Friday July 6 2018, Daily News Digest

p2p loan korea

News Comments Today’s main news: PayPal, Synchrony close consumer credit portfolio deal. Personal loans hit record high. Funding Circle updates projected returns. Furongbao gets $121M investment. Creditshelf to IPO on Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Today’s main analysis: Swindlers in Korea tarnish P2P lending. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why Kabbage isn’t ready to go public. Why a lack of local payment options hurts […]

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United States

PayPal closes sale of consumer credit portfolio (FinExtra) Rated: AAA

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) today announced the closing of its consumer credit receivables transaction with Synchrony (NYSE: SYF).

Under the terms of the transaction, and related transactions with unaffiliated third parties, Synchrony acquired $7.6 billion in receivables, including PayPal’s U.S. consumer credit receivables portfolio, which totaled $6.8 billion at the time of closing, and approximately $0.8 billion in participation interests in receivables held by unaffiliated third parties. PayPal received approximately $6.9 billion in total consideration at closing.

Why This Ambitious Startup Isn’t Going Public–Yet (INC) Rated: AAA

Petralia was discussing her Atlanta-based company’s ambitious expansion plans this year, which include buying other startups and rolling out new payments products. But she was also joking about what’s shiny and new in the world of financial technology startups: everything and anything involving cryptocurrency, relating to the blockchain, or connected to artificial intelligence. Such startups were heavy on the ground in mid-June, when I interviewed Petralia and her co-founder, Rob Frohwein, at the annual MoneyConf event in Dublin, a 5,000-person gathering of entrepreneurs and established companies in every corner of the fintech ecosystem.

Lending remains a large draw for fintech-focused venture capitalists, who put $900 million into the sector in the first quarter of 2018, according to an April CB Insights report. However, venture capitalists are “on pace for a new low” of money spent on lending startups, even while overall global fintech investment is “on pace for a new high,” the report found. Instead, investors are increasingly willing to bet on startups working in wealth management or robo-advising, insurance and blockchain or cryptocurrency.

Karrot Personal Loans Got Chopped: Here’s Where to Borrow Instead (Student Loan Hero) Rated: A

In 2014, Kabbage introduced Karrot, a program that provided unsecured personal loans up to $35,000.

But Kabbage recently stopped offering Karrot personal loans to grow its other offerings. Customers who already borrowed Karrot personal loans can continue making payments online. But those in need of a personal loan will have to look elsewhere.

Business Loan Company Receives Highest Award from TopConsumerReviews.com (Markets Insider) Rated: B

TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded their best-in-class 5 star rating to OnDeck, a leader among online lenders who facilitate Business Loans.

SoFi Elects Peggy Alford & Magdalena Yeşil to Board of Directors (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: B

On Tuesday, SoFi announced the election of Peggy Alford and Magdalena Yeşil to its Board of Directors. According to the online lender, Alford is the Chief Financial Officer and Head of Operations for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Previously she held positions at PayPal as CFO of Americas, Global Credit and Global Products and COO in the Asia Pacific region. Most recently, she served as the head of Human Resources-People Operations as well as the head of Cross-Border Trade for PayPal.

Personal Loans Surge to a Record High (Bloomberg) Rated: AAA

Personal loans surged to a record this year and are the fastest-growing U.S. consumer-lending category, according to data from credit bureau TransUnion. Outstanding balances rose about 18 percent in the first quarter to $120 billion. Fintech companies originated 36 percent of total personal loans in 2017 compared with less than 1 percent in 2010, Chicago-based TransUnion said.

Web-based firms like LendingClub, Prosper Marketplace Inc. and closely held Social Finance Inc. are driving the expansion of personal loans. LendingClub said in a filing that personal-loan originations in the first quarter soared 20 percent from a year earlier to $2.1 billion.

Why DC Developers Heart Crowdfunding (Commercial Observer) Rated: A

Small Change, was founded by Eve Picker, an architect and urban designer, with the idea of connecting investors with real estate professionals. The company’s first offering was for a tiny house in Pittsburgh, Penn in 2015. (Picker and Small Change could not provide comment due to federal law. Regulation Crowdfunding requires that all information about an offering reside on the Small Change portal and nowhere else.)

While Small Change is one of the newer platforms to the scene, other online real estate crowdfunding platforms, like Fundrise and Patch of Land, have been around for years.

19 State Attorneys General Unite Against “Madden Fix” Bills (OLPI) Rated: A

The Attorneys General of 19 states and the District of Columbia (the “AGs”) on June 27, 2018, publicly opposed to previously proposed pieces of legislation pending in Congress often referred to as the “Madden fix” bills.   Namely, the AGs made their views against HR 3299 (“Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017”) and HR 4439 (“Modernizing Credit Opportunities Act”) in a letter (“AG Letter”) to Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Chairman Crapo, and Ranking Member Brown.  A copy of the letter can be found here: AG Letter.  HR 3299 passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate and revises various laws to state that a loan valid when made does not become invalid when it is sold, transferred or assigned.  HR 4439 pending in a House committee would explicitly state that a bank’s being named lender is not affected by any arrangement is has with a service provider.

Nelnet Files Application for Industrial Bank Charter (Nelnet) Rated: A

Nelnet (NYSE: NNI) today announced it has filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions (UDFI) to establish Nelnet Bank, a Utah-chartered industrial bank. If the charter is granted, Nelnet Bank would operate as an internet bank franchise with a home office in Salt Lake City. Nelnet Bank would be a separate subsidiary of Nelnet, and the industrial bank charter would allow the company to maintain its other diversified business offerings.

Nelnet has hired Andrea Moss to lead the application process, and then Nelnet Bank if the charter is granted.

PayNet Sees Small Business Lending Reaching New Heights (Business Wire) Rated: A

The Thomson Reuters / PayNet Small Business Lending Index (SBLI) jumped 9.4 points to 152.7 in May and is up more than 10% on the year. The SBLI 3-month moving average also rose in May and is 11% above its year-ago level.

Of the ten largest states, growth was led by Texas (+12.9% Y/Y) and North Carolina (+12.3% Y/Y), which both climbed to record highs. The majority of industries also experienced growth in May, led by Transportation & Warehousing (+15.0% Y/Y), Mining (+9.4% Y/Y), and Construction (+7.5% Y/Y). Notably, all four of the industries that declined on a year-over-year basis are in the service sector, including Information (-9.3% Y/Y) and Accommodation & Food Services (-8.1% Y/Y). However, Health Care posted its third consecutive monthly gain (+4.1% Y/Y) after a steady two-year decline.

The PayNet Small Business Default Index (SBDFI) fell two basis points to 1.82% in May and is down seven basis points compared to a year ago, its sharpest annual decline since late 2014. On an annual basis, more than half of the major industries saw defaults fall in May, led by Mining (-183bp Y/Y), Transportation & Warehousing (-133bp Y/Y), and Professional Services (-32bp Y/Y). Regionally, defaults fell in eight of the ten largest states on a monthly basis, but were up in half of the largest states relative to year-ago levels. Notably, Texas (-36bp Y/Y) has seen defaults fall by double-digits in each of the last nine months.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle updates projected returns (Bridging & Commercial) Rated: AAA

Following the latest review, the P2P platform has updated the projected returns it displays for each lending option and will now show these returns as a range.

Projected returns are the annual returns that a diversified investor could earn after fees and bad debt, but before tax.

The projected returns for its balanced and conservative lending options are now:

• balanced: 6-7%
• conservative: 5-5.5%

P2P platform Lendy tops £400m funding (Mortgage Finance Gazette) Rated: A

Lendy’s latest milestone comes as some banks pare back their lending and more property developers seek out alternative finance options.

The firm reached £300 million in lending in April last year and has funded hundreds of bridging and commercial property development loans since its launch in 2012. These include residential developments, commercial property, and conversions.

The £400 million has been invested by over 21,500 investors who have earned more than £40 million in interest so far.

Money saving product recommendations “biggest incentive” to use Open Banking (Credit Strategy) Rated: A

Six months into Open Banking, two fifths of customers willing to share their bank transaction data with a new lender would do so if it provided product recommendations which save them money.

That’s according to research carried out by Equifax. Other motivations to share transaction data through Open Banking include the ability to easily compare products from different financial institutions (36 percent), being offered tailored incentives for switching to a new provider (34 percent), and a streamlined process when applying for mortgages (28 percent) and loans (25 percent).

Record first half for Scottish alternative lender (Business Insider) Rated: A

LendingCrowd , the Scottish alternative lending specialist, has reported record first half lending of almost £14m in 2018 and has upped its proportion of loans to Scotland-based businesses, helped by its £2.75m partnership deal with Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm.

After three consecutive months of record lending in April, May and June, the Edinburgh-based company loaned £13.9m in the first six months of the year, compared to £4.9m for the same period last year. Activity during the second quarter also reached an all-time high, with lending of £8.8m – a 225 per cent increase on the £2.7m delivered in the second quarter of 2017.

LendInvest notches another year of profit (AltFi News) Rated: A

Its loan originations came close to doubling, up 91 per cent to £536m. Revenues were also up, increasing to £53m for the year. Originations look set for further growth too, with lending capital growth of 94 per cent to £791m.

However, despite a surge in these key metrics, profits remain relatively modest at just £1.9m before tax for the period, up from £0.1m before tax the previous year, according to the firm’s gross management accounts. By IFRS standards, LendInvest recorded a similar £1.8m in profit last year, but made a loss of £1m in the preceding year (ending 31 March 2017).

Landbay co-founder looks to shake up property market (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

GRAY Stern (pictured), the co-founder of buy-to-let peer-to-peer lender Landbay, is aiming to shake up the UK property market with his new company.

The investment portal, called Dot, enables amateur landlords to invest in UK and US properties that it has already sourced via estate agents and property portals. The properties come with a pre-approved mortgage, enabling anyone with a 30 per cent deposit to buy them instantly.

As part of its package, Dot provides all the services a landlord would need, including insurance, tax compliance, lettings and management, thereby taking some of the hassle out of the process.

Who is guiding the Big Three? (Peer2Peer Finance) Rated: A

The ‘big three’ P2P lenders – Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter – have often led the way in this process.

And as these firms have evolved, their board members – both executives and non-executive directors (NEDs) – have reflected these changes.

Here we look at the make-up of these boards and analyse the expertise and experience of the people who are guiding the big three.

Orca Cofounder Jordan Stodart Shares Update and Quiz Info (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: A

In preparation of its Lending Challenge, the P2P investment aggregation provider Orca partnered with UK P2P Lending Knowledge Leaderboard and posted a quiz targeting investors and industry players to see how much people know about the P2P knowledge. Neither questions nor answers will be posted here to keep the quiz fair.

Orca has teamed up with Peer2Peer Finance News; all winners will receive a print subscription to the magazine. The top 3 quiz placers will win:

  • 1st place: £100 John Lewis voucher, P2P Finance News magazine subscription & Trophy
  • 2nd place: Amazon Echo Dot and P2P Finance News magazine subscription & Silver medal
  • 3rd place: Regency Hamper and P2P Finance News magazine subscription & Bronze medal
China

Chinese P2P Lending Platform Furongbao Receives $ 121M Strategic Investment (China Money Network) Rated: AAA

Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform Furongbao announced that it has received a RMB800 million (US$120.6 million) series B round, strategic investment from a controlling shareholder of Wanjiale Gas Appliances, a Chinese household appliances manufacturer.

Chinese P2P platform fails to pay back $ 15m (Global Times) Rated: A

A Hangzhou-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform  has failed to pay around 100 million yuan ($15 million) back to its investors, media reports said on Thursday.

An investor surnamed Zheng who is based in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province, told the Global Times on Thursday that he had invested about 50,000 yuan on niubangold.com, but now he cannot withdraw money from the platform. “[Investors] have reported the case to local police,” Zheng said.

According to a statement posted on niubangold.com late Tuesday, projects worth 98.5 million yuan are overdue.

DLA Piper Adds Beijing Partner From Shearman (The American Lawyer) Rated: B

DLA Piper has recruited capital markets partner Yang Ge in Beijing from Shearman & Sterling, where she was counsel.

Ge’s practice focuses on equity and debt securities offerings. During her time at Shearman, which she joined in 2011, she was involved in several Chinese companies’ initial public offerings in the U.S., including advising the underwriters on online lender LexinFintech Holdings Ltd.’s $124.2 million Nasdaq IPO earlier this year and online micro-lender China Rapid Finance Ltd.’s $60 million listing on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

European Union

Creditshelf Plans Initial Public Offering on Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Q3 (Crowdfund Insider) Rated: AAA

Creditshelf Aktiengesellschaft, a Germany based online lender, has announced its intent to do an initial public offering (IPO) on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The IPO is currently scheduled to take place for the third quarter of 2018. The offering is expected to be newly issued shares with a capital increase in the amount of around € 15-20 million. Creditshelf says that Hevella Capital GmbH & Co. KGaA (backed by Rolf Elgeti) has placed a backstop order of up to € 15 million if and to the extent the shares are not subscribed for by investors in the course of the offering.

Creditshelf is an online lender that targets the German marketplace providing access to capital for SMEs. The platform targets a larger ticket size than many other SME lenders with an average loan size of around €500,000 and €600,000 – and moving higher.

International

‘Dollars On The Floor’ — Why A Lack Of Local Payment Options Hurts Retailers (PYMNTS) Rated: AAA

As digital technology keeps bringing new efficiencies to transactions, and more consumers around the world turn to eCommerce for retail and other purchases, an accompanying trend is making life interesting for merchants and payment providers. Local payments options are increasing, resulting in a sector that promises to undergo more fragmentation in the coming years.

Scandinavian consumers have embraced Klarna and other pay-by-invoice services — for reasons not entirely understood by Booth and other analysts, it seems.

If a Chinese consumer trying to make an online purchase cannot do so through Alipay or WeChat Pay, that consumer is more likely to search for another merchant that takes that form of payment rather than, say, using their own UnionPay-branded payment card, Booth said.

Key Learnings at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance 2018 Conference (Lend Academy) Rated: A

Greg Medcraft is the former head securities regulator in Australia and is now the Director of the Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs of the OECD. He talked about trust and how trust in business is low today, particularly in finance. The power of the crowd is impacting trust where companies misdeeds are amplified and public opinion can turn against a company quite quickly. One of the antidotes to this is distributed ledger technology that can create networks with more trust, transparency and traceability.

Probably the country with the biggest success story when it comes to financial inclusion is Kenya. While I have heard the story of M-Pesa before I have never heard it from the person that was in charge of overseeing the economy as it was transforming Kenya. Professor Njuguna Ndung’u was the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya from 2007 to 2015 during which time M-Pesa went from a curiosity to having half of the country’s GDP flowing through its platform. The introduction of such a system was a major challenge for central bankers as they worried about KYC concerns and financial instability.

India

PolicyBazaar.com Becomes First Indian Unicorn Foraying into Blockchain (BW Disrupt) Rated: AAA

Blockchain has been the talk of town primarily because of bitcoin and other crypto tokens’ parabolic rise in price and then the recent downfall. However the underlying technology, blockchain, rarely gets its fair share of limelight. But when a billion-dollar fintech startup plans a foray in this tech, it deserves attention.

In a chat with their CTO and CPO, Ashish Gupta, he revealed their plans to implement blockchain technology at PolicyBazaar.com, his outlook on the technology as well as how it could affect the fintech space in general.

Artha Venture Fund makes first close at Rs 40 crore (The Economic Times) Rated: A

Early stage venture capital firm Artha Venture Fund (AVF) has achieved the first close of its maiden fund having raised Rs 40 crore. Artha Venture Fund I, which received the approval of the Securities and Exchange Board of India in March this year, will have a corpus of Rs 200 crore along with a greenshoe option of Rs 100 crore.

The fund, which is structured as a Category I alternative investment fund, will invest in startups across seed, pre-series A and series-A levels of growth.

Lending platform BigWin Infotech gets NBFC-P2P certification from RBI (Media Nama) Rated: B

Fintech start-up, BigWin Infotech (PaisaDukan.com) has received its Certificate of Registration (CoR) from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), paving the way for the launch of its Financial Platform – PaisaDukan.com, a release from the company said today.  Though the company received an in-principle approval from RBI to set up an NBFC Peer-to-Peer lending platform in May, the operations could only commence after the firm received a CoR from the central bank. The RBI issued those guidelines last October, to register and accredit P2P lending firms that resell loans from individuals who have money to invest.

P2P platform Monexo Fintech to raise $ 5 million in equity (The Economic Times) Rated: B

Armed with a licence from the banking regulator to operate an NBFC-cum-P2P lending platform, Monexo plans to invest in IT and infrastructure, which require continuous capital injection in the initial stages of any online marketplace.

The Mumbai-headquartered firm received the RBI licence last Friday.

Asia

Swindlers tarnish P2P loans’ reputation (Korea Joongang Daily) Rated: AAA

Korea’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lending market is turning out to be a Wild West of hucksters and frauds, and government regulations are nowhere in sight.

According to Crowd Institute, a research center that specializes in P2P financial markets, to date, about 3.65 trillion won ($3.2 billion) of P2P loans have been taken out in Korea, about five times the amount from two years ago.

Indonesia’s OVO platform to start peer-to-peer lending in Q4 – head (Nasdaq) Rated: B

Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group’s payment platform OVO plans to start peer-to-peer lending in the fourth quarter of 2018, its head said on Thursday.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday February 13 2018, Daily News Digest

china asset-backed securities

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi’s adjusted 2017 profit was $126M. Funding Circle lent over 117M GBP in January. CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund invests in Fair. FT Partners advises Yapstone on $71M Series C round. LendingKart raises Rs1,129 crore. Today’s main analysis: Why China isn’t worried about the slowdown in asset-backed securities. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Goldman’s fintech approach to […]

china asset-backed securities

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United States

Fintech SoFi blames missed earnings on borrowers skipping payments, increased hiring costs (San Francisco Business Times), Rated: AAA

SoFi said it made an adjusted profit of $126 million after pulling in revenue of $547 million for all of 2017, but did not break out figures for the fourth quarter.

(MarketWatch), Rated: A

SoFi Turns Losers Into Winners (and Investors) with the So Money Sweepstakes (PR Newswire), Rated: A

From February 12th through 16th, SoFi will award $25 in a SoFi Wealth account to 200 losers of HQ Trivia each day. To enter for a chance to win, all people need to do is Tweet to @SoFi on Twitter with a screenshot of their HQ loss screen and the hashtag #SoMoneyEntry. In addition to the $25, winners will also receive SoFi’s new card game, “So Money,” featuring playful questions that aim to encourage people to talk more openly about their financial lives.

Goldman Sachs is taking a fintech approach to grow its consumer lending business (Econsultancy), Rated: AAA

Two of the biggest proofs of Goldman’s transformation were its launch of GS Bank, a internet bank with a $1 deposit requirement, and Marcus, an online consumer lending platform through which well-qualified consumers could obtain personal loans of up to $30,000. GS Bank has since been merged into Marcus, which now serves as Goldman’s consumer brand.

As QZ pointed out, “Goldman thinks it can make $1 billion in extra revenue from its consumer lending business over the next three years, as much as it expects for its trading operations.”

As detailed by the Wall Street Journal, Goldman is reportedly in talks with Apple to offer buyers of Apple devices financing at point-of-sale. “Customers purchasing a $1,000 iPhone X could take out a loan from Goldman instead of charging it to credit cards that often carry high interest rates,” the Journal explained.

This type of financing is big business: by one estimate, $80bn of the $200bn consumers borrowed using retailer-affiliated credit cards or point-of-sale loans went towards big-ticket items including electronic gadgets.

Source: Econsultancy

The Future of Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Increase

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have a major role in banking for both the short-term and long-term. First, we will see AI help banks with fraud mitigation. Today, most fraud is detected through computer patterns that alert a fraud team who would then take the necessary steps to try to prevent or mitigate the threat. Now that technology has made access to money fast and easy, the transaction volume has increased exponentially.

Banks and Non-Banks Will Form Closer Partnerships

By tapping into a non-bank’s customer base, it will lower the bank’s cost of acquisition while providing more value for the customer. Banks will also realize that non-banks provide them with valuable data from their customer bases that they can leverage to provide a customized banking experience as well as a source for additional revenue streams.

There Will Be More Competition in the Digital Banking Space

Whether it’s JPMorgan Chase with Finn, or Greenhouse by Wells Fargo, big banks are entering into the digital banking space full force with the hope of attracting young consumers. Then you have digital banks like Ally, USAA and Capital One 360 who truly made a major effort in 2017 to attract millennials by tweaking their product, tone, messaging and branding to make sure they start penetrating that segment. We will continue to see that this year.

You still have niche financial products like Sofi that focuses on student loans or Stash Invest that focuses on investing, which are playing in the digital banking space.

Lastly, you have neobanks like Moven, GoBank, Simple and Varo who will continue to flourish and grow, but will be threatened by giants like Amazon, Google and Apple.

Cybersecurity will Get an Upgrade

After the highly publicized and damaging Equifax security breach that affected approximate 145 million Americans, we will surely see a modernization and upgrade of cybersecurity.

We spoke with the creator of the Chase Sapphire Reserve about millennials and the other challenges she’ll confront at JPMorgan (Business Insider), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase, on the other hand, recently announced plans to expand its network. It’ll add 400 new branches in 15 to 20 new markets over the next five years — an investment spurred in part by the savings from the recently enacted tax law.

JPMorgan has, of course, culled some branches over the years, but far fewer than its peers — just 484, or 8.6%, since 2012, compared with cuts of more than 30% by its competitors Citigroup and Capital One over the same period.

BI: How does what happened with the Chase Sapphire Reserve phenomenon translate to the rest of the Chase consumer business?

Codispoti: The fact that we were able to break some myths with millennials. When I first took the job there was kind of this general consensus in the market that millennials wouldn’t pay a fee for a credit card or wouldn’t be interested in premium products — it just isn’t true. So I think we’re kind of breaking those myths when we think about banking and home lending as well.

We’ve shared in the past that we’ve had some extremely successful initial tests with the Sapphire Reserve customer, offering them a home lending offer of 100,000 points if they completed a home-lending mortgage with us. And 50,000 points for those who upgraded to Chase Private Client and deposited $100,000 into an account. We saw extraordinary results, greater than we ever expected. So clearly this is an engaged customer base, they love the Reserve brand. It transcends card into other areas of their financial life.

Citi Ventures’ Vanessa Colella: ‘No one runs innovation, it’s all about unleashing it’ (Tearsheet), Rated: A

As one of the largest financial institutions in the world, Citi takes its innovation efforts seriously. Combining internal and external models of collaboration with a disciplined corporate venture arm, the financial services giant ensures that it has a lot of coals in the innovation fire.

Real Estate Investment Platform, Sharestates, Continues Impressive Growth Launching New Marketplace in Arizona (AltFi), Rated: A

Today, Sharestates, an online real estate investment platform, announced today their inception into the Arizona Banking Department roster of lenders as Sharestates Investments LLC, NMLS ID number 1538766. With this launch, Sharestates will be offering their loan products to the real estate speculation and development community in a statewide effort.

As a part of Sharestates’ launch into the Arizona market, the company will be attending the 45th Pitbull Hard Money Conference located at the We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event will be held March 14-15, 2018 and members of the Sharestates team will occupy booth #417.

Sharestates has funded more than 895 individual loans, providing an average return on investment of 10.42%.

Realty Mentors Launches Its New Investment Advisory Business (Realty Biz), Rated: B

Realty Mentors announced a new investment advisory business. According to the article in Crowd Fund Insider.com, the company which is a commercial real estate diligence and underwriting company and is an affiliate company of CreditVest is claiming to be the first of its kind to launch in the commercial real estate crowdfunding industry.

When it comes to the real estate crowdfunding industry, their services will encourage new investors to enter the market because they will have the benefit of an objective and independent third party advising them.

Vishal Garg of Better Mortgage (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Our latest guest on the Lend Academy Podcast also thought it was crazy and decided to actually do something about it. Vishal Garg is the CEO and Founder of Better Mortgage and a few years back he missed out on buying his dream home because of the clunky and slow mortgage process. So, he started a company to completely turn this process on its head.

Stock Market Volatility & Your Retirement, Who You Gonna Call? Robo Or Human Advisor (Forbes), Rated: A

Spooked investors looking for reassurance beyond the panic in the headlines have two options to turn to. They can call up a financial advisor, or they can go on the Internet. Artificial intelligence, or fintech’s application of AI, robo advisors, are viewed by many as the future of affordable and effective retirement and investment advice. These algorithms are seen as thetechnology that will disrupt, if not replace, human advice.

Most robo advisor websites provide real-time quantitative information about the market’s performance. But information alone is not necessarily what people are looking for when they are faced with uncertainty. Market performance is public, but the impact on retirement investments is profoundly personal.

That observation touches on the key difference and perhaps the strategic advantage of human advice versus advice by algorithm alone. Clients, which for now are primarily of the human variety, are looking for someone to help them cope and to care as much as they do, as well as someone who has the discipline and expertise to provide perspective to what is otherwise presented in the news as chaos.

Klarna Announces Progressive Parental Leave and Benefit Policy for U.S. Employees (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Global payments provider Klarna (www.klarna.com) has implemented a new parental leave and benefits policy that offers all of its U.S. employees who become parents a comprehensive package that includes 20 weeks of leave at full pay, a flexible, part-time work week “ramp-up period” on their return and a two-year child care subsidy.

As of January 1, 2018, Klarna’s full-time and part-time female and male employees who become parents—either biologically or through adoption—are eligible to receive the new parental leave and benefits. In addition, applicable benefits of the new policy will be extended retroactively to U.S. employees who became parents in 2017.

The new Klarna parental leave and benefits policy for U.S. employees has three core components:

  • Parental Leave: The new parent may take 20 weeks of leave at full pay, and with full health and welfare benefits, during the child’s first two years.
  • Ramp-Up Period: Upon returning to work, employees will have the option to return to work on a part-time schedule.
  • Child Care Subsidy: Upon their return to work, Klarna will provide new parents with a child care benefit during the child’s first two years that will subsidize parents up to $250 per month to defray costs.

Trump Administration Plans To Defang Consumer Protection Watchdog (NPR), Rated: A

Within weeks of coming on board, Mulvaney has worked to make the watchdog agency less aggressive. Under his leadership, the CFPB delayed a new payday lending regulation from going into effect and dropped an investigation into one payday lender that contributed to Mulvaney’s campaign. In another move that particularly upset some staffers, the new boss also dropped a lawsuit against an alleged online loan shark called Golden Valley Lending. The suit says the lender illegally charges people up to 950 percent interest rates. It took CFPB staffers years to build the case.

Bonenfant sent NPR a screenshot from the Golden Valley website. It says on her $900 loan, her scheduled payments in less than 12 months will total $3,735, or more than four times what she borrowed.

Bonenfant has so far paid more than $3,000 to Golden Valley and rung up more than $1,000 in overdraft fees at her bank.

The lawsuit was moving forward until Mulvaney came on board, when it was suddenly dropped.

Federal Rent-a-Bank Bill May Harm Financially Distressed Consumers (Pagosa Daily Post), Rated: A

Recently, it was announced that the U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote, the week of February 12, on H.R. 3299, the so-called “Madden fix” bill which would preempt state interest rate caps and open the flood gates to online predatory lending. The bill is spearheaded by U.S. Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Greg Meeks (D-New York).

There are signs that some online lenders are making large numbers of loans that consumers will not have the ability to repay:

  • News reports show that delinquencies and charge-offs at marketplace lenders are rising.
  • One lender has had so many of its loans fail, that it had to repay investors for their losses in consecutive securitizations of the loans it bundled up and sold to Wall Street.
  • One online lender reportedly failed to verify a borrower’s income for a full two-thirds of its loans in 2016.
  • Moody’s credit-rating firm likens this industry to mortgage lending in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis in that “the companies that market the loans and approve them quickly sell them off to investors,” relieving themselves of the risk of the loan later going bad.
  • Many marketplace lenders make very large loans of $30,000-$50,000 or higher, and even 36% is a very high rate for such loans. Many states have tiered rate caps in recognition that interest becomes more unaffordable the larger the loan. Iowa, for example, caps interest at 21% for loans over $10,000.
United Kingdom

Funding Circle lends over £117m in January (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle has announced that it lent more than £117m last month to UK businesses.
The largest portion of funding went to businesses in the South East (22.1%), followed by companies based in London (16.2%), the Midlands (14.4%) and the South West (11.7%).
The property and construction sector received the largest part of the funding (17.6%), followed by professional and business support (13.5%) and retail (11.9%).

Referral schemes: make money from your friends and family (Love Money), Rated: B

People using peer-to-peer platform Funding Circle can net £50 if they recommend a friend or relative who goes on to lend at least £2,000.

Normally, Zopa investors can earn up to £50 if the person they recommend lends £2,000 with the platform. They’ll receive £50 too.

FSB launches new FinTech funding platform for SMEs (Tamebay), Rated: A

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new fintech platform to provide small businesses and self-employed people with greater access to funding to help them grow and develop their enterprise..

The average amount a small business applies for from an alternative finance provider was found to be £39,000 in the survey, with equipment purchases and working capital for short-term operations or late payments being among the top reasons for businesses seeking finance.

LendInvest Announces Launch of Product Transition Process to Support Developers Throughout Their Projects (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Monday, LendInvest announced the launch of its new process for development finance borrowers to transition seamlessly between products. According to the online lender, the Product Transition process allows existing borrowers to transfer easily between specialized loans that are tailored to support them at each stage in their development project.

Mobile banking start up Fiinu launches Seedrs crowdfunding campaign (AltFi), Rated: B

Banking start up Fiinu has today launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs,as it seeks £500k in seed funding to support its development and an application for regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

China

CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund to Invest in Automotive Financial Technology Company Fair (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

CreditEase, a Beijing-based leading FinTech conglomerate in China, announced today that its venture fund, CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund (“CEFIF”), recently joined a group of prestigious investors to support California based Fair’s strategic expansion. Other investors in this round of financing include Siemens-backed next47 global venture fund, BMW i Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners, 137 Ventures, G Squared and Upfront Ventures.

Fair is a mobile technology platform that allows customers to lease and return a car with flexible terms entirely by using a smartphone.

Why China Isn’t Worried About a Slowdown in This Lending Market (WSJ), Rated: AAA

China’s market for asset-backed securities—which bundle up car loans, mortgages, consumer loans and other receivables into bondlike products—surged in 2017, led by issuers including the financial affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other nonbank lenders. Total issuance of such instruments, which are mostly denominated in yuan, jumped 90% to over $220 billion last year from 2016, according to S&P Global.

The country is now the world’s second-largest market for securitized assets after the U.S., where issuance reached $510 billion in 2017, it said.

In the past couple of months, however, issuance in China of securities backed by unsecured small consumer loans has slowed sharply. This came after Chinese financial regulators took steps to curb a proliferation of internet lenders making microloans, small, short-term loans that typically carry high interest rates. These small loans represent roughly 40% of all consumer loans backing asset-backed securities in the country, according to S&P.

Around $1.3 billion worth of securities backed by unsecured microloans were issued in January 2018, down from $3 billion in the same month a year ago and versus a peak monthly issuance volume of nearly $7 billion last autumn, according to data provider Wind Info.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

China: WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

WeChat has permanently banned over 1000 “cash loans” mini programs which violated its verification and operation rules. Xinhuanet has reported that there were multiple mini programs about “loans” on WeChat (e.g. unsecured loans and quick loans), ranging from 200 to 100,000. Complaints about the illegal credit products reached over 1,000 on one of China’s leading complain platform Ts.21.com

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced that it would amend the relevant regulations on virtual banks.

Official documents show that the original guidelines require that a virtual bank incorporated in Hong Kong must hold at least 50% of its shares by an officially recognized and reputable bank or financial institution. The new ordinance recommends that non-financial institutions could register an “intermediary holding company” first when setting up a virtual bank, and then use the company to controls the virtual bank. This means that the authorities in Hong Kong have lowered the entry threshold on the financial qualification of virtual bank applicants. Non-financial institutions, including technology companies, can also apply to own and operate virtual banks in Hong Kong.

This week, LähiTaksi, a Finnish taxi company from Helsinki, announced that it would soon accept Alipay payments.

European Union

Robo firms signal their advice intentions (Money Marketing), Rated: A

Robo-advisers will increasingly move towards hybrid models over the next year, combining the human touch with machine learning, experts predict.

Scalable Capital, the Europe-wide robo firm, which has received financial backing from investment giant BlackRock, has just started offering telephone and face-to-face advice for clients who want to progress beyond an initial free session.

Nutmeg and Moneyfarm have both signalled plans to move in a similar direction, while Wealthify, which saw Aviva take a majority stake last year, won’t rule out taking this step in the future.

International

The Most Important FinTech Innovations that Will Change Our Lives in the Near Future (Interesting Engineering), Rated: AAA

It is largely evident that we are looking at inevitable digital disruption in financial services. The traditional banking system is yet to see any major technological innovation in lending whereas the FinTech firms have made huge investments in the same area. China moved96% of its e-commerce sales without the services of a bank. A report by Cisco pegs the peer to peer lending volume in China at approximately $66 billion, for the US that number stands at $16.6 billion, and for the UK it is $5.4 billion. Clearly, the opportunities aren’t fictional, and technology will guide this paradigm change.

American FinTech giants include Stripe, a San Francisco based firm valued at $5 billion, Credit Karma, another Silicon Valley-based FinTech firm valued at $3 billion.

The UK lags behind the US by quite a distance, but is second overall with $5.4 billion investment in the same time frame, thus confirming its position as one of the world’s leading FinTech hubs. Its FinTech bigwigs include TransferWise, DueDil, AstroPay, GoCardless and Digital Shadows.

FT Partners Advises YapStone on its million Series C Financing Round (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

FT Partners is pleased to announce our role as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to 

Source: FT Partners

Read the full transaction profile here.

ETHLend alters terms to encourage use of its own digital currency (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

CRYPTO-BACKED peer-to-peer lending platform ETHLend has reached more than £2m of loans as it announces new incentives to encourage users to transact with its LEND token.

Borrowers can post any digital currency as collateral and loans can be made in Bitcoin or Ethereum or LEND. But ETHLend now wants more people to use the LEND token as the means of exchange so it has said anyone providing funds in LEND won’t have to pay any transaction fees.

There is also a 50 per cent discount when the LEND coin is posted by borrowers as collateral.

Australia

DirectMoney a leading ASX gainer after revealing Alceon investment (Proactive Investors), Rated: AAA

DirectMoney Ltd (ASX:DM1) is an ASX leading gainer intra-day on news of a strategic investment by alternative investment manager Alceon.

The investment comprises an initial placement of $600,000 at $0.042 per share and is equivalent to a 3.1% interest.

India

Lendingkart raises total of Rs1,129 crore after latest funding round (livemint), Rated: AAA

Rs565 crore

What is it? The amount raised in equity funding by Lendingkart Technologies, a fintech start-up that provides online loans to small businesses. The latest fund raise, announced on Monday, takes the total amount raised by the Lendingkart Group to Rs1,129 crore.

Tell me more: Lendingkart’s latest funding round was led by Singapore’s Fullerton Financial Holdings, and also saw participation by existinginvestors, namely Sistema Asia Fund, Bertelsmann India Investment, Mayfield India, India Quotient and Saama Capital.

India fintech seeking to raise at least US$ 87m to grow tech capabilities (Business Times), Rated: A

AN Indian fintech company is seeking to raise over US$87 million of equity funding to expand its technological and analytics capabilities.

Lendingkart Technologies will be doing so through series C capital-raising, with the initiative led by Singapore’s Fullerton Financial Holdings, along with participation from existing investors.

Canada

Payday Loan Use Among Heavily Indebted Borrowers On The Rise (Payment Week), Rated: AAA

Payday loan use among heavily indebted Ontarians continues to escalate, as Ontario in 2017 involve payday loans, up from 27% in 2016.

The average number of payday loans outstanding at the time of insolvency declined to 3.2 in 2017, after peaking at 3.5 loans in 2014. However, the average payday loan size in 2017 is $1,095, an increase of 12.4% from $974 in 2016.  One in ten (9%) loans are $2,500 or more, up from 6% in 2016.

The average insolvent payday loan borrower owes $3,464 in payday loans, or $1.34 for every dollar of monthly take-home pay, on top of $29,997 in other unsecured debts. They are using payday loans to keep up with existing debt repayment.

Borrowell Gives Birth To New TV Campaign (Borrowell Email), Rated: A

Borrowell is making its first major foray into television with a 30-second spot that launches today, called “Home Birth.” Created by Toronto-based agency Conflict, the commercial aims to raise awareness of Borrowell’s free credit score monitoring service.

MENA

Saudi startups have wider funding options amid huge fund volumes (Saudi Gazette), Rated: AAA

In an interview, Nawaf Al Sahhaf, CEO of Badir, said financing options for these startups include without limitation Venture Capital firms, angel investors, accelerators, and incubators in addition to new alternatives such as crowd funding or even P2P lending platforms.

Venture Capital funding is an essential piece of the startup jigsaw.

Venture Funding is unique, however in its characteristic. I define a startup as a company that is looking to receive funding from a venture capitalist. This means that they meet several basic criteria for growth 1) a strong founding team 2) a solution to a clear and identifiable problem 3) a clear path to monetization and most important 4) a scalable product that has a regional if not global market.

All of these criteria are essential to be eligible for Venture Funding. Many of these criteria may not be applicable or sufficient for alternative funding channels including debt, bank funding or grants.

UAE ranked third for Islamic Fintech start-ups (Gulf Today), Rated: A

The UAE is ranked third in an analysis of Islamic Fintech start-ups, according to a survey by Bloomberg Intelligence, issued today. Malaysia and the United Kingdom are ranked first and second.

Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing could be a game-changer in Islamic finance, it suggests, giving wider reach and potential to close the gap for small and medium enterprises, SMEs, which generated about 60 per cent of UAE GDP in 2014, with Dubai’s regulator introducing the first tailored regulation for crowdfunding in the GCC.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 31 2018, Daily News Digest

eloans

News Comments Today’s main news: Spreads narrow on SoFi’s SCLP 2018-1 consumer loan ABS. DiversyFund raises $1M. Ranger Direct Lending sees arbitration delay. Klarna partners with Maplin. BNI Europa partners with Funding Circle on German SME lending. Western Union opens tech center in India. Today’s main analysis: Banco Popular reboots Eloan. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Marketplace Lending Association executive director’s testimony […]

eloans

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

APAC

News Summary

United States

Spreads narrow on SoFi’s 1st consumer loan ABS of 2018 (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: AAA

Strong demand and higher credit enhancement allowed Social Finance to offer lower spreads on its first consumer loan securitization of the year, even after upsizing the deal to $850 million from $650 million originally.

Four tranches of rated were issued, resulting in an advance rate of 91%, according to a person familiar with the transaction. The amount of overcollateralization in the deal will gradually build from 9% to 16%.

Two senior tranches of notes rated AA + by KBRA were issued. The Class A-1 tranche, which has a shorter expected life, pays 50 basis points over the Eurodollar synthetic forward curve, in from 57 basis points on the comparable tranche of the previous transaction. The Class A-2 tranche pays 75 basis points over the interpolated swaps curve, in from 90 basis points on the previous deal.

 

Ranger Direct hit by arbitration delay and manager uncertainty (Citywire), Rated: AAA

The New Year rally in Ranger Direct Lending (RDL) shares has come to an abrupt halt after the listed loan fund, which is backed by fund manager Mark Barnett, said arbitration to settle the legal dispute between it and Princeton Alternative Finance had been extended by around two months.

The £119 million investment trust has been locked in an argument with Princeton, a New Jersey-based investment fund in which it is the leading investor, over its exposure to Argon Credit, a US peer-to-peer lending platform that collapsed in December 2016.

Uncertainty over the exposure to Argon – which represents 14% of its £217 million net assets – and doubts over the due diligence by its adviser Ranger Alternative Management (RAM) have hobbled the shares. They fell over 23% last year but had rallied since the end of December when they hit a record low discount of 32% below net asset value. From 704p at the start of the year they recovered to 767p last week but have dropped 4% or 31p today after yesterday’s announcement. Although still wide, the discount has narrowed to just under 13%.

Relx pays £580m for digital identity company (Financial Times), Rated: A

Relx, the UK-listed information and analytics group formerly known as Reed Elsevier, has struck its biggest deal in a decade with the £580m purchase of ThreatMetrix, an online identify verification business.

ThreatMetrix has one of “largest repositories of online digital identities”, according to UBS analysts, and has built a database containing 1.4bn unique online digital identities from 4.5bn devices in 185 countries.

GLI Finance scores £50m funding line from HoneyComb fund (AltFi), Rated: A

The funding line has a term of 3 years and comprises a £50m revolving credit facility, of which £20m will be drawn and deployed immediately.

Ezbob Raises £15M in Expansion Capital (Finsmes), Rated: A

Ezbob, a London, UK-based E-lending company, raised £15M in funding.

Da Vinci Capital Management Ltd. reportedly made the investment at a post money valuation of £100m.

Meet The Lenders That Need Your SME’s Money More Than You Need Theirs (Forbes), Rated: A

in particular, the UK’s peer-to-peer lending platforms are now crying out for new customers.

Today, however, more than 30 lending platforms, including all the large small business lenders, offer their own IFISA or are on the verge of launching a product. For investors, moreover, the returns available from these schemes looks very attractive: annual yields of 10 per cent or more in some cases look phenomenal when set against the backdrop of bank and building society accounts typically paying less than 0.5 per cent a year, even if there is a risk of losses on IFISAs if borrowers default.

Augmentum Capital to seek public listing to back fintech start-ups (Financial Times), Rated: B

Augmentum Capital, the venture group backed by Lord Rothschild, is planning to list a financial technology investment fund in what would be one of the sector’s biggest initial public offerings in a decade.

It is understood to be applying for admission to London’s main market in March and will seek to raise up to £125m with the sale of new shares.

China

China’s financial risk worse than in US before financial crisis, says former finance minister (Today Online), Rated: AAA

The level of risk facing China’s financial system could be higher than was seen in the United States before the global crash, according to a former Chinese finance minister.

“China’s ratio of M2 [a broad measure of money supply] to gross domestic product has surpassed 200 per cent, which is more than twice that of the United States, yet the average Shanghai interbank offered rate is 4.09 per cent, far higher than the 1.1 per cent in the US.”

According to official figures, the M2 money supply at the end of December was 167.68 trillion yuan (S$34.75 trillion), or 203 per cent of China’s nominal GDP in 2017.

Chinese P2P lending platform Senmiao Technology sets terms for $ 14 million US IPO (NASDAQ), Rated: A

Senmiao Technology, an early-stage Chinese marketplace for peer-to-peer lending, announced terms for its IPO on Tuesday.

The Chengdu, China-based company plans to raise $14 million by offering 3.3 million shares at a price range of $4.00 to $4.50. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Senmiao Technology would command a market value of $109 million.

European Union

Klarna signs Maplin for online pay-later (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Today, leading payments provider Klarna has announced a partnership with Maplin – the UK’s number one specialist technology retailer. Maplin customers will now be able to use Klarna’s Pay later and Slice It services, allowing them to order online and receive the very latest Smart Home tech, security/CCTV products, top quality drones and so on, and then pay for them either at a later date or spread the cost over time.

Pay later enables online and mobile Maplin customers making purchases of £200 or less to receive their products and pay for them 30 days later, with no interest or fees.

BNI Europa to fund German SME loans via Funding Circle (Finextra), Rated: AAA

The Portuguese online bank Banco BNI Europa and Funding Circle have entered into a strategic partnership to support the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Germany.

Investment will support the funding needs of c. 600 companies and thereby help to create c. 1,500 new jobs

Banco Popular reboots Eloan for new era in online lending (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Banco Popular is relaunching E-loan (it dropped the hyphen from the name) to serve as its “fintech arm,” a stand-alone brand offering solely digital products.

Launched in 1997, Eloan re-enters a market where fintechs now account for over 30% of personal loan originations, according to TransUnion. The brand will compete for clients alongside well-financed upstarts like LendingClub as well as new offerings from banks such as Marcus from Goldman Sachs.

 

Spendesk Raises €8 Million to Expand Its Platform for All Company Purchases (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Spendesk, a fintech solution that helps businesses manage their spending, has raised an €8 million Series A round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investors. The funds will be used to accelerate product development and expand across Europe.

ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank hit by cyberattacks (Fintech Futures), Rated: B

Three Dutch banks, ABN AmroING and Rabobank, suffered a series of DDoS attacks last weekend (27 and 28 January).

During the attack, internet banking, mobile banking, its website and Ideal were unavailable or extremely slow on 27 January from around 8pm to 12.15am CET and on 28 January from 12pm to 2pm CET and after 7pm CET.

International

 

CHECQIT, the P2P Lending Platform Aiming to Empower the Unbanked (The Merkle), Rated: A

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex report, nearly 2 billion adults and 160 million small businesses from all over the world do not have bank accounts. Efforts to approach them to traditional financial institutions have not been enough, limiting their economic growth potential.

Only 14% of adults living in the Middle East hold a bank account, opposed to the 94% of citizens from first world western countries that do. Developing regions with underserved communities such as India and sub-Saharan Africa comprise, when combined, nearly 32% of the world’s unbanked and underbanked population.

As a response to this issue, Nassim Benzekri and his team developed CHECQIT, an Ethereum-based, decentralized, peer-to-peer lending platform that allows users to grow their collaterals against a fast-guaranteed loan.

Finastra acquires Olfa Soft SA (Realwire), Rated: B

Finastra has acquired Olfa Soft SA and its cutting edge FX e-trading platform for banks and financial institutions. The move enables Finastra to deliver a unique end-to-end real-time eFX trading solution for banks’ treasury departments, covering distribution, position-keeping, post-trade and payments.

India

Western Union Opens Tech Center In India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

Cross-border payments company Western Union is opening a technology center in India, which will focus on biometrics, machine learning, and robotics, the company announced yesterday.

The center, located in Pune, Maharashtra, will have over 1,000 employees all focused on building these “innovative digital and retail customer experiences globally,” the company said in a press release.

Rubique announces strategic partnership with Optacredit (Outlook), Rated: AAA

Rubique, a marketplace lending platform for individuals and SMBs, entered into a strategic partnership with OptaCredit, an Artificial Intelligence-powered, data-driven online lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to salaried professionals across India.

With its Online PLUS technology led model and proprietary matchmaking algorithm, Rubique will enlist the company on its online marketplace for applicants to avail viable loan products from OptaCredit’s offerings.

P2P Lending Set to Explode in 2018 (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

RBI’s much awaited official guidelines for Peer to Peer (P2P) lending platforms to bring them into the ambit of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) is set to boost online lending. It is fast emerging as an investment option for retail lenders. The NBFC-P2Ps will act as an intermediary to provide an online platform to lenders and borrowers to transact on mutually agreeable terms. RBI has defined P2P lending as a form of crowdfunding that entails issuing unsecured loans to borrowers via an online portal in its 2016, ‘Consultation Paper on Peer to Peer Lending’. However, P2P lending is different from other crowdfunding activities in being a purely debt product, in which multiple lenders fund borrowers as personal loans or small business loans. Most of the P2P platforms in India such as IndiaMoneyMart curate their borrowers after conducting KYC checks, credit assessment, and due diligence before listing them on their loan exchanges.

On the positives, the regulation has made P2P lending platforms accountable to furnish credit repayment/non-repayment information to all 4 credit bureaus, thereby increasing transparency in the credit rating system. The credit rating agencies have records on about 150 million population but P2P lending platforms are also going to bring customers hitherto relying on private money lenders. This presents a huge opportunity to close the credit information gap. It will also reward sub-prime borrowers with a better credit score for showing improvement in loan repayment behaviour.

As many first time or retail borrowers take loans from money lenders or payday companies which charge interest as high as 5% to 20% per month, P2P platforms like IndiaMoneyMart are bridging the gap by making credit not only accessible but affordable. Bangalore-based IT consultant, Tanmay Thorat* (name changed) was paying over 300% interest to payday loan companies and approached IndiaMoneyMart for a small ticket size loan of INR 1 Lakh secured at rate of 13% annualized interest in March 2016required to settle his credit card debt and pay rent deposit.

The expectation from the Union Budget 2018 is immense in the BFSI segment, especially after RBI regulation. Experts hope that essential financial services will have GST rates revised from 18% to 5% or nil.

Budget 2018: how can we enhance the growth of startups in India? (YourStory), Rated: A

Most importantly, the fund of funds for startups (FFS) has begun to take shape with as much as Rs 1,100 crore being disbursed to SIDBI for allocation to venture funds. As of September 15, 2017, 17 venture funds have raised Rs 605 crore from SIDBI and as many as 72 startups have received about Rs 318 crore funds. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has also recently announced that this number will be increased to Rs 2,400 crore by the end of the next fiscal.

For instance, the startup space has reportedly seen a decline of 53 percent in seed funding and 25 percent in venture funds in 2017.

Listed below are four suggestions for Budget 2018.

  1. Abolish angel tax
  2. Encourage Indians to fund India
  3. Extend tax holiday
  4. Standardise and simplify   

10 things FM Arun Jaitley can do to boost access to capital via digital lenders (Financial Express), Rated: A

  1. Allow a lower MHP for servicing short-term needs of MSMEs
  2. Raise rate caps under MUDRA scheme: The RBI currently has capped the final rate that can be charged above the refinance rate offered by MUDRA at 3% for banks, 6% for NBFCs and 10%-12% for MFIs, depending on portfolio size. Since most of the new lenders incur high opex, this cap should be increased in the Budget 2018 to 10-12% in line with MFIs, for loans up to Rs 5 lakhs, and 8-10% for loans from Rs 5-25 lakh value.
  3. Extend the SIDBI net
  4. Make P2P platforms more attractive: A cap of 5% of net worth for lenders and a maximum individual loan amount of Rs 25 lakh for the borrowers would make these platforms attractive for both lender and borrower.
  5. Expand access to MSMEs
  6. Introduce PSU Banks turndown program
  7. Raise eKYC-based lending limit: The cap for lending through OTP based eKYC should be increased from Rs 60,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
  8. Promote eSign
  9. Mandate eMandate
  10. Increase the flow of data for lending
APAC

Lancers raises $ 9.2m venture round (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Tokyo-based Lancers, which operates a crowdsourcing platform under the same name, has closed a JPY 1 billion ($9.2 million) round from Tokyo-listed enterprises Persol Holdings and Shinsei Bank.

The investment sees Lancers concluding business partnership contracts with both companies concurrently and will also see it commence its new financing business targeting freelance workers, which the company claims comprise 17 per cent, or 11.22 million workers of Japan’s entire working population.

The addition of Shinsei Bank as an investor will see Lancers, Persol and Shinsei collaborate to develop and provide a new loan service to individual workers who need equipment investment or education/training upon starting a new business.

Crowd Realty closes $ 5.2m Series A (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

Tokyo-based property crowdfunding portal Crowd Realty has closed its Series A round at JPY 580 million ($5.2 million) from Tokyo-listed Mitsubishi Estate, Shinsei Corporate Investment, Shinsei Bank, and Mizuho Capital, based on an account from The Bridge.

The Series A round saw two tranches: a follow-on investment of JPY 230 million subsequent to a JPY 350 million investment from Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Kabu.com Securities.

SSC warns against investing in cryptocurrencies (Viet Nam News), Rated: B

In a notice issued on its website on Monday, SSC said that the market now had companies operating in fintech, including cryptocurrency, initial coin offering, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and blockchain. These were new products that had not been regulated, SSC said, thus posing high risks.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

2018 Predictions for MPL, SMB Lending, and Other Alternatives

Lending Club

In just over a decade, alternative lending has evolved from a niche fintech play into a hundred billion dollar industry. 2017 was somewhat of a bumpy ride. Growing competition, shrinking bottom lines, stringent regulations, and traditional banks’ willingness to take on alt-lending using their financial muscle were the key trends that emerged last year. It […]

Lending Club

In just over a decade, alternative lending has evolved from a niche fintech play into a hundred billion dollar industry. 2017 was somewhat of a bumpy ride. Growing competition, shrinking bottom lines, stringent regulations, and traditional banks’ willingness to take on alt-lending using their financial muscle were the key trends that emerged last year. It is difficult to be sure what 2018 will bring, but here is what experts and pundits are predicting.

Marketplace Lending

Ron Suber (Founder and former president, Prosper & chairman of the board, Credible) believes the marketplace lending industry has finally grown up. Companies will focus more on cash flow, profitability, and EBITDA. He encouraged online lenders to look for a lower cost of capital if they want to compete with the like of Marcus. He is also predicting the entrance of big technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

Peter Renton (Lend Academy) believes five of the top 25 banks will launch their own platforms. He also believes Congress will pass a Madden fix and the IRS will modernize with its own API. One startling prediction he makes that one of the top online lenders (Lending Club, SoFi, Prosper, OnDeck, or Avant) will be acquired, and he believes a major platform will be hit by a cyber attack. Like everyone else, he believes the tech giants will solidify their positions in alternative lending, and more interestingly, he says messaging apps will integrate with online lending platforms.

Krista Morgan (CEO, P2Binvestor) makes predictions for MPL sector:

  • Companies will shift their focus on business models and unit profitability as hiring and spending decrease.
  • Mergers and shutdowns will continue as equity investors remain absent. She thinks it will be a tough year.
  • Investors believe the market is set for a correction; therefore, they will be looking at short duration assets for deploying their capital. Platforms will have to shift their focus to product development.
  • 2018 will be the year of increased diversity.

Adam Stettner (Founder and CEO, Reliant Funding) predicts a year of instability. He also believes market variables will counterbalance themselves this year. The Fed is expected to increase interest rates, which will have a ripple effect in terms of rates for various types of loans. If unemployment levels remain low, it will lead to wage inflation. So the order of the day for alternative finance and small business funding companies will be adaptability, he says.

Additionally, Stettner sees a year of increased fraud, and companies will have to invest in identification tools and fraud detection techniques.

Two more predictions he points to are increased consolidation as companies overextend themselves and more disruption from big business names entering the space.

The Motley Fool is predicting a Lending Club stock price turnaround.

Juan Tavares (LendingPoint) predicts balance sheet lenders will take over, there will be more collaboration, and payments and credit will intersect more.

Small Business Lending

Trevor Dryer (Co-founder and CEO, Mirador) made predictions on small business lending:

  • Banks will continue to increase small business lending and alternative lenders will struggle.
  • Crowdfunding got a boost last year when Title III of The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) was implemented, opening the gates for crowdfunding. Dryer believes this sector will thrive in 2018.
  • Alternative lending has removed physical barriers that makes the lending process faster and more convenient. Alternative lending will continue to be more inclusive and encourage more people to start businesses.
  • Legislative barriers will continue to fall.
  • Alternative lenders will focus on experience and relationship building. Companies able to streamline and automate the application processes will thrive.

Alternative Lending in India

Rajesh Gupta (Founder and CEO, Cash Suvidha) made the following predictions for the Indian alternative lending market.

  • A significant increase in alternative lending market share.
  • Favorable regulations, cash benefits, ease of usage, and increased internet and smartphone penetration.
  • Investors and venture capitalists will remain optimistic about the Indian alternative lending industry since it is the second most funded segment in Indian fintech.

“2018 will witness a transformation in the Indian financial landscape, all thanks to alternative lending,” he writes.

Traditional Financial Services and Alternative Investing

Kevin McPartland (Greenwich Associates) says 2018 will be the year of digital. He believes product-agnostic investing will be huge, and passive investing will gain on active investing. 2018 will also be the year that alternative data goes mainstream, he believes while data will be more important than trading. He also believes wealth management will “come out of retirement” and, finally, a ton of innovation in the financial markets as banks focus on crypto.

Chris Skinner (The Finanser Blog) writes a lot about banking’s reaction to alternative lending. He believes 2018 will be the year of artificial intelligence for banks and that banks will continue to drive digital technology deeper into their core systems. Not surprisingly, he also predicts that banks will develop more proof-of-concept operations for distributed ledger technology. Finally, he predicts the banks will develop an Enterprise Data Architecture this year to clean up their fragmented systems.

Alexander Prokhorov (FinSight Ventures) made some general predictions for fintech that apply just as well to alternative lending:

  • Software will converge with financial products in the U.S. and Europe
  • Insurtech will be more prominent
  • Artificial intelligence will transform financial services
  • There will be a lot of innovation in emerging economies such as Africa, Latin America, and Asia
  • Wealth management will pick up speed
  • Crypo assets and blockchain will take center stage for retail investing

Mitek believes 2018 will be the year of the cyber criminal and predicts there will be 150 million attempts to set up fraud accounts this year.

Don Steinbrugge, CFA (Founder and CEO, Agecroft Partners) is predicting a banner year for the hedge fund industry. He believes hedge fund assets will reach an all-time high for the 10th straight year. He also believes there will be an increase in hedge funds shutting down. And there will be an increase in cryptocurrency funds. Strategies that will gain assets, he believes, include:

  • Asia long/short equity
  • Reinsurance
  • Those that blur the lines between private equity and hedge funds

The Lending-Times Prediction

Allen Taylor (Editor, Lending-Times) believes more U.S. platforms will open the doors to non-accredited investors. Blockchain will feature more prominently in alternative lending with more platforms focused on crypto-lending including a prominent alternative lender adding cryptocurrency to its list of core services. He also believes increased specialization will lead to platforms targeting specific industries, regions/states, and other narrow target markets.

Conclusion

2018 will surely see the alternative lending industry enter a consolidation phase to withstand the changes in market dynamics, and companies best able to cope with these headwinds would emerge bigger and stronger.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir and Allen Taylor.

Allen Taylor

Madden vs. Midland Funding, LLC

Madden v. Midland

In 2005, Saliha Madden, a New York occupant, opened a Visa account with Bank of America. The account cardholder agreement had a Delaware choice-of-law clause whereby the parties involved stipulated that Delaware law would oversee the agreement. Madden defaulted on the loan and her account was later sold to debt buyer Midland Funding, LLC. Midland’s […]

Madden v. Midland

In 2005, Saliha Madden, a New York occupant, opened a Visa account with Bank of America. The account cardholder agreement had a Delaware choice-of-law clause whereby the parties involved stipulated that Delaware law would oversee the agreement. Madden defaulted on the loan and her account was later sold to debt buyer Midland Funding, LLC. Midland’s member endeavored to collect the obligated amount with a default interest rate of 27%.

In 2011, Madden sued Midland and its subsidiary accusing the company of using oppressive and out of line debt collection practices under Federal law and charging high interest under New York law (which states that rates surpassing 25% every year are criminally usurious). Midland retaliated saying that, as a national bank assignee, it was entitled to preemption of state usury laws granted to national banks by the National Bank Act (the “NBA”). The district court agreed with Midland and entered judgment in its favor. Madden appealed to the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit reversed that holding on appeal, reasoning that preemption applies only where the use of state law would undermine a national bank’s exercise of its power under the NBA. While Bank of America is a national bank, Midland or its partners are not. The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and on February 27, 2017, Judge Cathy Seibel of the Southern District of New York gave the borrower a key victory by holding that New York law and not Delaware law would apply to the case.

This has led to bills being introduced to untangle the uncertainty created by the court’s decision. The “Madden-Fix” bills are now a source of heated discussion. Below, we will analyze how it will affect the marketplace lending industry.

Bone of Contention: Choice of Law

In spite of the fact that the cardholder agreement chose Delaware law to oversee the legally binding relation between the parties, the District Court determined that New York law should be applied. The Court found there was no reasonable connection between the parties or the transaction with the State of Delaware. In addition, the Court noticed that New York’s usury restriction “constitutes a fundamental public policy” against exorbitant interest rates. Therefore, use of Delaware law would contradict that policy.

Impact on Alternative Lending Market

The District Court’s decision will completely take out “choice-of-law” clause from the credit agreements with New York borrowers unless the lender is a national bank. This will adversely impact alternative lenders as they extensively deal in consumer and credit cards loans, and most of their loan agreements carry interest rates in excess of 25%.

Additionally, the verdict adds another layer of vulnerability among lenders and debt purchasers who work in the Second Circuit (New York, Vermont, and Connecticut). Before Madden, it was broadly comprehended that loans that are “valid when made” are not made invalid when assigned or sold to another party. The District Court’s verdict weakens this guideline, rendering a valid- when-made loan possibly unenforceable to the degree it negates the law of the borrower’s home state.

The logic used in this case can have significant bearing and could be used beyond the sale of delinquent loans to debt collectors including, maybe, to any secondary sale of loans to non-national bank purchasers. Specifically, this verdict could unfavorably affect the MPL industry. There still might be a possibility for the originating banks to authorize the terms of a high-interest loan agreement, but the debt collection agencies might not be able to collect in the future. This could make banks downsize their primary lending (especially at higher interest rate), which will, in turn, reduce the supply of loans available for refinance by MPL. With the uncertainty hovering over the enforceability of existing loans, it has had a ripple effect on their value in the secondary market as well. Vulnerability additionally increases the risk of loss, thus making investments through companies or platforms that extensively invest in loans made to New York borrowers less appealing.

Madden “Fix” Bill

Lending, especially by MPLs, has plummeted in Second Circuit states following the Madden decision. Intense lobbying has seen Congress propose the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act of 2017, which is awaiting approval in both the House and Senate. This will enforce the validity of a loan after it is bought by a non-bank, basically recognizing the “valid when made” doctrine once again, and will give impetus to MPL but will also help in normalizing the lending in Second Circuit states. These bills will also go a long way in removing the bias between primary and secondary loan markets, and will also assist the securitization market and other avenues where the loans are sold to non-bank entities.

Obviously, there are apprehensions with regards to these bills. Adam Levitin, professor of law at Georgetown University, has voiced his opinion in an article in American Banker in which he widely criticized the bills saying they are overly broad and will help in facilitating predatory lending. But a consumer seeking credit will get it any which way they can and MPLs are at least regulated in comparison to illegal lending sharks and payday lenders.

Though Madden has not been applied to MPLs, the industry will be closely monitoring the ongoing proceedings. The possibility of class action is particularly worrying as it could open the Pandora box of litigations and deliberate defaults. Meanwhile, it will be a good idea for industry players to assess their lending activities to see whether they come within Madden’s reach or not, particularly in the Second Circuit states of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.