Friday April 6, 2018 Daily News Digest

Friday April 6, 2018 Daily News Digest

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi to roll out deposit accounts, debit cards next month. PeerStreet raises $29.5M. Welendus loanbook hits 100K GBP in 3 months. Weidai plans $400M IPO. Instamojo to expand into SME lending. Today’s main analysis: Banks slow fintech investment, revert to their own digital infrastructure plans. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Credit bureaus aren’t going anywhere yet. Blockchain […]

Friday April 6, 2018 Daily News Digest

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

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News Summary

United States

SoFi Plans to Start Rolling Out Deposit Accounts Next Month (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. said it will start offering deposit accounts and debit cards to some customers next month, the first major new product under Chief Executive Officer Anthony Noto.

The San Francisco-based company is looking to branch into various financial services as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ratchets up pressure on SoFi’s profitable center of personal loans. The startup unveiled a banking-like product, called SoFi Money, in January and began accepting applications to a waiting list.

Majority of Millennial Women Have Money to Invest, But Fear Holds Them Back (Markets Insider), Rated: A

The biggest driver of the investment gap between men and women isn’t knowledge or other financial obligations, but fear, according to a new study by SoFi and professional networking site Levo League (Levo).

However, while millennial women are extremely active in managing their financial status, and over 50%+ have the means to invest each month, the study found the majority of millennial women do not to invest due to fear (56%). Furthermore, the study results indicated the top two reasons why millennial women do not invest is because they don’t know where to start (25%+) and because they are paying down their debt (25%+).

Credit bureaus aren’t going anywhere. For now (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The breach of personal data on more than 143 million customers Equifax revealed in September was followed in mid-March by the news that an executive insider-traded stock before the public was notified about the breach. This week, Equifax acknowledged it had sent erroneous breach notification letters to an undisclosed number of people.

 

 

LendingTree Personal Loan Offers Report – March 2018 (Lending Tree), Rated: AAA

Lenders offered personal loan borrowers less money than they did last month, while offered APRs were mixed. Rate and loan amount offers varied widely among consumers, depending on factors including, but not limited to, credit score, income, and current debt obligations.

Excellent credit (760+ score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score of 760+ averaged 7.42% in March.

  • The average best APR offered to all borrowers with credit scores of 760 or above was 7.42%, a decrease of 2 basis points from the prior month, and down 22 basis points from the same period one year ago.
  • At $22,644, the average loan amounts offered with the best APRs to all borrowers with a score of 760 and above was down 4.61% ($1,045) from February, but up over 17.60% ($3,986) from the same period one year ago.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within this group, had offered APRs of 4.87% on average, and loan amounts of $35,669. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,021 by consolidating debt with a 10% APR over a three-year term.

Good credit (680 – 719 score): Offered APRs to consumers with a credit score between 680 and 719 averaged 15.89% in March.

  • The average best APR for all borrowers with credit scores of 680 – 719 was 15.89%, up 20 basis points from last month and 139 basis points from a year earlier.
  • At $15,993, borrowers with scores of 680 – 719 saw the amounts offered with the best APRs decrease by 175 basis points ($279) in the last month, but increased by 242 basis points ($386) from March 2017.
  • The top 10% of offers, presented to borrowers with the best profiles within the 680 – 719 credit score range, had an average best APR of 7.00%, offered with an average loan amount of $23,822. A borrower with this APR and loan amount would save $3,250 by consolidating debt from a 15% APR over a three-year term.

The most common reasons for seeking a personal loan are credit card refinancing and debt consolidation. These two categories comprise 63% of all loan inquiries.

Source: Lending Tree
Source: Lending Tree

LendingTree Mortgage Offers Report – March 2018 (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

  • March’s best offers for borrowers with the best profiles had an average APR of 4.25% for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans, up from 4.22% in February. Refinance loan offers were up 11 bps to 4.24%. Mortgage rates vary dependent upon parameters including credit score, loan-to-value, income and property type.
  • For the average borrower, purchase APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans offered on LendingTree’s platform were up 5 bps to 4.85%. The loan note rate hit the highest since March 2016 at 4.75% and was also up 5 bps from February. We prefer to emphasize the APR as lenders often make changes to other fees in response to changing interest rates.
  • Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.72% in March, vs 4.99% for consumers with scores of 680-719. The APR spread of 27 bps between these score ranges was unchanged from February and still near the widest since this data series began in April 2016. The spread represents over $14,000 in additional costs for borrowers with lower credit scores over 30 years for the average purchase loan amount of $238,593. The additional costs are due to higher interest rates, larger fees or a combination of the two.
  • Refinance APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 6 bps to 4.83%. The credit score bracket spread remained at 24 bps, amounting to nearly $13,000 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers given an average refinance loan of $239,668.
  • Average proposed purchase down payments were little changed at $62,758.
Source: Lending Tree

PeerStreet Raises $ 29.5 Million to Further Transform Real Estate Investing (Business Wire), Rated: AAA

PeerStreet today announced the close of a Series B funding round of $29.5 million to continue driving the company’s mission of democratizing access to real estate debt.

The Series B round was led by World Innovation Lab. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Thomvest, Colchis Capital, Felicis Ventures, and others participated along with new investors Solon Mack and Navitas Capital. The raise will accelerate PeerStreet’s growth. Specifically, PeerStreet will be broadening the type of real estate loans it cultivates from its network of lenders and hiring more world-class talent.

RealtyMogul Closes $ 2.75 Million Equity Investment in Plano Multifamily Portfolio (Business Wire), Rated: A

RealtyMogul announced that it has completed an investment in a $11.9 million multifamily apartment portfolio in Plano, Texas, consisting of 156 units.

The property was acquired through a partnership with Comunidad Realty Partners, a dynamic real estate investment firm specializing in multifamily apartment communities in densely-populated Hispanic neighborhoods. Comunidad reports to have owned and managed over $600 million in multifamily assets overall, comprised of approximately 8,200 units. RealtyMogul has invested with Comunidad Realty Partners on five previous transactions.

Stripe launches a new billing tool to tap demand from online businesses (Tech Crunch), Rated: A

Stripe  has made its name by providing developers with a simpler way to start charging customers and handling transactions, but today they hope to take another step by launching a billing product for online businesses. That’ll allow them to handle subscription recurring revenue, as well as invoicing, within the Stripe platform and get everything all in the same place. The goal was to replace a previously hand-built setup, whether using analog methods for invoicing or painstakingly putting together a set of subscription tools, and make that experience as seamless as charging for products on Stripe.

While this is a tool that’s a natural fit for something like Stripe, it’s certainly one that’s created a substantial business opportunity. Last month, Zuora — an enterprise subscription services company — filed to go public amid a fresh wave of enterprise IPOs that included Dropbox and Zscaler (and also, to a certain extent, Salesforce’s big acquisition of Mulesoft). Zuora’s subscription services revenue continues to grow, showing that Stripe will certainly have competition here, but also that there’s a large market opportunity.

Enhancing the Business Value of Loan Pricing Systems (Loan Pricing Pro), Rated: AAA

Today, FinTech companies, marketplace lenders, traditional banking institutions and many other types of innovative new lending platforms are using loan pricing systems to sharpen their focus on balancing shareholder returns with customer pricing sensitivities and market demands.

The lending landscape is changing, but the need to achieve an adequate rate of return while delivering fair and accurate pricing, remains a constant.

Source: LoanPricingPro

Read the white paper in full here.

Five Ways for FinTech Lenders to Achieve ROI on a Loan Pricing System Investment (ProBank), Rated: A

There are a variety of strategies to consider ensuring attaining a reasonable return on your investment in a loan pricing system. We’ll cover each of these in the form of short case studies that we’ve taken from one or more of our existing clients’ actual experiences.

  1. Enhanced Loan Yield Quantitative analysis can be easily used to measure the effectiveness of the loan pricing system implementation on a pre-test / post-test basis. The technique used relies on the same Funds Transfer Pricing (FTP) methodology which a robust loan pricing system uses to calculate loan profitability. To illustrate this, we’ll use a recent client implementation of LoanPricingPRO at a $1 billion lender.
    Source: Probank Report
  2. Increased Collection of Loan Fees In today’s highly competitive environment with historically low rates and generally weak loan demand, loan fees are often sacrificed, or at least underutilized as a tool for increasing profitability. As a general rule, the shorter the loan term, the more powerful the impact of loan fees on loan profitability and ROE.
  3. Decline in Lost Opportunities-Lenders using LoanPricingPRO® usually have a higher batting average when measuring the number of new loan clients against the total number of requests received or applications taken.
  4. Active Portfolio Management-When implementing a loan pricing system with an interface to the organization’s core data systems, significant new reporting capabilities are attained. Lenders are able to receive reports on and track trends in loan officers’ portfolios.
  5. Improved Discipline, Accuracy & Pricing Consistency-As has been shown, it is possible for senior management teams and lenders working
    together and aided by an accurate and appropriately calibrated loan pricing system, to significantly improve the return performance and growth rate of the lending client base.

Read the full report here.

 

A Third of Americans Would Forfeit Their Voting Rights For a 10% Pay Raise, Says Study (Time), Rated: A

More than a third of Americans would give up their right to vote for a 10% annual pay raise, according to a new survey.

The peculiar findings come from a survey conducted by LendEDU, an online student loan marketplace, that polled 1,238 working Americans. In exchange for the hypothetical pay bump, about 35% of these employees said they would sacrifice their voting rights for life. In addition, just over 9% of respondents said they would give up their children’s (or future children’s) right to vote for life for the make-believe raise.

But those aren’t the only big sacrifices the respondents would make for a 10% annual salary increase. More than 12% said they would break up with their partners, and nearly 19% said they would give up their health insurance for the next five years. Forty percent would forfeit their dental care for five years for a raise, and nearly 18% would say goodbye to their Social Security benefits.

Source: Lend EDU

DepositAccounts.com Releases 2018 Top 200 Healthiest Banks and Credit Unions in America (Benzinga), Rated: A

DepositAccounts.com, a subsidiary of LendingTree, today released its list of the 2018 Top 200 Healthiest Banks and Credit Unions in America.

Source: Deposit accounts

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them — How Banks, Fintech And Tech Players Can Win Together (Forbes) Rated: A

As tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and WeChat set out on their quest to be all things to all people, eroding the boundaries between industries, banks that want to maintain and grow their market share need to rethink the rules of competition.

While a growing number of banks have acquired fintechs to avoid fading into the background (

12 Best Bank of America Personal Loan Alternatives (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

Bank of America offers various loans — but not personal loans

Bank of America’s loans, however, are limited to two specific types:

Some online lenders with competitive interest rates on personal loans include:

LendingClub and Prosper, for example, are both in the peer-to-peer lending space. LendingClub has fixed personal loan rates ranging from 5.99% – 35.89%. You’ll need to check your rate with Prosper directly since it varies depending on your credit and borrower profile.

Marlette Funding Welcomes a New Advisor with a Focus on Innovation (LendEDU), Rated: B

Marlette Funding, LLC, recently appointed Marshall Lux as an advisor to its board of directors and company. Marlette Funding is the parent company of Best Egg, which is a lending platform that offers unsecured personal loans.

Jeffrey Meiler, chief executive officer of Marlette Funding, said Lux’s considerable experience in financial services and his expertise in the consumer market make him a good fit for the company.

FinTech Veteran Ethan Schwarzbach Joins inFactor To Head inFactorIQ Platform (PR Newswire), Rated: B

inFactor Corp, an integrated financial technology company providing liquidity solutions across the spectrum of non-bank lending, has announced today that Ethan Schwarzbach has joined the company to head up the company’s new inFactorIQ platform.

Mr. Schwarzbach joins inFactor from Orchard Platform where he most recently served as a Manager on the Business Development team. Orchard Platform is the leading provider of data, technology, and software to the online lending industry.

SOLO FUNDS ALLOWS YOU TO SEAMLESSLY BORROW FROM YOUR PEERS (Black Enterprise), Rated: B

According to a recent statement, SoLo’s founders uniquely understood the plight that American workers were facing every day because they too were once in their shoes. It is not uncommon to seek a small loan from friends and family, but the founders were not seeing a quick and easy lending solution to help facilitate the process.

Traditional banks don’t lend small dollars, and payday lenders charge excessively high interest rates that for many in emergency situations are almost impossible to pay back. There was simply no affordable way to get a small dollar loan. The team thought that the limited resources for small-dollar loans only plagued the minority communities like the ones they were raised in, but that was wrong; they discovered a more mainstream problem. According to the statement, 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck and 47% of the country can’t cover a $400 emergency expense without borrowing from someone else or selling a personal asset.

Liquid FSI Adds Key Board Member (deBank), Rated: B

Liquid FSI, a direct lender and creator of the Convert2Pay platform, which provides on-demand payment for medical invoices, added Barry Blecherman to its Board of Advisors.

While a few recent graduates of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering were helping the Liquid FSI team with some algorithms for their technology platform, they mentioned Blecherman, a professor of Finance and Risk Engineering at the Tandon School.

United Kingdom

Welendus loanbook hits £100,000 in just three months (Peer2Peer Finance News), Rated: AAA

WELENDUS investors have funded £100,000 of short-term loans in just three months of its beta stage, the platform has announced.

Nadeem Siam (pictured), founder of the platform, says a full launch of the product is planned soon but Welendus has already built up more than 4,000 users.

Klarna: 53% of retailers say “always on” sales are damaging profits (Tamebay), Rated: A

Research by payments provider Klarna shows that discounting is no longer confined to the traditional winter and summer sales. The new rules of retail mean discounting has become a fluid and unpredictable phenomenon with over half (57%) of consumers expecting regular sales.

The research of 500 British retailers highlighted the negative impact this can have on the bottom line of merchants. Over half of retailers surveyed (53%) say the “always on” nature of sales is having a negative impact on profits – 11% said discounting cost them over £25,000 throughout 2017. This isn’t felt just by smaller retailers, but merchants of all sizes – in fact, it’s those with 100-239 employees that feel the burden most with 66% saying constant discounts are impacting profits.

Investing Show: What you need to know about crowdfunding, peer to peer, and Innovative Finance Isas (This is Money), Rated: A

Stewart Cazier, of alternative lending platform Thincats, details what investors need to know about peer to peer, crowdfunding and Innovative Finance Isas on the Investing Show.

He explains to Simon Lambert, of This is Money, and Richard Hunter, of Interactive Investor, how alternative lending works, what investors need to consider, how to diversify and why it’s important not to consider it risk-free or put all your eggs in one basket.

Five questions for: Samantha Bamert, CEO of AskIf (Money Week), Rated: A

Ask Inclusive Finance (AskIf) is a commercial enterprise with an ambitious social mission – to close the sizeable funding gap for loans to financeable small companies unable to secure funding from banks. Smaller estimates suggest this funding gap could be upwards of £2.2bn per year.

Other research estimates much larger numbers. AskIf is a platform lender bringing together funders, a network of lending partners and the borrowers themselves. By providing support and funding to small companies, we’ll enable job creation, economic value and opportunity in many communities across the UK.

JP Jenkins – Continued New Initiatives (PR Newswire), Rated: B

JP Jenkins reports that its co-owner, Peterhouse Corporate Finance, has closed its 200th capital raise in the past three years, with a total funding of circa £200m for smaller growth companies.

Significant new capital has recently been provided by Malcolm Burne, a substantial shareholder and Executive Director, to expand the JPJ franchise further. The Company has also entered into partnership & collaborative agreements with US Capital Partners, private placements, Equidate a US private companies Stock Market, and Primary Markets an International Unlisted Exchange.

China

Chinese Online Lender Weidai Plans $ 400 Million IPO (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Chinese peer-to-peer lender Weidai Hangzhou Financial Information Service Co. is planning an initial public offering that could raise about $400 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

There hasn’t been a major listing of a Chinese financial technology company in the U.S. or Hong Kong since LexinFintech Holdings Ltd., which raised $124 million in a downsized U.S. IPO in December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Qudian Inc., which completed a $1 billion IPO in October, has since fallen 52 percent from its offer price.

European Union

Insurance and the Open Banking wave: seven use cases (Holland Fintech), Rated: A

Source: Holland Fintech

INNOPAY has defined a first set of use cases for insurance companies. The use cases have been mapped on the most important value levers for insurance to capture relevancy and see where exactly the use cases drive value. The mapping is presented in figure 1 and a first description of the cases is given below.

  1. New (cyber)insurance product for a new client segment: insure TPPs in PSD2 landscape: data sharing through third parties implies new (cyber) risks and thus accountability in case of data breaches.
  2. Better deal engines: PSD2 provides third parties access to payment account information data (AIS). This data can be mined and relevant insights on customer behaviour can be extracted. This behaviour can then be for example spending on insurance to see if a better offer can be made to the customer or looking for patterns which can imply a better risk profile and thus better pricing on insurance products for the customer.
  3. Improve personalised advice: next to mining, the data can be used to improve personalized advice. Although TPPs are by law only allowed to present the account information of customers, insurance companies can use that information to give advice about their financial situation.
  4. Optimise claims management: together with other data sources, account information that is shared by customers’ banks can be used to create new data sets that could be used to improve reconciliation and reimburse the right amount to customers and gain better insights on possible fraud (by looking at for example customer spending patterns).
  5. Up to date customer records: although there is no Open Banking standard yet and all banks are developing their own view and strategy on opening up data beyond PSD2 compliance, there are already good examples insurance companies can build upon.
  6. Expanding service proposition to providing accounts: with the possibility to execute a transaction (PIS) on behalf of the customer or to check available funds (CAF) the functional scope of PSD2 is limited.
  7. Digital identity verification: banks can help in identifying a person during a digital onboarding or digital identity verification process. This functionality is for example already operated by the banks in The Netherlands under the iDIN scheme.

Swiss Crowdlender Banks on Blockchain (Finews), Rated: B

A Swiss crowd-lending platform is using the blockchain technology to improve the way it brokers loans to companies. It will also introduce tokens as a currency of valuation.

Swisspeers, a Winterthur-based platform specialized in loans to small- and medium-sized companies is registering transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. The company is going to use the so-called Smart Contract developed specifically for its purposes, Swisspeers said on Thursday.

International

Not just dumb pipes: Fintech investment slows as banks try to gain back control (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Banks’ investment in fintech companies is slowing down as they refocus on improving core banking infrastructure, according to a report by CB Insights.

The Banks in Fintech report, released this week, found that banks have been foregoing big investments and partnerships over the past five quarters with a preference for building products in house — particularly in lending, payments and personal financial management. In both the U.S. and Europe banks spent more of their architecture investment dollars on capital markets software companies than blockchain startups.

Source: CBInsights

KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report for the fourth quarter of 2017 noted that while deal activity among venture capital and private equity firms remained steady compared to 2016, the earliest stage of VC financing could see fewer deals and a volume decline in particular segments like online lending in the coming year. It’s a sign of the industry’s maturity; banks are showing their efforts to “fight fintech with fintech,” Lindsay Davis, an intelligence analyst at CB Insights, said in a presentation.

Source: Tearsheet

Blockchain Integration Is Leading to a Revolution in Global Trade (The Market Mogul), Rated: AAA

In every step of the trade financing process, blockchain technology seems to offer an efficiency boost in commodity transactions and the global supply chains. From contract generation level, which includes time-consuming reviews of the operation by the Letter of Credit issuing bank, to the settlement level, which often proves problematic due to payment platform incompatibility, fintech offers smart solutions.

Although credit fintech is on the rise, blockchain was mostly used for peer-to-peer lending and that the trade financing gap persists, according to the Asian Development Bank. 70% of financial institutions which responded to the survey claimed that the technology would allow for greater exposure to SME risk, mostly because of significant cost reduction in compliance and due diligence.

Mambu unleashes digital marketplace (Fintech Futures), Rated: A

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) banking engine provider Mambu has launched its digital marketplace to offer cloud-enabled apps, products and tools for banking and lending.

Mambu Marketplace offers a choice of global and localised solutions which can be integrated with the SaaS engine. Its offerings are based on an API-driven architecture.

Will fintech realize its potential for financial inclusion? (LinkedIn), Rated: A

But it’s increasingly clear that many of the financially underserved are also technologically underserved. The GSMA’s Mobile Economy 2018 reports that nearly 40% of the world’s 5 billion mobile subscribers have no internet access; most of the offline, live in the low- and middle-income countries that could benefit the most from digital financial services. Many mobile subscribers live outside of 3G or 4G signal range, which slows service or limits what they can do with their devices. Many unconnected users must contend with poor network performance, high connectivity and handset costs, poor digital literacy, or a lack of locally relevant content.

Digital lending innovations: Small businesses face a $5 trillion financing gap. Inefficiencies in customer acquisition and analysis prevent lenders from making reliable lending decisions and entrepreneurs from getting the financing that they need. But new technologies and data sources can help small businesses: Mexico’s Konfio analyzes thousands of data points – including biographic information, financial history, electronic invoicing, and social media usage – to make lending decisions quickly and inexpensively.

India

Instamojo plans to expand into SME lending, logistics: CEO Sampad Swain (Livemint), Rated: AAA

Online payment solution provider Instamojo Technologies Pvt. Ltd plans to expand into business loans, logistics and advertising services for small merchants, as more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) turn to digital means to sell and market their product, a top company executive told Mint.

Bengaluru-based Instamojo, which focuses primarily on SMEs, currently has 400,000 SMEs using its payment service, and it is also targeting to onboard at least 1 million SME customers by the end of FY19, the company’s chief executive Sampad Swain said in an interview.

Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending – a Niche in the Financial Ecosystem (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Investment avenues are available either in the form of instruments per se (e.g. equity stocks, bonds, etc.) or as vehicles for participating in the instruments e.g. Mutual Funds, Portfolio Management Services, Alternate Investment Funds, etc. Some of the vehicles are available in small ticket sizes, e.g. Mutual Funds, whereas some require a sizable ticket e.g. PMS (Rs 25 lakh) or AIF (Rs 1 crore). There is a differentiated investment avenue, which is neither a tradable instrument nor a structured vehicle, but a facilitator for retail investors. This is called Peer to Peer (P2P) Lending where there is an online intermediary, which brings the lender and borrower together to facilitate direct lending by the lender to the borrower on mutually agreed terms. This is an online marketplace where the digital platforms like e.g. IndiaMoneyMart would conduct due diligence and credit assessment of the borrower and connect the two individuals.

Asia

Outsmarting the traditional experts with the aid of AI (Asia Asset Management), Rated: A

FinEX Asia offers Asian investors access to US consumer credit assets

Asian institutional investors often find it difficult to gain exposure to US consumer credit assets because of the diverse array of such products and a lack of investment channels.
Canada

Canadian Fintech PayBright Announces  E-Commerce Financing Solution is Now Available on IBM Websphere (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Canadian fintech lender PayBright announced on Thursday its e-commerce financing solution is now available for merchants operating the IBM Websphere Commerce platform.

According to PayBright, the e-commerce solution integrates with merchant’s e-commerce platforms and provides Canadian customers with an additional payment option at checkout. Upon selecting PayBright as a payment method, customers can finalize their purchases in a matter of seconds. Merchants then receive their funds directly from PayBright the next business day with no credit risk. Customers then pay for their purchases in affordable monthly installments over time, with interest rates as low as 0%. 

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday January 12 2018, Daily News Digest

bitcoin debt

News Comments Today’s main news: More LendingClub-IEG drama.Black Fish raises $145M.Moneygram partners with Ripple.Kreditech expands into India with Mambu. Today’s main analysis: JP Morgan Chase’s investments into digital technology.Is Yirendai undervalued? Today’s thought-provoking articles: Investors go into debt to buy bitcoin.Small business financing trends.How open banking could change how people manage money.Banks, trade finance, and […]

bitcoin debt

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

APAC

Africa

News Summary

United States

Lending Club has a bitcoin pivoting suitor (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Lending Club has all kinds of problems: a history of profit warnings, faint traces of scandal after a management upheaval almost two years ago, and a share price still more than 80 per cent adrift from its peak.

Add to that list: a bizarre, crypto-fuelled activist campaign waged by a Las Vegas-based payday lender called Paul Mathieson, who told authorities in his native Australia that he fled to America in 2008 because he feared being killed by a mobster.

Mathieson’s case for change at Lending Club, laid out in a letter to the company’s board on 2 January, is not a terrible one, on the face of it. He argues that the cost structure at the loss-making company, a pioneer in peer-to-peer lending, is “excessive,” noting fancy headquarters in San Francisco and “hundreds” of “excess” developers. He says that the board should consider a pivot to using its own balance sheet to lend, rather than acting as a broker, taking fees for matching borrowers with lenders. Underwriting has been sloppy, he says, resulting in sub-par returns to investors.

Mathieson is offering 13 shares in his own penny-stock company, IEG Holdings, for every share in Lending Club. At the time of the offer on Monday morning, that was a premium of 19 cents, or about 5 per cent.

Source: Financial Times

SeeThruEquity Issues Update on IEG Holdings Corporation (Bay Street), Rated: A

IEG Holdings Corporation (OTCQB: IEGH) provides online unsecured consumer loans under the brand name “Mr. Amazing Loans” via its website, www.mramazingloans.com, in 20 US states. The company offers $5,000 and $10,000 personal loans over a five-year term at rates ranging from 19.9% to 29.9% APR. IEG Holdings plans future expansion to a total of 25 US states, which would cover 240mn people and represent approximately 75% of the US population.

Since 2013, IEGH has obtained additional state lending licenses, and they are licensed and originating direct consumer loans in 20 states including: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Company was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

IEG Holdings Plans to Create its own IEGH Crypto/Blockchain Currency Backed by Gold Metal and SEC Registration as a Security

IEGH announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Investment Evolution Crypto, LLC (“Crypto”), is negotiating to purchase a gold project with gold metal in the ground and prospecting licenses. IEG Holdings plans to utilize a gold resource to investigate creating, through Crypto, and a joint venture with Investment Evolution Corporation, also a wholly owned subsidiary of IEG Holdings, its own gold metal-backed crypto/blockchain currency, and potentially offer loans and accept loan repayments in its own crypto/blockchain currency.

IEGH increases loan originations

The company stated that it provided $960,000 in new consumer loans through its online property mramazingloans.com, from the October 2017 to December 2017 period. This represented a 12.3% increase over its July to September 2017 operating period, during which the company’s new loan originations were $855,000.

Desperate to get into bitcoin, investors slip into debt (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Roughly 18 percent of people who buy bitcoin use a credit card to do so, according to a new survey by loan marketplace LendEDU. Of those, 20 percent have not paid off their balance. The phrase “buy bitcoin with credit” has been trending on Google for weeks.

Another problem with going into debt for cryptocurrencies is that people will have to pay back their debt before they see sufficient returns, said Erika Safran, founder of Safran Wealth Advisors. That may require tapping other resources, potentially creating further financial trouble.

Credit card debt from CNBC.

Small Business Financing Trends To Stay Abreast Of (CXO Today), Rated: AAA

  • Traditional bank loan rejections are notoriously high in all markets
  • Small Business Administration (and equivalent agencies) are nefarious for overextending the time-to-credit tolerances of small businesses
  • Volatility of markets, and exposure of almost all markets to disruption by startups could pose urgent cash needs for businesses, which are generally not considered for loan applications by traditional lenders.

Online Lending And Its Deepening Hold Over The Small Business Finance Market

In 2014, a Federal Reserve (US) survey concluded that one in five small business owners opted for loans from online lenders. Since then, the proliferation of online lending platforms has been on the surge, to the extent that traditional brick and mortar lending institutions have also had to move base to the online domain. In the coming years, multiple factors will result in the success and sustainability of online lending platforms. These include:

  • Growing confidence among small business owners to trust online lending platforms
  • Availability of cheaper, quicker, and more convenient loans
  • Options to truly personalize and customize the loan repayment terms to suit the business’ interests

The Call for Transparency in the Online Lending Market

Though the online lending market has been growing year on year, this doesn’t detract from the concerns around lack of transparency in the way some of these platforms operate. Some of the key concerns are around undisclosed APRs and hidden fees. In fact, some online lenders have been castigated for charging significantly high rates of interests from borrowers, often with service quality issues post-approval. Thankfully, there’s already some progress towards bringing a degree of regulation in place for online lending platforms to be at par with traditional lending regulations.

JPMorgan Chase Competitive Strategy Teardown: How The Bank Stacks Up On Fintech & Innovation (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan is making a bigger push into payments technology as digital banking becomes a strategic priority.

In 2016, the bank spent $9.5B on technology and Dimon has committed $300M alone to improve JPMorgan’s technology for its asset management products. Relative to its peer group, JPM claims the highest number of mobile banking customers and its Chase Mobile app currently sports a 4.7 (out of 5) rating in the App Store.

Earnings call analysis – Barclays, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley talking up digitization

  • JPM discussed continued digital consumer banking growth, which grew 6% in Q3’17.
  • Bank of America spent portions of its Q1’17 and Q3’17 talking about digital banking initiatives and technology investment. Specifically, CEO Brian Moynihan mentioned the bank spent $2.25B on technology initiatives in the first three quarters of 2017. The bank also now sees mobile devices account for 1 of every 5 deposit transactions.
  • On Morgan Stanley’s Q3’17 earnings call, Morgan Stanley CFO Jonathan Pruzan mentioned the bank is beta testing new customer-facing digital products it plans to launch, potentially in the robo-advisory space. Specifically, Pruzan noted: “When we think about our wealth business, it’s a business that’s built on scale. And it’s built on the fact that people with wealth want personal advice. So it’s going to be both a mix of technology and digital with the personal element of the advice channel. And we think that’s the winning formula going forward.”

Based on the data, JPMorgan ranks ahead of most bulge bracket banks when it comes to overall fintech investment since 2013, but behind its peers Goldman Sachs and Citi.

Online Marketplace Lender Nav Facilitated More Than 20,000 Small Business credit Approvals in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Nav, a small business marketplace lending platform, announced this week it has facilitated more than 20,000 small business credit approvals in 2017.

The company currently has more than 327,000 entrepreneurs now using its platform to manage their data and access capital.

Bono’s Fund Makes Its First Fintech Investment, Backing Acorns (Bloomberg), Rated: A

The Rise Fund, a private investment firm co-founded by the U2 lead singer, is making its first known bet on a fintech business by backing Acorns Grow Inc., said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

Georgia Company Acquires S.D. Fintech Startup LoanHero (San Diego Business Journal), Rated: A

LoanHero, one of San Diego’s few financial technology startups, has been acquired by Georgia-based company LendingPoint.

Terms of the deal, announced Jan. 11, were not disclosed.

Small-dollar lender Oportun to open 20 offices in Florida (American Banker), Rated: A

Oportun, a community development financial institution that provides small loans to individuals with little or no credit history, is planning to open 20 lending offices in Florida.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based lender said this week that it has already opened four offices in Miami and Hialeah and that it expects to add 16 more in the Sunshine State, primarily in South Florida, by the end of the year.

6 Key Trends in Fintech to Watch in 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Convergence of Software and Financial Products  One of the important lessons that Square taught the market is that bundles of software solutions (loyalty, POS, analytics, scheduling and many others) and lending are essential drivers in advancing growth of payment processing.
  2. InsureTech
  3. The Power of the Machines  Companies like LendingClub are using machines to discover new relationships and patterns to introduce more tailored financial offers to their customers.
  4. Emerging Economies  Many growing companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are developing and adopting financial solutions, often faster and with more innovation than in developed economies.
  5. Wealth Management
  6. Rise of Crypto and Blockchain

Google Pay brings payment tools under a single brand (Tearsheet), Rated: A

The Internet giant is finally putting its many payments capabilities — Google Wallet, Android Pay and Pay with Google — under a single name, Google Pay, after lagging for years behind Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Ladder Secures $ 30M Series B Led by RRE Ventures (coverager), Rated: A

CA-based life insurance MGA Ladder announced it has raised $30M in a Series B round led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Thomvest Ventures, as well as Ladder’s existing investors: Canaan Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nyca Partners . Ladder launched its fully-digital life insurance solution in California on January 10, 2017, and has since expanded to nearly every state across the country.

Fifth Third regains top CRA grade, an entree to M&A (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp has received top marks from the Federal Reserve on its most recent Community Reinvestment Act examination as expected.

Fifth Third announced the results on Wednesday, saying in a press release that the Fed gave it an “outstanding” rating on its most recent exam. The Cincinnati company had said in a regulatory filing last month that it expected to ace the test, which covered the period between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016.

A Beginner’s Guide to Applying for College Loans (Student Loan Hero), Rated: A

Student loan debt statistics show that more than 70 percent of students graduating from four-year colleges have debt, so you aren’t alone if you need to borrow to cover educational costs.

Step 1: Understand your options

  • Federal loans for students
  • Federal loans for parents
  • Private loans for students
  • Private loans for parents
Source: Federal Student Aid

Step 7: Determine if you’ll need to apply for private loans

  • Family contributions if parents or other family members are willing and able to pay
  • Savings
  • Scholarships or grants from community groups or other sources
  • Parent PLUS Loans
  • Private student loans

Step 8: Learn how to apply for private student loans

Because there are many private student loan lenders, it’s a good idea to shop around. You should consider:

  • Loan eligibility requirements: What do you need to qualify?
  • Loan terms: How long do you have to repay the loan?
  • Repayment terms: When do you need to start repaying, and is there a prepayment penalty?
  • Fees: Is there a cost to apply for the loan or a loan origination fee?
  • Interest rates: Is the rate fixed or variable? How much will you pay to borrow?

You can visit our private student loan marketplace to find private student loan lenders offering loans to parents and students.

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!

LENDER RATES (APR) ELIGIBLE DEGREES
CHECK OUT THE TESTIMONIALS AND OUR IN-DEPTH REVIEWS!
2.58% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT SOFI
2.57% – 6.39% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT EARNEST
2.76% – 7.25% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT COMMONBOND
2.99% – 5.15% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LAUREL ROAD
2.74% – 7.26% Undergrad
& Graduate
VISIT LENDKEY
3.11% – 8.46% Undergrad
& Graduate

 

 

Roostify adds tech veteran Adnan Habib as vice president of engineering (Housingwire), Rated: B

Roostify announced Thursday that it hired Adnan Habib as the company’s new vice president of engineering.

In this role, Habib will lead Roostify’s growing product delivery team and will be responsible for making improvements to the Roostify’s digital lending platform.

Roofstock Appoints Suresh Srinivasan as Chief Marketing Officer (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Roofstock (www.roofstock.com), the leading online marketplace for buying and selling leased single-family rental homes, today announced the strategic hire of Suresh Srinivasan as chief marketing officer. Srinivasan has 20 years’ experience leading marketing, product, and e-commerce functions at Fortune 500 and high-growth tech startups. Most recently serving as the SVP of Marketing for Xome, Srinivasan brings a deep understanding of the fast-growing real estate technology sector to Roofstock where he will be responsible for accelerating growth of Roofstock’s marketplace for single-family rental homes and developing the company’s partnership network.

United Kingdom

An invisible banking reform that ‘could fundamentally change how we manage our money’ is days away (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Regulators in Europe and the UK are ordering banks and credit card companies to share customer data with other companies if their customers agree. The companies will also be able to carry out payments on a customers’ behalf.

Open Banking forces lenders to offer a digital “fire hose” of data that any third party can use to get standardised access — provided the startup is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the customer agrees to share their data. They won’t have to negotiate deals with banks, just plug into their digital systems and go.

The aim of Opening Banking is to give customers greater control over their data and to encourage account switching.

An investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority in 2015 found just 3% of customers switched their banks in the last year, meaning many were left with accounts that were not right for them.

 

ThinCats Says 2018 is Poised for Growth in SME Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

ThinCats says 2018 is poised for growth. The online lender reports that December was a record month booking £12 million of funding listed on the platform followed the biggest-ever ThinCats-listed loan of £6.7 million to the Chelsea Yacht & Boat Company at the end of September.

Loan Store Reveals to Reduce Interest Rates on Instant Cash Loans for the UK People (MENAFN), Rated: A

Loan Store is the responsible lending hub that reveals to reduce the interest rates on instant cash loans for the UK people.

Hennery Dicosta, a senior adviser of Loan Store, has offered the complete details about this announcement. This is what he said- In a recent scenario, people usually try to borrow a small loan amount. That is why we have decided to provide the loans for bad credit people with no guarantor and no fees on an instant decision to resolve their short term emergencies. We never charge any processing fee and we are now providing these loans on quite low rates of interest. Besides, we do not judge the creditworthiness of the borrowers with their credit rating and give an instant decision on their loan request.

Crowdstacker joins the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CROWDSTACKER has joined the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), becoming the self-regulated trade body’s eighth member.

The business lending P2P platform will be represented by chief executive Karteek Patel.

China

3 Growth Stocks at Deep-Value Prices (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

With that in mind, we asked three Motley Fool investors to each profile a company that has a low valuation now compared to its earnings-growth potential. They identified Yirendai (NYSE:YRD)Criteo S.A.(NASDAQ:CRTO), and Changyou.com (NASDAQ:CYOU) as strong contenders trading at attractive discounts.

China’s first P2P online lending platform

The Chinese P2P lending market blossomed in the late 2000s, catering to  customers who were underserved by traditional banks, and is worth about $60 billion today.

Analysts expect Yirendai’s revenue and earnings to rise 74% and 14% respectively this year, followed by 43% revenue growth and 41% earnings growth next year. Yet the stock trades at just 14 times earnings, compared to an industry average of 26 for credit service providers. Based on those numbers, Yirendai looks likely an undervalued growth stock.

But there are some obvious reasons why investors are discounting it.

First, Yirendai is a subprime lender. Just 1.7% of its loans were rated as prime “Grade A” last quarter. Another 8.7% were Grade B, and 14.1% were Grade C — but 75.5% were rated Grade D. Yirendai collects higher fees from lower rated borrowers, but its business could collapse if its delinquency rates rise.

The company only discloses delinquency rates for loans past due by 15 to 89 days, and that rate came in at a low 1.8% last quarter. But it doesn’t report any data on loans delinquent for over 90 days.

Chinese finance platform Black Fish raises $ 145m from Gobi, Lightspeed, others (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Black Fish, a consumer finance platform based in China’s Nanjing region, has received $145 million in a series A round from a cluster of firms  including Lightspeed China Partners and Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur based Gobi Partners.

Others who participated in the round include Morningside Venture Capital, JAFCO Asia, Fullcent Capital and Zhang Tao, founder of Dianping.com.

At this point, the average annual growth rate of consumer finance is 16.4 percent.

China’s Renren Is Poised To Unlock Value From Its Investment Portfolio And Grow With Blockchain (Seeking Alpha), Rated: A

Renren holds a significant investment portfolio that is easily worth $12 per share.  This value will likely be realized in the near term due to multiple catalysts.

The company has started to get involved with blockchain-related businesses, which potentially turns them into a “blockchain play”.

This situation leads to an asymmetrical payoff structure in which there is very little downside and significant upside. My target price is $18.

Renren was an early VC investor in Sofi, taking part in its seed round of financing as well as a later follow-on round. They currently hold a 13% stake in SoFi, having sold 14.1% of their holdings (representing 2% of SoFi) in April 2017 for $92 million.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Dianrong Signs Strategic Agreement with Dalian Finance Development Bureau & Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Dianrong and the Dalian Finance Development Bureau and Dalian Finance Industry Investment Group (DFIIG) recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement to drive financial innovation in Dalian and across China. According to the agreement, Dianrong will develop a series of specific projects in partnership with the Dalian government, including:

  • Assist the Dalian Finance Development Bureau in creating a financial technology (fintech) cloud platform to provide fintech capabilities for small loan and guarantee companies, and other small and medium-sized financial institutions in the region and at large. Tools and services will include sophisticated fraud detection, big-data risk management tools, payment channel integration, and compliance reporting. The fintech cloud platform will also provide regulators with easier monitoring of local lending activities and trends in an ongoing and comprehensive way, helping them provide timely policy guidance and support on risk management.
  • Work with DFIIG to establish a special Internet finance investment fund for Dalian. The fund will focus on investment in fintech projects and startups with the potential to strengthen Dalian’s new economy and financial services industry.
  • Develop a supply-chain trading platform in Dalian utilizing advanced fintech and blockchain capabilities to help more small and medium-sized suppliers secure needed funding. Last year, Dianrong created the first blockchain platform for supply-chain finance with FoxConn Group, a global leader in consumer electronics.

Shanghai tightens financial sector supervision (Ecns), Rated: B

Shanghai is one of China’s largest financial markets by market trading volume. In 2017, its trading volume was 1,438 trillion yuan ($220.9 trillion).

Shanghai has already launched a campaign against fraud and illegal behavior in financial consumer markets, such as internet-based peer-to-peer lending, cash loans to college students, and pay-day loans.

European Union

Rocket Internet CEO says ready to pounce with cash pile (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Germany’s Rocket Internet needs to hold on to its mountain of cash so it can compete with rivals from the United States and China and pounce when investment opportunities arise, the chief executive said in an interview.

CAUTIOUS MARKET

Rocket is invested in more than 100 start-ups, including in financial and property tech, logistics and travel sites, with its stakes in the five biggest of them potentially worth more than 1 billion euros to Rocket, according to Berenberg bank.

International

MoneyGram Signs Deal to Work With Currency Startup Ripple (WSJ), Rated: AAA

MoneyGram International Inc. MGI +2.63% signed on to run a pilot program testing XRP, a digital currency created by San Francisco startup Ripple, in its payments network, the companies said Thursday.

The Dallas-based company agreed to test XRP as a tool for reducing money-transfer costs and settlement times.

How Banks Can Use Trade Finance Services and Data to Increase Share of Wallet (Traxpay), Rated: AAA

While global trade presents tremendous growth opportunities, businesses of all sizes are none-the-less finding it difficult to access much needed credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap. According to an Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) 2017 Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, And Jobs Survey, that gap was $1.5 trillion in 2016.

Non-financial institution competitors are aggressively targeting this market, using innovations such as blockchain to develop products and tools that not only replace outdated paper and manual-based processes, but also deliver unprecedented levels of cybersecurity that are critical in today’s digital transaction space. The same ADB survey revealed more than $13 billion in venture capital was invested in FinTech trade finance in 2016 alone.

The recent Simmons & Simmons Hyperfinance studyof the world’s leading trade banks found that only 7% believe they are at the forefront of digital innovation in spite of the fact that 80% of innovation leaders report digitally-driven products and services introduced over the past three years have expanded revenue growth. This illustrates the reality that financial institutions recognize the importance of developing a digital strategy, but few are moving aggressively enough to take advantage of these new technologies.

PRINCIPLES, ESG, AND CREDIT RISK (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

The question before the house right now, though, is: what about the credit rating agencies? The question comes in three parts: there are the global CRAs; the smaller/regional CRAs in most of the world, and regional CRAs in the special case of China.

First, the global CRAs [there are just two of them, Moody’s and S&P] are making “strong efforts” to incorporate an understanding of ESG issues. They are hiring staff with ESG backgrounds, equipping their existing analysts with the relevant expertise, and drawing on third party providers.

Then there is China. Its CRAs include Dagong Global, China Chengxin, and Golden Credit Ratings. The idea of integrating ESG into their analyses is thus far limited to the issue of green bonds, that is, bonds issued for the development of brownfield sites. Government policy in China encourages green bonds and the CRAs have responded. The resulting assessments are focused on the “E,” not so much the “S” or the “G.” And their environmental assessments rely on measuring the impact of the project the bond aims to finance.

  • Research very generally supports the hypothesis that there exists a causal link between ESG factors and the credit worthiness of a borrower;
  • Academic research in limited in that it is too exclusively content to measure credit risk by credit ratings, rather than testing the ratings themselves against alternative measures;
  • But some research does employ the spread of credit default swaps as an independent measure of risk;
  • Anecdotal observation indicates a clear link between G and defaults, although the linkage between E and S and defaults is more difficult to pin down;
  • There is much evidence in the linkage of ESG to macroeconomic factors and potential growth, which in turn are important to sovereign risk in particular.

ABS braces for more auto deals after strong start to year (IFR), Rated: A

The asset-backed bond market is braced for a slew of new issues next week, with deal flow expected to be dominated by auto issuers including BMW and Mercedes.

Just two issuers sold deals this week – GM Financial and Consumer Portfolio Services – and both auto trades were met with strong demand from investors. One banker on the GM deal said the deal was over-subscribed across the capital stack.

The biggest tightening though was seen on the smallest and lower rated tranches. The 3.58-year Class B, rated Aa3/AA by Moody’s and Fitch, priced at 30bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 35-40bp and whispers of 45bp area.

The 3.58-year Class C, rated A1/A, priced at 50bp over interpolated swaps versus guidance of 55-60bp and whispers of 65bp area.

FROM BANKING TO BITCOIN, FINTECH IS POISED TO CHANGE THE WORLD (Tech Genix), Rated: A

Currently, it represents only 1 percent of the global financial industry. By comparison, digital media accounts for 40 percent while eCommerce accounts for around 10 percent.

Source: Tech Genix

To give you a perspective, venture capitalists invested more than $13 billion across 840 different fintech holdings in 2016, according to a report by KPMG. This is 7 percent more than they invested in 2015.

According to the McKinsey report, five areas will see high growth over the next decade. They are consumer finance, mortgage, lending, retail payment, and wealth management.

Online payments

PayPal handled $1.73 billion worth of transactions in the first quarter of 2017 alone, representing a 30 percent increase year-on-year.

Borrowing and lending

However, the delinquency rates have been increasingover the last few years. These rates have increased from 0.56 percent in January 2015 to 0.75 percent in December of the same year.

Overstock.com’s 2017 Highlights: Innovation, Expansion, and Recognition (Business Insider), Rated: A

Overstock’s blockchain-focused subsidiary, Medici Ventures, named its board of directors in 2017, and also saw a number of its portfolio companies continue to use blockchain to revolutionize industries including capital markets, money and banking, property registry, voting, identity, and underlying blockchain technology, including:

  • tZERO, the world’s first SEC approved, blockchain-based alternative trading system, launched its initial coin offering (ICO), which attracted over 10,000 subscribers and raised $100M in commitments in the first 12 hours of its pre-sale. A significant portion of the tZERO security tokens issued will be available to accredited investors in the public sale beginning in January, 2018.
  • DeSoto Inc., a joint venture between Overstock.com founder and CEO Patrick Byrne and world-renowned economist Hernando de Soto, was created to develop a global property registry system to surface the property rights of billions of people in the developing world.
  • Bitt, a Barbados-based financial technology company using blockchain to create central banking tools and mobile money applications, named Rawdon Adams, son of former Barbadian Prime Minister Tom Adams, as its CEO. Bitt also fully launched its new mMoney digital payment product, bringing to market a blockchain-based mobile wallet that allows users to participate in digital transactions on their smartphones without the need for a traditional bank account, helping to foster financial inclusion in the region.
  • South-American based Ripio (formally known as BitPagos), participated in an ICO that raised $37M to fund its Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, Ripio Credit Network.
  • Belgium-based SettleMint launched a token sale for its DataBroker DAO, a peer-to-peer marketplace created to provide Internet of Things (IoT) sensor-owners with a clear path to data monetization, and data consumers with a decentralized marketplace in order to buy IoT sensor data. SettleMint also signed an agreement with The Islamic Research and Training Institute, the research arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, to work with local partner Ateon on developing blockchain-based financial products that can be used to support development and inclusion in IsDB member countries.

Global lender selects Aussie fintech, Trade Ledger, as worldwide technology partner (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Zürich-based lender, TradePlus24, has selected Australian deep tech startup, Trade Ledger, as its global technology partner to roll out its new trade insurance wrapped lending product across their European lending network, and enter the Australian market.

Bankers fear they will get Amazon-ed in tech disruption (Financial Times), Rated: A

According to IDC, only about a quarter of US bank technology budgets is spent on digital transformation, as opposed to business as usual. They expect this to grow to nearer 40 per cent in 2020.

Secondly, this spending could substantially boost banks’ productivity, and profits.

Banks will drive up the cost of customer acquisition for start-ups who will increasingly struggle unless they build network effects and scale very quickly. Roboadvisers and peer-to-peer lenders will be on heightened alert. Some start-ups will need to rethink their plans to disrupt and look to form partnerships instead.

Changes in financial regulation, such as a lighter touch fintech charter being examined in the US or the second payment services directive in Europe, could potentially make this more likely. The tech giants have the brands, customer reach, digital processes and flair to develop good products, and to take swift advantage of any regulatory changes.

Karma token trading opens after successful million ICO campaign (Crypto Ninjas), Rated: B

India

German Online Lender Kreditech Heads to India (Bank Innovation), Rated: AAA

German online lender Kreditech is making its way to India, Bank Innovation has learned.

For this expedition, the fintech has teamed up with SaaS banking platform Mambu for providing short-term lending products specifically tailored to local consumers.

Kreditech selects Mambu’s SaaS banking engine for its passage to India (Finextra), Rated: A

Kreditech currently operates in Europe and Latin America and will expand into India in early 2018, together with its partner PayU, a global online payments provider and Mambu client in Latin America.

The loan product is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2018, all data will be hosted by AWS India.

NiYO Solutions Raises $ 13.2M in Series A Funding (FINSSMES), Rated: A

NiYO Solutions Inc., a Bangalore, India-based fintech startup for salaried employees, raised $13.2m (85 crore) in Series A funding.

APAC

Myanmar takes small steps towards providing greater liquidity for SMEs (Myanmar Times), Rated: AAA

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

A rising number of start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are emerging in Myanmar as business opportunities rise. However, many companies fail to achieve their full potential and contribute substantially to the economy because capital assistance is lacking in the country.

Currently, local banks extend loans at interest rates ranging between 8.5 percent and 13pc. The local banks began offering SME loans at8.5pc interest in 2015. Since then, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and KfW Development Bank from Germany have also launched SME loans.

P2P lending

To get around the financial constraints, borrowing from family members and peers is common.

In fact, a rising number of businesses have resorted to P2P lending for funds to build up their businesses. Without any guarantees of success though, many entrepreneurs ultimately end up in debt. Others fall prey to fraud. Last year, The Myanmar Times reported at least three cases of fraud involving fake promises of repayments with up to 30pc interest.

Cloud Lending Solutions Recognized as a Top 25 FinTech Company of 2017 (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Cloud Lending Solutions was recognized as a “Top 25 FinTech Company for 2017” by APAC CIO Outlook Magazine. A panel of industrial experts and executives collaborated with the editorial board to curate the list with an aim to provide clarity into the ideal FinTech partners.

Africa

Local digital currency eyes real estate disruption (ITWeb), Rated: AAA

Cape Town-based fintech company, Wealth Migrate, has launched a global   – WEALTHE Coin.

According to Wealth Migrate, while almost half of the world’s wealth is held in real estate, fewer than 13% of people have access or the resources to invest in and  from this lucrative market.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday October 24 2017, Daily News Digest

fraud transactions

News Comments Today’s main news: OnDeck collaborates with Ingo Money, Visa on real-time SMB lending. Affirm’s new mobile app allows consumers to borrow money for almost any online purchase. N26 readies for launch in the UK. P2PFA reports over 700M GBP in Q3 new lending. Fincera issues $1B in Q2 lending. Kabbage automates SMB lending in France, Italy with ING partnership. […]

fraud transactions

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Africa

News Summary

United States

OnDeck Collaborates with Ingo Money and Visa to enable real-time Loan Funding to Small Businesses (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

OnDeck (NYSE: ONDK), the nation’s largest online lender to small business, announced today agreements with Ingo Money and Visa to enable real-timefunding of loans to small businesses via their debit cards, powered by Visa Direct. OnDeck will be the first company in the online lending industry to offer real-time access to capital via a customer’s existing small business debit card.

The move by OnDeck comes in response to small business demand for improved cash flow and faster payment experiences. A recent survey found 70% of small business owners report they have a small business debit card, and of those without debit cards, 87% of them said they would get a new debit card to take advantage of real time transfers. The virtual card grants you a one-time card number, an expiration date, and a three-digit security code, which can then be used to make singular online purchases, while the repayment plan is managed through the app.2OnDeck plans to use Visa Direct through Ingo Money’s technology platform to disburse loan proceeds securely in real time to its line of credit customers via their existing small business debit cards. Visa Direct is Visa’s real-time push payments platform allowing companies to leverage Visa’s global scale to develop faster payments solutions for ubiquitous reach to consumers or small businesses with a debit card.

Ingo Push, the turnkey push payments service from Ingo Money, allows OnDeck customers to receive funds via a vast network of eligible debit or prepaid card accounts, including eligible Visa cards; online and mobile wallets; and a network of more than 40,000 cash-out distribution points.

SoFi priced itself at double its valuation during recent M&A talks (Pitchbook), Rated: AAA

SoFi reportedly mulled a potential sale earlier this year, but the talks evaporated over a hefty asking price. After receiving a non-binding offer of $6 billion from a foreign bank, the online lender pegged its target acquisition price at $8 billion to $10 billion as it negotiated with several US companies, including Charles Schwab, per the Financial Times. That price would have ranked the deal among the second most valuable VC-backed fintech companyin the US. It’s also one of eight American startups that have raised $500 million+ rounds this year.

But while SoFi could likely fetch a relatively high acquisition price, the $8 billion to $10 billion figure is far more than it appears to be worth. In February, the online lender raised a $500 million round at a valuation of $4.4 billion—and since then, its value has likely dropped amid sexual harassment allegations at the company.

Source: Pitchbook

Why Charles Schwab Held Talks to Buy Online Lender SoFi (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Financial Times (paywall) reported the deal talks with Schwab were prompted by a $6 billion offer from a foreign bank after SoFi raised $500 million in funding led by Silver Lake. With a more than $4 billion valuation after that, the unnamed foreign bank expressed interest in acquiring SoFi. That prompted the online lender to reach out to other potential suitors aiming to fetch $8 billion to $10 billion in a sale.

At first blush, a deal with Charles Schwab may not make sense, given it isn’t in the online lending business. But SoFi does have a wealth management unit that would give the San Francisco discount brokerage access to more customers and thus more assets under management. It’s also a low-cost provider on that front, something very much in Schwab’s wheelhouse. According to SoFi’s website, the company doesn’t charge customers for the first $10,000 invested and charges 0.25% per year. It also has a team of live advisors that give customers advice and ETF portfolios that are curated by the company. SoFi also has a large customer base, particularly of millennials, that would be attractive to Schwab. Earlier this year ex-CEO Cagney predicted SoFi would end the year with 500,000 customers.

Affirm’s new mobile app lets you borrow money for almost any online purchase (The Verge), Rated: AAA

Lending startup Affirm, founded by PayPal and Yelp co-founder Max Levchin, is out to destroy the credit card, or at the very least make a noticeable dent in its utter ubiquity. The company, which began in 2012 by offering simple and transparent loans for web purchases, is today launching a mobile app to the public that acts as a virtual credit card, so it can be used as a line of credit with no strings attached for pretty much any online purchase. The app is available now for iOS and Android.

The virtual card grants you a one-time card number, an expiration date, and a three-digit security code, which can then be used to make singular online purchases, while the repayment plan is managed through the app. To use the service, you need to provide proof of your identity, but credit is extended only for the item you want to buy, with the company determining your likelihood to pay back the loan based on your current credit and the total amount being lended.

You’ll need approval for every purchase you try to make, up to a maximum of $10,000. In total, Chou says Affirm has made more than 1 million loans for a total amount of more than $1 billion since it started roughly five years ago. It also now counts as over 1,000 merchants as partners, including mattress maker Casper, furniture site Wayfair, and Expedia.

Now, Affirm wants to extend its services to anyone and any merchant, by going directly to the consumer with a virtual card.

Although Affirm may offer as low as 10 percent APR, or in some cases zero percent for select partner merchants, you still run the risk of paying more for a purchase using the company’s virtual card than if you had a standard credit card. For those who are simply bad with money and borrowing, it has the same pitfalls as a credit card, though with a few more speed bumps and warning signs built in.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions True Cost of Fraud in Lending (LexisNexis), Rated: AAA

For every dollar of fraud, lending companies incur $2.82 in costs, which includes chargebacks, fees, interest, merchandise replacement and distribution, according to the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Fraud Multiplier. Large digital lenders, with over $50 million in annual revenue, are hit hardest by fraud in this space. These large digital lenders face a higher risk of successful fraud attempts than others within the lending space, but it really is a problem across the digital lending space, even with small and midsized digital lenders.

Source: LexisNexis

Get the full report here.

The Rise of Robo Advisors and the Death of Traditional Financial Advice (The Epoch Times), Rated: AAA

When BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with USD 5.7 trillion in AUM, decided to layoff talented stock pickers in favor of machines for portfolio management in March, it was a sure sign that times are changing.

The top performer in a group of the five leading robo advisors in the first eight months of 2016 generated returns that were encroaching on double-digit territory, and in some cases outperformed their more expensive mutual fund counterparts.

Source: The Epoch Times

And it’s not just BlackRock that’s demonstrated a willingness to favor machines over stock pickers. Robo advisors as a category, which is comprised of approximately 100 firms, oversee USD 60 billion in AUM as of year-end 2016 across 15 countries, according to Deloitte. That amount is expected to balloon more than fivefold to USD 385 billion in a half decade, according to Cerulli Associates research.

A recent Capital One Investing survey says in times of extreme market volatility, millennials are the least likely generation to turn to a person for financial advisory services at 69%. In fact, millennials are the generation that place the highest value on robo-advisory services, evidenced by 65% of them saying automated financial advice “enhances their financial peace of mind,” according to the poll.

Bloom seems to be the Vanguard of the robo advisory market, undercutting its competitors on fees and charging as little as USD 10 per month to manage a 401(k) or 403(b) account.

Leading the charge is robo-advisory firm Betterment, which boasts 270,000 usersand USD 10 billion in AUM.

FS Card Inc. Closes $ 150 Million Credit Facility to Continue its Build Card Product Expansion (FS Card Inc), Rated: A

FS Card Inc., an emerging financial services leader for underserved consumers, today announced it has raised $150 million in financing to fund future growth.  Through its Build Card product, FS Card will expand access to traditional credit and create an on-ramp into the financial mainstream for small-dollar loan customers.  The new credit facility closing comes as FS Card wraps up a year of rapid growth with Build Card portfolio expansion of nearly 500 percent in 2017.

The funding will be used for sustained portfolio build as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to financial inclusion in a market where a new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is likely to impact access to alternative credit products.

According to Prosperity Now and The Federal Reserve, more than half of Americans are credit invisible or subprime, while 47 percent do not have $400 to pay for an emergency expense.  FS Card leverages its proprietary machine learning algorithms to actively meet the increasing demand of underserved consumers for fairly priced credit with a prime-like experience.

These 11 startups are re-inventing how money works and they’re worth more than $ 1 billion (Business Insider), Rated: A

Fintech is a multi-billion dollar industry, with startups in the US raising around $18 billion since 2015, according to PitchBook and nearly 1,400 venture capitalist-backed deals. Two of the most valuable startups in the country — Stripe and SoFi — are in the fintech sector. And there are 11 fintech startups valued at more than $1 billion.

10. Kabbage — $1.3 billion

Kabbage is valued at $1.3 billion, according to PitchBook estimates, thanks to a $250 million investment round in August 2017.

9. Robinhood — $1.3 billion

The zero-commission, US-focused stock brokerage is valued at $1.3 billion following a $110 million funding round in April 2017.

In total, Robinhood has raised $176 million, which is quite a lot considering the founders were initially rejected by 75 different venture capitalists.

5. Avant — $2 billion

Avant was valued at $2 billion after a $325 million funding round in September 2015.

Though its valuation makes it the fifth most valuable fintech startup in the US, it’s seen some rocky shores in the years since. In June 2016, the company reportedly laid off staff and lowered its monthly lending by half.

3. Credit Karma — $3.5 billion

Credit Karma scored a $3.5 billion valuation on a $175 million funding round in June 2015 which brought the company’s total funding to $368 million.

2. SoFi — $4.4 billion

SoFi was valued at $4.4 billion during its most recent round of funding in February 2017, which brought the company $500 million from investors. In total, the company has raised over $2 billion, including a $1 billion round led by SoftBank in 2015.

1. Stripe — $9.2 billion

Stripe was valued at $9.2 billion in its most recent $150 million funding round in November 2016. The company has raised a total of $440 million since its founding in 2010.

Groundfloor Launches Loan Origination Network As Investor Demand Surges (PR Newswire), Rated: A

In response to overwhelming investor demand, Groundfloor, the only real estate crowdfunding platform that is open to non-accredited investors, today announced the launch of its Loan Origination Network for mortgage brokers and third-party originators interested in tapping additional real estate loan opportunities. The company has opened up its innovative real estate financing platform to brokers nationwide who now have the opportunity to provide customers with low cost capital for fix and flip projects.

According to a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions, the estimated total dollar volume of financing for homes flipped in Q2 2017 was $4.4 billion, up from $3.9 billion in the previous quarter and up from $3.4 billion a year ago to the to the highest level since Q3 2017, a nearly 10-year high. Also, more than 35 percent of homes flipped in Q2 2017 were purchased by the flipper with financing, up from 33.2 percent in the previous quarter.

Key benefits for mortgage brokers and third-party originators:

  • Competitive rates from six percent
  • Unique deferred payment option
  • Low documentation
  • Closing in as little as seven days
  • Costs rolled into loan principal
  • Discounted fees for high volume partners
  • Partners assigned dedicated Business Development Manager

Mortgage industry veteran Debora Valentine joins the team as Senior Vice President, Business Development. Valentine brings more than 25 years of experience in sales to Groundfloor’s senior leadership team.

Marqeta Partners with Alipay for US Transactions (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Alipay has partnered with Marqeta on real-time payment processing for millions of Chinese travelers visiting North America.

Yesterday, Alipay announced  it had teamed up with smart terminal provider Poynt to enable its Chinese users to pay with its services through all Poynt devices in North America.

Alipay makes inroads into US with JPMOrgan Chase deal (Finextra), Rated: A

Alipay, the world’s leading third-party payment platform, today announced they are working with JPMorgan Chase, a global financial leader, toward a relationship by which Chinese consumers traveling in North America would be enabled to pay using their Alipay Mobile Wallet at Chase merchant clients.

The proposed relationship between JPMorgan Chase and Alipay would enable its acceptance at many of Chase’s merchants in North America. Through Alipay’s geolocation-based “Discover” function and push notifications within the Alipay app, Chinese travelers can locate merchants nearby, receive promotion information, and make purchase decisions. It also enables local merchants to better target and connect with Chinese consumers.

The Number of Consumers Opening HELOCs May Double During the Next Five Years (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

Approximately 10 million consumers are expected to originate a home equity line of credit (HELOC) between 2018 and 2022. This would more than double the 4.8 million HELOCs originated in the previous five-year period (2012-2016). The projection is part of a new TransUnion (NYSE:TRUstudy that evaluated recent dynamics in the HELOC industry, and was released today during the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Annual Convention & Expo.

TransUnion projects 1.4 million new HELOC borrowers in 2017 and 1.6 million in 2018, about a 30% increase from the previous two-year period of 2015 (1.1 million) and 2016 (1.2 million).

HELOC Originations – 2017-2022 Include Projections
Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019-2022
HELOC Originations (In Millions)  0.7 0.8 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.4 1.6 8.4

The TransUnion HELOC study found that rising home prices and the resulting increase in equity is beginning to fuel interest in HELOCs. The Case-Shiller home price index rose as high as 180 in 2005 and 185 in 2006 before dropping to 134 in 2012. By July 2017 it had risen again to 194, and is expected to rise in the next few years to well over 200.

According to the study, there were 4.9 million HELOC originations in 2005 when home equity stood at $13.3 Trillion.  HELOC originations dropped to a mere 600,000 in 2011 as home equity declined to $6.3 Trillion.  Home equity has once again risen to $13.3 Trillion in 2016, yet HELOC originations continued to be low at 1.2 million.

Who are the HELOC borrowers?

The study explored the primary reasons why consumers open HELOCs and estimated the percentage of HELOCs opened under each motivating reason.

Types of HELOC Borrowers
HELOC Category Defining this Type of HELOC Borrower Percentage of
HELOCs
Debt Consolidation “Consolidate balances from other credit products, usually to a lower interest rate” 30 %
Large Expense “Finance a large credit need (e.g., home renovation project)” 29 %
Refinance “Refinance a HELOC, often to change terms or to get a better rate” 25 %
Piggyback “Concurrent with a mortgage origination, often used as part of a down payment” 9 %
Undrawn “Standby, undrawn line of credit for a ‘rainy day’” 7 %

Online Small Business Lending Provides Benefits to Small Business Owners, Finds New Survey (Electran), Rated: A

Four leading trade associations – Electronic Transactions Association, Innovative Lending Platform Association, the Marketplace Lending Association, and the Small Business Finance Association – commissioned a comprehensive survey of U.S. small business owners from Edelman Intelligence.  The survey conducted by Edelman Intelligence found that a large majority (70%) of small business owners believe there are more credit options today when compared to five years ago, and 97% of those feel that the growing number of financing options is a good thing.

Key findings of the study include:

  • 70 percent of small- and medium-sized business owners say there are more lending options now, and 97 percent of those believe that the increase in options is a positive thing for their businesses.
  • Most small business owners reported using online small business lenders to help them expand their locations, make necessary hiring and equipment purchases, and help manage cash flow.
  • Of the small business owners considering taking out a loan in the next 12 months, close to 40 percent say they will consider borrowing from an online lender.
  • According to the study, 98 percent of small business ownerswho have used online lenders say they are likely to take out another loan with an online lender.
  • For many small business owners, online small business lending platforms are a popular alternativeto asking friends and family for a loan.
Source: Electran.org

PeerStreet Launches Affiliate Blogger Program (BusinessWire), Rated: A

PeerStreet, a marketplace for investing in real estate-backed loans, is excited to announce its affiliate program at FinCon 2017. Backed by Andreessen Horowitz, PeerStreet’s platform provides investments in high-yield, short-term real estate loans. The newly launched program will allow PeerStreet to partner with the personal finance community to better serve both current and future investors.

PeerStreet aims to reach more investors through the affiliate program by working with financial writers and influencers to share thought leadership and market information about this unique space. In addition to high-conversion advertising opportunities, affiliate program partners will also have access to PeerStreet’s dedicated Affiliate Director, who can provide deep insight into PeerStreet’s service and offer tailored support.

Mastercard Takes Blockchain Mainstream with API (Finovate), Rated: A

Mastercard announced it has tested and validated its blockchain and will be opening access to it via a set of three APIs published on the Mastercard Developers website. The APIs include the Blockchain Core API, the Smart Contracts API, and the Fast Pay Network API.

Mastercard will pilot the blockchain for use in the business-to-business space, implementing it to increase speed and transparency in payments and decrease costs for cross-border payments.

Mastercard’s blockchain operates independently of a digital currency.

Fannie Mae Introduces New Tech Solutions to Lower Costs & Shorten Mortgage Processes (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Online lender Fannie Mae announced on Monday the launch of its new single source validation, new API platform, and servicing marketplace for servicing transfers. 

Single Source Validation saves lenders time and money

  • Allows lenders to validate a borrower’s income, assets, and employment with a single report from a single approved vendor that the lender chooses.
  • Uses source data for validation (a borrower’s bank account, including pay stream and direct deposit information).
  • Reduces the number of paper documents borrowers need to provide.
  • Amplifies savings already being realized by lenders who currently use Day 1 Certainty validation services.

New API platform levels the playing field for lenders

  • Provides lenders with all the information they need from Desktop Underwriter to originate a loan.
  • Allows lenders to access information that they can customize to their needs.
  • Uses industry-standard data formats and protocols so lenders can integrate the Fannie Mae API to their systems quickly and easily.

Servicing Marketplace 

  • Provides sellers greater access to servicers when they sell loans to Fannie Mae and creates more efficiencies in managing co-issue transactions with Fannie Mae.
  • Offers transparent pricing, a standardized process, and standardized data requirements when a loan is sold to Fannie Mae.
  • Improves data quality and simplifies the servicing rights transfer process for sellers and servicers.

Envestnet | Yodlee to Integrate Risk Insight Solutions With Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter Validation Service (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Envestnet | Yodlee (NYSE: ENV), a data aggregation and data analytics platform powering dynamic, cloud-based innovation for digital financial services, today announced its integration with Fannie Mae through a pilot program to digitally validate borrowers’ assets. Fannie Mae will leverage Envestnet | Yodlee’s Risk Insight Solutions to fuel the Day 1 Certainty™ validation of assets offering, which gives lenders a faster and simplified borrower experience.

We’re doing fine . . . (CU Insight), Rated: A

Over a four-decade career in financial services I have witnessed, experienced and participated in transformational change.  The conversations around emerging technology like the ATM caused industry debate – consumers would never use a machine to make a withdrawal from their account.  Credit cards not tied to a specific gasoline brand, local merchant or one of the giants of the catalogue sales world – Montgomery Wards, Sears and that upstart JC Penney – would never be accepted.  Consumers would never do their banking over the telephone, and of course never accept online banking – remember the first versions using a floppy disk? And checks would always be the only way, other than cash, to pay for things (bill pay, PayPal, debit cards and other payment methods…all have dispelled that).

We should be concerned about the FinTechs.  They are not a fad nor are they going away.  They are very well capitalized, and they have revolutionized how to leverage big data in ways we can only dream of.  They have challenged credit score lending structures by leveraging their ability to engineer data.  They are mobile optimized, in fact they are mobile prevalent, and they strive for immediate decisions and funding.  Where traditional lenders are still caught up in past practices making it difficult to refinance student debt, underwrite small business loans in minutes, grant signature loans at the point of purchase, or embrace new credit models, the FinTechs are quickly gaining ground in market share because they can do those things today.

And we have not evolved our cornerstone lending program, the signature loan, to compete not only at the POS for autos, but for personal improvements and major retail purchases as SOFI, Lending Club and so many other FinTechs have.

Arizona seeks $ 250K from partners accused of defrauding investors in payday-loan venture (AZ Central), Rated: A

Robin Erickson, an Arizona snowbird, remembers the pitch she got from her life-insurance agent about LoanGo, a startup internet payday-loan company.

The Mount Vernon, Washington, resident said she was told that the investment would generate an 18 percent return, and she “more than likely” would get her money back in a year.

“I loaned him $30,000, and I haven’t heard from him since,” Erickson, a retired elementary-school teacher, told The Arizona Republic in a phone interview.

The Arizona Corporation Commission’s Securities Division alleges that Erickson and four other older investors were defrauded of a combined $250,000 after making investments in 2011 and 2012 with LoanGo.

Administrative Law Judge Scott M. Hesla on Oct. 10 sided with state regulators and ordered the men to pay a total of $250,000 in restitution to the five investors. The judge also ordered the men to pay penalties of up to $15,000 each for “multiple violations” of the state’s anti-fraud provisions.

The judge, in his ruling, noted that Billingsley failed to inform investors that their money would be used to repay business startup loans of $10,000 each to himself and Peterson. The judge also wrote that investors were not told Billingsley received a $15,000 commission for obtaining their investments.

The judge noted that Billingsley was repaid his startup loan the same day one person invested $45,000 in LoanGo, and that Peterson was repaid the same day a different person invested $25,000 in the company.

AIMA’S NEW DUE DILIGENCE TEMPLATE (All About Alpha), Rated: A

It has been 20 years since the Alternative Investment Management Association published its first due diligence questionnaire, a template designed to standardize the diligence process by which investors decide if a particular management is right for them.

Now it has published a new questionnaire/template, covering a broader range of entities/strategies. Specifically, for the first time there are questions specifically covering private credit and private equity strategies. The new document also integrates what were formerly separate questionnaires specific to commodity trading advisers and fund of funds managers.

A CFPB policy everybody seems to like (really) (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks have welcomed the statement of principles because they are non-binding, while fintechs are encouraged by the CFPB’s recognition of key issues in the debate.

Yet the principles could also lay the groundwork for future regulation if banks and fintechs cannot work out some outstanding issues on their own.

Screen scraping

The most controversial aspect of data sharing is screen scraping. Banks loathe data aggregators’ practice of asking a consumer to provide their online banking login credentials, so the firm can scrape their account data. They argue it’s unsafe to hand out banking credentials and that aggregators bombard their servers with these requests, preventing actual customers from accessing their accounts.

The CFPB’s principles seem to discourage screen scraping without banning it.

Knight said the principle may encourage banks to directly provide data to third parties.

Informed consent

The CFPB’s principles around informed consent appeared the most stringent, suggesting that it’s not enough to just disclose what a company is doing, but disclosures must be done in language anyone can understand.

The principle may pose a challenge for banks and fintechs. How many companies send notifications about how they’re using and storing consumers’ data, in easy to understand language?

OCC head discusses the fintech ecosystem (Business Insider), Rated: B

However, while Noreika again defended the OCC’s right to license non-depository companies on Thursday, he also said the agency has not decided whether it will “exercise that specific authority.” This is more ambiguous than the OCC’s previous stance, perhaps suggesting the regulator believes the measure won’t survive such strong opposition.

Noreika said there’s been progress here, as federal regulators are now more willing to engage in dialogue with each other and with fintechs.

Source: Business Insider

The Robo Report Announces 2 Year Return Numbers for Robo Advisors In New Q3 Report (Business Insider), Rated: B

The Robo Report, the first and only report on the performance and portfolios of robo advisors, published by BackEndBenchmarking, has been released for the third quarter 2017, the company announced.

The expanded Report now offers a first look two full years of a few robo advisors performance data, along with new sections that include interviews with WiseBanyan, Personal Capital and Betterment; the addition of Sofi, TIAA and WealthSimple; and upside/downside capture ratios for more specific quant on risk tolerance, as well as more detailed asset allocation and style analysis.

The company currently tracks Acorns, Betterment, eTrade, Fidelity Go, Future Advisor, Personal Capital, Schwab, SigFig, Tradeking, Vanguard, WiseBanyan, TD Ameritrade, Ellevest, Hedgeable and Merrill Edge, Sofi, TIAA and WealthSimple.

First Associates to Host Industry Networking Event in New York (PR Web), Rated: B

First Associates Loan Servicing announced today that they will be hosting an industry networking breakfast for Marketplace Lending and Investment Banking professionals the day prior to the American Banker Digital Lending + Investing Conference.

Hosted at Aureole Restaurant in Manhattan, this event will include a panel of marketplace lending superstars, including speakers from Prospect Capital, Macquarie, MoneyLion and more, who will discuss the state of the industry.

If you have interest in attending panel discussion and event, please click here to learn more.

CoinList spins out of AngelList (Axios), Rated: B

CoinList, a provider of financial services for staging and managing initial coin offerings (ICOs), is spinning out of AngelList as a standalone company that will be led by former Sidewire CEO Andy Bromberg, it tells Axios.

United Kingdom

German app-only bank N26 gears up for UK launch as it recruits country manager (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Closely-watched German fintech startup N26 is recruiting a country manager to spearhead its launch into the UK.

A job listing on N26’s website says it is looking for someone to take “charge of the market entry of N26 in the UK.” The successful applicant will be “responsible for the operational setup and development of N26 in the UK market,” and should “build up the branding for N26 within the UK market in order to successfully attract and win new customers.”

P2PFA reports over £700m of new lending in third quarter (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

THE PEER-TO-PEER Finance Association (P2PFA) has reported that new lending among its members equated to more than £700m in the third quarter of 2017, despite losing ‘big three’ platform RateSetter during the period.

The self-regulated trade body said on Monday that cumulative lending by the existing P2PFA platforms came in at more than £7.1bn by the end of September 2017.

Peer to Peer Lending Exhibits Steady Growth in Q3 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) has published their quarterly numbers on sector growth for the third quarter of 2017. Covering the period between July and September 2017,  the P2PFA says the numbers confirm continued steady growth in levels of new lending and in the number of borrowers facilitating loans through peer-to-peer lending platforms.

P2PFA Q3 2017 Q4 2016 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017
Cumulative lending £4,888,231,038 £5,708,635,402 £6,391,925,730 £7,168,727,657
o/w lending to businesses £2,922,779,264 £3,487,208,822 £3,924,226,666 £4,440,151,180
o/w lending to individuals £1,965,451,774 £2,221,426,580 £2,467,699,064 £2,728,576,477
Base stock of loans (outstanding loan book) £2,132,049,663 £2,497,408,800 £2,745,490,796 £2,958,326,435
o/w lending to businesses £1,213,693,991 £1,470,605,094 £1,630,765,546 £1,754,510,098
o/w lending to individuals £918,335,672 £1,026,803,706 £1,114,725,250 £1,204,816,337
New Lending £603,011,422 £703,047,838 £666,096,755 £733,270,490
o/w lending to businesses £404,171,535 £447,073,032 £419,818,940 £472,393,077
o/w lending to individuals £198,839,887 £255,974,806 £246,277,815 £260,877,413
Capital repaid £370,158,773 £401,358,998 £411,834,014 £508,891,428
o/w lending to businesses £249,776,784 £253,832,226 £253,477,742 £337,105,103
o/w lending to individuals £120,381,989 £147,526,772 £158,356,272 £171,786,325
Net Lending Flow £237,151,881 £305,679,840 £254,262,739 £228,055,356
o/w lending to businesses £158,793,983 £197,231,806 £166,341,195 £138,964,268
o/w lending to individuals £78,457,898 £108,448,034 £87,921,544 £89,091,088
Number of current lenders 121,476 128,000 140,098 134,658
Number of current borrowers 191,055 214,631 231,189 246,813
o/w are businesses 29,594 34,566 39,043 43,425
o/w are individuals 161,461 180,065 192,146 203,388


Q4 2016 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017
Folk2Folk £139,344,302 £176,419,805
Funding Circle £1,524,427,000 £1,830,397,245 £2,158,457,107 £2,747,357,362
Landbay £42,948,000 £43,142,119 £43,975,419 £59,561,822
Lending Works £33,636,000 £39,368,050 £48,864,686 £71,699,386
MarketInvoice £754,325,000 £837,793,900 £918,450,994 £1,201,857,191
ThinCats £196,907,000 £211,446,000 £226,981,000 £254,955,000
Zopa £1,731,685,000 £1,926,038,724 £2,172,561,894 £2,656,877,091
Total £4,888,231,038 £5,708,635,402 £6,391,925,730 £7,168,727,657

What getting servicing right really means (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Earlier this year LendInvest received the highest possible rating for the quality of our loan servicing from ARC Rating, a regulated European credit agency, for the third straight year. It’s a big achievement for any lender, but particularly an online lender.

Here are some of the things that ARC looks for when rating a lender’s servicing standards:

  • Corporate governance and structure
  • Due diligence
  • Internal controls
  • Industry-standard technology
  • Data backup
  • Financial condition

A guide to Open Banking (Lexology), Rated: A

Open Banking refers to an open source technology that allows anyone to create apps and websites for the financial services sector. Developers use an application programme interface (API) to create software that allows customer data to be shared securely between banks and trusted third parties – with the customer’s consent.

The Open Banking Standard is publically available and can be accessed by developers when creating apps and websites. The final version of the Open Banking Standard is due to be in use by 2019.

Examples of Open Banking apps

  • Yolt is a money management app owned by ING Bank and launched in beta format in June 2017. Yolt allows users to view all their bank accounts, credit cards, bills etc. in one place – even if they are from different providers. Users can compare prices, including energy prices, and set budgets on their phone.
  • HSBC announced in September 2017 that it was testing an Open Banking platform that will allow its customers to view their current accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages and savings from up to 21 different providers.
  • Wave offers a service for businesses to give clients access to all of their finances in one place. It acts as an invoicing service; tracks income and expenses to make accounting easier; allows for streamlined payment of staff and will leverage data from as many sources as possible. It also offers loans to clients by connecting with the online lender OnDeck.
  • DueDil is an app which uses data to make online due diligence passports for its clients so that they can prove their financial credentials.
  • Tandem collects the banking data of its customers from their banks, analyses their spending habits and provides suggestions for how they can save money.

Why buy-to-let investors are focusing on graduates in the London suburbs (The Telegraph), Rated: A

As rents continue their inexorable rise, the appeal of living in inner London boroughs such as Camden – where the average monthly rent is £2,219 – is starting to lose its shine.

According to peer-to-peer lending platform Landbay, the central areas popular among students are being eschewed by graduates, who are looking to make the capital their long-term base.

Faced with spending up to 75 per cent of their take-home pay on rent, graduates looking to work in London are choosing to live in areas where they can remain in commuting distance but pay less. And with average student loan debts of more than £50,000 according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, any savings are welcome.

Top ten outer London boroughs | Average rent and yield

Year ending 31 August 2017

1 Bexley (YoY% 1.98 / Av.£ 1,004)

2 Sutton (YoY% -0.23 / Av.£ 1,056)

3 Havering (YoY% 1.59 / Av.£ 1,072)

4 Croydon (YoY% 0.02 / Av.£ 1,125)

5 Bromley (YoY% 0.47 / Av.£ 1,169)

6 Hillingdon (YoY% 0.38 / Av.£ 1,192)

7 Barking and Dagenham (YoY% 1.49 / Av.£ 1,203)

8 Lewisham (YoY% -0.16 / Av.£ 1,232)

9 Redbridge (YoY% 1.08 / Av.£ 1,249)

10 Enfield (YoY% 0.88 / Av.£ 1,252)

Source: Landbay

Fitbit Pay arrives in UK and Arcadia offers host of new ways to pay (Internet Retailing), Rated: B

Users of Fitbit can start to use their devices to pay contactlessly in stores a la Apple Pay from today.

Starling Bank, a mobile bank which offers money management and payment tracking through its app, is also the first UK bank to launch with Fitbit Pay, Apple Pay and Android Pay.

China

Fincera Reports $ 1 Billion in Loans for Q2 2017 (Crowddfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Fincera Inc. (OTCQB: YUANF), a provider of online financing and e-commerce services for small and medium – sized businesses and individuals in China, has reported financial results for the second quarter ended June 30 , 2017.

According to their numbers, loan transaction volume across both CeraPay and CeraVest platforms for Q2 2017 totaled approximately RMB 6.9 billion (USD $ 1.0 billion ).

Source: Crowdfund Insider

Chinese issuers prepare ‘supercycle’ of technology IPOs (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Chinese companies have raised $38.6bn through IPOs in the year to date, according to Dealogic.

Issuers in financial services — which, like education and leisure is at the confluence of the hot segments of consumer services and tech — include Ppdai, which is raising $350m in New York, Yixin, Lexin and Jianpu Technology.

Yixin illustrates another trend: many of those coming to market are backed by China’s tech royalty including Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com. Auto financier Yixin, backed by the latter trio, is expected to raise about $200m.

Like Qudian, which listed last week, fellow online lender Lexin is heading to the US and is expected to raise around $600m, according to bankers. Jianpu Technology, a financial comparison site akin to Lending Tree in the US or MoneySuperMarket in the UK, filed for its IPO last Friday.

Source: Financial Times

Rong360 starts listing process in USA, whose revenue nearly tripled in two years (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, Rong360’s JianPu Technology has filed an IPO prospectus to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Rong360, which started with a diversion business, this time takes the VIE model to list in US. Its business scope covers loans, credit cards and finance, as well as big data risk controls. However, it is noteworthy that Rong360 is still in the red, and its big data risk control business has also led to a compliance controversy.

According to the prospectus, the company plans to go public in the U.S. with a maximum of $200 million deal for it, and the underwriters are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Huaxing Capital. Rong360 was founded in 2011 and has finished four round of equity finance. The listed entity is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rong360, which was registered in the Cayman Islands in June 1st this year.

With the net loss of $7.2 million in the first half of 2017, Rong360 is still in the red. However, the deficit of JianPu Tech has been shrinking. The prospectus shows that the company’s revenue has increased from 168.4 million RMB in 2015 to 182.1 million RMB in 2016. And in the first half of 2017, its revenue has grown to 393.4 RMB, nearly tripled in less than two years.

Criticism, regulatory tightening to weigh on share price (Global Times), Rated: A

Chinese online lender Qudian Inc is under fire in China after what observers said was a less-than-impressive interview by its CEO Luo Min Sunday that was aimed fending off criticism of the company’s business practices. The critics said it could instead exacerbate the company’s domestic image and hurt its share price.

Following its splashy debut in the US, Qudian was the subject of many negative news reports, mostly from popular social media accounts, about its business model, with some questioning its practice of targeting students for loans and others even describing the company as a “loan shark” – lending money at usurious rates.

“Our bad loan ratio is below 0.5 percent, that’s very low. So we can afford it when those people don’t pay up… Losses have been contained at a low level,” Luo said.

But part of the interview drew much attention and even mockery. Luo said, “Loans that weren’t paid on time were considered dead accounts. We never pushed people to pay back. We don’t even call. If you don’t pay back, then never mind, we’ll just give it to you as a gift.”

European Union

ING Partners with Kabbage, Inc. to Expand Automated Small Business Lending into France and Italy (Kabbage Email), Rated: AAA

Kabbage Inc., a global financial services, technology and data platform serving small businesses, and ING, a global bank, are expanding their strategic partnership into France and Italy to provide small businesses with real-time access to working capital. Building on ING’s successful launch in Spain with the Kabbage Platform TM , this partnership allows millions of small businesses throughout France and Italy to easily apply, qualify and access ongoing lines of credit up to €100,000 with ING in under 10 minutes.

IRELAND’S FIRST SYNDICATED PROPERTY FINANCE PLATFORM LAUNCHED WITH €1.5 MILLION CROWD-LENDING LOAN (Irish Tech News), Rated: A

Initiative Ireland has today announced the launch of Ireland’s first syndicated property finance platform.

The launch coincides with the company’s pre-approval of a €1.5 million secured loan, which has been approved for funding via the platform. The largest crowd-lending loan approved to date in Ireland, the loan will fund the development of 10 social housing apartments and a ground floor restaurant on the North Strand Road, Dublin.

International

Empowering the Unbanked through Fintech and Microfinance (Huffingtong Post), Rated: AAA

One angle that needs to be discussed more is how the introduction of these new services is also lowering barriers to most financial activities.

For instance, the rise of cashless options has given the unbanked access to financial services especially in regions that banks find unserviceable. So, it is quite refreshing then that some new Fintech efforts are focused on this particular area since financial inclusion is considered as a key aspect to poverty reduction.

I recently spoke with Sharone Perlstein who is currently working on delivering microfinance services to emerging markets.

What attracted you to microfinance?

There are about 2.5 billion people in the world who are unbanked. Microfinance bypasses the banking system and can help unbanked people develop their own personal economy that will enable them to support their families, their communities, and ultimately the economy of their country.

What are the key challenges in microfinancing and how do you think they can be overcome?

Human resources: Until now, a very large workforce was required to provide this service to those who need it. Today, with automation and smarter information systems, we can significantly reduce manpower and streamline processes to make loans more economically viable for borrowers and lenders.

Most microfinance companies operate where they are most needed, namely in rural areas where the technological infrastructure is unadvanced and unstable. These areas are usually far from urban centers and transportation is inconvenient and expensive. As a result, communication between the microfinance service provider and its potential customers is complex and challenging.

Granting loans to people without a bank account may be risky from a business point of view, since it is difficult to know whether potential borrowers are trustworthy or will be able to meet the terms of the loan. It is also difficult to monitor their business and economic activity. In other words, it is very difficult to build a financial profile for a borrower with no banking activity. Here, too, mobile technology changes the picture.

Some argue that microfinance loans, supposedly meant to help poor people succeed financially, often leave them with debts they can’t afford because of the high-interest rates. What is your opinion on this matter? Is this a real problem? What causes it? And how can it be solved?

I think the best solution is to ensure that:

A. Potential borrowers understand the terms of the loan in depth.

B. The Microfinancier knows the potential borrower in depth.

Why do you choose to focus on Indonesia?

I researched the region’s economy a bit and discovered that there were more than 50 million small and medium-sized businesses, representing about 97% of the business sector in Indonesia and responsible for 30%, if not more, of its GDP growth. However, many of these businesses don’t have enough money to realize their full potential, especially in rural areas, and the banks do not provide the right solution. For this reason, the Bank of Indonesia has enacted a law according to which banks will have to devote at least 20% of their loans portfolio to microloans by 2018, thus opening a window of opportunity for businesses and other microfinance companies wishing to enter the local ecosystem.

Will Your Next Loan Be in Bitcoin? (The Street), Rated: A

Bitcoin could have you covered on your next home loan.

In this line, the longstanding contribution of traditional banks in the worldwide economy is undeniable. But due to their credit selectiveness, renowned bureaucracy and transactional costs, the question is: Can this system can be improved to better serve the 2 billion underbankedaround the world? Greater financial inclusion provides benefits far beyond improved economic health for underserved societies; it is also way for governments to reduce corruption and fraud and promote entrepreneurship and growth.

Anecdotally, at the end of 2015, Lending Club had a total loan volume of $15.9 billion. Year-end of 2016 shows a total volume of $24.6 billion so the annual volume for 2016 is the difference or $8.7 billion.

Just last year, Ripio Credit Network, which wrapped up a $31 million Ethereum ICO, entered the credit service market using Bitcoin as the transaction vehicle. A year later, BitPagos launched Ripio as a digital wallet that enables consumers to send, receive, store, and buy or sell Bitcoin in local currency and to make online payments. In January 2017, BitPagos rebranded as Ripio, with around 100,000 users in tow across North and South America.

Mambu: A Truly Global SaaS Banking Platform for Traditional Finance & Fintechs (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Mambu is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that has quickly differentiated its product as a leader in the white label global online banking space.

Mambu is operating in 45 different countries indicating its ability to quickly adapt to diverse regulatory regimes.

Co-founded by CEO Eugene Danilkis and COO Frederik Pfisterer, Mambu is Berlin based Fintech, a standout in the emerging German Fintech scene. Danilkis started his career developing NASA-certified software for the International Space Station.

Can you please provide an update on Mambu and global utilization? How many different companies are using your digital banking services? Which countries are you operating in?

Mambu is live on 6 continents, countries of operation include the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the US, Kenya, Australia, Philippines, China and Argentina, to name a few.

We have more than 180 live operations in over 45 countries, our solution powers over 5000 loan and deposit products which serve over 4 million end customers.

Our clients range from FinTech revolutionaries to traditional banks.

  • Oaknorth
  • N26
  • New10, ABN AMRO’s newly launched SME lending Fintech, went from concept to launch in 10 months and is offering a fast and fully digital loan application process for Dutch businesses.
  • Globe Telecom’s lending business Fuse
  • PayU Colombia

Is online lending, including P2P, marketplace and balance sheet lending, the most demanded service right now?

Eugene Danilkis: Across all lending verticals, consumer, business and marketplace, there is significant demand for digital and customer centric loan products.

That being said, we have experienced a rise in demand from institutions looking to launch new digital banking services, offering both deposit and loan products.

We’ve also seen a growth in institutions looking to explore a different approach and take a marketplace model similar to that of N26.  They want to collaborate with product providers to offer clients a wider range of products and services.

There appears to be more traditional lenders (IE banks) more inclined to go it alone and launch their own platforms. Goldman Sachs launched Marcus which they developed in house. Is this a trend? Or an opportunity for Mambu?

Eugene Danilkis: As mentioned above, this is a trend that is gathering momentum and it is an opportunity for Mambu.

From Bitcoin To Equity: Fintech Terms Explained (International Business Times), Rated: B

Cryptocurrency: A digital currency that uses cryptography, the art of coding messages to keep them secure.

Blockchain technology: A type of software pioneered by the bitcoin community. It is a new way to structure data by spreading it out across the network so no single party can meddle with the records.

Ethereum: A type of open source blockchain network created by a Russian-Canadian programmer named Vitalik Buterin.

Smart contracts: A piece of software that runs on a blockchain platform and is programmed to automatically complete transactions based on specific circumstances.

Mining: The process of verifying transactions on decentralized cryptocurrency networks is called “mining.”

ICO: An initial coin offering is a type of fundraising campaignwhere a high-tech project raises cryptocurrency by selling tokens, usually a new token unique to this project or startup.

P2P: This stands for peer-to-peer, direct transfers between two people. If you send a friend money through the Venmo mobile app, that’s a P2P money transfer.

Altcoin: A generic term for almost any cryptocurrency that isn’t bitcoin, short for alternative coin.

Cryptocurrency wallet: In the crypto space, a wallet is a piece of software that manages your coins and assets.

Utility token: A cryptocurrency that activates a product or service, grants access to a community or network, or otherwise spurs the blockchain-based project’s development.

India

Connect adds State Bank of India to panel (Mortgage Introducer), Rated: B

Mortgage network Connect for Intermediaries has added State Bank of India – the largest bank in India – to its panel.

The bank offers limited company and special purpose vehicle buy-to-let mortgages with rates starting from 2.59% to 60% LTV and 2.89% to 75% LTV.

It also offers buy-to-let mortgages for individuals from 2.09% to 60% LTV, while it accepts applications from first-time landlords if they have a residential mortgage.

Connect now has a panel of more than 100 lenders, with Octane, West One and Funding Circle being added this year.

Africa

Mastercard Foundation Announces Fifth Annual Symposium on Financial Inclusion (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

The Mastercard Foundation today announced that its fifth annual and largest Symposium on Financial Inclusion (SoFI) will take place in Accra, Ghana, on November 7 – 9, 2017. The Symposium champions the idea that, to achieve greater financial inclusion, financial service providers in developing countries must do more to meet the needs and expectations of people living in poverty.

Each year since 2013 the Foundation has convened hundreds of industry professionals to focus on barriers to greater financial inclusion around the world.

This year’s event will reflect on progress made over the past five years, explore challenges that still lie ahead, and plan how to expand and deepen financial inclusion for the world’s most underserved people.

Attendees will hear from an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, including:

  • Opening Keynote Address: Juliet Anammah, Chief Executive Officer, Jumia Nigeria
  • Keynote Address II: Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana

The Mastercard Foundation first awarded the Clients at the Centre Prize in 2015 to the Swedish mobile microinsurance firm BIMA. Last year, the Prize was presented to the South African international remittance company, Hello Paisa. Each year draws nearly 100 applicants from companies around the globe. The three 2017 finalists are:

  • Jumo, a large-scale, low-cost financial services marketplace that uses behavioral data from mobile usage to create financial identities for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises;
  • ftCash, one of India’s fastest growing financial technology ventures which aims to empower micro-merchants and small businesses with the power of digital payments and loans; and
  • Destacame, a free online platform that empowers users by giving them control over their data to build their financial capabilities and to access financial products.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday October 5 2017, Daily News Digest

roboadvisors aum

News Comments Today’s main news: Aspire Fintech is closing. Navient buys Earnest for $155M. Schwab creates robo-advisor, hires ex-Betterment GM to run it. Atom Bank nears 1B GPB in deposits. SoFi’s plan to become a bank isn’t going so well. Rubique has issued 50K credit cards. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issues P2P lending platform directions. Today’s main analysis: Nutmeg sees […]

roboadvisors aum

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Canada

News Summary

United States

SoFi’s Plan to Become the Bank of the Future Isn’t Going So Well (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Now, with Cagney felled by a flurry of sexual harassment allegations, the question is whether SoFi has any chance of building the financial supermarket he envisioned. This was always going to be a tall order given the intense competition from entrenched players and fintech startups alike, but now the SoFi brand has been tarnished as well.

“There are a lot of question marks,” says Alois Pirker, research director at advisory firm Aite Group. “The new CEO will need to find his or her bearings there and that will tell which direction they’ll be going.”

Some members of the board consider the moves into life insurance and wealth management Cagney “pet projects,” according to a person familiar with their thinking. Directors prefer to focus on more mature businesses such as personal loans and mortgages that are more predictable and established, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

The firm reported revenue of $134 million in the second quarter, according to an email from Cagney to investors in August. It had adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $61.6 million and extended over $3.1 billion in student loans, personal loans and mortgages during that time frame. Personal loans are the most profitable, the person said, followed by student loans and then mortgages.

The wealth management unit had just $12 million in assets under management as of early September, according to a filing. This is far short of the more than $100 million the firm had set as an internal goal, people familiar with the matter have said.

SoFi readies 1st student loan bond post-management shakeup (Asset Securitization Report), Rated: A

Social Finance is returning to the securitization market with $626.4 million of bonds backed by loans used to refinance the student debt of borrowers with advanced degrees and high incomes.

The transaction, SoFi Professional Loan Program 2017-E (internal link; not in original source article), comes just weeks after the marketplace lender experienced a management shakeup; its chief executive officer and chief financial officer both resigned.

SoFi hosts party at Front & Palmer (Metro), Rated: B

Most people are not fans of student loan debt, but last week, SoFihosted a party at Front & Palmer in Philadelphia to celebrate it as a means of opening doors to education and more opportunities.

Recent college grads were invited to attend for free and to gain admittance, only needed to bring a proof of their student loan debt.

Source: Metro.com

Earnest, An Online Student Lender, Bought By Navient For $ 155 Million (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Financial technology start-up Earnest has agreed to be acquired by student loan servicing giant Navient for $155 million in cash, the companies said on Wednesday.

Earnest, an online lender that has focused on refinancing student loans, will remain a distinct brand and will continue to be led by its current management team, including founder and CEO Louis Beryl.

The acquisition will be a launching pad for Navient to begin originating its own student loans.

Schwab creates robo-exec slot and fills it with ex-Betterment unit chief (RIABiz), Rated: AAA

As its robo-assets soar to seemingly effortless heights, Charles Schwab & Co. is hiring an intriguing ex-Betterment talent to ensure that its good fortune holds.

The San Francisco-based investments giant, with $24 billion* of assets under automated management in Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Advisor, hired Cynthia Loh, the ex-general manager of Betterment for Business, the division that oversees the New York-based robo‘s 401(k) unit.

The Schwab robo-launch’s differentiators were its “zero” fee, its 24/7 access to service personnel and its national advertising. Yet the look and offering of the Schwab Intelligent offering are considered plain-vanilla in scope.

How tough can Schwab get with digital upstarts? (FinancialPlanning), Rated: AAA

Outlining his firm’s strategy for battling digital disruption, Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger envisioned it would push client asset revenues lower, while relying on its brand and established market share to grow.

Reacting to his statement, industry observers expect an uphill slog for independents as the largest firms gear up for a price war on three fronts: financial advice, online trading and ETFs.

An early study by A.T. Kearney predicted incumbents would slash prices to compete with robo advice upstarts. While that never came to pass, the 2015 study still predicted industry revenues would drop by as much as $12 billion by 2020.

“[Schwab has] $3 trillion in client assets. They have very positive brand recognition and customer satisfaction scores that are the envy of most of the industry. They have demonstrated a willingness to cut price to gain market share, as seen with their recent commission cuts in online trading. So yes, they can throw their weight around.”

The wisdom of possessing a trifurcated digital advice offering — Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, a digital-only service, an institutional platform for RIAs, and the hybrid robo advisor Schwab Intelligent Advisory — also becomes clearer, McDermott notes. (Schwab’s robo now has $20 billion in AUM).

Robo advice is expected to collectively top $1 trillion in assets under management in fewer than five years, according to Boston-based consulting firm Aite Group. But micro-investing will partly feed such growth, it predicts, noting over 60% of millennials already are subscribed to such apps.

FinTech Lenders and Banks Take Note (VedderPrice), Rated: AAA

While Upstart’s No-Action Letter has narrow applicability, it may serve as a tool for other FinTech lenders in implementing innovative products and services and establishing relationships with banks.

According to Upstart, its underwriting technology uses traditional underwriting methodologies in combination with other variables that are correlated with financial capacity and “repayment propensity.” Upstart states that its model understands and quantifies risk associated with all borrowers—both those with credit histories and those without credit histories. As a result, the Upstart loan program is able to offer credit to segments of the population with limited credit or work histories at more favorable rates. In other words, it appears Upstart is underwriting consumer loans without reliance upon traditional criteria, such as credit scores and length of employment history.

  • The No-Action Letter is only applicable to Upstart’s automated model for underwriting applicants for unsecured non-revolving credit, as described in Upstart’s original Request.
  • The No-Action Letter will expire three (3) years after its issuance, at which time Upstart may seek to renew the No-Action Letter.
  • The No-Action Letter is subject to modification or revocation at any time at the discretion of the CFPB staff for any reason, including where the CFPB’s staff determines that such modification or revocation is appropriate to protect consumers or is otherwise in the public interest.

On one hand, a no-action letter may be particularly useful for a FinTech company, utilizing innovative technology and operations, to obtain guidance concerning the permissibility of its business model under specific regulatory constructs. A no-action letter may also be useful for a FinTech company seeking to establish joint ventures with banks.

On the other hand, a CFPB-issued No-Action Letter has narrow applicability as it is only applicable to the requesting applicant, a specific regulatory issue and the facts and circumstances identified by the applicant in its request submitted to the CFPB. Should a fact or circumstance fail to be conveyed accurately, or should a fact or circumstance change, the No-Action Letter may be rendered useless.

Online housing investment platform Roofstock raises $ 35M in Series C (The Real Deal), Rated: A

Housing investment platform Roofstock raised $35 million in a Series C funding round as it looks to cash in on growing interest in single-family rental housing.

Roofstock CEO Gary Beasley said the firm will use the money to hire and to expand into new markets. The company has raised a total of $68 million from investors, according to Beasley.

From Shopping to Close, LendingTree Study Finds Mortgage Process is Getting Faster (Business Insider), Rated: A

LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, has released the findings of its study on shopping timelines for purchase mortgages. The study analyzed data from a sampling of more than 5,000 closed loans from March 2016 through May 2017 and reviews the timeline for the entire mortgage shopping experience – from first submitting a loan request and being matched with a lender to the date of the mortgage loan closing. The study revealed that the median time from early rate shopping to closing on a purchase mortgage declined 7 days from 2016 to 2017.

From 2016 to 2017, LendingTree has seen a 19% increase in the number of loans closed within 30 days and a 27% increase in loans closed in 60 days.

Congress is Trying to Get the IRS to Modernize (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Back in December 2013 Renaud Laplanche testified on Capitol Hill on small business lending. He was CEO of Lending Club back then and when a Congressman asked Laplanche a question as to how the government can best help he said to make IRS data more easily accessible to online lenders.

Fast forward four years and there appears to finally be some movement on this. Last week Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) along with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a billthat would help the IRS move into the modern age and allow the automated retrieval of tax information through an API.

The IRS Data Verification Modernization Act of 2017 as it is called will require the IRS to create an API that will allow lenders to verify income in real time.

RealtyShares – New Small Balance Multifamily Program (RealtyShares), Rated: A

RealtyShares is now financing Small & Large Balance Commercial Multifamily, Apartment, Retail, & Hotel Assets.

Typical dwellings/ deal structure:

  • Class A, B & C+ dwellings
  • Typically like properties within a 30 mile radius of a popular MSA (but not necessarily a deal breaker as long as the project looks good)
  • The minimum loan financed needs to meet 1MM (Acquisition w/ renovation)
  • Asset Based Lender but having an experienced client who has done deals in the particular area is a great compensating factor

Project Summary

Loan Information

  1. Loan Amount
  2. Duration (term)
  3. Closing deadline
  4. Reason for deadline

Lien Information

  1. Amount of existing first lien
  2. Amount of other liens

Collateral Information

  1. Collateral Type
  2. Number of Units
  3. Total Square Footage
  4. Street Address
  5. Purchase Price and Purchase Date (if refi)
  6. “As Is” Real Estate Value
  7. Date of “as is” Appraisal/BPO
  8. Net Operating Income (NOI)
  9. Capital Expenditures since Purchase ($)
  10. Vacancy (%)

Guarantor(s) Information

  1. Net Worth of Guarantor(s)
  2. Estimated liquid assets of Guarantor(s)
  3. FICO Score of Guarantor(s)
  4. Guarantor(s) investment in collateral – current or proposed
  5. Sponsor’s Website

Use of Proceeds:
Please provide a concise description, a few sentences, on the Use of Proceeds (i.e., discuss: acquisition, refinance, site improvement, tenant improvements, planning, design/permitting, carry costs and etc.)

Exit Strategy:
Please provide a concise description, a few sentences on the Exit Strategy (e.g. discuss prospective buyer, prospective permanent financing).

What to Watch for When It Comes to Alternative Investing Opportunities (Madison.com), Rated: A

When you are working in the equity crowdfunding space, particularly as a company that is private, you certainly don’t have the liquidity that you would for a publicly traded stock that’s on the exchange.

On this episode of Industry Focus: Technology, host Dylan Lewis is joined by Motley Fool contributing writer Daniel Kline to talk about the dangers of this type of investing. They break down all the risks associated with purchasing shares in a company that does not have to report as much financial data as a traditional publicly traded company.

Watch the full video discussion here.

Elevate to Release Third Quarter 2017 Earnings on Monday, October 30, 2017 (Financial Times), Rated: B

Elevate Credit, Inc. today announced that it will release its third quarter 2017 financial results after the market closes on Monday, October 30, 2017. Ken Rees, Chief Executive Officer, and Chris Lutes, Chief Financial Officer, will also host a conference call on the day of the release (October 30, 2017) at 5:00 pm ET to discuss Elevate’s financial results.

Interested parties may access the conference call live over the phone by dialing 1-877-407-0792 (domestic) or 1-201-689-8263 (international) and requesting the Elevate Third Quarter 2017 Earnings Conference Call. Participants are asked to dial in a few minutes prior to the call to register for the event. The conference call will also be webcast live through Elevate’s website at 

An audio replay of the conference call will be available approximately three hours after the conference call until 11:59 pm ET on November 13, 2017, and can be accessed by dialing 1-844-512-2921 (domestic) or 1-412-317-6671 (international), and providing the passcode 13671832, or by accessing Elevate’s website.

Citi FinTech’s Customer-Driven Journey: Our Latest Mobile Enhancements (Citi), Rated: B

These new mobile investment features include a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP), fund screener, consolidated search functionality and enhanced visualization. Through the Citi Mobile App for iPhone, any Citi client with a brokerage account now enjoys one-touch access to their financial advisors and the ability to manage their investments personally, without switching to another channel.

Dividend Reinvestment Plan: Now clients can enroll eligible securities in a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) right within the app. Once a customer has opted in, this feature helps our clients put their cash dividends to work, instead of idling in their accounts.

Investment Search: This consolidated search function makes investing easier for clients interested in managing their portfolios themselves.

Performance Visualization: An enhanced visualization enables clients to track their portfolio’s performance and make adjustments right within the app.

United Kingdom

App-only bank Atom nears £1 billion in deposits (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Startup, app-only bank Atom has passed £900 million in deposits less than two years after launching its first savings product.

The disclosure comes as Atom’s annual accounts show that the startup had £538 million in deposits from over 17,000 customers at the end of March. It means the app-only bank has attracted around £400 million in four months.

The bank’s accounts, filed with Companies House this week, show Atom has received over £300 million of small business loan applications and lent out close to £100 million in loans and mortgages by March this year.

Atom had a net interest loss of £1 million for the year, due to paying out interest on its 1.95% and 2.5% fixed savings accounts, at the time market-leading interest rates, before the launch of its lending products.

UK’s biggest robo-advisor Nutmeg sees losses widen (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Nutmeg, the UK’s biggest automated investment fintech in terms of assets under management (AUM), released 

Source: Business Insider

P2P lending on course for 20 per cent jump (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Lending across all of the peer-to-peer platforms in 2017 to date is already higher than in the whole of 2016, according to data from research agency 4thWay.

According to the data, total lending across all peer-to-peer platforms is likely to be at least 20 per cent higher this year than last with the largest platforms, Funding Circle and Zopa, leading the way.

Funding Circle has lent £865m in 2017 to date, compared with £825m in the whole of 2016.

European Union

The 8 Biggest Startups in Europe by Funding (Nanalyze), Rated: AAA

Zee Germans are leading the pack with 4 unicorns and we also see that fintech and ecommerce make up half of all the sector allocations.

Company Name Funding Country Sector
Spotify $8.53 Sweden Internet Software & Services
Otto Bock HealthCare $3.50 Germany Healthcare
Auto1 Group $2.80 Germany eCommerce/Marketplace
Klarna $2.50 Sweden Fintech
VistaJet $2.50 Malta On-demand
Adyen $2.30 Netherlands Fintech
Hellofresh $2.09 Germany eCommerce/Marketplace
CureVac $1.65 Germany Healthcare
BlaBlaCar $1.60 France On-Demand
Saxo Bank $1.45 Denmark Fintech
Global Fashion Group $1.10 Luxembourg eCommerce/Marketplace
OVH $1.10 France Big Data
Avaloq Group $1.01 Switzerland Fintech
AVAST Software $1 Czech Republic Cybersecurity
letgo $1 Netherlands eCommerce/Marketplace
MindMaze $1 Switzerland VR/AR

Big Brand Payments, Part 1

Another big player from Sweden is Klarna, founded in 2005 and now valued at $2.5 billion. With $521.44 million in funding from investors like Sequoia and Visa, Klarna is one of the most popular e-commerce payment solutions in Europe, used by Burberry, Overstock.com, J.Crew, Nike, Lenovo, and hundreds more.

Adlibris, one of Europe’s largest booksellers, used Klarna to improve its mobile checkout solution, resulting in an 80% conversion increase.

Big Brand Payments, Part 2

With a valuation just shy of its Swedish colleague Klarna, Netherlands-based Adyen (valued at $2.3 billion), has established a firm foothold in the world of merchant payments by providing a “friction-less payment experience”. Founded in 2006 and funded with $266 million to date, Adyen has some huge customers in its corner, including Netflix, Uber, Etsy, Spotify, Groupon, and LinkedIn. The secret is in its platform, which features support for a wide variety of payment options (250 worldwide, to be exact) in a single system, including Apple and Android Pay, all major credit cards, direct debit for recurring payments, in-app purchases, and much more. The Cambridge Satchel, a UK handbag company, saw its Black Friday sales rocket by 124% after switching to Adyen’s platform. In addition to one-time purchases, the platform also facilitates subscriptions and recurring payments more seamlessly.

Trelix Approved as a Third-Party Due Diligence Provider by DBRS (Business Insider), Rated: A

Trelix, a provider of due diligence, quality control, licensed fulfillment and non-licensed fulfillment products and services across the origination and securitization lifecycle, today announced that it has been approved as a third-party due diligence provider for DBRS-rated transactions. DBRS is a full-service credit rating agency respected for its independent, third-party evaluations of corporate and government issues. DBRS’s approval process, before adding a company as an accepted provider, includes an on-site review to assess companies’ staffing, infrastructure and capabilities relevant to securitization-related services.

As part of Altisource’s Origination Solutions platform, Trelix offers clients a unique combination of technology and risk management tools that position it to have a meaningful impact on the securitization market.

Dutch fintech company InvoiceFinance raises €6 million in funding (Tech.eu), Rated: A

InvoiceFinance, a fintech startup based in Amsterdam, has raised €6 million from Peak Capital.

The new funds will be invested in marketing purposes and hiring for the sales and development team.

New10 Partners With Mambu To Redefine Dutch SME Lending (Bob’s Guide), Rated: A

Mambu today announced that New10, ABN AMRO’s newly launched FinTech, has selected the SaaS engine to power a range of small and medium enterprise (SME) lending products in the Netherlands. New10, which aims to provide credit decisions within 15 minutes, went from concept to launch within 10 months, in line with ABN AMRO’s vision of digitisation and innovation.

Mambu took a collaborative approach working with the New10 team in order to complete implementation within four months. In a highly regulated environment, Mambu’s partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) which has received Dutch regulatory approval, helped smooth the path to market. New10 launched on 21 September 2017 with a fully digital SME lending platform with plans to broaden the portfolio and potentially expand into new markets.

collectAI manages 25m Euro in Receivables (Otto Group), Rated: A

collectAI, the service for digital receivables, has processed receivables at a volume of 25m Euro since its foundation in 2016. collectAI automates and digitises invoices, dunning and debt collection processes and is the first digital end-to-end provider in receivables management.

Examples of successful KPIs on the clients’ side include: Introducing digital communication channels lead to an increase of the collection rate of 33 percent, while processing costs have been reduced by up to 41 percent.

While 23 percent of invoices are overdue Europe-wide (EHI 2016 – online retail only), the invoice remains the most popular payment method in Germany with a market share of 30,5 percent (EOS 2016). Even though returns from receivables and debt collection are essential for revenue and thus liquidity, only 18 percent of companies have digitised their receivables to date (EOS/Kantar 2017).

Papering Over the Cracks (LendIt), Rated: A

In 2016 there were a reported 5.4 million SMEs in operation in the UK alone and our economy depends heavily on the success of these “little guys”.

Fintechs and banks are now lending faster than the speed of light, but when it comes to uncovering fraudulent activity, are they actually left standing in the dark?

Invoice finance lenders have to be particularly vigilant when it comes to a different type of fraud: fresh air invoicing.

One way to avoid being stung by paper fraud is to lend against accurate financial data extracted directly from a company’s accounting package, rather than lending against a PDF or excel file that can be amended. Advances in technology means lenders are now able to access this level of data directly, securely and efficiently, so they can be sure they’re providing fair financial support to loan applicants.

International

BitProperty Announces Upcoming Token Sale, Beta Release of Real Estate Investment Platform (Bitcoinist), Rated: AAA

BitProperty, the blockchain-powered real estate investment platform, has announced that it will launch a closed beta release on October 5, 2017. Ten days later, on October 15, it will kick off a token sale to raise funds for further development of the platform.

The BitProperty platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain and uses two different types of tokens. The first type is an asset token that represents a share of a particular asset. When a real estate owner lists a property on the platform, the number of asset tokens issued against the property represents its value. Investors can purchase these asset tokens and will then receive income based on the performance of the asset (property) and the size of the stake that each investor holds.

The second type of token is the BTP token, which represents the inherent value of the platform backed by the pool of the company’s managed assets.

India

Rubique crosses over 50,000 credit cards customers (India.com), Rated: AAA

Mumbai-based FinTech startup Rubique continues to embark upon its fast-paced growth across sectors, including Retail and SME financing.

Rubique has till date successfully crossed over 50,000 Credit Cards customers.

RBI issues directions for peer-to-peer lending platforms (India Times), Rated: AAA

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on October 4, issued directions for non-banking financial companies (NBFC) that operate peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms. According to the directions, from now on no NBFC can start or carry on the business of a P2P lending platform without obtaining a Certificate of Registration. Every company seeking registration with the bank as an NBFC-P2P shall have a net owned funds of not less than Rs 20 million or such higher amount as the bank may specify.

They have been asked to apply for registration as NBFC-P2Ps within 3 months.

NOTIFICATIONS (Reserve Bank of India), Rated: AAA

3. Scope

These Directions provide a framework for the registration and operation of NBFC-P2Ps in India.

(2) Process of Registration

(i) Every existing and prospective NBFC-P2P shall make an application for registration to the Department of Non-Banking Regulation, Mumbai of the Bank, in the form which will be specified by the Bank for the purpose. Existing NBFC-P2Ps shall apply within three months from the issuance of these Directions.

(ii) The Bank, for the purpose of considering the application for registration, shall require the following conditions, among others, to be fulfilled:

  1. The company is incorporated in India;
  2. The company has the necessary technological, entrepreneurial and managerial resources to offer such services to the participants;
  3. The company has the adequate capital structure to undertake the business of Peer to Peer Lending Platform;
  4. The promoters and the Directors of the company are fit and proper;
  5. The general character of the management of the company is not prejudicial to the public interest;
  6. The company has submitted a plan for, or implemented, a robust and secure Information Technology system;
  7. The company has submitted a viable business plan for conducting the business of Peer to Peer Lending Platform;
  8. Public interest shall be served by the grant of CoR;

Any other condition as may be specified by the Bank, fulfillment of which, in the opinion of the Bank, is necessary to ensure that the commencement of or carrying on the business in India shall not be prejudicial to the public interest.

6. Scope of Activities

(1) An NBFC-P2P shall-

  1. act as an intermediary providing an online marketplace or platform to the participants involved in Peer to Peer lending;
  2. not raise deposits as defined by or under Section 45I(bb) of the Act or the Companies Act, 2013;
  3. not lend on its own;
  4. not provide or arrange any credit enhancement or credit guarantee;
  5. not facilitate or permit any secured lending linked to its platform; i.e. only clean loans will be permitted;
  6. not hold, on its own balance sheet, funds received from lenders for lending, or funds received from borrowers for servicing loans; or such funds as stipulated in paragraph 9;
  7. not cross sell any product except for loan specific insurance products;
  8. not permit international flow of funds;
  9. ensure adherence to legal requirements applicable to the participants as prescribed under relevant laws.
  10. store and process all data relating to its activities and participants on hardware located within India.

(2) Further, NBFC-P2P shall-

  1. undertake due diligence on the participants;
  2. undertake credit assessment and risk profiling of the borrowers and disclose the same to their prospective lenders;
  3. require prior and explicit consent of the participant to access its credit information;
  4. undertake documentation of loan agreements and other related documents;
  5. provide assistance in disbursement and repayments of loan amount;
  6. render services for recovery of loans originated on the platform.

(3) NBFC-P2P shall not undertake any activity other than those stated in paras 6(1) and 6(2) of these Directions. Deployment of investible funds by an NBFC-P2P in instruments specified by the Bank, not for trading, shall however be permitted.

11. Transparency and Disclosure Requirements

(1) An NBFC-P2P shall be required to disclose the following:

(i) to the lender

  1. details about the borrower/s including personal identity, required amount, interest rate sought and credit score as arrived by the NBFC-P2P.
  2. details about all the terms and conditions of the loan, including likely return, fees and taxes;

(ii) to the borrower – details about the lender/s including proposed amount, interest rate offered but excluding personal identity and contact details;

(iii) publicly disclose on its website:

  1. overview of credit assessment/score methodology and factors considered;
  2. disclosures on usage/protection of data;
  3. grievance redressal mechanism;
  4. portfolio performance including share of non-performing assets on a monthly basis and segregation by age; and
  5. its broad business model.

(2) NBFC-P2P shall ensure that the providing of services to a participant, who has applied for availing of such services, is backed by appropriate agreements between the participants and the NBFC-P2P. The agreements shall categorically specify all the terms and conditions among the borrower, the lender and the NBFC-P2P.

(3) The interest rates displayed on the platform shall be in Annualized Percentage Rate (APR) format.

Finance Ministry Welcomes RBI Move On P2P Lending (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

The finance ministry today welcomed the central bank’s move to treat peer-to-peer, also known as P2P, lending platforms as non banking financial companies, saying it would improve financing for smaller firms.

RBI To Observe P2P Lenders As Well As Invest in Security Frameworks (Industry Daily News), Rated: A

The government has declared RBI (Reserve Bank of India) as the watchdog for P2P (peer to peer) lending marketplaces that have been segmented as NBFCs (non-banking finance companies). While this might elevate prices for online lenders via compliance needs, most have greeted the decision claiming that it provides them identification.

RBI To Allow Funds Transfer Among Mobile Wallets (Bloomberg Quint), Rated: A

The Reserve Bank of India will make prepaid payment instruments like e-wallets, gift cards and meal coupons interoperable for customers complying with the central bank’s know your customer guidelines.

Inter-operability among KYC compliant prepaid instruments will be implemented in six months after the RBI issues its revised norms within a week by October 11, the central bank said as part of its developmental and regulatory policies.

What startup entrepreneurs should learn from sports (MoneyControl), Rated: B

The so-called unicorn startups and their founders have become role models for the millennials. Hardly any town or city in India is left untouched by the startup fever and its multi-million funding stories.

1. Sport helps build character: Sanjay Darbha, the founder of Peerlend, a peer-to-peer lending platform and a sports enthusiast who competes in Senior Men’s circuit tournaments of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), explains, that sports inculcates attributes such as discipline, focus, and patience.

2. Sports lets you, be yourself: If entrepreneurs want to know the better or bitter side of their team members – make them play a sport.

3. Sport is a medium to connect beyond business: Ecosystem players should find innovative ways to connect with each other to get a better understanding of other’s needs and challenges.

4. Sport helps in building lasting bonds: A playground in an excellent incubator that helps in the construction of robust and long-lasting relationships.

Startups could use games to let their team members explore possible synergies between them.

Canada

Aspire FinTech is closing down (Aspire Email), Rated: AAA

Hey all,

I wanted to share the news today that Aspire Financial Technologies will be officially shutting down this week.  Sadly, the search for a strategic partner we started in the summer wasn’t successful, and our funding has now run out.  As a result, we no longer have the resources to continue the build of our loan data and analytics infrastructure solutions.

I’ll be running a sale process of Aspire’s IP (Aspire Gateway and ALD Explorer solutions) over the next month or so, looking for a quick outcome.  Feel free to contact me to discuss.

Thanks to all that have supported Aspire over the past two years.  Despite the odds, we made it this far, with your help.  Unfortunately, expensive and complex build requirements, with long institutional sales cycles, combined with a lack of scalable professional seed-stage funding in Canada, have been our undoing.  Any one of these being different would likely have yielded a better outcome, but all three together have proved to be terminal.

Mark and I have had a great team to work with.  We thank them for all the hard work and long hours, and wish them well as they move on to their next challenges (and hopefully a bit more stability!).

For me personally, I’ve made and consumed a great deal of  “FinTech Kool-Aid” over the past two years, which has permanently altered by view of the future, and the role that technology will play in the delivery of financial services to consumers, small businesses and corporations going forward.  I’m excited to see this play out, and the role I can play in making it happen.

Best regards,

David A. Fry, MBA, CFA
Co-Founder and CEO
Aspire Financial Technologies Inc.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday September 7 2017, Daily News Digest

robo-advisors

News Comments Today’s main news: Square plans to apply for an ILC banking license. Laplanche boosts volumes at Upgrade. SoFi CEO pulls out of Goldman fintech conference due to recent sexual harassment allegations. RealtyMogul launches MogulREIT II. Today’s main analysis: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Why broker-dealer robo-advisors miss the point. RateSetter says even a millionaire couldn’t […]

robo-advisors

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

MENA

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Square to apply for industrial bank, inflaming ILC debate (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Payment processor Square is seeking an industrial loan company, according to several sources familiar with the matter, further sparking debate over whether fintech companies should be allowed to use the controversial charter.

“ICBA’s feeling about Square applying for an ILC is the same about SoFi,” said Camden Fine, the president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America. “If these entities want to be banks, they should apply for banking charters and come under full and unified banking supervision.”

Square’s main purpose for the charter will be to extend its small-business lending business, the spokesperson said. Though it also intends to take deposits, which would provide some amount of funding for its on-balance-sheet loans, the lion share of the company’s loans would still be sold off to third parties.

Square also felt the ILC charter was best suited to its structure, as the company owns a point-of-sales hardware appliance business and even a food delivery service called Caviar.

Ousted Lending Club chief boosts volumes at new venture (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Renaud Laplanche, the former Lending Club chief ousted over a governance scandal last year, is stepping up lending at his new venture, determined to re-impose himself on the market for refinancing more than $1tn of credit card debt.

Mr Laplanche launched his firm, Upgrade, in April, having raised $60m in Series-A funding from a group of investors including Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital and CreditEase, China’s leading online lender. As at Lending Club, he is homing in on consumers struggling with big balances on credit cards — offering to swap a floating rate of, say, 17 per cent for a fixed rate about 5 percentage points less.

While Mr Laplanche declines to say how much business he has done so far, he has begun to boost volumes, responding to steady demand from consumers and also for high-quality assets from half a dozen core institutional investors. That new cadre of investors is unfazed by the scandal which erupted in May 2016, he said.

SoFi CEO Backs Out of Goldman Event Amid Sexual Harassment Probe (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Social Finance Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Cagney was supposed to take the stage at the Goldman Sachs FinTech Conference in New York City on Thursday, but he backed out amid a lawsuit and internal investigation at the firm.

Why broker-dealer robo advisors miss the fintech point (Financial-Planning), Rated: AAA

Over the past two years, there’s been a growing trend of broker-dealers announcing prospective launches of their own robo advisor solutions. From LPL developing a platform with BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor to Voya planning to launch a robo advisor, and Kestra Financial announcing it is working on a robo platform on the back of its acquisition of H. Beck, there’s been no shortage of announcements.

Launching a robo advisor does hold appeal among broker-dealers. Many of their reps are asking for it, either because it’s an easier way to handle smaller clients, or just to have a robo advisor option for millennial clients. Who wouldn’t want a button for the advisor’s website that young people can click to open up small accounts that will grow with time? And from the broker-dealer’s perspective, ideally, this helps them address the coming generational shift of assets from baby boomers down to millennials.

But for a broker-dealer that in the aggregate is losing 3% to 5% a year in asset outflows a decade from now, it’s a crisis, because a broker-dealer still has a multi-decade open-ended timeframe as an ongoing business entity. This is why we see broker-dealers, as well as RIA custodians, so obsessively beating the drum about advisors needing to focus more on younger clients. It’s not actually because advisors desperately need younger clients for our businesses to survive. It’s because they, the broker-dealers and RIA custodians, need us to get younger clients for them so their businesses survive and so they have younger clients after we’re gone and retired!

And so from the broker-dealer’s perspective, if millennials are pursuing robo advisor solutions, then the broker-dealer wants to roll out a robo advisor to get those younger clients and solve its own long-term generational issue. But here’s the problem with the strategy: robo advisors live and die by their ability to get clients online, and that’s not easy for anyone, especially a large base of independent registered representatives.

DOOMED TO FAIL

Betterment is just over $10 billion in total assets after six years. Wealthfront is just over $7 billion AUM in that same duration. Schwab made news for $15 billion dollars of assets, but has actually noted only a third of that total was new assets. Vanguard is now over $80 billion, but remember they had much of their assets already as well. Vanguard is direct-to-consumer through the Internet already; those in Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services were predominantly existing Vanguard investors, simply upsold to human advice. Even Edelman online, which launched in early 2013, has accumulated barely 1,000 clients and just $62M of AUM after four years (and their average robo client is actually a baby boomer anyway.)

Source: Financial-Planning

VALUE IN EFFICIENCY
In other words, the real blocking point of robo advisors is the client acquisition cost — what it takes to market and get a young investor to invest on your platform. As the founding companies learned the hard way, this is not an “If you build it, they will come,” kind of asset-gathering opportunity. Instead, robos at best have been struggling to solve those client acquisition costs in the face of slowing growth rates, and many have been getting outright buried by those costs. That’s why robo advisor growth rates continue to slow down. Most of them have already sold, and most of the ones that are left aren’t even really focusing on a pure robo strategy anymore.

RealtyMogul.com Launches Second Real Estate Investment Trust, MogulREIT II, to Invest in Multifamily Apartment Buildings (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

RealtyMogul.com, the online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced the launch of the company’s second real estate investment trust or “REIT,” MogulREIT II.

MogulREIT II aims to invest in multifamily apartment communities across the United States that have demonstrated consistently high occupancy and income levels across market cycles. MogulREIT II also plans to invest in multifamily properties that offer value add opportunities with appropriate risk-adjusted returns and potential for appreciation objectives.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Housing and Vacancy Homeownership Report, the U.S. apartment market has experienced a strong recovery, as evidenced by the steady drop in vacancies and an average annual effective rent growth of 3.9% per year, between 2010 and 2015.

MogulREIT II plans to only consist of properties that satisfy RealtyMogul’s rigorous zero-based underwriting process, which analyzes each potential deal from scratch through a combination of proprietary in-house analytics and underwriting. RealtyMogul also spends over $1 million annually for the use of third-party data and technology to vet each deal. The process is so intensive, fewer than 1% of the requests reviewed by RealtyMogul pass its high underwriting standards. Keep in mind there are risks to investing, including loss of capital, so one should evaluate the full offering materials.

RealtyMogul MogulREIT II Survey Data (RealtyMogul Email), Rated: A

Overview

RealtyMogul recently commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an online survey among over 2,000 U.S. adults to better understand the reasons people choose to rent over buying a house.

Americans have shifting priorities and owning a home might not be at the top of the list

  • Roughly 7 in 10 Americans (71%) believe the home buying process is overwhelming
  • 70% of Americans believe people these days will need to rent well into their 30’s in order to save enough money to buy a home
  • Over a third of Americans (35%) would prefer renting over owning a home to maintain a flexible lifestyle
  • Roughly a third of Americans (34%) would rather save their money to spend on traveling than to put it towards buying a home
  • A third of Americans (33%) would prefer to rent than own a home if it meant they could still afford small luxuries (e.g. eating out, fancy coffee, avocado toast) in their everyday life

Read the full survey results here.

LendingRobot CEO exits (Geekwire), Rated: A

Emmanuel Marot has left LendingRobot, the peer-to-peer lending company he co-founded in 2013. He served as CEO of the startup for the past four years, navigating LendingRobot through a merger with NSR Invest in August.

Marot isn’t sure what his next career move will be but remains General Manager of Zenvestment.com, according to LinkedIn.

Legislative Update 162 (Experian Email), Rated: A

Highlights this issue:

  • On September 7, the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit has scheduled a hearing to review “Legislative Proposals for a More Efficient Federal Financial Regulatory Regime.” The Subcommittee has not released the full agenda, but it is expected that the hearing will focus on several bills affecting consumer credit.
  • Congress continues to consider legislation that would repeal the CFPB’s Arbitration Rule using an expedited legislative process under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The House of Representatives passed a resolution of disapproval on July 25. The Senate is expected to take up the measure upon their return from the August recess, although there is uncertainty when a vote will take place given other priorities that Congress must pass by September 30, which is the end of the US Fiscal Year.
  • On August 30, three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that GAO further evaluate post-breach identity protection products used by government agencies.
  • Legislators in California continue to debate legislation that would enact a broadband privacy law in the state, similar to the one first issued by the FCC and then overturned by Congress. A.B. 375 would prohibit an internet service provider from using, disclosing, selling or permitting access to customer personal information.

Read the full report.

StartEngine Files to Raise $ 5 Million Reg A+ Crowdfunding Offer (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

StartEngine, one of the most activea investment crowdfunding platforms in the US, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $5 million in common equity at $5 per share.

The actual listing is not yet live on the StartEngine platform. The filing indicates that up to an additional 100,000 shares may be issued as “bonus shares”. There are no selling shareholders and the entire proceeds will go to the company. According to the filing, the minimum investment is $500.

Web site steered U.S. borrowers into bad, illegal payday loans: CFPB (Reuters), Rated: A

The bureau imposed a $100,000 fine on California company Zero Parallel LLC, which as a “lead aggregator” identifies potential borrowers and then sells their information. The action shows the agency has its eye on the online side of the industry, which crosses state lines and has grown in recent years. Potential borrowers fill out web forms and then are immediately sent to a lender’s site to take out the debt.

According to a CFPB statement, Zero Parallel sold applications to lenders it knew did not follow states’ usury laws, interest-rate restrictions and prohibitions on who can make the loans, and kept borrowers in the dark about risks and costs.

Zero Parallel simply sold leads to the highest bidders, according to the CFPB, and borrowers did not know they were taking out illegal loans.

Zero Parallel will pay the fine without admitting or denying the allegations, the CFPB said. The agency also said it had reached an agreement with Zero Parallel’s owner, Davit Gasparyan, to resolve similar charges filed last year against his previous company, T3Leads, with a $250,000 fine.

FINTECH Gains Traction as Businesses Embrace Alternative Banking and Financial Solutions (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Global Payout, Inc. (OTC: GOHE) makes payment solutions available to clients around the world, serving the needs of everything from commercial enterprises to government institutions. Its Global Reserve Platform is a web-based banking platform that includes everything domestic, foreign exchange, and international payment service providers need to conduct financial transactions. It handles online banking, compliance, mobile wallets, card management, biometric payments, authentication, merchant payment processing, bill payments and more, while also offering core and traditional banking products. Global Payout’s primary focus in this area is logistics, in addition to small to medium size companies, banking, and travel firms.

The CEO of Able Lending Responds to the Rumors (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Yesterday, the CEO of Able Lending, Will Davis, reached out to me to clear the air. Here is his unedited statement:

We believe this story originated by the fact that we’ve been in active discussions with a number of originators to acquire Able, and there’s a non-zero chance this story was placed in order to throw an interested party off the trail.

This anonymous source doesn’t seem to be anyone close to Able, because Able does not own a portfolio of loans (it originates and distributes loans to direct lenders, who then hold those loans on their balance sheet) and therefore has no portfolio to sell. In any event, we have no plans to go out of business and no plans to declare bankruptcy.

Passive Investments In CRE: Do They Really Exist? (Seeking Alpha), Rated: B

The wealth of new crowd-funding opportunities in CRE is just the latest addition to a long line of traditional equity funds, REITs and ETFs already offering investors the chance to invest without the high upfront cost traditionally associated with a direct CRE investment. It sounds easy, right? But how truly “passive” are these opportunities?

The only problem with passive investing in CRE? Pure 100 percent passive investing doesn’t exist.

United Kingdom

RateSetter: Even a millionaire could no longer live off savings interest (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

ROCK-BOTTOM interest rates are now challenging the convention that someone with £1m in savings could live off the interest, RateSetter claims.

The peer-to-peer platform’s latest savings tracker found on average UK adults think they would need an income of £26,140 per year to live comfortably, but £1m in an average savings account would pay just 0.14 per cent interest, equating to £12,500 each year.

£1m invested in a one-year bank bond with an average rate of 0.79 per cent would earn just £7,900, while the same amount could earn £45,000 in a RateSetter account earning 4.5 per cent interest.

Investors opting to put their £1m into FTSE 100-listed stocks would have earned £80,000 in interest over the 12 months to the end of August, the research found.

Funding Circle reveals new brand positioning and identity with ‘Made to do More’ campaign (The Drum), Rated: A

The challenge was to find an emotional positioning that resonated with Funding Circle customers while instilling trust and confidence as a financial services company. Rooster Punk helped Funding Circle to identify a common thread that connects small business owners, investors and the people who work at Funding Circle. Results revealed they share a uniquely driven yet positive attitude to work and life, a restless determination to succeed and the tenacity to get there. The agency called this ‘Made to do More’.

Rooster Punk’s founder, Paul Cash, commented: “Developing Funding Circle’s new position and identity had to go deeper than a product message around faster business loans. We set out with the ambition that we didn’t just want people to buy from Funding Circle, instead we wanted them to buy into them.

Meet the firm which hopes to solve the late payment problem (City A.M.), Rate: A

This warning comes from Tony Duggan, chief executive of fintech firm Crossflow Payments, a company which acts like a cog between corporations, their suppliers, and funding providers – ensuring that suppliers don’t have to wait for a month or more to get paid.

Duggan’s warning is not just a reference to Brexit, but centres on the introduction of new payment practice laws, which will make it a criminal offence for a corporation not to make public whether it is paying suppliers according to the terms of the contract.

The code looks to stamp out problems with late payments. Ultimately it aims to improve the cashflow of businesses – largely suppliers – by making sure they are paid by their corporate customers on time.

Crossflow is a no frills sort of business; it’s basically a B2B version of peer-to-peer lending, and one that is currently pretty unique in the UK arena.

Peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance marks 1,000th loan (RTE), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer lending platform Linked Finance has funded its 1,000th loan for a small or medium sized company here.

Figures published by Linked, which facilitates loans from individuals directly to businesses outside the banking system, show €31m has now been borrowed through the platform.

The company, which was launched in 2013, also said that €2.5m in interest has already been repaid to Linked Finance lenders.

Marrying self organising teams and customer obsession – Interview with Andrew Lawson (Customer Think), Rated: A

Highlights from my conversation with Andrew:

  • Capital One was an early pioneer in big data, data driven decision making , customer centricity and human centred product design.
  • Back in 2014, a lot of banks were talking a lot about being customer centric but when you get inside the banks there was little evidence to back that up. [Ed: Have things changed?]
  • Customer obsession is very much behind the growth of peer-to-peer lending.
  • When Andrew joined Zopa in 2014 they were a team of around 50 people lending about £20mill per month.
  • Zopa was founded to “make money simple and fair”.
  • Zopa was awarded Superbrand status in the early part of 2017. The annual Superbrands’ league table is based on independent research to identify the UK’s strongest brands, as voted for by marketing experts and thousands of British consumers.
  • Zopa still thinks of itself as a start-up despite the fact that they have been going for 13 years now.
  • In that time Zopa have never spent any money on growing their brand and have grown organically and via word of month.
  • Zopa has won a bunch of customer service awards that celebrate and recognise their approach.
  • Zopa has recently moved to a system of self-organising teams and that is helping them to achieve more and deliver more on their customer promise.
  • In the first quarter of 2016 they delivered more than they had in the whole of 2015 with the same number of people.
  • Ultimately, it’s all about creating an environment where you find and allow great people to go and solve problems.
  • Andrew’s role is all about ensuring they have the right people in the right tribes solving the right problems. It’s not about him being able to come up with all the answers as that just doesn’t scale.
  • In terms of mistakes, initially they found that their tribes went too tribal and it was difficult seeing what was going on within the tribes. That was a problem particularly given the level of technical and strategic dependencies that exist between tribes.
  • On a day to basis, their teams work in a way that is akin to a modern agile environment and are able to pick the right model (1 week sprints, 2 week sprints, kanban etc) depending on their context and preferences.
  • As is the nature of agile working, they are constantly tweaking and looking for ways to improve.
  • Other challenges they have faced include the management of people from different backgrounds, skillsets and with different experiences.
  • Given that they are now 250 people in London, the next big challenge for them will be how do they move this system into a remote context.
  • The heart of their success has been in creating those relationships where there weren’t relationships before i.e. between business people and tech people. It’s easy when you sit next to them or are in the same office but more difficult when you are in different locations, time zones or even speaking different languages.
  • They embraced a lot of Spotify’s approach as there are lots of things written about them and by them on how they organise themselves (videos, talks, blog posts, slide shows etc). Google ‘Spotify and Tribes’ to find more.
  • Don’t make assumptions around customers needs. Go and ask then as you will almost certainly be wrong.


UK fintech investment rises in H1 (Finextra), Rated: A

More than a billion dollars was invested in British Fintech companies in the first half of this year, over a third more than the same period in 2016, according to trade body Innovate Finance.

Fintech employs over 60,000 people in the UK and contributes $9bn (c.£7bn) to the economy.

Two peer-to-peer lending platforms also received significant rounds of investment. London-based FundingCircle a marketplace which allows investors to lend directly to SMEs raised another £80m in equity funding. Venture capital group Accel led the funding round alongside investors such as Temasek from Singapore. The business lent £1.1bn in 2016. In June Zopa another peer-to-peer lender raised £32m from Indian investor Wadhawan Global Capital and European venture capital fund Northzone. The business plans to use the funding for the ambitious roll out of its own retail bank.

China

After regulators ban on coin fundraising, over 40 ICO platforms closed (Xing Ping She), Rated: AAA

Several platforms have taken steps after the central bank’s announcement of ban on ICO (initial issue of tokens). Up to September 5th, more than 40 platforms in China have taken measures to suspend the operation, registration or even permanently stop the service of ICO. Among them, ICOAGE, a well-known ICO platform, has launched a one-key withdrawal function. Meanwhile, ICOAGE’s official website says that it will actively negotiate with the project side, and even if the project does not accept the refund, ICOAGE will pay the relevant digital currency in advance to ensure the safety of investors. It is worth mentioning that, despite the regulation to stop the ICO, there still stages “the last madness” in the market, with some of tokens’ daily gains exceeding 30%.

China steps up financial regulation to address risks (China.org.cn), Rated: A

China’s ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a digital coin fundraising scheme, was only part of a broader campaign to curb the country’s financial risks.

In an announcement Monday, China’s central bank ordered a complete halt on new ICO offerings, in which technology start-ups issue their own digital coins, or “tokens,” to investors to access funds.

Similar to ICOs, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending served as an Internet-based alternative for companies and individuals to borrow money. As the P2P industry took off in recent years, it also made room for high-profile fraud, which prompted regulators to act fast.

European Union

Klarna’s newest investor could hold the key to ‘growing the company’s revenues manifold’ (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Klarna last week reported some impressive revenue growth, which, combined with a push into digital banking and recent deals with VISA and Stripe make its future prospects look rosy.

What could make Permira a strategic asset for Klarna, is its stake in Magento, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms. The idea would be to integrate Klarna with Magento; a goal that Lundell says was in the works already before Permira’s entry.

Seeing that Magento runs some 15 percent of global e-commerce, getting visibility on the platform could open up a gigantic new market for Klarna and its CEO and cofounder Sebastian Siemiatkowski.

Mambu’s SaaS Banking Engine Helps N26 Transform Operations (Fintech Finance), Rated: A

Mambu announced that its innovative solution is being used by N26 to allow the Berlin-based mobile bank to integrate systems and quickly bring services to market in support of its growth strategy.

Before N26 was granted a full banking licence in July last year, it used the services of a partner bank and then migrated to its own platform in late 2016. Since then their customer base has grown by 500%, helping them reach the 500,000 customer mark in August 2017.

Mintos Reports Topping €300 Million Milestone in Online Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Latvia based Mintos has reached a new milestone having now topped  €300 million in online loans since platform launch two years ago. Mintos reports that more than €200 million has been invested in 2017 alone, making Mintos a market leader in continental Europe claiming a 40% market share.

Mintos states that as of September 2017, approximately € 1 million is invested in loans through Mintos daily, which is three times more than just a year ago.

European Central Bank working on new fintech licensing guidelines (Independent), Rated: A

The European Central Bank is working on new licensing guidelines that would also cover financial technology firms, Daniele Nouy, the ECB’s top bank supervisor told a conference on Wednesday.

The fintech sector, though still relative small, has been stealing market share from traditional lenders in a variety of sectors from payments to lending, attracting investment $6.5bn (£4.9bn) in the first half of the year.

Wirecard Supports Fellow Finance’s Market Entry in Germany and Ensures a Completely Digital Credit Process (Business Insider), Rated: B

Wirecard supports the Finnish FinTech company Fellow Finance to enter and provide a digital infrastructure for the German financial market. Wirecard is supporting Fellow Finance by placing their German full banking licence at the Fellow Finance’s disposal and in addition enabling a completely digital credit process. For example, the identification of the borrower as well as the signature of the credit agreement are made fully electronically.

The market volume of German alternative online financial services grew enormously between 2013 and 2015. In peer-to-peer consumer lending alone, there was year-on-year growth of 95%.

International

Q2 2017 Fintech Insights (FT Partners), Rated: AAA

Source: FT Partners

Get the full report here.

Banking the Unbanked through AirFox ICO (Cryptocoins News), Rated: A

AirFox’s groundbreaking idea involves using a mix of micro-credit and advertising to facilitate to make mobile data plans accessible to the world’s poor and underprivileged.

AirFox will launch their initial coin offering (ICO) on September 19, 2017 at 10:00 am EST. The token on sale is called AirTokens (AIR) and the period of sale has been fixed at 31 days. There are plans afoot to sell a total of 1.5 billion AIR, out of which 1.05 billion (70 per cent) are on offer at the crowdsale. AirTokens are based on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain.

Laying out his vision Victor Santos, CEO and Co-founder of AirFox says, “Investors will be able to hold AirTokens that will be used by Lenders and Advertisers to sponsor the mobile internet of millions of users. There will be a market for buyers and sellers of AirTokens. Those who wish to take the AirTokens and lend micro-credit to users, will also be able to earn an interest using the data that we collect on the smartphone.”

AirFox raises $ 6.5M in token presale (CoinReport), Rated: A

AirFox, the firm utilizing advertising and blockchain technology to bring smartphone data and internet to 4 billion people in the developing world, has met the presale target of its token, AirToken (AIR), almost two weeks early, raising $6.5 million, according to an email CoinReport received from BIGfish Communications, AirFox’s PR firm.

India

Modalku Gets Audited to Gain Public Trust (Jakarta Globe), Rated: A

Mitrausaha Indonesia Group, also known as Modalku, a homegrown marketplace that provides peer-to-peer lending, received an “unqualified opinion” which is the best possible audit outcome  from public accounting firm Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, hoping it will help the company gain the public’s trust.

Purwantono, Sungkoro & Surja, a member of Ernst & Young, granted the company an “unqualified opinion” ranking after reviewing the company’s financial statements, income reports and other relevant comprehensive income statement, equity changes, cash flow datat and other information for the year ending Dec. 31. A ranking of this stature means the statements are deemed sound.

Credit scoring platform CreditVidya bags $ 5 mn from Matrix, Kalaari (VC Circle), Rated: A

Mumbai-based InfoCredit Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates credit scoring platform CreditVidya, has raised $5 million (Rs 32 crore) in a fresh round of funding led by Matrix Partners, the company said.

Existing investor Kalaari Capital, which had invested $2 million in June 2016, has also participated in the round. While Matrix put in Rs 23.81 crore, Kalaari accounted for the rest.

What is P2P lending and borrowing: All you want to know about Digital marketplace for loans (Financial Express), Rated: A

In layman’s terms, Peer-2-Peer (P2P) lending and borrowing is like a digital marketplace for loans. Hence usually it is known as ‘marketplace lending’ or often gets confused with crowd-funding. Instead of applying for a loan with a bank, NBFC, private finance company or any other loan institution, you can request a loan from regular people like you and me (therefore, the term Peer-2-Peer).

Most of these loans are unsecured for a large number of people who are underbanked or thinly banked.

The actual logistics of Peer-to-Peer can be a little more complicated in India, but some platfoms like ours allow the borrower to download the app, fill the application form and apply for the loan. As a borrower, you have to fill a quick online registration form and pay the upfront registration fee which is refundable. Then proprietary credit assessment is done and a brief commentary of why you want a loan is shared with the lenders. The app requires the loan applicant to submit bank statement, upload basic KYC documents like PAN card, Aadhaar card etc. The proprietary algorithm assigns the loan interest rate and tenure to post the loan on the marketplace for lenders to assess and invest.

MENA

Developing Asia accounts for large trade finance gap (The Asset), Rated: A

Businesses particularly the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) continue to face challenges in accessing sufficient credit, resulting in a global trade finance gap of US$1.5 trillion in 2016.

Emerging economies continue to face the greatest shortfalls with developing Asia accounting for 40% of the global total in trade finance gap. The MSMEs have the biggest difficulties in accessing trade finance, representing 74% of the total rejections in 2016, compared with 57% in the previous year.

The cost of regulatory compliance can lead banks to exit client relationships as reflected by the 40% response in the 2016 survey and 45% in 2015, including the withdrawal of correspondent relationships.

Mideast fintech startup NOW Money fetches $ 1.46 mln (PE Hub), Rated: A

NOW Money has closed its bridge funding round with a total of US$1.46m.

In addition to the recent US Venture Capital investment, mentioned in a previous press release, this funding round includes $700,000 from Dubai-based Venture Capital firm, Myrisoph Capital. Other contributions have come from private investors and MENA-based women’s investor network WAIN.

WAIN is the first investor network for women in the MENA region. Its goal is to build an informed ecosystem of women investors who support women entrepreneurs in the Arab world.

Canada

IOU Financial Partners with Rubicon Global to Fund Recycling Ecosystem (Business Insider), Rated: A

IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (IOUFinancial.com), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Rubicon Global.  IOU joined the RUBICONPro buying program to provide Rubicon’s network of independent haulers with fast, convenient and reliable, non-collateral funding solutions.

Where bank loans are not an alternative, an IOU term loan will help Rubicon’s haulers invest in equipment to take on more recycling volume and proudly join Rubicon’s expansion projects for a more sustainable world.  IOU loans will also be provided to Rubicon’s base of thousands of small businesses embracing recycling to contribute to a healthy planet.  IOU will also promote Rubicon’s innovative model to its thousands of existing and past borrowers.

Africa

Development of African ­crowdfunding platforms (DandC), Rated: AAA

Africanise crowdfunding means setting up local crowdfunding platforms with adapted technology for local investment. No bank account? Not a problem! Many African countries lack conventional money transfer infrastructure; bank accounts and credit cards still tend to be the exception, not the rule. To permit widespread participation in crowdfunding in such circumstances, mobile phone-based money transfer services (like the Kenyan financial service M-Pesa) are needed. The Indian crowdfunding platform Ketto () works with a courier service that collects cash payments.

Copying these approaches is not the way to move ahead in Africa, not least because of the lack of an adequate institutional and legal environment. First and foremost, SME financing  requires national crowdfunding platforms with traditional financing options (donation-, rewards- and lending-based). Minimum contributions must be small and payable in local currency.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday August 10 2017, Daily News Digest

Lending Club

News Comments Today’s main news: NSR Invest, LendingRobot merge: Now the largest alt lending robo-advisor.LendInvest makes London Stock Exchange debut.Big banks losing ground to China’s fintech giants. Today’s main analysis: Q2 update from LendingClub CIO.MarketInvoice loanbook snapshot. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub’s surprise comeback.Sanborn looks ahead.Personal financial management apps fold as banks work them into their […]

Lending Club

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

NSR Invest and LendingRobot merge to become the largest robo-advisor in the alternative lending space (LendingRobot Email), Rated: AAA

NSR Invest and LendingRobot, two of the largest specialized Registered Investment Advisors in the alternative lending space, announced today that the companies have merged to create the leading independent advisory platform for alternative lending. Lend Core LLC, the parent company of NSR Invest, acquired Algorithmic, Inc. and all its assets, including the LendingRobot website and technology.

The joint team will combine its knowledge in the industry, investment algorithms, machine learning and blockchain technologies with the goal of providing steady investment returns to more than 8000 clients.

The websites, operating, and trading systems of NSRinvest.com and LendingRobot.com will continue to function separately in the short term. In the immediate future, the company is focusing its newfound strength on the LendingRobot Series.

Q2 2017: An Update from Our CIO (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

Projected investor returns are also largely unchanged from the first quarter and continue to range from approximately 4% to 9% (see below).

A few factors that influence returns on the platform1 are listed below:

  • Economic Backdrop. The American economy remains robust but growth continues to be relatively modest. The unemployment rate has changed little over the past year, measuring at 4.4% as of July 2017. Meanwhile, GDP increased by 2.6% in the second quarter of 2017.
  • Borrower Performance. Recent vintage performance continues to come in broadly in line with our expectations. As mentioned above, we continue to see lower delinquency rates across most grades and terms than in loans issued in the second and third quarters of 2016, which we attribute to changes made in 2016.
  • Interest Rates. The overall interest rate environment remains low, though the Federal Reserve raised its Target Rate by 25 bps in June 2017. After announcing its latest rate increase, the Federal Open Market Committee signaled its willingness to raise rates further, as it “expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the Federal Funds Rate.” Interest rates on the LendingClub platform are not changing at this time.
Source: LendingClub

Lending Club makes a surprise comeback (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

In Q1 2017, US alt lender Lending Club published disappointing results, which showed a flat performance and seemingly vague turnaround plans, sparking concerns that it could be headed for a dead end. However, the company has now reported its second-highest quarterly revenue to date for Q2 of this year, with analysts pointing outthat it appears back on a growth trajectory.

In Q1 2017, US alt lender Lending Club published disappointing results, which showed a flat performance and seemingly vague turnaround plans, sparking concerns that it could be headed for a dead end. However, the company has now reported its second-highest quarterly revenue to date for Q2 of this year, with analysts pointing outthat it appears back on a growth trajectory.

LendingClub CEO Sanborn ‘Looking Ahead’ After Scandal (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) Stock Soars As Banks Prove To Be Hypocrites (BNL Finance), Rated: A

Importantly, peer to peer lending is the fastest growing industry in lending, and while there are a lot of players in the game, LendingClub is one of the largest. On many occasions over the last year, BNL Finance has told members that banks would come back and that LC stock losses were overdone.

With that said, LendingClub stock has rallied 26% over the last three sessions.

PFM apps are folding as banks work them into their own apps (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Last week,  Level Money, the money management app owned by Capital One Financial, said it will shut down on Sept. 1. Also last week, Prosper Marketplace said it would discontinue the Prosper Daily app and urged customers to bring their PFM needs to Clarity Money. Earlier last month, SoFi said it would nix the services by Zenbanx, just six months after it acquired the online banking company, and would use its technology and personnel for its own online bank.

PFM has never been a prominent feature of consumer bank accounts. For most of banks’ existence people had to balance their own checkbooks based on debits and credits. That’s changing now as banks realize the importance of personal financial management for continued customer engagement. And they’re starting to implement PFM features into their offerings to provide more complete banking experiences. As it is today, PFM is usually a separate entity found in entirely different apps like Clarity Money, Moven or Mint.

For example, one of the biggest nuisances of PFM historically has been the lack of good financial data. Customers using an app would have to hand over their online banking credentials so the third party financial app could access their banking data to be able to provide users with their financial snapshot. The data that appeared on the home screen of their online banking wasn’t always in sync with what they would see in their PFM app.

Chinese Stock That Rallied 4,555% Could Get the Boot From the Nasdaq (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Wins Finance Holdings Inc., the Chinese loan guarantor that couldn’t explain a 4,555 percent surge in its stock, is set to be delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market, which cited violations of exchange rules related to its shareholder base.

Nasdaq said Wins doesn’t meet regulations requiring it to have at least 300 shareholders who own 100 shares. The exchange’s decision was also based on “the making of alleged misrepresentations by the company relating to the 300 round-lot shareholder requirement,” as well as public interest concerns, Wins said in a statement Wednesday.

Source: Bloomberg Markets

Installment Loan Provider Earns Top Rating from TopConsumerReviews.com (PR Web), Rated: A

TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded their highest five-star rating to Lending Club, an industry leader among companies offering Installment Loans.

“For Installment Loans ranging from $1000 to $40,000, Lending Club provides incredible customer service with fair interest rates and fees,” according to Brian Dolezal, of TopConsumerReviews.com, LLC.

StreetShares raises $ 10.3m for “Shark Tank meets eBay” approach to P2P lending (Banking Technology), Rated: A

Alternative lending platform StreetShares raised $10.3 million in a venture round this week, writes Finovate(Banking Technology‘s sister company).

The funds come from an undisclosed investor and bring the Virginia-based company’s total funding to almost $20 million since it was founded in 2013.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms Work to Find a Niche (National Real Estate Investor), Rated: A

However, as crowdfunding marketplaces are getting bigger and more investors are coming onboard, the power to raise equity through this marketplace is growing, says Tore Steen, co-founder and CEO of CrowdStreet Inc. Initially, many sponsors have been looking to raise $1 million to $2 million as a supplement to their existing base of investors. Those levels are now moving to $3 million to $5 million. CrowdStreet’s largest equity raise on a single offering to date was close to $8 million.

Although it remains a fragmented niche that is difficult to quantify, research firm Massolution had estimated the size of the global real estate crowdfunding industry at $3.5 billion in 2016.

RealtyMogul emerged as one of the early players in real estate crowdfunding. Since the firm launched in 2013, it has raised more than $280 million in equity through its online real estate investing marketplace.

Currently, CrowdStreet has more than 25,000 registered investors on its marketplace. In addition, among its active investors, over 55 percent are repeat investors.

Crowdfunding firms such as RealtyMogul are also fueling growth with online “eREITs” that allow them to target a bigger pool of non-accredited investors. Currently, RealtyMogul has 135,000 registered users on its platform, including both accredited and non-accredited investors.

How David Zalik Skipped High School On His Way To Becoming A Billionaire (Forbes), Rated: A

With that I become the first public witness to the long, irregularly shaped basement office where GreenSky, America’s third-most-valuable fintech company (after Stripe and SoFi), has been incubating in obscurity for the past decade. And it’s Zalik who holds the golden ticket: Last September, GreenSky raised $50 million at a $3.6 billion valuation. The 43-year-old cofounder and CEO still owns more than half of the company, shooting him well into the billionaire ranks.

GreenSky’s real magic, however, is something you can’t see: a model that transfers much of the risk, as well as the work, to other parties–and profits from both sides of each deal. Those 17,000 contractors not only market the loans to homeowners but also pay GreenSky, on average, 6% of the loan amount.

From Illinois’ woes to the state of credit: Jamie Dimon lets loose (Crain’s Chicago Business), Rated: A

Obviously you’re a believer in online lending, given JPMorgan’s relationship with small-business lender OnDeck. Tell me how you see online lending going.

What the real issue in peer-to-peer lending is that the borrower will need the money in good times and bad, but the lender will not lend the money in good times and bad. The second there’s a recession, they’ll pull back. That’s exactly what you saw in February of last year when all of a sudden people were pulling back in giving money to the peer-to-peer lenders, who couldn’t then make loans. And they all got crushed. Some have been quite bright. So I think Chicago-based Avant has been quite bright, and they kind of anticipated this, and they created permanent capital. There are multiple ways to create permanent capital. Securitizations kind of work. But they don’t work in tough times. They disappear. Bank relationships work. There are ways to fix the problem. But that is an issue: Can you sustain your business model through the cycle? I think some of them will succeed.

Would you ever see banks getting directly into online consumer lending?

Remember, there is nothing online lenders can do that we can’t. ling With Insurance Companies Less Miserable

5 fintech trends disrupting retail banking (and how banks can fight back) (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

  1. Quick money transfer apps – Millennials have come to expect such an experience. Many banks and credit unions are starting to realize this, but they’re a little behind the eight ball.
  2. Chatbots and Messenger-Based Payments – Soon, you’ll be able to pay for that used TV you found on Craigslist by texting the seller directly from your phone’s messenger app, including Apple which turned on the Messagespayments functionality in June 2017.
  3. Forget the Card, Pay With Mobile Devices – On its own, this doesn’t seem like much of a Trojan horse for banks, but as more people shift behaviors so too will the expectations of banking customers. And with the global mobile payments market estimated to hit $3.4 trillion by 2022, it’s worth monitoring in relation to banking customers.
  4. Smart Budgeting and Personal Finance Management
  5. Digital Currencies That Don’t Require Central Banks

Fintech expert Maule to join British digital banking startup (American Banker), Rated: A

Fintech expert Sam Maule has been hired by nascent digital banking firm 11:FS to head up its expansion in North America.

Marketplace Lending Abs Fund Form D (Weekly Register), Rated: B

The New Jersey-based Marketplace Lending Abs Fund, Lp filed Form D for $2.75 million offering. This is a new filing. The Limited Partnership raised $2.75 million. The offering is still open. The total offering amount was $2.75 million. This form was filed on 2017-08-09.

Online Lending Policy Institute to Host Second Annual Summit in Washington, D.C. (Markets Insider), Rated: B

The Online Lending Policy Institute (OLPI), the leading voice for policy analysis, in-depth research, and education for the online lending industry, today announced it will host its Second Annual Summit on Sept. 25 at The Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C.

Capital One VP Joins veteran-focused fintech firm (American Banker), Rated: B

A former Capital One executive has moved to StreetShares, an online lending and investing platform.

Heather Tuason, formerly senior vice president of small business at Capital One, is now the fintech startup’s chief product officer, it announced Tuesday.

EquityBuild Announces Master Class Webinar on Five Years to Wealth Through the Brand New Model (Benzinga), Rated: B

EquityBuild announces a new master class on the Power of Five, highlighting their new five-year investment model.

Here is the upcoming webinar master class to attend August 14, 2017:

EquityBuild Power of Five Master Class – Find out how this unique model changing the way investors view real estate. Join us for this special event here.

Labor Department delays fiduciary rule implementation date (Reuters), Rated: B

The U.S. Department of Labor will give wealth management companies more time to get in line with the new “fiduciary rule,” a regulation that requires financial advisers to put retirees’ interests ahead of their own, the regulator said on Wednesday.

Securities brokerages like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch now have until July 1, 2019, to present retirement savers with new contracts that spell out the fees brokers make on certain investment products or transition them into accounts that charge a flat fee based on assets.

United Kingdom

LendInvest makes London Stock Exchange debut with £50m raise (Finextra), Rated: AAA

LendInvest, the UK’s leading online platform for property lending and investing, today listed a £50 million retail bond on the London Stock Exchange’s Order book for Retail Bonds (ORB).

The process to raise LendInvest’s first retail bond was closed early and oversubscribed, thanks to strong demand from retail and institutional investors. About half of the proceeds raised came from major financial institutions including several multi-billion pound asset managers, two global insurance businesses and a major UK state pension fund.

The bond pays a fixed annual coupon of 5.25% for five years, and is secured against a portfolio of property loans and guaranteed by LendInvest. From today, the bond trades under the LSE ticker LIV1.

P2P Lending: MarketInvoice Loanbook Snapshot (LinkedIn), Rated: AAA

MarketInvoice, founded in 2010, is the largest UK online P2P lending firm specialising in invoice discounting and invoice factoring. Selective invoice discounting is a facility that allows businesses to sell individual invoices at a discount in order to unlock immediate funding which can be an attractive solution for SMEs periodically strained with cashflow. In early 2017 the platform launched an additional product in the form of MarketInvoice Pro, an invoice factoring product that essentially is a debt facility which businesses can draw on backed by the business’s sales ledger.

Source: Sukhwinder Shoker

MarketInvoice celebrated its strongest origination quarter in 2017Q2 with £161.9m in invoices traded and a healthy 25.3% increase from the previous quarter. Annualised invoice origination growth (2013-2016) for the platform stands at 82.6% and, whilst encouraging, it is clear to see from the oscillation in monthly advanced funding that to-date annualised return performance has been highly influenced by seasonality trends.

Source: Sukhwinder Shoker

Invoice terms exceeding 60 days formed 28.3% of origination in 2016Q2, however, this has significantly increased to 58.2% of 2017Q2 origination.

Invoice originations have shifted away from riskier price grades since the introduction of Market Invoice Pro and this is welcome news for investors.

Meet Finimize: The fintech startup that turned a popular newsletter into a financial planning platform (Tech World), Rated: A

Rofagha quickly realised that the banks couldn’t help him, a financial advisor was unreachable with his income, and the rise of the robo-advisor hadn’t really taken off yet.

Then there is one of his favourite statistics: “86 percent of millennials save each month but they keep more than 50 percent of their assets in cash, because there is no suitable way for them to get financial advice.” This was his lightbulb moment.

Now Rofagha has launched the next phase, a financial planning platform called Finimize MyLife, which is currently in beta and has a waiting list of more than 24,000 people.

The Finimize MyLife platform is free to use and helps users create a financial plan by answering a few questions about their financial position, setting goals and then selecting from a range of options, be that opening an ISA or investing with a partner like Nutmeg or Moneyfarm.

The next steps for Rofagha will be to invest in data science so that the platform can make more tailored product recommendations for users, once it has built out its data set.

WiseAlpha opens up corporate bond market for investors (AltFi), Rated: A

Online lending platform WiseAlpha is adding corporate bond and loan investments to its platform.

Retail investors can now access Tesco’s £300m institutional bond that has a 4.8 per cent return.

Users can buy the debt for as little as  £100 and cash in their bonds via the secondary market on the platform. The grocers bond matures in 2042.

Six of the best alternative income ideas (IG.com), Rated: A

Looking at the ten years to the end of May 2017, inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) rose 31.8%, while anyone receiving the Bank of England (BoE) base rate would have made a total return of 13.2%. In other words, cash in a bank account has lost 18.6% of its real value over ten years.

Over several years, the Investment Trust sector has seen huge growth in alternative income products, and here we list six products from sectors that investors may want to consider for inclusion in their investment allocations.

MARKET INSIGHT: OLD MONEY, NEW METHOD (Campden FB), Rated: A

Marketplace or ‘peer-to-peer’ lending can be attractive for family office investors for several reasons:

  • attractive absolute and relative returns compared to other fixed interest instruments
  • ability to create some granular/diverse portfolios through investment in loan parts
  • transparent credit process and loan pricing
  • ability to match maturity profile to desired outcomes

At present, the lack of a uniform set of standards places some obstacles for investors willing to invest across multiple marketplace lenders. The data structure, terminology, and methodologies differ greatly from platform to platform. However, good platforms are able to clearly demonstrate how loans are underwritten, an expected loss rate and basis for making investment decisions.

How can family offices engage with marketplace lenders?

Firstly, investors need to consider the asset class and risk profile they wish to invest in.

Secondly, investors need to consider how active they wish to be—in its truest form marketplace lender allow absolute discretion to bid on individual loans at whatever size suits.

Glint is a stealthy London fintech startup that promises to turn gold into a ‘new global currency’ (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Glint, a stealthy London fintech startup that promises a new “global currency,” has raised £3.1 million from a plethora of individual backers in the financial services and asset management space, alongside early-stage investor Bray Capital.

However, I understand that Glint will offer a frictionless way to both store and spend your money in gold, including at the point of sale, just like a regular local currency.

Railsbank, a new fintech startup from founder of Currencycloud, raises $ 1.2M led by Firestartr (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Railsbank, a relatively new fintech startup co-founded by CEO Nigel Verdon, who previously founded money exchange and payments platform Currencycloud, has raised $1.2 million in a funding round led by seed investment firm Firestartr.

The company, yet to see its full launch and over a year in the making, offers what it describes as an open banking and compliance platform aimed at other companies, including other fintechs, that have global banking requirements that need to be accessed programatically via an API.

China

China targets mobile payments oligopoly with clearing mandate (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

China’s central bank has ordered online payment groups to operate through a centralised clearing house, a move likely to undercut the dominance of Ant Financial and Tencent by forcing them to share valuable transaction data with competitors.

China is the world leader in mobile payments, with transaction volumes rising nearly fivefold last year to Rmb59tn ($8.8tn), according to iResearch. They are now widely used for everything from high-street shopping to peer-to-peer lending.

Now the People’s Bank of China is requiring all third-party payment companies to channel payments through a new clearing house by next June, according to a document sent to payment companies on August 4 and seen by the Financial Times.

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba Group, is the market leader in mobile payments, with its Alipay unit processing 54 per cent share of all transactions in the first quarter of the year, according to iResearch. WeChat Pay, linked to Tencent’s mobile messaging app, held a 40 per cent share.

Big banks on notice that they’re losing ground to China’s fintech giants (SCMP), Rated: AAA

“JPMorgan every year, as we speak, processes through our QuickPay 94 million payments,” she said, “But Tencent, the Chinese company, over Chinese New Year, in five days processed 46 billion payments. Basically that means 800 million payments per hour.

“Visa has a maximum capacity of processing 25,000 payments per second. But Alipay can process 50,000 payments, twice as much, per second.”

The rise of online payments through non-bank services, exemplified by Alipay and WeChat Pay – which falls under the Tenpay umbrella – in China, has caused another banking giant, Goldman Sachs, to stand up and take notice too.

The firm recently published a report, led by Mancy Sun, which reveals the value of third-party payments in China grew more than 74 times from 2010 to 2016, from US$155 billion to a staggering US$11.4 trillion.

Of that total, 56 per cent took the form of peer-to-peer transfers while about 16 per cent was consumption-related. Furthermore, payments made via third-party payment companies comprised 40 per cent of all retail sales, a figure that is still growing.

Top3 Chinese block chain asset trading platform (the second-tier platforms) (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

First of all, how to define the Chinese second-tier platforms? We refer to the following three factors:

  1. It has been established for a long time, and there is little risk of failure for the company after a long-term market test and trials.
  2. Popular and profitable.
  3. It belong to the major currencies which are the top of the list. And it has certain dominance in a few currencies.

So, the TOP3 Chinese second-tier platforms are finally selected as:

BTC
Online date: May 2013
Website: btc38.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Shenzhen

CDC CloudCoin
Online date: April 2014
Website: yunbi.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Beijing

CHBTC
Online date: early 2013
Website:chbtc.com
Registered capital: 10 million
Office address: Zhongshan city, Guangdong province

China Commercial Credit Enters Share Exchange Agreement with Sorghum Investment Holdings Limited (Markets Insider), Rated: A

China Commercial Credit, Inc. (NasdaqCM: CCCR) (“CCCR” or the “Company”), a microfinance company providing financial services to small-to-medium enterprises (“SMEs”), farmers and individuals in Jiangsu Province, today announced that, it has entered into a share exchange agreement (the “Share Exchange Agreement”) by and through its Board of Directors and majority shareholder dated August 9, 2017 with the equity holders of Sorghum Investment Holdings Limited (“Sorghum”), an Internet platform specializing in providing peer-to-peer lending services to individuals and small business owners in China. Pursuant to the Exchange Agreement, the Company has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding equity interests of Sorghum in exchange for 152,586,795 shares of the Company’s Common Stock (the “Acquisition”). Upon completion of the Acquisition, the Company will own 100% of Sorghum, and will be a financial services group operating in both smart financing as well as microfinance sectors in China.

Sina Corp Establishes $ 500M Online Finance Fund To Back Chinese FinTech Firms (China Money Network), Rated: A

Chinese Internet portal Sina Corp said it would establish an Online Finance Fund with a target fundraising size of US$500 million to invest in Chinese fintech companies.

Fintech is one of the most important opportunities in the next three to five years, Chao said during the call. The company believes that it can leverage its own online traffic, data, and microblog services Weibo to attract users and create a strong new brand.

Sina will focus on the business categories where it can obtain its own operating license, such as micro-lending. The company is currently offering micro-lending to users via a partnership with other financial firms, but it is in the process to get its own license.

LendIt Lang Di Fintech Names Omega One PitchIt Competition Winner (PR Newswire), Rated: B

LendIt, the world’s largest show in lending and fintech, named Omega One the winner of its Lang Di Fintech PitchIt competition in Shanghai on July 16. Out of eight PitchIt finalists (and hundreds of applicants) at China’s largest fintech conference, Omega One, an automated trade execution platform, was chosen as the winner for its innovation in the cryptocurrency markets.

As the winner, Omega One received a RMB 1 million investment from JadeValue and co-working space for six months. The company also received two tickets to LendIt USA 2018 as well as round trip airfare and full accommodations for the duration of the conference. The LendIt team will also curate meetings with fintech companies and investors during Omega One’s trip to the U.S.

Lang Di Fintech was held in Shanghai on July 15 – 16, 2017.

European Union

FinTech Group Counts on BearingPoint RegTech (BusinessWire), Rated: B

Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint, a leading provider of Risk and Regulatory Technology (RiskTech/RegTech), announced that FinTech Group AG, one of the leading providers of innovative financial technologies in Europe, included BearingPoint’s regulatory reporting solution ABACUS/DaVinci in its product portfolio.

International

Fintech startup brings blockchain and cryptocurrencies to invoice finance (GT Review), Rated: A

New fintech startup Populous is introducing smart contracts, blockchain technology and digital tokens to the invoice financing space.

Having raised more than US$10mn in crowdfunding in just five days, the company has now started piloting its new platform, which lets firms and individuals sell or buy invoices globally.

Australia

Locked out of property market? Five better places for Millennials to put money (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

Below are five better places to put your money as a young Australian in 2017.

Another investment opportunity emerging with the rise of fintech is peer-to-peer (P2P) or marketplace lending.

You input a few details into an online form, such as your preferred credit grade, loan term, and maximum amount you wish to invest in any one loan. The algorithm then does the rest on your behalf, and some lenders claim returns as high as 12 per cent per annum.

Women in Finance finalists revealed (TheAdviser), Rated: B

Online lender Prospa received nods in three categories — Alison Binskin, head of operations, made the cut for Fintech Leader of the Year, Lauren Davidson received recognition for Human Relations Professional of the Year and Anna Fitzgerald for Public Relations/Communications Professional of the Year.

India

Just Rent, Don’t Buy (Business Today), Rated: AAA

India has many consumer-lending companies, but there are very few consumer-leasing firms that borrow, convert the money into assets and lease them. RentoMojo does just that and says it has discovered the playbook fairly early, which could be used across categories and not just furniture.

There is one weakness in this model – it is capital intensive, and assets have to be bought before they can be leased.

Adukia, who looks after internal finances, says that the company has lines of credit with banks, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and high net-worth individuals (HNIs).

There has been no independent study on the market size of the consumer-leasing business, but the company claims it is about $10-12 billion. To stay on top of this market in terms of affordability, RentoMojo does not deal with middlemen and buys directly from manufacturers, says Nain. “We also act like a quasi-bank that takes a call on the creditworthiness of its customers [to protect our revenues].”

Is our banking industry facing existential crisis from fintech boom? (The Jakarta Post), Rated: A

Recent developments in the rise of Robo-advisers and investments in digital and P2P lending platforms, however, appear to support arguments on the contrary. Already we are seeing Alibaba dominating the payment scene in China while similar local companies like Go-Pay in Indonesia is also rapidly evolving into a commendable competitor of the banks in the payments scheme locally.

The level of threat does not go unnoticed within the banking professionals’ sphere. Based on a survey by PWC, about 81 percent of the banking and fintech players in Indonesia would see a degree of disruption in the way the banks are doing business, with which roughly 50 percent of them observe potential significant disruptions.

On the payment and settlements front, we have also seen how fintech has exposed the inefficiencies in the banks’ existing business processes. For example, in the cross-border interbank payment, the current average transaction costs for sending remittances abroad through bank average around 10.99 percent of the nominal amount globally, according to a report by World Bank. This is highly efficient and perhaps one of the catalysts for online remittance companies like TransferWise to exist.

Another study estimates suggest that mortgage borrowers in the US and European market could potentially save $480 to $960 per loan and banks would be able to reduce costs in the range of $3billion to $11billion by lowering processing costs in the mortgage origination process. Such figure further highlights the inefficiency in the banks’ current operating structure. The figure would likely be more substantial on the percentage basis if similar survey is conducted in Indonesia.

Asia

Globe Telecom’s Fuse to Provide Loans Powered by Mambu (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Mambu, the SaaS banking engine, today announced it will be powering the consumer and business lending products of Fuse, the lending arm of Filipino financial technology firm Mynt, by September 2017.

Mynt is increasing access to  financial services through mobile money, micro-loans and technology by leveraging the mobile and store networks of its partners and parent company in a country with 113% mobile penetration but only 31% banking penetration.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 99.6% percent of total registered companies in the country, as well as individuals face significant difficulty in accessing credit from incumbents due to stringent credit decisioning, limited authentication documentation and lack of collateral.

Singaporean fintech hub Lattice80 to launch office in India (Tech Wire Asia), Rated: A

LATTICE80, Singapore’s fintech hub will be opening an India branch at the end of September, as reported by Bloombergmarking the company’s first step in expanding their global operations.

The fintech hub is planning to open offices in world’s financial capitals, especially London, New York and cities in the Middle East.

MODALKU has become the first and only peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company to attain membership at the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers (IACPM), a forum where financial institutions share and discuss best practices for credit risk management.

Modalku co-founder and CEO Reynold Wijaya stated that his team is focused on attaining international, even global standards.standards.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday August 1 2017, Daily News Digest

Charge offs

News Comments Today’s main news: Ron Suber joins Credible as Executive Vice-Chairman. Prosper pulls plug on anti-theft app. FCA extends credit assessment rules for P2P platforms. Klarna launches P2P payment app. Revolut’s Seedrs campaign oversubscribed. Harmoney loses 63% revenue. UIDAI launches mAadhaar app. Today’s main analysis: Vintage Analysis on loan performance with age. Elevates Q2 2017 results. Today’s thought-provoking articles: AI and the […]

Charge offs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

South America

Israel

News Summary

United States

Ron Suber Joins Credible as Executive Vice-Chairman (Credible), Rated: AAA

Renowned fintech executive, advisor and investor Ron Suber has joined personal finance marketplace Credible.com as executive vice-chairman and a member of the board of directors.

“It’s been extremely exciting to see the Credible team turn a startup with a promising business model into a fast-growing company that’s respected by consumers, lenders and the industry” Suber said. “I have decided that now is the right time to help Credible seize their broader opportunity in the fintech ecosystem.”

Revisiting Vintage Analysis- How Loans Perform With Age (Orchard), Rated: AAA

The older vintages have longer lines, as they have more months of history. Using this data, we can examine how loans booked at different times compare to each other at equivalent periods in their life-cycle. This can help an investor evaluate their current portfolio and help them make comparative judgments about its performance.

Source: Orchard Platform

Factors to Consider Within Vintage Analysis

Interest Rates

Source: Orchard Platform
Source: Orchard Platform

Credit Grade

Vintage analysis can also help us to see how loans within a particular credit grade perform over time. In our prior analysis, we examined the performance of the top graded loans (A for Lending Club and AA for Prosper). However, as time has passed, these two platforms have increasingly been lending to borrowers with credit just below the top grades.

FICO Score and Debt-to-Income Ratio

From the data below we can see how loans from Lending Club charge-off over time controlling for the debt-to-income ratio of the borrower.

Source: Orchard Platform

 

ELEVATE CREDIT ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER 2017 RESULTS (Elevate), Rated: AAA

Second Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights

  • Nearly 20% year-over-year revenue growth: Revenues totaled $150.5 million, an 18.7% increase from $126.8 million for the prior-year period.
  • Almost 29% year-over-year growth in loans receivable: Combined loans receivable – principal, totaled $481.1 million, a 28.7% increase from $373.7 million for the prior-year period.
  • Stable credit quality: Loan loss provision was 48.0% of revenues and within our targeted range of 45%- 55%. The ending combined loan loss reserve, as a percentage of combined loans receivable, was 13.8%, lower than the 15.7% reported for the prior-year period.
  • Customer acquisition costs within targeted range: The total number of new customer loans for the quarter was approximately 66,000 with an average customer acquisition cost of $294, within our targeted range of $250-$300.
  • Second consecutive quarter of net income: Net income of $3.0 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $7.5 million, or $(0.59) per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2016.
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin: Adjusted EBITDA totaled $19.8 million, up from $7.3 million in the second quarter of 2016. The Adjusted EBITDA margin increased to 13.2% from 5.8% for the prior-year period.

Second Quarter 2017 Business Highlights

  • Elevate IPO. On April 6, Elevate began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the “ELVT” ticker symbol.
  • $200 Million in Outstandings for Elastic. Just a year after achieving $100 million in outstandings, Elastic surpassed $200 million in total principal outstandings, with more than 120,000 open accounts.
  • Elevate Labs Launched. The Company launched Elevate Labs, including its new San Diego-based Advanced Analytics Center, underscoring its approximately $40 million annual investment in state-of-the art technology and data science.
  • RISE Enters Kansas with Line of Credit Product. Bringing additional responsible loan opportunities to non-prime consumers and expanding its product offering, RISE entered its 16th state, Kansas, the first state where RISE offers a line of credit product.
  • Savings for Customers. The average effective APR of its products for the quarter was 131%, down from 148% in the same quarter last year. The Company estimates indicate that Elevate’s products – Rise, Elastic and Sunny – saved customers approximately $304 million in the three months ended June 30, 2017 versus payday loans.
Source: Elevate release q2-2017-release

Elevate Reports Net Income of $ 3 Million on 0.5 Million in Revenue (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

According to the company, revenues for the quarter totaled $150.5 million – an 18.7% increase versus year prior where Elevate delivered $126.8 million in revenue. Elevate reported net income of $3.0 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $7.5 million, or $(0.59) per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2016.

Combined loans received were said to total $481.1 million, an increase of 28.7% from $373.7 from year prior quarter.

Prosper pulls plug on anti-ID-theft app (American Banker), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace, one of the largest marketplace lenders, is discontinuing the Prosper Daily app.

The app, formerly known as BillGuard and a favorite of many fintech insiders, helped users protect their identities and monitor their credit scores.

The online lender said it will no longer have access to users’ financial accounts once the app is discontinued and that it will reimburse annual subscribers.

Artificial Intelligence And The Future of Digital Lending (The Financial Brand), Rated: AAA

To be a digital lender, banks and credit unions must do more than provide a digital app. Internal lending processes must be transformed to eliminate friction and unneeded steps, with artificial intelligence (AI) supporting proactive loan decisions.

According to PwC, a financial organization must initially define what is desired from both a customer experience and operational efficiency basis around consumer lending. Next, banks and credit unions must build a digital lending strategy around the following organizational competencies. The path to becoming a true digital lending organization involves five steps.

  1. User-Centric Design
  2. Data-Driven Decision Making
  3. Flexible Infrastructure
  4. Effective Development Approach
  5. Organizational Agility

Digital Borrower Expectations

The expectations of the digital borrower have increased over the past several years, mostly based on marketplace offerings and digital experiences in other industries. While the interest rate and closing costs on loans are still primary considerations, the speed, simplicity, transparency and customer service of the entire process is important.

According to the PwC report, Consumer Lending: Understanding Today’s Empowered Borrower, three out of four demographic segments prefer to be online for each phase of the lending process as opposed to traditional methods, such as in person or on the phone.

While some lender apps offer the higher-ranking features – such as the ability to calculate the loan amount that the borrower can afford and the ability to lock in an interest rate on a loan, most of the other features are still not offered by most organizations.

Being a Digital Lender is More Than Just Fewer Clicks

To become a digital bank, organizations need to think beyond ‘minimizing the number of clicks’, reducing manual data entry, and improving the speed of decisions.

The process of becoming a digital lender for the long-term moves investments from ‘digital features’ to a ‘digital mentality’ and process that can support changing digital lending options. It is a major move from investing in just digital output to investing in the digital input that works behind the scenes. It is a strategic framework for the future of digital lending.

PeerStreet Integrates with Personal Capital to Provide More Detailed Investment Overview (PeerStreet Email), Rated: A

PeerStreet, an award-winning platform for investing in real estate backed loans, has announced an integration with Personal Capital, powered by the Envestnet | Yodlee Data Aggregation Platform. Customers of both Personal Capital, an automated investment service with more than $4.8 billion assets under management, and PeerStreet can now view their PeerStreet positions within the context of their investment portfolio on Personal Capital.

Realty Mogul’s REIT Turns One (Realty Mogul Email), Rated: A

Celebrating its one year anniversary, MogulREIT I recently declared its twelfth consecutive month of 8% annualized return on investment. With ten assets across the country, MogulREIT I is a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate investments designed to provide consistent cash distributions, while protecting and returning capital contributions.

Money360 Closes $ 143M in Commercial Real Estate Loans in Q2, Marking a Record-Breaking Quarter (Markets Insider), Rated: A

Money360, a direct marketplace lender focused on commercial real estate, today announced that the company closed $143 million in loans in the second quarter, marking the lender’s best quarter to date. Money360 has now closed more than $350 million in total loans and is on pace to close more than $500 million by the end of the year. On average, the company is now closing $50 million in loans each month.

A few of the $143 million in loans closed in the second quarter include:

  • A $15.6 million bridge loan for a three-tenant medical office property in Grand Forks County, North Dakota.
  • A $11.1 million bridge loan for the acquisition of a multi-tenant retail property in Wayne County, Michigan.
  • A $9.7 million bridge loan for a two-story, 198-room hotel property in Cumberland County, North Carolina.

Read our analysis of Money360.

Wells Fargo Sued in Yet Another Public Embarrassment (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

The assault on the Wells Fargo brand continues, with a lawsuit accusing the bank of pushing almost 250,000 of its clients into delinquency by forcing them into auto insurance they didn’t need — or even ask for, Bloomberg reports.

The bank allegedly made millions of dollars off unsuspecting clients, according to the proposed class-action lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court and cited by the newswire.

Wells Fargo allegedly didn’t check whether its clients taking out auto loans already had auto insurance, or ignored the fact that they did, Bloomberg reports.

Insurance CEOs Say Change Is Coming (CB Insights), Rated: A

Markel co-CEO Richard Whitt III on the $919M acquisition of State National

We, like a lot of people, are starting to look at the insurtech space. And State National, I think they are ideally situated to sort of be the go between the insurtech folks and sort of your standard insurance carrier types. It’s a clash of cultures there, I would say.

The insurtech folks are used to things happening lightening fast and with minimal regulatory issues and all that and that’s not insurance. So there almost needs to be a translator between insurtech folks and standard insurance folks. And that is a role that State National plays…And we see them helping us with our insurtech initiatives sort of being that translator between us and those folks.

Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg: “Change is coming”

But with that said, change is coming. And we are not alone in terms of carriers improving their capabilities, because of what technology brings that will lead that change. It’s around data, it’s around straight through process, it’s around data that improves the customer experience, while at the same time improving your ability to select risk and to do it quickly i.e. in seconds and to be able to then straight through process business.

You taking out a loan for your business and technology enables those other forms of distribution. The customer will buy it from a desktop, the customer will buy it from a mobile device, they will buy it any time anywhere and they will service it anytime anywhere.

Timothy Li of Fluid (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Into this void steps Fluid, the brainchild of Timothy Li, our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast. He has found a unique way to provide students access to credit and consequently a way to start building their credit while they are in college. Fluid provides small loans of up to $500 at 0% interest. It is a fascinating idea that we explore in some depth on the show.

Are Technology Firms The Next Financial Service Providers? (Forbes), Rated: A

Financial system regulatory costs continue to climb in part due to it being rife with problems that led to 45% of financial intermediaries, such as money transfer services and stock exchanges, experiencing economic crime. Blockchain increases transparency and decentralizes the financial system with encrypted, unforgeable records embedded in a secure network. By reducing transaction costs and removing intermediaries, blockchain technology is poised to increase mass peer-to-peer collaboration, which could make existing financial organizations unnecessary.

Automated investment services, sometimes referred to as robo-advisors, are emerging as an easily accessible, cost-efficient solution to managing assets with 24/7 availability and annual fees of .2% to .5%, making it substantially less than typical rates.

The financial technology upsurge is bringing accessibility and availability to the forefront, making existing banking options resemble archaic institutions. With apps that let you make quick, feeless transactions (such as Venmo) and peer-to-peer lending platforms (such as Lending Club), customers and millennials are welcoming these innovative platforms. According to a 2015 report, 75% of millennials visit bank branches either once a month or less than that, and 38% of them don’t use a branch to perform banking activities.

Fintech, however, is fostering financial inclusion and building public confidence, evidenced by mobile platforms such as M-Pesa reaching 80% of households within four years.

OCC files motion to dismiss fintech charter lawsuit (American Banker), Rated: A

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by state regulators challenging the agency’s fintech charter.

2020 REI Group Launches REI Data Systems With Investorwell (Digital Journal), Rated: A

Dallas- based 2020 REI Group has announced the creation of a data services and technology division to further their mission of providing products and services to real estate investors nationwide.

The new division will be labeled as REI Data Systems and will be led by Mike Inman, Vice President of Technology for 2020 REI Group.  Inman was most recently IT Manager of Application Development for the City of Grand Prairie and has a vast background in cloud based applications, GIS mapping, mobile applications, and data analytics.

The official launch for InvestorWell will be mid-August. The platform will help real estate investors find funding for their projects based on eight simple questions.

The Role of Digital in Financial Planning (Insead Knowledge), Rated: A

Long-term saving is a classic case study in behavioural biases. These must be managed and mitigated – whether it is through digital or face-to-face advice.

Inertia is one such bias. While people will generally put off taking action, research has shown that if they are intimately involved in preparing a plan, they are more likely to stick to it. The most committed planners also tend to be the most financially literate.

While robo-advisors are getting lots of press at the moment, they are mostly just a delivery mechanism. A nice user interface should not be a substitute for solid advice that ultimately addresses a key financial and behavioural problem. Digital poor advice is still poor advice.

  • Users should be asked, in non-misleading terms, whether they want a basic, average or luxury retirement lifestyle.
  • The language should be free of jargon and go to the heart of the users’ problem.
  • The tool should allow users to be actively involved in making the trade-offs based on their unique needs, wants and circumstances.

Startups want to change what you insure and how you insure it (TechCrunch), Rated: A

In the real world, however, insurance coverage hasn’t kept up with the social and economic changes of recent years. Sharing economies have gained scale. Jobs have gone from full-time to gig-based. And the vast millennial generation has entered adulthood intent on completing any complex transaction in a couple of minutes online.

So far this year, insurance-focused startups have raised more than $700 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase data, with significant backing from both traditional VCs and large insurers. The lion’s share of investment has gone to companies pioneering and popularizing coverage categories and delivery models, with a particular focus on millennial customers.

One of the most richly funded players in this space is Trōv, which has an app for quickly insuring personal and work items like laptops, smartphones and high-end cameras. The five-year-old company raised a $45 million Series D round in April led by reinsurer Munich Re, bringing total funding to nearly $90 million.

Cover, which just closed an $8 million Series A, offers a similar service. Customers take a picture of the item they want to insure and Cover offers a policy, underwritten by a partner insurance firm.

One of the most richly funded insurance startups over the past few years is Metromile, which insures based on how much customers drive. Rack up few miles, and pay little beyond a small monthly base rate. Drive more, and it goes up. U.K.-based Cuvva, meanwhile, has raised seed funding to build out insurance offerings for short-term use of a car, for people learning to drive and for people who drive very little.

Silicon Valley-based Hippo is also marketing itself as a new kind of homeowners insurance company, with policies that offer stronger protections for common valuables like home electronics.

For short-term rentals, meanwhile, Slice Labs is partitioning off a space.

Next Insurance, founded last year, sells coverage for yoga instructors, photographers, home contractors and others whose needs don’t always fit with standard insurance policies. The Silicon Valley company raised $48 million to date from VC and insurance industry backers. Bunker, which bills itself as an insurer for freelancers and independent contractors, is also scaling up. The San Francisco company closed a $6 million Series A round in May.

One is Ladder, which has raised $16 million to build out a platform for offering direct-to-consumer term life insurance online. Another, Brooklyn-based Fabric, has raised $2.5 million for its digital platform offering instant quotes on accidental death coverage, as well as broader life insurance policies.

An Attorney’s Take On Real Estate Crowdfunding (RealCrowd), Rated: A