News Comments Today’s main news: LendingPoint closes $178M personal loans securitization. OnDeck hits $879M in online financing in Texas alone. RateSetter adds three products. Funding Circle lenders face longer cash out waits. Yirendai files Form 6-K. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for August 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Silicon Valley is building a social […]
LendingPoint, the company revolutionizing and democratizing commerce, announced today that it closed its inaugural securitization of consumer loans. LendingPoint Receivables Trust 2019-1 (“LDPT 2019-1”) issued $177.85 million of notes backed by a pool of $187.22 million of direct-to-consumer loans originated on the LendingPoint platform.
The LendingPoint Receivables Trust securitization was rated by Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Inc. and includes $117.76 million of Class A notes rated “A-“, $24.74 million of Class B notes rated “BBB-“, $23.68 million of Class C notes rated “BB-” and $10.67 million of Class D notes rated “B-.” The notes priced at a blended yield of 4.05% per annum and provided for a 95% advance rate. The transaction has a 5% overcollateralization Deposit and a 5% overcollateralization Target. The risk adjusted yield of the receivables securing the notes is expected to be 13.14% per annum.
OnDeck today announced that TyMac Electric of Plano, Texas is its Small Business of the Month for August, 2019. The 30-person company serves the Dallas-Fort Worth area with high-quality, professionally managed electrical services.
Over the last two years, OnDeck has provided additional financing to TyMac Electric as the business grew to meet demand in the Dallas-Fort Worth commercial marketplace.
Overall, OnDeck has provided more than $879 million in financing online to small business owners in the State of Texas.
Have you heard about China’s social credit system? It’s a technology-enabled, surveillance-based nationwide program designed to nudge citizens toward better behavior. The ultimate goal is to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step,” according to the Chinese government.
Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.
Real estate investment platform Fundrise has raised over $22 million for their Opportunity Fund. The information was revealed in a recent Form D 5o6c filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Data is the new oil, as the saying goes, and today Kabbage — a fintech startup backed by SoftBank that has built a business around lending up to $250,000 to small and medium enterprises, using AI-based algorithms to help determine the terms of the loan — is picking up an asset to expand its own data trove as it looks to expand into further SMB financial services. The company has acquired Radius Intelligence, the marketing technology firm that has built a database of information on some 20 million small and medium businesses in the U.S.
Nonbanks and alternative lenders have garnered attention in the banking industry due to their ability to partner with legacy banks and utilize technology to make financial transactions more efficient and convenient for users.
Challenger bank Chime has reached 5 million customers in the U.S. The San Francisco-based startup is creating an FDIC-insured mobile bank without any physical branch. The company also promises fewer fees.
Back in March, Chime said it had 3 million customers when it announced its $200 million Series D round. So that’s 2 million additional customers in roughly 5 months.
Even Financial, a four-year-old New York-based provider of APIs for financial services search, acquisition, and monetization, today announced that it’s raised $25 million in a strategic round of investment co-led by Citi Ventures and MassMutual Ventures, with additional participation from LendingClub. Existing backers American Express Ventures, Canaan Partners, F-Prime Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, and Goldman Sachs also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total raised to $50 million.
Credit Sesame — which lets consumers check their credit scores and evaluate options to rebalance existing debts and loans to improve that score and thus their overall “financial health,” in the words of CEO and founder Adrian Nazari — has raised $43 million. With the company already profitable and growing revenues 90% each year for the last five, Nazari said that this round is likely to be the last round the company raises before it goes public.
Household debt in the U.S. continues to rise and as of this year now stands at nearly $14 trillion.
CrowdBureau Corporation, a fintech startup and index provider, has closed $1.1 million Series A equity funding to expand its series of benchmarks and launch a pilot program for its patent-pending regulatory technology product. The round, which values the company at $9.7 million, was led by Clydagh Limited, Estuary Holdings Ltd. and Alpama Limited along with existing investors.
A growing number of companies are helping workers gain access to payroll advances and loans, reflecting concern over the impact money problems are having on productivity levels and worker retention.
Employers including Walmart Inc. and Pima County, Ariz., have recently added these services. The aim is to help cash-strapped employees, many with damaged credit, cover unexpected expenses without resorting to high-cost debt.
Lendingblock, the regulated, open exchange for institutional borrowing and lending of digital assets, today announces the launch of its institutional lending platform on September 3, 2019. The lending product, which is a reinvented version of securities lending from traditional capital markets, is the first exchange fully dedicated to pure crypto lending and aims to support the needs of the broader cryptocurrency market by providing a secure and liquid venue for lending and borrowing needs of institutional market participants.
Upon launch, Lendingblock platform users will be able to borrow and lend BTC, ETH, PAX and USDT on a fully collateralized basis, for loan terms of 1, 7, 14 and 30 days, with a minimum trade size of $100,000 equivalent of a specified digital asset.
News Comments Today’s main news: Better.com raises $160M. Funding Circle passes $10B in global small business lending. Numbrs Personal Finance achieves unicorn status. Tala raises $110M, expanding into India. LendingKart raises $2.95M. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree Personal Loan Report–July 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Slack’s direct listing and the future of security tokens. Is Funding Circle […]
Better.com, one of the fastest-growing homeownership platforms in the country, today closed its Series C fundraise at $160 million, bringing the company’s total funding to $254 million to date. Activant Capital, Ping An Global Voyager Fund, Ally Financial, Citi, AGNC, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and American Express Ventures joined existing shareholders Goldman Sachs, Pine Brook, and Kleiner Perkins in the round.
The new investment round comes amid a period of tremendous growth for the fin-tech disruptor: Better.com has grown 3x year-over-year and is currently funding $375 million in mortgages a month. This puts the company on track to lend over $4 billion in 2019. Better.com also funded $1 billion of loans in Q2 of this year alone, more than in all of 2016 and 2017 combined.
Removing the middleman through security tokenization also means democratizing access to investment opportunities. By breaking up large assets into individual tokens, exclusive investment opportunities that would otherwise be reserved for the super-rich are opened up. Essentially, security tokenization is doing to private investments what peer-to-peer lending has done to private lending by removing the lock-up, liquidity, and the lower minimum investment involved in traditional venture capital and private equity investing.
Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, July 29th. The company reported $0.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.07 by $0.06, Briefing.com reports. The business had revenue of $177.76 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $187.48 million. Elevate Credit had a net margin of 2.45% and a return on equity of 19.19%. Elevate Credit’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.07 EPS. Elevate Credit updated its FY 2019 guidance to $0.55-0.65 EPS and its FY19 guidance to $0.55-0.65 EPS.
Today, Inc. magazine revealed that Reliant Funding is number 3,838 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. This is Reliant Funding’s seventh consecutive year the Inc. 5000.
A year ago the prevailing view was the era of low rates was over. We find ourselves now testing record low 30-year US Treasury yields, and potential issuance of 50-year and 100-year bonds. Mohammed El-Erian is raising the concern that with the panic headlines we might be talking ourselves into a recession.
Steve Eisman, famed for shorting subprime mortgages, took a direct shot at Zillow’s new business model. We highlight the excerpt of Steve’s comments, particularly as a number of FinTechs are entering the market for intermediating residential homes:
Zillow has one of the most flawed business models I’ve seen in a very, very long time.
The part of it I find the most problematic is what they call, I believe, their iHome business, their internet buying business, where they actually go out and buy homes and flip them. I actually think the company doesn’t understand the real risks of this business, which are massive.
“It’s not only about access, but also the size of some of these transactions. The average consumer can’t buy a $10 million building, however they can take on a $100 share of it.”
What it costs to make money with real estate investing
For example, CrowdStreet requires a minimum investment of $10,000 for a minimum 36 months, but doesn’t charge account fees. Fundrise lets you get started with $500, but charges a fee of 1% per year, which is relatively steep compared to fees for roboadvisors, which tend to be around 0.25% to 0.60%.
Joseph Hogue of My Stock Market Basics examined average returns on real estate crowdfunding platforms: Open investments had a return of around 14.7%, with completed deals averaging 14.6%.
Fund That Flip, an award-winning fintech platform and marketplace lender of residential real estate loans, today announced a raise of $11 million from Princeton, NJ.-based growth equity firm Edison Partners.
After origination, Fund That Flip offers accredited and institutional investors the opportunity to purchase fractional shares of the loan and earn an 8%-9% annualized yield.
3G Capital Advisors, LLC, a boutique real estate advisory firm focused on developing creative capital solutions for its partners, announced today the closing of $179.2 million in permanent financing for Watermark J&L Partners, LLC originated through Greystone and provided by Freddie Mac. The loans will refinance a portfolio of four multifamily communities with a total of 1,188 units in Arkansas, Colorado and Texas.
To take a look at how expensive town life can get, LendingTree, the nation’s largest online loan marketplace, ranked the 50 towns in the United States with the most expensive median home values. Our study also looks at the median income in these towns to determine how attainable homeownership is for the average person living there. What we found: The towns with the most expensive home prices are unaffordable to median income earners who live in those areas.
Vineyard Haven, Mass., Summit Park, Utah, and Breckenridge, Colo., are the three most expensive towns in the country. Each of these towns is known for its proximity to natural features like mountain ranges or the ocean. While high levels of wealth tend to pool in these towns, the majority from these areas make an income well under the national household average.
The majority of the towns featured in this study are unaffordable for the median income earner living in them. Both renting and owning a home are out of reach for median income earners in 42 of the 50 towns looked at in this study. This suggests that many people who work in the towns featured in these studies don’t necessarily live there, and instead commute.
As our study makes clear, living in a small town does not necessarily make the cost of living more affordable. Many people living in the towns featured in our study would have an easier time affording a home in a major metropolitan area than in their current area. That being said, some of these towns are still relatively affordable like Los Alamos, N.M. or Gillette, Wyo.
But that’s also the Apple Card’s biggest hindrance. Sure, having a credit card that lives on your phone in a digital wallet is ideal for convenience and security. Yet it also makes the experience of using the Apple Card more limiting than other options, especially when it comes to paying your balance, managing your card, and the rewards you get.
Silvergate is the leading financial services provider for top Crypto exchange companies such as Xapo, Bitstamp, and Coinbase. The latest report indicates that the bank intends to roll out Crypto lending services.
Three blockbuster deals for financial-technology companies pushed takeover spending to a record $120 billion in the first half of the year as bidders targeted payments firms, according to research from consulting firm Hampleton Partners.
Welcome to Ohio, where the average student debt is $28,947, according to a new study by LendEDU, an online student loans marketplace. Ohio’s average student loan debt is smack dab in the middle of the state-by-state rankings, with average student debt ranging from $19,742 in Utah to $38,776 in Connecticut.
About 58 percent of all students graduating from a four-year college or university in Ohio and the U.S. received a student loan to finance their education.
Capital Trading Group, LP (“CTG”), an investment firm specializing in execution and account management for commodity trading advisors, has announced the release of its new Managed Futures Podcast hosted by firm principal and alternative investments specialist, Nell Sloane.
Funding Circle, the leading small business loans platform in the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, today announced that investors have lent more than $10 billion to small businesses globally through its platform. Achieving this milestone in less than a decade, Funding Circle has proven that its model has become the preferred option for small business funding that fuels economic growth — with every $1 lent to a small business through Funding Circle in 2018 contributing $2 to GDP, according to Oxford Economics.
The image below, which you can click on for greater detail, shows that at June 2019 Funding Circle Holdings had debt of UK£146.8m, up from none in one year. But it also has UK£449.9m in cash to offset that, meaning it has UK£303.1m net cash.
Zooming in on the latest balance sheet data, we can see that Funding Circle Holdings had liabilities of UK£180.2m due within 12 months and liabilities of UK£19.3m due beyond that. On the other hand, it had cash of UK£449.9m and UK£14.9m worth of receivables due within a year. So it actually has UK£265.3m more liquid assets than total liabilities.
UK-based private asset infrastructure service, Delio, has secured £3.3 million in an equity investment round led by Maven Capital Partners, which will purport the company into markets across Asia, the Middle East and North America.
If an industry as new as P2P can have legacy issues, there’s clearly a ‘second move advantage’ for new potential entrants who have an opportunity to build systems and processes ready for the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules:
SMCR – the new governance rules are not just about assigning responsibility to individuals.
Three lines of defence – will you need a dedicated compliance function? risk? internal audit?
Recovery and resolution plans – we’re in discussions with a number of potential new entrants who are at the very early stages of their IT planning.
Appropriateness tests – whilst incumbent firms are progressing with their plans to comply with the requirements, it is far easier to build the process from scratch – and price it in to the strategy.
Existing players continue to hit new milestones (such as Funding Circle’s $10bn announced this month), and secure increased funding.
In the UK, the new revenue potential generated through open banking-enabled small- and medium-sized business and retail customer propositions was £500 million ($700 million) in 2018, per PwC — and Business Insider Intelligence expects that to grow at a 25% compound annual growth rate to reach £1.9 billion ($2 billion) by 2024.
Numbrs Personal Finance raised $40 million to bring the total capital invested to almost $200 million, Chief Executive Officer Martin Saidler said in an interview. Numbrs offers an app that enables users to manage their existing bank accounts in one place and to buy financial products.
Brocc, a Swedish company specialized in P2P Consumer Lending, has raised funding from Goldman Sachs Private Capital (“Goldman Sachs”). Brocc intends to use this financing to issue consumer loans, allowing consumers to consolidate existing debts at lower rates.
To help over three billion underbanked adults have a chance at a loan, Tala has raised $110 million in a Series D round led by RPS.
The company currently has 500 employees across locations in Southern California, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, and India. The new money will be used to expand its India presence, as well offer new services. To date, Tala has raised $219.4 million in funding from investors like Revolution, Institutional Venture Partners, and PayPal Ventures.
Australasia’s largest marketplace lender is meeting a rapid pace of growth by ushering financial services leader David Stevens into the business from September 1, 2019. Stevens steps into the CEO role in early 2020, a transition that will free Harmoney’s founder and current CEO Neil Roberts to focus on strategy and product as the platform continues to innovate and lead across both markets.
Indian startup Lendingkart announced that it has raised $2.95 million in new funding from Sistema Asia Fund.
The investment comes days after the company raised $30 million in a Series D financing round led by existing investors including Fullerton Financial Holdings, Bertelsmann India Investments and India Quotient. The total funds raised by LendkingKart is now at $146 million.
More than 500 Lakhs MSMEs exist currently and over the last 5 decades in India. This SME sector has grown dynamically contributing 45 percent of India’s GDP according to ‘Micro Merchant Market Sizing and Profiling Report’ which also shows it provides employment to around 46 crores people in India and is growing at a fast rate of 11.5 percent every year.
There are many aspects of the business that needs to be handled by a small business owner when he runs a business. As a small business owner, he doesn’t have resources to waste. But he needs to the optimal performance of every resource/department, so that cost of production is kept at a minimal level. And the profits are also enhanced. But when an individual multi-tasks and handles various functions all by himself, there are chances that some aspects of the business may miss his attention.
A recent study by the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) and PwC said that 94% of fintech companies are eyeing workforce expansions over the next 12 months, with 28% expecting to double their employee numbers in the next three years.
Notable Singaporean fintech firms include digital insurer Singapore Life, remittance company InstaRem, and peer-to-peer lending platform Validus. The latter two companies are backed by Vertex Ventures, a venture capital firm under Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.
The Israeli Capital Market Authority is seeking to make changes to its licensing regime in order to encourage competition and grow the financial technology (fintech) industry in the country. According to a report by local daily Calcalist, the regulator has established dedicated teams that will specialize in blockchain and other emerging financial technology.
News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi is like a bank, but not a bank. Finastra’s blockchain solution for lenders is live. Linked Finance pass 50M Euro lending mark. Capital Float raises $22M from Amazon. Today’s main analysis: Cities where credit card debt has increased, decreased the most. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Fintech business lenders are evolving. Why marketplace lending needs […]
SoFi is more like a bank, but not a bank. AT: “This is great news, but Americans don’t seem much interested in challenger banks. Maybe this will change as larger companies like SoFi and Marcus attempt to make it popular. I hope they succeed.”
