Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest

fintech vc 2018

News Comments Today’s main news: Kabbage expands into India. GreenSky launches loan product for elective health care. Lending Works hits 150M GBP in loans in five years. Ant Financial’s money market fund shrinks to two-year low. Ant Financial raised close to combined raise of all U.S., Europe fintechs last year. Varo Money raises annual percentage yield on savings accounts to […]

The post Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

fintech vc 2018

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United States

GreenSky launches new loan product for elective health care (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Atlanta fintech on Tuesday announced the launch of a revolving credit line of up to $25,000. GreenSky previously offered only installment loans; the new product is designed to be a better fit for elective medical providers that rely heavily on repeat business.

Is SoFi Money the Bank Account of the Future? (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

There are three main benefits that SoFi touts with the SoFi Money account:

  1. Pay zero account fees.
  2. Earn more interest.
  3. Free ATMs everywhere.

SoFi will pay (as of this writing) 2.25% on balances held in a SoFi Money account. Note about the small print: you will only earn this 2.25% for the first three months and then the interest rate drops to a (still respectable) 1.25% unless you do one of two things. Either setup a salary direct deposit of $3,000 or more a month or do $500 in debit card transactions each month. I am in the process of moving my salary deposit to my SoFi Money account.

The cash balance in SoFi Money Accounts is swept to one or more program banks where it earns a variable rate of interest and is eligible for FDIC insurance. FDIC Insurance is not provided until the funds arrive at partner bank. There are currently six banks available to accept these deposits, making customers eligible for up to $1,500,000 of FDIC insurance (six banks, $250,000 per bank).

Mixed Credit Card Issuers’ Earnings (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Credit card master trust data shows that delinquencies have picked up from their lows but remain significantly below their peaks. Issuers (with the exception of Capital One), have increased loan loss reserves at a rate higher than loan growth as credit renormalization continues.

30 and 90-day delinquency rates from credit card master trust data

Source: Bloomberg, Bank Credit Card Trust Data, PeerIQ

How online platforms shook small-business lending in America (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the years after the financial crisis, small businesses that needed credit were stuck. New capital rules discouraged big banks from touching any borrower perceived as risky. The bond and loan markets, where larger businesses flocked for inexpensive debt capital, have little use for sums under $100,000 — which is what most small enterprises need.

A handful of non-bank lenders, payment and e-commerce companies have leapt into the gap. In an environment of easy money and economic expansion, small business lending operations at OnDeck, Kabbage, PayPal, Square and others have grown fast.

LendingTree Analysis Reveals How Personal Loan Purposes Vary by States and Credit Scores (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Key takeaways

  • Managing existing debt is far and away the most popular reason for a personal loan, representing 61 percent of all loan requests in 2018. Thirty-nine percent of borrowers plan to use their loans to consolidate debt, and 22 percent plan to use it to refinance credit cards.
  • Consumers seeking personal loans to manage debt also requested the highest origination amounts: $14,107average amount for credit card refinance, and $12,670 for debt consolidation.
  • Almost 15 percent of loans reasons are categorized as “other” — the third most popular choice. Home renovation and improvement loans are the next-most popular loan purpose, accounting for 7.7 percent of loan requests with an average loan amount of $12,384.
  • New Englanders are the most likely to use their loans to manage existing debt, taking the top five spots. The residents of MississippiLouisiana, and Arkansas are the least likely.
  • Washington, D.C. is home to the highest rates of a few offbeat loan purposes, with more residents requesting loans here for a move (7.4 percent) or business (2.6 percent). It’s also tied with New York and Louisiana as the place where wedding loans are most requested, with 1.5 percent of loans in these states intended to cover the costs of tying the knot.
  • West Virginia is the top state for borrowers requesting loans for their home, specifically home improvements (8.6 percent of loans requested in this state) or home buying (4.9 percent).
  • In Wyoming, residents request personal loans for medical expenses more than anywhere else (6.5 percent). In fact, most of the states where people are more likely to request a loan for medical costs are low-density states with more rural areas.
Source: LendingTree

See the full report here.

Cities Where Homeowners Stay Put the Longest (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • Cities with shorter housing tenure have greater price appreciation. The top 10 cities had an average tenure of 7.46 years and an average three-year home price appreciation of 12%. The bottom 10, with an average tenure of 6.63 years, have average price appreciation 30%. This suggests that higher housing turnover drives prices upwards, while faster price appreciation could be enticing home owners to sell.
  • The northeast dominates the list of cities with the longest tenure. The top three cities, Pittsburgh, New York and Buffalo are all in the northeast. An additional three northeastern cities are in the top 10 for a total of six.
  • Hot and sunny places have the shortest tenures. The three cities with the shortest tenures — Las Vegas, Phoenix and Austin — are all in warm-weather areas. This reflects high migration rates to those cities, something we looked at in a prior study on where Americans are moving. Denver is the only city in the bottom 10 that experiences a significant winter season.

A George Soros-backed fintech has raised millions to analyze consumer loan trends just as recession worries pick up steam (Business Insider), Rated: A

dv01, a New York-based startup, has raised $15 million in a series B round led by Pivot Investment Partners, a venture capital firm started by a a trio of bankers who worked together at Deutsche Bank AG. One of those ex-bankers, Dinkar Jetley, will join dv01’s board.

Kabbage hires chief revenue officer from LegalZoom (Biz Journals), Rated: A

Atlanta-based Kabbage Inc. has hired the chief marketing officer at LegalZoom as its new chief revenue officer.

Laura Goldberg‘s appointment is effective immediately, according to a Kabbage spokeswoman. She succeeds Victoria Treyger, who vacated the CRO position at Kabbage in August 2018 to accept a position with Felicis Ventures.

Varo Raises Annual Percentage Yield on Savings Account to Industry-Leading 2.80% (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

In a move to make high-yield savings available to more Americans, no-fee mobile banking company Varo Money, Inc., announced today that it raised the Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) on its FDIC-insured Varo Savings Account to 2.80% for customers whose Savings Account balance is $50,000 or less, and who have qualifying direct deposits and debit card purchases from their Varo Bank Account.1 An APY of 2.12%1 will apply if these conditions are not met.

Elevate’s RISE Brand Announces Scholarship to Promote Financial Literacy (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Elevate Credit, Inc. (“Elevate”), a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced that its largest consumer product, RISE, will offer college scholarships in an effort to promote financial literacy.

The RISE scholarship will offer five $5,000 awards each year to students who demonstrate a desire to improve their financial knowledge and educate others on personal finance. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must complete an online financial literacy course that was developed in partnership with digital education expert EVERFI.

Credit card player Petal picks up $ 30m funding (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

New York-based credit card firm Petal is back in the money with $30 million in Series B funding.

This is Petal’s second investment from Valar, which was also the lead investor in its Series A funding round. Back in October 2018, Petal got $34 million in financing.

Fintech targets banks keen for out-of-market CRE loans (American Banker), Rated: A

As more banks take the often risky step of expanding outside their traditional markets, especially through digital means, some fintechs sense an opportunity to offer them data they need to find new customers and assess risk.

LendingClub, OnDeck Capital and Lending Tree are each online lending platforms that have bet on this trend. CrediFi, a finance data provider, aims to do the same with a focus on one of the largest asset classes around: commercial real estate.

LoanSnap Raises $ 4.7M in Funding (Finsmes), Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based creator of smart loan technology, raised an additional $4.7M in funding.

The round, which brought total financing to $17M, was led by Thomvest Ventures and existing investors.

Oxygen gets $ 2.3m funding for digital banking life (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

San Francisco-based digital banking service Oxygen has raised $2.3 million in funding to breathe life into its gig economy plans.

In this round it got funding from Digital Horizon Capital; Cynthia Chen, investor, advisor, executive and board member for several US-based fintechs and now co-founder and chief risk officer at Figure; ZMT Capital (China); Locus Ventures; Endure Capital; PioneerFund; Magic City; Light Bridge; Strawberry Creek; Base Ventures; The House Fund and Sam Yam, co-founder of Patreon.

Better Mortgage Secures $ 70 Million in Series C Funding from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Better Mortgage, one of the leading digital mortgage lenders in the U.S., today announced its closing of $70 million in Series C financing from American Express Ventures and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), in addition to existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs, and Pine Brook. The new capital will support continued growth and investment in Better’s technology platform.

CFPB Announces $ 3.2 Million Settlement with Online Payday Lender (JD Supra), Rated: A

On January 25, 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it had entered into a consent order with an online lender that extends unsecured payday and installment loans, as well as lines of credit, resolving allegations that the lender had engaged in unfair acts or practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531, 5536.

Popular ‘robo-advisor’ Betterment picks Philly for its first office outside New York; to hire 20 by end of 2019 (Philly.com), Rated: A

Betterment, a digital wealth manager popular among millennials, has picked Philadelphia for the first office outside its New York home base.

The company, which manages $15 billion in assets, plans to open a Philadelphia office as soon as February, according to founder Jon Stein. Betterment is looking for office space in Center City, with the intent of adding 20 employees in its computer and engineering departments by the end of 2019.

Numerated and PayNet Partner to Improve Digital Lending (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Numerated announces that it will integrate PayNet’s MasterScore v2 within its real-time lending and growth platform. PayNet, a leading commercial lending data and analytics firm, will integrate its proprietary database within Numerated’s customizable rules- and segment-based credit decisioning engine to offer banks additional business scoring criteria for managing risk when lending to businesses in real-time.

Planet Home Lending Opens Several Branches; Sees Growth in Business Channels (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Planet Home Lending, LLC opened 26 active distributed retail branches and brought on 165 mortgage loan originators in 2018. Planet Home Lending also enjoyed additional growth in 2018 in its other channels.

Senior Counsel, Litigation (Employment Focus) (Built in Chicago), Rated: B

Guaranteed Rate is building a winning team to reinvent the mortgage experience through innovation, technology and a relentless focus on providing industry-leading mortgage products and superlative customer service.  The Senior Counsel will embrace and support these efforts by working to pursue claims and resolve disputes as appropriate through negotiation, arbitration or litigation, with a particular focus on employment claims and matters.

United Kingdom

Lending Works hits £150m of loans in five years (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Lending Works, the peer-to-peer lender, has surpassed £150m in loans to households and firms.

Nick Harding, Lending Works Co-Founder and CEO, says the firm is aiming to reaching £300m loans by the end of 2019 thanks in part to its “greatest ISA season yet ”.

LendInvest provides GBP7.35 million bridging loan in under seven days (Property Funds World), Rated: A

UK property finance specialist LendInvest has facilitated a GBP7.35 million bridging finance loan for a developer in just seven days.

Brexit blamed for slowdown in consumer lending (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

UNSECURED consumer lending has slowed to its lowest level since 2014, as Brits scale back their spending amid Brexit uncertainty.

The latest Bank of England Money and Credit statistics also found that the total number of mortgage approvals fell from 126,794 to 124,829 in December 2018, indicating an overall lag in the lending market.

Meanwhile, mortgage approvals for house purchase were around 63,800 in December – just slightly less than the 2018 average of 65,200.

Ultimate Finance lends record £1.4bn to small firms (AltFi), Rated: A

Small business financer Ultimate Finance said it lent a record £1.4bn to small firms across the UK last year.

The Bristol-based business said its overall lending jumped 35 per cent in the year to December 2018, boosted by writing more loans across its operations.

It said its bridging loans more than doubled to £31m over the period, asset finance jumped 37 per cent to £46m, while invoice finance also increased by almost a quarter to £117m.

Primary Factors to Have At Hand When Borrowing Money Online (EconoTimes), Rated: A

Online borrowing should be all about convenience, and Loanski loans have made this aspect their rising pillar for excellence. The only requirement for one to apply for a loan through the platform is they must be United Kingdom residents and have an active bank account. These minimum requirements essentially mean that anyone who uses their bank accounts frequently can have the pleasures of having an instant loan when they need it the most.

China

Ant Financial’s money market fund shrinks to 2-year low (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The world’s largest money-market mutual fund, Ant Financial’s Tianhong Yu’E Bao, was at its smallest for two years by the end of last year as Chinese regulators pressured it to downsize over concerns about systemic risk.

The shrinkage is a sign that Ant, the financial services business of Alibaba Group, is shifting away from marketing its own financial products to serving as a platform for other groups to access its huge customer base.

Cryptocurrency and pyramid schemes add to US$ 44.5 billion surge in illegal fundraising in China (SCMP), Rated: A

Chinese police investigated more than 10,000 cases of illegal fundraising last year, a 22 per cent rise in the caseload, according to China’s top prosecutors.

The total amount involved also rose, more than doubling to about 300 billion yuan (US$44.5 billion), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said on Wednesday.

Apart from traditional hotbeds such as product marketing, real estate investment, and education, there has been a big rise in fundraising schemes in online lending, wealth management, private equity, cryptocurrency, and elderly care services.

European Union

Europe’s fintech companies are preparing for a no-deal Brexit (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Europe’s fintech companies are getting serious about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

As uncertainty looms over the U.K.’s split from the EU, the industry gathered this week at the Paris Fintech Forum. Payments providers, cryptocurrency exchanges and digital banks all said they were taking steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

N26 is a Berlin-based digital bank that was recently named one of Europe’s largest fintech start-ups.

Synsam Group and Klarna Launch Innovative Contact Lens Subscription in the Nordics (Webwire), Rated: A

Synsam Group has over 50 years of experience in improving people’s eye health and is today Sweden’s largest optician chain with over 190 stores in Sweden, and 500 stores throughout the Nordic region. One of the company’s most popular services is Synsam Lifestyle Contact Lens Subscription, which includes home deliveries and annual contact lens examinations. To create a better and smoother customer experience, Synsam Group and Klarna have developed a new concept that allows customers to subscribe to contact lenses by using their mobile phones instore, while they can manage all the administration around the subscription online.

International

China’s Ant Financial raised almost as much money as all US and European fintech firms combined (Quartz), Rated: AAA

When it comes to financial technology companies, Ant Financial is in it own league. The affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $14 billion in venture capital last year, not far from the $15.9 billion for all fintech investments in the EU and US in the same period. A key question is whether the growth of the world’s most valuable fintech firm is an anomaly or a sign of things to come from China.

Ant Financial accounted for 35% of global venture capital investment in fintech firms last year, according to CB Insights.

Source: Quartz

Cross River and Railsbank Announce Partnership (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Cross River Bank (“Cross River”), a leading innovator and provider of banking services for financial technology companies, and Railsbank Technology Limited (“Railsbank”), a leading UK-based open banking and RegTech technology services platform, today announced that they have entered into a partnership arrangement that will provide Railsbank the opportunity to offer a variety of API-powered, banking and payment processing services across the U.S.

Fintech companies raised a record $ 39.6 billion in 2018 (Reuters), Rated: A

In the last three months of the year, five companies joined the coveted ranks of fintech “unicorns”, or companies valued at more than $1 billion. These include credit card provider Brex, digital bank Monzo and data aggregator Plaid.

Australia

Canada’s Eguana will set up local manufacturing to join South Australia Home Battery Scheme (Energy-Storage.news), Rated: AAA

The South Australia Home Battery Scheme, launched by the state government, offers a maximum of AU$6,000 assistance per household for the purchase of battery energy storage. Home storage systems are typically, but not always, paired with solar PV, and homeowners can get back between AU$500 and AU$600 per kilowatt hour of battery storage capacity purchased.

Announced in September and then launched a month later, the scheme will assist up to 40,000 households financially, with the state government putting in AU$100 million and peer-to-peer lending group RateSetter later committing the same amount of funding in the form of low-interest loans.

ING latest lender to hike variable home loan rates (Mozo), Rated: A

Online lender ING has become the latest bank to lift its variable home loan rates following an announcement earlier today.

The lender will raise rates across all of its variable rate home loan products by 15 basis points, effective as of February 7, 2019.

India

Small Business Lender Kabbage Expanding to India (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Kabbage has opened an office in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) and plans to have 125 employees by year end. For comparison, the company has about 350 employees in their Atlanta headquarters.

To our knowledge Kabbage is the first US-based lender to enter the Indian market.

RBI directs P2P lenders to file quarterly reports on key metrics (TechCircle), Rated: AAA

Lending has been our star performer: MobiKwik founder (India Times), Rated: A

As of the end of the last financial year, we have a register user base of more than 107 Mn users and a network of over 3 Mn merchants. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are aiming at 400% growth this fiscal. We are adding over 3 Mn new users every month, one of the highest in the industry. We will have close to 200 million users by the end of 2019.

A) Lending is growing by leaps and bounds ever since we started out. The opportunity is huge with less than 10% of Indians having access to credit.

Blockchain-based Loan Marketplace Streamsource Raises $ 1 Mn Seed Funding from Accel India (IndianWeb2), Rated: A

Gurgaon-based StreamSource Technologies, a decentralized marketplace for loans, has raised $1 million in seed funding from Accel India, making it Accel’s first local investment in the blockchain sector.

Indian banks unveil blockchain-linked funding for SMEs (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

A group of 11 Indian banks have teamed together to unveil the nation’s first blockchain-linked funding for SMEs.

According to the Economic Times, the participants include ICICI, Axis, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra, Yes Bank, Standard Chartered, RBL, South Indian Bank, IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.

How are interest rates set on P2P platforms? (India Times), Rated: A

“Borrowers on our platform are given a score out of 100, which determines their risk profile. A score of 52 to 60 points is high risk while a borrower with more than 60 points will get a lower interest rate,” says Bhavin Patel, Founder & CEO, LenDenClub.

IndiaMoneyMart App Brings P2P Investment and Wealth Creation for Masses (Business Standard), Rated: A

lending or lending is a mode of direct financing that enables individuals to borrow and lend on mutual terms. Platforms like IndiaMoneyMart (IMM) eliminate the traditional financial institutions and enable businesses to flourish through a people to people contact.

P2P industry expectations from Budget 2019 (India Times), Rated: A

“While a great boost to the P2P industry would be via the regulator easing lending caps, we look forward to a critical role from the finance ministry for better financial inclusion by extending SOPs to retail investors,” says Dhiren Makhija, CEO, Cashkumar.

Here’s how you can invest in peer-to-peer lending (CNBCTV18), Rated: A

According to i2ifunding.com, a category A borrower may face the least risk while a category F borrower faces the highest risk.

Following interest rates are paid by borrowers across categories:

  • A category borrowers – 12.00 percent to 14.99 percent
  • B category borrowers – 15.00 percent to 17.49 percent
  • C category borrowers – 17.50 percent to 19.99 percent
  • D category borrowers – 20.00 percent to 22.49 percent
  • E category borrowers – 22.50 percent to 24.99 percent
  • F category borrowers – 25.00 percent to 36.00 percent

CreditVidya receives $ 3m funding to develop credit score tech (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

CreditVidya, an Indian alternative credit score firm, has raised $3 million in a funding round led by Bharat Innovation Fund.

Ryan Khoury, Navroz D. Udwadia and Rick Gerson (founding members of Falcon Edge Capital) also participated in the round.

Abhinav Kumar, of Trivago fame, joins Paisadukan as a marketing advisor (India Times), Rated: B

Digital marketing strategist Abhinav Kumar who shot to fame because of his appearance on television commercials of travel search engine Trivago has joined peer to peer lending platform Paisadukan as a digital marketing and branding advisor and also will be on the company’s advisory board.

Asia

P2P lending third most complained about business sector (The Jakarta Post), Rated: AAA

The country’s growing peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector has become one of the most complained about business sectors partly because of high interest rates and aggressive debt collection practices, according to a report.

The report by the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) shows online lending platforms are the third most complained about business sector while property and banking rank second and first respectively.

NTU and Chinese online lender WeBank launch research centre (Straits Times), Rated: A

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and China’s first digital-only bank have opened a research centre that aims to help customers manage their finances in real-time wherever they are.

NTU research scientists and engineers from WeBank will also study how to provide personalised wealth management advice to customers, among other projects, in the five-year partnership.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday January 31 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Wednesday July 25 2018, Daily News Digest

Lending Club IPO

News Comments Today’s main news: Square, eBay partner on businesss loans. BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending. Crowdstacker seeking 800K GBP on Seedrs. PPDAI to boost tech investment. Alipay, WeBank competition heats up. Today’s main analysis: The good news and bad news about Lending Club. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans are splurging on personal loans. How irresponsible mortgage lenders […]

Lending Club IPO

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

Other

News Summary

United States

eBay & Square Partner on Business Loans (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY)  and Square Capital (NYSE:SQ) have signed an agreement to provide up to $100,000 in credit to sellers – in as little as one day. The partnership is not only a streamlined offering of financing for small businesses that use eBay but also a whack at traditional banks which are mostly unable to match such a speedy lending agreement.

Scott Cutler, Senior Vice President, Americas at eBay, says that eBay is committed to helping their sellers and providing credit in partnership with Square simply makes sense.

For example, if you have $30,000 CC debt and good credit you can get a 3-year payoff at about 6% and a 5 year at about 7%. That is a big improvement over a typical rate of 17.5% on purchases and an amazing 23.5% on cash advances. So you take out the $30,000 loan, pay off your credit cards and save thousands in interest while you are at it. In addition, your CC is now zero and you can start using it again.

Source: Seeking Alpha

They came to market via an IPO late in 2014 and were an immediate hit rising over 50% their first day. They were immediately valued at over $9 billion. Today they are at less than $2 billion, a drop of almost 80%.

And finally here is LC’s chart since the IPO. Talk about ugly.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Americans are splurging on personal loans thanks to fintech startups (Quartz) Rated: AAA

The stock of personal loans outstanding has grown to about $120 billion as of March, according to TransUnion data. That compares with $71.9 billion a decade ago—worth around $90 billion adjusted for inflation—when the subprime mortgage crisis crescendoed. About 17 million Americans have this type of debt which, unlike mortgages and automobile loans, isn’t collateralized by an asset.

Source: Quartz

Upstart financial technology companies like Lending Club, Prosper, and Avant account for about a third of this lending, up from less than 1% in 2010.

Source: Quartz

How Irresponsible Mortgage Lenders Created A Second Housing Bubble (Seeking Alpha) Rated: AAA

Rents Are Falling, But Prices Are Surging

I believe the culprit is a new crop of lenders who are outside of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulations on FICO scores and DTI. For example, San Francisco lender Social Finance (SoFi) is offering up to 3 million dollar loans with 10 percent down and “flexible DTI.

Source: Seeking Alpha
Source: Seeking Alpha

Firms like SoFi are the engine driving the madness in the California housing market. Here’s what Michael Tannenbaum, former Vice President of SoFi, had to say about their loans in 2016, “Sixty-five percent of the business we do is first-time home buyers; it’s a big deal we’re opening up to the jumbo first-time market.” A year later, he was gone. Other gems from the San Francisco Chronicle article – SoFi’s average loan at the time was $800,000 and two-thirds were in California. I shudder to think what their average loan size and DTI is now. Also, in addition to not being big fans of debt to income ratios, SoFi isn’t big on using other traditional measures like FICO scores to evaluate borrowers. In 2016, they declared their company a “FICO Free Zone” in a press release. Said a former business development associate, “The volume of applications coming in was crazy.” Other sources reported on the wild sex culture at the firm. As for their underwriting practices? As long as housing prices went up, they were more or less irrelevant. But, if prices go down, SoFi and their backers stand to lose a lot of money.

A Conversation with Figure’s Mike Cagney (Financial Revolutionist) Rated: A

Mike Cagney’s return to fintech’s center stage had been foreshadowed by a handful of reports suggesting that his new company would be focused on the origination of real estate-related assets and that, somehow, blockchain would figure into the mix. But Cagney, who played a foundational role in building SoFi into one of fintech’s biggest success stories before his departure, isn’t the type of entrepreneur who thinks small and nichey. With his new company, Figure, and the blockchain protocol it has built, Provenance, Cagney and his team of 80 professionals are taking aim at the gigantic world of institutional capital markets transactions. Why? Because that’s one place where the vig (i.e., rent-seeking) still sloshes around in copious amounts. But unlike SoFi, which is taking aim at banks, Cagney is now fixing his gaze on the administrators, trustees, custodians and other intermediaries who take a cut out of each securitization and other types of deals. On the eve of the first transaction to be put on Provenance (a HELOC), The FR’s Gregg Schoenberg sat down with Cagney to learn more about his plans and how blockchain is central to his mission.

Could Fintech & Blockchain Lending Further Drive The Housing Market Boom? (Forbes) Rated: A

Those who do not have the scores to secure loans from traditional lenders now have alternatives particularly in the form of P2P lenders. These platforms pool together money from interested investors and loan them out to borrowers.

They also have a much quicker turnaround compared to what customers might experience with banks and other large lenders. While these services started out only to fund smaller personal loans, some like LendingClub have grown and expanded to allow larger-value loans like mortgages to be made on the platform.

Blockchain-based lenders have built upon this crowdfunding concept and enhanced it with blockchain’s capabilities with smart contracts and tokenization. While initial efforts as espoused by the likes of 

Employer-focused PFM company gets $ 40 million (Business Insider) Rated: A

US-based personal finance management (PFM) company Even has raised a $40 million Series B funding round led by Keith Rabois of Khoshla Ventures, and including Valar Ventures, Allen & Company, Harrison Metal, Ron Conway, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Source: Business Insider

Even integrates with attendance, payroll, and banking systems to help consumers improve their financial health. Its features include Instapay, which enables users to request the money they have earned before their actual payday, and it uses AI to give users an “okay to spend” amount, so they don’t get surprised by sudden expenses. Additionally, it offers an automatic savings feature, similar to other PFM companies including Acorns and Cleo.

Fintech Startup LoanSnap Raises $ 8m in Series A Financing (Finsmes) Rated: A

LoanSnap, a San Francisco, CA-based developer of technology that protects people against dumb loans, raised $8m in Series A financing.

The round was led by True Ventures with participation from Baseline Ventures, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Core Innovation Partners, Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures, OVO Fund, Transmedia Ventures, and angel investors.

BlockFi Raises $ 52.5M for Cryptoasset-backed Loans (Business Wire) Rated: AAA

BlockFi, the leading cryptoasset to USD lender, announced today it has raised $52.5M to expand operations. Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC, a digital currency and blockchain technology investment firm founded by Mike Novogratz led the deal. This marks the industry’s first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans. BlockFi’s existing investors, which include ConsenSys Ventures and PJC, also participated in the funding round.

  • BlockFi planning rapid expansion of cryptoasset-to-USD lending platform
  • BlockFi partners with Galaxy Digital Lending LLC on loan purchasing facility and receives equity investment from Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC
  • Marks first institutional investment in cryptoasset backed loans

Credit Card Payoff App Tally Raises $ 25 Million (Cheddar) Rated: A

Tally, an automated debt-managing app, has raised $25 million in Series B funding with the goal of expanding its reach and finding new ways to alleviate consumers’ financial anxiety, Cheddar has learned.

Southern States Multifamily Portfolio Sells, Exceeding Targeted Returns for ArborCrowd Investors (The Daily Times) Rated: A

ArborCrowd (the “Company”) today announced its Southern States Multifamily Portfolio (SSMP) investment has been realized ahead of schedule, outpacing targeted return estimates. One of the properties in the portfolio is located in Mississippi and sold in late 2017. The two remaining properties, located in Alabama, recently sold. The aggregate portfolio sales price was $25.85 million, generating an internal rate of return (IRR) of over 29% for ArborCrowd investors.

The transaction marks the first of ArborCrowd’s six deals to complete its investment cycle, and its success is a great sign of the long-term viability of the Company’s growing platform. The SSMP investment opportunity was quickly oversubscribed when ArborCrowd presented the deal on its platform in February 2017, raising over $2.1 million in just 5 days. The over 29% IRR generated by the sale of the portfolio far exceeded the targeted 17% to 20% IRR projected by ArborCrowd at the time of the offering.

Lendio Reports Q2 Results: 90% Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth (Lendio) Rated: A

Lendio, the nation’s leading marketplace for small business loans, today announced record growth across all areas of its business, including 90 percent year-over-year quarterly revenue growth. To date, Lendio has helped facilitate more than $900 million in financing to over 45,000 small businesses across the U.S. and Canada through its marketplace of more than 75 small business lenders. The growth milestone comes after an 80 percent increase in loans funded through the Lendio platform in the last year.

From July 2017 to June 2018, Lendio facilitated nearly $400 million in loans to more than 22,000 small businesses. The average initial loan size among Lendio’s small business customers grew to nearly $35,000. The top five industries funded through Lendio’s marketplace include construction, retail, restaurants, health care and information media.

GM Maven CEO: Peer-To-Peer Auto Lending Will Be A Large Market (Bloomberg) Rated: A

Julia Steyn, Maven CEO, on their new peer-to-peer lending program for GM car owners, and the progress Maven is making in the shared economy.


Whitepages Pro Unveils Pro Insight, a Global Identity Review Solution Powered by Machine Learning (Global Newswire) Rated: A

Whitepages Pro, a global leader in digital identity verification, today announced Whitepages Pro Insight, a new and improved manual review solution designed to help businesses assess the identity risk of their customers, approve good transactions, and investigate fraud on a global scale. As the only global identity review solution that provides six ways to search, it enables users to balance accuracy and efficiency through direct workflow integrations, machine learning-informed insight, and robust analytics.

Within Pro Insight, users are first presented with Identity Review, a comprehensive interface that verifies and cross-checks both digital and traditional identity attributes (name, email, phone, primary and secondary addresses, and IP) to verify the identity behind a transaction. The solution analyzes and presents the relationships between the five core identity attributes in several intuitive ways:

  • Confidence Score – An overall measure of the risk associated with a transaction that cross-references the five core identity attributes. The Confidence Score is powered by machine learning insights from billions of transactional patterns across the Whitepages Pro Identity Network and the 70+ data signals of the Identity Check API.
  • Positive and negative signals – A concise list of primary factors that influence a given Confidence Score.
  • Results columns – A detailed list of matches, mismatches, and invalid inputs based on the links between a transaction’s identity elements. Users can click on specific attributes to further investigate associated people, historical data, and more.
  • Distance Map – A visual representation of geographical distances between phone, primary address, secondary address, and IP address.

Center For The New Middle Class: Non-Prime Consumers Spending More Responsibly On Vacation (Payment Week) Rated: A

Non-prime consumers are significantly less likely to be taking to the road for vacation this summer, opting for staycations instead, and spending far less on vacations if they take one, a new study released today from Elevate’s 

Source: The Center for the New Middle Class

Key findings from the CNMC survey conducted in June include:

  • The non-prime are 29% less likely to take a vacation
  • The non-prime are 22% more likely to “staycation”
  • If they do take a vacation, the non-prime spend half as much
  • The non-prime are 2x as likely to have turned down a vacation due to financial constraints
  • The non-prime are 61% more likely to borrow money for a vacation
  • Non-prime spend 18% less per child on summer entertainment
  • Those with children were more likely to take vacations and borrow money to cover costs

The research also indicated that across both credit segments, summer community resource utilization (i.e. pools, parks, libraries, etc.) was relatively high, with more than 85% in both segments using these facilities. Summer entertainment expenses per child were also very similar between the prime and non-prime groups.

Read the full report here.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Crowdstacker Now Seeking £800,000 Through Seedrs Funding Round (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Crowdstacker, a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is now seeking £800,000through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Founded in 2014, Crowdstacker describes itself as an award-winning FCA regulated online alternative investment platform that provides ISA eligible P2P loans, bonds, and loan notes.

BNP Paribas launches UK fund for SME lending (FinTech Futures) Rated: AAA

BNP Paribas Asset Management will launch BNP Paribas UK SME Debt Fund 1, offering clients access to the UK SME lending market.

The asset management arm of the bank’s new fund will invest in senior loans to SMEs with an annual turnover of less than £50 million through its BNPP AM’s SME Alternative Financing platform.

The platform uses proprietary big data technology, which pairs with the bank’s balance sheet and infrastructure.

Podcast 159: Christoph Rieche of iwoca (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Christoph Rieche is the CEO and Co-Founder of iwoca, a small business lender based in London with operations also in Germany and Poland. The name iwoca stands for instant working capital so they have leveraged technology in order to provide capital to small businesses quickly and efficiently.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why Christoph decided to start iwoca.
  • The segment of the small business market they focus on.
  • What is behind the continued decline in overall small business loan volumes.
  • The loan product offered by iwoca.
  • The typical size of their credit lines.
  • The kinds of businesses applying for credit at iwoca.
  • How their underwriting works and level of automation they use.

Navigating through the P2P property maze (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

Landbay investors can expect returns of around 3.54 per cent on its fixed-rate product, or 3.18 per cent with its tracker-rate option, by investing in loans secured by UK property.

The Peer-to-Peer Finance Association member launched its IFISA in February last year, meaning that Landbay customers can also benefit from tax-free earnings on their investments.

LandlordInvest’s investors have earned average annual returns of 11.3 per cent to date, secured by residential or commercial property, with the option of an IFISA wrapper

London Proptech Firm Goodlord Forms New Open Banking Partnership With TrueLayer (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

Goodlord, a UK-based proptech platform, has formed a new open banking partnership with TrueLayer. Founded in 2014, Goodlord reports that its cloud-based platform is trusted by hundreds of agencies across the UK. The company has created a one-stop-shop by providing access to a dynamic suite of specialized services, including insurance, e-signing, referencing, and e-payments.

Starling Bank takes on Monzo with daring debit card design (FinTech Futures) Rated: B

UK digital challenger Starling Bank is upping its design game with the launch of a new teal-coloured vertical debit card as it plays catch up with Monzo.

The new card has all customer details, including name, card number and expiry date, on the back – and it’s rolling them out this week.

The card is inspired by the blue-green tones of the plumage of the starling bird. It is also one of the initial group of 16 original “web colours” formulated in 1987 to display web pages, reflecting Starling’s digital heritage.

China

PPDai to boost technology investment (Shine) Rated: AAA

PPDai, China’s first online peer-to-peer lending platform listed in the US, said today it would increase its registered capital to 1 billion yuan (US$149 million) and expand its artificial intelligence applications to hedge risks and improve investor confidence amid concerns over P2P lending.

The Shanghai-based company, which has about 71 million users ,employs AI, Big Data and blockchain to fight against risk and fraud.

Alipay and WeBank competition heats up as China reins in leverage (Financial Times) Rated: AAA

Alipay and WeBank are set up perfectly to take advantage of new priorities from Chinese policymakers to increase the flow of capital to small companies and households, their approach is different as WeBank looks to use bank partnerships to make capital connections.

Alipay uses scale, data and technology capabilities to compete with banks for deposits and funds its borrowing through the ABS market.

Alipay and WeBank plan to list their finance arms soon which will continue to put pressure on the rivalry as well as the broader financial market in China.

Zennon Kapron on what’s next for Chinese fintech (China Economic Review) Rated: A

Analysing these questions is all part of the day job for Zennon Kapron, the head of fintech research and consulting firm Kapronasia. In this interview with China Economic Review, Kapron gives his take on some of the market’s recent developments, and explains why China’s fintech industry is such an exciting space to watch.

CER: How worried should we be about the recent panic surrounding China’s small P2P lending platforms?

ZK: The fact that P2P lending platforms are failing is not surprising. Many of these platforms had inadequate internal operational processes, poor lending practices, and in some cases, were just complete scams. What will be interesting to see is if retail investors will still want to put new money on these platforms. I get the impression at the moment that many investors are just trying to get their money out. Even if the P2P industry manages to right itself, it may find that all the investors are gone.

China’s P2P Online Lending Dominoes Continue to Fall (Ciaxin) Rated: A

Another domino in China’s peer-to-peer lending industry fell.

Beijing-based iqianbang.com was the latest online P2P lending platform to close down. The company announced a “benign exit” last Friday night, citing “deteriorating online lending environment and drying up liquidity.”

Investors in several P2P platforms, including iqianbang.com, gathered Monday at a local Beijing police station to report the loss of money to police.

Chinese P2P Lender’s Controller Disappears After Sponsoring Portugal (Yicai Global) Rated: A

Zheng Yansen, the controller of peer-to-peer lender Guangzhou Leader Internet Financial Information Service has disappeared, the firm announced yesterday.

It also acknowledged that ‘some of its projects are delayed’ and said it will set up a work group as soon as possible to inventory its assets and businesses, request borrowers to repay loans earlier than scheduled, and liquidate collateral as quickly as possible.

European Union

FinLeap Partners With Fabrick to Launch Financial Management Startup for Small Businesses (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

FinLeap, the fintech start-up platform behind Germany’s SolarisBank, announced on Monday it has teamed up with Italian open banking platform Fabrick to launch a new financial management startup specifically for small businesses. According to FinLeap, the startup, called Beesy, will simplify accounting, tax and banking services for micro-enterprises and freelancers.

As soon as Beesy is launched, FinLeap added it will provide more details about the services and how they work.

Rabobank’s novel approach to protecting customer data (American Banker) Rated: A

Take Dutch-based Rabobank, for example, which now converts customer data to the Latin names of flowers and animals in order to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation that sensitive client information be disguised.

At the heart of all these regulations is the mandate that companies must make sure no one can access customer data who shouldn’t, and that every effort is made to protect that data from breaches. Storing customer data in the clear — not encrypted, anonymized, or pseudonymized — is not acceptable, to regulators or anyone else.

Source: American Banker
International

MoneyGram And Visa Team To Deliver Real-Time Global P2P (PYMNTS) Rated: A

MoneyGram and Visa announced today (July 24) that they have partnered to deliver real-time digital disbursements to MoneyGram customers using Visa’s push payments platform, Visa Direct.

Launching in October in two key markets, Mexico and the Philippines, MoneyGram will expand its options in which receivers from those markets may receive and use funds instantly  via their bank-issued Visa-branded debit card or Visa-branded prepaid card  and senders may choose the option by which to send those funds. The partnership leverages the trust that consumers globally have in the MoneyGram and Visa brands, as well as the ability for receivers to access funds 24/7/365 without having to visit an agent location to pick up cash.

Australia

Property Connect enters technology agreement with Clearmatch to market new lending products (Small Caps) Rated: A

Realty services group Property Connect Holdings (ASX: PCH) has entered into a minimum five-year licence agreement to use a technology platform powered by marketplace treasury company Clearmatch, in the development and marketing of its own lending products designed to ease property market transactions.

The binding heads of agreement allows Property Connect to use the SocietyOne platform owned by Clearmatch to develop products focused on the emerging project development finance and residential mortgage sectors within the private peer-to-peer lending market.

India

P2P lending platform Monexo partners with Cube Wealth for new-clientele (Business Standard) Rated: B

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lender, has partnered with to provide clients with an alternative avenue for investments. The app-based firm’s user-base of 350,000 customers will have an option of placing a portion of their investments onto Monexo’s platform.

The market space is only three years old and until last October operated without any regulatory oversight. While there are 3,000 lenders in China with a total lending book of $500 million, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is said to have approved licenses to around eight firms.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor