Thursday April 18 2019, Weekly News Digest

digital banking

News Comments Today’s main news: Funding Circle sets new high on loans under management. SoFi partners with Lemonade, Root. Salary Finance hires SoFi co-founder, raises $32.8M. Dianrong to raise $100M. Klarna may be headed to the stock market. Linked Finance sees record quarter. Today’s main analysis: European online alternative finance grows 36%. (A MUST-READ REPORT […]

The post Thursday April 18 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

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News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

China

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News Summary

United States

SoFi has announced two new partnerships in the insurance space. The partnerships expand SoFi’s portfolio of offerings to include homeowners’ and renters’ insurance through Lemonade and auto insurance through Root.

LendIt Fintech USA 2019 Slide Presentations Now Live (LendIt Fintech), Rated: AAA

Keynote Presentations

Advancements in Credit, Underwriting and Identity

Small Business Lending Innovation

Niche Lending: Looking for Yield

Are Crypto-Tracking Stocks Viable Alternatives to a Bitcoin ETF? (Finance Magnates), Rated: AAA

As the world continues to wait for the US SEC’s decision on the Bitcoin ETF applications that are still being processed months after a decision was expected, some investors may find themselves seeking alternative methods of entering into the Bitcoin market without actually having to do the dirty deed of investing in Bitcoin itself.

Crypto lending serviceshave recently reported record profits; crypto futures exchanges are also reporting higher-than-ever trading volumes.

Source: @CMEGroup on Twitter

Nearly 1 in 4 Millennial Homebuyers Want to Buy a Home Before They’re Married (LendingTree), Rated: AAA

Young adults are getting married later than previous generations. In 1980, the median age for men and women at their first marriage was 24.7 and 22, respectively. In 2018, the ages increased to 29.8 and 27.8, for men and women, respectively.

Millennials make up the largest share of homebuyers at 37%, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of millennial first-time homebuyers want to own a home before getting married.

On the flip side, this means just over 3 in 4 millennial buyers (76%) want a marriage before a mortgage. Additionally, 27% of millennial buyers are postponing parenthood until they’ve achieved homeownership. Among homebuyers of all ages, nearly 2 in 5 are waiting to get a pet until after purchasing a house.

More than a quarter (26%) of first-time buyers have poor credit.

Just 15% of first-time buyers have a score of 740 or higher. Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) aren’t satisfied with their credit score, yet more than a quarter of those who are dissatisfied haven’t taken steps to improve their score. By contrast, more than 70% of repeat homebuyers are satisfied with their credit score.

GROUNDFLOOR Doubles Year Over Year Revenue (PR Newswire), Rated: A

GROUNDFLOOR, an investing and lending platform that allows anyone to invest fractionally in real estate, is today announcing its Q1 results and momentum. Despite the government shutdown of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for 35 days, GROUNDFLOOR still experienced 123% percent non-GAAP Q1 revenue growth compared to the prior year Q1.

Additional Q1 momentum for GROUNDFLOOR includes:

  • Achieving a 166% increase in unit volume for loans closed in Q1 ’19 vs. Q1 ’18
  • More than doubling loan application volume for Q1 ’19 vs. Q1 ’18 (121% increase)
  • Selling more than $14.5M in real estate investments to retail investors on the platform
  • Surpassing more than 60,000 registered users
  • Eclipsing $100MM in loans to real estate developers to-date in more than two dozen states
  • Expanding product offerings, such as new construction loans and a fixed annualized notes product returning 5 percent on a 90-day term
  • Launching a second online public offering to purchase stock in GROUNDFLOOR directly

Real estate startup Reali acquires online lender Lenda, expands into mortgages (Housingwire), Rated: A

Reali announced Wednesday that it acquired Lenda, an online mortgage lender that launched in 2013 and currently operates in 12 states.

And with the acquisition, Reali is launching Reali Loans, a mortgage lending operation of its own.

Avant to pay $ 3.85M to settle allegations of deceiving borrowers (American Banker), Rated: A

The online lender Avant will pay $3.85 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that it misled customers who were seeking to repay their loans.

The FTC said Monday that its commissioners approved the settlement by a 5-0 vote.

A Max Levchin-Backed Startup Raises $ 19 Million To Tackle Online Returns (Forbes), Rated: A

A San Francisco-based startup called Returnly is seeking to solve at least a portion of the headache—namely, the payment delay—by issuing instant store credit when you decide you don’t want an item. The company says that by assessing a shopper’s risk, it can offer store credit to 85% of customers on the spot, without first requiring that the item has been received or even put in the mail.

Returnly announced on Wednesday that it has raised $19 million in a Series B funding round, led by venture capital firm Craft Ventures and with participation from Max Levchin, the PayPal cofounder who currently runs Affirm.

Small businesses turning far more often to online lenders (American Banker), Rated: A

Last year 32% of credit-seeking small businesses applied to an online lender, up from 19% in 2016, according to the survey, which was released Tuesday. Over the same period, large banks, small banks and credit unions all saw either steady application rates or a slight decline in interest from those same small businesses, which typically had fewer than 10 employees.

Mastercard Redefines Choice at Checkout with Acquisition of Vyze (Business Wire), Rated: A

Mastercard (NYSE: MA) today announced it has acquired Vyze, a technology platform that delivers more choice – and purchasing power – to people who want their point-of-sale payment options to match the flexibility and convenience of today’s shopping experiences.

Increasingly, consumers are seeking alternative financing options,1 leaving merchants and financial institutions with a need to deliver these services at the point of sale. In the U.S. alone, these solutions represent a more than $1.8 trillion opportunity, according to Accenture.

Earnest Launches Private Student Loans (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Earnest today announced that it’s modernizing student loans with a new in-school student lending offering.

Built based on feedback from students and people with student debt, an Earnest student loan incorporates four unique differentiators:

  • Innovative eligibility check – A quick two-minute eligibility check requires only basic personal information, school details, and an estimated credit score.
  • Cosigner invite – Earnest’s application makes it simple and easy to invite a cosigner to the process.
  • Checkout  Clients can customize their loan according to their individual financial needs with easy-to-understand terms and a clear understanding of their monthly payments after graduation.
  • 9-Month grace period – Earnest found through talking with recent graduates that they wanted the flexibility of a longer grace period after graduation to get settled. Earnest offers a 9-month grace period after graduation compared to the 6-month industry standard.

Banks turn to a former rival to jump-start digital platforms (American Banker), Rated: A

In the “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” world of bank-fintech relations these days, TD Bank’s recent agreement with the online lender Avant fits right in.

Avant is expanding its efforts to license technology to traditional banks, and TD Bank in March announced it will use the Chicago company’s technology platform, called Amount, to power the bank’s unsecured loan product, TD Fit Loan. HSBC, Regions Banks and Banco Popular also use Amount.

Digital Lending Companies Considering Stricter Credit Approvals (Investing News), Rated: A

Over the past decade, the digital-lending industry has evolved to become more sophisticated. For example, companies are integrating big data and proprietary algorithms to analyze a borrower’s credit risk score in a matter of seconds, according to Juniper Research.

According to the firm, MPLs are projected to generate US$588 billion in loan origination value annually by 2023. This is estimated to account for 41 percent of SME funding around the world.

The research firm further reports that revenue from MPLs are predicted to grow at a 48 percent CAGR. This brings MPL platform revenue to US$137 billion annually by 2023, a 400 percent return from the estimated US$30 billion in revenue in 2019.

7 Smart Ways To Invest $ 1,000 (Forbes), Rated: A

2. Lend to those in need and earn some interest.

Lending Club is one such peer-to-peer lending service I tried out, and I found it to be very easy to use and reliable (see my 

Nearly 60% Of Millennials Look To Lottery For Retirement, Survey Says (FA-Mag), Rated: A

The odds of winning the $654 million Mega Million prize last year were put at one in 302 million, while the $345 million Powerball offered one chance in 292 million. But those astronomical odds apparently haven’t deterred the many Americans who are banking on using a lottery jackpot for their retirement nest egg.

Thirty-one percent of Americans don’t invest because they think it’s risky, but 39 percent, including 59 percent of millennials, feel it’s reasonable to think of the lottery jackpot as a potential means of retirement, according to the survey.

Miillennial men in particular (66 percent) believe the lottery is a reasonable retirement plan, compared to 58 percent of millennial women. However, if they did win the lottery, more millennial men (61 percent) than women (42 percent ) would save or invest the entire amount.

Direct Lending Investments Had Over 950 Investors (deBanked), Rated: A

Documents filed in a New York Supreme Court case by the receiver managing Direct Lending Investments (DLI), revealed that DLI had more than 950 investors worldwide with collective investments on the books totaling over $780 million.

No-income, no-asset mortgages are back (at one lender, at least) (Housingwire), Rated: A

And now, NINA loans are back, as 360 Mortgage Group announced this week that it is launching a no-income, no-asset mortgage pilot program.

Some online lenders charge 900% interest and ignore Virginia law. So borrowers are suing. (Pilot Online), Rated: A

A loose-knit group of Virginians, stung by triple-digit interest rates on payday and other loans, is trying to do what the General Assembly won’t — make sure all lenders, including online ones, follow Virginia laws.

The latest lawsuit, filed last week, alleges that four web sites — Golden Valley Lending, Silver Cloud Financial, Mountain Summit Financial and Majestic Lake Financial — set up in the name of the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake tribe in northern California were actually operated by non-tribal members in a Kansas City suburb, including the son of a payday loan executive convicted of fraud and racketeering.

Lendio Franchise Opens in Phoenix to Expand Access to Capital for Local Businesses (Lendio), Rated: B

Lendio has announced the opening of a new Lendio franchise in Phoenix. Through the Lendio Franchising program, Sam Foreman will help local businesses apply for loans, review their options and secure funding, easing the financial hurdles for area small business owners.

BlueVine Partners with Ocrolus for Faster Processing of Financing Applications (Ocrolus), Rated: B

Ocrolus today announced a partnership with BlueVine. BlueVine leverages Ocrolus technology to accelerate growth and scale operations efficiently, creating a faster and more seamless experience for its customers.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle’s loans under management soar to record highs (City A.M.), Rated: AAA

Loans under management grew 44 per cent to £3.4bn compared to £2.3bn in the first quarter of the previous year, and revenue growth soared by 40 per cent.

The firm reported that loan originations were up 23 per cent from £525m in the first quarter of 2018 to £644m between January and March this year.

Salary Finance raises $ 32.8m, hires SoFi co-founder for US push (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Salary Finance, a UK-based startup focused on salary-linked savings and loans for employees, has raised $32.8 million and hired SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin for a US expansion.

Welendus closes funding round as it prepares for India expansion (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

WELENDUS, the peer-to-peer lender focused on short-term loans, has closed its last seed funding round, as it prepares to expand into India.

City watchdog readies new rules for cryptoassets and P2P (FN London), Rated: B

The Financial Conduct Authority is prepping new rules for cryptoassets and peer-to-peer lending, two rapidly growing areas of fintech.

China

China’s P2P lending platform Dianrong raising $ 100m (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong is looking to raise $100 million in fresh funding, according to a Financial Times report, a move that should give it enough buffer to meet China’s strict capital requirement for P2P players.

The GIC-backed firm has not made any official statement about its fundraising plan but analysts said the move is part of the firm’s efforts to meet Beijing’s proposed Rm500 million ($74.5 million) capital requirement for P2P operators nationwide.

National Rules on Online Lending Still Far From Sight (Caixin Global), Rated: A

It will not be soon for China’s commercial banks, consumer finance service firms and other institutions to see a national regulation governing internet-based lending activities, despite recent progress on specific rules for online peer-to-peer lending and microloans, Caixin learned.

Large P2P lenders ordered to ready disclosures for regulators (technode), Rated: A

Large platforms with loan balances of more than RMB 5 billion ($750 million) must register with the information disclosure database by the end of May.

European Union

Tech unicorn Klarna could quickly be prepared to contemplate bourse itemizing (Infosurhoy), Rated: AAA

Swedish tech unicorn Klarna is nearing the point where it could seek a stock market listing, but it’s unlikely to be this year, the CEO and co-founder of the fast-growing online payments services firm said.

Klarna Expands Relationship with Acne Studios (Business Wire), Rated: B

The Stockholm-based fashion house Acne Studios has expanded their existing European partnership with Klarna. Showing at Paris Fashion Week, Acne Studios encompasses women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories and denim, but also moves across the borders of fashion, art and design. With Klarna now available in Acne Studios’ online store, shoppers in the U.S. can choose to checkout with four equal payments – with no interest or fees.

Linked Finance marks record quarter (Tech Central), Rated: AAA

The first quarter of 2019 saw the platform provide more than €11.3 million in loans to Irish SMEs, an increase of 32% over the same period last year.

Since its establishment in 2013, Linked Finance has helped provide more than 2,000 loans and €92 million in funding to businesses across Ireland. Lenders who have supported SMEs through the platform have earned more than €7.1 million in interest and received more than €50.4 million in repaid principal since the business launched in 2013.

Linked Finance issued its largest loans ever in the quarter with a number of €300,000 loans provided. The average loan increased to €70,000.

Total Online Alternative Finance Grows 36% Topping €10 Billion (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

According to CCAF, in 2017 the alternative finance market grew by 36% to € 10.44  billion – dominated by the UK.

Excluding the UK, European online alternative finance industry grew 63% from €2.06 billion to €3.37 billion in 2017.

The top three European markets following the UK, include:

  • France at €661 million
  • Germany at €595 million
  • The Netherlands at €280 million
  • The Nordic countries collectively generated €449 million, making them the third-largest regional market in Europe following France and Germany.
Source: Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Read the full report here.

Top 5 Real Estate Stocks To Invest In (Prague Post), Rated: A

But before I share these top real estate crowdfunding companies, I would first want to tell you about the characteristics which a best performing real estate should have. Well, they must have:

  • Pricing power
  • High usage rates
  • Regular dividend
International

Challenger banks overtake traditional banks in customer satisfaction, in 4 charts (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Challenger banks have leapfrogged to the forefront in overall customer satisfaction, according to a new study from FIS.

63 percent of direct bank customers report being “extremely satisfied”, compared to 52 percent of credit union customers and just 19 percent of customers of the top 50 global banks.

73 percent of all consumer interactions with banks in the US are done digitally.

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of younger millennials (between ages of 18 and 26) reported that they have not used any branches at all in the prior month.

Source: Tearsheet
Australia

April holidays to negatively impact 1 in 4 SMEs (My Business), Rated: AAA

According to new research commissioned by SME lender OnDeck, Australia’s small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are bracing for “a double whammy” of disruption from the back-to-back Easter/Anzac Day public holidays.

Over one in four (27 per cent) of SMEs expect the Easter/Anzac Day period to disrupt normal trading.

LET’S TALK: THE BIG 4 BANKS (Dynamic Business), Rated: A

Leo Tyndall, CEO and Founder Marketlend

In the wake of the Royal Commission we’re seeing a tightening of finance for SMEs with even long time customers being turned away for loans. For years, banks have taken too long and required too much, like property collateral, from SMEs. Innovations like marketplace lending are giving SMEs transparent and prompt access to.capital when they need it.

Stephen BarnesPrincipal at Byronvale Advisors Pty Ltd

I would say that the term ‘redundant’ may not be so appropriate but certainly through a number of factors the ‘Big 4’ may be less able to meet the needs or timeliness requirements of small business. A large number of small business owners need to use personal assets, usually the family home, as security for loans.

India

P2P firms seek RBI relaxation on lending limit (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

A little more than a year after the (RBI) came out with guidelines for peer-to-peer (P2P) lending companies to convert into non-banking companies (NBFCs), micro and small enterprises (SME) lending has turned out to be the focus area for these companies.

However, the current regulation does not allow a single lender to lend more than Rs 10 lakh across at a time. This is hampering growth prospects, say P2P players. The association of P2P lenders has sought relaxation in the norm, and requested the to raise the limit to Rs one crore, according to sources in the industry.

Fintech startups spot a lucrative space in ‘open banking’ (Economic Times), Rated: A

Fintech startups have started offering a broader set of banking services beyond payments and lending, pointing to a deep integration with lenders that has the potential to change the way customers access banking products.
Asia

Riding the Korea FinTech Wave (Finextra), Rated: AAA

South Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) has identified three sectors — payments, data, and lending — to protect consumers, foster fintech innovation, and ultimately remove uncertainties that may restrict investments into Korea.

Legal Framework Around Marketplace Lending

South Korea is a country that has gone through two economic crises which has made banks extremely conservative especially in terms of lending. As such, 40% of the population cannot receive loans from tier one banks and must resort to secondary markets such as savings banks with extremely high interest rates above 20% and shady underground loan sharks.

Cambodia, Singapore In X-Border FinTech Pact (Cambodia Daily), Rated: A

Deputy Managing Director of MAS Jacqueline Loh said the relationship demonstrates a FinTech that may extend to other countries in the ASEAN region.

MENA

A ROADMAP FOR FINTECH FIRMS ENTERING FAST-GROWING EMERGING MARKETS (LendIt Fintech), Rated: AAA

This paper provides case studies and market analysis from the Arab Middle East and Africa as examples of fast-growing economies, open to best-in-class solutions, with both wealthy and underbanked populations. Key go-to-market findings serve to inform fintech firms, investors and others about participating in the region.

Download the report here.

Canada

TORONTO FINTECH, LENDIFIED, RAISES $ 15 MILLION CAD SERIES A (Betakit), Rated: AAA

Lendified, a Toronto-based FinTech, announced today that it has closed a $15 million CAD Series A funding round, in order to continue its growth within Canada.

The round was co-led by WD Capital Markets and INFOR Financial, and saw funding from CI Financial Corp., Windsor Private Capital, FirePower Capital, and a group of investors including Glenn Murphy, founder of FIS Holdings and former CEO of Gap Inc. and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Latin America

How sky-high interest rates are choking economic growth in Brazil (The Brazilian Report), Rated: AAA


Brazilian Credit Card Interest Rates: Enough to Choke a Horse or Risk Based Pricing? (Payments Journal), Rated: A

Bank accounts for consumers is still relatively low, with only 68%, compared to 79% in China.  Debit cards, however, outpaced credit by 2:1.

While you may see a slight uplift in the U.S. and U.K markets, consider this:

  • Annual consumer rates for credit cards topped 270 percent for unpaid balances.
  • As Brazil suffered its worst economic crisis in history, the banks raised credit card rates to a stunning 500 percent per annum on unpaid bills.
  • With Brazilians relying on credit an paying for everything from everyday goods to luxury items in installments, massive interest rates are being embedded into these payments.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

The post Thursday April 18 2019, Weekly News Digest appeared first on Lending Times.

Australia Peer to Peer Market

Australia alternative finance

The word “digital disruption” holds true meaning when we look at the online alternative lending sector. Marketplace lending is an amazing example of the evolution and transformation of the incumbent lending sector. Though alternative lending has been around for a decade, Australia has taken a while to embrace this revolution. Even though it is at […]

Australia alternative finance

The word “digital disruption” holds true meaning when we look at the online alternative lending sector. Marketplace lending is an amazing example of the evolution and transformation of the incumbent lending sector. Though alternative lending has been around for a decade, Australia has taken a while to embrace this revolution. Even though it is at a nascent stage in the land down under, with the recent entry of American players and big-ticket VC investments, it is a matter of time before it turns into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Australia is now ranked as the second largest online alternative finance market in the Asia-Pacific region, behind only China. According to the first comprehensive study conducted in the Asia Pacific in 2015, the Australian online alternative lending market increased by 320% with a market value of nearly USD$350 million. From 2015 to 2016, the market size grew 53.6% and is now at USD$609.6 million. The chart below represents the growth the market saw between 2013 and 2015. Lack of funding options for SMEs, missing flexibility in personal loan products, and a highly regulated banking sector are some of the reasons why Australia has emerged as one of the most lucrative untapped lending markets.

Regulatory Framework: P2P lending

It has been mandated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission that all P2P lending companies operating in Australia need to hold an Australian Financial Service License (AFSL) and Australian Credit License (ACL) to be able to engage and carry on financial services legally. In addition, P2P online platforms must operate as managed investment schemes, and that scheme needs to be registered if the investment is offered to retail customers.

Major players in P2P Lending Market

SocietyOne

SocietyOne was launched in 2012, by Matt Symons and Greg Symons. It has raised $55.24 million in various funding rounds from eight investors (Australian Capital Equity, Beyond Bank, Consolidated Press Holdings, Global Founders Capital, Justin Reizes, News Corp Australia, Reinventure Group, Seven West Media). Through its platform, SocietyOne enables savvy investors to diversify their investments based on their varying individual investment goals and degree of risk. Qualified borrowers can have access to unsecured loans ranging from $5000 to $35000, to be repaid over a loan term of 2, 3 or 5 years.

Since its launch, it has evolved rapidly and has a firm foothold in the consumer finance industry, and today the platform is among the largest provider of personal loans. Its philosophy to connect borrowers and investors through its Clearmatch technology (where a soft online credit check that does not affect the credit score is made to evaluate whether the borrower is eligible for the loan or not) platform is making a real difference in offering better deals than traditional banks. In 2015, it surpassed $50 million in total funded loans. As the chart below shows between January, 2016 and June, 2017 loan origination has increased by a staggering 345%.

Alongside such an impressive growth, it has became a popular choice among the investors as it offers a steady return of 9% and has a very low default rate of about 1.8% across the whole loan portfolio.

Marketlend

Marketlend was founded in 2014 by Leo Tyndall, a former executive at UniCredit, where he was handling securitization and capital market operations. Tyndall started the company with his life savings and in June, 2016 it raised USD $1 million from Jonathan Barlow and Mateusz Szeszkowski.

It is the first platform in Australia that facilitates combination of prompt lending with insurance and margin protection. The P2P structure of Marketlend comprises of three key strengths: providing an innovative solution for financing against unpaid invoices, improving insurance cover against risk and loss protection and ensuring securitization of loans to meet the needs of investors especially the institutional investors. It offers rate of returns upto 10.40% for investors.

Safety First

Marketlend gives top most priority to the security of its borrowers and investors. It accepts losses of at least 1% of the loan through its reserve fund and has even partnered with an insurance company to provide insurance cover under certain circumstances. Since its inception in 2014, it has funded $24 million of loans with zero default.

Bigstone

As per the study conducted by East & Partners on behalf of Western Union Business Services, it was observed that around 83% of the small and medium sized businesses are struggling to have access to credit. To exploit this opportunity, Boyd Pederson, a former managing director at Boston Consulting Group founded Bigstone in 2016. In August 2016, Bigstone raised USD $3 million from four investors (Cicada Innovations, CVC Capital Partners, Narith Phadungchai, and Paniti Junhasavasdikul). Low APR (8%-24%) makes the platform an attractive proposition in the highly competitive alternative lending market.

Bigstone provides loans ranging from $10,000-$250,000 to SME businesses with a maximum loan term of two years. The whole loan approval process is simple, easy and quick and loan is approved or rejected in minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, it enables the investors to spread risk by investing in diversified small loans offered to borrowers in real time.

DirectMoney

Online lending platform DirectMoney is Australia’s first P2P Company to be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). It was launched in 2006 by Guy Baldwin and David Doust and at the time was considered a path breaker since it offered varied rates of interest to the borrowers depending upon their credit ratings whereas others provided a single rate of interest to all the borrowers. It raised an undisclosed amount as seed capital from Trevor Folsom, the co-founder of Investible.

DirectMoney connects the borrowers and investors through its pioneer platform and enables the investors to invest in secured and unsecured personal loans. Investors invest by buying the units in the DirectMoney Personal Loan Income Fund and after making deductions for loan losses and management fees, the interest charged from borrowers is the return paid to the investors.

Borrowers can apply for loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000 to be repaid over 3 to 5 year with varied rates of interest applicable depending upon the credit worthiness of the borrower.

MoneyPlace

MoneyPlace is another innovative marketplace lender that develops a connection between creditworthy borrowers who are seeking to access personal loans with wholesale investor clients. This platform was launched in 2014 by Stuart Stoyan and has its headquarter at Melbourne, Australia. Investment in MoneyPlace is open only to wholesale and institutional investors who fund unsecured personal loans. Auswide Bank agreed to invest AUD $60 million over a stretch of five years and took a 20 percent equity stake in the start-up and in the beginning of this year Auswide increased its stake to 51 percent with the option of increasing it to 75%.

Risk-Based Pricing

Depending on the risk profile of the loans, investors can earn a rate of return varying from 7.7% to 15%. It offers four different investment options based on varying risk profiles namely; conservative, balanced, high yield or customized portfolio.

With a motive to minimize the risk factor involved in the loans, the loans are divided into fractions. The investors can buy the fractions of different loans and thereby spread their risk over a diversified portfolio of loans.

Conclusion

According to the research by Morgan Stanley, value of loans made by online lending platforms in Australia is expected to reach $22 billion in next five years. P2P lending to consumers is expected to reach $10.4 billion whereas P2P lending to small businesses is expected to reach $11.4 billion during the same period. These numbers clearly represents the opportunity for P2P lenders to establish a meaningful presence in the Australian market. Established fintech lenders like RateSetter (UK), OnDeck (US) are expanding operations in in Australia. This goes to show the importance of the Australian market and the potential it represents.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir and Allen Taylor

Allen Taylor

Friday February 24 2017, Daily News Digest

French crowdfunding barometer

News Comments Today’s main news: dv01 creates new securitization portal. China requires P2P lenders to keep money in banks. Today’s main analysis: France’s online alt finance doubles in size. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Robo-advice to go mainstream in 2017. China Rapid Finance to target U.S. IPO as early as 2017. Is ‘peer’ being muscled out of P2P investment? United […]

French crowdfunding barometer

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

China

  • P2P lenders required to keep funds in banks. GP:” What is important to know here is that it is very hard for a p2p lender to find a bank who will accept to bank for them, so this is in fact a way to shut them down more or less. Which is unfortunate because this in desperation people take desperate measures. And wewould all be better off if the p2p lenders did hold all their money in a bank, if banks would accept them.  ” AT: “Considering the business climate in China, I think this is the right move.”
  • China Rapid Finance to target U.S. IPO, maybe in 2017. AT: “Interestingly, the source for this story is saying the IPO will be used to raise money for expansion in China. Rumor, or fact?”

Canada

News Summary

United States

Leading FinTech Analytics Platform dv01 Announces New Portal Dedicated to Securitizations (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA

dv01, the reporting and analytics platform that brings transparency to lending markets, today announced the launch of Securitization Explorer, a new web portal dedicated to providing investors with increased insights into securitizations of consumer loans.

Institutional investors have long used dv01’s cloud-hosted web application to gain real-time insight into consumer loans, analyzing over $50 billion of loans to date.  With the launch of Securitization Explorer, dv01 leverages superior data, analytical, and visualization tools to deliver a comprehensive application dedicated to the needs of investors in consumer loan securitizations.  The new application is fully integrated into the dv01 environment and allows seamless transition from whole loan pool analysis to securitization analysis.

dv01 is the Loan Data Agent on numerous securitizations, overseeing an aggregate securitized collateral balance in excess of $1 billion. The company has aggregated performance data from marketplace lenders including SoFi, Lending Club, Prosper, Marlette Funding, Avant, and CommonBond. By normalizing data across lenders, dv01 simplifies comparison and analysis, enabling institutional investors to study both pool and individual loan performance, as well as quickly detect issues within portfolios.

Orchard’s CEO Matt Burton Talks Marketplace Lending (Forbes), Rated: A

Matt Burton: Like many startups, Orchard began as a small circle of friends with unique perspectives and complementary skill sets. In 2013, we created a Meetup in NYC for people interested in the emerging online lending industry. I met with a number of institutional investors who were investing in online loans and what I discovered was that most of them needed a system capable of purchasing and tracking large portfolios of small loans from multiple lending platforms. Since one didn’t exist, they were trying to cobble something together on their own, and most were struggling with it. Rather than becoming an investor or launching another lending platform, it occurred to me that someone should build the infrastructure to connect these two sides of the market at scale. On the flight home, I decided to launch Orchard and had just the right team of co-founders in mind to do it.

To date, we’ve on-boarded over $40 billion of loans to our platform across 20+ lenders, covering a diverse range of consumer and small business credit products.

We believe that an efficient, diversified method of selling and reselling whole loans and loan portfolios is critical to the industry’s growth and longevity over multiple credit cycles.

We are excited about the possibilities that come with more and more traditional lenders adopting a ‘fintech’ approach to providing services and how that may help underserved segments of the market access the credit they need. The opportunity will likely be even more pronounced in other regions of the world where these underserved segments of the market have almost no access to traditional banking services but wide access to smartphones and mobile-only services.

Let’s not forget that lending is still the primary business activity of banks, credit unions, and specialty finance companies. Most of them are in the process of converting their lending operations to the online model—or quickly evaluating whether to build their own platform or partner with an existing lender or technology provider.

The broader convergence of banking and financial technology feels inevitable at this point.

4 Trends Transforming Online Business Lending (Entrepreneur), Rated: AAA

Alternative lending swooped in to fulfill the needs of consumers and small business owners during the credit pinch after 2008, and every sign points to the industry scaling up. By 2020, some estimate that 1 in 5 small business loans will be made by an alternative lender. That share of the pie will be $52 billion, compared to $5 billion today.

1. Multi-product offerings.

Our nation’s largest financial institutions are full-service banks, offering credit cards, personal loans, student loans, mortgages and small business loans, among other financial products. But to date, most online lenders have stuck to one side of the market, with some notable exceptions like Lending Club, which operates both in the personal loan and small business loan sectors. Over the next few years, we’ll probably see more online lenders offering multiple kinds of loans themselves.

2. Bank partnerships.

Banks have large customer bases, low cost of capital, and scale on their side. Alternative lenders have speed, better user experiences, and a regulatory vacuum to operate in.

While they’re natural competitors, they don’t have to be. Indeed, a number of partnerships are beginning to form between banks and online lenders that will define how the credit needs of small businesses are met in the future.

3. Pushes towards self-policing

But over the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of different self-policing initiatives, from trade associations to industry announcements. The Innovative Lenders Platform Association, the Marketplace Lenders Association, the Responsible Business Lending Coalition, the Small Business Borrower Bill of Rights: they’re all attempts at self-regulation.

4. Increased government regulation.

Regulators aren’t blind to the potential that alternative lenders have to innovate—and to the possibility that misregulation could quickly lead to the death of an important new industry. But, online lending is brand new, and it’s disrupting what’s traditionally been a highly regulated industry. So, expect more news coming out of Washington as regulators look to get up to speed on the innovation that’s happening in online lending, and seek to build first principles on what an appropriate regulatory framework should look like.

VeriComply Appoints Former LendingClub Executive Roger Dickerson President, Prepares to Expand Into MPL (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

VeriComply, a company that automates the verification of marketplace loans for the secondary market, announced on Thursday it appointed former LendingClub executive, Roger Dickerson as its new president as it prepares to expand into the marketplace lending industry.

According to VeriComply, Dickerson served as Vice President of Finance Operations at LendingClub where he oversaw investor operations.

Panhandle students owe slightly more, but default less (Amarillo.com), Rated: B

Students in the U.S. congressional district that encompasses the Texas Panhandle hold, on average, more loan debt than the state average. But on the other hand they also default on student loans at a lower rate.

The average student debt per borrower in the district is $29,122, according to a student debt analysis released Thursday by LendEDU, a student loan marketplace.

That amount is about $2,100 more than the state average.

The loan default rate in the congressional district is 7.27 percent, the study found. Statewide, the rate is 7.39 percent.

Texas’ colleges and universities

Average student debt per borrower: $27,048

Debt per borrower rank: 22/50

Proportion of grads with student debt: 58%

Student loan default rate: 7.39%

Total college cnrollment: 748,866

District 13’s colleges and universities

Average student debt per borrower: $29,122

Proportion of grads with student debt: 59%

Student loan default rate: 7.27%

Total college enrollment: 76,084

Source: LendEDU

United Kingdom

2017 will be the year that robo-advice enters the mainstream (FT Advisor), Rated: AAA

It is anticipated that by the mid-point of this year there will be between 50 and 70 players offering an automated advice solution in the UK, including several major providers.

A human element is crucial to the approach of these more complex online financial advisers. Many are also routing online customers to a human if it is apparent that the need is complex or the customer may not have properly understood the questions asked during the process.

But a human element is only part of the solution; additional safeguards will also be required. We would not allow a human adviser, however well trained, to operate without a system of checks, balances and oversight, and the same is true of an automated model.

Once safeguards are in place, EY believes that a robo-adviser would be expected to have fewer biases and a better audit trail than any human.

The ‘peer’ is being muscled out of peer-to-peer investment (BusinessZone), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer business lending market has reached over £4bn. Nearly a quarter of all equity investments last year were made through Seedrs and Crowdcube, the two largest crowdfunding platforms.

Yet in both cases, the future depends not on the retail investors – Joe Public – that made their name but on market-shaping institutional investors.

“Around 10% of all businesses funded on our platform have some form of VC, institutional or corporate investment involved at some point in their history, and that rises to 50% when it comes to growth-stage business,” he said.

Seedrs echoes the sentiment. Rich Mason, its business development director, says they’ve seen a “surge” in co-investment with institutions and later stage investors.

At the other end of the spectrum, 25% of Funding Circle’s investment is from institutions (including the securitisation of loans).

ThinCats’ Caley says changes to its lending criteria due to the demands of institutional investors, cut 20-25% of loans last year.

Whether this is a good thing or not seems split between the two leading forces of alternative finance. On one hand, everyday investors now have access to big funding rounds like Monzo, something that would have been impossible in the past.

On the other, the future of peer-to-peer lending is less clear. Very few of these platforms make money and several have already struggled after key institutional investors pulled the plug.

New fintech degree course aims to churn out next generation of entrepreneurs (Finextra), Rated: AAA

Budding entrepreneurs looking for a career in the fast-growing financial technology industry can now sign up to the UK’s first fintech undergraduate degree course at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

The new BSc (Hons) Financial Technology Management course has been designed with the input of fintech startups and support from North American investment firms Franklin Templeton and State Street.

Course leader Anna Sung, lecturer at Wrexham Glyndwr University, says: “Rather than teaching students the technologies behind the rise of fintech, the course will teach them how to generate new business ideas and create their own startup using the technologies available to them.”

Global investment in fintech ventures in the first quarter of 2016 was £4.1 billion and it’s estimated that 100,000 new jobs in the sector will be created in the UK by 2020.

Has the P2P halo slipped? (City A.M.), Rated: A

A look at some headline numbers from Funding Circle, the most well known in the SME lending P2P space, is telling. It operates a pooling system where a retail investor lends to a portfolio of, typically, 100 businesses, with no more than 1 per cent exposure to any one loan. Given average SME default rates, this is a significant risk mitigation tool. And when you overlay this with risk banding, quality underwriting and proactive arrears management and collection, it becomes a pretty tightly controlled environment. The upshot is that investors have received a 7.1 per cent return after fees and bad debts.

Nevertheless, the head of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Andrew Bailey has said that he’s “pretty worried” about some aspects of the P2P market. Speaking to the Treasury select Committee, he was referring to attempts by some platforms to draw direct comparisons between their offerings and the returns from bank deposit accounts – implying that the two products are comparable, when they are not.

Bailey’s caution should be taken as a warning. While the concept and principles of P2P have political and regulatory recognition, behaviours that are seen to be misleading investors will not be tolerated. Absolute transparency about risk, return and redress are essential if the sector wishes to avoid damaging itself. Moreover, while banks exist under increasing levels of scrutiny, platforms can currently operate under lighter regulation.

So is there really a problem with P2P? I think there is, but not in the investor protection/regulatory space, or in its customer outcomes (which are largely excellent). The problem lies with the business model itself.

Robo’s opportunities and risks for advisers – Keith Richards (Professional Adviser), Rated: A

Robo-advice still has its limits, Richards cautioned, however, and advisers should be careful not see it as a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

“Mis-selling scandals of the past have generally been based on formulaic sales processes so it is important not to repeat history. The individual review and tailored recommendation process of financial advisers protects the market from systemic failure.”

Romford climbs to top spot for buy-to-let investor returns (Mortgage Solutions), Rated: A

Romford has replaced Luton as the postcode offering the greatest return for buy-to-let investors, after seeing rental prices grow 8% in the year to November.

The city climbed six places to knock Luton off the top spot, after it posted a capital gains growth of 17% and a buy-to-let yield of 5%.

Luton still remains a desirable market for investors, however, where continued growth in the rental market has offset the shrinking of yields, LendInvest said. The city posted a respectable 5% yield and a capital gains rate of 15% on rental price growth of 8%.

Last in the latest ranking of top 10 postcodes was Stevenage, where, despite 10% rental growth – the highest of all – capital gains were comparatively low at 9% on yields of 4%. Overall, Northampton remained the only postcode in top 10 to be located outside the South East.

European Union

France’s Online Alternative Finance Doubles in Size – Crowdfunding Grows 40% (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The French Crowdfunding Association (Financement Participatif France) released today the 3rd edition of its annual industry Barometer. For the first time, the data was compiled by auditing and consulting firm KPMG, which lends to the Barometer additional weight.

As it stands, the 2016 Alternative Finance Barometer reports that:

  • French alternative finance overall raised €668 million, a 112% increase from 2015.
  • French crowdfunding raised €234 million, a 40% increase from 2015.

I draw two conclusions from these numbers:

  • The rapid growth of alternative finance comes from models fueled by institutional investors.
  • The French alternative finance market is catching up, but is still dwarfed by the UK’s.

The Barometer focuses in more detail on the narrowly defined category of crowdfunding that remains closer to the original roots of “funding by the crowd”. The three segments of this category show:

  • Donation and rewards-based crowdfunding show a sustained 37% growth to €69 million.
  • Debt financing and crowdlending grew by +46% to €97 million. The strong 125% growth stated in the 2015 barometer is not directly comparable to the 46% growth rate stated for 2016. The latter is based on comparable data, retro-fitted to a smaller parameter of SME, real estate and green debt funding and crowdlending.
  • Equity crowdfunding decelerates to +36% to €69 million.

In conclusion, while 40% is a very healthy growth number by common standards, it is not enough to sustain some 100 startups in the crowdfunding category. Many will jump ship or consolidate. The winners will most likely go for more hybrid models to get a nudge of acceleration from institutional investors.

Australia

Marketlend Appoints Brad Pattelli as Non-Executive Director (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Marketlend, Australia’s leading peer-to-peer trade credit platform, today announced that it has appointed Brad Pattelli as a non-executive member of its board of directors. Pattelli brings decades of experience as an investor in a broad range of businesses, multiple prior public and private board roles, and significant expertise in the P2P arena as the former President of LC Advisors, a subsidiary of LendingClub, the award-winning online platform.

Founded in 2014, Marketlend provides investors with a unique opportunity to invest in supply chain or debtor lending facilities secured by short-term receivables, primarily from small to medium sized Australian businesses. An A+ rated global insurance company protects Marketlend investors against insolvency of the borrower and its debtors, enabling uninterrupted principal repayment on the majority of Marketlend’s lending facilities, providing investors with significant credit enhancement whilst enabling borrowers to receive better interest rates. Marketlend has recently secured a mandate from an undisclosed institutional investor to invest on its platform.

China

P2P lenders to keep funds at banks (Shanghai Daily), Rated: AAA

CHINA’S banking regulator yesterday issued a new rule requiring peer-to-peer lending platforms to use third-party banks for custody of funds as it enhanced a national campaign to curb financial fraud.

The bank requirement seeks to strengthen fund security and prevent capital embezzlement, the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement yesterday.

A P2P lending platform should sign an agreement with only one commercial bank to safeguard the funds, and all P2P lenders should meet the custody requirement in six months, the regulator said.

As of yesterday, 209 operating online P2P platforms have signed such agreements with commercial banks, accounting for 8.8 percent of all P2P lenders, according to data compiled by Online Lending House, a portal that tracks the sector.

China Rapid Finance Said to Target U.S. IPO as Soon as 2017 (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

China Rapid Finance, a Shanghai-based peer-to-peer lender, is planning to raise at least $100 million in an initial public offering in the U.S., people familiar with the matter said.

The company, which raised $20 million at a pre-money valuation of $1 billion in November, could hold the IPO as soon as this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.  The money will be used to fund expansion in China, one of the people said. The company declined to comment in an e-mailed statement.

Canada

Jean-Sébastien Drolet, RealStarter on Making Real Estate Investments Accessible (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Crowdfund Insider had the opportunity to interview the co-founder of Canadian real estate crowdfunding platform, RealStarter.

Jean-Sébastien Drolet:  RealStarter stands for a reachable start in the real estate investment. As you might know, buying property is not accessible to everyone because one encounters many costs and fees. Also, real estate investment can be challenging if you don’t have enough knowledge regarding the market and market trends.

JSD:  I would say our main challenge in 2017 will be to build trust with our users. I say that for two reasons that go hand in hand with each other: real estate crowdfunding is not very well known in Canada, especially in Quebec, and people are distrustful about investing money in real estate through a web platform. (It was only legalized in 2015 in Canada.)

JSD:  I don’t think so — things are moving quite slowly in terms of regulations but they are still moving forward. In 2017, the Canadian regulators across Canada will be looking at what is going on in other jurisdictions to amend the regulatory regime actually in place in order to make it more efficient with the new emerging fintech business models. For example, the AMF (Quebec regulator) recently announced the creation of a technological Innovation Advisory Committee on which RealStarter will be. Its primary mandate will be to analyze technological innovations in the financial sector and anticipate regulatory, market efficiency and consumer protection issues.

JSD:  Yes, it takes time to build a real estate crowdfunding market.  After reading a few market studies about the US and the UK market, we can see it took about three years to achieve good growth in terms of investment volume made through crowdfunding platforms. We predict it is going to take less time in Canada since we now have positive results from these jurisdictions. Also, we like the E-Reit model adopted by certain US crowdfunding platforms, such as Fundrise.  We are currently working toward doing something similar available if the regulation is flexible enough.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor