credible’s analysis found most borrowers who have refinanced more than $100,000 in educational debt are taking the opposite approach. Most are on track to dispatch their loans in 10 years or less — saving tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments in the process. Many who have refinanced six-figure educational debt at lower rates will pay it off in just 5 years, Credible found.

Read the full report here.

June Legislative Update (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights include:

  • On May 19 Experian submitted comments in response to the CFPB’s Request for Information (RFI) on the use of alternative credit data and alternative credit scoring models. The CFPB sought comments on the types of information that should be considered alternative data and how it could be used to improve financial inclusion.
  • On May 18, Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Balancing the Rights of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly (BROWSER) Act of 2017 (H.R. 2520). Blackburn is joined by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Bill Flores (R-TX) as original co-sponsors of the bill. The legislation seeks to bring internet service providers and edge service providers under the same privacy regime, by designating the FTC as the nation’s sole online privacy enforcement agency.
  • On May 8, Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) introduced H.R. 2359, the FCRA Liability Harmonization Act. The bill seeks to bring consistency to national consumer financial protection laws by capping class action damages and eliminating punitive damages to align the Fair Credit Reporting Act with other consumer financial protection laws.
  • In New York, S.B. 5601 amends the state’s breach law by adding biometric data to the definition of personal information and permitting email notification unless the breach includes access credentials for an email account. Notification would instead be provided in real time by providing clear and conspicuous notice when the consumer is accessing the account from their usual location.

Read the update here.

Marketplace ABS evolving (Structured Credit Investor), Rated: A

At the upcoming SCI Marketplace Lending Securitisation Seminar in New York on 22 June, panellists will discuss the structuring and evolution of marketplace loan ABS. The fact that deals are increasingly incorporating features to reduce risk is one area that is expected to be covered.

This trend is supported by the recent US$495m Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust Series 2017-1 – the first ABS launched by Prosper via its own branded shelf, when previous deals had been issued by Citi on the CHAI shelf. Rated by KBRA and Fitch, the deal comprises US$311m A/A- class A notes and US$70.67m BBB/BBB- class B notes. KBRA rated the US$113m class C notes single B-plus, but these are unrated by Fitch.

Plaid Is Powering the Future of Banking and Finance (Inc.), Rated: A

Plaid co-founders William Hockey and Zachary Perret noticed the need for something simpler, a system that would do the heavy lifting for other companies aiming to work with real financial data. The pair developed APIs that can ingest the mass volumes of financial data on the backend, transform it into a useable format, and then build a service on top – in other words, a platform.

As developers themselves, they focused on building a platform that was developer-friendly and for building integrations. Due to this focus, they quickly saw growing demand from developers and the emerging fintech industry to help build new applications for financial services.

Hockey and Perret’s goal is to drive innovation in financial services. Instead of attempting to serve consumers directly, the pair believed it was a smarter move to build a business- and developer-facing platform, one that would power the entire fintech ecosystem for consumers indirectly.

Moving forward, Plaid will focus on scaling this year. Its main goal is to continue to grow the platform that is seeing a lot of demand — which also means recruiting more people to join the team. Although the team currently numbers around 90, the leadership hopes to grow the team to somewhere around 120 by the end of the year, hiring across all departments.

How this Ohio mutual is getting an edge in tech (American Banker), Rated: A

Recently, First Federal was one of the founders of an Ohio-based fintech accelerator. It’s also invested in Numerated Growth Technologies — a commercial lending technology that lets banks make lending decisions in as little as five minutes.

“Why can’t a group of 10 community banks figure out how to make investments in an innovative platform down the road?” he said. “Or a group of banks being part of a development fund to steer a variety of tech initiatives?”

With the accelerator, First Federal is teaming up with larger banks. Its partners in the accelerator include Fifth Third Bancorp, Huntington Bancshares, KeyCorp and the insurer Progressive. JPMorgan Chase and Silicon Valley Bank are also part of the initiative.

Sweden’s Klarna looks to fuel US growth with e-commerce financing products (451 Research), Rated: A

The vendor has grown from a niche Nordic payments specialist to a global player with operations in 18 markets in little more than a decade. Recently launching in the US, Klarna has chosen to orient its primary go-to-market efforts around an alternative financing offering for e-commerce purchases.

Sequoia raises $ 2 bln for global growth fund, additional capital for China, India funds (PE Hub), Rated: A

Sequoia Capital said it has raised more than $4 billion for venture and growth funds in the United States, China, India and elsewhere in the world, according to filings with the SEC.

The Silicon Valley-based firm said it raised nearly $2 billion ($1.9995 billion) for its Sequoia Capital Global Growth Fund II, according to the filings. The firm had unveiled the fund in 2015 but without a target. Commitments came from 104 LPs.

What is Nevada’s Pro-blockchain Bill? (The Merkle), Rated: A

The state of Nevada has proven to be quite open-minded when it comes to blockchains and cryptocurrencies these days. In fact, the State Legislature approved a bill preventing local governmental entities from taxing any blockchain transaction.

Senate Bill 398 was first introduced in March of this year and is now presented by Governor Brian Sandoval to be signed. Governmental entities can’t impose any tax or fee on the use blockchains by both individuals and entities alike. Moreover, they can’t require these users obtain a license or permission to use blockchain technology either.

Is Marketplace Lending a Safer Investment Than the Stock Market? (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: B

While equities are often thought to yield high returns with fairly low risk, it takes time for them to fully develop and come to fruition. Alternative investment vehicles are coming into the market that are becoming particularly attractive when investing with a low appetite for risk.

With consistency and diligence, the stock market can make for a profitable long-term strategy. According to Credit Suisse, as of February 2017, the U.S. averaged 6.4 percent in inflation-adjusted equity return.

Marketplace lending, on the other hand, has consistent returns with lower volatility. Investopedia names marketplace lending as one of the best investments for high return rates.

Essentially, the main risk associated with marketplace lending is that you are loaning to people who may not have been able to get approved through traditional outlets.

United Kingdom

Tisa group pushes for P2P lending in Sipps (Citywire), Rated: AAA

A working group run by the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (Tisa) is gathering advisers’ views on the use of alternative finance products such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending in Sipps.

The group, which consists of the heads of several P2P and crowdfunding firms along with consultants and Tisa technical policy director Jeffrey Mushens, first met on 19 January.

It has highlighted tax regulation as a key barrier, as well as wider concerns about non-standard assets being held in Sipps.

Despite the industry body helping to push P2P into the mainstream, advisers may take some convincing, with many hesitant until the market has ‘matured’.

The survey is available here.

Most investors not expecting to beat cash, says peer-to-peer lender (AltFi), Rated: A

Major peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has unveiled the findings of a new survey of 2,000 people, of whom more than 500 invest their money via products like equities, bonds or peer-to-peer loans. The findings suggest that most of these investors expect their portfolios to be outperformed by cash over the next 12 months.

The average return on cash currently stands at a meagre 0.15 per cent, according to Bank of England data.

LendInvest launches new three-year bridge (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

LendInvest has launched a new three-year bridge product with 110% ICR as a funding alternative to a conventional buy-to-let loan.

The product is available on loans between £100,000 and £2 million with a maxmimum LTV of 70% on day 1, rising to 75% as interest on the loan is deferred and rolled up.

China

PINTEC Subsidiary Dumiao is First Digital Lending Tech Provider to Issue ABS on Shanghai Exchange (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

PINTEC Group, China’s leading financial technology provider, announced that its wholly owned digital lending technology subsidiary Dumiao successfully issued RMB245 million worth of asset-backed securities (ABS) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, in the first such issue by a digital lending technology provider.

The underlying assets of the ABS are receivables facilitated by Dumiao on Qunar’s “Naquhua” installment payment service. Qunar, a leading online travel agency in China, is supporting the ABS program, ensuring the asset formation and stable service operation. Dumiao, a leading digital consumer lending technology provider, supplies Qunar with a digital lending technology solution and offers consumers flexible and efficient financial service.

The Dumiao offering represents the first internet consumer finance ABS sponsored by a third-party digital lending technology provider. Prior to the listing of Dumiao’s ABS on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, ABS offerings from the internet finance sector had been dominated by e-commerce companies.

Top 10 P2P Lending Platforms (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: AAA

By the end of May 2017, the total loan balance of P2P lending platforms in China reached to $1146.30 billion, and the total volume reached to $366.05 billion. According to the ranking list issued by Online Lending House, we picked out the top 10 P2P lenders per Loan Balance and Volume.

Top10 P2P Lending Platform per Loan Balance in May 2017
Rank Lending Platform Location Loan Balance

(Billion dollars)

Growth of loan balance (%) Overall yield Rate(%) Loan term (Month)
1 Lufax Shanghai 19.48 4.34 7.9 31.01
2 Yirendai Beijing 4.90 5.12 11.56 30.68
3 JBH Beijing 4.18 1.37 7.45 5.39
4 Eloancn Beijing 4.10 -5.12 9.1 10.32
5 PPDAI Shanghai 3.28 12.49 17.22 11.24
6 Xiaoying.com Guangdong 3.06 21.35 7.34 8.4
7 IQianJin Beijing 2.82 13.31 10.96 30.17
8 Hongling Capital Guangdong 2.56 1.68 7.67 2.66
9 Niwodai Shanghai 2.49 -0.02 10.73 16.98
10 Renrendai Beijing 2.35 5.08 10.19 35.07

 

Top10 P2P Lending Platform per Volume in May 2017
Rank Lending Platform Location Volume

(Billion dollars)

Growth of loan balance (%) Overall yield Rate(%) Loan term (Month)
1 Lufax Shanghai 1.65 -0.68 7.9 31.01
2 Xinhehui.com Zhejiang 1.60 8.34 7.13 0.75
3 Hongling Capital Guangdong 1.30 2.22 7.67 2.66
4 Wei Dai Network Zhejiang 1.09 -7.70 7.62 2.81
5 Xiaoying.com Guangdong 1.02 52.99 7.34 8.40
6 Tuandai Network Guangdong 0.73 24.64 9.05 3.59
7 IQianJin Beijing 0.68 42.77 10.96 30.17
8 PPDAI Shanghai 0.61 -7.52 17.22 11.24
9 Yidai.com Sichuan 0.57 53.67 11.70 7.57
10 PPmoney Guangdong 0.52 185.77 9.50 6.35

Renaud Laplanche Joins LendIt’s Lang Di Fintech as Keynote Speaker (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Now Laplanche is returning to the public stage as a keynote speaker roster for Lang Di Fintech 2017, LendIt’s Chinese conference. Lang Di Fintech, said to be the largest Fintech conference in China, marks Laplanche’s first public speaking role since founding Upgrade. His presentation is said to focus on the concept of online lending 2.0, including how new technologies such as Blockchain are increasingly incorporated into a Fintech company’s technology architecture.

International

Singapore fintech hub LATTICE80 launches initiative to connect Asia and Nordic fintech ecosystems (e27), Rated: AAA

Singapore-based fintech hub LATTICE80 has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Nordic Finance Innovation (NFI), an independent Nordic executive network for the finance industry.

The partnership will raise awareness of fintech’s potential between Asia and the Nordics; office space sharing; events collaboration; in-country exclusivity; exchange programs for members; and the leveraging of mutual contacts and networks.

Meanwhile, 42 per cent of Nordic financial institutions surveyed want to expand their existing partnerships with fintech firms. 42 per cent of Nordic banks surveyed also intend to set up fintech incubators.

Tommaso Zanobini to Lead Fintech at Deutsche Bank (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Deutsche Bank has hired Tommaso Zanobini as Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Technology (Fintech), a joint venture between Deutsche Bank’s FIG and TMT banking team.

SAIL Capital Awarded Most Innovative Sustainable Investment Firm, Recognised Leader in Global Resource Investing (PRWeb), Rated: B

Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2017 Alternative Investment Awards. SAIL Capital of Newport Beach, CA has been awarded Most Innovative Sustainable Investment Firm 2017 (Energy & Water) & Recognised Leader in Global Resource Investing 2017.

SAIL Capital has been a pioneer and thought leader in impact/alternative investing since the early 2000’s under the leadership of Founder and CEO Walter Schindler.

Now in its fourth year, the 2017 Alternative Investment Awards casts a light on the individuals, firms and departments from across all sectors that have played a part in shaping this dynamic and imitable industry.

Australia

How peer-to-peer lending could hit big bank profits (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

For example ANZ pays 2.4% annual interest on its one-year term deposit, and charges 13.95% annual interest on its personal loan.

Direct banks usually offer slightly higher interest rates on deposit accounts, lower loan costs, and reduced fees because they do away with the costs and inefficiencies (and arguably some of the service) of the traditional banks.

For example, the direct bank ME pays 2.85% annual interest on its term deposit, and charges 12.49% annual interest on its personal loan, making for a spread of 9.64%. Compare this to ANZ’s spread of 11.55% and you’ll note that ME’s more bare bones set up allows it to better cater to the more cost-conscious customers.

For example, the P2P lender DirectMoney Ltd (ASX: DM1) pays the investor around a 7.50% annual return for their personal loan fund, and charges the borrower around 9.50% annual interest on their personal loan. The spread is just 2.0% – a fraction of the banks with ANZ at 11.55% and ME at 9.64%.

Big BankANZ Direct BankME P2P LenderDirectMoney
Lender (Personal Loan) 13.95% 12.49% 9.5%
Borrower (Term Deposit) 2.4% 2.85% 7.5%
Net interest spread 11.55% 9.64% 2.0%

* All rate as of 2/6/17

Australia’s ASIC Proposes Next Steps on RegTech (The National Law Review), Rated: A

On Friday 26 May 2017, ASIC released its Report 523 titled “ASIC’s Innovation Hub and our approach to regulatory technology”. This report gives an update on the work of ASIC’s Innovation Hub and outlines ASIC’s current and proposed future approach to RegTech.

The report proposes that ASIC increase its focus on supporting RegTech developers, including by:

  • establishing a new RegTech liaison group comprising industry, technology firms, academics, consultancies, regulators and consumer bodies to enable networking, discussion of RegTech developments and collaboration opportunities that promote positive applications of RegTech;

  • continuing to hold RegTech trials and sharing knowledge about those trials with the market to promote wider use of technologies that promote good consumer and market integrity outcomes; and

  • hosting a problem-solving event (“hackathon”) later in 2017 to stimulate thinking and approaches to deal with problems of regulation commonly faced by the financial services sector.

India

Sundaram Finance backs online education loans marketplace GyanDhan (VC Circle), Rated: A

GyanDhan, an online marketplace for education loans operated by Delhi-based Senbonzakura Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, has secured an undisclosed amount from Sundaram Finance Holdings, a subsidiary of Chennai-based Sundaram Finance Ltd, it said in a statement.

The platform had raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs and Harvard Angels in July last year .

It had earlier received angel funding from Satyen Kothari, founder of Cube and Citrus Pay.

Fintech platform MaxMyWealth raises funds from two UK firms (VC Circle), Rated: A

London- and India-based Heathwalk Advisors Pvt. Ltd, which runs financial technology platform MaxMyWealth, has raised an undisclosed amount from two UK-based firms, it said in a statement.

The firm will use the funds to build the team, enhance its offering and grow its customer base.

Asia

Top 10 Fintech Companies South Korea (TechBullion), Rated: A

According to Statista, the Transaction Value in the fintech market amounts to US$43,032m in 2017.

Developed by Samsung electronics, Samsung Pay allows users to make payments using compatible phones and other Samsung-produced devices.

Founded in 2013, Viva Republica is a fintech company that offers innovative peer-to-peer money transfer services via a mobile app called “Toss”.

8percent is a leading start-up that brings together savvy investors and creditworthy borrowers together so that both can benefit financially.

Founded in 2012, Rainist offers financial products recommendation based on individual’s life patterns and purchase behaviour.

DAYLI Financial Group is a leading financial technology platform consisting of innovative technologies such as machine learning, payment solutions, big data analytics, bitcoin exchange, and blockchain solutions.

‘Stocks Plus for Kakao’  enables users to check their stock quotes in real-time via Kakaotalk, a multi-platform messaging app.

Founded in 2011, Newsystock is a Robo-Portfolio platform that provides accurate analysis and equity purchase recommendations in the stock market.

Infosonic is the start-up that produces Sonic Pass as mobile authentication and payment app.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor