Wednesday December 6 2017, Daily News Digest

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News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage lends $4B to over 130K small businesses. RateSetter loses 23M GBP in ad investment. RateSetter to launch IFISA in February. Klarna, WorldPay partner on invoice and credit-based payments in Europe. Two new crypto-asset backed fiat loan platforms. Toss to expand into southeast Asia. Today’s main analysis: LendingTree’s monthly mortgage offer report. Today’s thought-provoking articles: […]

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United States

Kabbage Delivers $ 4 Billion to More Than 130,000 Small Businesses (Kabbage Email), Rated: AAA

Kabbage, Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, has extended over $4 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses, serving the largest customer base than any online small business lender. These landmarks represent an approximate 30-percent increase in total funding and total customers served since the company’s last milestone announcement in April 2017. With over 1.5 million live data connections with its customers, Kabbage’s high growth is attributed to its fully-automated lending technology as it continues to be a trusted lending partner to tens of thousands of small businesses across all industries in all 50 U.S. states.

Robert Sharpe also joined the company as its chief operating officer. Sharpe has more than 20 years of executive leadership in North America, Europe and Asia. He has successfully held various C-level positions, including president, chief executive officer and chief operating officer with multiple global consumer goods companies, each serving tens of thousands of customers and generating billions of dollars in revenue. With an additional ten years of commercial banking and corporate finance experience, Sharpe will be responsible for Kabbage’s continued growth and operational oversight as the company expands internationally and scales its services to serve more and larger small businesses.

During 2017, Kabbage reached major milestones, including:

LendingTree Releases Monthly Mortgage Offer Report for November (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

LendingTree today released its monthly  Mortgage Offers Report which analyzes data from actual loan terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree.com by lenders on LendingTree’s network. The purpose of the report is to empower consumers by providing additional information on how their credit profile affects their loan prospects.

Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree
  • November’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 3.75% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, unchanged from October. Refinance loan offers were down 1 bps to 3.69%. Mortgage rates vary dependent upon parameters including credit score, loan-to-value, income and property type.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were down 1 bps to 4.30%, the lowest since November 2016. In contrast, the loan note rate of 4.18% was unchanged from October when it reached the highest since July. We prefer to use the APR as lenders often make changes to other fees in response to changing interest rates.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.16% in November, vs 4.43% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 27 bps between these score ranges was 5 bps wider than in October and the widest since July 2016. The spread represents nearly $13,400 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30-years for the average purchase loan amount of $233,127. The additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were down 2 bps to 4.24%. The credit score bracket spread widened to 19 from 16 bps, amounting to $9,500 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $235,973.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments have been rising for 8 months and reached $62,409.
Source: PRNewsfoto/LendingTree

Learning About Machine Learning (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Certainly, the mountains of data are becoming larger by the day. Seven years ago, the total amount of information produced on a global scale passed one zettabyte. The scale shakes out thusly: If a single cup of coffee holds a gigabyte, then the Great Wall of China stores a zettabyte. In just three years, the tally will be 44 zettabytes, or 44 Great Walls of China, as estimated by global market intelligence firm IDC.

Along with the impressive growth in data created, stored and used on a global scale, so too is AI poised to grow in leaps and bounds. It will create nearly $37 billion in annual revenues for companies of all stripes, sizes and sectors, according to market intelligence firm Tractica.

Within that figure, machine learning is a sector that will see $15.3 billion in revenue in 2019, as noted by BCC Research and cited by business process outsourcing company TeleTech, with an average annual growth rate of 19.7 percent. The savings for U.S. companies could be as high as $60 billion in 2020, Forbes noted. In addition, AI is expected to add $8.3 trillion in economic activity for the U.S. by 2035, according to projections by business management consultancy Accenture.

Consider a financial institution processing credit card information. The transaction data is passed to the machine learning system as soon as it is entered at the terminal or point of sale, and the system then analyzes the transaction against the system on which it has been trained. The historical data offers a way to glean what “normal” behavior of a transaction looks like.

To combat a payments fraud adversary that is evermore fluid with bad actors’ tactics and operates in a card-not-present (CNP) world, the machine deployed by a financial institution must be able to “explain” what it is doing, Feedzai said. The “learning” should result in explaining the reasoning so the logic behind the decisions is transparent and meets compliance needs.

Banks Build Line of Defense for Doomsday Cyberattack (WSJ), Rated: AAA

U.S. banks have quietly launched a doomsday project they hope will prevent a run on the financial system should one of them suffer a debilitating cyberattack.

The effort, which went live earlier this year and is dubbed Sheltered Harbor, currently includes banks and credit unions that have roughly 400 million U.S. accounts.

While most people worry about their money being stolen in a hack, banks fear something more sinister: an attacker destroying, or even simply locking, data.

Such moves could cripple a bank, leaving it unable to operate for hours, days, or perhaps much longer.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

LendingClub Introduces New Certificate Investment Vehicle (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

On Friday of last week, LendingClub announced that it closed a new kind of transaction. It was a whole loan transaction structured as a tradable pass through security called a CLUB Certificate.

This was an initiative that was investor led. Basically, they had a potential investor who did not want to invest in whole loans. They are not for everyone, given they are an illiquid investment that has a duration of several years. What this investor wanted was a security that acted like a whole loan but one that had liquidity.

While LendingClub would not share details of this deal we did learn that these were both three and five year loans of one particular loan grade. They customized this deal to meet the investors exact requirements.

LendingClub claimed that this was a first of its kind deal in marketplace lending but in my research I discovered this piece on Asset-Backed Alert from April 2016 that talked about a similar structure that Prosper was working on last year.

How Technology is Streamlining the US Lending Sector (NewsGram), Rated: A

However, when the lending process is digitized the amount of paperwork is reduced dramatically. This is because account activity, credit history, income history as well as tax compliance can be fed into the system with the click of a button. This has made the collection and verification of information quite easy. Besides streamlining the application process, the amount of time it takes to get a loan has also reduced.

In addition, some lenders have developed some innovative mobile solutions that enable customers to submit an application from anywhere. The most outstanding feature about mobile loans is that there is a constant interaction between the lender and the borrowers. This goes a long way in improving service delivery.

Courtesy of technology advancements, now it’s possible to view the status of your loan application as well as your account status with a lender. This helps borrowers to stay updated during the entire online installment loans process. In addition, you can get instant communication about any requests that a lender may have that is critical to the borrowing process.

Time to address banks’ skepticism about data sharing (American Banker), Rated: A

When bankers complain about the security risks of sharing data with fintechs, they get an eye roll. Such complaints tend to be regarded as a cover for an ulterior motive: unwillingness to give customer details to competitors.

But when Chair Sheila Bair, a former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., recently warned of the security risks of sharing customer data with third parties, it made some people stop and think.

Big banks hope early bet on Alexa will pay off (American Banker), Rated: A

After a number of months of testing and refining an alternative way to bank, Ally Bank launched Ally Skill. “It was ready for prime time,” said Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking at Ally Bank. Since mid-November, a customer can ask Alexa — in their own words — what their balance is, what the price of something costs in hours worked, and notably, to move money.

Since Capital One announced its skill in March of 2016, U.S Bank, American Express and several credit unions announced Alexa skills in addition to Ally. Others have been testing Alexa, including bank innovator USAA. Even smaller banks are readying to launch skills. FIS, one of the biggest bank vendors that has been testing Alexa since 2016, said about a dozen of its thousands of bank customers are on track to roll out a bank skill for Alexa by Christmas. Most recently, Amazon announced Alexa for business, and Capital One is one of its launch partners.

Mortgage providers and wealth managers are also exploring ways to offer their services over such conversational devices.

A brand-new cybersecurity watchdog just shut down a $ 15 million cryptocurrency scam (Business Insider), Rated: A

US regulators appear to be paying more attention to the opaque world of initial coin offerings.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday it halted a fraudulent ICO “falsely promising” over 1,000% returns. The regulator said this was the first case filed by its brand-new cybersecurity unit, aptly named Cyber Unit.

Trump pick plans radical shake-up of consumer protection agency (Financial Times), Rated: A

US banks and other financial companies are preparing for a lightening of their compliance burden in areas from payday lending to mortgages as President Donald Trump tightens his grip on a powerful regulator set up to protect consumers.

“Virtually the entire range of regulations previously adopted by the CFPB could be subject to review,” says Quyen Truong, a former senior figure at the agency who is now a partner at law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. “There’s no particular set of rules that would be considered sacrosanct.”

In an early sign of his intent, Mr Mulvaney instituted a 30-day freeze on new initiatives within hours of assuming office.

Reforms that Mr Cordray had yet to introduce that would extend the CFPB’s reach into new areas, including mooted restrictions on small business lending, are now unlikely to see the light of day.

Payday Lending And The New CFPB (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As we noted when we first covered the final draft of the payday lending rule, Congress retains the power to keep the rule from ever making it into the books, so to speak, through the power of the Congressional Review Act. The CRA not only would prevent the payday lending rule from going into effect, but it would also prevent any similar rule changes from being considered for the next five years.

After some dormancy on the issue, the House of Representatives passed a CRA resolution Friday that would effectively kill the payday lending rule in its cradle.

The move comes as a bi-partisan effort – somewhat surprising, given the general tenor of Congress at present, particularly when it comes to consumer protection issues – with three Republican and three Democrat co-sponsors.

Mulvaney has won the first round in court, as a U.S district judge rejected English’s request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Mulvaney from taking over. But English has said she intends to fight on and will seek a preliminary injunction against Mulvaney and the administration.

Congress has only 60 legislative days from the publication of the rule in the federal register to invoke the CRA, and the rule passed on Nov. 17.

Madden ruling was a step backward. Congress should fix it (American Banker), Rated: A

I have been, far more often than not, on the same side of policy issues as the leading consumer and civil rights groups. But I disagree here: Madden is not just legally wrong; it is also bad public policy, because it moves us further away from creating a more effective and inclusive financial system. Bipartisan, bicameral proposals have already been introduced in Congress to fix Madden. Congress should pass them.

U.S. News magazine cites LendingPoint in ‘Best Personal Loans’ list (LendingPoint), Rated: B

We’ve been named to the “The Best Personal Loans of 2017” list by the prestigious U.S. News and World Report.

U.S. News named LendingPoint best for “Fair to Good Credit With Merit-Based Qualifications.”

LendingTree Selects Gordian Knot Analytics Group’s Comprehensive Segmentation Subscription Service (Guru Focus), Rated: B

LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE), the online loan marketplace, announced today that it has entered into a multi-year subscription for segmentation analysis and database scoring with Gordian Knot Analytics Group, utilizing their unique segmentation methodologies and proprietary machine learning toolset. Gordian Knot offers proprietary marketing analytics machine learning tools that help LendingTree more effectively target and engage with the right consumers to drive the business forward and maximize value for current and future customers.

FinTech Leader OppLoans Named 6th Best Place to Work Nationally (Daily Telescope), Rated: B

Socially responsible online lender OppLoans received top rankings in Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Places to Work award. The start-up was named the sixth-best place to work nationally for small- to medium-sized businesses.

The review-based rankings serve as a capstone to a stunning year of growth for OppLoans. Accolades include rising over 200 positions to reach number 219 on the Inc. 500 list, earning an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, being named the third-fastest growing technology company in Chicago by Built In Chicago and launching OppU, a free, standards-aligned online curriculum that teaches personal finance skills.

PeerStreet’s Brew Johnson Named 2017 HousingWire Vanguard Award Winner (BusinessWire), Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that its Co-Founder and CEO, Brew Johnson, has been named to HousingWire’s 2017 list of Vanguard Award winners. HousingWire’s 2017 Vanguard Award recognizes top leaders from all areas of the mortgage industry, including those in lending, real estate and investing.

Why Do I Have an Affirm Payment Due After I Returned a Phone? (Republic Wireless), Rated: B

If Affirm was used to finance a purchase from the Republic Online Store, all carted items, including shipping, must be financed through Affirm. Shipping charges are not refunded by Republic Wireless. This means that you will still be responsible to Affirm for any shipping costs you financed and interest that has accrued.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter loses £23m after ad investment flops (The Times), Rated: AAA

Ratesetter slumped to a £23 million loss for the year after a disastrous investment in an advertising business.

The loss was due in large part to a £14 million write-off on Adpod Limited, which the lender ended up owning after using its own capital to prevent a huge default on its peer-to-peer loan book from hitting investors.

The loss is sharply higher than the previous year’s figure of £5.3 million.

RateSetter to launch IFIsa in February (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform RateSetter expects to launch its Isa in February 2018.

Once the Isa launches, customers will have until 5th April 2018 to invest the 2016/17 Isa allowance of £20,000.

Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to close branches (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Two of the UK’s largest banks, 

Source: Business Insider

Orca accepted into regulatory sandbox scheme (p2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER investment platform Orca is one of 18 firms that have been accepted into the third phase of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox scheme.

The FCA received 61 submissions for the third phase of the scheme, of which 18 met the eligibility criteria and were accepted to move towards testing.

One of the successful applicants is Orca, which is developing an intelligent peer-to-peer investment platform which lets users diversify across multiple P2P platforms, lending sub-sectors and borrowers.

Personal Finance App Squirrel Now Processes £1 Million A Month (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, announced this week that it now processes £1 million a month. The company reported that it processed its 10 million last week.

Squrriel is currently seeking £400,000 through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. Funds from the initiative will be used to continue the expansion of Squirrels platform.

How an MBA entrepreneur made his multiple-account bank card add up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Israeli Shachar Bialick spent the first decade of his working life founding and backing start-ups before he dropped everything to move overseas and take an MBA.

He started Curve, a fintech company, to simplify personal finances with a single bank card for multiple accounts from different providers.

“We have too many cards, too many accounts, and too many products and services we use to manage our money,” he adds. “Curve is my biggest, most ambitious business so far. We are aiming to create an entirely new category in the banking system.”

Curve has raised $12m in venture capital funding and added corporate partnerships to extend the services it offers, such as an expense filing system provided by Xero, the online accountancy service.

Aire partners with retailer N Brown as more retailers become lenders for shopping middle class (Aire Email), Rated: A

Aire, which provides a more accurate way for lenders to understand and score new applicants, today announces a first-of-its-kind partnership with online retailer N Brown, as research data reveals the ‘new norm’ of UK shoppers choosing to spread the cost for their retail purchases over time.

The new agreement will see Aire provide its augmented credit assessment technology to support N Brown, which operates online stores such as JD Williams, in analysing the full picture of online customers and the true benefits and risks that come with them. Aire combines technologies of Artificial Intelligence with data science and deep knowledge of credit, which will enable N Brown to reach a wider group of customers without increasing its risk. After recent announcements about new partnerships in the p2p lending and car finance spaces, Aire’s expansion into the retail sector means that it is adding another new market to its portfolio in under six months.

Key insight:

–          New partnership between Aire and online retailer N Brown for customers who choose to open a new credit account

–          Aire adds retail finance to its growing portfolio

–          New research finds that UK adults pay off on average of £40 per month for retail purchases

–          9% of UK adults increased their monthly commitments in the last two years

Research shows in-store crowds are biggest stress factor for christmas shoppers (DIY Week), Rated: A

The new research by Swedish payments provider Klarna delves into the views of more than 2,000 consumers, and reveals that Brits today are so stressed out in the extended run up to Christmas that they’re overwhelmed when the day itself arrives.

In-store crowds were the number one stress for a quarter of respondents, whilst finding the perfect gift was the biggest source of stress for 20% of those surveyed.

These pressures could have a big impact on the bottom line of merchants if they’re not addressed; more than a third of consumers have previously walked out of a shop in frustration as a result. This is not just a bricks and mortar issue – 1 in 10 respondents have abandoned their online basket in frustration when the process is too complex, suggesting there’s still work to be done to smooth the purchase process online.

FinTech Marketplace Wealth Migrate Continues Expansion with New UK Office (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Wealth Migrate, (KPMG Global Fintech Top 50), a global online real estate marketplace, today announced the opening of a new office in the U.K. and the appointment of a new country CEO, as the firm continues to build on its global presence as part of a strategy to meet growing demand from investors.

To better serve its community of investors in this region, Wealth Migrate has opened a new office in London.

Adding to the news of this expansion, Wealth Migrate additionally announced the opening of their U.A.E. office and the appointment of a new U.S. based CEO this week.

To head up the new office, Wealth Migrate has appointed Ken Williams as its CEO of Wealth Migrate, U.K.

China

Runaway borrowers the new face of China’s personal credit boom (SCMP), Rated: AAA

China’s online lending boom has sent a steady stream of new clients to Guangzhou lawyer Luo Aiping in recent months: the parents and siblings of young men trapped or ruined by usurious debts.

Zeng Hong, from Hunan province, is a typical client. She went to Luo for help because she had been harassed by calls from debt collectors for months after her 27-year-old brother ran away, leaving behind a two-year-old son and more than 300,000 yuan (US$45,400) in debts.

Zeng wanted to help repay her younger brother’s loans, but 300,000 yuan is a big sum for a poor family and her husband strongly opposed her plan. She approached Luo to ask whether the debts and interest her brother had incurred were legal.

China Launches Massive Debt Crackdown (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

You see, in an effort to fuel economic growth over the past few years, China has taken on a lot of debt. Since 2008, China’s debt as a percentage of economic output has increased from around 160 percent to around 280 percent at the end of 2016. (By comparison, the total debt in the U.S. as a percent of economic output is upwards of 300 percent.)

Source: ValueWalk

Why it matters: China is BIG and getting bigger

With a GDP of US$11.2 trillion, China is already the world’s second-largest economy (it will soon be the largest), and it has the second-largest stock market. The country will also soon have the world’s biggest middle class, totalling over 550 million people by 2022. To put this in perspective: That’s 1.7 times the entire population of the U.S.

Consumer loans (such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and payday loans) have grown rapidly recently. For example, consumer loans jumped 300 percent compared to last year.

SoftBank’s Son Eases Lufax Peer Pressure (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Lufax, the online wealth manager that’s among the world’s biggest startups, has hired five banks to work on a Hong Kong initial public offering of as much as $5 billion, according to IFR.

Lufax is the world’s 10th-largest unicorn, or startup worth at least $1 billion.

Source: Bloomberg

Lufax had a loan balance as of Sept. 28 of more than 158 billion yuan ($24 billion), more than three times the 43 billion yuan held by China’s second-biggest P2P lender, New York-listed Yirendai Ltd., according to wdzj.com, a Chinese website that tracks online financiers.

DAILY BRIEFING (TechNode), Rated: B

What happened: The Ping An-backed online wealth management firm Lufax has hired five banks to work on an up to $5 billion Hong Kong IPO.

Why it’s important: A major player in China’s P2P lending market, Lufax will join a number of fintech companies that go public in recent months. It was eyeing an IPO as early as last year but later delayed the process due to market challenges and regulatory uncertainties, the CEO told Bloomberg last year. —Rita Liao

China’s Lufax picks banks for up to $5 bln Hong Kong IPO – Reuters

CreditEase Received Top Rankings in Global FinTech Investment by CB Insights and FT Partners (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CreditEase, a world-class financial technology conglomerate based in Beijing, China, specializing in inclusive finance and wealth management, announced today that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”) has recently been ranked No. 7 by CB Insights as “Top 10 Most Active VC Investors in Global FinTech Companies” and No. 1 by FT Partners as “Most Active FinTech Investors (Corporate VC)”.

Source: CB Insights FinTech Report_Q3 (PRNewsfoto/CreditEase)

How This Chinese Fintech Company Is Innovating by Leasing Cows (Fortune), Rated: A

Particularly, Ning Tang, CEO of fintech firm CreditEase, is lending consumers cows in a bid to reach those living in rural areas who might have limited access to credit and financing.

The rural population accounts for 48% of China’s total, with agriculture accounting for about 8.6% of the the nation’s Gross Domestic Production in 2015, according to the World Bank. Income in rural China has also been on the rise, with urban income narrowing to 2.7 times that of rural income from 3.3 times in 2009. And though migration toward the city has been on the rise and the nation’s dependence on farming and livestock is on the slide, rural populations and agriculture are still a significant part of the country’s economy.

IN CHINA, THE CHARACTERS FROM THE SHOW APPEAR IN THE COMMERCIALS, TOO (AdAge), Rated: A

iQiyi, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Baidu, adopted the tactic first and developed it into a commercial product when it broadcast the 1930s tomb-raiding adventure tale “The Mystic Nine” last year. The first batch of advertisers ranged from iQianjin, a peer-to-peer lending app, to PepsiCo, which showed characters chowing down on Lay’s and gulping Pepsi.

The other major services, Alibaba Group’s Youku Tudou and Tencent Holdings‘ video platform, have embraced the tactic too. At iQiyi, the cost for embedding one such commercial in an episode ranges from $150,000 to $530,000, depending on projected viewership, Yuan says.

European Union

Worldpay Partners with Klarna to Launch Invoice and Credit Based Payments in 6 Key European Markets (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Worldpay, a global leader in payments, has announced that it will partner with Klarna, a leader in invoice and credit based payments, to further enhance its product portfolio. From today, Worldpay customers trading in AustriaFinlandGermanythe NetherlandsNorwaySweden and the United Kingdom, and wishing to accept payments on invoice or instalments, will be able to use Klarna’s invoice and credit based payments from Worldpay. This will help eCommerce businesses to improve conversion rates by up to 20% and provide a fast and smooth checkout process.

These new payment options will allow consumers to decide when to pay for the items once they have received their goods. Instead of a request for credit or debit card details at the point of checkout, consumers are prompted for their email address and postcode, ensuring a quicker checkout process and leading to lower cart abandonment. The solution allows consumers to manage the terms of their payment, be it 14-day payment by invoice, by fixed or flexible instalments, spreading the cost over several months.

The move into credit and invoicing payments follows demand from customers wanting to expand the breadth of payment methods offered. Worldpay is one of the first payments companies to deploy this new payment integration, providing superior market coverage as well as faster time to market since there is no need for a new plug-in when  legacy technology is updated.

Fintech deposit marketplace hits 100,000 customers (AltFi), Rated: A

Savings specialist Raisin continues to gain momentum. The savings account marketplace now has itself 100,000 customers. The company is also integrated with more than 40 banks, from across 18 European countries, including a number of challenger banks and even an online lender (Younited Credit). SolarisBank is its newest partner.

ConsenSys Ventures has made its first four investments (TechCrunch), Rated: B

But the companies the fund is backing come from some relatively seasoned entrepreneurs. BlockFi, the firm’s lending for liquidity startup, was founded by Zac Prince — a serial startup founder whose previous idea was the lending platform for the underbanked, Cognical.

Up to 5% Cashback On Long-Term Investments Offered by Mintos (P2P-Banking), Rated: B

Lativan p2p lending marketplace Mintos just launched a cashback campaign running for the remainder of December. Investors investing in new loans with a term of at least 24 months on the primary market will receive a cashback of 2% to 5% depending on term length. The cashback will be credited within 6 days says Mintos.

Important: To be eligable an investor needs to enroll once for the campaign by clicking on the promotion banner inside the Mintos dashboard.

International

Salt and Coinloan Promise Crypto-Asset Backed Fiat Loans (Bitcoin.com), Rated: AAA

Typically, when we think of taking a loan, we think of going to a bank, filling out a ton of paperwork and then getting denied the loan unless a guarantor or cosigner signs as well. However, blockchain banking startups like Salt and Coinloan aim to change this by creating a peer to peer lending platform on the blockchain. These platforms allow users to leverage their bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as collateral for fiat loans.

Salt hails from the land of the free, a.k.a Denver, Colorado, USA.

On the other hand, Coinloan has Baltic roots and is headquartered in Estonia.

Salt will be starting straight out of Denver, Colorado and is set to launch their blockchain backed lending platform, BTC collateralized loans and loan fund by the end of 2017. In 2018, they will be launching ethereum collateralized loans in Q1, credit cards in Q2 and altcoin collateralized loans in Q3.

By contrast, Coinloan is still currently running their ICO. By 2018, they hope to obtain payment licences in Q2, develop mobile applications for IOS and android by Q3 and enter the Asian market in 2019.

Lendoit & RSK creates a decentralized BTC lending future together (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: A

In about 2 weeks, Lendoit will launch its official token Pre-sale, but it can’t wait to reveal the secret that will change the future of decentralized BTC lending, which the company has entered together with the largest and most promising blockchain-based project, The RSK Project.

Right from Argentina is Rootstock or popularly called RSK. This company is well-known for its open-source smart contract stage which has a 2-dimensional peg to Bitcoin. Amazingly, RSK uses merge-mining to reward bitcoin miners and give them the chance to be part of the smart contract ecosystem.

The Goal? To ensure that the highest level of functionality and value is added to the entire bitcoin ecosystem through the use of smart contracts, increased scalability, and near-instant payments.

Lendoit removes all intermediaries in the lending process, creates a trusted and secure platform for participants through the smart contract, and gives users a decentralized, anonymous platform where upscaling, lending, and borrowing are done hassle-free.

Source: Live Bitcoin News

PNC Live On New Real-Time Payments Network Using Finastra (Payment Week), Rated: A

PNC, a top-10 US bank by assets, is live on RTP, The Clearing House’s new US real-time payments system, using Finastra’s payment services hub, Fusion Payments.

“The ability to make an immediate payment at any time, on any day of the week, with a real-time confirmation of the payment significantly transforms the way businesses and consumers make payments in the United States. Emerging technologies such as RTP are creating opportunities for banks and clients to re-imagine our business models.”

Trulioo Recognized As a Global Leader in Digital Identity Verification (PRWeb), Rated: B

Trulioo, the global identity verification provider, is delighted to be recognized as the global identity verification leader in a recent comprehensive report published by Let’s Talk Payments (LTP).

India

Why America could miss out big time on India’s fintech revolution (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Morgan Stanley expects India’s digital payments penetration to increase from 5 percent today to 20 percent, and the e-commerce market to reach $200 billion, with 475 million e-commerce shoppers, adding up to a GDP upwards of $6 trillion — all by 2027.

India now has 800 million mobile phone users with 430 million having internet connectivity. According to Morgan Stanley, the number of internet users is expected to grow to 915 million by 2027.

Source: TechCrunch

In 2016, China’s digital payments were already 50 times America’s. Alibaba and Tencent understand ecosystems better than anyone else in the world, including American companies.

Asia

After success at home, Toss sets sights overseas (Korea JoongAng Daily), Rated: AAA

After emerging as one of the top fintech start-ups in Korea, Viva Republica, the company behind Korea’s top peer-to-peer transfer app Toss, is zeroing in on Southeast Asia as its next target market.

“While more than 70 percent of the population is using smartphones, their financial services are equivalent to that of Korea in the 1980’s. Our goal is to bring our story and product to Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam and to improve the level of financial services in the market.”

As of November this year, the accumulated transactions through Toss reached 10 trillion won ($9.2 billion). In November alone, the platform handled more than one trillion won, a feat that comes just two and half a years since it launched in February 2015. The company said its annual sales will come to 20 billion won by the end of this year and reach the break-even point sometime next year.

M’sian regulators likely to enforce licensing for cryptocurrency exchanges (The Star), Rated: B

Malaysian regulators are looking to clamp down on initial coin offerings or ICOs by expanding the definition of “securities” in existing laws, according to industry sources.

The regulator is also likely to require some form of licensing for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate on Malaysian shores.

Mexico

Mexican Senate passes fintech law (Reuters), Rated: A

Mexico’s Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would regulate its fast-growing financial technology sector, including crowdfunding and cryptocurrency firms, paving the way for a vote by the lower house.

The bill, which seeks to promote financial stability and defend against money laundering and financing of extremists, is expected to pass in a final lower house vote by Dec. 15, said three sources familiar with the measure.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday November 24 2017, Daily News Digest

Lend Academy investment accounts

News Comments Today’s main news: Revolut sings 1 millionth customer. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Lending Club’s Consumer Loan Underlying Bond Credit Trust 2017-P2. Funding Circle to launch Isa. Orca is launching investment platform. Chinese regulators investigating potential Qudian data leak. China cracks down on shadow banking. China tells provincial goverments to halt microlender approvals. Swiss consortium adopts single digital identity for […]

Lend Academy investment accounts

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Goldman Sachs Faces Doubts About Loss Rates at New Online Lender (Newsmax Finance), Rated: AAA

As Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lends more money to Main Street, one question won’t go away: How many borrowers will pay them back?

A recent example it gave suggests the firm expects loan losses to be lower than what some rivals are seeing, and half of what many credit-card lenders experienced the last time the economy went south.

The bank is counting on its consumer push to deliver $1 billion in revenue growth over the next three years. While the firm looks to attract borrowers with better credit than many rivals, others think it may be underestimating the risks of a business where it’s the upstart.

My Quarterly Marketplace Lending Results – Q3 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

If you have been reading these posts in the past year or so you will have noticed a steady decline in my returns, primarily caused by underperformance in my LendingClub accounts.

Earlier this year I adjusted my strategy and started investing across the entire risk spectrum but it is a bit like steering a battleship. Given my many thousands of notes it takes a while for any changes to show up in my portfolio returns.

My trailing 12 month returns for the year ended September 30, 2017 across all my accounts was 6.64%.

Source: Lend Academy

My main LendingClub account has performed poorly over the past 12 months. My TTM return is at a paltry 1.64%, my lowest return ever. All of my LendingClub accounts are below 5% and all have shown reduced returns over the past year.

Prosper continues to perform quite well. My three accounts are all returning between 7% and 8% which I consider quite respectable. My average interest rate of the loans I have invested in is just under 20% but returns have been quite consistent recently in the 7-8% range.

Source: Lend Academy

PeerStreet is a real estate platform focused on fix and flip properties. These are short term loans, typically between 6 and 24 months, and they are backed by the property. I use their automated investment tool to invest in only those loans that are paying 8% or more, up to a 75% LTV and a duration up to 24 months.

My first new entrant this quarter is AlphaFlow. They are a real estate platform that build diversified portfolios of fix and flip properties for you. What I like about AlphaFlow is that they deploy your money quickly, my entire investment was fully deployed in a matter of days. And they diversify across 75-100 properties, my own portfolio currently has 83 investments in 22 states with an average LTV of 68%.

Finally, as I do every quarter I want to end by highlighting the net interest number which for the last 12 months stands at $46,631.

Get the lowdown on the full range of Peter Renton investments here.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P2 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P2 (“CLUB 2017-P2”). This is a $330.0 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close December 6, 2017.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2017-P2

Class Preliminary Rating Expected Initial Class Principal
A A- (sf) $239,400,000
B BBB (sf) $34,600,000
*C BB (sf) $56,000,000

This transaction is LendingClub Corporation’s (“LendingClub” or the “Company”) third rated sponsored securitization and the second sponsored securitization consisting of “prime” unsecured consumer loans facilitated by LendingClub’s proprietary technology platform supporting an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors by offering a variety of loan products originated by issuing banks through the platform, www.lendingclub.com (the “LendingClub Platform” or the “Platform”).

The transaction has initial credit enhancement levels of 35.45%, 26.05% and 10.83% for the Class A, Class B and Class C notes, respectively.

China War on Online Loans Makes Waves in New York: QuickTake Q&A (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s campaign to reduce risk in the financial system is being felt in New York. The assault on the sector threatens to stymie any new listings of such lenders on New York’s stock exchange — as well as spelling trouble for investors in the handful of companies that have already listed.

Joseph Otting Has a Lot on His Plate as the New Comptroller (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Joseph Otting, a former banker and CEO of OneWest Bank, was approved by the Senate in a party line vote last week to take over the helm at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

If Otting decides to stand up to the banking hyperbole it won’t be an easy task.

All of this begs the question: who will gain if Fintech is allowed to compete with banks?

One-Third of Small Business Owners Work Half of the Major Holidays (Small Business Trends), Rated: A

One-third of small business owners work at least three of the six major holidays in the US.

Kabbage’s new survey reveals several work/life balance issues related to the sacrifices small business owners are willing to make. The research involved surveying 400 small business owners, with 67 percent stating they expect to increase revenues by the end of the year. More than half of the small business owners interviewed said they anticipate an increase in revenue of 10 percent or higher.

The survey found that 60 percent of small business owners only take one full vacation a year, while 23 percent take less than two holidays off annually. Furthermore, when on holiday, 75 percent of small business owners continue working.

Consumers Say Hedge Fund Financed Illegal Tribal Lending (Law360), Rated: A

Vermont residents on Tuesday hit a hedge fund with a proposed class action in federal court alleging it helped concoct a sham tribal payday lending scheme meant to skirt laws preventing companies from charging consumers exorbitant interest rates while hiding behind tribal sovereign immunity.

Plaintiffs Jessica Gingras and Angela Given accused the firm, Victory Park Capital Advisors LLC, of striking a deal with payday lender Plain Green and the Chippewa-Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation to use the tribe’s name in exchange for a small…

Payday Lenders Try Legislative Run Around State Laws, CFPB Regulation (Chicago Crusader), Rated: A

The same deception that hides the real cost of predatory, consumer loans is reflected in the title of pending legislation in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. The Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017 (H.R. 3299 and S. 1624) would allow payday lenders, high-cost online lenders, and other predatory lenders to partner with banks to make loans that surpass existing state interest rate limits.

How the Fed Can Help Families Living Paycheck to Paycheck (Real Clear Markets), Rated: A

The next Chairman of the Federal Reserve System (Fed) confronts a deep and growing problem: rising inequality. A new Fed Chair could combat this problem in an unexpected way by implementing real-time payments. The few days between checks clearing are a major driver of why it is so expensive to be poor. They are also unnecessary given technology and easily removable with some regulatory will. Real-time payments could save billions of dollars for American families living paycheck to paycheck.

The check casher costs $20, but two overdrafts cost $70. Check cashing is a $2 billion a year business and represents yet another cost born by those who have less.

The technology for real-time payments has been around for a long time. The United Kingdom adopted real-time payments in 2008. Japan, Poland, Mexico and South Africa all have the technology in place today. Financial technology (FinTech) firms like PayPal are offering real-time payments for customers who exist on both ends of their system. But unless your employer will migrate to using a FinTech for payroll, you need the banking system to modernize.

Peer pressure (BreakingViews), Rated: A

The Federal Reserve’s eggheads are usually a pretty reliable bunch. So when researchers at the central bank’s Cleveland branch recently published a study asserting that peer-to-peer loans were defaulting at rates reminiscent of subprime mortgages a decade ago, it seemed to confirm the worst fears about the budding online-lending market. But industry critics and academics questioned the researchers’ data, forcing the Fed to pull the paper.

It’s not easy to come by good data for this nascent field of finance, which makes the botched study all the more regrettable.

SoFi Among Companies To Buy Six-Second Ads During Fox’ Thanksgiving Game (Sports Business Daily), Rated: B

Duracell and personal finance company SoFi have “snapped up” some of the six-second spots Fox has set aside for its Thanksgiving broadcast of Vikings-Lions, while Disney will “air a mini trailer for ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi,'” according to Anthony Crupi

United Kingdom

Fintech group Revolut signs up its millionth customer (Irish Times), Rated: AAA

Revolut, an app-based banking alternative which has over 50,000 customers in Ireland, has now signed up 1 million customers globally and claims it has saved users over £120 million (€134 million) in fees.

London-based Revolut said it is now signing up between 3,000 and 3,500 new users every day, an increase of 50 per cent growth from three months ago.

Users have now made over 42 million transactions since the company officially launched in July 2015 with a total transaction volume of $6.1 billion.

In an email to its customers seen by Moneywise and confirmed directly with Funding Circle, the provider says it will allow existing customers to invest in an Isa from Thursday 30 November.

It has yet to announce a launch date for new customers and says this is because it is anticipating strong demand for the product. For the same reason, customers will not be able to transfer existing Isas to Funding Circle when the product is launched.

Customers must deposit at least £1,000 to open an Isa.

Funding Circle borrowers back joining European Free Trade Agreement post-Brexit (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

MORE THAN half of small business owners want the UK to join the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) once Brexit is complete, Funding Circle research has found.

A survey of 1,254 borrowers on the peer-to-peer lending platform found 57 per cent would support EFTA, also known as the ‘Norway option,’ as it provides a regional free trade area comprising of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

Orca to unveil diversified P2P portfolios for investors (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

PEER-TO-PEER analysis firm Orca is set to launch an investment platform.

The proposition will automatically build portfolios of P2P investments across more than 50 per cent of the market.

The portfolios would include major lenders across the consumer, business and property lending space such as Zopa, Funding Circle and Assetz Capital.

Digital wealth manager start-up Fountain secures seed investment (AltFi), Rated: A

Fountain, a digital wealth management platform aiming to “empower” investors to achieve their financial goals has secured seed round investment.

The cash, an undisclosed sum, came from a number of City figures led by Patrick Day, chairman of Day Cooper Day, a specialist pensions provider.

Peer to Peer Lender ThinCats to Rebrand as Next Phase of SME Funding in UK (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ThinCats unveiled a new brand last week at an event attended by more than 100 business leaders. The gathering took place at the National Space Centre in Leicester but the new branding will not be officially launched until mid-December.

Robo-guidance or electric dreams? (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Effectively, FG17/8 is the new bible for everyone interested in developing a new automated (digital /robo /telephone-based) advice solution. Or it is a checklist for those who have already trodden down this well-worn path.

Do note though – as if you did not already know – the paper “contains general guidance and is not binding”, is not “exhaustive”, must not be read in isolation of the handbook, and does not address any potential changes that might arise from the implementation of the Insurance Distribution Directive. (Heaven forbid anyone would actually take any accountability for what is between the covers).

Two years. Two years. To pull together in one document the working practices that professional firms already follow with their eyes closed?

Three-quarters of advisers unthreatened by robo-advice (Financial Reporter), Rated: A

New research shows that 78% of financial advisers are confident robo-advice offers no threat to their business, despite nearly half expecting more demand for robo-advice over the next 12 months.

The research from Aegon found that the degree of concern felt by advisers correlates to the typical size of their client portfolios, with advisers whose client portfolios are at the lower end of the scale more alert to the threat from the lower cost option of robo-advice.

For advisers with client portfolios of more than £200k, 88% feel it offers no threat to their business, and even for portfolios of up to £100k, the figure remains high at 73%.

While the majority of advisers believe robo-advice is no threat to their business, a third (31%) do point to robo-advice and similar digital services as one of the top challenges to the wider industry over the coming two years, a little behind Brexit (40%).

China

China Regulators, Police Probe Qudian Client Data Leak (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Chinese regulators and police are investigating a potential leak of data from online lender Qudian Inc., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Officials are probing allegations that data from more than a million students who are clients of Beijing-based Qudian was leaked and possibly sold online, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private information.

The probe’s initial findings show that at least part of the leaked data match information clients had provided to Qudian, the people said. Investigators are checking whether the data came from Qudian, if the company was aware of the breach, and whether it took necessary measures to ensure the safety of personal information it collects.

China Commences Crackdown on Shadow Banking (The Epoch Times), Rated: AAA

Chinese regulators introduced major rules on Nov. 17—the scale of which has been compared to the U.S. Dodd-Frank Act—to unify regulations for the asset managementindustry and curtail shadow banking activities.

The rules are broad-based, covering China’s $15 trillion of asset management products issued by all financial institutions.

For example, the rules will prohibit asset managers from promising guaranteed rates of return to investors, and require issuers to set aside 10 percent of their fees from managing client assets in escrow, to serve as a buffer against losses.

For publicly offered funds, total assets cannot exceed 140 percent of the funds’ net asset value. The same ratio is set at 200 percent for privately offered funds.

China Urges Local Governments To Halt New Internet Microlender Approvals (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

China is regulating micro loans on the internet, with a high-level Chinese government agency issuing a notice urging provincial governments to halt approval of new web-based online lenders.

The firms are lending to consumers in China that have been turned down by Chinese banks. However, interest rates on these tiny loans can be very high — something borrowers don’t realize.

China’s Micro-Lender Assault Threatens Path to U.S. Listings (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

According to the International Financial News, China plans to purge the country’s 157 online micro-lenders, leaving only large state-owned companies and the biggest internet firms intact with licenses. Few of the existing lenders will survive, said the newspaper, which is managed by the official People’s Daily.

A comprehensive cleansing of the industry, which offers almost immediate unsecured loans over the Internet, often at high interest rates, would escalate earlier moves to crack down on the sector and its estimated $152 billion of loans. News that China has halted further approvals for online micro-lenders has already pummeled the New York shares of firms like Qudian Inc. and PPDAI Group Inc.

“It would seem to be an enormous, enormous risk to try an IPO with that hanging over your head,” said Christopher Balding, an associate professor at Peking University HSBC School of Business. “It would most likely put a halt to any IPO plans of these companies now.”

Source: Bloomberg

China Online Lender Qudian’s Fast Track From NYSE Darling To Dog (Forbes), Rated: AAA

The listing of online lender Qudian at the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 18 heralded the birth of a new China billionaire, 34-year-old chairman and CEO Luo Min. The stock rose by as much as 43% that day, giving Luo a fortune worth $2.2 billion amid optimism about industry prospects.

Five weeks later, more than half of Qudian’s value has been wiped out and he’s on the verge of dropping from the ranks of the world’s billionaires altogether. Qudian fell 16% last night and at yesterday’s closing price, Luo’s fortune (which he shares in a trust with family) was worth $1.02 billion. Investors in other China fintech stocks got socked yesterday, too.  Jingpu Technology plunged 12.9% to $5.75, way below it IPO price of $8 from last week.   China Rapid Finance fell 6% yesterday and PPDai fell a whopping 24%.

Debt: The secret sauce of Alibaba’s Singles Day success (Technode), Rated: A

One of most notable online lending players aptly named Huabei (花呗, Just Spend) comes from the company that invented Singles Day—Alibaba.

To help them give away money to uncle Jack Ma, as hand-choppers have joked, this year Huabei has raised its credit limit to almost 80 percent during the promotion activities before Singles Day, allowing users to spend an extra RMB 2200 on average.

Huabei is the credit card of millennials, it targets the young and the unbanked. According to a report published recently, 86% of Huabei users belong to the generations born after the 80s and 90s (in Chinese). The fact that the 60% of them never owned a credit card is a good illustrator why online lending has experienced such a meteoric rise in China.

According to Huabei data, 38% of users choose to repay their debt in 12 monthly installments (in Chinese).

Credit Suisse-Backed Online Lender to Plan $ 500 Million IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: A

WeLab Ltd. has picked banks to advise on a Hong Kong initial public offering that could raise about $500 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The China-focused lender, whose backers also include billionaire Li Ka-shing, is aiming to list as soon as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

An Overdone Payday Mayday (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Stop panicking about China’s online lenders. The real target of the crackdown is rogue local governments.

Financial News said government entities can’t issue new licenses for internet micro-lending beyond the 157 institutions that already have them. The consequences were immediate: Zhejiang Busen Garments Co., for one, said in a filing Thursday it’s terminating plans to set up an online lender.

As of September, there were 8,610 micro-lenders with 970 billion yuan ($147 billion) of loans outstanding. Many of those weren’t licensed by national regulators such as the People’s Bank of China or the China Banking Regulatory Commission, which have strict rules.

Rather, authorization was handed out by local governments, most of which have no fintech expertise, to companies claiming to be affiliated with state-owned enterprises.

Source: Bloomberg

Mobile payment users in China exceed 520m (GB Times), Rated: A

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, has announced that China now has more than 520m mobile payment users, reports state-owned news agency Xinhua.

report released by the People’s Bank of China detailing the country’s payment system in the second quarter of 2017, notes that Chinese banks dealt with 8.6bn payments from mobile services during that period – up 33.84 percent from last year.

The combined value of mobile payments increased by 33.8 percent to 39.2tn yuan (around US$6tn).

How fintech companies create an alternative capital market in China (The Asset), Rated: A

IN China, an alternative capital market is taking shape with the rise of fintech companies, where fintechs are the intermediaries linking borrower and lenders. Moreover, fintechs are edging into the credit rating space, leveraging on their big data capabilities.

One core competence of fintech companies is their IT stability in the areas of payments and cloud computation. The strength of their IT infrastructure makes the technology players resilient under extreme conditions. During the recent Singles’ Day sale on November 11 – China’s online shopping bonanza equivalent to that of the US’ Black Friday – Alibaba’s Alipay processed a peak of 256,000 transactions per second and Alibaba Cloud processed as many as 42 million instructions per second.

European Union

Swiss Consortium Adopts Single Digital Identity For Online Purchases (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

A consortium of nine large companies — including UBS, Credit Suisse, Swisscom, Swiss Post, SIX, Raiffeisen, Swiss Railways, Zuercher Kantonalbank and Mobiliar — will enable Swiss consumers to use a single digital identity when making eCommerce purchases.

According to a report in Reuters, the idea behind the project is to get to a point where consumers can use one login to make purchases at shops, buy train tickets and engage in banking activities online. The group aims to create a joint venture in 2018.

Exclusive Interview with Lendoit CEO Ori Erez (Chipin), Rated: A

Lendoit is a Decentralized P2P lending platform, which connects borrowers and lenders from all over the world in a trusted, fast and easy way using the advantages of Smart Contracts and the Blockchain technology.

What do you think is the biggest problem Lendoit will solve and why is it important?

The lending industry is not efficient because it’s controlled by centralized financial organizations that set the interest rates according to their own interest. It’s not fair that honest borrower from Brazil is paying 60% interest rate while borrower from Japan pays around 1%.

Lendoit uses three types of scoring:

  1. Local rating provided by a local supplier from the borrower’s state. Lendoit is working to create cooperation with some entities in various countries to provide this service.
  2. International scoring providers that are using innovative methods such as scanning social networks and scanning the borrower’s e-mail.
    Lendoit is working to create cooperation with these International entities.We have already signed / in the process of signing with several companies in the scoring area, such as FriendlyScore, BLOOM, LENNO, and others, as noted in Lendoit’s WhitePaper.
  3. In the Lendoit eco-system platform, there is a special Smart Contract: a Reputation contract that retroactively checks each borrower who takes a loan, and set reputation score according to his or her historical activities within the platform

My P2P Lending Investment Portfolio at Bondora is now 5 Years Old (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

5 years have passed since I first started to invest into p2p lending at Bondora in October 2012. I still have 604 loans in my Bondora portfolio with an outstanding principal of 7,467 Euro at an average interest rate of 23.78%. Of these 2,746 Euro are in current loans, 778 Euro in overdue loans and 3,941 Euro in 60+ days overdue loans.

Bondora shows a net return of 19.0% for my portfolio. In my own calculations, using XIRR in Excel, assuming that 30% of my 60+days overdue and 15% of my overdue loans will not be recovered, my ROI calculations result in 17.2% return. Even if I assume total loss on all outstanding loans that are 60+days overdue my ROI calculation results in 15.6%.

Source: P2P-Banking

Finbee Expands into Czech Market (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

FinBee, a Lithuania based p2p lending platform, has started to expand internationally by launching in the Czech Republic. By 2020, FinBee plans to begin operations in another two European countries.

FinBee will provide personal lending services for residents of the Czech Republic as well as for investors from across the entire European Union.

International

Investors divide in peer-to-peer lending (Silicon Republic), Rated: AAA

Banks – local banks, in particular – have traditionally been the main and sometimes the only source of external capital for SMEs. However, increasing regulatory requirements have lowered the probability for SMEs to obtain access to bank financing.

P2P lending is part of the wider universe of crowdfunding. This is a bigger market than many people expect. For example, a 2016 paper for the European Commission reported that crowdfunding expanded by 167pc in 2014 and reached $16.2bn. North America remains the largest market ($9.5bn), followed by Asia ($3.4bn) and Europe ($3.3bn). While there are no accurate figures on the Irish market, Orca Money reports that the UK P2P market had £9.6bn cumulative lending since 2010, £1bn of which was in Q1 2017. In 2016, Orca Money reported that the UK P2P market comprised 177,000 retail investors with consumer (46pc), business (35pc) and property (19pc) borrowers.

P2P platforms have been very cautious about the loans they offer to investors, with most of them being classified as low-risk. This has resulted in low default rates and acceptable positive returns for investors. The potential for positive returns has attracted institutional and professional investors (eg investment banks, venture capitalist etc) into the game and created a disproportionate capital supply and demand. Such a trend is particularly visible in the US and UK, the two largest P2P markets, but it has recently emerged in smaller markets like Australia and New Zealand and is likely to occur, to a greater or lesser extent, in all regulated markets, including Ireland.

The lack of a clear regulation has arguably prevented the growth of the Irish P2P lending market by discouraging both investors and small businesses to participate. A clear regulatory framework is necessary to ensure transparency and to increase investors’ confidence in P2P lending markets.

Initial coin offerings: regulation and the risks (Lexology), Rated: AAA

On 12 September 2017, FCA published a consumer warning on initial coin offerings (ICOs), stating that they are ‘very high-risk, speculative investments’, and that ‘there is a good chance of losing your whole stake’ as a purchaser.

Earlier in September, the People’s Bank of China had denounced ICOs as ‘illegal fundraising’ and issued a ban that caused the value of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to plummet. The following day, Canadian regulators accepted a firm offering ICOs into its regulatory sandbox as part of its broad goal of supporting innovative fintech projects. The European Securities and Markets Authority has been the latest to denounce ICOs, echoing the FCA’s warning to consumers that ICOs are ‘very risky and highly speculative investments.’

By applying the conditions from SEC vs Howey, the US Supreme Court test for determining whether transactions qualify as investment contracts (and by extension, securities), the investigation found that the tokens emergent from the DAO’s ICO are securities and thus could fall within the US regulatory perimeter.

The SEC made the classification by fulfilling the following criteria from the Howey test:

  1. Investment of money
  2. Reasonable expectation of profits
  3. Derived from the managerial efforts of others
  4. Investor voting rights were limited

FintruX Network: Making Unsecured Loans Highly Secure (BTCManager), Rated: A

The FintruX Network has been established to transform unsecured loans to highly secured loan without any hurdles to borrowers and investors. The platform has unique blockchain approach of global P2P lending highways which proposed to raise $30 million by selling digital tokens.

 

 

The FintruX Network aims to enhance credit enhancements by introducing cascading levels which involves:

  •         Additional collateral
  •         A local third-party guarantor
  •         Cross-collateralization
  •         Fintrux ultimate protection reserve
Australia

Financial services industry to get its Groundhog Day commission of inquiry (Financial Review), Rated: A

But it was probably not as long as the minimum two years contemplated by O’Sullivan and the Greens for the proposed Banking and Financial Services Commission of Inquiry.

It should not be a problem if the three judges have no background or experience in fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, peer-to-peer lending, equity crowd funding and payment systems riding off messaging services such as those offered by WeChat, Facebook, Apple and Google.

After all, this is not about the future. This inquiry is about spending more than $200 million looking in the rear view mirror.

The age of algorithmic advice (Financial Standard), Rated: A

Futurist and chief executive of global consultancy firm Tomorrow, Mike Walsh, told the 2017 Financial Planning Association Professionals Congress that sweeping technological change driven by complex algorithms is nothing to fear as it’s simply “not unique.”

Walsh said financial planners’ fear-based thinking that technology will replace jobs must shift to ask how will jobs need to change.

India

YES Bank diversifies funding sources (The Asset), Rated: AAA

INDIA’s fifth-largest private sector bank, YES Bank, is raising a total of US$400 million in two transactions in the offshore syndicated loan markets as it further diversifies its funding sources.

The first transaction is a five-year loan amounting to US$250 million raised from a group of Taiwanese banks, led by CTBC Bank, Bank of Taiwan, Mega International Commercial Bank and Land Bank of Taiwan. The deal was upsized from the initial target of US$200 million as YES Bank exercised the green shoe option following an oversubscription of US$355 million from 13 other banks.

BankBazaar CEO Honored at India FinTech Awards 2017 (Finovate), Rated: B

Adhil Shetty, CEO of BankBazaar, was recognized by the India FinTech Awards 2017 earlier this month. Shetty was named Fintech Leader of the Year at the event, which featured more than 200 attendees, more than 40 speakers, and 20 shortlisted startups from six countries.

Africa

Millennials happy to take financial advice from robots (IOL), Rated: AAA

Millennials are not only developing a healthy appetite for financial advice, they are also more likely to trust digital advice from automated investment services than older generations.

  • Results from the study showed that in Europe 32% of online adults between the ages of 18 and 37 say they “rely on financial advice from professionals”, compared with 29% of older generations.
  • At least two-thirds of US Millennials were willing to share personal data in order to obtain better service from their financial institution.
  • Only 38% of US Millennials are confident that a bank or credit union will offer them valuable financial advice, compared with 46% of their older counterparts.
Canada

Upcoming ICO for Global Migrants and Their Unbanked Families (Digital Journal), Rated: AAA

The migrant and their unbanked families in emerging and frontier markets have been suppressed for the longest time without any access to basic services, financial or otherwise. Approximately 2.4 billion people in poverty worldwide are often excluded from free movement or basic rights which often leads them to corruption and crime, including slavery, human trafficking and in extreme cases, death. Migrants far too often are denied basic financial tools.

LALA World (“LALA”) is a wholesome ecosystem for the unbanked, starting with the migrants and their families back home. The base of this ecosystem is the LALA Wallet platform. By creating a whole new peer-to-peer infrastructure, LALA aims to revolutionize the way individuals, small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs transact, make domestic and cross-border payments, borrow money and associated products like insurances, cards, wealth and other general banking products.

LALA World Products from their Ecosystem

LALA Transfer – A Peer-to-Peer local and global remittance backed by crypto as well as fiat.
LALA Bill Pay – Local and International bill payments for you and your family.
LALA Lends – Domestic and International peer-to-peer lending via crypto and fiat, individual and small businesses.
LALA Card – Crypto and Fiat card synced to your Wallet and usable at millions of PoS globally.
LALA Kit – Contains a mobile phone with pre-loaded LALA Wallet, LALA Insurance, LALA Card, partners’ products, etc.

ICO Pre-sale – Nov. 25-Dec. 15, 2017 (discounts available).
ICO – Jan. 5-Feb. 5, 2018

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday November 9 2017, Daily News Digest

credit cards

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club plots two ABS before end of year. Scott Sanborn speaks to Lending Club’s Q3 results. Alibaba funds WeLab. Aegon sees strong Q3. Prospa originates over $500M. Jumo wins Mastercard Foundation prize. Today’s main analysis: Top cities maxed out on credit card debt. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Did Lending Club just land another blow to […]

credit cards

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

Asia

Middle East

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Lending Club plots two ABS before year end (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

Lending Club is looking to price two more ABS deals this quarter, as the company plans to shrink its proportion of bank funding in the year ahead, executives said on a third quarter earnings call this week.

LendingClub Corp’s (LC) CEO Scott Sanborn on Q3 2017 Results – Earnings Call Transcript (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

In Q3, we delivered $154 million in revenue, the highest in the company’s history, and up 34% year-over-year, and 10% sequentially. As importantly, we generated an EBITDA of $21 million. That’s almost 5x the level of last quarter. And we’ve narrowed our GAAP losses by almost $19 million, down to $6.7 million.

We processed a record number of applications, bringing the total borrowers served by Lending Club to over 2 million since launch and an improved efficiency from last quarter.

To put that into perspective, it took 8 years for us to reach our first 1 million, and we’ve helped an additional 1 million borrowers in just the last 2 years.

Although we anticipate some short-term volume effects as we calibrate our targeted marketing to the new model, the 58% annual growth in applications we saw in Q3, combined with the conversion efforts we now have in testing, give me confidence about our outlook in 2018.

Separately, we continue to broaden our mix of investors. As part of that, we delivered on our goal to complete a second securitization that included a total of 33 investors, 10 of which were new to the LendingClub platform.

Another Blow to Online Lenders (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Lenders should be judged not on how fast they grow during good times, but how they perform in periods like today when consumer defaults are ticking up. On that basis, LendingClub LC -15.93% looks unprepared and investors are right to be skeptical of the online lender.

LendingClub, the most prominent of the online lenders, said loans to certain borrowers at the low end of the prime credit spectrum “are not currently meeting our expectations.” It will start limiting these loans, which account for around 3% of total loans, and temporarily halt their sale to investors. It will also temporarily halt this lending, which accounts for around 3% of its total loans, and also adopt a new credit model that tightens criteria for these borrowers.

Online lenders’ credit models, which analyze various factors beyond traditional credit scores, are supposedly one of their core strengths. That loans are performing worse than expected at LendingClub is a sign the models might be flawed.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

TOP MAXED-OUT CITIES (Builder Online), Rated: AAA

LendingTree®, the online loan marketplace personified by Lenny the little green guy who has the banks crawling to him, released on Wednesday the findings of its study on which cities have the dubious distinction of containing the most consumers with signs of being maxed-out with their credit cards.

Credit card balances in the U.S. are now almost $800 billion, the highest since 2009, according to Federal Reserve data.

The Most Maxed-Out Places

#1 San Diego, California
Maxed-out score: 98
San Diego residents carry $6,629 in credit card balances on average. Nearly one in five (18%) have at least one card maxed-out. That’s second only to Oklahoma City, where 18.5% of residents have a maxed-out card. San Diego residents also use more of their credit lines overall, with 32.8% utilization.

#2 Los Angeles, California 
Maxed-out score: 93
Los Angeles residents also push their credit further than most, with 17.5% of residents having at least one maxed-out card. Those that do have a maxed-out card have 1.33 maxed-out cards on average. Balances average $6,472, a touch lower than their neighbors to the South in San Diego, helping utilization come in at 32.0% versus San Diego’s 32.8%.

#3 San Antonio, Texas
Maxed-out score: 92
San Antonio residents don’t face the same high cost of living that Southern Californians deal with, but they share an affinity for using their credit cards. The study findings revealed that 17.2% of San Antonio residents have a maxed-out credit card, and their total credit card balances average $6,474, similar to those among Southern Californians.

Federal Court Grants Class Certification in the LendingClub Case, But Denies Motion to Enjoin the State Court Case (The National Law Review), Rated: A

LendingClub is facing two parallel securities litigation cases stemming from alleged false statements it made in connection with its initial public offering (“IPO”).

With respect to the motion to intervene, the federal court granted the motion, for the limited purpose of allowing the state court case plaintiffs the opportunity to “set forth their argument for why they are the better representative” of the class.  Additionally, the federal court granted the motion to intervene “on the condition that they remain under this Court’s jurisdiction so that the undersigned judge may coordinate their action with the federal action to avoid any prejudice to absent class members.”

The California state court plaintiff then argued that class certification should be denied in the federal court case because certain theories of recovery that were dismissed in the federal court case remained active in the California state court case, making the state court case “superior.”

The federal court plaintiffs responded that their proposed class was in fact superior because the price of LendingClub’s stock was lower on the day they brought the federal suit.

The federal court declined to enjoin the California state court case.  However, it did express “concerns” with “the current form of state plaintiffs’ class notice, which fails to notify class members of the parallel federal action, the pendency of Cyan and its potential effect on their case, or the potential that the filing date of their suit could substantially limit damages.”

TRACEABILITY

Lastly, the federal court addressed an issue of first impression raised by LendingClub and the individual defendants regarding the traceability of the federal plaintiffs shares.

Because of this trading pattern, the traceability of the lead plaintiffs shares turned on whether the court adopted a “last-in, first-out” (“LIFO”) or “first-in, first-out” (“FIFO”) method to calculate holdings.

If the lead plaintiff’s transactions were accounted for using LIFO, all of its holdings as of the end of the lock-out period would remain traceable to the lock-up period.  If, however, the court adopted a FIFO calculation, the lead plaintiff would have been deemed to have owned no shares traceable to the IPO.  First, the court noted that “[w]hether LIFO or FIFO applies is a matter of first impression in the Section 11 traceability context.”  The court ultimately held that LIFO applied because the majority of courts use the LIFO method to estimate losses under the PSLRA when determining a putative lead plaintiff’s stake in the litigation, and “[i]t would be incongruous to measure losses by one method, yet measure traceability by the opposite method.”

Square Patent Suggests Potential Move Into Crowdfunding (CB Insights), Rated: A

Is Square considering a move into crowdfunding? A patent filed in March 2015 and granted in September 2017 suggests that might be the case.

The patent, titled “Mobile point-of-sale crowdfunding,” outlines a method for merchants to request crowdfunding from patrons based on their processing history.

The patent reads:

“Thus, the merchant has conveniently acquired a new espresso machine, customers may benefit from the new espresso machine, and investors have received a return on investment with the added security that the techniques described herein provides (e.g. underwriting of the crowdfunding project by the payment processing system and direct repayment to the investors from POS transactions processed for the merchant by the payment processing system).”

Source: CB Insights

Square Filed a Crowdfunding Patent that was Granted in September 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Will Square ever pursue this concept? Probably not, at least not in the near term. They are still too busy figuring out vendor loans, which is probably are far more profitable vertical.

Wela Announces Record Year of Growth, Passes $ 1 Million in ARR (Marketwired), Rated: A

Wela today announces it has passed $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR), one of several achievements to mark 2017 as a record year of growth for the personal finance app. In the last two quarters, Wela doubled its total users and amount of linked accounts. Additionally, Wela Strategies, an extension of the app that manages investment accounts, passed $135 million in assets under management. Wela’s growth is evidence of a demand among millennials and young families for a personal finance solution that delivers advice in the way they want to receive it — through the convenience of an app that incorporates artificial intelligence (AI), through the skill provided by a human advisor, or a combination of the two offerings.

In 2017, Wela’s staff doubled in size, adding key management roles, including a chief technical officer, product manager and user experience manager. In an effort to better serve its rapidly growing user base, Wela plans to hire additional support for its customer experience, financial advisory and development teams in the next few months.

Acorns Buys Retirement Savings Fintech Startup Vault (Benzinga), Rated: A

Acorns, the fintech app that lets users automatically invest small amounts, announced Tuesday the purchase of Portland-based fintech startup Vault, which sells automated retirement investment plans to small businesses.

One financial fear scares millennials even more than death (CNBC), Rated: A

Death can be a frightening thought. But, according to a survey from financial-advice website Credible, there’s one thing that scares millennials even more: having credit-card debt.

Of the 500 Americans polled who are currently in credit card debt, more than 33 percent said debt is the scariest aspect of their daily lives.

The findings make sense, according to Credible. Americans hold more than $1 trillion in credit card debt and, among the respondents, the average debt is a whopping $5,290.

When asked how they got into debt, 34 percent said it was due to an emergency expense, 32 percent said their debt is due to a large one-time purchase and 4 percent said they choose not to pay their debt despite having the resources to do so.

Source: CNBC
Source: CNBC

Behavioral finance can attract fee-based assets (Investment News), Rated: A

Based on the latest research conducted at our annual ELEVATE fee-based advisory conference, one of the most important ways for independent firms to help advisers succeed in this kind of asset gathering is to help them lead with behavioral finance, and to complement that effort with client segmentation that captures qualitative and emotional factors for the adviser.

Aging pre-retirees and retirees need enhanced guidance in navigating the emotionally charged life planning decisions many of them increasingly face. Meanwhile, the highest long-term growth potential client segment, Millennials, generally opt for advice from individuals who build a truly personal connection with them, in a relationship that is as much social as it is professional.

Small Business Administration’s New York office tops billion in guaranteed loans (Westfair Online), Rated: A

Loans to small business owners backed by U.S. Small Business Administration guarantees increased 36 percent in number and 15 percent in dollar amount in the SBA’s New York district in the 2017 federal fiscal year, putting the district office over $1 billion in annual loan program lending for the first time.

In the seven-county lower Hudson Valley region, the SBA guaranteed 500 loans worth $191 million.

Goldberg said 36 percent of the region’s SBA loans were under $50,000; 42 percent went to minority-owned businesses; and 16 percent, or $160 million, went to women-owned businesses.

The top five lenders by dollar amount in the Hudson Valley were Empire Certified Development Corp. $40,726,000; Manufacturers and Traders Trust Co., $11,393,800; Noah Bank, a minority-owned bank headquartered in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, $9.12 million; Celtic Bank Corp., based in Salt Lake City, $7,886,400; and Cross River Bank, based in Fort Lee, New Jersey, $7,768,100.

In Westchester County alone, the top five SBA lenders in number of loans were TD Bank, with 42; JPMorgan Chase Bank, 39; Wells Fargo, 14; Citibank and Manufacturers & Traders Trust Co., both with 11; and New Millennium Bank, headquartered in Fort Lee, with nine loans.

The top five lenders in Westchester County by dollar amount were Empire State Certified Development Co., $8,866,000; Newtek Small Business Finance Inc. in New York City, $5,917,400; Live Oak Banking Co., of Wilmington, North Carolina, $5,165,000; TCF National Bank, based in Wayzata, Minnesota, $4,995,500; and NewBank, $4,540,000.

Wells, JPM go mobile-only in pursuit of millennials (American Banker), Rated: A

There’s any number of reasons megabanks are rolling out mobile-first banking offerings, from evolving consumer demand to increased competition from fintechs to a significant generational transfer of wealth.

But the biggest motivation for banks like Wells Fargo to develop new smartphone apps may be to ensure they get clients early in their financial lives and keep them.

The ten-year ticking timebomb (The Finanser), Rated: A

I’ve been saying for so long now that banks need to replace core legacy systems that I’m boring myself, but here I go again. The reason I’m talking about it again is that, even though some disagree and think they can fudge the issue with plug-ins, I believe that the new competition will decimate banks that don’t replace their core systems.

If you are tech first, your singular focus is on agility. It’s about fast change cycles in a microservices architecture using a SDK (software developer kit) network of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). It’s about speed, change, service, updates, vision.

If you are finance first, your singular focus is on stability. It’s about slow change cycles in a monolithic architecture using control systems and sign-off structures that avoid any exposures. It’s about risk, security, stability, control, management.

The good reason why banks make bad fintech partners (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks admit it — they are annoying fintech partners.

But, bank executives counter, fintechs are no treat either.

To manage risk and protect customers, a big part of the bank’s job is to build a “governance structure” on top of the technology that fintech executives have built.

Bankers also said that a key part of their role in fintech partnerships is simply educating tech executives about what, exactly, banks do.

Keith Noreika from OCC: The US Banking Industry Needs More Competition, Not Less #Fintech (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika delivered a speech today discussing the US banking industry. In the speech, Noreika makes an important point: US banks need more competition, not less. He also intimates that mixing commerce and banking can deliver benefits to consumers. Take this one step further, and Noreika is indicating big tech, like Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and more, should be allowed to become banks.

“Meaningful competition could have a number of other positive effects besides tempering the risk concentrated in having just a few mega banks. It could make more U.S. banks globally competitive and promote economic opportunity and growth domestically. For banking customers, particularly those underserved by traditional banks, more competition could result in better banking services, greater availability, and better pricing. If a commercial company can deliver banking services better than existing banks, we hurt consumers by making it hard for them to do so.”

Mr. Cooper Invests in Homeowner’s Insurance Platform Matic Insurance (CoverageR), Rated: B

Mr. Cooper, the nation’s largest non-bank mortgage servicer, today announced that it has led the Series A funding round in Matic Insurance, a digital insurance agency whose technology enables homebuyers to obtain homeowner’s insurance seamlessly during the mortgage process .

Matic’s insurance marketplace will enable Mr. Cooper to provide customers a convenient and modern way to shop for insurance while helping them obtain competitive insurance policy quotes and bind within minutes instead of days, all part of a digital mortgage application interface planned to launch in 2018.

LendUp Hires First Chief Financial Officer, Announces Significant Growth Milestones (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendUp today announced that Bill Donnelly, former VP of Global Financial Services for Tesla, has joined as its first CFO. The company further strengthened its leadership team with the addition of a General Manager for its loans business and a Chief Data Scientist.

Donnelly is a 30-year consumer credit veteran with extensive experience in credit cards and loans products. Donnelly spent the last four years with Tesla as VP of Global Financial Services, responsible for providing financing solutions for Tesla’s customers across 29 countries. He also served as President of Tesla’s captive finance company, Tesla Finance LLC, which offered an industry-leading leasing program innovative for its consumer-friendly agreement and for being the first end-to-end electronic lease with the ability to execute contracts on a vehicle’s touchscreen.

In addition to Donnelly, Anu Shultes has joined as General Manager of the company’s loans business, which recently surpassed $1.25 billion in originations.

Dr. Leonard Roseman has joined LendUp as Chief Data Scientist, to lead a growing team that uses Machine Learning to improve financial inclusion through expanded credit access and lowering the cost of credit to borrowers.

Concord Servicing Corporation Names New President and COO, and Adds New CFO (PRWeb), Rated: B

Concord Servicing Corporation, a leading force in the financial portfolio servicing industry, has announced a strategic reorganization of its senior management team. Changes at Concord include the promotion of Executive Vice President Shaun O’Neill to President and Chief Operating Officer, and the addition of financial industry veteran Stephen Bertrand to serve as Chief Financial Officer.

Finance Professionals Consider Bank Branch Closings, Fintech (Utah Business), Rated: B

The Economist reports that, nationally, banks have closed over 10,000 branches in the past decade. In the first six months of 2017, 869 branches closed across the U.S.

Mobile banking apps on phones have become the new ‘branches’ even as some brick-and-mortars have shuttered, continued Roger Shumway, EVP of Bank of Utah. “I don’t think branches have declined, they’re just in your hand,” he said. “For community banks, the niche you see in Utah is that they can talk to a real decision-[making] person. If they get into an issue, there’s a face, and [an app on] a phone that they love.”

“We see overall that there’s been a 30 percent drop in branch transactions, but if you look at the overall transactions including electronic, transactions are actually up,” said Zupon.

United Kingdom

Coutts claims Facebook is financial adviser of the future (FT Adviser), Rated: AAA

A combination of the rise of robo-advice and the habits of millenials could mean social media platforms such as Facebook could become major players in the financial advice market in the future, according to Coutts.

He noted that Facebook already has a service allowing individuals to make payments, and said financial advice may be a next step for the social media giant as it seeks to grow.

Analysis from IRN Consultants highlighted recent research which showed each new robo-advice customer signed up is losing the company £162.50 on average in the first year and only making £17.50 in subsequent years.

One of the companies the report pointed to was Nutmeg, whose accounts for 2014 showed revenues of £635,000 compared with operating expenses of £5.9m.

Taming the beast – the need for regulation in peer-to-peer lending (Financier Worldwide), Rated: A

Under existing Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidelines, peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders operate within a virtually unregulated space. While this is not damaging in itself, it does create a number of risks, as the FCA has acknowledged. The most significant of these risks are that as companies become more sophisticated, their resemblance to traditional financial institutions increases, but their regulatory obligations do not.

Over the past year, there has been a noticeable rise in the number of P2P lenders using low rates as an advertising measure. Unlike credit card providers that must give 50 percent of all applicants the headline rate they advertise, P2P providers can simply pick a rate and then advertise it, as, unlike their counterparts, it is very difficult for the legitimacy of their offer to be checked.

It is clear that there is a requirement for greater industry guidelines, so it can sometimes seem mystifying that bespoke regulations have not already been put in place. Simply put, this is because the P2P industry is developing at a much faster rate than the regulatory bodies are acting.

Challenger bank teams up with direct lending fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The RM Secured Direct Lending investment trust has signed a Revolving Credit Facility of £10m with challenger bank OakNorth.

Yolt announces integration with Starling Bank (AltFi), Rated: A

The money management app backed by ING has integrated with its first mobile-only bank, adding Starling Bank to its platform alongside incumbents.

Starling Bank marks the 29th bank, and first digital bank, to partner with Yolt using API integration.

New £20m fund to invest in companies helping the poor (Financial Times), Rated: A 

The Fair By Design fund will invest in companies tackling the so-called “poverty premium” — the extra costs the poorest pay for essential goods and services, such as energy, credit and food. About 6m households pay an average of £500 a year in higher charges.

The £20m fund was launched on Wednesday and hopes to raise £11m from companies, charitable foundations and rich individuals.

It will invest in companies tackling four areas: energy, finance, insurance — where the poor pay more because they cannot get credit or live in high-crime areas — and so-called “geo-based premiums” based on location.

Fair for You, an online lender, is one business seeking investment. The not-for-profit company offers cheaper loans to those with bad credit records, who go to rent-to-own providers such as BrightHouse, which an independent survey found charged more than £1,000 over three years for its cheapest washing machine. The regulator in October forced it to pay £14.8m compensation to 249,000 customers.

Committee considers how to help during Universal Credit roll out (ViewNews), Rated: B

COUNCILLOR Ros Kayes is calling on Bridport Town Council to support the local Citizens Advice Bureau as the roll out of Universal Credit in the town draws closer.

Cllr Kayes reported that Universal Credit would be rolled out in Bridport on December 4th and it is then when those claiming benefits will have to start the process of receiving the credit and will no longer receive any money from existing credit.

China

Alibaba funds lending startup WeLab to help it break out of China (Tech in Asia), Rated: AAA

Lending startup WeLab is flush with cash today after announcing US$220 million in its latest funding round. It operates WeLend in Hong Kong and Wolaidai in mainland China.

Online shopping giant Alibaba is among the investors, throwing in cash from the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund it set up in 2015.

China Financial Super Regulator Begins Operations (Caixin), Rated: A

A new cabinet-level committee that will coordinate various regulators to oversee China’s sprawling financial industry started operating, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The committee, known as the Financial Stability and Development Committee, held its first meeting on Wednesday, Xinhua said.

The committee will review a strategic plan of financial reforms; coordinate China’s monetary policy and financial regulation; and forge policies on financial risk management so as to maintain country’s financial stability, Xinhua said.

Will President Xi Jinping Let Markets Decide China’s Future? (Wharton), Rated: AAA

The outlook for reforming China’s developing financial markets and the banking system remains obscured, in part, by a lag in the timing for key appointments such as a successor for Zhou Xiaochuan, longtime head of the People’s Bank of China. Some newly appointed party leaders, including Xi’s close economic adviser Liu He, are thought to support more market-oriented reforms.

With the economy still growing at an annual pace of over 6% and financial markets seemingly on an even keel, Xi’s team can claim to have weathered the post-2008 financial crisis with few major hiccups. But rising levels of corporate, banking and government debt have prompted the International Monetary Fund to raise the alarm. Estimates of the ratio of non-performing loans to total lending in the banking sector range as high as 35%. Most economists and banking analysts say the real level is likely much lower.

The level of debt in the Chinese economy skyrocketed after Beijing unleashed record amounts of stimulus — at least 17.5 trillion yuan ($2.6 trillion) — to help fend off the worst impact of the 2008 financial crisis. That credit binge has not yet been fully digested. In the years since, the level of debt surged further, much of it as “off balance sheet” lending by so-called shadow banks that operate outside the state-dominated formal banking industry.

Moody’s Investor Service estimates that the size of shadow bank lending has more than doubled since 2012, growing more than 20% in 2016 to reach 64 trillion yuan ($10 trillion), or about 86.5% of China’s GDP.

European Union

Aegon Reports Strong Increase in Earnings and Capital Ratio in 3Q 2017 (Guru Focus), Rated: AAA

Net income increases by 31driven by US

  • Underlying earnings up by 20% to EUR 556 million reflecting favorable claims experience, higher fee revenue as a result of favorable equity markets, and lower expenses in US
  • Gain from fair value items of EUR 159 million driven by positive real estate revaluations and hedging gains in US
  • Charge from assumption changes and model updates of EUR 198 million caused by conversion of the largest block of universal life business to a new model
  • Higher underlying earnings, fair value items and realized gains drive increase in net income to EUR 469 million
  • Return on equity for the quarter increases to 8.9%

Strong increase in Solvency II ratio to 195%

  • Solvency II ratio increases by 10%-points compared with last quarter to 195%. Capital generation and benefit from divestment of UK annuity book more than offset interim 2017 dividend
  • Capital generation of EUR 809 million including favorable market impacts and one-time items of EUR 485 million
  • Holding excess capital temporarily decreases to EUR 0.9 billion driven by capital injection into Dutch business
  • Gross financial leverage ratio improves by 20 basis points sequentially to 29.2% as a result of retained earnings

Strategic highlights

  • Aegon launches mutual fund joint venture in Mexico
  • Robot processes customer requests to improve administrative efficiency in Dutch business
  • Aegon Asset Management receives top ratings for responsible investment
  • Launch of mobile- and user-friendly global careers site

French Lending Platforms Adopt Common Performance Indicators (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On 8 November 2017, the French Crowdfunding Association Financement Participatif France released the common set of performance indicators that member platforms specializing in loans, mini-bonds (a debt instrument specific to SME lending marketplaces) and bonds are invited to publish.

Key indicators give a clear picture of crowdlending risk and its cost:

  1. The share of borrowed capital already repaid. The older the loans, the higher the portion already repaid.
  2. The portion of interest due already paid. The older the loans, the higher the share of interest already paid.
  3. The net internal rate of return representing the annual profitability of the loans, net of known or proven losses at the date of calculation.
  4. The maximum possible internal rate of return representing the annualized yield of loans if all loans were repaid in accordance with the original schedule.
  5. The annual cost of risk represents the decrease in profitability caused by delays and defaults relative to the maximum possible rate of return. This is the difference between (4) and (3).
Source: Crowdfund Insider

German fintech company TIS raises $ 12 million from 83North (Tech.eu), Rated: B

Treasury Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a German fintech company, has raised $12 million in funding from 83North with Target Partners and Zobito.

International

Post-crisis restrictions on international banking can blunt growth prospects in developing countries (The Financial), Rated: AAA

Growing restrictions imposed on foreign banks operating in developing countries since the 2007/9 global financial crisis are hampering better growth prospects by limiting the flow of much-needed financing to firms and households, a World Bank report warned on November 7.

Rise of Developing Economy Banks

As advanced economy banks retrenched after the crisis, developing country banks stepped into the void and expanded across borders, accounting for 60 percent of new bank entries since the downturn. The result has been an increase in banking relationships between developing countries and regionalization of international banking operations.

For example, Africa’s Ecobank started in Togo and now has operations in 33 countries across the continent. It also has offices in Paris, Beijing, Dubai, Johannesburg, and London, which allows it to attract capital from wealthy countries to invest across Africa.

At the same time, the total asset size of the world’s largest banks increased by 40 percent, raising concerns that regulatory efforts since the crisis have failed to address the risk of banks that are too big to fail. Nearly 30 percent of developing countries have put in place restrictions on foreign bank branches. These curbs are depriving many economies of opportunities to access global credit that could benefit businesses and households.

How blockchain will change major industries (The Next Web), Rated: A

Real estate

There is a long string of middlemen (think brokers, titling agencies, inspectors, etc.) who slow down the process, amplify human error, and drive up the costs of doing business.

A public, distributed blockchain ledger that acts as a living database for all deals, negotiations, and settlements in the industry can overcome many of these shortcomings and reduce the need for “trust managers.”

One of the most exciting companies in the space is REALISTO, who employs the Ethereum blockchain to overcome many of these inefficiencies. Every investment made via their crowdfunding platform is mirrored on their blockchain and verified via smart contracts.

Banking

With the formation of blockchain consortia – or groups of financial institutions that collaborate to develop blockchain solutions – blockchain is already set to affect the way financial institutions process payments and handle settlements.

Traditionally, settlements between merchants and banks can take up to days. As consumers, you would have to wait three to five days for your payments to be cleared and verified behind the scenes after swiping your debit card at a local merchant.

By digitizing payments on a secured network, blockchain can serve the 2 billion unbanked people ignored by institutional banks. To use cryptocurrencies, all you need is a smartphone – no minimum account balance, credit history, or banks.

A Combination of Blockchain and Standard Verification for Effective Decentralized Lending (Live Bitcoin News), Rated: B

Blockchain lending is a development that is growing in popularity and offering alternative and less stressful ways of acquiring loans quicker and more efficiently even at lower interest rates.

Lendoit offers a robust system which overlaps between blockchain technology and conventional verification systems. Therefore, prior to borrowing, intending borrowers are subjected to standard KYC verification during application, while other aspects of the loan acquisition and repayment processes are based on an Ethereum Smart Contract.

Australia/New Zealand

Australian Online Lender Prospa Tops Key Milestone as it Originates Over $ 500 Million in Loans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Prospa has claimed first in the race to originate over half a billion in small business loans. The online lender states that over the past 12 months, Prospa has experienced dramatic growth, doubling the size of its loan book. Prospa has now provided credit to more than 12,000 SMEs in Australia and is the number one online lender in the country. Prospa will provide loans of up to $250,000 with a term of 3 to 24 months.

Peer-to- peer home lending restrictions in Queenstown welcomed (Voxy), Rated: A

Queenstown Lakes District Council’s (QLDC) announcement and vote to amend its District Plan, restricting the number of days some houses can be used for short term peer to peer lending through sites such as AirBnB, will go a long way to improving rental affordability and shortages for workers in the region.

The report commissioned by QLDC from Infometrics shows AirBnB occupied 14% of the District’s housing stock in the June 2017 quarter.

Asia

Asian fintech funding exceeds $ 1b in 2017 (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Asia experienced a solid increase in fintech investment in Q3 2017, with $1.21 billion raised across 41 deals. China accounted for more than 50 per cent of all Asian fintech investment at $745 million.

Notably, corporate participation in Asia fintech venture capital (VC) deals remained high at 22 per cent of overall round counts, although actual direct investment was minimal in 2017 with just $840 million invested YTD in associated deal value.

In Singapore, an Indo-Asia Pacific business hub, the fintech sector saw $25.3 million over six deals in Q3 2017, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) continuing to be the key driver of the city-state’s fintech ecosystem.

Source: Deal Street Asia
Middle East

National Bonds challenges UAE’s ‘financial advice dilemma’ with new investment app (The National), Rated: A

Dubai-based investment company National Bonds is moving into the financial advisory space with a new digital app offering low-cost investment options, its chief executive has revealed.

The company plans to challenge poor advice, offered by UAE financial advisory firms, by launching an upgraded app in the second quarter of next year to offer customers access to a variety of investment choices – not just National Bonds, Mohammed Al Ali, its chief executive told The National.

Africa

Jumo Wins Third Annual Mastercard Foundation Clients at the Centre Prize (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The Mastercard Foundation today presented its third annual Clients at the Centre Prize to Jumo. The US$150,000 prize recognizes the innovative work of the South African-based company as a large-scale, low-cost financial services marketplace that serves poor people.

The Prize highlights best practices in financial services where client satisfaction is a priority. Close to 100 financial service companies around the world submitted entries to the competition.

The other two Prize finalists were ftcash, one of India’s fastest-growing financial technology ventures which aims to empower micro-merchants and small businesses with the power of digital payments and loans, and Destacame, a free online platform in Latin America that empowers users by giving them control over their data to build their financial capabilities and to access financial products.

Uganda: Accra Summit to Pave Way for Financially Empowered World (The Monitor), Rated: A

The Mastercard Foundation is hosting its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) in Accra, Ghana.

The symposium, which ends today, champions the idea that, to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.

Uganda launched its National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2017 – 2022 which seeks to reduce financial exclusion from 15 to five per cent by 2022.

Canada

Borrowell wins Deloitte Fast50 award (Borrowell Email), Rated: A

Borrowell has won a Companies to Watch award as part of the Deloitte Fast50 program. We are one of only eleven companies across Canada to win that award this year, and the only company from Toronto. Fast50 winners in the category for established companies include well-known names like Shopify, SkipTheDishes, Wave and Influitive. The list was announced an hour ago. 

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday November 6 2017, Daily News Digest

SoFi CLP 2017-6 structure

News Comments Today’s main news: Lending Club considering bid for bank charter. N26 to launch in the UK. TransferWise hooks $280M investment for APAC expansion. Zopa vows rate hike won’t impact loan performance. Hexindai debuts on NASDAQ with 60% increase. Westpac profits AU$7.99B. Kaodim raises $7M. Today’s main analysis: SoFi’s latest consumer lending deal. Today’s thought-provoking articles: How payment tech is […]

SoFi CLP 2017-6 structure

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

News Summary

United States

Lending Club eyes charter as landscape evolves (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

Lending Club is exploring the idea of operating as a bank or obtaining a fintech bank charter in order to keep pace with a changing lending and regulatory landscape, an executive from the marketplace lender said on Thursday.

Speaking at the Digital Lending + Investing conference in New York, Valerie Kay, Lending Club’s head of institutional investor group, said that the platform is considering both pathways as the business grows.

How payment technology is being disrupted (The Next Web), Rated: AAA

One of the earliest changes involving the payment industry is how banks and customers behavior is shifting with one another. Quite simply, people have different expectations with how money should move, as well as how quickly. This is a cross-generational phenomenon and something that banks are trying to keep up with.

According to Bank Innovation, approximately 70 percent of millennials now do their banking online.

According to Business Insider, peer-to-peer payments alone are on pace to be worth $86 billion by 2018. And with the popularity of apps like VenmoPayPal, and even Square Cashcontinuously on the rise, this trend doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.

CurrencyPay, an online payment system that not only finances major equipment for businesses, but extends online payment methods from credit and debit cards to include ACH or wire, all the while reducing fees across the board.

SoFi’s Latest Consumer Lending Deal (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, President Trump announced his nomination of Jerome Powell to succeed Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the central bank.

Also on Thursday, President Trump rolled out his new tax plan which reduces the number of tax brackets from seven to four and cuts the corporate tax rate to 20% from 35%. Relevant to marketplace lenders, the tax plan reduces the mortgage interest deduction cap by half.

SoFi’s Latest Consumer Lending Deal

SCLP 2017-6 is the largest deal on SoFi’s shelf, and the first since SCLP 2017-5, which priced concurrently with Mike Cagney’s resignation. As we discussed in our previous blog post, SCLP 2017-5 priced slightly wider on the news (10 to 15 bps). SoFi’s latest consumer lending deal, SCLP 2017-6, is the first deal from SoFi with borrowers living in FEMA declared disaster areas, comprising approximately 12% of the deal.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, Kroll Bond Rating Agency, S&P

SCLP 2017-6 Structure
Although it may seem that SoFi is structuring deals more aggressively, the A and B classes have higher initial CE when compared to SCLP 2017-5 by 2.38% and 0.76% respectively.

Source: PeerIQ, Company Filings, Kroll Bond Rating Agency, S&P

Square’s Jack Dorsey: We’re moving as fast as we can with bank application (Fast Company), Rated: A

“I think the [regulatory] environment really changes depending on who you’re talking about,” says Dorsey, who traveled to New York this week for the unveiling of Square Register, a new hardware device. “There’s a lot of appreciation for the fact that we’ve spent eight years serving an underserved customer, an underbanked customer, both on the seller and the individual side.” Before Square unveiled its signature card reader, he adds, micro-merchants “couldn’t participate in the economy in the way that the economy was moving.”

Investors see “perfect storm” in marketplace loan ABS (Global Capital), Rated: A

An investor roundtable at the Digital Lending + Investing conference in New York on Thursday highlighted developments in the securitization of marketplace loans over the last 12-18 months. The transition to a hybrid funding model for lenders, in addition to the emergence of more sophisticated deal structures, have …

MoneyLion takes on America’s savings crisis with the launch of MoneyLion Plus (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Despite solid economic and wage growth in the U.S. since the 2008 crisis, a host of studies point to critically low rates of savings and widening income inequality among American consumers. In the face of this savings crisis, mobile consumer finance platform, A monthly subscription gives MoneyLion Plus members access to the following benefits:

  • Guided savings: MoneyLion Plus makes it easy and convenient to save $50 or more per month. MoneyLion’s technology analyzes each member’s cash flows to determine when to set aside and save money from their checking account. Via the MoneyLion mobile app, members are provided with personalized daily budgeting tips to help them optimize their spending and increase their savings even further.
  • Fully-managed investment account: The funds saved are automatically invested into a fully-managed investment account featuring a diversified portfolio of ETFs built to suit the financial needs and life stage of each member, all without any additional trading or management fees. These portfolios are based on simple investment strategies that will help members grow their wealth.
  • Low-cost access to credit: Unexpected expenses can reset savings back to square one, preventing longer-term growth of wealth. Access to personal loans with APRs of 5.99% or less, regardless of credit score, offers MoneyLion Plus members an affordable means to manage their cash flow needs and avoid costly overdraft or late payment fees. 
  • Cashback bonus: MoneyLion Plus offers its members additional rewards, including an instant $1 cashback bonus deposited into a member’s investment account each day they log into the MoneyLion app. Members also earn rewards based on their investment account balance.
  • MoneyLion mobile app: Members can access all of their benefits on-the-go via MoneyLion’s mobile app, including viewing their savings progress, getting personalized tips and offers for saving more, and accessing their loan funds in just a few taps.

Credit Karma Launches Online Vehicle Center (Finovate), Rated: A

Consumer credit monitoring and financial health startup Credit Karma has launched a new offering today that changes those routines. The company’s new automotive information center is a one-stop shop for helping consumers to manage and organize their vehicle-related finances and information. Included among the capabilities are an overview of the user’s DMV profile, with vehicle and drivers license information, vehicle value estimations, and manufacturer recall notices.

The two most notable capabilities are the auto insurance score and comparison tool and the vehicle refinancing decision tool.

Fintech Lenders Are Holding Larger Portion of the Personal Loan Market (Lend EDU), Rated: A

During the Digital Lending + Investment Conference in New York, the consumer credit reporting agency Transunion released the results of a study called ”Fact versus Fiction: FinTech Lenders.” In a nutshell, the study concluded that fintech lenders were not riskier than other lenders, and they are starting to represent a more significant part of the loan industry in the USA.

By the end of the year, the fintech lenders comprised 30 percent of outstanding personal loan balances which is up from four percent in 2012. Up through June in 2017, fintechs represented 32% of the personal loan market.

In the second quarter of 2016, 14.8 million people had a personal loan; after one year, that number increased to 16.1 million. Additionally, the total outstanding personal loan volume more than doubled from $45 billion in Q2 2012 to $106 billion by Q2 2017.

Wells Fargo Launches New Banking App “Greenhouse” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Banking giant Wells Fargo announced on Thursday the launch of its new banking app, Greenhouse. The company described the app as a new mobile banking experience that provides tools to help consumers manage their money and know where they stand financially. 

According to Wells Fargo, consumers using the Greenhouse app will be able to have money management with two accounts that work together, immediate access to their Greenhouse account, and the ability to send and receive payments.

Marketplace Lending News Roundup – November 4 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Redpoint Capital Group Sells Stake to Dundon Capital Partners (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Redpoint Capital Group, LLC (“Redpoint Capital”), a leading alternative credit manager, announced today that it has agreed to sell a stake in its affiliated General Partner and Management Company to an affiliate of Dundon Capital Partners, LLC (“DCP”). DCP is led by Thomas (“Tom”) Dundon, one of the founders and former CEO and Chairman of Santander Consumer USA (“SCUSA”), a leading publicly-traded non-captive finance company.

As part of the transaction, both Tom Dundon and DCP Partner, John Zutter, will sit on Redpoint Capital’s Board of Directors along with Redpoint Capital Managing Partners Alex Dunev and Andy Thomas.

Digital Lending Innovation Starts with the Simple Things, Bank of America Says (Bank Innovation), Rated: A

Financial services should focus on “making the easy stuff really easy,” Schleck said yesterday during a panel discussion at the American Banker Digital Lending and Investing conference in New York.

Schleck was the sole representative from a traditional bank during the discussion, with fellow panelists hailing from alternative fintech companies and lenders  – Lending Club, Funding Circle, and Varo Money.

The key to BofA’s innovation in this space was a cross between data (also highlighted by others on the panel) and simplicity, Schleck said, pointing to the bank’s success with mobile direct deposit as an example.

Citizens Digitizes SMB Lending Process With Fundation (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Citizens Bank is enhancing its small and medium-sized business (SMB) lending offering by digitizing the loan application process, according to a press release published by the financial institution (FI) on Thursday (Nov. 2).

The bank is launching a new platform, built in collaboration with alternative online lender Fundation, allowing SMB customers of the bank to apply for a loan or line of credit and receive an approval online.

BlackRock pivots to US west coast as part of tech push (Financial Times), Rated: A

BlackRock is pivoting its business to the US west coast, moving Mark McCombe, head of Americas, to San Francisco as part of a broader plan by the world’s top asset manager to step up its focus on technology and innovation.

More than 40 per cent of BlackRock’s $5.9tn in client assets are managed from San Francisco, which accounts for a third of group revenue.

New Online Portal Offers Loans Up to $ 500,000 to African American Entrepreneurs in Chicago (Black Enterprise), Rated: A

The national advocacy group Small Business Majority, national online lender Fundera, and micro-lender Accion have developed SimpleGrowth, a new online lending marketplace. Calling SimpleGrowth a first-of-its-kind local lending portal, officials say the platform will allow African American entrepreneurs in Chicago to connect with area lenders via a website.

Individuals can seek loans ranging from $500 to $500,000 at various rates, depending on the business owner’s readiness and other factors.

There are 230,000 small businesses in Chicago, but an unusually high percentage of those businesses are owned by African Americans. Cook County, Illinois—which includes Chicago—has the most African American-owned small businesses of any county in the country at 110,000, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 analysis of small businesses reports.

The financing will come from Chicago lenders including Accion, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Small Business and the Women’s Business Development Center, all Community Development Financial Institutions that support small business entrepreneurship. Businesses can apply for the loans for free.

LoanDepot Starts JV (Orange County Business Journal), Rated: B

LoanDepot LLC, the nation’s second largest non-bank consumer lender, announced a joint venture with OfferPad, a real estate investment company, to speed up the process of mortgage approval.

The joint venture will be a stand-alone mortgage broker with LoanDepot acting as the wholesale lender, Calle said. It is expected to launch in the first quarter and will be based in Phoenix.

Online Lender Better Mortgage Names Jeff Corbett New Director of Business Development (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Better Mortgage, a digital mortgage company working to improve access to home financing through transparency, honest guidance, and zero loan officer commissions, announced on Friday it has appointed Jeff Corbett as its Director of Business Development and adding him to its growing Strategic Partnership team.

Silicon Valley Start-ups Join the Line-up for Blockchain Expo North America (Coinspeaker), Rated: B

Amongst those speaking is Karma – a cross-border peer-to-peer lending platform, working to eliminate inefficiencies in the P2P lending industry. Karma will be taking to the stage in the ICOs, Tokens and Cryptofinance conference track on November 29, to introduce their service to delegates ahead of their closed ICO sale later this month.

Goji Appoints Peter Breitstone As New CEO (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Specialist provider of P2P and marketplace lending products and services, Goji, announced on Friday it has appointed Peter Breitstone as its new CEO. According to the company, Breitstone has over 20 years of senior executive leadership experience at several global insurance companies, including Insureon, Zurich, and Aon. Breitstone also built and ran Environmental Partners, an insurance brokerage specializing in Environmental Risk and Insurance Management, which he sold to Aon.

Weekly WealthTech Report: The First CEFEX-Certified Robo (Wealth Management), Rated: B

PlanCorp is putting its experience and research into a new hybrid robo advisor called BrightPlan, which it says is the first of its kind to be certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence for providing prudent fiduciary practices to clients. The online service offers goals-based financial planning without requiring users to invest.

Clients can choose either a digital-only service, or tap into Plancorp’s team of wealth managers.

United Kingdom

European Fintech N26 to Launch in the UK in Early 2018 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

N26, a digital-only challenger bank based in Germany, announced on Friday it is launching its services in the UK in early 2018. This news comes after the fintech startup announced plans to launch in the U.S. next year. UK customers may now get early access by signing up directly on the company’s UK homepage.

TransferWise announces $ 280m investment round as company looks towards APAC expansion (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The international money transfer service raised $280m in a Series E round as it plans for global expansion and challenge to banking disruptors.

The round was led by asset management firm Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI), investing funds managed by its small and mid-cap UK equities desk, and Silicon Valley venture capital firm IVP.

Zopa says rate hike will not impact loan performance (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ZOPA has reassured investors that the Bank of England’s interest rate hike will not impact the performance of the peer-to-peer platform’s loans.

On Thursday, the central bank raised the base rate from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent – the first increase in a decade.

LendInvest to enter BTL market after securing new funding line (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

LendInvest has agreed a long-term financing facility with Citi which will help the lender enter the UK’s £40bn buy-to-let market.

LendInvest now manages over £500m of lending capital on behalf of its institutional investors.

UK interest rates rise for first time in 10 years (Growth Business), Rated: A

For the first time in more than ten years, the Bank of England has raised interest rates. The official bank rate has been lifted from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent, the first increase since July 2007.

The hike has divided opinion and it is yet to be seen how severely the impact will hit the UK. Mr Carney expects banks to pass on the rate rise to savers, but said many mortgages, loans and credit cards would not see an immediate impact.

With an alternative outlook, Giles Cross, CMO at FOLK2FOLK, says, “For years low interest rates have been bad news for consumers wanting a positive return on their money in real terms. So today’s announcement may come as a small relief to many people who are looking for an increase. Whilst the reality is that consumers may not see the outcome passed on from their financial services provider or bank for a long time.

British fintech lender Cashplus seeks licence (Times of Malta), Rated: A

Cashplus said yesterday it will soon apply for a UK banking licence as part of the British fintech firm’s plan to step up its challenge to traditional banks.

The move will allow Cashplus to convert the £200 million of customers’ funds it holds into bank deposits, its chief executive Richard Wagner told Reuters.

Volkswagen explores obtaining UK banking licence (Financial Times), Rated: A

Volkswagen is preparing to apply for a UK banking licence so it can carry on providing finance to motorists after Britain leaves the EU.

Lendy considers offering auto-invest products (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDY is seeking views from investors on the introduction of an auto-invest product.

The peer-to-peer property lender has issued a survey to its customers to find out their views on a product that would self-select loans for lenders.

Simon Champ of P2PGI and Pollen Street Capital (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Simon first became interested in the online lending space.
  • Simon’s original goal when he started P2PGI.
  • What it was like trying to raise the initial capital for the fund in 2014.
  • How many platforms they launched with initially.
  • The scope of the fund: both lending verticals and geographies.
  • How Brexit and the currency challenges of the British Pound has impacted the fund.
  • How the fund has evolved from P2P to a broader direct lending focus.
  • The main challenge of pure peer to peer lending platforms.
  • How they are using leverage today at P2PGI.
  • The P2PGI approach to due diligence and how they decide to make an investment in a new platform.
  • The historical returns of the fund and Simon’s views of the challenges here.
  • His view on the poor performance at US consumer platforms in 2015 and 2016.
  • Why P2PGI left Marshall Wace and merged with Pollen Street Capital.
  • Simon’s view on the evolution of the lending space and where it is going.

CoInvestor Provides First Digital Access For Advisers Into LendInvest’s Real Estate Opportunity Fund (MondoVisione), Rated: A

CoInvestor, the alternative assets platform, has been chosen by LendInvest Capital as a preferred method for UK advisers to invest in its Luxembourg-domiciled Real Estate Opportunity Fund.

Interview with Stuart Law, CEO and co-founder of Assetz Capital (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

Assetz Capital is now the UK’s second-largest peer-to-peer business and property lender and also the second largest in Europe.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Firstly, we only lend to businesses who we assess as credit worthy businesses with tangible assets.

Secondly, we cater for all types of investors.

Thirdly, we are also the only major UK P2P platform to still offer a manual investment option.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers?

Rather than being just a website with automated credit assessments, Assetz Capital is run by finance, banking, credit and lending professionals with huge industry experience, alongside our large UK-wide network of employed Regional Relationship Directors who visit potential borrowers and help structure the loans.

We’re also a lean business, and as such we have lower overheads than traditional lending institutions.  Coupled with the fact that we only lend to credit worthy businesses holding tangible assets, this means our cost of borrowing for businesses is kept low.

Assetz Capital has succeeded in growing loan originations sharply in the past 12 months. How did you achieve that and were intermediaries like brokers a major factor?

To date, more than 350 successfully funded projects have come through brokers, and we predict that this will grow to approaching 1,000 by the end of the 2018 year.

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund piles into OakNorth fundraise (AltFi), Rated: A

Challenger bank OakNorth entered into the UK’s stable of unicorns in October when it raised £154m.

The £154m round valued OakNorth at £934m (approximately $1.3bn). The money came from three investors, The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane, which collectively took a 16 per cent stake in the company. Today, the trio has been joined by a fourth investor: GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.

Anyone for a Crowd VCT? (AltFi), Rated: A

Currently the excellent Wise Alpha is plastered all over the Waterloo and City line. And in recent months Crowdcube has also been blasting out adverts at the Waterloo train station. Not to be outdone, Seedrs is making a regular appearance on the London tube as are a whole number of digital banking apps. Even Abundance in recent years has been making an appearance on billboards at railway stations as far away as Winchester. Now we’re seeing Funding Circle blasting out its message nationwide as part of its multi-million-pound advertising campaign.

This is all very welcome, but I think it poses some broader questions about what the alternative finance space needs to make itself seem more mainstream. I see no reason why a big player such as Funding Circle shouldn’t use big national brand advertising, but I doubt its overall effectiveness.  My sense is that much smaller, baby steps are needed to mainstream the sector and originate new customers – and, crucially, build brand acceptance amongst investors.

Three alternative reasons to consider peer-to-peer investing (Your Money), Rated: B

However, any investment where capital is at risk – such as alternative lending – is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and should not be considered as a substitute for cash deposits. So, why should investors look at the burgeoning alternative lending sector? There are three possible reasons:

  • Diversification
  • Funding your income needs
  • Managing pension allowances – Alternative lending certainly offers attractive returns relative to other investment options, as well as against cash at the bank. ThinCats has achieved average returns for investors of 7%-8.5%(as at 11 Oct).

Hello Soda Raises £5.5M in Funding (FINSMES), Rated: B

Hello Soda, a Manchester, UK-based international big data and text analytics company, raised £5.5m in equity and debt funding.

China

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Hexindai shrugs off tighter scrutiny concerns, rising more than 60pc on Nasdaq debut (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Shares in Hexindai, China’s fifth biggest P2P lender, surged more than 60 per cent on its Nasdaq debut on Friday, shrugging off looming concerns of possible tighter scrutiny on P2P lending platforms by Chinese authorities.

Shares in the company traded up 65 per cent to US16.50, just 20 minutes into the listing under the symbol HX, from its offering price of US$10 per American depositary share. The company aims to raise up to US$88 million through the flotation.

China’s unicorns face questions over fundraising (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Jianpu Technology, the Chinese financial comparison site poised to list later this year, has been stripped of its status as a “unicorn” worth $1bn after regulatory filings revealed it had inflated the funds raised from investors.

Peer-to-peer lender Ppdai’s fundraisings detailed in its filing also fall short of earlier disclosures, according to calculations by Crunchbase, which collates its data from a variety of mostly publicly available channels, including US Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

Qudian’s initial public offering prospectus put its bad-loan ratio at 0.5 per cent — an unusually low but not impossible figure, especially if was selling off bad debt to third parties, which is a common practice among online lenders.

Source: Financial Times

Qudian’s prospectus did not advertise a clear pre-IPO fundraising figure. However, Crunchbase says the company raised about $873m from a number of investors before it went public.

Source: Financial Times

Chinese auto-trading IPO may prove to be a lemon (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Yixin could raise more than $800 million in a Hong Kong float. The Chinese firm wants to be to cars what Ctrip has become for mainland travellers: a one-stop online shop. It is well-positioned for China’s car boom and changing attitudes towards borrowing, but a punchy valuation means it could struggle after listing.

China’s car market is booming. And Yixin smartly targets people born from the 1980s onwards. They are more open to borrowing than their thrifty parents, and many don’t have credit scores, making it tricky for them to borrow from banks instead.

Yixin Group, an online auto-trading and financing company backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, is planning to raise up to $867 million through an initial public offering in Hong Kong, Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported on Nov. 2.

IDG Capital, CreditEase help retail investors tap new economy (China Daily), Rated: B

Leading venture capital firm IDG Capital and Credit Wealth Management, an independent wealth management arm of CreditEase Group, has formed a comprehensive strategic partnership at the latter’s 2017 private equity investment forum held in Beijing on Friday.

The system enables analysis of 20,000 institutions via 60 dimensions such as styles of their management teams, when they exit from companies they have invested in and who buy into these companies.

European Union

Early Facebook Backer Tied to Russia Bank, Kushner Platform (Bloomberg), Rated: A

A prominent Silicon Valley investor who was an early backer of Facebook Inc.partnered in two investments with the Russian state-controlled bank VTB Bank PJSC before it was sanctioned, his spokesman confirmed Friday.

Yuri Milner, the Russian-born founder of DST Global, also invested $850,000 of his personal money last year in Cadre, a real-estate investing platform co-founded and partially owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Milner’s spokesman said that VTB played no part in his Cadre investment, which was done solely on the business merits of Cadre.

You too can become an investor in exciting new Irish innovation (Independent), Rated: A

Backing young companies sounds expensive and risky but it doesn’t have to be either. Today with no more than €50 you can start lending to fledgling Irish businesses through a peer-to-peer platform like Linked Finance. The same €50 could back numerous new ideas on a crowdfunding platform like Fund It.

Today there are 17,000 people lending a total of over €35m through Linked Finance alone but there’s €99bn more sitting in Irish deposit accounts, according to the Central Bank’s July 2017 figures.

International

An Acceleration in Fintech Capital Raising (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The recent CB Insights Fintech Trends Briefing points to the rise in fintech financings as Q3’17 saw 278 deals to VC-backed fintech companies, the largest quarter since Q1’12. While total capital invested is down 25 percent from Q2’17 to $4bn the pace of the deals show investors appetite for fintech companies is still very strong.

Facial recognition startup Megvii Face++ raised $460mn in their most recent investment round led by China State-Owned Venture Capital Fund and the China-Russia Investment Fund.

German based online lender Spotcap raised $26mn in equity and debt funding.

Credit Sesame, a San Francisco and Mountain View, Calif. – based personalized credit service and financial wellness company, raised over $42mn in funding.

FS Card Inc., a Washington, DC-based financial services company focused on underserved consumers, raised a $150mn credit facility.

Finova Financial, provider of fair and affordable digital alternatives for Americans underserved by the traditional banking system, secured $102.5mn in equity and credit facility funding.

LendingHome, a San Francisco, CA-based real estate marketplace lender, raised $457mn in capital, which includes both permanent equity and the launch of LendingHome Opportunity Fund II.

BlueVine, a Redwood City, CA-based provider of working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses, secured up to $130mn in debt capital financing.

OakNorth, a London, UK bank that provides debt finance to fast-growth businesses and established property developers, received a $202mn investment.

SalaryFinance, a London U.K.-based innovative financial wellbeing employee benefits company, completed a $52mn funding round.

How banks can use ETHLend to reduce interest rates globally (TechBullion), Rated: A

P2P platforms are great for smaller loans (i.e. paying off credit cards or repairing a damaged car), but they might not be as affordable and available for larger purchases (i.e. a home purchase or a new car). Especially in developing markets, such larger finance goals might be out of reach due to the lack of credit scoring systems or access to capital in the first place.

Now, how could ETHLend be used to fulfill this market? Let us imagine that a bank or an institutional financer is looking to finance asset backed loans. They have a minimum loan amount of $100,000, and because of this they will be unable to accept loan terms for smaller loans. These banks and institutional financiers would be able to go onto the ETHLend platform, and offer their liquidity to another investor (wholesale borrower) who has large amounts of digital tokens (cryptocurrency) to pledge as collateral.

The investor (wholesale borrower) can then take that $100,000 they got from the bank and turn around and offer loans on a smaller scale to people on the platform or in their local markets, whom do not need to pledge collaterals.

Lendoit – The Decentralized Marketplace Lending Platform Where Everyone Benefits (Chipin), Rated: A

Current P2P platforms are not really P2P because they need to have intermediaries like issuing banks or trust accounts for the system to work. This is a problem as intermediaries usually lack transparency and are also restricted geographically.

For instance, the annual interest of a loan in Brazil may be more than 50% while it is only 1% in Japan.

Source: Chipin

Lendoit is a decentralized peer-to-peer lending marketplace platform that connects borrowers and lenders globally in a fast, easy, and extremely secure manner by using the blockchain and smart contracts.

With the blockchain, Lendoit is able to automate all of the processes required in P2P money lending without sacrificing anything. Instead, everything will be much cheaper and more efficient which is exactly the solution to problems of cross-border loans.

Smart Loan Contracts contain the borrower’s details including his or her score as well as containing the conditions of loans and their respective tenders.

The Smart Reputation Contract works similarly to credit score; in Lendoit, they act as the global score of an Ethereum address and can be utilized for other purposes other than credit transactions.

The Smart Conversion Contract is responsible for converting currencies into the LOAN token when it comes to making transactions on the platform.

Lendoit Global Payments will launch a token for sale for the aptly named LOAN token.

  • Token name: LOAN
  • Token base: Ethereum (ERC-20 compliant)
  • Token supply: TBA
  • Token sale duration: December 13th, 2017

P2P Lending Offers Participants More Efficiency and Convenience in the Financial Services Sector (NewsBTC), Rated: B

The global lending marketplace market is projected to reach $290bn. by 2020, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 51% from 2014-2020.

Colombia Fintech Startups Alegra and Bankity to Compete for Funding at Finnosummit in Miami Next Week (Finance Colombia), Rated: A

Later this month in Miami, a group of 10 Latin American fintech startups will gather in Miami to compete. Two companies, Alegra and Bankity, are from Colombia and will be vying against peers from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile for the $50,000 USD prize.

The competition is part of Visa’s Everywhere Initiative and will be taking place within Finnovista’s larger Finnosummit on November 9 in Florida’s largest city.

Bankity offers the first intelligent banking card in Latin America.

Alegra, founded by Santiago Villegas and Jorge Soto, is also great because it aims to help small business owners with tedious tasks like invoicing and reporting with its cloud-based accounting software.

Blockchain is bringing the sharing economy to everyone (VentureBeat), Rated: A

The sharing economy relies on a distributed workforce, shareable assets, and peer-to-peer transactions and contracts. Companies in these emerging marketplaces handle payments through smart contracts and blockchain technology. This greatly lowers costs, improves trust and transparency with the community, and simplifies transactions at a global scale by making them near-instantaneous, even when distributing payments to thousands of digital wallets at once.

One of the biggest markets for data is social media and online retail. DataWallet, based in San Francisco, helps users download their digital identity and upload it to a blockchain-powered data exchange where companies can purchase it, with payments made to users through the blockchain.

Ride-sharing company LaZooz, based in Tel Aviv, is building a decentralized, Uber-like app that uses blockchain to pay drivers and other community participants. WeTrust, in Fremont, CA, is doing something similar in the peer-to-peer lending space, charging only a max fee of .3 percent instead of 1 percent, like LendingClub.

Australia

Westpac posts AU$ 7.99b yearly profit, sends digital Customer Service Hub live (ZDNet), Rated: AAA

Westpac has processed its first live home loans through its new technology platform, the Customer Service Hub, with the bank saying the initiative aimed at speeding up and simplifying the home loan process as its largest transformation program to date.

For the 2017 financial year, the bank reported AU$7.99 billion in after-tax profit, on revenue of AU$21.8 billion, an increase of 4 percent year-on-year.

As of September 30, 2017, Westpac boasted 13.8 million customers; 4.53 million were considered digitally active, with 72 percent of them using a mobile platform.

Additionally, through its AU$100 million venture capital firm Reinventure, Westpac has made 16 investments covering areas such as blockchain and digital currencies, payments, peer-to-peer lending, as well as big data and data analytics.

The bank also this year entered into a “strategic” relationship with Australian-listed payments firm Zipmoney, investing AU$40 million by way of a private share placement in August to allow the integration of the fintech’s products and services across Westpac’s network throughout Australia, as well as other initiatives including the provision of in-development business-to-business products and services.

In April, the bank went live with Samsung Pay, opening up the phone-based wallet to debit and credit card cardholders across both Mastercard and Visa. This came a year after it launched Android Pay, in addition to Westpac’s own tap and pay function, which was unveiled to customers in 2014.

Banks wealth models are ‘unravelling’ (Financial Review), Rated: A

Independent investment and superannuation platforms like Hub24 and Netwealth are readying to reap the rewards of the “unravelling” of the bank’s traditional wealth management models.

The best interest duty is a key plank of a package of financial advice reforms, known as the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA), introduced in July 2013. This was tested with the corporate watchdog recently ordering Melbourne-based financial planning firm to pay $1.1 million in fines and costs as part of the first civil penalty imposed for breaching its duty to act in the best interest of its clients.

Last week, BT Financial Group (BTFG) said it would expand its life insurance APL from its sole in-house product, adding a minimum of three alternative insurers by March next year.

Increasingly, these platforms are snaring a fair whack of adviser business in the $750 billion platform market, which is growing at 10 per cent a year.

Netwealth has about $16 billion in funds under advice and more than 2000 financial advisers and planners using its services. When it lists on the ASX with an $879.2 million market capitalisation late next month, it will be the second biggest IPO of the calendar year to date

Australian FinTech SelfWealth IPO Offering Self Directed Investors Alternative to Traditional Broker Trading (BusinessWire), Rated: A

SelfWealth Limited (“SelfWealth” or “the Company”), an Australian FinTech business offering a flat fee brokerage service and social portfolio construction network for Australian investors, is pleased to announce the opening of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) to raise up to A$7.5 million (with a minimum subscription of A$5.0 million).

SelfWealth is offering for issue 37.5 million shares priced at A$0.20 per new share; the indicative market captialisation of SelfWealth will be approximately A$26.1 million. The Company’s ASX ticker code will be SWF.

India

Here are four lending platforms that are helping unbanked SMEs (The Hans India), Rated: A

Despite being a major part of the Indian economy, Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in India face multiple challenges.

From inadequate banking to lack of constant cash supply, these SMEs are deprived of the smooth and consistent growth factors

These four SME lending platforms are bridging the requirements digitally:

  1. Lendingkart – The company aims to transform small business lending by making it convenient for SMEs to access credit easily.
  2. CoinTribe – Another online loan disbursement platform, CoinTribe provides quick and easy collateral-free loans to small businesses and individuals.

    It is the only online lending platform which has back-tested its credit model with large banks.

  3. Faircent – Largest peer to peer lending website, Faircent caters to retail and business loans.
  4. TAB Capital – The platform has commissioned an advanced proprietary algorithm that leverages big data and analytics to simplify and accelerate loan application, verification, approval and disbursement.

China’s Fosun leads $ 10 million round in fin-tech startup Kissht (VC Circle), Rated: A

OnEMi Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs lending startup Kissht, has raised $10 million (Rs 67 crore) led by China’s Fosun International, a report in a financial daily stated.

In June this year, the startup raised $2 million (around Rs 13 crore) from Endiya and Ventureast.

India’s Largest Bank Goes Big on Blockchain (Cryptocoins News), Rated: B

The State Bank of India is gearing up to implement blockchain solutions in a number of financial processes including the management of its Know Your Customer (KYC) system.

SBI is now pressing ahead with its first implementation of the decentralized technology by using an enterprise blockchain solution for managing its Know Your Customer (KYC) system, via a new partnership with Intel that sees the technology giant become the consortium’s official technology advisor.

Asia

Square Peg, SIG Asia lead $ 7m round in SEA service marketplace Kaodim (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Southeast Asian service marketplace Kaodim Group has raised $7 million (MYR 29.5 million) in a funding round led by Australia venture capital firm Square Peg Capital and Shanghai-headquartered SIG Asia Investments.

A clear path to transforming Singapore’s financial services sector (Channel News Asia), Rated: A

Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Monetary Authority of Singapore board member Ong Ye Kung unveiled the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the financial services sector on Monday (Oct 30).

The ITM outlines key growth strategies for the financial sector that aim to generate greater productivity, attain higher growth rates, and create 4,000 jobs each year up to 2020.

These include strengthening financing channels for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), simplifying the regulatory framework for venture capitalmanagers, introducing dual class share structures for high-tech companies, and encouraging other sources of private sector financing for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

According to a Deutsche Bank report released last year, debt burdens have risen from less than 240 per cent of GDP in 2009 to 265 per cent in 2015. This is largely due to Singapore’s high levels of private sector leverage, for which there are limits to greater growth.

Singapore plays fintech evangelist on global mission (Business Times), Rated: A

IN TWO short years, Singapore has zipped into pole position in the fintech space, challenging rivals such as London in drawing intellectual and funding capital into the city-state with its open adoption of new technology and more broadly, innovation.

The strategy, led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is now widening to a regional and global endeavour, as MAS expands into cross-border projects that could pay significant digital dividends in time.

This will chiefly include blockchain experiments, with MAS now looking at ways to expand an inter-bank payments pilot to create a cross-border payments system between two countries, Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS, said in a wide-ranging interview with The Business Times.

Middle East

Seven in ten UAE residents unsure how to achieve their financial goals (The National), Rated: AAA

Seven in ten UAE residents are unsure of the steps needed to achieve their financial goals, a poll by National Bonds revealed on Monday, as the UAE investment company launched a new campaign to encourage better saving habits.

According to the poll of almost 400 residents conducted in the first nine months of the year, 69 per cent of respondents lack awareness about financial planning.

Despite the lack of clarity on how to save and invest their money, 53 per cent were most interested in receiving financial advice related to retirement planning. This was consistent among Arabs, Asians and Western expats, according to National Bonds, while Emiratis are more concerned with advice on financial health.

Authors:


George Popescu


Allen Taylor

Monday October 16 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech financing

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi withdraws banking application. SoFi completes largest loan securitization to date. Retailer sues Kabbage. New UK marketplace loan deal mandated. OakNorth achieves unicorn status with 154M GBP raise. PPdai plans $350M U.S. IPO. Linked Finance gets 2M Euro equity investment. Today’s main analysis: Q3 2017 FinTech Insights Report (must-read). New generation of high net worth individuals spur […]

fintech financing

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Middle East

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi withdraws U.S. banking application, citing leadership change (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Student online lender Social Finance Inc said on Friday that it is withdrawing its application for a bank license in the wake of the departure of a number of senior executives, including co-founder and former Chief Executive Mike Cagney.

SoFi Completes its Largest Loan Securitization to Date (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today the closing of a $776.7 million offering of SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-E notes.

SoFi 2017-E marks the company’s largest asset-backed securities issue to date and its 10th ABS transaction this year, bringing SoFi’s total issuance for 2017 to $5.375 billion.  Since inception, SoFi has closed 30 transactions totaling $12.4 billion in issuance.  With the closing of SoFi 2017-E, SoFi maintains its position as a top ten ABS sponsor. The recent transaction was heavily subscribed with orders totaling $2.3 billion.

Wealth Management Firm GENCapital Partners with SoFi and Celebrates One-Year Anniversary (Digital Journal), Rated: A

GENCapital is proud to announce a partnership with SoFi, a new kind of finance and lending company. In addition, GENCapital celebrated its one-year anniversary in September.

FT Partners Research Publishes Q3 2017 FinTech Insights Report (FT Partners Email), Rated: AAA

Highlights of the Q3 2017 report:

  • Q3 2017 financing volume of $5.1 bn was lower than in Q2 2017 ($8.8 bn), but higher than in Q1 2017 ($4.3 bn). This quarter saw the second highest financing deal count ever at 412 transactions, only behind Q1 2016, which had 438.
  • Financing volume year-to-date is tracking just below 2016’s record level and is on pace for the second strongest year ever. This is even more impressive considering that 2016 was skewed by a handful of megadeals in China.
  • The Banking sector continues to be the most active sector this year in both the number of transactions (356 year-to-date) and financing volume ($6.3 bn year-to-date).
  • 2017 FinTech financing volume in Europe ($5.3 bn) is already more than 2x the financing volume of 2016 for the region ($2.6 bn).
  • Q3 2017 M&A volume ($32.9 bn) was the highest since Q4 2015 ($50.5 bn), which included Visa’s $23.4 bn acquisition of Visa Europe. This quarter had eight $1 billion+ M&A deals, which is the most since Q4 2015 (which also had eight).
  • So far this year, 57% of the total global M&A dollar volume is comprised of international targets, although only 38% of the number of transactions represents international targets.
Source: FT Partners

Get the full report here.

Mass. Retailer Sues Over Alleged High-Interest Loan Scheme (Law360), Rated: AAA

A Massachusetts clothing and sports retailer filed suit in federal court Thursday alleging that financial technology company Kabbage Inc. evaded state law by offering high-interest loans through an industrial bank based in Utah, which places no ceiling on interest rates for commercial loans, all the while serving as the true lender.

NRO Boston LLC and owner Alice Indelicato accuse Kabbage and Celtic Bank Corp. of devastating the retailer with their “rent-a-bank” scheme, whereby the bank was listed as the lender for loans in order to get….

Lending Club founder Renaud Laplanche opens up on his ‘frustrating’ exit and new startup Upgrade (Business Insider), Rated: A

Renaud Laplanche tries to “keep a positive attitude rather than focus on my frustration” when it comes to Lending Club.

“It was very, very frustrating. I’m not commenting on the story, but the best way to actually understand what really happened is to read the filings. I think the press made it sound a lot worse, a lot more sensational, than it really was.”

Upgrade raised $60 million (£45.7 million) in April, the biggest ever Series A funding round for a US fintech startup. Many of Lending Club’s original investors have backed the business and Jefferies, an investment bank burned by Lending Club’s loan term scandal, has signed up to buy loans from Upgrade — a vindication for Laplanche.

Now he is focused on “what can I learn from it, what can I do better. Upgrade has been part of that.”

Global Debt Registry Verifies Over $ 1.5 Billion in Loans (AltFi), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (GDR), the asset certainty company known for its loan validation expertise, today announced it has exceeded a $1.5 Billion of loans issued by digital lending platforms and verified by the Company’s suite of due diligence solutions. On the heels of the GDR’s announcement of its successful SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 attestations last week, this achievement confirms the Company’s role as a leader in online lending’s ongoing expansion, driving capital growth in the sector by providing certainty and transparency around investors’ online lending portfolios and protection against risks surrounding the loan data integrity.

Amex targets Square, PayPal in small-biz lending (American Banker), Rated: A

In the digital age, a lot has changed about how businesses operate — and a lot of new data is being generated in the process.

This creates new possibilities for judging a consumer or merchant’s creditworthiness. Square and PayPal have been taking advantage of this for years with models that rely on a merchant’s sales history to determine their likelihood to repay a loan, and American Express is ready to compete.

Redpoint Capital Group, LLC Enters into Credit Services Agreement with Elevate Credit, Inc. Subsidiaries (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Redpoint Capital Group, LLC (“Redpoint”), an alternative investment company focused on providing financing across an array of asset-based strategies, announced it has entered into two additional Credit Agreements with two separate wholly owned subsidiaries of Elevate Credit, Inc.

Rise Credit Service of Ohio, LLC entered into a Credit Services Agreement with Redpoint Asset Funding Ohio, LLC (“Redpoint Ohio”) whereby Rise Credit Service of Ohio, LLC acts as a credit service organization on behalf of consumers for certain loans originated, funded and collected by Redpoint Ohio.

Furthermore, Rise Credit Services of Texas, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, entered into a Credit Services Agreement with Redpoint Capital Asset Funding, LLC (“Redpoint”) whereby Rise Credit Services of Texas, LLC acts as a credit access business on behalf of consumers for certain loans originated, funded and collected by Redpoint.

In addition to the agreements with Redpoint and Redpoint Ohio described above, Rise Credit Services of Texas, LLC, Rise Credit, LLC and the Company also entered into new guarantees of certain receivables of the Company and its subsidiaries held by Redpoint and Redpoint Ohio.

True Link Financial Secures $ 8 Million Series A Round (PR Newswire), Rated: A

True Link Financial, the financial services provider for seniors, announced today that it has raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by QED Investors, with additional investment from Radicle Impact and Initialized Capital. In conjunction with the investment, QED’s Founding Partner Frank Rotman will join True Link’s Board of Directors. With this latest round True Link has raised $15.8 million since the company’s founding in 2012.

The 45 million seniors in America – the largest and fastest-growing segment of the population – are facing new challenges. Average lifespans increased by more than thirty years over the 20th Century, stretching savings further and layering in new medical costs. Since the time today’s retirees entered the workforce, the percentage of workers with a pension has dropped by more than half. 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s today, and more than 16 million will have the disease by 2050. And according to True Link’s groundbreaking 2015 study, financial fraud costs the aging a whopping $36 billion a year. In short, people are living longer with fewer resources and more risks.

The company’s customer base has grown twentyfold in the last three years. Its cards division is the first Silicon Valley startup debit card issuer to turn a profit, and its robo-advisor is Silicon Valley’s first robo-advisor to turn a profit.

Could online lending become the next systemic risk? (American Banker), Rated: A

When banks resisted expanding credit in the years following the financial crisis and passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, online marketplace lending seized on what seemed like a niche opportunity: targeting the credit markets deserted by banks.

But with issuance of marketplace securitizations now exploding — rising 300% cumulatively in the past two years — the idea of online lending as a niche is quickly deteriorating.

Google and Amazon are ready to disrupt small business lending, former Obama advisor says (CNBC), Rated: A

Tech behemoths Google and Amazon are poised to put competitive pressure on traditional banks in the small business lending arena, one of former President Barack Obama‘s cabinet members said Tuesday.

Karen Mills, who served as Obama’s administrator for small businesses, told CNBC that the tech giants would probably push to disrupt the market and deal a blow to established lenders.

“I think they are going to dominate the market, and that is the next phase that’s coming,” she told the LendIt Europe fintech conference in London.

SBA Lending Activity in FY17 Shows Consistent Growth (PR Newswire), Rated: A

The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced fiscal year 2017 lending numbers showing increasing loan levels in small business lending through the 7(a) and 504 loan programs, as well as increases in lending to women, veterans and emerging communities.

SBA approved over 68,000 loans in the 7(a) and 504 loan programs in FY17.  These programs provided over $30 billion to small businesses.

In FY17, the 7(a) program supported a consistent number of loans — more than $25.44 billion combined across 62,430 loans.  The SBA continues to streamline and improve access to its loan program for small loans and emerging communities, delivering more than $5 billion in smaller loans of $350,000 or less in FY17.

7(a) lending to women-owned businesses (both majority and minority owned) grew in total dollar and volume.  FY17 lending exceeded $7.5 billion, an increase of $298 million from FY16.

FY17 504 lending to women-owned businesses reached $955.2 million, a $277 million increase over the previous fiscal year. Loans to veterans totaled $1.15 billion for 7(a) and 504 lending.

Ray Sturm of AlphaFlow (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What AlphaFlow does and why it is unique in real estate investing.
  • The real estate platforms they are working with today.
  • Why they are looking to also work with offline hard money lenders.
  • How they decide which platforms to work with.
  • Details of their own proprietary real estate analytics platform.
  • The area of the real estate market they focus on.
  • The average duration, rate and LTV of the loans they invest in.
  • Why they decided to become a Registered Investment Advisor.
  • The types of investors coming to their platform today.
  • How they are able to get new investors a diversified portfolio with days.
  • The tech they are using to connect to the real estate platforms.
  • Some of the big names that participated in their recent seed round.
  • Ray’s view on the real estate crowdfunding space in general.
  • How Ray thinks about the long term direction of AlphaFlow.

    

P2B Investor Program Allows Community Banks to Lend More with Marketplace Lending Partnership (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

P2B Investor has launched an interesting partnership program that is good for banks, good for borrowers and good for P2Bi. Banks, typically smaller banks, would like to lend more to SMEs but are risk averse due to multiple reasons. P2B Investor’s new program allows the bank to buy the first half of the loan with their low cost of capital, and P2Bi marketplace buys the second half. Thus the SME has a hybrid line of credit to finance its cash needs.

Payday loans rule could change in 2019 (MSN), Rated: A

Consumers who are caught in a financial squeeze might one day be able to skip the payday loan store and turn to banks and credit unions for lower-cost, quick-fix loans.

Congress could move to overturn the rule — but some say that’s unlikely.

What could change: Lenders eventually would be required to research upfront whether borrowers could afford to repay all or most of  their short-term loans at once — including payday loans and auto title loans — and longer-term loans with “balloon” payments.

What won’t change: People who are cash-strapped still will be looking for ways to cover their bills.

AutoGravity Is Fintech’s Answer To Car Shopping (Benzinga), Rated: A

AutoGravity, a fintech platform for car shopping, has been nationally available for less than a year. The app’s been downloaded more than 750,000 times and processed more than $1 billion in financing requests.

Of the 20 largest automotive lenders, AutoGravity has some form of an agreement with 19, said chief marketing officer Serge Vartanov.

The app’s momentum is building: 100,000 of its downloads came in the month of August alone.

AutoGravity is now available in 49 states after kicking off with a soft launch in California.

While AutoGravity doesn’t disclose its overall lender portfolio, it has previously announced partnerships with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Hyundai Capital and a $30 million investment from Volkswagen and Daimler Financial Services.

Cardplatforms disrupts the financial services market (Biz Journals), Rated: A

The Boca Raton fintech company has grown revenues by nearly 400 percent in 2016.

CarGurus races up 72% in a week with 4 strong pops (NASDAQ), Rated: A

CarGurus and three medical device companies each had a strong debut, averaging a first-day pop of 45%.

Issuer
Business
Deal Size
($mm)
Market Cap
at IPO ($mm)
Price vs.
midpoint
First day
return
Return
at 10/13
CarGurus ( CARG ) $150 $1,798 14% 72% 78%
 Online marketplace for buyers and sellers of new and used cars.

The rise of a new kind of finance is setting off alarm bells at the Fed (Business Insider), Rated: A

The challenge is that regulatory bureaucracies in Washington, including the Federal Reserve, may be too slow to react to new technology — from cryptocurrencies and blockchain to crowdfunding — in the same way policymakers missed the risks embedded in the “innovations” in mortgage finance that ultimately fueled the worst housing bust and financial crisis in modern history.

“We’re not going to call it banking — we’re going to call it something else,” Bullard said.

The Unbanking of America, by Lisa Servon (Patheos), Rated: A

Add in the number of people suffering because of the poor economy, especially millennials in the Gig Economy, living from paycheck to paycheck, unable to accumulate enough money for emergency savings, and Americans’ use of businesses such as check cashing companies or payday lenders or other alternate lenders, is entirely rational, in her portrayal, and it’s wrong for policymakers to act as if all Americans need to do is to be told they should get a bank account and that’s that.

Servon’s research for the book consisted, in part, of actually working at a check cashing service and a payday lender.

She then concludes the book by talking about “innovators.”  She profiles a start-up that intends to provide an alternate credit-scoring model that takes into account other types of financial behavior that’s not typically incorporated into the mainstream credit bureaus’ credit scores, and a start-up that intends to make it cheaper to transfer money from one person to another, and a bank, KeyBank, that is more mission-oriented than the usual faceless big corporate bank.

One thing she entirely fails to mention is the fact that interest rates have dropped so dramatically.

A second development in the banking world that she neglects to mention is the rise in prepaid debit cards.

And the third missing item is that of competition.

Corporate Boards Should be Demanding Management Answer These 5 Questions About Company Culture (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

  1. Is the leadership team operating with a high level of professionalism and integrity? Do they value diversity and inclusion?
  2. Do legal and HR have a seat at the table in making key strategy, organizational and business decisions?
  3. Does the company have published policies, processes and trainings so employees easily understand what type of behavior is unacceptable and what to do if they have a problem?
  4. What is the company’s strategy to create a diverse and inclusive environment on the board and in the office?
  5. Does the board have oversight and access to management, so as to be informed about the company’s internal controls and policies and when the same are violated?

Is the way the CFPB handles enforcement about to change? (Housingwire), Rated: B

But regardless of what happens to Cordray, the way the CFPB handles enforcement could be changing as we speak, because the CFPB’s enforcement director is apparently leaving the bureau.

Anthony Alexis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s enforcement chief, is stepping down after more than two years overseeing the agency’s efforts to combat abuses by the financial industry, a departure certain to fuel speculation that Director Richard Cordray will leave soon to pursue the Ohio governorship.

Alexis, a former Mayer Brown partner who was named enforcement director in 2015 after holding the role in an interim capacity, announced his departure plans to CFPB staff Thursday afternoon, according to a former CFPB attorney who is familiar with the matter.

BREAKING: Auto Racer, Atty Guilty Of Running Criminal Payday Loan Empire (Lexis Nexis), Rated: B

A Manhattan jury on Friday found auto racer Scott Tucker and his attorney Timothy Muir guilty of operating a $2 billion criminal payday loan empire that preyed on millions of vulnerable borrowers and entered into sham deals with Native American tribes.

FINRA ratchets up fintech engagement (FinancialPlanning), Rated: B

FINRA was looking to ratchet up engagement with industry players, he said.

To that end, the regulator has hosted roundtable discussions around the country with fintech firms, robos, vendors, and traditional broker-dealers’ technology departments to get a better handle on how the business is changing, Cook said. Later this month, FINRA will convene a new fintech advisory committee.

United Kingdom

New UK marketplace loan deal mandated (Global Capital), Rated: AAA

The transaction, MOCA 2017-1, will be offered in three tranches and is backed by 31,153  Zopa loans with a total outstanding balance of £208.96m. The loans have an average current balance of £6,708 and a weighted average seasoning of 4.5 months. The average interest rate is 7.2%.

Challenger bank OakNorth nabs £154m, claims unicorn status (AltFi), Rated: AAA

OakNorth, a challenger bank focussed on lending to high growth businesses and property developers, has raised £154m in equity money in a round that values the company at £934m (approximately $1.3bn). The fundraise pushes the firm into “unicorn” territory – a term reserved for private tech firms with a valuation north of a billion dollars.

The money comes from The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane, which together have purchased a 16 per cent stake in the challenger bank. OakNorth says the money will be used to boost its lending by an additional £1.5bn.

This £4bn problem is stunting SME growth (City A.M.), Rated: A

Every year, tens of thousands of small businesses see their loan applications refused by the big banks.

In fact, figures from the British Business Bank (BBB) indicate that this amounts to around £4bn in loans annually – a staggering figure when you consider that this is preventing businesses from being able to reach their full potential.

SMEs are expected to contribute £241bn to the British economy by 2025, up 19 per cent from last year’s figure of £202bn, according to research from challenger bank Hampshire Trust Bank and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

Seen and Heard at LendIt Europe: The Future of Finance (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

“Data that the bank holds on the consumer belongs to the consumer and not the bank.”

Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, Global Head of Fintech at EY

“Banks have outdated technology. To change that takes a lot of effort. From where they are starting, it is not easy.”

Jaidev Janardana, CEO of Zopa

“Users do not really care about the tech. They just know it works.”

Radoslav Albrecht, CEO and founder of BitBond

“As for Cost of Capital. Marketplace lending has access to a very wide range of cost of capital. A lot of platforms sell loans to banks. You have Credit Unions buying loans. Credit Unions have a return target of 2 to 3%. Lower than Goldman Sachs. Marketplace Lenders have access to similar cost of capital.”

Renaud Laplanche, CEO and founder of Upgrade

“The biggest myth of all is that Banks and other financial services are advantaged at this.  They have all the data. The truth is the data is fragmented across all different tech stacks and it is difficult to utilize. Very expensive and slow. The data is in the wrong place.”

Antony Jenkins, CEO and founder of 10X Future Technologies

BitRent Opens New Horizons for Investors (The Merkle), Rated: A

Blockchain platform BitRent announced a revolutionary solution in the area of new-built property: commercial and residential property shared investing at an early stage of construction and total control over construction process in real time by means of modules and structures chipping. The company operates on blockchain technology and smart-contracts protocol. BitRent platform’s mission is to make real estate investing easy, transparent and profitable all over the world.

Christine Farnish on the changing role of the P2PFA (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

There are changes ahead for the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA). The self-regulated trade body has been shaping industry standards for six years, but as alternative lending enters the mainstream, even the P2PFA has to be willing to evolve.

However, the next board meeting – set to be held in November – is expected to focus on an update to the P2PFA rules, membership criteria, and the association’s role in the wider regulatory community.

The departure of RateSetter and LendInvest (which no longer defines itself as a P2P lender) has brought the P2PFA’s market share down to around 50 per cent of the UK’s P2P sector. Current members include Funding Circle, Zopa, MarketInvoice, Landbay, ThinCats, Lending Works and newest member Folk2Folk but no new members have joined since February of this year. However, Farnish rejected rumours that the association is “a closed shop”.

For now, the P2PFA is focused on reviewing its own rules and Farnish confirmed that a revised version of these rules will be published before the end of the year.

Robo-advice in ten points  (London School of Economics and Political Science), Rated: A

The asset management industry is currently in a state of flux, and the manner in which individuals and institutions interact with their wealth managers is on the cusp of dramatic change. Digitisation and increased use of technology should mean that we are at the point of a low-cost revolution.

Robo-advice in ten points:

  • Robo-advice is online
  • The key is probably cost: Robo-advisors can be 60-70 per cent cheaper than traditional solutions and can provide savings of 1 percentage point per year of assets. Over a lifetime of investing, this would make £100,000s of difference to millions of investors in the UK alone.
  • Growth is strong: Whilst still only a fraction of the market, the assets under management of major players are growing between 50 and 100 per cent per year, and new entrants and concepts are developing all the time. There are currently over 100 robo-advisors in Europe with most based in either Germany or the UK.
  • There is a long way to go: Nutmeg, the UKs’ largest robo, has $1bn in assets, but Legal and General, the UK’s largest traditional asset manager, has over $1 trillion – a thousand times larger. Data in the US is similar, with BlackRock having $6 trillion under management and Betterment, the largest US robo, having a fraction of this.
  • On-boarding is a noted differentiator, but also a concern: The faster process and fact finding may not always be up to date with regulations or as rigorous as it should be.
  • Millennials are less important than predicted: Most of the original players in this nascent market targeted millennials. But older, wealthier and still tech-savvy baby boomers have become core clients.
  • Robo-advisors mainly use ETFs
  • Future robo-advisors will be more sophisticated
  • Robo-advice aids financial inclusion: Both the regulator and the industry are hoping that robo-advice will improve participation and access to the investment process.
  • Robo-advisors typically use Modern Portfolio Theory: Robo-advisors typically use mean-variance optimisation for asset selection, but future solutions are likely to use Liability Driven Investment (LDI) frameworks  for portfolio construction.

Ignoring women: Banking’s £130bn a year own goal? (AltFi), Rated: B

Financial services firms could be missing a £130bn opportunity by not winning over women, according to a new report.

UK financial institutions are failing to connect with female customers at every stage of the buying journey, from advertising to offerings and funds, finds Kantar’s latest research. It shows financial advertising and marketing strategies fail to communicate trustworthiness, dependability or understanding – particularly to women, 65 per cent of whom report low confidence in their financial institutions, compared to 55 per cent of men.

Only 38 per cent of women claim to feel ‘in control of their financial future’ compared to 51 per cent of men.

China

Chinese P2P Lending Platform PPdai.com Plans $ 350M IPO In US (China Money Network), Rated: AAA

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform PPdai.com will seek an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, the company said in a filing, marking the latest Chinese financial technology company to go public. PPdai.com is currently values as a unicorn on China Money Network’s China Unicorn List with a US$2 billion valuation.

The company aims to raise as much as US$350 million through the IPO, though it has not determined the listing price or the number of shares to be offered, according to an IPO prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

This week, China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) announced that it had grant an operation license to Shenzhen Wei Min Insurance Agency Co. Ltd. Tencent owns a majority stake (57.8%) of this new insurer.

On October 10thAlipay announced to introduce house rental service in eight cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Xi’an and Zhengzhou). Users can enter the credit renting platform by searching “rent” in Alipay. If users’ Sesame Credit is above 650, they can enjoy deposit exemption and pay rent monthly.

Hexindai, a less well-known online consumer finance platform, is going to be listed in the US.  Hexindai plans to raise $80 million in this IPO.

October 10th marked the 92th birthday of the world-renowned Palace Museum. It was on the same day that the museum started to embrace a brand new era of digital payment. 

Li Ka-shing shows strong backing for Hong Kong’s fintech sector with MioTech funding (SCMP), Rate: A

Horizons Ventures, Li’s private investment arm, led a US$7 million Series A funding round for MioTech, one of just a few Chinese tech companies in the firm’s portfolio.

Qudian IPO: What Investors Need to Know (The Motley Fool), Rated: B

The Chinese micro-lending specialist is about to hit the U.S. stock market following an IPO early next week. Millions of Chinese consumers and businesses tap Qudian for credit, but does this make the stock a potential buy?

Qudian’s sweet spot is consumer loans. According to a study from Oliver Wyman commissioned by the company, it was the top small lender in the country in terms of number of active borrowers and volume of transactions as of June 30.

These loans are fairly small, even by local standards, and typically have short durations. There sure are a lot of them, though — in the first six months of this year, the company dispensed a total of around 38.2 billion yuan ($5.8 billion).

Over Ten Chinese P2P Lending Platforms expand to Southeast Asian Market (Xing Ping She), Rated: B

Recently, the PINTEC Group has announced a joint venture in Singapore to enter the Southeast Asian market with robo-adviser as its entry point. So far, there are more than 10 Chinese Internet finance companies layout in the Southeast Asian market,including Lufax, Dianrong.com, etc.

Yu-Hang Guo, the co-founder& co-chief executive of Dianrong.com, said that China’s internet finance companies have concentrated on the southeast Asian market, there are active plans as well as passive responses. With Chinese regulations tightening, many of them are looking abroad for growth. It is reported that cash loans, P2P and third-party data services have become the three most promising businesses in the Southeast Asian market.

Actually, before the small and medium-sized internet finance platforms have been set foot, industry faucets such as Ant Financial have already started to move and accelerate into the digital payment market in Southeast Asian.

European Union

Linked Finance Secures €2 Million Equity Investment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ireland-based peer-to-peer lending company Linked Finance announced on Thursday it secured €2m in equity funding to support its plans for expansion. The funding round was led by the company’s original venture capital backers, Frontline Ventures. The platform has now lent over €34.5 million to Irish SMEs since its launch in 2013, with more than €16.9 million already repaid to its lenders.

The Revolut founder on why his people work 12-13 hours a day (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

So far this year, Revolut, which started as a foreign exchange card linked to an app, has launched business accounts, loans, loyalty offers, mobile phone insurance, a bill splitting feature, a subscription “Premium” account, a chatbot, and more. Oh, and raised $66 million.

“The vision is very simple,” Storonsky said. “At the moment in the world, all banks are very local. As a result, you always struggle with international activity. That means you always need to open new bank accounts, issue new cards, set up a new credit profile.

“Nowadays people are all international. Banks are not providing this service. The vision for us is alternative global banking. Anyone in the world can just download the Revolut app and set up a local bank account to access any services they need.”

‘A lot of people work on weekends’

It’s a bold ambition. But can the business sustain this pace? I had heard from people in the industry — startup founders, PRs, former staff — that Revolut’s working culture can be tough: long hours, aggressive targets, burn out.

“We are not about long hours — we are about getting shit done,” Storonsky said. “If people have this mentality, they work long hours because they want it.”

It should be said that all the company’s Glassdoor reviews are five-star reviews, even those that mention the hours. “This company is highly addictive,” one reads.

German fintech Compeon scoops €12m fundraise (AltFi), Rated: A

A credit brokerage platform by the name of Compeon has raised €12m in a series B fundraising round. The round was led by existing investor Tengelmann Ventures, with btov Partners and Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures also participating.

Compeon processed a total of €2.5bn in loan requests in 2016, with an average loan request of €700,000.

Israel’s Migdal Partners Decentralized P2P Lending Platform Lendoit (Finance Magnates), Rated: B

Lendoit, a new decentralized P2P lending platform, has announced that it has partnered with one of Israel’s biggest institutional investment firms, Migdal Investment Banking. Established in 1965 and part of Migdal Capital Markets Group, it currently manages assets valued at $9 billion for thousands of clients in the Israeli private, business and public sectors.

International

PRIVATE CREDIT INDUSTRY: SUPPLY AND DEMAND (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The Alternative Credit Council, an affiliate of the Alternative Investment Management Association, has put out a paper on the present state of the private credit industry, considering both the demand (from borrowers) for its services and the supply (from investors) of capital to lend.

In preparing this paper, the ACC has partnered with Dechert LLP, an international law firm that specializes in financial and regulatory intricacies, to research and present a discussion of how private credit has managed to “cement its place in the lending landscape globally.”

One of the points of the paper is that private credit so understood is no longer stuck in the midmarket. It is moving outward in both directions.

On the other side of the market, there continue to be a number of borrowers who are good risks yet whose needs are not being met by the banking system, which is undergoing its own uneasy transformation in the face of regulatory pressure.

The top three characteristics of private credit that borrowers value most are: the speed of decision making, the ability to develop complex structures, and the flexibility of terms.

FinTech builds on blockchain for international mobile payments (Computerworld), Rated: A

IBM has partnered with a Polynesian payments system provider and an open-source FinTech payment network to implement a new international exchange based on a blockchain electronic ledger.

The new payment network uses IBM’s Blockchain Platform, a cloud service, to enable the electronic exchange of 12 different currencies across Pacific Islands as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

KlickEx Group, a United Nations-funded, Pacific-region financial services company, and Stellar.org, a nonprofit organization that supports an open-source blockchain network for financial services, are backing the new cross-border payments service.

How to Get a Loan with Bad Credit (The Global Dispatch), Rated: B

If your bank does not agree to your request, start exploring alternative lenders. Do not limit your options to institutions. Your friends or family members can lend you the cash you need to handle an emergency. Peer to peer lending is a great alternative to banks, which allows you to borrow from individuals instead of institutions.

You can easily access a quick loan with bad credit online if you have a stable and verifiable source of income. Online lenders run your credit history but will approve your loan request with proof that you can repay in time. In most cases, the lenders offer payday loans that fall due on your next payday. You must be careful when applying for a personal loan online. Most of the search results you will get are from marketing companies and not direct lenders.

Australia

TSYS’ ProPay Sets Up Shop In Australia (PYMNTS), Rated: A

TSYS’ merchant services company ProPay is expanding into new territory.

The company announced in a press release this week that ProPay has launched in Australia, bringing small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) there to its merchant acquiring payment network and enabling them to efficiently accept card payments. The solution is built for direct-selling companies, micro merchants, distributors and payment facilitators.

Australian Government Agencies Flagged For Company Card Fraud (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Australian government agencies are reportedly plagued by company card fraud and misuse, according to new analysis from media company Fairfax Media. By certain accounts, some agencies are seeing more than $100,000 in misspend.

Fairfax analysts found an array of instances in which government purchasing cards were used for personal use, including one that attempted to use a Weather Bureau card for a transaction surpassing $1,000, an Able Seaman who repaid nearly $2,350 after misusing a card and one employee at the Foreign Affairs department who was fired after spending more than $7,000 on the department’s credit card, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The ABS had 156 cases of inappropriate spend on its cards, Fairfax found, valuing more than $43,000 in misspend.

India

P2P lenders seek clarity from RBI on appointment of trustee (Livemint), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms in India have requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow non-bank trust companies to act as trustees for fund transfers between the participants—investors and borrowers—on their platforms.

“It took us six months to get a trustee. Most of the bank promoted trustees were unwilling to come on board as the industry is nascent,” said Mukesh Bubna, founder and chief executive at Monexo Innovations Ltd, a Mumbai-based P2P platform.

“This creates a monopoly. A limited number of trustees managing transactions for multiple P2P firms may lead to conflict of interest and also a higher fee being charged by the trustees for managing the escrow accounts,” said Raghavendra Pratap Singh, co-founder at i2iFunding.com, a Noida-based P2P platform.

So far, the firms have informally reached out to the regulator, said two people close to the development. They requested anonymity. They are expected to send formal feedback to the regulator soon.

Email sent to RBI did not elicit any response.

Why RBI should ease regulations for P2P lenders (VC Circle), Rated: A

For the sake of brevity, below are summarised certain key issues of the P2P directions after taking into consideration various arguments in the central bank’s consultation paper:

  1. P2P entities as NBFCs
  2. Ambiguous definition of P2P lending – The term “or otherwise” in the definition does not clarify whether P2P lending is restricted only to online platforms.
  3. Net-owned fund and leverage ratio – The RBI in its directions stated that any NBFC-P2P platform needs to have net-owned funds of more than Rs 2 crore or as is prescribed by the central bank.
  4. Limit on lending – However, the P2P directions state that loans are subject to a cap of Rs 10,00,000.
  5. Exempting non-institutional lenders from regulation
  6. Are NBFC-P2Ps intermediaries for banks?

How tech has relaxed Mumbai’s monopoly on finance (India Times), Rated: AAA

Six months after he founded payment gateway company Razorpay in 2013, Harshil Mathur was looking to shift his headquarters from Jaipur. Of his three options — Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru, Mathur chose the tech hub of Bengaluru over the financial capital, Mumbai.

Source: Times of India

With the rise of tech startups that focus on financial services, the traditional banking landscape is transforming — and Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru are competing to become the country’s fintech capital. Mumbai is still the financial capital as it is home to major banks and financial institutions, but it is technology that is becoming integral to finance.

Source: Times of India

Watch out for these 5 fintech platforms to revolutionise business in India (Business Standard), Rated: B

A marketplace lending platform in India, Rubique empowers individuals and SMBs with an easy and smoother access to across a wide range of loan, credit card, and products.

LoanTap is a fintech platform delivering flexible EMI free loan products to salaried professionals.

India’s largest peer to peer lending website, Faircent is a platform where people who have spare money, use the means of lending it directly as a form of loan, thereby eliminating intermediaries and their margins.

Having started as an online mobile recharge and bill payments app. Paytm in a short span of time has scaled to over 250 million registered users.

CreditMantri is a multi-services platform that helps borrowers secure loans from its partner financiers.

Asia

A new generation of HNWIs spur shift in investment (Asia Asset), Rated: AAA

HNWIs’ wealth growth remains led by Asia, with ongoing gains from an increasingly affluent middle class, enhanced productivity, and property price gains.

As the largest HNWI market, the US has been the beneficiary of a sustained rally in the equities market, driven by capital inflow and currency appreciation. The recent resurgence in mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings is also driving wealth growth.

By comparison, Europe remains beset by low yields and flagging economic growth, characterised predominantly by inherited wealth and ‘old money’.

Research from around 940 Asian shows a clear shift towards engagement of financial investment professionals over self-management.

Also notable is the shift in allocation from domestic to international equities. In 2013, there was a 60:40 split favouring domestic equities, but this has reversed to favour international stocks through to 2017.

HSBC, with US$112 billion of private bank client assets under management (AUM) in its core Hong Kong and Singapore markets, is building upon its existing investment platform and network as a new entrant to the Australian market as of November 2016.

Fintech Start-Up fidentiaX Introduces World’s 1st Marketplace for Tradable Insurance Policies (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Fintech start-up fidentiaX is in the developmental phase of creating the world’s first marketplace for tradable insurance policies by disrupting the status quo by empowering policyholders to monetise policies on the blockchain. fidentiaX will also be setting up fidentiaX Open Source Foundation (fSOF) to proliferate the embracing of blockchain technology for the insurance industry.

In 2016 alone, the total market size for insurance premiums in the 40 OECD reporting countries was estimated to be in the north of $3.86 trillion dollars and Asia is projected to the be fastest-growing market for life insurance with an estimated real annual compounded growth rate of 10.2%.

fidentiaX’s marketplace will be a membership-based ecosystem focusing on the key stakeholders and providing the following services:

  • Policy ledger – Break traditional reliance on intermediaries by creating a digital ledger for policyholders.
  • Trustless Marketplace – Provides a platform for buyers and sellers to connect and trade policies via the blockchain.
Middle East

Kuwaiti Fintech Startup Ajar Online Closes Second Investment Round Led by BECO Capital (Albawaba), Rated: AAA

Ajar Online, a fintech startup based in Kuwait, closed a second investment in a round led by Dubai-based venture firm BECO Capital, followed by an investment from Sharq Ventures, since late 2016.

The service allows tenants to pay their rent online, at anytime and anywhere via SMS and email in less than 60 seconds. Simplifying the rent collection process for landlords and providing efficient property management tools to save time, reduce cost and take the right decisions.

Africa

Discovery Gets Go-ahead to Operate a Bank (Tech Financials), Rated: AAA

The South African Registrar of Banks has given the go-ahead for Discovery, South Africa’s medical scheme operator and financial services group, to operate a retail bank.

The firm announced on Monday that NewDisc Limited (to be renamed Discovery Bank Limited) has been granted a banking licence in South Africa by the Registrar in terms of Section 17(1) of the Banks Act.

The company plans to operate a retail bank to be known as Discovery Bank by 2018.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor