Wednesday June 13 2018, Daily News Digest

Financial Strain by category

News Comments Today’s main news: Money360 surpasses $750M in commercial real estate loans closed. Attorneys defend $16M LendingClub fee. Funding Circle lending unlocked 75K jobs in 2017. Westpac ends Prospa relationship. Today’s main analysis: Should financial advice be tailored along credit and gender lines? Today’s thought-provoking articles: GreenSky look fairly valued, but there are competitive risks. 4 companies driving […]

Financial Strain by category

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United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

Money360 Surpasses $ 750 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans Closed (Globe Newswire), Rated: AAA

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate loans, today announced it has surpassed $750 million in loans closed since inception. This includes $82.5 million in loans closed in May 2018.

Notable loans closed in 2018 include:

  • A $26 million bridge loan for a specialty retail center in Punta Gorda, FL, brought to Money360 by Mark Reichter at Q10 / Triad Capital Advisors, Inc.
  • A $15.6 million bridge loan for an office building in Houston, TX, brought to Money360 by Rich Perry at Churchill Commercial Capital
  • A $17.25 million bridge loan for a medical office in Newport Beach, CA, brought to Money360 by Scott Monroe at NorthMarq Capital, Inc.
  • A $7.9 million bridge loan for Raytheon’s industrial space in Albuquerque, NM, brought to Money360 by Jake Clopton at Clopton Capital
  • A $9.2 million bridge loan for a neighborhood center in Tulsa, OK, brought to Money360 by Mark Reichter at Q10 / Triad Capital Advisors, Inc.
  • A $5 million bridge loan for an office park property in South Bend, IN, brought to Money360 by Dean Giannakopoulos at Marcus & Millichap Capital Corp.
  • A $5 million bridge loan for a manufactured housing property and park in West Sacramento, CA, brought to Money360 by Jake Clopton at Clopton Capital
  • A $3 million bridge loan for a mid/high rise multifamily building in Detroit, MI, brought to Money360 by Robert Krupka at Gelt Financial
  • A $2.3 million bridge loan to a self-storage building in Panama City Beach, FL, brought to Money360 by Doug Brooks at Marcus & Millichap Capital Corporation
  • A $1.6 million bridge loan to a multifamily building in Macon, GA, brought to Money360 by Naveed Khan

Attys Defend $ 16M LendingClub Fee Bid That ‘Shocked’ Judge (Law360) Rated: AAA

Attorneys seeking $16 million for representing LendingClub Corp. investors in securities class actions against the peer-to-peer lending company defended their fee bid Monday to a California federal judge who previously said the amount “shocked” him, saying their work produced an “outstanding result under any measure.”

The 28-page motion filed by attorneys for Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, lead counsel for the lead plaintiff, argues that the requested 13.1 percent cut of the $125 million settlement is reasonable in light of the results achieved, the risks…

GreenSky Looks Fairly Valued, But Competitive Risks Remain (Forbes) Rated: AAA

GreenSky followed through with its plans to go public within weeks of confidentially filing with the SEC last month – making it the largest fintech IPO in the country since LendingClub and OnDeck went public nearly four years ago. The company offered 38 million shares at $23 per share to raise $874 million (with the actual proceeds being $830 million after underwriting fees). The company’s shares have largely traded around this level since then. This points to a valuation of $4.4 billion for GreenSky – around the figure .

GreenSky’s role as an intermediary between lenders and potential borrowers with strong credit histories makes its overall business model a risk-averse one, as it bears negligible credit risk. At the same time, the relationships it has built with banks, home improvement companies and healthcare providers promise to drive growth at a steady pace over the foreseeable future, even as the company explores other growth segments.

Four companies driving the bank tech discussion, with only one a FAANG (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google garner so much attention that they have their own collective shorthand, FAANG. But at American Banker’s Digital Banking conference this week, a mostly different set of companies were top of mind: Call them SASA, or Starbucks, Amazon, Sears and Acorns.

More than 40% of the 55 million U.S. smartphone users will have made an in-store mobile payment through Starbucks’s app, and that just over 23 million consumers over the age of 14 will use the Starbucks app to make a point-of-sale purchase at least once every six months, according to Gavin Michael, head of technology for Citigroup’s Global Consumer Bank, citing data from research firm eMarketer.

Should financial advice be tailored along credit and gender lines? (American Banker) Rated: AAA

Women with credit scores below 700, according to an analysis conducted by Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class, an independent research arm of the online lender.

Source: American Banker/Elevate

Fifty-six percent of women with subprime scores say their finances cause them significant stress. About 45% of men with subprime credit scores say the same, as well as only 23% of women with prime ratings and 16% of men with prime ratings.

Seventy percent of women with subprime credit scores work full time, versus 62% of women with prime scores.

The woman with subprime credit is 41% more likely to have children in her home than a prime woman. She is also 79% more likely to have an elderly parent living with her.

Only 39% of Non-Prime Women Believe They Have the Skills to Manage Their Finances (SC Now) Rated: A

Most surprisingly, only 39% of this group believe they have the skills to manage their finances, despite the fact that ongoing research from myriad sources have found women to be the primary financial stewards of their households.

Key findings in the research include:

  • Two-thirds of non-prime women live paycheck to paycheck.
  • They are 3x more likely to have lost a job in the last year compared to prime women
  • Only 34% of non-prime women hold salaried jobs
  • They are 4x more likely to have trouble predicting next month’s income compared to prime women
  • More than 4 out of 5 non-prime women admit to running out of money at least once a year
  • More than one quarter admit to running out of money every month
  • They are 24% more likely to say their finances cause them stress compared to non-prime men
  • Only 13% of non-prime women would have money on-hand to cover an emergency of $1200
  • Non-prime women are 6x more likely to have used a payday loan

But another myth persists: Seasonal businesses suffer most of all. SBA’s data doesn’t bear this out, showing companies across varied industries tend to follow similar patterns in terms of failure. Manufacturing-based businesses, for example, are no more protected from failure than seasonally driven businesses like restaurants and retail stores, meaning other factors determine companies’ likelihood of long-term success.

An Ohio State University study indicated that  of restaurants don’t make it past the first year. Another 2005 study amended that, saying that the 60 percent figure applied to the first three years.

With CB Insights finding that  of small business failures can be attributed to cash flow problems, it’s imperative that seasonal business owners find ways to “spread the wealth.”

Kabbage, for example, ties its line of credit to a small business’s live data, allowing the company to adjust lines of credit in real time to match a business’s seasonal needs.

Why Digital Lenders Are Tightening Their Lending Criteria (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

In the early days of online lending, the big appeal was access to funds for potential borrowers with few, if any, options for securing capital.

According to recent reports, some of the largest marketplace lending players in the field — SoFi, LendingClub, AvantProsper — are being pushed by their investors to batten down their credit hatches and demand better credit scores from their borrowers, as well as shorter maturities so they can make more attractive offerings to investors as they look to repackage those loans into asset-backed securities.

According to KBRA, the weighted average of FICO credit scores of Prosper’s loans, packaged in ABS, increased to 717 in a March 2018 deal from 704 in a sale two years earlier. And they weren’t the only lender to see its average score go up — SoFi, increased the weighted average of its FICO credit scores to 744 in a sale earlier this year from 732 in a deal at the start of last year.

Overlooked Millionaires: Finding A Home In The Democratized Family Office Model Of Financial Advice (Forbes) Rated: A

Over the last 20 years, the number of American investors with between $2 million and $20 million in investible assets has grown remarkably. According to 

Optimal Blue, Finastra partner for pricing integration (Mortgage Professional America) Rated: B

Optimal Blue and Finastra have announced an expansion of their relationship under which Optimal Blue will be integrated Finastra’s Fusion MortgagebotPOS product.

The new integration enables banks and credit unions to provide mortgage applicants with Optimal Blue’s live pricing searches via any point-of-sale channel. Fusion MortgagebotPOS is a web-based platform that allows lenders to receive applications through every point-of-sale channel: consumer-direct via the internet, in the branch or call center, or through professional loan officers.

Direct 1031 Exchange Launches New Online Platform for Accredited Investors (Sys-Con Media) Rated: A

A new online platform is now available for accredited investors seeking direct access to Section 1031 exchange investment opportunities with the launch of real estate investment sponsor Direct 1031 Exchange. The company provides Section 1031 exchange offerings directly to investors using the Delaware statutory trust structure under SEC Rule 506(c).

Through Direct 1031 Exchange’s online investment portal, accredited investors can participate in 506(c) DST offerings sponsored by the firm with no upfront load or commission paid by the investor.

LendStreet and Its Unique Approach to the Debt Settlement Space (Lend Academy) Rated: A

LendStreet is a lender that works with consumers who are experiencing financial difficulties. These are people who have taken on too much debt and find themselves in a hole, unable to pay it all back. But rather than declaring bankruptcy, these people want to work things out and reduce their debt through a debt settlement.

This is the point when the debt settlement companies come in. LendStreet lends only to customers whose debt is being or will be negotiated by a debt settlement company. Most of LendStreet’s customers are already enrolled with debt settlement companies before getting to LendStreet. Those who come directly to LendStreet are paired with a debt settlement company to negotiate down their debt, which will be funded by a LendStreet loan.

Chris Sugden of Edison Partners (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Chris Sugden is the Managing Partner of Edison Partners, a growth equity firm based in Princeton, New Jersey. They provide growth capital for small business doing $5 million to $20 million in annual revenue, typically based on the east coast between DC and Boston. They have never invested in a Silicon Valley startup.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The history of Edison Partners and their unique New Jersey location.
  • The difference between East Coast and West Coast entrepreneurs.
  • The three different verticals they cover.
  • The impact that Marcus will have on the broader fintech space.
  • The shift Chris has seen with the banks as they embrace fintech.
  • The interesting fintech trends Chris is focused on right now.

Radius in Boston working with fintech firm on online business checking platform (American Banker) Rated: A

Radius Bank in Boston has lined up its next fintech project.

The $1.2 billion-asset online bank is working with a Treasury Prime, a San Francisco startup, to create a business checking account. The Tailored Checking Account will allow business owners around the country to quickly open accounts online.

SME smartphone lending set to take off (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

Fintech platform Kabbage predicts that 20 per cent of US dollars lent to SMEs will be via smartphone apps by the end of 2018.

Kabbage analysed nearly 150,000 US small businesses and found an increasing trend towards lending organised via mobile devices, with the number of loans increasing more than 300 per cent.

Online Lender Accused Of Using Tribe To Shield Illegal Loans (Law 360) Rated: A

An internet lending company and others have engaged in a plot to charge illegally high interest rates on loans while attempting to use a Michigan tribe’s sovereign immunity as a shield from suit, a group of borrowers said in a proposed class action filed in California federal court Monday.

Four plaintiffs from various states claimed in their complaint that even though Big Picture Loans LLC said it was owned and operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, loans made in Big…

Nobel laureate Kahneman says human financial advisors are still crucial (CNBC) Rated: A

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, said Tuesday financial advisors still play a major role in the finance world — despite recent technological disruptions in the industry — as they act as therapists for investors.

Robo-advisors are growing at a very fast rate, surpassing $200 billion in assets under management last year, according to BackEnd Benchmarking, which releases quarterly data on robo-advisors.

Lending Express Opens Shop in Silicon Valley & Adds Moshe Kazimirsky to Team (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Lending Express, an AI-powered marketplace for business loans, has opened a new Silicon Valley office in San Mateo, as well as the appointment of Moshe Kazimirsky to VP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development to support the West Coast team. The announcement comes on the heels of Lending Express’ May $2.7 million seed funding round led by Entrée Capital, iAngels, and existing investors.

PeerStreet’s CEO Brew Johnson and Leadership Team Wins Comparably’s 2018 Culture Awards in Multiple Categories (Business Wire) Rated: B

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate backed loans, is honored to announce that it has won Comparably’s 2018 Culture Awards in the following categories:

  • Best CEOs for Diversity
  • Best CEOs for Women
  • Best Managers
  • Best Leadership Team

Robots could replace as many as 10,000 jobs at Citi’s investment bank (Business Insider) Rated: A

Robots could replace as many as 10,000 human jobs at the banking giant Citi within five years, its president told the Financial Times.

Wells Fargo bans cryptocurrency purchases on its credit cards (Payments Source) Rated: B

Wells Fargo & Co. customers hoping to use their credit cards to buy Bitcoin will have to look elsewhere.

United Kingdom

Lending through Funding Circle unlocked 75,000 jobs in 2017 (Pr Newswire) Rated: AAA

A new report published today by Oxford Economics reveals that lending through Funding Circle, the global small business loans platform, unlocked 75,000 jobs in the United States and Europe in 2017.

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle to create 200 UK jobs (B Daily) Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle is creating 200 jobs in the UK.

The London-headquartered firm has this morning (June 13) confirmed plans to take on 400 new employees in 2018, half of whom will be recruited in the UK.

LendInvest’s path from adversity to opportunity (City A.M.) Rated: A

Although the online marketplace model had been proven to work – Amazon and eBay had been established over a decade earlier – LendInvest was initially both “offline” and “pretty uninteresting”. It wasn’t until 2012, with £30m investors’ capital under management, that the founders became intrigued by the role tech could play.

The path to success is littered with unforeseen obstacles, good days can follow bad, tailwinds become headwinds. LendInvest is no exception. When the company was young, raising debt finance often felt like an uphill struggle. It took many air miles and international calls, but eventually an eastern European bank offered a £2m funding line, later increased to £6m.

Ranger Direct shares end higher after bowing to activist pressure to wind up (Financial Times) Rated: A

Ranger Direct Lending operates a £128 million investment company which has faced pressure from activist investors who own almost 30% of the company.

The board proposed yesterday of winding down the company as Ares Management withdrew itself from consideration to manage the trust. Ranger’s board also suggested shareholders vote against newly nominated directors by activist investors.

Ranger Direct Lending has struggled as defaults have crept up in the sector.

Monzo launches task automation with IFTTT (Tearsheet) Rated: A

Personal finance apps offer customers insights into their budgeting and spending habits, but U.K.-based digital bank Monzo is taking that a step further by letting its customers design their own rules on how they want to interact with their money.

Monzo’s tie-up with If This Then That, rolled out in early June, lets customers automate tasks using their financial data through personalized rules. IFTTT is a web and app-based platform to help customers get apps and devices to work together. It lets users set up “if, then” rules; for example, “if I post an Instagram, post it as a native photo on Twitter,” or “if I add a new task to an Amazon Alexa to-do list, add it to the iPhone reminders app,” and so on. IFTTT’s integration with consumer financial data lets them experiment with new use cases for financial data and lets the bank learn more about customer preferences and behavior.

Collateral investors may have to join queue of creditors (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

COLLATERAL investors may end up having to recoup any unpaid interest owed as a creditor of the company, the administrator of the closed peer-to-peer lending platform has revealed.

An update from BDO said its initial view was that due to section 26 of the Financial Services and Markets Act – which deems that agreements with unregulated parties are unenforceable – investors would be treated as creditors.

This means they would have to submit documentation to BDO on what they are owed and wait to see what funds can be recouped through the administration.

European Union

B2B FinTech Could Earn Index Ventures $ 2 Billion This Year (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Venture capitalist (VC) firm Index Ventures is on its way to earn $1.6 billion from its early investments in B2B FinTech, according to Forbesreports Monday (June 11). Index Ventures’ portfolio includes iZettle and Adyen, with unconfirmed reports of a Funding Circle initial public offering (IPO) that could push Index Ventures into the $2 billion mark.

LendInvest joins Luxembourg fintech hub (Finextra) Rated: B

LendInvest, the UK’s leading online marketplace platform for property finance, has become a fellow of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), the country’s leading FinTech innovation hub.

LendInvest has had a presence in Luxembourg since 2014 when it established its first Luxembourg-domiciled fund.

Fintech threatens to eclipse banks that do not adapt digitally (Financial Times) Rated: A

Writing an opinion piece for the FT BBVA Executive Chairman Francisco Gonzalez talks about the rise of fintech and big tech in banking. He explains that banks still have an advantage when it comes to security, privacy and compliance.

A new regulatory model is needed for the new era of digital banking and data. Banks need to build on what they do best and evolve to ensure they stay relevant. He believes there is a paradigm shift occurring in banking and that banks need to find a new way to support customers and build out their assets

Australia

Westpac Ends Prospa Collaboration After IPO Postponement (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Days after Australian alternative lending platform Prospa delayed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) indefinitely, one of its bank partners, Westpac, announced it was ending its relationship with the FinTech.

Reports in The Australian Financial Review (AFR) on Monday (June 11) said Westpac is ending its referral program that sees small business owners rejected for a bank loan linked to the Prospa platform.

Dover Financial Group calls in outstanding debts from financial planners (Australian Financial Review) Rated: A

Dover Financial Group lured financial advisers by offering to postpone payment of annual licence fees for a year or more, but the collapsed company is now calling for immediate payments of those debts, leaving planners, who are already worried about their future, furious.

India

With Rs 35 cr in disbursals, Lendbox is creating a new asset class for investors (Your Story) Rated: AAA

Basing only 20 percent of its risk assessment engine on the CIBIL score, the platform assesses a borrower’s credit-worthiness based on their social, professional, behavioural analysis, including their salary expenditure trends and limits on credit card. The founders claim that the platform takes close to 130 data points into consideration before deciding on a suitable interest rate.

The borrowers are then classified between A1 (A2 and A3) and B3, with the rate of interest ranging from 12 to 36 percent.

Ekmeet says that close to 85 percent of loan requests are denied by the platform, and only 20 percent of their total users are from Tier II towns and cities.

Asia

Kakao Bank’s chatbot will answer up to 80% of requests (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Kakao Bank, South Korea’s largest internet-only bank, is already showing the beta version of its customer support chatbot, which is scheduled to be launched sometime this month.

The bank says that the tech will help relieve the stress on its customer services department, which receives up to 80% of requests that could be automated.

Canada

Luge Capital goes huge with $ 75m fintech funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: AAA

Initially, $50 million of the raised capital was announced in October 2017 by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Desjardins Group, two of the fund’s major investors.

Sun Life Financial, the Fonds de Solidarité FTQ and La Capitale are also “significant” participants. Luge says it may expand the fund up to $100 million in the coming months.

Real estate crowdfunding in Canada: portal insights for 2017/18 (IT Business Blog) Rated: A

Real estate online investment or crowdfunding has been a sector that has attracted significant interest in the U.S. over the last several years, with more than 100 portals launched to serve rapidly growing developer and investor interest. In fact, industry research hub crowdsourcing.org estimates that the industry will be worth more than $300 billion USD by 2025.

Latin America

Defaults the largest driver of Brazil banking spreads -cenbank (Reuters) Rated: AAA

Credit defaults have been the main factor keeping Brazilian banks from cutting interest rates to households and companies, the central bank said on Tuesday, even as benchmark rates have fallen to all-time lows.

The average cost of credit fell 1.3 percentage points in 2017 to 21.3 percent, according to a central bank report, compared with a 6.75 percentage point decline in the benchmark Selic interest rate. Spreads fell 3.8 percentage points to 18.9 percentage points.

Defaults, which reached 3.2 percent at the end of 2017 according to a widely used metric, forced banks to keep interest rates high to account for potential losses, the central bank said.

Defaults were behind an average 37.4 percent of banking spreads in 2015-2017, the largest contributor to bumping up credit costs to consumers. Other reasons were administrative expenses, taxes and financial margins, a central bank report showed.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Monday June 11 2018, Daily News Digest

credit card issuers

News Comments Today’s main news: How to invest in the sharing economy. Elevate expected to report $184.82M in sales. Funding Circle scraps downloadable loanbook. Ant Financial valued at $150B. Standard Chartered to apply for virtual bank license in Hong Kong. Today’s main analysis: Marcus update. Today’s thought-provoking articles: PeerIQ lending earnings insights. Alternative uses of fixed-income markets. LendingTree Personal Loan Offers […]

credit card issuers

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

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News Summary

United States

3 Ways to Invest in the Sharing Economy (Motley Fool) Rated: A

While not a hard asset like a home or car, lending services have also come into the crosshairs of the sharing economy. Lending Club, the nation’s largest peer-to-peer lender, gets borrowers lower interest rates and smaller fees than a credit card or other traditional lending source typically offers by connecting them with investors on its online platform.

Since becoming a public company in December 2014, Lending Club revenue has soared more than 50% as seeking out alternative means of funding has increased in popularity. That sounds like a great investment, but Lending Club has actually fallen on hard times. The stock is down 75% from its 2014 debut as a result.

Other concerns, like increased competition, have surfaced: Goldman Sachs‘ online-only bank Marcus is just one of them. But there is some hope for this “sharing” company as first-quarter 2018 revenue increased 22% on an 18% increase in lending origination.

Lending Earnings Insights: 2Q2018 (PeerIQ) Rated: AAA

Where are we in the credit cycle? Most lenders see the US consumer in a good place with high consumer confidence, home prices, and higher take-home pay from tax cuts. The economy is at or near full employment with low wage and productivity growth. GDP gains are driven by consumer spending, fueled in term by consumer credit (8% YOY growth – well ahead of GDP and wage growth). Over the next few quarters due to stimulus and short-term effects there may be robust GDP prints, however, 16 to 24 months out we expect a lower pace of growth and heightened recession risk.

Credit re-normalization continues across all major lending groups. Credit performance this quarter is generally in-line with expectations. We see some of the lowest charge-offs and delinquencies at near-prime and retail lenders such as Enova and OneMain. Online lenders such as LendingClub have increased their charge-off estimates by ~50 bps.

Card issuers are increasing loan loss reserves at a higher rate than loan growth, indicating expectations of higher losses going forward. American Express increased loan loss provisions by 35% although loan growth was only 16% and Discover increased loan loss provisions by 26% on loan growth of 9%. Capital One saw a drop in loans outstanding.

Read the full report here.

Marcus Update (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

GS Marcus Update

Personal loans are just the start, with possible expansion opportunities for Marcus into mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and insurance. There are 4 key product areas – Borrow, Spend, Save, Protect with 12 separate products listed with a focus on Clarity Money. Since its launch Marcus has served ~1.5 Mn customers with $3+ Bn loans originated and $20+ Bn in online deposits.

GS views their lack of legacy banking software as a competitive advantage and has invested heavily in building their platform. GS has invested, through capital spending and operating losses, $600 Mn, including reserves, up by $100 Mn.

GS is building Marcus as a business “for the next 50 years” but is expanding the personal loan program cautiously as the credit cycle may turn. GS wants to integrate the consumer platform with its wealth management business.

Source: Goldman Sachs

PeerIQ Webinar: Lending Earnings Insights Report – 2Q2018 (PeerIQ) Rated: B

PeerIQ is hosting a webinar by CEO Ram Ahluwalia on “Lending Earnings Insights 2Q2018” on Wednesday 6/13 at 3 p.m. EDT. We look forward to hosting you! Click to register and to add the invitation to your calendar.

$ 184.82 Million in Sales Expected for Elevate Credit (ELVT) This Quarter (StockNews Times) Rated: AAA

Equities analysts expect that Elevate Credit (NYSE:ELVT) will report $184.82 million in sales for the current quarter, Zacksreports. Two analysts have issued estimates for Elevate Credit’s earnings, with estimates ranging from $182.44 million to $187.20 million. Elevate Credit posted sales of $150.47 million during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 22.8%. The business is scheduled to issue its next earnings results on Monday, July 30th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Elevate Credit will report full-year sales of $803.08 million for the current fiscal year, with estimates ranging from $801.06 million to $805.10 million. For the next financial year, analysts expect that the firm will report sales of $930.53 million per share, with estimates ranging from $920.75 million to $940.30 million. Zacks’ sales averages are an average based on a survey of analysts that follow Elevate Credit.

Mulvaney Fires All 25 Members of CFPB Advisory Board (PJ Media) Rated: A

Mick Mulvaney, acting director of a controversial consumer finance bureau, fired an advisory board after the members criticized the new leadership for not taking their advice.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Wednesday that the 25 current Consumer Advisory Board members will be replaced, and will be ineligible to reapply to the board, the Washington Post reports.

Eleven advisory board members held a news conference Monday calling out Mulvaney for canceling several meetings — which are required to take place under the Dodd-Frank Act which created the agency.

ALTERNATIVE USES OF THE FIXED-INCOME MARKETS (All About Alpha) Rated: AAA

The report, called “Building Resilience into Portfolios,” explains that the traditional use of fixed income in a portfolio is quite straightforward. That use generally involves a long position on debt of various sorts (sovereign, corporate, developed or emerging markets), that is relied upon to reap premiums from duration and credit risk.

But there are alternative uses of these instruments, and given the “rapid pace of change within fixed-income markets” in recent years they have become more available than ever, with the goal of securing absolute return, “steady positive returns above cash.”

These strategies include the exploitation of relative valuation differentials and/or the taking of short positions in order to profit from rising yields.

One obvious problem is that the central banks are about to start (in some jurisdictions have started) raising rates, reversing the tailwind that has benefitted the traditional use of FI in recent years.

Alternative investors in FX, though, have the flexibility to avoid such problems. They can “avoid issues, sectors, or sub-categories of assets altogether, as they see fit, investing solely in their highest conviction views.”

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – May 2018 (Lending Tree) Rated: AAA

Offered APRs continue to rise for all borrowers, while lenders offer slightly lower loan amounts. Rate and loan amount offers varied widely among consumers, depending on factors including, but not limited to, credit score, income, and current debt obligations.

The most common reasons for seeking a personal loan are credit card refinancing and debt consolidation. These two categories comprise 63% of all loan inquiries.

Source: Lending Tree

Use Technology To Play The Real Estate Investment Market (Forbes) Rated: A

In Chicago, a new startup has introduced a tool that builds algorithms based on questions completed by the investor to establish the baselines. The tool then finds both on- and off-market deals that suit the preferences of the investor.

PayPal is launching a pop-up art exhibit in New York City (Tearsheet) Rated: A

PayPal wants its customers to get a tangible experience of what cash-back rewards look like, adding a physical and emotional association with the digital financial-services company.

PayPal is hosting a live walk-through pop-up exhibit in New York City on June 8 and June 9, the first time the company has hosted an experiential event of this kind. Anyone can attend the free event with music and refreshments. PayPal is the latest financial company to add realness to what many consumers see as abstract, transactional products.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Earns $ 10 Million in First Week (DS News) Rated: A

Atlanta-based real estate mogul Jay Morrison recently launched a new real estate crowdfundingprogram, and it’s finding some strong early success, having raised nearly $10 million in its first week.

The Tulsa Real Estate Fund is described as “the first African-American owned Regulation A+ Tier II crowdfund designed to revitalize urban communities across the U.S.” According to the group’s press release, the Tulsa Real Estate Fund “allows both accredited and non-accredited investors to collectively invest and own real estate projects around the country that are unique, diversified, and yield a reasonable rate of return.”

Ironhorse Funding Raises $ 30M of Capital from Crestline Investors (FinSmes) Rated: A

Ironhorse Funding, LLC, a Beverly, MA-based financing platform that provides operational and capital support for dealers and distributors in the motorcycle and powersports market, raised $30M strategic financing.

Crestline Investors made the investment through the firm’s Opportunity Fund III platform, which seeks to deploy capital where Crestline finds inefficiencies in the primary credit markets in North America and Europe.

The funding will be used to provide alternative financing solutions for consumers in the motorcycle and powersports market.

SBI HOLDINGS INC ORDINARY SHARES (OTCMKTS:SBHGF) on Focus After Report of Less Shorts (Fricisco Fastball) Rated: A

The stock of SBI HOLDINGS INC ORDINARY SHARES (OTCMKTS:SBHGF) registered a decrease of 3.53% in short interest. SBHGF’s total short interest was 3.16M shares in June as published by FINRA. Its down 3.53% from 3.28M shares, reported previously. With 11,600 shares average volume, it will take short sellers 273 days to cover their SBHGF’s short positions. The short interest to SBI HOLDINGS INC ORDINARY SHARES’s float is 1.59%.

The stock decreased 1.20% or $0.32 during the last trading session, reaching $26.41. About 3,352 shares traded. SBI Holdings, Inc. (OTCMKTS:SBHGF) has 0.00% since June 8, 2017 and is . It has underperformed by 12.57% the S&P500.

How two fintech entrepreneurs are rising from the ashes (San Francisco Business Times) Rated: A

Renaud Laplanche at Lending Club and Mike Cagney at SoFi were high-profile fintech founders, but each left under a cloud. Now they are seeking quick comebacks — and a measure of vindication.

Debt restructuring company Lendstreet receives $ 7m funding (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

US-based Lendstreet has just closed a $7 million series A equity round, led by Prudential Financial and Radicle Impact.

Prudential and Radicle join Lendstreet’s existing investors Accion, the Centre for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), Serious Change, Crunchfund, Kapor Capital, and Cross Culture Ventures in participating in the round.

Knowledge Gap Contributing To Housing Market And Affordability Concerns, Cautiousness (PR Newswire) Rated: A

Ten years after the 2008 housing crisis, Americans eye the housing market with caution, as more than half (53%) of Americans who have or plan to buy a home admit they’re concerned about their ability to afford a home in the current market, according to a recent study of college-educated adults. The findings, release today by national online lender and FDIC-insured bank Laurel Road, also reveal that Americans on average believe a similar housing crash will occur in the next five years, and nearly one-fifth of respondents anticipate a crash in less than one year.

The survey found that women in particular are potentially underestimating affordability, as they are significantly less likely than men (49% vs. 59%) to be familiar with the alternatives.

This lack of knowledge around alternative options potentially contributes to the fact that more than one-third (35%) of respondents – and 46% of millennials – do not feel confident that they could currently afford a 20% down payment. Women (45%) feel particularly less confident than men (24%), while more than two-fifths (42%) of student loan carriers do not feel confident.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle scraps downloadable loanbook (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has withdrawn its downloadable loanbook and stopped publishing loan performance data on a daily basis.

The peer-to-peer business lender announced on Thursday that it has launched a new statistics page which will be updated every three months.

The platform also announced that it has partnered with analytics firm AltFi Data who will provide independent verification of its quarterly loan information.

Foreign investment in UK technology firms doubles in just one year (The Telegraph) Rated: AAA

British tech businesses attracted $7.8bn of funding last year, which was almost double the amount received in 2016. Research by Dealroom and Tech Nation showed that the UK’s venture capital investment last year was higher than Germany’s total of $3.2bn and France, which brought in $2.8bn.

According to a report by EY, there was a 22pc increase in digital investment into the UK, which helped to offset a decline in investment to sectors such as a financial services and logistics, due to investor concerns over Brexit.

New SME funding hub will boost awareness of P2P (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

PEER-TO-PEER finance resources will be included in a new funding hub for high-growth businesses looking to scale up in the UK.

The state-backed development bank has partnered with 12 industry bodies to provide information on 17 types of finance, including P2P lending.

Silicon Valley CTO joins UK fintech MarketInvoice (PCR), Rated: A

Fintech start-up MarketInvoice has appointed Rija Javed as its chief technology officer (CTO) as the company looks to invest heavily into its technology. Rija Javed joins from Wealthfront, a leading Silicon Valley based start-up.

P2P fund boss Simon Champ exits Pollen Street Capital (AltFi News) Rated: B

P2P fund pioneer Simon Champ has left his role as head of the investment manager of the £735m P2P Global Investments trust, AltFi can exclusively reveal.

Champ was a founding partner of P2P Capital Solutions which later became MW Eaglewood Europe and was the driving force behind the launch of the P2P Global Investments trust (P2P GI), raising a large seed portfolio for the investment trust from respected fund managers such as Neil Woodford and Mark Barnett.

BNP Paribas Asset Management launches SME alternative lending platform, completes first UK loan (AltFi News) Rated: A

BNP Paribas Asset Management has completed its first UK loan on its new SME lending platform.

The loan, a six year senior unsecured amortising loan, was made to a specialist recruitment services company based in the West of England.

Leading the way (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

SINCE its fifteen minutes of fame back around ‘OB Day’ on 13 January, when excited media reports promised the dawn of a new era of high-tech banking, Open Banking has slipped back into the fintech background, accompanied from some quarters by accusations of having been something of a damp squib.

But such claims misunderstand the nature of the beast, says Imran Gulamhuseinwala, implementation trustee of the snappily-named Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) which develops and tests the APIs on which the  system is built.

There are a handful of peer-to-peer lending platforms already active in Open Banking, including Zopa and Lending Works.

LendInvest’s Buy to Let Product Propels Boom in Hiring as Demand Surges (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Online mortgage lender LendInvest reports it is scrambling to hire new employees due to the demand of its Buy-to-Let (BTL) product. The LendInvest team has now grown to 15 people in the short period since the  BTL product was launched in November 2017.

Pike, joined the team from Fleet Mortgages.

LendInvest has also hired field-based Business Development Manager, Shane Wallace to cover the East of England. Shane brings over 10 years’ experience from Aldermore, where he was most recently employed as a Commercial Mortgage Manager.

China

Jack Ma’s Ant Financial Valued Around $ 150 Billion After Funding Round (Wall Street Journal) Rated: AAA

China’s Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group Co. on Friday said it raised around $14 billion from domestic and global investors in one of the largest private-capital raises on record.

Standard Chartered says it will apply to operate a virtual bank in Hong Kong (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Hong Kong and London-listed Standard Chartered plans to apply for a virtual bank licence, making it the first traditional bank seeking a licence locally to operate purely online without physical branches.

European Union

The race to build Europe’s Robinhood: Invstr, Freetrade, Revolut, Dabbl and more (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Startups across Europe are racing to try and replicate the success of Robinhood, the hot US stock trading app. San Francisco-based Robinhood offers a zero-fee trading app that has taken off with young Americans. Founded in 2013, it claims to have 4 million customers and in May hit a valuation of $5.6 billion. This success has not gone unnoticed. Fast-growing UK fintech startup Revolut on Thursday announced plans to build a commission-free stock trading platform, similar to the way Robinhood works.

Brokers are charging people as much as £5.00 ($6.70) per trade and the user interfaces are typically clunky, slow and confusing for consumers. The pain points are clear for us and the room for improvement is massive. We’ve just done some research and found 94% of millennials don’t actually invest but do want to, Ackred said. There are 16 million millennials just in the UK and 100 million more in Europe who are new to investing and have no good options to start.

International

The Center for Financial Inclusion Digs Into the Global Findex 2017 Numbers (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Source: Lend Academy

The Center for Financial Inclusion, part of Accion, have released a follow up report digging into the Findex data and the picture is less rosy than what was highlighted in the World Bank’s initial report.

On the surface it looks like the world is making good progress towards financial inclusion with the Findex report showing that 68% of adults globally having some kind of bank account versus 61% in 2014 and 51% in 2011. That is rapid progress.

But CFI found a different story when just focusing on active accounts, those accounts that had some kind of transaction in the past 12 months. This takes the percentage down to 55% and what is worse the gap is widening between total accounts and active accounts indicating a growing number of people who open an account but never use it. This is true for both developing and high income countries but the gap is getting much wider in developing countries as shown in the graphic below.

Source: Lend Academy

SuperMoney Launches No-fee Financing Platform (DeBanked) Rated: A

At the Finovate Spring 2018 conference, CEO Miron Lulic and CFO Jesse Stockwell presented the company’s new SuperMoney No-fee Financing platform, which allows merchants to obtain point of sale financing from online lenders and banks.

The new platform allows a small business merchant, like a furniture store, to create a free profile that is co-branded with SuperMoney. With the profile, the merchant can easily see when a customer has applied for financing and follow up.

According to a Forrester Consulting study on SuperMoney’s website, businesses that offer point of sale financing enjoy an average increase in sales of 17 percent and an average increase in order value of 15 percent.

Spotting a Scamcoin: Ethconnect (Coin Clarity) Rated: B

While the term “lending platform” might sound harmless and even beneficial to society, it was never disclosed outright to whom the coins were being lent or for what exact purpose they were being lent (though they did have the courtesy to mention “volatility software” – a trading bot concept directly plagiarized from Bitconnect). They were in fact being “lent” to Ethconnect themselves. This lack of detail did not stop hundreds of people, blinded by the prospects of huge profits, from throwing thousands of dollars at the project. But also unlike Bitconnect, none of them would ever see another penny of it again.

Australia

Prospa founders admit float lost ‘vital momentum’ (Sidney Morning Herald) Rated: AAA

The co-founders of small business lender Prospa maintain the company can return to the public markets for a future float, after a last-minute regulatory query this week created “confusion” that sapped the listing of vital “momentum.”

India

Digital SME Lenders Bank On Co-Lending To Make Their Presence Felt (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: AAA

If corporate lending was the flavour of the season at the turn of the decade, then retail lending has captured the attention of financiers over the last few years. Now, it is lending to the country’s small and medium enterprises, which is attracting increased focus from both traditional and new-age financial sector entities.

Capital Float, ranked among the country’s largest digital lending platforms, disbursed Rs 1,500 crore to MSMEs in 2017-18 out of a total portfolio of Rs 2,500 crore, according to information provided by the company. The ticket size of loans ranged from Rs 50,000 given to small local businesses to Rs 8-10 lakh loaned to larger SMEs.

Latin America

Fintech Regulation Promotes Invocation In Brazil (Mondaq) Rated: AAA

Resolution no. 4.656/2.018 published by the Brazilian Central Bank on 26 April,  which regulated credit fintechs in Brazil, opens the door of the highly concentrated banking sector in Brazil, so that financial technology companies can offer products and financial services in the credit market. Today, credit fintechs already operate in the financial market, but always through a financial institution duly regulated by the Brazilian Central Bank (CB).

With this new regulation, two types of financial institutions with different business models were created. They are: the “Sociedade de Crédito Direto” (SCD) (“Direct Credit Company”), which will carry out credit operations only using its own financial resources, and the “Sociedade de Emprésimo entre Pessoas” (SEP), (Peer-to-Peer Loan Company), which will carry out credit operations only as a financial intermediary without retaining risks or using their own resources, known in the market as “peer-to-peer lending”. Both institutions, after approval by the Central Bank (CB), will be authorized to operate, only, through an electronic platform.

Asia

China’s fintech companies are exporting AI and big data to Asia’s ‘laggard’ banking markets (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Chinese fintech companies have made headway in expanding their business to Southeast Asian markets, as they increasingly find their know-how in big data and artificial intelligence being sought after by Asian financial institutions in risk management and compliance.

Online consumer finance platform Weshare, which offers consumer loans through its mobile app, says it is applying for a P2P licence from Indonesia’s central bank.

Korean web harvesting giant is ready to scrape data around the world (Korea Joongang Daily) Rated: A

We also have smaller fintech start-ups as our clients. One of them is Bomapp, an insurance service application that is designed to offer insurance advice and find redundant coverage of registered insurance. For a start-up like Bomapp, we don’t charge per piece of data because we acknowledge that start-ups lack funds. Instead, we agreed to take equity from Bomapp.

As P2P start-ups become more active, we also provide user data for them. Among our clients are Lendit and 8percent. They use the data to assess credit ratings and get information about individual asset size. They try to use the online data because the P2P companies pursue a different credit rating approach to banks. We see there is a great opportunity in the fintech industry because they are keen to venture into new businesses.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday May 15 2018, Daily News Digest

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments Today’s main news: Prosper loan originations up 27% year-over-year, over $2B co-sponsored securitizations closed. Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive. Renren investors seek to block asset sales. PayMate acquires Z2P Technologies. Today’s main analysis: Singapore’s biggest bank vs. China’s tech giants. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 80% of startup money goes to three states. The Sharestates story: $1B […]

McKinsey Asia Personal Financial Services Survey Customers and Digital only Banks

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Prosper Loan Originations up 27% Year-over-Year; Over $ 2 Billion of Co-Sponsored Securitizations Closed (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Prosper today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2018. Loan originations increased 27% year-over-year to $744 million, driven by strong demand for the company’s personal loan product and stable funding.

Financial highlights include:

  • Total Net Revenue, which includes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, was flat year-over-year at $30.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to $30.8 million in Q1 2017.
  • Core Revenue(1), which excludes the non-cash impact related to warrants to purchase preferred stock, increased $11.6 million or 34% year-over-year to $45.7 million in Q1 2018 compared to $34.2 million in Q1 2017.
  • Net Loss decreased by $12.6 million to ($11.4) million in Q1 2018 compared to a Net Loss of ($24.0) million in Q1 2017.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased $13.6 million to $4.5 million in Q1 2018 compared to ($9.0) million in Q1 2017, the fourth consecutive quarter of positive Adjusted EBITDA(1) generated by Prosper.
Key Operating and Financial Metrics (Unaudited)
(in thousands)
Three Months Ended March 31,
2018 2017
Loan Originations $ 744,127 $ 585,590
Transaction Fees, Net 31,354 26,869
Servicing Fees, Net 7,184 6,154
Total Net Revenue 30,450 30,845
Core Revenue (1) 45,729 34,152
Net Loss (11,401 ) (24,021 )
Adjusted EBITDA(1) 4,520 (9,039 )

80% of start-up money goes to three states — here’s what one visionary is doing to help spread the wealth (Business Insider) Rated: AAA

Baird: And the microfinance industry is — $30 billion a year around the world is lent in $500 chunks to small businesses, near a 100% repayment rate.

Microfinance is a tool. All investing is a tool. Every microfinance bank, every bank is neither good nor bad, they’re amoral. It’s just what are people trying to do with it. I’ve seen microfinance banks that act in extractive ways and their primary goal is extract as much profit out of poor communities as possible. I’ve seen payday lenders do the same thing. I’ve also seen microfinance banks that are very good and say, “Our core goal is building wealth for the community and we’ve structured our business in a way that works for us.”

One percent of start-up investment goes to African-Americans. Two percent of start-up investment goes to women. There are a lot of people who are overlooked.  So roughly 80% of start-up investment goes to three states: New York, Massachusetts, California. If you’re in Ohio or Florida or Nairobi or Mumbai, it’s really hard to get your idea into the system.

The Story of Sharestates: From Startup to $ 1 Billion in 3 Years (Lend Academy) Rated: AAA

Now, just over a year later, they have announced they recently crossed the $1 billion mark in originations. The company did so in just over 3 years, having officially launched in February 2015, just before LendIt USA that year. They are the second company in the real estate crowdfunding space to do so and are on our list as one of the ten options available for accredited investors in the marketplace lending space.

Originations in the lending space is only one metric. Any lending company’s survival depends on the quality of the loans they are making. According to the Sharestates’ website, investors have earned an average 10.54 percent annualized return. They also report 0% loss of principal for their investors. As of last year when we checked in the company was profitable which sets them up for continued success going forward. We’ve seen very few companies in the marketplace lending space broadly achieve this goal.

BuildDirect Partners With Affirm (Globe Newswire) Rated: A

BuildDirect, the first technology platform for the home improvement industry, today announced its partnership with Affirm Inc., a financial technology company that provides transparent payment alternatives to traditional credit. Now, U.S.-based BuildDirect customers have easy access to flexible and transparent financing options to pay for home improvement and renovation materials over time. At the point of sale, shoppers will see exactly how much they’ll pay in fixed monthly installments over the term they choose.

Banks struggle to combat the cyber crime bad guys (Financial Times) Rated: A

Digital banking has been a big positive for the financial services industry, though it has opened companies to greater cyber risk; cyber criminals now have a lot more entry points when it comes to getting access to funds illicitly; banks have increased their spending on defense but it isn’t enough as they also need to construct better, more secure systems; the CEO of Standard Chartered writes in the FT that banks can better utilize the data they collect, design tech better and work more closely with governments to catch bad actors.

Blockchains Could Be the Answer to Fairer Lending Systems (Nasdaq) Rated: A

The advancement of blockchain technology, this is poised to change. Through the technology, anyone anywhere in the world can raise financing from peers without having to rely on the traditional credit scores and the often heavily bureaucratic conventional mortgage processes.

Blockchain solutions such as Homelend  are making it possible for borrowers to directly reach lenders without depending on any intermediary and with no paperwork. The whole process is safeguarded by smart contracts to ensure that all parties in the deal adhere to their part of the bargain. According to Aneeza Haleem , a senior account manager at Cognizant Technology Solutions, blockchain-powered peer-to-peer mortgage financing significantly reduces the costs involved in the mortgage process.

Will Wells Fargo hurt Zelle by improving on it? (Payments Source) Rated: A

The irony of the explosive growth of mobile P2P is this: As consumers get more comfortable with paying one another through mobile devices, they’re thinking of P2P less as a service that one should find within a bank’s app.

This is a problem for Early Warning’s Zelle, the bank-run P2P network whose main selling point is its integration with banks. It’s a sharp contrast to rivals such as Venmo, which styled itself on a social media app; and Facebook and Apple, which took their own messaging platforms and blended P2P payments into the interface.

Capital One buys digital identity start-up Confyrm (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Capital One has acquired San Francisco-based digital identity start-up Confyrm as it seeks to capture the market for consumer identity services.

Financial details were not disclosed, but as part of the deal Andrew Nash, founder and CEO of Confyrm, has become managing vice-president of Capital One’s consumer identity services. No word on what happens to the rest of the staff.

Confyrm was founded five years ago and offers help against online fraud.

Where Bank of America uses AI, and where its worries lie (American Banker) Rated: A

Bank of America spends $3 billion developing and buying technology every year, and about three times that on keeping its existing IT infrastructure going, says David Reilly, global banking and markets technology chief information officer.

As you might expect, some of that goes to artificial intelligence technology. The bank does not disclose how much.

An old-school fraud analytics program might see a customer using a card in a place they have never used a card before and block the transaction.

AI can do better.

The one area where banks and fintechs want more regulation (American Banker) Rated: A

Banks, fintech firms and data aggregators are asking regulators to provide more clarity on how to handle consumer data and who is responsible for leaks when it is shared between firms — a request that’s seemingly a reversal from the deregulatory approach the industry often takes.

The potential liability stemming from consumer data has become a critical concern for the financial industry as more data aggregators and fintech firms rapidly enter the space, seeking access to customers’ bank account information in order to offer loans and other products.

Could US Post Offices Become Banks? Here’s How The Plan Would Work (10 News) Rated: A

Now, there are a couple different ways Congress could build banking into the U.S. Postal Service. The first approach would just cover the basics.

That means offering low-dollar checking accounts and debit cards to low-income earners. That would at least offer basic financial services to all Americans, regardless of wealth. And it probably wouldn’t be too tough politically because the big banks typically aren’t interested in these customers.

But Gillibrand’s proposal would go further, allowing the postal service to also make loans of up to $1,000 with a super low interest rate around 2 percent, even to the poorest Americans. Because many of those loans would be at risk of not being paid back, some experts say the interest rate will have to be higher, maybe 25 percent. But that would still be a lot lower than rates from payday lenders, which often have people pay back three or four times what they borrowed.

Citizens Financial To Launch Online Consumer Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group announced on Monday (May 14) plans to launch Citizens Access, a nationwide direct-to-consumer online bank.

In a press release, Citizens Financial said the digital platform will offer FDIC-insured deposits products aimed at serving people who want to save and want the flexibility of an online banking service. The company said it will provide digital deposit services at attractive rates and lower costs to help consumers save more for the future. The platform will be launched in the third quarter and will be available throughout the U.S.

 

Now Is the Time to Refinance Student Loans (Pharmacy Times) Rated: B

Refinancing your student loans from pharmacy school can potentially save you a significant amount of money while providing the convenience of making one payment a month. Keep in mind refinancing may not be for everyone. Individuals with a poor credit history, low salary from a pharmacy residency or fellowship, or those who want to keep the provisions in federal loans may want to closely consider their options before jumping right into refinancing their loans.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle launches new borrower referral incentive (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle is offering £1,500 in Amazon vouchers to anyone who refers a business that takes out a loan of £25,000 or more with the peer-to-peer lending platform.

The UK’s third-largest lender to small businesses said the borrowers may need the cash to grow, refurbish, buy stock or equipment, hire more staff or simply boost their cash flow.

HMRC updates crypto investors on tax confusion (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

However, a HMRC representative has told Peer2Peer Finance News that the tax office will deal with cryptocurrency related tax bills “on a case-by-case basis”.

The 2017-18 tax year saw huge volatility across the cryptocurrency sector, with Bitcoin reaching a high of £13,840 in mid-December before ending the tax year at approximately £4,750 per coin. This has led to confusion among retail investors regarding their tax liability, particularly if they sold out of the market at a high, then reinvested the profits only to see any gains wiped out.

Frederic Nze of Oakam (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • What was the catalyst that led to the founding of Oakam.
  • The loan products that Oakam offers.
  • The difference between small dollar loans in the US and the UK.
  • How Oakam is able to find their customers.
  • What percentage of their customers apply for a loan on a smartphone.
  • Why they still have physical stores where people can apply for loans in person.
  • How they have refined their underwriting models over the years.
  • How they are dealing with increased fraud via their online channels.
  • The interest rates they charge.
  • How their customers are able to reduce these rates for future loans.

Technology not size is key to banking success (Financial Times) Rated: A

Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays and now head of 10x Future Technologies, writes in the FT that technology is key to the battle with banks; having technology that is more nimble and focused on the customer will help to better position challengers; UK challengers banks have found it hard to compete against the big names, even with recent consolidation; understanding what the customer needs most and allowing them to access services anytime and anywhere is what firms should focus on.

Fintech most popular sector for HNW investors (Investment International) Rated: B

Capitama’s current registered investors have a total annual investment capacity of £7.6bn. Of this total capacity, investors have expressed an annual investment capacity of £5bn into private equity opportunities, with £2.3bn total annual investment in Debt and Income opportunities. The interest of the registered investors in Philanthropic and Social Impact opportunities currently stands at £300m per year. This is an additional theme on Capitama given the rise in interest in these organisations from wealthy individuals and organisations.

69% of Capitama investors are interested in fintech investment opportunities and 67% want to see software and technology deals. Of the nine different investment types available on Capitama, Growth funding is the most popular, with 83% of Capitama registered Investors interested in this area, followed by Early stage investments (72%), Buy-outs (63%), and Real Estate (47%).

 

 

China

Renren Investors Seek to Block Asset Sales to Chief, SoftBank (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

A group of Renren Inc. investors are trying to block the private sale of company-owned assets to a consortium that includes its own top executive and major shareholder SoftBank Group Corp.

Renren announced the complex deal in April, which it said was necessary to address concerns that the SEC might deem it an investment company — forcing its delisting if it failed to obtain relevant licenses.

The letter accused management of trying to transfer the assets at values equal to or lower than their book value, neglecting their duty to smaller shareholders and misrepresenting certain financial statements. For example, it says the shares in SoFi — one of America’s biggest student loan refinancers — are being sold at a valuation of $269 million when they could be worth double that amount.

US online lending model is unproven, Eisman of The Big Short fame says in Hong Kong (South China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Steven Eisman, famous for successfully shorting the US subprime market before the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, has said the online lending business model used in the United States is unsustainable, and that losses from Canadian mortgages could widen.

The one pocket of financial market anomaly in the US was online lending, where, he said, the underwriting of peer-to-peer credit was unproven, as selling a loan to investors such as hedge funds and other financial institutions was an unsustainable business model.

“The problem [with P2P lending] is that selling a loan [online] is not the same as selling a book. You buy a book on Amazon and that’s the end of the transaction. When you make a loan, that’s the beginning of a relationship. The question is how you manage that relationship,” said Eisman.

Soft Chinese Tech IPOs Test Next Wave of Listings (Wall Street Journal) Rated: A

More than a dozen technology companies from China are rushing to go public abroad, in an enticing opportunity for investors but one that has generated poor returns recently.

Shares of most Asian tech companies that have listed in New York and Hong Kong since the start of 2017 have notched lackluster performances, with the bulk trading below their initial public offering prices after strong early gains.

European Union

Bondora Go & Grow – Bondora Rolling Out New Product (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Go & Grow is designed for the passive investors as hands off p2p lending. One of the main advantages is that Bondora says it is tax optimised.

The Bondora Go & Grow product features a target interest rate of 6.75% which will accrue daily. It runs completly on autoinvest. The investor just needs to join it and pay money into the Go & Grow account (or transfer it from the normal Bondora account). The Go & Grow account promises daily liquidity. There is a 1 EUR withdrawal fee making small withdrawals expensive but for portfolios of 1000 EUR or more and usual investment horizons this fee is negligible.

Three Year Old Fintech Mintos is Profitable (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Latvian Fintech Mintos is reporting a profit in its brief three year old history. According to the company, the global online marketplace for loans has seen their revenue increase more than four-fold in 2017 to € 2.1 million generating a net profit for the year of € 197,000. Mintos says it has experienced significant growth, making it the “peer-to-peer lending market leader for continental Europe” with a 38% market share.

In aggregate, Mintos has topped € 660 million in investments by investors and the company expects the amount of loans funded to reach EUR 1 billion before the end of this year. As of May 2018, Mintos claims more than 58,000 investors using the platform and this number is expected to surpass 100,000 at some point in 2017. Currently, investors may expect an average 12.1% rate of return.

International

The 30 most valuable VC-backed companies in the world (Pitch Book) Rated: AAA

Ridehailing giants Uber and Didi Chuxing, based in San Francisco and Beijing, respectively, lead the list of most valuable private companies around the globe. And moving down the rankings, the pattern set at the top continues. A total of five of the companies are in the ridehailing industry, and 26 of the 30 are based in either the US or China.

 

Source: Pitch Book

What is Libra Credit: Digital Assets as the Future for International Credit (Coin Central) Rated: AAA

Libra Credit is offering a decentralized lending Ethereum-based ecosystem that helps users get open access to credit anywhere and anytime.

As long as a user has digital assets, they will be able to borrow money from Libra Credit by using those digital assets as collateral. Additionally, these users will be able to build an international credit history – a concept that Libra Credit and its partners plan to push to be recognized globally.

Source: Coin Central

Libra Credit plans to charge a fixed 8% annual interest rate charged by Libra Credit, which is party enabled by its partnerships with traditional finance institutions. The rate is competitive with that of other peer-to-peer lending platforms such as Lending Club and Salt, but isn’t tied to the availability of a peer match.

Source: Coin Central

How Misbehaving Australian Banks Are Causing Global Pain (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Australia’s four biggest banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp.National Australia Bank Ltd. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. — have been plagued by a string of scandals. The accusations run the gamut from giving misleading financial advice to trying to manipulate a benchmark interest rate. Simmering public resentment — stoked by a sense banks were gouging fees to fuel record profits and executive pay — boiled over last year when Commonwealth Bank was sued for systemically breaching anti-money laundering rules.

The government has announced tough new penalties for corporate wrongdoing and beefed up the regulator’s powers; analysts have trimmed earnings forecasts and speculate future legislation could force the biggest banks to sell off advice businesses.  All this comes at a time when bank profits are under pressure from a slowing housing market, rising costs and increased competition. Most of the banks are trying to simplify their operations and sell non-core operations.

Citi Inks $ 100 Million Trade Finance Deal With Asian Development Bank (PYMNTS) Rated: A

Global financial institution Citi is expanding its existing partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to share risk in trade finance transactions, reports in The Financial said Friday (May 11).

The ADB’s Trade Finance Program reached a deal worth $100 million with Citi that sees the financial institutions (FIs) sharing risk on trade finance transactions in an effort to bolster support for trade and access to finance across Asia.

 

Australia/New Zealand

FINNIES 2018: Here are all the finalists for Australia’s fintech industry awards (Business Insider) Rated: A

89 companies and individuals were chosen for Australia’s only industry-backed fintech awards, from a record field of more than 200 entries.

Excellence in Business Lending
● Finstro
● Prospa
● Spotcap Australia
● The Invoice Market – tim
● Trade Ledger

Excellence in Consumer Lending
● HashChing
● MoneyMe
● MoneyPlace
● RateSetter Australia
● SocietyOne

Robot financial adviser granted FMA exemption (Radio New Zealand News) Rated: A

The country has its first robot financial adviser after KiwiWealth was given an exemption by the Financial Markets Authority from the current law which requires humans to give financial and investment advice.

But Mr Bishop said it would still have human advisors offer detailed advice and have control of the robot.

India

PayMate Acquires Digital Lending Platform Z2P Technologies to Benefit SMEs (BW Disrupt) Rated: AAA

PayMate, an early pioneer in India’s payments industry and a leading player in electronic Business-to-Business (B2B) payments space, announced today the acquisition of Z2P (Zaitech Technology Pvt. Ltd.), a digital lending platform which provides hassle-free and real-time credit using social and banking data along with proprietary analytics and AI.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by May 2018 and it follows the announcement in February of this year by PayMate of its B2B partnership agreement with Visa.

As a result of the acquisition, PayMate acquires an innovative and proven lending solution in Z2P, which when combined with PayMate’s proprietary B2B payments platform will revolutionize the way businesses manage their payment operations, cashflow, and access to growth capital. PayMate plans to partner with banks and NBFCs to improve the flow of credit to SMEs.

Canada

Last week, Power Financial CEO Jeff Orr told reporters he plans to invest more money in fintech startups as the company looks to find technologies that can be incorporated into its business model and avoid disruptions that have hurt other sectors.

Widely known on the Street for its empire of financial advisers and investment products, Power Financial has spent $320-million in the fintech sector – with more than half the funds being allocated toward online robo-adviser Wealthsimple.

Asia

Singapore’s Biggest Bank Takes on China Giants in Fintech Battle (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

 

Almost 55% of customers say they would consider branchless digital-only bank

Source Bloomberg

Gupta credits his early recognition of the threat to his early days in Citigroup’s transaction banking division, unusual for a bank CEO, who tend to hail from the retail or investment banking arms of their institutions. That background taught him both the nuts and bolts of banking and the importance of technology, Gupta said. He also dabbled briefly but unsuccessfully in the startup world, when he quit Citigroup in 2001 to found an Internet portal in India, around the time the dotcom bubble was bursting.

Latin America

Morgan Stanley Goes After Brazilian FinTech Market (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

Bloomberg, citing four people with direct knowledge of the matter, reported that Morgan Stanley purchased $14 million in local subordinated bonds from online consumer lender Geru Tecnologia e Servicos. The Geru bonds, which the company issued in December of 2017, have a four-year maturity and pay about 11.2 percent each year, noted the report.

The company is also reportedly in talks with international investors about raising $50 million via an equity round that QMS Capital is handling. QMS has a 10 percent stake in Geru. General Atlantic could also be an investor in the round of fundraising, noted the report.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor