Thursday September 26 2019, Weekly News Digest

LendingClub eligibility

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi intros crypto trading. Investors locked out of LendingClub in 4 states. Funding Circle asks US regulators to folow UK’s model. Fundbox raises $176M. Klarna surpasses 12M transactions per year. Today’s main analysis: U.S. subprime auto loan ABS recession scenarios (A MUST-READ). Today’s thought-provoking articles: Recession talk cooling. Consumers with […]

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News Summary

United States

SoFi Introduces Crypto Trading With SoFi Invest (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

SoFi announced today that it has added crypto trading to its fast-growing SoFi Invest platform, as a response to demand from its over 800,000 members. SoFi Invest is now the first platform to offer automated and active investing with stocks, ETFs, and crypto through a single app.

SoFi Adds Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum to Invest Platform (Cheddar), Rated: A

SoFi goes live with crypto trading service for its over 800K users (The Block), Rated: B

SoFi users can initially buy and sell three cryptocurrencies – bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and litecoin (LTC). The Block first reported the story last week, saying that the firm is beta testing the service in partnership with Coinbase.

SoFi CEO on what’s next for the company (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Sofi CEO Anthony Noto joins The First Trade to discuss what’s next for the company.

Watch the video here.

Charlie Lee {LTC} praises SoFi as crypto-investing with Litecoin kicks-off (Our Bitcoin News), Rated: A

Litecoin is ranked at #6 underneath Tether, as well as Bitcoin Cash, in the market. The price jumped up at a rate of 0.60% in the course of the past 24-hours. This led to LTC scaling all the way up to $57.03 where it presently rests. The trading volume recorded stands at roughly $2.957 billion, whereas the supply has 63,337,479 LTC coins included as part of circulation. The total market cap of Litecoin amounts to $3.612 billion which depicts a massive decline compared to the value attained a week back.

SoFi CEO: Start investing in your 20s (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto discusses how his company’s consumers can now buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

SoFi Refunds Investors Hit By Capital Gains from Proprietary ETFs (ETF Trends), Rated: A

Financial technology company SoFi is offering refunds to investors hit by capital gains taxes following the change of replacing Vanguard funds with their proprietary ETFs in certain portfolios managed by their robo-adviser.

Some Investors Locked Out of Investing in LendingClub Loans (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Over the last 24 hours we’ve received several messages from Lend Academy readers alerting us that they have received information that they are no longer able to invest in LendingClub notes. There is is also an active discussion on the Lend Academy forum.

LendingClub state eligibility as of 9/24/2019. Source: Lend Academy

Funding Circle urges US regulators to follow UK model (P2p Financ News), Rated: AAA

FUNDING Circle’s US division is urging the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to amend its restrictions on peer-to-peer retail investment.

The US financial regulator limits annual investment to five per cent of an investor’s annual income if their yearly income or net worth is under $107,000 (£86,075), rising to 10 per cent if the investor earns more than that.

Two Franchise Trends Aspiring Franchisees Should Look Out For (Forbes), Rated: A

Over the past 14 years, I’ve coached more than 1,500 people who were searching for the best franchise for their situation. I recently read the 2019 Small Business Trends 

Fintech Fundbox raises $ 176M to lend to business using AI (Information Management), Rated: AAA

Fintech Fundbox Inc. has raised $176 million in a new funding round from investors including Allianz SE and General Catalyst. The company planned to announce the funding along with a new $150 million credit facility.

A Fundbox spokesman said the new round valued the company at between $500 million and $1 billion, but would not disclose the exact valuation.

U.S. Subprime Auto Loan ABS: Evaluating Recession Scenarios (DBRS), Rated: AAA

Summary Highlights

  • Under the hypothetical Recession Scenarios, DBRS found that credit enhancement (excluding excess spread) coverage of remaining expected losses, as determined by a multiple calculation, decreased at the inception of the hypothetical recession for all of the Sample Transactions. The senior debt tranches experienced a swift deleveraging whereas some of the subordinated debt tranches could be at risk for a potential downgrade during the hypothetical Recession Scenarios.
  • After the initial decline in the multiple calculations at inception of the hypothetical Recession Scenarios, the deleveraging nature of the sequential pay structures of the transactions resulted in the calculated multiples for the analyzed debt tranches to move into the multiple range corresponding to the original rating of the debt tranche over varying lengths of time. The multiples for some of the debt tranches originally rated BB were weaker and moved into the BB range at a slower pace. As a result, those tranches would be more likely to be considered for a potential downgrade as compared to the more senior debt tranches where the structures delevered more quickly and the multiples reached the range corresponding to the original rating over a generally shorter period.
  • Over the life of the Sample Transactions, the credit enhancement multiples for all of the debt tranches analyzed, some on a delayed basis, ultimately moved into the AAA rating multiple range.
  • In each of the Recession Scenarios, the structure of each of the transactions provided sufficient credit enhancement for timely payment of interest and ultimate payment of principal of all debt tranches.
Source: DBRS

Read the full report here.

A Cooling in Recession Talk, Heat Up in Housing (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

Lower rates, improved credit scores, and tighter housing inventory are improving the outlook for housing. Housing market achieved an 18-month high in housing starts and a record high in FICO scores.

The Citigroup Economic Surprise Index – a measure of actuals vs economist’s expectations – has also registered readings above the neutral baseline suggesting slowdown fears may be exaggerated.

Source: PeerIQ, CitiGroup

Consumers with Significant Liquidity Needs Often Access Alternative and Traditional Credit Markets Concurrently (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Many lenders believe that consumers who turn to the alternative credit market for liquidity do so because they have no other options. However, a TransUnion study presented today at the Lend360 conference found that these borrowers are frequently applying for and receiving traditional credit at the same time. While traditional subprime installment lenders and alternative lenders are competing over the same consumers, the study finds that the liquidity need is often not fully met in either market.

Source: TransUnion

Risk Levels Higher for Traditional and Alternative Loan Borrowers

Controlling for risk score, 8.5% of the alternative credit-active consumers had a serious delinquency in the first 12 months, vs. just over 2% for the control group. Bankcard performance was also worse. While these borrowers exhibited a preference for unsecured personal loans under $1,500 within 12 months of the alternative credit origination, they also originated auto and bankcard credit during that time.

Read the full report here.

Lendio to Double Sales Force, Expand Loan Product Offerings (Benzinga), Rated: A

Lendio today announced plans to double the sales force at its Lehi, Utah, and Woodbury, New York, offices. The company has hired 80 employees in 2019, and intends to add another 40 sales representatives by the end of the year, with plans to bring on another 40 in the first quarter of 2020. In addition to the expanding workforce, Lendio plans to bolster its selection of loan products for small businesses, with a 10% increase in the number of product offerings in the coming year.

Fintech lenders taking more market share from banks, survey finds (American Banker), Rated: A

Fintechs are continuing to siphon away customers for unsecured personal loans from traditional lenders, according to a study released Wednesday by Experian.

The study found that digital lenders more than doubled their market share in the past four years, with consumers across the credit spectrum increasingly turning to fintechs like Lending Club and Social Finance.

Fintechs now provide 49.4% of unsecured personal loans as of March compared to 22.4% in 2015, according to Experian.

Fintech Lenders Could Hold the Keys to Recession Recovery (Salon), Rated: A

Born out of the last recession, young fintech lenders have not yet been tested by a significant economic storm, and many in the industry are wrapped up in a dialogue of speculation about the industry’s ability to ride out an impending recession. It’s time to turn the conversation instead to focus on how fintech lenders can position themselves to play a critical role in recovery from the next downturn, whenever it may happen.

WeWork should ask SoFi CEO for advice on how to save the company (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

The two new guys running the slowly sinking ship known as once hot tech startup WeWork should give SoFi CEO Anthony Noto a holla on his Apple iPhone. Trust me, Noto has some good, timely advice for Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham.

Because the former Goldman Sachs banker and Twitter chief financial officer, now SoFi chief clearly gets how to rebuild a promising tech startup after a high-profile challenge or two. And then possibly, take it down the path of a successful initial public offering.

Generation Z’ers want more financial education – and innovative tools to help them learn (PR Newswire), Rated: A

As high school students return to school, they may see the benefits of new state laws across the country that require curriculums to offer a class about personal finance. This is great news for young adults as 76% of recent high school graduates agree it should be required, according to a national survey by Experian.

Many Gen Z’ers surveyed say innovative tools are the way to go when it comes to learning about credit (45%) and almost half (48%) would prefer to use tech-driven tools versus textbooks to learn more.

Survey respondents also say they are currently learning about finances mostly through their friends (28%), YouTube (27%) and some form of social media (24%).

D.C. Court Dismisses Challenge to OCC’s Fintech Charter (Manatt), Rated: A

In the latest battle over the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC’s) plan to issue special purpose national bank (SPNB) charters, a D.C. federal judge has for a second time dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS).

The decision creates the potential for circuit split, as a New York federal court reached the opposite conclusion in a nearly identical action filed by the state’s Department of Financial Services (DFS).

9 Ways To Build an Empire Without Lifting a Finger (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Another way to build your real estate empire is through real estate crowdfunding. As with investing in a REIT, real estate crowdfunding allows you to pool your money with other investors to invest in real estate. This could include multifamily units, commercial properties and bundles of single-family homes.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the top real estate crowdfunding platforms are ArborCrowd, RealCrowd, Groundfloor, CrowdStreet, PeerStreet, Small Change and RealtyMogul.

If you can afford the minimum investment — which is usually $25,000 — you can make big returns. Groundfloor boasts 10% returns for individual investors and CrowdStreet’s is even higher with 25.5% total average annual returns across all fully realized deals.

RealCrowd offers a breakdown of average annual income on a $1 million investment based on the property type: $78,000 for a suburban office, $72,000 for a retail space, $59,000 for a downtown office and $58,000 for a multifamily unit.

The Best And Worst MA Towns For Young Families (Patch), Rated: A

The online mortgage broker Lending Tree has tried to take some of the guess work out of that decision by ranking every community in Massachusetts with 5,000 or more residents based on their appeal to families with school-age children.

Hingham, under Lending Tree’s methodology, received a score of 72.5. Last-place Webster’s score was 31.9. Other towns in the top 10 included Winchester, Needham, Milton, Longmeadow, Wellesley, Cochituate, Pinehurst, Lexington and Nantucket.

JPMorgan donates $ 25M to get fintech in hands of underbanked (American Banker), Rated: A

JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday a $25 million commitment to the Financial Health Network’s Financial Solutions Lab, a program meant to focus on the creation of fintech tools to help consumers better manage their finances.

The Financial Health Network (formerly The Center for Financial Services Innovation) previously received a $30 million philanthropic donation from the bank that spanned the last five years.

Bitcoin and Ethereum dive deep, is Bakkt to blame? (Mashable), Rated: A

“The disappointing BAKKT opening signals to the crypto community that institutions are less ready to invest in BTC at scale than was supposed, which means the price was probably too high and due for a correction. What we’ve just seen is short sellers and momentum traders piling on to make things worse, and now here we are back at support,” Alex Mashinsky, CEO at crypto lending and depository company Celsius Network, told Mashable in an emailed statement.

STRATA Trust Company Reaches $ 2 Billion AUC Milestone (PR Newswire), Rated: A

STRATA Trust Company (“STRATA”), a custodian dedicated to the complexity of holding alternative investments in tax-advantaged, self-directed retirement accounts, announced today that the firm has surpassed $2 billion in assets under custody. STRATA offers access to a range of asset classes that include private equity, private debt, real estate, crowdfunding, structured settlements and more. Since 2008, STRATA has been committed to empowering investors and the investment community with wider diversification and alternative asset custody solutions in retirement portfolios by delivering industry-leading service, education and support.

Online Pawn Lending Goes Back Offline (Business Wire), Rated: A

Prominent online lender Borro Private Finance unexpectedly ceased its collateral-based lending program this summer after nearly ten years of business. The UK-US-based establishment specialized in online pawn loans against valuable assets, including fine art, jewelry, and watches. Borro’s discontinuation of its operations comes nearly two years after the company’s withdrawal from the bridge loan market in July 2017.

Eleventh Circuit Tosses Online Lender’s Forum Selection, Class Waiver Clauses (Lexology), Rated: A

Siding with six consumers who filed suit asserting violations of state usury laws against online lenders, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh…

Marqeta Hires Vidya Peters As First Chief Marketing Officer, as Company Continues to Build Out Expansive Global Vision (Business Wire), Rated: B

Marqeta, the first global modern card issuing platform, today announced the addition of Chief Marketing Officer Vidya Peters to its executive team.

White Oak Commercial Finance Acquires Veritas Financial Partners’ Asset-Based Loan Portfolio (ABL Advisor), Rated: A

White Oak Commercial Finance (“White Oak”), an affiliate of White Oak Global Advisors, announced today it has purchased a portfolio of asset-based loans from Veritas Financial Partners, a Boca Raton, FL based specialty finance company.

Alchemy Technology And Equifax Partner To Drive FinTech Innovation (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Alchemy Technology Inc. and  Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) today announced a new partnership to drive FinTech innovation. The relationship is designed to help banks, specialty financing firms and FinTech startups accelerate their time to market with easily deployable white labeled lending solutions. The two companies will make the “tech” in FinTech available to organizations of all sizes with a powerful combination of the Alchemy Lending Operating System and Equifax data analytics, credit, identity and income verification solutions.

Ex-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Joins Lendingblock as Strategic Advisor (Lendingblock), Rated: B

Lendingblock, the regulated, open exchange for institutional borrowing and lending of digital assets, today announces the appointment of John Macpherson as a strategic advisor.

CoreLogic Credco Integrates its Three-Bureau PreQual Solution with eLEND Solutions (CoreLogic), Rated: B

CoreLogic, a global provider of property information, insight, analytics and data-enabled solutions, today announced that CoreLogic Credco integrated its Three-Bureau PreQual credit report and score solution on eLEND Solutions, an automotive technology company specializing in online and in-store credit and finance solutions. The integration of the prequalification solution gives CoreLogic Credco customers who use eLEND instant, single-source access to a consumer’s credit report and FICO score from all three national credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion or Equifax.

Tavant Named to 2019 IDC FinTech Rankings (Business Wire), Rated: B

Tavant, a Silicon Valley-based provider of AI-powered digital lending technologies, announced today it has been named to the 2019 IDC FinTech Rankings, the most comprehensive vendor ranking within the financial services industry.

United Kingdom

Klarna Surpasses 12M Transactions This Year (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

FinTech payments disruptor Klarna has announced the start of its “No drama, just Klarna” retail campaign in partnership with 13 brands in the U.K., the company said in a press release on Wednesday (Sept. 25).

Klarna offers “pay later” payment options and attracts 50,000 new users each week. The startup said that in the past year, it has processed 12 million transactions. In August, more than 100,000 U.K. shoppers downloaded the Klarna app.

Klarna reports surge in payments, merchant growth during first half of 2019 (Mobile Payments Today), Rated: A

Klarna, a London based installment financing provider and challenger bank, said it surpassed 3 million active users in the U.K. and 170,000 retail merchants worldwide.

Brits hit financial maturity at 31 (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE age at which UK men and women finally feel secure in their finances is 31, according to Zopa.

The survey showed a clear split between age groups, with 21 to 25 year-olds believing 32 would be the age when they finally felt good about their finances, while those age 26 to 30 were less optimistic about the future, saying they would reach money maturity at 38.

OakNorth Bank completes £20m loan to specialist lending fund (London Loves Property), Rated: A

OakNorth Bank, the UK bank powered by OakNorth, has provided a £20m loan to the RAW Mortgage Fund, a specialist fund providing buy-to-let property loans against residential real estate in the UK.

Wonga borrowers have less than a week to submit payday loan reclaims (The Sun), Rated: A

Anyone who believes they have been mis-sold a Wonga loan is allowed to apply for compensation, but its administrators set a deadline of 11.59pm on September 30.

If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to apply anymore and you won’t get any compensation for mis-selling.

Nexo Now Accepts Tokenized Gold for Instant Credit Lines and Will Offer Interest-Bearing Accounts on Gold (Covington Journal), Rated: A

Nexo is adding the NYDFS-regulated PAX Gold as a collateral option for its signature , bringing gold-backed lending to the blockchain.

With PAX Gold, now offers gold investors instant access to their gold wealth in over 45 fiat currencies via same/next day transfers and across 200+ jurisdictions.

European Union

Kreditech Eyes Expansion After Securing EUR 20 Million in Equity Financing (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

Kreditech is ready to scale globally in the near-prime customer segment – declares David Chan, Kreditech CEO. The Germany-based online direct lender and Point-of-Sale (POS) financing provider estimates its global target market at ca. EUR 300 bn in consumer credit issuance. It aims to reach EUR 1 bn in revenue by 2025, which will be driven by growth in existing markets where Kreditech is present, as well as expansion into new geographies. Kreditech currently operates in IndiaPolandRussia and Spain, and serves over one million customers. The company has raised EUR 20 million in its latest equity financing round.

You’ve heard of challenger banks, now meet the challenger lenders (sifted), Rated: AAA

For better or worse, it was Wonga that first put “challenger lenders” on the map. The UK payday lender’s meteoric rise saw it become a household name before its collapse last year after a string of irresponsible, inflated loans.

This month alone, large funding rounds were announced by Sweden’s Capcito and Lendify, as well as by UK’s Sonovate, an invoice lender for SMEs with over 750 active clients. Banks are also watching closely, with Goldman Sach’s equity arm being a notable funder in Lendable, recently ranked the UK’s sixth fastest-growing private tech company.

In the UK, the challenger-lender industry grew to £6.1 billion in 2017, according to a study by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF). The CCAF also estimated that 29% of all new loans issued to SMEs came from challenger lenders in 2017. PwC predicts that figure will rise to nearly 40% in the next decade.

Source: Financial Times
International

Marketplace Lenders Navigate The Choppy Waters Of Compliance (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

Regulators the world over are beginning to take a closer look at the alternative and marketplace lending business model.

In June, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority announced plans to impose stricter restrictions on marketplace and peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders beginning this December following the watchdog’s decision to place P2P lending platform Lendy into administration — a result, the FCA said, of the industry’s lenient requirements to disclose governance arrangements and controls.

Also, in China, analysts at Yingcan Group pointed to the government’s P2P and marketplace lending crackdown as being likely to shrink the industry by as much as 70 percent this year.

This Fintech Safari Could Be a Wild Ride (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

From ATMs to credit cards and PayPal, the West’s dominance of innovation in consumer finance appears to have exhausted itself.

At the top of the emergent new order is the fintech duo from China — Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Next in line are Alphabet Inc. and Walmart Inc., whose highly localized smartphone payment rivalry is playing out between Google Pay and PhonePe in India. In Southeast Asia, two homegrown ride-hailing giants are aspiring to dominate commerce.

The rise of African mobile money is associated with M-Pesa, Kenya’s digital-wallet revolution. Now traditional lenders like Standard Chartered Plc, with a presence on the continent going back more than a century, are discovering that online banking can help them mobilize low-cost current and savings accounts more profitably than acquiring customers via physical branches.

Australia/New Zealand

Harmoney says the P2P lender has been ‘slowly moving to lending our own money’ since 2015 (interest), Rated: AAA

The founder of Harmoney, New Zealand’s biggest licensed peer-to-peer (P2P) lender, says he can’t see a viable P2P lending model in New Zealand which is why Harmoney has started lending its own money.

Neil Roberts and David Stevens of Harmoney (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Harmoney, the first peer to peer lender to be licensed in New Zealand, has originated more than NZ$1 billion in loans since launching five years ago.


Read the PDF transcript here.

India

Kreditech targets India after EUR20m funding boost (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Kreditech, a German-based online lender and POS financing provider focused on “near prime” borrowers, is looking to the Indian market after raising EUR20 million in funding.

The round was co-led by Runa Capital and unnamed German private investors, with participation from existing shareholders HPE Growth and Amadeus Capital Partners.
Southeast Asia

Accumulated P2P lending exceeds W6tr (The Investor), Rated: AAA

Accumulated peer-to-peer loans in South Korea have surpassed 6 trillion won ($5 billion), data showed on Sept. 26.

Outstanding P2P loans extended by 220 companies stood at 6.2 trillion won in June, compared with 4.7 trillion won at the end of last year, according to the data compiled by the Financial Supervisory Service.

Indonesia’s Investree in talks to raise series C funding for regional expansion (Tech in Asia), Rated: A

Indonesia’s fintech peer-to-peer lending startup PT Investree Radhika Jaya is in talks with several investors to raise a series C funding as the firm looks to boost its expansion in Southeast Asia.

The Securities Commission Malaysia Approves EdgeProp as First Property Crowdfunding Platform in Malaysia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has registered EdgeProp Sdn Bhd as the first “Recognised Market Operator” to establish and operate a property crowdfunding platform in Malaysia. EdgeProp was granted an approval in principle in September 2019.

FINTECH COMPANIES FACE TALENT SHORTAGE (StaffingIndustry.com), Rated: A

The majority, or 94%, of fintech companies in Singapore, say the country requires fintech talent, according to survey data from Michael Page Singapore.

The number of Singapore consumers adopting fintech products and services has drastically risen in the last two years, tripling from 23% in 2017 to 67% in 2019, according to Michael Page.

Bitcoin Daily (PYMNTS), Rated: B

And Singapore-based exchange Bitrue has announced the launch of a low-interest crypto lending platform, which goes live on September 30.

MENA

Qatar Boosts FinTech Focus (PYMNTS), Rated: A

As reported by Crowdfund Insider, the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) has expanded the number FinTech-related activities that will be awarded licenses. The additional support will come from the QFC platform.

The seven firms include DecisionLogic, which focuses on advanced bank verification that lets lenders qualify borrowers.

Africa

Proven ways you can make money in real estate (Daily Monitor), Rated: A

You can utilise a variety of methods that includes any of the following:
•Seller financing through lease options
•Trading fixed assets such as cars, jewellery and more
•Taking over someone else’s mortgage payments who might be in a distressed situation
•Bringing in an investment partner with cash
•Borrowing from a bank or getting a hard money loan
•Taking out a home equity line of credit
•Utilising a peer-to-peer lending network

Caribbean

Victoria Mutual acquires shares in Barbados-based FinTech Carilend (Jamaica Observer), Rated: AAA

Victoria Mutual Investment Limited (VMIL) has acquired a 30 per cent stake in Carilend, a Barbados-based financial technologies (FinTech) company, that is said to have revolutionised borrowing and lending in the Caribbean.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday September 26 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Fintech Sandboxes: A Global Overview

fintech sandboxes

When an industry develops at a breakneck speed, the law can take some time to catch up. Existing regulations usually do not fit new paradigms, and it can stifle innovation. A regulatory sandbox is the perfect solution because it allows for the testing of new innovations in a controlled environment. The term “sandbox” refers to […]

The post Fintech Sandboxes: A Global Overview appeared first on Lending Times.

fintech sandboxes

When an industry develops at a breakneck speed, the law can take some time to catch up. Existing regulations usually do not fit new paradigms, and it can stifle innovation. A regulatory sandbox is the perfect solution because it allows for the testing of new innovations in a controlled environment.

The term “sandbox” refers to the box of sand where small children play in a confined boundary. The term has received a new connotation in a commercial sense and refers to a closed environment used for experimenting and testing projects or new ideas. Regulatory sandboxes help in testing business proposals and prototypes under a regulator’s supervision. These testing grounds have an advantage of not being governed by current rules and, therefore, the business can explicitly experiment the validity of their projects without the danger of getting caught on the wrong side of existing law.

Such regulatory sandboxes are critical for the development of the alternative lending industry. The gist of having regulatory sandboxes in this sector is to comply with the regulatory directives that complement the growth of fintech companies without compromising on users’ safety and protection. The existence of suitable safeguards assists players in executing a live trial in the market without having to worry about the legal consequences.

The Dawn of the Regulatory Sandbox

Financial regulators across the globe understand the challenges and opportunities presented by innovations like digital-only banking, P2P lending, robo-advisors, and other fintech innovations. Some countries have taken the lead in ensuring that an ecosystem is created which helps startups experiment with their products and services without running afoul of current rules.

United Kingdom- The Pioneer

Seeing massive investor interest in this industry, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposed a regulatory sandbox as a part of its Project Innovate. It started accepting applications in mid-2016.

The UK has completed the successful testing of models from 18 out of 69 firms in the first phase and 24 out of 77 firms in the second phase. The sandbox has accepted 18 out of 61 firms for the third phase, and 29 out of 69 applications received qualified to the testing stage in the fuurth phase.

Participants in the UK sandbox came from sectors like retail banking, general insurance, retail lending, and wholesale lending. Around 35 percent of the participants in the secnd phase were from other countries, including the US and Singapore. The fourth cohort has almost 40 percent of startups experimenting with distributed ledger technology for disrupting traditional finance.

The UK regulatory sandbox includes:

  • A positive reaction from other global regulators.
  • The startup community’s eagerness is evident from each phase being oversubscribed.
  • It has reduced the time to get an idea to market. FCA claims that, during the first year itself, 90 percent of the firms were able to go for a commercial market launch of their product.
  • Also, many of the approved fintech companies were able to attract VC investment for their projects.

Singapore

The second jurisdiction to launch the concept of a regulatory sandbox is Singapore. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) introduced its sandbox in June 2016. It has launched a range of schemes for interested startups. Till date, the country has the maximum regulatory alliances and has entered into co-operation arrangements with eight countries including UK, Australia, and Japan.

Since its launch, the MAS has guided over 140 applicants from around the globe. About one in five applications has been approved for experimentation.

Startups in crowdfunding, financial advisory, artificial intelligence, cross-border funding, distributed ledgers, and more were able to experiment under the MAS scheme. The sandbox has helped Singapore attract overseas startups to come and do business in the country. And it is contributing positively in making Singapore a Smart Financial Hub by allowing these young startups to form partnerships with traditional financial institutions.

United States

The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CPFB) initiated the concept of regulatory sandboxes to ensure global compliance and to stimulate innovation in the fintech industry.

Arizona became the first state to open a fintech sandbox in the US by passing a legislation to create a Regulatory Sandbox Program. This program will enable finetch players to test their financial products without being subjected to the licensing provisions of the state. The move will come under the supervision of the Arizona Attorney General. Another state, Illinois, also on the footsteps of Arizona, has a separate regulatory bill (currently on hold) on the horizon.

Along with the regulatory sandbox, the US has also launched an ‘office of innovation’, which primarily focuses on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. The aim is to stimulate competition in the industry and expedite consumer advancement.

The participants included payment start-ups, financial technology companies, credit agencies, and lending companies.

