Friday February 16 2018, Daily News Digest

Amazon small business lending

News Comments Today’s main news: Amazon partners with Bank of America on lending. Roostify raises $25M for expansion. Lendy’s pretax profits hit 3.3M GBP. Lendix to enter Dutch, German markets. Revolut to launch banking app in APAC. Vested backs Dojo. Today’s main analysis: Important barriers to alternative investing digitization. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Americans can’t get enough consumer debt. Who are Britain’s […]

Amazon small business lending

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United Kingdom

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News Summary

United States

Amazon has partnered with Bank of America for its lending program (CNBC), Rated: AAA

CNBC has learned that Amazon Lending, which launched in 2011, ultimately found a partner in Bank of America Merrill Lynch, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the alliance is confidential. Partnering with Bank of America allows Amazon to reduce its risk and access capital specifically to provide credit to more merchants so they can acquire inventory.

Amazon Lending is an invitation-only program that makes loans of $1,000 to $750,000, with terms of up to a year, for companies that may have difficulty landing traditional business loans. In June 2017, Amazon said it issued more than $1 billion in loans during the previous 12-month period, compared to $1.5 billion in combined loans for the four years prior to that.

Scaling back

But even with the Bank of America deal, Amazon Lending has been tapping the brakes on growth of late. After almost doubling to $661 million in 2016, outstanding loans just barely increased last year to $692 million, according to Amazon’s annual report earlier this month.

Source: CNBC

These 10 MBA Programs Will Earn You the Highest Salary, According to SoFi (Levo), Rated: A

According to SoFi, the student loan refinancing company, “No BS” Return on Education 2018 MBA rankings, these are the best schools for earning back your money.

With Americans owing more than $1.48 trillion in student loan debt,  (which is $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt) knowing which schools are going to help you pay off your debt faster, is something you should consider if you are looking at business school programs.

Source: Levo

Roostify Closes $ 25 Million Series B To Fund Expansion (VentureBeat), Rated: AAA

Roostify, a digital lending platform provider, today announced the completion of a $25 million Series B round of financing. The round included new investments from Cota Capital, Point72 Ventures, and Santander Innoventures, the venture capital arm of Banco Santander, as well as additional funding from previous investors JPMorgan Chase, Colchis Capital, and a subsidiary of USAA. The new funds will power the company’s ambitious growth goals, including a deeper presence in the enterprise space, rich product enhancements, and expansion into new markets.

Abode Aims to Make Home Buying and Selling Easier (Chicago Inno), Rated: A

In 2016, Kyle Stoner and best friend Carson Junginger were both having a hard time navigating the home-buying process. Between finding a realtor, finding a property and securing a mortgage, the two tech entrepreneurs realized that buying a home was too cumbersome and fragmented. And when they couldn’t find a single platform where they could manage all these separate tasks, they teamed up to create one — Abode.

SoFi named Abode in its 2018 class of SoFi Entrepreneurs, the fourth cohort of startups which will receive mentorship and funding from the alternative lending startup, but Stoner declined to comment on whether SoFi is officially partnering with Abode in the future. Stoner said Abode is rolling out a new consumer product in March 2018, but declined to give further details.

Americans Can’t Get Enough Consumer Debt (WSJ), Rated: AAA

If anything, consumers are borrowing more on credit cards or through auto loans than they have in years, and lenders seeking growth are happy to oblige them.

In the fourth quarter, consumer debt, excluding mortgages and other home loans, rose 5.5% from a year earlier to $3.82 trillion. That is the highest amount since the Federal Reserve Bank of New York began tracking the data in 1999. Moreover, consumers’ non-housing debts accounted for just over 29% of their overall debt load, also the highest amount on record.

Overall, households are paying about 5.8% of their disposable personal income to stay current on their nonmortgage debts, according to third-quarter Federal Reserve data. This figure, which is at the highest level since the end of 2008, bottomed out at 4.9% in 2012.


URGENT VS. IMPORTANT: BARRIERS TO DIGITIZATION IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTING (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

KPMG International and CREATE-Research have jointly prepared a report about the digitization imperative for alternative investment management.

Early on, its authors list eight key digital innovations that are reconstructing the industry:

Application programming interfaces; cognitive technology and machine learning; Big Data; blockchain; new digital platforms; robo-advisors; robotic process automation; and social media.

To that end they have talked to 125 alternative managers located in 19 countries, with combined assets under management of $2.6 trillion.

A Need to Future Proof

They found that the scale of the ongoing shake-up is well understood. Only 2% of respondents saw a “business as usual” scenario playing out over the next 10 years. Roughly one-third (35%) expect marginal changes. But 53% anticipate “partial” disruption and the remaining 10% anticipate “total” disruption.

Can small-dollar loans be both profitable and safe? (American Banker), Rated: A

Is now the time when U.S. banks, credit unions and their regulators finally see eye to eye on small-dollar loans to consumers who have checkered credit histories?

A long-running stalemate between the industry and its overseers has ceded much of the subprime consumer market to payday lenders, pawn shops and other high-cost lenders. But in recent months, banks started to get some insight from Washington about what type of product would be deemed acceptable.

Citi, PNC invest in B-to-B payments fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

In the latest example, Citi Ventures and PNC on Wednesday announced a strategic investment in the fintech firm HighRadius, which makes business-to-business payments and receivables software. Terms of the investment were not disclosed. HighRadius has an existing partnership with Bank of America on an accounts receivables platform, and also counts as clients Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Starbucks.

U.S. Bancorp hit with $ 613M in penalties linked to payday lender Scott Tucker (USA Today), Rated: A

U.S. Bancorp, the parent of U.S. Bank, agreed to the criminal and civil penalties in settlements announced by the Manhattan U.S. Attorneys Office in New York, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

From 2009 until 2014, U.S.Bank set an artificial cap on the number of alerts generated by its customer transaction monitoring systems, authorities said. The Minneapolis-based bank based the number of alerts on low staffing levels, rather than on the level of risk in the transactions.

The lax oversight aided Tucker, a longtime U.S. Bank customer who was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison last month for running an illegal $3.5 billion Internet-based payday lending scheme that victimized thousands of consumers with loan interest rates as high as 1,000%.

 

Fluid Market Launches Truck Sharing Marketplace (Business Insider), Rated: A

Fluid Market, a neighborhood truck sharing application that allows people to rent trucks seamlessly from one another, today announced the nationwide launch of its truck-sharing marketplace, providing a seamless and on-demand utility vehicle rental experience to its peer-to-peer network of users and lenders across the country.

Finalists for the LendIt Fintech Industry Awards 2018 Announced (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Fintech Innovator of the Year

  • Affirm
  • Varo Money
  • Better Mortgage
  • Upstart
  • Plaid
  • Circle
  • loanDepot

Top Consumer Lending Platform

  • LendingClub
  • Zopa
  • Marlette Funding
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • LightStream
  • Yirendai

Top Small Business Lending Platform

  • Kabbage
  • Funding Circle
  • BlueVine
  • Mirador
  • Credibly
  • StreetShares

Top Real Estate Lending Platform

  • Sharestates
  • LendInvest
  • LendingHome
  • PeerStreet
  • LendingOne
  • Fundrise

Emerging Lending Platform

  • Upgrade Inc.
  • Better Mortgage
  • ETHLend
  • Neat Capital
  • Nexoos
  • LendingUSA

Excellence in Financial Inclusion

  • Kreditech
  • LendUp
  • LenddoEFL
  • Oportun
  • China Rapid Finance
  • Elevate Credit

Most Promising Partnership

  • Katipult + Polymath Inc
  • Macquarie + PeerIQ
  • Lending Club + Opportunity Fund
  • Intrinio + QUODD
  • Financeit + Goldman Sachs
  • Minna Technologies + Swedbank

Most Successful Cross-Border Partnership

  • Kabbage + ING
  • Kreditech + PayU
  • PayJoy + Macrocel
  • nCino + OakNorth
  • Kasisto + DBS Bank
  • Phoenix Finance + Saxo Bank

Most Innovative Bank

  • BankMobile
  • Cross River Bank
  • Laurel Road
  • CBW Bank
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • HSBC

International Innovator of the Year

  • UP Financial
  • LexinFintech
  • Afluenta
  • Phoenix Finance
  • IrisGuard
  • Borrowell

Top Enterprise Technology Company

  • Salesforce
  • Roostify
  • Blend
  • ThreatMetrix
  • Mambu
  • CUneXus

Top Emerging Technology Company

  • Nav
  • Ingo Money
  • Nova Credit Inc.
  • MoneyLion
  • dv01
  • Emailage

Most Innovative Mobile Technology

  • PayJoy
  • Clarity Money
  • AutoGravity
  • Dave.com
  • Blinker
  • Juvo

Top Investment Bank in Fintech

  • Macquarie
  • Marlin & Associates
  • FT Partners

See the full list here.

Macquarie looks to broaden US ABS footprint (Global Capital), Rate: B

Macquarie Group is seeking to hire a US ABS director for its credit markets team as it looks to grow its presence in US esoteric ABS sectors, including whole business, marketplace lending and renewable energy finance.

Small nonbanks call for clearer exemption from CFPB audits (American Banker), Rated: A

Nonbank mortgage firms are seeking formal assurance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that they will not become subject to surprise audits or enforcement without involvement of a state regulator.

In a joint letter to acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney, the Community Home Lenders Association and the Community Mortgage Lenders of America said the agency should practice “streamlined supervision” of smaller nonbanks, which is consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act.

 

Business Innovation Could Accelerate Under a Friendlier CFPB, LeClairRyan Attorney Says (Business Insider), Rated: B

Recent moves by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) could signal a friendlier approach to businesses, according to Jay Spruill, a partner in LeClairRyan’s Richmond office and leader of the national law firm’s Marketplace Funding Team.

“The Payday Loan Rule has been heavily criticized by the small loan industry which says the rule will restrict consumers’ access to credit,” Spruill notes in the blog, CFPB Signals Retreat from Aggressive Regulation. The post appears in Marketplace Shift, which focuses on the impact of legal and regulatory developments on financial innovation.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Lendy Releases Financial Results: Pretax Profits Rise to £3.3 Million (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lending platform Lendy has released its audited accounts for 2016, showing profits before tax rising to £3.3 million compared to £53,000 in 2015. The company reports that since launch in 2012, Lendy has originated over £376 million in secured loans generating £36 million in interest for investors. Approximately £141.5 million in principle has been repayed with current outstanding loans at £186.5 million.

 

The digital upstarts taking on Britain’s dominant few banks (The Economist), Rated: AAA

For some British millennials, Monzo is as close to a cult as a bank can be. Its coral-pink cards are hard to miss. “People in bars will get very excited if they see you are a fellow Monzo user,” says Mr Matthews, who is 29.

Counting the British arm of Santander, Spain’s largest bank takes the share to over 80%. In 2015 Britons had 70m-odd active current accounts. They paid £500 ($750) or more into 70% of them every month.

Supervisors have licensed more than 30 entrants since 2013. But by no means are all the challengers young. One of them, CYBG, owns Clydesdale, a Scottish bank that turns 180 this year, and Yorkshire Bank, aged 159. It has about 1.8m personal current-account customers and assets of £43bn. Nor are all the infants purely digital. Metro Bank has since 2010 established 55 “stores” (ie, branches) and is spreading beyond south-east England.

Among digital purists, Monzo’s chief rival is Starling Bank—where Mr Blomfield used to work. It started current accounts last spring; around 100,000 have been opened. Tandem, which recently acquired Harrods Bank, the banking arm of a posh department store, is also open for business. Atom Bank, part-owned by Spain’s BBVA, focuses on mortgages funded by fixed-rate savings. N26, a German smartphone bank, is due to arrive this year. Another near-cult, Revolut, is seeking a European licence (valid, for now, in Britain).

To ginger up small-business banking, RBS, the market leader, must cede ground and money to competitors as part of the price, agreed on with the European Commission, of its rescue by the government in 2008. RBS will put up £425m, divided into sums from £5m to £120m, to build up rivals’ capabilities, plus £350m for incentives to customers to switch banks. Banks with assets of up to £350bn may bid. That excludes the big four but just lets in Santander (£315bn), to some challengers’ chagrin.

 

Industry reacts to SME finance inquiry (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: A

Earlier this month, the Treasury committee launched an inquiry into SME finance to look at the state of the market and the lessons to be learned from RBS’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG).

The Treasury’s inquiry will look at the extent of competition in the market, the various sources of funding available to SMEs – including P2P lending and crowdfunding – and whether the current regulatory framework provides enough protection to SMEs when they borrow money.

For example, unsecured lending to an SME borrower for the purposes of their business will only be regulated if the SME is unincorporated and the amount being borrowed is £25,000 or less.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority doubles down on algorithmic trading (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Monday published its report on the supervision of algorithmic trading, which is intended to illustrate best practices and give guidance to firms considering implementing AI to automate trading operations.

The focus areas of the report hint at concerns the FCA harbors about AI use in capital markets. The regulator placed particular emphasis on humans being able to intervene in an algorithm if something goes wrong, and ensuring the technology doesn’t start behaving in a way unintended by its creators.

Innovate Finance Announces Finalists for 2018 FinTech Pitch360 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The 2018 Pitch360 finalists are the following:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Axyon AI SRL, Coriolis Technologies Ltd, Eye Capital S.A.
  • Banking/ Enterprise Solutions: Akoni, Hedgewiz Pure Risk Management Solutions, Salt Edge Inc
  • Distributed Ledger Technology: hiveonline, SPIRAL
  • Financial Inclusion: CommuScore, CreditSpring, Trezeo
  • Payments & FX: Duality Banx, Divido Financial Services, Envision&Company LTD
  • Peer-to-Peer / Alternative Funding / SME Lending: Alterest, Credit Data Research Ltd, StrideUp
  • Personal Finance Management & Robo Advice: CASHOFF Ltd, Bedaan
  • RegTech: Calcabis, Exate Technology
China

 

Hexindai: Positive Quarter Strengthens Bull Case (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Sales increased 575% to $43.31 million, driven by loan facilitation growth, which was $388 million – an increase of 187.1% over the prior year. The high sales growth rate contributed to a whopping 1,589% net income growth, which was $26.9 million for the quarter. Gross billing ratio contributed to overall growth with an increase from 7.4% in the previous year to 12.1% in the reported one as the company continues its shift to credit loans.

The company increased its guidance, bumping EPS estimates for the year from $0.74 (see linked article for full estimate calculations) to $1.30 per share, as sales are now expected at $108 million – up from previously expected $90 million. The company believes this will be driven by a bump in loan facilitation, which it expects to be $1.23 billion, up from previously expected $1 billion.

In my previous article I initiated the company with a price target range of $14.80 to $22.20 per share given a 20x to 30x forward earnings multiple, and given recent positive catalysts I believe fair value lies in the same multiple. As the company has hiked its sales and net income guidance, pushing EPS to $1.30 for fiscal 2018, I believe the company’s fair value now lies in the range of $26.00 to $39.00 per share. That represents almost 200% upside from the current share price.

Money20/20 launches in China, the world’s biggest FinTech market (CUInsight), Rated: A

Ascential announced in Hangzhou recently the launch of its trailblazing FinTech event Money20/20 at Hangzhou International Expo Center on 14-16 November 2018.

Guest speakers includedArthur Zhu, President of LianLian Pay; Raymond Qu, CEO of Geoswift; Jeff Parker, Managing Director of WorldFirst Asia-Pacific; Eric Gu, founder & CEO of Metaverse; and experts such as Dr. Ben Shenglin, Dean of Zhejiang University’s Academy of Internet Finance.

Chinese ADSs on the Rise (Capital Watch), Rated: B

Coming in second and third place, China Rapid Finance Ltd. (NYSE: XRF) and JP Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: JP) both soared 8 percent to close at $5.17 and $19.85 per share, respectively, while Jianpu Technology Inc. (NYSE:JT) rose nearly 6 percent to $7.28 per share.

European Union

Online Lender Lendix Plans Entrance into German and Dutch Markets (ICO News Desk), Rated: AAA

Continuing its plan to lead the European SME lending market, fintech company Lendixcontinues its geographical expansion with plans to branch into Germany and the Netherlands.

bitJob teams up with the Dutch government blockchain program to enrich students résumés with a crypto flair (Chipin), Rated: A

bitJob, the P2P marketplace that connects students and businesses, is announcing today its partnership with the Blockchain projects division inside the Dutch government, to deploy its pilot project in Holland. The marketplace, developed by bitJob, bridges the gap between businesses and students by enabling both sides to offer/look for employment with a technology that promotes honesty, immediacy, and robustness.

Opiria & PDATA token: peer reviewed token sale from Germany (Opiria email), Rated: B

Opiria allows consumers to sell their personal data and companies to buy personal data directly from consumers without a veiled middleman in a fully transparent and secure way.

We are presently running an ICO. About our ICO:

  • peer reviewed with due diligence report – showing PDATA is a top 5% ICO

  • Already >1 million USD raised in the Pre-ICO (hard cap $5 million in Pre-ICO)

  • 4k+ active users providing personal data and opinions

Management Team:

  • Dr. Christian Lange (CEO): proven track record in entrepreneurship and successful exit in 2015

  • Marlene Gagesch (CTO): head of B2B software departments for > 10 years

For more information:

  • 2 min pitch video: 

    1 page business model canvas: 

    ICO website/whitepaper: 

    International

    Can’t Miss Quick-Start Guide to Launching a New Business Venture (Influencive), Rated: A

    The following quick-start guide will explain the 7 steps that you need to follow to launch your business venture.

    Make Sure There Is a Market for Your Idea

    The very first step you should take is to validate your idea or concept. You need to make sure that there is a market for your idea.

    Create a Basic Business and Marketing Plan

    If you are trying to launch your product or service as soon as possible, you will still need a solid business and marketing plan. You do not need to be completely detailed, but you should have a good plan in place.

    Obtain Funding for Your Idea

    Another way to get financing is to use P2P (peer to peer) lending. This is similar to crowdfunding, which is another option. With both P2P lending and crowdfunding, you will need to properly explain the value of your product or service. Also, it may take a while to obtain all the funding that you require.

    Research Your Target Demographic

    Once you get funding, you will need to start researching your target demographic. You need to know who you are marketing to before you start a marketing campaign.

    Create a Website

    You do not need to spend a lot to build a website. There are several affordable options with easy to use website builders. These website builders include drag and drop layouts, so anyone can build their own website. A few options include WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace.

    Decide on a Business Structure

    The next step is to choose a business structure. This is essential and should be decided before you release your product or service.

    Start Marketing Your Product or Service

    The final step is to begin marketing your product or service.

    India

    In consultation with MCA, Sebi makes headway in framing crowd-funding norms (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

    The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is finalising the regulatory framework for crowd-funding in consultation with the corporate affairs ministry.

    APAC

    Revolut uses GPS for FX app launch in APAC (Fintech Futures), Rated: AAA

    Revolut will be using Global Processing Services (GPS) for the launch of its multi-currency FX app in the APAC region.

    Revolut will unleash its app, starting with New Zealand, Singapore and Japan. GPS announced the deal during the Lord Mayor of the City of London’s UK Business delegation, which is currently in Australia this week.

    Middle East

    Fintech Startup Beehive Is Closing The Gap For SME Finance In The GCC (Dubai Forum), Rated: AAA

    She found Beehive, a Dubai-based peer-to-peer lending platform. Through Beehive, Lowmass borrowed $54,000 in late 2016 at an interest rate of 9.89%. Although it took about the same amount of time to get a loan from Beehive as it did through the bank, Lowmass says, “the funds were raised cleanly and extremely quickly and we were delighted with the resultinginterest rate we ended up paying.”

    It has 6,000 registered investors—mostly from the U.A.E.—and has channeled a total of $40 million to borrowers.

    Africa

    Ecobank: African Fintech Predicted to Grow Exponentially by 2020 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

    Africa is now at the forefront of fintech with 57.6% of the world’s 174 million active registered mobile money accounts (100.1 million) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fintech in Africa is predicted to grow from US$ 200 million to US$ 3 billion by 2020. As Ecobank works seamlessly across 36 countries in total, Ecobank is also the only bank that allows customers to transact more easily across borders.

    Ecobank’s mobile app allows customers in any of the 33 African countries in which it operates to check balances, pay bills and merchants, and many other services. Rwanda, where the summit is taking place, has the second highest use of mobiles in Africa, with more than 50% of the population unique subscribers. Kenya has the highest penetration rate of almost 60% of the population.

    Canada

    Vested Ventures completes seed round in gamified savings app Dojo (Finextra), Rated: AAA

    Vested Ventures, the investment arm of the fastest growing public relations agency globally, Vested, announced it has successfully completed a seed round investment in Vancouver financial software company Dojo Technology Corp (“Dojo”).

    Dojo’s iOS and Android-friendly mobile platform reimagines how families and young people interact with their banks and credit unions by providing reward-based gamification and nudging users towards positive financial habits.

    Authors:

    George Popescu
    Allen Taylor

Thursday September 15th 2016, Daily News Digest

Thursday September 15th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: FastPay raises $15mil in equity; MoneyLion closes financing line with Macquarie,; 2 fintechs, Financeit and Concentra, purchase TD Bank’s (a bank’s !) home improvement financing assets. Today’s main analysis: LendKey releases student loan cohort default data, strange data. Today’s main thought provokers:  The future of Finance; UBS wealth manager tries AI; […]

Thursday September 15th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

Canada

China

 

United States

The future of finance: Banking as a platform, (The Next Web), Rated: AAA

A new law is going into effect in 2018 called the Revised Payment Services Directive in Europe, or PSD2 for short.

This law and the possibilities new technologies bring, means the role of banking is changing and emphasizes the trend towards ‘open banking’. Financial services and banks such as Dutch bank ABN AMRO see new technologies on the horizon and are working to find the trends in which they can gravitate toward and adapt to.

PSD2 works to provide a foundation for the creation of a single-wide market for payments. It allows consumers the ability to connect their bank accounts with third party services, allowing the services through an API to access data generated by their bank accounts.

In other words, with PSD2, banks will essentially become a platform for banking with providing APIs to access data.

Entrepreneurs can use the new law of PSD2 to drive innovation and creation of new services to offer to customers, and can now use bank APIs to do it. For example, an entrepreneur can create a way for one customer to have a central dashboard that has all of their financial data in one place, regardless of the bank or how many different financial institutions they do business with.

For instance, ABN AMRO works closely together with startups and scale-ups to bring customers simple and user-friendly apps. Recently, the financial institution worked with Swedish startup Tink to develop a new app allowing customers to easily overview their earnings and expenditures.

 Acquire Real Estate Creates Liquidity for Investors in Commercial Real Estate, Facilitates First Fully Automated Secondary Market Exchange, (Email), Rated: AAA

Acquire Real Estate, a commercial real estate crowdfunding platform, has completed its first fully automated secondary market exchange between two of its real estate investors.

The investors relied on Acquire’s patent pending Investor Exchange,which facilitates a blind auction process that enables a seller to identify a buyer, establish a value and generate the required documentation and consents. The investors exchanged an interest in the DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas-Fort Worth, a 282-room, 8-story hotel located adjacent to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

“We built the Investor Exchange with our investors’ need for liquidity in mind,” said Gerry Polucci, Co-Founder and CTO of Acquire Real Estate. “We also built the technology with an understanding that it had to be simple and modernize the process.”

Acquire’s technology allows the exchange process to unfold quickly without the inconveniences usually associated with such transfers. Investors can use the exchange to post all or part of an Acquire investment for exchange with any other member of the Acquire community. The seller then specifies the terms of the auction and provides up-to-date information concerning the investment. Acquire investors can then bid on the opportunity based on the terms proposed. If successful, the transaction takes place for an undisclosed amount, which could be higher or lower than the initial acquisition price.

LendKey Introduces Bellwether Report On Private Student Loans, (PR Newswire), Rated: A

LendKey, today released an inaugural industry-specific report entitled Positive Signal for Private Student Loans. This is the first in a series that aims to share summarized risk and other unique insights within data from LendKey’s 275 bank and credit union client-lenders nationwide.

To access the full report, please visit: 

Highlights of the report include:

  • Originations and portfolio balance
  • Performance of the LendKey client-lender portfolio over time
  • Cosigner statistics and geographical spread such as 90% of loans are originated with a cosigner and most are from northern states
  • Over the last seven years, defaults and charge-off rates have significantly declined
  • Statistics and growth in serial borrowing

Lenders and asset managers are partnering with LendKey to bring borrowers a powerful, white-labeled lending platform that has redefined Lending-as-a-Service—and gives financial institutions of all sizes the ability to attract new business, grow relationships, manage liquidity, and mitigate risk.

LendKey’s Key results from the report above, (See above), Rated: AAA

Improvement in default performance:

 

FastPay Secures $ 15 M in Funding, (Business Wire), Rated: A

FastPay is the market-leading provider of liquidity and financial workflow solutions to the global digital media industry. Through its proprietary technology platform, IGNITE, FastPay can dynamically assess the credit of digital media businesses and deploy payment workflow solutions for media businesses globally.

FastPay, has raised $15 million from Oak HC/FT to support FastPay’s continued growth, development of proprietary technology and acquisition of strategic new hires. The investment is the first FinTech investment from Oak HC/FT’s recently launched $500 million growth-equity fund.

Mobile Finance Platform MoneyLion Closes Portfolio Financing Line with Macquarie Group, (Email), Rated: A

Moneylion, to date, has access to $650m of debt capital from Macquarie and other institutional lenders.

To date, MoneyLion has originated over 120,000 loans from its balance sheet.  Through its website and mobile app, available on Apple and Android devices, MoneyLion offers personal finance tools and a suite of credit products designed to foster better, more informed financial decision-making across the lifetime of its growing community of users.

Orrick Launches Legal Portal for Direct Lending, (Fin Alternatives), Rated: A

Global law firm Orrick has jumped into the rapidly-growing world of private credit with the creation of what it describes as the first legal portal for the corporate direct lending community.

The site breaks new ground by offering fast, simple solutions to a wide variety of common issues that arise in direct lending transactions, Orrick said in a statement.

Lending Club will Pay New CFO Signing Bonus & $ 4.5 M Stock Grant, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to an 8-K filed with the SEC, Lending Club will pay Thomas Casey, their newly appointed CFO, a base salary of $425,000 with a 75% bonus target plus $4.5 million in an initial equity award to vest quarterly over the next four years. On top of this, Casey will also receive a one-time signing bonus of $600,000. Casey will receive half of this bonus immediately and the other half a year from his start date (later this month).

Simultaneously, Lending Club announced the creation of a Rabbi Trust – a non-qualified retirement vehicle to help compensate senior executives.

Why Lending Club Isn’t Worth Your Money…, (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Earnings expectations are now expected to be negative this year and Wall Street is looking for only $0.07 in earnings per share in 2017. At this stage in its life cycle and growth, one could argue a P/E is irrelevant. Even if there were not questions about Lending Club’s future growth, we would feel uncomfortable owning this company at a P/E approaching 80x.

Looking at Enterprise Value to EBITDA, we also are not attracted to a business at roughly 60x 2017 expectations. The problems of 2016 wipe out more than a full year of growth for this early-stage business, but they also highlight a going concern issue. With its large debt balance and lingering interest costs, Lending Club needs to generate significant cash flow just to stay afloat.

Earnings can be manipulated, so we tend to focus our attention on cash flow. The cash flow statement rarely lies. Before the surprising revelations in May, Lending Club averaged nearly $50 million of cash flow from operations for three quarters straight.

Cash flow went negative last quarter and will likely stay this way for a few quarters. Will investors look to purchase Lending Club loans? Will Lending Club only draw the most risky borrowers to its platform? These are troubling questions we struggle with.

At the 2002 Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) annual meeting, the legendary duo of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger had some wonderful comments regarding investing in financials. After Munger discussed how he is often uncomfortable around most financial institutions’ lack of transparency, Buffett had this great financial quote:

“There is so much about a financial institution that you don’t know just by looking at the figures that if anything bothers you a little bit, we’re never sure whether it’s an iceberg situation”.

UBS trials artificial intelligence wealth managers, (V3), Rated: A

Wealth management firm and investment bank UBS is running artificial intelligence(AI) trials with some of its richest clients. AI applications being tested include tools designed to read facial expressions and uncover clients’ unconscious biases towards or against certain types of investment.

The aim is to help the company’s cash-rich, but time-poor, clientele to ask the right questions about their decisions, according to UBS.

RBS announced earlier this year  that the bank may replace hundreds of face-to-face customer service staff with automated services, which it claimed will free its remaining human agents to be expert advisers.

Fraud detection is another area ripe for AI applications, and companies such as Ravelin have deployed machine learning capabilities to identify online payment fraud and other pattern-based behaviour.

IBM and Aldebaran Robotics (now majority owned by Japan’s SoftBank) have been testing a robotic concierge service using IBM’s Watson service in the cloud via industry-specific datasets provided by ‘cognitive travel agent’ WayBlazer.

UK government-backed startup PingGo announced last week that its mission is to automate PR, giving rise to the real possibility that press releases may soon be produced by robots for other robots to read and disseminate as machine-readable news.

Dr Anders Sandberg, James Martin Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, observed earlier this year that if you can describe your job it can and will be automated.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Ltd (FCIF) to Issue Dividend Increase – GBX 1.63 Per Share, (BBNS), Rated: A

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Ltd (LON:FCIF) declared a dividend on Wednesday, September 14th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 29th will be paid a dividend of GBX 1.63 ($0.02) per share on Monday, October 31st. This represents a yield of 1.59%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 29th. This is a boost from Funding Circle SME Income Fund’s previous dividend of $1.00. The official announcement can be seen at this link.

Separately, Jefferies Group started coverage on shares of Funding Circle SME Income Fund in a report on Wednesday. They issued a “hold” rating for the company.

Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited is a United Kingdom-based closed-ended fund. The Fund’s investment objective is to provide shareholders with a level of dividend income, primarily by way of investment in credit assets, both directly through the marketplaces and indirectly. The Fund holds credit assets through maturity.

Bank of England sticks with rate cut signal despite Brexit bounce, (Reuters), Rated: AAA

The Bank of England said on Thursday it was still likely to cut interest rates to just above zero later this year, even though the initial Brexit hit to Britain’s economy was proving less severe than it expected only last month.

The Bank’s nine rate-setters voted unanimously to keep Bank Rate at its new record low of 0.25 percent, the lowest level in the BoE’s 322-year history.

They also voted 9-0 to keep the Bank’s bond-buying program target at 435 billion pounds and to continue with its new plan to buy up to 10 billion pounds’ worth of corporate bonds.

A Reuters poll of economists showed on Thursday that Britain is likely to narrowly avoid a recession.

Property Development Academy: LendInvest to Help Small Developers Build More Homes, (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, an online mortgage marketplace that has facilitated over £740 million in financing, has launched the “first” Property Development Academy in an attempt to boost construction of new homes.

The UK government estimates the need for additional housing in England at between 232,000 to 300,000 new units per year, a level not reached since  the late 1970s and two to three times current supply.

According to LendInvest, the Property Development Academy will be a two-day intensive programme that takes 20-25 individuals through hands-on, practical modules covering the full development project: from land valuation and acquisition, through to planning permission, supplier contracts, cost management and final sale. Sessions are led by experienced advisers. On top of education, the network of relevant contacts from their local area may become a vital resource for these aspiring developers to call upon in the future.

Canada

Financeit and Concentra acquire TD Bank Group’s indirect home improvement financing assets, (Email), Rated: A

Financeit, a cloud-based point-of-sale financing platform, and Concentra, a leading wholesale finance and trust solutions provider for Canada’s credit unions, today announced the acquisition of TD Bank Group’s indirect home improvement financing assets, with a book value of approximately $339 million.

As part of the agreement, approximately 45,000 TD loans were purchased by Concentra and over 800 merchant dealers were assigned to Financeit.

Financeit has a nationwide footprint in the home improvement industry and has increased its lending activity in this market by almost 200% since last year.

With the transaction now completed, current TD merchant partners can begin submitting loans on Financeit’s platform immediately and can take advantage of the company’s unique approach. This includes mobile-enabled technology, customer self-serve application options, paperless document signing, extended credit and 180-day approval windows. Loan origination on the TD platform will end in October 2016.

Since launching in 2011, Financeit has worked with over 6,000 home improvement, vehicle and retail businesses to process more than $1.5 billion in loans in Canada and the United States. Financeit is a private company and has raised money from a variety of investors, including a division of Goldman Sachs and FIS Global.

Concentra is a provider of national wholesale banking and trust solutions to credit unions across Canada. Concentra is serving over 80 percent of Canada’s credit unions. The company has over $37 billion in assets under administration, including over $8 billion in consolidated assets

China

Shanghai P2P Lender Raided After Failing to Make Payments, (CaixinOnline), Rated: A

Police raided the Shanghai offices of a major peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform operator on Tuesday and arrested five people on suspicion of illegal fundraising, nearly half a year after the company stopped paying returns to its investors.

Police said they will urge the company to meet its financial obligations, but didn’t say whether criminal charges will be filed.

Kuailu is a typical case, promising investors 10 percent annualized returns, far higher than they could get from traditional banking products. Founded in 2003, the company entered P2P lending in 2014. It found a niche in lending for film production in both China and Hollywood using connections of its then-chairman, Shi Jianxiang.

In the past two years alone, Kuailu raised about 14 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) from about 260,000 investors, and poured the money into such high-profile projects as the Hollywood film The Bombing starring Bruce Willis.

But the company ran into financial difficulties and stopped paying out returns about six months ago, around the same time that Shi resigned, citing health concerns.

In June, Kuailu promised at least 600 investors, most of them elderly and in urgent need of cash, that they would receive priority in getting back 5 to 20 percent of their principal, a pledge requiring up to 100 million yuan, according to a notice on its official account on the popular WeChat mobile instant messaging platform.

Author:

George Popescu

July 5th 2016, Daily News Digest

July 5th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments United States According to the bond market yield-curve there is 60% chance of recession. However, the equity market doesn’t agree. Interesting times. A short survey on the different US regulators’ interaction with the marketplace lending space. New Capital Rules likely to be imposed on wall street will likely push bank-dealers to shut down […]

July 5th 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

  • According to the bond market yield-curve there is 60% chance of recession. However, the equity market doesn’t agree. Interesting times.
  • A short survey on the different US regulators’ interaction with the marketplace lending space.
  • New Capital Rules likely to be imposed on wall street will likely push bank-dealers to shut down trading units in debt-securitization due to insufficient return on equity. This change could have a huge impact on marketplace asset backed securitization.
  • Wells Fargo continues to push FastFlex, their own quick SME financing product competing with OnDeck, Kabbage, CAN Capital and all other SME marketplace lenders.
  • Morgan Stanley is pointing out all the positive data coming out of Lending Club: higher origination than predicted in Q2 2016 and much more.
  • Lending Club’s CIO unvailing the future plans for Lending Club : Point-of-Sales, offline and a cloud-base micro-services platform.
  • CFPB’s monthly report points out the most-complained-about companies in consumer loans. It would be interesting to plot company size vs number of complaints.
  • Square analysts believe that more regulation in marketplace lending will favor Square vs its competitors.
  • Last week news, worth a reminder after the long weekend: Avant is downsizing, again.
  • Boston, feeling left behind in fintech, is launching a fintech hub initiative supported by Fidelity, Putnam, Santander Bank, U.S. Bank and Boston Private Financial.

United Kingdom

  • An interesting way to leverage your p2p investments: buying discounted P2P public fund shares at the present 20% discount, and relying on stock buy-backs to bet on up side in yield + equity appreciation.
  • Brexit: in short, fintech firms fear for staff shortages and lost EU customer access.

European Union

  • Insurer Aviva France, in partnership with Eiffel Investment Group and AG2R La Mondiale launching a €100 million fund to invest in “crowdlending SME debt” in France and elsewhere.
  • A list, without any transparency on the inclusion criteria,  of the top 11 p2p lending platforms in Europe, (Pre-Brexit), per Fintechnews.ch. And a very interesting map of relative p2p lending market size in European countries.

Australia

  • Public p2p lender DirectMoney preparing a new share issuance to finance loans as loan demand outstrips funding.”DirectMoney chief Peter Beaumont yesterday defended the fintech company’s stockmarket listing and expressed disappointment over losses worn by shareholders.”
  • OnDeck Australia and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) receiving the Fintech-Bank Collaboration of the Year Award.

India

  • P2P players are moving towards institutional capital for growth. Following in the footsteps of their US cousins, we hope the Indian p2p lenders have learned their lessons from Prosper, Lendnig Club and Avant’s experiences with institutional capital.

China

  • P2P lenders exiting office space in Shanghai have brought office space vacancies supply to a 10-year-high level.

Korea

  • Interesting data and information on one of the 1st Korean p2p lending companies we learn about.

News Summary

Unites States

Bond Markets Have a Message About the Economy That Stock Investors Might Not Want to Hear, (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

There’s a big disagreement brewing in global markets.

There’s 60 percent chance of recession, according to a Deutsche Bank model.

While risky assets including equities have surged following the U.K. electorate’s historic vote to leave the European Union, government bonds have also rallied; two things that ought to suggest different outlooks for economic growth. Soaring bond prices have sent yields on the perceived safe havens of government debt plumbing fresh lows, even while expectations of looser monetary policy produce a burst of animal spirits in stock markets.

The flight to safety has prompted some analysts to question the durability of the rally in equities, where the S&P 500 was up 3.5 percent last week and the FTSE 100 has erased its post-referendum dip — at least, in local-currency terms. Still others say that money is pouring into stocks as lower bond yields force investors to search for returns in alternative asset classes.

The spread between the yield on 10-year and two-year U.S. Treasury notes narrowed in the immediate aftermath of the June 23rd referendum, widened briefly, and is now shrinking again as investors continue to flock to the perceived safety of U.S. government debt. A model maintained by Deutsche Bank AG’s Steven Zeng, who adjusts the spread for historically low short-term interest rates, suggests the yield curve is now signaling a 60 percent chance of a U.S. recession in the next 12 months — up from a 55 percent probability as of mid-June, and the highest implied odds since August 2008.

“This relentless flattening of the curve is worrisome,” Deutsche analysts led by Dominic Konstam said in their note on the model. “Given the historical tendency of a very flat or inverted yield curve to precede a U.S. recession, the odds of the next economic downturn are rising.”

The 10-year yield is currently at 1.44 percent, making a recession just about 40 basis points away according to this particular interpretation of the bond market’s moves.

Rundown of Regulator Interest in Marketplace Lending, (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

U.S. Treasury

The Treasury first publicly showed interest in marketplace lending with a request for information(RFI) back in July 2015. Over 100 companies responded to the RFI and the Treasury reported on their findings in May 2016 where they shared their response in the form of a white paper. It did not provide any recommendations for new regulations and was generally quite positive on the industry.

Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

On March 31, the OCC released a white paper titled Supporting Responsible Innovation in the Federal Banking System: An OCC Perspective. More recently, the head of the OCC, Thomas Curry, reaffirmed his commitment to responsible innovation in a speech just last week. He brought up the idea of a “regulatory sandbox” – a place where fintech companies can have a conversation about what the rules of the road are for their new ideas. He also brought up the idea of a limited purpose charter for fintech firms as a possible way forward.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The FDIC first addressed marketplace lending in a paper titled Supervisory Insights. They are concerned about the impact on banks as well as the general risk to financial services.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Early this year, the CFPB made two announcements impacting marketplace lending. They said that they would begin accepting complaints directly from consumers about marketplace lending companies. Around the same time they issued a new No-Action letter policy that was designed to encourage innovation in financial services.

According to the Wall Street Journal the CFPB is planning to supervise marketplace lenders and will release a proposal some time in the fall. The CFPB has not commented publicly on this news so right now it is just a possibility but it makes sense.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

SEC involvement in marketplace lending goes back to the early days of Lending Club and Prosper. In 2008 the SEC decided that the notes issued by these companies were securities and should be registered as such. The result was Lending Club and Prosper filing a S-1 registration and becoming quasi public companies with quarterly financials being filed with the SEC.

Now that Lending Club is a public company it is has more responsibilities to both equity and debt investors both of which come under the purview of the SEC. The reality is while the SEC keeps a close eye on marketplace lending it is unlikely there will be much in the way of new developments here.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The FTC recently hosted a financial technology forum on marketplace lending. The forum sought to look at consumer protections in marketplace lending and fintech more broadly. According to Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s consumer-protection bureau marketplace lenders haven’t done enough in borrower protection.

United States Congress

In May 2015, the House Small Business Committee held a hearing on Capital Hill.

In January, in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting tragedy, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on terrorism financing that included a discussion of marketplace lending. But no new initiatives have come yet from these hearings.

Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC)

The FSOC most recently included their thoughts on marketplace lending in their annual report. Although the report highlights the lower cost and efficiencies of marketplace lenders they also discuss risks and concerns. One of the main concerns listed are the new and untested underwriting models used by platforms.

Conclusion

This list is only a start of the involvement we are likely to see from regulators as it pertains to marketplace lending. Due to the attention, we’ve seen many industry associations created to ensure a productive dialogue is being undertaken in Washington with all the organizations discussed here. We sincerely hope that any new regulation to come is thoughtful and comes from a well informed view of the industry.

Capital Rules Stifling Securitized-Debt Trading Profit: JPM, (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

New layers of regulatory capital expected to be imposed on Wall Street are likely to further pressure banks to exit trading of securitized-debt, JPMorgan analysts John Sim, Kaustub Samant, Carol Zhang wrote in client note Friday.

NOTE: Reports of dealers paring or shutting down trading units have grown; banks include Barclays, DB, MS, SocGen, Jefferies, RBS, Nomura, CS

  • There’s “no path to profitability” under current and recently released capital rules
  • JPM analysts calculated ROE (return on equity) for hypothetical RMBS portfolio based on impact from Basel’s Fundamental Review of the Trading Book
  • Concluded ROE of ~4%, “clearly not attractive enough to entice dealers to enter the space and make markets”
  • Adjusted model to various hypotheticals, such as reallocation, bid-ask, turnover rates
  • Concluded the “cumulative effect of all of these realistic and unrealistic changes would only increase the return to 7%, which is far short of our 10% to 15% ROE threshold”
  • “Running ROEs for hypothetical ABS and CMBS businesses would not result in markedly different results”
  • Primary market and business of underwriting new-issue securitizations can still be attractive, however, contingent  underwriting volumes
  • Revenue derived from underwriting fees without consuming much capital; when balanced with secondary trading, ROEs for the business can become attractive, depending on volumes
  • Liquidity will continue to be constrained for non-agency RMBS, particularly in legacy space where dealers have no commensurate underwriting
  • CRT deals will also suffer from limited trading activity relative to market size; expect limited liquidity for Jumbo RMBS and SFR deals

How Wells Fargo Aims to Satisfy ‘Need for Speed’ From Millennial Borrowers, (The Street), Rated: AAA

Known as FastFlex, the San Francisco-based bank’s product offers customers with a business checking account a one-year loan of up to $100,000. Wells Fargo is considering expanding the availability of the loan next year, Lisa Stevens, the company’s head of small business, said in an interview.

FastFlex is designed for businesses with under $5 million a year in revenue who have “quick short-term needs to do some type of expansion or cash management,” Stevens said.

Some 67% of millennials are willing to take some financial risks to grow their businesses, compared with just 54% of older owners.

The FastFlex loan is one effort to meet that demand, he said, by providing a digital service with a rapid turnaround, two of the qualities that millennials have said they value most highly in financial services products. “We wanted to design our own product that would compete well in the marketplace-lending environment,” Case said.

Lending Club Corp : Positive Updates from the Annual Meeting, (Morgan Stanley), Rated: AAA

2Q16 originations down ⅓ from 1Q equates to ~$1.8bn in originations or -4.4% YoY,vs. our $1.4bn (-25% YoY) estimate.Assuming volumes for the first five weeks in the quarter (prior to

Assuming volumes for the first five weeks in the quarter (prior to announcement of irregularities and CEO resignation) were consistent with the 1Q run rate, this suggests volumes over the remaining 8 weeks were down ~50% sequentially and 37% YoY.

LC has had dialog with hundreds of investors,and none have outrightly refused to come back as an investor on the platform. Most investors need to go through a due diligence process and LC appears confident in its ability to bring them back to prior levels of investment over the long term.

While investors from every category have returned to the platform, banks and large investors are taking longer with their audits, which is in-line with our expectations.It is unclear if 2Q represents the trough in terms of origination volumes, but management commentary on investor appetiteand conservativeapproach on origination expectations suggests 3Q and

It is unclear if 2Q represents the trough in terms of origination volumes, but management commentary on investor appetiteand conservativeapproach on origination expectations suggests 3Q and
4Q volumes should be similar to 2Q with potential for upward bias.

LC expects to incur $9mn of investor incentives (to be booked as contra-revenues) in 2Q , which are likely to continue in 3Q with a plan to eliminate these by 4Q.

LC expects to “resume revenue and EBITDA growth in 1H17” though it remains unclear to us if this comment suggests sequential or YoY growth.We expect LC to return to origination, revenue,and adjusted EBITDA growth by 2Q17, though we expect 1H17 to remain below 1H16 given tough comps on 1Q17e.

2016 Bay Area CIO of the Year Innovation/Transportation finalist: A conversation with LendingClub’s John MacIlwaine, (Silicon Valley Business Journal), Rated: AAA

How do you predict your company will be different in two years, and how do you see yourself shaping that change?

We’ll also have a wider set of financing products that will be accessible online, offline, and at point of sale, while expanding our partnerships with banks and other non-financial institutions. We’re enabling that change by building our cloud-based micro-services platform, which simplifies integration of our solution for our partners and allow us to quickly and efficiently scale our core business and expand our product set.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact/success at this company? My biggest impact on LendingClub has been building a world-class team of engineers, scaling our technology platform to support the company’s incredible growth (compound annual growth rate of 124 percent Q4 2009 to Q4 2015 and well over $16 billion in loan originations to date), and setting a clear vision for a technology platform that is flexible and adaptable enough to handle future loan origination growth, partnership integration, and regulatory compliance updates.

What are your top three priorities for 2016-2017?

  1. Transform our current technology platform into a suite of cloud-based micro-services;
  2. Move our platform hosting environments to AWS (Amazon Web Services);
  3. Double the size of our world-class technology team.

CFPB June 2016 complaint report highlights consumer loan complaints, complaints from Arkansas consumers, (JDSupra Business Advisor), Rated: AAA

The CFPB has issued its June 2016 complaint report which highlights complaints about consumer loans and complaints from consumers in Arkansas and the Little Rock metro area.

The report does not specifically identify any complaints as involving marketplace lending.  Unlike prior monthly complaint reports, the June 2016 report includes a “Sub Product spotlight” section that highlights auto lending.

  • The most-complained-about issue involved managing the loan, lease or line of credit.  Other complaint issues included problems arising when the consumer was unable to pay, such as issues relating to debt collection, bankruptcy, and default.
Source: CFPB June complaint report.

General findings include the following:

  • Complaints about student loans showed the greatest percentage increase based on a three-month average, increasing about 61 percent from the same time last year (March to May 2015 compared with March to May 2016).  As we noted in our blog posts about the April and May2016 complaint reports, rather than reflecting an increase in the number of borrowers making student loan complaints, the increase most likely reflects that in March 2016, the CFPB began accepting complaints about federal student loans.  Previously, such complaints were directed to the Department of Education.
  • Payday loan complaints showed the greatest percentage decrease based on a three-month average, decreasing about 15 percent from the same time last year (March to May 2015 compared with March to May 2016).  Complaints during those periods decreased from 479 complaints in 2015 to 405 complaints in 2016.  In the March, April, and May 2016 complaint reports, payday loan complaints also showed the greatest percentage decrease based on a three-month average.

Square Inc Better Risk Reflection Leads to Upgrade: Wedbush, (Bidness Etc), Rated: A

Helmed by Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, the Square’s lending business encountered a substantial obstacle in May, in the form of new and strict scrutiny from regulatory authorities. In a comprehensive study, the US Department of Treasury along with several other government agencies put forward recommendations, to safeguard the access and growth to credit through the continued developments of online marketplace lending.

Wedbush analysts believe that regulatory scrutiny is likely to increase the company’s lending business.

For the 2Q, Square projects revenue to fall between $151–156 million. Wedbush expects the company to surpass its own expectations — reporting closer to the sell-side firm’s own $168 million estimates — but foresees considerable downside to the financial services company’s shares, if it reports within its given guidance range.

Interestingly enough, in a research note published yesterday, Morgan Stanley lowered its prices target on Square stock from $12 to $10, following a meeting with the company. The sell-side firm also raised its Stock-Based Comp estimates, in light of the company’s transition from private to a public entity and higher comp to select personnel vs. prior expectations.

Why Online Lender Avant Is Cutting Down Its Workforce Again, (Fortune), Rated: A

After also deciding to pull back in May from new verticals such as auto loans to concentrate on its core personal loans business, Avant is now cutting its lending target for that unit by 50% to about $100 million per month, Bloomberg reported.

Avant’s problem, like much of the so-called peer-to-peer lending market, isn’t a lack of demand from potential borrowers. Instead, the company and other online lenders are having increasing difficulty raising money to lend out as hedge funds and other investors outside the usual banking circles that backed the industry have grown wary.

The company had grown quickly for the past few years, reaching $3.5 billion in total loan volume. But with less access to capital, business has slowed recently, and loan volume declined 27% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter—the first such quarter-to-quarter drop since Avant started in 2012.

LendingClub’s Negative Press Blitz Continues, (Yahoo Finance), Rated: A

An $800 million LendingClub Corp (NYSE: LC) fund that invests in the company’s online consumer loans is expected to report its first monthly loss in the past 64 months in June. According to a letter to investors from LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn, LendingClub’s Broad Based Consumer Credit (Q) Fund’s June return “is likely to be negative.”

The fund is LendingCub’s largest and has regularly returned around 0.5 percent per month throughout its five-year history. However, default rates on the fund’s loans have begun to rise in recent months and returns have dropped, prompting a number of investor redemption requests

The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Rudegeair reported that as of June 17, LendingClub had received $442 million in redemption requests representing about 58 percent of the value of the fund. In response to the large number of redemption requests, LendingClub announced it was placing restrictions on withdrawals and would be considering winding down the fund entirely.

Group led by State Street, Putnam launches fintech initiative, (Boston Business Journal), Rated: A

The Boston Financial Services Leadership Council and the business consulting group Mass Insight have created Financial Technology Boston, under which they will host networking events and possibly job fairs involving fintech professionals from the corporate, startup, government and higher-education worlds.

In addition to State Street (NYSE: STT), Fidelity and Putnam, the BFSLC includes Santander Bank, U.S. Bank and Boston Private Financial (Nasdaq: BPFH).

Boston is already home to fintech-focused incubators FinTech Sandbox and the DCU Center of Excellence in Financial Services, as well as a monthly meetup for fintech professionals.

United Kingdom

Why investors should scoop up discounted P2P funds before putting cash into platforms, (AltFi News), Rated: AAA

Analysis by AltFi Data shows loan origination has more or less been static across the UK P2P lending industry in 2016. This somewhat contrasts with the rapid growth seen in 2015 and 2014. Any number of explanations are given for this including a broad risk-off attitude from markets as well as the ongoing fiasco at the major US platform Lending Club.

However, for professional and private investors alike who are not dissuaded from the adverse headlines, and attracted by the high yields on offer from investing in the market, there is a clear argument to avoid investing directly on platforms. While this is the normal route for many, buying shares in the investment trusts offering exposure to loans originated from the platforms that are heavily discounted at present arguably makes more sense.

Over time in addition to the 7.4 per cent yield on offer, a narrowing of this discount or perhaps even a move to a premium could significantly bolster returns.

The table below shows what will happen to the share price following a 20 per cent return in net asset value alongside changes in the discount/premium. It clearly shows that buying at a premium massively adds to the total return.

Of course there is always the risk that the discount moves out further. This could be caused by investors going off the trusts even more. Or it could be broader negative sentiment towards equity markets that sees index level selling of the FTSE 250 – in the case of P2P GI – or FTSE All Share selling in the case of VPC Specialty Lending. This would add to weakness in both trusts’ share prices, and potentially widen the discount.

However, as AltFi reported last week P2P GI has started to defend its discount by buying up its shares using spare cash. Last week it bought £2m of its shares at an average price of 827p, says Monica Tepes, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.

This did temporarily lower P2P GI’s discount to 17.5 per cent although it has since moved back to over 20 per cent.

Brexit: FinTech firms fear for staff shortages and lost EU customers, (Tech Republic), Rated: AAA

London is a major player in the international FinTech market, with startups in the UK capital securing more venture capital funding last year than their European counterparts.

That status won’t necessarily change after Britain leaves the EU but FinTech firms have said it will complicate the picture, particularly when it comes to their ability to sell services to Europe and attract new talent.

Controlling migration was the second most important reason for quitting the EU, according to those who voted Leave in last week’s referendum.

Access to the single market allows goods and finance to be moved between EU countries without tariffs. However, full access also requires free movement of workers between European countries, something many Leave voters oppose.

Nevertheless, for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform MarketInvoice, as for many other London-based FinTech firms, free movement of European labor is essential to meet its demands for skills.

“Here at MarketInvoice we have a super-diverse team from all corners of the globe. Most notably within our software-engineering and data-science teams. Many FinTech founders themselves come from outside the UK,” said Anil Stocker, CEO of MarketInvoice.

European Union

Insurer Aviva France to Lend €50 Million to SMEs Through Crowdlending Platforms, (Crowdfund Insider),Rated: AAA

Aviva France, together with two partners, alternative asset management firm Eiffel Investment Group and insurer AG2R La Mondiale, is launching an investment fund called “Prêtons Ensemble” (Lending together) dedicated to financing loans to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) provided through crowdlending platforms.

Starting with an initial endowment of €50 million from Aviva France and €20 million from AG2R La Mondiale, the fund is expected to quickly grow to €100 million by rallying other institutional investors around the project.

The goal is to invest in the French real economy by financing SME loans granted through regulated crowdfunding platforms. Eiffel Investment Group is a specialist with more than eight years of experience in investing on crowdlending platforms, notably in the more advanced UK and US markets. Eiffel Investment will be in charge of the due diligence on the platforms and their loan portfolios. Currently, they have identified around 100 platforms and have made contact with 50 of them. Eventually, in five years from now, the fund should be invested to 70% in lending to SMEs and minimum to 50% in France. At the onset, we’re starting with a dozen platforms, mostly, but not only from France as the market is still emerging here. The (soon-to-be published) list includes names such as Younited Credit, Finexkap and Lendix.

The fund will be diversified in terms of the platforms’ business model and of the type of credit provided to SMEs. This means that it will include both unsecured and secured loans, short-term invoice financing as well as mid-term loans. On average, the loans are expected to have a maturity of 2.5 years.

Our decision was made long before the Lending Club problems surfaced. Upon hearing about them, we conducted a thorough analysis of their actual causes and impact. We were quite reassured to find out that the scale of the financial issue was small, that it had been fixed, and that a subsequent audit did not uncover any other impropriety.

Europe’s Top 11 Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms, (Fintech News), Rated: A

Comment: As author chose to label the article Europe’s top 11, and includes UK companies, we chose to do the same.

In Europe today, although the vast majority of the P2P lending activity is concentrated in the UK – which accounts for over 84% of the whole European market –, Germany, France and Nordic countries are experiencing strong growth and development in the P2P lending space with a number of homegrown startups starting to emerge as regional leaders.

Australia

Fintech losses blamed on rerating, (The Australian Business Review), Rated: AAA

DirectMoney, which writes personal loans, slid to 4.5c a share after coming to market last year at 20c via a backdoor listing. On Friday, the company unveiled a $5.7m non-renounceable capital raising at 4.2c a share on a one-new-share-for-every-two-held basis.

The raising, underwritten by Bell Potter, opens on July 11.

It follows a mixed ride for investors, with the stock exchange in February querying its financial position and DirectMoney subsequently unveiling a deal with Macquarie, which bought $5m of the company’s personal loans and took shares in the company in exchange for advisory services.

In May, DirectMoney revealed loan demand was outstripping funding as the company slowly gained traction for its personal loan fund for retail investors. In the interim, the company turned to two “large financial institutions” for funding facilities, signing a non-binding term sheet with one for $20m.

Part of the cash from the $5.7m raising will be used as upfront collateral for the funding facilities. “We’ve proven our ability to originate loans; that is difficult for some organisations and what we are now doing is establishing committed funding programs of sufficient size so we can leverage the assets we’ve built,” Mr Beaumont said.

DirectMoney has written $17.6m of unsecured personal loans up to $35,000 for three to five years. Revenue in the financial year to the end of May was $1.19m, compared to $435,513 in the six months to December 31.

DirectMoney chief Peter Beaumont yesterday defended the fintech company’s stockmarket listing and expressed disappointment over losses worn by shareholders, arguing there were many benefits and the sector globally had suffered a de-rating.

“We’re disappointed there were investors that came in at higher prices and have had capital losses at this point, but marketplace lending globally has experienced a resetting of valuations, whether it’s LendingClub in the US or others, since last year,” he said.

The inaugural Australian Fintech Awards regonised innovation in the finance industry, with OnDeck Australia and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) receiving the Fintech-Bank Collaboration of the Year Award. OnDeck entered the Australian market last year with CBA and online accounting software provider, MYOB, as distribution partners.

India

P2P players bank on institutional lenders for growth, (Economic Times), Rated: AAA

I-lend has stitched a partnership with Hyderabad-based non-banking finance company Star Finserve, becoming the first peer-topeer online lending platform to join hands with an institutional lender while several other players including MicroGraam, Faircent and LenDenClub are in talks for similar pacts.

“The cost of loan origination is going up steadily for NBFCs and banks, the number of successful applications is declining and through these partnerships the institutional lenders can cut down on incurring origination of loan and administration costs,” said VVSB Shankar, founder of i-lend.

Shankar said the decline in the number of applications could be attributed to several factors such as competition among institutional lenders, quality of borrowers or involvement of non-performing assets. The company’s loan book size is about `1.5 crore and lenders on the platform can opt for borrowers who pay 18-21% interest.

Peer-to-peer platforms have reported an increase in the number of high net worth individuals or HNIs they have attracted over the past six months. “HNIs and family offices are showing interest in the peer-to-peer space. Since there is a criterion for lenders to have an income of over `10 lakh, this is bound to happen. Our top lenders have invested more than `40-50 lakh each, with the highest being around Rs 60 lakh,” said Rajat Gandhi, founder of Faircent, which has a loan book size of Rs 6.5 crore.

Smaller players including LenDen-Club said they have also seen increasing interest from HNIs, specifically from Maharashtra and Gujarat, spending about Rs 15 lakh individually. Since retail investors are central to how such platforms function, the companies aim to firm up a select few partnerships with institutional lenders over the next one year.

China

Exit of P2P lenders from Shanghai office market poses a challenge, (South China Morning Post),Rated: A

The recent collapse and exodus of numerous peer-to-peer lending (P2P) companies in China after a government crackdown on fraud has rattled the Shanghai CBD office market and may “pose a challenge for landlords”, experts say.

In the second quarter of the year, supply spiked to a 10-year high, according to real estate firm Colliers International, as overall vacancy rates in the area increased 3.2 per cent quarter on quarter to 7.2 per cent.

Korea

8PERCENT: Men in 30s Major P2P Investors, (The Korea Bizwire), Rated: A

8PERCENT, a P2P (peer-to-peer) lending company, revealed on July 4 that 30-something men who live in metropolitan areas are their primary investors.

As of June 30, top P2P lending company 8PERCENT’s total accrued loans summed up to 26.6 billion won ($23 million), with a total of 8,283 investors investing 3.21 million won ($2800) on average per person.

The average age of the investors was 34.3, and more than 90 percent of the investors were between the ages of 20 and 40. 8PERCENT also revealed that 77 percent of the investors lived in metropolitan areas, and that 67.5 percent were male and 32.5 percent, female.

The largest investment made so far was 453 million won ($395,000) diversified into 1,115 different bonds.

“Until last year, 90 percent of investors were from metropolitan areas, but the portion from non-metropolitan areas increased to 23 percent this year. Investment from women also increased from the low 20s to 30 percent, and we’re seeing growth in the number of investors in their 50s as well,” said Kang Seok-hwan, chief marking officer of 8PERCENT.

Small credit loans of 24.2 billion won ($21 million) comprise more than 90 percent of the total investments. Out of the total amount, 13.4 billion won ($11 million) was loaned to individuals, and 10.8 billion won ($9.4 million) to corporations.

Besides credit loans, borrowers also obtained real estate mortgage loans of 2.4 million won ($2 million).

 

Author:

George Popescu