Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest

soft spending

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm raises $300M. LendingClub charged with privacy violation. Funding Circle issues 187M GBP securitization. Zopa legacy portfolio drags. Fellow Finance facilitates 18.2M euros in March loans. Today’s main analysis: March 2019 debt report from LendingTree (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Interview with SoFi CEO Anthony Noto. The slowing U.S. economy. […]

The post Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

soft spending

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $ 300 million (Axios), Rated: AAA

Affirm, the consumer credit startup led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, has raised around $300 million in Series F funding at a $2.9 billion post-money valuation, Axios has learned from multiple sources.

PayPal co-founder’s fintech company scores $ 300 million, plans massive hiring in S.F. (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Flush with a monstrous funding round, this San Francisco-based fintech company plans to ramp up its hiring from 580 employees to 850 by the end of the year – and the bulk will be in the Bay Area.

FTC Privacy and Data Security Report for 2018 (JDSupra), Rated: AAA

  • LendingClub, a peer-to-peer lending company, was charged with failing to deliver adequate privacy notices to consumers required by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s Privacy Rule and Regulation P. The FTC’s complaint alleged that “LendingClub violated these rules by failing to provide its customers with clear and conspicuous notice before collecting consumers’ financial data and by failing to deliver the notice in a way that ensured that consumers received it.” Customers were instead forced to follow a series of links before being able to review the privacy policy, a method the FTC deemed to be improper.

Anthony Noto of SoFi (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

The CEO of SoFi talks priorities, innovation, company culture, competition and what it will take to build a world class financial services firm

Read the full transcript of the interview here. Interview by Peter Renton.

US Economy Slowing (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US 4th quarter GDP growth slowed to 2.2%, as what is shaping up to be the largest expansion in US economic history starts to lose steam. Consumer spending also slowed in January, rising by just 0.1% MoM. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, PCE, rose by just 1.4% YoY, justifying the Fed’s decision to keep rates on hold. Overall signs point to a slowing economy in the late stages of an expansion.

Source: Bloomberg, PeerIQ

LendingTree Debt Report – March 2019 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

After a brief respite in mid-2018, the debt-to-income ratio for consumer debt rose once more, reaching 25.41% by the end of 2018. That falls just shy of the all-time high of 25.49% set one year earlier.

Household wealth saw a $5 trillion decline last quarter

Losing $5 trillion of wealth may sound disastrous, but that’s what happened to American households last quarter. According to the Federal Reserve, total net worth of U.S. households fell from $108 trillion to $104.3 trillion in the last quarter of 2018. The loss was the biggest quarterly drop since the depths of the great recession of 2008.

PayPal Makes Its First-Ever Investment in a Blockchain Startup (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Announced today, PayPal has joined the extension of a Series A funding round in Cambridge Blockchain, a startup that helps financial institutions and other companies manage sensitive data using shared ledgers.

Neither PayPal nor Cambridge Blockchain disclosed the investment amount, but recent filings with the SEC indicate that Cambridge Blockchain has raised a total of $3.5 million in new equity from several investors over the past nine months. That follows the $7 million close of its Series A in May of 2018, and brings the total capital raised to $10.5 million.

Zillow is now a mortgage lender, launches Zillow Home Loans (HousingWire), Rated: A

Zillow announced Tuesday that it is launching its own mortgage lending operation, which it is calling Zillow Home Loans.

A payday lender in disguise? New York investigates the Earnin app (American Banker), Rated: A

As early wage access programs such as Even, PayActiv, FlexWage, ZayZoon and DailyPay gain traction, some other apps are copying their style while using a more traditional payday-loan model — sparking attention from law enforcement agencies in the process.

That’s what happened to Earnin, which is often referred to and bills itself as an early wage access provider, which give employees access to their paychecks before they are deposited. The New York Department of Financial Services launched an investigation of the firm over concerns it may be skirting state lending laws by, among other things, requiring tips from users in lieu of disclosing fees.

Crypto Lending Platform BlockFi’s Interest Account Customers Receive Their First Interest Payments (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

Leading crypto lending platform BlockFi recently announced that their Interest Account customers received their first interest payment for their Bitcoin [BTC] and Ethereum [ETH] deposits.

Since their public launch on March 5, BIA has grown by over 400% and counting. Approximately 75% of BIA clients have a balance of less than 5 BTC or 150 ETH. Their median account balance is $7,000 USD.

Crypto lenders push no-tax perk of leveraging bitcoin for cash (American Banker), Rated: A

Former Wall Street trader Edgar Fernandez used some of his bitcoin as collateral to borrow nearly $100,000, a move that let him keep his cryptocurrency and avert a tax bill on the newly acquired cash.

Genesis Capital, a cryptocurrencies lender in Jersey City, New Jersey, an affiliate of Genesis Trading, says it handed out more than $1.1 billion in cash loans and borrowed virtual cryptocurrencies in 2018. That total volume doubled in the last quarter of 2018 from the volume of the previous two quarters. Other lenders have also said they are doing more transactions, including Nexo, a cryptocurrencies lender that says it has loaned $330 million since launching last April.

Atomic Capital Goes On The Attack With New Crypto Loan Offer In The Market (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

The asset tokenization company, Atomic Capital, is making a very aggressive loan offer in the crypto lending field. Back on Wednesday, the firm will be giving USD loans for 85% of the value of the Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) used as collateral. In this way, the firm will be offering the most generous loan-to-value (LTV) in the space.

Just to put it into comparison, BlockFi offers a maximum LTV of 50%. Celsius Network, meanwhile, is giving customers 25%, 33% or 50% LTV.

Atomic will be charging interest rates of 11% and 13%. This is much more than the 4.5% or 8.95% that other competitors offer.

New $ 4.8m funding for SME bank Novo (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Novo has raised $4.8 million in venture seed financing to make banking accessible for small businesses by launching no-fee FDIC-insured digital banking.

Blend seeks to deepen bank ties with account opening product (American Banker), Rated: A

Blend is aiming to expand its customer base of banks and credit unions with a digital account opening product that it says takes some customers as little as two minutes to complete.

The account comes in addition to the mortgage products the digital loan origination fintech already offers and can stand on its own or be integrated as a package, the company said Tuesday.

Will Millennials Bring Non-banks into Their Finances? (deBanked), Rated: A

According to an Accenture surveyfrom five years ago, 34% of millennials said they would bank with Apple if such a product were available.

Best low cost franchises to get into (BM Magazine), Rated: A

Business Services Franchise

Success Member Inc.: It is the leading online loan marketplace that connects consumers with banks, credit partners and multiple lenders both nationally and internationally. They offer training with an expert to this industry of 33 years, along with a lifetime one-on-one dedicated support.

Minimum Cash Required:$25,000

  • Training and Support: Yes
  • Financing: Yes
  • SBA Approved: Yes
  • Home-Based: Yes

Goldman Sachs’ Marcus Loses Product Head (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Marcus, the consumer bank operated by Goldman Sachs, has seen its head of product Michael Cerda quit his job.

Tradeweb Raises $ 1.1 Billion in Year’s No. 2 IPO in U.S. (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Tradeweb Markets Inc. raised $1.1 billion in the second-largest U.S. initial public offering this year, after again increasing the number of shares it was selling and then pricing them above the marketed range.

Tradeweb’s IPO is also the biggest for a financial services company in the U.S. since online lender GreenSky Inc. raised $874 million in May.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Brendan Ross, Direct Lending Investments, and Others (deBanked), Rated: A

A class action lawsuit has been filed in California against Direct Lending Investments, LLC (DLI), Brendan Ross, Bryce Mason, Frank Turner, Rodney Omanoff, and Quarterspot Inc. alleging breach of contract, breaches of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent inducement.

Read the full complaint here.

AI-Powered Asset Manager Pagaya Goes
After Real Estate (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

Pagaya, which manages money using algorithms created with artificial intelligence, has raised $25 million in a series-C financing round led by Oak HC/FT, a health care and financial technology venture firm.

The fund raise will support the company’s move into real estate, corporate credit, mortgages, and other asset classes.

White Oak Commercial Finance Adds Origination Talent in Texas (AP News), Rated: B

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, today announced the appointment of Andrew Bae to Director of ABL Originations, concentrating on Texas and the Southwestern U.S. region. Mr. Bae brings nearly 20 years of experience in commercial finance, most recently leading the establishment of the Dallas office for ExWorks Capital, a senior secured debt fund.

Charles Schwab Now Offers Investment Advice Digitally via Subscription (Subscription Insider), Rated: A

Clients pay a one-time fee of $300 and then $90 a quarter.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle back in securitisation market with £187m deal (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle has entered the securitisation market for the third time, with a £187m portfolio of UK loans originated by the peer-to-peer business lender.

Alternative asset manager Pollen Street Capital is the equity sponsor of the deal, having backed Funding Circle’s last securitisation eleven months ago.

While Funding Circle operates in the UK, the US, Germany and the Netherlands, the loans included in the securitisation are just from the UK.

Zopa legacy portfolio drags on P2PGI performance (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) has blamed its poorly-performing legacy Zopa portfolio for its latest net asset value (NAV) dip.

The alternative finance-focused investment trust generated a NAV of just 0.31 per cent in February 2019, down from 0.45 per cent in January, and 0.75 per cent in December. This brings the trust’s annualised NAV to 3.7 per cent.

Will more challenger banks evolve as banking as a service providers? (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Starling Bank recently raised £75 million to fund a European expansion. As part of that announcement, the UK-based challenger said it had signed on three new clients to its banking as a service.

According to Starling, it has 20 institutional clients on its BaaS platform, which it launched in August 2018. Payment volume through the service is doubling month over month.

Monzo, following Revolut and N26, mulls new £11 per month premium offering (AltFi), Rated: A

Digital challenger bank Monzo crowned a bumper year in 2018 by coming first for customer service in an independent survey, stealing the title from regular winner First Direct. But will its growing legion of coral card-carriers ever pay for its expanding array of services?

The bank, which is now testing a new paid-for premium offering, thinks they might just do so. ‘Monzo Plus’ – as it is being called – even allows users paying a monthly fee to have Monzo cards in colours other than its famous ‘hot coral’ colour.

How to join the rush for a last‑minute Isa (The Times), Rated: A

There are now just over 48 hours left to make the most of the annual tax breaks on offer in an individual savings account (Isa). This year’s £20,000 allowance expires at midnight on April 5 and you can’t carry it over so it’s a case of use it or lose it.

Monevo Review – An Excellent Place to Begin Your Loan Search (DoughRoller), Rated: A

Through Monevo, you’ll be matched with loans of up to $100,000 with interest rates ranging from 3.99% to 35.99% APR; finding this many competitive options could take you hours to do individually. With Monevo, you can do it in about 60 seconds.

FCA warns that P2P Isas are ‘high risk’ (Money Observer), Rated: A

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned that mini-bonds and peer-to-peer loans held within the Isa wrapper are “high risk”.

Payday lending isn’t over yet – and now its victims are being shortchanged yet again (Independent), Rated: A

The administrators of WageDay Advance, which went under in February, have started contacting thousands of former customers owed compensation through being mis-sold loans by the company to urge them to join a growing list of creditors.

Compared with Wonga, WageDay was more of a piranha fish than a shark – but the problems it has created aren’t all that different.

Five ways to add IFISA diversity (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THIS WEEK is the busiest of the year for ISA providers and ISA savers alike. As the end of the tax year approaches, investors and savers are rushing to make the most of their annual ISA allowance, while ISA managers scramble to convince them that theirs is the right product.

I trust bricks and mortar and want to invest but what’s the best way to create an income from property? (This is Money), Rated: A

People are still making money from property and always will, sometimes lowering their exposure by jointly investing with friends and family, or looking at peer-to-peer lending. Investing locally can give first time investors more confidence as they know their own postcodes, and can keep an eye on what’s going on.

Finastra welcomes Sharon Doherty as Chief People Officer (Techapeek), Rated: B

Finastra today announced the appointment of Sharon Doherty, as Chief People Officer. Doherty joins from Vodafone, where she held the position of Global Organization and People Development Director. In her new role at Finastra she will have global responsibility for making Finastra the most loved and inclusive employer in the Fintech industry.

China

Regulators to pilot P2P lender registration program in back half of 2019 (technode), Rated: AAA

China is expected to start piloting a registration program for online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in the second half of this year. Regulators plan to start requiring P2P lenders in pilot cities, located in more developed regions, to register with the monitoring system. Regional and national players will have to meet certain requirements on registered capital, risk reserves, and lender risk compensation in order to be registered in the system. Regulators aim to roll out the national registration system by 2020.

European Union

Fellow Finance’s platform facilitated 18,2 million euros of loans in March (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

In March Fellow Finance investors funded business and peer-to-peer loans worth around 18,2 million euros. Cumulative loan volume grew over 415 million euros and the total number of investors grew to 12 031. You can always check the real-time peer-to-peer lending statistics on our website: www.fellowfinance.com/for-investor/statistics.

Finleap acquires German challenger bank Penta (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

European fintech ecosystem Finleap has acquired Berlin-based digital sector banking solution Penta, reports Jane Connolly.

CoinLoan Enables Borrowers to Obtain Fiat Currency Using Cryptoassets as Collateral (Cardrates), Rated: A

In a Nutshell: In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending arose as an alternative to credit offered by traditional banks. At the same time, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin also emerged. Now, CoinLoan is bringing the two together through its P2P lending platform that lets borrowers use cryptoassets as collateral for obtaining fiat (or traditional) currency. Lenders provide capital with a guarantee from CoinLoan that they will be repaid in full. Borrowers gain access to funds without needing to dispose of their cryptoassets or prove their creditworthiness.

International

Women in Fintech Demolish Glass Ceiling (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Valerie Kay, Chief Capital Officer at LendingClub, is responsible for overseeing LendingClub’s Investor Group. She addresses the need for diversity, inclusion, mutual respect and collaboration. She emphasizes the vital importance of diversity to drive better workplaces, happier customers and more profits.

Andrea Gellert, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of online small business lender OnDeck, says she sees good progress being made by Fintechs in finding female candidates at all levels including C-Suite and board positions. She points out, “There are more female founders than there used to be. We are moving at a much more accelerated pace than previous industries did in terms of female management.”

Onfido scores $ 50 million investment (Finextra), Rated: A

Onfido, the global identity verification provider, today announced it has raised $50M in funding, bringing the total investment in the company to over $100M.

Australia

Australian neobanks target scale of UK rivals without growing pains (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Sydney-based digital bank Volt promises to offer a faster more personalised service than the country’s big four incumbents – National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac.

Melbourne-based small business bank Judo launched last June lends between A$250,000 to A$5,000,000, and is process of applying for a banking license from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

Brokers urged to seize opportunities in SME space (TheAdviser), Rated: A

According to research from small business lender OnDeck Australia, which involved a survey of 331 business with an annual turnover of less than $5 million, 25 per cent of SMEs plan to seek additional finance over the next 12 months.

India

P2P lending (Invest in India), Rated: AAA

India currently has about 30 online P2P lending platforms. Some of these are Faircent, i2ifunding, Lendbox etc. In 2018, as many as 11 P2P players received the RBI licence to operate as an NBFC – P2P company. RBI in its master directions has defined NBFC – P2P as a non – banking institution which carries on the business of a peer – to – peer lending platform. The estimated P2P lending to be generated in India over the next 5 years is pegged at around $ 4 bn. Whereas in China, the P2P lending book currently is around $ 100 bn.

Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE-based  leading SME lending platform Validus Capital (Validus) and Lighthouse Canton, an independent asset management and family office advisory services firm, jointly announce the reopening of the LCV Trade Finance Fund (the Fund) with additional capacity of US$14.8 million (S$20 million; RM60 million).

Canada

OnDeck merges Canadian ops with Evolocity (Finextra), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the leader in online lending to small business, today announced it has completed the transaction combining its Canadian operations with Evolocity Financial Group (Evolocity), a Montréal-based online small business lender. The combined companies are majority owned by OnDeck.

South Africa

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI isn’t just a nice-to-have (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

South Africa’s TymeBank has launched Max, an AI-powered conversational assistant designed to help consumers learn about personal finance.

For South Africa’s first challenger bank, conversational AI is an important piece of its product roadmap.

Latin America

Why Fintech Startups Are Rapidly Becoming Unicorns in Latin America (Next Billion), Rated: AAA

Fintech was the #1 sector of venture capital investments in Latin America last year, and experts are estimating that the LatAm fintech market will exceed $150 billion by 2021.

In the past few years, over 300 fintech startups have been born in Mexico alone, coming in just second to Brazil, which boasts nearly 400 startups in its own fintech sector.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 4 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Loan Supermarket: Taking on LendingTree

SuperMoney personal finance

The traditional bank with limited financial products has given way to a financial supermarket where consumers are spoilt for choice. But hundreds of options also leave them feeling clueless. When it comes to financial decisions, it becomes imperative to have in-depth knowledge about the pros and cons of all the products that are available in […]

SuperMoney personal finance

The traditional bank with limited financial products has given way to a financial supermarket where consumers are spoilt for choice. But hundreds of options also leave them feeling clueless. When it comes to financial decisions, it becomes imperative to have in-depth knowledge about the pros and cons of all the products that are available in the market. Though there are many platforms focused on selling financial services and products, few concentrate on truly helping people make better financial choices. Sensing the opportunity, Miron Lulic launched SuperMoney with the goal of helping “people make smart financial decisions.”

SuperMoney was launched in 2013 in Santa Ana, California. Lulic, founder and CEO, is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about technological innovation. Prior to this, he founded LoanNow and Swagsy and worked as VP at a tax resolution firm. SuperMoney has no outside investors. Lulic himself has pumped almost $1 million into the business. He does not want to raise capital until the company achieves meaningful scale.

SuperMoney’s Humble Beginnings

When Lulic started SuperMoney, it was nothing but a small personal finance blog. Taking a cue from the Yelp business model, he built a similar platform for personal finance. Using an advanced algorithm, it ranked financial products and companies on multiple parameters. But by 2016, the platform started generating serious traffic, especially for personal loans. Then, in 2017, SuperMoney launched a loan offering engine.

The underlying principle behind SuperMoney is to provide financial transparency and help people make better financial decisions. It has partnered with a handful of lenders, and by using real-time APIs the company scores and rank products offered by those lenders on various parameters, such as origination fees, repayment costs, APR, and more.

SuperMoney’s Technology and Business Model

Since startup, SuperMoney has diversified into several verticals including personal lending, auto loans, student loans, and business lending. It sells clicks as well as leads, but it’s mainly focused on a performance-based advertising model. As such, it only gets paid when advertising partners are successful. The company charges by the loan.

The underlying technology is developed in-house and uses a proprietary segmentation system. SuperMoney has built its own weighted sorting algorithm based on attributes such as user review score, average revenue, and more. This means it is able to store tons of attributes from different lenders and help narrow the target audience for each loan offer. Its partners do not influence ratings and offering decisions. Rather, SuperMoney provides data that helps consumers make better financial decisions for their situation.

With the help of a soft credit pull that does not affect the consumer rating in any way, SuperMoney pre-approves the consumer for multiple offers they can then compare, and pick the best one.

What Differentiates SuperMoney From the Competition

Most consumer finance platforms providing similar services make a profit selling leads to the highest bidder. SuperMoney is more transparent. Instead, it calculates the total repayment cost, interest expense, origination fees, and other lending parameters for the consumer. It directly integrates with all its partners via APIs, which helps give consumers a better perspective in terms of cost associated with each product. This ability to offer apples-to-apples comparison in a clear and transparent manner is the hallmark of the marketplace.

The platform has tasted major success in recent years, and its organic search results have grown exponentially. SuperMoney currently witnesses nearly 1 million visitors per month.

Last April, it launched its personal loan engine and has received financing requests topping $400 million, with close to 1,000 personal loan applications per day. The personal loan has quickly become its biggest vertical. In August 2017, SuperMoney ventured into auto loans. It is also looking at the mortgage space and other niche verticals for future expansion.

Comparison to LendingTree

LendingTree is SuperMoney’s biggest competitor. An online lending exchange that connects consumers with multiple lenders, banks, and credit partners, it is not a direct supplier of loans, but a broker. Their core business model is selling leads to lenders. Lulic believes this is bad for consumers as they are deluged with dozens of tele-callers hawking their products.

SuperMoney is different. It does not let lenders contact the borrower unless the borrower has moved ahead with an offer. Its performance-based model enables them to align interest with end users and partners in a more fruitful manner. Even its marketing strategy is different from other platforms; SuperMoney concentrates on content marketing believing in “quality over quantity.”

Future Trends in Consumer Lending

Lulic believes the industry will witness a prolonged consolidation phase in order for market dynamics to settle. Strong performance of platforms like Golman Sachs’ Marcus will give the banking community self-belief to bring their own direct ventures into this space.

Moving forward, the big solution will be focusing on underserved niches. One such initiative is a dealer financing solution. Lately, a lot of traction has been witnessed in home improvement loans. SuperMoney wants to focus on individual contractors like roof installers, pool installers, and other service providers who do not have good financial solutions at their disposal.

Specialty financers available in the consumer lending space charge high discount rates from contractors, and that has had a ripple effect on contractor’s charges inching higher. To tackle this problem, SuperMoney tweaked its loan offering engine framework to launch a dealer-financing solution with a co-branded landing page. This will help contractors receive multiple competitive offers. It has tested the prototype with 100 dealers and further plans to move into other verticals like elective medical, funeral homes, legal service providers, and more.

SuperMoney also wants to strike additional partnership with banks, add more partners to its marketplace platform, and include dealers for the home improvement space. It is looking to collaborate with a wide variety of financial institutions and financial service providers. If everything goes according to plan, it will raise fresh capital in 2018 to fuel its growth.

Conclusion

The company has laid the blueprint to become one of the leading financial service research tool providers. By venturing into a variety of verticals, SuperMoney has made clear it has big ambitions and wants to become the premier go-to-resource for personal and business finance decisions.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

How a Loans Marketplace Can Change Online Lending

Magilla Loans marketplace

Magilla Loans is an online lending exchange founded in 2015 that connects borrowers to banks without requesting any personal information. The idea of building the “search engine” for loans was conceptualized by Chris Meyer, a graduate in BA Politics and history from Brandeis University, and Dean J. Sioukas, a graduate from the University of California […]

Magilla Loans marketplace

Magilla Loans is an online lending exchange founded in 2015 that connects borrowers to banks without requesting any personal information. The idea of building the “search engine” for loans was conceptualized by Chris Meyer, a graduate in BA Politics and history from Brandeis University, and Dean J. Sioukas, a graduate from the University of California in BA economics. They had first-hand experience of the struggle in applying for loans and getting the best deal possible. This motivated them to launch Magilla Loans and solve an important pain point for borrowers.

The Story Behind Magilla Loans

Confounded by the way traditional banks provide loans, Meyer and Sioukas wanted to create a search engine for providing multiple loan options to borrowers at one place. Meyer was tired of the providing private financial information to multiple banks and then working with them for two to three months to go through the entire process of underwriting and negotiation. In order to take the friction out of the process the founders envisioned creating a Kayak-like platform for borrowers and lenders. The marketplace is focused on the customer experience and the borrower gets to choose with which lender he wants to work.