The startups in the Arizona sandbox will be allowed to experiment with their financial products for a period of up to two years. The sandbox has promoted investment and job creation in the state. It will help improve the competitive position of the country in the global fintech industry. The concept has also helped early stage entrepreneurs surpass the legal hurdles with access to a trillion dollar opportunity.

Canada

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) launched its sandbox “LaunchPad” in February 2017. The government is said to create a “super sandbox” that will help foster communication between fintech players, financial institutions, regulators, and the government. It is a part of its 2016-2019 Business Plan to understand how technology affects the markets. An agency by the name Ontario Fintech Accelerator Office will also be instituted to provide assistance to start ups. The government plans to develop the retail payment and financial sector framework at the national level.

It has given a push to Canada’s innovation market as earlier, due to the domination of a few financial companies in the industry, innovation was slow. Now, it has allowed Canadian fintech companies to come forward and grow both locally and internationally. The new idea will benefit Canadian SMEs who could not access funding from traditional lenders.

Global Integration

The concept of regulatory sandboxes is currently running in over 20 nations. Apart from the countries mentioned above, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Denmark, and Thailand have sandboxes running to join the race. To promote interaction among participants at a global level, a GFIN (Global Financial Innovation Network) has been launched, aimed at knowledge sharing and facilitating cross-border testing of ideas. It is a joint effort of FCA and 11 other regulatory authorities. Organizations such as the US CFPB, Hong Kong Monetary Authority, UK FCA, MAS, and others, are a part of this network. The goal is to go past the idea of a sandbox and ensure that regulators are able to support the advancements in the fintech industry.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

The post Fintech Sandboxes: A Global Overview appeared first on Lending Times.

Thursday December 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Consumer Spending

News Comments Today’s main news: Zopa gets banking license. SoFi cuts mortgage business jobs. KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to CLUB Credit Trust 2018-P3. Money360 surpasses $1B in loan originations and closings. SoftBank is biggest startup story in 2018. Today’s main analysis: Rate hikes pause in 2019. LendingTree Debt Report November 2019. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingTree Debt Report November 2019. October was biggest […]

Consumer Spending

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United States

United Kingdom

International

Southeast Asia

Other

News Summary

United States

SoFi Cutting Jobs in Their Mortgage Business (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

Late Friday Bloomberg reported that SoFi was cutting 7% of its staff, or around 100 jobs, in the company’s mortgage department. This is due to a change in strategy as to how they underwrite mortgage loans. Rather than underwrite loans themselves, as they have done since launching their mortgage business back in 2014, they will outsource the underwriting to a partner.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P3 (AP News), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Consumer Loan Underlying Bond (CLUB) Credit Trust 2018-P3 (“CLUB 2018-P3”). This is a $272.40 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close December 13, 2018.

The transaction has initial credit enhancement levels of 30.87%, 22.80% and 9.70% for the Class A, Class B, and Class C notes, respectively. Credit enhancement is comprised of overcollateralization, subordination of the junior note classes, a cash reserve account and excess spread.

This transaction is LendingClub Corporation’s eighth rated sponsored securitization, fourth of 2018 and the fifth sponsored securitization consisting of prime unsecured consumer loans facilitated by LendingClub’s proprietary technology platform supporting an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors by offering a variety of loan products originated by issuing banks through the platform, www.lendingclub.com.

Money360 Milestone: Surpasses $ 1 billion in Loans Originated & Closed (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Real estate marketplace lender Money360 announced on Monday it has surpassed $1 billion in loans originated and closed since inception. The announcement comes just 11 months after the lending platform revealed it had hit $500 million.

Rate Hikes Pause in 2019; Performance of Credit Card Borrowers with Personal Loans (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

US Q3 GDP showed 3.5% annualized growth, well above potential growth of 2%. Growth slowed from the blistering 4.2% pace in Q2 due to rising inventories and lower consumer spending:

Source: WSJ, PeerIQ
Source: VantageScore, PeerIQ

LendingTree Debt Report November 2018 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Nine months into 2018, Americans had a cumulative $3.93 trillion in non-mortgage debt. About a quarter of that debt is credit cards and other revolving debt, while the remainder is for car payments, student loans and other fixed-rate loans such as personal loans.

In just five years, Americans will have increased their debt by $1 trillion. Consumer debt eclipsed the $3 trillion mark in 2013. By comparison, the previous $1 trillion milestone — from $2 trillion to $3 trillion of consumer debt — took more than 10 years.

43.5% of Purchase Borrowers Received Mortgage Rates Under 5% Last Week (LendingTree), Rated: A

For the week ending Dec. 2, 2018, the share of borrowers with rates under 5% was the highest in two months, which may lend some support to a weakening housing market.

Source: LendingTree
Source: LendingTree

LendingTree’s State Migration Study Finds Americans Are Moving South (GuruFocus), Rated: A

LendingTree today released its State Migration Study on where Americans are interested in moving. The study looked at where people moving out of state are going and discovered that of the 12.1 percent of homebuyers across the country who change states, most plan to head south.

Florida is the No. 1 destination. Florida was the top new destination for 15 of the 50 states.

Texas residents love the Lone Star State. Texas had the highest percentage of residents looking to move within state lines — 93.4 percent of purchase mortgage requests from individuals in Texas were for properties in the same state.

Source: LendingTree

October was Biggest Month for Reg CF Since May 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

October was a big month for Reg CF campaigns, according to the StartEngine Index. In fact, October booked the most money raised using the crowdfunding exemption since the rule became actionable in May of 2016.

According to StartEngine, $10.9 million in funding was raised. Until October came along, this past July held the top spot at $10.7 million. The Index indicates that Reg CF has now raised $151.7 million since inception. The Food & Beverage industry remains the most popular sector to use Reg CF followed by Tech.

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Fintechs’ Take On Installment Payments Explodes Online (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Installment payments have been around for seemingly forever but a new crop of fintechs are offering it with a twist: the ability to pay off smaller purchases in installment payments that in many cases are interest-free.

And it appears to be resonating with scores of U.S. consumers judging from the brisk business installment payment services like QuadPay.com enjoyed during the kick off to holiday shopping season this past Thanksgiving weekend. David Sykes, chief operating officer at QuadPay.com said 35% of online Black Friday sales for one large merchant customer came via QuadPay. On average Sykes said its service accounts for around 20% of all the online transaction from its roughly 500 e-commerce partners.

QuadPay.com makes money via the merchant, getting a cut of the sales generated by its service. That enables it to offer interest-free loans to consumers wanting to purchase everything from Uggs to underwear. Sykes said the average value of the orders on the platform is $150. QuadPay takes 25% of that on day one and then spreads out the remaining payments every two weeks. Because the average installment payment is around $37 there isn’t too much risk of customers defaulting on the loan.  To prevent default it won’t let a customer use the service again if they were ever late with a payment. The executive noted QuadPay approves 92% of all applicants.

How the largest US financial institutions rank on offering the mobile banking features customers value most (Business Insider), Rated: A

In Business Insider Intelligence’s second annual Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study, 64% of mobile banking users said that they would research a bank’s mobile banking capabilities before opening an account with them. And 61% said that they would switch banks if their bank offered a poor mobile banking experience.

Source: Business Insider

Why Wealthfront is offering free financial planning (Financial Planning), Rated: A

Wealthfront is offering its planning services for free, effectively unbundling its software, and giving millions of Americans access to a financial roadmap.

The second largest independent robo is betting the firm can steer users into fee-based accounts after they interact with its software to come up with a financial plan. The freemium software uses the firm’s automated advice engine, Path, according to the firm.

Credit Karma’s Kenneth Lin on building a billion dollar brand (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Building a great service is hard but not impossible. But building a great service and making it available for free — that’s really hard.

Credit Karma seems to have figured out a way to do both. The company, with 85 million members in the U.S. and Canada, continues to roll out free, innovative financial products to its user base. It all began 11 years ago with a simple premise: to provide users with free access to their credit scores. From there, the company has rolled out a bunch of new products, including ID monitoring, tax preparation, a financial chatbot, auto finance, and unclaimed money.

Betterment launches tool to optimize cash savings (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Automated investment advisor, Betterment is rolling out “Two-Way Sweep”, a tool that can automatically “sweep” excess money from customers’ bank accounts into a Betterment account optimized to provide better returns for cash.

What’s behind this new product: Studies show that only one in three millennials is investing in the stock market. That means they’re holding a high percentage of cash. In fact, Betterment sees 30 percent of customers with cash balances of $20,000 on average. This excess in savings earns little to no interest. Betterment’s Two-Way Sweep is intended to take the hesitation out of deploying more money into investments by automating the process.

CommonBond Acquires NextGenVest to Help Reach Generation Z (Lend Academy), Rated: A

CommonBond, best known as a leading provider of online student loans, has made its second acquisition, NextGenVest, an artificial intelligence powered advice platform for Generation Z. NextGenVest helps high school and college students in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia with their college financial needs through a combination of human “money mentors” and AI-powered suggestions delivered entirely through text messages.

OppLoans Named a Best Workplace by Glassdoor for the Second Year in a Row (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Chicago-based fintech firm OppLoans has been honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, recognizing the best places to work in 2019. This marks the second year in a row that the personal lender has been named to this prestigious list in the Small & Medium Business category. The Employees’ Choice Awards program, now in its 11th year, is based solely on the input of employees, who elect to provide feedback on their jobs, work environments and companies on Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites.

Backstage Capital-Backed CapWay Moves to Atlanta As It Expands Its Digital Banking Offerings (Hypepotamus), Rated: A

According to 2017 statistics from the FDIC, 16 percent of households in Mississippi are unbanked, choosing instead to use “predatory services” like corner store check cashing in their neighborhoods.

Allen founded her first startup, an app development shop, while still in college. After moving to Silicon Valley, Allen realized it wasn’t just rural communities that were underserved by banks. Inner city areas across the country, most of which are home to majority Hispanic and African-American populations, are also affected. An FDIC survey found that more than 15 million adults in the U.S. go unbanked.

In 2016, Allen founded CapWay with co-founder and fellow Mississippian Timothy Lampkin. The mobile-first platform is aimed at younger generations (think older millennials and Gen Z) in those unbanked communities to help them break out of the predatory economy cycle.

Finicity Announces Partnership with Princeton Mortgage for Effortless Digital Mortgage Origination (Benzinga), Rated: B

Finicity, a provider of real-time financial data aggregation and insights, announced today it is working with mortgage banker Princeton Mortgage to automate borrower asset verification for lenders. The agreement will provide Princeton Mortgage loan officers and borrowers with a faster, simpler loan origination experience that reduces both paper chase and headache.

NBKC Bank fintech accelerator participant wins $ 1M (Biz Journals), Rated: B

Onward Financial Inc., a member of the first cohort in NBKC Bank’s Fountain City Fintech accelerator program, won a $1 million award from the Communities Thrive Challenge, which is put on by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

United Kingdom

P2P Lender Zopa Granted a Banking License in the UK (LendIt Fintech), Rated: AAA

Back in 2005 Zopa quietly launched their P2P lending platform in the UK, the world’s first. It was the start of a lending revolution that has moved on to all corners of the globe. Today, a new chapter begins as the company announced that regulators have approved Zopa’s banking license. With that Zopa achieves another first: becoming the world’s first combined peer to peer lending platform and digital bank.

Zopa Says it Will Redefine Banking (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa explained that this is called the “mobilisation’ phase” as regulators put some restrictions in place. A full licence will be granted once it meets the conditions set by the regulators.

Zopa said it will begin its new service next year. The digital bank will include options such as a fixed term savings product protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), credit card and a money management app.

Pointing to a statement by the FCA that just “40% of UK adults have confidence in the financial services industry,” Zopa sees opportunity in becoming a digital bank unencumbered by green-screen legacy tech and unnecessary brick and mortar branches.

Zopa explained it would redefine banking with the following services:

  • Giving customers a fair deal as standard – with no catches like sign-up offers that aren’t available to existing customers or hidden fees and charges.
  • Making sure money management is simple and a real person is available to discuss
  • Going beyond ‘good enough’

Zopa: Bank launch won’t impact P2P rates (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

ZOPA has insisted its peer-to-peer lending rates will not be dictated by the savings products on offer when its bank launched.

It currently offers target returns of 4.5 per cent on its Zopa Core product and 5.2 per cent on Zopa Plus.

Thomas Cook to slip out of FTSE 250 index in quarterly review (The Guardian), Rated: A

Other companies expected to be promoted to the FTSE 250 are peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle, the retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone and the investment trusts Smithson and Woodford Patient Capital.

Funding the future of the UK PLC (Business Leader), Rated: A

Looking at 2017, we saw some encouraging trends and one of them is in terms of diversity and choice. We saw peer-to-peer lending grow at over 50%. It’s obviously coming from a smaller base as it’s a reasonably new form of lending, but 50% growth is a very strong outcome.

Tandem’s Journey Card strives to better users’ credit scores (Alt Fi), Rated: A

Tandem Bank has announced its Journey Card has assisted nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of its users to first-time credit or is helping individuals with poor credit history get back on track.

Due to the higher risk users it targets, the credit card carries a reasonably expensive representative APR of 24.9 per cent.

Tandem says it hopes to help the 43 per cent of Journey Card holders who have poor credit history, some of whom have defaulted with other providers.

CrowdProperty Provides Performance Metrics Disclosing Lending Returns Using Brismo Methodolgy (Crowfund Insider), Rated: A

Peer to peer property lender CrowdProperty is now disclosing their performance metrics using Brismo’s (formerly known as AltFi) standardized reporting methodology. CrowdPropert states that it is the first property development platform to incorporate the Brismo process which is described as an independent standard.

UK housebuilders back new online property listing start-up (Financial Times), Rated: A

Some of the UK’s largest housebuilders are backing a new property portal that will launch next year in the latest attempt to challenge the two dominant market leaders, Rightmove and Zoopla.

Barratt Developments, Bovis, Persimmon and Redrow have signed up to list their homes with the start-up Rummage4Property, as have Countrywide and about 30 other estate agency groups.

ARBUTHNOT BACKS MBI TEAM WITH £2 MILLION FACILITY (Arbuthnot Latham), Rated: A

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending (ABL) has supported a highly experienced Management Buy In (MBI) team, led by Paul Hampton, with a £2m invoice discounting facility to support Premier House Investment’s acquisition of Ralph Coleman International Ltd (RCI) and provide ongoing working capital, paving the way for the company’s exciting expansion plans.

KAMBO expands its reach with two native apps (Life Pulse Health), Rated: A

KAMBO is expanding beyond desktops to become accessible on our most coveted devices, our smartphones. With the introduction of two native apps, KAMBO’s lending platform will become one of the most flexible and diverse of its kind.

The KAMBO app is now available on iOS and Android, making it the first crypto-lending platform to have an app in the App store.

LendInvest Joins Ingard’s Buy to Let Panel (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Ingard, a compliance network, brokerage, and lending packager specialist, announced on Tuesday online lending platform LendInvest has joined its buy to let panel. According to Ingard, members may now access the lender’s buy to let range direct by registering through LendInvest’s online portal

China

Ping An GammaLab Wins Global AI Machine Reading Comprehension Competition (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (hereafter “Ping An” or the “Group”) is pleased to announce that OneConnect, a subsidiary of the Group, ranked first in one of the world’s most authoritative machine-reading comprehension challenges — the Stanford Question Answering Dataset 2.0 (SQuAD). GammaLab Institute of Artificial Intelligence (GammaLab), owned by OneConnect, scored 83.435, close to the human performance level of 86.831, way ahead of other companies in the challenge.

Another scenario is internet arbitration in universal financial inclusion. Small loan companies tend to turn to online arbitration, which is expensive and takes time to resolve, under the current peer-to-peer lending market. With the reading comprehension skill of GammaLab, the arbitrator will finish a case quicker, reducing the cost for arbitration.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes November 2018 (P2P Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintosleads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 473 million Euro.

I removed Unilend, as the platform has closed and the company has gone into receivership.

Source: P2P Banking

CORELOGIC LAUNCHES NEW AUTOMATED VALUATION SOLUTION TO HELP STREAMLINE MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATIONS (CoreLogic), Rated: A

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, announced today the introduction of its Total Home Value for Originations AVM solution.

The new Total Home Value for Originations solution is specifically calibrated and packaged to improve efficiencies when performing property valuations during the purchase and refinance loan underwriting process.

Becoming a Digital Leader: 5 Customized Fintech Strategies That Work (Cutomer Think), Rated: A

According to EY study, fintech startups have raised $41.7 billion in the first half of 2018 across the globe. So, what fintech strategies need to be implemented to transform the consumer experience on the market?

  • Consumers first
  • Rebuilding trust
  • Lack of credibility
  • Partnership instead of competition
  • Improving the quality of lives

Nasdaq buys Canadian alternative data provider Quandl (Finextra), Rated: B

Nasdaq has acquired Quandl, a Toronto-based provider of alternative and core financial data. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Australia

Crypto Lending Services Coming to Australian Markets (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

Helio Lending is the first independent crypto lending company to launch on Australian shores according to reports.

The company claims to be in the position to offer 50% more spending power to clients than they would have by holding on to their crypto assets.

Lakeba Invests in Lodex to Become Latest Capital Equity Partner (CryptoTechNews), Rated: A

Lodex, Australia’s first auction-style loans and deposits marketplace leader, today announced it has secured capital investment from Lakeba Group, an established Australian technology innovator.

India

India catches up with China, records 2nd highest fintech adoption rate: Here’s all you need to know (Financial Express), Rated: AAA

India is finally catching up with its neighbour and biggest competitor China. The country now has the second highest fintech adoption rate of 52%, only behind China’s 69%, which also throws a huge opportunity for India to not only make best out of financial services sector but also to disrupt it.

Southeast Asia

How Japan’s SoftBank and Its $ 100 Billion Vision Fund Became the Biggest Startup Story of 2018 (Inc.), Rated: AAA

UberWeWorkSaudi Arabia. The biggest startup stories in 2018 shared one long and influential thread: Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, its $100 billion tech investment fund, and founder Masayoshi Son.

The Vision Fund is backed by several prominent investors, including Apple and the government of Abu Dhabi, but its largest financial partner is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The country’s government, under crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, contributed 45 percent of the $100 billion, and in October announced plans to put another $45 billion into a second Vision Fund.

P2P lending can plug Southeast Asia’s US$ 175B business finance gap (Yahoo! News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has emerged as a popular alternative financing option for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia. In 2016, P2P lending generated US$115.01 million, which accounted for more than half of total market share of Southeast Asia’s alternative financing market. In an evolving financing landscape, P2P lending complements the services banks provide and support the region in realising its growth and development potential. The very fact that investment in the region’s startups tripled from US$2.52 billion in 2016 to US$7.86 billion in 2017 is a testament of the vast potential in Southeast Asia’s FinTech startups.

Businesses, largely SMEs, benefited from such platforms too. According to a Deloitte report, SMEs contribute to 40% of Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and hiring 70% of the region’s workforce. Despite the importance of SMEs regionally, support is generally lacking, especially in terms of financing. This is due to strict banking regulations imposed after the 2008 global financial crisis, which have made banks and most financial institutions increasingly risk-averse. This is evidenced by McKinsey Global Institute’s report stating that 39 million Southeast Asian SMEs (or 51%) lack access to credit.

Malaysia may issue more equity crowdfunding, P2P lending licences in 2019 (Asia Asset Management), Rated: AAA

Malaysia’s securities regulator may license more operators of equity crowdfunding (ECF) and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms next year, after current operators raised more than 200 million ringgit (US$48.25 million) for small firms since the industry was legislated in 2015, according to its chairman.

Singapore’s Milieu Insight raises US$ 730K to enhance market research platforms (e27), Rated: A

Singapore- and Thailand-based marketing software startup Milieu Insight has announced that it has raised S$1 million (US$730,000) from a group of private investors including former Rippledot Capital Director, Ravi Ravulaparthi.

Korean Fintech Startup HonestFund Attracts $ 12 Million Series B Investment (PR Newswire), Rated: A

HonestFund (CEO: Sanghoon Seo) has announced that the company, one of the largest marketplace lending players in South Korea, has successfully raised $12 million Series B investment.

Investment was led by Korea’s leading VCs and investment companies, such as Dunamu & Partners, MurexPartners, KB Investment, TL Asset Management, Bass Investment and HB Investment. This brings HonestFund’s total investment to $21 million, making it one of the most valuable Fintech companies in South Korea.

Canada

How experimental tech drives TD Bank’s mobile app (American Banker), Rated: AAA

While many banks have sought to employ experimental technologies when dealing with customers, including predictive virtual assistants, geolocation and advanced data analytics, few have brought all those pieces together to the degree used by TD Bank.

The bank has used such technologies live in production and won significant customer adoption, with its mobile app becoming No. 1 in the finance category in Canada for both iOS and Android. Mobile customers use the app 17 times a month on average, a figure that is growing.

OnDeck to merge Canadian operations with Evolocity Financial Group (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

OnDeck (NYSE:ONDK) will combine its Canadian lending operations with Evolocity Financial Group, a private, Montreal-based online small business lender, to create OnDeck Canada.

Africa

Peer-to-Peer Lending as a Means of Propelling Startup Growth (Modern Ghana), Rated: AAA

Capital is the livewire of any business, especially for startups and established small businesses. Hence, they are always seeking for some additional funding that is too small for an angel investor to get a return for their effort. Banks also think it’s not worth their time. That’s where peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is working to fill that lending gap. This model may be a solution for many small businesses that are struggling with just tapping smaller funding amounts.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday November 6 2018, Daily News Digest

Data from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP morgan and US Bank shows unbanked us online and mobile banking when banked

News Comments Today’s main news: Preview of OnDeck’s Q3 earnings. Credit Karma acquires Noddle from TransUnion, expands into UK. Lufax to move P2P lending to the blockchain. WeBank hits $21B valuation. Linked Finance loans up 63%. Nubank now worth $4B. Today’s main analysis: The unbanked approaches banking like everyone else. Today’s thought-provoking articles: HSBC, Barclays bucking the trend. International P2P lending […]

Data from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP morgan and US Bank shows unbanked us online and mobile banking when banked

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China/Hong Kong

International

Other

News Summary

United States

On Deck Capital’s Q3 Earnings Preview (Benzinga) Rated: AAA

On Deck Capital ONDK 26.01% releases its next round of earnings this Tuesday, Nov. 6. Get the latest predictions in Benzinga’s essential guide to the company’s Q3 earnings report.

Earnings and Revenue

Based on On Deck Capital management projections, analysts predict EPS of 12 cents on revenue of $97.33 million.

On Deck Capital EPS in the same period a year ago totaled 1 cent. Sales were $83.66 million. Revenue would be up 16.33 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Source: Benzinga

Strong Wage Growth, HSBC / Barclays Bucking the Trend (Peer IQ) Rated: AAA

QED Investors has raised its largest fund to-date. QED raised $175 Mn in its fifth fund which is focused on early-stage FinTech. QED also released their first quarterly newsletter. (Subscribe here) Matt Burton, the founder and CEO of the Orchard platform, joined as a partner and will lead QED Belay, the newly formalized founding stage investment platform.

SoFi and Marlette are issuing their fourth Consumer Unsecured deals of 2018. SCLP 2018-4 is a $549 Mn securitization. KBRA has rated the tranches A to D AAA, AA+, A+ and BBB respectively. SCLP 2018-4 is the first consumer unsecured deal to receive a AAA rating. MFT 2018-4 is a $266 Mn securitization. KBRA has rated the tranches A to C AA, A, and BBB- respectively.

HSBC and Barclays Leaning In, Marcus and Discover Pulling Back

HSBC and Barclays are launching new unsecured personal loan products. These products will complement the banks’ existing US credit card offerings while competing head-on with Marcus on its home turf. HSBC and Barclays are looking to capture a piece of the $140 Bn personal loan market, that is growing at an annualized rate of eighteen percent.

Discover and Marcus are cautious about the growth in personal loans and the potential for higher lossesGS will temper Marcus’s origination growth and not “chase volume targets”. We note that GS is the only bank whose provision for loan losses increased in Q3 – GS provisions rose by 172% YoY to $174 Mn, while loans grew by 72% – far outpacing loan growth (and what might be expected from loan seasoning).

There’s no excuse for ignoring the unbanked, big banks’ own data shows (American Banker) Rated: AAA

When community advocates ask banks to provide accounts for the estimated 63 million people in the U.S. who are unbanked, bankers typically raised two concerns.

Both arguments appear to be shot down by a new trove of data collected from four of the largest banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

Seventy-four percent of the 3 million previously unbanked people who opened accounts at the four banks in the past year are digitally active. In fact, they are heavy users of online and mobile banking. They are statistically no more likely to call or walk into a branch than existing bank customers.

Source: American Banker

Credit Karma expands into insurance with auto policy service (Reuters) Rated: A

Financial technology startup Credit Karma said on Tuesday it is expanding into insurance through a new service that makes it easier for users to find cheaper auto insurance policies.

The tool generates suggestions by analyzing government information on drivers and vehicles together with data from credit bureaus and public insurance rate filings, bypassing the need for users to manually input information into long forms, the company said.

Kathryn Petralia of Kabbage (Lend Academy) Rated: A

In this podcast you will learn:

  • How Kabbage has changed since they launched 10 years ago.
  • The biggest challenge they have found as they have grown.
  • Their approach to data analytics and the different data sources they use.
  • Why it is important to have a complete picture when a business seems to be struggling.
  • Why they have not pursued direct lending outside of the U.S.
  • Why their banking clients have been outside the U.S.
  • How Kathryn views the competitive business lending environment today.
  • Why banks are not going head to head against Kabbage yet.
  • What Kabbage is doing to foster more gender balance throughout the organization.

ForwardLine Accelerates Growth and Achieves a 350% Increase in Loan Originations (PR Newswire) Rated: A

ForwardLine, a nationwide direct lender providing affordable loans to small businesses, has announced strong results for third quarter 2018, achieving a 350% increase in loan originations over third quarter 2017. The company attributes its growth trajectory to strategic investments in technology, enhanced analytics, and an improved overall customer experience.

Majority of Americans Expect to Use a Robo Adviser (Plan Advisor) Rated: A

Fifty-eight percent of Americans expect to use a robo adviser by 2025, Charles Schwab learned in a survey, summarized in its report, “The Rise of the Robo: Americans’ Perspectives and Predictions on the Use of Digital Advice.” In addition, 45% say robo advice will be the technology that will have the biggest impact on financial services.

In addition, by the year 2025, 57% expect to use robotics, 55% artificial intelligence, 54% virtual reality, 53% big data, 43% augmented reality, 36% blockchain and 36% cryptocurrency.

However, when it comes to financial advice, people still want the human touch, with 71% of people wanting a robo adviser that also gives them access to human advice. Among Millennials, this jumps to 79%. This is true for 73% of Gen Xers and 64% of Baby Boomers.

Forty-six percent of Baby Boomers using a robo adviser say it is perfect for their life stage, and 45% of this demographic group expect to use a robo adviser by 2025.

Is This Community Bank’s Bold Digital Play The Model Of The Future? (The Financial Brand) Rated: A

Online mortgage lending has been a very large part of NBKC Bank’s business model, and remains so.

Now, people in all 50 states can apply online for a mortgage from NBKC. Its originations run between $2.5 and 3 billion annually, and the bank is one of eight mortgage lenders on Costco’s nationwide platform.

AGORA Announces Release of First-Ever Loan Validation Report for Seasoned Loans (PR Newswire) Rated: A

AGORA Data, Inc., a secondary loan marketplace based in Arlington, Texas, announced today, the release of the first-ever Loan Validation Report for seasoned loans. AGORA’s proprietary technology enables car dealers and finance companies to avoid compliance issues with the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z), by assessing in real-time any issues with the terms of a loan, either at the portfolio or individual loan level. This includes assessment of the loan APR, Finance Charges, Principal Balance, Total of Payments, Unearned Interest and Gross Balance. Violation of Regulation Z can lead to significant penalties and other legal issues.

Roostify Names Courtney Keating Chakarun as New Chief Marketing Officer (Business Wire) Rated: B

Roostify, a leading digital lending platform provider, announced today that Courtney Keating Chakarun has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer. Chakarun comes to Roostify from CoreLogic, where she served as Senior Vice President, Marketing & Innovation.

PeerIQ Announces Agreement with Liberty Lending (Globe Newswire) Rated: B

PeerIQ, the leading provider of risk analytics for consumer credit, today announced that Liberty Lending, a leading online platform that provides innovative borrowing solutions to deserving consumers, has entered into an agreement to license two PeerIQ products: Consumer Credit Suite and Analytics Platform.

United Kingdom

Credit Karma acquires Noddle from TransUnion and expands to the UK (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

Credit Karma, the US startup with 85 million users that offers credit reports and a platform to browse and buy other financial services, has made an acquisition to help it kick-start its first overseas expansion beyond the US and Canada: it has acquired Noddle, a UK-based credit reporting service with 4 million users, from TransUnion.

Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but Valerie Wagoner, Credit Karma’s VP of International (who had previously been at Twitter), said that it will be a full acquisition of tech and employees — 35 in all — and TransUnion is not taking any stake in Credit Karma as part of this deal, although the two will continue to work together with TransUnion providing data to Credit Karma, as it had done before.

As a point of reference — and a sign of the consolidation and competition in the market — earlier this year Experian acquired another credit scoring service in the UK, ClearScore, for the equivalent of $385 million. That service has 6 million users compared to Noddle’s 4 million. Competition authorities are still investigating that deal, and Credit Karma’s will also have to get the pass from regulators before closing.

Experian to Offer a New Trended Data ‘Multi-Dimensional View’ of UK Consumer Finances with the Launch of Credit 3D (Business Wire) Rated: A

Experian is launching a new range of services to help lenders evolve their approach to making consumer credit decisions, so businesses can make more informed decisions and deliver fairer, more affordable outcomes for their customers. It’s now possible to take a multi-dimensional view of a borrower’s financial health with Experian Credit 3D.

Knowing a consumer’s credit information at a single point in time only offers a snapshot of their financial behaviour. However, by using innovative trended and alternative data sources via Experian Credit 3D, businesses can access an unparalleled set of insights, enabling faster decisions based on a more rounded picture of affordability.

Insolvency reforms may hinder P2P loan recoveries (Peer2Peer Finance News) Rated: A

REFORMS to the way HMRC is treated as a creditor will make it harder for some peer-to-peer lending platforms to recover bad debts, an insolvency practitioner has warned.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his 2018 Budget last week that HMRC would be given preferred creditor status in business insolvencies to ensure tax is collected.

Simon Bonney, a partner at Quantuma, told Peer2Peer Finance News this would impact any P2P platforms accepting floating charges, such as stock, receivables or cash at the bank, as security on loans.

Goji launches SIPP wrapper for direct lending bonds (Peer2Peer Finance News) Rated: A

GOJI has made its direct lending bonds available in a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) wrapper.

Investors can now access the specialist investment manager’s direct lending bond through both an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) and a SIPP.

Its diversified lending bond targets returns of more than five per cent by investing in loans sourced by alternative finance providers in the property, small business and education sector.

Lloyds Banking Group to add 2,000 jobs in digital shake-up (The Guardian) Rated: A

Lloyds Banking Group is planning a major restructuring of its workforce, adding 2,000 jobs as it refocuses its operations on digital technology.

Britain’s biggest high street lender will cut 6,000 jobs but create another 8,000 as part of a £3bn reorganisation over the course of the next two years.

The job losses will be spread across the group transformation division, corporate banking, retail and community banking, Sky News reported. New roles will be oriented towards digital technology.

Alternative Airlines: “Spread the cost of a flight over monthly instalments” (Travel Daily) Rated: A

UK based flight search site Alternative Airlines, has put the cat amongst the pigeons with an announcement of a new deal with Affirm to roll out what the American company describes as its “fair and honest alternatives” to traditional payment options.

The new partnership will see customers pay for their flights in instalments, instead of one single tranche. Giving them the opportunity to plan ahead and even open up a travellers horizons by giving them a chance to experience more wide-ranging trips, with the US customers able to divide fees over three, six and 12 months instalments.

China/Hong Kong

Chinese Wealth Manager Lufax Eyeing P2P Lending with Blockchain (Blockchain Reporter) Rated: AAA

Lufax is transferring its entire peer-to-peer (P2P) lending portfolio worth “tens of billions US dollars” onto the blockchain platform, according to a post on South China Morning Post.

Tencent-Backed WeBank Hits $ 21 Billion Valuation (Caixin Global) Rated: AAA

Tencent-backed online lender WeBank Co. Ltd. has reached a sky-high valuation of 147 billion yuan ($21 billion) after less than four years in operation, becoming one of the world’s largest “unicorn” companies.

The new valuation is based on a legal document  attached to an auction notice on Taobao.com, which described the upcoming auction of a minor stake in WeBank.

WeBank’s latest valuation makes it the fifth most valuable privately-held company in the world, based on the CB Insights list.

Hong Kong’s appeal as a virtual banking hub is about to be put to the test as first online lenders arrive (South China Morning Post) Rated: A

Of the 29 virtual bank licence applications before the HKMA, submissions have been made by WeLab, HKT, Standard Chartered Bank, as well as an alliance between Australia’s Airwallex, Bank of East Asia (BEA), and mainland firm Sequoia Capital China.

There are 21.43 bank branches and 50.09 ATMs for every 100,000 residents in Hong Kong, higher than the global city average of 12.6 and 47.55 respectively in 2016, according to World Bank data.

European Union

Linked Finance’s loans up 63% in first nine months of 2018 (RTE) Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has facilitated loans of over €28m in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 63% on the same time last year.

The lender said it was on track for record growth this year.

It also noted that loans in the quieter third quarter covering the summer holiday months were up more than 62% to €9.3m, while average loan size also rose significantly – up 33% to €62,000.

International

Nubank is now worth $ 4 billion after Tencent’s $ 180 million investment (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

Nubank, the Brazilian financial services company, has raised $180 million from the Chinese internet giant, Tencent.

With the $4 billion valuation, it also makes Nubank one of the most highly valued privately held startups in Latin America.

International P2P Lending Volumes October 2018 (P2P Banking) Rated: AAA

Zopa leads ahead of Mintosand Ratesetter. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 481 million Euro. This month I added Crowdproperty.

Dofinance crossed 50M EUR total volume lent since launch.

Source: P2P Banking

The Fintech 250: The Top Fintech Startups Of 2018 (CB Insights) Rated: AAA

12 QED portfolio companies named to CB Insights’ Fintech 250 list of the most promising financial services start-ups: Shout outs to AvidXchange, blooom, CircleUp, Credit Karma, Creditas, Flywire, Klarna, LendUp, Nubank, Roofstock, Signifyd, and SoFi! (Credit: QED inaugural newsletter)

Source: CB Insights

Credit Karma

The company provides individuals with credit scores and reports and makes recommendations based on data accordingly

Klarna

Klarna offers safe and easy-to-use payment solutions to e-stores with the ambition to make e-commerce safer, simpler, and more fun.

LendUp

LendUp’s mission is to provide anyone with a path to better financial health. Through its proprietary software, it designs safe, transparent products that expand access, lower costs, and provide credit building opportunities for the population of Americans who currently have limited options within the traditional banking system because of low credit scores and income volatility.

Roofstock

Roofstock runs an online marketplace where retail and institutional investors can buy and sell homes in the United States occuped by renters.

The entire Fintech 250 list and report is available here.

Australia

New giants Afterpay and Revolut are redefining trust for the fintech generation (Australian Financial Review) Rated: AAA

More than 500 fintech aficionados hit the swanky Peninsula event space in Melbourne’s Docklands last week for the third annual Intersekt festival.

The three-day shindig, organised by FinTech Australia, debated topics such as how start-ups can capitalise on the loss of trust in incumbent institutions (exacerbated by the banking royal commission); and the extraordinary rise of “neobanks” around the world.

Anthony Eisen, co-founder of local payments star Afterpay, and Chad West, the marketing head of globally focused neobank Revolut, explained how they have lured customers by reinventing traditional fee models.

Unexpected expenses hit many of us, so here’s how to handle them (News) Rated: A

LARGE unexpected expenses are hitting the household budgets of two-thirds of Australians, and many are resorting to dangerously expensive credit cards to get themselves out of a financial jam.

Cars are the biggest cause of unpleasant financial surprises, according to new research by marketplace lender SocietyOne, followed by travel costs and medical bills.

The lender’s When ‘It’ Happens report reveals that 40 per cent of people would cover unexpected costs by borrowing money from family and friends, almost 20 per cent would add the expense to their mortgage, 31 per cent would sell stuff, and 28 per cent would take on extra credit card debt.

Asia

21 Remarkable Fintech Founders Under 35 in Southeast Asia (Fintech Singapore) Rated: AAA

Iwan Kurniawan, 28, Indonesia; Reynold Wijaya, 29, Indonesia Co-Founder, Modalku

Together with Kelvin Teo, Iwan Kurniawan and Reynold Wijaya founded Indonesia-based Modalku, called Funding Societies in its sister operations in Singapore and Malaysia, a peer-to-peer (P2P) digital lending platform that connects cash-strapped SMEs with lenders. The startup is backed by Sequoia, Softbank Ventures Korea, and Alpha JWC Ventures, and recently passed the US$110 million mark through more 3,000 loans to businesses in the region.

Rachel De Villa, 25, Philippines  Founder and CTO, Cropital

Rachel De Villa is the co-founder and CTO of Cropital, a crowdfunding platform that helps finance local Filipino farmers. Established in 2015, Cropital aims to improve the income and productivity of farmers through crowdfunding, providing scalable and sustainable financing. Through Cropital’s online platform, investors choose a farm or farms to invest in. Cropital manages the fund for the farmer making sure it goes to the right resources, assuring as well that investors will get a return on investment.

Abraham Viktor, 25, Indonesia  Co-Founder and CEO, Taralite

Abraham Viktor is the co-founder and CEO of Taralite, a P2P lending platform. Taralite’s loans are issued by financial institutions other than banks, also known as multi-financers, which allows it to reduce the interest rate up to 2% and extend the loan period of up to three years. The platform accepts houses, cars or motorcycles as collateral. Founded in January 2015 as Wedlite, Taralite graduated from startup incubator program Global Entrepreneurship Programme Indonesia (GEPI) in November 2015. Previously, Viktor was an investment banking analyst, first with Boston Consulting Group and later at Nomura investment banking.

Mohamed Abbas, 27, Singapore Co-Founder, Rely

Mohamed Abbas is a tech entrepreneur and the co-founder of Rely, a startup that enables online shoppers to shop and pay for their purchases by splitting their cost into manageable monthly payments, interest-free. Abbas is also the co-founder of Onelyst, an online marketplace that helps users from lower-income brackets compare loan rates across different licensed moneylenders. The website allows users to find loans for different purposes, such as medical or rental expenses, and produces a list of personalized options in minutes.

Gov’t To Launch Crowdfunding Platform To Help Home Buyers (Property Guru) Rated: A

The federal government announced during the tabling of Budget 2019 on Friday (2 November) that it will introduce a “property crowdfunding” platform by Q1 2019 to help Malaysians buying their first homes, reported Bernama.

On Sunday (4 November), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the scheme is the first of its kind in the world, and will enable people to buy a home as long as they can a pay the 20 percent down payment, which can be financed via savings, debts or withdrawals from their Employee Provident Fund (EPF) account. The remaining 80 percent will be funded by investors via peer-to-peer lending supervised by the Securities Commission.

Dubbed as FundMyHome.com, the property crowdfunding platform is expected to help the Pakatan Harapan administration fulfil its election promise of one million low-cost housing within 10 years.

Malaysia teams up with The Edge on property financing portal (Tech in Asia) Rated: B

CIMB and Maybank are the participating institutions that will contribute towards the externally funded 80-percent portion of the house price, with more expected to sign up in the future.

The site – developed by finance and real estate media platform The Edge – will list about 1,000 homes costing less than US$120,000 during the first phase of its rollout. All properties listed will be completed or near completion, and buyers looking for rental income will be allowed to “buy to rent” through the portal.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 16 2018, Daily News Digest

Friday March 16 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi CEO’s top 3 things to focus on. KBRA assigns prelim ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2018-1. Funding Circle fund dividend in line with target. Assetz Capital secures new funding. Experian acquires ClearScore. Today’s main analysis: Credit analysis and valuation methods for MPL. (A MUST-READ) Today’s thought-provoking articles: Top 5 trends of institutional […]

Friday March 16 2018, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Other

News Summary

United States

New SoFi CEO Anthony Noto on the 3 things his fintech company must do to outpace competition (CNBC), Rated: AAA

“First, we have to have the best selection — and not just selection of each product, but variations of those products,” Noto said. “Second, we have to provide unmatched convenience. Anytime, anywhere, on any device, you should be able to access all of your financial information, do any activity that you want across the broad spectrum of products that we’ll launch over time.”

Noto’s third initiative for the company — which helps its “members,” or customers, refinance student and mortgage loans, take out personal loans and even get career advice — had to do with speed.

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2018-1 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to four classes of notes issued by Prosper Marketplace Lending Issuance Trust 2018-1 (“PMIT 2018-1”). This is a $647.5 million consumer loan ABS transaction.

Preliminary Ratings Assigned: Prosper Marketplace Issuance Trust, Series 2018-1

Class Preliminary Rating Expected Initial Class Principal
A A+ (sf) $387,800,000
B BBB (sf) $112,000,000
C BB (sf) $79,450,000
D B+ (sf) $68,250,000

Credit Analysis and Valuation Methods for Marketplace Lending Loan Portfolios (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

As Marketplace lenders continue to lend at a fast pace, there has been a significant increase in the past several years in non-bank consumer, student and small business lending.

1. What are the most prevalent methods of valuing loan portfolios today?

Discounted cashflow (DCF) methodology at the loan or cohort level is the most prevalent valuation methodology used today to value marketplace loan portfolios and related assets, including tranches in securitizations and servicing rights, regardless of the lending vertical.

2. Are valuation methods standardized? If not, why not? How does this lack of a valuation standard affect investors?

Marketplace lending is a fragmented space, and it is also diverse, with innovative forms of underwriting and funding methods being deployed.

3. How do loan valuation methods differ across lending verticals?

Marketplace lending verticals cover a wide spectrum of product, ranging from $500 installment loans, to $100,000 merchant cash advances (MCAs) made to small businesses, to sub-650 FICO unsecured consumer loans to credit impaired borrowers, to student loans extended to borrowers in medical school with high future earning potential. Thus, any methodology that falls short of incorporating all impactful data to project full cashflows does not do justice to the portfolio. In essence, the assumptions used in the DCF are based on loan characteristics that have the biggest impact on prepayment, default, and recovery behavior. These loan characteristics depend on the asset class but often include underwritten payment schedule (e.g. 36 months amortizing term, 60 months amortizing term, daily pay MCA, etc.) credit metrics (e.g. FICO bands, platform ratings, repeat borrower flags), loan size (e.g. <$5K, $20-$30K, etc.), note rate, and more. These assumptions then feed into the DCF model to project principal and interest cashflows generated from the loan portfolio, incorporating prepayments and defaults, net of recoveries.

7. What about the secondary market? How are deals priced relative to what valuation methods tell us they should be priced? How do valuation analysts obtain information about private sales of loans? In the securitization market is there a valuation standard? How are these deals priced relative to the valuation of the underlying loans?

While many new platforms have started originating in the past few years, several lenders have been originating loans since early 2010s, albeit initially at lower volumes. Data on these loans has been normalized and made available for analysis by firms such as PeerIQ and dv01. More established lenders have returned to securitization markets as issuers with sizeable deals.

The Top 5 Trends of Institutional Investors Allocating Capital to Marketplace Lending (Lendit), Rated: AAA

The types of institutional investors allocating to the marketplace lending asset class has changed dramatically, from mostly family offices and fund of funds about five years ago to institutional investors such as pensions, endowments and sovereign wealth funds today.

It is a big shift from what the typical fund used to look like just a few years ago, which:

  1. only purchased loans from origination platforms
  2. invested only in consumer loans
  3. invested in loans only from the largest platforms such as Prosper and Lending Club
  4. used a credit model to purchase only select loans from the platforms (active buying versus passively buying)
  5. offered only one fund to allocators

The expansion of institutional investors has ushered in higher investment standards for this asset class which now require a very high level of portfolio management expertise, risk management oversight and robust operational infrastructure before making an allocation.

As a result, these allocators and investors have generally shifted investment activity towards the top five trends:

  1. investing through a combination of loans, securitizations and warehouse lines of credit
  2. investing in multiple sub-asset classes
  3. using both well established and newer origination platforms
  4. investing both actively and passively from platform
  5. investing through multiple sub-asset class funds

Marketplace Lending Update: Who’s My Lender? (Lexology), Rated: A

Over the last several weeks, two notable cases in federal court challenging certain aspects of the business model of marketplace lending companies headed down separate paths. First, in an action brought against Kabbage, Inc. and Celtic Bank Corporation in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts,1 the parties agreed to, and the Court approved, a stipulation staying the proceedings pending an arbitrator’s review of whether the claims in that action are covered by the arbitration provisions in the governing loan agreements. Second, in an action against marketplace lender Avant in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado,2 the Court accepted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to remand the case to state court over Avant’s objection.

Online lender’s new target: Small businesses waiting to get paid (American Banker), Rated: A

According to Fundbox, it takes the average small business 21 days to get paid, 81% of small- business invoices are 30 days past due, and the value of small businesses’ unpaid invoices is $825 billion — which is equivalent to 5% of U.S. GDP.

Source: Fundbox

Fundbox’s underwriting software pulls data from accounting systems, invoicing systems, payments (e.g. screen scraping from PayPal), public records, web interactions, social networks and tax returns. It uses artificial intelligence to assess the creditworthiness of the company and can render a credit decision in minutes based on the business’s incoming and outgoing invoices. Borrowers pay by the week for whatever credit they use.

Using the new Fundbox Pay product, a small business that has provided a product or service (a lawyer, say, or a construction company) puts in a request for payment and gets paid immediately by Fundbox. The seller pays a 2.9% transaction fee, in return for immediate cash flow and not having to worry about the buyer defaulting.

Even Financial Expands Partnership with Credit.com (Credit.com), Rated: A

Even Financial, the technology platform powering financial services online, has expanded its strategic partnership with Credit.com, a go-to source for expert information about credit scoring, credit reporting, credit cards and personal finance. Even Financial will now power Credit.com’s personal loans marketplace, as well as its related content tools.

With this expanded partnership, Credit.com will provide its users access with a native, personalized and optimized loan matching experience, powered by Even Financial’s proprietary technology. Even’s technology utilizes machine learning, big data and an extensive network of touchpoints and financial products to provide a personalized experience.

Consumer Capital Files For $ 40 Million Nasdaq IPO (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Consumer Capital Group (OTCQB:CCGN) intends to sell shares of its common stock for gross proceeds of $40 million from a U.S. IPO, according to an S-1 registration statement.

The firm aims to become a one-stop shop that focuses on lending service for micro, small-to-medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”) in China. The company is specifically engaged with micro financing services and financial advisory services, operating through the subsidiary Arki E-Commerce, and VIE, Arki Network.

Digital Assets Data Raises Seed Funding Round (Finsmes), Rated: B

Digital Assets Data, a NYC-based fintech startup, raised a seed funding round of undisclosed amount.

Vestigo Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on fintech, made the investment. In conjunction with the funding, Mark Casady, general partner of Vestigo Ventures, will serve on Digital Assets Data’s Advisory Board.

 

United Kingdom

Funding Circle fund announces on target dividend (AltFiNews), Rated: AAA

The £311m Funding Circle SME Income fund has revealed its latest dividend of 1.625p per share, in line with its forecast rate.

Its eighth pay-out and seventh at the same level – it’s first was 1p, the latest dividend will be paid on 30 April 2018 to shareholders on the register as at the close of business on 23 March 2018 (the record date) and the corresponding ex-dividend date will be 22 March 2018.

Assetz Capital secures new line of institutional funding (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ASSETZ Capital has secured a new line of institutional funding that it says will widen its scope and scale of lending.

The peer-to-peer lender said the unnamed institutional investor was part of a $100bn (£71.5bn) global multi-asset manager and would provide funding dedicated to the residential property bridging, refurbishment and conversion markets.

Monzo adds investments and peer-to-peer lending to its marketplace (AltFiNews), Rated: A

In an update to its first release, Monzo has added a new category to its marketplace beta: investments.

Source: AltFi

AltFi can now reveal that users on the beta are able to access digital wealth investment accounts from Scalable CapitalWealthifyWealthsimple and WiseAlpha, peer-to-peer lending accounts with Zopa, and property-backed investments with Bricklane.com and Octopus Choice.

Challenger banks are edging ahead of the high street on savings (AltFiNews), Rated: A

Challenger banks like OakNorth, Masthaven, Aldermore and Axis Bank are coming out ahead of the game by offering savings rates more than 1 per cent higher than the average offered by high street incumbents.

New research conducted by fellow challenger Gatehouse Bank revealed today that the average one year fixed-term deposit account offered by UK challengers pays 1.82 per cent on average in interest returns, compared to 0.63 per cent by high street competitors.

Likewise, the average 2 year fixed-term deposit account at a challenger bank pays 1.29 per cent more than the high street, coming in at 2.05 per cent on average compared to only 0.76 per cent from incumbents.

Source AltFi

 

Experienced bankers are moving into alternative finance sector (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Experienced bankers are moving into the alternative finance sector, creating an ideal environment for SMEs seeking finance, according to alternative finance provider ThinCats.

The shift towards digital banking was highlighted in a 2016 study from the Federation of Small Businesses, with 1,500 towns being without bank branches as banks aim to direct their customers towards digital banking.

Whilst more than 90 per cent of small businesses use internet banking, face-to-face services are still valuable to businesses when it comes to making decisions regarding the future of their company and obtaining finance.

SMEs becoming more aware of P2P lending (Peer2Peer Finance), Rated: A

The latest SME Finance Monitor, from insight agency BDRC, shows 32 per cent of the 130,000 firms interviewed were aware of P2P lending in the fourth quarter of 2017 .

When combined with crowdfunding, awareness of these forms of finance was 46 per cent. This was up from 36 per cent at the start of 2017.

Larger SMEs tend to be more aware of P2P, the research shows, with 48 per cent of firms with 50 to 249 employees familiar with the sector, compared with just 32 per cent of one-man bands and 31 per cent of those with fewer than 10 members of staff.

 

 

P2P platform sees strong growth in investors (AltFiNews), Rated: A

P2P lending platform Lendy has grown its investor base to 20,000 in the past year, according to a statement by the firm, representing a more than 50 per cent increase.

The secured property lender has seen strong demand in particular from investors under 40 years of age. It had 13,000 investors in total a year ago, it says. Investors aged below 40 now represent 50 per cent of the property platform’s investor base.

Investors, Lendy adds, have now received more than £37m in interest from Lendy loans since inception in 2012, up from £16m at the end of 2016.

Lenders warned against selling products to vulnerable consumers (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: B

In a speech to the Credit Summit on Thursday, Jonathan Davidson, executive director of supervision – retail and authorisations at the FCA, said there are worrying numbers of households who are too deeply in debt.

He said one in five mortgages today are interest-only mortgages, many of which were made at the height of the credit boom to borrowers with little equity in their homes and not a lot of disposable income. These mortgages will not mature until about 2032.

He said the £14.8m fine paid by rent-to-own firm BrightHouse last year shows how seriously the regulator takes the issue.

On a more positive note, Davidson reassured the industry that consumer debt in the UK has not reached levels that are likely to be harmful to lenders.

He also said there has been progress by the sector in addressing conduct issues and that “by and large you do a good job for us, your customers”.

European Union

Revolut adds direct debits in Europe (Tech Crunch) Rated: AAA

Fintech startup Revolut is slowly making traditional bank accounts irrelevant. The company is adding direct debits in EUR to make it easier to pay for utilities and subscription services.

The Top Three Irish Startups to Watch Out For This St. Patrick’s Day (Red Herring), Rated: A

Mingo

Backed to the tune of €650m ($800m) Mingo has clearly impressed more than a few crypto-noobs. Its versatility and learning curve should ensure it stays ahead of the crowd heading past St. Pat’s into the 2018 summer.

Flender

The company already has dozens of success stories to tell since its 2014 foundation – including itself, which has raised $1.5m to date.

“We’re addressing two markets across two countries with Flender: business lending and consumer lending in the UK and Ireland – an established market currently worth £2.5bn ($3.46bn) per annum,” co-founder and sales director Oli Cavanagh recently told Silicon Republic.

International

PayPal CEO sees international potential as countries like India skip over legacy fintech (CNBC), Rated: AAA

For PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, the main driver of his company’s gains to date has been “the digitization of cash.”

With 227 million subscribers, 65 percent of whom reside outside of North America, PayPal has seized on this “explosion” of digital payments around the world, Schulman said.

In its latest quarter, PayPal added 8.6 million net new active users, a record since Schulman joined the payment processing giant as president and CEO in 2014.

With over 50 percent of its revenues coming from outside North America, PayPal has started to leverage its international ecosystem to benefit small businesses in the United States as well, the CEO said.

“In North America, … only 5 percent of small businesses export internationally. Eighty percent of small businesses on PayPal in the U.S. export internationally,” Schulman said.

Experian Acquires ClearScore for $ 385 Million (Finovate), Rated: AAA

About a year after Experian received authorization from the U.K.’s FCA, the company has made further inroads into the nation with the acquisition of U.K.-based ClearScore. The deal is anticipated to close for $385 million (£275 million).

Founded in 2014, ClearScore has onboarded 6 million members in the U.K. through its free membership model. The company matches individuals to personal financial products, offers free credit reports, and provides financial education.  The company is projected to generate $55 million in revenue in 2018, a 50% increase over what it earned in 2017.

Debitum Network (DEB) gets listed on KuCoin (Crypto Insider), Rated: A

Debitum is a borderless, small business financing network that seeks to revolutionize the alternative finance industry to enable more small to medium businesses to obtain loans in situations that may previously have been difficult, time consuming, or outright impossible.

According to a review by the World Bank, although SMEs’ more than 2/3rds of SMEs do not have access to credit. Over recent years alternative financing via peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, balance-sheet lending, invoice trading (loans backed by account receivables) and VAT financing, has served to assist financing for SMEs, however no single solution encompasses all fields of business.

As a result, the global credit gap still stands at a whopping $2 trillion, accounted by the World Bank Organization and the IFC.

Singapore and Lithuania agree fintech collaboration deal (Finextra), Rated: B

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Lithuania have agreed to work together to support the development of the FinTech ecosystems and encourage greater financial innovation in the two countries.

The FinTech Co-operation Agreement between the two countries was signed on the sidelines of the Money 20/20 Asia conference in Singapore today.

Australia/New Zealand

Guidance For Crowdfunding And Peer- to-Peer Lending Published (Proshare), Rated: AAA

FMA today published guidance on fair dealing in advertising and communications for licensed crowdfunding services, peer-to-peer lenders and the companies that offer financial products on these platforms.

The fair dealing provisions of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 ban:

  • misleading and deceptive conduct
  • false or misleading representations
  • unsubstantiated representations
  • offers of financial products in the course of unsolicited meetings.
Asia

Securities Commission to push ahead with digital agenda (New Straits Times), Rated: AAA

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and Bank Negara Malaysia established Brokerage Industry Digitisation Group (BRIDGe) yesterday, a joint working group between the regulators and industry to accelerate digitisation of the stockbroking industry.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Singapore Fintech Market: Overview

southeast asia fintech lending

South East Asia (SEA) is finally embracing financial technology and marketplace lending is at the heart of this boom. The breadth and depth of solutions across FinTech Lending in the region is quite impressive and clearly signifies that a digital revolution is underway in the South East Asian lending industry. Top and Emerging Fintech Sectors in […]

southeast asia fintech lending

South East Asia (SEA) is finally embracing financial technology and marketplace lending is at the heart of this boom. The breadth and depth of solutions across FinTech Lending in the region is quite impressive and clearly signifies that a digital revolution is underway in the South East Asian lending industry.

Top and Emerging Fintech Sectors in South East Asia by Country

Singapore in particular has become a hub for the nascent fintech lending industry. It is the runaway leader in the region and holds 52% of the market share (both by number of deals and money invested). It is followed by Philippines which accounts for 14%, Thailand 13% and Indonesia 12%.

However, with so many different governments involved, SEA poses an overregulation risk. Already, P2P lenders here have to criss-cross through various layers of regulations that their competitors in other regions don’t have to face.

Singapore Fintech Market: Overview

Singapore has always been known as the technology capital of Asia; MNCs and financial institutions have considered it a natural choice as HQ for their Asian operations. Though Singapore has deep roots in technology and innovation but ironically it got on the Fintech bandwagon rather late. But with the support of regulators, Singapore has established itself as the “Fintech Hub” of South East Asia. Singapore fintech market crossed $83 million in deals during the second quarter of 2017. In 2016, investment in Singapore based fintech companies dropped by staggering 65 percent (US$605 million to US$214 million), as per KPMG International study- Pulse of Fintech. But interestingly the number of deals decreased by only two to 28 during the same period. The main reason for the fall was complicated authorization process for fintechs, but Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is working aggressively to streamline the authorization process, in order to attract more fintechs to Singapore.

Regulatory Ecosystem

“Over the longer term, MAS hopes to see more fintechs using Singapore as a base to pilot and then deploy solutions to other countries within South-east Asia, such as Indonesia and Thailand,” said Mr Chia Tek Yew, the head of financial services advisory at KPMG Singapore.

Monetary Authority of Singapore; the regulatory body has backed the fintech industry right from the get go and that is the reason why Singapore has become the leader in South East Asia. Some of those favorable regulations are mentioned below:

  • Last year, under the “FSTI” scheme, MAS committed S$225 million (US$164.2 million) over the next five years to foster the innovation ecosystem in Singapore.
  • It also developed the road map that showed the central bank’s move toward an open Application Programming Interface (API) architecture.
  • In association with National Research Foundation, it announced the establishment of a dedicated FinTech office to facilitate the use of technology and innovation in the financial sectors (FinTech office to review, align and enhance FinTech-related funding schemes across government agencies).
  • It also released a consultation paper on proposed guidelines for a ‘regulatory sandbox’ that will enable financial institutions (FIs) as well as non-financial players to experiment with financial technology (FinTech) solutions.
  • Struck partnership with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to help FinTech companies from their respective countries scale into each other’s markets and help reduce regulatory uncertainty and time to market and it is trying to strike such more partnerships with other countries as well.
  • MAS have also announced it will be opening a fintech innovation hub “the looking glass” to promote innovation.
  • It also released a consultation paper on proposed changes to the payments regulatory framework and establishment of a National Payments Council, whose key initiatives are to promote interoperability and adoption of common standards.

This highlights that though the regulator was slow from the blocks, but has aggressively covered ground to create a supportive environment for the fintech lending community.

Leading players in the Singapore Market

Capital Match ( an online peer-to-peer lending marketplace for SMEs based in Singapore and Southeast Asia. It provides SMEs with affordable working capital from professional investors through its online platform. It was founded in 2014 by Arnaud Bailly, Kevin Lim, and Pawel Kuznicki. Since inception, it has facilitated over S$60 million in cumulative origination. It has raised S$1,000,000 from three investors; Innosight Ventures being the lead investor. It offers business and SME loans and invoice financing facilities of S$50,000- S$200,000 with loan duration ranging from 3-12 months.

Minterest ()- Minterest is a peer-to-business financial technology platform founded by a team of former bankers with more than 120 years of collective experience in corporate and structured finance. It was founded in 2016 by Charis Liau, Ronnie Chia, and Wei Choong Loo. It offers various flexible funding options with interest rate as low as 1% and loan terms ranges from 3-12 months.

SmartFunding ( is a platform that provides trustworthy alternative financing solutions that are 100% focused on small and medium businesses. It was founded in 2016 and raised S$700,000 as seed funding. It offers invoice financing to SMEs.

FinAccel ( FinAccel is a financial technology company creating products for the retail credit sector for Southeast Asia. With an all-star team of investors, founders and employees, FinAccel is currently focused on disruption in the unsecured lending space. It was founded in 2015 by Akshay Garg, Alie Tan, and Umang Rustagi. It raised S$1,100,000 from various rounds of funding. Kredivo is the flagship product developed by the company; it gives ecommerce shoppers instant credit financing based on real-time decisioning. Jungle Ventures led the funding round in the company.

InvoiceInterchange ( is a peer-to-peer invoice-trading marketplace that provides working capital solutions to fund growth for small- to medium-sized enterprises. It offers both selective invoice discounting and the whole turnover invoice discounting to SMEs. It was founded in 2015 by Brian Teng and Nalinee Chinowuthichai. Investor fee is typically between 0.8% – 1.5% (per 30-days) of the advanced amount. Transaction fee is typically between 1.0%-1.5% of invoice amount.

Conclusion

Singapore has emerged as an undisputed leader in the SEA region but considering it has always been the gateway to Asia, it will certainly want to have a bigger share of the fintech lending pie. The MAS has laid out a well-thought out road map to attract startups and investments. With a massive demand-supply mismatch in credit, Singapore is poised to witness a marketplace-lending boom.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Marketplace Lending – The Asian Experience

SMEs in Asia

Research paper for LendingCalc Date: September 19, 2017 Introduction Marketplace lending is blossoming in Asia, following the trend in China where over 2000 platforms are purportedly open for business. The majority of Asian platforms were founded in or after 2015, a few years after the Chinese boom, and are able to incorporate the lessons learned […]

SMEs in Asia

Research paper for LendingCalc

Date: September 19, 2017

Introduction

Marketplace lending is blossoming in Asia, following the trend in China where over 2000 platforms are purportedly open for business. The majority of Asian platforms were founded in or after 2015, a few years after the Chinese boom, and are able to incorporate the lessons learned from the Chinese market. This is also facilitated by the flow of Chinese capital into the region.

As domestic Chinese marketplace lending platforms are virtually closed to international investors by capital controls, this note will focus on South East Asia, where regulators welcome the participation of foreign institutional capital in marketplace lending, as in the United States or the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, marketplace lending assumes a different character than their Anglo-American counterparts due to divergence in regulatory regime and business environment.

The importance of regulatory regime

Platform is the putative strategy and business model of marketplace lending. Lately the word “platform” itself has taken on hallowed meaning in the fintech world, particularly since the Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs proclaimed that “We’re a technology firm—we’re a platform” on Bloomberg Television.1 Unfortunately this newfound halo only obscures the reality that platforms are not equivalent across geographies, because it is their regulators and not the platform themselves that lay down the rules governing their structure.

To review the basics – A marketplace lending platform matches borrowers with lenders individually, hence also the term peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. Each loan may be matched to and funded by many lenders, hence the term crowdfunding; and each investor may match and fund many loans to diversify the investment. Exactly how the matching occurs is up to the regulator. The most relevant aspects are:

  1. Whether balance sheet lending (and hence leverage) is allowed;
  2. The responsibilities (and liabilities) to retail investors;
  3. The restrictions regarding institutional investors.

In the United States, Prosper and Lending Club are governed by SEC rules, and for all practical purposes behave like broker dealers. They originate the loans and sell securities called notes backed by the loans they originate under a program prospectus. They are technically securitizations, but unlike the CDOs of old, the notes do not correspond to tranched portfolios to enhance the credit rating; and no complex derivative is involved.

As for the three aspects above, broker-dealer designation implies that (1) there is no restriction to lend with its own capital; (2) sale to retail investors is allowed but strict SEC regulation applies and (3) institutional (or accredited) investors may participate.

To illustrate the divergence in the other extreme, China does not allow platforms to lend using their own capital, forbids the participation of institutional investors in marketplace lending and forces platform accountability to retail investors not by securities regulation by through strict disclosure policies. Curiously, under Chinese regulation, marketplace lending platforms are not technically financial institutions but are designated as credit information platforms.

Divergences in regulation directly impact the sustainability of the business. While not entirely obvious, marketplace lenders do spawn credit portfolios in the process, notwithstanding that the majority of which is eventually sold. Credit portfolios come with their long tails in loss distribution. How investors cope with the long tail and how platforms share this risk matter a great deal. The economics of a lending business, after all, cannot escape the logic of risk-return and the cost of funding. Peer to peer or not, lending has been about matching loans to funds for centuries. An unstable platform structure, begotten by clumsy regulation or a clumsy reading of regulation, will vitiate the revenues of the entire business. Structural risk is in fact the single most important risk factor in Asian platforms, and sadly, often poorly understood.

Large structural issues aside, smaller nuances, in cumulative effect, also influence the behavior of platforms. Lending cap is an illustrative example. While Singapore and Malaysia do not impose lending caps, Indonesian regulators have set a cap of SGD 200,000 per borrower, at least for now. Hence Indonesian platforms that are able to acquire a large number of borrowers consistently will generate portfolios with far greater diversification benefits.

The emerging market business environment

Small businesses in Asia face significant financing gaps. Such small businesses range from sole proprietors hawking goods in street bazars to more conventional small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with national or even regional supply chains. Measuring this financing gap is no simple matter. According to a study by IFC2, some 92 million SMEs in East Asia remain unserved or underserved.

As for access to personal credit, a large segment of the population remains unbanked or under banked. Some 55% of the word’s unbanked and underbanked population resides in Asia Pacific region3. The rise of marketplace lending (and fintech in general) is often hailed as the digital age’s cure to these chronic ills. The market size is immense.

That technology shall deliver the bulk of humanity from financial penury appeals to fintech idealists, and has rallied countless entrepreneurs under the financial inclusion banner. Reality, on the other hand, remains ever so unfailingly sober. Imperfect rule of law, absence of data infrastructure and deeply entrenched business practice define the business environment of marketplace lending in Asia.

Successful platforms adapt to this reality and thrive. The characteristics of loans generated reflect these adaptations, the most significant of which are negative enforcement mechanisms and partnerships.

Many Asian countries have just started constructing credit bureaus (e.g. Indonesia) or do not enable marketplace lending platforms to provide defaulting records to credit authorities (e.g. China). In some cases, the legal procedure to enforce default to prove financial fraud is too costly or burdensome to pursue. Hence negative enforcement mechanisms that seek to create negative consequences for unpaying borrowers supersede judicial options. These mechanisms need not be brutal or violent collection practices. For example, a notification to an SME borrower’s vendors, or the mere threat of one, could generally force the borrower into repayment or negotiation. Sharing a black list with other platforms or lending entities is also effective.

The use of partnerships is often motivated by negative enforcement, since partnerships generate a specific context where borrowers cannot default with impunity. For example, a partnership with an e-commerce platform that refers merchants as borrowers and freezes merchant accounts in case of defaults offers powerful negative enforcement. An agreement of program financing with a large manufacturer for its suppliers follows a similar logic. Some fintech practitioners coin the phrase “ecosystem play” to describe these mechanisms, but in essence such agreements rely on a partner’s ability to create and implement negative enforcement mechanisms and to bolster loan growth. Partnership loans therefore often feature prominently on Asian platforms, and well executed partnerships will provide platform investors with handsome risk-return.

At this point fintech enthusiasts may feel disenchanted that terms such as big data, machine learning or analytics have not found their way into the discussion. Such concern is partially warranted. The prevalence of data analytics in developed markets have reaped the benefits of data infrastructure efforts spanning decades by the private sector and the public sector. Lending Club could “easily” declare a credit score cutoff of 600 because Fair, Isaac and Company (now known as FICO) began building statistical credit scoring models in 1956, and because US public authorities have kept orderly records social security numbers to identify unique individuals, and because the US Postal Service began introducing the five-digit zip code system in 1963 which facilitated the construction of address databases. Most Asian marketplace lending platforms (with the possible exception of those in Singapore) must cope with lesser data infrastructure at the national level.

This does not mean that data analytics efforts in Asia will wither. The data landscape in Asia is actually more complex. In some areas such as credit bureaus, insufficient default histories simply take time to build up and will lag developed markets. In other areas such as the incorporation of social media driven payment data in anti-fraud modeling and supply chain logistics, Asia may leapfrog developed markets, as China has successfully demonstrated with payment infrastructure. As Asian countries fixate their attention on data infrastructure, marketplace lending platforms must navigate the data landscape as “work in progress”, but may also position themselves to contribute to the national data infrastructure through public and private sector partnerships.

For example, in Malaysia, private credit bureaus proactively solicit default data from marketplace lending platforms. In Singapore and Indonesia, more sophisticated private sector partnerships exist to share logistics, inventory and transaction data across regional supply chains between logistics companies, manufacturers and marketplace lending platforms to facilitate invoice financing. Data does exist in Asia, but who is willing to share what with whom is equally, if not more, important. Claiming technical superiority is inconsequential if the platform cannot sign agreements to unlock key data sources. The risk-return of loans generated by “automated” underwriting is not just about technical prowess.

Conclusion: What this means for investors

Marketplace lending in Asia offers investors fixed income exposures to a region of vibrant economic growth where conventional fixed income products are hard to come by, and without the volatility of marked to market instruments. The risk-return profile can meaningfully enhance any fixed income portfolio, but only for those who know to curate these platforms properly:

  1. Avoid platforms with structural risk.
  2. Seek out platforms well versed in regulation – and in dealing with regulators.
  3. Beware of platforms that boast analytics without explaining how they source data.
  4. Study how the platform implements negative enforcements.
  5. Look at how the platform handles partnerships, and who negotiates them.

The list is not exhaustive, but hopefully points investors in the right direction. If it reminds us of the business acumen of old, that should be no surprise. Lending is an ancient business, where risk emanates not from numbers but from human capriciousness. Those who can blend the latest analytics in capturing and measuring risk with the prudence to manage the psychology behind it will likely survive.


1 Bloomberg TV interview, June 2015
2 Closing the Credit Gap for Formal and Informal Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, IFC, 2013, p.8
3 See PWC DeNovo Q2 2016 FinTech ReCap and Funding ReView and datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/home

Author:

Terry Tse is a LendingCalc advisor focusing on the company’s strategic direction and global partnerships. He currently oversees global expansion at the largest B2B payment company in China, LianLian Group and serves as an adviser for the Southeast Asian P2P firm, Funding Societies. Formerly, Terry was the Chief Risk Officer at Dianrong, where he executed a ten-fold increase in loan origination for the P2P platform. Terry holds a B.S. in Mathematical and Computational Science and a M.S. in Financial Mathematics from Stanford University.

Wednesday September 21st 2016, Daily News Digest

Wednesday September 21st 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news:  Cloud Lending, Crowdnetic, and eOriginal combine forces to launch a complete turn-key product. Today’s main analysis: Very interesting bank API data and charts. Today’s main thought provoking articles:  Why wouldn’t 75% of banks buy fintech companies ? United States Cloud Lending, Crowdnetic, and eOriginal combine forces to launch a complete […]

Wednesday September 21st 2016, Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

Malaysia

United States

DigitalLEND Connects Borrowers and Lenders Through Rapid Deployment-Ready Customizable Solution, ( Press Release Rocket), Rated: AAA

Cloud Lending Solutions, Crowdnetic and eOriginal today announced the debut of DigitalLEND.

Ready for rapid deployment, the customizable and integrated DigitalLEND solution allows lenders to move online quickly and capture market share in this growing sector.

Cloud Lending Solutions : A suite of SaaS products that includes loan origination, loan management, lease servicing, marketplace lending and collections built natively on the Salesforce platform.

Crowdnetic: Lending Gateway facilitates the delivery of competitive pre-qualified loan offers from multiple lenders via API.

eOriginal: Enables businesses to go beyond simple electronic signature functionality to manage the entire lifecycle of a digital transaction in a fully electronic environment.. Vaulting, Transaction, and Transferable Records Services, including securitization of financial assets.

25% of global banks would buy a fintech company, (Business Insider), Rated: A

 

4 charts on the state of banking APIs, (Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

In Europe, PSD2 regulation, which goes into effect January 2018, will require banks to provide open access to customer, transaction and payment information via APIs. In the UK, the Open Banking Working Group has recommended the creation of an Open Banking Standard that will make it possible for banking data to be shared and used securely. Banks are getting their API strategies in order.
Most major technology companies, like Facebook and Google, use APIs as a pillar of their strategies.

API adoption is gaining momentum, with many banks in the process of API implementation.

he rise of APIs can also be seen in API request data from Xignite, a financial API company.

Though banks are starting to explore the use of APIs, they are still far behind other industries. In apigee’s State of API’s 2016 report, financial services do not even make it to the legend.

If, to quote Chris Skinner, “a bank is just a technology company trying to keep up,” it looks like banks still have a long way to go.

WTF is a bank API? ( Tradestreaming), Rated: AAA

Banks are beginning to open up their infrastructure to third parties, not unlike the way Amazon has done for e-commerce companies. APIs, or application programming interfaces, are the hooks and software used by programmers to build applications that connect to other firms’ technology. Banks with APIs enable fintech firms to build apps that utilize their infrastructure, like checking account balances.

Many banks have varying versions of APIs available. BBVA, a multinational bank based in Spain, has embraced the API movement and has a series of open APIs available. Open means that these APIs are made freely available to any firm that wants to use them. Other banks, like Barclays, for example, have APIs available for their partners, but they’re closed, made available only to partners of the bank and given to members of bank accelerators.

APIs make it easier for new fintech apps and programs to focus on creating a good user experience while they essentially outsource the underlying banking features.

MPOWER Featured in Paper by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Payment Cards Center, (Press Release Rocket), Rated: AAA

Here is the Philly Fed paper.

The paper summarizes a workshop facilitated by MPOWER at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia earlier this year.

In a discussion paper issued today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Payment Cards Center (PCC) features MPOWER Financing and explores the company’s innovative way of assessing and managing credit risk. The report concludes that MPOWER meets a lending need by providing additional private student loan options, leveraging a forward-looking manner of assessing credit risk based on a student’s potential.

“Because MPOWER’s underwriting model is based on a borrower’s future potential versus past performance, it unlocks possibilities for many students who may not qualify for other federal or private loans.”

In fact, the report points out that while federal student loans are available to any U.S. citizen who has been accepted to an accredited higher education institution, the evolving marketplace is demanding new options as student loan need skyrockets. From 2004 to 2014, student loan borrowers grew 92 percent and loan debt in the U.S. tripled, resulting in a massive $1.16 trillion borrowed. Coupled with the more than one million foreign students enrolled at U.S. institutions who are ineligible for U.S. government loans, new lending sources have become vital to a student’s educational future.

During the event, MPOWER shared more about its business, underwriting model, and position in the student lending space. Diving into the rationale behind MPOWER’s forward-looking loan approach, the report summarizes key insights from the workshop and details MPOWER’s role in student lending.

Marketplace Lender P2Binvestor Provides MM Asset-Backed Credit Facility to Urban Lending Solutions, (Yahoo Finance), Rated: AAA

P2Binvestor (P2Bi), a marketplace lender for asset-based working capital, today announced the close of a $10 million credit facility with Urban Settlement Solutions, LLC (DBA Urban Lending Solutions), a company established by CEO Charles Sanders in 2002. This facility does not include any equity, warrants, or convertible features.

P2Binvestor (P2Bi) is a marketplace lender that provides revolving lines of credit of up to $10 million per B2B borrower.

Urban Lending Solutions and its affiliates are leaders in providing outsourced services to the mortgage industry including mortgage fulfillment,  loss mitigation, and valuation services. The company has been ranked in the top 20 of Black Enterprise Magazine’s BE 100s: The Nation’s Largest Black Businesses for the last three years.

Urban Lending Solutions needed a partner that believed in its business model and opportunities for continued profitable growth,” said Charles Sanders, CEO of Urban Lending Solutions, “and we are quite pleased to find and work with a lending partner that understands us and is as nimble, timely, creative and effective in meeting our needs as we are with our customers.”

RealtyShares Surpasses $ 200 Million Raised Through Real Estate Crowdfunding, (Business Wire), Rated: A

Comment: RealtyShares probably means  to use the sign > and not < . Saying you have less than 25k investors is not really useful.  Saying you have more than 24k investors ( likely what they meant to say) is a much better statement. Same for the rest of the infographic statements. Fun infographic otherwise.

In addition to this milestone, RealtyShares also recently announced that it has closed a $30 million line of credit through an institutional partner, which will allow the company to pre-fund every debt deal, as well as select equity investments, before making them available to investors through its marketplace. The credit line allows the platform to put its own balance sheet towards funding projects, bringing a new level of commitment to the investments listed on the platform and better alignment between RealtyShares and its base of accredited investors.  It also provides Sponsors with more predictability around the funding of their projects, an important aspect of any real estate transaction.

Lending Club: Invest In The Notes, Not The Company, (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Comment: please see our comments in line. I think it’s interesting to listen to the arguments but the path to the conclusion is unclear to me.

I believe LC is very similar to Visa (NYSE:V) and MasterCard (NYSE:MC) in the respect that they essentially charge a toll. This drastically limits the downside risk to their balance sheet.

1. Competition – The business of making personal loans is extremely saturated. LC is not only competing with another peer to peer lenders like Prosper, but they are also competing with banks and other financial institutions. Many of these companies have also been in the space forever like Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Discover (NYSE:DFS), Citibank (NYSE:C), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), etc. While LC claims they have the “secret sauce” when it comes to originations, one could arguably ask what differentiates their originations from the traditional lenders since they all use the same traditional scoring metrics when originating loans.

2. Economic Downturn – What happens to LC notes if/when an economic downturn happens?

3. Profits – This is the big one to me. LC has been around since 2006 and has yet to really be profitable. [ Comment: I think that on the contrary : showing the growth they showed while having multiple profitable quarters as they had in 2015 and early 2016 is an impressive. ]

My advice would be for investors to purchase notes off the Lending Club platform rather than the stock of the company, at least until the company proves they can actually make money. [Comment: I am not sure I follow. Point 1 above, on the contrary, means that buying the stock is better than buying the notes. Point 3 indeed mean it’s better to buy the notes. But point 2 means it’s not a good idea to buy anything at all. ]

Malaysia

SC to announce list of peer-to-peer financing by year-end, ( The Star), Rated: A

The Securities Commission is targeting to announce the list of peer-to-peer (P2P) financing before year-end. [Comment: I am not sure what list of p2p financing means, a list of p2p financing companies authorized ? Regulations ? Deals done ?]

Chairman Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh said that there has been an “overwhelming” interest applying to run P2P lending platforms. “We are looking to make the announcement before the end of the year, we have received an overwhelming response,” he told reporters at the sideline of Private Equity (PE) Forum 2016.

“Deal making has also been on a steady incline since 2012, with RM365mil worth of investments made by venture capital and PE firms in 2015, which is an increase of 59%,” he said.

Over the years, the SC has pursued proactive initiatives to ensure that the right incentives and structure are in place to facilitate venture capital and private equity activity.

One such measure was establishing a tax exemption framework that allows qualifying venture capital/private equity firms who have invested significantly in seed or early-stage companies to enjoy tax-free income, he added.

“Malaysia currently ranks 11th out of 125 countries assessed in the Venture Capital & PE Country Attractiveness Index, which measures investor-focused indicators such as economic activity, depth of the capital market, as well as the level of investors protection and corporate governance,” Ranjit said.

Author:

George Popescu