Friday July 5 2019, Weekly News Digest

Friday July 5 2019, Weekly News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage secures $200M. Funding Circle plummets 20%. Zopa to raise 200M GBP pre-IPO. RateSetter Isa attracts over 250M GBP in subscriptions. OakNorth doubles staff. Funding Societies tied up in SME financing. Today’s main analysis: Recession talk, global easing, and SoFi rated pass-thru innovation. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 10 years of marketplace […]

The post Friday July 5 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Friday July 5 2019, Weekly News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Southeast Asia

Other

News Summary

United States

Kabbage secures 0M to fuel its AI-based loans platform for small businesses (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

Kabbage, the AI-based small business loans platform backed by SoftBank and others, is adding more firepower to its lending machine: the Atlanta-based startup has secured an additional $200 million in the form of a revolving credit facility from an unnamed subsidiary of a large life insurance company, managed and administered by 20 Gates Management, and Atalaya Capital Management.

The money comes on the heels of a $700 million securitization Kabbage secured just three months ago and it is notable not just for its size but its terms: it’s a four-year facility, a length of time that underscores a level of confidence in the company’s performance.

Recession Talk and Global Easing; SoFi Rated Pass-Thru Innovation (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

In FinTech financing news, Ocrolus, led by CEO Sam Bobley, successfully raised $24 million in their Series B led by Oak HC/FT.

Source: PeerIQ, Goldman Sachs

SoFi Pass Thru Security

SoFi this week secured a provisional A-rating from DBRS on a $200 MM pass-thru security consisting of student refi loans [ PSR and announcement ]. Notably, the structure is the first CUSIP that does not rely on over-collateralization or subordination to provide credit enhancement for investors. This is a promising innovation from the first FinTech to crack open the securitization market for student refi loans.

Ten Years of Investing in Marketplace Lending (Lending Academy) Rated: AAA

This month marks ten years since I made my first investment in what was then called peer to peer lending.

Ten Ways Marketplace Lending Has Changed Since 2009

  1. Scale
  2. The Rise of Institutional Investors
  3. The Rise of Automation

Home Affordability in the “13 Original Colonies” (DS News) Rated: A

To celebrate the Fourth of July, LendingTree, the nation’s largest online loan marketplace, has taken a look at the states that were present at the birth of the country,” said LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze.

New Hampshire is the most affordable of the original 13 states, with a median home value of $244,900 and a median salary of $71,305. New Hampshire capital Concord is also the most affordable capital, with a median home value of $212,600, and a median salary of $61,310.

The least affordable state is New York, with a median home value of $293,000, which is less than Massachuset’s median value of $352,600, but New York’s median income is slightly less, at $62,765, plus an affordability surplus of just $292.

Embracing The Digital Lending Revolution (Monja Blog) Rated: A

A recent report by McKinsey & Company pointed out that in the traditional lending process of most banks, the “time to decision” for small business loans is usually from three to five weeks, while the “time to cash” can take up to three months. Personal loans usually have shorter processing times but still, take days or even weeks.

Digital lending helps banks retain individual and business customers by making the process more convenient and faster. According to an extensive survey by the American Bankers Association in 2018, an overwhelming majority of banks agree that some level of digitalization is vital to keeping their loan customers from going elsewhere.

Funds raised for direct lending hit a fresh high this year, raising concerns the market could be running a little hot amid the deluge.

Capital One keeps closing branches, even as rivals open them (American Banker) Rated: A

The McLean, Va., company, with roughly $373 billion of assets, has shuttered more than half of its branches over the past decade, including nearly 50 in the second quarter alone, according to a recent analysis by Sandler O’Neill & Partners. It now has fewer than 500 branches in eight states and the District of Columbia.

Policing The Internet Is Critical To Protecting Online Lending Consumers (Forbes) Rated: A

In May, the United States Federal Reserve issued its “

How Two College Dropouts Made $ 860 Million by the Time They Were 23 (Fortune) Rated: A

They are the founders and top executives of Brex Inc. a fintech startup recently valued at $2.6 billion, with an unlikely origin story.

Brex, which launched its first product last year, has become a fintech darling, catapulting its founders into the ranks of the richest entrepreneurs — on paper at least. Today their stakes in the company are worth an estimated $430 million each, according to an analysis by EquityZen, a marketplace for shares of tech firms that haven’t yet gone public.

A ‘turtle bank’ plays catch-up in small-business lending (American Banker) Rated: B

Provident Financial in Iselin, N.J., has partnered with a fintech to become a stronger small-business lender.

The $9.8 billion-asset company is working with Fundation to offer unsecured small-dollar loans to commercial clients. While available in Provident’s more than 80 branches, applications for loans as big as $250,000 are also being accepted online.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle shocks the City, plummeting 20% after slashing growth forecasts thanks to Brexit (Evening Standard) Rated: AAA

The FTSE 250 company now expects 20% revenue growth this year, half its previous guidance of 40%, amid slumping demand for loans from small businesses.

The latest miserable update sent its shares down 20%, or 34p, to 129.6p and piles more pain on investors after a torrid nine months on the stock market. Since going public the shares have fallen 70% amid wider concerns about the peer-to-peer lending model.

Funding Circle bins the boasts as Brexit bites (Brinkwire) Rated: A

As if to show what’s possible, the online lending platform had itself valued at a remarkable £1.5bn in the flotation last year. Investors were invited to ignore current losses and feel the growth in revenues – up 55% to £142m in 2018, it turned out.

Few businesses, even fintech operators with smart kit and a big marketing budget, can sustain that pace, but Funding Circle still reckoned 40% was on the cards this year.

Companies & Markets show: Fintech’s big bang (Investors Chronicle) Rated: A

Digital editor Graeme Davies in discussion with James Norrington and Alex Newman on the latest problems for Funding Circle, Jupiter’s fund manager departure and the massive opportunities in the fin tech space both now and in the future.

Is Funding Circle the barometer for SME opinions on Brexit? (Daily Fintech) Rated: AAA

Loans under management on the platform are up 37% for the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, currently sitting at £3.5 billion. Originations are up 14% on the prior corresponding period, at £1.2 billion. All healthy figures in their own right.

separate study by academics at St Andrew’s University found that in 2016, 25% of businesses viewed Brexit as a major obstacle to their success. This number had jumped from 16% in the year prior, when they were surveyed right after the referendum.

Zopa plans £200m fundraise ahead of bank launch and IPO (P2P Finance) Rated: AAA

ZOPA is reportedly looking to raise up to £200m as it gears up for its bank launch and a possible stockmarket flotation.

The peer-to-peer consumer lender is in talks with private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds about the fresh funding, which could be secured in the next few months, chief executive Jaidev Janardana (pictured) told Bloomberg.

RateSetter’s Isa attracts more than £250m in subscriptions (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: AAA

RateSetter has revealed that its Isa has attracted over £250m in subscriptions by the end of June.

The P2P lender’s RateSetter Isa — which was launched in February 2018 — received £50m of Isa inflows in the last three months alone.

More than 600,000 customers have used RateSetter to invest or borrow and it has originated £3.3bn of loans, which has generated over £135m in returns for investors to date.

FINTECH UNICORN OAKNORTH DOUBLES STAFF (Business Cloud) Rated: AAA

Challenger bank OakNorth has doubled its staff after securing more than $1 billion in funding.

The London-based unicorn has also signed a five-year deal to provide its technology platform, OakNorth Analytical Intelligence, to Dutch lender NIBC Bank.

With a valuation of $2.8bn, it has rapidly grown to become one of Europe’s most valuable companies, having raised more than $1bn, a record for a European FinTech, from the likes of Japan’s SoftBank Group.

Moneybox launches ISA partnership with OakNorth Bank (AltFi News) Rated: A

OakNorth’s growing role as the go-to ISA partner to the digital disruptors of UK fintech has been further cemented. The bank, which was briefly Europe’s most valuable fintech earlier this year, has today joined forces with Moneybox to offer the latter’s 200k-strong, and growing, user base a Cash Lifetime ISA.

The Moneybox Cash Lifetime ISA, with an interest rate of 1.4 per cent, is designed to help customers who are saving for their first home with its government-backed 25 per cent bonus up to £1,000 per year. Users can open an account with £1.

Nutmeg is another fintech offering the Lifetime ISA while, Skipton – the UK’s fourth largest building society – says it has had over 130,000 accounts opened to date.

OakNorth also powered tax-wrapped savings accounts for Monzo’s c.2m customers in March, although they were not Lifetime ISAs. OakNorth reported a 220 per cent increase in profits last year to £33.9m.

FIBA to publish default rates of lenders (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: A

Adam Tyler, executive chairman at FIBA, said the move followed concerns about the transparency of default rates in the industry, which was raised by members and lender partners.

Mark Posniak, managing director at Octane Capital, initiated the conversation about default interest last week via LinkedIn.

Growth Street rockets past £500m of matched loans (Business Love London) Rated: A

Growth Street, which is reinventing the business overdraft, has hit a big milestones in June. It has now matched over £500m worth of investor funds on its platform since launch in 2014.

LendingCrowd partners with Brismo for verified returns data (Fintech Finance) Rated: A

LendingCrowd, Scotland’s only fintech lending platform, has today announced that it is the latest leading marketplace to partner with Brismo to provide sophisticated and independently verified performance metrics for investors.

Brismo is a London-based provider of lending performance data that uses detailed loan information to analyse and verify returns, allowing investors to perform like-for-like analysis.

Purplebricks $ 5m US retreat shows startups need to slow down (Sifted) Rated: A

Britain’s online estate agent Purplebricks this week said it would pull out of the US to focus on its hometurf.

The peer-to-peer industry isn’t doing enough to protect investors (City AM) Rated: A

Many peer-to-peer lenders target unsophisticated retail investors, who can invest as little as £100. And yet, there is a relatively high cost to on-board small investors, because platforms have to handle customer calls, and anti-money laundering requirements.

There have been dozens of failures, but the closure of Lendy has shocked the industry. The high-profile peer-to-peer lender accrued more than £160m on its loan book, and by the time the administrators were called, £90m was believed to be in default.

Lendingblock partners with institutional crypto platform Caspian (Institutional Asset Manager), Rated: B

Lendingblock, a regulated, open exchange for institutional borrowing and lending of digital assets, has partnered with Caspian, the institutional crypto trading platform. 

This partnership enables essential market infrastructure for borrowing and lending digital assets to be scaled to institutions globally.

China

Breakneck growth in China’s credit-card debt since 2012 raises worries about a potential bust (South China Morning Post) Rated: AAA

Credit-card debt has grown more than sixfold in China since 2012, mirroring booms in other Asian markets that ended badly and raising concerns about the potential risks to Chinese banks, according to a new report from S&P Global Ratings.

The credit rating agency said that unsecured consumer lending in the mainland is expected to increase at a rate of 20 per cent annually for the next two years, a slight slowdown, but reminiscent of problematic booms in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

Source: South China Morning Post

It is rash to expect a rerun of past stock market booms in China (Financial Times) Rated: A

One way to profit from Chinese equities is to play a familiar paradox. Market participants know that when economic growth ebbs significantly, Shanghai share prices tend to rally.

The key to this incongruity might be called the “Communist party put”. In the same way that Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, used to relax US monetary policy when dynamism stalled, a tactic known as the “Greenspan put”, China’s ruling party often steps in when commerce starts to wilt.

Regulators curb market irregularities (Ecna) Rated: A

China has spared no efforts to carry out supply-side reform and fight against financial market irregularities by better regulating high-risk institutions to make overall risk manageable, officials of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said on Thursday.

In the past two years, China reduced high-risk assets worth 13.74 trillion yuan ($2 trillion), restraining the flow of resources from the real economy — the part of the economy that produces goods and services — to the virtual economy, said Zhou Liang, vice-chairman of the CBIRC, at a news conference.

European Union

Fintech Lender creditshelf Doubles Loan Volume in First Half of 2019 (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

creditshelf Aktiengesellschaft, a Germany based online lender, says it lending volume has more than doubled in volume during the first 6 months of 2019. In comparing the first half of 2019 versus the first six months of 2018,  creditshelf reports that the volume of arranged loans was  € 35.8 million or 132 % higher year-on-year (prior at € 15.4 million).

June 2019 was the strongest month in creditshelf’s history with arranged loans of € 12.2 million.

The company says the pipeline for the second half of the year is well filled.

PropertyBridges attracts first tranche of peer-to-peer loans for Limerick housing project in record time (Irish Examiner) Rated: A

A project to develop 16 houses in Pallaskenry, Co Limerick, is well on track to raise the €2.4m in funding that it pitched out to peer-to-peer investors just a few weeks ago, having very quickly raised the first tranche of €665,000.

PropertyBridges.com, who are leading the financial management of the project, will raise the remainder in three further tranches when the development progresses over the next 12 months.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes June 2019 (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Arboribus is listed for the last time, as the platform will cease to originate new loans.

Generic Looks to Launch Tokenized Peer to Peer Lending Platform (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

Blockchain startup Generic wants to create a tokenized bridge for peer to peer lending/merchant cash advanced credit, according to a note from the company. While not live yet, Generic claims it will “create a direct bridge between users and companies looking for funds, without an intermediary.”

FinTech is ‘new normal’ as majority are regular users (FS Tech) Rated: B

A global survey of 883 consumers from the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Australasia, by financial advisory company deVere Group found that 55 per cent were using FinTech services online or via mobile on a regular basis to access and manage their money.

Australia

Loans.com.au passes on the full rate cut, now offers mortgage rates as low as 3.03% (Mozo) Rated: AAA

This afternoon, however, loans.com.au will be bucking the trend. The online lender announced it will be passing on the cut in full to its variable home loan customers, effective immediately.

The changes will apply to both new and existing customers, and will see owner occupiers looking at rates as low as 3.03% (3.05% p.a. comparison rate*) – among the more impressive on the market. Below, we’ve compiled some stellar loans.com.au home loans for you to check out.

India

Expectations of the Fintech Industry From the Union Budget of 2019 (Entrepreneur) Rated: AAA

The online lending industry has emerged as a massive relief for both individuals and small businesses that have historically been facing a lack of funds and were rendered underserved by traditional financial institutions. But for the digital model to truly thrive, fintech lenders need to have ready access to the credit guarantee schemes being initiated by the government to build a supportive financial structure. For instance, recent government initiatives like that of SIDBI wherein loans can be provided in under an hour, or its subsidiary MUDRA have only been supporting banks, NBFCs, and micro-finance institutions. But their penetration levels are relatively low, because of which a substantial portion of these funds remain unutilized. Therefore, the fintech industry expects the government to extend credit and allow the players to participate in these recent initiatives and other measures being undertaken.

‘P2P model is a solution for many small businesses’ (Deccan Herald) Rated: A

P2P model is a solution for many small businesses that are struggling for funds. Digital lending has changed the face of many developing countries’ economies because of the transparent environment and paperless approvals.

So, from the perspective of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) industry in India, it has tremendous opportunities because this industry is still at a nascent stage and requires encouragement through tax benefits.

Canada

BMO LAUNCHES DIGITAL-ONLY LINE OF CREDIT SERVICE (Betakit) Rated: AAA

Bank of Montreal is launching a new digital-only lending solution, allowing customers to apply for a personal line of credit directly from their mobile devices.

Through the new solution, BMO said customers can apply for credit by taking a short application, receiving a decision on their loan within minutes. Customers will get a real-time decision on their application, as well as faster access to credit, allowing them to tap into their loans within 48 hours of approval.

Asia

Funding Societies in SME Financing Tie-Up (Finews) Rated: AAA

Funding Societies has entered into a partnership with Lazada Malaysia to offers merchants on the e-commerce marketplace short-term financing, Malaysian newspaper «The Star» reported on Thursday.

As part of the tie-up, the peer-to-peer lending platform will leverage alternative data from Lazada as part of its risk assessment, which will provide more opportunities for online businesses to get tailor-made financing products conveniently, the firm said in a joint press statement.

Helios P2P Sri Lanka’s First Peer-To-Peer Lending Platform Secures Second Round Funding (Daily Mirror) Rated: A

Helios P2P – Sri Lanka’s First Peer-To-Peer Lending Platform secured their second round of funding from John Keells X which is the corporate accelerator of John Keells Holdings PLC. Helios P2P were winners of the 2017 John Keells X accelerator programme and the first startup to receive funding for the second stage of the accelerator.

The peer-to –peer lending industry, valued globally at $64 billion in 2015, is growing at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 50%.

Budget Expectations 2019: P2P lending hopes for these policy changes (Banking & Finance) Rated: A

So what will it be – fiscal consolidation or a focus on growth? Getting the balance right is the key here. The top priority according to Abhishek Gandhi, Co-Founder & CFO, RupeeCircle from this budget is to tackle consumption slowdown and boost it by cutting taxes which will increase the spending power of the people, especially in rural areas and the lower income groups. The subliminal effect of this step will boost investments as well. This will especially be a shot in the arm for the Peer-to-peer (P2P) the lending landscape which has been affected by the sluggish pace of policy changes in the past several months (understandably due to the impending general elections of 2019).

Visa Indonesia opens applications for fintech innovation competition (Jakarta Post) Rated: B

Visa Indonesia, a subsidiary of California-based payment systems provider Visa, opened on Wednesday applications for its Visa Everywhere Initiative competition, which is designed to crowdsource financial inclusion solutions from local financial technology (fintech) start-ups.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Friday July 5 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Monday August 20 2018, Daily News Digest

transition states

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi is shopping for $1B credit line. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2018.2. Monzo headed to unicorn status. China Rapid Finance debuts up to $20M share repurchase program. Today’s main analysis: Forcasting cash flows using machine learning. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Report sheds light on early success of real […]

transition states

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Eyes $ 1B Credit Line, Post Q2 Loss (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Student loan refinancing company Social Finance (SoFi) is looking for a loan of its own: The company is in talks with banks to secure a revolving credit line of as much as $1 billion after posting a second-quarter loss.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2018-2 (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Prosper Marketplace Lending Issuance Trust 2018-2 (“PMIT 2018-2”). This is a $500.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings: Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2018-2

Class Preliminary Rating Initial Class Principal
A A+ (sf) $335,500,000
B BBB (sf) $59,950,000
C B+ (sf) $105,050,000

Forecasting Cashflows using Machine Learning, Strong Retail Sales Report (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

The price of a loan is the present value of the loan’s cashflows (after accounting for losses and prepayments), discounted by an appropriate discount rate:

Source: PeerIQ

Cashflow Modeling with Credit Models

The inputs of a credit model are loan attributes and borrower factors such as:

  • Originator of the Loan
  • Term of the Loan
  • Interest Rate on the Loan
  • Original Principal of the Loan
  • Age of the Loan (Months on Book)
  • Loan Grade
  • Prior Loan Status
  • Borrower’s Credit Score at Origination

The sparse transition model assumes 7 possible loan statuses which describe the performance of the loan:

  1. Current (or Status C)
  2. 1 Month Delinquent (or Status 1)
  3. 2 Month Delinquent (or Status 2)
  4. 3 Month Delinquent (or Status 3)
  5. 4 Month Delinquent (or Status 4)
  6. Default (or Status D)
  7. Paid Off (or Status P)
Source: PeerIQ

Once a loan arrives at a terminal absorbing state (“Defaulted” or “Paid Off”) there is no future possible transition as there are no further cashflows. Therefore, the probability of a loan remaining defaulted is 100%.

Source: PeerIQ

Model Calibration

Source: PeerIQ

PeerIQ CEO Ram Ahluwalia on OCC Fintech Charter: Consumers Win if it is Implemented Correctly (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

We asked Ahluwalia who will benefit from the OCC Fintech Charter and whether it was big tech, Fintechs or other.

“The long-term winner of the charter is the US consumer who will benefit from greater competition, innovation, and access to the financial system. New technology and entrants will also promote the dynamism and resilience of the US financial system,” stated Ahluwalia. “Payments companies that seek to compete with Visa / Mastercard also stand to benefit. Payments arms of firms like Google, Apple, Amazon, and PayPal would fit the profile, as well as large non-bank lenders that can demonstrate sustainable profitability de-risked their business models. Fintech lenders are a major winner as well as they’ll be able to compete on a more level playing field. Big technology firms have an opportunity to expand their role in financial services as well.”

New Research Sheds Light on Early Successes  of Real Estate Crowdfunding (EquityMultiple Email), Rated: AAA

Some of the survey’s key findings include:

  • A full 65 percent of respondents plan to allocate at least 10 percent of their portfolios to real estate crowdfunding sites, with nearly 40 percent expecting to allocate at least 20 percent
  • More than 60 percent of respondents report typical annual returns of at least 8 percent
  • Respondents considered “transparency and details with respect to investment opportunities” the most critical factor in a crowdfunding platform, exceeding all other choices, including “attentive customer service” and “diversity of investment opportunities”
  • With respect to individual investments, “geographic focus” (i.e. where a property is located) matters less to investors than “sponsor/lender experience”, the property’s upside potential or several other factors
Source: Real Estate Crowdfunding Investor Preferences

Read the full report here.

Key Facts About the SBA (Email from SmartBiz Loans ) Rated: AAA

Source: SmartBiz Loans

Many Fintech Names on the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Of the 5,000 companies on this year’s list exactly 233 are in the financial services category. Below is a screenshot of the top 10 companies in this category. Leading the list is Fundrise, the real estate platform for individual investors, a name that would be familiar to Lend Academy readers (I interviewed CEO Ben Miller on the podcast last year). Another well known name is Fundera, the small business lending marketplace, who were the third fastest growing company in our category. I encourage you to explore the complete list here where you can search for specific companies or filter by industry, state and many other criteria.

Source: Lend Academy

Treasury’s plan to legitimize online lenders is good for small businesses (The Guardian) Rated: A

Companies in this industry such as KabbageLending Club and BlueVine have grown significantly over the past few years by offering financing to many small businesses that otherwise would not be able to get loans. Their deals are quick to approve, rarely require collateral and are usually tied in to a customer’s financial systems for close monitoring.

Last month, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced that it was moving ahead with its plan to allow online lenders to apply for banking charters. When recognized as a bank, those types of financiers would no longer have to comply with state laws and would instead be subject to federal banking regulations. “Companies that provide banking services in innovative ways deserve the opportunity to pursue that business on a national scale as a federally chartered, regulated bank,” Joseph Otting, the comptroller of the currency, one of the country’s top financial regulators, told the Los Angeles Times.

RPT-‘Fintechs’ sound cautious note on offer of U.S. bank charter (Rueters) Rated: A

Financial technology companies that lend online are sounding a cautious note on a U.S. banking regulator’s plan to offer them special federal charters because of concerns over legal challenges and requirements that are more onerous than expected.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said last month it would accept applications for banking licenses from the likes of LendingClub and OnDeck Capital Inc, online lenders that do business outside the traditional banking system. They then could operate nationwide under one banking license rather than a patchwork of state-specific regulations.

Fintech executives lobbied for the license and applauded the OCC’s decision, but they are not immediately rushing in, they told Reuters.

CRA-like standards for fintechs could reduce access to credit (American Banker) Rated: A

As reported in American Banker, consumer advocacy groups are concerned that financial inclusion expectations for fintechs chartered as special-purpose national banks may not perfectly mirror the requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act.

This possibility exists because the final version of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s licensing manual supplement for fintechs lacks the same level of specificity as the draft manual that was published for comment last March. Consumer advocates have been steadfast in their insistence that the substance of the CRA, which by its terms applies only to depository institutions, be applied to nondepository fintech national banks. Yet imposing CRA-like requirements on these institutions would likely result in reduced credit opportunities for low-income communities.

Walmart And Others Offer Workers Payday Loan Alternative (NPR) Rated: A

So when Loving heard about a company called PayActiv, a tech startup that helps companies get their workers emergency cash for very small fees, “I thought to myself, now that’s a good idea,” he says. And he signed up.

“Our data analysis showed that it was close to $150 a month being paid by the working poor — per employee or per hourly worker in this country,” says Shah. “That’s a substantial sum of money because it’s about $1,800 or $2,000 a year.”

Venmo competitor Zelle wants to let you pay businesses, too (Payment Source) Rated: A

Zelle, a Venmo-style app that lets consumers send money to friends, roommates and babysitters, is working on ways to ensure that customers can safely pay small businesses as well, according to people familiar with the situation.

Zelle, backed by Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other banks, is beefing up its risk-assessment tools as part of the effort, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the feature hasn’t been announced. The idea is to help protect users when they’re paying businesses like gardeners and hairdressers.

TransUnion Unveils Solution to Extend Real-Time Credit Offers (DSNews) Rated: A

To meet the evolving needs of consumers, Chicago-based TransUnion has announced the launch of credit offers through a simplified, SMS-initiated, mobile experience. The technology seamlessly integrates real-time credit decisioning with consumer and device authentication, creating a secure, personalized, and dynamic user experience.

Credit Karma acquires US lendtech Approved (Fintech Futures) Rated: A

Credit Karma, based in San Francisco, has 80 million members across North America, almost half of which are millennials and 80% of which access the service via their mobile devices.

Andy Taylor, founder and CEO of Approved, says it started the firm with a “vision that borrowers could visit an open house not having even talked with a lender, find the home of their dreams, and get fully pre-qualified on their mobile device before a listing agent offered them a business card”.

With this joint mobile mentality, both firms will be looking to cash in from the crowded US mortgage market. Approved says it has done nearly $5 billion in loan originations.

RealtyShares and Novaya Real Estate Ventures Exit Industrial Property Investment (Herald Courier), Rated: B

RealtyShares, an online platform for commercial real estate investing, has announced that one of its investment syndicates recently exited an industrial investment property—1 Distribution Center Circle in Littleton, Massachusetts—in partnership with Novaya Real Estate Ventures, an established Boston-based operator of commercial real estate throughout New England.

United Kingdom

Monzo poised to join ranks of Europe’s fintech ‘unicorns’ (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Monzo, the British digital bank popular with millennials, is set to become the latest European fintech “unicorn” with a fresh round of fundraising expected to put a valuation on the company of up to $1.5bn.

The east London-based online bank, known for its distinctive pink cards, is signing up 18,000 customers a week and aims to reach as many as 4m customers in the next couple of years, according to Tom Blomfield, its chief executive.

Seven out of 10 people in UK now bank online (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

While email is still the most common reason people use the internet, online banking is the fastest-growing use. According to a survey by the Office for National Statistics — looking at the UK population, not just internet users — 69 per cent said they banked online, almost double the proportion recorded 10 years ago (35 per cent).

The ONS began running its survey in 1998. In the case of internet usage, people were asked about their use in the January, February and April before the survey.

Source: Financial Times

How P2P plugged the funding gap for small businesses (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

BEFORE the global financial crisis, banks were the lender of choice for Britain’s small businesses, and perhaps the only option they would consider.

Since then, banks have become more risk averse and are pulling back from lending in some parts of the market, especially since the EU referendum. Peer-to-peer, or rather peer-to-business (P2B), lending has stepped in to fill the gap.

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) says the industry provided £660m of new lending to businesses in the first quarter of 2018 and, since the third quarter of 2017, there has been a 35 per cent increase in net lending.

US-based payday loan giants Curo, QuickQuid and Lending Stream could face legal action in ‘bigger scandal than PPI’ (Daily Mail Online) Rated: A

Giant American payday lenders could face legal action in the UK today after they were accused of mis-selling loans to up to a million Britons.

Paydayrefunds.co.uk are preparing legal action against Quickquid, Curo and Lending Stream after the US-payday lending giants have so far refused to disclose information on customers who could be due tens of millions of pounds back in compensation.

The company issued a letter of action six months ago, which is due to run out next Friday. Paydayrefunds.co.uk revealed they have already appointed a barrister in preparation for issuing an injunction at the High Court against the lenders.

Income investing, inflation and P2P lending (Investors Chronicle), Rated: A

Emma Aygemang gives us a report on the Financial Conduct Authority’s study on peer-to-peer (P2P) investing, and there’s a discussion on the implications of restricting the sector to private investors, and where P2P providers need to up their game.

Crypto Lending App Lndr, Adds PayPal Integration to Increase Adoption Rates (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: B

A new cryptocurrency lending app called Lndr is planning integration with one of the most popular financial services in the world: PayPal. This integration will open the ownership to digital assets to 100 million people around the world, which can cause an unseen widespread of cryptocurrency usage even for people who never before considered using cryptocurrencies.

China

China Rapid Finance Debuts Up to $ 20 Million Share Repurchase Program (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance Limited (NYSE: XRF), one of China’s largest consumer lending marketplaces, announced earlier this week the launch of its new share repurchase program, which allows the lender to authorized the repurchase of its ordinary shares in the form of American depositary shares with an aggregate value of up to $20 million.

China regulator orders bailout of peer-to-peer lenders by managers of distressed assets (SCMP), Rated: A

During a Wednesday meeting in Beijing, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission asked four managers of distressed assets – Huarong, Cinda, Great Wall and Orient – to extend their mandate to non-performing loans owed by peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms, according to a source familiar with the matter. The meeting was first reported by Reuters on Thursday.

Regulations help resolve P2P plight in China (Global Times) Rated: A

In July, a total of 165 platforms reported problems, among which 65 percent had difficulties in investments withdrawal, while executives of 8.72 percent of those firms stole money and ran away, according to a report released by domestic industry website wdzj.com on August 1.

Accumulated transactions in the domestic P2P industry had reached 7.48 trillion yuan by the end of July, the report said.

On Wednesday, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission asked the country’s four State-owned asset management companies to help address rising risks in the P2P sector, according to media reports.

China orders bad-loan managers to help failing P2P lenders (Financial Times), Rated: A

China’s banking regulator has instructed the country’s four state-owned bad loan managers to deal with failing peer-to-peer lending platforms, a sign of Beijing’s concern about possible financial and social instability from the shadow banking sector.

Hundreds of P2P platforms have collapsed in recent months due to borrower defaults and fraud by platform operators. The defaults have sparked panic among investors, some of whom have sought early redemption of their investments.

European Union

European IPOs may shake off sluggish start with a fall bonanza (Gulf Times) Rated: AAA

European markets are set to see a slew of big initial public offerings this fall. Potential mega listings – from companies such as Aston Martin, Volvo Cars and Spanish oil firm Cepsa Trading – could help Europe overcome a relatively slow first half. IPOs there have raised about $31bn in 2018 so far, compared with almost $38bn in the same period last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Still, volatile markets threaten to spook investors and owners away from new share sales. Concerns that turmoil in Turkey could hurt the region’s lenders has added to pressure on European stocks from the US-China trade spat. Commodities have tumbled along with US equities, fuelling fears that the sell- off may be the start of a broader market correction.

International

Disruption or evolution? Why blockchain is the future of global lending (IT Pro Portal), Rated: AAA

Global spending on blockchain solutions is estimated to reach $2.1 billion this year, but for there to be a blockchain revolution, many barriers – technological, political, organisational and societal – need to be overcome first.

Currently, citizens in Europe have the lowest levels of ‘complete trust’ in traditional banks. This is worrying, given money is simply a means of exchange, built on the trust bestowed upon it.

However, some bankers will tell you the traditional financial system is ‘global’ and ‘efficient’ as it is, despite being fully aware of its flaws. In our industry, lending, if you’re currently a non-bank lender who would like to diversify your global lending potential, you will find that it is punitively expensive, time-consuming and exclusive to large funds and traders. This ultimately reduces the potential reward for non-bank lenders through fees.

Given the astonishing fact 39 percent of the world’s population are unbanked, blockchain technologies and associated crypto currencies could open the door for anyone, anywhere to lend, borrow and invest. All you need is internet access.

Australia

Aussies borrow money not knowing how personal loans are assessed, study finds (Daily Telegraph) Rated: AAA

AUSTRALIANS have borrowed $46.6 billion in personal loans over the past 12 months, research has found, but experts claim many are unaware of how loan applications are assessed and how they may affect their own credit scores.

RateCity analysed Australian Bureau of Statistics data from the past 12 months and found personal loan numbers were up 6.4 per cent year on year, with more than half a million Australians using them to buy cars in that period. The total borrowing for new cars was $8.33 billion at an average loan size of $36,341; while a further $5.88 billion was borrowed for used cars.

On top of this, we borrowed $6.05 billion for debt consolidation and $2.54 billion for household goods, but despite the huge outlay, many borrowers are confused about how personal loans work and why they may not be offered the low interest rates they see on advertisements.

India

P2P has great potential, but too early to compare with equities (India Times), Rated: A

People with zero or poor credit score find it hard to get a loan from NBFCs and banks. P2P aims to serve such unbanked and underbanked population. Tell us how do you do it?
NBFCs and banks also lend to people ‘new to credit’. These people typically have a financial transaction whether in form of a bank account or income data, whether salaried or self-employed, and can be validated on the risk ratios, basis the information.

Asia

Cambodia Establishes New Fintech Association (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Cambodia Fintech Association also reported it undertakes four major streams of work on behalf of its members, which are the following:

  • Champion: Advise government and regulators on policy change that supports Fintech innovation and growth
  • Assist: Provide research, legal/regulatory help, service provider discounts and other benefits that help our members build and scale their Startups
  • Match: Get customers to buy, investors to invest, and talent to get involved in Fintech solutions
  • Bridging: Connect ventures (capital), talents (education) and other stakeholders within the Cambodia Fintech ecosystem and provide connections to overseas hubs through our network Events and Partners

According to the Phnom Penh Post, CFA Vice President, Eddie Lee, stated that Cambodia is currently progressing in its fintech, but startups are slowly starting to surface in the country. Lee also explained that CFA has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Taiwan Fintech Association, Thailand Fintech Association and Singapore Fintech Association to establish bridges with similar groups in the region. He added that the next step is to register the CFA with the Asian Fintech Network.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Princeton Alternative Funding Gets a New Beginning

alternative lending fund

The 2008 financial crisis saw a lending freeze from traditional banks. Grabbing the opportunity, alternative lenders filled the space. Drawn by superior returns, sophisticated financial investors and funds sprung up to invest via these platforms to directly/indirectly lend to consumers and small businesses. Princeton Alternative Funding is one such player. But the company has had to […]

alternative lending fund

The 2008 financial crisis saw a lending freeze from traditional banks. Grabbing the opportunity, alternative lenders filled the space. Drawn by superior returns, sophisticated financial investors and funds sprung up to invest via these platforms to directly/indirectly lend to consumers and small businesses. Princeton Alternative Funding is one such player. But the company has had to face rough weather, with bankruptcy protection and multiple lawsuits hobbling its progress.

Princeton Alternative Funding’s Humble Beginnings

Jack Cook (CEO) founded Princeton Alternative Funding LLC (PAF), a fund management company on March 1, 2015. The company is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and helps accredited and institutional investors achieve strong positive returns in the alternative lending sector. Walt Wojciechowski is the CFO and Jeff Davner is the President of the company.

Princeton Alternative Funding LLC is the general partner of Princeton Alternative Income Fund (PAIF), a flexible 3(c)(7) hedge fund. The inspiration for PAF was the evolution of fintech. There were no online lenders 15 years ago, and it is the recent technology advancement that has made it possible for the alternative lender market to come into forefront.

Though the company started on a strong note, its relations soured with its biggest limited partner in late 2015.

The PAIF Bankruptcy Filing

Ranger Direct Lending Trust (RDLT) along with RSIF and its affiliate “Ranger,” invested indirectly in PAIF Offshore. PAIF Offshore is a British Virgins Island Offshore entity, which is a limited partner in PAIF. According to the company’s filings, Ranger’s actual motivation was not to be a limited partner but the owner of the fund. They had reflected to their own investors that they control and own PAIF, which was materially false, according to PAF spokesmen. Though the two parties had major disagreements, PAIF was churning great returns for Ranger.

In fact, in 2015, Ranger received cash payments of $2,299,070.00 in the form of returns from PAIF, but they again attempted to acquire an equity interest in PAF. This attempt was rejected by PAIF, which forced Ranger to look for other means, which in turn destabilized the fund operations. Its bankruptcy filing states that the company entered bankruptcy protection while continuing to fight Ranger and its unwanted advances.

The case has turned more complex with Argon Credit, PAIF’s largest finance company borrower filing a bankruptcy petition in December 2016, placing 60 percent of the company’s assets in the PAIF fund at risk. Shortly after, Bristlecone Holdings, another one of PAIF’s finance company borrowers, filed a bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada.

PAF’s Climb Back to the Top

2015 saw the company open its fund raising doors. In March, they received their first capital. From March 2015 to Feb 2016, Ranger put in a total of $62 million. The company received new management in March 2016 after it was discovered that certain executives colluded with Ranger. The next year, they added more than 13 limited partners. The fund is now focused on providing revolving lines of credit to finance companies.

The fund has purchased a total of 12 portfolios from LOC (line of credit) originators. Two of them have been paid off and the rest are being serviced. These loans mainly comprise of small-dollar short-term consumer loans. All of them are installment loans, and some fall under lease/rent-to-own categories. There are a total of 60,000 consumer loans in the entire portfolio.

The company has an exclusive partnership with Microbilt Inc., a Consumer Rating Agency that provides top of the line analysis and monitoring capabilities. It will have access to proprietary databases and scorecards of MB, which will allow it to analyze loan originators and their performance as well as evaluate borrower performance on a granular level. The proprietary technology software includes auto underwriting tools, statistical models, and software tools to determine the validity of each loan.

PAF is now primarily funded by Microbilt to the tune of almost $2.5 million.

Conclusion

The year-to-date audited adjusted returns have exceeded the fund’s performance targets since its creation.

  • 2015: 13.97% YTD return
  • 2016: 17.41% YTD return
  • 2017: 15.17% YTD return

Princeton Alternative Funding does not have many competitors. Even players like Victory Park Capital have exited the space. But Princeton Alternative Funding firmly believes the alternative lending sector and its niche is a growing market. Banks and financial institutions are not able to offer easy credit to the consumer market, which is where alternative lending facilities come into play. It is looking to become a force to reckon with in its niche of short-term small-dollar consumer loans.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Tuesday April 10 2018, Daily News Digest

Tuesday April 10 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: Prime Meridian announces new opportunities fund. TransUnion launches startup credit kit. SoFi hires Goldman head of mortgage securitization as CFO. Upgrade intros new personal credit line. The Axiom Group ready to invest $50M into charge-off portfolios. S. Korean P2P loans increase 10.3% in March. Today’s main analysis: The highs and lows of Bank Negara’s 2017 […]

Tuesday April 10 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Prime Meridian Capital Management Announces New Fund Launch: The Prime Meridian Special Opportunities Fund (Benzinga), Rated: AAA

Prime Meridian Capital Management (PMCM) a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) specializing in marketplace lending strategies across three alternative credit verticals in four funds, today introduced the Special Opportunities Fund.

The new fund, due to launch in the second quarter 2018, will invest in multiple high yielding alternative credit verticals including litigation finance, life settlements, targeted high yielding, niche real estate, small business, and consumer loans.

TransUnion Boosts Entrepreneurial Innovation with New Startup Credit Kit (Investors Hub), Rated: AAA

To meet the needs of startups and their investors, TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) today launched the Startup Credit Kit at LendIt Fintech USA 2018, giving new companies faster access to cutting-edge alternative and trended credit and fraud prevention data.

With TransUnion’s Startup Credit Kit, new businesses can more quickly gain access to depersonalized consumer credit data to better explore the market for untapped opportunities. It also helps new businesses determine the viability of their products by analyzing real-world depersonalized consumer credit data. This allows startups to focus their resources on high-potential market segments and product opportunities while allowing them to prove their concept to raise funding in the early stages of the startup lifecycle.

SoFi hires former Goldman Sachs head of mortgage securitization as new CFO (Housing Wire), Rated: AAA

Now, it looks like SoFi may be making a bigger move into securitizations by hiring the former head of mortgage securitization at Goldman Sachs as its new chief financial officer.

SoFi announced Monday that it named Michelle Gill as the company’s new CFO.

Gill comes to SoFi from TPG Sixth Street Partners, a credit firm. Gill joined TPG last yearafter a lengthy term at Goldman Sachs.

Gill spent 14 years at Goldman Sachs, eventually serving as a partner and co-heading the firm’s structured finance business.

Lending Club Ex-CEO Is Staging A Comeback With New Fintech Startup (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Online lending startup Upgrade, led by cofounder and CEO Renaud Laplanche, announced that it’s now initiating $100 million in personal loans a month, with an average loan size of about $10,000. The one-year-old company has reached $60 million in annualized revenue, Laplanche says, and by the end of 2018, he expects to hit a $100 million revenue run-rate and become profitable.

Upgrade also announced a new product called Personal Credit Line, a hybrid of a personal loan and credit card. Consumers can get approved for up to $50,000 in credit, and they can draw down on the line as needed, paying interest only on what they’ve borrowed. The credit line has a fixed length of 12 to 60 months and a fixed interest rate, and it forces consumers to pay part of the loan principal every month.

Online lender touts new personal credit line as HELOC alternative (American Banker), Rated: A

The first online lending firm Renaud Laplanche founded, LendingClub, targeted consumers with hefty credit card balances, offering them the opportunity to refinance at a lower interest rate.

In his latest venture, Laplanche hopes to lure customers before they rack up big credit card bills. Upgrade, the San Francisco-based online lender that he founded in August 2016, is rolling out a new product that is designed for folks who are anticipating big expenses but are not sure exactly how much they will need to spend or when.

THE AXIOM GROUP ANNOUNCES $ 50M IN FUNDING AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE CHARGE OFF PORTFOLIOS (Lendit), Rated: AAA

The Axiom Group announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it has obtained $50M in capital to finance the purchase of charge off portfolios with a focus on consumer loans and credit cards, specifically in the FinTech lending space.

This increase in capital will allow The Axiom Group to pursue large portfolios and monetize those portfolios immediately for the lender/seller partners. By selling bad debt portfolios, FinTech companies can utilize the income for further lending, as well as reduce their risk associated with the challenges of collecting on charged off accounts.

Fintech lenders will struggle to regain mojo alone (Nasdaq), Rated: A

Some 13 months later LendingClub, which Sanborn has run since a mis-selling scandal cost predecessor Renaud Laplanche his job in 2016, remains just a lender. Its stock has lost around a third of its value in the past year.

On Deck’s shares are effectively flat over the same period. But boss Noah Breslow had to slash costs last year after credit losses. He now plans to boost revenue by expanding into portfolio management and loss mitigation, and finding more bank partnerships.

Privately held Social Finance has done the most to diversify, adding consumer and mortgage loans as well wealth management to student-loan refinancing.

SoFi is now the biggest player. It extended $12 billion of new loans last year, 50 percent more than erstwhile leader LendingClub, and its adjusted EBITDA is two-thirds higher at $126 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yet each pales in comparison to JPMorgan’s retail unit, which lends around 10 times as much and enjoys lower funding costs thanks to customer deposits.

Consumer Lending Platform Best Egg Exceeds $ 5 billion & Celebrates Fourth Birthday (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Marlette Funding, LLC, the owner of consumer lending platform Best Egg, announced on Monday the year-end results and key accomplishments for first quarter 2017. According to Marlette Funding, during the past year, Best Egg experienced origination growth of 66%, significantly reduced its customer acquisition costs, and ended 2017 with three straight quarters of net income positive on a GAAP basis. Best Egg has reportedly exceeded $5 billion of prime loans and celebrated its fourth birthday. 

Launched in 2014, Marlette Funding, through its consumer brand Best Egg, describes itself as a financial technology provider on a mission to find better ways to make money accessible to allow people to “enjoy life.”

Elevate to Release First Quarter 2018 Earnings on Monday, April 30, 2018 (Business Wire), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a leading tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that it will release its first quarter 2018 financial results after the market closes on Monday, April 30, 2018. Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer, and Chris Lutes, Chief Financial Officer, will also host a conference call on the day of the release (April 30, 2018) at 5:00 pm ET to discuss Elevate’s financial results.

 

How Blockchain is Changing the Mortgage Game (Investopedia), Rated: A

While blockchain doesn’t offer a perfect remedy to the problems afflicting the industry, it does provide a model that minimizes some of them. The first major improvement the technology brings is transparency. Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) provides two major upgrades to the current model—it decentralizes the storage of information, and it makes all transactions immediately available across all nodes of the chain. The first upgrade means that companies and lenders can no longer manipulate information or engage in shadowy practices with data, as it is shared across an entire network and not under their exclusive supervision.

Nav Launches First-of-Its-Kind Cash Flow Analysis Tool for Small Business Owners (Lendit), Rated: A

Nav, a free platform that helps small business owners build, protect and leverage their financial data, announced the launch of Business Banking Health Check, a feature to help small business owners make more informed decisions on their cash flow. Nav is the only place entrepreneurs can access their personal and business credit scores, along with cash flow insights to provide greater transparency into how lenders view their
creditworthiness and enable greater access to capital.

According to Pepperdine’s Capital Markets Report, insufficient credit profiles and cash flow are two of the primary reasons banks reject business loan applications. Nav’s platform uses these data sets to help business owners manage their fundability, while also doing legwork for lenders by matching its small business customers to their most-qualified funding options.

LENDIO ANNOUNCES LENDER TURNDOWN PROGRAM (Lendit), Rated: A

Lendio announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it has facilitated nearly $60 million in loans through its lender turndown program.

Lendio’s lender turndown program allows lending partners to offer a marketplace of loan options to customers that do not fit the lender’s credit box; this allows lenders to turn a decline response into a potential loan offer for the small business owner.

LENDR ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF ITS BUSINESS DEBIT CARD (Lendit), Rated: A

Lendr Online, LLC. announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it is has launched a new business debit card product to service its growing client base. The ability to fund business owners in real-time via an instant access virtual Mastercard followed up with a traditional plastic card utilizing the latest in EMV chip security, will further enhance its brand and solidify Lendr’s position as a premier financial services firm.

Ocrolus Secures $ 4M in Series A Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

Ocrolus, a New York City-based provider of solutions to analyze financial documents, raised $4m in Series A funding.

The round was led by Bullpen Capital with participation from QED Investors, Laconia Capital Group, ValueStream Ventures, RiverPark Ventures, Sam Hodges (co-founder, Funding Circle), Vince Passione (CEO, LendKey), Ram Ahluwalia (CEO, PeerIQ), Bill King (former head of securitization, JP Morgan), Hugh Nguyen (CEO, ClearServe) and Tanya Barnes (managing director, Golden Seeds), among others. In conjunction with the funding, David Arcara of Laconia Capital Group and Nick Adams of Differential Ventures will be joining Ocrolus as board members. Paul Martino of Bullpen Capital, Amias Gerety of QED Investors and Karl Antle of ValueStream Ventures will be board observers.

 

THINK WALLET REVEALS SCALABLE SOLUTION TO REDUCE FUNDING COST OF PERSONAL LOANS (Lendit), Rated: A

ThinkWallet.com announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it has solved the problem many lenders currently face: Overspending to attract leads that can’t qualify for their personal loan products.

Nelnet Expands Loan Servicing Offerings To Meet Demands Of Fintech Lenders (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Nelnet (NYSE: NNI) is bringing a new servicing option to Fintech lending platforms. Nelnet Loan Servicing will leverage the experience, scale, and personnel of its existing servicing business with technology enhancements to meet the unique needs of Fintech companies with primary and backup servicing.

 

General Atlantic in talks on a deal with Brazil’s online lender Geru (Reuters), Rated: B

U.S. investment firm General Atlantic is in talks to buy a minority stake in closely held Brazilian online lending startup Geru Tecnologia e Serviços SA, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Other investors may join General Atlantic, the sources said, adding that Geru’s partners have spent the last few weeks visiting funds in San Francisco and New York to raise about $50 million.

 

 

 

 

IDVALIDATION SHOWCASES GOVERNMENTAL VERIFICATION SOLUTIONS FOR LENDERS AT LENDIT FINTECH USA – 2018 (Lendit), Rated: B

IDValidation will be showcasing their governmental verification solutions to the lending community and Stops 100% of Synthetic Identity Theft.

IDValidation’s Consent Based SSN Verification Allows Financial Institutions Direct Access to the Main Frame Database of the Social Security Administration to Accurately Verify the Validity of a Social Security Number and Stop Synthetic Identity Theft. Toyota Financial Services has conducted a successful pilot. IDValidation has become the forerunner in providing this vital tool to the Financial World helping mitigate
Fraud & ID Theft.

 

 

 

LendingPoint To Accept Loan Payments and Disburse Loans via Debit Cards (Business Wire), Rated: A

Bringing a new layer of convenience to financial transactions with its customers, LendingPoint, the company working to revolutionize access to consumer credit, announced today it has entered into an agreement with TabaPay that will integrate debit cards into LendingPoint’s financing platform.

Beginning immediately, LendingPoint will allow borrowers to use debit cards for loan payments they make online or over the phone. LendingPoint will be able to verify account ownership and balance of its applicants through the TabaPay platform. Then later this year, LendingPoint will also be able to instantly disburse loans to approved borrower accounts through their debit cards, 24/7/365, or credit card payoffs. Those inbound and outbound debit-card disbursements and collections will happen instantaneously and are free for the borrower.

HARVESTING INC LAUNCHES AI BACKED CREDIT RISK SYSTEM FOR AGRICULTURE LENDERS (Lendit), Rated: A

Silicon Valley-based FinTech Social Enterprise Harvesting Inc, launches its innovative credit scoring system for financial institutions to assess farmers creditworthiness and facilitate agriculture financing .

Harvesting’s Credit Risk System is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered platform which leverages on traditional & alternative data sets and allows financial institutions to build, deploy and monitor credit business in the cloud, within a fraction of time & resources it takes today. It’s easy to use interface with advanced feature engineering flexibility allows credit risk manager to create best of the breed custom credit risk model for the organization on a cloud infrastructure. It allows credit risk manager of any size of financial institutions to leverage the power of AI and increase acceptance rate and reduce defaults.

FUTUREBANK DIGITAL AND API BANKING PLATFORM INTEGRATES ENTERSEKT’S SECURE CONNEKT PAYMENT FUNCTIONALITY (Lendit), Rated: B

Global Kinetic announced today at LendIt Fintech USA, that it will be integrating Entersekt’s Connekt functionality into the FutureBank platform. FutureBank’s unique ability to abstract the complexities in legacy core banking systems and customize digital channels through its technology platform helps banks and disruptive FinTech companies work together more efficiently. The growing digital banking market in the US has become vulnerable as consumers are frustrated by poorly designed mobile apps that often have weak security implementations and limited payment functionality. The FutureBank platform can now offer converged payment acceptance through Connekt.

PENSCO Launches Custodian Connect (Lendit), Rated: B

PENSCO Trust Company (“PENSCO”) announced today at LendIt Fintech USA, the launch of Custodian Connect, an API-driven capability that seamlessly connects investment platforms to PENSCO enabling uninterrupted opening and funding of an IRA from within the platform.

 

Spring Labs Announces World Class Industry Advisory Board to Help Build Decentralized Credit and Identity Validation Network (Lendit), Rated: B

Spring Labs, which is building the Spring Network, a blockchain-based network being designed to allow lenders, banks, and data providers to securely and efficiently exchange data with one another, today announced its founding industry advisory board. The industry advisory board comprises a group of industry leaders in finance, credit, and compliance, with members including Sheila Bair, the former Chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); and Nigel Morris, Co-Founder and former long-time President of Capital One, and co-founder of QED Investors, a leading investor in global financial technology companies.

This news of the industry advisory board comes on the heels of Spring Labs announcing a $14.75 million seed fundraising round, one of the largest initial venture rounds to-date for a blockchain startup.

CoinVantage Announces Release of Flagship Portfolio Accounting & Reporting System for Digital Assets (Lendit), Rated: B

Alternative Investment fund administrator MG Stover & Co. (MG Stover) announced today a partnership with software technology firm CoinVantage as part of its strategy to grow its digital asset fund administration business and deliver world class solutions to its clients.

Cross River Bank Demonstrates Key Growth, Makes Significant Personnel Hires (Lendit), Rated: B

As Cross River Bank approaches its 10th anniversary, the leader in the emerging FinTech market is demonstrating a surge in growth and surpassing significant milestones as it grows its customer base, offerings and strategic partnerships designed to revolutionize the banking infrastructure.

 

United Kingdom

VPC’s revenue dips in February after record January performance (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: AAA

VICTORY Park Capital (VPC) Specialty Lending Investments saw its total net revenue return dip to 0.81 per cent in the month of February, after reporting a record return of 1.08 per cent in January.

In its monthly market commentary, VPC said that the fall in revenue was due to a combination of factors including a “one-time fee earned in January and a shorter day count”. Capital losses were attributed to VPC’s exposure to Elevate Credit – a US-based provider of short-term loans, and securitisation residuals.

 

International

The P2P Lending Alternative – Crowdvouching – Will Now Run in Test Mode (Coin Telegraph), Rated: AAA

In 2017, Suretly token-holders were inspired by the idea of a crowdvouching platform – an international exchange for micro-guarantees, where people can make money by helping others borrow. In the beginning of 2018, the project made something that many other ICOs were not able to deliver: the demo version of its product. To become a guarantor (or a ‘voucher’, in the crowdvouching terminology), an individual needs to download the Suretly mobile application, where he can find borrowers’ loan orders, vouch, and get receive a sum of money in return (a fee).

On April 9, Suretly releases the first version of the new app, available to all users registered for its testing period. The borrowers’ behavior is based on the real data of past periods, and, therefore, users can learn different vouching strategies and practice them in future.

Unlike p2p lending, Suretly does not lend money directly, but rather serves as an intermediary between financial institutions, borrowers, and co-signers. Suretly users vouch for a small part of a loan sum and guarantee that the loan will be repaid in the case of a borrower’s default. Liability for each loan is divided among all vouchers and each voucher’s approval serves as an insurance of the loan. In order for the loan to be approved, the entire amount must be guaranteed by the vouchers.

RCN AT LENDIT FINTECH USA 2018 (Lendit), Rated: B

RCN announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it will showcase how global lending through peer-to-peer technology is possible using blockchain technology and cosigned smart contracts.

With billions of people all over the world excluded from traditional banking & financial services, Sebastian Serrano (CEO), will explain the company’s successful history in Latin America since it was funded and how RCN can contribute to the world’s economy by providing credit and financial inclusion through blockchain technology and cosigned smart contracts.

Scienaptic releases significant product enhancements to its credit underwriting product ‘Ether Underwrite’ (Lendit), Rated: B

Scienaptic Systems Inc. announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it has released an advanced version of its Credit Underwriting product, Ether Underwrite.

European Union

Can Europe cash in on the fintech revolution? (Silicon Republic), Rated: AAA

Technologies such as blockchain underpin the fintech revolution, paving the way for a whole groundswell of new start-ups that have targeted markets underserved by banks through better user interfaces and user experience (UX) as well as through digital marketing and branding.

A case in point is Revolut, a London-headquartered start-up with offices in Dublin. It turns out that cash-savvy young workers have no time for bank fees and are less forgiving of banks than older generations, and are flocking to these challenger banks.

Examples include: Zurich’s Advanon, an online platform for invoice financing for SMEs; Dublin’s CurrencyFair, which allows individuals and businesses to send funds to bank accounts worldwide; Stockholm’s Klarna, which provides online payments for e-commerce sites; and London’s Monzo, a start-up bank that has amassed more than 20,000 current-account holders and more than 500,000 people using its distinctive ‘hot coral’ cards.

Latin America

Creditas publishes report on the Brazilian lending market (Lendit), Rated: B

Creditas, the leading digital lending platform for secured loans in Latin America, has published the updated report “The disruptors paradise: Understanding the Brazilian lending space” at the Lendit USA 2018 conference.

With roughly US$ 150 billion in net interest margin, Brazilian consumer debt represents a unique opportunity to significantly increase debt availability and reduce the 30%+ banking spread. The report summarizes the reasons behind the high spread of the Brazilian ecosystem and the evolution during the last decade.

Canada

Nova Credit Partners with Transunion Canada to Expand Immigrant Financial Access across North America (Lendit), Rated: AAA

Nova Credit announced today at LendIt Fintech USA that it partnered with Transunion to serve creditworthy newcomers to Canada who may otherwise miss out on credit opportunities due to a lack of Canadian credit history.

The new product—TransUnion Global Credit Connect powered by Nova Credit—provides newcomers to Canada with a platform to import their historical credit information and have their international credit reports delivered to end-users such as banks, in a streamlined, standardized format. The foreign credit score is mapped to a Canadian equivalent score so that it can be consistently applied.

MENA

Dubai SME Expands Agreement With Finance Solutions Provider ‘Beehive’ (Albawaba Business), Rated: A

The Mohammed bin Rashid Fund (MBRF) for SME – the financial arm of Dubai SME, itself an affiliate of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) – has expanded the partnership agreement with Beehive, the MENA region’s first regulated peer-to-peer lending platform, which will cross the $50 million mark of total funding for SMEs across the platform this month.

Following a successful initial launch, MBRF and Beehive have broadened the scope of the agreement to increase the credit guarantee to AED750k and also offer Sharia Compliant Invoice Finance, a short-term finance option for businesses wishing to improve cash flow.

Asia

South Korea’s P2P loans jump 10.3% on month in March (Pulse News), Rated: AAA

The combined loans of peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders in South Korea reached almost 2.3 trillion won ($2.1 billion) last month amid burgeoning demand for the debt financing service that allows individuals to borrow or lend money online without going through an official financial institution.

According to Korea P2P Finance Association on Monday, the accumulated loans of its 65 members reached 2.296 trillion won as of end of March, up 213.6 billion won or 10.26 percent from a month ago. By sector, total loans on real estate project financing reached 768.5 billion won, real estate mortgage 611.5 billion won, and other mortgages 472.4 billion won, and credit loans 443.2 billion won. The members’ average loan interest rate was 14.32 percent.

The State Of The Nation: The highs and lows in Bank Negara’s 2017 annual report (The Edge Markets), Rated: AAA

Source: The Edge Markets

THERE is a chance the economy will grow as much as 6% this year, according to Bank Negara Malaysia’s 2017 annual report, which was released on March 28. Not only is that ahead of 2017’s stronger-than-expected 5.9% gross domestic product growth, the central bank’s baseline projection of 5.5% growth for this year is at the higher end of the official 5% to 5.5% projected in the Economic Report 2017/2018, which was released just five months ago.

In fact, working numbers in the annual report indicate 5.67% growth for 2018 — exceeding the government’s projection last October, although just short of 2017’s spectacular 5.9% reading.
Source: the Edge Markets

While last year’s growth beat everyone’s expectations (including the central bank’s working number of 4.57%), it is worth noting that 2016’s actual GDP growth of 4.2% was very close to the central bank’s working number of 4.1% when official projections were between 4% and 5%.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Competing With Banks Through a Mobile App

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost […]

mobile banking

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), over 7% of Americans are still without banking services. Even more shocking is the number of the underbanked population – a whopping 19.9%. These numbers only go to show that brick-and-mortar banks have left the general American population down. Especially since the financial crisis, people have lost trust in traditional banks, and millennials don’t see the appeal in standing in line for banking services. To fill the void, Varo Money has launched a mobile banking business. The aim is to disrupt how banking is done in the United States. Its goal as to help customers cover their expenses, pay their bills, and build wealth over time.

Varo Money was founded in 2015 by Assaf Guery, Colin Walsh, Mykola (Kolya) Klymenko, and Roger Van Duinen. Its headquarters is located in San Francisco, California. The company has managed to raise over $78 million in various funding rounds with PE giant Warburg Pincus as the lead investor. CEO and Co-Founder Colin Walsh previously served for over 25 years in various reputed financial institutions like Amex in Europe, Lloyd Banking group, and Wells Fargo.

More Than a Bank

Throughout his professional career, Walsh realized a growing need to empower the next generation with tools that will help them improve their overall financial condition. He also realized incumbents were too entrenched in their existing business models to concentrate on developing products for the millennial generation. This became the driving force behind Varo Money. So he built a talented team with deep financial services expertise and a strong consumer technology knowledge. Varo Money is trying to be a one-stop shop for users’ banking needs and wants to inculcate better financial habits among customers by providing them with the right tools and financial guidance.

Last year, Varo Money launched their mobile app and banking products through a partnership with The Bancorp Bank. The partnership helped the platform come to the market with a FDIC-insured product. This helped them compete against incumbent banks and appeal to a larger cross section of the population. But Varo has big ambitions and wants a bigger share of the pie. That’s why the company applied for a national bank charter through the OCC. Even though obtaining this charter will be an uphill task, considering no new charter has been issued in the last decade or so, it’s a courageous move. It puts the spotlight on the young entrant and highlights its intention to be a serious regulated player in the industry.

Varo’s Business Model

The foundation of the Varo Money platform is relationship banking. It offers a basic consumer checking account just like any other bank, but the difference is a customer can perform all the basic functions like deposits and money transfers without having to go visit a bank branch. It even issues a debit card to customers and has started offering savings accounts. A customer can open a savings account on his or her mobile app and Varo offers interest rates up to 50 basis points as compared to 1 or 2 basis points offered by traditional banks.

Apart from the bank account, Varo also offers short- and long-term financing solutions. The short-term line of credit is a flexible line of credit (LOC) and is available to customers unexpected financial challenges. The LOC helps customers manage cash flows while avoiding the need to take a payday loan or cash advance. Also, 3- and 5-year fixed rate installment loans are aavailable for long-term financial needs.

Varo Money’s Technology and Competitive Posture

Varo Money is available as an iOS application with an Android version coming soon. The app is loaded with features like touch ID, a geolocation service to spot nearby ATMs, and the ability to link other accounts through APIs. The app is free and requires no minimum balance to open an account. Also, there are no foreign exchange charges or overdraft fees. Its customer base has access to over 55,000 ATMs worldwide as compared to 18,000 ATMs for Chase and 12,000 for Wells Fargo.

Varo charges a nominal fee for debit card usage. It also sells financial products of its partner bank earning income from that partnership. However, its lending products are a primary income generator. The pricing and structure of LOC products are developed to compete with other alternative lenders in the market.

Varo has a lot of competitors in different niches of banking. Players like Discover, Ally, and Goldman Sachs concentrate on only a few lending segments; these lenders do not follow a complete relationship model, but only offer a specific product. On the other hand, there are neobanks like Chime, Simple, and BankMobile that are single-purpose saving apps. Though they are doing a great job when it comes to user experience, the range of products offered by them is narrow compared to a full suite of products offered by a traditional bank.

This is where Varo Money is different. It is focused on customer relationships and wants the ability to offer the entire gamut of banking services to consumers. This gives it multiple cross-selling opportunities and reduces the cost of client acquisition. Its strategy seems to be paying off. In just 7-8 months, Varo has garnered tens of thousands of customers and over 100k downloads.

Conclusion

Varo Money is focused on replacing traditional banks with its comprehensive suite of online banking services and products. Coupled with its obsession for helping millennials make smarter financial decisions, Varo Money is looking to be an emerging player in the digital bankin sector.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Taking Trade Finance to SMEs

trade finance SMEs

The financial crisis of 2008 led to many developments in fintech generally and alternative lending specifically. We’ve heard many of those stories before. One of the problems the crisis revealed is the restriction of capital, particularly among international small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Another problem was the massive proliferation of mobile coupled with the “digital […]

trade finance SMEs

The financial crisis of 2008 led to many developments in fintech generally and alternative lending specifically. We’ve heard many of those stories before. One of the problems the crisis revealed is the restriction of capital, particularly among international small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Another problem was the massive proliferation of mobile coupled with the “digital self” that allowed lenders to identify the types of businesses people engaged with. Digital data became a game changer for a lot of companies employing new technologies. One company got the bright idea to solve both of these problems with a single solution aimed at SMEs making their first entrance into the online ecoystem.

Who Are Kountable, And Why Do They Count?

Kountable saw its genesis in 2013 with CEO and Co-founder Chris Hale getting together with co-founders Craig Allen and Kathy Numera.

“We looked at trade finance in a different way,” Hale said, adding that one of his co-founders spent 30 years doing trade financing at the institutional level. Typically being an instrument extended by banks, Kountable puts the emphasis on the finance rather than the trade part of the equation. The financial crisis, Basel III, and other regulations that followed handcuffed banks in their ability to extend capital to SMEs. Kountable stepped in to fill the void.

By using a cloud-based platform for the import and export of goods, Kountable gives SMEs access to trade. By outsourcing third-party logistics and bringing curated transactions so deals get institutional level treatment, the company helps SMEs sidestep problems they would typically have accessing top tier products.

Currency management is one area that requires Kountable’s due diligence. As they buy in one currency and deal in another, there are commercial terms, such as paying suppliers, during negotiations.

The company is successful when it simplifies the translation between big and small. Hale said, in most trade finance deals, you have big-to-big (that is, enterprise-level business trading with enterprise-level business). For example, Cisco might sell a network bridge to a multinational corporation. But when you have a small business involved (Cisco selling to a bank in East Africa, for instance), Kountable ensures that everyone gets the same retail treatment. By bringing users together in a mobile app on a cloud-based system, the company makes it seem institutional to both parties.

“The asset is a trade receivable,” Hale said. For example, an alternative credit fund that extends a $150M line of credit. “We align ourselves with the success of the transaction by pricing our service like a margin-sharing arrangement.” The four-step process includes:

  1. Kountable collects directly from the end customer
  2. The bank buys new servers from Cisco
  3. The reseller negotiates the margin for the procurement process, importation, and installing services
  4. Kountable takes a portion of the margin for the trade services it provides.

The Three Components of the Technology

The technology includes three key components:

  1. Identity management—The small business reseller downloads a mobile app and shares his or her data with Kountable. That includes social media, business registration, and personal info about the owners and shareholders. Kountable builds a “robust profile” on the SME and runs Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes for validation. The company also looks at supply, and, if it’s a private business, customs. The company looks at trade as a network. The more transactions they do, the more the network effect creates a safe environment for more transactions.
  2. Cloud-Based Control Management System—This digitally manages assets on the operating side and the financial side of a trade transaction. Hale said it’s tricky because there’s not a lot of financial data inside the transaction. Most of the info is operational. That is, goods are paid for and shipped–in transit, through customs, etc. Traditional financial institutions aren’t set up for this. This system manages the operations and payment of this trade asset. The reason it’s important to have collaboration taking place between the reseller and the in-country partners (who help with the documentation of the banking relationships, clearing customs, and more) through the mobile app with the Kountable team in San Francisco is that they all plug in to make sure transactions go smoothly. These two elements combine to create a financial asset.
  3. Trade Accounting Service—The investor who extended the $150M line of credit (LOC) is consuming trade receivables as collateral. The trade accounting service will be able to report on the synthesis of the financial and operating information in order to report the portfolio value to the investor.

Not being a formal venture fund, Kountable is a “traditional single family office with a portfolio of private companies with double bottom lines.” The company has raised $15M, 85% of which came from the family office with capital added from other investors. These are for-profit companies, of course, but the business focus is on the “larger good.” The concessionary returns the company receives by leaving some of the money on the table to make a significant impact is a part of the reward.

Kountable Key Differentiator and KPIs

“Our committed focus is to the SME,” Hale said. This led the company to build a network of enterprise-level participants and a technology platform to cater to that user. “Most other trade platforms focus on digitization of a two-party trade,” but it’s all “enterprise to enterprise.” Kountable was created to help the global SME population. “That focus on the SME as the user has created an ecosystem unlike any other platform I’m aware of.”

Kountable has about 5,000 SMEs registered and moves $3 million per month in trade transactions. That’s in two countries–Kenya and Rwanda. Interest from 40 other countries has led to building a platform to address the market demand.

“We have a line of sight to profitability just by working within these two markets,” Hale said. “[We’re] building
global expansion to go outside of the family office this year.”

SMEs in Kountable’s two markets buy goods from the U.S. and work with U.S. supplies to sell to customers in East Africa products they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. In the year ahead, Kountable plans to work with U.S. SMEs on similar transactions.

Kountable’s Competition and the Future of Trade Finance

Kountable’s competition consists of large procurement companies, groups like Tradeshift, and financial relationship companies. On the other side, there are e-commerce platforms, like Amazon, that are more consumer focused.

“There really isn’t a competitor that fits together a solution targeting our market specifically,” Hale said. The competition is mostly peripheral.

Hale believes the future is going to see trade financing dramatically influenced by digitization across the board. “The players are focused on enterprise-level digitization, where invoicing becomes an Application Programming Interface (API) and customs brokerage becomes digitized. As that continues, the nature of trade financing will evolve toward a a focus on operations.” He sees this evolution ultimately leading to the incorporation of the blockchain. “The elements of smart contracts and the distributed ledger are very well suited to the network approach to trade facilitation.”

Kountable’s near-term plans are to continue demonstrating the universality of its solution. Hale said they have significant demands in many regions of the world, including the U.S., and the goal is to plant some flags in some specific markets. Along with the U.S., he mentioned Southeast Asia and Latin America as potential growth regions. “There are many elements of our transactions that are replicable across different verticals and different regions,” he said.

Conclusion

The company is looking to internalize its engineering team and build its other respective teams. They have a number of product launches in the next quarter and a half including a redesign of the mobile app. Beyond that, Kountable is focused on growth capital for market expansion, enterprise sales, and putting in place the legal and financial structures needed to move into Southeast Asia markets like Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.

By focusing on the double-bottom line, Kountable not only has a bright future in the spaces of trade and trade financing, but the company is also doing its part to improve the quality of life in areas of the world where goods, services, and technology would be otherwise less accessible. And while it isn’t evident if the company will ultimately succeed, it’s certainly evident that it should.

Authors:

Written with Paul Keenan.

Allen Taylor

Quest for a Business Loan: Tips from an Underwriter

small business line of credit

Getting a small business loan is such an easy process nowadays if you have access to the Internet. In some cases, it’s just as effortless as shopping for a new pair of shoes on the Web. You can now go to a lender’s website, be approved, and get funded in a day, or even a […]

small business line of credit

Getting a small business loan is such an easy process nowadays if you have access to the Internet. In some cases, it’s just as effortless as shopping for a new pair of shoes on the Web.

You can now go to a lender’s website, be approved, and get funded in a day, or even a few hours.

But then again, getting a small business loan or a business line of credit online is not the same as buying a new pair of sneakers or loafers.

Technology has made many things quicker and easier. But when it comes to business financing, applying and getting approved takes time and preparation.

In most cases, it involves putting your best foot forward, as my colleague Stuart Blake pointed out in his blog post on how to get a business line of credit and the mistakes to avoid.

Here are some tips based on my ten years in the fintech industry, including six years experience in evaluating and approving small business financing applications:

1. Know your funding needs
These are the three basic questions you need to answer before applying for a business loan:

  1. Why do you need the money?
  2. How much do you need?
  3. What debt payments can you afford?

Whether you’re applying for financing through a bank or an online lender, knowing and understanding your funding needs is important. It can spell the difference between a business loan that would help your business grow and one that would weigh you down with unmanageable debt.

Let’s consider two restaurant owners with different business needs. The first needs to replace an oven that broke down while the second is looking to expand to a new location.

A new oven is a major expense, but the first restaurant owner makes a smart move by taking up a credit line with repayments that are well within their profit margins.

On the other hand, the second restaurant owner applies for a credit line with a high credit limit for a plan that was clearly over ambitious. To make payments on the credit line, the second restaurant owner’s new location would have to be up and running within two months. A very aggressive timeline.

It would also need to generate four times as much profit as their current location is making.

Most lenders will try to help you figure out if your plan makes sense. But you should have a clear and detailed sense of your business needs and finances even before applying for financing.

2. Know your legal standing
Having a clear idea of your legal standing as a business tells a would-be lender that you have a solid grasp of your business affairs. And this is fairly easy and quick to do.

For most business owners, it involves checking with the Secretary of State’s office in your area to see whether there are business liens or tax liens on you or your business. In most cases, you can do this online.

If there are liens that are not valid, you could take the necessary steps to have them removed.

In my career, I’ve encountered clients who were able to increase their credit lines by as much as $50,000 in under 48 hours just by removing a couple of old irrelevant liens from their business.

If your business is incorporated, this would also be a good opportunity to check if you are properly registered and in good standing with the Secretary of State. If your business isn’t incorporated, you should consider doing so before applying for financing.

Remember, lenders often view incorporated businesses as more stable and creditworthy.

3. Google yourself
Googling yourself is important for getting a business loan? Yep, that’s right.
Your online identity, including the information you have on your business website, and even the comments and complaints your customers post on review sites, could become critical factors in your quest for funding.

Many financing companies will check your company on the web as a way of gaining more insight into you and your business.

They’ll likely check your LinkedIn and other social media profiles. They’ll probably even read what customers say about your business on such sites as Yelp. Negative customer reviews could reflect poorly on your business. You could take steps to mitigate the impact of these reviews by responding to the comments.

It’s also smart to be aware of these comments and be prepared to explain the negative reviews in case they come up in the application process.

4. Check your credit
Your credit will, of course, be critical in your bid to get a loan or a business line of credit.

Most lenders will check your personal credit report in evaluating your loan application. While it is often overlooked, your business credit report is also important. It can have a big impact on your application, especially if your personal credit report isn’t stellar.

Checking your credit also gives you the opportunity to identify issues that you may be able to resolve easily, such as settling old debts or correcting false information.

5. Have your documents ready
If you’ve secured financing for your business in the past, you know a critical part of that process: you will be asked to provide documents. Sometimes lots of them.

This is also true with online business lenders. In fact, you may even be asked to provide additional documents as your application is being processed.

That’s why it’s important to make sure you have key documents ready and in digital form when you’re applying for a loan or a business line of credit. This would speed up the application process and prevent delays.

That was the experience of a consulting company in search of financing. The firm had just gone through a significant downturn, which could have led to the rejection of the company’s application. But the consulting company ended up being funded on the same day. The reason: the business owner had all the necessary documentation that painted a clear picture of the business. The documents showed that the downturn was the result of normal seasonality and that the business was about to bounce back.

Here’s a list of documents worth keeping handy when applying for a loan:

  • Recent bank statements (last 3 to 12 months)
  • Recent tax filings (1 to 3 years)
  • Incorporation papers
  • Updated balance sheet
  • Profit and loss report

6. Find the right lending partner
The quest for business financing is, in many ways, also a search for the right lender or financing partner. This is particularly important now that you have so many online financing options.

The right lender and credit line can build a business up, help them grow and achieve tremendous success. The wrong one could cripple a business with poor financing decisions.

What’s an ideal lending partner?

First off, the lender must have the type of financing you need. There are many choices, and picking a lender depends on what your business needs.

The ideal lender also must be transparent about how their products work and their financing terms, including interest rates and fees.

Author:

Written by Gil Rosenthal.

Gil Rosenthal is director of risk operations at BlueVine. A native of Israel, Gil comes from a family of small business owners who offer consulting services to other business owners. He has been in the FinTech industry for over a decade, including the past two years with BlueVine. He commutes to work 90 minutes in each way, but feels it is worth it since he’s helping small businesses create sustainable growth.

Turn a debit card into a credit card in 180 seconds, no FICO needed

Turn a debit card into a credit card in 180 seconds, no FICO needed

In 180 seconds on your phone Float offers a mobile-first financial service that enables consumers instant access to a line of credit that they can use with their existing debit card. Float acts as an overdraft killer.  The start-up services the 63% of millennials who are living without a credit card with a solution that is simple, […]

Turn a debit card into a credit card in 180 seconds, no FICO needed

In 180 seconds on your phone Float offers a mobile-first financial service that enables consumers instant access to a line of credit that they can use with their existing debit card. Float acts as an overdraft killer.  The start-up services the 63% of millennials who are living without a credit card with a solution that is simple, accessible, and consumer-friendly.

$17.5 billion in overdraft fees

Most of us probably know what it feels like to overdraw a checking account. There’s a particular sinking feeling everyone gets when they see that minus sign in front of their available balance. According to research reports, every year $17.5 billion is paid as overdraft fees by Americans.  Float wants to empower people to employ alternative solutions as compared to the normally usurious overdraft facilities of their bank. Their mobile-first consumer financial technology gives users an instant and easy way to access a line of credit without a traditional credit report.

Company history

Float is aiming to revolutionize the credit experience for the modern, mobile consumer. It was established in September 2015 with their head office in Los Angeles, California. They were able to raise seed capital of over $1.5 million from 4 investors (500 startups, Camp One ventures, Funders Club and Plug and Play) and will be raising another $1.5 million in the next 3 months. Total seed money will be in the range of $3-3.5 million. Andy Burke is the CTO of the company. Kevin Bass is the President and Max Klein is the CEO of the company (also the founder of Cachet LA -website on premium lifestyle in Los Angeles). Presently, they have over 15 employees in their company. According to Max, Float was born with a simple mission of creating better experiences between consumers and their finances.

How it works

Float’s vision is to change the way users’ access, manage and spend money on a daily basis and simultaneously help them build a strong credit file. Data security is taken very seriously, they protect sensitive information with full encryption and safeguards that meet industry best practices. This feature is necessary, ensuring the customer feels secure while using Float and linking it to their bank account. Its target market is in the age of 18-30 and it is lending them $50 to $1000 on an average.

Float is committed with a simple and straightforward process of belief in clear, upfront pricing.

–     Charge 5% for transfers to your bank account for $50 or more. For transfers under $50, they charge $2.50 flat.

–    Each billing cycle is about 30 days, just like a typical credit card.

– If the dues are not cleared within the cycle, the user will be charged a $20 penalty.

–    There is an auto pay option to avoid late fees.

–    No other fees, interest, or APR to access your line of credit

The company claims that the process from downloading the Float app to applying and being able to spend the money takes only 180 seconds. The convenience of getting credit in such a short time period can disrupt not only the overdraft segment of the banks but also the payday loan industry. You have to be 18 years or older and must have a bank account with Float associated banks.  Within seconds of connecting a bank account, a line of credit is offered between $50 and $1000 and is available for immediate use with any existing debit card. Since their target market is millennials, they use social media as the main channel for advertising. They create huge awareness at the college campuses with an exclusive brand ambassador program targeting influential and affluent students, enabling them with the tools to help promote Float among their friends.

No-FICO

Float believes in eliminating fear and hesitation out of the on-boarding process, that’s why they don’t use traditional FICO scores before giving credit. Instead, they do cash flow analysis when the user connects their current bank account, and they layer alternative list scores from several other providers to produce an internal score for a personalized line of credit payable every 30 days. In case, someone does not have a debit or credit card, funds will arrive in 1-3 days via an ACH transfer in the connected bank account. There is an option to pay back the loan early as well before every billing cycle and it has to be paid in full to avoid any late fees. There is an auto pay option as well, to ensure the borrower never misses a payment or incurs a late fee. Another feature being added is a set up for direct transfer, which means whenever the balance goes below $50, Float will send $100, and thus ensuring there is no overdraft and the exorbitant overdraft fees. Float’s credit product is currently in early access mode and will be available to select customers from December of this year.

Next steps

Float is launching in Utah the next month and plans to initially lend from its own balance sheet. After the proof of concept, it plans to tie-up with third party providers for the capital needs of it users.  It also secured second place out of 850 applicants in Plug and Play, a 12-week accelerator program that partners with Citi Ventures, Deutsche Bank, Capital One, Intuit, JCB, and USAA to help bring to market the next disruptive financial solution for the growing worldwide economy. Recognition from Plug and Play, a pioneer in fintech sector is particularly noteworthy.

The ability to get add-on credit within seconds will lead to a change in how consumers interact with their finances especially overdraft. The key success factor for the company will be analyzing which user to lend and how to manage prospective delinquents.

Author: Heena Dhir and George Popescu

George Popescu