The U.S. economy is in a good place, growing at a healthy rate of nearly 3% annually, and the unemployment rate is around 4%. So it’s perhaps surprising that credit card balances are growing in 20 of the 30 largest U.S. metros while declining in nine with one city unchanged.
The changes in credit card balances range from a 9% increase in Miami to a 6% drop in San Francisco.
Miami led the 30 largest metros by far with a 9% annual increase. Pittsburgh was No. 2 at a nearly 6% rise with New York and Chicago both just above 5%.
Average credit card balances range from $7,276 in Washington, D.C. to $5,114 in Riverside, Calif.
Cities with the largest average credit card balance decreases
30. San Francisco — credit card balances declined 6%.
While the merits of the proposed fintech national banking charter continue to be debated in Washington, online nonbank business lenders haven’t been circling in a holding pattern over Reagan National Airport.
Case in point: The business of lending isn’t lending, but getting paid back, said Andrea Gellert, chief revenue officer at OnDeck, the largest online small business lender in the U.S.
Pro’s and cons of alternative data
One of the criticisms of traditional credit bureaus is that they have typically relied on backward-looking, historical data. One of the elements of fintech lenders has been use of alternative indicators intended to give a glimpse of the future.
“Alternative data sources have been proven to work to predict credit,” said Luke Voiles, director at QuickBooks Capital, which lends to users of Quicken’s accounting software. (Currently the company caps loans as $50,000.) The input the firm can access provides a strong picture of how a business is doing and may be doing in the future. Gellert said that as loans grow larger, OnDeck adds in methodologies derived from behavioral economics.
Marketplace lending platforms — Lending Club, OnDeck, Prosper and the like — have inarguably and fundamentally altered the geography of the lending landscape. In the last decade, they’ve gone from being a niche product to representing about a third of unsecured consumer loan volume in the United States as of 2016, according to a recent study by Harvard Business School Professor Boris Vallée and University of Washington Professor Yao Zeng.
The really savvy investors, the study noted, aren’t merely savvy because of the knowledge they possess — but because of the technology they leverage. One popular such technology is LendingRobot’s quantitative modeling that takes in the historical data provided by the platforms and uses it to create rules of purchase — and then allows its user set it to literally auto-invest whenever it encounters a loan that meets the rules’ criteria.
Looking at a swath of loans executed by LendingRobot users between January 2014 and January 2017, with a particular focus on $120 million invested in LendingClub and Prosper during that time period, what they found is that those who used LendingRobot bought much better loans — the average default rate for LendingRobot purchases was 20 percent lower than the average default rate on the platform.
In February, BB&T Chief Executive Kelly King took to Twitter with a video apology to thousands of irate customers after an equipment malfunction hobbled ATMs, online and mobile banking. “We are committed to making this right,” he said.
On Thursday, during the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based bank’s quarterly earnings call, King revealed the bottom-line cost of the high-profile, three-day system outage: $15 million in lost revenue and an additional $5 million in noninterest expenses tied to fee waivers and other costs.
Zelle, a service that allows bank customers to instantly send money to their acquaintances, is booming. Thousands of new users sign up every day. Some $75 billion zoomed through Zelle’s network last year. That’s more than twice the amount of money that customers transferred with Venmo, a rival money-transfer app.
But the same features that make Zelle so useful for customers, its speed and ubiquity, have made it irresistible to thieves. Hackers and con artists have used the system to steal from victims — some of whom had never used Zelle or even heard of it until someone used it to clean out their bank accounts.
Speaking at LendIt Fintech 2018 Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein talked about building a brand in the online lending space; he explained most companies think boiler rooms equal brands, he went on to say you need to spend time and money on building your company’s brand; building relationships is the key, not just credit scores and data, you need to understand what your customer wants and needs by engaging with them on a regular basis.
When it comes to getting a loan or credit card from their bank, many Americans are not so confident. A newly released study from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (CNMC) found that non-prime Americans – the 2/3rds of US adults with credit scores under 700 – were significantly less likely to depend on a traditional financial institution for access to credit. Compared to individuals with prime credit scores, non-prime Americans are:
4x as likely to have been denied a loan over the last year
8x as likely to not use a bank
6x as likely to use an online-only financial institution
21% less likely to believe their financial institution has products designed for them
48% less likely to believe they would be approved for a personal loan
The non-prime are often characterized by income volatility, making it all the more necessary they have access to credit. Yet, one in 12 non-prime Americans do not even use a traditional bank for their day-to-day needs. Non-prime Americans often move to an online only bank to meet this void.
Representatives of the so-called millennial generation are approaching their mid-thirties, being the single largest segment of home buyers in America. This, undoubtedly, represents a huge opportunity for the mortgage industry.
Couple this with the fact that the American housing market (which currently stands at $26 trillion) is the largest asset class in the world – even bigger than the U.S. stock market – and it’s clear that there is certainly a huge wealth of opportunity within this sector.
When we solved for job titles, we discovered that teachers take out the most Lending Club loans with 47,761 loans issued. “Manager” and “Owner” follow, but as you’ll see in the chart below, teacher reappears (with a lower-case “t”) with another 8,777 loans issued.
This chart shows average monthly income for the teachers requesting loans. It’s widely beleived that teachers aren’t paid as well as they should be.
Daijo is yet another decentralized P2P lending platform built atop the Stellar blockchain. The Demo version for Daijo mobile app is currently available and running, with the full version expected to be released in a couple of weeks, however QIN tokens are available for presale.
The QIN token is Daijo’s very own multi-purpose asset. QIN will be used for basically everything on the platform, from rewards, to loan requests, to repay of loans. Daijo presents a little update to existing lending platform, with this, our arms are crossed to see how Daijo and the QIN tokens would perform on the big stage.
Harvest Properties, a full service commercial real estate investment, development, and management firm (“Harvest”) and an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. (“Cerberus”), a global leader in alternative investing, announced today that they have acquired DC Station, an office property located in Daly City, California. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certified project is comprised of a nine-story, multi-tenant office building totaling approximately 383,000 square feet.
Borrowing online has a number of major benefits, from quick approval – as the online lender can tell you more or less instantly if you’re either approved or not – to lower interest rates (if any) and easier approval because they always use alternative information to evaluate your credit worthiness. You can find information about all types of loans, but make sure you search for it in the right places. For example, expert online loan lenders like Credit Cube provide a review of all types of loans and they make sure you choose a loan that satisfies your requests. For now, let’s see what the differences between the main types of lenders are!
UK fintech Finastra announced on Tuesday its blockchain-based solution, Fusion LenderComm, is now commercially available as an app on R3’s Corda platform for financial institutions operating in the syndicated lending market. The launch was announced at the LSTA Operations Conference in New York. Finastra reported that following a pilot, the solution is proven to streamline information exchange between agent banks and lenders, driving transparency and efficiency in the syndicated loan market.
Fusion LenderComm is now available as a “low-cost” service for financial services institutions acting as agent banks, using Fusion Loan IQ, a syndicated loan servicing platform. However, the Fusion LenderComm platform is an open utility for all institutions involved in syndicated lending, regardless of the loan servicing software in use.
LANDBAY has achieved the targets set last year as part of its commitment to the Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.
The buy-to-let specialist has confirmed that there is now a minimum of one female representative on every interview panel. It has also drafted a formal maternity and paternity leave plan for all employees.
The peer-to-peer lender’s third target was to ensure that for any additions to executive management or the board of directors, at least one woman must be shortlisted. However, there have been no vacancies at an executive and non-executive level since this promise was made in 2017.
UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital announced last week it has joined the panel of mortgage packager specialist Positive Lending. This news comes just days after the online lender reached a record number of loans available to investors using its Manual Lending Account (MLA), with well over 200 live loans with loan parts available for immediate investment on the secondary market.
Growth Street, an alternative banking service provider for SMEs, announced today that it is now listed as an Appointed Representative (AR) on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Financial Services Register. Formerly a peer to peer (P2P) platform purely for incorporated businesses to lend and borrow from each other, this new status allows Growth Street to accept individuals as investors on the platform. By expanding the range of investors, Growth Street aspires to provide more businesses with a GrowthLine, its business overdraft alternative.
The Business Catalyst Club has agreed a deal with commercial finance brokers ABL Business to create Business Catalyst Finance.
The partnership will provide access to a range of funding options such as commercial property finance, business loans and venture capital along with alternative finance opportunities like asset-based lending and peer-to-peer lending.
Loans from Linked Finance to Irish small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have passed the €50m mark.
The milestone co-insides with the Irish peer-to-peer lending platform celebrating five years in business.
ID Finance R&D joins Eastern European tech elite at Belarus’ Hi-Tech Park (ID Finance) Rated: B
ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, has been accepted into the Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP) in Minsk as it seeks to strengthen its R&D team and take advantage of the favourable business environment on offer to technology companies.
Billions of dollars are transferred every day and people, collectively, lose out on millions in inefficient systems and high transaction fees. There is a lack of transparency and accountability in the system. Another big problem in the major global financial organizations is that more than 3.5 billion (50% of global population) are still unbanked.
A solution to these problems is a crowd-based banking system that secures its customer’s funds by blockchain technology.
Robo-advice platform Clover.com.au has entered an agreement to provide proprietary online financial advice and wealth management technology to private wealth firm, Collins House.
Clover chief executive officer and co-founder, Sahil Kaura, said the platform would algorithmically assess information provided by customers to determine if a managed discretionary account (MDA) service was appropriate on a case-by-case basis.
Capital Float, the fintech startup that says it is India’s largest online lender, announced today that it has raised $22 million in new funding from Amazon. At the end of last year, reports surfaced that Amazon was considering an investment in Capital Float as an extension of its $45 million Series C, which was announced last August. The Bangalore-based startup confirmed to TechCrunch that Amazon’s investment is indeed an extension of that round and brings the total equity it has raised over the past 12 months to $67 million.
Over the same period, Capital Float also raised $80 million of debt from banks and other financial companies, which it combines with its own balance sheet to finance loans to small businesses and other borrowers. Amazon India is among several e-commerce platforms that the company has partnered with to provide loans to sellers, including Snapdeal and Shopclues.
News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s adjusted 2017 profit was $126M. Funding Circle lent over 117M GBP in January. CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund invests in Fair. FT Partners advises Yapstone on $71M Series C round. LendingKart raises Rs1,129 crore. Today’s main analysis: Why China isn’t worried about the slowdown in asset-backed securities. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Goldman’s fintech approach to […]
SoFi’s adjusted 2017 profit was $126M. AT: “Scandal’s like last year’s surrounding SoFi CEO Mike Cagney are unexpected and often send companies into financial tailspins. The company wasn’t expecting to make new hires, the expense of which often involves more than the salaries of personnel onboarded. It also includes the cost of searching for necessary talent. Add those costs to unexpected missed borrower payments and you can see SoFi’s situation clearly.”
From February 12th through 16th, SoFi will award $25 in a SoFi Wealth account to 200 losers of HQ Trivia each day. To enter for a chance to win, all people need to do is Tweet to @SoFi on Twitter with a screenshot of their HQ loss screen and the hashtag #SoMoneyEntry. In addition to the $25, winners will also receive SoFi’s new card game, “So Money,” featuring playful questions that aim to encourage people to talk more openly about their financial lives.
Two of the biggest proofs of Goldman’s transformation were its launch of GS Bank, a internet bank with a $1 deposit requirement, and Marcus, an online consumer lending platform through which well-qualified consumers could obtain personal loans of up to $30,000. GS Bank has since been merged into Marcus, which now serves as Goldman’s consumer brand.
As QZ pointed out, “Goldman thinks it can make $1 billion in extra revenue from its consumer lending business over the next three years, as much as it expects for its trading operations.”
As detailed by the Wall Street Journal, Goldman is reportedly in talks with Apple to offer buyers of Apple devices financing at point-of-sale. “Customers purchasing a $1,000 iPhone X could take out a loan from Goldman instead of charging it to credit cards that often carry high interest rates,” the Journal explained.
This type of financing is big business: by one estimate, $80bn of the $200bn consumers borrowed using retailer-affiliated credit cards or point-of-sale loans went towards big-ticket items including electronic gadgets.
The Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Increase
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a major role in banking for both the short-term and long-term. First, we will see AI help banks with fraud mitigation. Today, most fraud is detected through computer patterns that alert a fraud team who would then take the necessary steps to try to prevent or mitigate the threat. Now that technology has made access to money fast and easy, the transaction volume has increased exponentially.
Banks and Non-Banks Will Form Closer Partnerships
By tapping into a non-bank’s customer base, it will lower the bank’s cost of acquisition while providing more value for the customer. Banks will also realize that non-banks provide them with valuable data from their customer bases that they can leverage to provide a customized banking experience as well as a source for additional revenue streams.
There Will Be More Competition in the Digital Banking Space
Whether it’s JPMorgan Chase with Finn, or Greenhouse by Wells Fargo, big banks are entering into the digital banking space full force with the hope of attracting young consumers. Then you have digital banks like Ally, USAA and Capital One 360 who truly made a major effort in 2017 to attract millennials by tweaking their product, tone, messaging and branding to make sure they start penetrating that segment. We will continue to see that this year.
You still have niche financial products like Sofi that focuses on student loans or Stash Invest that focuses on investing, which are playing in the digital banking space.
Lastly, you have neobanks like Moven, GoBank, Simple and Varo who will continue to flourish and grow, but will be threatened by giants like Amazon, Google and Apple.
Cybersecurity will Get an Upgrade
After the highly publicized and damaging Equifax security breach that affected approximate 145 million Americans, we will surely see a modernization and upgrade of cybersecurity.
JPMorgan Chase, on the other hand, recently announced plans to expand its network. It’ll add 400 new branches in 15 to 20 new markets over the next five years — an investment spurred in part by the savings from the recently enacted tax law.
JPMorgan has, of course, culled some branches over the years, but far fewer than its peers — just 484, or 8.6%, since 2012, compared with cuts of more than 30% by its competitors Citigroup and Capital One over the same period.
BI: How does what happened with the Chase Sapphire Reserve phenomenon translate to the rest of the Chase consumer business?
Codispoti: The fact that we were able to break some myths with millennials. When I first took the job there was kind of this general consensus in the market that millennials wouldn’t pay a fee for a credit card or wouldn’t be interested in premium products — it just isn’t true. So I think we’re kind of breaking those myths when we think about banking and home lending as well.
We’ve shared in the past that we’ve had some extremely successful initial tests with the Sapphire Reserve customer, offering them a home lending offer of 100,000 points if they completed a home-lending mortgage with us. And 50,000 points for those who upgraded to Chase Private Client and deposited $100,000 into an account. We saw extraordinary results, greater than we ever expected. So clearly this is an engaged customer base, they love the Reserve brand. It transcends card into other areas of their financial life.
As one of the largest financial institutions in the world, Citi takes its innovation efforts seriously. Combining internal and external models of collaboration with a disciplined corporate venture arm, the financial services giant ensures that it has a lot of coals in the innovation fire.
Today, Sharestates, an online real estate investment platform, announced today their inception into the Arizona Banking Department roster of lenders as Sharestates Investments LLC, NMLS ID number 1538766. With this launch, Sharestates will be offering their loan products to the real estate speculation and development community in a statewide effort.
As a part of Sharestates’ launch into the Arizona market, the company will be attending the 45th Pitbull Hard Money Conference located at the We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event will be held March 14-15, 2018 and members of the Sharestates team will occupy booth #417.
Sharestates has funded more than 895 individual loans, providing an average return on investment of 10.42%.
Realty Mentors announced a new investment advisory business. According to the article in Crowd Fund Insider.com, the company which is a commercial real estate diligence and underwriting company and is an affiliate company of CreditVest is claiming to be the first of its kind to launch in the commercial real estate crowdfunding industry.
When it comes to the real estate crowdfunding industry, their services will encourage new investors to enter the market because they will have the benefit of an objective and independent third party advising them.
Our latest guest on the Lend Academy Podcast also thought it was crazy and decided to actually do something about it. Vishal Garg is the CEO and Founder of Better Mortgage and a few years back he missed out on buying his dream home because of the clunky and slow mortgage process. So, he started a company to completely turn this process on its head.
Spooked investors looking for reassurance beyond the panic in the headlines have two options to turn to. They can call up a financial advisor, or they can go on the Internet. Artificial intelligence, or fintech’s application of AI, robo advisors, are viewed by many as the future of affordable and effective retirement and investment advice. These algorithms are seen as thetechnology that will disrupt, if not replace, human advice.
Most robo advisor websites provide real-time quantitative information about the market’s performance. But information alone is not necessarily what people are looking for when they are faced with uncertainty. Market performance is public, but the impact on retirement investments is profoundly personal.
That observation touches on the key difference and perhaps the strategic advantage of human advice versus advice by algorithm alone. Clients, which for now are primarily of the human variety, are looking for someone to help them cope and to care as much as they do, as well as someone who has the discipline and expertise to provide perspective to what is otherwise presented in the news as chaos.
Global payments provider Klarna (www.klarna.com) has implemented a new parental leave and benefits policy that offers all of its U.S. employees who become parents a comprehensive package that includes 20 weeks of leave at full pay, a flexible, part-time work week “ramp-up period” on their return and a two-year child care subsidy.
As of January 1, 2018, Klarna’s full-time and part-time female and male employees who become parents—either biologically or through adoption—are eligible to receive the new parental leave and benefits. In addition, applicable benefits of the new policy will be extended retroactively to U.S. employees who became parents in 2017.
The new Klarna parental leave and benefits policy for U.S. employees has three core components:
Parental Leave: The new parent may take 20 weeks of leave at full pay, and with full health and welfare benefits, during the child’s first two years.
Ramp-Up Period: Upon returning to work, employees will have the option to return to work on a part-time schedule.
Child Care Subsidy: Upon their return to work, Klarna will provide new parents with a child care benefit during the child’s first two years that will subsidize parents up to $250 per month to defray costs.
Within weeks of coming on board, Mulvaney has worked to make the watchdog agency less aggressive. Under his leadership, the CFPB delayed a new payday lending regulation from going into effect and dropped an investigation into one payday lender that contributed to Mulvaney’s campaign. In another move that particularly upset some staffers, the new boss also dropped a lawsuit against an alleged online loan shark called Golden Valley Lending. The suit says the lender illegally charges people up to 950 percent interest rates. It took CFPB staffers years to build the case.
Bonenfant sent NPR a screenshot from the Golden Valley website. It says on her $900 loan, her scheduled payments in less than 12 months will total $3,735, or more than four times what she borrowed.
Bonenfant has so far paid more than $3,000 to Golden Valley and rung up more than $1,000 in overdraft fees at her bank.
The lawsuit was moving forward until Mulvaney came on board, when it was suddenly dropped.
Recently, it was announced that the U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote, the week of February 12, on H.R. 3299, the so-called “Madden fix” bill which would preempt state interest rate caps and open the flood gates to online predatory lending. The bill is spearheaded by U.S. Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Greg Meeks (D-New York).
There are signs that some online lenders are making large numbers of loans that consumers will not have the ability to repay:
News reports show that delinquencies and charge-offs at marketplace lenders are rising.
One lender has had so many of its loans fail, that it had to repay investors for their losses in consecutive securitizations of the loans it bundled up and sold to Wall Street.
One online lender reportedly failed to verify a borrower’s income for a full two-thirds of its loans in 2016.
Moody’s credit-rating firm likens this industry to mortgage lending in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis in that “the companies that market the loans and approve them quickly sell them off to investors,” relieving themselves of the risk of the loan later going bad.
Many marketplace lenders make very large loans of $30,000-$50,000 or higher, and even 36% is a very high rate for such loans. Many states have tiered rate caps in recognition that interest becomes more unaffordable the larger the loan. Iowa, for example, caps interest at 21% for loans over $10,000.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new fintech platform to provide small businesses and self-employed people with greater access to funding to help them grow and develop their enterprise..
The average amount a small business applies for from an alternative finance provider was found to be £39,000 in the survey, with equipment purchases and working capital for short-term operations or late payments being among the top reasons for businesses seeking finance.
On Monday, LendInvest announced the launch of its new process for development finance borrowers to transition seamlessly between products. According to the online lender, the Product Transition process allows existing borrowers to transfer easily between specialized loans that are tailored to support them at each stage in their development project.
Banking start up Fiinu has today launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs,as it seeks £500k in seed funding to support its development and an application for regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading FinTech conglomerate in China, announced today that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”), recently joined a group of prestigious investors to support California based Fair’s strategic expansion. Other investors in this round of financing include Siemens-backed next47 global venture fund, BMW i Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners, 137 Ventures, G Squared and Upfront Ventures.
Fair is a mobile technology platform that allows customers to lease and return a car with flexible terms entirely by using a smartphone.
China’s market for asset-backed securities—which bundle up car loans, mortgages, consumer loans and other receivables into bondlike products—surged in 2017, led by issuers including the financial affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other nonbank lenders. Total issuance of such instruments, which are mostly denominated in yuan, jumped 90% to over $220 billion last year from 2016, according to S&P Global.
The country is now the world’s second-largest market for securitized assets after the U.S., where issuance reached $510 billion in 2017, it said.
In the past couple of months, however, issuance in China of securities backed by unsecured small consumer loans has slowed sharply. This came after Chinese financial regulators took steps to curb a proliferation of internet lenders making microloans, small, short-term loans that typically carry high interest rates. These small loans represent roughly 40% of all consumer loans backing asset-backed securities in the country, according to S&P.
Around $1.3 billion worth of securities backed by unsecured microloans were issued in January 2018, down from $3 billion in the same month a year ago and versus a peak monthly issuance volume of nearly $7 billion last autumn, according to data provider Wind Info.
WeChat has permanently banned over 1000 “cash loans” mini programs which violated its verification and operation rules. Xinhuanet has reported that there were multiple mini programs about “loans” on WeChat (e.g. unsecured loans and quick loans), ranging from ￥200 to ￥100,000. Complaints about the illegal credit products reached over 1,000 on one of China’s leading complain platform Ts.21.com.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced that it would amend the relevant regulations on virtual banks.
Official documents show that the original guidelines require that a virtual bank incorporated in Hong Kong must hold at least 50% of its shares by an officially recognized and reputable bank or financial institution. The new ordinance recommends that non-financial institutions could register an “intermediary holding company” first when setting up a virtual bank, and then use the company to controls the virtual bank. This means that the authorities in Hong Kong have lowered the entry threshold on the financial qualification of virtual bank applicants. Non-financial institutions, including technology companies, can also apply to own and operate virtual banks in Hong Kong.
This week, LähiTaksi, a Finnish taxi company from Helsinki, announced that it would soon accept Alipay payments.
Robo-advisers will increasingly move towards hybrid models over the next year, combining the human touch with machine learning, experts predict.
Scalable Capital, the Europe-wide robo firm, which has received financial backing from investment giant BlackRock, has just started offering telephone and face-to-face advice for clients who want to progress beyond an initial free session.
Nutmeg and Moneyfarm have both signalled plans to move in a similar direction, while Wealthify, which saw Aviva take a majority stake last year, won’t rule out taking this step in the future.
It is largely evident that we are looking at inevitable digital disruption in financial services. The traditional banking system is yet to see any major technological innovation in lending whereas the FinTech firms have made huge investments in the same area. China moved96% of its e-commerce sales without the services of a bank. A report by Cisco pegs the peer to peer lending volume in China at approximately $66 billion, for the US that number stands at $16.6 billion, and for the UK it is $5.4 billion. Clearly, the opportunities aren’t fictional, and technology will guide this paradigm change.
American FinTech giants include Stripe, a San Francisco based firm valued at $5 billion, Credit Karma, another Silicon Valley-based FinTech firm valued at $3 billion.
The UK lags behind the US by quite a distance, but is second overall with $5.4 billion investment in the same time frame, thus confirming its position as one of the world’s leading FinTech hubs. Its FinTech bigwigs include TransferWise, DueDil, AstroPay, GoCardless and Digital Shadows.
CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has reached more than £2m of loans as it announces new incentives to encourage users to transact with its LEND token.
Borrowers can post any digital currency as collateral and loans can be made in Bitcoin or Ethereum or LEND. But ETHLend now wants more people to use the LEND token as the means of exchange so it has said anyone providing funds in LEND won’t have to pay any transaction fees.
There is also a 50 per cent discount when the LEND coin is posted by borrowers as collateral.
What is it? The amount raised in equity funding by Lendingkart Technologies, a fintech start-up that provides online loans to small businesses. The latest fund raise, announced on Monday, takes the total amount raised by the Lendingkart Group to Rs1,129 crore.
Tell me more: Lendingkart’s latest funding round was led by Singapore’s Fullerton Financial Holdings, and also saw participation by existinginvestors, namely Sistema Asia Fund, Bertelsmann India Investment, Mayfield India, India Quotient and Saama Capital.
The average number of payday loans outstanding at the time of insolvency declined to 3.2 in 2017, after peaking at 3.5 loans in 2014. However, the average payday loan size in 2017 is $1,095, an increase of 12.4% from $974 in 2016. One in ten (9%) loans are $2,500 or more, up from 6% in 2016.
The average insolvent payday loan borrower owes $3,464 in payday loans, or $1.34 for every dollar of monthly take-home pay, on top of $29,997 in other unsecured debts. They are using payday loans to keep up with existing debt repayment.
Borrowell Gives Birth To New TV Campaign (Borrowell Email), Rated: A
Borrowell is making its first major foray into television with a 30-second spot that launches today, called “Home Birth.” Created by Toronto-based agency Conflict, the commercial aims to raise awareness of Borrowell’s free credit score monitoring service.
In an interview, Nawaf Al Sahhaf, CEO of Badir, said financing options for these startups include without limitation Venture Capital firms, angel investors, accelerators, and incubators in addition to new alternatives such as crowd funding or even P2P lending platforms.
Venture Capital funding is an essential piece of the startup jigsaw.
Venture Funding is unique, however in its characteristic. I define a startup as a company that is looking to receive funding from a venture capitalist. This means that they meet several basic criteria for growth 1) a strong founding team 2) a solution to a clear and identifiable problem 3) a clear path to monetization and most important 4) a scalable product that has a regional if not global market.
All of these criteria are essential to be eligible for Venture Funding. Many of these criteria may not be applicable or sufficient for alternative funding channels including debt, bank funding or grants.
The UAE is ranked third in an analysis of Islamic Fintech start-ups, according to a survey by Bloomberg Intelligence, issued today. Malaysia and the United Kingdom are ranked first and second.
Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing could be a game-changer in Islamic finance, it suggests, giving wider reach and potential to close the gap for small and medium enterprises, SMEs, which generated about 60 per cent of UAE GDP in 2014, with Dubai’s regulator introducing the first tailored regulation for crowdfunding in the GCC.
News Comments Today’s main news: SoftBank invests $250M in Kabbage. SoFi begins search for IPO-focused CFO. MarketInvoice has record trading day. George Banco acquired by Non-Standard Finance. Yirendai made $40M net profits in Q2. ID Finance partners with Da Vinci Capital on $200M fintech fund launch. Lendingkart Group raises $10M in debt funding. Today’s main analysis: Square Q2 shareholder letter. Immediate payments […]
SoftBank invests in Kabbage. AT: “There is still the rumor floating around that Kabbage has its eye on acquiring OnDeck. Thus far, it is only a rumor.”
SoFi CEO launches search for CFO to lead the company toward IPO. AT: “There are a lot of things that have to fall into place for that happen. SoFi still hasn’t mentioned any timeline. All we have is a vague “not-so-distant future,” but those terms are relative. They could find a ‘world-class’ CFO that cautions against an IPO. However, I’m hoping SoFi will go public some time in the near future.”
Goldman Sachs is going big on lending. AT: “If Goldman is using Fidelity as a pilot and plans to roll out its GS Select to other RIAs, I hope they implement it across the board allowing the thousands of smaller RIA firms across the country to tap into the benefits of working with the legacy institution.”
SoftBank is investing $250m in Kabbage, one of the biggest US online lenders to small businesses, in a deal that could provide the firepower for a potential takeover of OnDeck Capital, a rival digital lender.
Kathryn Petralia, co-founder of Kabbage, told the Financial Times that the deal would finance growth in the company’s direct lending operation, which has provided nearly $3.5bn of funding to more than 100,000 small businesses in the US.
There has been speculation that Kabbage is planning to make a bid for OnDeck, a rival online lender that went public in 2014 and has since suffered an 80 per cent fall in its share price, hit by growing losses, rising defaults and higher funding costs.
Social Finance Inc. posted record earnings and loan volume in the second quarter, as the privately held company’s chief executive hinted that it is moving closer to an initial public offering.
In a letter to investors reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, SoFi Chief Executive Mike Cagney sounded more optimistic about a potential public offering, as opposed to previous forums in which he said no deal would be coming in the foreseeable future.
(LT Editor: Here’s the letter again–in case you missed it yesterday).
The firm created GS Select to reach clients of nearly 4,000 independent investment advisors from Fidelity Investments. Clients will be able to borrow from $75,000 to $25 million backed by their investment portfolios.
What’s interesting about this move is that it could be expanded to other RIAs and financial advisors not just through Fidelity. We’ve seen this type of model before with self described “Lending as a Service” fintech companies, but this time it’s a big bank that has built this technology.
In the second quarter, our top-line results reflect our continued ability to attract larger sellers and increase product usage through cross-selling. Total GPV grew 32% year over year, and GPV from larger sellers grew 45% year over year. Transaction-based revenue increased 32% year over year—the same rate as GPV, which is a result of our ability to maintain transaction revenue margin. Subscription and services-based revenue nearly doubled year over year. Strong top-line growth, lower risk loss rates, and ongoing operating expense leverage drove another quarter of significant EBITDA and margin improvement.
We grew Square Capital loan volume 68% year over year and further diversified our investor base.
A trillion-dollar black cloud of student debt hangs over multiple generations of Americans. Student debt is delaying marriages, major purchases, home ownership and general enjoyment of life for millions of people. There’s more student debt than even credit card debt.
Enter Credible CEO Stephen Dash. The Australian entrepreneur is taking inspiration from his home country’s approach to offer student borrowers a marketplace of easier options to get and refinance loans. Australia has an income-based debt repayment system, and Credible’s tech helps borrowers refinance to make affordable payments.
loanDepot, America’s lender, today announced details of its new standalone tech campus, the mello ™ Innovation Lab. At this unique facility, the LD tech team will continue to innovate and expand mello, the company’s proprietary digital-lending technology.
With loanDepot’s goal to transform the lending industry, its mello ecosystem is shaping lending’s future as it expands its online and offline consumer relationship model. mello’s technology includes an intuitive web-based consumer portal, a state-of-the-art, mobile point-of-sale system, and a fully-digital mortgage loan application experience. The company has invested $80 million to date on its digital-first technology strategy.
loanDepot’s mello exists within a larger next-gen lending ecosystem that is boosted with the integration of digital-marketing tools and by third-party data enrichment that ensure greater accuracy, speed and certainty throughout the origination experience. On a massive scale, mello is changing the loan origination process into a digital consumer experience, making it faster, easier, and more accurate.
USAA went live Wednesday morning with a virtual assistant that works with Amazon’s Alexa voice interaction device and its corresponding shopping app. Now, USAA members — at least the first 400 that sign up at USAA Labs — can ask Alexa a range of questions about their accounts, balances, spending and transactions, and the bot will answer with specific details from the member’s USAA card and bank accounts.
In so doing, USAA is joining a small group of financial institutions — including Capital One, American Express and several credit unions — that have created Alexa Skills, as the chatbots that work with Alexa are called.
First, the CFTC announced Project KISS—“Keep It Simple, Stupid”—as a forum to examine how its existing rules might be applied in less costly and burdensome ways. Second, the CFTC launched LabCFTC as a way to promote responsible fintech and regulatory technology (“regtech”) innovation. Together, these initiatives appear to be a significant part of the CFTC’s response to calls for streamlined regulation from the industry, the White House and some members of Congress.
The CFTC website specifically invites public input on the following five “KISS Initiatives”:5
Registration—the process of becoming regulated by the CFTC as any of the several entity types that the agency regulates
Reporting—all reporting obligations, including swap data and recordkeeping
Clearing—clearing services in connection with various contracts and transactions
Executing—the execution of futures and swaps transactions
Miscellaneous—any topics not specifically enumerated above
This initiative is intended to enhance the agency’s involvement in fintech and regtech7 solutions and to support the goals of (1) providing regulatory certainty for fintech innovators and (2) enabling more efficient regulation through the use of emerging technologies. LabCFTC contemplates a variety of means to accomplish these objectives, including:
Proactive outreach to and collaboration with the fintech industry to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the CFTC’s current regulatory framework as applied to new technologies
Participation in research and engagement with academia and professionals to harness and promote the advantages of fintech/regtech for the CFTC and the markets it regulates
Collaboration with other financial regulators at home and abroad and the sharing of information about promising fintech applications and their potential risks
The tracking of fintech developments to ensure that CFTC regulation supports rather than impedes innovation
A May study by Hearth, a financial technology start-up that provides support for homeowners making renovation decisions, found that 12 percent of Americans planned to finance their renovation with a credit card, which is one of the most expensive ways to finance the cost.
The Hearth Home Renovation Survey, which asked 2,000 homeowners about their remodeling plans for the coming year, found the number of people planning to use a credit card to pay for their renovation is even higher in the Washington region at 16 percent.
In this region, 52 percent of homeowners prefer to pay with savings or cash, compared with 62 percent nationally. D.C.-area residents are also more likely to finance their project with a loan — 32 percent — compared with 26 percent nationally.
People are open to receiving financial advice from robots, our studiesshow, but there might be a way to go to in convincing people to trust them over a human.
We surveyed 138 people about their attitudes to, and preferences for, superannuation advice from a human or a computer. Unsurprisingly, most stated they would prefer to deal with a human across a broad range of financial decisions.
Some did prefer the computer – these tended to be younger people, and those on higher incomes.
With the inception of new types of loans, cash-strapped customers can borrow a certain amount from alternative lenders. These loans entail borrowing money against your next paycheck. Unlike traditional payday loans, these lenders allow their customers a fair grace period to make their repayment, making it easier for borrowers to repay and meet their other financial needs. The traditional lenders, on the other hand, require borrowers to repay their full loan amount with their next paycheck.
Peer-to-peer funding is an alternative to acquiring financial aid. This entails letting other businesses invest in your business venture. Finding willing investors is not a hard process itself as you can acquire them by applying online. Small businesses can source one to five-year loans. The loans are available from widely known businesses like Lending Club.
American Association of Private Lenders (AAPL) will hold its eighth annual conference Sunday, November 12 through Tuesday, November 14 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The keynote speaker will be Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice President of Communications at ATTOM Data Solutions, formerly RealtyTrac, curator of the nation’s largest fused property database. The AAPL annual conference is one of the largest national events for private lenders and will include a full slate of speakers, resources, education and networking. More information can be found at .
First Associates Loan Servicing announced today the opening of their new 1000-seat capacity operations center in Baja California, Mexico. This state-of-the-art center will support the continued global expansion of First Associates and enable the company to continue delivering first-class service and security for their clients.
RateSetter recently announced its lenders have now delivered more than £2 billion in loans to people and businesses across the UK and in doing so have earned over £76 million in interest. According to the online lender, 94% of its lenders are individuals looking for a decent return on their money by investing, and accepting some degree of risk, rather than settling for the pitiful interest rates offered on bank deposits.
Blend Network will offer asset-backed property loans to retail and high-net-worth individuals, as well as hedge funds and other institutional investors. P2P specialist F&P will act as introducer for all of its loans, although Blend Network’s chief executive Yann Murciano said that he would be open to further partnerships in the future, as the business scales up.
But, and yes, there is an important caveat, I am beginning to sense an important tipping point. Returns of between 4 and 6% pa from the big platforms – with an emphasis on the lower range of that spectrum – haven’t changed too much (in fact they’ve slightly fallen back). But I’m increasingly thinking that these returns are now inadequate for the potential of increased risk.
If one comes from a lending POV (point of view) then I would argue that the current returns are woefully inadequate, given where we are in the lending cycle.
The big banks are starting to increase their provisioning for bad debts
Here in the UK we’ve probably reached Peak Unsecured Lending with the BoE bearing down on all lenders about risk, worried senseless about a downturn in consumer spending as Brexit grinds on
The car lending market is quite clearly close to a systemic meltdown
‘challenges’ are already appearing within the P2P space, most recently at Ratesetter where its wholesale lending capacity is being wound down
The housing market looks more vulnerable than ever before, with the very real possibility that we’ll see a steady drip feed of small price declines
Yirendai, the first US-listed Chinese internet finance company, has recently issued its financial report for the Q2, 2017. In the second quarter of 2017, Yirendai has reached the loans volume of $1.22bn, increasing by 18 percent from the last quarter, especially increased 80 percent from the same period in 2016. By the end of second quarter, the accumulated loans transaction of Yirendai was up to $7.1bn.
Yirendai’s main revenue was charged for service fee from borrowers and lenders. As a result, its income scale is increasing rapidly with the fast growth of loans volume. In the period, Yirendai has made net income of $176 million, increasing by 16 percent from the last quarter and 61 percent from the same period of last year.
(Hereinafter referred to as “National Bank”) and Tencent (hereinafter referred to as “Tencent”) in Shenzhen Tencent headquarters signed the “Internet +” development of financial strategic cooperation agreement. “.. In the future, the two sides will be in the Internet + precision poverty alleviation, Internet financial innovation, domestic and international credit financing, Kechuang enterprise cultivation, information technology applications and many other areas of long-term, stable, in-depth and sustainable strategic cooperation. Chairman of the State Development Bank Party Committee, Vice President Zhang Xuguang, Director of the China Development Bank Shenzhen Branch Wu Liangdong, Vice President of Tencent Xie Qinghua, Tencent Internet + Strategic Cooperation General Manager Zhang Wei attended the signing ceremony of strategic cooperation.
Marketing fintech firm ID Finance announced on Wednesday it has joined forces with former Elbrus Capital fund manager, Yuri Popov, and asset management Da Vinci Capital to launch FinTech Credit Fund, which is described as a $200 million debt finance fund aimed towards fintech companies with a focus in alternative lending.
ID Finance also reported that the Fund will initially focus on projects within the CIS and European markets. Funding will be provided to companies involved in consumer/SME lending, with balance sheet and marketplace lenders being eligible. Projects offering analytical solutions for credit scoring based on Big Data, AI and machine learning, as well as SaaS and PaaS solutions and payment services are of particular interest to the Fund and align with the investors’ areas of expertise.
Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, along with Canada’s largest pension fund manager, will invest US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) in American talent management agency WME-IMG.
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, in a separate statement, said it would invest about US$400 million for an 8 per cent stake in WME-IMG, which owns brands like Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Miss Universe Organisation.
The US firm also counts the SoftBank Group, Silver Lake Partners and Fidelity Investments among its investors. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
New Zealand peer-to-peer lender Harmoney’s revenue climbed 63 percent this year, edging the company closer to profitability. While still loss-making, Harmoney has halved its losses from $NZ14 million last year to $7 million this year.
As well as climbing revenue, its financials were helped by a 15 percent drop in marketing costs, suggesting the company has grown out its brand recognition to a point where it feels comfortable paying less for advertising.
To date, Harmoney has lent more money than any other Kiwi P2P platform.
A new whitepaper by CoreData and HUB24 titled ‘The modern face of advice’, argues that while technological tools were reshaping the wealth management industry, the role of advisers remained critical and the relationship they built with their clients remained more relevant than ever.
The paper, which is based on interviews with advisers, said technology used in advice practices continued to mature and costs, including platform fees and management expense ratios were decreasing to boost bottom line results of firms.
Robo-advice could play a role in tapping into the estimated $2 trillion worth of unadvised savings in Australia but awareness was still in its infancy. However, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) ‘RG255: Providing digital financial product advice to retail clients’suggested robo-advice was here to stay.
Lendingkart Finance Limited has raised $10 million in debt funding from Kotak Mahindra Bank, Aditya Birla Financial Services, and other financial institutions. The funds will be used to expand its operations to 700 cities and restock its loan book.
The retail banking sector could lose up to 55% of its business to fintech firms if it does not up the ante in terms of investment in digital transformation, according to a new study titled ‘Enterprise Digital Transformation: Evaluating Indian Enterprises’, brought out jointly by research firm Frost & Sullivan and software lobby body, Nasscom.
Lending in India is hard as only a fraction of people have access to organized credit. Less than 50% of SMEs get access to bank finance. The lack of access to credit is forcing people to depend on money lenders at high rates of interest. In India, of the over 1.3 bn population, 600 mn is working class, out of which 150 million has access to credit and 20 million have scores acceptable to banks.
P2P lending provides investors higher returns than investing in mutual funds/ stock markets, which are linked to the stock market and come with a risk of losing money due to their inherent volatile nature. With the lower interest rates, traditional investment tools like FDs and RDs look less attractive to customers.
Peer-to-Peer loans give regular monthly income to the investors in the form of EMIs.
RealX, a pune-based fintech start-up, has completed India’s “first fractional ownership” deal in real estate sector. The platform has bought a commercial property in Karad (Maharashtra) by pooling in investments from about 19 investors, RealX officials claimed.
RealX is an ecommerce platform which will allow property sellers and agents post their saleable property. Registered buyers, on the other side of the platform, could invest in these projects. The minimum investment threshold, currently, is Rs 5 lakh per investor.
Sixty-six percent of banks with live IP systems in place see it as a revenue driver for their institution, which compares to less than 50% for companies without IP systems in place. Moreover, for all banks 53% say that IP will drive revenue growth for their organization, 61% believe that IP will enhance their level of customer service and 60% expect IP to reduce costs.
While 65% of surveyed institutions stated that open APIs would benefit their customer-facing proposition banks differed in their implementation strategy. The majority (55%) of banks opted for immediately creating open APIs and interfaces for developers, while a minority (45%) took a ‘wait and see’ approach.
The deal will expand PayPal’s presence at the point of sale and enable Masterpass for Braintree merchants in the region. Additionally, both companies will collaborate to create opportunities to leverage Mastercard’s new payment flow technologies, providing increased value to Mastercard cardholders, financial institutions, and PayPal customers. PayPal will also have the opportunity to give consumers and small businesses across Asia-Pacific the ability to cash out funds held in their PayPal accounts to a Mastercard debit card.
Israel was never a center of actual trading, but was always synonymous with the brilliant minds that invented every ancillary service from digital marketing and conversion funnels that have brought tremendous efficiency to retail brokerages, Plus500 being a case in point, to social trading networks that have prospered on a gigantic scale across China – read eToro’s efforts with PingAn as very much an example where other social trading ventures wilted and disappeared.
Mr Mandelzis secured $40 million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital and sold the company to ICAP in 2007 for $250 million which became the subject of a Kellog Business School case study.
Where is Mr Mandelzis now? New York.
Optimove consolidates, mines and models customer data, dynamically grouping customers into micro-segments, and forecasting their future behavior and value.
Optimove is headquartered in New York, and is a completely American company.
Social trading has died a death. There is very little evidence of the large firms that used to dominate, and most of that technology came from Israel.
The only one in existence is eToro, which is a social investment platform.
News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber steps down as Prosper president. Pave stops originations and considers strategic options. Square to start lending money. LendInvest cancels P2P authorization application. LendInvest receives highest rating from European agency. Reserve Bank of India finalizes P2P rules. Alipay to enter African market. Today’s main analysis: Alternative data transforming SME finance. Today’s thought-provoking articles: SoFi to offer […]
Suber rewires: Steps down as Prosper president. GP:”A move that makes perfect sense. Under his guidance Prosper was recapitalized, originations grew from $9mil to $400mil per month. And after weathering 2016 Prosper secured a $5bil line of credit. Time to move on after 5 years to new adventures. Today’s fintech fashion is insure-tech.” AT: “The wise advise to make your exit when you’re on top. No one is on top of fintech more than Ron Suber. I can’t wait to see what he does next.”
Square to begin lending money to consumers. GP:”Note that Square was already lending money to businesses and it is one of their core revenue lines. “AT: “Jack Dorsey is one of the smartest Internet business entrepreneurs on the planet. It is evident that online consumer lending is where to be right now.”
Can you make payments on plane tickets? GP:”Financing plane tickets. How is this different then buying a plane ticket with a credit card or using point of sale financing? I am not convinced of the differentiation here. “AT: “Evidently you can.”
Affirm offers a way to buy pricey gadgets on credit. GP:”The interesting part here is the business model where Affirm will actually offer 0% APR for X months and the business will cover Affirm’s margin because the business will see an increase in revenue through this financing offer. “AT: “As soon as it became evident that middle-class America has money to spend on luxury items if they could get them on credit, an entire credit ecosystem developed around brick-and-mortar retail. Online retail has now reached the point where it can support a credit system of its own. There will be some stiff competition for consumer finance charges in the coming years, and Affirm is one of the company’s leading the charge.”
LendInvest cancels P2P authorization application. GP:”This is a strange move. I wonder what their plan is. One has to be FCA regulated to be credible. The only plan that makes sense to me is that they either want to be in “pending FCA authorization” status for long time or they are preparing a different application to replace the existing ones due to some fundamental changes.”
After nearly 5 years, Ron has decided it is time to move on from Prosper. He’s been part of two turnaround stories at the company – one in 2013, and more recently as we’ve seen Prosper grow its business following the challenging environment in 2016. It is great to see them back on track, and Ron told me that he is leaving Prosper in the hands of a great CEO and management team.
When Ron recently shared his plans with me he made it clear that he will still be involved with Prosper as a company advisor and “President Emeritus” but he will not be involved in the day-to-day activities.
Over the last several years, Ron has made 21 investments in various fintech companies and he is an advisor to several of these companies.
Personal note from Ron Suber:
This isn’t just another, “I changed jobs” announcement, it’s a next phase of life with eyes wide open called “rewirement” not retirement.
Rewirement will include doing even more of the things I have enjoyed in the past – travel, teaching, learning, coaching/cultivating young entrepreneurs, being the investor/advisor that I enjoyed working with as an entrepreneur, exploring and spending time with you.
Square Inc., the technology company best known for processing payments for small merchants across the U.S., is now angling to lend to consumers, too.
The initiative, which follows the launch of a consumer-oriented Square prepaid debit card, is part of a broader push from the company to branch out beyond its original products—small, white credit-card readers that merchants plug into a mobile phone or tablet.
Offering consumers financing options for their purchases brings Square into competition with financial-technology companies such as PayPal Holdings Inc., Affirm Inc. and GreenSky LLC, as well as consumer lenders like Synchrony Financial that offer credit cards tied to specific retailers.
It also means Square will be on the hook for consumer defaults, which have recently ticked up at some online lenders and credit-card companies.
Square plans to hold the consumer loans on its balance sheet, but as volume grows it could look to sell loans to outside money managers, as it does with its small-business credits unit.
For those who qualify, the avocado toast incentive program will be delivered in three shipments right to the recent homebuyers’s doorsteps. There is also an option between regular and gluten-free bread. (Of course, they will still have to toast the bread once it arrives.)
The marketing decision was ultimately in response to a now-viral interview in May that caused global uproar, in which Australian millionaire and property mogul Tim Gurner said millennials should refrain from buying the popular brunch dish if they didn’t want to quash their hopes of owning a home.
Did you know there are a few ways to make payments on plane tickets if you can’t afford the full price today?
A new startup that offers payment plans for plane tickets is Airfordable.
Airfordable charges a one-time fee of 10%-20% of the ticket price and a down deposit is required. Your credit score isn’t checked, which is a definite plus for several reasons. After that, you make bi-weekly payments. Once the ticket is paid for, your e-ticket and itinerary are released.
CheapAir.com offers monthly payment plans for flights that cost more than $100 by partnering with Affirm. After selecting the flight you want to buy on CheapAir, you will be taken to Affirm’s website to complete the financing request.
Affirm will offer you a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month payment plan for the plane ticket(s). Your interest rate will range from 10% to 30% depending on your creditworthiness.
Expedia has also teamed up with Affirm to offer payments on plane tickets.
In America, it’s pretty common to take out a loan to buy a car, or a house, or college tuition. It’s less likely to take out a loan to buy gas for that car, paint for the house, or beer for the college tuition. But what about everything in between? What about $500 drones?
That’s where Affirm, a startup by one of the founders of PayPal, comes in. CEO Max Levchin thinks there’s a financial niche to fill for young people who want expensive things, but don’t have multiple Gs in the bank or on credit to drop on a luxury purchase. Affirm offers small, short-term loans that let customers spread out a big purchase, like a drone or $1,500 couch, over a short period of time. Affirm fronts customers the cash, then collects regular payments in more manageable chunks.
Right now, Affirm is slightly limited to an (albeit wide) selection of online retailers. The stuff you can buy is typical pricey-but-not-luxury products — Casper mattresses, Pottery Barn furniture, Newegg computer parts, clothes from online retailers, as well as drones, phones, and tech you would find in a Sharper Image catalog. In April, the company issued its one millionth loan, meaning that with at least a couple bucks in interest on even the smallest of loans, it’s probably bringing in quite a bit of cash.
Funding Circle, the world’s leading lending platform focused exclusively on small business, today announced two additions to its U.S. leadership team: Joanna Karger as U.S. Head of Capital Markets, and Richard Stephenson as U.S. Chief Compliance Officer.
Prior to Funding Circle, Stephenson served as chief compliance officer of Silicon Valley Bank. He has more than thirty years’ experience in various senior roles at U.S. financial institutions and law firms, serving as general counsel, chief compliance officer, chief risk officer, head of internal audit and interim chief executive officer at institutions such as Bank of America, Union Bank, Washington Mutual Bank and Mechanics Bank.
Credit unions have been playing a game of catch-up with banks for many years, and now the new kid on the block— Fintechs —are here to present even more of a headache. On December 31, 2016, Prosper Funding had approximately $22.3 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and $32.8 million available for sale investments at fair value. Their marketplace facilitated $2.2 billion in Borrower Loan originations during 2016, and as of December 31, 2016, $8.3 billion in Borrower Loan originations since it first launched in 2006.
Lending Club ended the year with a servicing portfolio of $11.1 billion, up 24 percent from the same period last year, and delivered $1.8 billion of principal and interest payments to investors throughout the 4th quarter of 2016 with cash, cash equivalents, and securities available for sale totaling $803 million, with no outstanding debt. What’s even more worrisome is that Lending Club’s venture into auto lending is still young and has a lot of potential if it gains serious traction.
Allowing members to send money and receive money like popular online Venmo.
Stay updated across all devices with real-time push-notifications and transactions.
Credit unions will need to offer various software to their members to help them make better decisions and save massive amounts of time through analytics, accounting, budgeting, prediction, and decision- making software.
When trying to appeal to this younger generation, it is important to keep in mind that millennials have two main financial priorities; paying off their student loans, and saving for the future. On average, they spend 43 percent of their income to pay down their debts and put away 38 percent of their income as savings for the future. Three out of five millennials would like their bank to be a financial partner as opposed to just another business profiting off of their work. At the same time, only 32 percent of this generation feel their bank understands them. This is largely due to the fact that banks and other financial providers still offer solutions to meet the needs of baby boomers. This means tailoring products to meet millennial needs will create a more mutually beneficial relationship and help to attract younger customers.
FAQ 7: Is a fintech company arrangement considered a critical activity?
In its response to FAQ 7, the OCC clarified that a relationship between a national bank and a fintech may or may not involve a critical activity, depending on the nature of the specific services the bank or the fintech has agreed to perform. In giving this response, the OCC recognized that third-party relationships are not automatically “high risk” merely because a fintech is involved.
FAQ 10: What should a bank consider when entering a marketplace lending arrangement with nonbank entities?
Although some may read the OCC’s response to FAQ 10 as an endorsement of “bank partnership model” lending relationships between national banks and marketplace lenders, the response includes no explicit mention of these relationships. The response references “marketplace lending or servicing arrangements,” and states that “banks should not originate or support marketplace lenders that have inadequate compliance management processes . . .,” but does not speak to the respective obligations of the parties to these arrangements. Thus, it is conceivable that the bulletin only addresses other types of relationships, such as warehouse lines of credit or loan servicing arrangements. At a minimum, however, the response confirms that national banks should not hesitate to enter into relationships with marketplace lenders as long as appropriate oversight mechanisms are in place.
FAQ 11: Does OCC Bulletin 2013-29 apply when a bank engages a third party to provide bank customers the ability to make mobile payments using their bank accounts, including debit and credit cards?
Until now, a national bank could have taken the position that a third party that merely enabled mobile card payments was not subject to OCC Bulletin 2013-29. To this end, the presence of a third party’s mobile payments application has no effect on the underlying card transaction, and the bank’s involvement is likely confined to deciding whether to promote the availability of the application to its customers. In its response to FAQ 11, however, the OCC clarified that these relationships need to be managed “in a manner consistent with OCC Bulletin 2013-29,” and directed banks to “work with mobile payment providers to establish processes for authenticating enrollment of customers’ account information.”
Announced today, investment firm Pantera Capital is launching a new hedge fund focused on investments solely in tokens that power public blockchain protocols.
Called Pantera ICO Fund LP, the fund intends to raise $100m, with $35m already raised in support from the firm’s existing investor base, undisclosed new investors, and according to the company, unnamed venture capital firms.
Crestlight paid $35.3 million, or about $167 a foot, according to Fulton County records. It announced the acquisition last week, but had not released the price. Lincoln Property Company Southeast won the leasing and management assignments.
Prologis, Inc. (NYSE: PLD) today announced a strategic partnership with Plug and Play, a global startup ecosystem and venture fund specializing in the development of early-to-growth stage technology startups in the Supply Chain and Logistics vertical.Prologis will provide mentorship and space in its logistics real estate properties to a select group of startups in the Plug and Play accelerator program to pilot new technologies. Prologis joins DHL, Maersk, Panasonic, Hitachi, Mann+Hummel, CMA CGA, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Swiss Post, BASF, Union Pacific Railroad and Ericsson as partners with Plug and Play.
RealtyShares, a leading online marketplace for real estate investing, today announced Kristina Wallender has joined the pioneering startup as senior vice president of marketing, focused on helping the company reach more investors and sponsors.
Wallender joins RealtyShares with marketplace and marketing leadership experience spanning large enterprise businesses like Amazon and early stage companies like Ticketfly, where she was the head of marketing for the past four years. Over her tenure, Ticketfly grew from a small startup to a leading live entertainment brand serving over 1,800 venues and promoters across North America. Wallender also played a key role in Pandora’s acquisition of Ticketfly in 2015, earning her a spot on Billboard’s 40 Under 40: Top Young Power Players in music. As part of the RealtyShares team, she will be responsible for growing both sides of the marketplace.
Okta, the Silicon Valley firm behind one of the year’s top tech IPOs, has named a new chief security officer.
The maker of identity management software has appointed Yassir Abousselham, a former executive at Google(GOOG, -2.53%) and chief information security officer at financial tech startup SoFi, as head of security. Abousselham began in the role on June 5th.
Vela Trading Technologies LLC, a fintech company specializing in market data technology, recently announced its acquisition of OptionsCity Software, which offers futures and options trading with analytics solutions.
The deal is expected to close at the end of the second quarter.
We believe smart people can succeed at almost anything, so we encourage on-the-job learning (e.g. trying a new programming language) and real ownership over your work. Our fast paced environment necessitates a desire and willingness to grow both personally and professionally. We see value in effort and output, which is why we encourage all of our team members to take measured risks and never back away from a challenge.
LENDINVEST has confirmed that it has cancelled its application with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate a peer-to-peer lending platform.
The online mortgage lender revealed in its annual report, released this week, that it had shelved several applications with the City watchdog, for permission to operate a P2P platform and for credit broking and consumer credit licences.
Flender, a Dublin-based, “friendly” peer-to-peer lending platform, is bringing its newly launched Innovative Finance ISA to the UK. The firm was fully authorised by the FCA in May.
RateSetter’s Paul Marston comments on Brexit (RateSetter email), Rated: A
Given the economic uncertainty created by Brexit, it is easy to understand why some small business owners have postponed important business decisions. However, SMEs have some important advantages which position them well to navigate through this period successfully. They can more easily adapt business models, diversify into new activities and implement new ideas. It will be the business owners who are forward-thinking and act positively and decisively who are most likely to use uncertainty to their advantage.
For SME businesses that see opportunities to invest for future growth, the good news is that there are now real alternatives to the banks in terms of access to finance that can be provided in a simple and straightforward manner. We stand ready to help these businesses realise their plans.
The door is open for business leaders to redefine Brexit so that it is seen as an opportunity, rather than a threat.
Financial technology (fintech) adoption has doubled in the past two years, with China leading fintech adoption globally.
The average percentage of digitally active consumers using fintech services is around 33% across 20 key markets – this represents a doubling over the past two years when fintech penetration was recorded to be around 16%. The findings are noted in the EY Fintech Adoption Index, which surveyed 22,000 people online in 20 countries.
The report further shows that China leads the world with 69% of consumers using some form of fintech service, which is unsurprising given the ubiquitous adoption of payment platforms WeChat Pay and Alipay in China. Alipay and TenPay (WeChat Pay) together make up for 92% of the mobile payment market, and mobile payment transactions increased 381% in 2016 to 58.8 trillion yuan, according to iResearch.
Nobo Education announced they have closed a new round of financing $6.4M. This round was led by National SME Development Fund (THG Ventures), with participation from The Chinese Education Industrial Fund, which is jointly managed by DT Capital and ChineseAll. Previously, Nobo Education was known to have raised pre-A round of $1.79M in June 2016.
Founded in March 2013, Nobo Education is a Beijing-based international preschool education institution as well as new high-tech enterprise. Their core product—— Nobo Education System, an O2O system solution efficiently in kindergarten management, is the only system of education that has independent intellectual property right in China.
According to Nobo Education, among the total raised funds, ￥10M will continue to be used in pre-school education software R&D and service.
Toumi RA, China‘s leading Robo-advisory platform built on 11-year expertise of CreditEase Wealth Management, has achieved outstanding performance since its launch on May 28, 2016, generating 2.55%-11.48% of cumulative return through May 31 2017, successfully bucking global capital market fluctuation, geopolitical risks and black swans.
In the past year, Toumi RA’s platinum/diamond members enjoyed an average cumulative return of nearly 7% for different portfolios, among which the risk-level-eight option produced the highest return of 11.48%. For gold members, Toumi RA boosted the level-eight portfolio’s cumulative return by 9.4% and the lowest-risk option by 4.23%.
An overwhelming majority of investors (99.6%) made profits during the first year, according to Toumi RA’s performance report, while only 0.4% of investors experienced lost either because of unfortunate investment timing during market highs or short-term investment during highly-volatile periods.
In April this year, Xiong took her own life in a hotel far from her hometown in Xiamen. Incapable of repaying a debt of 570,000 yuan (US$82,722), Xiong’s circumstances worsened as online loan sharks threatened to make her nude photos public. She took her own life a few days after her mother received her nude photos.
“Nude loans” involves offering one’s nude photos to secure credit. Nude loans first gained nationwide attention in December 2016. The China Youth Daily discovered 167 women’s nude photos and obscene videos online. These women, many of them in their early 20s and receiving college education, handed over their nude photos and videos as collateral for loans from peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms.
Online lenders’ choice to use nude selfies to enforce repayment reflects the country’s paternal society. Nude selfies are risky enough to prevent female student clients from defaulting because Chinese women are still valued for their chastity.
Specialist mortgage lender LendInvest has received the highest possible rating for the quality of its loan servicing from European ratings agency ARC Ratings.
For the third time in as many years the agency has awarded a SQ1 Servicer Quality Rating for LendInvest following a comprehensive annual review of the company, its performance, processes and infrastructure.
Tikehau Capital (Paris:TKO) today announced it has completed the acquisition of Credit.fr, the French specialist in crowdlending for small businesses financing, for an amount of €12 million. Incubated since March 2015 by Truffle Capital and under the leadership of Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, its chairman since November 2015, Credit.fr has rapidly established itself as an essential player in the small and mid-sized companies (SMEs) alternative financing market.
This acquisition enables Tikehau Capital, a leading company active in the corporate lending and private debt market in France, to consolidate and expand its lending platform by bringing its corporate financing solutions to smaller businesses and SMEs. Through Credit.fr, Tikehau Capital will enable its wide network of investors and partners to broaden their investment policy, currently focused on medium-sized and larger companies, to include smaller businesses rigorously selected by Credit.fr teams.
The report titled “Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance” looked at 800+ innovative digital SME lenders and digital commerce, payments and service providers in more than 60 countries. Here are some of the key findings:
Banks have valuable data, but are often not using it: Banks have a highly valuable repository of SME data, including SME owners’ customers’ daily transaction data that provides reliable real-time visibility into SME cash flows and credit capacity. However, most banks lack the ability to create innovative SME lending models from it.
Digital SME lenders are developing new relationships with SME customers and their data: In some cases, non-bank digital SME lenders insert themselves between banks and their SME customers, and forge fundamental changes in SME customer expectations.
New SME digital data streams are becoming more readily available and accessible: Digital SME lenders leverage vast and expanding stores of data, including from electronically verifiable, real-time sales, bank account money flows and balances, payments, social media, trading, logistics, business accounting, and credit reporting service providers, as well as a wide range of other private and public data sources used in the SME credit assessment process.
There are a wide range of digital SME originator lending business models: The new digital SME lending originator business models that take advantage of the expanding universe of SME digital data vary widely. This report highlights these business models, selected players, and the digital SME data they use. It includes marketplace lenders, tech, e-commerce, and payment giants which are extending SME lending into their non-banking digital ecosystems where they are already dominant. It also includes supply chain financing firms, mobile micro-lenders graduating to SME lending, and innovative banks.
Digital SME lending is becoming more of a global trend:
Digital SME lender-bank collaboration is also a growing part of the future of SME finance: Banks may have been blind to digital SME lenders at first, and digital SME lenders may have said they would replace banks. However, both parties now have come to a simple conclusion: there are limits to what each player can do on their own and there is strength in collaborating.
Access to data is no longer the problem in SME lending: The digital economy has also given rise to an ever-evolving set of value-added cloud-based services to help SMEs with their finances, business planning, productivity, legal issues, data backup and security, file sharing, web conferencing, website builds, online marketing, business training, e-commerce, payments, loyalty programs, business intelligence, and more.
However, access to data for SME lending brings new challenges: With the abundance of alternative data, there are new issues of what to use, how to use it, and how to do this responsibly — while also respecting privacy and other important rights of SMEs.
Regulators in Singapore and Denmark are building bridges to assist Fintech companies expand abroad. The Singapore’s Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (Danish FSA) yesterday have entered a cooperation agreement to promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets.
The agreement aims to help FinTech companies in both countries to expand into each other’s markets and also provides facilitated introductions when a fintech firm operating in one jurisdiction wants to better understand the rules in the other.
Midway through the month, on June 14, Misys and D+H merged to form a new company called Finastra.
Shortly after the merger, several institutions announced they were working with the newly formed fintech giant. Rabobank selected Finastra to centralize their cross-border payments; SIA, a European provider of payment infrastructure and services, partnered with Finastra to provide real-time instant payments capabilities; and Mexico’s central bank, Banco de Mexico, also selected Finastra to transform its legacy risk management platform.
London-based travel card specialist Revolut is close to landing a £50 million (US$65 million) funding round that will value the company at £300 million (US$390 million), according to a report from Sky News. The round will be led by Index Ventures, which acquired an interest in Revolut last year, the report said. Silicon Valley investor Ribbit Capital is also said to be taking part in the round.
Finally, Seattle-based Tango Card, a provider of digital rewards and incentives to 2,000 corporate enterprise customers, has secured a $10 million investment facility from Silicon Valley’s Western Technology Investment.
A new marketplace lender is hoping to turn traditional investing on its head with a pitch to wholesale and sophisticated investors.
Backed by an Australian Financial Services Licence and an Australian Credit Licence, Zagga hopes to differentiate itself from other marketplace lenders by providing a lending platform where all loans will be secured by a registered mortgage against real property.
To date, Zagga has helped facilitate a number of loans including a $7.15 million loan which was fully-funded within 17 days by 26 investors, and a $1.15 million loan to a husband and wife investor who wanted to top up their super fund before 30 June, funded in a few hours by six investors.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has finalised norms for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms and is expected to release final guidelines in 2-3 weeks, a top finance ministry official said.
According to the official, the P2P lending interface will come under the purview of RBI’s regulation by defining these platforms as NBFCs under the RBI Act by issuing a notification in consultation with the government.
You had also mentioned about raising Rs 500 crore in debt.
Apart from the first Rs 500-crore debt fundraising exercise, we will also look to raise another Rs 500 crore in debt. We have initiated talks for this, but the process will take some time.
So, eventually will you be looking to raise more funds from banks and less from NBFCs?
Banks offer us lower-cost loans, but the process is more time consuming. They also operate within certain limitations. NBFCs are quicker with their disbursals.
Do you have plans to increase the ticket size of your loans, which is capped at Rs 10 lakh?
About 93% of our loans are less than Rs 10 lakh, and the Rs 50,000-10 lakh range remains our sweet spot. But, sometimes we do disburse loans of Rs15-20 lakh if there is a strong reference or recommendation. Our USP will be to remain a sub-Rs 10-lakh lender.
Tech is a major component of your business operations. How much of your budget allocation goes towards it?
Almost 25-30% of our budget goes towards technology. The tech team accounts for around 35% of our total manpower while two-thirds of our resources work on the lending business.
Most players tend to be asset-light. What was the business logic and strategy behind going asset-heavy?
That experience led to the decision of Lendingkart having an NBFC of its own, which would allow us to design our own products.
Will you continue to operate the same business model?
Two years down, we will diversify as a marketplace model, and may even get into the peer-to-peer lending space.
In fact, we will start a pilot with one or two players within the next six months. However, this year, the lending will predominantly be from our books. These plans will take a larger form in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
When will you start making profits?
The lending arm of our business will turn profitable by March 2018.
Which are your top performing markets?
Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Surat have been our top five performing markets.When will you start making profits?
The lending arm of our business will turn profitable by March 2018.
Sharma is the CEO and cofounder of Extreme Venture Partners, a Canadian VC firm that recently assembled a fundfor paying startup founders and their families to relocate to Toronto.
Upon arrival, they’ll receive seed funding, guidance on beginning their new Canadian life, and the opportunity to get on the fast-track for citizenship. Sharma says EVP is prepared to welcome 30 companies over the next three years.
Upon arrival, they’ll receive seed funding, guidance on beginning their new Canadian life, and the opportunity to get on the fast-track for citizenship. Sharma says EVP is prepared to welcome 30 companies over the next three years.
The aim of this policy brief is to provide a general description of the fintech industry in Canada, and to describe and draw attention to two complementary aspects of developing a fintech strategy for Canada: first, encouraging domestic fintech innovation — through open data and payment systems — and second, encouraging international expansion — through international agreements among regulators and comprehensive intellectual property strategies.
Flexiti Financial, a provider of point-of-sale (POS) financing and payment technology for retailers, today announced that it has won a competitive bid to be the preferred POS financing partner in Canada for the dealers of outdoor maintenance and equipment manufacturers including Husqvarna, Briggs & Stratton, Ariens, Big Dog Mowers, Hustler, ECHO Power Equipment and ECHO Bear Cat. Flexiti Financial now has access to over 800 dealers that sell lawn and garden tools and outdoor power equipment.
Dealers will now have access to Flexiti Financial’s award-winning POS financing platform, which will allow them to provide instant financing on any device, anywhere, and instant credit approval in three minutes.
News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa’s 6.1% return IFISA to launch June 15. CFPB’s Corday extends small biz lending RFI comment period. Zopa looking for 40 tech whizzes. WeChat Pay available globally through Paymentwall. Today’s main analysis: Lending Club and the rise of securtization club deals. Today’s thought-provoking articles: China urges banks to devolve loan approval responsibility. How Thailand could […]
Lending Club and the rise of club deals. GP:”By standardizing documents in a deal it allows for a faster and cheaper securitization. A model worth noting and perhaps even adopting. A must read in all cases.”
CFPB comment period for small business lending RFI extended. GP:”As our readers are aware the CFPB is looking into small business lending regulation. Most lenders are concerned that small business lending could be regulated as personal lending because the loan is in fact underwritten on the business owner him-or-her-self. While it seems unlikely, we look forward to the RFI and the following CFPB decision.”
Elevate launches Elevate Labs. GP:”I find data interesting and we learn that Elevate is using a terabyte-scale Hadoop database with 1.5mil customer records with data from bureaus, web behavior, performance, bank account and other non-traditional data. And they employ 35 people in the analytics team. “
Here are all the financial reforms that will disappear with Dodd-Frank. AT: “Few people will disagree with most of the principles of the CHOICE Act. The real issue is, how do we get to the promised land from here? Even if the Republicans win on Dodd-Frank, this battle won’t go away. It will live on in the mid-term elections and then the next presidential election.”
Industry power players join RealtyShares. GP:”We believe the fix and flip model to be extremely correlated to particular times in the real estate market. I hope RealtyShares is diversified enough beyond this particular market whent he turn comes.”
U.S. business schools embrace fintech. AT: “I’m not quite sure what colleges and universities can teach about fintech that they haven’t already been teaching about business. Fintech is not a business model any more than science fiction is a storytelling technique. It’s one genre in the business world, so why not stick to teaching business principles?”
Zopa hunts for 40 tech whizzes. GP:”It is probably going to be expensive but I am sure they will find it. The Zopa office is cool enough where people really want to work from there. Adn yes, do they really need 40 developers to launch a tech-bank? Usually teams of 6-8 people are ideal so I would expect Zopa has 4-6 systems to build for the bank , hense this many developers.”AT: “This is the first I’ve seen of a number for new employees to help launch bank. Does it really take 40 technology superstars to start a bank?”
Weekly Industry Update: Lending Club and The Rise of Club Deals (PeerIQ Email), Rated: AAA
A club deal program enables Lending Club to drive standardization – in offering docs, covenants, structure, servicing, collateral consistency, and offering cadence. As a sponsor, Lending Club is able control its brand in the public ABS markets and manage competing interests amongst issuers, placement agents, and investors. (See this week’s
Last month, in conjunction with a field hearing, the CFPB issued the RFI, together with a white paper on small business lending. In his remarks, Director Cordray revealed that, in response to requests for additional time to respond to the RFI (which currently has a July 14, 2017 comment deadline), the CFPB is extending the comment period by 60 days.
With regard to the CFPB’s debt collection rulemaking, Director Cordray discussed thedebt collection proposals under consideration by the CFPB which it released last July in anticipation of convening a SBREFA panel.
Elevate Credit, Inc., a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the launch of Elevate Labs at its new San Diego-based Advanced Analytics center. The center of excellence underscores the company’s commitment to innovation in the non-prime credit market.
Elevate’s industry-leading technology and proprietary risk analytics are optimized to help non-prime consumers meet their immediate financial needs while improving their financial futures. The company annually invests $40 million in its technology and analytics capabilities, including substantial investments in its proprietary IQ and DORA risk technology and analytics platforms, to support rapid scaling and innovation, robust regulatory compliance and ongoing improvements in underwriting.
DORA, Elevate’s proprietary risk analytics platform, utilizes a terabyte-scale Hadoop database composed of thousands of elements, 1.5 million customer records and other wide-ranging data inputs including credit bureau data, web behavioral and performance data, bank account data and other non-traditional data, to accurately assign risk to customers.
Elevate’s cutting edge technology and analytics team, worldwide, consists of the most advanced thinkers in risk analytics with more than 35 data scientists in our Risk Management department including over 25 staff members with advanced degrees and eight with PhDs. While the San Diego location is the company’s most concentrated and fastest growing analytics center, the team is spread across offices in Texas and the United Kingdom.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Financial CHOICE Act.
The Act has seven principals:
1. Taxpayer bailouts of financial institutions must end and no company can remain too big to fail.
2. Both Wall St. & Washington must be accountable
3. Simplicity must replace complexity
4. Economic growth must be revitalized
5. Every American must be able to achieve financial independence
6. Consumers must be protected
7. Systemic risk must be managed via profit & loss
The Act proposes to restructure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency that monitors financial products from loans to high-fee investment products.
Stress tests for America’s big banks, another Dodd Frank invention, are also contentious. The CHOICE Act proposes major changes.
In mortgages, the CHOICE Act will aim to allow smaller banks to increase lending by minimizing a rule about qualified mortgages. The rule increases costs of lending to higher risk borrowers and often precludes banks from holding mortgages on their books. Modifying the rules may allow local banks to increase lending.
The Financial Services industry is in the middle innings of a multi-phased and disruptive process that began in 1993 with the first ETF, and jump-started in 2008 with the first “robo advisor.” These two disruptive events continue to put enormous downward pressure on the fees charged by mutual fund companies and individual Advisors.
I do not believe financial services is racing toward a flat-fee model. However, the pace of fee compression will accelerate as clients have more low-priced options from which to choose. The end-result is enormous pressure on traditional Advisors to justify their higher prices and deliver an asset management solution more sophisticated than buy-hold-rebalance.
There are six key steps to becoming a Quant Advisor:
1. Develop a small but powerful set of investment models that are both unique and compelling. As an example, we only work with a small number of Advisors in an area to create and keep a competitive edge.
2. Have discretion on client accounts. The real value of using models is the ability to affect many client accounts at the same time to create efficiency and scalability. Building scale is the only sustainable way to overcome fee compression.
3. Communicate. Most clients simply don’t need or want to meet with their Advisor four times a year, but they want regular access to bite-sized information about what their Advisor thinks. Creating valuable, but short-and-sweet communications keep a client happy and informed. Generic newsletters do not count (because no one reads them).
4. Create multiple channels for a client to engage. Most traditional Advisors have a simple fee grid based on assets. A Quant Advisor will have a service menu that provides options from super low-cost investment-only relationships all the way to complex financial planning solutions. Due to scale and efficiency, any of these service levels can be highly profitable. Maybe one of the options is aflat fee only service level?
5. Sell more than advice. A Quant Advisor sells financial advice/planning and asset management services. Traditional Advisors only sell advice/planning and pay someone else to provide asset management (such as managed accounts, SMA’s, mutual funds, etc.). By having a unique and compelling asset management capability in-house, Quant Advisors do not have to pay someone to do it for them. That creates a new revenue source and the ability to capture a higher percentage of the total fees paid by the client. As fee compression continues to eat away at advice/planning prices, having multiple services to sell a client creates a more stable revenue stream.
6. Be hyper-transparent. Clients are more afraid of what they do not know than what they do. By proactively talking about and disclosing fees (including the hidden ones), risk and performance the relationship can blossom based on a new level of trust and understanding.
Industry Power Players Join RealtyShares (RealtyShares Email), Rated: A
Stanford University and Georgetown University business schools are planning to offer “fintech” courses for business school students for the first time this fall. New York University is planning a new course for undergraduates after launching a fintech specialization in its business school last year.
They join the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Columbia University’s business school and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management, which all launched similar programs in recent years.
A number of prominent startups have exploded onto the fintech scene in recent years, fostering interest in mobile payment apps like Venmo, digital loan platforms like SoFi and robotic wealth managers like Betterment.
Unlike the wealthy, retail (individual) investors have limited options to invest in high-risk, high-return alternative instruments. The ticket size of such products — private equity, exclusive wines and paintings — are too high for small investors. But, in recent times, more avenues have opened that allow retail investors to make risky bets in assets other than stocks. For example, bitcoins is one such asset that younger investors are looking at. The price of this virtual currency has gone up from $579.13 a year back to $2,825.03 — a return of 488 per cent.
LendingTree, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE), operator of LendingTree.com, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today announced that it will participate in RBC Financial Technology Investor Day at The Westin New York Grand Central in New York, NY.
Doug Lebda, LendingTree Founder and CEO, is scheduled to present on Wednesday, June 14 at 8:55am ET. The presentation will be webcast live and archived at
Additionally, the company’s latest investor presentation will be available on its investor relations site at investors.lendingtree.com.
RealtyeVest lowered its required minimum investment amount to $5,000 for all offerings on their real estate crowdfunding platform for accredited investors. Previous minimum investment amounts ranged from $15,000 to $50,000, depending on the real estate project. The new $5,000 threshold is intended to draw first-time investors to experience RealtyeVest’s high-caliber performance with a nominal financial commitment. “We are seeing significant activity on our platform, however we feel there is a corner of the market we are not appealing to,” said Daniel Summers, RealtyeVest CEO, in a statement. “So we are offering investors a taste of our service with a new lowered investment amount for all projects. Once they see the quick return on their investments, they will no doubt want to increase their contribution amounts.”
Having raised £32m from investors eager to support the project earlier this month, the group is now looking to bulk out its workforce by at least 16pc – bringing in tech experts able to build a digital bank from scratch.
The hires will come from London and Barcelona, where Zopa opened a technology hub last week.
Zopa’s long-awaited innovative finance Isa (Ifisa) will be made available to existing customers on Thursday 15 June, but it won’t be protected by the company’s Safeguard scheme.
The Isa, offering projected returns of up to 6.1%, will initially be made available to existing Zopa customers wanting to invest new money. It will then be possible to move existing Zopa loans into an Isa wrapper from 1 July, and transfer funds from third-party Isas from 17 August.
It is expected that new customers will have to wait two months or longer before being invited to open a Zopa Ifisa, due to expected high demand.
Zopa’s Safeguard scheme is a central compensation fund that aims to pay out to lenders whenever a borrower defaults on a loan. This fund is limited, so it could run out if lots of borrowers fail to repay, but it has covered 100% of eligible loans to date.
However, this scheme won’t be offered to Isa customers, nor will it be available to any new investors after December 2017.
It will offer two savings products in an Isa wrapper.
Zopa Core, in which your money will only be lent to lower-risk borrowers, offers expected returns of 3.9%.
Zopa Plus lends your money to a wider range of borrowers, offering expected returns of 6.1%.
More than a decade after the first peer-to-peer sites launched in the UK, the sector that allows investors to lend directly to individuals and small businesses is coming of age. Two of the largest sites in the UK — Zopa and Funding Circle — were last month authorised by the City watchdog, marking a seal of approval for the lenders and providing a boost to the broader sector.
Institutional investors are already piling in. High-profile fund managers including Neil Woodford and Artemis invested more equity capital into RateSetter in recent weeks, valuing the company at more than £200m. Zopa completed a £32m funding round, led by Wadhawan Global Capital, an Indian financial services company.
The rise of peer-to-peer sites means that lending, which as an asset class has been a monopoly for the banks, is opening up to ordinary investors.
Credit Crowd gets on Othera’s blockchain, citing transparency as the key issue.
Blockchain provider Othera has linked up with Australian fintech lender Credit Crowd, allowing the Sydney fintech to digitise its loans on blockchain.
The partnership will allow Credit Crowd’s loans to be tokenised and traded on digital asset token exchanges—in effect, a kind of securitisation.
Credit Crowd is a P2P marketplace that specialises in short-term loans, secured by first mortgage properties. The company claims to have facilitated more than A$100 million worth of loans since its founding in 2012 and managed over A$50 million in their retail fund.
To date, robo-advice offerings have tended to focus more on the less complex end of the financial advice spectrum. The FCA’s enthusiasm for robo-advisers stemmed largely from concerns about an ‘advice gap’, situations where consumers (particularly those with limited assets) are unable to get advice and guidance on a need they have at a price they are willing to pay. The FCA has therefore seen robo-advisers as a way of providing quick and inexpensive advice primarily in relation to lower value or less complex scenarios. Robo-advice is still in its infancy and is generally not yet at the stage where it can provide sophisticated advice in relation to complex circumstances. Certain external factors are also slowing the spread of robo-advice. For example, recent research sponsored by ING suggests that the majority of the public remains uncomfortable with the idea of automated advice and this attitude will take time to change. In addition, PI Insurers may feel, by necessity, that they need to take a relatively cautious view in relation to new and untested technology. Firms implementing robo-advice solutions may therefore face increased insurance premiums, which is a further potential brake on innovation.
For the foreseeable future then, it appears that human advisers have no need to be concerned. Robo-advice is in the process of automating only one part of the wider industry and even then at a relatively restricted pace. But what about the longer term? If we make the reasonable assumption that advances in robo-adviser technology are inevitable does that mean that robo-advisers will one day become so sophisticated and accepted as to render human input redundant?
Winner of the startup stage Curve, started out in 2015 to cut out the noise and disconnection in the banking landscape. The digital wallet platform is designed to connect all of a person’s financial services into a single go-to place online, which is accessed with a Mastercard.
Finimize has grown an online community of 100,000 people. Each day, members receive a newsletter that digests the biggest finance stories of the day and why they should matter to them.
AgentCASH is an enterprise grade omnichannel platform that enables SMEs to sell and manage their products on multiple channels in real time.
Crowdsurfer brings big-data engineering expertise to crowd and peer finance to help the world understand where funds are flowing to.
Reposit was developed by its CEO Curran McKay as a faster, more affordable alternative to the £3.5 billion tenancy deposit system.
Lendr uses artificial intelligence to act as a reverse auction platform for mortgages.
Co-founder of Capitalise Paul Surtees has built technology that enables SMEs and their advisors to find, compare and select the best lenders available to them – allowing them to access the funding available. The platform matches SMEs with lenders, who are ranked based on their past successes.
London-based Paybase rolls an end-to-end solution for payments, compliance and risk into one unified API. The platform is designed for marketplaces such as the sharing economy or crowdfunding sites, as well as fintech apps and products that have complex payment processes.
The Chinese Internet Investment Fund was founded jointly by the Cyberspace Administration of China and the Ministry of Finance. The total size of the fund is around $14.9billion. The initial subscription (almost $4.4 billion) has been finished with $300million was acquired by central government as guiding fund, and the rest was raised from strategic investors. Thus, the driven coefficient of the government funds reached to 1:14.
On 9th June, shares of Alibaba jumped by 13.29% and closed at $142.34 per share, the companies’ total market value reached to $362.3 billion. Exceeding Tencent for the second time and become Aisa’s most valuable company.
Previously, Alibaba issued its annual report of 2017 fiscal year, showing that Alibaba has surpassed Tencent on core metrics such as revenue, net earnings and cash flow.
According a report released by Deutsche Bank, Alibaba's estimated revenue for 2018 fiscal year will be far higher than expected, and the disclosed information will drive its stock price up further.
Sepaking at the recent WSJ D.Live Asia event in Hong Kong, Ping An CIO Jonathan Larsen said Ping An is launching a new fund to invest in early stage Fintech ranging from $10 million to $30 million, according to a report from Dow Jones (here).
CHINA Rapid Finance will follow the strategy of “low and grow” to realize a stable and sustainable growth after its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on April 28, Wang Zhengyu, founder and CEO of the Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender, said in Shanghai yesterday.
CreditEase’s founder and CEO Ning Tang was invited to deliver a keynote speech today at The Asian Banker’s 18th flagship Summit “The Future of Finance” in Singapore. The Summit gathered leading industry, government and academic speakers such as Barney Frank, former US Congressman and a leading co-sponsor of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act, David Shrier, Managing Director, MIT Connection Science and Engineering, and representatives from: ANZ, Bank of the Philippine Islands, DBS Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Prosper Marketplace, Prudential, and Uber.
Future Life, Future Finance
The theme of this year’s Summit shares the same vision as CreditEase at its 11th anniversary – “Future Life, Future Finance”.
In his keynote speech, Tang shared his insights as a pioneer and thought leader in the FinTech industry, giving an overview of the current landscape, and anticipating where opportunities will be against the backdrop of potential or inevitable changes.
After 10 years of successful domestic growth, at its 11th anniversary, CreditEase is ready to accelerate its global expansion. The opening of the new Singapore office and Tang’s delivery of the keynote speech at one of world’s renowned financial summits is just part of the global voyage. In addition to Singapore, CreditEase Wealth Management operates overseas offices and affiliate offices in Hong Kong, New York, and Tel Aviv and its domestic mainland China network covers over 40 cities. Its resources are also spread across the US west coast, Germany, UK, and Australia.
On June 3, 2017 Tsinghua PBCSF Global Finance Forum, which was hosted by Tsinghua University, and organized jointly by the Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance (PBCSF) and Tsinghua University National Institute of Financial Research (NIFR), convened in Beijing.
The highlights of the forum include:
Digital Financial Inclusion: LI Dongrong, President of National Internet Finance Association of China, pointed out in his speech that China and the world had the potential to drive the growth of inclusive economies by promoting digital financial services. While tremendous gains in financial inclusion have already been achieved, digital financial services, together with effective supervision, are essential to close the remaining gaps in financial inclusion.
InsurTech Innovation: JIANG Bo, Director-General of the International Department of China Insurance Regulatory Commission and Member of the strategic Council of PBCSF, said that Insurance technology (InsurTech) is a burgeoning phenomenon that has the potential to help the insurance industry reconnect with its customers following a period of increasing alienation and disengagement.
Three Chinese Fintech Companies Join Slate of Overseas Listing in 2017
Rong360, an online platform for financial product search, comparison and recommendation, has announced to raise at least $400 million in an initial public offering in the U.S. as soon as 2017.
With its rapid expansion, Chinese online lending platform Neo Capital has revealed its IPO plan in the U.S. last year.
On June 5, Chinese company Xiaomi, perhaps best known for its smartphones, announced that its affiliate Xiaomi Loan would partner with CITIC Securities to list CNY600 million asset backed securities (ABS) under a shelf registration on Shanghai Stock Exchange.
The ABS product was split into three tranches: AAA, AA and the subprime:
Paymentwall has partnered with Tencent to bring WeChat Pay (Weixin Pay) to every online and retail store. The partnership allows every business owner around the world to get instant access to 600 million Chinese shoppers in China and abroad.
With over 600 million active users, WeChat Pay is now one of the most popular payment methods in the world. WeChat Pay processed over $1.5 trillion in Chinese digital payments, representing over 30% of all online transactions made in 2016.
A combination of human and robo could be the answer for underserved Asian investors seeking low-cost technology-driven financial advice, a market that pure robo-advice providers have found hard to crack.
Inexpensive, automated robo-advisors could be a solution, but unlike in the large markets of US and Europe, in Asia they face difficulties stemming from regulatory fragmentation, lack of scale and investors’ preference for human contact.
The hybrid approach uses automated financial advice systems, but provides a layer of personal contact when dealing with the institution. Some call this approach “cyborg-advisor”, others “bionic advisor”.
Due to low profit margins of robo-advisory services and the necessity to achieve scale in order to be profitable, independent robo-advisors are not likely to succeed in the region under current regulations, according to Aldcroft.
Flipkart, one of the largest e-commerce platforms in India sales topping $2 billion each year, is getting into Fintech. Flipkart states that with the creation of a new focused team for financial services and products, Flipkart will be providing the public the option of obtaining loans from e-lending firms.
Flipkart is also expected to start offering other financial services such as access to funds.
Lendingkart, an online platform for lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs, has raised debt funding worth Rs 50 crore from Yes Bank Ltd. The company said that this is the first step towards eventually shifting from non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), who provide loans at a higher rate, to banks.
In June last year, Lendingkart had raised Rs 205 crore ($32 million) in a series B round of funding led by Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) and Darrin Capital Management, with participation from existing investors Mayfield India, Saama Capital and India Quotient. Of this, $20 million was raised through equity sale and remaining $12 million through debt financing.
Peer to peer lending is hardly new. But it has risen to commercial prominence in the past few years, thanks to technology. The emergence of marketplace lending platforms connecting individual borrowers and lenders is disrupting the business of lending.
Peer to peer lending is hardly new. But it has risen to commercial prominence in the past few years, thanks to technology. The emergence of marketplace lending platforms connecting individual borrowers and lenders is disrupting the business of lending.
A 2015 survey shows that 25% of U.S. millennials have used a P2P lending platform. According to recent research, the cumulative amount of loans that originated via marketplace lending platforms in China was over $150 billion in 2015. In US and UK, it was close to $30 billion and $10 billion respectively.
While the Indian P2P market is much smaller, the scene is heating up. Last year alone, 20 lending firms cropped up to take the total to about 30. What does this imply for our banking industry?
Omise, a payment management platform founded by Jun Hasegawa and Ezra Don Harinsut, is Thai fintech’s greatest success story to date. In 2016, it raised a $17.5 million Series B round and currently operates in Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.
The Thai Fintech Association formed in 2016 as a networking club that would facilitate connections among fintech startups, big banks and investors, according to Disyadej. But the organization filed as an association with the Ministry of the Interior this year so it could take a more hands-on role in the industry’s development.
Although TechGrind operates in six countries in the region, it has relocated several of its startups to Bangkok so they can make use of TechGrind’s network and resources there. But TechGrind approaches opportunities in fintech — and in all startup sectors — from a cross-border perspective.
One such company is Pymlo, which creates accounting software for small businesses in Thailand and the broader region.
Governments across Asia – most notably Hong Kong and Singapore – have launched a raft of initiatives to grab a slice of the $100 billion invested in financial technology globally but the regulatory hotchpotch is making it tough for firms to scale up, the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA) said in a report on Friday.
Investors poured $19 billion worldwide into fintech – including P2P lenders, distributed ledger technology and crowdfunding platforms – in 2016 alone and thousands of fintech start-ups continue to proliferate, according to a February report by global regulatory body the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia have launched a range of special programs to attract and foster fintech ventures, from incubators and grants, to temporary license waiver schemes, with competition fiercest between Hong Kong and Singapore.
Consolidated credit database likely to improve lending in the Philippines in 2018 (ASEAN Today), Rated: A
Bulk of lending in the Philippines have been corporate loan, forming more than 80% of loan books. Consumer lending business have been secondary to corporate lending – analysts explained that the lack of consumer level data can explain this.
The gap between corporate and retail lending is the lack of a credible database.
The government’s Credit Information Corporate collects data from banks in the Philippines. This will be extended to rural financial institutions to build a credible database by 2018.
News Comments Today’s main news: Subprime Auto Debt Grows Despite Rising Delinquencies, Today’s main analysis : Subprime auto debt and delinquencies. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 2017 will be good year for partnering with banks. Rapid growth of alternative finance. Does online lending create less systemic risk? United States Weiss comments at investors conference on marketplace lending. AT: “The […]
Weiss comments at investors conference on marketplace lending. AT: “The U.S. Department of the Treasury weighs in on the debate over regulating marketplace lending and, guess what?, they’re in favor of it. Virtually every relevant department of the executive branch of government supports regulation of the industry, which pretty much spells inevitability to me.”
PeerIQ and TransUnion partner on MPL solutions. AT: “This is an interesting partnership. It can only benefit PeerIQ and should give TransUnion new insight into the MPL sector, which will likely improve its own services in the credit scoring sector. Could this lead to a new rating scheme for marketplace lending?”
In recognition of the changing industry dynamics and in response to the feedback we received to the RFI, in May of this year, Treasury published a White Paper entitled Opportunities and Challenges in Online Marketplace Lending.
We proposed six recommendations to public and private sector participants. First, we support exploring more robust small business borrower protections and effective oversight. Second, we encourage companies to align interests of borrowers and investors by ensuring sound borrower experience and back-end operations. Third, to promote a transparent marketplace, we recommend the creation of a private sector registry for tracking data on transactions, issuances, securitizations, and loan-level performance for the public. Fourth, we suggest the expansion of access to credit through partnerships that ensure safe and affordable credit. Fifth, we support the use of smart disclosures and data verification sources to improve the borrower experience and make loans and investments safer and more accurate. And last, we proposed the creation of a standing, interagency working group on online marketplace lending to facilitate regulatory coordination.
Banks, particularly community banks, have traditionally provided the majority of credit to small businesses in the United States. Community banks are often closest to their borrowers and in a unique position to assess and address the credit needs of their customer base. This can lead to more effective risk assessments and better outcomes for lenders and borrowers.
However, small businesses are increasingly turning to online marketplace lenders as potential financing sources. According to the 2015 Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey, one in five small businesses sought out online marketplace lenders in 2015 as potential financing sources.
Unfortunately, those same survey results found small businesses approved for financing were often dissatisfied with their experience using marketplace lenders. The top three survey complaints were high interest rates, unfavorable repayment terms, and most critically, a lack of transparency. These results echoed the comments Treasury received in the RFI. Commenters across the spectrum, including some industry participants, argued that small business borrowers need enhanced safeguards to ensure terms are well understood.
The need for greater transparency and standardized terms across the full spectrum of small business credit products is necessary to promote competition and ensure customers have relevant and accurate information to make informed financial decisions.
Treasury’s White Paper showed that the use of data for credit underwriting is a core element of online marketplace lending. It holds both the most promise and the most risk for borrowers. Data-driven algorithms may expedite credit assessments and reduce operational friction. In particular, data allows marketplace lenders to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, automate the origination of loans and the collection of loan documentation, and potentially reduce fraud.
However, these algorithms also carry the risk of disparate impact in credit outcomes and the potential for fair lending violations. There is limited public research on these topics, and therefore, a lack of consensus on the potential benefits and risks. This is partly because credit scoring models and operations are proprietary, and data sources are expensive to construct or unavailable to outside researchers.
These algorithms continue to evolve, and their ability to generate superior credit outcomes was tested in 2016. Unsecured consumer loans across a composite of marketplace lending platforms saw delinquency rates rise 30 to 50 basis points from the same time a year ago. To ensure continued investor confidence in the validity of these new underwriting models, marketplace lenders adjusted to demands by investors for greater transparency, independent due diligence reviews, and heightened data integrity and validation standards.
We also see the potential for marketplace lending to expand credit in underserved markets. According to the CFPB, at least 45 million consumers have no access to credit because they have either no credit report or insufficient credit histories. It is estimated that 26 million Americans are credit invisible and do not have credit records maintained by any of the three credit reporting agencies. An additional 19 million lack a credit score. Use of alternative data may mitigate this problem. Importantly, alternative data can also be used to satisfy customer identification requirements and combat fraud.
However, with the proliferation of partnerships, it will be critical to ensure that financial institutions maintain oversight and compliance obligations under the distribution partnership model. The proposed third party guidance by FDIC is critical in this regard, and extends beyond marketplace lending.
Given the rate of change and innovation occurring in fintech and online marketplace lending, this will continue to remain an area of focus for federal regulatory agencies.
The latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data showed a small increase in overall debt in the third quarter of 2016, bolstered by gains in non-housing debt. Mortgage balances continue to grow at a sluggish pace since the recession while auto loan balances are growing steadily. The rise in auto loans has been fueled by high levels of originations across the spectrum of creditworthiness, including subprime loans, which are disproportionately originated by auto finance companies.
Originations of auto loans have continued at a brisk pace over the past few years, with 2016 shaping up to be the strongest of any year in our data, which begin in 1999.
Although it remains true that banks and credit unions comprise about half of the overall outstanding balance of newly originated loans, the vast majority of subprime loans are originated by auto finance companies.
Auto loan delinquency data, reported in our Quarterly Report, show that the overall ninety-plus day delinquency rate for auto loans increased only slightly in 2016 through the end of September to 3.6 percent. But the relatively stable delinquency rate masks diverging performance trends across the two types of lenders. Specifically, a worsening performance among auto loans issued by auto finance companies is masked by improvements in the delinquency rates of auto loans issued by banks and credit unions. The ninety-plus day delinquency rate for auto finance company loans worsened by a full percentage point over the past four quarters, while delinquency rates for bank and credit union auto loans have improved slightly. An even sharper divergence appears in the new flow into delinquency for loans broken out by the borrower’s credit score at origination, shown in the chart below. The worsening in the delinquency rate of subprime auto loans is pronounced, with a notable increase during the past few years.
Both banks and fintech companies have come to the realization that they have core competencies that are complimentary. According to a recent Manatt survey, a whopping 72% of regional and community banks said that they plan to collaborate with a fintech company in the next 12-18 months.
Banks are naturally conservative so it comes as no surprise that the early adopters have chosen to partner with fintech companies rather than buy or build. We expect that partnerships are going to rapidly accelerate in 2017.
Bank-Fintech-Bank (BFB): In this scenario the bank uses their channel to originate borrowers, the online lender underwrites the loan, and the bank uses its depositor base to fund the loan.
Fintech-Fintech-Bank (FFB): In this scenario, the online lender uses their own channel to acquire the borrower, they use their technology to underwrite the loan, and the bank provides the lending capital.
Bank-Fintech-Fintech (BFF): In this scenario the Bank uses their channel to acquire the borrower but the fintech underwrites the loans and funds it themselves.
Co-Brand or White Label: Each partnership must also decide whether to co-brand or white label. Regions Bank is most interesting because they chose to white label with Avant but co-brand with Fundation.
Last month Goldman Sachs officially launched Marcus, the first online lending platform built by a bank. This was a major milestone for the industry. It signaled that banks and online lending platforms can co-exist.
SunTrust is the only major bank to have actually acquired an online lending platform.
Online Lending Update (Orchard Email), Rated: A
I mentioned in last month’s newsletter that the feeling among most of the industry participants I’d spoken with was that the worst was behind us and the prevailing sentiment was that we’d likely end the year on a positive note. While I believe this is still the case, we won’t know it for sure until we start seeing it in the numbers. November was a month of mixed signals.
PeerIQ, a leading provider of data and analytics in the marketplace lending sector, and TransUnion (NYSE: TRU), a global information solutions provider, today announced a core strategic partnership to bring enhanced transparency and insight to alternative lending markets. This newly launched partnership will target the most pressing issues facing lending markets to foster greater investor confidence. It also positions PeerIQ as a key facilitator of efficient investment between marketplace lenders and institutional investors.
In addition to building authoritative data and derived analytics solutions for the industry, PeerIQ and TransUnion will collaborate on distribution and integration opportunities. As part of the partnership, Steve Chaouki, executive vice president and head of TransUnion’s financial services business unit, will become a PeerIQ board observer.
Banks that partner with online lending platforms can find new opportunities to expand their markets, but key challenges also need to be addressed.
Online lender Avant seeks financial-driven bank partnerships, according to Kevin Lewis, head of business development. Avant partners with banks to provide a bank-branded product for both existing customers and new online customers.
Manny Alvarez, general counsel and chief compliance officer for online lender Affirm, says his company seeks customers who either don’t have or don’t use a credit card for big ticket purchases.
Affirm—started by Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal—works with web-based merchant verticals in segments such as home goods, automotive parts, and luxury apparel.
Richard Neiman, head of regulatory and government affairs at Lending Club, said his company has over 30 bank partners on its platform. He says the banks find these partnerships “attractive and a strong value proposition” because it provides them with the ability to:
1. Acquire attractive assets (consumer credits)
2. Offer a digital system without having to build a new system or adapt a legacy system
3. Fill a product gap
4. Say “yes” to more customers because loans the bank doesn’t want to hold on its balance sheet could be funded by the other investors on its platform.
Lending Club partners with banks to originate and issue its loans. It also partners with large and small banks that invest in loans on its platform or originate loans through white label programs on its platform.
Mastercard has launched Decision Intelligence, a comprehensive decision and fraud detection service. The solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help financial institutions increase the accuracy of real-time approvals of genuine transactions and reduce false declines.
Current decision-scoring products are focused primarily on risk assessment, working within predefined rules.
The Structured Finance Industry Group, Inc. (“SFIG”) released the First Edition in a series of papers aimed at supporting the responsible growth of securitization in the marketplace lending sector. These papers, termed “Green Papers,” are a product of SFIG’s Marketplace Lending Committee Best Practices Initiative. The Best Practices Initiative was launched in February 2016, and seeks to identify a framework of market standards and recommended best practices through an open discussion among a broad cross-section of market participants.
The involvement by membership in SFIG’s Marketplace Lending Committee and the best practices effort is broad. Each working group differs in size, and SFIG’s Marketplace Lending Committee currently includes 250 individuals, representing more than 70 SFIG member institutions. The initiative has established the following five work streams related to marketplace lending:
RealtyShares announced on Thursday a total of $5,144,000 has been raised through its real estate crowdfunding marketplace for the acquisition and development of four free-standing triple net (NNN) leased quick service restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee.
According to RealtyShares, the tenants, which includes three Checkers and one Taco John’s, each raised more than $1 million through the crowdfunding platform at an 80% Loan-to-Cost (LTC) ratio. All were fully funded within two weeks of being featured on RealtyShares’ online marketplace, demonstrating the crowd’s strong interest in this type of deal.
Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held its first FinTech Series forum exploring the benefits, risks, and regulatory issues applicable to the FinTech industry. The forum, which took place on June 10, 2016, focused on marketplace lending. The second forum in the series took place on October 26, 2016, and focused on crowdfunding platforms and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. The half-day forum featured opening remarks by FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, panel discussions on crowdfunding and P2P payments, a presentation by the FTC’s Office of Technology, Research, and Investigation, and closing remarks by Malini Mithal, the Acting Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Financial Practices.
At the second FinTech Series Forum, the FTC discussed its planned regulatory direction for the crowdsourcing and P2P payments industries, and the level of compliance flexibility regulators expected to provide early-stage fintech companies (spoiler: not much). The FTC made clear that although FinTech-specific regulation is still taking shape, the agency will monitor this sector aggressively and expects compliance with long-standing consumer protection laws, including its guidance on unfair or deceptive acts or practices (UDAP).
While crowdfunding has created a new system for individuals and groups to raise money for personal and business projects, the FTC believes such platforms also create a potential for fraud and other abuse. The panelists noted that consumer understanding is always a source of risk and commented that some issues may be driven by consumers viewing crowdfunding platforms (particularly reward-based platforms) as online stores, rather than as an investment in a not-yet-extant product.
For its part, the FTC stated it would continue to take action against fraud by project creators, recalling the 2015 Forking Path case (discussed here), in which the FTC asserted that a project creator’s claims constituted UDAP in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.
During the forum, one panelist emphasized that regulations that govern existing funding mechanisms should apply to P2P payment with equal force. Indeed, there are multiple overlapping legal and regulatory frameworks that could apply to P2P payment systems, depending on how they are set up, including the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering regulations, money transmission laws, laws applicable to prepaid programs, payment card network rules, and NACHA rules, to name a few. In addition to such existing regulations, the CFPB’s Prepaid Rule, discussed here, will also likely apply to many P2P transfer systems in the near future.
Bank of America today celebrated the grand opening of its newly renovated Stanford financial center located at 3000 El Camino Real.
Specifically, the financial center features a new design layout and a host of new finishes, such as a digital demonstration counter with iPads showcasing mobile and online banking platforms, new waiting area amenities, and private offices for providing financial advice to clients.
Today, we mark the last page in the beautiful story of BillGuard. What an exhilarating journey it has been.
From BillGuard to Prosper Daily
Six weeks later, in October 2015, we announced BillGuard was joining forces with Prosper. Barely catching our breath, we felt reinvigorated that added resources and access to bleeding edge financial services capabilities could take the materialization of our mission to a new level. We suddenly could take BillGuard from read-only insights to actually impacting user’s accounts and saving them money, or at least reducing their debt. As a team, we could dream even bigger as we moved from our cash-strapped start-up phase, to aggressive growth planning, including plans to double our team and dramatically grow the product and its user base.
2016 A bad year for everyone, even unicorns
Lenders reacted by quickly changing their strategy from growth to profitability. They started cutting costs and hitting “undo” on all those scaling investments. Prosper, LendingClub and Avant were forced to lay off significant portions of their US workforce early in 2016. Lenders reduced other costs wherever they could and reduced borrower acquisition in pursuit of marketplace equilibrium.
Startup Reality hits hard: Scale down or shut down
Then came the time to set our 2017 strategy and budgets. Tight budgets would continue until market conditions and Prosper’s financials shifted back to growth. No matter how many times we ran the numbers, it was clear expenses had to be reduced further. This meant significantly reducing the size of the Tel Aviv office or consolidating the app operations in San Francisco.
Thus started our final BillGuard/Prosper Daily project — organizing and transferring our work to colleagues in San Francisco. It will take a couple of months to complete, and it comes with some sadness as you can imagine. Still, it’s good to know the app will live on and Prosper will continue to build on what we created at BillGuard.
The BillGuard Mafia — Unleashed
As we close the doors on the Rothschild office (and balcony) we’ve been so lucky to call home for the last four years, it is exciting to think of all the new chapters that will be started by this team. Whether they’re joining some of the most recognized companies or starting their own industry-revolutionizing ventures, they will take these BillGuard learnings and friendships and apply them in new ways.
During this difficult moment of seeing our incredible team disband, I struggle to find the words to articulate how much this group has taught me about what it means to be a team, about building beautiful things that people actually use and love, and about handling the great honor that it’s been to lead during this adventure.
Chief Technology Officer Amala Duggirala joins lending startup, Kabbage at a great time. The Atlanta unicorn company has experienced astronomical growth over the past year, priming itself for technology advancements in processing direct loans to small businesses across the country.
Duggirala has two decades of experience in building large-scale systems and growing enterprises. Her history of transforming corporations, including ACI Worldwide, which she helped boomed from $260 million in revenue to $1 billion, will lend itself to taking the Kabbage platform to the next level.
Think Finance, Inc., the company behind CortexSM, which provides a flexible and complete solution for financial service providers to enter the online consumer lending market, announced two of its senior executives will speak at the Marketplace Lending & Alternative Financing Summit taking place December 4th through December 6th in Dana Point, California. The Summit gathers fintech industry leaders – including credit issuers, platform providers, underwriters, rating agencies, service providers, investors and other professionals – to share insights on the latest trends and tools in the growing area of marketplace lending.
Think Finance CEO Martin Wong will participate in a panel discussion focused on online consumer lending platforms in the United States>, and Think Finance Senior Vice President of Decision Sciences and Risk Management Scott Morrison will give remarks during a panel discussion on credit risk.
That being said, alternative finance as a concept still remains somewhat amorphous. Given that the industry has only recently established any significant presence—and given that new forms of alternative finance continue to be created—financing methods now commonly being identified as “alternative” are essentially those that do not originate from traditional sources such as banks and stock and bond markets. Others provide a more stringent definition of the industry as one that has a direct connection between market participants, generally via online platforms.
Furthermore, recent figures show that such financing methods have been experiencing startling growth over the last few years. According to a September report from Cambridge University’s Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), the online alternative-finance market in Europe grew by a massive 92 percent in 2015, hitting €5.4 billion. The UK currently possesses the lion’s share of the region’s industry, with the CCAF recording the country’s transaction volume at €4.4 billion, or 81 percent of Europe’s market share.
China is deemed to be the world’s largest alternative-finance market at $101.69 billion, which represents a rather dramatic ascent over the last few years. The country’s market in 2013 was only $5.56 billion before jumping to $24.3 billion by last year, and then exceeding $100 billion last year. Much of China’s growth has been attributed to the rapid rise of mobile Internet in China, which has allowed 685 million people to get connected, more than any other country in the world. The rest of Asia-Pacific pales in comparison to China, with a market value of just $1.12 billion; but with a staggering 313-percent growth rate from 2014 levels, alternative finance looks set to explode across the entire region.
The World Bank recently estimated that the world’s alternative-finance market could grow to $90 billion of investment by 2020 from $34 billion at present.
One of the frequently touted benefits of peer to peer/marketplace lending is the heightened transparency associated with loan originations processed online.
Today, many online lenders are providing credit from their own balance sheet or doing hybrid lending, perhaps using retail and institutional money. So in some respects, online lending is becoming less transparent than the early days, but these multiple capital channels are helping to propel sector growth. Arguably this added complexity comes with solid benefits and additional cost.
“Every originator and every lender have their own product structures and credit policies. They find ways of originating demand and then say ‘yes’ to some of the applicants. Saying yes to the right customers using the right policies and products should result in a very resilient portfolio of loans regardless of whether you’re holding the loans or selling them downstream.”
Rotman is not overly enthusiastic about banks these days. He believes they resemble utilities. Banks must hold higher levels of capital and endure steep overhead costs that are offset with products with a low ROA. All in an attempt to achieve a low return on equity. The positive to all of this is that a bank can survive if profits fall to zero. For online lenders it’s different, “…zero for marketplace lenders is bad and negative ROA is toxic.”
BitLendingClub, a bitcoin peer-to-peer lending platform, announced on Thursday it was shutting down all of its services. The website claimed the closure was due to regulatory pressure.
BitLendingClub’s team shared they are planning to restrict the functionality of the website to either repaying of a loan, deposition to repay or withdrawing funds. They noted there would be no new registrations, loan requests, new users verifications, investments or any other service other than just repaying. They are expecting that service restrictions will begin sometime next week, without knowing a specific date, but will send an email to users when the changes occur.
Latvia-based VIA SMS Group announced this week it is launching Viainvest, a peer-to-peer marketplace for both private and legal entities offering to invest into consumer loans originating from non-banking lenders.
It was also reported that loans available for investment on VIAINVEST are originated by VIA SMS group and its daughter companies across Europe, so investors are able to create diversified and secured investment portfolios.
An Internet lending platform clarified on Thursday that it has not posted or stored any naked pictures, after a great number of nude pictures of female students were exposed online.
JD Capital’s Jiedaibao, a popular online peer-to-peer lending platform, said on its official Sina Weibo account that the naked pictures were from a small number of desperate users who resorted to private transactions with shady lenders while bypassing the platform.
The pictures, serving as a receipt of the loans, are transmitted through social network app WeChat and instant messenger QQ.
India’s leading online platform that facilitates SMEs in obtaining working capital loans, Lendingkart Group, has been recognized as one among the world’s top fintech innovators by KPMG and H2 ventures in their prestigious 2016 FINTECH 100 Global report. Lendingkart Group’s consistent focus on seamless delivery of quality and hassle-free services in facilitating small business working capital loans, has enabled it to become a part of the celebrated report. It is the only Indian fintech company to be featured thus in the online lending SME space.
Lendingkart Technologies is a fin-tech startup in the working capital space. It has developed technology tools based on big data analytics that facilitates lenders to evaluate borrowers’ credit worthiness.
Online lending marketplace IndiaLends has secured $4 million (around Rs 27.3 crore) in its Series A funding round from existing investor DSG Consumer Partners. American Express Ventures, Chinese investment firm Cyber Carrier VC and Noida-based early stage fund AdvantEdge Partners also participated in the round.
The company had previously raised $1 million in a bridge round in October 2015 led by existing investor DSG Consumer Partners and two individual investors—Siddharth Parekh and Gautham Radhakrishnan.