Key Features of Magilla Loans

The key to Magilla Loans is that the borrower remains anonymous and does not have to provide any personal information such as name, phone number, or social security number while using the website. The only information the website asks the borrower for is their e-mail. The borrowers can compare the lender options without being spammed by banks or having their personal information sold to third parties, thereby providing complete anonymity while surfing the site.

Business Model

Magilla Loans has concentrated on premium borrowers with credit scores of around 700. This focus has given good returns with an average loan size of $1.4 million for business loans and $500,000 for home loans. A high-ticket size instantly differentiates the platform from the hundreds of players fighting in the sub-$100,000 segment. The Magilla Loans platform has FDIC-insured lenders, commercial banks, and hard money lenders with nearly 130 lenders on its search engine. There are no concerns about any violation with regards to Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act or the Dodd-Frank Act, as Magilla Loans is simply a marketplace.

The fee structure of Magilla Loans is based on CMSAs (Combined Metropolitan Statistical Area). The company has divided the United States into four CMSAs. It’s a subscription model where the lender pays a monthly fee for access depending on the CMSA targeted. There are no add-on broker fees.

The company does not charge any kind of fee from the borrowers. Its larger plan is to become a one-stop provider for them. The founders understand that once the loan is approved, the borrower will need services of appraisal, environment inspection, insurance etc. If it can collate all of these ancillaries in one place, there is a good probability that the borrower will choose loans from Magilla. This allows the platform to earn supplementary revenue and enhances the perceived utility of the website in the eyes of the borrower.

Magilla’s Working Process

The website is unique in a way that it empowers the borrower to choose the lender and the terms and not the other way around where banks get to choose the borrower.

Magilla Loans helps borrowers by finding and comparing the best loan terms without having the borrower apply to scores of banks individually. Magilla Loans sends a comparison chart (called a MagChart) incorporating proposals of nearly five to 10 lenders along with the rate, terms, closing costs, and other metrics. After performing their due diligence, the borrower chooses his/her lender. The borrower’s personal information is disclosed only to the lender chosen by the borrower specifically.

Why Traditional Lenders are Partnering with Magilla

Traditional lenders have lost a lot of space to fintech alternatives. Bloated cost structures have made it difficult for banks to be nimble in their marketing and outreach programs. The top 15 banks spend at least a billion dollars a year on marketing and business development. The Magilla model allows for banks to concentrate on underwriting rather than competing for leads in the marketplace. The founders believe they can reduce the marketing and business development budget of a bank by 50% and 25%, respectively.

The platform also allows for fine tuning the lenders’ portfolio. If a lender is heavily bullish on industrials and wants to focus on that market in the short term, Magilla Loans will only offer them applicants looking for industrial loans. This micro-targeting saves a lot of time for all parties involved.

Performance

Magilla Loans has experienced exponential growth. Currently, it has 130 lenders on board with 200 loan officers. Rather than spending millions of dollars in marketing, the company focuses on creating relationships with professional associations, dental and medical practitioners, and real estate brokers. The model’s success can be seen from the fact that it has had loan requests of over $3 billion on its platform in less than two years of operations.
It is currently limited to California and is seeking Series-A to roll out the model nationwide. The simplicity of the model allows the founders to harbor ambitions for international expansion, as well.

Conclusion

The US alternative lending market has grown aggressively over the last decade. VC funding has allowed many me-too startups to proliferate. Magilla Loans is a breath of fresh air with its focus on high-ticket size and a search engine model that does not disclose the borrowers’ personal information to lenders. With $3 billion in loan requests, the company is poised to dominate its niche.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Monday October 23 2017, Daily News Digest

Mosaic

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi discussed acquisition with Schwab. Victory Park Capital dumps Avant loans, moves away from MPL. Banco BNI Europa partners with Parcela Já on payments solution. Skystar Capital to raise third fund in 2018. Today’s main analysis: Mosaic prices, Nelnet, and Avant. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Asian stocks outpace U.S. since Alibaba IPO. When payday loans […]

Mosaic

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Chin

European Union

International

India

Asia

MENA

Africa

News Summary

United States

SoFi held talks for possible $ 8bn sale this year (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

SoFi, the highly valued online lender, explored a sale earlier this year, holding talks with companies including Schwab, the San Francisco-based broker, according to people familiar with the matter.

The sale discussions at SoFi, which has since been rocked by sexual harassment allegations, were triggered by an indicative offer of $6bn from a foreign bank, according to two people familiar with the matter. That offer came soon after SoFi raised $500m in a fundraising round led by Silver Lake, which valued it at more than $4bn.

After the initial approach, SoFi held talks with other possible acquirers with a targeted price of $8bn-$10bn. Several US companies, including Schwab, discussed a possible deal but none matched the desired price. SoFi decided to wait for an initial public offering, tentatively scheduled for 2019.

Mosaic Prices, Nelnet Acquires Great Lakes, FinTech Financings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Earlier this week, Mosaic priced MSAIC 2017-2, their second solar ABS. The deal was heavily oversubscribed, with over $1.7 Bn in orders for a $307.5 Mn deal.

On Thursday, Nelnet announced it would acquire Great Lakes Education Loan Services for $150 Mn in cash.

In other securitization news this week Avant filed ABS 15-G for is AVNT 2017-B deal. KBRA assigned preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-B (“AVNT 2017-B”). The transaction is a $232.648 Mn consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on October 31, 2017. We took a close look at Avant’s first deal of 2017 in a prior newsletter.

Mosaic Background
With over $1.1 Bn loans funded, Mosaic maintains a proprietary origination channel consisting of a high-quality network of approved solar installers. These installers are carefully screened as Mosaic must rely on these partners to refer quality borrowers because the loans are secured by the installed solar systems.

Last month, Mosaic inked a deal with Goldman Sachs for a $300 Mn forward purchase agreement. In addition to the ~$450 Mn the company has raised through securitizations, other significant sources of financing include a $220 Mn series C equity raise led by Warburg Pincus in 2016 and $650 Mn in warehouse commitments from a diverse mix of banks.

Source: PeerIQ

Asian Companies Sell Most Stock in U.S. Since Alibaba’s IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Fifteen Asian companies have raised $3.2 billion in U.S.-listed IPOs and seen their shares climb 46 percent since their listings this year, according to weighted-average share price data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares to an 11 percent climb for the 105 U.S. businesses that listed domestically and raised a combined $23.6 billion.

Combined with other listings, those three have put October on track to be the biggest month of the year for U.S. IPOs. The $29 billion raised in 2017 has already outpaced the $15.2 billion in stock offered by new U.S.-listed companies through this time last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The 13 Asian companies that raised a combined $1 billion in 2015 are up 117 percent, beating the 19 percent rise for U.S.-based companies that had domestic listings that year. In 2014, 20 Asian companies including Alibaba raised a combined $30 billion. Those stocks are up 152 percent on average. The $50 billion in U.S.-based companies’ shares sold that year have climbed only 35 percent.

When Payday Loans Die, Something Else Is Going to Replace Them (The Atlantic), Rated: AAA

But the regulations will do little to address the other side of the problem: consumers’ demand for small, fast, easy-to-obtain loans. Solving that problem, while ensuring that new predatory loans options don’t pop up, will fall to the financial industry and state legislators—who’ve struggled in the past to protect financially vulnerable Americans.

Some of those options are already out there, and won’t be covered by the CFPB’s new rule, says Nick Bourke, the director of the consumer-finance program at Pew Charitable Trusts. According to Bourke, many of the same payday and auto-title lenders that will be shelving shorter-term loans ahead of the CFPB’s onerous new rules already have other loan options available. And they’re available in about half of all states.

To prevent that, Bourke says, states could mandate that small and installment loan options include affordable repayment structures, reasonable repayment times, and lower fees. That’s an option that has already been implemented in some states such as Colorado, and one that might work elsewhere.

There are few places for poor, underbanked Americans to turn when they’re in need of a couple hundred dollars in a pinch. In the past, many traditional banks have said that the risk and cost of underwriting small-dollar loans simply isn’t worth it: Small loans, coupled with borrowers with low incomes and spotty or nonexistent credit history, don’t really appeal to large, profit-seeking banks.

One of the main alternatives provided by credit unions is the Payday Alternative Loan—which allows federally backed credit unions to provide their members with small loans in amounts ranging from $200 to $1,000, with repayment terms of one to six months. But when you compare the accessibility of PAL loans to the demand for payday products, it’s clear that they can’t meet the need. In 2016, only about 20 percent of the country’s fewer than 4,000 federal credit unions offered the loans. And to get one, a borrower must be a member of a credit union for at least a month, and sometimes complete a financial-education requirement in order to fulfill a loan application. That’s an imperfect swap for many of the 12 million Americans who use payday loans each year to receive an instant cash infusion.

How Often Do Mortgage Lenders Follow-Up via Calls And E-mails? (Tenfold), Rated: A

I conducted a study where I applied for home loans with nine different lenders and then tracked their follow-up attempts over two weeks. During this time, I also did not respond to their follow-up calls and e-mails.

  • Over the course of two weeks, Quicken Loans made the most follow-up attempts. 18 to be exact.
  • Lenders at Citigroup came second with 17 follow-up attempts.
  • loanDepot, in third place, attempted 13 follow-ups.
  • During the same period, Chase Mortgage and PennyMac Loan Services tied for fourth with 11 follow-up attempts.
  • Sales reps at Bank of America only followed-up on the home loan application five times.
  • U.S. Bancorp followed-up twice, and CapitalOne and HSBC Mortgage Services tied for last with just a single follow-up attempt.
Source: Tenfold
Source: Tenfold

Varo Money Announces New Product Features to Help Customers Save More Money (Varo Money Email), Rated: A

SmartBiz Loans brings banks back to SBA lending (Biz Journals), Rated: A

The company, which offers an online Small Business Administration loan marketplace, was the top facilitator of traditional SBA 7(a) loans under $350,000 in fiscal 2016.

As S&P Global Ratings noticed collateral performance in the U.S. subprime auto loan asset-backed securities (ABS) market deteriorated moderately on a sequential basis in August, Davis & Gilbert’s Insolvency, Creditors’ Rights & Financial Products Practice Group fears investors could be in for a surprise if that market segment makes a more notable move.

S&P Global Ratings indicated the subprime net loss rate increased to 7.95 percent in August 2017 from 7.38 percent in July but decreased year-over-year from 8.35 percent.

Between August of last year and the same month this year, analysts noted about 35 new deals with a total collateral amount of approximately $17 billion were added to their index. These additions pushed the outstanding collateral amount up to approximately $35.6 billion compared to $32.0 billion a year earlier.

Fundera Report: The Traditional SME Lending Process Pretty Much Sucks (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fundera, an online lending comparison site, has partnered with Oliver Wyman on a report about SME lending. Entitled, “Great Expectations: Improving the loan application process for small business borrowers, the document effectively labels the traditional borrowing process as broken.

On the flip side, banks still have an advantage in a lower cost of capital so if you can suffer through the frustration you loan (if ever approved) may come at a lower cost.

So what is the big takeaway from all of this?

The report explains that alternative lenders have a higher cost of capital because they lack access to low cost deposits that banks and credit unions use to fund their loans. The average cost of funds for a bank is around 0.06%. In comparison, OnDeck reported a cost of funds in Q1 2017 of 5.9%.

This App Will Loan You $ 75 Interest Free to Avoid Overdraft Fees (Lifehacker), Rated: A

Another solid solution: Dave. Not your buddy from college, the app.

Once it’s tied to your bank account (using the same military-grade 128-bit SSL encryption technology used by big banks), the app will monitor your finances and reoccurring expenses and then let you know when you’re running at risk of overdrafting your account.

Within the app you can ask to borrow $25, $50, or $75 to get you through until your next paycheck comes. Loans are free, but when you pay them back you’re given the option to leave a 5-15% tip. For every % of tip you give, the app will plant a tree.

Using the app costs $1 per month.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Firm Targets Institutional Investors (InstitionalInvestor.com), Rated: A

First RealFund will offer property investments in high-growth neighborhoods such as Brooklyn.

The New York-based firm will provide short-term real-estate investments in high-growth neighborhoods, according to co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Dan Drew. First RealFund will offer opportunities to co-invest alongside the firm in residential and commercial real-estate deals.

He projects returns of 12 percent to 24 percent on investments lasting one to three years.

First RealFund has a $5 million pipeline of deals and plans to co-invest $100,000 in each of its first two offerings, according to Drew. He said investors can allocate between $500,000 and $3 million in each of the real estate assets offered by First RealFund.

Rory Eakin of CircleUp (Lend Academy), Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • The circuitous route Rory took through South Africa before founding CircleUp.
  • The huge untapped opportunity that Rory and his co-founder discovered.
  • Some examples of consumer goods companies that have raised capital on CircleUp.
  • How they approach the due diligence process.
  • How and why they are tracking 1.2 million companies in the consumer sector.
  • Why building their own data analysis tools has been a key ingredient in their success.
  • The typical size of the companies that are raising money and the typical equity rounds.
  • The number of companies that have raised money on the platform.
  • The average revenue CAGR for those companies.
  • Their current mix of investors and the average investment on the platform.
  • Why they decided to launch a loan product earlier this year.
  • The typical loan terms they are offering.
  • Who is providing the capital for their loan product.
  • Why they remain focused on the consumer goods vertical for this loan product.
  • What the future holds for CircleUp.

OneMain Increases eSignLive E-Signatures Roll-Out to 1,700 Branches (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

VASCO Data Security International, Inc. today announced that longtime customer OneMain Financial, the largest responsible personal loan company in the U.S., has extended its use of eSignLive e-signatures for loan applications to more than 1,700 U.S. branches in 44 states. The lender has seen 99 percent adoption of the technology, which translates into an annual savings of approximately 500,000 administrative hours and $500,000 in toner costs alone, and enables OneMain to deliver an omni channel experience to improve the customer experience while reducing in-branch costs.

OneMain selected eSignLive in 2012 to enable virtual personal lending, including unsecured loans across online and call center channels.

Real Estate Crowdfunders Turn to Auto-Invest (Patch of Land), Rated: A

Automatic investment tools are gaining traction with real estate crowdfunding platforms as a way for investors to obtain greater access to transactions that meet their investing criteria.

The benefits of automatic investing to the real estate investor are multifold:

  1. It levels the playing field.
  2. It improves flexibility.
  3. It may allow for higher investments.
  4. It increases portfolio diversity. 
  5. Investors gain access even when demand is high.

How auto investing helps lenders

While the multiple benefits of automatic investing are fairly obvious to investors, real estate crowdfunding lenders stand to benefit as well. Using data gathered from investor parameters selected in a respective platform’s auto invest feature, the lender is able to see if a loan will fully fund or by what percentage it will fund before the loan documents are ever signed or approved.

This data helps determine whether an appetite exists on a particular real estate crowdfunding platform for a specific loan. If there’s a huge appetite for a particular loan type, then more of those types of loans may be offered.

Lenders who have built-out this type of auto-investing technology in an intelligent way will have an audit history to see how investing parameters have changed over time, which will help to make smarter lending decisions now and into the future.

Lenders, armed with auto-investing data, will be able to draw trend lines on how investors are or are not changing their investing parameters.

This could mean making a decision to deny a loan application because “crowd” investors have no appetite to fund it while prioritizing another loan through the approval and funding process because of high demand from investors.

Fears of commercially owned banks are unfounded: OCC’s Noreika (American Banker), Rated: A

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika on Thursday pushed back against concerns that his agency’s proposed fintech charter will unduly benefit nonfinancial firms.

Why Fintechs Want More Access to State Banking Regulators (Law.com), Rated: A

This week, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) announced more than 30 companieswill participate in its newly formed Fintech Industry Advisory Panel. The panel is part of the CSBS’s Vision 2020 initiative, which seeks to “modernize state regulation of non-banks, including financial technology firms.”

At financial startup Social Finance Inc. (SoFi), general counsel Rob Lavet, who oversees compliance professionals and is used to interacting with state and federal regulators, will be the one to serve on the panel. Kabbage’s head of global privacy, Sam Taussig, will represent the Atlanta-based small-business lending company.

Some companies have chosen other executives to participate in the regulatory conversation. At CommonBond, for instance, CEO and co-founder David Klein will represent the student loan company.

Judge OKs LendingClub Investor Class, Competing State Suit (Law360), Rated: B

Investors in LendingClub Corp. who accused the online lender of stock fraud were recognized as a class in California federal court on Friday, but the judge allowed a competing state-court case to advance despite his skepticism that it would result in a better outcome for investors.

Payments M&A, deals and financings all happened (The Financial Revolutionist), Rated: B

First Data accidentally let it slip that it was thinking about buying payments processing partner BluePay and 

Lendio Joins Innovative Lending Platform Association (OnDeck), Rated: B

The Innovative Lending Platform Association (ILPA), consisting of the nation’s leading online small business lending platforms, today announced that small business platform Lendio has joined the trade organization as an associate member. Lendio will work with other ILPA members to advance online small business lending education, advocacy, and best practices.

United Kingdom

VPC offloads Avant loans as part of shift from marketplace lending (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

VICTORY Park Capital (VPC) Specialty Lending Investments has offloaded the majority of its loans from US personal loans platform Avant.

The alternative lending investment trust said in a portfolio update on Monday that the move is part of its strategy of shifting from marketplace to balance sheet lending.

The investments sold represent 7.6 per cent of the company’s net asset value as at 31 August 2017.

Why investing in your neighbour is the new finance revolution and Cornwall’s leading it (CornwallLive), Rated: A

Crowd sourced funding has transformed the way we do business, whipping up a sense of entrepreneurship and encouraging all of us to think about investing more locally.

According to SWIG Finance which has a base in Truro, more than £10billion has been loaned to UK businesses and consumers by the alternative finance sector as a whole since 2005.

Crowdfunder’s growth has been meteoric with 25,000 members joining the platform every month and raising some £2m a month for UK projects.

ThinCats Expands in Midlands By Appointing Ravi Bagri As New Origination Manager (Crowfund Insider), Rated: B

Peer-to-peer lending platform ThinCats announced on Friday it has appointed Ravi Bagri as its new Origination Manager, who will cover the Midlands region. According to the online lender, Bagri is considered one of the most well-established names in the Midlands finance sector and has nearly 30 years of experience in retail and commercial banking.

Debt collector Cabot plans to float on London Stock Exchange (Financial Times), Rated: B

Cabot has also appointed Andy Haste, chairman of payday lender Wonga, as independent chairman-elect, to help oversee the debt management group’s transition to a public company.

China

Third-quarter funding for China’s fintech hits a speed bump as state tightened reins on capital outflow (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Total funding raised by China’s venture capital-backed financial technology start-ups fell to US$800 million across 26 deals between July and September, a drop of 27 per cent from last year, as the central government kept a tight rein on capital outflows from this sector.

That amount was down from US$1.1 billion in the same period last year and below the US$1 billion recorded in the quarter to June, according to a recent online briefing by Lindsay Davis, an intelligence analyst at venture capital research firm CB Insights.

Davis said deal activity of mainland fintech start-ups in the third quarter dropped 19 per cent from 32 transactions recorded in the second quarter.

Dianrong, the Shanghai-based operator of a popular online lending marketplace, recorded the region’s largest fintech deal last quarter – a US$220 million Series D funding round led by China Minsheng Investment, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and South Korean private equity firm Simone Investment Managers.

That was followed by the US$200 million Series C financing round of Shenzhen Suishou Technology, which runs a personal finance management platform on the mainland. Its investors included Hong Kong-listed conglomerate Fosun International, global investment firm KKR & Co, Sequoia Capital China and Beijing-based venture capital company Source Code Capital.

Source: SCMP
European Union

BANCO BNI EUROPA AND PARCELA JÁ SIGN STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO LAUNCH SOLUTION FOR PAYMENT OF PURCHASES (Global Bnking & Finance), Rated: AAA

Banco BNI Europa and Parcela Já, Portuguese Fintech, have entered into a partnership to launch an innovative solution for the Portuguese market, which aims to enable any retailer to offer its customers the instalment of any purchase without costs to the consumer.

This product is open to all consumers with a credit card. To benefit from this service, the final customer will only have to make the purchase with his usual credit card, deciding at the terminal, at the time of purchase, the instalment he intends to make, between 2 and 12.

PayKey Launches Smart Mobile Payments Keyboard (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Mobile banking startup PayKey, which offers a smartphone keyboard designed for millennial banking customers, has raised $10 million in Series B funding, bringing its total raised to $16 million.

According to news from TechCrunch, this latest round was led by MizMaa Ventures, with participation from other investors that include SBI Group, Siam Commercial Bank’s financial tech subsidiary Digital Ventures, SixThirty and Fintech71.

PSD2 signals a return to relationship banking, says Temenos (AltFi), Rated: A

Jeroen Broekema, online lender Funding Circle’s lead in the Netherlands, recently told us that PSD2 “has the potential to be a game-changer”, but that its success in the short-term will depend on the willingness of the big banks to engage.

Temenos is a software provider to banks and other financial services firms, helping them to keep pace with a rapidly changing market. It’s the fourth largest software company in Europe, with profits of over $185m and a market capitalisation of more than $5bn. (Clearly, selling technology to banks is big business.)

ENEMY TURNED INTO BROTHER: CRYPROCURRENCIES AND BANKS TO INTEGRATE IN JUST ONE YEAR (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

Two factions have formed on their own – people who stay loyal to banks and observe the cryptocurrency market from afar, only dreaming about 30–60% p.a. deposit rates. And then there are those who have switched over to cryptocurrencies and are happy with the state of things but shudder every time they hear about the latest hacking of cryptocurrency wallets. Why make this choice? The market needs a service at the intersection of these factions.

We are finally solving the issue of debit card linkage to cryptocurrency wallets. About 10 companies promise to issue their Master Card or VISA cards – all to no avail… Our marketplace will solve the problem of online lending, including p2p lending, as well as deposits in cryptocurrency assets. Sure, the market may offer similar services, however only Narbonne has the team with that much experience in finance.

Many microfinance companies like to mention that 2–3 billion people are currently unable to get a loan in a bank.

International

The ECN Updates Review of Crowdfunding Regulation in the EU, Israel & the USA (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On October 20, at its 6th Convention in Vilnius, Lithuania, the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN), the European association of alternative finance platforms, released its Third Edition of the Review of Existing Regulations of crowdfunding and related alternative financing in the 28 countries of Europe, as well as in North America and Israel.

The 720-page long report was written by local offices of law firms in each country coordinated by international law firm Osborne Clarke under the direction of Tanja Aschenbeck-Florange and her colleague Thorge Drefke.

In response to the new alternative financing models, some 11 EU countries have implemented national level regulations for securities-based and lending-based crowdfunding:

Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and The United Kingdom.

A few other countries, such as Romania and Ireland, are preparing to issue such crowd-funding-specific regulations.

The result of this lack of regulatory harmonization is a market fragmentation which clearly hampers the development of the industry.

A Call for Action

The aim of the report, in addition to providing a reference document for the platforms and their partners, is to present the European and national regulators and legislators with a clear picture of the fragmented regulatory landscape and to suggest directions for improvements inspired from the best practices observed in each country.

Sovereign funds’ corporate deals halve in Q3, Asians stay active (The Star), Rated: A

The value of corporate deals with sovereign wealth fund (SWF) participation halved in the third quarter as oil-driven funds continued to take a back seat.

GIC participated in the top three deals, the largest being a US$6.4bil offer for Danish payments processor Nets by newly-formed company Evergood 5. The deal was backed by a consortium that included GIC, led by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

The second largest was the US$1.6bil acquisition of Hong Kong-based insurer MassMutual Asia by another investor group that included GIC.

GIC also led a US$220mil funding round for Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong.

Fintech startup, Trade Ledger, launches world-first tech to help banks fight off global tech giants (Business Insider), Rated: A

Career technologists, Martin McCann and Dr. Matthias Born, are launching a world-first lending tech for banks and traditional lenders that will help to equip them against competition from tech giants such as Facebook, Tencent, and eBay wanting to enter financial services.

Trade Ledger is the world’s first business lending platform that transforms digital data from business supply chains in real time, allowing banks to assess and regularly update credit and default risk of businesses they lend to. Currently this is only done on a one-off or infrequent basis on a very small sample of invoices, and not on any other trade documents.

How Cryptocurrency Loans Are Reinventing Credit (International Business Times), Rated: A

The blockchain nonprofit Celsius, headquartered in New York, now has an initial coin offering to fund the launch of its beta loan platform for Americans in January.

One of the biggest barriers for taking out a loan is credit worthiness. The traditional way banks and lenders assess credit is widely considered outdated in the modern economy.

Users will download the app and log in through Facebook or LinkedIn to authenticate their identities. Ebay or Amazon sellers can upload their transaction histories to show their reliability. Borrowers can even have a guarantor, say a friend anywhere in the world with a cryptocurrency wallet, put up her digital assets to boost your Celsius credit limit.

Borrowers receive their credit in dollars even though lenders are giving them ether.

The plan is to eventually go global. Meanwhile, a Buenos Aires-based startup called the Ripio Credit Network will soon offer similar cryptocurrency services in Latin America. Ripio will focus on short-term microloans, ranging in value from $20 to $2,000. Ripio founder and CEO Sebastian Serrano told IBT the bitcoin wallet platform already has 140,000 users, mostly in Argentina and Brazil.

According to the World Bank, around 2 billion people still doesn’t have any type of bank account.

Like Nubank in Brazil and the fintech startup Tala in Africa and Asia, Ripio will also use cellphone data to help bolster the user’s credit score.

NerdWallet reported the average credit card rate was around 12.3 percent in 2016, accounting for inflation.

Salt has a KeepKey hardware wallet and a digital lending platform set to launch near the end of this year, altogether bringing in more than $45 million in revenue thanks to 25,0000 users.

The Cambridge study estimated there are between 5.8 to 11.5 million active cryptocurrency wallets worldwide.

India

How alternative financial services ecosystem has become big boon for India (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

J Venkatesh had always wanted to gift his college-going daughter a phone. But the machine operator, who works in a tobacco-manufacturing unit in Secunderabad, could never save enough money to buy a smartphone. Though he had a savings account in a large nationalised bank, he wasn’t able to procure a personal loan due to poor credit score. That’s when Home Credit India, a consumer finance provider, came into the picture. Last year, the company gave Venkatesh a small-ticket loan of Rs 10,000 to buy a smartphone. The small-ticket loan boosted his credit score, following which he was able to avail two personal loans of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 73,000 within a gap of less than six months between the two loans.

“With less than 20 million consumers in this country having credit cards and 70% of the formal consumer credit availed by only 24 million households, the opportunity for fintechs is immense,” says Lizzie Chapman, co-founder and CEO, ZestMoney, a fintech firm. At ZestMoney, the ticket size of loans ranges from Rs 3,000 to Rs 3 lakh. “But our sweet spot is in the Rs 20,000-Rs 50,000 space. These are purchases that are too small to warrant taking a personal loan for, but too big to put in one lumpsum for most people,” Chapman adds.

Today, nearly one-third of the customers availing loans through these financial institutions are new to credit.

As per data released in 2016 from the finance ministry, only 28-32% of Indians have access to financial institutions, including post offices and banks.

Online lending startups thrive as banks with bad loans become cautious (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Online lending start-ups such as Faircent, Wishfin and Loantap as well as large e-commerce firms are helping expand consumer credit at a time when banks burdened by bad loans have become cautious about lending.

Personal loans advanced by banks grew 15.7% in August, slower than the 18.1% growth that the segment reported a year ago, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data.

Faircent (Fairassets Technologies Pvt. Ltd) is now processing around 300 loans per month, with an average loan size of Rs1.5 lakh on a monthly basis, compared with 130 loans given in November and December last year.

Wishfin (Mywish Marketplaces Pvt. Ltd), a company which aggregates loan and credit products from banks, has also experienced a huge increase in loans after demonetisation. The firm claims to get around 300,000 applications every month for various financial and credit products, up 2.75 times from a year ago.

LazyPay (owned by PayU) and Simpl (owned by Get Simpl Technologies Pvt. Ltd) also provide a buy-now, pay-later option to customers on their platforms by tying up with online vendors.

Loantap (LoanTap Financial Technologies Pvt. Ltd) is one such platform that provides instant finance to salaried consumers. It has categorized loans for specific-use cases including weddings, holidays, car/bike loans and credit card re-financing, among others.

Now, a safer marketplace for loans (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: A

If you want to raise money quickly for business or personal use, the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform has now become more transparent and safer. The RBI last week laid down directions that bring more credibility to the online platform.What is it ?A P2P lending platform brings lenders and borrowers together.

FundPitch to cater to SMEs (The Hindu), Rated: B

While Bodhtree Consulting Limited will launch its operations in the Fintech Valley-Vizag within a few days, two other companies Lycos Internet Ltd (erstwhile Ybrant Digitals) and Kissht will also invest in the city.

The three companies have given the commitment to start their operations in Fintech Valley-Vizag with a total job opportunity for 600.

Besides Bodhtree, its subsidiary FundPitch would also facilitate funding for SMEs — a long needed requirement for innovative entrepreneurs in Andhra Pradesh — J.A. Chowdary, Special Chief Secretary and IT Advisor to Chief Minister, told The Hindu.

Asia

Indonesia’s Skystar Capital to raise third fund in 2018, to target late-stage funding (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Indonesian early-stage venture capital firm Skystar Capital is expected to hit the fundraising course for its third fund by the second half of next year, a top executive told DEALSTREETASIA.

The VC is now deploying its second fund – which it closed mid-2016 – with check sizes ranging between $100,000 and $1 million. It plans to start the fundraising process when it has utilized at least 50-60 per cent of the current fund.

Lifestyle inflation could be the reason you’re struggling (The Star), Rated: A

WHAT is lifestyle inflation? Quite simply it’s when you increase your spending when your income level goes up, for instance, each time you get a salary increment. It’s a simple idea that when you make more, you spend more.

But aside from that, did you know the Malaysia Employers Federation (MEF) has reported that the average salary increase in 2017 is estimated at 5.3% for executives and 5.43% for non-executives.

Inflation is floating between 3.6% to 3.9%, that only gives you a salary increase of 1%-2%.

Propelling Singaporean SMEs to greater heights with fintech (SBR.com.sg), Rated: A

According to the January 2017 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social Singapore, there are currently 644.1 million people in Southeast Asia. Of which, 53% are internet users making the region ripe for growth and expansion for Fintech adoption.

Paired with the Smart Financial Centre, with funding of $225 million, this has reduced the barriers to entry for fledgling startups and SMEs.

Payments
As a sector that contributes between 23 and 58 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the region’s various countries, many transactions arise from SMEs. These may include the use of paper money or cheques, processes that are labour-intensive and time-consuming. However, with the rise of payment services like Omise in Thailand, M_Service in Vietnam, and Doku in Indonesia, SMEs can now reach customers without credit cards to transact on an e-commerce platform.

In Singapore, the introduction of PayNow, a payment service that allows transactions to be made to the user’s mobile number on mobile banking apps, has made banking transactions more convenient than ever.

Lending & Financing
Whilst SMEs are key to driving economic growth in Southeast Asia, the fact that they are small and medium enterprises also mean that they encounter difficulties in securing loans from traditional financial institutions. A report by Deloitte states that less than 60% of SMEs in five countries the region have access to bank loans.

Finance Management 
Another key issue SMEs face is the lack of financial literacy or financial literacy tools available to managers.

Improve policy framework to promote consumer finance (Viet Nam News), Rated: A

Experts agreed that the consumer lending market has high potential in Việt Nam, given the low penetration and significant size of the population that remained unbanked and unserved despite increasing income.

Statistics of the State Bank of Việt Nam revealed that total outstanding consumer loans were at VNĐ960 trillion (US$42.1 billion), or 15.7 per cent of the total outstanding loans in the economy, in 2016, of which VNĐ74 trillion was provided by finance companies.

She cited the World Bank’s statistics according to which the population with loans accounted for 46.84 per cent in Việt Nam, but the percentage of population with loan at financial institutions was much smaller at 18.45 per cent.

MENA

Brace yourselves for the future of finance (Khaleej Times), Rated: A

The financial services industry is experiencing a time of unprecedented change. And the principal driver for this change is fintech.

Investment in fintech in the Middle East alone for 2017 was forecast to increase by 270 per cent at the beginning of the year, with this figure expected to rise exponentially in the short to medium-term.

With the number of people owning at least one smartphone in the UAE – forecast to reach 789 million by 2019 – mobile banking plays a large and very important part in our everyday lives. Indeed, research leading up to the annual Gitex Technology Week in Dubai shows substantial growth in the banking habits of the high-earning, always-connected under-35s who require and expect constant mobile banking access.

In addition to mobile banking apps – robo-advisers, peer-to-peer lending and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum – have all played a role in this colossal upheaval of the financial services industry.

HONEST FINANCING FOR TURKISH FARMS (Delano.lu), Rated: A

Tackling the challenges of the underbanked, the EFSE Fund and the SANAD Fund for MSME, advised by Finance in Motion, have partnered with Village Capital and the LHoFT to develop the Fincluders Bootcamp 2017, unique investment readiness program designed for entrepreneurs offering inclusive financial products.

We caught up with founders from each of the 12 selected startups, this time with Mehmet Memecan, founder of Tarfin:

What does ​’financial inclusion’ mean to you?

In farming, you achieve higher profitability by either planting more value-added crops, or plant more acres of the same crop. Both of these options require additional to capital.

Could you describe the mission of Tarfin?

Tarfin uses technology and its vast retailer network to deliver competitive financing options for farmers’ purchases of farm inputs. Farmers can buy fertilisers, seeds and chemicals today, and only pay after harvest. We bridge the financing gap, and we do it at a cheaper rate than what’s otherwise available to the farmer.

What are the unique challenges and opportunities of your home market?

Unfortunately, we have very low financial literacy in Turkish agriculture.

Africa

Ghanian FinTech Bloom Impact attracts Canadian investment (CFO), Rated: AAA

Ghana’s Bloom Impact, a machine learning loans marketplace accessible from smartphones has raised undisclosed funding from Engineers Without Borders Canada, EWB Ventures, an early-stage investor in innovative Africa-based social enterprises.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

How Student Loan Borrowers Compare Rates in Real Time

credible student loan refinancing

Considering the one-size-fits-all nature of the federal student loan marketplace and the augmented cash flow stability a borrower has once they graduate and start working, it’s astonishing that, before 2012, no financial institution offered a “credible” student loan refinance product for federal and personal student loans. Today, a range of lenders along with community banks, […]

credible student loan refinancing

Considering the one-size-fits-all nature of the federal student loan marketplace and the augmented cash flow stability a borrower has once they graduate and start working, it’s astonishing that, before 2012, no financial institution offered a “credible” student loan refinance product for federal and personal student loans. Today, a range of lenders along with community banks, credit unions, traditional banks, and alternative lenders have entered the student loan refinancing market.

It’s common sense that customers with traditional student loans will refinance if offered a product that helps them attain their financial goals, typically either lowering their interest rate or monthly payments. One such company is Credible.

The Rise of Credible Student Loan Refinancing

In the last three years, there have multiple entrants into the student loan refinancing market. With reports estimating the market potential for student loan refinancing to be over $200 billion, it’s no wonder. While there is only around $5 billion refinancing occurring right now, this alternative lending segment is poised for runway expansion.

Credible, headquartered in San Francisco, hit the scene in late 2012. After securing $2.7 million in seed funding from fifteen investors, the company raised $11.6 million in a Series A round led by Soul Htite, founder and CEO of Dianrong.com and co-founder of Lending Club, with participation from Prosper President Ron Suber and ConnectUp CEO/Founder Scott Langmack. Understanding the sustainable competitive advantage, multiple avenues of growth, favorable industry trends, and an enormous Total Attainable Market (TAM), investors opened their checkbooks once more for another $10 million in a recent Series B round. Investors included Suber, Regal Funds Management, and Carthona Capital.

Suber was effusive in his praise of the company, commenting that Credible has a talented, focused team that executes, and a passionate CEO.”

Credible plans to use this capital to accelerate the development of technology to help in leveraging data for growth.

Prior to founding Credible, CEO Stephen Dash was an investment director at M.H. Carnegie & Co. in Sydney, Australia. Before that, he founded Quickcharge Media, the largest network of smartphone battery recharge and digital signage kiosk in Australia.

Credible: The Kayak of Student Loans

Following its Series A financing, Credible entered the highly competitive personal loan segment. Borrowers are able to receive instant pre-qualified offers after a soft credit inquiry (that does not affect the credit score), which can be compared on a single dashboard. Most importantly, the platform lets borrowers control their personal contact information.

Credible does for student loans what Kayak.com does for airline fares. The California-based company provides a platform where borrowers can compare available rates. It’s based on the principle transparency to borrowers.

Unlike alternative student loan marketplaces that sell leads to lenders, Credible works by obtaining firm credit offers for its customers. This helps students assess and decide which loan option is best for them. Once a student is accepted to a university, all they (and their parents if required) need to do is go to Credible’s website and fill out a form. Credible then sends the relevant information to its lending partners.

Working with multiple lenders, Credible gets a fast and fixed quote on loans for that individual student loan and lets the student select the credit line that works best for them. The line of credit is legally feasible and set for 30 days. Rather than offer a variety of rates, Credible provides an actual loan and, once accepted, the transaction is completed. The company makes money by charging a transaction fee from the lender when the borrower accepts the credit line. Credible also offers a student loan refinancing product for graduates who want to lower their payments or interest rate on current student loans.

Credible’s Incredible Story: Past, Present, and Future

So far, Credible has managed to serve more than 130,000 customers since launch with 85,000 users qualifying for loan offers in 2016 alone. On average, Credible customers are able to save more than $18,000 over the life of a loan. The company offers simple and hassle-free eligibility criteria: The borrower must be at least 18 years old, be a US citizen, and have student loan debt over $5,000.

Staying true to their philosophy transparency, Credible launched its lender express pre-qualification engine to let borrowers see actual rates they will qualify for from multiple lenders in real time and without affecting their credit scores. The growing stature of the company can be measured by the fact that New Hampshire Education Loan Corporations (NHHELCO) has decided to partner with the company.

NHHELCO’s EDvestinU consolidation loan is available in all 50 states and lets students combine multiple student loans into a new loan with a lower interest rate and monthly payment. With this additional product, Credible now provides access to student loan refinancing options from seven different lenders: Citizens Bank, College Ave, CommonBond, iHELP, the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA”), NHHELCO, and the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA).

The student loan refinancing opportunity is massive. More importantly, raising a Series B from the crème de la crème of the alternative lending industry is a big shot in the arm for Credible. Venture capitalists have been picky about their investments in the sector lately. Raising a Series B in this tepid environment proves that Credible is here to stay for the long run.

Authors:

Written With Heena Dhir.

Allen Taylor